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Fallen Joy

Act, and Witches will act.

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Namiko came beside her and the Matriarch continued to look forward, now basking in the presence of both her sister and morning with a tranquil but meaningful silence for a time.

“Soothing to see the sunrise once more..”

“Is it, Sister?” She responded mistily, blind eyes unfocused and solemn with thought. “I grew up without the light of the sun in my youth, then lost the world’s perception of color the moment my powers as a seer awakened.” She paused for a moment, closing her eyes to the kiss of the wind then smiled gently. “But there is something I have come to find serene and calming during this time of day. Perhaps what I feel is what you see.”

“I wished for a peaceful sleep, all I got were visions of darkness or treachery..of the impending doom..”

The Matriarch now turned her head towards Namiko, the solemnity rekindled upon her eyes with a wisp of shock upon her face. It lasted briefly before it all melted into understanding and she placed her cool and hard hand upon Namiko’s shoulder.

“It appears you have seen my premonition.” Something apologetic came upon her but she smiled comfortingly. “Do not despair, the Third Eye has shown me thousands of dismal possibilities for the future. For this, the Great Spirits have linked us to share it, it means it is grave but not hopeless. Premonitions are not to tell us of impending doom, but to present us with opportunity to fight destiny. And we will fight it.”

She released her shoulder and turned away from the sunrise to the camp. “I think I know why the spirits have chosen to connect us. Alone I am not powerful enough to unravel the greater mysteries of this vision, and my sisters haven’t the magical affinity to accentuate my strength. But something within you does... Come, sister.”

The Matriarch walked over to the suffocating campfire from the previous night. Kneeling to her thighs, she postured herself perfectly before the minuscule flames.

“Meditate deep upon the visions you saw, find the energy behind them and focus it upon the flames between us. Allow yourself to wish to see more. We will see what the Third Eye grants us.”

She waited for Namiko to come beside her before closing her eyes to meditate.

 

Edited by Fallen Joy

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Listening well to the Matriarch, she could feel some of the nightmare and its residual darkness in the back of her mind. Watching as she turned away and moved towards the remaining embers of the fire, what little that may still burn from the night before.

 

Just the possibilities that could come from the future, that the premonition itself could be changed through their act of fighting against whatever destiny held in place that present moment. Following her a moment later, she would kneel down in the dirt next to the woman who sought her out next to the fire.  Digging her knees deep into the loose dirt, she would rest her hands palm down on the skin of her thighs.

 

Sucking in a deep breath, she would stare into the flames of the fire thoughts falling back onto the visions that were shown her during what would most call a night of rest. Darkness and acolytes became the focus of her thoughts, of the impending doom that loomed over her head.

 

Focusing her energy towards the flames, her body would feel warm with sweat as they came flooding back. Her magic would raise the hair on the arms of those near her, a tingling would trickle down through her skin.  

 

 

 

Edited by Eternity

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As the witches mediated, reaching into their memories and magic to pull and thread the lost fibrils of time, the future began to weave within the flames between them. Its dying amber breath suddenly gasped with life and heat rushed to their minds engorged with flashes of imagery. The Matriarch’s eyes shot open with a flashing white that burst and arched cross the chaotic flames and into Namiko’s own orbits. The foundation of her unique magic merged with the strength of her sister, pulling their astral spirits from their body and descending them into flames. Through the passageways of the element, they could search for a hidden ounce of the future.

They were within the skies, flying through clouds of fire that guided them and over palisades of the mountains until the cleft of their valleys between them revealed the farmland city of Dougton. The city infrastructure manifested beautifully until the crimson blanket of the sunset, the air sweet with floral and fruit aromas of the day's harvest. The dusk like revealed it to be before the evening of the ominous summoning, through when was uncertain. When their bodies landed within the city, they were covered in fire and their flesh was transparent. People passed through the streets and sidewalks, ignoring the sudden landing and burning bodies. At this point in the future, they did not exist. Not there. Not in this possible outcome. The Matriarch opened her eyes and only waited for Namiko to absorb it.

