Midnight stroll.

(Note: I made this one after watching a bit of anime. Sorry about the quality it was one of my earlier works.)

I look up and see the moon. I think of what it would be like to live on the that beautiful sight? Would there be an endless blue sea as we are told, and if there is what fish would swim in its ocean?

Grandpa.” I say. Hoping he is listening wherever he is. “I will make you proud.”

Ready Vercinge?” I turn to Tours. He and the other boys were all waiting for me. Their leader. Examining my company of mighty soldiers I nod in satisfaction, each I am proud to fight with a hundred times over. I turn to the path that leads through the woods. Some would call this mission suicide. That may be the case, but opportunity makes the thief.

It was not even ten steps in that we encounter our first obstetrical. “Shh.” Whispers Tours, and we get down.

Strange women in cloaks are blocking the roads, keeping a look out for any sign of mischief. This was going to be tough, the bushes were being searched and the guards were checking the trees with spears. I mean can’t an honest person have no privacy?

We keep silent and still, one false move could be the end of us. Our magician. A short nothing of a boy with the gift, focuses his power inside and tosses a sleep spell at a squirrel that was out looking for food. The spell makes its mark and the creature and lands in a bush. The guards move to the sound which allows us an opening.

Things are going well till I look back to see that the boy mage was in bad shape. That spell took a whole lot out of him. I could see the sweet on his face and hear the shortness of his breath. I turn to my team mates. They knew this was no time for the weak. Our comrade had done his part. So at the very lest we could assist in his hiding. Silently we help him into one of the already searched trees and we continue, constantly stopping for for every little noise. It was frustrating but no one was taking chances.

One by one we had to give up a member. Weather it being a sprained ankle, or simply not being quick enough. We bow our heads, as we watch them scream and kick as they are taken away by the women in cloaks.

Why did we simply not fight are way in? Sure some had tired that but there was no fight here. These women were witches. The worst of the worst. I heard when when my uncle had come for his taste of adventure, he fought like a wild demon. They soon over powered him with spells and female wilds. He still has nightmares of a sagging sixty year old crone flashing him. It was a miracle he got out alive. I swear half of them would boil their own children alive if they thought they could get away with it.

Some of my men feared our journey folly and decided to retire. The cowards. I would not be denied. I have waited to long too turn back. My entire life feels like it has come down to this night. We knew the risks when we accepted this insane quest.

Soon it was down to me. I turn to my last companion, who held my shoulder in recognition. This was no place for words. We were so close to our prize but fear got the best of him. So now it was all down to me. Just how I wanted it. The survivors will just have to cope with me bragging in their faces.

I watch the guards movements and when I see my moment I crawl though a hollowed out log. After this I see a perfect distraction and I kicked a stupid rabbit that was too simple to get out of the way. It hit a bush which caused a group of the crones to run for the noise. I know it would defeat the purpose, but too bad no one was around to see it.

This must truly be a great day because at the clearing I could see them setting every thing up. Women from the witch village nearby and a few neighbouring clans, were tossing branches into a pile. Getting ready to start the bonfire. I couldn’t stop to watch yet. I still needed a good vantage point.

The nearby bushes were too small and didn’t provide enough cover. Damn another one of the kill joys was moving towards me. I needed some place to hide.

Got it. I see a group of barrels not more than several paces from my current position. The one in the back seemed an okay one. I stealthy manoeuvred myself to the containers, here I positioned the one I intended to use where it could see the bonfire. In the back of my mind, I also plan my escape root. These people were dangerous and if caught, no mercy will be given.

I open the lid. Half full of apples. Well at lest if I do get caught, I wont die hungry. I quickly hop in and closed the lid after me. A minute passes and I feel somebody sitting hit above me. Have I been caught? Are they trapping me inside, so they can throw me in the river?

What do you think? Do you think, they’ll cancel it? Looks like rain.” I hear a witch from the village ask. I breath. I have not yet been discovered.

Tryis is going play it by ear.” The two gossiping nags talked while I took out my knife and started to go to work. It is going to take a while to get a hole though this bugger.

Come on.” I whisper feeling frustrated at my lack of progress.

