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Averly Amoret's Blog Entry



 
 

Blog Entry
 
Sunday, May 05, 2019
Misery Loves Company (Past Chapters)

    FOUR MONTHS PRIOR

     

    The day she had met Hudson, had been a strange one. Freshly twenty, she had decided to head out on her own for the first time. Leaving the strange comfort that came from living under the same roof as her family, for the peaceful quiet that came with living on your own for the first time. For months she had spent all of her spare time making the necessary preparations for her departure, something her grandmother Esmerelda had made clear she did not agree with.

     

    “I fail to see how leaving your family will be beneficial for anyone. You are skilled in our nurseries, no one can whisper to the herbs like you do. You’ve shown so much promise as a midwife as well, now you’re throwing it all away to put yourself in danger.” Esmerelda crossed her arms in front of her, the expression looming on her face a daunting one. The high witch’s salt and pepper curls hung in an elegant mess down her back, and her striking gray eyes peered into Averly’s very soul.

     

    For nearly a century, Esmerelda had been charged with protecting these lands and its people. In Ave’s opinion she ruled with a strict iron fist, keeping its people in line with fear rather than just discipline. Even as her granddaughter, Esmerelda seemed to look over Averly with an extra keen eye. The marks resulting from Averly’s plentiful punishments as a young witch, followed her even until adulthood. She may never forget the fear that had coursed through her tiny body as Esmerelda stalked over to her with a freshly heated fireplace poker, all because she had cried after watching her mother kill a rabbit for that night’s dinner.

     

    “I’m not going far, grandmother. Down the river, still close enough to sense if you should need any help. You’ve also done an excellent job at keeping our lands safe, I have nothing to fear as long as you hold power.” Averly feigned a tentative smile, keeping her head lowered just enough to show the respect Esmerelda consistently sought after.

     

    A cruel smile danced its way across Esmerelda’s features, “I’ve taught you well, Neptem. You’d be ever wiser to remember that flattery will always work its wonders when it comes to me. You may go, but you are to return here twice a week to assist me in my rounds. Should you fail, you will be living under my roof rather than your mothers.”

     

    Fear coursed through her bones at that wicked smile, and Averly had to fight to keep the bile that crept up her slender throat down. “I will not fail you in that regard. I will return as requested.”

     

    “Oh, I’ll be sure of it. Don’t make a fool of yourself Averly, your mother is too soft. I will ensure that you are kept in line if she will not.”

     

    Later that same day, Averly decided to tend to her garden. Beginning the hard work of weeding the small plot east of her cottage. The land there was fertile enough, but nothing like the centuries worth of spell enchanted nurseries that she had tended to her entire life. Her natural affinity for cultivating life had been a shock to both her mother Cassandra, and the cruel dictator witch that was Esmerelda. She would consider them disappointed, if she had not grown to learn new skills.

     

     Ave’s magic was the light to Cassandra’s dark magic. Where her mother could kill with half a thought, Averly could nurse them back to health. Life wilted and stopped under her mothers’ footsteps, where fresh flowers sprouted underneath Averly’s feet when she began taking her first steps. A magic so strong and new, that witches all over the country came to pay their respects to the new princeps. 

      It was while planting the common sage seeds on the east side of the plot that she began to hear the rusting of leaves and the snapping of branches. Ears perked, she slowly stood from where she had been hunched over. It was only while gardening that she had ever been permitted to trade in her usual fine skirts and dresses for knit leggings and knit shirts. A fashion similar to the other worlds they had visited during Averly’s witchling training, one of the very few traits they had adopted over the years of world-walking. 

      With light footsteps, she quietly snuck her way over to the tree line. Observing the forest ahead, waiting for any movement to catch her eye. Trained ears had told her that the sound was much too large to be a small creature, perhaps it was a deer searching for the river.

    The broad shoulders of a mortal man became visible through the coniferous forest, his boots clumsily crunching over debris. His wary expression became visible, his head turning ever few moments to scan the area for anyone spying on him. As Averly so happened to be. From his demeanor, it was easy to tell he knew exactly where he was, and that he was most definitely NOT supposed to be here. His dark cloak hid any weapons he may have brought along his witch hunt, but unfortunately it could not mask the smell that came with mortal men. A distinct salty, musky smell radiated from every pore of their being. It was a scent she had only caught a few times in her short life, and one she doubted she would ever want to again.