“We stand in the most likely possibility of the future, guided by the great spirits to this location, this time, and with these people.” Matriarch took a moment to look around, yes look, for when looking through the vision of her Third Eye, she was not blind. There was something in this moment of time that they were meant to see, something they could intervene upon or utilize to reach the greater mystery.

“Keen your eyes, sister. There is something here we are supposed to find and use for our search. Is there something here that speaks out to you?”

To the ordinary eyes, everything appeared mundane and uneventful. Denizens hurried long the streets to turn in before the impeding darkness, bars opened, and authority swordsman stalked the pavement. The Matriarch strode forward upon the street, seeming to adamantly imbibe every details, the buildings, the people, the even debris on the roads. Perhaps Namiko would discover what it was they were meant to see. Perhaps what she saw within her mind’s eye, she would feel within her heart.

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The magic arched over the fire into Namiko, absorbing the magic through her eyes. Namiko’s astro form was taken from her body and sent through the flames with the Matriarch, falling through the flames on fire she would and with the matriarch into another world.

Looking around she would watch men and women clear the streets as the street lamps lit up, the bars and taverns would be opening for the crowds that stalked the night after ale. Watching as the darkness came sweeping in, a swordsman passing her by.

“Why are they in a hurry to desert the streets, must be something with the darkness.. “Moving past the Matriarch, she would look at the buildings around her. Feeling the ground beneath her feet, she would try to see what she was meant to.

Was it someone or something that came in through the darkness, was it something else? Turning around she would close her eyes, using her energy to feel out what she was missing.

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The Matriarch gauged Namiko’s question curiously. Though in this world, her visions rekindled its sense of color, her interpretation was blind through her lack of understanding and experience. She saw the energies that migrated through the body on a metaphysical level, allowing her to predict and understand intention, emotions, and concepts much more complex than what the eyes gathered though body language. Thus she engaged the crowd one more time with greater focus. A mother gripped her child’s hand and urged him forward with more insistence than one would expect and an expression of bewilderment from the child was returned for her urgency. The Matriarch looked around some more. The amount of swordsmen in this area was heavy, perhaps too heavy. From this alone, the Matriarch gathered that there appeared to be something at this time and place that caused an increase need of both escape and protection, but not panic. She considered this.

It must be a familiar danger. She thought to herself.  Something everyone acknowledges and can do nothing about but take precaution. Something familiar and routine, but unwelcomed...

 The concept reminded her of her slavery days within the orc camp. She had lived there for years upon years, but was always regarded with fear invoked hatred that devolved in abuse and violence. Something here accomplished the same, but had not yet devolved.

 Negative energy always left a cold trail of emotion and darkness within its ambiance. The center of such focus always bled with misery. This fell into that complexity of Third’s Eyes vision. This was something she could see. She could feel its terrible shiver rattling the bones in her spine like the horrid memories of her old days. Its cold hand reached out from the intangible void, laced her fingers in its palm and guided her into its misery.

And it led to the north of them, the direction Namiko had already began to trace. As the Matriarch followed in pursuit, she wondered if she too felt that chill of discomfort and fear thickening the air. Their travels led them to destruction. The once vibrant colors of the architecture died into scorched colors of grays and blacks. The pavement beneath their stride became infected with crepitation that eventually crumbled into nothing but ebony dirt. The flames around their bodies wavered as if blown upon by  the devil’s lips and consequently the vision began to blur and shift between white noise.

 The Matriarch starred into their new scenery, not expressing wonder upon her countenance but taking in a breath at the feelings suddenly within her. What they stood on was undoubtedly still Dougton, but it was a patch of the city robbed of all sense of life. As if a great explosion occurred, a bald spot of ash and destruction existed within the town. No one bothered to repair it. In fact people seemed to try their best to avoid it. The witches stood at the edge of this 15mile diameter of sheer travesty.  

