A Witch's Wings
In the empty yard of a Witch’s Coven castle, a girl cloaked in black scowled at the broom near her feet.
With a large grunt of frustration, she pulled her foot back, and kicked the broom with all her might.
The wooden shaft flew through the air, and as if guided by something divine, drew a graceful arc…
…right into a glass window.
For a Witch who could not fly, she could at least run very fast.
Her name was Alicia and she was a skilled and accomplished Witch of her age. She attended the Witchcraft School of High Arts at the age of ten. After skipping two grades, she graduated at the top of her class by the time she was sixteen. Alicia then began her apprenticeship with the famous Witch Coven: Thistle and its leader the Cold Crow.
She was a bright young girl with talent for magic that appeared once in an era. Although perfect in almost every way, Alicia wasn’t without her flaws. She possessed one glaring weakness that would be a source of great shame for any Witch. Alicia lacked the Magical ability of flight.
All Witches, even the youngest children, were able to fly on brooms. For all of Alicia’s hard work and research, this particular skill continued to elude her. She guarded this secret closely with great caution, making sure that none learned of it.
One day, her Master assigned her an errand. She was to transport a parcel and make a trade with a certain individual. The client lived more than halfway across the country and the Cold Crow obviously expected Alicia to fly there. The apprentice accepted the parcel from her mentor, and quickly made the necessary preparations for her trip.
She donned her large pointed Witch hat, adorned with earring like jewelry pierced into the edges. The decorations bore the Guild Emblem of Thistle, indicating her affiliation with her Coven, her rank, accomplishments, and specialty Magics. Her large black coat covered her white buttoned up blouse and long dark blue skirt. The cloak had minimal decorations since it was tailored for traveling, but also possessed small insignias that identified her allegiances.
To many practitioners of Magic, their Guild Emblem was a representation of pride and honor.
She then filled her shoulder bag with a few necessities and the parcel to deliver. Double checking and triple checking, as was her meticulous personality, Alicia was finally satisfied, ready to begin her journey.
She left her dorm and went to an area in the yard where she could not be seen. With her broom, she spent hours of frustrating failure attempting to fly. Alicia cycled the fundamentals of broom flight in her head, but again, like the many times before, it bore no fruit.
After kicking the broom and shattering a window, Alicia gave up and went to purchase a plane ticket.
Thoroughly shamed and depressed, she arrived at her destination before a small shoddy apartment building. She rechecked the address given to her to make sure she was in the right place. The witch confirmed it was the correct building and wondered what kind of acquaintance her Master had in such a place.
Alicia went to the indicated apartment and rang the bell. A young man answered shortly after and opened the door.
He looked to be the same age as her, had messy dark brown hair, a worn out band shirt, and plain dark jeans. It seemed like he had just gotten out of bed and threw on whatever was near.
After looking Alicia up and down, a smile crept over his face as he extended a hand.
“Simon. Ah! No, Crimdaz,” he said gingerly.
Alicia slowly took his hand and shook it.
She understood immediately that Simon was his normal alias and Crimdaz his Magic name. She went over the possibilities in her head. Crimdaz was by no means a common name, and began trying to discern his craft of Magic and affiliations.
A Mage? Seer? Certainly, he couldn’t be a Paladin or a Voodoo practitioner. Name sounds a bit familiar, though. Maybe I’ve heard it in passing?
He’s not wearing any sort of Emblem…
Crimdaz interrupted her thoughts.
“And you are...?”
Alicia hastily collected herself and made a formal bow.
“Sorry. I am Alicia. Apprentice of the Cold Crow of Thistle. I was instructed to make a trade.”
Crimdaz looked her over again.
Alicia’s stomach dropped.
She completely forgot to bring a broom with her. After badgering herself inwardly at her oversight, she quickly tried to come up with an excuse.
“Oh no! I must’ve left it at the coffee shop I stopped by on my way here!”
Crimdaz only looked at her suspiciously.
“Also, you came rather fast for by broom. I wasn’t expecting you for at least another day.”
Alicia swallowed dryly.
“Well, come on in, no use talking about it further.”
Crimdaz opened the door for her to come through and Alicia breathed a silent sigh of relief.
He led her into the living room, which had two strangely business-like couches with a dark wooden coffee table placed in the middle. The rest of the apartment looked rather messy in comparison. A small worn out TV sat in the corner, the kitchen was small with a sink full of dishes, and a few clothes and odd artifacts scattered the ground.
One of the objects caught Alicia’s eye with a violent jolt. It was a tome titled, “Merlin’s Dark Arts”. She eyed it with obvious curiosity as she remembered how there were only three existing copies in the world.
Crimdaz looked at where her eyes were drawn to.
