Chapter 18: The witch's tower

Chapter 18: The witch's tower

A Chapter by Gosia

The night after May had discovered Aedain’s plan to declare war upon the whole human kind in the Callesmere Empire, sleep refused to grace her. Aedain’s resolve was unsettling, to say at least. Her captor was a ruthless, cruel demon; a couple of days before she saw the sample of his fearsome abilities when he literally ripped another group of demons apart with his bare hands. May was sure, that he could defeat a whole small human army without breaking a sweat. If Aedain was so fearsome and dangerous now, what a monster he’d become once he got his hands on the Dragonslayer’s Spear, he was searching for? If its power was as great as May suspected, Aedain would be able to turn the entire cities into dust with one swing of the weapon.

To think, that countless men, women and children would have to die because of the thirst for revenge for some war that happened almost a millennium ago. Most of the human inhabitants of the Callesmere Empire surely had forgotten it already. Whatever were wrongdoings of their ancestors, how could the innocent be blamed for that?

May rolled onto her back and stared at the night sky above; tonight it looked grim. The light of stars was dim, partially covered by clouds. The moon shone lonely on the sky, abandoned by his smaller and brighter companion. The two moons had danced around each other several nights, but the bluish one was gone already.

The night was long, just like the daytime here, in the world of the Callesmere. After about two weeks since her mysterious arrival, May had noticed that it was something weird with the time. The days seemed to be much longer than back at home. Without a watch it was hard to tell precisely, but the girl was sure that days in the Callesmere were five or six hours longer than a twenty-four hour Earth day. It meant time a month spent here must have been even longer back at home.

                 The girl felt a stab of fear and sadness when she realized that her family would be soon back back in Baltimore. What would be their reaction when they met Lady Maewyn instead of May? The girl sighed heavily as her heart sank. She missed all three of them so much that it hurt…

May groaned, feeling that some root was poking her back, making the sleeping impossible, even if her thoughts would let her to close the eyes tonight. She pulled rolled onto her other side, focusing on counting sheep.

A loud noise woke May from the brief nap. The girl immediately sat up, still half-asleep and feeling confused. It was still dark, everyone in the camp, except Aedain and Baltar, was soundly asleep. The two demons were in a middle of what looked like a war council. The two of them were sitting in front of each other with serious looks on their faces.

“We have been wandering around like fools for days. You need to ask her. There is no one else…” Baltar was convincing Aedain, but his short-tempered superior interrupted him almost instantly, slamming his fist against the ground.

“Fool!” the long-haired demon hissed out. “She will tell me nothing!”

“But…” Baltar wrinkled his forehead, set on convincing Aedain. “If someone knows this blasted place, it’s her! You won’t figure it out on your own!”

“Damn you, Baltar,” Aedain muttered, closing his eyes and folding his arms.

May thought that he looked like a spoiled child who didn’t want to listen to the voice of reason. Actually the conversation between both men got the girl interested.

“Who were you talking about?” she asked, addressing the question at no one in particular.

Aedain grunted, refusing to even grace her with his glare, but Baltar seemed all too eager to satisfy her curiosity.

“Just about the witch…” Baltar said.

“Baltar!” Aedain’s eyes snapped open as he sent his underling a warning look; a look which Baltar completely ignored.

“… who probably knows where Uaimth Dorchadais is…” the bald demon continued as though he didn’t hear Aedain’s protest.

“Shut up!” Aedain yelled, clenching his fist and glaring at his overly talkative companion.

“What’s Uaimth Dorchadais?” May asked, hoping she pronounced the Laismaran words properly.

“The place where the Dragonslayer’s Spear is hidden,” Baltar replied in spite of Aedain’s warning look.

“Oh.” May blinked. “And what’s the problem?”

“The witch doesn’t quite like Aedain,” Baltar explained, completely ignoring that his superior was glaring at him with murderous intent. “Can’t blame her actually. He’s got quite a temper, doesn’t he?”

                Aedain huffed and stood up, slightly trembling with fury.

                “I swear, Baltar, I will kill you one of these days,” he said, trying to sound calm.

                May sighed. Knowing Aedain, he must have terrorized that witch in some way. His problems were none of her concerns, but still, she had already a plan forming in her head. She needed him to be away for some time; it could be her only chance to run away from him. With only Baltar around she could actually stand a chance to escape.

“I’m sure that this witch would tell you where your Spear is, if she was asked nicely,” she said sarcastically, looking at Aedain. The words “nice” and “Aedain” sounded unnaturally in one sentence.

“Hn,” the demon snorted.