After a moment, the Matriarch folded her knees and sat on her calves, looking into the dirt. She breathed deeply to harness the magic in the ground and the air. It was indeed dark. And potent. It’s cold ambiance was like a blizzard.  What she didn’t understand was why something so horrible existed so casually in this city.  What she didn’t understand also turned into a revelation. If she were a dark and demented group of elves seeking both rich grounds of dark magic and secrecy, the center of this town’s fear would be quite favorable.  Traveling into such an accursed land would not be pleasant, but under the insistence of her premonition, it was completely necessary.

 She barely had a moment to turn her attention back to Namiko before their flames doused and the vision ended.

The wind was combing briskly through her raven locks when she awoke. The was found herself no longer sitting next to the campfire. The world was once more completely dark and the exhaustion of her Third Eye made it darker still, but she could feel that she was riding upon a steed. During their vision, the orcs had packed the camp and set off with their bodies.  The Matriarch was within the arms of the Bodyguard, who rode on the back of an enormous hooved beast. Namiko was on her trusted steed, secured with a makeshift leather belt upon the back of Kana who held the reigns. Surrounding them were the other orcs and the orc hounds, all racing through was appeared to be somewhat dense forestry, rivulets of water, and wet rich mud. The wet fur of the orc steet and the droplets of moisture upon her face told the Matriarch they has traveled through water at some point.

 The Matriarch stirred and opened her misted eyes, the Bodyguard did not turn his away from the route. She spoke to him in orc softly, he responded deeply. She learned that the vision had lasted a total of 6 hours. She felt this in her body, for it was hungry and stiff. The vision itself was short, but the meditation, though it felt brief, was hypnotically and deceptively long. Time was easily lost with focus. The Blue Hills were long behind them, now they were in Coconino Creek.      

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The vision endorsed fear in Namiko, alongside the villagers of Doughton. The heavy forces of swordsman and other hired footmen didn’t go unnoticed, in fact it seemed intriguing to her. Why would Doughton need so much security? Turning towards the direction of the darkness, and taken by surprise of the explosion.

 

“What the?” Namiko felt overwhelmed by the sheer non-existence of the town, and how everyone avoided it like it held some sort of devastating disease. The magic that stained the air was much different from her own, it burned the nostrils as she breathed it in like oxygen. Pulling her arm to rest over her chest her hand balled into a fist, she was feeling the overwhelming feeling of loss.

 

Turning towards the Matriarch the vision faded into the background, darkness taking place of what she had previously been seeing. Waking up with tears dripping down her face, it took her moments before she realized she was tied to the back of Kana.

 

Lifting her head from a long sleep, she would reach up to wipe the tears from her cheeks. Riding her horse backwards gave her a new perspective on traveling by horseback, sucking in a deep breath she let it out with a quiver.

 

Words weren’t enough to describe what she felt in the vision she had witnessed with the Matriarch, or for how long they were engulfed by the magic that took them to the devastating scene.

 

Trying to find her words, she would lean back against Kana. “Please stop the horse, I need to get down..” She needed to walk for a moment, to feel alive again.

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Kana shifted her red eyes and canted her head towards her shoulder at Namiko. To the request, Kana shouted out in orc towards the others. They gave her a single glance before everyone pulled the travel to a halt in a clamor of grinding hooves and wild snorts . The gargantuan steeds shook her husk heads and panted with long black tongues from their muzzles with appreciation for the rest. The fasten to the belt was doubled so either Kana  or Namiko could free themselves at any point. When the witch released herself, the orc skillfully dropped from the steed to land and uncharacteristically use her strong hands to  grasp Namiko by the waist. Gripping her firmly, she helped her down. Once on the ground, Kana grunted low, hunched her shoulders, and walked away, giving the horse a praising pat on the rump as she did. She walked to her sister’s side, who rose a brow and gave her an incredulous look.

