Diary of My Demons: Entry #3 May 29, 2022 13:33:06 GMT -5
Post by Deleted on May 29, 2022 13:33:06 GMT -5
“You’ll remember me…right?”
Celeste would make a quirky frown, before turning to her right, glades of grass tickling the side of her face. Next to her upon the glade, Astor would chuckle as he continued to look up at the bright blue skies. He would grin wide, dark hair billowing casually through the light summer breeze. It was a beautiful day, one of the rare few in recent weeks that had actually been enjoyable.
The trainers, along with Selene, continued to make life outside of her studies a never-ending cycle of suffering. So much seemed to be changing around her, and Celeste could barely catch her breath in the eye of this storm. Days seemed to carry the same presence about them, since she turned twenty-one, as though there was a looming shadow upon her world. The witch’s grandfather pushed their lessons harder, where she was given less reprieve between them, and seemed to always come home pushed to the limits of her fatigue. Celeste seemed to spend her free time sleeping or studying, and was rarely given a chance to see the young man lying beside her today in the green.
“I mean after you become elder, and you have to run the whole show. Do you think you’ll remember me?” he asked, repeating his first question. He would look to Celeste, and give her a warm smile. There was a long silence as she stared back at him, her expression almost blank whilst she silently mused over the notion.
If she were really honest with the monk about her thoughts, the witch found it a rather silly question. They had known each other for as long as Celeste could recall, possibly longer than she had Cassius now that she considered it. In all that time he was possibly one of the most supportive friends she could have ever needed, save Lia – never once seeking to cut her down, nor undermine any of Celeste’s efforts. Astor was one of the few who believed she could get through this ridiculous training; overcome the petty drama that sought to turn a once-sacred ceremony into a competition wrought with pride.
“What kind of question is that?” asked Celeste, giving him a flash of a smile. “Shirk about the responsibility all you want; you know you’re going to be there – Lia would make certain of it. The two of you never failed to bring joy to my heart in the worst of times, I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather have standing with me on that day. I thought perhaps after sixteen years – you might realize this Astor,” she added, reminding him with a wink. Brilliant shades of red-amber would turn their focus to the clouds slowly drifting overhead. The blond offered a thoughtful hum; a brief air of content washed over herself. “I couldn’t imagine a life without you,” she would add, slowly closing her eyes as another breeze caressed the riverbank they relaxed upon. Astor would slowly reach across the small gap between them, fingertips resting gently over that of Celeste’s open palm in an absent-minded nature. She felt her eyes widen in brief surprise at the sudden touch; cheeks blushed red, as she coiled her grasp around the warmth of his hand.
“What about Selene?” he asked, looking to Celeste with a puzzled look. He had to admit there was some concern surrounding what the blond thought about her rival, all things of the recent few weeks considered. They weren’t exactly on speaking terms without spitting venom at one another, in fact – some of the other scribes feared the pair prone to tossing spells if they could get away with it. Therein existed a fear among others when it came to Celeste and her anger – few wished to tempt its wrath. The news of Selene and her new flame wasn’t exactly a secret by this point, though nobody dared to utter a spoken word about it in the prodigy’s presence. Though part of Astor wished to be brave enough to ask, and in the moment that she relinquished her hand did he regret ever doing so.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bring that up again.”
“Why does she matter?” asked the witch coldly, gaze hardening on the cirrus breaking apart in the sky. Astor would slowly sit up, and stare across the sparkling river, observing the flow of its blue-green brilliance into the choppy white among the rocks some distance beyond. Moments of silence would pass, their lapse almost endless and uncountable against the young monk’s patience. “I’m not deaf to the rumors. I know she probably intends to exile me, should she win the succession.” The witch closed her eyes pensively in retort to the gasp of shock given from Astor, coming to find his reaction rather predictable. She wondered how he managed to avoid all the talk this long, given his usual company.
“A-Are you serious? Why would she do something like that?”
“Why wouldn’t she? It’s what I would do.”
Astor would frown before casting evident confusion in Celeste’s direction. “But what does that achieve?”
