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nickytheginger t1_j4lt70t wrote

"Your an idiot Margy."

"Shut it."

"I will not. What was it Mother used to say. ALWAYS do the background research. ALWAYS. If you had then you wouldn't be saddled with a baby."

Margy looked over at the crib, and the child within. As with all these bargains, she could not harm the child. He gurgled, wrapped in fine blankets but otherwise unadorned. Not even a day old and his mother, though tearful, had given him up. After all, they already had an heir.


She should have realized that something was up was they had agreed to give up their first born son so readily.

And now her darling sister Henny was reminding her how once again her laziness had bitten her in the backside.

"So what are you going to do?"

"I don't know." She stood and went to the crib. The child was red of hair and green of eye. She knew already he would grow to be handsome. She sighed heavily and turned away from the babe, instead looking over at the pile of letters.

In that pile were requests for her help. Farmers wanting to trade their best cattle for a good harvest. Lords wishing for the strength to defeat enemies. Royals in need of-

"I've got the best Idea."

Henny didn't like the smile on her sisters face. Sometimes it led to a good and lucrative ideas. Mostly it led to trouble.

"I use that enchanted basket. The one that freezes whatever inside? I mostly use it to keep the bread fresh, but I've kept a chicken in there for a whole month with no issues."

"You can't put the baby in there."

"Oh, I can and will." Margy said and grabbed the letter she needed.

"The Good Lord and Lady of Griffinths Island want a child. They don't care how or where from, just so long as it looks like them and can be bought to them in nine months and passed off as theirs's!"

Griffinths Island? Isn't that the place where the first born of each generation is crowned."

"Yes. I give them the kid, they get to rule the Island in it's stead until he comes of age. If he gets discovered, it's not their fault their child was replaced by a Witch, is it. Happens all the time. And becuase the Childs already royal blood..."

Henny's eyes lit up, "He will pass any lineage test. Oh, that is clever. That may actually work. What are they offering you in return?"

"First choice of the royal vaults once their in charge, 10% of the Pryth root harvest and all the MerCow eggs I want."

Before Henny could say anything, Margy had thrown the bread from the basket and put the child within.


Nine months later and Margy had given the child a dunk in cowl after birth, and delivered him to the New Queen of Griffinths. She'd take one look at the child and smiled like it was her child. Even the king was satisfied.

"We're not bad people. It's just my Younger brother is nearly 29, and he still whose and acts like a man of 14. He cannot be trusted with the kingdom should be knocking up some unfortunate girl. That's how our Cousins wound up in a treaty with the Frathmites. No, we'll raise this lad to be a responsible leader."

Margy didn't really care beyond the fact that these two wouldn't hurt the brat, mean she wouldn't have to worry about keeping her end of the treatment clause up. There was a protection spell to warn her should he grow ill or at risk, but beyond that she wanted nothing to do with him.

She left within the hour with several bag of very expensive Pryth root and a sack full of eggs.


Henny stood on her sisters now grand doorstep and waited. When a servant finally opened the door she rushed in, carrying the paper with her.

Her sister lay in bed and was not pleased to be woken. The paper that was unceremoniously thrown on her bed read the headline


"And why are you showing me this?"

"Guess whose sending their King for consideration?"



ShikakuZetsumei t1_j4m429z wrote

Isobel Grove let out a soft sigh as she stirred the murky substance in the cauldron. The room was dark, but too much light would spoil some of her more valuable ingredients. One hand reached up to brush away a strand of stringy, gray hair.

What a fate, reduced to brewing basic potions for that accursed kingdom.

Acrid fumes drifted up from the turgid surface of the cauldron, tickling her nose. They curled through the air before drifting out from a vent near the ceiling. After a few more minutes of simmering, she added some diced ginseng roots and the smell abated. Her seat creaked as she sat back with a sigh.

I’m getting too old to play their games as well.

She dozed in her seat as the potion simmered to completion. The amount of wood she had used would cause the temperature to drop at precisely the right time. She was old and, at this point, could probably make a stamina restoration elixir in her sleep. Several hours later, a knock on her door caused her eyelids to flutter open.

“Grandma? I’m back. Are you still busy with work? It’s almost dinnertime. I made some stew.”

Isobel stretched, feeling her old bones pop. “Thank you, Elias, I’ll be up as soon as I finish here.”

