“Mother, why aren’t there more witches?”

“That’s a ridiculous question. There’s as many witches as there, because there are that many witches.”

The Matriarch was stirring a pot of food, glancing over at Her book from time to time, as the witchling peered over. He reached for one of the not-yet-sliced vegetables, earning a thwack in response by the back of a waiting knife.

“But there’s so many of us,” he glared at the knife, sparks of his unrefined magic doing nothing against its animation spell. “And you can teach even more!”

“What’s your point, child?”

“Why do humans outnumber us, if humans can become witches? Witches are so much more powerful.”

“Witches kill each other frequently; you ought to know this by now. Just because I forbid it amongst your sisters, doesn’t mean it won’t happen one day.”

“But wouldn’t all humans want to become witches? Humans want power. Why don’t they all use magic?”

“Many do, but not as witches. They worship their gods, they pray to their holy mother, they consult the spirits. They obtain power in their own way.”

“But our way is better! …Isn’t it?”

“Many a witchling has had your same arrogance; temper it before your trials, if you want to be a witch.” The Matriarch reached over, nudging the knife aside and handling a carrot over to the boy. “Priests can kill us just as well.”

He took a grateful crunch of the root, thinking. “It just… seems like witches are so powerful. You’re so strong! Your sisters are so strong. Why do we still have to follow human rules? Why do we have to listen to them?”

“A world ruled by witches would be an interesting one, I’ll grant you that child. But it’d be one in which I would never know a night’s rest. There was a time, long ago, when witches did exactly that; “and then we fought. We warred. We laid the world to waste, and those blasted angels picked from our scraps as humanity rebuilt itself from the rumble. And so now we live like this, and we swear to only duel, never to destroy what’s not ours to.”

“So… there’s few witches, intentionally?”

“How many sisters do you have?”


“When you turn twelve, you will face your first trials. Half will die. When you turn sixteen, you will face your second trials. Half will die. When you turn twenty, you will face your final trials. Half will die.”

“But they’re my sisters. I’ll keep them alive! I’ll save them!”

“You may try. You may succeed. But they will die in due time, and the survivors will claim their magicks for their own. By the time you’re as old as I am, you may be the last of your class, and maybe you’ll have your own whelp to ask you why.”

“…Am I going die?”

“Of course not, dear.” The Matriarch’s expression softened, some distant vision coming and going in her eyes. “Now, help me with this dish, before the rest of the manor gets restless, hmm?”






Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: