a story of a witch who dreamt about changing the society's view towards her kind...
|Chapter 1 the Jeffersons
Criselda's eyes still didn't want to open. Her almost skinny body just won’t collaborate with her mind. She ought to get up to her feet and must not mind her aching joints and limbs.
It was past five in the morning and she had to cook breakfast, feed the dog, mop the floors and bring her Aunt Marteena her Saturday Breakfast in Bed. She thought that the all day long polishing of all the chandeliers and candelabrums the day before, made her body much exhausted that frosted her on bed; nevertheless, she was already used to in that sort of feeling. Being the only maid on a ten-bedroom “Marteena’s Bed and Breakfast” – (the only lodging house at Grace Town so far) was indeed the toughest job for a 17 year old miss.
On the left side of her bed was the attic’s window; that was use to be a glass window but thin old plywood was covering it though; thus might add to the chilly atmosphere of the attic. Up in the ceiling were ruined ridges of what seemed to be the very roof of the building. The rainy seasons had really brought a lot of damages to the attic roofs; yet her Aunt Marteena didn’t care on repairing them.
A few seconds later, her weary eyes finally opened; though she struggled to move her body, she turned her heavy head left. Between her bed and the window was a short wooden cupboard, were a century old hairbrush was place right beside a picture frame. For a moment, she stared at the persons inside it…
Seven years ago, it had been a perfect family for the Jeffersons. The man standing in the picture was Stephen Jefferson- a medium built English man, about the age of thirty; he gazed with his shinny aqua blue eyes while his right hand was inside his pocket and the other’s rested on the left side shoulder of a not so old woman, who was sitting on a cream white stool in front of him. The woman wearing a pineapple silk blouse and a hazel skirt was Celia dela Cruz Jefferson- Criselda’s mother.
A lot of Criselda’s physical features came from Celia- from her fine black tresses to her rosy brown complexion (well, aside from her azure eyes which she got from her father).
Celia once was a witch, and she’s unlucky to be one. During their time, the castle strictly forbid the existence of such witches within their sovereignty for they’re accounted as Dark Ones – (refers to all sorts of witches and witchcraft practitioners along with the goblins, trolls, ogre and all other unsightly creatures). It was even written on the “Book of Laws and Policies” that said-
NUMBER 7 OF THE HIGH CASTLE LAW:
‘ALL SORTS OF UGLY AND UNPLEASING CREATURES SUCH AS GIANTS, WITCHES, GOBLINS AND ALIKE; WERE NAMED AS DARK ONES; SHOULD BE EXTERMINATED AT ONCE.’
Of course Criselda knew it (the Jeffersons were once victims of this law); and her memory of a six year old tragedy was still very clear. The past which she can’t forget and still lamenting for it. It was on her 11th birthday; and was also the day which she believed her mother died and her father was detained.
“The cake’s almost done dear!” Celia shouted who was in their kitchen; so that Stephen can hear, who was in the living room tuning in for “Castle News Network” – (the only television channel in their state; which’s powered by their government referred as “Castle”).
“Magnificent! You better hurry with that dear”, said Stephen as he gazed at Criselda who was very cute and cuddly at that time. “Our little Selda can’t wait to grow eleven anymore”.
Criselda grinned and turned rosier as she seated along with her father on their second-hand couch.
It was a dark and cold evening. Stars in the sky were invisible, indicating that sooner or later a storm is coming. The lights in all the houses and cottages along Caroline Street, East Village were off: leaving the Jefferson’s the only lit house illuminating from the neighborhood.
“Three minutes before twelve Dear, how’s it going?” Stephen said.
“It’ll be serving in a bit”
Criselda giggled; she just couldn’t hid her excitement that she often took a glimpse on their grandfather clock waiting for the longest hand to point at the number twelve. Meanwhile, Stephen’s attention was immediately destructed and the lines on his face wrinkled as the news anchor in the TV spoke on a rapid rate of voice.
“About sixteen humans, twelve fairies and two Queen’s Lady were trapped inside a burning shopping complex along North Drive of the Town square just this early evening”, reported the jaunty man inside the TV on a glossy black suit. “But they were intuitively rescued by a troop of knights sent by the Castle, ohm... another noble act of the authority indeed. With out further ado, castle wizards investigated the said scenario and were currently patrolling around every village.”
