Topics

It's Now or Never #Jaya #Brandy #Bridgette #zaire

Rachel Balla
 

Who: Brandy
With: Zaire, Jaya, Bridgette
Where: Southern Desert
When:
Friday, March 7th, 872 RoK

Brandy always expected a fairy circle to apparate her through in true Harry Potter-style, but it was never quite like that. It was just like walking through a door. If the transition had been more jarring, perhaps the sudden change in atmosphere would have been less so as well, but as it was, the relative quiet of Jaya's room at the Silver Tankard turning so quickly to the harsh, dry gusts of wind that blew sand into her mouth with her first breath caused Brandy to cough as her mind dredged up images of Dorothy on her way to Oz, without the comfort of the house.


They had prepared for this, expected it. The thunder and lightning of King's City manifested as wind and sand in the South. Brandy grabbed at the scarf around her neck and pulled it around her nose and mouth quickly - this made it harder to gasp air in, but it did block out the dust. Nothing could be done for how it stung her eyes, and Brandy found herself blindly grasping at Zaire's form beside her for guidance…

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Manda
 

Who: Zaire
With: Brandy, Jaya, Bridgette
Where: Southern Desert
When: Friday, March 7th, 872 RoK


Traveling by fairy circle always made Zaire just a little cranky; they were quick, yes, but far too unreliable for the pirate's somewhat saltier tastes. He trusted the reliability of the stars and the currents and his crew's noteworthy skills far more than fairy magic but when sailing meant battling a storm like this, one took the safest avenue available.


Zaire had stepped through the circle with sword in hand, wanting to be ready for anything, but what they were greeted with was a sandstorm. Not wholly unexpected but it didn't stop him from letting out a vehement curse as the pirate pulled the scarf up over his nose and mouth, and then tugged his hood down a little further over his eyes. As Brandy's blindly reaching hand groped along his chest, the pirate found himself reaching in response to clasp her fingers and give them a reassuring squeeze.


His eyes, squinted as close to shut as he could manage while still being able to see, scanned the terrain around them and, at first, found nothing but sand. Navigating in this was going to be impossible, he realized, even as swaying movement caught his attention through the whipping sand. Trees. The palm trees were bending wildly in the wind, some appearing to be torn up at the roots, but trees meant water and water meant an oasis.


Giving Brandy's hand a jiggle to get her attention, he nodded in the direction of the oasis, then turned to wait for the rest of their companions to appear . . .


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Zaire Wearing: Something vaguely along these lines https://i-h2.pinimg.com/564x/8c/5e/25/8c5e25453e3d3aee743f12e7b8daf632.jpg

Steph
 

Who: Jaya
With: Zaire, Brandy, Red
Where: Southern Desert
When: Friday, March 7th, 872 RoK

Even with as much Eventyr experience as Jaya had under her belt, the sensation of moving through a fairy circle between two Eventyr locations--and really, even between Earth and Eventyr, could be shocking. Doubly so when she was moving from the calm of an inn room--her personal room, which she hoped wouldn't get invaded by a random incoming individual now that there was a fairy circle on the floor there that cold be used a couple more times before it ran out--and into a desert sandstorm.

She had her cloak on and pulled around her, even if black wasn't the best fashion for desert sun. Almost immediately, she grasped at the edges of the hood and pulled it around her face, turning and wheeling as the wind blew sand everywhere. Here was another problem in Eventyr that they didn't have to worry about on Earth: Earth had weather satellites. You always knew, more or less, what the weather would be like when you arrived somewhere. Eventyr had a rumor mill. And a rumor mill could only go so far in conveying the weather patterns of a distant locale.

Her cloak afforded her some protection, though, and--true to its unusual and increasingly magical form--it shifted with shadow while she wore it, and suddenly she felt the fabric of it slip up over her mouth and nose. It adapted to the situation and gave her a built-in neck gaiter to keep all this sand from blowing around and into her mouth.

She noticed Zaire pointing, followed the motion of his arm to look out toward a stand of trees. She gave a purposefully exaggerated nod of her head in agreement. There looked as good as anywhere to start. It seemed like the land dipped just a bit. Maybe it would provide some shelter from the wind and they could orient themselves down there. Maybe.

She started walking in as broad of strides as she could manage with the wind buffeting around her. Oddly, her cloak just seemed to take on a convenient sort of flow, no more drag or weight to it than if it had been actually made from shadows.

