A short story of a witch, her familiar, and a magical individual.
Story of a shunned girl with powers, a “witch”, her familiar, and a magical individual.
The “witch” girl, shunned for being so, is cast out from her village at the age of seven.
Forced to make a new lifestyle in the Magical Woods of The Phoenix Lands.
And a centaur never accepted into society.
They meet after a few days of the so-called-witch being in the woods.
After caring for the almost dying girl she awakens.
What will happen if something happens again and they reunite?
I peeked around the corner of my cave, seeing if there were anything around. When I was done peeking around the mixture of trees, dense bushes, and moss, I stepped out, notching an arrow into my small bow. Designed to kill small animals, my bow was handmade by me a few years ago.
I started to walk around the area. I was in the middle of the forest and my cave, which wasn’t really a cave, I had dug a hole, fixed it up to be livable, and that was that, was behind me. Hidden from any animals too, the entrance was covered with bushes to make it seem it was just a small hill.
I walked around, my small Serval Cat, my familiar, a wild cat with spots and a smaller tail, that, when standing, was as tall as my knee, walking beside me pouncing on bugs.
After a while of stalking around looking for something to hunt, I looked down at Anubis, my cat.
“Anubis,” I said, getting his attention, I told you not to-” I froze for a moment, hearing something behind me and I turned around seeing something in the distance.
I hid behind some brush to get a better look at it in case I could somehow hunt it for food, and looked around for the creature.
I squinted my eyes at the figure. I hadn’t seen anything like it in years. The figure was probably two heads taller than me, hairy, and very human-like, except for the fact that it looked like it was half horse or deer where its legs were, and had large antlers. It was picking berries from bushes and placing them gently in a small basket that it was carrying.
Anubis cocked his head and wagged his tail slightly at the figure, looking as if he knew the thing.
“No,” I said to him, “Bad,” I said, gesturing towards the figure slightly, knowing it couldn’t see me because it was turned around. I couldn’t remember much about the last encounter of the creature, but I didn’t want to risk getting anywhere close to it.
He cocked his head further and made a noise that told me he was confused. Then without warning, he jumped out from behind our cover of bushes and started towards the creature.
“Anubis!” I whispered frantically, and the creature spun around.
I quickly ducked, but not fast enough for me not to see that the creature welcomed Anubis into its arms, and he jumped up there, meowing happily.
The creature laughed, and I could hear it say, “You again? Is your witch with you this time?” Anubis meowed again, as if in response.
A rising bubble of panic went up into my throat and I froze. How could she know about me? How did she know Anubis?
“She is?” The creature said, and Anubis meowed again.
Were they… talking to each other?
I looked back and forth frantically and then at the ground in front of me unable to decide what to do. I couldn’t run, not without Anubis, and I didn’t want to fight the thing, because I didn’t know the creature well, and fighting something with unknown abilities is never a good idea.
Anubis meowed once again, and I could hear the creature suck in a tight breath and say, “Thank you! Please take me to her.”
With no way out and no ideas on what else to do, I stood up, before it could get any closer.
I could tell it was a female. The feminine looks of its face, the slenderness of the deer or horse body, and the long silvery hair. Its eyes glowed an unnatural purple, a shade of color designed to haunt someone’s memory.
The centaur gasped as it saw me, and Anubis meowed, happy to see me.
“Aura…” The creature said and raised it’s hairy hand at me as if trying to offer me a handshake, even though it wasn’t close enough for one.
My eyes widened at my name being said, and the air around me automatically went cold. The plants around me started to shrivel up, and turn black until I was surrounded by a circle of black dead plants my powers starting to take actions because of my emotions.
The creature took a step forward, and I took a step back not wanting it to get close to me as questions I hadn’t thought of since I last saw it floated around in my head.
“Aura.” It said again, “Please listen to me,” I stopped walking backward as if I was willed to stay and hear what it had to say.
“I may be a monster, but I won’t hurt you. I just want to talk.” It continued, looking desperate just for a conversation.
I remembered that I had my bow in my hands, still ready to fire, and I defensively held it up, pointing it at the creature’s arm. I didn’t want to kill it. Just give it a warning to stay away.