The stairs creaked as Elias ascended the basement steps. She scooped the potion into the waiting bottles and stoppered them. With a wave of her hand, the cauldron hissed, and the residue began to dissipate. She left her basement lab and made her way to the kitchen of her woodland cottage.

“I thought you’d finally had enough of me and left.” She let out a chuckle as she closed the door to the stairwell.

A young man with cropped, white hair stood near a woodfire stove. A savory scent filled the air, banishing the stench of her lab.

He turned with a wry grin on his face. “Where would I go? This is the only place I get treated with some semblance of civility.”

Isobel let out a cackle of laughter and sat down at the table. A moment later, Elias placed a bowl of stew and a plate of bread before her. Once he served himself as well, they began to eat.

Partway into the meal, Elias spoke. “I stopped by Everspire on the way back from the hunt to pick up some nails and pitch. Our roof is leaking again.”

Isobel paused, spoon partway to her mouth. “Did you remember your disguise?”

Elias rolled his eyes and replied in a dull voice, “Yes, grandma.”

“Good. You know that kingdom is wary of your hair color.”

“I know. You’ve been telling me that for over twenty years now.”

The mood dropped as Elias pushed his stew around in his bowl.

Finally, he said, “I still think it’s ridiculous that they would try to arrest me just for my hair.”

Isobel huffed. “The Queens of Everspire have always been a bit too superstitious. They seemed pretty relieved when you turned out to be their firstborn.”

Elias scowled. “Deal with a payment and a prophecy, huh?”

She shrugged in response. “Prophecies come true in the strangest ways. Their kingdom will fall, one way or another. It might end up being some random person with white hair that just happens to be present during the battle.”

Elias’s gaze grew thoughtful. “The situation in the kingdom seems to have gotten worse in recent months. A lot of merchants are starting to avoid the city because of their discrimination.”

“We both knew the day would come when your parents gave you up to cheat my payment.” Isobel set down her spoon. “Be honest with me, Elias. Would you rather have grown up in that place knowing what you know now? Even as royalty, you would’ve been barely better than a servant.”

He snorted. “I doubt I’d know half the skills I know now if I stayed there.”

They finished their dinner, and he brought her a mug of herbal tea. She watched him as he cleaned the dishes.

“You know, I received word a few days ago that certain groups are beginning to mobilize. They could use a strong fighter. Maybe even a leader.”

Elias’s hands paused and his shoulders tensed. “I don’t want to lead. I just want a fair price for common goods.”

“You could get back at your mothers for what they did.”

With a shake of his head, he said “I don’t have parents, grandma” before getting back to cleaning.

“Just keep it in mind. My contacts told me it’s a sizeable group. Seems like people from all walks of life are sick of the stranglehold Everspire has over the economy. Men and women, elves and lizardfolk. They even have a dwarven clan helping with their weaponry.”

He made a noise of disbelief. “The elves are getting involved? They never get involved in anything.”

“It’s what I’ve heard.”

After a pause, Elias finally said, “I’ll think about it.”


I like the idea of a story where the witch isn't deceiving the hero...

If you're interested in my works, the archive of my various writing responses can be found in my writing portfolio, link through my profile. There's also an original story, The Crossroads.

Thanks for reading.


biderandia t1_j4mn9aa wrote

Is what the queen thought but unfortunately the witch was wickedly smart.

She trained the young prince in all kinds of shape shifting magic until he could turn himself into a woman.

Now the newly minted princess walks through the streets demanding citizens overthrow the evil queen who would happily give up her own children for power and wealth.

At first the queen tried to defame the witch princess calling her witch and casting doubt on the fact that she is not a real woman, but a man shape-shifting into one.

At first the citizens struggled to believe who but the Princess who thoroughly hated her mother for using her as part of the faustian deal used her magic to sway people until they all followed her.

It was not long before she ascended the throne and became the new queen with her witch master as her advisor.

Long the live the witch queen.


Serpentking5 t1_j4mnfhs wrote

Witches were not to be bargined with; some claimed they made deals with an otherworldly patron or the fae. some said they WERE Fae. The Truth, no one could say, not even witches. They were simply witches. They did magic and could make bargains with others but their desires were ont the same as humans.

So she took the infant boy from the Kingdom of St. Paprica, and raised him. The Kingdom thought this a wise move, because the female heads of the kingdom (far easier to track compared to a kingdom they claimed and kept the woman at the head honest as the first female child would always be the heir)

But that was not why she took him; it was his blood. Being the Witch of Blood, she understood blood in every sense.