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Rachel Balla
 

The squeeze of Zaire's hand on her own helped Brandy focus - her heart still raced but she could breathe, even if it was uncomfortable. She pried her eyes open into a tight squint and, with effort, saw the trees he was gesturing to, along with Jaya in her dark cloak.


Where were the others? Brandy didn't have time to wonder because soon they were taking off toward the oasis at the quickest pace they could manage. Sand dragging at her feet made moving almost as difficult as blinking, but they were making progress…


And then, surprised by her blindness, the ground gave out under Brandy's feet and, for a moment, she worried she had fallen into quicksand - but no, she was just sliding down a bank into the oasis. The sand burned her calves, but the strength of the wind down here was diminished, and Brandy realized that the depression in the ground worked as a weak-ass sort of storm shelter.


For a moment, she was grateful and a hand pressed against her chest, over her heart, in relief.


Until Brandy heard the loud, sickening crack that preceded the dangerous swaying of the nearest palm tree. Its roots had already been pried up, and now its trunk was broken. In the chaos of the storm, even if you knew that it was going to fall, you couldn't be sure which way...


"Fucking hell!"


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Vincent Gonzales
 

Bridgette wasn't nearly as comfortable with the harsh deserts of the South as she was with the Eastern Forest. Her forest. But, the same magics that made her travels in the East so easy gave her a small edge, here among the sands. She eyed her surroundings from behind her hood as she quietly walked along the group she'd found herself travelling with. Brandy, she'd met. She was nice. Zaire was...well, a bit cranky for her liking, but he seemed to mean well. Mostly. The other one, in the dark hood, she wasn't so sure about and didn't feel right with her at her back, but the former princess was sure that sense of unease would pass, with time. The same went for the others in the little crew Zaire had put together, she hoped. 

For now, she walked along with the others, mindful of the dips and hills in the sand, her staff acting as a helpful walking aid at times. 

Then, suddenly, Brandy fell and there was a lightning crack and her eyes widened as she looked up where the tree once was. "You should probably watch your step more carefully," Red offered helpfully, coming down the slope and offering a hand to Brandy. "And don't stand under trees, when there's lightning. That's a good way to end up fried."

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Manda
 

Zaire started toward the oasis as well, casting one last glance over his shoulder to see if any more of their companions would make it through the circle and spotted Red. But her appearance meant the magic in the fairy circle drying up and he still had yet to see the trio of pirates he'd chosen to join them. This was an outcome that they'd known was a possibility - a very real one - but Zaire couldn't worry about it. His men were just as capable of navigating through the storm as he was and he'd just have to trust that wherever they ended up, they'd make their way safely to the tower as soon as they were able.


For now, it was him and the three women, each viewed with varying degrees of helpfulness, and there was no option but to continue moving forward. Which, right now, meant toward the oasis and when the ground dipped and Brandy lost her footing, Zaire found himself sliding and stumbling along with her as he tried to keep himself upright. His journey down toward the trees wasn't much more dignified than Brandy's but, being used to both the rolling deck of a ship under his feet and being in disorienting situations, he recovered quickly enough.


Tree: *CRACK*


Brandy: "Fucking hell!"


Reaching out, Zaire grabbed Brandy's arm and tugged her backwards, the tree landing hard in a spray of sand just out of their reach. He didn't bother telling her to be careful; Brandy knew how dangerous Eventyr could be. Besides, Red was quick on that point.


Instead, Zaire took a second to look around. The sand dunes rising up around the oasis provided a bit of relief from the buffeting winds and made visibility much better than it had been on higher ground. "Tanner's Trading Post," he read, gesturing toward a wooden sign. The post was leaning at a solid forty five degree angle and the wood pockmarked, but it was certainly still readable. Beyond the sign were a series of squat buildings, all boarded up against the storm, and Zaire made his way toward the nearest, where a small lean-to at the back would provide a bit of cover so he could look at a map . . .


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Steph
 

Brandy slipped, Red  and Zaire each lent their hands in helping Brandy clear of a palm tree that cracked in the wind, swayed, and came tumbling down, sending up a whole new cloud of sand to add to the sandstorm buffeting all around them.

Red: "You should probably watch your step more carefully."

Jaya gave a monosyllabic mildly annoyed sound of agreement at that.  She would take rain over this, any day. She had, in fact, generally avoided coming to the Southern Duchy because of the Genie's axiom from the third Aladdin movie:

"Sand," she stated. "It's everywhere. Get used to it."

