A black hole manifested from thin air. It opened up, just for a second, before snapping shut. I rubbed my eyes because I couldn’t believe it. I’m a witch, but I should have been the only one in the area. The one who called it wasn’t me, so where did it come from and how? Perhaps I was just seeing things because the day’s events had been more taxing than I thought.
Many thoughts circled in my head as I looked up at the dark, black sky. Everything would change soon for me, whether that’d be a good or a bad thing is something I’ve yet to find out. When thinking about difficult things I’d start from the basics, for example sometimes I’d reevaluate myself. I’m just a normal girl, but there were a lot of people who’d look at me differently just because I’m a witch. Magic or no magic, we were all the same in our essence of being human. All of us grow up, find our purpose in this world, grow old and in the end, we return to the realm of lesser spirits. Yet even in my home village people there were those who treated me like an outsider.
To find our purpose we all go through a journey of self-growth, whether it’s a figurative or a real one. As a witch, I’ll go on a journey around the world next year, just like all the other witches have done before me. A messenger from the witches council came yesterday to check my magic progress and informed me that I’ll be ready to start my journey on my 20th birthday as it was customary.
“Dona mihi fugatur spirituum flamma, virdi, caeruleus, flavus, purpura,” I called some colorful flames to light up the darkness around me.
I was sitting next to a small pond near my house. It was a cold, cloudy, summer night and no stars or the moon could be seen. There was no breeze and the pond was very still. The fish didn’t swim near the surface. I looked at the water but the only thing I saw was my own reflection. At the moment my face looked very pale. My skin complexion was fair but I rarely look like a piece of white paper. Maybe it was because this night was depressing. I couldn’t see my eyes clearly but they were probably blue or gray now. At least my hair looked okay. My blonde hair was tied up in a bun but my one natural red hair lock was free from it. Red hair was a mark of the fire spirit and it was very rare.
“The fire spirit loves you,” I remembered the words of my mother.
“The spirit blessed you,” I remembered my father’s words.
I never met the fire spirit. Everybody told me that the spirit favored me but I didn’t know if that was actually true. I tried to call the spirit many times but it never responded. In my incantations, I would usually call the spirits for help to perform magic but during its creation, I never felt the presence of any spirit. I gave up on contacting the fire spirit a few years ago because it only made me lonely. It felt like I was waiting for someone who doesn’t want to meet me.
The only positive thing about the so-called fire spirit favoritism was that I never had any problems with casting fire spells but I did have some trouble with other elemental spells.
I wondered whether I was doing okay with magic because I couldn’t compare my magic levels to other witches. The only witch in this larger area was me. There were less and less witches each year all over the world, according to the messenger of the witches guild.
The fireflies I came to see weren’t here and it wasn’t likely that they would show up. I got up and walked towards my home. On the way, I spotted a familiar figure.
“Calytrix! Are you going to the birthday feast?” Otto, a village guy two years younger asked me.
“No,” I answered.
“Why not? Everybody is there,” he tried to persuade me.
I didn’t want to answer him but he was intently looking at me while waiting for an answer and I couldn’t ignore him. He had cute puppy-like eyes.
“Because I wasn’t invited.”
The answer made me feel miserable. That’s why I didn’t want to answer or see anyone right now. It was such bad luck I ran into someone. I thought that everybody was at the feast already but I guess he was running late.
He was shocked at first but then he gave me a sad look.
“Don’t let me hold you up. Go to the feast quickly,” I said as I walked away with my back turned.
The look on his face at hearing I wasn’t invited only further fueled my one-girl pity party. I didn’t need anyone’s sympathy. One should invite to a birthday feast only people they want even if that meant all the young people in the village except me. I wanted to go to the feast with everyone and I even thought of a present for the birthday girl but it was pointless to think about it now. If I keep ignoring it I’ll feel better.
All of us played together as kids but as we grew up the distance between us became larger every year. I don’t know what caused this but I guess it was a part of growing up. After all, as a witch, I was meant to leave the village and find my new home somewhere distant.