"Tch, Sanguine you've had this done to you a hundred times before."

he was 17 now. Sanguine grew up well in those 17 years; tall, but very skinny without his mother (his true mother, far as they both cared). Still he never really liked it when she needed his royal blood for something. "Mom, you never get the blade quite right."

"oh hush." She said. She looked like a woman in her late fourties; Shorter then her son with hair and eyes the color of her epithet, she watched as his Kingsblood mixed with the blood of lions and ancient redwoods. "The Blood of the Kings of all true Kingdoms: Man, Beast and plant, together in a potion of strength. Just enough for your Journy to face your Mother and Sisters." She grinned. "Don't want you to run into any trouble while you're there after all~"

he frowned. "Wait if it's my Blood then why did you need it to mix in there?"

"because Sanguine, i don't know if you're going to give me grandchildren with some noble floozy. You must be careful with them; human women aren't as kind and gentle as I have been with MY bladework."

"... I'll take your word for it. I just want to ask why and hear it from their mouths."

"They don't' care, I can assure you... but at least get your sister's friendship. that Bitch of a Queen didn't care much about me, until i helped her armies against the Demon Lord." She smiled. "But she did pay me with something more valuable than she could imagine."

"Which was?"

"Heh, forget i said anything. Good luck with then, my dear little prince."


SilasCrane t1_j4ndu6m wrote

The Queen walked sunwise around the flat stone in the center of the crumbling grotto, keeping her eyes fixed firmly on her feet. As she did so, the air began to fill with the sound of whispers, a sound that grew more harsh and sibillant with each step. She ignored them with effort, even when they started to seem more like threatening growls and snarls coming from something stalking just behind her.

When she had completed three circles around the stone, the sounds suddenly stopped, and so did the Queen.

"Why do you come?" a voice rasped.

"I have come to trade." Queen Hilde replied, respectfully, her eyes still fixed on her feet.

"Then I give you leave to look upon me." the voice replied.

Only then did Hilde lift her eyes. An old woman stood before her, dressed in a gray mantle embroidered with stars of tarnished silver thread. Her eyes were blue as a pure mountain lake, and as deep and cold as one, as well. The Twilight Witch.

"What do you ask?" the old woman said, her expression unreadable.

"My realm lies in a mountain valley, bordered on all sides by the peaks the giants and their kin lay claim to. My nation cannot trade with any other, unless we pay the giants tribute to use the passes through the mountains." Hilde replied. "I ask for power to overcome them, and expand my realm."

"You ask a great boon." the old woman observed with a slight sigh, seeming almost bored. "What can you offer in exchange?"

"I offer a great payment -- my firstborn son, of royal blood." she said, lifting her chin. She gestured behind her, where a trembling, blindfolded servant held a cloth-wrapped bundle clutched to her chest.

The woman's serene expression faltered only for an instant, but it was enough for Hilde to catch it -- it was the reaction she'd been looking for.

The witch extended her hand, and a long brazen rod appeared in it. At its tip was a bronze crescent moon, glowing as though red hot.

"This is a bane of giantkind -- thrust this brand towards any giant you see, and they shall be marked by the seal of the moon. All giants thus marked will be bound to serve you, and do as you bid." the Witch said, a hint of eagerness in creeping into her steady, passionless voice. She extended her other hand, unable to suppress a slight shaking. "Give me the boy, and it is yours."

Queen Hilde smiled inwardly, but kept her expression neutral. "I am no fool, ancient one. You must also swear not to move against me or my realm -- that neither you, nor your servants, nor any you control, may harm or hinder us."

"I swear it!" the old woman snapped. "Give me the child!"

"Thus be our pact sealed." the Queen intoned, according to the ancient formula she'd memorized. Then she led her blindfolded servant forward, and guided the woman's hands to hold out the infant. The Witch cast the magical brand on the ground at Hilde's feet, and then snatched the babe eagerly, her face lighting up with ecstatic joy. But then her expression fell.

"What is this?" she hissed, passing a hand over the sleeping child's face, as though feeling at something invisible around him. "This is...this is not right!"

Queen Hilde smiled. "It is what we agreed, Witch. He is my firstborn, and my son -- I did not lie. But in my realm, women hold rulership. My son, though firstborn, was never my heir."

"What?" the Witch snarled.