“A vision for the future. Far easier it is to manifest, when all obstacles become cleared from the path forward. Selene is a practical tactician, if not a predictable one – variables of risk will be dealt with in accordance to her agenda, not the convenience of the village. So yes, I can quite imagine a future without her. One without any needless complications.” Celeste would eventually offer him a warm smile in an attempt to dissolve the awkward silence that threatened to grow between them. The blond would sit up to meet the sun’s gleam upon the river, the stray luminescence providing a glow to her milky skin and silken hair. A sideways glance was all Astor needed to find himself speechless again, not for the words she spoke, but how captivating she seemed to become in this light.
“Lighten up, odds are you could meet a decent girl if you did,” she would tease, patting him on the shoulder. The young man often failed to understand how someone of Celeste’s talent, of her beauty could ever carry the weight of the world as she did, when so many believed she might fail. He understood full well how repercussions over the fate of her father had on her upbringing. Though he failed to fathom the reason why Celeste’s heart burned with that hatred so; A fire so impossibly hot, one Astor feared may threaten to scorch and consume everything she had worked and striven toward.
Another presence could be felt at that moment, if only for the faltering in its concealment. Heightened emotions were always difficult to keep in check for some. Footsteps in the glade would make themselves known through the anger which hasted them forward. “Sure enough, I’m always right when it comes to you! Unbelievable! How long have you creeps been making out over here?” The very sound of the raven-haired girl’s voice grated upon Celeste’s very nerves. The blond stood to look upon Selene with a disinterest, yet made certain not to betray that underlying rage. No, she was far too crafty to let her masks slip so easily. Rather the witch greeted the other sorceress with a tug at the lips, and a hearty shrug as she strolled ever nearer.
“Twenty minutes,” mused Celeste with a hum - “I had almost perfected the craft of the tongue, when you lumbered over – graceful as you are. Interested to know what I’ve learned?” The smug smirk which overtook the blond was hardly needed to convey the mockery her tone already held. Selene would only laugh in response when given a rather typical answer from her rival. Never would she expect that pitiful ‘prodigy’ to provide an honest explanation for whatever time she wasted.
“Possibly nothing, if your reputation is to uphold itself.”
The girls would each narrow their eyes, lightning sparking to life among their fingertips as they threatened to ready into a duel. Astor, who had been observing the tense spat among the two, would hurry himself to his feet as he aimed to put himself between them. Hands outstretched he would almost yelp out of surprise when he cried “Ladies! Ladies! Surely there’s no need for the hostility!” The two would divert their laser-like gaze onto the young man who now sweat out his nerve profusely. “Ok, ok – so maybe there is...but think of what the elder is going to say when you scorch up his favorite teaching spot?” Well – maybe that was likely to diffuse the situation a bit? The pair doused their spells in favor of the suggestion, with Selene taking the opportunity to flip her hair.
“In fact, his concern is the very reason I came to fetch you. Truancy looks poorly on the heir to our esteemed elder – he fears the time dedicated to your training to be sorely lacking, and has instructed that I oversee the remainder of your lessons for the afternoon.”
“I’m afraid she lacks a sense of humor, Astor.”
A noticeable grit of Selene’s teeth was flashed, prompting a chuckle from the other witch. Celeste would give a shrug to dissuade the tension, raising a hand to wave it in a dismissive and flippant manner to the young man. “Fear not, I’ll be but an hour. Mayhap our friend has finished her conjury lessons for the day? Be a dear and see to whatever she might need? Thank you.” A few steps in a lazed saunter to her substitute instructor for the day, and Celeste would regard the other girl with a tilt of the chin, flashing that same smirk from before with a hint of malice.
“So, where are we off to today? Whirlpool Wharf? That lovely art exhibit in West City you’re so fond of? Do tell, the suspense is killing me.”
Hardly an answer before she was brushed off with the cold shoulder. How rich. Celeste figured this was going to turn out to be some afternoon – if anything, it was guaranteed to provide some entertainment.***
A brisk two hour flight to the nearest metropolis had been filled with many an opportunity to learn about the day’s agenda. Though try as Celeste might, her dear substitute instructor wouldn’t let a clue slip to the secret behind the task at hand. The pair had touched down in a rather dim alleyway, the faintest of sunlight managing to creep through worn cloth and rusted fire escapes. The ground thirsted for a rain which it rarely saw, an almost impossibility in the drought that had plagued the region for its third season.
