World's Shortest Disclaimer: Characters
are Marvel's. Comments to email@example.com
The Well of Souls was many things to many people. The portal
to Blackheart's realm, it was a legend to the skeptical, a
mecca to the necromancer, a place of fear for the wicked and
joy for the pious. To those who had not passed through the
dark waters, it was the place where they came to remember
their lost loved ones. To others, still, it was the place
where they came to resurrect...
"Are you sure that this is the place?" Ororo did
not sound convinced, as she called a wind to raise her into
the air. What she saw was not promising. A massive stone wall,
engraved with friezes depicting the soul's journey in the
underworld, curved to form a perfect circle, while a huge
dome blocked access from above. Nearby, flowers, offerings
and sacrifices for the dead decorated the carved altar in
the copse. It appeared that no living traveller had come further
than the perimeter of the Well's boundary.
"Yes. The place where life and death cross over, the
gateway to de Netherworld, the final destination, et cetera..."
Belladonna sounded impatient. The faerie had been growing
more agitated as they approached the citadel. Her golden hair
crackled with sparks, an electric nimbus around her overripe
body. Despite her evident fury, she seemed to be slowly rotting
-- her green silk dress appeared wilted, the scent of decay
was more evident, the white buds in her hair were blackening.
Was the Belle Dame Sans Merci, the seemingly unkillable succubus,
"How do we enter?" Ororo looked dubiously at the
stone structure that marked the entrance to the temple.
"Through the door." Belladonna answered facetiously.
"Well and good -- if there were a door."
"There always is a door." She raised a single,
golden eyebrow, "Don't know how you got as far as you
did with your limited perception."
Tired of the woman's continuous sniping, she snapped back:
"My skills are element-based -- not necromancy."
The other woman laughed at the insult, "True, darling.
You never could stand death. Never could see it as natural."
From a woman who appeared to be decomposing, the sentence
was deeply ironic. For all her skill in healing, Ororo could
do nothing to stop the gradual rot. Prophecy conspired against
her. For the Avatar to return, the faerie-lover celebrated
in poem and song would have to sacrifice herself for him.
Would give herself up in act of ultimate love. Resolving to
check the complete foreseeing when she returned to her cottage,
she replied more gently:
"We do not have time to waste talking about my shortcomings.
Please open the door."
Belladonna sighed and shrugged, stepping to the seemingly
impenetrable wall and placing a hand on its cold surface.
Her fingers seemed to melt into the stone, becoming part of
the frieze -- a flame in the sixth level of the underworld.
Ororo suddenly remembered something her old master had told
"Only the dead and dying may open the way to the
The wall dissolved before the sorceress' eyes, revealing
a tall, carved door trimmed with iron. Belladonna hissed as
she saw the metal that was so poisonous to all faeriekind.
It depicted Blackheart -- the only deity with a single nature
but many guises -- as the Warrior Death on the left panel
and the Comforter Death on the right. As the focal point of
each design, a bloody, red pearl was set in steel. In the
border, among wreaths of wooden poppies, glyphs were carved:
"What is it that pulls a man apart yet holds him together?"
"Open sesame?" Ororo repeated incredulously.
"The one thing you school-trained wizards never seemed
to get is that words aren't important. They simply serve as
a channel for you powers. A means of concentrating them and
your mind on a single source." Belladonna explained,
"It is not the the words that matter but the feeling
behind them that counts. Could say rhubarb for all it mattered."
"You get the point?"
"Yes, I do." She said, "After you..."
"You don't trust me -- how flattering." Belladonna
moved slowly forward, hips swaying as she did so, the scent
of roses' ashes accompanying her. Ororo followed cautiously
behind, noting with a strange sadness the white that peppered
the golden curls, the slight stoop of the shoulders. How much
longer could it be?
"Is the door locked?"
"Yes, in the sense that we can't get in immediately.
No, in the sense that we can unlock it."
"Goddess of Wisdom/Foolishness. Next you'll be telling
me I have to flatten de grass for you before you walk on it."
Belladonna groaned, "It is a magic door so we use magic."
"No, this is not as easy as saying a few pretty words
and alakazam the door opens." The witch replied,
"There is one word -- one right word that will open it.
If we get it wrong, we're dead."
"Any way to determine this word?"
"A riddle," she smiled an eldritch smile.
"Can't have a magic door without one." Belladonna
shrugged, "Once there was a travelling wizard who used
to specialise in them. Riddling Rosenberg or something similar.