I didn’t tell anyone that I didn’t get invited because I didn’t want to make outside pressure on someone who obviously didn’t want me at the feast.
I recalled my conversation with the birthday girl, Aliz, a few days ago.
“Calytrix! Calytrix! I need your help,” she came running to me. Her long brown hair was neatly done in a braid today and she wore heavy make-up. Although her clothes were tattered and dirty she postured as though she’s ready to attend something of importance.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“You know that beautiful black haired guy from the citadel? The one you probably heard us, girls talking about,” Aliz explained.
“I know him,” I answered and tried not to roll my eyes.
I didn’t think he was beautiful or special but the girls from my village fancied him. All the girls talked about him lately. Every single day for the last few months somebody shared stories about him and even I got to know his life story although I didn’t care. If somebody were to quiz me about him I’d probably pass the test with flying colors. It was impossible to talk about anything else with the girls.
“And you know that nasty brown haired girl who sells fabric near the town square?” she asked.
I knew her because I sometimes purchased fabric but I never made friends with her. My family were tailors and their child was supposed to inherit their business but since I was born with magic my life headed in a completely different direction.
“They are together now,” Aliz said angrily.
“What of it?” I said uninterested because gossip wasn’t something I liked talking about.
“Use your magic to make them break up and make him love me,” she requested.
“No. I shouldn’t use my magic like that.” I refused.
“Ah. Don’t tell me that somebody would prohibit you,” she said.
“Actually the witches guild forbids using magic on people in a harmful way,” I explained.
“And you need to do everything the guild tells you? You never even met another witch. They just send you a messenger very rarely.”
Aliz was getting angrier and angrier as the conversation went on.
“But I personally feel that it wouldn’t be right to use my magic to change feelings, break up relationships, and forge new on ruins of something I broke.”
Aliz made a low whining noise as she stuck her lip out and mimed sadness before speaking. She was getting on my nerves, but I wanted to be the better person so I didn’t lash out at her.
“You have no idea Calytrix!“Aliz tried to persuade me but I didn’t want to change my opinion. “Of course you can’t understand me. You have never fallen in love and always stick to rules. You always act the same. Do you even have emotions?”
Her words struck me as if she broke something inside of me.
“I-Of course I have emotions.”
“I wouldn’t be too sure. Are you even human?” Aliz asked.
I was shocked and hurt by her words at the same time. It was difficult to respond. Why wouldn’t I be human? I’m like everybody else. We grew up together. I didn’t know what to say to her.
“I’ll remember this!” she said as she angrily marched away.
The next day I woke up early as always to help my parents with their work. I picked up our laundry, put it in a big basket and went outside when my parents stopped me.
“Stop right there Trixie,” my mom said.
I inherited the same cute face shape from my mom but we were quite different in other physical attributes. She was smaller than me and had chocolate dark brown hair that complemented her warm brown eyes. Despite a lot of differences between us we usually got along well.
“What?” I was confused.
She looked at me like I did something wrong but everything was supposed to be fine.
“Cast your magic to wash the laundry,” she told me.
“But water spells are my weak point,” I complained.
I usually went to the nearest river to wash clothes. House chores were something I did normally. Just like everyone else I did them with my own physical work. That was how I spend my mornings but I spend the afternoons practicing my magic, learning spells and making potions. In the evenings I would read books for fun.
“No buts. If water spells are your weak spot that means you have to work on them more,” she said.
“From now on you should use your magic whenever you can.” my dad said.“You’re going on your journey next year and need to prepare.”
My dad and I shared the same eye colour. He was quite tall and strongly built. A lot of people said I looked a lo but I couldn’t understand them. He had a manly vibe while I had a girly one. I didn’t understand how could a male and a female like that be compared. I was smaller than him and I wasn’t strongly built.
I was the first witch in my family. My parents said that they were quite shocked at first but they accepted my magic. They couldn’t teach me how to use it so I had to learn it by myself. I was self-taught and practiced it from the educational materials the witch council sent to young witches every year.