"Did you think me a fool?" the Queen said, picking up the magical rod and examining it, fondly. "I knew why you would crave a royal scion. The tales of creatures like you devouring children are mere fables -- ignorant distortions of the truth. You desire mortals because we are connected to the mortal world, mortal monarchs most of all, for the monarch and the land are one. Your realm of dreams and shadows has become distant from the real world, and thus it has begun to vanish like a dream on waking. Most of your kind have already faded into oblivion, I am told. If you had my true heir in your power, that connection would allow you to draw your world close to mine again, as it was in ancient times, and begin to renew your realm. I have no desire to allow that."

The Twilight Witch's face darkened, as she clutched the bundled babe to her chest, her grip on the child tightening until he woke and began to cry. Power rose up around her like a stormcloud, but it did not strike the Queen, for the Witch's oath bound her like an iron band.

Queen Hilde snorted, and waved the magic rod at the Witch, dismissively. "Crush him, if it makes you feel better, I care not, but controlling him will be of no use to you. Farewell, witch -- we will not meet again." She smiled as she walked out of the grotto, her terrified servant stumbling after her, as the Witch's screams of outrage echoed through the night.

- - - - - -


SilasCrane t1_j4newab wrote



Queen Hilde reclined on a richly upholstered lounge, idly watching her daughter play in the distance. Princess Gerde seemed to be having a disagreement with one of her young ladies in waiting over a doll.

The Queen was too far away to hear what they were saying, but the confrontation was soon over, regardless: after a few moments, the princess struck the other girl across the face, and snatched the doll as she collapsed to the ground, sobbing.

The corners of Hilde's mouth curled up slightly.

"Good girl." she murmured, softly.

In the distance, something flitted across her field of vision. She squinted, but could make it. Annoyed, she looked up.

"Lean over, idiot -- the sun's in my eyes again!" she snarled.

The towering giant sighed heavily, but did as he was bid, awkwardly bending down to more completely shade the Queen and her seat. Now that she could see more clearly, she could make out the source of the distant motion. Near the treeline, deer were emerging from the forest adjoining the palace grounds, and bounding across the neatly scythe-mowed grass.

"It's a been a while since we had venison..." she idly mused, toying with the idea of commanding one of the giants to pluck a fat-looking beast from the herd. Then she saw what the deer were fleeing from.

An enormous bear charged out of the woods, a huge shaggy beast as tall as a horse and several times as wide. A fur-clad figure clung to its back, wearing a hood adorned with antlers, a long spear in his hand.

Her eyes widened. She was about to call for another her giants, but one nearer the trees was already lumbering forward to intercept the strange hunter. Though lankier than the one currently shading her, this giant still towered over even the huge bear and its rider, and bore a dangerous spiked club the size of a tree.

As the giant bore down on the bear-rider, however, the man raised his spear. A flash of bright light shone forth, and the giant stumbled to a halt. The hulking creature looked around stupidly for a moment, as the rider rode right past it, and then, to Hilde's amazement, began to wander off, as though it had simply lost interest.

"Giant!" she snapped at the one shading her, and pointed to the oncoming rider. "Deal with that brigand!"

The giant moved to intercept the bear-riding barbarian, but as he drew close, the rider raised his spear again, and Queen Hilde saw what had stayed the first giant's hand. When the speartip flashed like the sun, the moon brand faded like morning fog before the warmth of dawn. The giant swayed uncertainly, looking down at the rider in confusion.

"Another one?" the rider called, sounding amused. "Why come you here, titan-born? Your home is upon the mountain peaks, not here in the valley!"

"Mountain..." the giant rumbled in response, looking towards the peaks in the distance. "Home..."

Without another word, the giant began to walk away, leaving nothing between Hilde and the rider. She scrambled among her cushions and coverlets for the magic rod, hoping to regain control of the giant, but the rider was upon her a moment later. Suddenly the impossibly large bear was looming over her, immense paws planted on either of her chair.

She cringed back from it, thinking she was about to be devoured, but it only lowered its great head, and sniffed at her curiously, nostrils flaring.

The Rider dismounted, dropping nimbly to the ground beside his beast, and patting the bear's flank affectionately. As he stepped towards her, Hilde froze. She knew that face. The face of a man she'd shared her bed with, to sire a child that would purchase a glorious renewal of her realm. But that was impossible -- he was too young. And in any case, she'd had that man killed once she'd borne his son, to ensure he would not interfere with her bargain, nor reveal what she had done.

"Mother," the Rider said, "Who is this?"

Hilde's heart twisted in her chest. But before she could answer, another voice replied, one all too familiar.

