The Warmth of the Hearth

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The Bonded Witch

There were few who did not know who Thora was, and fewer who accepted her. She was an unexplainable part of their small community of Feebles, she was different. Grunts can be heard as the two girls grab hold of both of her arms, with Thora desperately trying to break free.

“What do you want Wendy?” Thora looks at the girl in front of her. She stops her struggling, focusing her eyes on the girl called Wendy. “I don’t want any trouble.”

The girl leans closer to her and grabs her face. She attempts a smile, which looked more like a snarl. “Aww, ya think I care bout what ya want?! Ya owe me coin fer bein a witch, or else we’ll burn ya!” Wendy lifts up her hand and slaps Thora, causing a thunderous clap to echo within the vicinity.

Onlookers start to gather around them, cheering Wendy on. The crowd erupts as more people arrive to see Thora getting beaten. “Burn the witch! She’s not one of us!” A voice screams from the group as Wendy continues to beat Thora up.

The temperature suddenly drops and the crowd goes silent from the freezing cold. They shiver as a dark mist blankets the entire area. The two girls let go of Thora, sending her sprawling on the ground as they scurry back behind Wendy. Wendy steps back from Thora, her eyes now quivering with fear. “Witchy, what have ya done?”

Thora looks behind her to see the bags of groceries now dropped to the floor. Kein stands still, a manic smile plastered on his face. He approaches Thora, pulling her upright. She knew that something was off as black marks start to appear on Kein’s skin. He speaks, his voice deceivingly calm. “Why don’t you fight human? What are you afraid of?” His body twitches, as if he was itching to do something. She answers him, fear starting to creep its way into her. “Kein, no. Back off, it’s not worth it.”

Kein looked at her with visible confusion. He was born out of power, and those with power would either use it to gain authority or lose to someone more powerful than them. Kein was astonished at the fact that this girl who could easily get rid of these trash would choose not to. He faces the people around them, blinded by his smoke. An image of ripping them apart excites him, to make them suffer. He takes a step, and another.

Thora sees this and shouts at Kein to stop. He doesn’t look back however, as she senses bloodlust emanating from him. This is bad. She pushes herself upright, her face visibly swollen from Wendy’s strikes. She puts her hand out towards Kein, now close to the other feebles. Black markings appear on her body as she activates the seal of their Bond. In an instant, the smoke dissipates as Kein curls into the ground, screaming in pain. Thora approaches him, apologizing for what she had to do.

“Argh! Let me go!” He whimpers, the black marks on his skin no longer there.

A voice from the crowd shouts, breaking their silence. “Burn em! They’ll kill us all if we don’t!” The rest erupt as they attempt to charge towards the two, carrying pitchforks and other makeshift weapons they could find.

Thora looks at them, now boiling with anger. Her eyes grow a violent white, as she extends both arms towards the mob. She pulls them down, and as she does so, a strong gust of wind forces them into submission. She spares no one, looking at their helpless bodies that were rendered immobile on the ground by her wind. Thora speaks, using her wind to amplify her voice. “Bother me again, and I’ll kill all of you!” She walks away, helping Kein up and lifting the bags with her wind. Her head turns around for a moment, glaring at those below her before heading home.

The two of them arrive at Thora’s house, a small shack found on the outskirts of Murkville besides the river. Like Murkville, it’s surrounding floor was made up of nothing but mud due to how close the river was, making agriculture a hard choice for livelihood.

Two figures await at the doorway, an old man dressed in ragged robes, leaning on a cane for support, and an old woman who despite her age, was quick on her feet and was the first to meet them. She asked, her kind eyes moving from the injured Kein to the swollen face of Thora. “What happened?” The old woman takes Kein’s other arm around her, helping Thora set him inside to sit on the mat.

Thora plops down beside him, exhausted from expending her manna. “The usual, Wendy being a goop.” Her eyes fall on Kein, who was now unconscious. “He has his way of doing things, which might not be the best ways.” Her father comes in, a concerned look in his eyes. “Thora, you know who Kein is right? And though I find your purpose noble, I still stand with what I said.” His voice was whole and pure, as if he was used to being in authority.

Thora understands where her father is coming from, and answers him accordingly. “I know father, but I would like to believe that there is some good in him.” Her mom hands her a wet cloth and she puts it on her bruises, a sting here and there. “He’ll crack sooner or later.”

Her mother smiles, as if she was teasing Thora. “Well, Kein is starting to open up to me, almost like a son. Maybe…” She faces Thora, a grin on her face. “Maybe he could make a lovely son-in-law?”

Thora flushes red, and she excuses herself to go do something along the lines of cooking. Her father speaks, visibly happy with his wife’s opinion. “That’s true, he has been helping out these days. When can we expect a marriage?” With this, Thora disappears, leaving her mother and father to tend to the sleeping Kein.

Her father speaks, now serious. “Tiana, they have caught on to us.” Tiana Fjord doesn’t look up to him, and instead continues to tuck Kein in. She responds, her voice no longer upbeat. “I saw. Should we finally tell Thora?” Tiana stands up, facing him. He responds. “Yeah, it is time.”

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