Was all the vogue to have a magic, riddle door. Impress your
friends. Fry your enemies and in-laws."
"Very well, but how does that knowledge help us?"
"Most of the people weren't exactly genii. The riddles
had to be simple. Hope he hasn't made an exception here."
"Let us see." Ororo traced the words in the floral
border of the strange entrance, "What is it that pulls
a man in many directions all at once but which at the same
time also holds a man together?"
She paused, mulling over the possibilities. If Remy was who
she believed him to be, however impossible that in itself
was, then the conundrum would possibly have something to do
with his nature -- with having been many men in the past,
yet still being solely himself. Although this puzzle was probably
carved centuries before he had been born, destiny in its usual
fashion would have prodded Rosenberg in the correct direction.
It always seemed to do so. As terrifying as the thought of
them needing him was, she had to trust her instincts and fate.
"Harder than his usual ones. Guess he must have made
an exception for the Well of Souls."
"His soul. His nature," Ororo repeated.
"Yes," Belladonna said impatiently, "Why does
that matter now?"
"It holds him together but tears him apart. It ... he
is not unique in that respect. What is the one thing which
pulls you apart? That makes you do something of which your
conscience and intellect does not approve? A soul. Yet, if
you don't follow those impulses, you're inhuman, broken, so
it holds you together at the same time. The answer can only
be his soul."
"Then say it," she seemed almost scared, hands
fiddled with the ragged, mildewed silk of her gown. Her face
was horribly wrinkled, her mouth gummy with blackened stumps
of teeth, her hair white and thin. Only her voice was young,
sweet and rich, "If it isn't right, then you will be
flash-fried in a matter of seconds."
"I place enough faith in my own judgement and decisions
to take that chance." She stood closer to the door, "How
do I answer the riddle?"
"You see the two large pearls set far apart and trimmed
with starmetal?" she shivered at the sound of the word.
"Place your hands on them."
Ororo touched it lightly, feeling the electric worms that
crawled through her flesh. Like drinking lightning, it filled
her with its radiance and power and strength. Her hands were
light -- the bones visible through the glassy, brilliant skin.
Her face reflected in the steel was a glow in the midst of
a spark. The door had evidently been enchanted by someone
almost impossibly powerful to ward off intruders. Forget
Riddling Rosenberg, she thought in horrified awe, this
was the work of the Great Sorceress.
"Now?" she gasped through gritted teeth.
"Now clear your mind of all thoughts and think of the
Ororo closed her eyes, attempting to calm the maelstrom of
unspoken thoughts and words inside of herself. If she is back,
and he and they are together then what sort of trouble are
we in and will they be strong enough will they learn and grow
and know what to do because he's so young and she so weak
but if they are who prophe--A SOUL. The pearls glowed, red,
orange, gold, white beneath her touch. Belladonna stood back,
hiding her leathery, creased face with her hands. A sound
like the rumbling of thunder -- crack and a flash. The sorceress
was lost in the light and the glory. Asingle thought throbbed
through her aching head: "Is this what it is like to
"Ororo?" Belladonna whispered, fearing yet hoping
for the worst.
When the radiance had dimmed to a sparkle, the door stood
open, like a blossom that had unfurled. The carvings of Blackheart
had become flowers, the steel melted to dewdrops. In the midst
of the flora, a wooden woman smiled then impossibly opened
her arms to them. The words on the border had changed: "The
Sword from the Well. The Rose from the Tower."
"Looks like I guessed accurately." Ororo smiled,
Inside the temple was dark. Musty. Cold. The scent of incense
clotted the atmosphere, hung heavy on the air, barely concealing
the sweet stench of death. Ororo made a small ball of lightning
between her fingers, lighting up the room with a brilliant
white glow, revealing bleached bones lacy with spiderwebs.
The floor had been tiled at one time, but was overgrown with
moss. Only a single shape remained visible, an eye staring
blankly into the vaulted ceiling, hopelessly.
"I don't like it here." Belladonna muttered, looking
"I thought I would have suited you." Ororo said
in surprise, "Being the creature of the night that you
"Hmmp. There should be an entance here..." The
now-ancient faerie knelt with difficulty, brushing away the
accumulated layers of dust that coated everything. She was
frail, grey and white, the bleached skeleton of an orchid.
"I should ask how you know this place so well, but I
fear the answer."
