~ a short story
She summoned them to the grove with incense and decaying flesh. Three dozen of Charon’s best students flocked onto the branches to greet her. They sat together along the gnarled oaken fingers. Warm tea poured into nooks and crannies within the wood for them to sip from.
She wore their fallen feathers. Perching with them, cloaked in the scent and shape of the owl, the young witch garnered unconscious trust within her beastly companions. They listened to her whimsies, acquiesced to her enchantments, and even followed her commands. This tea party was for her army.
She hunted just as they did, though with different means. Her talons were secrets; her beak spoke in pandemonium. The whole realm was becoming the grounds for her play, every kingdom a mouse. With each courier mission, the war in the north grew hotter. Kings struggled with false intel; rebels surged to the front with their blade arms empowered by propaganda. Berserkers raged under the spell of dark and earthy brews. She’d soon reverse the course of the conflict to maximize the chaos.
She used every owl in her endeavors. Some flew into castles with letters, while others haunted inns and listened. The most diminutive and agile of her flock scrawled out cants in the wood of houses according to her directives. They all returned carrying what they learned. She gathered everything to determine her next course of action, and sowed fresh spells upon their wings.
She was still a young witch. But she understood the importance of this ritual. Bringing everyone together. Drawing up designs with a cumulative purpose beyond the trees of this grove, beyond the lives of her soldiers — avian or human. They listened to her because she imbued every one of her words with the energy from life and death itself.
The soldiers all listened because she was a witch.
And “…witches always knew just what to do.”
Young Mary grinned and let her feet dangle over the mist of the bog, exhalations from the old gods. She hummed a lullaby she never forgot.
When the red moon rises and everything lost becomes taboo
Whether the realm lives or dies depends on you
Seek a shaman, or a crew to do a coup
Better yet, a witch! For witches always know just what to do.
The Witch’s Maxim was magick itself and it was sowed into reality by her silly mother — Mother to Humanity, who still walked the world using her eyes, her body, her secrets.
She began to sing. The owls all turned their piercing gaze upon her.
Her tea party was ending. Mary had new missions for her children. ~