Anubis hissed and stepped in front of the creature.
“Anubis, what are you doing?” I asked, almost scared to speak in front of the creature.
“He feels drawn to protect me.” The creature explained, “I saved you, he wants to save me.”
My brows furrowed, and the creature took a step forward, around Anubis.
“Don’t, don’t get any closer,” I warned, readying my bow to make my point.
It raised its hands as if in surrender, and said, “Can we just talk? That’s all I want Aura.”
“Don’t get any closer.” I repeated, “I-I’ll shoot.”
It took another step, apparently not believing me.
“I-I mean it!”
It raised its foot to take another step and I realized the arrow.
Before I could do anything about it, Anubis jumped in front of the creature and the arrow hit him.
“Anubis!” I said, and immediately forget that the creature was there, and ran over to him, my concern for him greater than my fear.
Before I knew it, I felt the hot tears running down my face, as I cradled my familiar. The small arrow had pierced his chest, and his breathing was ragged and uneven. He wasn’t going to last long.
I felt something touch my shoulder, and I whipped my head around and remembered about the creature.
“You…” I growled, “This is your fault!”
“No, don’t do that Aura.” It responded, empathy obvious in its voice, “I can help.”
“No, you can’t!” I said, my voice cracking and I sucked in a breath before continuing, “You've helped enough.”
I turned back to my familiar and realized that his breaths were even more shallow.
In a quick moment, the centaur laid itself down next to us holding it’s hand out towards Anubis and had dropped its basket. The plants around me seemed to freeze in time as they had been starting to shrivel since I had moved to Anubis, and I looked up at the creature. “What can you possibly do to save him?” I growled, holding him away from her.
She winced slightly, and said, “I can heal him, just like I did to you. I can help him. Please, let me see his head.” She moved her hand to Anubis’s head, which I moved slightly towards the centaur, not really having much of a choice. She closed her eyes, and I watched as, slowly, the arrow in his chest started to splinter, and soon it was nothing but splinters sitting on his chest, which I quickly, but carefully, brushed off him, watching as his wound closed.
Anubis let out a breath, his eyes still closed, and his breath became even again.
I looked back at the creature, who I saw had beads of sweat on her face, which she promptly wiped off, looking back at me.
“He’ll need some rest,” She said, standing up a bit shakily, “I used up some of my life force for him, so you better take care of him for the next couple days.” She frowned, looking down at me and Anubis, still on the ground.
I stood up, and wiped the practically dried tears off my face, sucking in a tight breath, “I know this will sound off, but why did you want to talk to me?”
She looked me up and down, pondering the question before saying, “I haven’t talked to anyone in 20 years. There was no way I could forget you, the same little girl that was cast out, like me,” She looked down, “I simply wanted to chat,” She looked back up at me, looking slightly hopeful. I sighed, going to pick up my bow from the ground, “We can talk. But,” I raised my finger, at her smile, “At my place.” I didn’t really like the fact that I was doing it, but I felt like it was the right thing to do, after what she did. Though, I was still wary around her.
She grabbed her basket, smiling broadly, “I knew you'd come along.”
I frowned slightly at the statement, and turned around, gesturing with my head for her to follow, holding onto Anubis, still frightened I would lose him if I didn’t hold on tight enough.
Once we got there I put Anubis in his “nest”, a pile of blankets, and then watched as he centaur laid down, looking at me slightly confused as I went past a chair and sat down on my hand-carved, small table.
“You do know there’s a chair there?” She gestured towards the chair, and I frowned, “I don’t like sitting in chairs.” I crossed my legs, “Now, my turn for a question.” I paused as she nodded, “How do you know about me? Like, how do you know my name? I precisely remember being unconscious until the last second, and then running away.”
“You talked in your sleep,” She explained, frowning slightly, “Always introducing yourself to me.”
My eyes widened and I looked at the ground, remembering the dreams I had been having practically all of my life, the only thing I ever remembered was the person’s name. I never knew anyone of the name, Mallory, but the creature had just said herself.
“Wait, your name is Mallory?” I asked, cocking my head to the side, as she nodded, “Who exactly are you? How did you save me, and Anubis?” I folded my hands and put them on my legs, slightly nervous for an answer.