"Ha!" Her laughter echoed hollowly, was lost in
a spasm of coughing, "Been here before. Came here when
"What?" Ororo was shocked. Had the succubus been
a mortal woman or did she live in cycles, passing perpetually
from spring to winter? If it was the former, who had she been
before she became Belladonna? A courtesan seeking endless
delight? A sorceress who had sold her soul for power and immortality?
An ordinary, mortal woman who had wanted to experience immortal
As if reading her mind, which she probably was: "I was
the daughter of Lord Marius de Bordeaux -- a spoilt lady brought
up surrounded by privilege and luxury. Unfortunately, our
comfort was bought with the suffering of our peasants. My
father, I fear, was of the old school of lords who whipped
and starved them; crucified them when they complained. Quite
unsurprisingly, the peasants revolted. Burnt our castle with
us within it. I was eighteen at the time -- my marriage to
the Count of Cheswick had just been announced and I was deeply
in love with him. I begged the Lord of the Underworld, Blackheart,
to allow me to return to earth and he took pity on me. Or
so I thought. He said that if he let me go, I must fetch him
more souls. One for every day that I'm free," her seamed
cheeks crinkled in a mocking smile, "I thought it was
a reasonable price. I was Daddy's daughter, after all, and
there were plenty of peasants in the surrounds. What Blackheart
didn't tell me was that I would only lead half an existence
from then on. That anyone I touched would be blighted, would
slowly rot while I watched hopelessly. My Count was the first
to die at my hands. To protect myself, I became what I am."
"Which is why..." Ororo's voice was soft, compassionate.
Despite her animosity towards Belladonna, the woman was deserving
of pity if she had to endure half of what she described. Her
vows constrained her to try and heal mind, as much as body.
"I lure men into my trap, then strip them of their essence.
Guess I'm an assassin of souls in a way. Please don't feel
sorry for me. I certainly stopped doing so after the first
century or so and started having fun instead," she pulled
up an iron ring with a grunt, "There."
Breathlessly, she stared down into a black abyss of stars
and space that stretched to beyond infinity. Between them,
oily liquid ebbed and flowed, becoming hands and faces, mouths
that whispered silent pleas for mercy. Among these, flames
bobbed and whirled in time with the pulsing of a central,
"How do we descend?"
"We jump," the crone replied, hitching up silken
skirts to reveal withered calves.
"Jump?" Ororo sounded suspicious.
"You think that Blackheart would go to all the trouble
of installing steps so that the souls can walk down into damnation
easily? Besides which, souls can float -- we can't."
"Or maybe we can." Ororo said slowly, "If
I can manipulate the wind currents in the room, I can levitate
myself above the ground."
"Isn't that nice for you? What about me?"
"I can lift you as well, I think," she examined
the hag, appraising how much she would weigh and wondering
if even her relatively strong elemental powers could lift
her off the floor. The aging probably had not reduced her
mass too much, if it was magical in origin.
"I am not sure, but it is the only way."
"Okay ... but..."
A strong wind swirled around Ororo's grubby robes, making
them fly out like streamers at a fair. Her hair was a silken
banner behind her. With the same wild rush as always, she
felt herself lift off the ground and hover a few inches in
Beads of sweat stood out on Ororo's forehead as she murmured
a further incantation. Trying to recall the earlier strength
and sweetness that had filled her at the door, she drew on
her last reserves of magical strength. Belladonna lifted into
the air and then fell unceremoniously back to earth with a
thud. She had been right. However ancient and delicate the
faerie looked, she was still heavier than the sorceress could
"I am sorry ... you are more than I can manage."
The witch muttered a foul, swearword under her breath then
grinned disengagingly as she realised something. In that moment,
she seemed to become young again -- her hair golden and smooth,
her mouth a kissable curve, her body perfectly ripe. The flowers
bloomed in her hair, and the green dress was as new and smooth
as a field of clover.
"Looks like I will have to stay here after all."
"Maybe." Ororo looked worried, "But I do not
wish to travel into parts unknown without a guide."
"You have no choice, dear." She smiled. "I
am too heavy."
The sudden change triggered a memory. The woman had done
this before, had taken on the form of the ... woman Remy loved
in an attempt to deceive him.
"Earlier on, you metamorphosed into the ... Remy's fiancee.
Can you not do that again?"
Disgustedly, "What? I doubt that she would be lighter
than I am -- looks a little solid around the hips, if you
know what I mean."