The Matriarch also let herself down, breathing soft and regaining her footing. She listened to the sounds in the air and the earth, finding her way to Namiko’s side by doing so. Reaching up a white hand up, she placed it on the witch’s shoulders.

“Let’s us go to the river and have a drink.”

It didn’t take much travel to find a ribbon of crystalline water in the forest, for the creek was spindled with water trails. The Matriarch knelt down by the rivulet they discovered and reached her hands into the creek, cupping the water and splashing her face. As the moist beads danced down her pearl skin and made it gleam,  she took another deep breath and addressed her partner with a voice both empathetic and concerned.

“How are you feeling?”

She turned her head towards her, misted blind eyes gazing into some unfocused direction but her attention honed sharply.

Edited by Fallen Joy

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Kana had stopped the caravan, helping Namiko down from her horse with one fluid motion. Standing for a moment, her knees a little weak from the time spent in a magic induced vision. Bending at her knees to exercise the cartilage, she would feel the Matriarch come up to her placing a hand on her shoulder. Turning her head to her, she would give a smile.
 

“I would love that.”

Walking beside her following the rivets of water to a bigger river, she would kneel down next to the crystal clear water. Letting out a sigh of a deep breath she didn’t realize she was holding in, reaching down into the water with both hands she closed her eyes. The water rushed over her fingers like the magic that coursed through her body, it was absolutely calming to her.

“Water, so clean so healing..” With her words trailing off, she would pull the water up with her hands and a little of her manipulation abilities. Letting the water dance over her arms, she would splash it into her face.

Letting the water drip down her nose and chin, she would feel herself revive with the sweet cool touch of the liquid.

“I feel weak from the vision, and a tad hungry..”

Looking down at her stomach that was growling, she would give a smile. “Honestly, I am fearful of whatever happened in the vision..” Looking off past the river they knelt by, she would feel the darkness she experienced in the vision. Shivering for a moment coming back to reality, she would lean over dip her long black hair into the water to wash it. Cleaning herself was a way of purifying the darkness and evil she had felt away.

Edited by Eternity

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"Honestly, I am fearful of whatever  happened in the vision."

“It is a darkness most disturbing,” the Matriarch responded. The white witch's focus remained distant, seeming to peer at her reflection rippling in the water despite she saw nothing but black. “Even more-so that that desolate vision exists before the summoning we seek to prevent. What occurred there has left a scar deep upon the denizens of that city. But it is likely there that we will find the elves. The darkness there could easily be siphoned into a powerful ritual.”

She paused to think as Namiko lavished her locks. Then...as Namiko manipulated the flow of the river with the graceful cadence of her hands, something drew The Matriarch's attention. She canted her head, drawn by the gravity of what she felt in her chest, and watched the woman beside her. The crystalline droplets shimmered like diamonds in the sun as they kissed and worshiped Namiko’ body. The water escaped her tresses and highlighted the curves of her shoulders and alluring bends of her breasts and spine—but her aesthetic figure was for the outside world to appreciate. The Matriarch saw something else. Her sister's magic possessed a profound purity to it; it flowed around in rivulets of shining luminance capable of birthing light even the shadows of her fatigued sight. The mundane nature of the river transformed into beautiful rills of chastity under her touch, as if the grail of gods had melted upon her fingertips.

Feeling oddly restored by her presence, The Matriarch's Third Eye opened and astoundingly saw the threads of possibility of the witch’s future. Feeling obligated by the opportunity, she reached out and grasped the strongest one. Suddenly her eyes illuminated in a flicker of lightning within the mist and an unseen vision filled her mind.     

The Matriarch’s heart fluttered and she exhaled a deep breath. Suddenly she understood.

This unique splendor was the reason the spirits led her to this witch. Perhaps with all the iniquity manifesting in the future, it was Namiko’s purifying magic that was destined to cleanse it. A certain adoration shone within her misted orbs along with a newfound confidence of their success. She saw the underlining light glimmering within her sister’s soul, and knew it possessed an unrivaled strength that perhaps even Namiko was unaware of.

