Painting with Brooms

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A World Inside

The world around me swirled with colors- I was everywhere and no where lost in sensation. Magic. Powerful magic surrounded me, one I had not felt since the curse had been put on my body. All I could do was succumb to the darkness as I closed my eyes thinking that this was the end.

When I finally took a breath- I no longer smelled polished wood leather and dust. Instead it was... lilac, rosemary, lavender and butter cups. My eyes fluttered open and my jaw dropped as I looked around me- a vast huge landscape surrounded me full of flowers and trees.

I felt vastly out of place- a black dot in the middle of all this color and beauty. It made me want to recoil- but I didn't have the faintest idea how to return back home. Magic like this...

This was an entire world inside of a painting; but surely someone had figured out what this was by now right? Why hadn't Nicodemus ever said anything? Maybe he didn't know...

Or maybe he was playing witness protection for some other poor innocent soul.

"Miss- are you alright?"

My head snapped around to a male voice, he wore a white shirt that was half open and breeches similar to the ones Nicodemus wore that where jet black. His hair unlike Nicodemus' was short and well managed and had golden highlights, eyes a soothing deep blue as he held out a hand to help me. Did he make this place? "Yes I ah- to be honest I don't know how I got here." Now I felt like I was quoting Alice in Wonderland. Maybe the book had been based off a similar experience after all.

"Well you are certainly the first visitor we've had in quite some time. My wife hasn't been quite up for training a new witch anyhow but then again your presence might help revitalize her. I'm Ian."

"Y-your wife?" I asked slipping my hand into his. No vision. No warmth. No sign he was my fated one but then I knew it was not the same for witches. You had to be intimate. Things I had never done before let alone initiate. Maybe there where more than just these two here. Maybe my fated one was their child, even though he looked maybe in his early twenties a witch's appearance could be very deceiving.

"Yes she use to train weaker witches- but perhaps you're not in need of training after all." He said turning my arm over and tracing the vines wrapping up my elbow and forearm underneath, the skin now puckered and red in anger. "This is most serious. My wife will know what to do. Come." He let go of my hand and began walking down the hill where we had landed.

I followed obediently without hesitation, my eyes wandering to the scenery. "This place is amazing."

"Thank you, it's certainly become our home away from home. I only wish my wife was able to enjoy it as frequently as we once did. It's been so so long since we had a visitor. Are you hungry?"

At the mention of food my stomach growled making him laugh- I blushed in embarrassment. "Sorry it's been a while since I last ate- I didn't exactly think to..." The words died on my lips as we turned a corner and all of a sudden a huge grove of lilies and delilah's surrounded a stone path in blues and purples, a small pond and a sheer white house that had large glass windows over grown with moss and vines as if they where meant to be there with passion flowers blooming in purples and whites. Several large weeping willows with leaves just starting to turn golden. It was breath taking but.... something was out of place. The longer I stared at it the more I realized there was a spot on one of the trees that looked almost half finished near the top almost translucent. How strange.

"Marvelous isn't it? Well no time to waste lets get inside and I'll cook you up something nice. Do you like eggs?"

"Yes absolutely." I replied following him. "You said you use to train witches here?"

"Ah I wasn't the trainer just my wife, though on occasion I would certainly assist. I was mostly the one fixing them up. This is probably one of the safest places to preform magic since it's quite literally a world constructed of magic. That means the currents can be manipulated or cut off if it's being misused or could end up ending a life."

"Yeah that is a worry with any witch trying to get stronger." I admitted, though I never dared attempt. "Does your wife know anything about finding a fated one?"

He glanced back at me frowning as he opened the door- not even a squeak came from it as he moved it open to let me in. "Well to be honest she doesn't dabble in anything like that. She finds the idea of being forced to love someone repulsive. I find the notion quite romantic, someone made quite literally for you. It's something humans can only dream about certainly, and witches probably have it easiest finding their fated ones."

I walked inside, and he followed as well then leading me through the hallway. There where no pictures, mirrors or anything to indicate anyone lived there, the walls where completely bare but for a light or two. "But you two are together which by the looks of things has been a while, doesn't that mean-"

"No. Not in the slightest. We met the old fashion way, courting dating and such before I proposed to her. Her father was against the idea of course, very against it. So we created a world where we could be together without interference. I'm surprised your coven hasn't told you anything about this world. They use to send you all here to be trained quite often." He motioned for me to take a seat on a little bar stool next to the counter; an older looking stove sat out that he quickly stoked to life with a small fire.

I sat down relaxing as my feet dangled in the air slightly resting my head in my hands. "Well... the painting isn't exactly with a coven. I honestly had no idea this place existed."

"Not with a coven? Where is it exactly?" He asked setting a pan on the stove and cracking a few eggs that where sitting in a basket into it.

I frowned furrowing my brow. "It's in a castle with the king of vampires."

"There's a king of vampires? A witch on the inside? How about that... you're lucky you're here." Ian muttered rubbing his chin. A small yellow fridge that looked out of place sat far in a corner next to a brown door. He walked over to the fridge opening it up- the inside reminding me of some early version that hummed loudly though it emitted no noise. "Juice?"

"Please." I asked looking over him carefully- well he certainly thought vampires where the enemy, despite them not touching our kind now that we refuse to find them beloveds. Well at least legally. There was always a black market somewhere or a rouge witch that never got caught for whatever reason. I was never a strong witch but I did my best to study where I could... for the things I found interesting. "How long have you both been in here exactly? Is there anyone else?"

"Hard to say really. I've been in here a lot longer than my wife. She use to visit occasionally on the outside but she stopped going, said the world outside just gave her frightful headaches. But I always saw it as a way she apologized for all the times she stormed out into the real world after we had a fight. It was the only time she ever went. I knew she'd always come back to me though." He said this all in a very cheery relaxed manner as if it where something that was trivial.

But... how could he? I stared at him trying to puzzle this out. Surely this painting and these two where very old. Maybe not like the poison princess old she was back when villages where in Europe and Egyptians where ahead of their time. But at the very least civil war times when the witches also fought for territory. The winner chose the east and made a truce with the other strongest coven to give them the west. Might make sense if the coven they had belonged to was destroyed during the wars and the painting fell into vampire hands afterwards. So clearly that was a long time to be with someone.

A long time and then to dismiss them running away to the outside as something so silly as to why she'd never leave. Wouldn't she leave because she was upset? What had they fought about?

I was over thinking their relationship- but... Thinking about the scenery here. There was something about it that just made me think about the image I had seen. It had this quality that back home never had, vibrant and meaningful. It had to of happened here. One of them were the one, maybe him. There's no way that it would lead me on elsewhere- at least I suspected not since his wife was adamantly against finding a fated one. Maybe he could help?

Was he even a witch? He must be since he's lived so long- but he's never mentioned practicing. Not directly. Then again he just talks about him and his wife constantly. If he's my fated one I'm going to be doomed. But if it's the wife. I'm not really into girls I think- maybe? Aren't I supposed to like whoever I'm with? I guess I don't really know what I like anyways. But clearly they like one another enough to be together for years. No there's no way it could be one of them. Fate wouldn't destroy a good marriage.

He hummed happily pouring me some orange liquid and sliding the glass over. Our fingers brushed for a moment- and I waited to feel something. Anything.

Nope. I frowned down at my juice.

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