The pavement, so dry, threatened to crack and splinter beneath the heeled boots that crossed its expanse. A cat would hiss atop the lid of a nearby trashcan at the passing of the witches, the brunette waving her hand as if to shoo the creature away. Neon shouted from the dark above and beyond, callsign to a dive many in these slums called home. Doubtless their destination if Celeste’s intuition stayed true to its habits. The blond would frown at the small gathering near the door in her approach. They regarded the pair with incredulous stares. A tall man would step forward, his gold and black-toothed grin glinting in the pink and lime haze.
”Lovely venue you’ve picked out for us, Selene.”
Mention of the other woman’s name gave the smirking thug a reason to pause. He looked over the girls once more, noting the coldness in the stare of the brunette to her companion. There was some tension there, though it certainly wasn’t his concern. The name struck a chord, a reminder, he knew to expect someone by that calling, matching a description not unlike the stranger standing here and now. A nod was given, before the bouncer stood aside to wave them toward the door. The light of a name bled down onto her milky skin in a vibrant plethora of colors, too fast to ascertain the word itself as they were shuffled inside a dark hallway. The metallic slam of a door behind them told Celeste there wasn’t any going back, she was fated to follow Selene into this den of debauchery and decadence.
”Cover is a hundred zeni each.”
It was paid.
”Have a good time!”
Scarlet glimpsed that fleeting word again in passing, this time emboldened in ivory upon a dim lit onyx wall: GALAXY. Down a winding staircase she was led, Selene her silent guide into this world of city dwellers so few in the villager remained unfamiliar with. Celeste could feel her skin begin to crawl. The thumps of synthetic bass grew louder the closer they drew, eventually reaching the main room of the club. Raised to their right was a lengthy bar, which looked as though it could seat fifty people, yet was serving twice that many from the looks of it. The dance floor was huge, as always. A glass styled floor lit underneath with bright, neon strobes that seemed to dance in the water beneath all the dancing people. A stage sitting under the second and third story balconies dominated the far edge of the floor. The steel pipe columns on either side lit up the hundreds of people with a plethora of colors. Tables for groups on either side of the dance floor, and all over the balconies seemed to be packed.
To Selene, this was just a normal friday night.
A tug at the brunette’s transmuted clothes, and the shorter blond would lean in close. ”I imagine there’s some purpose to a place so loud!? Why are we here?” shouted the witch over the deafening symphony of synthesizers, electronic bass, and hundreds of city-dwellers chatting amongst themselves. That cold gaze snapped back to Celeste again, startling the blond enough to take a few nervous blinks in reprise, stepping back before Selene would pull her close. A sharp whisper in the ear.
”Inside this club lurks a rather nasty possession case. We’ve been tasked to snuff it out.”
The other witch would hum with amusement.
”Well now, I’m flattered. If you wanted a night out you only-” She was cut off abruptly, a fingertip pressed to her lips as that same coldness regarded her again. The blond’s smile crept into a devilish smirk, before she began to sway her hips in rhythm to the song that began to rise in tempo. Selene's eyes narrowed as she stepped away. ”Oh don’t worry. I’ll be on my best behavior for you!”
”This is what concerns me.”
Selene paid the other witch little mind as she gave a broad grin, waving as she sifted backwards into the crowd. A distinct exclamation could be heard as the beat dropped, an obvious clue that Celeste would do her best to indulge this ‘search’ with as much interest as she did her training. A sigh of exasperation under her breath, Selene would ascend the flight of glass and steel, greeted with the palm of another brute in an undersized shirt. This wasn’t human. Further observation to the witch told of a VIP lounge filled with horns and warm colored skin. Fine tailored suits, lean cut dresses, an excess of perfume did little to drown the stench of sin on the upper floor.
Selene regarded them with that same narrowed gaze of winter. So, they chose to hide in plain sight – or not at all. She cast a worried look to the hundreds below that Celeste now danced among passionately. None of the Earthlings in this place suspected their hosts demons, much less seemed frightened or aware of their appearance. An enchantment or poison perhaps, one designed to enrapture and ensnare the unsuspecting denizens in this den of evil. It seems Meryl’s leads on this place proved correct, she would have to apologize later.
”She’s clean – unusually so. Let her through Ezekial.” The voice called out from the back of the lounge, filled with as much annoyance as it was nonchalance. The tone of a man who had little to lose, if nothing at all in this world, simply for how easily obtainable anything became. Selene stepped through the pack of sniveling faux debutantes, to approach a group in an open booth. The seemingly human man in the middle, dark hair, thick glasses, weak jawline framed by an equally umbral goatee, was draped upon each arm by a demon in scantily cut satin, whose hair each flowed like midnight curtains, their skin like salted caramel under a frothing foam. The confidence that exuded from his smirk upon seeing the witch in ivory matched only by the smack of chew from his cheek.