"Her name is Hilde, my son." another voice answered. A voice that was horrifyingly familiar. The Twilight Witch walked into view from the other side of the beast, as though appearing from nowhere, and belying her name by doing so in daylight. Hilde could not fail to recognize her, though now she looked younger, more like a matron of middle age than a withered crone, and the embroidered stars on her mantle were no longer tarnished, but gleamed brightly in the sun. "This is the one who beguiled those poor giants, and compelled them to be her slaves. She purports to be queen of this land -- your land."

Outraged, Hilde opened her mouth to protest, but the Rider turned on her, jabbing a finger in her direction.

"Silence!" he snapped, and his voice cracked like a whip. There was another flash of light, and suddenly, Hilde found herself unable to speak.

The Witch smiled, and nodded. "Very wise, my son -- if she cannot speak, she cannot try to use any foul magic upon you."

The Rider beamed boyishly at her praise, "What do you think I should do now, mother?"

The Witch shrugged. "As you like, my dear -- you are the king, after all." She gestured across the grounds, towards where Gerde, having seen what transpired on the green, was fleeing towards the palace. "Why not go introduce yourself to your subjects? You could start with that girl, there."

"Ah! Excellent idea." the Rider agreed. He gestured to Hilde. "And her?"

"She can harm no one now. I will see to her, if you like." The Witch said, mildly.

The Rider nodded, and then leaped back onto his mount, before charging away across the grass. "Ho, good people! Your king approaches!"

The Witch watched him go, smiling fondly, and then turned back to Helge, who was still cringing in her chair.

"You were clever." the Witch said, giving her a nod of respect. "You outwitted me by doing something that I never would have thought of." Then she smirked. "So, when I was puzzling over how I could retaliate, despite the geas I hastily placed myself under when we made our bargain, I realized that the solution had to be something you would never think of."

The witch crouched beside the cowering monarch, like a solicitous adult addressing a wayward child. "Controlling your son would have done me no good -- you said as much. As it stood, he had no stronger connection to your world than any other mortal child. And if I made him my servant, he would have been as powerless to harm you as I am, per our agreement. So I didn't make him my servant -- quite the opposite, in fact. Most of my kind have faded away, as you know...and that means my world has many empty thrones. I placed him upon one of these, the long-abandoned throne of the Bear King, and I swore fealty to him. More than that, I loved him as my own, and taught him all I knew -- and he loved me in turn. He grew restless, of course, as I knew he would -- his realm in my world is all but empty, and he could not be happy there forever. And so, when he sought my counsel, I told him of a place where he could be happy, and do much good besides."

The Witch straightened, and stretched languidly. As she did so, some of the wrinkles faded from her face, and the stars of her mantle grew a little brighter. She turned back to Hilde, and smiled, widely.

"Oh, do not cringe so in my presence, child. I cannot harm you -- neither I nor my servants, remember?" She began to walk away, then paused, looking over her shoulder. "Although, if I were to mention to my son, my liege, that the vanquished sorceress had offended his much-beloved mother...I wonder what he might do?"


Icy_Wildcat t1_j4o1n7i wrote

"As I give you my firstborn son, I pray that you raise him well and shape him into a fine young man, so that when he comes home he will be recognized as a fine leader."

The last matriarchal kingdom I had visited was the Churai Kingdom, ruled by two queens of good nature. They both had said that to me as I took their son, a prince, and set off to my home, Anschrukh Castle, or as it was also known, the Palace of Royals. There, he was properly taken care of, given lessons by the other princes, kings, emperors, dukes, counts, marquesses, barons, viscounts, and lords, soon becoming one of them. Whatever title they were given by their parents did not matter, as they were each equals, brothers from different kingdoms, empires, and dynasties.

I was known as the Witch Queen. As payment for helping the kingdoms, I only took their firstborn sons, raising them and allowing their parents to visit them, helping with a sort of co-parenting. However, as I asked for the same payment after helping the Dazaken Empire, an abnormally strict matriarchal society, the Empress scoffed at my demand, looking down on me.

"Take the little shit. He serves me no purpose other than to be executed after his twentieth birthday to commemorate the royal family's rule. Once he is outside these city walls, he will be exiled."

I was taken aback by her harsh words, and as the princess walked into the room, hearing the commotion, I turned away before producing a long, thick, golden blade with a jeweled handle and striking off the empress's head. It was only too late that I saw the princess escorting the prince into the royal hall in chains, yet she only released him, giving him new robes—emperor's robes, complete with crown.

