14 ※ Witch

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Chapter 14 Witch

Elle had to admit that when the team arrived at the woman's well-hidden home, they were not expecting to see Kath dangling from her ankles in a nearby tree, cocooned in shrubs and branches. 

She was swathed like a new-born and seemed to be sleeping peacefully, even in her capsized state.

Jax glared at the woman, 'Let her down!' He cried as Kath swung morbidly behind him.

She tittered again, pursing her lips. The green skirts rustling to a halt as she planted her feet and shot him a withering look. Elle expected some sort of remark to fall from the woman's mouth, but instead of her crackling voice filling the air it was a shrill whistle. The team had to clap their hands over ringing ears, but Elle didn't screw her eyes shut. She was watching with barely-concealed horrified awe as the vines started to unfurl around Kath, lowering her gently to the ground.

The woman was concentrating as she whistled a higher note, dark hair blowing in the wind. Her eyes, once a hazel had blackened and they were glinting throughout her luring song. The branches bent to her will, unfurling releasing their hold on Kath. They left her lying comatose still on the ground when the ear-splitting tune had ended, and the branches had slithered surreptitiously away. The woods were eerily silent.

It was only until the team had rushed towards her, abandoning the beasts and checking for any injuries that Tristan spoke up. 'What is your name?'

He turned to the woman.

She smiled again, and Elle was almost impressed he didn't recoil. 'You wouldn't be able to pronounce it, boy. It is not from these lands.'

'What lands other than Saryn exist?'

'A great many.'

The woman smiled, though her eyes were so sad. Elle couldn't help but wonder what the mysterious person had seen in her life, what horrors had she witnessed? Horrors so scarring she had retreated to Saryn – their corrupt world for peace of mind.

'Is that how you learned that sorcery?' Jax crossed his arms. He didn't trust her.

The woman threw her head back and cackled while the group stood, exchanging apprehensive looks to one another. Tristan rested a hand on the pommel of his sword. Maybe the woman really was a mad witch.

'Sorcery?' She spat. 'You know little of witching, you starry-eyed fool. Fools! The lot of you.' She crept closer to the group, who had huddled in front of Kath, 'This kind of magic is sacred.' She spat at the agents distastefully.

'So there's a price?' Leo asked, speaking as if one could coax a grenade out of exploding. 'Is there a price? Is there a price?' She stalked closer.

'There is always a price. Magic is merely a fanciful thought in your kingdom, it is an unnatural occurrence in Myndor, but in these other realms and other lands it is as leant-on as the air in which you breathe or the cruel cycle of power your world seems to depend on so much.' Elle unsheathed Ravaryn.

The woman halted. 'I paid my price years ago.'

Her eyes snagged on something flashing in the light, clutched into Elle's hand Just as if all her energy had been expelled from her rant, the woman seemed to crumple into herself until she stood hunched over. Nobody from 33 helped her.

Elle's eyes narrowed into tiny slits as she beheld her. How could a woman in that state still manage to look breath-taking? Was she jealous of the way that the boys were attempting to conceal their attraction towards the elf-like girl? Leo had recoiled...but even with ghastly teeth, she was managing to captivate the males of the team. Elle didn't want love; it was only a distraction in her line of work, but she was in slight denial about wanting to be feminine.

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