“Ah. Yeah, my Master and I have an odd obsession for antiques,” he chuckled lightly and motioned for her to have a seat.
Alicia took a place on the couch and pulled out her Master’s parcel, which was bound in a dense black cloth. She unraveled it to reveal a glass vial containing an attractively shiny red liquid. Alicia inspected it closely to make sure that it was not damaged or cracked in any way, and then set it on the table.
“Blood from a pregnant dragon. Higher nutrition and Magical properties than normal,” she said simply.
Crimdaz took the vial in his hands and turned it over.
“Cloud White, age three hundred.”
Crimdaz nodded, set the bottle in the middle of the table, and went out of the living room.
Alicia couldn’t help but feel a bit taken back by the whole situation.
Her Master had sent her on multiple errands before to trade Magical items, but they were never like this. There was no small talk, no bargaining, and no mannerisms or etiquettes to uphold. It was rather refreshing, but also a bit disturbing.
Crimdaz came back holding a small glass rectangle with a pitch black tree branch inside it. Alicia eyed the item suspiciously.
The branch didn’t seem burned or tampered with. In fact, despite not being connected to anything, the twig looked alive and well. She couldn’t even tell from which part the branch was cut from because it was completely dark.
Its appearance alone had an ominous presence to it.
Cursed? Master never told me what the actual item was…
All she said was that there would be no need for haggling. Now that I think about it, who is this person for my Master to trust so implicitly? She’s usually so vigilant about everything.
I have no choice but to assume that this is the correct item and this guy isn’t swindling me.
Crimdaz sat the glass case in the middle of the table, next to the glass vial of dragon blood.
“Do we have an accord?” he asked smilingly, as he extended his hand.
Alicia hesitated, and then took it. His hand grasped hers firmly for a second and then was let go.
He picked up the vial and held it to his eye, examining it again. Alicia wrapped the glass cased tree branch carefully in the cloth and stuffed it into her bag. She looked up and saw that Crimdaz was eyeing her through the red liquid in the vial.
“You’re Gran’s apprentice, huh?” he paused. “So, how come you can’t fly?”
The color from her face drained and she immediately froze.
“It’s not that big a deal. I mean, I can’t fly.”
Alicia attempted to compose herself.
“What are you talking about? Of course I ca—“
“You obviously can’t,” he interrupted. “I think I’d be depressed too. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to fly on a broom…”
Alicia felt like she was about to burst into tears. She had never felt so embarrassed in her life. All these years of hiding it, found out by some boy she had known for only half an hour.
She opened her mouth to retort but nothing came.
“Want me to help?”
“I can help you learn to fly…” and then he looked up thoughtfully. “…probably,” he added.
The witch gathered her emotions.
“I’ve tried everything, nothing works…”
“That’s because you haven’t worked with me.”
She looked at him incredulously and assumed it was some sort of joke, but found him wearing a smile brimming with confidence.
There’s no harm in hearing him out. I’ll take any information I can get.
“And what do you want exactly in exchange for your so called help?” she asked warily.
Crimdaz put his hand to his chin.
“I think I’ve got something. A small favor. Don’t worry, it’s not anything utterly ridiculous.”
Alicia looked at him questioningly.
“And are you going to tell me what it is?”
“No,” he responded. “It’s kind of embarrassing,” he added.
After a moment of awkward silence, Crimdaz extended his hand just like he had before.
“Do we have an accord?”
Internally, she knew she would give almost anything to fly. Alicia didn’t know if Crimdaz was trustworthy, but her desperation pushed aside any doubts. She took the hand firmly and they both grasped. After they let go, Crimdaz jumped up and clapped his hands.
“Alright, then! Let’s go to the park!”
Crimdaz took a purple glass stone, a novel with a bookmark in it, and an old leatherback tome from his apartment. They both went to a general store where they purchased a simple broom. They then made their way to a park close by. As soon as they got there, Crimdaz began arranging twigs and stones on the ground placing the purple stone in the middle.
Alicia tried to decipher the array that he was setting up, but came up with nothing. She began to speculate again as to what branch of Magic Crimdaz practiced.
Besides that purple stone, he’s using branches, rocks, and dirt as a conduit? Maybe he’s a Shaman. But the Magic circles they use don’t look anything like this.
Alicia eyed the odd purple stone and her stomach dropped at another possibility. She looked to Crimdaz who was absentmindedly drawing something in the dirt.
He turned around and looked at her.
“Are you… a Warlock?”
“Yup. Probably one of the very few remaining.”
He turned his attention back on constructing the Magic array.
Alicia’s eyes widened with fear.
Warlocks were said to be practitioners of the darkest Magic. The kind that utilized human sacrifices, summoned demonic creatures, stole spells, and sapped the earth of its life and resources. Some of the most evil and vile Magic users in all of history were Warlocks. They were widely feared, especially in the past when they had a larger population. Treated with scorn and hostility, the Warlocks soon became extinct after countless conflicts, internal and external.
