A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

What will become of the self-serving Kevvy, and what can a witch do in times of war?


There were two things that Kevvy had forgotten when he decided to do something radically different from the rest of the tribes-people who were all nodding agreement with the youthful Gymboy.

The first thing was that he had never been very good on his own, not even when hunting in the forest with his woman and kidlings at home waiting for meat. He’d always liked someone else around, another of the men so that the two of them could benefit from their duality. And it had worked. Two men on a solitary hunt deep in the forest away from home often seemed to do better than twice as well as one would have expected to do.

The second thing he had forgotten was the simple fact that he wasn’t young any more. He hadn’t hunted in years, leaving the arduous task of providing for the family to his sons, who were good at it and always managed to feed him without suggesting that he played his part.

And now he was well past his prime and alone in the forest.

His plan (if it could really have been called a plan) was to seek out the army of the King and somehow ingratiate himself with the mighty southern sovereign and thus save his own skin. To him any prospect of fighting a mounted enemy with the tiny feathered sticks that had been produced in their thousands by all of the villagers, himself included, was a dream ready to be turned into a nightmare and would stand no chance against a wall of sharp spears and determined, war-worn veterans.

So he had melted into the forest and imagined that the landmarks that had guided him in his hunting years would spring to his mind and guide him now.

The first signpost he looked out for was a forked tree. At some time during its growth it had been struck by lightning, and its young trunk had been cloven, the two parts growing away from each other. What had never crossed his mind was the possibility that the tree was no longer there. Trees didn’t walk, did they, or crawl on their bellies like cowards? Trees stood proud and tall, and in this case divided, for eternity, or if not all of eternity, a goodly part of it.

But this tree was gone, and there was no sign of where it had stood, and if another had grown in its place it most certainly wasn’t cloven. He found himself lost almost before he had begun.

Then the tributary of the river that meandered not so far from where the historic creek had flowed in the time when Tomass had established his bloodline. He knew where that trickled and had long used it as a marker in the wild. He didn’t know, nobody had told him, but his own sons had diverted it so that fresh, clean water could be found much closer to the village where he lived. But he had spent his later years being critical of the best efforts of one and all, so why should anyone want to tell him anything?

And nobody had.

But he was, if nothing else, determined. He was going to find that king and his army and become, if not a traitor to his people, something closely related to one, though he didn’t see it that way. He was going to save his own skin and if, after doing that, he managed to save anyone else’s, well, that would be secondary and worth considering when he himself was safe.

He wasn’t a total self-serving creature.

So he pushed himself forwards into the deeper, thicker parts of the forest, ears sensitive enough to hope to hear the crash of soldiers as they forced their way along through the undergrowth with their axes and spears. But they were still a great distance away, and sadly he had little concept of distance. But on he went anyway.

And the further he went the closer he got to being truly lost.



The witch in her herb garden sat and thought. She had reverted to her proper shape, an old hag who dribbled, because that was most comfortable when she was engaged in deep thought, and that was exactly what she was engaged in. She knew that the threesome whom she had helped (in a way, if showing them a gate was helping) had gone and there was one hell of a noise coming from the direction of the castle. And she could tell exactly what that noise was: she’d heard its like many times whilst Jasper had been King. An army was being ordered and one or two bodies were being relieved of their heads as a warning to others that if they stepped out of line the same might happen to them.

The sounds troubled her.

She knew this king and his cruel ways, and she also knew that history would record him as being stupid. She smiled to herself. Jasper the Brainless, she thought, or maybe Jasper the Retarded. He would be given a nickname like one of those, and it would stick down all the centuries that lay ahead.

And Jasper the Brainless was on his way to rout a village, destroy the homes and gardens, the fields and forests, of its inhabitants, and kill each and every one of them, from the oldest hoary geezer with his smoke-coloured whiskers to the youngest mewling infant. And he was going to such lengths just because he didn’t know how to go about putting a woman with child whilst a reprobate with only one arm did.

Surely, she thought, there’s an imbalance here. Surely one as stupid as the king should never have the powers of life and death over ordinary folk who only wanted to live their lives, moving from day to day with the uncertainties and vagaries of nature as their greatest threat.

I must do something about this, she muttered to herself, and she sat and thought and mused over possibilities and finally came to a conclusion.

I will fly ahead and practise a little diversionary tactic, she thought, and grinned a toothless grin. And then, who shall I be? What shape shall I take that will offer my best hope for swift success?

And she smiled again as she reached her conclusion and almost immediately made changes to her physical body.

The grin was no longer toothless but instead it revealed two perfectly crafted rows of pure white teeth, glistening and gleaming in her perfect mouth.

I might keep these, she thought.

Then her bosom swelled.

Jasper is a man, and men appreciate a warm bosom, she thought, it reminds them of when they were wee mites suckling away day and night and enjoying their bit of maternal tit…

Then her back straightened, thrusting her enhanced bosom even further forwards.

Good job there’s not a mirror near here or I could almost fancy myself, she grinned.

Then the hem of her skirt rose until it was only inches below her knees, a daring exposure for a woman in times when virginity was a prized possession and means of preserving it were often extreme.

Saucy old me, she cackled, and whispered a few wordless sounds whilst her hair grew long and shining with cleanliness, and began smelling more of roses than ever.

Irresistible, she whispered. And she knew that she was. She knew there was barely a man born who wouldn’t fall in love with those waving tresses and the perfume that spilled from them.

And she was ready.

I will ride my broomstick later, she whispered to herself, and she sent the besom through the air with barely a whisper, and watched as it soared aloft and flew at breakneck speed until it was out of sight.

I will saunter, she murmured, that’s what I’ll do on a nice autumn day like this… and like a loveless maiden in search of a new heart to break she made her way out of the herb garden and onto a secret path that led into the forest, and to the lands beyond it.

© Peter Rogerson 26.11.18

© 2018 Peter Rogerson

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Added on November 26, 2018
Last Updated on November 26, 2018
Tags: traitor, old-age, lost, witch, disguise, beautiful woman


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 76 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..