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The Druidess of Chester - Earth Prime

Updated: Aug 19, 2021


one

12th May, 1012AD - Forest of Mondrem, The Kingdom of Mercia


It was a brisk night; the warm spring sun had long since set as I, The Warlock, lay beneath the canopy of Mondrem, drifting in and out of a light slumber. It had been energetic night, with much dancing and merriment to the sounds of The Bard’s harp as they rang through the trees, the bark seemingly singing his choruses back to us. The campfire was dwindling now as The Bard snored loudly close by, though not as loudly as the nameless village tart I shared my bedroll with. She had been wooed through the use of some simple sorcery; the conjuration of a rose from thin air, the transformation of water to wine, the miraculous persuasion of a man to defecate himself at my command. You know, the usual. She was missing a few teeth, but I had seen far, far worse. As I began to fall once more under the night time’s spell, I heard a beastly grunting, accompanied by the intense rustling of branches, from behind. “Nothing but a wild boar out for a midnight stroll” I thought. That was, until i could smell him. I jumped to my feet, re-igniting the campfire with a click of my fingers. Startled, The Bard snapped into a lucid state of awake, mumbling like a dimwit. “Ssh!” I barked as the thumping of paws grew closer, almost drowned out by the panicked squeal of Mary or whatever her name was. With a roar, the predator burst through the brush, foaming at the mouth as i drew my sword. As the beast towered over me, there I stood, doublet torn asunder; in one hand my trusty blade, in the other the ample breast of a fair wench. It was a mix of man, wolf and bloodlust, leering down upon me with a hunger not unlike that of a starved peasant gazing longingly at a hunk of salted pork. In the near distance, The Bard cowered behind a shrub. The little bitch was quaking in his finely crafted boots, fingers shakily gripping his harp as he tried to muster the courage to pluck his way through another mediocre ballad. The creature shifted it's weight onto the balls of it's elongated, doglike feet, as it snarled violently. The buxom wench let out a frenzied shriek as I tossed her away to safety, tightening my grip on the hilt of my blade, a ball of lightning crackling in the fist where the bosom once lay... ready to do a big fighting.

With a roar, the animal leapt to me, narrowly dodging the bolt of energy I hurled towards it’s head - catching my blade between it’s gnarled teeth. It threw me aside, turning it’s attention to Sarah (I think?). I had to think fast. Before my foe had chance to pounce, I sent another bolt his way. There was a flash and a startled yelp as the blast hit the beast’s back, singeing the matted fur on it’s back. The stench of burning hair, human hair, drifted through the cold night breeze.

“You fucking stink.” I jeered. “Like wet dog and pig shit!”

“And you smell delicious” the creature grunted, his voice halfway between a growl and a chortle. We circled one another, eyes locked together. I blinked, and in that split second it was upon me once more. With cat-like reflex, I caught the monster’s claws with my blade; it crackled and whined as i pushed back against the onslaught, my bracer taking the full weight of my enemy and the edge of my blade.


“Behold The Warlock, His powerful might

o’er the beast he will triumph this night-“


The dull growl of the beast quietened, the force of his push lessening slowly. I too was dumbstruck.

“What the fuck was that?” I Barked, mouth agape at the brazenness of The Bard. “Is now the most appropriate time?” The Bard stood frozen in place, his fingers poised to pluck the strings again.

“I thought beast was bit harsh” The creature moaned, a hint of offence in his drawl. “I can’t exactly help the fact that I look this way?” By this point, both my combatant and I stood staring at the little piss-weasel. The sheer gall.

“We are in the middle of an evidently quite intense duel, and you think now is the right time to start your crooning?”

“Well I just thought-“ The Bard uttered back, lowering his harp.

“You don’t even know me mate and you are calling me a beast?” pleaded the monster

“In fairness friend, you are a bit of a state.” I retorted “Wouldn’t hurt to bath either would it?”

“You stink of shitty old breaches” Cried Mildred(?) from behind a nearby birch.

“You’re not much better” the creature snapped back. “I could smell your foul quim from the mouth of the woods”

“Yeah you have done better, Warlock” The Bard quipped.