The anchor in the screen disappeared; then another man emerge as the word “Witness” replaced “Anchor” in the lower side of the screen.
“Big fire, it was horrible!” shrieked the man on a greige cloak. “It must be the Dark Ones. They’re always jealous on fancy establishments, so they burnt it. Ah for sure, it was the dragonlets who ignite the flames.”
“Damn it… they always blame it to the Dark Ones” said Stephen in a hush voice so that Criselda’s excitement will not be spoiled (which was now staring at the clock’s hand). “What’s the Queen’s up to now?”
Stephen couldn’t believe the ways of the Castle towards Dark Ones. He always goes with fair justice; for him, anyone could have done such horrible things disregarding whether he’s a Dark One or not. Not all Dark Ones were wicked- he can assure that; considering he has married a witch; and for years he wasn’t been in any danger nor harmed. Celia’s been a good ang loving wife to him and a caring mother to Criselda. Though she’s a witch, she couldn’t take to harm anyone especially her family. She didn’t even performed spells nor used potions; though she often used her skill in herbal medication every time her husband and daughter got sick; -lived as a simple housekeeper that didn’t mind anything the Castle’s been saying about Dark Ones.
A few minutes had passed; the clock’s longest hand was finally pointing at twelve thus maid Criselda burst with excitement.
Celia came out from the kitchen carrying with her a platter of newly baked sponge cake.
“Here it goes Dear…” Celia said looking great on her hot pink nightgown. She laid the platter on the center table together with a tumbler of milk, a mug of beverage, a cup of red tea, a pile of saucers and silver forks; as she sat down on their couch beside Criselda. She smiled and kissed Criselda on her cheek. “Happy birthday Selda”, she greeted in a calm and sweet voice.
The hands finally pointed exactly at twelve; and it was then the 3rd of May. Stephen also greeted Criselda and they all relished their little feast (TV was already off) and their laughter and giggles were the only noise around the room.
“Thanks Mom, Dad…” Criselda spoke as she ate her last piece of cake. “I think this is the joyous day of my life ever.”
“Dear, I reckon you’ve forgot something for our little girl”, began Celia- now finished with her cake placing down the saucer at the table.
“Oh, really have I? Ahm… Let me see…” acted Stephen while looking up at the ceiling. “Oh yes! Wait. I have to get something from the bedroom”. Then he stood up and headed the way to their bedroom.
“What is it Dad?”
“Oh, you wait dear. Dad and I have something for yah”, said Celia.
Stephen has entered their room and was about to grab a small box covered with fancy colored parchment, when he suddenly noticed something that was glowing outside through the casement. He looked closely and realized that it was a Castle’s cabriolet attached to a couple of white tamed broncos, parked in front of their house. Though it’s dark outside, he can clearly see dim shadows of at least three men heading towards their front door. He began to startled, leaved the bedroom and hurried to the living room neglecting the box inside an opened antic closet. It was then too late, for Celia has already opened the door.
“What can I do for you Mister?”
He heard Celia spoke to a bearded man on an indigo cloak. Criselda who suddenly stood from the couch leaned forward to see the man. She saw his pale cheek, cunning eyes and hair that was almost entirely white.
Stephen’s world began to fall; he knew that the man in front of his wife was a Castle wizard who might probably detected a Dark One from their house and could possibly killed his family.
“You’re not one of them, are you?” asked the man. His both eyes were now becoming more ferocious as he grabbed a small size lime green orb from his right pocket inside his cloak.
The lime green color which serves to be the illuminator of the orb slowly faded and turned black= thus means that the person near it was a Dark One. Celia was frightened from the way she stopped moving; while still holding the doorknob. Is it her end? She didn’t know what to say or what to do: whether she’ll slam the door nor do sarcastic things. But she knew she has no escape, the wizard seemed powerful. The only thing she had in mind was to save Stephen and Criselda.
“Men, get them” ordered the man to his companions who turned out to be Castle knights. He walked inside and towards Stephan. “So… you’re keeping a Dark One. How do you reckon the high Castle will punish you for this?”
Two knights went inside, one of them dragged Celia outside and the other was about to get Stephen.
“You can do anything to me”, Stephen said angrily. “But don’t ever harm my family”.
