My writing buddy Craig over at Entertaining Stories and I decided to write a story together. He took one part and I the other, then we switched and made sure the story fit together. It did, and I have to say it’s pretty awesome. Each story stands alone, but it’s so much better if you read them both. I would prefer you read Craig’s side first Macabre Macaroni, The Hunter then come back and read mine.
The Lady of Porthcawl
I tire of the Old Crusader’s antics, the game of cat and mouse he continues to play. He’ll make a move today or tomorrow, he may have forgotten but I haven’t. I’ve watched as he prepared, I’ve seduced information from those who’ve assisted him.
Glancing into the sky, the sun is closer to the western horizon. I’ve taken his elder into my bed, planting my wishes in his head as I fulfill his desires. He gives me any capricious wants with a flutter of my eye, or a pout of my lips. Poor Old Crusader, the fool can’t understand why they betrayed him. The giggles shake within my bodice.
Bending down I whisper an enchantment to the blooming bush. “You and I are the same,” I coo, “both the most powerful women in Porthcawl.” La Belladonna nods, giving her permission. “He killed Nell, and the babe in her womb.” I whisper taking a thin stem into my hands, “it’s the eve of her death make him pay for his transgressions to the Braddock’s.” The bush shivers, three leaves shimmer in the sunlight, I pluck them from the stem. One leaf is enough to kill a grown man. Three will not only kill the Crusader, they’ll suck the life from him.
“Did you rest well my beautiful, Bleiddian?” His large paws crush the fallen twigs. The massive wolf tips his head to the right. “Yes, we end the Crusader tonight.” His silver eyes sparkle within the darkness of his black fur. I pull my skirts up and tuck the leaves into my garter. Straightening my skirts, I turn my back on the Beast of Porthcawl.
Holding my hands out towards La Bella, I feel the residue from her leaves lift from my hands. I bow, and offer a few words of gratitude. Bleiddian closes the space between us, pressing his large head into my side. Scratching between his ears, I pull him with me as I sit on the bare patch of dirt. He lays his head in my lap. “You’ve been a good boy, striking terror in their hearts. Devouring the ones that refuse to call me Lady of Porthcawl.” He growls, as I laugh. “They fear you, and they disrespect me. Poor fools.”
Sliding my hand over his strong shoulders, I separate clumps of his black fur tipped in silver. My familiar is as beautiful as the full moon on the blackest of nights. It’s only reasonable for the strongest witch to have such a beautiful animal as her assistant.
Bleiddian raises his head from my lap, and looks to the east. “Let us go, there’s much to prepare before tonight. I place my left hand at the back of the large wolf’s head as we walk home in silence. Listening to the trees and air, energy tingles near the lines. Bleiddian stops walking and cocks his head in that direction. “Come, beautiful. I’ll explain at home.”
Our small home rests nestled among the trees. Bleiddian runs from my side, he lopes around the wooden cottage and stops at the door. I reach over the wolf and twist the knob, opening the door. Bleiddian bursts into the kitchen and lies down near the hearth. Pulling up my skirt, I remove the three leaves tucked into my garter. My tools wait in a tidy line taking the mortar and pestle I begin to grind the leaves. “He’s set a trap for me.” I say as I pulverize the leaves. Bleiddian looks up; a growl pulls his lips back exposing his fangs. “At the lines. Yes, where the three elements meet.”
Without looking, I know the black wolf has tipped his head to the right, questioning me. “Old Crusader paid a youngun to do his manly work. Poor male child, digging a hole at the center of the lines. He has a wooden cross there.” I pull the dagger from the garter on my right thigh. “He plans to burn me at the stake, creating the four elements.” Bleiddian moans. I turn in time to see him cover his eyes with his massive paws.
“We still have a trick or two. Are you prepared for this?” I ask knowing he’s always ready for tricks. He sits up alert, waiting for my orders. “Bring me some death roots.” Bleiddian drops to the floor and whines. “What do you suggest?” I ask placing my hands on my hips. He springs to the far cupboard places his paws on the counter and points to the top shelve with his nose.
The Crusader would never expect it. “But first,” I say pulling his attention from the corked bottle. I take a small wooden box down from the second shelf. “We’ll leave Porthcawl without leaders. You and I will be Lord and Lady,” placing my hand on his head, I start laughing.
I light a black candle and chant. Taking a scrape of cloth with dried blood, I touch its tip to the flame, “As this blood burns to ash so you shall turn to ash. As I will it shall be.” I remove the piece of cloth I’ve kept from the Magistrate and burn it, another from the Elder, the Abbot, other members of the brotherhood, the blacksmith. I continue cursing until the box is empty.
Removing a tiny vial from a drawer I fill it with the crushed Belladonna leaves, I tuck it into the garter on my left thigh. Bleiddian watches, as I replaced the poisoned dagger to its place at my right thigh. Raising my skirts, I stretch my left leg towards the large wolf. “Mix this into the water pitcher, after one sip the Crusader won’t see the sunrise.” I twist my right thigh just enough for Bleiddian to see the dagger, “In case of an emergency. Aim for the heart.”
I know he understands, reaching for the corked bottle I spill some of the contents on him making him growl. I rub the ointment into the fur on his head and down his spine. Pouring some on my palm I mix it into my hair, rub the excess down my neck and over my cleavage. I pour more into my hand and pat it down my skirts. “Witch and familiar. Familiar and witch. One or the other. Which is which.” I begin to chant.
The air around us heats and cools. Wind blows tiny twisters around us. My voice gets deeper as Bleiddian enters my body. Go, I’ll finish the Crusader, I speak into Bleiddian’s mind.