Ororo sighed -- Belladonna was still playing her games of
conquest, "Not into her, but into something else. Something
"Sorry, Bright one. I can only change into somet'ing
"A bird then? A mouse?"
"No, won't work unless you have a burning passion for
rats. The thing is it also has to be something the other person
A grimace passed across the sorceress' face, then cleared
as something dawned upon her.
"I have an apprentice by the name of Jubilation Lee
for whom I care deeply. She is a child and will no doubt be
lighter than you."
"Good." The witch's forehead furrowed in concentration.
The air shimmered around her momentarily and, in her place,
stood a child who was the exact duplicate of Jubilation down
the slanted, almond eyes and glossy hair. She was dressed
in boy's breeches with a leather thong holding her dark hair
back in a plait. Around her neck hung her ubiquitous bag of
herbs and crystals.The voice, young and piping, sounded incongruous
in the dark vault.
"Should we go now?"
Still exhausted from her previous attempt but determined
to succeed, Ororo motioned with her arms and the child began
to rise slowly upwards until she stood seemingly on nothing.
"Let us go."
The sorceress moved herself and Belladonna over the abyss
and then began to lower them gently into the viscuous fluid.
As they sunk, it fitted to them like a second skin, surrounding
them, lapping at them. The transition to the netherworld was
as sudden as it was startling. Voices murmured, wailed, in
an unholy choir. Hands reached out, clawing at their skirts
and at their skin, pulling their hair. Spirits whirled around
them, cold as they touched and moved through them.
"I do not like this place."
"No mortal does."
Blackheart stepped out of the liquid night. His voice was
as arrogant as it was icy, speaking of the promise of eternal
darkness. Of being overwhelmed by shadows. Surprisingly, considering
the traditional view of his appearance, he was a tall, dapper
man with slick moustache and goatee, dressed in the latest
court-fashions. Only his blue skin and crystalline hair marked
him as anything different from the typical congregation of
sycophants that surrounded the king.
"So, Belladonna, you have returned."
"Yes, Blackheart?" the child had reverted to an
ancient hag, trembling as his cool stare roved over her.
"I never thought you would, but I am glad you did. I
wish to congratulate you, I see. I am most pleased with the
most recent soul you sent me. It has, and you will excuse
the pun, spirit. A fire which I cannot quench. I never thought
I would see..."
"We have come to reclaim him. It is not his time,"
Ororo interrupted, seeing that Belladonna was frozen on the
"So many mortals say that and none of them escape,"
he sounded amused.
"Belladonna sent him to you under false pretenses. His
sacrifice, such as it was, was noble. He does not belong here
with the corrupt and weak."
"You have the audacity to enter my realm and challenge
The crystals caught alight, refracting in shades of blue
and silver and purple. The souls ceased their endless dance
and came to bob around him with the voyeuristic curiosity
of people watching an execution. The abyss flared red, the
central sun burning in shades of blood.
Despite her fear, Ororo pressed on: "Indeed. All mankind
has the right to challenge death."
"By which right?"
Belladonna spoke, her voice barely above a whisper: "By
the challenge spoken so many years ago."
"You would invoke the sacred challenge of Scherezade?
You realise that it is my perogative to test you as I will?
You realise that, if you fail, your souls are forfeit to me?"
Blackheart gestured to an attendant demon, "Bring the
spirit in question here."
The demon vanished and reappeared. It was a twisted, scarred
grotesquerie with a green mane, beady yellow eyes and the
snout of a pig, to which it smelt surprisingly similar. By
its side, a slender man stood, like a candle-flame. A golden
cloth wrapped around his body was his only covering, much
to Belladonna's evident delight. Energy coruscated up and
down him in a blaze of molten red and his eyes were twin lanterns
in his face.
"These people have come to free you. To save your soul."
The spirit's head bowed slightly in understanding.
"His test is a simple one. One to determine whether
he merits release. We will see if he is as noble as you claim."
Blackheart closed his eyes, a look of intense concentration
on his face. The crystals shimmered, the abyss became blue.
"He is a thief and a highwayman. One who robs the rich."
"Yet he gives the money to those from whom it has been
originally stolen. The peasants who pay exorbitant taxes to
feudal lords," Ororo countered.
"You are ... correct. That is noble." He sounded
disgusted, "But let us see if the deeds of his heart
are as noble as those of his body."
"I believe you will find them so."
"He loves a woman. She is ... beautiful ... spirited
... and she is to marry someone else. He is in love with an
engaged woman?! Is that noble?"