He turned around, but he seemed to have changed his mind and looked back at both his comrade Baltar and May. They froze, as if expecting something terrible.

“Woman,” he addressed May after a moment. “Are you certain, that you could persuade the witch?” he asked.

The girl gasped, not liking the turn of events. Did Aedain want her to persuade the witch?

“Me?” May asked hesitantly and shook her head. “No, I don’t think, that…”

“Baltar,” the demon ordered, interrupting May in midsentence. “Take Meirch, the boy and follow me to Baigh Riada. We will go ahead.”

“We?” May repeated, suspecting the worst. “What do you mean by ‘we’?”

Aedain stalked to her and grabbed her sash. She tried to push herself away from him, but he was holding the cloth firmly.

“You are coming along with me,” Aedain explained patiently, before he closed her waist in a crushing grip of his arm.

May felt, that her nightmare was coming true. She wanted to get rid of him for the day to escape but instead she got to spend time alone with HIM. Why?

                “Let go, take someone else, take Baltar!” May desperately tried to wriggle herself out of this situation.

                Baltar arched his thick eyebrow and made an amused face.

                “Have fun you two,” he muttered.

                “Hey!” May protested. “How could you!”

                Baltar smirked playfully like a big child.

                “Just don’t have TOO much fun!” he called, suppressing laughter and waving to the pair.

                “Shut up, both of you!” Aedain suddenly yelled. “Baltar, one more word and you will evaporate. May, you are coming along. Do not dare to disobey me!”

Both May and Baltar fell silent, startled by a sudden display of anger. May whimpered, as Aedain violently pulled her closer to him and the big leathery wings sprouted out of his back, batting the air. When they started to lift off the ground, she reached out with her hand desperately.

Aedain was getting more and more irritated, as May kept shrieking and clawing at him. She even managed somehow to tangle her legs around his. The girl was really scared of flying to the point of madness.

“Stop it, woman!” he ordered harshly, but she squeezed him even harder.

“Stop it!” he repeated.

“I can’t!” panicked May shouted back at him. “I’ll fall!”

“You will not!” he growled, but she didn’t listen to him at all and kept whining and screaming.

Aedain decided to make a stop and they glided towards ground. When they landed, May let go of him immediately and sat on the ground, panting heavily . The demon narrowed his eyes, as he glared at her.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t,” May mumbled, struggling to catch breath and steady her racing heartbeat.

“Explain yourself,” Aedain demanded.

The girl sighed, her shaky breath slowly returning to normal.

“I have fear of heights,” she said, her voice still trembling. “Every time I’m in the air, I panic. And that wings…” she shivered at the thought.

“Come, we must be on our way,” Aedain said, grabbing her wrist and trying to get her near him.

The girl started to struggle with desperation, fear in her eyes.

“No, not this!” she shrieked and kept fighting, not even noticing, when Aedain strengthened his grip.

After a while of struggling, the demon released her, seeing no point in arguing with her when she was in such state. The girl took her time to calm down.

“When you flew on Meirch you did not seem to be that terrified.” Aedain said to her, remembering, that there was some trouble with the landing.

“I was scared of you more,” May answered. The demon arched his brow. “And I felt more secure sitting on something solid. Hanging onto you seems just too dangerous.”

Aedain stayed silent for a while as he was considering something. He sighed.

“There is no other choice, then,” he said. “I will change into my original form. Stand still, woman.”

May nodded, unsure what he meant by that. His original form?

Then the air around Aedain began to change. A strong wind swirled around him. The girl took a step back, not knowing what the hell was going on. She gasped, as his whole eyes turned golden and the pupils went vertical. Suddenly, May got scared and felt the urge to escape.

“Stay where you are,” the demon ordered, noticing her fear. May couldn’t not notice, that his voice changed into deeper, more beastly one. “I will not harm you.”

Then Aedain gritted his teeth, the grimace of pain distorting his face and May had to squint her eyes because of the flash of the brightly red light that erupted from his body. She saw his limbs distort as the bones were breaking, growing and reforming; the human form of the demon disappeared, as he transformed into something entirely different, huge as a house. May couldn’t gaze away from this creature, as her jaw dropped. The sun rays were reflecting in the crimson scales. The girl took a step forward, amazed by what was before her eyes.

“Awesome,” she commented, staring at Aedain.

A dragon.

Aedain transformed himself into a genuine dragon, just like the creatures from fairy tales. The body of the beast was scaled. He had everything a dragon should �" the long claws, the spikes along his spine, the long dangerous-looking tail and the leathery wings. Despite the enormous size, the beast’s silhouette was graceful.