Would anyone else here understand a reference to an obscure Disney sequel film? Probably not. Even if they had gotten Robin Williams back to voice Genie again after the travesty that was The Return of Jafar, it took a kid growing up in the nineties, probably.

"The way it's blowing, anyway, it's going to be everywhere, anyway," she added. Her least favorite part of days at any beach had always been afterward, finding sand, well, everywhere. Sometimes for days. She nudged her hood back, just a touch, enough so that her face wasn't completely obscured in its eerie shadow, as she started down the slope of the sand hill, toward the Oasis, following after Zaire and Brandy. At least down here, the winds were a little bit less, the sand buffeting them a little less. 

Zaire: "Tanner's Trading Post."

When Zaire stated a name with so much confidence, Jaya snapped her gaze more intently in the direction he'd been looking, to see the sign for herself. There were buildings around the Oasis, a name. A trading post would hopefully be on that map. And the buildings could give the some shelter. Maybe some people to interact with?

She tried, with at least a little semblance of grace, to get the rest of the way down the hill to where the sand more or less leveled out. It was still shifty underfoot, but not quite as bad as on the slope. It didn't take much to get to the lean-to shelter, and once inside, she did let her hood down, shaking sand off the best she could. Outside, the wind howled, carrying sand, but it was better here, just a bit.

"You know anything about the desert, Red?" Jaya asked, though she glanced toward Brandy, too. "Or, anyone heard of this place?" She didn't know much about the odd redhead, except that she had ready access to pixie dust for making fairy circles, which made her plenty interesting in Jaya's book. 

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Rachel Balla
 

Zaire's strong arm pulled Brandy to safety and spared her from getting crushed barely in time… and Brandy found herself still, in a daze even if her eyes burned, staring at the felled tree when Bridgette offered her a hand to stand.


Bridgette: "You should probably watch your step more carefully," "And don't stand under trees, when there's lightning. That's a good way to end up fried."


"Thank you, Benji-fucking-Franklin," Brandy said, taking her fellow ginger's hand, but her words were decidedly sarcastic as she got to her feet. Little did she know that her joke slipped out simultaneously with Jaya's, although their cloaked companion was just now making her way into the oasis.


Down here, the wind was bearable and, as Brandy adjusted the scarf around her face, she finally seemed able to see. Tanner's Trading Post. That would be on the map. Brandy stayed on Zaire's heels until they finally found respite in the small abandoned shelter.


Jaya: "You know anything about the desert, Red?" "Or, anyone heard of this place?"


"We'll figure it out," Brandy said instead of no as she knelt at the pirate captain's side and used a knee and the heel of her hand to help hold the map flat as it could be against the floor. There was a table, but it had been knocked over already and seemed more trouble than it was worth. Her eyes skimmed quickly, as if the parchment was just another recipe and she was looking to see how much Tanner Trade she needed to add, and her pointer finger centered on their location quickly and then her eyes seemed to follow Zaire's as they searched for landmarks to situate them.


There was the capital city - huge, central, with jade blue lettering - and the sea there…


"The witch's tower should be somewhere here, right?" Brandy asked, finger finding the empty space to their south-southwest. Finding that would be tricky anyway, and with the storm...?

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Vincent Gonzales
 

Red didn't know who 'Benji-fucking-Franklin' was, but by the way the barmaid had said it, she got the impression she didn't want to be associated with such a person, so she frowned, a little. It wasn't her fault the older woman was so clumsy. Still, she'd agreed to help, and help she could, even if some members of the group weren't as grateful as the others. 

Zaya: "You know anything about the desert, Red?" <...> "Or, anyone heard of this place?" 

Brandy: "The witch's tower should be somewhere here, right?" 

"The Yellow Witch is locked away in her great, solitary tower. Condemned beyond the oasis behind the great sandstone wall. Locked behind a gate locked five times hence. Be wary of their cunning traps or you and your friends will surely fall," Bridgette recited nearly under her breath, leaning on her staff and staring down at her map with a blank expression. 

"It was...a limerick I learned from a friend," she explained with a shrug. "But, I think there's some truth to it. I've always heard the tower is near an oasis in the south. And that the Witch of the Dunes is locked away behind a great wall."

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Manda
 

Jaya: "You know anything about the desert, Red?" ... "Or, anyone heard of this place?"