"Engaged against her will. Forced into a marriage with
a cruel tyrant who oppresses her people. Who threatens to
destroy her village if she does not become his wife."
"This also is true. He is on a quest to rescue her from
this mage, Magnus."
Blackheart opened his eyes once more and looking into them
was like looking at two glowing embers. How could she have
thought him even vaguely human, she wondered, despite the
fine clothes? He was ancient beyond her understanding, as
old as the first grave.
"He does not belong here. He is neither corrupt or evil."
he proclaimed with a melodramatic sigh, "Pity. He was
a collector's item. I cannot free him without an exchange,
however. Without someone else giving themselves up."
"Then take me." Ororo said without hesitation.
He was more important to the world than she was, would save
the world from some nebulous evil, would heal the land in
a way that she never could.
"No ... Take me," the faerie countered softly.
The green silk had become grave-clothes, her once-lovely face
a deathmask, her body emaciated and skeletal. She had brought
this death upon herself, Ororo realised, and she needs would
allow it to fulfill the ancient prophecy. The succubus would
A flicker. A smile. Flames shifting. Hands. Eyes. Voices.
Blackness. Cold. Intense light as the sun poured in through
the open door of the temple. The young man lifted his head
from the stone floor where he was sprawled and looked at the
sorceress. He was dressed in the same, silken cloth as before,
showing a finely muscled body. He would be a more than capable
warrior, she thought with a blush. Remy flushed too, wrapping
the fabric more tightly around him. Fortunately, Ororo had
thought to bring clean clothes in their rucksacks into which
he changed while she stood guard outside.
"She did it, didn't she?"
"Yes. She did."
"I wonder why."
Not believing him ready to hear the truth, she groped for
any reasonable explanation: "In her own strange, twisted
way, she loved you."
He sat in silence for a long while, not knowing what to say
and not daring to say anything for fear that it would be wrong.
The pool of stars on the floor swirled and rippled noiselessly,
the chatter of birds outside the crypt seemed strangely profane
and loud. Remy slowly stood, dusting his trousers off, and
walked out the door.
"We've wasted time here, Ororo. I don' know how much
we have left."
"Then let us hope nothing more delays us."
"I had to let them go. The next leg of our journey is
more easily accomplished on foot than on horseback."
Her muscles ached at the thought of the hiking across the
rough terrain that led to the Promethean Mountains. The horses
would have broken their legs a thousand times before they
reached their destination. The twisted goat-paths and cliff-trails
that they would have to follow were hardly pleasant strolls
on the village green, after all.
"Good. Let's get going ... We still don't even know
where to find this Horse of Another Color or how long it will
take us to get it."
"No, but we shall. And then we will stop the wedding,"
she hoped she sounded more confident than she felt. For all
prophesy appeared to be behind them, time was growing painfully
"If we aren't too late."
"Trust in Sabrina's love for you and know that she too
is probably doing everything she can to stop the wedding as
well," she comforted him, silently adding: Which is
more than you possibly imagine.
"It isn't her love I'm worried about, it's the mage's
Laughing at the irony of which he was unaware, "Power
is not everything."
"No, it isn't, but it certainly counts for a lot,"
he looked confused.
Waving away his worries, "As you said, let us get going.
Worrying about the future can only serve to delay us."
As they started on their painful walk, Ororo glanced back
at the Well of Souls, seeing that the picture had changed
again. The wooden woman was holding a rose in her hand, giving
it to a tall, carved man in shining armour. Their hands were
joined, the union of male and female, the two halves of nature,
complete. She could barely make out the carved motto on the
door: "The Sword and Rose become One."
Back resting against an oak tree, Sabrina tossed small pebble
after small pebble against a hapless birch sapling, watching
as they skipped from the trunk to the path. She had always
found solace in the forest, caught between green sky and floor;
had always been able to escape the pettiness of village life
in the immensity of the woods. It was strange, she thought,
considering her father's perpetual cautions about wild animals
and wilder men that she felt so protected there. That nothing
could or would harm her. Moodily, she picked a flower and
began removing the petals. It had been weeks since her fiance
had left on his fool's quest. Although she had held no hopes
for his success, the small part of her that believed in legends
still believed that she would see him riding into the village.
The pragmatic remainder scoffed at that notion.
"Well, I certainly am not going to sit around like some
damsel in distress and wait for Remy to save me. I'm going
to find a way to kill that pig -- no matter what."