As if instinctively, The Matriarch reached and touched Namiko’s hand with a loving smile transpiring upon her face.

“I know this is a lot, but you’re meant to face this. There is something about you, sister. Something that the great spirits saw and something I am beginning to discover myself.” She stood, pulling Namiko to a stand with her. “Your magic will ultimately guide us to succeed in this mission. The more my Third Eye reveals, the more I realize that this is not about me, but about you. Something about your destiny is meant to unravel here.”

The Matriarch did not explain herself further. As a sheer she was naturally cryptic, and revealing someone’s future could alter it completely. This was a future the Matriarch wanted to preserve. She suddenly pulled Namiko into an embrace.

“This is something you will discover for yourself,” she whispered towards her ear. “When it is meant to be.”

She pulled away. “Come, let us continue on our journey.”

~ ~ ~

Meanwhile back at the orcs, Kana was busy plucking and collecting berries from a nearby bush. Her twin sister approached from her behind with scowl and bewildered look.

What are you doing?” She said to her in her their orc tongue.

The witches are probably hungry and want some berries. These aren’t poisonous.”

“Since when do you pre-emptively help witches without an order? You hate helping witches. You’re being damn strange.” Tana aggressively lowered the flat edge of her spear to knock her sister on the head, but the rod was caught by Kana’s whipping hand. The she-orc stood and threw her sister back along with the weapon.

Leave me alone.” Kana placed the berries in a pouch and walked passed her sister, knocking her in the shoulder as she did. Tana grunted, undeterred.

If you keep acting weak, I’ll sever your head and take control of the—”Tana was forced to shut up when Kana quickly pivoted and shot an arrow. Tana narrowly brought her spear up in time to block it. She growled fiercely, but was only met by an even more menacing one from Kana.

“I’ll say it one more time Tana before I send one through your eye. Piss the hell off.” The two glared at each other for a long moment before Tana snorted and walked away. Kana released an vexed sigh and walked over to Namiko’s horse, placing the berries along with some dried smoked rabbit meat on the saddle.

Her annoyance sprouted from the fact that Tana wasn't wrong. The truth was that ever since Namiko cleansed her of the elves’ poisoning magic, she did feel off. She didn’t know why. The Bodyguard, who silently watched the transaction, narrowed his eyes.

Edited by Fallen Joy

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Turning her eyes to the Matriarch. “We need to stop whatever calamity that could stem from the siphoning of that darkness.” Something inside of Namiko pulled her towards the darkness, an urge to pull the light to the darkness, to purify it.

The water she manipulated over her body dripped from her skin, as she brought her hands to rest on her knees. Looking down into the water, she would look at her reflection. Her eyes looked tired, but she could see the worry she felt from the vision that they had witnessed together.

Bringing her eyes to the Matriarch who had just exhaled a held breath, she would give a soft smile. She could feel the tinge of magic in the air, almost taste it upon her tongue. Looking down to the sudden touch of the Matriarchs hand upon her own, she would look up and meet her smile. Her words would bring some insight to what the spirits saw in her, and why they brought her to the attentions of her new found sister.

Standing with the Matriarch, unsure of what to say of what was being told to her. Feeling the pull of her sister, she fell into her embrace. Wrapping her arms around her, she would return it with the same warmth. Leaving her embrace, she would start to think over what she heard. Was she really meant to purify the darkness? Was she the one key person to take on those who wished to bring destruction to the land around them? 

Pulled back to reality, she would nod following the Matriarch back towards the Orcs. There was definitely one hell of a mission ahead of her, a journey that will prove to reveal more of what the future has in store for her.

