Medieval Tale

It happened long time ago, so long that no one can remember when exactly. These were dark times, when magic still was everywhere, but nobody noticed it. Witchcraft was in its blossom, and English Inquisition tried to quit that immediately. Inquisitors hunted for all who had been blamed in casting spells and doing magic. Such people were tortured for weeks or months and then they had to be killed, according to the order of the Catholic Church. That story is about those ones.

* * *

Violet went out of her house and closed the door tightly - no one must know what she has to hide there. Although she lived in small wooden house in the deepest part of the forest, she didn't want anybody to find her sanctuary. Her sanctuary and her prison at the same time. She knew: if they would find her, she will have to die. The Inquisition knows no mercy.

But she had to go to the town, because she needed to buy some fennel. She couldn't make a flight potion without it, and the Sabbath was getting closer - she had only one day to prepare.

And she could get there only by the air. She still remembered that place, although two years have passed since the last time she's been there. Old cemetery, which was located in another part of the town, became the place for the Sabbath that is celebrated every week, on Saturday night. Violet hasn't been to the cemetery too long, but she knew that she is forgiven. She was always loyal to her Master and never betrayed him - not like others.

Violet was walking through the forest when suddenly she heard a strange noise over her head. She looked up and saw a raven sitting on a tree and looking at her. It had only one eye.

- Return home. You must not follow me. People would think something wrong if they see you with me, - she whispered to the bird, and it flew away. The raven was hers.

She had found it five years ago, in the grass: one of its wings was broken and its left eye was beaten out. Violet had cured it and fed it up. Since that time the raven followed her wherever she went.

She reached the edge of the forest and came to the fields. The town was close.

"Our life's a strange game, by the way. I am stronger than all the people of this bloody town, but I'm afraid of them", she thought. The sun was shining brightly and the weather was getting warmer. Violet was dressed in black clothes so she felt hot very soon.

- Curse you, - she muttered. - That would be better if only the moon was in the sky.

The sun immediately hid behind the clouds, as it could hear Violet's words. The witch smiled. She could already see the lights of the town.

* * *

- Please, do not leave me alone. I can't live without you; - he asked holding her cold hand. She was dying and she knew about that. But both of them could do nothing.

- William... I want you to promise me something... - she whispered softly.

- Anything you want, -he answered. He was crying but she couldn't see it. Three days before she got blind.

- Burn my body when I die, and throw ashes to the wind. It's very important for me.

William thought that she's gone mad. But he couldn't argue with her now.

- I'll do it, - he said. - But why?

She kept silence. She was dead...

It happened three months ago, at the beginning of the spring. William's wife died because of fever, and since that time all in his life has changed. He played his mandolin no more, and all the people who knew him were surprised: what happened with the minstrel? He didn't smile and nearly didn't talk. William suffered but no one could understand him.

And he suffered not only because of his wife's death. He had broken his promise. She was buried under a willow, near the lake, and every time William has been there, it all reminded him of her last words.

He knew that he'd never forget her. These long dark wavy hair, ruby lips and green eyes, all her kindness and patience, all the light she gave to him... He'll never be with another woman. He will join to his dear Angela very soon. Those were his thoughts at the moment when he was going to the centre of the town to sell his mandolin.

* * *

The street was full of people, but Violet noticed only one person. The man who was standing near the baker's shop had very strange eyes. They were blue but too cold for a mortal man.

"Something very sad happened in his life", she understood. "He lost somebody who had meant much for him". But Violet forgot about that man when she saw a greengrocer's. She was coming in when that man with cold blue eyes stopped tuning his mandolin and looked at Violet.

William nearly lost consciousness. A woman in black clothes that has just passed by him looked like his dead wife. The same hair, the same eyes - the minstrel felt cold shivers across his skin.

- Angela! - he cried following for that woman slowly.

Violet was already in the greengrocer's when she heard somebody's call. She understood that he was calling for her. She bought a fennel and came out. William was standing there.

- Is it you, Angela? - he asked eagerly.

- You are wrong. My name is Violet Moon, and I have no time to talk to you. Sorry, - she turned around and went somewhere from that street. William stood there for a minute and then decided to follow her secretly. His heart was leading him after that woman with such known eyes - eyes of his wife.

Violet was approaching to the forest when she noticed: that strange man was following her. Her first thought was to cast a spell on him but then she felt interest: will he be able to go through the enchanted wood? She decided to do nothing with him... yet. A cat always plays with a mouse before killing it.

When more than half of the way was left behind, Violet had to be surprised - the minstrel was still here. It was growing dark and the witch couldn't see him well, in fact, she felt that he's here. "I'll let him go", she thought, "this story can have an interesting end".

But the man's silhouette has already disappeared in darkness.

* * *

William was standing in front of her door. He couldn't do anything with himself. At that moment he couldn't remember exactly what he was doing there and how he got to that place.

He knocked the door. Then there was silence. And suddenly the door opened.

- What are you... - Violet was so surprised that nearly forgot all the words.

- I am sorry that I disturbed you, - William answered, - and I know it sounds strange, but I followed you only to look at your face once more.

- For you it's too late to return to the town: the moon is already shining. Come in, - she said after a little pause and let him in.