A loud roar woke May from admiring the fairytale creature, when Aedain moved his head pointing with his head at his back. She realized, that he wanted her to get on. She ran to him, not wanting to make him waiting. When she was at by his side, she reached to touch the scales. They were smooth and warm. Aedain roared again, obviously wanting her to get on already. May clumsily managed to climb up, using one of the wings to support herself. When she was finally on his back, she grabbed firmly one of the spikes that grew out of the dragon’s back along the spine line.

“I’m ready,” she announced and as on her signal, the dragon leapt into the sky.

May squeaked and held onto the spike tighter, squeezing her eyes shut. When Aedain flattened out, she opened her eyes cautiously. The huge beast underneath her was majestically gliding right above the clouds, the wings batting the air rhythmically.  May forgot her fear of heights for a while, amazed by the sensation - flying on the dragon was just unbelievably awesome! If only she could tell that anyone back at home… No one would believe her anyway. The thought, that she was actually riding on the evil arrogant a*****e Aedain was kind of unsettling, but now that he assumed the form of a dragon, she didn’t care; it was just too great.

 

Riada Swamp

 

The huge crimson form of a dragon gracefully glided right above the clouds, the wide-spread leathery wings making a monotone soothing noise.

Aedain was surprised, that the woman did not panic, when she saw his true form �" she seemed rather amazed than afraid. The flight went smoothly as well. She was quiet and was not bothering him. He was pleased, that she stopped foolishly shrieking. As they were almost at the destination, Aedain decided to warn her, so that she could prepare to the landing. He roared. The woman stirred on his back, clutching one of the bone spikes tighter.

“What is it?” May asked as she straightened her back.

Aedain swished his tail and folded the wings, when he dove towards the ground. The woman grabbed him stronger and screamed sharply. As he landed on the ground with a loud thud and stilled, he laid on the ground and outstretched his right wing to enable the woman getting off.

May let out a disappointed sigh, when the ride was over. Despite her fear of the heights, it was great. Who wouldn’t like to fly on a dragon? She furrowed her brows, looking at the strange position, Aedain assumed; she figured out, that he wanted her to get off him just the way the people leave planes when evacuated �" the wing was like an inflated slide. Carefully she crawled off his back onto the leathery wing and seated herself, before pushing with her hands. She barely managed to stop herself from squeaking, as she slid downwards like on a slide. She got on her feet quickly and combed her ruffled hair with the fingers.

Aedain transformed back into his usual form, having to endure the pain of re-forming his body once again. When he was finally done, he looked at May. Her knees were buckling but, her eyes glistened with childish joy. The demon found it strange, that the idiot woman actually enjoyed herself, while most humans would be horrified. Was she in a right mental state?

“Come,” Aedain ordered. May trailed behind him obediently.

“Okay,” she said in an abnormally happy voice. The demon looked at her with suspicion. She was suspiciously docile for her.

When May noticed, that he was studying her face she looked back at her and curved her lips in a smile.

“Something’s wrong?” she questioned him.

“Why were you not afraid of my original form?” he asked her.

The woman opened her eyes wider and parted her lips.

“Why should I?” she responded with a question.

“Most humans would fear it,” said Aedain.

May laughed, as though he said something hilarious.

“Come on, I got to see a dragon, a real one! It doesn’t happen often. And thanks for the ride. I really enjoyed it.” May told him, not mentioning to Aedain, that she preferred him as a magnificent dragon than his usual a*****e self.

Aedain averted his gaze from the woman, baffled with her answer. He felt pleased with the compliment, but was confused by her sudden change of altitude. He looked at her once again and saw, that she was observing the surroundings with curiosity.

The landscape looked like it was cut out from a fairy tale �" tall trees surrounded a acres of fertile soil. May could see distant silhouettes of people working on fields and in the orchards, watching over herds of sheep, cows and other domestic animals. The town in the valley seemed to be too neat to be real �" the houses must have been built strictly according to the plan, each of the them had a roof of red tiles and the bleached walls were clean reflecting the sunlight, shining even from the distance.

May and Aedain were on the outskirts of the village and were standing before a tower �" the building seemed to be erected not by a hand of human; the girl couldn’t discern a piece of stone used to build it. Thick vines were entwining the tower, making an impression that they created the structure. Here and there large snowy white flowers were blooming. As she got closer, May saw that thorns long as her finger were growing out of the vines.

“The witch lives there?” she asked, pointing the tower.

 The demon nodded.

May thought, that the tower looked like a witch’s lair indeed; from what she figured out, the hag must be a powerful demoness. She felt more secure to have Aedain with herself.