Brandy: "We'll figure it out," … "The witch's tower should be somewhere here, right?" Brandy asked, finger finding the empty space to their south-southwest. Finding that would be tricky anyway, and with the storm...?


Zaire grunted out a noise of confirmation, one hand dipping into the pouch at his waist to pull free a compass. It was finely made - far finer than a 'King's City ferryman' would likely own - with a moonstone set into the silver filigree on the back and, out of habit, Zaire slipped his hand through the short loop of weathered rope attached to it.


Red: "The Yellow Witch is locked away in her great, solitary tower. Condemned beyond the oasis behind the great sandstone wall. Locked behind a gate locked five times hence. Be wary of their cunning traps or you and your friends will surely fall," … "It was...a limerick I learned from a friend," she explained with a shrug. "But, I think there's some truth to it. I've always heard the tower is near an oasis in the south. And that the Witch of the Dunes is locked away behind a great wall."


Zaire lifted his eyes to the redhaired girl as she recited a poem and then explained where she'd heard it. In short, it didn't seem like she knew any more than the rest of them: stories, tales, poems. None of them were actually from the South, though the girl in black looked as if she could have been. It made him wonder where she'd been born, but not enough to get them off task by asking.


"Let's keep movin'," Zaire decided, rising to his feet and tucking the map away again. He glanced again at the compass in his hand and then nodded toward the southwest, "Ya see a wall, or a tower, shout somethin', yeah?"


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Steph
 

Who: Jaya
With: Zaire, Brandy, Red
Where: Southern Desert
When: Friday, March 7th, 872 RoK

Did Brandy just make a point blank Benjamin Franklin reference? An educated one, at that, considering it referenced Franklin as an author of practical witticisms. Jaya almost wished she still had her hood up so the expression of surprise on her face wouldn't be so blatantly obvious. She tried to cover it up, though, turn away and smooth her expression. No doubt, Brandy was from New York. There really were others here. Either Zaire and Red already knew this, or they didn't understand the reference, because they didn't seem to be showing any reaction to Brandy's words.

Red brought forth information about the witch and her tower and gave Jaya somewhere better to focus. The whole reason she was out here was to try to find a way to make this storm right. This storm had been her fault, after all. Not that she was saying it.

So, witch's tower. Sandstone wall. Five keys. Traps. 

"Thank you," she said to Red. "Even if it's a story, it's a start." 

Zaire finished making sense of the map, folded it up, and started leading the way back out into the sandstorm. It felt too soon. Jaya wanted to take another couple of minutes to brace herself against the buffeting sand. But, at the same time, mostly this desire to have a break was fear, and she couldn't give into it. She lifted her hood, and the shadowy cowl swaddled her face again, the cloak protecting her from the sand.

They weren't walking too long before she noticed something odd. She thought she could see just a little sliver of blue sky up ahead of them. The end of the sandstorm? Maybe? And while the sand still obscured so much of her view, she kept on thinking she could see that flash of blue, until suddenly...

She'd been fighting against the wind so hard that when it suddenly died down to nothing around her, she stumbled forward and fell in the sand. She rolled over fast, but laid there, looking upward. It was like being in the eye of a storm, only maybe more like the back alley of the storm. Around her to either side, the wind-carried sands practically formed a wall, but up above was clear blue sky in this ten foot swath of desert to either side, but extending much further in the other directions.

"Guys, what is this?" Jaya asked, not bothering to try to stand up just yet. It was like someone had made a path through the storm, and they'd just stumbled upon it.

<Tag!>

((OOC: If Zaire checks his compass, he'll find the weird windless path is pointed southwest to northeast--same direction as the tower ought to be.))

Rachel Balla
 

Red: "The Yellow Witch is locked away in her great, solitary tower. Condemned beyond the oasis behind the great sandstone wall. Locked behind a gate locked five times hence. Be wary of their cunning traps or you and your friends will surely fall," "It was...a limerick I learned from a friend," "But, I think there's some truth to it. I've always heard the tower is near an oasis in the south. And that the Witch of the Dunes is locked away behind a great wall."


"Great - let's hope the fairy circles did their job and dropped us off where we were trying to go," Brandy said, casting a glance at Zaire as her words alluded to a little inside joke. People loved to sat fairy circles were unreliable, but maybe the truth was that they were all too reliable after all. If the fairies had brought them as far as the oasis, maybe they had a chance. A wall sounded like an obstacle…. but maybe it was really just a fucking fence or aesthetic steel slats, who knew?