“Agreed” I called back. I had indeed done much, much better…and not much worse. I turned back to face my erstwhile foe. “Why ARE you like that? Who are you?” The creature was now sitting like a mutt, scratching behind his ear with his foot.

“My name is Martin, i’m from Chester.” He stood once more, pulling his right arm across his chest in a stretch. “I slept with a beautiful Druidess about five weeks ago and walked out while she slept. A couple of days later I woke up like this, out in the middle of nowhere, hungry.”

“Ah, I see.” I stuck my blade into the ground, leaning on the pommel. “Was she a proper one or did she just have some sticks and pretty rocks?”

“I’d imagine so” Martin replied, dropping to his arse. “Otherwise my dick wouldn’t be covered in hair”.

“That isn’t that uncommon, just last week I met a lovely bloke from Wessex who-“ All three of us stared at Susan, faces contorted in disgust at her AUDACITY. I turned back to Martin,

“I can sort that for you actually mate.” I handed back the flask of mead The Bard had just given me, who in turn offered it to our new friend. “Its actually a quick fix, do you know where she lives?”

“As a matter of fact, yes… Just outside of Chester.” Martin took a mouthful before passing it back to The Bard, who was visibly uncomfortable with the amount of saliva now rolling down from the rim of the bottle. “There is a small hamlet, she lives there and doesn’t leave very often, save for collecting supplies for her sorcery.”

“Well, then, thats where we are headed, Bard.” I confirmed, much to The Bard’s dismay. “We shall rest until dawn, and then we move.” The Bard rolled his eyes but nodded with quiet obedience.

“I can’t sleep on an empty stomach” Martin grumbled, “Have you anything to quell this hunger?” I pondered for a moment; there was some bread left over and perhaps an apple or two. Nothing that would likely hit the spot for our new furry companion… then it hit me. The Bard and I shared a look of agreement, before simultaneously gesturing to a wonderfully plump, fresh feast, witlessly cowering just out of sight.

 

two

13th May, 1012AD - Just outside of Chester, The Kingdom of Mercia


“What WAS her name Bard?” I asked curiously. “Was it Martha?”

“I think it was Martha” He replied with a reluctant confidence.

“She tasted like a Martha.” We chuckled at the amusing, albeit macabre, observation made by the hybrid. The morning air, much like that of the night before, was brisk and inviting as the sun hung low in the sky to the east. We had already been walking for a good hour and a half, with only another five minutes or so to go according to Martin. “So what exactly IS this ‘quick fix’?” He asked. “You seem pretty confident?”

“Well, its quite simple really” I leaned in almost whispering in the beasts ear “We have to take a SMALL amount of her blood, some of her hair and burn it while the sun kisses the horizon in the west.” Martin looked at me slightly confused, clearly unsure of my brilliance. “I have done this plenty of times before” I reassured him. I had in fact only done it twice before, the first time being an accident.

“Remember that man from London who got turned into a massive cat?” The Bard mused. “He was lovely, he had the most beautiful eyes.”

“Is that why you sucked him off?” I quipped.

“I did NOT suck him off, I was admiring the patterns in his fur around his stomach”

“With his penis literally in your mouth hole.” The bard fell silent for a moment.

“I’ll admit his penis WAS in my mouth” He peered off in the distance, feigning a difficulty in remembering the situation. “I believe it was a very cold night and I worried he would get hypothermia”

“You didn’t seem interested when I had lifted the curse” I recalled

“I don’t really do brunettes.” A lie he told with utmost confidence. The general rule of thumb was that if something had a pulse, The Bard at some point would attempt to slither inside with his rancid pecker.

“We’re here.” Martin grumbled, breaking fond reminiscing. There we stood at the edge of a small cluster of six run down shacks, each looking as if they could crumble with so much as a sudden gust of wind. There were a few serfs milling around between the huts - hanging out laundry, chopping firewood and such. One shack stood out however - wreathes of bone and twig hanging all around it’s rotting fence, a prominent red cross painted on the white door in what looked like blood (of course.) “Thats the place. I remember the bones.” Martin declared, a slight tone of fear lingering in his words.

“What, the place that screams ‘I swear a witch lives here honest’” The Bard mockingly uttered, nudging me. But, I could feel it. A strange, dark energy almost whispering, calling out to me.

