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Jtcookie

Witch Hunt (Jtcookie&PetitChaton)

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Jtcookie

Nightfall. It brought many things to the world, ranging from a calm quiet to an eerie silence. It was when those that spent their days awake could rise while others, usually of a more unfavourable sort, would rise and spend their time admiring what the night had to offer. It was also a time when beasts roamed far more often as they went about, hunting down any prey foolish enough to dare come out at these ungodly hours. It was at this time that a wandering soul began making his way into a small town, his suit covered slightly with a thin coating of blood on a few parts of it. His face hidden by a simple mask and hat signifying him to be a hunter. He let out a slight cough as he made his way to the town tavern, feeling as though this place had something for him to do.

Entering the decent sized establishment he looked around and noticed a rather sombre feeling from the few people in there, some were talking in hushed whispers about how they were all cursed and that "She was unleashing her vengeance upon everyone." Taking a seat at the bar the man set one of his weapons down, leaning it against the bar, giving him a way to access it without having to wear it on his person. As he sat there, waiting for the bartender to come to him for an order he looked around and listened. Hearing the moaning and groaning of the townspeople. Some were upstairs in the tavern, not being very quiet about what it was that they were doing, while others seemed to be in a depressed state. No, not depressed, fearful. The townspeople were afraid of something, what it was he would certainly find out.

After a few more minutes the man was approached by the bartender. "So what will you be having Mister?" He asked the man sitting. "Connor. A bottle of ale and some dried meats." He said softly as he relaxed and looked out one of the windows. "So what's the story behind this town? Why is everyone so uneasy?" He asked as the bartender who sighed and looked around at all the gloomy faces. "To be honest, Our Village is cursed and people are trying to figure out how to end it. We believe there's a witch in the forest of our home, made after a baby's family was killed and haunted by their spirits." He said and looked at the man. "Could you help us? Please, we'll pay anything." They said and looked at  Connor. "I suppose I could." Connor said as he ate his meal. "I'll need a room for tonight and I'll begin the hunt tomorrow." He said earning a nod from the bartender as he had one of his serving girls get a room ready.

Edited by Jtcookie

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PetitChaton

It was another uneventful day in The Witch Woods, known as simply "the woods" to Astraea. These surreal and beautiful trees had sheltered the young girl her entire life. She knew no other home, no other person, no other living creature, even, save the few animals worthy enough to call their woods their home. The strangers who called the tall, misshapen trees and their brightly colored leaves "magical" were indeed correct. The unfortunate few who lived to spread the tales of the demonic power and malevolence of the woods were, in fact, mistaken. The woods protected Astraea from those who meant her harm and offered safe passage, while still veiling her small cabin, to those with purity in their hearts. This was the true nature of the woods, but ignorance and centuries of prejudice lead those to call it evil and possessed.

For Astraea, the woods were simply home. She spent most of her days inside the small wooden cabin, scouring over the endless tombs that were left behind by the smiling couple in the large oil painting. Her parents. She never knew them, but she felt a song in her heart whenever she looked at the painting. She would stare, some days, for hours at a time, wondering if she would grow up to look like her mother or if her eyes more resembled her father. When she wasn't daydreaming in the loft or reading at the small table, she wandered the woods and found the same song in her heart. She liked to imagine her parents were there with her in the woods, and perhaps they were. 

As day became night, the woods became...restless. Pink and lavender leaves fell to the ground around her as the branches shook in warning. The ground trembled beneath her feet and shifted as the woods became alive.  Danger was brewing and the woods were shifting to hide the cabin. "Something is coming..." Astraea whisper as she gently touched the base of a tree. But what? She often wondered if there really was a danger or if she was trapped and in need of rescue. The woods were very much a prison for her lively and curious spirit. She longed to leave and see what there was to see. Her books spoke of large bodies of water, skies of different hues, rolling sands, and so much more. But her books also spoke of the dangers of being a witch in the human world. Her petal pink hair and crimson eyes would, if she was lucky, find her run through on sight. If she was unlucky...her fate would be much, much more gruesome and without a shred of mercy.

And now...something was coming. 

Astraea hurried to her cabin and began chanting words that somehow seemed familiar to her, invoking her magic and erecting wards around the cabin. She would be safe tonight, but sleep would be difficult to come by. Once she was sure the wards were in place, she climbed into bed with the stuffed rabbit she'd had since birth. The candles and lights all dimmed at once and the curtains closed themselves. A familiar lullaby floated softly through the air and the little witch fell soundly to sleep after all.

