(Photo found at this site: http://tinyurl.com/bwq2857al-ball/)
Tendrils of moonlight filtered through the window as one silver finger rested upon the crystal ball. Brunda smiled as an explosion of color began to form within the orb. The two sorceresses leaned in unison to watch the rainbow eruption.
Then within her mind, Druzelle began to hear the same words over and over, “Scared, Hurt, My Head Is Hurt, Brunda-Druzelle, Brunda-Druzelle, Help!”
“I hear her!” Druzelle exclaimed. Brunda smiled wryly while the multi-colors within the crystal ball merged to form the golden haired child. Luena was seated on horseback, surrounded by several men, including the Earl of Campbell, and closely guarded by Yulricka.
“I recognize that stretch of road!” Druzelle clapped her hands.
“Yes, as do I,” Brunda nodded. “I will meet you there, Sister.” She tossed the words over her shoulder as she took up her broom and leapt through the doorway, airborne.
“Yes!” Druzelle affirmed.
The direction the party traveled led to a wayside inn of unsavory reputation. Towards this place, Brunda aimed her broom. She came to a stop and dismounted only moments before the ill-fated band arrived. With hatred glazed eyes, the old witch stood directly in the middle of the road, waiting. Within moments, Druzelle joined her.
In order to create as much chaos as possible, the rotund Druzelle decided to conjure an illusion that she and Brunda were giant ogresses, equipped with battle-axes and spiked clubs. She chuckled to herself as she wove the spell. “Brunda will hate it and it will not fool Yulricka, but what fun to watch the mortal curs scatter like leaves in the wind.”
When Brunda realized what Druzelle was up to, she started to protest vehemently. But then the irony of it became very clear and Brunda allowed the glamour.
The first ones to see them reacted just as Druzelle had hoped. Dropping their weapons, the men bolted for the woods, screaming and shouting at the horror they had beheld.
Then Yulricka saw. “It is not what you think.” the traitor jeered. “There are no hulks blocking our way. Just a pair of enfeebled old women trying to frighten us with their carnival act.”
Wild rage consumed Brunda. “That is the last straw!” she thundered. Reaching within her cloak, she drew out a pouch of crushed herbs. With a wave of her hand, she began to weave an incantation.
But when she looked up to release the final words, she saw that Yulricka had suddenly vanished. “Where is she; where did that mangy hag fly off too?”
Brunda felt a tap against her shoulder and the sound of Druzelle clearing her throat. “I did it, sister. We cannot have our consciences burdened with the killing of another, even though it be a traitorous witch. I am sorry if I have angered you, but I put her into the black abyss. It will take her a few years to figure a way out.”
“You hope.” Scowled Brunda. Then she turned her attention toward the Earl.
Even without his magician consort, the man sat upon his horse as arrogant as ever. “Well,” he blustered. “Do you intend on sending me to the abyss as well? I would like to know how you would explain my disappearance to the town’s folk.”
Brunda’s smile was brutal. “I explain myself to no one, Campbell. And no, I do not intend to send you to the abyss; that would be all too nice a punishment for the likes of you.”
Then her smile was gone. In its place, Brunda’s face became a cyclone of revenge. “I let you go without punishment once before, but this time you have gone too far.”
A wild look came into Druzelle’s eyes as she desperately tried to draw Brunda’s attention toward herself. “Let me be, Sister!” Brunda thundered.
Then she turned back to the insolent Earl. “I curse you with the Plagues of Job. Job was a Godly man and passed the tests, but let us see how well, one such as you, will fair.”
The ground beneath their feet began to rumble as the sorceress raised her hands. A flux of greenish oozed dripped from Brunda’s fingertips before turning into lightning and striking the air surrounding the Earl. He lowered his head and raised his arms to shield his face.
Brunda was wild with laughter as an emerald vapor enveloped Campbell, who began to cough and choke, but not one of his men dared reach out to assist him. Soon, the foul, green cloud consumed him.
Brunda dusted her hands, picked up her broom and walked over to where Druzelle had joined Luena. The little girl looked shaken, but she smiled at her friends.
Brunda lifted Luena from the horse and placed her on the broom beside Mandrake. Before climbing aboard herself, Brunda turned back to survey her handiwork.
The green mist had finally evaporated and the Earl could be seen still astride his horse. With childish curiosity, Luena turned back to see, but quickly averted her eyes. For the once arrogant Earl sat slumped over in his saddle, his entire body, or at least what showed beyond his clothing, was covered with seeping raw boils.
Through his agony the Earl vowed, “This is not over, witch!”
Brunda merely smiled as she climbed aboard her broom. “Only because you are a fool.”
- Tales of Nightshade: Nightshade (Part Two) (creativemusingsoflediar.wordpress.com)
- Tales of Nightshade: Daughter of the Silvery Moon (Part One) (creativemusingsoflediar.wordpress.com)
- Tales of Nightshade: Curse of Job (Part One) (creativemusingsoflediar.wordpress.com)