After their coronation together, I took him home, where he was welcomed with open arms, cheers, and comrades. This was what I loved for. I was a matriarch who cared for thousands of patriarchs, raising them to be fine leaders. This was my ambition, and I loved every second of it, so why not go for more?


pinewoodpine t1_j4ovmr1 wrote

The sorcerer was quietly sipping tea and reading through the newest Arcanist’s Monthly when the door whooshed open and banged at the wall. He raised an eyebrow as the witch marched across his living room before taking a seat opposite of him. The man put down the publication in his hand on the wooden table and poured the middle-aged woman a cup of tea. He also picked up a cupcake from the plate and gave it to the weasel that helped close the door after her grand entrance.

He also didn’t miss the toddler in the basket that she was carrying with her.

“I was deceived!” The witch hissed. “He promised me his firstborn would be a cure for the queen, but all he gave me is… is this! A worthless brat!”

The sorcerer tried very hard not to roll his eyes. He warned her… There was a reason that their kind rarely rose to prominence in the aristocratic landscape. Despite their arcane powers, few of them were well-versed in the arts of diplomacy and deception. However, she insisted she could hold a kingdom ransom by putting their heir under her control. Her plan worked… She got a child from the royal family. However, she had overlooked something.

“Start from the beginning, you old hag. Don’t make me waste my Mana on trying to read your mind,” he said to the witch as he glanced at the weasel climbing up the table and then looked at the baby curiously. Meanwhile, the baby was still fast asleep as he lay in the basket, not knowing that his royal parents had already sold him off to an old witch.

As the witch rambled on, the sorcerer finally pieced together what happened. Long story short, the king of a queendom approached the witch in order to find a cure for a magical disease that was afflicting the queen. The unsuspecting witch asked for their firstborn son, completely oblivious to the fact that the son would never become a ruler since the king omitted to tell her he was from a queendom. That was how her plan completely fell apart before it even started.

“Curse the aristocracy and their game of words!” The witch faked a spat.

“And what should I do with this brat right now? I can’t just leave him out in the wilds!” The witch sighed. She may be a witch, but even she had standards. Harming children… Especially a toddler… it was something she would never consider. She always had a soft spot for children. However, she also had little patience for crying, children… And she expected the toddler to cry as soon as he woke up from his sleep.

“Why not adopt him?” The sorcerer shrugged. “He has royal blood inside of him. He will make a mighty sorcerer if you can ignite his Arcane Spark.”

The witch stared at her long-time companion and the latter could feel a chill down his spine as she broke into a wide grin. “Oh, my old buddy, old pal…”

“No, nope, stop. I don’t want to hear a word you’re going to say from this second onward…”

“Come now, you won’t leave an old friend in the rut, would you…?”

17 Years Later.

A tearful witch bid the youth farewell as he strode off into the sky on a phantom steed. Even the weasel was waving goodbye with a handkerchief in its hand. “Can’t he just stay home for one more year? The world’s such a dangerous place… And he’s still so young…”

The sorcerer could only roll his eyes as he heard the witch as she blew her nose. “You didn’t sound sad when you left him with me all those years ago.”

“I didn’t know that he would grow up to be such a considerate and kind boy back then!” The witch retorted, even as she wiped the tears off her cheeks. “He’s the only one who ever gave me a flower…”

“Alright, alright… Stop crying, 'mommy.' He promised he’ll send us letters whenever he reaches a new town… He’ll be fine. He learned from the best.” The sorcerer voiced out his confidence in the boy that they raised together. Of course, he would never let her know he had secretly inscribed a rune on the boy’s back that would always inform him of his whereabouts…


originmsd t1_j4p4tw2 wrote

"What do you mean I have to marry him?!"

The young witch's older sisters roared with laughter, while the teenage prince smiled sheepishly. Gale turned to her familiar, a wizened owl who was sitting on a wooden perch.

"Their culture is matrilocal. Surely you're read about such cultures in your studies."

Gale's face turned red. She put her hands behind her back and twitched her lips. "I uh, I haven't been keeping up with Mortal Anthropology 101 as much as I said I was."

The owl tilted its head unnaturally, as owls do. "That much is obvious."

Gale turned to her sisters. "So what exactly is matri-whatever and why does it mean I have to marry the little snot?"

"Um, I'm right here, love."