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As the witches returned to the orcs, tension in the air seemed to be on the rise. The twins had distanced themselves from each other, aggression rolling off their shoulders in unpleasant waves, and the Bodyguard stared intensely at the Matriarch, laden with thoughts he desired to express. Though the Matriarch felt the tightening coils in the ambience, but she continued as if it wasn’t present. They had more pressing matters than internal tribulations amongst their barbaric soldiers.

Before continuing, the witches would take the time to alleviate their famished bodies. The Matriarch partook in the rough jerk meat she grew up on in her youth whilst Namiko found her saddle adorned with a spread of freshly picked berries pregnant with succulent sweetness. The orc had also placed along with dried, smoked meat packed for their journey with it. Afterwards they continued their tread through the marsh forestry and moist landscape of Coconino Creek. Though it was beautiful and alluring to the white witch, for nature’s energy was the most welcoming to her craft, she knew it was only passing moment in their journey. She was grateful that it went undisturbed.

Soon the damp earth was abandoned by its threading rivers and lost the richness to the sunlight above. The steeds were relieved by the gain of footing but sulked in the accompanying heat. Still the orcs worked the traveling beasts relentlessly. The Matriarch’s urgency expressed through the constant strikes to their flanks and they demonstrated impressive endurance in return. Though the husk beasts sweated and panted profusely, their legs continued forward stubbornly. The witch couldn’t afford to rest them long when they did, for time was even more pressing than their possible exhaustion. They had to get to Doughton before the rising sun the following morning if they were to catch the new moon.

dirt-road-wallpaper-1.jpgThe hours eventually tucked the sun under the golden covers of the horizon and stars snuck out to twinkle and play in the heavens. The troupe was trotting on a dirt cascaded road with bends of grassy landscape surrounding them. By the appearance, it was a passage commonly traveled by merchants and wanderers leaving the creek. The city was still several hours away, but they were getting close.

The orcs drew the steeds to a slower trot, giving them a breather within the soft breeze and calming dusk. The Matriarch opened her misted eyes and turned her face to the skies. For the majority of the journey, she was silent, meditating and searching for more premonitions and clues to their future. Unfortunately everything still seemed incredibly obscure and fickle. The only clarity was Namiko being a monumental factor in its guidance. She also thought about the elves they would eventually face--searching her memories for any knowledge of them. She was enslaved within the confines of a volcanic mountain for many years and wished Luna, with her prolonged years of acquired knowledge,  was with them. Her calls to their coven leader had also gone unanswered. Luna must have been very far away.  She hoped that was the case.

“Where do you  come from, Sister?” She suddenly asked, bringing her face back on the road. “I feel so close to you, yet we haven’t really the moment to get to know one another. If we are to fight tooth and tail together, we should learn more about each other.” She smiled softly. “Don’t you think? Tell me about yourself.”

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After returning to the orcs, she could feel the odd tension between the sister orcs. Paying it little mind, she would indulge herself with the berries and the dried meat provided to her. Satisfying the hunger that took over her body, she would put the rest of what she had left in her saddle bags.

The ride was quiet with exception to the horse and the others breathing, and grunting through the heat of the sun. Although she could manipulate the moisture around her to stay cooler, magic always came with a price. Adjusting her fan that rested on her back, she would soon have her attention brought from herself to the Matriarch.

“I come from a village that is located near the coast..” Her mind would fall back to the last image of it from when she left years before. The village was simple, every home was made of wood and sliding doors, built upon stilts to anticipate flooding from the coast. Water was worshipped where she was from, it was the goddess that kept them safe during the storms that would come and go in season.

“I agree, we should learn about one another..” Bringing her hands to rest lightly on her thighs, she would look ahead towards the Matriarch.  Tell her sister about herself? What does one share with someone she just met? “I have been alone for so long, I’ve forgotten what it was like to work with another like myself..”

“With prior circumstances, I decided it was better that I live alone..” Looking down at her hands, flexing her fingers. Her past was hard to describe, especially with someone so new in her life.

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Her story was short but telling. For the Matriarch it was not the words themselves but from the delivery, tones, and manners of speech. Most importantly to her blind eyes,  it was the aura radiating from the witch.