Alicia considered making a run for it then and there, but she remembered the grasps of their hands when the deal was struck. She couldn’t back out. Some sort of Magic probably bound them now.
“Finished!” Crimdaz exclaimed, as he threw his hands in the air.
Alicia looked at him and wondered what she should do. She thought about the chances of negotiating with him. Then Alicia remembered with more worry that the Warlock had never specified the price of his “help”. The words small favor echoedin her mind.
Her desperation had clouded her judgment…
“So you will stand there with the broom,” he said and pointed to a spot in the array. “And I’ll start the incantation.”
“What exactly is going to happen?”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“I’m not going to just do-“
“Do you want to fly?”
Crimdaz walked over and put his hands on her shoulders.
Alicia jumped a little.
“It’ll be okay,” he said. “I promise!”
He then went to the other side of the array and picked up his old leather bound book.
He’s Master’s acquaintance. She said he could be trusted….
Alicia worried over what she had gotten herself into and walked over to the spot Crimdaz had indicated. She let out a worried sigh and stood stiffly with the broom clutched tightly in her hands, looking over at the Warlock.
“This isn’t going to hurt… is it?”
“What was that pause?! Why are you laughing?!”
“Don’t worry! It won’t hurt. Sprouting wings is a beautiful and magnificent thing. Butterflies don’t feel pain when they gain their wings from their caterpillar stage, right?”
“I don’t know… WAIT! I’M GROWING WINGS?!”
“Well… you wanted to fly, correct?”
“NO! NOT ‘CORRECT’!! NOT LIKE THIS!!”
“Relax! Only a small joke to lighten the mood. I thought all girls wanted to become majestic angels when they grow up.”
My head’s starting to hurt…
Crimdaz smiled and gave her an enthusiastic thumb’s up, to signal he was going to start the spell. Alicia made a crooked smile and gave a shaky thumb’s up in return.
The Warlock then closed his eyes in concentration and began muttering unknown words. The purple stone in the center began to illuminate, the array glowed an ominous dark violet. Crimdaz’s brow furrowed as the incantation grew louder and faster. The syllables he mouthed off began to echo and become indiscernible.
Alicia felt a surge of wind come from beneath her and her cloak flapped violently in the gale. The air blew so strong that she was forced to close her eyes.
When she opened them again, she found that she was no longer in the park.
The Witch stood on a lone grassy mountaintop, high above the clouds.
Alicia looked around her to see where Crimdaz was, but didn’t find the Warlock anywhere. She took in the scenery around her and found herself standing in a luscious garden that had trees growing here and there. She looked over the edge and saw vast clouds below extending into the distance.
Alicia continued her observations and found a low stone stair case leading to an old altar. At least she thought it was an altar, as it had stones stacked in an unnatural fashion like Stonehenge. The stair case and pathway were littered with leaves that seemed to have accumulated over a long period of time.
Who trespasses on my realm?
The voice boomed all around her. It didn’t sound like it came from any one direction. She struggled to find a response when the voice came again.
A little Witch? I haven’t seen one of your kind in ages.
The wind around Alicia began to focus and collect towards the altar. A sphere of air formed like a compact hurricane. In the Witch’s confusion, a spark ignited in her thoughts.
“You’re a Wind Elemental!”
The wind blew again.
Alicia’s mind was racing.
She had never met one, and they were thought to no longer exist.
What’s more, a very important legend was tied to the Wind Elementals. Every young Magic user, especially Witches, heard the folktale of the supposed “First Witch”.
The tale went that the First Witch climbed one of the highest mountains in all the world. At the mountain top, she met a Wind Elemental. There, the First Witch went through some sort of trial and gained the ability to fly. She then went home and spread her Magic of flight to her apprentices.
There weren’t many details about the story, and there were a large number of variations. Alicia, of course, never thought it was possible to attain flight this way. She immediately mustered up her courage.
“I want to learn flight.”
And why should I teach you?
“I will overcome any test you give me.”
There was a pause of silence and Alicia could feel wind moving over her.
Yes. I sense great Magic within you, but there is no trial to pass.
Farewell, little Witch. In respect for the kindness a young one of your kind had shown me before, I will not blow you off my mountain.
The sphere of wind violently dissipated and the air became still.
Alicia stood at the front of the steps dumbstruck. She did not know where to go or what to do. She looked off the side again and saw that the mountain was not climbable for her.
How strong must the First Witch have been to be able to scale a mountain like this?
She clutched the broom she and Crimdaz had bought from the store and wished more than ever that she could fly.