The minstrel looked round. Her house was very strange inside. Different kinds of flowers were laid on the table with a few bottles made of colored glass. A big copper boiler full of creamy yellow liquid was standing on the floor. There were horns of a deer on the wall and a black raven with only one eye was sitting on them and sleeping.

- Sit down, - Violet offered.

William sat on the bed. Then a cat, as black as the raven, which was sitting on a cushion jumped on William's knees.

- Hey, what happened with you? It's the first time you come close to another man, - Violet smiled. The minstrel understood that she was talking with the cat.

- To tell you truth, my cat doesn't like other people. And neither do I. But you are not like others, - she admitted. William smiled, and it was his first smile since the funeral of his wife.

Violet was going to ask him some questions but suddenly she understood: she can be late to the Sabbath. She needed to get to the cemetery before midnight, and it was already eleven o'clock.

She was a clever witch, and it had saved her once, and not only once. She was alive at that moment because of her cleverness. And so she made the decision quickly.

- Would you like to drink something? - she asked. - I have got a bottle of perfect wine.

- That would be nice, - William answered.

Violet turned to her cupboard and took a little bottle from it. It wasn't wine but a special potion to make a man sleep for a long time. Then she took a crystal glass and poured the potion there. She gave the glass to him.

- Here's to you, - he said and drunk the potion. - But I followed you not for drinking your wine. Could you answer... oh, I am so tired that I want to...

But he didn't end his talk and fell on the bed already sleeping.

Violet covered herself with the yellow cream from the boiler and said the spell. After a second, with a flash of red light, she disappeared, and only a crow was sitting on the place where the witch has just stood. Then the crow flew out of the window, somewhere to the west side.

* * *

The entire town was anxious: William, the minstrel, suddenly has gone from the town and hasn't returned even when moonshine lit up the sky. It was strange because he was always sitting in the street and playing his mandolin.

People knew that he has changed a lot after his wife's death; somebody even thought that William has gone mad. So that now young woman who lived close to his house apologized that he committed a suicide.

That's why neither young nor old people were not sleeping that night. Some men took dogs with them and started to explore the town and areas hoping to find William or his dead body. But their searching ended without any success.

And only then one old lady said that she saw that William went somewhere with a woman in black clothes. In her opinion it was a witch and she led the minstrel in the forest. Villagers took some torches as it was dark everywhere and went to the forest across the field.

* * *

The gates of the cemetery were opened, when Violet came there. It meant that the Sabbath was going to start.

Violet was walking near graves when she saw a few red lights on the other side of the cemetery. "Some of us are already here", she guessed and went there.

When Violet approached, all sorcerers turned to her in surprise. She passed by them and came up to the big old wooden cross which was turned head over heels. The black throne was standing under this cross and on this throne...

- My Master, - Violet whispered respectfully kissing His hand.

- I haven't seen you for too long, - He said. - But I forgive you for your loyalty.

- Thank you, Master.

Violet bowed down and returned to other enchanters. They didn't ask her any questions. Soon all the witches and sorcerers from this area arrived. There were many ways to get there: some have turned to animals, like Violet had done, some have flown here by broom.

The Sabbath started. The Master clapped His hands and plenty of food and drinks appeared on the tables made of gravestone. The food could be strange for normal people: dead frogs, livers of children which have died non-Christian, seaweed and so on. Blood and red wine were in all the goblets. After eating the ceremony of Worship started.

Enchanters and enchantresses, one by one, came closer to the black throne and bowed down. Then it was time for songs and dances. Magicians in black clothes were dancing in gloom of the night and singing eulogies to Devil. They sang loudly and violently, calling for demons to come to the earth and destroy the Christians' houses and churches. They renounced the God.

The last part of the ceremony started just before the dawn. The Master chooses among the witches only one who will be the Devil's Bride till the next Sabbath. Then he has to sleep with her on wild animals' skins until the cock will not utter a crow.

Devil came to Violet ant took her hand.

- You'll be the Devil's Bride this time, - He said.

- Thanks, my Master, - Violet smiled.

* * *

She returned home when the sun was already shining. She closed the door and in that moment William awakened.

- Did I sleep? - he asked. - But why? I didn't want to.

* * *

The crowd was in the forest already about five hours when someone cried loudly:

- Look! That's her house!

- Burn the witch! - shouted another man.

* * *

William and Violet were sitting on the bed and talking when villagers broke in with torches. They grabbed the witch; she couldn't do anything because they held her arms tightly. William tried to help her but vainly - he was tied too. Then villagers led them to the town - to the building of the Inquisition.

Violet wasn't nervous when Inquisitor was setting the fire. She was standing tied to the pole, but not alone. William was blamed in black magic too, and they both now were fated to be burnt alive.

- Burn them! - cried all the people who were in the square.

William smiled.

- Although I am going to die, I am happy. Angela didn't have to wait long.

- I was glad to meet you, minstrel, - she answered.

And these were her last words.

* * *

From these dark times of medieval many things that should not have been forgotten were lost. But magic is still here, in our hearts.




© - Hellish Cat ( hellishcat6 [at] yandex [dot] ru ) at 10.06.2005.
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