“You hold a sense of tragic nostalgia about your past,” the Matriarch gently said without looking at her sister. “Your aura softens like winter at the memory, nestling both the beauty and travesty of a cold reminence.”

The white witch saw the metaphysical threads that wove one’s existence, both their the past, present, and future. This was how she possessed premonitions. She often attempted to use this to decipher thoughts and emotions as well.

“To believe it better to live alone suggests either the fear of being with others or alternatively you praise solitude as your paradise.”

The Matriarch closed her eyes to think for a moment. “But I don’t believe it to be the later. I sense kinship suits you more.” She suddenly hunched her shoulders apologetically. “Alas...that is presumptive. I’m afraid I am better at predicting the future than the feelings of others. You see...emotions and thoughts reflect as colors to me in the ambiance around you, but they dance and swirl with such complexity that it can be impossible to isolate a single one. So I guess. It is, how you say...a facial expression for me? They can be difficult to decipher.”

She smiled and opened her eyes. “But for the majority of my years, I saw nothing but darkness and possibilities of my own fate that never came to be. Dead hope.  I was surrounded by the dull minds of these orcs, and felt nothing but their brutal society for decades. Becoming one with the coven allowed me to see true color for the first time.”

She realized she had drifted into a tangent about herself and scrunched her face a second time in frustration.

“Ah, I uh…I am also used to conversing with only myself. Please, tell me more about your village. Your cottage was indeed far from the oceans. What caused you to leave?”

As she awaited the answer, the Bodyguard suddenly lowly grunted to the Matriarch, informing her of the landscape ahead. Before the caravan existed a gorge in the land that descended into a deep black valley connected by strip of rocky land. The dim setting of the growing night made it hard to see the land below—even more so, the sky above had begun to shield the stars with deep clouds of grays and blacks. The air moistened and the brisk wind seemed pregnant with impending rain. The orcs pulled their steeds into a linear fashion as the gorge grew closer; the strip only wide enough to comfortably carry them in sequential order.     

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Looking towards the Matriarch, she would smile. Her emotion lightening with the mention of comradery being more suited for her. Shrugging her shoulders. “I suppose being with others like myself is much better. Staying alone was a choice I made a long time ago.”

Watching the Orcs pull their steeds into a line, she would look around to the new changing surroundings.

“I left my home after I lost my mother.” Looking down to her hands, she would pull them apart as they were folded in one another. Pulling in a deep breath, she would reflect on the thought of her mother.

Although it had been years since she last been to her home village by the water, she still prayed and paid tribute to the woman who taught her all she knew about the gift she carried.

Feeling the moisture building in the air, she would look up to the clouds above. It was beginning to get dark and soon it would be pouring. Turning her eyes to the Matriarch once more “It’s about to rain, feels like a real heavy storm is coming, might last most of the night.” She could almost touch the moisture in the air, in fact she could manipulate it if she truly felt like it.

“Shelter in the gorge may be enough..”

Feeling herself change the topic, she would give another thought “I like hearing about yourself..  I have spent most of my time alone with animals..”

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“I left my home after I lost my mother.”

The Matriarch offered a sympathetic  smile.

“I am sorry the Great Mother called her so soon. I did not know her, but if she birthed you, she was a woman to be cherished.”

Namiko mentioned of the weather, so the blind Matriarch closed her eyes and focused on the air. The blade resting between her shoulders tingled with delight and energies gathered within the dark clouds above. The sky was tense in anticipation of kissing the earth and making the skies blush with light. 

“Indeed my sister. Not only a storm, but one of thunder.”

“Shelter in the gorge may be enough...”

To this, the Matriarch opened her eyes with a frown upon her porcelain face. She understood the danger of storms in the darkness and did not wish to discomfort her sister in such harsh conditions. But so much time had already been wasted on her capture. The rise of the new moon would not wait for weather conditions.

