A magical start to the journey...
2022. June 16.
𝑆ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑙𝑠 𝑎 𝑠𝑢𝑑𝑑𝑒𝑛 𝑤𝑎𝑟𝑚 𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑠𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑘𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑟𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑝𝑎𝑙𝑚. 𝑃𝑢𝑡𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑑𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑏𝑜𝑜𝑘 𝑠ℎ𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑑 𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔, 𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑖𝑓 𝑎𝑛𝑦𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑢𝑡, 𝑤𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑙𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑎𝑐𝑐𝑢𝑠𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑜𝑓 ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑦, 𝑠ℎ𝑒 𝑛𝑜𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑒𝑠 𝑎 𝑚𝑎𝑟𝑘 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 ℎ𝑎𝑑 𝑛𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑒; 𝑎 𝑐𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑐𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑚𝑜𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑙𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎 𝑑𝑖𝑠𝑘 𝑑𝑒𝑝𝑖𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑢𝑛. 𝐺𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑟𝑙𝑦 𝑡𝑜𝑢𝑐ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑖𝑡 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑙𝑒𝑓𝑡 𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑥 𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑟, ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑟𝑜𝑜𝑚 𝑏𝑒𝑔𝑖𝑛𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑓𝑎𝑑𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑎 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑑𝑦 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑟𝑙 𝑎𝑠 𝑠ℎ𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑠𝑤𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑎 𝑣𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑒𝑚𝑝𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑏𝑒𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑒𝑙𝑓 𝑖𝑛 𝑎 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑜𝑤 𝑡𝑟𝑒𝑒 𝑔𝑟𝑜𝑣𝑒. 𝐼𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑎 𝑐𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑠 𝑎 𝑚𝑎𝑛 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑎 𝑤𝑖𝑧𝑒𝑛𝑒𝑑 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑒 𝑤𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎𝑛 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑏𝑙𝑢𝑒 𝑟𝑜𝑏𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑙𝑑 𝑡𝑜𝑔𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑎 𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑔 𝑔𝑜𝑙𝑑𝑒𝑛 𝑝𝑖𝑛 𝑎𝑡𝑜𝑝 𝑜𝑓 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑐ℎ 𝑠𝑖𝑡𝑠 𝑎 𝑏𝑟𝑜𝑜𝑐ℎ 𝑑𝑒𝑝𝑖𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎 𝑠𝑖𝑙𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑐𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑐𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑚𝑜𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑙𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎 𝑠𝑢𝑛. 𝑆𝑢𝑟𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 ℎ𝑖𝑚 𝑖𝑠 𝑎 𝑐𝑖𝑟𝑐𝑙𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑐𝑟𝑦𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑠, 𝑟𝑢𝑛𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑡𝑒-ℎ𝑜𝑡 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑒𝑠. “𝐼 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑠𝑢𝑚𝑚𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑑 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑎𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑆𝑎𝑏𝑏𝑎𝑡ℎ 𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑚𝑜𝑠𝑡 𝑢𝑝𝑜𝑛 𝑢𝑠,” 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑜𝑏𝑒𝑑 𝑓𝑖𝑔𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑛𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑠 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑔𝑎𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠. “𝑌𝑜𝑢 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑁𝑜𝑐𝑡𝑒𝑛𝑏𝑢𝑟𝑔 𝑖𝑛 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑛𝑒𝑥𝑡 𝑚𝑜𝑜𝑛, 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐻𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑜𝑤’𝑠 𝑛𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡, 29 𝑑𝑎𝑦𝑠 ℎ𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒.”
Many Hallow’s moons had passed since the High Witch’s mark first appeared on her palm, the summons to attend the Witch’s Sabbath. She thought back to the ensuing journey that, with the aid of Aldo and his crystal, she made to Noctenburg, gathering other witches who also bore the mark of the crescent moon and sun to form Covens of the Elect. And now, the light of the last full moon before Hallow’s night spilling through the willow canopy falling on the circle of crystals, she must call to her those who will form the new 𝐜𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐬. Placing her hand on her brooch, a crescent moon set upon a sun disc, she begins the incantation of summons, a myriad of burning white runes radiating on the crystals.
Far to the south of the willow grove in a house on the edge of a forest, the sound of frantic knocking drags Dragomir’s from a stack of old maps he had been scanning for some mention of a place called Noctenburg. “And what do you mean by all this banging?”, he commands in a gruff tone, opening the door to find two women standing before him, one with patches of white punctuating her face. “You must leave, now!”, she says, brushing past him into his home.
“Do I know you?”, he asks, directing the question to her companion as he closes the door behind her. She is dressed in the unmistakable garb of the Kallari, the nomadic people. Hanging around her neck he notices a small leather pouch that appears to give off a faint red glow. “We have already met”, she replies, “well, sort of.” Holding up her palm, Dragomir can make out a symbol consisting of a sun and a moon. “Of course,” he says in a quiet voice, remembering the guide Septima had pointed out in her message.
“We don’t have time,” the other woman interjects, her tone short. “It seems your spells fell short, executioner,” she adds, emphasising the last word. “There’s a mob making its way here, eager for your head,” the irony evident in her voice.
Pondering the situation for a few moments, Dragomir abruptly disappears, returning a few moments later clutching a rucksack. From down the lane a raucous noise drifts closer.
“There’s an old hunter’s cabin in the woods,” he says, grabbing his leather fur-lined cloak and leading them out the back of the house and into the forest lying not far behind.
A short while later, the sharp crack of wood being riven and then a crash sounds from behind them.
“My name is Sen”, the young girl offers when they finally reach a small cabin. “I’m Serena,” her companion says, holding out her hand to him. “I’m sorry about before. I’m usually quite pleasant,” she adds, a hint of humour in her voice.
“Well, it seems you saved me an unfortunate end,” Dragomir replies, before adding “I’m Dragomir. You are to lead us to Noctenburg, if I remember well.” he says looking at Sen. “Do you know the way?”
“Not exactly,” Sen replies. “My people say it is somewhere in the north.”
“So how do you intend to be our guide if you don’t know the way?", Dragomir probes.
“This is how I knew where to find you both,” Sen replies, removing a red crystal from the pouch around her neck.
Almost as soon as Septima’s symbol appeared on her palm, Sen began to notice strange white marks emerge on her crystal. At first they were nothing more than a dizzying array, but as she continued to observe them she noted a coherent pattern, the meaning of each rune becoming clearer: a face with pale white patches, a severe, goateed face and a bridge which she knew led to the town of Anduin.
“And what do you see now?”, Serena asks after Sen had explained how her crystal worked.
“A tall, scraggly boy with unruly black hair. The remains of an abandoned village that backs onto a white cliff.”
“Those are the cliffs of 𝐂𝐚𝐥𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐰,” Dragomir exclaims. “The village was destroyed by a fire. It’s not far from here, 3 and a half days’ walk at the most.”
“Then we best be on our way,” Serena says, standing. “Before the townsfolk think to seek you here.”
Join Sen, Serena and Dragomir on their magical journey to Noctenburg and become a successor of Septima - we are going live on Kickstarter tomorrow at 18:00 CEST!