      Silently, she spread out the golden but invisible light of her magic through the forest. Soft tendrils twirling their way intimately around the trunks of trees until they made their way to the man, wrapping around his ankles first before they crawled up his defined body. Although the could not see it, her magic was able to tell her as much.  What her magic did not tell her however, was if he had any weapons. How strange indeed, for a mortal man to come through Witch Country without a weapon in sight. Her curls of magic finally crawled up his spine, slipping into his mind with ease. Averly began digging through the information when his voice sounded, so clearly over to her.

      “Where are you, witch?”   
     

    TWO MONTHS PRIOR

     

    A shudder ripped through her as blood pooled at her bare feet, all thought escaping her as she watched it gently splatter on to the floor. Her eyes briefly paused at her small swollen belly, before focusing back on the crimson on the hardwood floor. It was only a scream that made it past her full pink mouth, all breath escaping her at the horrible realization that her babe was dying.

     

    It was as she hurtled herself towards the wash room that pain exploded in her lower back, a pain unlike any cycle she had ever experienced. Her hips ached, and her stomach lurched at the thought of her precious gift attempting to vacate its loving home inside her womb. Heart racing, she lowered herself with as much care as she could into the oversized wash basin and lifted the hem of her night gown. What she saw, she knew would invade her thought at every waking moment from that moment onward. Bright blood covered her thighs, lump tissue clung to her porcelain skin. A sob ripped through her, shaking her shoulders violently. She would have no choice but to call for help.

     

    Mustering up strength, Averly tilted her head backwards, resting her head on the lip of the tub. Her eyes fluttered closed as she imagined a golden light flaring out from her home, all the way to the outer reaches of Witch Country. To where both her mother, and grandmother resided. Once a renowned mid wife, Ave’s grandmother Esmerelda could save the baby. If only she had been called in time.

     

    The golden beacon hit a wall of gray, poking and prodding until allowed to slip through the smallest of cracks. No doubt, into the now curious minds of both Esmerelda and Cassandra, Averly’s mother.

     

    The terrified, blood-soaked mother waiting in the tub sent a silent prayer to the universe, that it would be in time to save the last piece of her lover that she had.

     

    Averly nestled into an armchair closest to the hearth, cradling a cup of herbal tea between her long fingers. The lip of the cup was nestled against her full lips, the steam coating her face in warmth. It had now been hours since she had called for her mother and grandmother, and they were currently taking care of the mess they had left in both her bedroom and washroom. A generosity that was out of place for both elder witches, who were normally stoic and cold. Both Esmerelda and Cassandra were hard at work, while their lovely Ave was struggling with the feeling of drapetomania. The chill of winter calling her name, its mind-numbing cold sung to her now. Anything to get away from the reality of what had happened.

     

    Cassandra, her mother had been the first to arrive. Storming through the small cottage with concern that Averly had never seen on her face. Even from the cold porcelain bathtub, Averly could see that it was indeed concern filling her brilliantly green eyes. Cassandra had dropped to her knees next to Averly, placing a cool palm on her daughter’s forehead with a care that had been gut wrenchingly absent her entire childhood. “She will be here soon, my daughter. How long have you been with child?”

    A sense of dread quickly washed over Ave, her throat tightening. Of course, she had somehow forgotten that she had left her family in the dark when it came to her condition. With a sigh, she had said “Nearly 8 weeks, if my notes are correct about my cycle.”

     

    Cassandra leaned over the rim of the basin, placing a steady hand on Averly’s stomach. The familiar warmth of her mother’s magic seeped through her, the magic deceivingly inviting. Her mother’s natural affinities were dark, to say the very least. Although it seemed that she could will that darkness away, if the matter called for it. “Nothing can be said for sure until your grandmother arrives, but I can sense a faint heartbeat. There is still hope.” It was with a tight-lipped smile that Cassandra smoothed back the wild tangle of hair from Averly’s face. As if her motherly instincts that had been absent for most of her life, suddenly returned seeing her blood-drenched daughter soaking in the gore that fell out of her.

     

    It was a crack that sounded through the home, marking that Esmerelda had finally arrived. Salt and pepper curls floated into the doorway of the washroom, weary gray eyes locked on the scene before her. Esmerelda was not the kind to feign distress, instead gracefully dropping to her knees beside the tub. Wrinkled, spotted hands placed themselves on Averly’s womb and began to glow with a rose-tinted hue. “How long have you been enduring the pain?” Grandmother worked quickly, without hesitation. Lifting up the cotton nightgown higher, she did not wait for a response. “You’ve lost a lot of blood, Neptem. Filia fetch me a cup of hibiscus tea for dear Averly, it should be in the third cupboard from the entryway if memory serves me right.”