The condensing black veil above was perhaps an ominous sign of the foreboding event on the rise. It made her want to rush even more.

"I like hearing about yourself..  I have spent most of my time alone with animals..”

A sudden flush a pink appeared upon her face. She hunched her shoulders with slight embarrassment, nearly forgetting her previous dilemma.

“My story was nothing but tragic before I met Luna and my other sisters.” Her mind warmed at the thought and she smiled further. “The sisterhood freed me from years of solitude and slavery. Luna taught me culture and made me realized my magic was a gift and not an object to be abused and shamed for.”

Though blind, her misty orbs illuminated with loving emotion.

“I do hope that…after this is over. I can introduce you to the coven.”

The orcs approached the beginning of the land bridge connecting the gorge of darkness. Kana took her steed to the edge, looking down into the darkness.

The gorge is too deep for us to climb down to the bottom,” she-orc said in her orc tongue to catch the Matriarch’s attention. Kana’s carmine eyes focused, apparently capable of piercing through the darkness. “There is a river below and caverns on the side. We’d have to leave the steeds, but the caverns can  easily by reached by rope.”

Matriarch listened, mildly stunned at Kana’s sudden eagerness to assist the situation. The orcs typically kept to themselves unless directly addressed with words or a deadly situation. The Matriarch sighed slow.

“It’s important for us to reach Dougton by the sunrise. Tomorrow night is the new moon, the night that my premonition comes to pass. Forgive me, sister. We cannot rest. We must be in Dougton by sunrise.”

With that the Bodyguard urged the Matriarch’s steed forward and they began to cross the gorge. Kana paused with a frown but followed after. Namiko was to follow third and Tana at the rear.

As if on cue, it started to rain.

The first droplet touched the Matriarch’s skin, cold and wet. She glanced up  into the dark and cloud began to sob wildly. Matriarch’s hair darkened and her snowy skin shimmered with droplets.  She was immediately uncomfortable. Not at the cold chill or wetness, but the suddenness.

Something felt wrong.

In the middle of the land bridge, the beastly steeds started to grunt with discomfort. The night seemed darker and the wind swirled with shrills. The entire calmness of the world disappeared.

Lightning flashed across the skies, banishing the night. And in that second, five hooded figures transpired before them. They lined up where the bridge touched the other end of the gorge. The Matriarch’s steed immediately halted, thrashing its head anxiously. . The witch h couldn’t see, but she felt them immediately. Their presence reached across the air and molested her body with a grotesque familiar chill. The feeling was just like that accursed hill in Dougton.

Immediately she  grasped her blade, pointing it forward with a threatening stab and dripping rainwater. The mist in her blind orbs brightened with energy.

“Who are you?” She demanded.

The hooded figures remained silent. The Matriarch narrowed her eyes with a rising temper.

“Speak or get out of our way!”

You have something of ours.”

The voice was dark and booming. Though it should have been drowned in the rain and thunder, it was instead as clear and creepy as lips whispering it into the ear. The Matriarch did not deter.

“We have nothing.”

One of the rouged figured lifted a hand. Suddenly the pack on the side of Namiko’s horse immediately shot forward, attempting to dislodge itself from the satchel and into the caller’s hands. Hopefully it was grabbed before then. The Matriarch snarled under her teeth.

“Who are you?!”

You’ll be too dead to care in a moment.

The rouges revealed their hands from their sleeves and all their fingers glowed with an intense purple.  In a single swift motion, they touched the earth. A fissure ran from the contact like a horrid snake and slithered rapidly to the bridge before spreading its venom throughout the foundation. The land rumbled ominously and the Matriarch’s eyes widen.

The were taking down the bridge with them on it.

“Turn, turn!”

Immediately the Bodyguard yanked the reigns of the steed, shouting orc commands and urging it to its hing-legs. The steed rotated and landed on other end. However, she could only go as fast as the others to reverse to the other side.   

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