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The Beautiful and Damned

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Not that the hearings and on goings of this day were unique compared to the others of late. While the civil unrest was far from over, each day brought with it more of those in opposition of the ridiculous Safeguard Act. More and more casters of varying backgrounds came to their senses, yet only at the cost of sowing more worries and doubts into the minds of the sheep that begged for the Act. The concept was simple, and sounded innocent enough in its intent. However, there was clearly ample room to bend the policies entailed there in, and abuse the act as a way means of abusing the people they claimed it would protect. While this man in particular never even considered such an empty promise of safety, he also wasn't one that needed it. He immersed himself into the Arts as any other should feel inclined to do in a world full of magical prowess, even more so, he dabbled into the likes of which few dared, and even fewer had ever managed to Master. The Dark Arts.

These studies were a part of his reason for being here today, at this very moment, no matter how indirectly. More direct, a practitioner in kind in which he shared an intimacy even deeper with. A young promising Witch, capable and wise beyond her mortal years. She was a tiny shred of light pierced his darkness, forcing a genesis within his very soul while in his still very impressionable youth. While she was the younger one between them, she in his eyes carried more worth in life than life itself. It was for this simple reasoning of admiration and profound sense of agapē that he had to fight his usual behavioral tendencies and brave the masses all his own. It wasn't a normal occurrence to not hear from nor see her for an entire day, at least not without prior warning of said absence. He wasn't sure what she had been up to, though the whispers upon the wind of an unregistered witch that dared to trifle with the ilk of Black Magics. Rumor had it that the witch had been detained by registered magic folk and non-magic folk alike. As opposed to the law taking it's course however, the citizens had deigned themselves just as fit if not more so to defend their livelihoods. Rumor had it that they were to burn the witch at the stake at noon!

They burned a witch in Bingham Square 

Last Friday afternoon.

The faggot-smoke was blacker than

The shadows of the Moon;

The licking flames were strangely green

Like fox-fire on the fen . . .

And she who cursed the godly folk

Will never curse again.

The closer he got towards the the heart of town, the more gossip he heard upon the streets surrounding the incident. The witch in mind had allegedly been caught stealing. Others argued that she had actually cursed an unsavory vendor in the Gypsy Market that had ties to a predominate family in the market's controlling interest. Then of course he had heard of a small string of deaths the night prior that they were easily pointing fingers at this not so widely known witch. While none of these facts stood out to him as identifying factors surrounding the one he sought, none of them outright debunked her presence in these unsavory situations. Without them at least giving him some more details to go off of such as appearance or actual eye witnesses to the culprits mannerisms, he could assume either way. Though it became clear by the time he reached the opposing side of the market from whence he entered that today's festivities were ironically taking place in a part of ton meant for celebrations and joyous occasions. The Pavilion.

@Akako Akari

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They burned a Witch in Bingham Square

Before the village gate.

A huswife raised a skinny hand

To damn her, with tense hate.

A huckster threw a jagged stone -

Her pallid cheek ran red . . .

But there was something scornful in

The way she held her head.

As he drew nearer, so did noon. The crowds grew thicker ever more the closer he became to the Pavilion. Already he could see the pillar they claimed as their stake, though the base of it evaded him a moment longer. With the fluidity of a serpent he weaved through the ecstatic crowds. Despite whom he thought was one the other side of this tremendous energy, he reveled in it. These were the negative emotions their Gods fed upon. Hate, Anger, Rage, Vengeance. JusticeCloser to front and center, the people threw rotten fruits and vegetable at the Witch, donated by the townsfolk for just such an occasion. Children cast stones upon the Witch. One boy hit her about her collar bone, another smacking her across the opposing cheek, splitting it regrettably. 

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With a wicked gaze he focused upon the boy that specifically struck her face first. Blessed they were by his accursed Evil Eye. It would be but a brief moment later that a rock struck that very boy in the back of his head, in which he easily blamed the boy just behind him whom had struck the witch in the collar bone. The two began to fight with one another. Despite the joy he would feel in watching the mistaken and unfortunate boy's reception of his influence, he remained with his purpose of being here to begin with. He already knew what the outcome would be regardless. Finally, he had made it close enough to see her for himself. His blue hazel eyes settled over the young woman's form. Pitiful it was to see how such a fragile girl could ever cause such a fuss among such proud and strong citizens. 'If licensed magic isn't great enough to defend one's self with, what good is it?'

They burned a witch in Bingham Square; 

Her eyes were Terror-wild.

She was a slight, a comely maid, 

No taller than a child.

They bound he fast against the stake

And laughed to see her fear . . .

Her red lips muttered secret words

That no one dared to hear.

"Burn the Witch!"

"Burn the Witch!"

"Burn the Witch!!!"

They cried in chanting anticipation. He himself was filled with hate, with rage and with vengeance. However, he turned his back on their intoxicating verbal delivery of the negativity. Their shouts and cries muffled into white noise as he simply stood there in the crowd. Awkwardly calm and recluse, glaring at the Witch unblinking as he muttered words nearly muted by the exclaims around him. Whether or not he could afford her gaze, or deliver his directly as reassurance, she would surely feel his familiar ilk amidst the vast sea of alien energies around her. Their brand was a sort of exclusive one, one that these lands, that these people had yet to truly see for the miracle it was.

With a stoked base, lubricated in fuel for the flame to come. The leader of this angry mob lit the end of a torch and hoisted it high above his head. The crowds threw their fists, torches, and tools of trade respectively in full support of the tragedy being perpetuated here today. Turning to the young witch, he stalked towards her torch in hand. The stranger remained in the crowd, still starring unblinkingly as he muttered tongue of the occult. A gifted Warlock himself, the stranger found his highest proficiency right in line with conjuration. Sleight of hand only confused the eyes, this application of his gift would be more like a sleight of mind.

They burned a witch in Bingham Square -

But ere she swooned with pain

And ere her bones were sodden ash

Beneath the sudden rain, 

She set her mark upon that throng . . .

For time cannot erase

The echoes of her anguished cries,

The memory of her face.

The moment the torch was lowered to the stoked wood, the flames easily spilled all around the stake, rushing the witch directly with flames of her contempt. As sure as the people could see her burning, smell her burning skin and hair, and hear the furious popping of the flames as a cadence to the crescendo of her wailing cries; They had all been fooled. They cheered, hooting and hollering in triumph only for their eyes to reveal the sad and mysterious truth that had befallen the stage before them.  The torch lay on the ground abandoned, likewise, the witch was gone! In her place was the man that dared to follow through with setting her aflame, in which he had become victim to his own misplaced malice. His cries of pain and slow death were the ones his people heard and cheered for. By the time they realized what had happened, the strange man in from the crowd moments ago would have also already vanished.

"I'm sorry, I should've never let you go alone in the first place. Are you okay? Did they hurt you?"

He questioned the young witch as he knelt on the ground in the ally half cradling her on the ground as he ran a moist thumb over her cut cheek. His fingers flawlessly scooped her hair out of her face and carefully tucked the excess strands beyond her ear. Getting a good look at her now that she was certainly free, he could begin to trust his natural senses in observing her. Surely they had minutely damaged her delicate frame, though her pride had hardly been tarnished. He just hoped that all of this wasn't for not. So long as she found their stolen grimoire, it was well worth the risk. If not, then he was just that much more the fool for letting her try to retrieve it on her own. 

@Akako Akari

 

Edited by Twitterpated
Poetry by: Mary Elizabeth Counselman

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