Cruelty

Cruelty

It was customary that the Fate Coven would send the newly trained Fate Witches out into the human world. Exploring and learning, they would practice their craft as they had been instructed; to change the fates of those they happened upon: to bring happiness, peace and ultimately bring the good out of the bad.

One such witch, young and beautiful, set up shop in a small town. There, the young men in the town pursued her, calling her the most beautiful woman in the land. This pleased her greatly and she enjoyed the attention.

A particular young man of that town was idolised by all the young women who lived there – and their mothers, too.

Although she didn’t find him remotely appealing, she wondered why he didn’t go out of his way to talk to her as the other young men did.

One of these young women desperately hoped for this man to return her affections, and so she went to the young witch for help. She was entirely plain and, although she was kind, the witch thought very little of her.

She looked into her Fate, as she was trained and as what was expected of a Fate Witch.

There, she saw that the young woman was already in the young man’s heart. They would marry in the coming summer, and he was to become very successful the year after. After raising a happy family together, they would grow old and die peacefully on the same day.

Their’s was a simple and happy Fate.

But on seeing this, the young and beautiful witch became filled with envy.

So, she stole the Fate for herself.

Smiling at the young woman, she sent her on her way, assuring her that all was well. That her Fate was, indeed, a happy one.

The witch put the Fate in a small orb and wore it around her neck.

The young man pursued she who had the Fate of the woman he loved. The young witch, pleased to be the woman of envy and the most desirable woman around, thought that she was happy.

The young man married the witch that summer and the young woman who had her Fate stolen went mad with despair.

Having no Fate, she drifted through her days, aimless and lifeless. Slowly, she paled away to a be a living ghost of the town, largely forgotten by all.

Although briefly dispirited, the young men soon went on to pursue other young women in the town, each of whom they hailed as the most beautiful woman in the land. And those young women, reciprocated, turning their attentions from the young man whom the young witch had married to these other, eligible suitors.

No longer at the heart of attention, the young witch felt cheated. What was missing from her life, she didn’t know.

She continued to steal Fates, taking the moments she thought would bring happiness into her life. Putting them in orbs, they soon built up and became decorations for long loops around her slender neck, her fingers and her shop.

After a year, the first young woman who had her Fate stolen wandered by the witch’s shop. Now homeless, destitute and benumbed to all, she had a miraculous moment of clarity and saw that the witch was increasingly more fortunate than those who went to her for help.

Calling all the townspeople together in a fervid rage, she accused the young witch of being a liar, a thief and a cheat. Lamentably, the clarity also heightened her awareness of her anguish. Sorrow screaming out of her lungs, she threw herself into the river and drowned.

On seeing the woman cold and blue, the witch’s husband became bitterly melancholy yet he did not know why.

The townsfolk thereafter became suspicious of the witch and stopped going to her for help.

With her business failing, she became alarmed. She did not want to return to her coven as a failure. So she stole the Fate of her husband and her business recovered and then some: people came from all over to have their Fates examined by the young and beautiful witch.

Her husband, now with no Fate, became despondent and distant. In a desperate attempt to recover some purpose, he travelled across the sea to try his fortune elsewhere. But both he and the ship he journeyed on were lost to a great storm.

Callously, the witch paid no heed. For once again, she captivated all the crowds who crossed her door: those who came to the town specifically to see her. Many of whom became so enthralled and sycophantic to her every word, that they moved their entire households to that small town.

Now the fame and fortune of the young witch had amassed greatly and became known to her coven. They were pleased that one of their own was doing so very well and helping so many. Intrigued, they decided to quietly visit in secret.

But upon arriving they immediately saw her corruption and all that she had done.

Her once small shop now towered over a new and ever expanding city. Built upon hundreds of stolen Fates and the desperate clamours of the growing number of hopeless souls who wandered the streets, longing for purpose and peace, it glittered enviously in the setting sun.

There, at the foot of her tower, waving away the last customers of the day, stood an ethereally young and beautiful witch.

Enraged, for her cruelty, vanity and selfishness, the coven cursed her.

Taking from her the beauty and youth which she prized most, they cast her out of the coven, drove her out of the town and shattered all the orbs of stolen Fates, releasing them to their original owners.

Incensed though they were, the Fate Witches were not without mercy. A reprieve was woven into the curse.

First, if she helped bring good fortune to those she had harmed, and second, to assist according to her original mandate for 100 years. Should she succeed in helping in three similar cases of each harm she had caused, her curse would be broken and her exile lifted.

But the witch was resentful and did not care for the forgiveness of her coven. So she left that land, seeking to break the curse with her own power and never succeeding.

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