     

    Of course, her grandmother would suggest tea, of all things. The old witch still considered tea a natural nepenthe, as well as valued the effects different blends had on the body. However, after nearly 60 years of being a midwife, Averly knew she had to trust her judgement.

     

    “You’ve already lost the babe.”

     

    ~+~

     

     As Cassandra sat beside her, Averly jolted from her daydream with jump. Spilling hot herbal tea in her lap during the process, the substance burning her tender skin underneath the blankets. Sliding a gentle arm behind her, Cassandra pulled her daughter in close, Ave could have sworn she breathed in the scent of her hair as she did so. “It’s always hard losing your first, dear.”

      Shock froze her mouth open wide, as Ave stared deep into her mother’s brilliant green orbs. Those mossy green hues had once filled her with outrage, to the point a walk in the cool winter air wouldn’t even be enough too cool her down even when she was barefoot. However, they now looked sadly into her own, both regret and sorrow replacing the aloofness that had shaped her childhood. Hesitantly, Cassandra smoothed back wild curls from her face, placing a kiss just above her brow. 

      “I was your age when your father and I first experienced the despair that comes with losing a child. Though it be but natural, it was heart-wrenching nonetheless. If we had known you were expecting, or even willing to conceive, your grandmother would have prepared a tonic at once.” A shake of her head had Cassandra’s long brown mane swaying with the motion, her eyes closing for half a moment before meeting Averly’s once more. “It doesn’t matter now. What matters is that you are alive, and that you will recover. Your heart will always ache, but it can be persuaded with time.” A tight-lipped smile sent the wrinkles lining Cassandra’s lips upwards, so misplaced on the witch’s otherwise young face.

      Averly fought back the fiery burn of silver lining her almond shaped eyes, the tears threatening to spill over onto her cheeks. Cassandra’s voice filled evoked saudade within Averly’s own heart, though she had no memories of her father. Cassandra and Rowin’s love was aeonian, and once in a life time. Though their lands small, Rowin had once hailed from a coven who sought refuge in the Inara Mountains. He had come down on market day when he laid eyes upon her mother, knowing instantly he was to spend the rest of his life at her side. Averly had requested the story thousands of times. Usually, her mother remained sibylline in any description she gave of the man Ave had never met. Every once in a blue moon however, Cassandra would indulge her only child in the tale of romance.

      “The tonic your grandmother gave you will help you expel the remaining tissue, it should be over within a day. Until then, you would be wise to get as much rest as possible. I’ve suspended your duties in the nursery for the following week. It’s the most I can do for you, I’m afraid. You know how she is.” With a sigh, Cassandra stood up from where she had nestled in with Avery. An exhausted smile didn’t quite reach her eyes as she turned to grab her overcoat. “Ave, please remember how much I’ve loved you.”
     

     
    

    Tears began spilling down her weathered face as she looked once more at Averly, savoring her daughter’s silence, before stepping through the entryway. The heavy wooden door slammed shut behind her, a sudden chill climbing up Averly’s spine.

     

    “I’ve never heard my daughter speak so much or make as grandeur of a gesture as the one she has made tonight.”

     

    Averly watched as the older witch’s mouth turned into a harsh line, the motion sending her soft wrinkles lining her mouth downward. Though her icy grey eyes were full of life, the wrinkles surrounding them were those of the wise old witch who had decades of experience under her unassailable power as the head witch. It wasn’t hard to see that her grandmother must have once been beautiful, the ringlets cascading down her back and framing her face had once been full of life. Her raven black hair had withered away to salt and pepper colored curls, the fizziness the only thing bringing her dull hair any volume these days. Rumor had it, that every male witch in the country had once sought her hand. Esmerelda had dismissed them all without a second thought, instead taking a lover for one night, only to be impregnated with Cassandra.

     

    The uneasiness in Ave’s belly only grew stronger as she closely eyed her grandmother stalk closer, her footsteps drowned out by the sound of Averly’s own heartbeat. The gentleness Esmerelda had displayed earlier was only a ruse, it was always a ruse. To earn her trust, get her guard down, so that when she least expected it she could be pounced on. The gait in which Esmerelda walked towards her reminded Averly of the mountain lions she had watched over the years, nearly admiring the swiftness in which they attacked their prey. Averly was to be no different in this circumstance.