”So you’re here. Consider me impressed,” offered the shapeshifter – a deep chuckle rasping the chords. He would lean forward, seize a cigar to light with an ember produced from his fingertip. After a deep exhale and a vile cloud filled the air, the sharp dressed man flashed fangs with a glint in his abnormally colored eyes. ”You even brought her with you this time. I didn’t think the terms I offered were to your liking. Not at all what you appear to be, Nox Astra.” Selene offered a smug raise of the brow. This one was rather naïve for all the power it seemed to amass behind its banner, it was a wonder this disease was allowed to fester and spread for as long as it had. The Order was lacking when it came to snuffing out these types of threats, they had grown lazy under Solus’ era. When she became the next elder, all of that would change – the world would see her work done.
”You spoke an interest of her power. I’ve simply arranged the opportunity to test it for yourself – should fear of a true death not stay your hand.”
The man’s reaction became still, quite unreadable by the others around them, until finally - it would break into a hearty laugh. A slap of the knee and a point of a ring-adorned index to the witch. ”Hahaha! I like this girl!” He rose from the leather-clad booth, taking in a deep breath as he adjusted his suit, then gave a quick nod to the larger demons about. They moved forward to seize Selene by each of her arms with a quickness worthy of their kind, she barely had a moment to react. The witch would struggle against their strength, which already bore down on her own with an eldritch drain. The leader stepped forward, malice fleeting through his eyes as he looked the girl up and down, an air of satisfaction crossed features.
”I’ll enjoy feasting on that unusual soul of your friend that I’ve heard so much about. Rest assured, Selene – once I’ve whet my appetite, I shall make certain to finish with you.”
In the span of four songs, Celeste had managed to make a few friends on the dance floor. Unspoken smiles and switching of partners before seven of them lead the charge in an impromptu attempt at a synchronized music number. They laughed here, hooked arms and weaved spins there. Those not as graceful on their feet stumbled about the fringe of this rare scene, the core of which remained choreographed by the blond witch and her newfound partners in performance. It drew the crowd to grow in size, enough so that anyone not on the floor itself were spared becoming osmosed into this growing collective of cavorting. The place had seemingly come to life just by the influence of a few unspoken individuals.
The demon-in-disguise had not failed to take notice of this. In fact, the girl’s rather charismatic display made it far more-easier to make her out in the crowd. He watched her from his perch, leaned over the steel with a martini in one hand, a firm grasp on a glowing arcane chain attached to Selene’s wrist in the other. ”She is rather fascinating. Imagine the trouble she could cause if turned, or bent to the will of another. What then?” He offered a coy glance the captive’s direction. Selene looked down on Celeste who continued to dance in such a free-spirited way, almost as if the very act were a message to spite their very purpose in being here. The brunette frowned at the other girl’s joy, the words of the demon finding some weight with the doubt in her mind.
The notion had never occurred to the elder-in training. Selene had always viewed the pesky blond as nothing more than a rival, some annoying brat who obtained everything she wanted. Nothing felt earned in Selene’s eyes, and Celeste was only in contention for the esteemed position because of ill-begotten entitlement. Though never did she imagine that she might become a potential threat to anything in Selene’s future. The blond’s poor sap of an ex-fiancé – perhaps. The village itself, or the world? The brunette would furrow her brow under the mask of neon that danced across it.***
The blond’s good time was soured not long into the fifth song, when some of the brutes from the upper floor had made their way into the crowd. It was hard to dance when she kept colliding with someone every so many steps, sways, or shakes. The witch soon became aware of her situation when the crowd around her began to thin, in favor of letting the four bodyguards in black take the stage. Celeste’s rhythmic bounce to her step and sway in her hips would slowly die in this realization with a quiet ”Oh...” muttered out of embarrassment. Celeste looked around at the demons all standing and watching her, before her attention was drawn up toward Selene and their host.