The women on top of me hushes the other. “Wait, did you hear that?” I stop and hold my breath. “Just me hearing things. Lets go before they pick the benches clean.” The one above me gets off, and I breath a little easier

While I went back to work I dream of my prize. A nice rare sight, a prize all young boys my age would covert and speak to their sons about. If I could just get this… “Ah.” finally, I managed to get out a descent peep-hole.

From this angle I could clearly see the magicite stone. The stone was some sort of shrine or holy artefact to the witches around here. I just thought it was a large rock myself. It was supposed to increases certain magical powers when you touched it at a certain time of the year. It was the nearby villages pride and joy with only a few other outsiders even knowing about it.

When the festival arrives with the moon at it’s zenith, the chosen will channel their power into the stone and for a single moment they will receive the blessings of the Gods.

Every other day, the giant eyesore was guarded by several high quality magical fields that are a hassle for even the most dedicated mage to get past. The field however is normally lowered only four times a year. One is the charging, where the elder pumps it full of power where it stores and filters it, to make pure magical energy until the festival. Which they did six weeks ago. The other two are dance rehearsals. Some of my less patient crew attempted to run the gauntlet back then. We haven’t heard from then since. The last time, which is right this very night. Is for the festival itself.

I take in a breath. It seems the Gods favour the great Vercinge. I have heard no male has ever gotten this close to a witch festival in five decades.

I watch as dozens of girls and women in cloaks stand around the unlit bonfire. In the moonlight I could tell each are different sizes. I can not see their bodies, but I can tell from body language that some are my age.

I also get a glimpse of the magicite.

Bah. I can’t believe these people. Worshipping a stone that could make all the villagers around here rich. I just don’t understand it. Of course it was impossible to lift. It had to weigh as much as a mountain. Fortunately that is not my prize.

My attention goes to the dancers. I see one of the older women address the younger ones. “Okay girls. Line up.” I am guessing she is their dance instructor. I smile. There was giggling coming from the hooded girls. They knew what was coming up. “All right girls.” Says the instructor. “We’ve practised every day. Now Gina keep up, Margaret no show boating, Sissmer remember what we practised.” The instructor takes off her hood, and I recognise her imminently. It was Mrs Blanche, the village school teacher. Thought so, it was just hard to hear her correctly.

Back when I was doing some investigating, I started to notice that she liked me. I knew she had a big bruiser for a husband, but I could tell. I asked her so many questions. Not much about the festival. I’m not an idiot after all, but just little things.

I see an old, old, hunched woman with one good eye stand next to the unlit bonfire. I know who this is. Elder Tryis. The meanest old bat you could ever meet. She raises her hand, and a small ball of fire appears. She tosses it at the pit, and bonfire is complete. I remind myself that could very well be my fate if these mad woman manage to catch me.

There were oohs and ahhs from the girls as they witnessed the fire show. If the ritual is completed many of these girls may find themselves with a bit more magic in them. That’s why it is so important for them to do this ritual.

Elder Tryis displays an emerald necklace for all to see. Supposedly worn by the first dancer, a necklace worth its weight in gold. Mrs blanch pules back her hair and bows. The elder simply put it on the fine temptress.

All right this was what I was waiting for. It was all or nothing. I chose my target, tried to listen for any approaching witches that came to blow my cover, and watch trying to take in ever thing. No small detail was going to escape my eye.

Okay girls. Follow my lead.” Mrs Blanch drops her robe, and I think my heart was trying to burst though my chest. I look at every thing. I see her totally nude form and believe I can die happy.

The others dancers giggled, and dropped there robes as well. It was like I took a chisel to my brain. I wanted to etch their bodies into my mind. The girls spread themselves to make a perfect circle around the bonfire. In my wildest fantasies I had never imaged such a sight. I became hypnotised by the way the shadows and light of the fire, moved across there exposed flesh.

Music starts and the dance begins. They twirled, they bowed and move in harmony with one another. Just as they were taught. Mrs blanch was in the lead, being a graceful as she was beautiful. I need to focus. I need to watch, and learn everyone’s body language. A chime went off and the music changed, this time getting faster. The girls keep to the beat. Going faster. I noticed that with a few of the more plump girls things were jiggling.

This was it. This was my prize. The thing I had waited months of planing. I take the spell crystal from my pocket, a handy little device and I use the spell that is handed down from farther to son. I take a breath.

They turn to me, and I look at every depraved part. Every curve, every unblemished fleck of skin. The power surges inside me and flows into the crystal. It wasn’t the most powerful spell in history, hell is wasn’t even useful most of the time, but for these rare occasions. It was all you need.

Drat. Elder Tryis, and the more trained girls instantly feel the ebb of my spark. There was no time. I put on my mask and hood, and jump out of the barrel.

Elder Tryis points to me, “Toad.” she snarls. I don’t know if she was referring to me, or what she had planed for my interference. I look back to see the girls. They were blushing while holding their pose, but I could see the murderous intent radiating from them.

‘Run you fool.’ I tell myself and make a bee line for the forest. Just in time to dodge a spear.

I feel the ebb of magic around me and I use serpentine movements to avoid incoming fire bolts, hexes, curses, and other nasty things that can ruin my day. The crones only succeeded in making me run faster.

Now I am in the deep bosom of the woods. Now what? Do I hide or keep running? I hadn’t thought this far ahead. I didn’t even think I would make it this far. An arrow whizzes by my head. I think these women take things way too personal.

My heart was beating faster, and my lungs crave rest, but I just needed that little bit longer. I see the blue flowers, and know instantly where I am. I don’t even look behind me to check if I’m being followed. I dive for the hiding spot.

It was morning as I get out of the hole. I think we should have put a blanket in there. I walk through the forest unmolested. Of course. The crones already searched this area a hundred times last night. Why would they think that I would return?

I make it back outside to see my crew, or what is left of it. I take off my mask and hood. I don’t need them any more.

Did you get it Vercinge?” Tours asks, looking at me in wonder.

I look down at my feet, and hear the courses of sighs. I hold out the spell crystal and the boys watch it glow with the power I sent into it. They naturally yell and hoot at my success. Several boys warn me to pick my prize wisely. It would not be wise to take something that could damage our friendship.

Back in the village we are assaulted with threats. “You dirty brats.”

You scoundrels.”

I should boil you in oil.” The girls demanded which one of us watched them last night. I was not so naive or stupid as to tell my epic tale. That is a good way to get killed.

It was forbidden for men to watch the girls perform but the risk was worth the beatings, in fact it was a non-written tradition for boys to sneak a peek. Our dads would beat us in front of the women, but they would always laugh, and ask how far we gotten before we were caught.

I look at the men around us. It was obvious that they had heard of the intrusion by their proud smiles and laughter.

We stood at the town hall and see the elders approach. “Alright you bastards. Which one of you did it?” Tryis asks.

All that training had been for this moment. Pretending to play hide and seek. Running marathons, and going out on those ‘hunting’ trips to the magicite stone. All worth it for this one moment. I presented the crystal, and was hailed with insults and clapping.

The elder gave me a clap behind the ear, I doubt it will be the last I receive.

A two men carried a large mirror to a spot next to the elders. I glance to the other villages. For the girls and last nights guards, this was a shameful loss. Elder Tryis placed the stone in a special slot and the image of all twenty girls, including Mrs Blanch all in the nude, showed for all to see. My finest moment.

Groans could be heard from all around me. The festival was not the only tradition that the witch community herald. While the women dance. The men stalk. The spell that I used etched the crystal with what I saw last night. It was like looking at a fragment in time, but here is the best bit. If a young male should happen to get to the festival. Through the guards of mothers, sisters, aunts, and other clan members, and then capture the image of a one of the dancers into the crystal. The two were to be wed. If however he was able to capture the sight of more than one girl in the crystal. He would be forced to marry whoever held the most power when they touched the stone. Silly, I know. But you can’t fight tradition. There was even an elder position open. That’s if I survive that long. Twenty very embarrassed girls and their families were looking at me with murder in their eyes.

Elder Tryis’s eye twitched, “Well done.” she says with anger in her tone. Just seeing the expression on her face was all the reward I needed. “Your grandfather was the one who won last time. It seems that being a degenerate bastard, runs in the family.”

I give a smile. “Yes grandma.” I say trying to be polite.


One thought on “Midnight stroll.

  1. Pingback: Archive | Troy Neenan

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