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Jtcookie

Leaving the tavern after resting for a bit Connor came to the edge of the woods. Looking at the trees he felt...uneasy, as if he was being watched by something. "Just keep calm, you have everything you need." He said to himself as he slowly made his way into the woods. He couldn't shake it though, he knew something was watching him, waiting for him to lower his guard and kill him. Drawing his weapon, a saber with a dagger like blade jutting out of the pummel he advanced through the canopy of the forest. "Whatever is out there you won't keep me from my prey." He said and began heading deeper into the forest. He didn't get far however as several creatures came out of the shadows of the trees, wolves it seemed. Frowning the hunter readied himself for a fight. As he moved to attack them he noticed that there wasn't much light coming from behind him anymore. 

Turning back he noticed that the way he had come from was gone. "W-What..." He said shocked by this. Could the witch be using some kind of spell to lead him astray? Turning back to the wolves he knew he would have to get through them. However upon turning to face them again, they were gone. Was this place playing tricks on him? Shaking his head to clear it he kept going forward, intent on finding the witch's home and putting an end to all of this. However the further he went, the worse it became, At first the animals in the forest would move to attack him, it would be a simple fight as he easily beat another small pack of wolves. Shortly after that he thought he began seeing things, like people from his childhood, or things that he feared even when they weren't there. This place, it was driving him mad.

"I can't falter, the towns people need me to kill this witch, or whatever it could be that's possessed this forest." He said as the day was getting dark and forest darker still. Stopping for a moment he pulled out one of his few torches and lit it to help guide his path. He wished, in that second, that he hadn't, all around him seemed to be victims of forest since it's creation, their bodies decayed and abandoned while some looked fresher, perhaps a year old. Backing up he tripped and fell back dropping his torch, though he was quick to pick it up before a forest fire was started. Waving it around, all the corpses were gone. Yet another trick.

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PetitChaton

Astraea dreamt of her parents, the same dream she often had on nights where fear gripped her heart. She was a babe in her cradle, the familiar stuffed rabbit in view. Over head, there was a mobile of a crescent moon, a grouping of three stars, an owl with it's wings spread, a smiling cat, and a baby rabbit. As she reached up with her small hand, everything turned red and a gut wrenching scream drowns out the peaceful tinkling of the mobile.

This time when the scream echoed in her mind, she awoke, the sound continuing in an endless wail. Astraea gripped her chest as fear and pain and rage overwhelmed her.

Something is coming. Something...is here.

The forest was trying to protect her, but it was failing. The danger was fast approaching and now the trees were set ablaze. Astraea closed her eyes and, wheb she opened them again, they were clouded over. Using her Sight, she could see a man, a hunter with a blade, fighting his way through the woods. When his tourch began to burn the trees, she could feel their pain and their desperate need to keep the danger away. Why? Why was someone coming to harm her? What had she ever done to deserve this fate? Nothing. Humans were simply vile and cruel. 

Her rage melded with that of the forest and manifested into a violent wind. The wind gathered the flames and became a towering inferno over the hunter. Astraea had never used her powers in such a way, her emotions taking control. With her arms extended to either side of her small body, she gathered the remaining magic of the forest and let it radiate through to her very core. As she absorbed the energy, the inferno grew, head straight towards the hunter.

But her young spirit and small body could barely contain such power, let alone control it. As she released the inferno on the hunter, her vision went dark and she collapsed outside her cabin.

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Jtcookie

As the inferno blazed towards him, The hunter quickly dove behind a group of trees as the fires scorched the woods. "Damn it!" He winced as he looked to see his leg had been burnt slightly. Gritting his teeth, he worked through the pain as he began to make a made dash through the woods. The cabin was in sight and he was almost there. That was when he spotted her, a body outside of the cabin...a young girl. "What?" He said as he limped towards the body. All trace of him wanting to hurt anything was gone and replaced by worry over the young woman.

He carefully picked her up and looked around. Sighing he made his way inside of the cabin and was surprised to see the state it was in. It was rather clean and yet he felt that something was wrong here. Finding a chair he carefully set the woman down onto it and began looking around. "Is...Is this her home? Did the villagers send me to kill a child?" He said slightly angered by this. While witches were a problem for the people of this land he didn't believe that a child deserved to suffer. Looking over at her he decided to wait for her to wake up. Going outside he made a small fire as he started to brew some tea for himself.

"What am I going to tell the people? I doubt they would spare her if she is the witch of these woods. Not to mention what would happen should any members of the church get involved." He said sighing as he looked back at the cottage. 'but why is she alone?' He thought to himself as he poured himself some tea. "I guess I'll just have to ask her when she wakes up." He said as he looked out at the forest. The  inferno had died when he entered the house. Most likely because it didn't want to hurt the woman. Sadly it seemed the forest had been badly damaged.