Gale froze, her eyes shifting in alarm at being called "love".

The oldest sister, Breeze, took a step forward. "Most mortal human cultures are what anthropologists call 'patrilocal'. Males tend to stay in one place, while females move around. It's a bit like those male birds who establish territories and then build nests to attract females. Sometimes, families will pay a dowry, a sort of reward, to a family with a son who takes in their daughter."

"... Ok. Glad I'm not a normal human."

Breeze put her hands on her hips. "Yes, well, human cultures are very diverse. Although not as common, matrilocal societies do exist, where the men move around to get taken in by families with daughters. These societies tend to have equal divisions of labor within the household by the way."

"You could certainly use a man around the house. This place is filthy." The young prince tsk'ed as he examined a nearby bookshelf.

"Don't... touch... anything." Gale pointed at him accusingly.

"You mean don't touch anything, love." He held up a finger in his defense. "Contrary to popular belief we do have standards, you know?"

Gale rolled her eyes and turned back to her sister. "Ok ok ok. You mentioned something about a dowry. Since I'm taking the prince in, shouldn't they be paying me a dowry?"

"Not necessarily. The kingdom of Ning Lai is very egalitarian. There it's customary for the more powerful of the two families to pay the dowry. And although his family is royalty, you are a witch with supernatural powers, which puts you on an even higher tier."

Gale's face froze. "... So... by helping the royal family and asking for their son in return... I basically paid a fucking dowry."

The owl chimed in. "That is indeed how your actions would be interpreted by their society, yes."

Gale turned to the young prince, who was sniffing some smudged vials on a nearby work bench. "I don't suppose you come with a receipt?"

"Well, if you harm me in some way, my family could demand I be returned."

Gale raised her palm towards the prince, fingers crackling with lightning. Hurricane and Breeze moved in to try to restrain her.

"BUT!" The prince held another finger up. "Breaking a dowry contract with the royal family could also be considered an act of war! And my mother is very temperamental. Even you can't fight off twenty battalions of longbow archers."

Gale lowered her hand and started whining. Breeze breathed a sigh of relief.

"I kinda like this kid." Hurricane chuckled.

"I'm TOO YOUNG to be married!" Gale cried.

"Technically you're a century older than him." Breeze chuckled.

"I'll have you all know I'm very immature for my age." Gale huffed.

"That much is also obvious." The owl said.

Breeze folded her arms. "We might be able to find a non-violent way out of this for you, but it isn't going to be an easy fix. Meanwhile you'll just have to deal with the situation as best you can."

Gale sighed and turned back to the prince, who was now taking a dust sample of the window sill with his finger. "Your name is Dan right?"

"Dan love." He corrected without even looking at her.

"Ok, Dan love. Clean this place up I guess."

"Wrong. You and I are going to clean this place together. And we're going to reorganize that bookshelf. Then we have time I'm going to the farmer's market to get some proper ingredients for that travesty you call a kitchen. I'm not going to subsist on eye of newt and beetles. I'll need an allowance for that by the way."

Gale blinked at the young prince rhythmically while her sisters stifled more chuckles.

"Y-yes, love."


The_English_Student t1_j4pol2z wrote

"Hey, mom?"

The Witch of The Plains looked up from her cauldron. It wasn't her potions cauldron, luckily. Rather, it was the one she used whenever she was making soup. It was much smaller than the potion one, and therefore much easier to handle.

"Yes, dear?" the witch responded. She cast an emerald eye on her son. She received him when he was just a babe, given willingly as the payment for her help from years before. "You know I don't like to talk when I'm making dinner."

The boy, whom she named Kinni, fidgeted before he spoke. He averted his gaze several times, glancing off at the other corners of the room. The Witch frowned.

"Come now, you know I didn't teach you to be that way. Tell me what's on your mind, child."

Kinni still didn't seem as if he wanted to talk, but eventually he managed to gather his nerves. He turned his eyes, which weren't blessed with magic as of yet, that shone as blue as a cloudless summer sky. "Mom. Do you ever... regret... that the Queen gave me instead of the crown princess?"

The Witch stopped her stirring of the soup and looked at her son. Her eyes flashed green for a moment, shining in the shade of her house.

"What do you mean?" she asked, a dangerous glint in her tone. "Who put such an idea in your head? It was the fae, wasn't it? The mischievous little things were always little troublemakers. I told you not the hang out with them. They're not to be trusted, you know?"