“Get the witch give me the spell,” the demon commanded, as the vines moved aside, making a hole, as though inviting the visitors inside.

Then, he suddenly pushed May towards the entrance.

 

May wiped her sweaty palms as she crept upstairs, for some reason afraid to make a tiniest noise. The tower was scary and dusty, just like in old fairy tales, making May have a twisting feeling in her stomach. Having Aedain right behind her back didn’t ease her anxiety, maybe it even increased it. When she finally got to the chamber at the top of the tower, the girl held her breath. The door was partially open. Hesitantly, she knocked at it.

                “Hello?” she asked quietly. Then she cleared her throat and called much louder: “Hello, is anybody here?!”

                When she got no answer, May stepped inside, feeling like a thief. The room was messy, scrolls and artifacts laying in every corner of the chamber covering even a narrow bed. But, there was no trace of the owner of the tower.

“It seems she’s not home,” May stated the obvious.

Aedain muttered a curse under his nose and pushed himself past the girl. He scanned the messy surrounding with a displeased grimace on his face. Saying that he wasn’t happy would be an understatement; the demon growled and kicked the nearby desk, smashing it against the wall.

                May sighed, seeing the senseless destruction, but said nothing. She turned around to wait by the doorway till Aedain is finished with trashing the witch’s place.

                “Where is she?” the demon hissed out and continued smashing the furniture.

                May felt uneasy, like some loan shark taking part in demolishing a debtor’s place. She carefully made her way through the chamber, staying out of Aedain’s way. She looked at the artifacts mixed with the witch’s personal belongings, laying in disarray all over the room. When she was looking at a particularly pretty vase, her peripheral caught something interesting. May crouched and picked up a scroll. The rolled piece of parchment had a name written on it �" Arnstein of Thoen Stronghold. The girl held her breath �" it was the name of the priest, the very same who was about to receive a translation of the scroll on portals.

                May glanced at Aedain who was still busy destroying the remnants of witch’s belongings and hastily hid the scroll in her dress.          



© 2013 Gosia


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She ran to him, not wanting to make him waiting. - 'not wanting to make him wait.

He felt pleased with the compliment, but was confused by her sudden change of altitude. - I think you meant attitude.

She furrowed her brows, looking at the strange position, Aedain assumed; she figured out, that he wanted her to get off him just the way the people leave planes when evacuated " the wing was like an inflated slide. - this was weird to me because you wrote it from Aedain's perspective thus he should not know what a plane is.

This chapter was good because it showed Baltar deciding he had enough of Aedain and going so far as to disobey and ignore him. I loved how May went from anger to fear to exhilaration. You capture her youthful exuberance very well and Aedain continues to impress with his three dimensional character that is so subtle yet poignant. I liked how demons are actually dragons in real form and I'm surprised all of them don't just transform into dragons and burn human empires. Surely, that would be easier?

The ending was good too, now that the scroll is on May's person, it's likely to make things more interesting and drive a deeper wedge between her and Aedain.

PS: I didn't review the previous chapter because I think I did before but for some reason my review was gone. I assumed it was because when you shifted the chapters around, mine got pushed back somewhere.


Posted 10 Years Ago


Christopher Angel

10 Years Ago

See. Cryptic.
Gosia

10 Years Ago

Damn you! ;-)
Christopher Angel

10 Years Ago

I am damned :P
So I noticed at the end you said that the eclipse is in 2 weeks and but then she says a year from now. Is that a typo?

It's good to get the pieces together-- now we know what's happening!
Aedain is pretty abusive, which wouldn't be so awful if he wasn't so damn invincible. I really want to punch him in the face in every chapter.

I don't really see how you'll get the protagonists out of this one, they seem pretty outmatched!

Posted 10 Years Ago


JR Darewood

10 Years Ago

rrrrgh at least give us a glimmer of chance or hope to hold on to, that b*****d is too much without .. read more
Gosia

10 Years Ago

I know. For now he seems pretty invincible, mostly in his own eyes ;-) Trust me, writing chapter no .. read more
JR Darewood

10 Years Ago

DAMN you've got a lot of chapters!!!!!!!
You're so far ahead of me...
I'm not sure I'm g.. read more

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Added on August 26, 2013
Last Updated on October 1, 2013


Author

Gosia
Gosia

Poland



About
Hello, my name is unpronounceable for most of humankind, but fortunately it can be shortened to Gosia. I’m an university student in my twenties, about to face the real life very soon. I’ve.. more..

Writing
Chapter 2: The Lady Chapter 2: The Lady

A Chapter by Gosia