The Winter Witch

By Tarynne Bourret All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Adventure

~Chapter Eleven~ Journey’s Preparation

“Enya are you sure this is what you want to do?” Roux asked as the two headed up the twisting stairway exiting the Hollow Tree and entering The Grove once more. Even with the early dawn everything still felt warm as though it was the midst of summer. “This isn’t going to be something that’s easy, not only with that of the Grau-Böse, but also with the snow. The weather can be equally dangerous.”

“I know,” Enya said. “But I can’t just sit and do nothing. She’s my mother, and I don’t want to lose the only parent I have left. I need her, and I know she needs me. Please don’t fight me on this.”

“That’s not my intention, but as you are probably aware I have no intention in letting you go alone. Wherever you go, I will go also.”

Enya smiled at the fox when they reached the center of The Grove, now all they needed to do was find that shrub to leave and to return home to try and figure out what to do from there.

“Enya!” Tula called out, causing the girl to stop, the Sidhe flew over to her and the fox. “Please wait a moment.”

“Tula, where have you been? We haven’t seen you at all since we came to the Hollow Tree. Did something happen?”

“In of sort’s, the Queen had asked of me to prepare myself.”

“Prepare?”

“For the long journey ahead, she wishes for me to accompany you to find and stop the Winter Witch.”

“Not to sound rude,” Roux spoke. “But what exactly do you think you’ll be capable of doing? You hold that of the season of Spring do you not? You think your ability could even stop someone as strong as this supposed witch?”

She gave an almost offended look to the fox as she put her hands on her hips. “And what of you fox? You have no magic, do you? do you think you can stop the witch, or even protect the human girl from her if it came down to it?”

Roux snarled angrily to the small creature.

“Enough of that you two,” Enya told them. “Fighting isn’t going to solve anything.” She looked to Tula. “If the Queen requested you to join us, there must be a reason. Can you tell us what you’re able to do?”

“Well…” she began, her fingertips tapping against one another, before squaring her shoulders as her arms fell to the sides as she looked directly to Enya. “I can fend off the Grau-Böse if needed.”

Enya couldn’t help but look surprised, this tiny creature could do such a thing? “Really?” she asked unable to stop herself. “How?”

Tula extended her right hand, her gaze to the flower covered ground, and before the three sprouted up a vine that grew with surprising speed. “Like this, I can even control the trees or roots when needed to fend them off. It’s not any kind of offensive magic but it’s good for protection at night. Since those of my kind give off a feeling that the Grau-Böse hate.” She then gave her biggest smile. “And with me around you will be safe, think of me as a protective charm!”

Roux looked to the vine that now stood before them and asked. “You said that the Grau hate your kind, why?”

“Because I am that of life, many of those who are connected to a season tend to be something of which the Grau-Böse either hate, fear, or even ignore. At least those who hold magic, those who don’t or have yet to unlock their abilities they will want to destroy, no one knows why that is however…”

Enya had more questions but shook her head stopping herself, she could ask more when needed as they traveled. “Alright then, if the you truly wish to come with us, then I have no problems with it.”

“Enya!” Roux snapped. “You cannot be serious!”

“I am,” she told him. “If Tula is offering I think it’s best to allow it, besides, if that Grau attack…”

“They’re might not be any!” Roux interrupted her.

“But if there is!” she told him again. “Then I’d feel a lot more comfortable in relying on someone who can do so. And I do not think that the Dawn King, Kornais, will not be able to accompany us either.” She placed a hand atop of his head and smiled at him. “Not everyone is bad in the world Roux. Tula has helped us, given you the ability to speak. And I’m grateful for it.” She placed her hands along the sides of his face. “I know you’re just trying to keep me safe, but I promise I won’t disappear.”

After she gave him a hug and moved away from him to put her winter coat, gloves and the like back on, Roux remained where he sat.

“You still don’t trust me?” Tula asked softly as she flew to his side.

“It takes longer then a day to be willing to trust. It takes time, and though I know you mean no harm it just seems strange to me that the Queen herself would not bring this up before we even left.”

“The Queen tends to be like that sometimes.” Tula admitted. “But I understand your suspicion, anyone, or creature would be as well. After all, she’s your family, and you do what you can to protect her. I know that much from our conversation from the night in her home.”

He sighed. “Yes, and I always will. I don’t know much in regard to being a familiar, but I hope that I can remain by her side for as long as she needs me.”

“I think she always will.” Tula said with a slight smile before flying off towards Enya with the fox soon to follow after them as they then finally left the Grove.

It was mid to late afternoon by the time the three of them returned to Enya’s home, and upon opening the door, the girl was then quickly greeted by the two boy’s who remained when she left to meet with the Queen of the Fairies.

“You’re both still here?” Enya found herself saying when they came to greet her as she pulled of her hat. “I thought you both returned home.”

“Well, we had, sort of.” William said. “We basically told our families that we’d be staying with a friend for a little while.”

“And your father believes that?” Roux said with a slight sarcastic tone.

“He did!” He said. Then added. “It took a bit of convincing though.”

“And you?” Enya asked Richard.

“I merely told my uncle that I would be assisting you since your mother is away and you live mostly alone.” William, however, looked almost dumbfounded. “What?”

“Why did you tell him that?” William said, shocked and confused. “Do you have a death wish for it?”

Richard merely frowned. “He saw no problem with it, in fact he offered to assist you Enya if you need anything.”

“Why?” she asked, for she could not understand why that would be.

“Well, from how he spoke of your mother he seems to hold her in high regard with all that she has done for the village. And he wishes to give aid to you while you wait for your mother’s return.”

