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Chapter 3 THE WITCH COUNCIL (II)

  • The rest
  • interpret her to shudder as a sign of disgust for the demons and they burst into
  • raucous laughter. “Do you all think this is funny? There is a possible threat
  • to the peace we currently enjoy and you can still cackle like old hags?”
  • Sandara asks, stupefied at their actions.
  • “Don’t insult
  • our intelligence, Sandra,” Herschey, the Silver Witch of the West remarks.
  • Sandara simply rolls her eyes at the witch’s intentional mispronunciation of
  • her name. She is too smart to be drawn in by such taunts.
  • “Pray tell me, o shrew, how I insulted your
  • intelligence,” she responds, looking the witch in the eye. “Why, you!” Herschey
  • exclaims, rising up in anger. “Remember that attacking a fellow council member
  • is expressly forbidden,” Evanora, the Silver Witch of the East chips in. “But
  • she provoked me first!” “She did not attack you, Witch of the West. Restrain
  • yourself and maintain some semblance of decorum, at least.” “This isn’t fair.”
  • Herschey’s voice is full of grievances, especially as she notices Sandara
  • chuckling. However, she doesn’t do anything.
  • All the witches in the Witch council are at
  • least three centuries old. However, none are as old as Evanora. Her exact age
  • is unknown, but the High Witch knows that she is quite old. This is because her
  • mother called Evanora ‘master’ while she was alive, and her mother was over a
  • thousand years old. The witch does not try to prove her seniority, but every
  • member of the council respects her. Her words, few and far in-between, are
  • never disregarded.
  • “I would advise everyone to be alert. Maybe
  • we do not have substantive proof of the demons’ incursion. Perhaps it is simply
  • a false alarm; the hallucinations of a dying witch can be a very tricky thing.
  • Still, let us not relax or lose guard. We must keep preparing for the
  • inevitable, as they will surely return, even if it is not now. In the absence
  • of any other issue, I raise a motion for the adjournment of this meeting.”
  • “That tradition is old news now if you
  • must know. Nowadays, no one cares for a motion. They simply say ’That’s all
  • then. Bye peeps’ and swagger out of the venue like they own half the street,”
  • Sandara says as she approaches the High Witch minutes after the meeting ends.
  • “Are you sure that’s what they say, or have you been around teenagers for too
  • long?”
  • “You can’t blame me, sister. I practically
  • live amongst them.”
  • “What do you want from me?”
  • “Nothing. Can’t I talk to my lovely
  • sister?”
  • “Now I’m sure you really want something.
  • I’m only your lovely sister when you want to get something from me. Most of the
  • time, I’m an old hag, a stuck-up bitch, a buzzing fly, a withered vessel…”
  • “Aw, come on! I only called you a withered
  • vessel one time!”
  • “Really?” the High Witch raises an eyebrow.
  • “Why do I remember you telling a particular someone to not be bothered by the
  • unintelligible whisperings of a withered vessel the other day?”
  • “You were spying on us! That’s a violation
  • of privacy, you know. I feel so naked now.”
  • “Puh-lease! I bathed you for three decades,
  • and I’ve seen you nude plenty of times after that.”
  • The Jade Witch blushes, with the tips of
  • her ears turning a bright red. She immediately changes the subject.
  • “Since you can so conveniently spy on us,
  • why don’t you just drop by to say hello to her? She misses you a lot, you
  • know.”
  • “I can’t and you know why. If that’s what
  • you came to ask me for, you might as well give up. I won’t change my mind.”
  • The High Witch walks away, but the next
  • words from Sandara make her pause. “I thought really hard about the question
  • you asked me, and I realized that it took me so long to answer because I chose
  • to be bound by the limits of normal convention. I don’t have to choose between my
  • family and my duty because my family is my duty. Why choose one when I can have
  • both?”
  • The High Witch doesn’t reply, but the
  • slight trembling of her shoulders shows how affected she is by that answer. She
  • takes a moment to get herself together, squares her shoulders, and says “It’s
  • easier said than done. Goodbye, sister.”
  • With that, she vanishes.
  • “You’ve done your best, child. There’s
  • nothing more you can do for her.” Evanora’s wiry voice sounds in Sandara’s
  • ears, but it brings no relief. “C-c-can’t she sees what she’s doing to the poor
  • girl? Doesn’t she feel anything for her?”
  • “Witches are not one for filial piety or
  • emotional attachment; powerful witches see their offspring as tools for even
  • more power. But I know that Estelle Vane is not one of them. The love she has
  • for that child is greater than you can ever imagine.”
  • “Then why doesn’t she show her? Why doesn’t
  • she tell her? Why do I have to be the one consoling her? Why?” Sandara is
  • nothing like the strong witch she was moments ago. Now, she sounds like a lost,
  • miserable girl.
  • “We must not let our emotions get the
  • better of us, child.”
  • “I’m not a child!”
  • “You are a child as far as I’m concerned.
  • You will always be a child to me. Now, if you’re done throwing tantrums, there
  • are more pressing issues at hand, like the probable attack of demons.”
  • “You thought of it too? Why didn’t you say
  • anything in the meeting? You understand what is at stake here. We stand to lose
  • everything.”
  • “I have my reasons, but you can be assured
  • that I do not wish for the destruction of our kind.”
  • “Then why did you…”
  • Evanora cuts her short. “Time can make the
  • sharpest of blades blunt, and prolonged peace can turn the most powerful
  • witches into silly women. The cycle of peace is nearing its end; war is
  • imminent, whether I speak out or not.”