     

    As Esmerelda’s claws dug into the cushions of her armchair, Averly leaned back into it. Staring up at her grandmother, quick to swallow the fear and bile creeping up her throat. “Who was it that impregnated my granddaughter? Don’t even try to lie your way out of this one, parvulus. “Esmerelda’s voice sonorous voice hissed into Averly’s ear, only sending another shiver of fear up her spine. The sneer on her grandmother’s face made her suspect that she somehow already knew, but that she was waiting for an answer before continuing her interrogation. Eventually handing out the punishment with the iron fist that had ruled for the near century that she had been in power.

     

    “It was a mortal man.” Ave struggled then to control her breathing, the fear that clenched her gut taking over as a cruel grin spread over her elder’s face. Standing, Esmerelda fished a dagger from the folds of her black cloak. Her long, seemingly frail fingers cradled the dagger carefully. Nearly admiring its deadly beauty as she paced around the armchair in which Averly sat in, coolly contemplating a worthy punishment for her. Averly had done more than break one of her grandmothers’, and high witch’s top rules. No, she had also jeopardized Esmerelda’s opportunity to offer her hand in marriage to someone else. Averly had nearly birthed one of the half-breeds that had been wiped out once Esmerelda had come to power and had not seen the light of the day since.

     

    “Your honesty is appreciated. However, the crime is the same. You will be dealt with the utmost importance, only fit for my kin. You have not only betrayed myself and your mother, but you have betrayed the very law that I wrote. You have jeopardized the well-being of this coven and our standing with the rest of the country, and most importantly jeopardized our reputation.” Esmerelda sneered as she spoke, continuing her circle around Averly with too-sure steps. “Your mistake could cause a crippling affliction of the nervous system that is the order in how our life works.”

     

    Too quick for Averly to detect or see, the dagger in Esmerelda’s hand swept quickly along her forearm. Leaving a crimson gash, starting at the side of her hand and extending down to her elbow. Fire sparked in her arm at the wound, the white-hot pain shooting through her recklessly. The wound was nowhere near as painful as the words that Averly heard next.

     

    “Had you been able to keep your pants on long enough to let him pass by, the poor dear need not have suffered such an unfortunate accident.”

     

    The sharpness of her nails embedded into her palm brought Averly silent comfort in the pain that it brought. The ache in her hand was dull, compared to the heart break of those words, her heart shattering in a moment notice around the sharp knife her grandmother had stabbed into her chest.

     

    “Suffered such an unfortunate accident?”

     

    Esmerelda’s eyes widened ever so slightly, the motion not going unnoticed by Averly. Nor did the way her grandmother’s grip tightened on the hilt of the dagger as she paused beside the armchair. As always, Averly watched as Esmerelda regained her composure and carried on with dignity.

     

    “How ignorant do you think we are, Neptem? We all heard about how sweet Tyche found you huddled over the corpse of a mortal. She may have twisted the story to seem like you are as delicate as the flowers you tend to, but your mother and I knew better.” With this Averly watched numbly as her grandmother snarled. “That girl may be loyal, but it doesn’t change the fact that she’s as bad as a gossip as the rest are.”

     

    With another quick movement, Esmerelda slashed another would into Averly’s now bare thigh. The thick blanket she had originally nestled into the armchair with, pooled on to the floor at her feet. The keen sting of the blade did nothing to make her muscles move, nor did the blood that seeped its way down her thigh and into the cushions on which she sat.

     

    “It’s not hard to tell that you were his undoing.” Averly watched as a smirk lit up the cold gray eyes of her grandmother, of her coven leader. She had succumbed to be a senseless form as her grandmother hacked away at her slowly, knowing she wouldn’t be done until Averly was sobbing on the floor.

     

    “It’s just a shame that you had to lose an heir, as shameful as a half breed would have been to my family.” A soft snort escaped the thin line of her grandmothers’ mouth, Averly’s ears pricking up in response.

     

    Fire spread throughout her body, filling her cheeks, her gut, and bringing a pounding sensation to her head as she stood up and quickly exploded.

     

    Swiftly, Averly tore the dagger from her grandmothers’ fingertips as she simultaneously sent a blow to her stomach. With deadly precision Averly dropped down to her knees, pinning Esmerelda’s neck underneath her own weight. Bringing the blade of the dagger down to meet the middle of Esmerelda’s chest hard enough to draw blood, but not sink into the soft flesh that lay there.

     

    “Don’t you ever bring my child into our quarrels again.” The words felt like acid on her tongue, the venom in which they were said harsh enough that she recoiled inwardly.

     

    “The next time you do, I won’t hesitate to rip out your throat using your own weapon.”


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