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PetitChaton

Darkness. Complete and total darkness. Though Astraea never knew another living soul, she never felt so alone. So helpless. So lost. She felt abandoned. By her magic, by the woods, and by her parents. It was rare that she ever felt this way, but deep down on her darkest days, she wondered if her parents simply abandoned her.

It was then that she felt a familiar warmth. It enveloped her and filled her. She loved her parents and somehow she knew they loved her until their dying breath and after. As the warmth filled her, she felt her magic radiating through her body once more. And just before she opened her eyes, she smelled freshly brewed tea.

At first, her vision was blurred and she hardly recognized her own cabin. Then she saw the oil painting of her smiling mother and father. She looked around and everything seemed to be in its place. The loft with her bed was as she left it, her bunny's ears just barely visible. Her books were where she left them and untouched. The only curious change was the steaming kettle and the man quietly sipping tea as he watched her.

It took a moment for her to realize there was someone there. She stared blankly at first, blinking slowly. She knew he was a human man from her reading, but she'd never met one before. Her crimson eyes widened when she saw his weapons, but still she made no move to hide from him. All she could think to say was, "You only made one cup."

As the words left her lips, she spared a thought for how rude it was that he should come into her home, brew HER tea, and not even pour her a cup. Humans were rude, was her first impression. She pouted while she committed the atrocity to memory.

Then she remembered that humans are dangerous. Her eyes flicked to his weapons once more and a spark flash across her crimson orbs, remnants of the inferno burning in her eyes. This man was the danger. This man was what was coming.

Astraea stood slowly from the chair, partially because she was not sure she could stand, but mostly so she did not startle the man. Once she was fully on her feet, she backed slowly away, heading ever closer to the back door.

 

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Jtcookie

Justin looked over at the young woman that had woken up. At hearing her question he simply answered. "I didn't know when you would be waking up. The tea would have been cold by then." He said as he set the mug down and looked at her, seeing the fire in his eyes he figured she knew who he was. Wincing a bit as the adrenaline had worn off and the pain his leg was in began to make itself known. "Listen. I don't want any trouble. As far as I'm concerned that town was foolish to send me after someone like you. Far to young to be a threat to anyone or anything. You're different from the witches I've had to eliminate before." He said looking at her before his eyes shifted over to the oil painting.

"I assume that those are your parents." He said with a hint of sadness in his voice. "Did you know them?" He asked her as he saw her moving towards the door. "You have nothing to worry about now. I'm not going to hurt you." He said as he stood up and went to the cupboard to get another mug for her. Picking up the kettle he poured some tea into it and handed it over to her. "Can you tell me a little about yourself?" He asked as his eyes seemed much softner than they had been when he had entered the forest. He was being as non-threatening as he could be, seeing that the young woman was afraid of him. "What's your name?"  He asked her as he tried to calm her, just a little.

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PetitChaton

She watched his every movement. Every little twitch of muscle or blink of an eye, Astraea made note. She did not sense any danger from him, but when she felt along the bind she shared with the forest...she felt nothing. The magic was gone. This frightened her more, making her back away another few feet closer to the door.

Then she heard him speak. He seemed...gentle. much how she imagined her father sounded when speaking to her mother. Maybe...maybe not every human was bad, just like she knew all witches we're not evil.

"I...don't know for certain...but I believe so," she responded softly. "My hair looks like hers and my eyes look like his." She answered without really thinking. But then a thought occured to her. What if this was a trap. What if he was only pretended he would not hurt her.

She put her fist on her hips and glared at the man, suddenly back on the defensive. "My new is none of your business. You are the one who is in a stranger in my home."

Even though she said that, she couldn't help but notice his burn and worry just a little. She'd never hurt anyone before... 

 

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Jtcookie

He chuckled softly at that. "I suppose you're right. Unfortunately I don't know what the townsfolk will do if I come back empty handed." He said sighing as he sat down and looked outside. "They all might try and storm this place and I'd rather not leave someone so young and defenceless." He said. And while she was able to use magic, it seemed to rely heavily on her emotions and that wouldn't keep her safe all the time. It was usually far more draining than if a witch had a focused mind. Looking outside he noticed how the tree's seemed to be normal now...almost as if whatever magic she had up was...gone. "Oh no..." He said as he looked at her. "We might not have much time. Listen...even though it'll be frowned upon and I'll be going against everything I've known...I want to help you survive. Perhaps even prevent you from becoming the monsters I've been forced to hunt for most of my life." He said to her as he stood up.

Slowly, he held out his hand for her to take. "Please...let me help you." He said. He didn't wish to see her die, if anything she seemed purely innocent to him and he'd rather not have that type of blood spilled at the hands of another hunter. "I can keep you safe, at least until you've learned enough to protect yourself. If I have to, then I'll teach you how hunters like me work and how to avoid us." He said to her.

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