“Stay here, I’ll go and introduce myself.” Ignoring their brief protests, I wandered away from my companions towards the shack. The townsfolk murmured, heading inside their homes as I passed by. A breeze whipped the dirt up from around my greaves with every step, seemingly beckoning me closer to the red painted door. As I reached it, I cautiously gripped the hilt of my blade, reached out and rapped my knuckles against the door.

“What the fuck do you want?” Cried out a shrill voice, accompanied by the sound of shuffling inside.

“A quick chat is all, with one of my kin.”

“One of your kin?” The shrill voice cackled “I suppose you’re some fancy lord usin’ words like that?!”

“Please, I require but a moment of your time” The energy I was feeling grew darker as footsteps approached on the other side of the door, until suddenly it flew open. Stood before me was a hag; no taller than five foot, her wiry black hair, which was peppered with streaks of silver, hanging loose down to her waist. A hideous sight, her chin was elongated, jutting forwards, her nose long and hooked, one eye a striking bright blue, the other a hazy grey, scarred deeply. Was this really the dazzling woman Martin had spoken about? Each to their own I suppose. I gathered myself once more. “I believe you know a friend of mine? Martin?” She paused for a moment, searching her memories before a barely toothed, manic grin stretched across her grotesque visage.

“Martin…Yes.” She coughed, wretching phlegm from her knobbly throat before spitting it at my feet, the dirty bitch. “I gave that little prick what he deserved. He saw my true form and decided he was too good for me.” There was an air of indignance to her words as she clearly believed herself to be far more of a catch than Martin had obviously thought.

“Your true form?” I pondered. “I take it his attraction wasn’t just born out of a skinful of ale then?” The hag cackled once more, walking back into the shack leaving the door open wide, wordlessly inviting me inside.


The interior of the home was even further into disrepair than the outside - Black mold crept its way up every surface, wreathes and chimes made from what was evidently a mix of human and animal bone littered every place from which they could hang and there was a distinct stench of soiled fur, damp linen and rotten meat. Towards the back of the room there was what looked to be an altar; a small wooden table with a carved pentacle adorning it's surface with a bowl sat in the middle, surrounded by half melted candles, twigs and bone fragments- Oh yeah, she was the real deal.

"Sit your arse down, boy" my gracious hostess shrieked, gesturing towards a stool not far from the alter. As I complied, she wandered over to a large set of shelves back towards the door through which we entered. She hummed with crazed glee as she fingered through various vials and bottles on the shelves. "Ah, here we are". The vial in question swam with a thick, moss green tonic. Her humming continued as she shuffled over towards the altar once more. She uncorked the vessel and allowed a few drops of the stuff fall into the bowl in the centre of the pentacle, before holding it over one of the candles.

"Ah-sha Kaer Hoo ahn. Oer Futh-arak"


Her voice was a thick, gutteral drawl as she uttered the infernal words - a language I had heard only a small handful of times before and read countless times in forgotten tomes of forbidden knowledge. A thick, pungent scent of burning flesh burst through the air around us as a dense green vapour swirled from the small clay bowl. Silence lingered save for the hissing and crackling of the liquid in the bowl as the woman slowly inhaled the plumes through her gaping nostrils. Not a thing stirred, the only sound being that of the breeze whistling through the cracks in the walls. Suddenly, the hag threw her head back, accompanied with a grotesque crunch, the sound of bone breaking. I leapt from my seat, hand gripped around the hilt of my sword at the ready. She shrugged away the ragged cloak draped around her shoulders, which seemed to have lifted and broadened in a matter of seconds. The sight was enough to fill me with dread; Her flesh tore and fell away, scraps of rotten meat dropping to the floor with grotesque splatters. The last to shed was her scalp, which she pulled away herself - allowing it to land at her feet as she stretched her arms out to the sides. There was a few moments of silence, broken only by the heavy panting of the witch, who wordlessly gestured to the side of the room. A large, ragged piece of cloth was hanging from a nail in the shack wall. Silently, I handed her the fabric which she then used to clean the bloody mess all over her now drastically different form. I loosened the grip on my weapon, stepping back to get a good look at her.