What was going on? Why was she being watched like that? Confusion became frustration at the sight of the arcane chains that bound the other witch. Her focus broken as one of the hench would make to grab for the shoulder; a hand swept through the air to bat it away. The other three moved in quickly to support, a pair of arms wrapped tightly around the blond’s midsection. Two punches to the girl’s face, another aimed for the abdomen. Celeste flailed and kicked as she was raised into the air, managing to catch another of them in the face with a wild boot. The momentum pushed the pair backwards. Then it she felt weightless as it happened – eyes went wide as she was lifted over her attacker, through the air, and then firmly planted hard on her back into the glass of the floor.
The arms released after the shock had stolen the wind from her lungs. The witch rolled as she struggled to breathe, unable to defend herself as the steel-toe of the fourth’s boot came to crack against her face. Celeste cried in pain as she was thrown a good distance from the blow. She would lie there for a minute before she began to stir. They closed in on her slowly while she struggled to get back onto her knees, a spit of black and scarlet found its way out, the witch finding her feet with a stagger.
”Come on brat...I know you’re stronger than this,” whispered Selene, concern beginning to find its way into her placid mask of apathy. The ringleader in the suit would flash a glimpse in time to catch it, a second's worth taken to sip more of the martini.
”Yes, do quit stalling Celeste! We are so eager for you to impress us, my dear!”
The blond could only offer her spellbound sister a glare between herself and the target, a well of confusion, and contempt overflowing behind that faltering resolve. Celeste wasn’t sure what to make of this situation, and barely mustered a question in her mind over it all before more fists came flying her way. Was this a trap? The air sizzled with the heat of the demon’s fist; she could almost feel the warmth in the weave out of its path. The diaphragm bent in contortion against the girl’s fist, having found its target in the opening.
A gasp of surprise escaped the demon, while his wide eyes moved to meet that of the witch. H-how!? He was certain he had the human girl, dead in his sights and all! It was his strongest technique! She would smirk. W-what the hell!? Why was she smiling like that!?
”Hehe, too slow!” she cried with a sickening giggle.
A surge of levin would charge from the demon’s back, the hole through his center charred and cauterized before he hit the dance floor with a smoldering crackle. A burst and a cloud of black soot would fill the air. While the other three watched in fear-stricken awe, the boss above would pause his next sip, smirk vanishing from his lips out of aggravation. The blond would look from the vanished ruins to the remaining trio, beckoning them forward with a lazed curl of the fingers. ”Okay, next. Next!” Her tone mocking, yet urgent, almost implying she had better things deserving of her time. Wasn’t that the truth? They hesitated but ultimately decided to charge her all at once, feeling numbers would win them the advantage. A graceful dance of rotations saw the Staff of the Moon brought in, and used eloquently like a naginata in several twirls through the air. A flourish and the trio fell to burst into soot at the witch’s feet defeated.
A round of slow applause would fill the venue. Those who remained to watch the spectacle would turn their gaze to find the demon in the suit, descending the glass stairs, offering mock congratulations to the blond. ”Well done. Very well done, indeed.” A step over the charred hench, a chuckle over the need to find new hired help out of those measly bars back in Hell. Celeste watched this wolf in sheep’s clothing with all the focus warranted between predator and prey. Her hand stilled, yet readied should she need to defend herself. Though who was which in this situation? She had to wonder, even as he stalked and strafed about her presence, eyeing her like some prize to be won, some freshly prepared feast to be devoured.
”Your companion did not shirk the truth when she spoke of your prowess. I will admit, my doubts were plentiful. Enough so, I had resolved to simply eat your friend and be done with the lies.” He would come to a stop before the blond, gesturing wide with his arms as another laugh escaped him; Several demons still in the club would join in.
”But here you are, as real as the disgust churning in my stomach at the sight of you. A human with power rivaling that of a demon. How did you ever become so strong, little girl? Who did you eat to gain that strength!?” A sickening laugh that rasped against the human chords barely able to contain it.
The demon cocked his faux face to the side in observation, Celeste feeling the grip on her staff tighten, teeth grit behind her lips in anticipation. Something about those words unnerved the blond to no end, almost as if there were an inkling of truth in them. Celeste scowled in retort. She was born with this power; she had worked for years to hone it for the day she’d need it. Whatever this thing thought to say was only meant to distract her focus, nothing more.