Kinni rolled his eyes, already tired of the conversation that his mother was bearing down on him. It was one that she had tried to convey to him multiple times, and one that he was sure to ignore once more.

"It wasn't the fae," he said. He thumped his fingers against the table, a habit that his mom knew meant that he was nervous. "It's just... something I was thinking about. I was roaming the capital city earlier this month and..."

"Why were you wandering the capital city?" the witch snapped, her attention fully wrested from her meal now. "I told you not the enter there without my permission. You really were with the fae, weren't you? They're the only creatures around here brave enough to ignore my words!"

Once again, Kinni ignored her. He rolled his eyes once more and turned his gaze out the window. It was a wonderful day. The sky was practically clear and the sun was shining bright.

"Mom, that isn't the point right now."

The Witch glared at her son before slowly starting to mix at her pot once more. "Be that as it may, it will be a problem later. I will not forget about this. Are we understood?"

Kinni didn't answer. Instead, he continued. "I was walking through the capital city earlier this month and I overheard the people walking through the streets. They were talking about how the wise queen outsmarted an evil witch into giving her the first son..." His voice trailed off as his nerve left him. The Witch stopped staring once more to stare at him. His nerve returned. "... was I... an accident? I mean, I don't know why you would choose me over my sister. Unless you didn't know... I mean, it's okay if you didn't know. I hear that most other kingdoms have men as the leader. So I understand if you didn't mean to get me and..."

The boy's mouth closes, wispy purple lights floating around his lips. This wasn't the first time that his mother had cast magic on him, so he wasn't surprised by it. He just stared at the table until he looked back up at her.

"Shush," she said, her voice a whisper, "Of course I knew about your sister's claim to the throne. I know that I don't look it, but I was born and raised in this kingdom. I've always known about the order of succession. It was taught to us in grade school."

Kinni looked like he wanted to protest, but his mouth was still kept shut by the magic. She listened to his muffled words for a few seconds before waving them off.

"Listen, I have no need of a princess or a monarch. But I do have need of a child. While a little princess would have been nice, I would have had to fight an entire kingdom that would have wanted her back. If I took a son, however..."

The witch trailed off, her attention returning to the pot. She stirred at it once more before grabbing some diced herbs off the nearby table and dropping them carelessly into the pot.

"... well, if I took a son I wouldn't have to worry about anyone coming to get you. I could raise my son as I wished. And... well... I don't suppose you don't know how they treat the male royalty in this kingdom?"

His confused face told her everything she needed to know about that. She sighed.

"If I left you there, you'd be little more than a slave, milling about to be used as either your mother or your sister pleased. You'd maintain your freedom and you'd have all the luxuries of being a royal member of the family, but that would all be in name, only. Are you telling me that you would rather a life like that?"

Kinni pondered the question, before shrugging. "I don't know," he said. "Maybe. If I lived there."

The witch didn't have anything to say to that. She grabbed some spices from the cutting board and added it to the cauldron. It bubbled for a few seconds before turning a slightly lighter shade of brown. The smell that bubbled into the air made Kinni's stomach grumble.

"How much longer until lunch is ready?" he asked.

The witch cackled. "Depends. Are you still entertaining those silly thoughts in your head?"

Kinni rolled his eyes as he rose from his seat. He went to go and gather their bowls and set them on the table. They spent the final few moments of the afternoon in silence, simply enjoying the day.

"Oh, and don't hang out with those damn fae ever again."

Kinni rolled his eyes.


ForrestHunt t1_j4pqxkf wrote

"... Is what the Vizier was saying, at least. Fools, all of them."

I watched as Arliya continued her work, the scent of ground myrtle thick in the air, her knife moving in slow, exact strokes. She didn't respond.

"So, a sympathetic connection is a given with this, but what's the Manifestation?"

Another knife stroke, and she tips the collection bowl onto the mirror. A thick red film spills across it, placid as night.

"Sublte Possession than. Will I need to prepare the guest accommodations?"

Skin separates of flesh neatly, the incantations scarred into it flickering with power.

"A shame. Guests are so rare. I suppose I'll speak with you when you've had your fun than."

The carcass is tossed in the fire, bone blackening, flesh charring.

An infantile cry echoes from the back.

"Oh, he's awake. Still in need of a lock, yes?"

Fools rarely understand why Witches demand what they do. Fools rarely understand that power comes not from law and tradition for us, not like Fae-kin. Power comes through connection.

Blood runs thickest, after all.