"Well..." She murmured, her voice now soft and inviting. She turned to face me. "What do you think?" What dark, eldritch magic was this? The hag, no longer a hag at all, stood around a foot taller than before, Shoulder length blonde hair tinged with crimson draped on her wide, well proportioned shoulders. She stood before me, nude save for the cloth hanging from her neck; her form was exquisite and evidently many years younger than before. Ample breasts, a narrow waist and wide hyper-effeminate hips sat atop long, slightly muscular legs. Now I could see how Martin could have been so easily misled.

"Very good" I mused. "I'm impressed." She was a vision of blood soaked beauty, admittedly she ignited a fire in my belly. "So this is how you lure unsuspecting drunkards in?"

"I simply show them what I know they desire." She crooned, walking softly around me, tracing her finger along my stubbled jawline.

"And then imbue them with a curse once they realise they have been tricked?"

"It isn't my fault that they allow their eyes to betray them. Men are such shallow, vapid creatures." She slinked over to the shelves from which she acquired the potion, taking a folded black robe from the top shelf, tying it at the waist before turning to face me once again. "One look at the woman I truly am and they flee in horror. Martin was no different from the countless that came before him. So i made sure he was just as hideous in the flesh as the rot in his heart."

"Bullshit." I interjected. "You take an already heavily impaired individual, deceive them and then punish them for rejecting the truth of the lie you force upon them."

"Don't you see, I am the victim of a terrible injustice." She moaned, a sultry tang of sarcasm to her tone. "After all, who could love an old, withered maid such as I?" We both fell silent as I contemplated my next words very, very carefully.

"You made a mistake." I grumbled as she glared back perplexed. "I know that incantation, I know the potion-" I wandered over to one of the bone wreaths hanging from the ceiling "- and I know what is used in it's alchemic make up." The witch shifted uncomfortably as she began to slowly circle around me. I took one of the smaller bones between my fingers. "This one, how old were they? No more than three years old, i'd wager." I stormed over to the alter, taking the fragments in my fist. "And these? Four? Five?" The witch began to back away from me, a look of panic steadily growing across her face.

"I don't know what you are-"

"That spell, the spell you so claim to have cast time and time again draws the life force of the parents-" I snatched the vial from the alter, holding it out at arms length "- Of the children whose blood you use to make your wicked brew." I tossed the vial against the wall of the shack. The witch shrieked "NO!" as the glass burst, causing the liquid inside to vaporise instantly with a sinister hiss. Suddenly, she lunged towards me, a jagged haphazardly crafted dagger clutched in her hand over her head. In a flash, I had drawn my own weapon, which whistled as it cut through air until the tip of my blade sat just below the woman's chin. "Its done" I murmured. "Reverse the curse you put on Martin, or i'll have your head." She dropped the dagger, which landed with sharp thud, it's point in the wood floor of the shack.

"Its not as simple as that." She shakily uttered. "It requires time and ingredients I don't have."

"How soon can you get them?" I firmly questioned.

"It would take me one night and one day. Surely you can wait that long?"

"What, so you have chance to flee? To start in a new little corner of the kingdom?" She began to panic, eyes darting towards a doorway beside the alter. I pressed my blade harder against her throat. "What are you hiding? In there?" I nodded towards the doorway, She remained silent. After a moments pause, I lowered my blade and walked over to the doorway.

"No, please" she shrieked. She spoke too late. The room was a small bedchamber, a woven pallet lay upon the floor with a large pelt strewn across it. Then, I saw it; a sight so horrifying it haunts me to this very day. Beside the bed, lay the corpse of a young girl, no older than four or five years old. Her limbs were twisted into a mangled state of contortion, a look of terror painted upon her white face, her blue lips agape as her glassy eyes stared back at me. There was an incision, carefully made, in her left forearm leading vertically from the base of her wrist to the inside of her elbow. She had been drained of her blood, of her life, like cattle. I felt rage burning through every vein in my body, the grip around the handle of my sword tightened. I span on my heel to see the witch dart through the front door of the shack. I cursed, sprinting after her in pursuit. Outside, the witch had been stopped dead in her tracks; before her towered a twisted amalgamation of man and beast. Her shriek was drowned out by Martin's roar as he swiped at her with his gigantic paws.