Looking through her shoulder bag, she kicked herself for not bringing any materials to reverse engineer the Warlock’s teleportation spell.
Alicia tried calling for the Wind Elemental again, but was only met with silence. She began pacing the garden, wondering what she could possibly do. After she grew tired of that, she sat down on the stone stairs. She went through all the possibilities in her head.
The First Witch did something and it made the Wind Elemental grant her flight. Did she defeat it? Traded something to it?
Her mind floated to the thought of Crimdaz with his extended hand.
“That Warlock!!” she yelled aloud. “I never should have trusted him!”
She picked up the broom and started slashing at the air in frustration. She thought about how rude the Wind Elemental was and moved the broom even more furiously. After Alicia’s mini tantrum, she sat down on the stairs again.
No, it isn’t the Wind Elemental’s fault. It’s Crimdaz’s for stranding me here! He didn’t even provide me a way back!!
Alicia sighed and looked around at the many leaves that littered the altar and pathway. She glanced at her broom.
“Well, I’m already here, and I have a broom. I wonder if it’s just a habit since Master always asks me to sweep the workshop a lot.” she said dejectedly.
Alicia swept the leaves clean off and over the mountainside. After she was done, she wiped the sweat from her brow and sat down again.
The young Witch before cleaned my altar too. I have missed her.
Alicia jumped at the booming voice and the sphere of wind formed again.
She visited me many times until her passing.
Alicia’s eyes widened upon her realization. She looked down at her broom.
It’s SO obvious!
Very well. You were kind enough to clean the place. I can at least give you what you came for.
A great gust of wind surged around Alicia. The gale was so violent, it forced her eyes closed. When wind slowly stopped, she opened her eyes again.
She was back in the park and saw Crimdaz lying on the grass, reading the novel he had brought along.
He dropped the book and looked at her.
“So… How did it go?”
Alicia sat on her broom and inwardly circulated the textbook fundamentals for flying. Before she could even form a clear thought, the broom shot up instantly.
Everything on the ground became smaller and smaller as she ascended higher and higher. Her heart felt like it was going to leap out of her throat, but she didn’t mind. She leaned the broom forward and it immediately bolted to wherever she willed it. It seemed to move along completely with her thoughts. Alicia’s heart pounded as she twirled and spun through the air at blistering speeds.
After what could have been hours of flying, she touched down to where Crimdaz was lying. He looked as if he hadn’t moved an inch.
He stood up and brushed the grass off his back.
“So… it went well?”
Alicia only looked at him. She struggled with not knowing whether to punch him or hug him. She went with neither and only smiled trying to contain her excitement.
“Well.” she answered shortly.
“Great! Now for my part of the agreement,” he said as he clapped his hands in a business man like fashion.
Alicia’s heart sank. She dread the next words that were coming out of his mouth.
“Remember how I said I always wanted to fly? Well, now that you’ve had your fun with it, I’m going to be taking that Magic for myself.”
The broom fell out of Alicia’s hands but she ignored it. Her jaw dropped and her breathing halted. She could not possibly believe what was happening.
“Oh my god, I was just kidding,” Crimdaz said, while putting up his hands.
Alicia immediately tackled him to the ground and started punching.
“Okay, okay! Sorry, not funny!” the Warlock said laughingly.
“Not. Funny. At. All.” Alicia yelled as she emphasized every word with a punch.
After a few more hits, she got off him. She felt embarrassed and hot in the face. The Witch thought about how she had never behaved that openly before, much less with a boy.
“So?” she scowled. “Your part of the deal?”
“Right!” Crimdaz said, pointing as he got up.
He went over and picked up the broom that fell and extended it to her. She grabbed it quickly and glared at him.
“Okay, then. So like I said before, I’ve always wanted to fly,” he said slowly.
“And… Well… you can fly now...”
Crimdaz eyed her like she was supposed to have understood everything by now. Alicia only stared back, trying to communicate that his hints were not apparent enough. Then she looked at her broom and started to understand. With a sly grin that she tried to imitate from Crimdaz, she walked around him in a circle.
“Oh? Did you want a ride?” she asked in a mock superior manner.
“Yes,” Crimdaz sighed. “If you would kindly.”
Alicia grinned broadly and sat on her broom. She scooted more to the front to make space for the Warlock. He nervously sat behind her.
The Witch realized that it was the first time she had seen Crimdaz not being confident or smug. She laughed inwardly and enjoyed the feeling.
“Not too fast.”
“Oh no… Of course not.”
She made ready to lift off.
“You might still want to hang on tightly, though.”
Crimdaz grasped her waist and Alicia felt herself blush. She hoped the Warlock couldn’t see her face.
Alicia felt giddy as she kicked off the ground hard and shot them like a bullet into the air.
Crimdaz yelled through the whole ascension.