Jaya: "Thank you," "Even if it's a story, it's a start."


Zaire: "Let's keep movin'," "Ya see a wall, or a tower, shout somethin', yeah?"


Too soon, they were out on the move again. Brandy braced herself more purposefully now, knowing what she was getting into. Now, she could breathe, she could see….


See well enough to catch it when Jaya took a hard fall forward. What the hell? She looked like she'd missed the automated notice that the people mover was stopping soon…


And so, Brandy did not stumble quite as badly, but she did fall to her knees near Jaya's feet when the sudden pressure of the storm let up.


Jaya: "Guys, what is this?"


Brandy's rational brain tried and tried to figure it out… but the truth was that this was probably not a natural phenomenon. And denying that fact made no sense. So Brandy lifted herself to her feet and looked down the column of calm they had been gifted and smirked, "I'm going to go with witchcraft." And offered a hand to Jaya to help her up.


Which made sense.


"We are here because she is... Storm." Brandy said, and quickly corrected the X-Men reference, expecting no one would understand it. "She is a weather-witch. She knows - or at least hopes - we are coming. So, she made a path for us."


With a gesture, Brandy started on their way.


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Vincent Gonzales
 

As Red pushed through to the path that was so suddenly clear with the others, she smiled in amusement, pressing her hand up against the hard-blowing sand behind them. "It's very cleverly done," she remarked with more than a little admiration. While her mastery of the forest had always been something she'd thought to be remarkable, she knew this kind of power was so far beyond her that it deserved some praise. 

"If the Witch has made us a path, I think we should oblige and move quickly, before she gets bored or changes her mind," she said, falling in step behind Brandy. "Though, I don't think she's the Storm. She just...has some control over it?" Red corrected Brandy, wondering how a person could be a storm. That was just silly. 

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Manda
 

Who: Zaire
With: Brandy, Jaya, Bridgette
Where: Southern Desert
When: Friday, March 7th, 872 RoK


Deliberately seeking out a witch, Zaire had been expecting just about anything - except for the storm suddenly abating. Like the others, he nearly lost his footing as the press of the wind eased and he found himself stumbling into clear air and blue skies.


Jaya: "Guys, what is this?"


Brandy: "I'm going to go with witchcraft."


A glance down at his compass proved they were still heading in the right direction and, in fact, this strange tunnel of clear weather was pointing them exactly where they needed to go. A glance toward Brandy and nodded, "Aye. That's just what it is, love."


Brandy: "We are here because she is... Storm." ... "She is a weather-witch. She knows - or at least hopes - we are coming. So, she made a path for us."


Red: "If the Witch has made us a path, I think we should oblige and move quickly, before she gets bored or changes her mind," she said, falling in step behind Brandy. "Though, I don't think she's the Storm. She just...has some control over it?"


Zaire wasn't sure how he felt about the witch expecting them, though it had certainly been a possibility all along; witches had powers far beyond anything or anyone he'd met and he knew little about this particular witch. Was future sight one of her gifts?


Regardless, moving out was an excellent idea and the road was a much easier traveled one when they didn't have to fight against the sandstorm raging outside the corridor they walked. After a bit, the pirate offered a strip of jerky to each member of the group, gnawing on the generously spiced meat helping to pass the time as they drew steadily closer to their eventual goal--


Which presented itself in the form of a heavy wooden gate - which the corridor conveniently led them directly to - set into an equally heavy wall rising high into the sky above them. Zaire's dark eyes settled on the lock, heavy and iron, and for a heartbeat he contemplated their options. Chances were it was magically locked and attempting to break it or pick it would be useless; it was designed to keep a witch contained, after all.


But . . .


Reaching up, Zaire tugged the key out of the neck of his shirt and then over his head. It had worked on every lock he'd tried it on, thus far, so it was worth a shot with this one, he figured. With a glance at each of his companions, Zaire stepped up to the gate and the key slid smoothly into the lock as if they'd been a matched set. A twist of his wrist had the lock popping open and with a self-satisfied smirk and the clank of metal against metal, Zaire put a shoulder to the gate and pushed it inward.


"That'll do," he said, looping the key around his neck again and tucking it back into his shirt before gesturing the trio of ladies through before him.