The knight grabbed his arms and hurried him outside. Stephen clearly saw the obvious jerking smile from the man who was still holding the orb. The man noticed that the orb’s color didn’t change back to lime green yet, though Celia was now far from it. His head turned towards Criselda which was at the corner. She was sobbing with tears and her innocent face was tottering in fear.
“What do we have here?” said the man grinning and looking closely at Criselda. “You’ve got a daughter… trying to multiply huh…”
“Don’t touch my daughter you monster!” shouted Stephan from outside trying to escape from the tight hold of the knight, drawing him near to the cabriolet.
One or two at a time, the residences along Caroline Street lit up. Pixies within hedges also lit up as they emerged from their lair. Some neighbors peaked from their windows but some didn’t even care to sneak and know what was happening.
The man came out from the house dragging Criselda with his left hand holding Criselda’s right. They stood right in front of the door; Celia and the other knight were ten feet far from them and Stephen was already dragged inside the cabriolet. There, Stephen saw an astonishing Queen’s Lady; she was sitting in front of him. Her magenta eyes glared towards Stephen whom was his first time to see an actual Queen’s Lady. At that close distance, she appeared much exquisite, dressed with a feather embroidered turquoise gown. Though her pretty face remained blank, she seemed nice and merciful from Stephen’s view.
“I’m begging you Miss… please don’t let them kill my family. There aren’t harmful. They didn’t do anything bad at all, so please… I’m begging…” Stephan cried in a shaky problematic voice.
The Queen’s Lady didn’t say anything; she turned her head outside and saw Criselda shedding in tears, right beside the man. She felt a kind of sympathy to her, but she can’t, she held back her feelings and must remained hard hearted towards Dark Ones. Criselda with her tearful eyes saw the Queen’s Lady gliding out from the carriage and walked towards them. Celia on the other hand had finally thought of a way. It was the only way though she can only save her daughter and lost her energy afterwards. She knew she didn’t practice using her wand for a long time since she got married but she must still try.
“Leviticus Wanda!” she uttered quickly. The drawer inside their bedroom slid open and a wand appeared, flying and heading quickly outside; passing the man who didn’t immediately noticed, and unto Celia’s hand.
“Fast flying sphere, shield my daughter dear. Bring her to my half sister, quickly; that no other wizard can bear!” Celia chanted a spell as she pointed her wand at Criselda.
A smoke like purple thing came out from the wand, quickly embracing all over Criselda. The man felt a warm hit on his left hand that slid from holding Criselda. Then a transparent sphere appeared carrying Criselda inside it; immediately, it hovered and speeded its way far away from Caroline Street.
The frightening eyeballs of the man grew bigger as he became red with madness.
“Servant!” he irritably snapped. The still blanked Queen’s Lady stared at him. “Fly and kill the girl!” he stared back darkly on the Queen’s Lady’s teary eyes.
A sudden glow from the Queen’s Lady’s chest appeared. The turquoise color of her gown glimmered a blinding light that suddenly coated her. She had just transformed herself into a falcon and landed unto the man’s left arm. The turquoise eyeballs of what seemed to be a gyrfalcon contained the shiny reflection of the vanished Queen’s Lady and with a mighty force, the bird flapped its wide spreading wings and followed the path of the sphere. Vast flash of lightning followed them (indicating a big storm ahead) but the gyrfalcon seemed determined to catch the sphere. Criselda’s still shocked mind burst with fright as thunder roared a few moment right after the flashes of lightning.
Seconds of seizing and dashing through the cold air paid at last for the falcon which was a bit faster than the flying sphere; was now almost near to each other. The falcon pointed its eyes at Criselda as it prepared its sharp talons to rip the spheres surface; and as it drew nearer its looks towards Criselda became much deeper. It unexpectedly cancelled the attack that surprised Criselda. She didn’t know what’s inside the bird’s mind; but she clearly saw the image of the Queen’s Lady inside the bird’s eyes; staring a compassionate look to her. It was unbelievable but the falcon just followed Criselda and the sphere on their way to the next village.
A few moments later when the sphere slowed and lowered its way down; it passed under an arch with a signboard at its top saying- “The Formosa Ville”. Criselda knew that the sphere was getting her to her Aunt Margot- Celia’s half sister. The falcon was not following anymore and Criselda couldn’t stand her weariness. A lot happened that evening and though she was not calm still (thinking bout her parents), Criselda involuntarily fell asleep…