Remy had always teased her about her habit of speaking aloud
when perturbed. She herself saw it as ridiculous, but the
trees seemed to listen and they were certainly more intelligent
than many of the women in her village. Knew when to remain
silent, for one. She sighed, stretching out her legs, allowing
herself to relax for the first time in months. Unsurprisingly,
the bushes rustled behind her.
Swearing silently in a manner that would have caused the
most hardened sailor to blush, she grasped a handy rock and
prepared to meet her assailant. Despite the uncertainty, she
felt no fear. The forest would still watch over her, would
not allow her to be harmed. Instead of the burly robber she
had expected, a slim girl stepped out of the greenery with
a nervous smile on her exotic face. Dressed in the dingy robes
of an apprentice sorceror, she held up her hands as proof
against the stone.
"Miss? Uhm, I'm not going to hurt you. I'm just looking
for someone. Can you help me?"
"Depends. Who do you want?" she retained her weapon.
It could be a trick. She had heard of highwaymen sending a
child to disarm the victim, then striking when they least
expected. For all the security of the woods, she preferred
the safety of a stone.
"Have you seen a woman with white hair come by here,
accompanied by a man with really weird eyes?"
She paused, wondering if this strange apprentice meant her
fiance. His eyes were unusual, to say the least. He was reticent
to talk about them, dismissing them jokingly as a curse a
malign faerie placed on him at birth. They evidently were
tied up to some aspect of his past or himself which he wished
"No, I'm sorry. I haven't."
The girl plopped onto the floor with a sigh, evidently exhausted.
"I've searched for them everywhere and I just can't find
Settling on the grass beside her, "Why are you looking
"I'm the woman's apprentice and I think she needs me.
She's gone on some kind of crazy quest with this man to stop
his fiancée from marrying this evil mage," she explained
seriously, fishing in her pouch for a bottle of water. Taking
a swig, she wiped her mouth then passed it to Sabrina. "Hmmp.
I hear it's going around these days. Poor fiancée."
"Yes. Tell me about it." The girl's voice dropped
into familiarity, "What is so insane is that they're
looking for something that doesn't even exist. The Horse of
Another Color or something similar. I don't know. If I was
in her shoes, I'd be looking for The Sword of Extreme Sharpness
rather than some mythical pony," pausing, "I hate
to be rude about someone I haven't met, but she sounds more
than a little spineless."
Sabrina laughed, "Oh, I suspect she has plans of her
own to end the engagement with the Mage."
"No, all that sort of woman is good for is looking lovely-but-helpless
in low-cut dresses," Jubilation disagreed, her voice
a sarcastic drawl, her eyebrows quirked.
"I have better dress-sense than that, don't you think?"
she said gently, deciding to end the charade before it got
too embarrassing for either party. In her simple homespun
with her hair pulled back in a severe bun, she appeared anything
The girl flushed, stammering a hasty apology. "You're
her? I didn't realise ... I'm so ... You're not ...
Oh, I open my mouth to put my foot in it," she wailed
"The name's Sabrina Parker," she held out a hand
to the apprentice, which Lee took gladly, "And don't
worry. I'd think me spineless too, if I didn't know myself
"I'm Jubilation Lee. Where were you going?"
"To see my grandmother -- Destiny -- in order to ask
her if she knows any way that Magnus might be killed,"
she explained, adding impishly: "Or to pick up a dress
with an extremely low front."
Irene Adler, or Destiny as she preferred to be called, was
a local witch of some repute. Although the more modern and
forward members of the community pretended to eschew her services,
she was the first they called when a child needed to be birthed,
a cough stopped or a recalcitrant lover charmed. If anyone
knew the Mage's weakness, it would be her.
"Can I come with?"
"Of course. It'll be company. It's about a league to
her house, so it'll be nice to have some conversation."
"I could use magic to get us there?" she suggested.
Sabrina grimaced. Magic, in her opinion, was something with
which she wished to have as little contact as possible, having
come to know how the Mage abused it. Even if the girl next
to her was the Great Sorceress herself, the mythical figure
from Irene's stories, she would have refused emphatically.
And probably be zapped for her troubles, she added. That much
power would corrupt anyone. The impossibly noble, insufferably
good anima from the fairy-tales would be a power-hungry despot
"Let's walk. I need the exercise cooped up in the village
as I was."
"Sure." Jubilation sighed and ran after Sabrina
into the woods.
To be continued.
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