The pain came quick and sharp, barely time for a breath before it ripped through her shoulder like razorblades. Celeste stood in shock, wide-eyed as the slow realization that the demon had its teeth in her flesh began to wash over her, hands trembling before they went limp on the witch. The staff hit the glass at her feet with a loud metallic clink and wooden thump. She wanted to cry out – to scream, but her voice would fail and crack. She could feel the demon drink, moments before a different pain found her diaphragm as she was kicked away. The blond would roll several times, streaking the emptied floor crimson as she went.
She gasped, trying her hardest to see through the blaring neon lights and crimson streaked in her eyes. It was all she could do to struggle back to her knees, until there came a deafening pulse in her ears...as the blood still in her veins began to quicken. No, not now... It came again with the heartbeat, which too would hasten with every repetition. ”Disgusting...” she could hear the abomination utter, before spitting onto a nearby pile of soot.
”Selene you liar!” he bellowed, turning to point at the other sorceress with a fury. ”The girl’s blood is as human as any of the rest of you! I’ve yet to witness a glimmer of that which separates one from another in your kind. I had hoped there was promise in this appetizer...” The demon clapped his hands together, and from the void at his palms would pull forth a blackened khopesh. It was pointed dramatically at Selene. ”But you’ve gone and soured my palette, witch!” There came a surge of power and a red glow around the umbral weapon, until something would cause him to stay his hand. There was an inkling of fear before his rage ultimately softened into that cocky bravado from before, a smile as he turned to greet the blond once again on her feet.
Though something was unusual about her now. The sclera of her eyes had become blackened, there was a faint glow of neon purple about the fringe of her corporeal form. The sword was lowered as he made to adjust his thick rimmed glasses, a step taken back out of genuine horror as he realized her power was now five times what it had been before. ”I-Impossible how-!?” He cut himself as the inhuman witch held out her hands, that same staff from before reappearing alongside her, this time with a brilliant golden wand that resembled the sun. The weapons orbited around the girl like satellites to a planet, albeit at such a speed one might mistake them for revolving blades.
The demon would grit his teeth at this showy flaunt of power, his ego fueling the idea that she couldn’t possibly outclass him with this grandiose display. He charged forward, as did the weapons of the witch. He took several swings traditional to his form, they did not. The demon felt his mortal host’s body begin to fail him for every artery and tendon taken from his use. The staff surged back to the witch before she made several hard slashes at the air with the weapon, the power building to form crescents of energy where her strikes had been cast. With a thrust of the staff toward these lethal waves, they surged forward at the demon, who with his compromised stamina – aimed to defend against it with a poor guard.
”AAARRRGGGHHH!!!” he bellowed, before being reduced to blackened soot like his followers. The glow around Celeste’s form would cease, her eyes returning to normal as she sank to her knees with heavy breaths. A hard yank of her wrists apart, and the arcane chains would shatter before Selene in a bright orange dust. Those who remained to help the fallen ringleader stood awestruck as the brunette would summon forth a brilliant silver glaive, before throwing it through the nearest hench to meet a similar fate of his boss. The rest would aim to flee the club in a panic, leaving the pair of hunters to their affairs. Selene was greeted with heavy breaths and a glare that could potentially kill on her approach.
”You...” A hard cough to follow. ”You used me as bait.”
Selene would offer Celeste a haughty scoff before the glaive was banished, the brunette soon feigning an inspection of her nails. ”I would think it proved rather effective.”
”So you were never-”
”In any real danger?” Interrupted Selene, looking up from her upturned palm to greet a bewildered blond. ”Honestly, Celeste. Did you forget this was today’s lesson?” She would observe the wound in the other witch’s shoulder, before letting a smile tug at the corner of her lips. ”Luckily for your sake – you passed. Though, do not expect the Covenant to look so lightly on your inability to defend yourself. How could you defend others, much less an entire world? I wouldn’t dream of your protection, brat.”
With those words she would bid the blond adieu, then turn to leave the now emptied club. Celeste frowned from the pain of the wound in her shoulder, wondering if her mother out in Taola would possibly know anyone who could treat it soon. The sirens and the ones who asked the questions would be showing up anytime, someone was bound to report all the violence and disturbances. Celeste managed to make her way out into another alleyway through a back door, slumping against a trashcan as she weakly summoned forth her staff, which righted itself to serve as a witch’s broom. With a heavy, defeated sigh she would let it take her weight into the sky, before preparing for a long moonlit flight back home.TWC: 5,550