“She won’t be,” Enya said softly, as she placed her coat on the rack. “And not by choice, someone… the Witch took her.” With both boys giving her questioning stares, she explained it to them as they ate warm bread and chicken broth.

“So, you are descendent from the Schnee family,” William spoke. “And if the Witch is the same one that we spoke of then I suppose it would make sense why she would take your mother if she’s related. But why would she take your mother?”

“From what Kornais spoke of, it seems that the Winter Witch had suffered a great loss, and that is why it causes the snow to fall. Since she cannot control her magic. But as to why she decided to take my mother I do not know. What I do know is that the Queen of the Fairies had asked me to do it since I’m the only one who might be able to stop her.”

“You don’t sound confident that you can.” William told her.

She let out a breath. “That’s because I’m not. I don’t think she would even listen to a kid like me. But my mother and I have something in common with the Witch if it’s true. And I want to see my mother again. So even though I feel like I might not be able to do much I still have to at least try.”

Both boys looked to each other and gave a silent nod of agreement as though they themselves had thought of an idea.

“Then we might have a way for you to get there.” William said before pulling out the book from his bag. “Remember the castle we talked about before? The one that belonged to the Schnee family, well it might be possible that the Witch went there. If she is from that family, then it makes sense. Richard and I were both thinking the same thing while going over the map.”

“Then did you figure out what those markings were?” Enya asked. “The ones that are littered around on the map?”

William’s shoulders slumped.

“He’s been looking at it constantly while you were gone,” Richard explained. “Even though he doesn’t know the language, he still looks at.”

“It’s not my fault I can’t read it,” William told him. “You can’t read it either, but even though I know I can’t I feel as though I’ve seen it before. These words, or symbols, they feel so familiar, I’m not sure why.”

“Those are Runes.” Tula spoke suddenly, causing William to jump back slightly as the small flower fairy landed near the book and stared down at the map. “Incredible, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a map with this amount of detail before. But regardless I am certain that these markings that you’ve described were left by those of the Magus.”

“The Magus?” Richard spoke, sounding intrigued. “Who were they?”

Tula looked to the boy. “An ancient folk of people, capable of a different kind of magic. And studies of philosophy. They were the ones who created the barriers that have be erected around this village and others many, many years ago.”

“Then, would they be able to fix the barriers?” Enya asked. “Since these people built them in the first place?”

Tula, however folded her arms across her chest. “Well, they would, if they were still here. They were all whipped out a long time ago. It’s believed to be by that of the Grau-Böse that was the true cause, but it’s uncertain. All that’s left are the Ruins around the world. From what I hear though, some lead to secret places, but it’s protected by strong magic.”

“Then maybe that’s why he’s here?” Enya thought aloud.

“He? You mean the Dawn King?” William asked, which Enya nodded in turn.

“He told me that he came here, because of what was wrong around the village, originally I asked if the Witch had anything to do with it and he said that it isn’t her. And though this is only my assumption, that he intends to somehow fix the barrier before leaving to stop the Witch.”

Richard gave Enya a hard look. “And yet you intend to leave before him in the hopes to find your mother, even though it’s incredibly dangerous with that of the Grau-Böse.”

Enya however did not back down from him. Standing firm as she looked at the boy with a firm gaze of her own. “I understand the danger, but I need to go. I need to find her. She’s my mother, besides Roux, she’s all I have left.”

Richard frowned. “But going alone, it will most definitely get you killed.”

“She won’t be alone.” They all looked to Tula who was still standing on the table. “The Queen has asked me to accompany her on this journey to find and stop the Winter Witch. And with my magic it should be more then enough when handling that of the Grau-Böse.”

“And yet you were so easily fooled to become stuck in a tiny glass jar.” Roux said in an off-handed tone, his golden eyes taking a sideways glance before looking at her with a serious expression. “How do you intend to assist if you were to become trapped again?”

The Sidhe puffed out her cheeks in a defensive manor. “That was one-time fox, I will not be so easily tricked a second time. Besides, it’s best for someone with magical abilities to accompany you in case you need to defend against the Grau-Böse. They hate the light, and my powers, though slightly different from that of Kornais, can still be useful against those things.”

“True enough,” the fox agreed as he remained where he sat. “But this will be a long journey, are you sure you can handle it?”

“You should be asking Enya that, not I.” Tula said. “Her Majesty wished for me to go, no ordered me too, I have be prepared for what is to come. And that includes protecting you both. After all, the children did much for me. It would be arrogant to not assist.”

The fox seemed to smile. “Very well then, Enya, we should go over our own supplies and figure out what we will need to take. And I’m sure many of the villagers will wish to aid you. even if you say no.”

She placed her hand atop of the fox’s head. “I know Roux, I know many will think it’s a foolish thing to do, to say that I should be older if I intend to look for her alone but… I’m not, and it won’t change how long I wait. And the longer I wait, will just make my worry grow.”

“Then go,” Richard said suddenly. “I know all too well what it’s like to wait only for that person never to return. With thoughts of what things would have been if I had gone out looking. But I was far too young back then, but you know your own limits. And you think things through. So you should go.”

But wait,” William interjected. “Just a moment ago you were saying it was a bad idea. She could still die out there.”

“I know, but she has a Sidhe with her, one who can use magic to bring light. That’s far more favorable then going alone. Besides, imagen if you were in her place, would you have just continued to wait as the village continues to be buried in snow?”

William flinched, Enya knew the reason though Richard was not aware of Will’s mother leaving so suddenly a few years back. “No…” he admitted softly. “No, I wouldn’t, even if the odds were against me, I’d still go and search, even if it were to get me killed. If there was a chance I’d take it with full force.”

“Then I suppose that’s settled then,” Said the fox as he stood up. “So, with that said, let’s get started, shall we?”

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