“Well, I’m Mallory, but, uh-” Sounds of shouting men interrupted her, and I jumped off my table in alarm.
“It’s this way men! I recognize the marks on the trees all too well,” My frown deepened as I realized they were looking for me. The laws in the village must have changed and they were now to hunt me down. The laws were the only reason they didn’t kill me for having powers, or as they said, “being a witch”.
“Who are they?” Mallory asked quietly, standing up, seeing that I recognized the men.
“Men from a village in Phoenix Lands,” I explained as I quickly grabbed my bow and arrows, and sheathing all the possible daggers I could fit on my person with me, “The laws must have finally changed and they’ve come to kill me.”
“You were banished.” She asked, even though I didn’t sound like a question, and I quickly nodded, “Stay here,” I said, fitting an arrow into my bow, “I know how to take care of them.”
She looked ready to argue, but before she could say anything I ran off into the forest, towards the voices and sounds of chopping the plants out of their way with machetes, most likely.
Looking from behind a tree, not too far from the group, I saw their numbers. It seemed as if all the large village’s men had come, just to hunt me down. Some of them even carrying large brandished guns ready to fire.
I looked through the large crowd of men for my father, most likely leading the group, because of his hatred of me, but, surprisingly, I didn’t spot him.
I pointed my arrow at one of the men, at random, and shot, zooming off somewhere else before they could pinpoint where the shot came from, the dying man distracting everyone.
I let loose another shot, growling as I came closer to the leader of the group, a large man in armor I didn’t recognize, the plants surrounding me starting to die without me realizing it, the only thing in my mind was wanting to kill the leader and scatter the men.
As I let another shot go, I saw that as soon as I shot it, and another man crying out as he fell to the ground, dead, my father saw me. Before I could pull another arrow out he pointed his gun at me, as I stood up, revealing myself, and he shot.
He watched in horror as the bullet in front of me shot straight down in front of me, shooting into the blackened ground. I looked around for an explanation and saw in the corner of my eye Mallory standing there in horror, her hand facing towards me. The men around my father seemed to quickly grasp what was happening and started to shout, “There’s two?!”
“Get em’!” Blasts of guns started to go off in the direction of me, but Mallory’s hand shot towards each gun that fired, stopping the bullets and the crossbows. I whipped my head around back towards my father, who was cocking his gun, as I willed to air around the both of us, and the surrounding men, firing their crossbows at me, to go freezing and filled the air with benzene, a poisonous gas. The men immediately dropped their weapons, including my father, and started to claw at their throats.
“I warn anyone who tries to come after me again will die,” I growled, getting into my father’s face, grasping one of my arrows tightly with a fist, “You understand?” My father nodded, his, and the others’ faces turning colors from the lack of air, “Good.”
I cut the side of my father’s face with the arrow quickly and then willed the benzene to lower, the men gasping for air.
“Don’t ever come back for me,” I growled at my father, watching the blood on his face streak down his neck, “Or I won’t let you live again.”
I turned back around, hearing the men in the area run, and I looked around for Mallory. I wanted to ask her about the thing she was doing that stopped the bullets. What type of centaur was she?
As I looked around, I couldn’t see her, only the couple of dead bodies.
“Mallory?” I shouted, panic rising in my voice as I jogged around the area, my bow still ready to shoot in case someone has decided to stay behind and ambush me.
I couldn’t find her, and in a rush ran back to my home, grabbing a few supplies and sticking them into the bag that I had had since I was forced from my original home in the village. I barely knew her, but Mallory had saved both mine and my familiar’s lives, more than once. I wanted to know why, and I was not about to let the villagers do what they did to anything magical that they came across. I was not about to let her be burned to the stake because of me.
I laid down, completely worn out from my entire day of walking with my stuff, and my familiar on my shoulder.
I looked up at the setting sun, “Okay, time to sleep,” I groaned, leaning up against a smooth tree, and sitting against it, taking off my backpack, and Anubis from around my shoulders.