"You rotten bitch" he bellowed "YOU did this to me!" His claws shredded through her abdomen with ease, sending her hurtling back towards me. I raised my leg, planting my boot in her back full force. The witch dropped to her knees with a grunt, trying with futile desperation to gather the organs which were beginning to spill from the gaping tear in her stomach. The dirt around her slowly began to swirl as she frantically muttered something under her breath.


"Soo-tuh aael ACK-"


Her words were silenced as I brought my blade down. The tip of my sword plunged through the back of her neck, straight through to the ground below. Strands of her golden hair fell around my blade as the silence was replaced with a guttural spurt of some illegible swear. In the distance, I heard The Bard wretch, barely holding in what was sure to be a tsunami of vomit as the witch's head dropped to the ground, her body slumping to the side. Breathing heavily, I wiped my sword clean using a rag in my back pocket, before bending down to pick up the hag's head. It lay on the ground, coated with shedding flesh as the spell had worn off in death. The Bard continued to gag as I lifted the trophy out in front by the wiry black hair, thick with clumps of skin.

"Is anyone else REALLY hungry?" Martin growled excitedly.


A few hours passed by, and the sun was finally setting on a very long, very interesting day. I had decided to allow Martin to consume the corpse of the Druidess; I only had a use for her wretched head. The Bard was sitting on a nearby crate, serenading two young women who gazed upon him with clueless desire.


"O beast, O beast, and the Druidess

Both damned with the looks

only a mother could bless

But when the witch, the Warlock did best

begone, begone, your curse will regress"


"What happens now, Warlock?" Martin asked somewhat sheepishly. "Are you sure you can fix me?"

"You don't need fixing, Martin." I replied. "No matter how you look, you are worth so much more than you believe. But if it will make you feel better" I placed my hand on his thick, muscular shoulder "I am certain it will work". I stood, retrieving the severed head from by my feet, and approached the shack. I conjured a small storm in my fist, and sent it hurtling through the door of the Druidess' home, igniting it almost immediately. As the flames grew, I threw the head inside.


"Thuum Nah-rae. Atha-na ftaghn."


As quickly as I had finished uttering the phrase, Martin groaned behind me, before screaming in agony. His fur was alight with green flames, there he stood contorting and twisted, writhing in agony as the stench of burning flesh filled the air. The scream too twisted, gradually becoming more and more human in replacement of the savage, animalistic gurgles of before. I grabbed a pale of water I had prepared before and threw it over the man, instantly dousing the fires. The Bard stared in awe, he had long since put down his harp, dumbstruck with the fantastic sight before him. Martin's screams wained, dying down into a hurried gasping for breath. He was human once more. He stood before us, bollock naked. His hair was short and his slightly chubby face speckled with blemishes and stubble. He was short too, barely reaching my shoulder, with terrible posture. His eyes were the most drastically different part, being a bright hazel and no longer adorned with a narrow, elongated pupil. He patted himself in disbelief before laughing and throwing his arms around me.

"God, thank you. Thank you, Thank you!" He excitedly jibbed. His voice was fairly high for a man, with a very slight impediment. "I'm back to normal, I'm not a horrid beast I...ate people..." He threw his head down, vomiting grotesquely at my feet.

"Everything is alright now, Martin. You are safe." I assured my companion with a light pat against his sodden back. "Now go and see if one of those fair mades have any clothes you can borrow, and get yourself home." I gestured towards the girls entranced by The Bard. He nodded and smiled, thanking me again, before almost trotting off elated. The air was crackling with energy as the shack burned behind me. I had decided not to tell my companions the nature of the Druidess' power - they simply would not have understood the intricacies of the blood magic of old; the pacts those that practice it most take with unseen, long forgotten deities and the unorthodox materials used in rituals and spells. I had given the poor young girl a proper wrapping using cloaks i had found in the witch's belongings, and made offerings ensuring her spirit would move on in peace as the fire took her flesh. But as I stood their, so certain that I had done everything necessary, I could not help but feel as though something was upon the horizon...something dark...something powerful...s


omething not of this world.


to be continued...



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