Chapter 1: Morgana
That’s the thing about living forever; it makes you into a total bitch.
It’s not like it’s my fault, I didn’t ask for this. Yet here I am again, torturing myself.
People who know me well, which is not many, often ask why I read so many books about Arthurian legends and culture. They want to know why I’m obsessed with both the laughable historical accuracy and the interesting “myths” that surround Britain in the early sixth century. Why am I so interested in King Arthur and his oh-so-fabulous knights of the round, bloody table?
It’s obvious to me. I was there.
I was a major player in the politics of the time. That’s not even bragging; it’s just fact. Most women weren’t but I was. True, I wasn’t always as helpful as I could be and I made some rather poor decisions, but nothing to warrant this.
This was not a proportional response.
Sometimes it’s not all bad. I’m still the most powerful sorceress on the planet. Sorceress, mind, not witch. I still have all that power, however tethered up I am. But I can’t really do anything with it. One little slip in Salem led to the deaths of many innocent women. I could have stayed and helped, but I didn’t. I ran.
Judge all you want, I really don’t care. I ran and I’d run again. If anybody caught me, I’d have to pull something overly drastic to get out of there and the punishment just wouldn’t be worth it.
So here I am, slapped with the curse that all other practitioners would give their right arms for. Immortality.
All because I just didn’t love him. Well, technically he hit me with the Rainbow because I didn’t love him.
I should explain. The Rainbow is another curse. Although, most people wouldn’t call Immortality a curse; but that’s because they’re not stuck with it, so what do they know.
The Rainbow is a punishment for practitioners who step out of bounds. Once you’re slapped with it, any spell you use over a certain power limit means you get judged by the witches in the area who have “passed on”. Lucky bitches. You can tell when someone’s been hit with the Rainbow because they glow when they cast anything apart from minor spells. Different colours for different areas of magic, blah blah blah. So you light up like a friggin’ Christmas tree if you pull anything powerful. Hence “Rainbow”. Ugh. People have no imagination.
I figured out how to mask the colour glow centuries ago but the judgements are a pain in the butt. And completely dependent on the mood of whoever died near where you cast. I once disintegrated a pack of werewolves in Bulgaria and all I got was three days with no magic. That was probably too lenient. I didn’t need to kill them; they were just pissing me off. But the Witch Spirit there had been killed by werewolves so she let me off quite nicely.
In New York, I once turned a Pixie into a frog for a few hours and that landed me three weeks in Limbo. Three weeks of being confined in nothingness and going through the mental torture of trying to survive in the plain between life and death. Harsh.
Mortals can’t manage Limbo for more than four days, they snuff it. Not me, I just endure. So three weeks was clearly an absolute overreaction. Stupid, pixie-loving, dead witch.
That’s why I don’t go to New York anymore. Haven’t for over eighty years. Not going tempt fate and end up in the place between again.
There is an unwritten rule that usually I get left alone. Once Witches, dead or alive, sense the Sorceress blood; they’re much better at just backing off.
Being a Sorceress means I was born with powers. I didn’t buy them, I don’t have a talisman, I’m a pure-blooded magical creature. I had to learn to control them more than enhance them. It’s not unusual for Sorcerer children to blow up houses when they come into their powers. It’s like having light in your veins that wants to get out.
There has never been another Sorceress in history that’s been confined by the Rainbow. We are beings imbued with magic, it’s not fair. It’s meant for practitioners, average witches. It’s meant for humans on power trip.
But then, I was the first one to experience it, he created it especially for me. To punish me. Like I hadn’t suffered enough.
He wanted us to be Immortal so that we could be together forever. If he’d actually talked to me about it, I would have carefully explained that I didn’t WANT to be with him forever. Or at all.
But he made me immortal as a gift. Then, when I rejected him, he punished me with eternal judgement on my magic. Luckily for me, I managed to blow him up before he made himself Immortal as well.
Which is why I’m currently stood in the middle of a forest in Western France at midnight holding a, mostly empty, bottle of bourbon. The stones before me mark what is believed to be his grave.
He’s not in there, but hell will freeze over before I tell anybody where the pieces of him are actually buried. But the tourists like it here. And we must keep up appearances, mustn’t we.
I raise the bottle in a toast to the stones before me. “Rot in Hell, Merlin, You thrice-damned son of a bitch.”
I pour the rest of the alcohol at my feet and concentrate on it. It changes form and spreads out to about twenty feet around the grave. Everything within the circle dies. The grass, the bugs, a family of rabbits, all snuffed out. Everything but me. I don’t even feel anything as the magic tries to stop my heart.
A glow of red trickles across my skin but I supress it.
There’s a whisper on the wind. Four witches died near here and they’re called to see if judgement is necessary.
They leave me a wide berth as I drop the bottle and stomp away. They know not to cross me, not tonight. I even catch a flash of one as she takes spirit form. She’s mainly transparent but I can clearly see the pity on her face as she regards me.
I raise my lip in a perfected sneer and meet her eyes. After a few seconds enduring my glare, she twitches away and fades into nothingness, but not before her lips form silent words.
I’m over fifteen hundred years old, I’m the most powerful being on earth and I can’t revel in that.
I’ve drunk three bottles of bourbon and I can’t remember where I live.
My name is Morgana Le Fay.