I put Anubis in my lap and sighed, “I don’t know how you’re still asleep after all of that, but I envy you.” My stomach grabbed my attention, growling, but I muttered, “I’ll take care of you in the morning,” I laid down, putting my head on my backpack, and holding Anubis close, listening to his breathing. I laid there, until darkness enveloped me, and I opened my eyes to see myself standing over my body. My body sleeping on the ground in front of me, still holding Anubis.
Something rubbed against my leg, and I looked down to see Anubis.
“Anubis! You’re okay!” I bet down to pick him up and he purred, as I looked around.
“Do you know what’s happening, Anubis?” I asked curiously, starting to walk around, but realizing my feet weren’t actually touching the ground, and I was floating about an inch above the ground, my body not coming in contact with anything and just floating through it.
“Aura?” I shipped my head around to see Mallory, looking exhausted, her arms crossed as she looked at me, “Thank the gods you actually followed.”
I frowned, “How are you here? I thought you were captured?” Anubis squirmed in my arms until I let him go, him landing on his feet, and going over to mallory, who I noticed was floating to. She smiled slightly, beding over to pick Anubis up in her arms, “I was captured, someone shot me from behind on my back leg, and whatever you did with the air caused me and some others to get knocked out. The strongest ran until you stopped and carried me and some others away.”
I grunted, “Is my father with them?”
“If your Father is the one who now has a large scar across his face, because of an arrow, then yes.” She said, “Are you okay, though?” She glanced back at my sleeping body, “You look exhausted.”
“I am, or, was,” I shrugged, “I don’t know. What’s going on anyways? How are we standing here? Why do I see me and Anubis’s body.” I paused, “Wait- am I dead?! Did we all die?!”
She chuckled a bit at my panicking, “We aren’t dead, calm down. It’s merely dream projecting. I made a connection with you when I saved your life, and now I have one with Anubis as well,” She looked back at my sleeping body again, “You’re cute when you sleep.”
I looked at her, slightly confused, “Uh, thanks?” I squinted as something bright from the corner of my eye started to shine, and I raised my hand up to block it, but nothing happened, “Is that the sun?”
Mallory nodded, “Time isn’t the same when you’re dream projecting. Now, hurry, go back into-” She dropped Anubis and grabbed her side in pain, “Quick, they’re waking me up, go back into your bodies,” She started to trot away, “Be careful!”
Anubis went into his body, and, once I saw Mallory’s silhouette disappear I did too.
I sat up, my energy up again, “Well that was new,” I looked down at Anubis’s still sleeping body, “i guess you’re still not feelin’ well.” I sighed, and stood up, grabbing my backpack and rubbing the dirt off of it, and then putting it on, wrapping Anubis around my shoulders as well.
Maybe if I walk fast enough I’ll be able to catch up with them.
I started to speed walk in the direction they headed, following the chopped plants that the men cut with their weapons to make a path.
After a few hours of speed walking, I was out of breath, and coming from someone who can rarely get out of breath since I controlled the air, I was definitely out of breath.
I sat down, breathing for a moment, and letting the thoughts I had been pushing away nag at me.
What if they decided to kill her as soon as they got there?
What if I don’t make it in time?
I raised my hand and slapped myself, groaning, “Get a Grip Aura! You can do this.” I stood up, rubbing my, now in pain, face, and repositioned the still sleeping Anubis. But he moved this time, and let out a small purr nuzzling the side of my face, signalling he was awake.
“Oh hey, Anubis. You feeling well enough to walk on your own?” I said, smiling. He answered, by jumping of my shoulders, meowing happily as he stretched.
But I froze for a moment as I heard something walking behind me.
I whipped around, using one hand to hold Anubis, and the other to quickly take out my dagger and hold it in front of me.
“Show yourself!” I yelled out into the seemingly empty forest, Anubis staying still besides me.
“Don’t kill me please!” A small voice yelped from a close by tree, as a small boy, maybe a young adult as well, came from behind the tree holding his hand up, revealing the small dagger he held.
“Who are you?” I threatened, “What do you want?”
“I’m Eliot Headingborrow, remember me?” He said timidly as my face lit up in realization.
“What?” I questioned, putting my dagger up, “You don’t look like yourself Eliot.” Anubis looked towards me waiting for me to okay him, and I nodded.