A few days after the messenger of the witches council left my village I started intense magic training to prepare for the journey. Everything I had to do I did with magic. My mornings and afternoons became full of learning spells and practicing them, gathering ingredients for potions, and mixing them together. During my free time, I’d check the world map and circle the places that were my must-visit spots. In the evenings I stopped reading books for fun and instead focused on renewing my knowledge of geography and politics. I’ll be all alone next year so I need to prepare to be self-sufficient as much as I can. My journey didn’t have strict rules on what to visit at what time but I made plans on what to visit first and how to proceed after it.
“Donna mihi parva ventus...”
I was memorizing a spell outside my house when my friend Arlette called out to me. She was on a work break and came to chat with me for a bit. Her dark blonde hair was in a mess from work and I could notice her weariness. Arlette had flour over her but that was no surprise because she was the miller’s daughter. She was five years younger than me but we still had a lot of topics we could talk about and have fun. Sometimes I felt like she was the only friend I have left in this village.
At first, we exchanged some pleasantries, but our conversation quickly became a bit philosophical.
“Trixie, what do you want to do? What kind of a witch do you want to become once you complete your journey?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I said honestly.
“You don’t know?” she tilted her head as she looked at me.
“I’ll find my purpose on the journey.”
Arlette let out a strange sight like sound while deep thought. “Whatever path you take I’m sure that you’ll be a kind witch. Become someone great Trixie. A pride of our village!”
“Thank you,” I said with an embarrassed laugh.
She was a good friend, I hope I’ll make good friends like her on my journey and... “...she has a rich fiance,” my thoughts were interrupted by Aliz. “Honestly I don’t know some people are born lucky just like that and the rest of us have to work hard” She continued, “She’s lying to you Arlette.”
“I didn’t lie! I meant every word I said,” I shook my head in denial.
“You’ll go on a journey without a clear goal,” Aliz looked at me with distrust in her eyes.
“My goal is to find a goal!” I stated.
“Right. You’ll go around aimlessly as you search for this elusive goal,” Aliz said. “Don’t mess with me! People don’t act that way.”
“It seems like you already know how my life will look,” I said angrily.
“Of course I do,” Aliz said.“We’re dirty, poor girls from a village nobody outside this area ever heard of. Scoring a rich husband and going to live in a better place than this would be our main life achievement.”
“No! There is more to life,” I said.
“There are only two options in life. Either you follow my suggestion or you die early and lonely like a stray dog,” Aliz said seriously.
“I do think it’s nice to have someone but the way you put it sounds too forced,” I said.
“Aren’t you blowing off too much steam?” my friend said.
“You two have no idea. Everything is already decided but you two are too dumb to realize it so I won’t waste my words on you.” Aliz said and walked away.
“I’ll find my own path. I don’t need anybody to make life decisions for me,” I said.
“Me too,” Arlette said. “I’m not a free witch but I’ll do my best.”
“Yes. I’m sure we’ll make it,” I said.
“I hope you find your goal early on your journey,” she said cheerfully.
“Do you have a goal?” I asked Arlette.
“Yes, but I’ll tell you all about it later,” she said. “But by the way Trixe, will you ever visit your fiancé?”
“I don’t think I will.”
I never got a single letter from my fiance. He probably wasn’t interested in an arranged engagement and I could understand that.
“I’ll find my own path and become a proper witch. Walking on a path somebody else already decided for me seems like a defeat and I’d hate that to happen.” I said.
“I believe you’ll accomplish it, but you’ll probably struggle a lot. Calytrix, you lack some common knowledge,” Arlette said as she laughed.
“I don’t understand. I read a lot. I shouldn’t lack knowledge,” I said.
“It is something books can’t teach. You still act like a good kid sometimes and you don’t really know the ways of the world.” she talked like an old woman.
“Hey. When did you become such an adult that gives lectures?”
She just laughed and excused herself because her mother called her to get back to work. I picked my spellbook and started memorizing everything. Before my journey starts, I’ll work as much as I can on my magic.