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Steph
 

Who: Jaya

With: Zaire, Brandy, Red

Where: Southern Desert

When: Friday, March 7th, 872 RoK


Storm! Not a storm. Storm, as a name. As in the X-Men. Jaya half wanted to hit the breaks on this whole quest and outright ask Brandy if she was from Earth. Somehow, she felt like it would explain a lot of Brandy's behavior. Red and Zaire were personalities, as well, no doubt about that. Maybe they could be from Earth, too, even if Red had, well, incorrectly corrected Brandy's pop culture reference. But Jaya had known Brandy longer, and she wondered, considering all their interactions, if there was even the slightest chance...


About the last thing Jaya expected when they reached the end of their sandy highway and came to a locked gate in a high wall was for Zaire to just pull out a key and *click* unlock the thing.


"Aren't you a handy adventurer to have around?" Jaya mused, giving Zaire a smile. And here was her opportunity to return the favor to Brandy. "Once knew a man named MacGuyver who could probably make a lock pick out of a blade of grass and his own spit if he tried, but nothing beats having the key."


The gate opened in on a breathtaking garden that sprawled out surrounding the high tower where the witch was imprisoned. Anyone who knew the stories would realize that the witch was technically the Duchess's own mother, and they would likely see this oasis of a garden as a a gesture of kindness from daughter to mother, something beautiful for the captive to behold and find peace in.


Less beautiful were the drowned corpses of the two guards who were probably supposed to be guarding the gate, face down and bloating in one of the garden's fountains, near the gate.


"No guards, and the storm probably prevents a changing of the guards," Jaya said softly, feeling more and more like this might be a bad idea. But she'd already made some bad decisions. She was responsible for this storm. And if making a deal with a murdering witch could end it and start things on a path to return to normal, it was worth a shot. Wasn't it?


She walked toward the base of the tower and started to circle it. There was no clear door at ground level, though. Only windows up out of reach, and the tower was too smooth for Jaya to risk trying to scale it barehanded.


"Maybe we're supposed to call up and witch lets down her hair?" she mused. Then she called out: "Hello, Witch of the Tower, we followed your path, and we seek your aid!"


<Tag!>


Rachel Balla
 

The Witch of the Tower sat on her stone floor, fulfilling her daily ritual of etching yet another thin line into the stone. Scratch, scratch, scratch, a puff of breath, dust…


All alone, it would have been easy to lose track of days. Easy to give into the madness that waited inevitably on the other side of solitude - she just did not know how much solitude it would take. She had heard of an ancient woman sentenced to the same fate, also a powerful noble who could not be executed but could not be forgiven, and she had survived four years.


Fingers with an unsteady tremble to them only had to drift up past the other thousands of identical marks. It would be ten thousand soon, she thought, ruefully. Maybe it was the periodic food deliveries that kept her sane. Maybe the few books she had been allowed. Maybe it was simply magic. Those speculations were old and exhausted by now.


She had felt hope only twice in the last decade. First, when her granddaughter Sanya had visited and revealed she had inherited the same magic. Perhaps she had pressed the connection too hard, pushing, expecting, hoping Sanya would be her salvation.


And then again, one week ago, when she felt something in the very atmosphere of Eventyr crack. A crime, a sin, great enough that it transcended the realm entirely and gave her renewed strength…


Strength that would wane - was already waning - with each day of continued loneliness. Maybe she had killed her guards too hastily, she was beginning to wonder…


Jaya: "Hello, Witch of the Tower, we followed your path, and we seek your aid!"


And hope came for the third time with a shout. The Witch rose to her feet on legs weak from disuse, leaned out the window with thin fingers bracing on the sill. The bars were far enough apart to stick an arm or a neck through, but not both. Peering down, she laid eyes on a peculiar group of folk - one man, three women. Or perhaps they were less peculiar than they seemed, if they had managed to follow her trail of breadcrumbs this far.


She laughed, and the sound came out a hoarse, desperate, almost manic cackle, and the sound made her much less convinced than she had been minutes ago that she had not yet lost her mind.


"Oh poor dears - travelers caught out in the storm?" the Witch called back with a syrupy - well, more like slimy - quality to her voice, like fruit juice left in the sun so long it had spoiled, evaporated, attracted flies.


"Work your magic on my door…." They had made remarkably quick work of the gate! But no one had unlocked the door that led up to her chamber in years; she was fairly certain only the Duke had the key. Food was delivered by buckets hoisted with ropes. "...And mine will be at your disposal."