“Well, a lot has changed since you left…” He said, as Anubis went up and rubbed himself against Eliot’s legs, and then surrying back to me quickly, his tail between his leg, hissing at Eliot. I frowned looking at Eliot, “How do you know where I was?”
“They all know you’re following us.” Eliot said, walking closer to me, “They knew that capturing her was a way to get you back to the village to capture and kill the both of you. Please, stop following and go back where it’s safe.”
My frown deepened as Anubis hissed again, “I don’t think so. I’m getting her back.”
“You two good friends?” He asked, cocking his head to the side slightly.
I shrugged, “Something like that.”
He paused, looking me up and down before saying, “Okay, I know I’m not going to be able to convince you to stop following, so at least let me help you. There’s a new back way into the village that can lead you into cells where the centaur will be. You can grab her and go back to the forest.”
“How do I know I can trust you?” I questioned, wanting to be safe.
“You were my only friend when we were kids, do you really think I would want anything to happen to you?” He said, shyly smiling.
I sighed, “I’m glad you never really changed Eliot,” I leaned forward and hugged him, smiling.
He chuckled, “Me too, I guess.”
Eliot, Anubis, who was acting strangely around Eliot, and I kept walking, Eliot confirming the path I was already set on, by saying this was in fact the path they were going.
“So what have you been doing all these years?” Eliot asked, crossing his arms.
I moved my backpack’s position on my back slightly, and answered, “Just surviving. The Forest changes every few days, about twice a week, so there’s always prey to hunt.”
“Where did you find…” He gestured towards Anubis, not knowing his name.
“Anubis,” I said, and he nodded.
“I didn’t, he sort of found me. It’s how Familiar’s work. You need them and they show up. They’re kind of like Spirit Animals. Just more physical.”
He nodded in understanding, “Because Spirit Animals come and go, and you can only summon them using the Ancient Language. You didn’t have to summon him?”
I shook my head, “No, you just…” I thought back to when I needed him, “Well, really you just have to be in a dire enough situation, and it’ll show up. I don’t know if someone without powers or magic of some sort can get them though.”
He muttered something under his breath, and then looked at the ground. I frowned, “Why are you so curious?”
He froze for a moment, “I’m always curious,” He laughed, “I think you’re getting paranoid, Aura.”
I looked down at Anubis, who jumped off a root of a tree we passed playfully, and landed next to me, “Maybe…”
Anubis’s ears perked up and he looked to the side of us as if he heard something. He sniffed the air, and I stopped, looking where he was looking into the forest.
I immediately saw a large creature charging towards us like a bull.
I took out my bow, and notched an arrow as Eliot stammered, “What is that thing!?”
“Something that looks like it wants to kill us,” I said, waiting for the thing to come a little closer as I watched Anubis scurry up a tree, “Follow Anubis,” I hissed at Eliot, who did so, and climbed up the tree, looking terrified.
“What in the world are you doing down there?!” Eliot yelled down at me, as I pointed my arrow at the beast, aiming straight in the middle of it’s yellow eyes.
“Killing it-” I said, then released the arrow. The arrow went directly where I wanted to hit it, and the beasts legs failed beneath him, falling to the ground, and skidding across the dirt, stopping right in front of me.
I looked up at the tree with a stunned Eliot, “Come on, he looks like he was protecting something, a herd, or family, we need to go before the rest come after us.
He climbed down the tree, Anubis, acting very proud of me showing off in front of the other human, and we continued walking.
When we got there Eliot showed me to the new back way, and said, “I’ll distract anyone that might be in your way,” He then put his hand on my shoulder, “Good luck.”
I smiled, and pulled him into a hug, “I don’t know what I would do without you, Eliot, thank you for everything.”
“Well,” He stepped away from the hug, “Don’t thank me yet,” He nodded to me and then ran off into the main entrance of the village not to far from where I was.
I looked down at Anubis, who was watching Elitot go, with a dirty look, “Stay here, guard the exit.”
He nodded to me, rubbing himself against my leg, and I smiled, “See you soon,” And I walked into the newly made tunnel.