The Night Witch was, everyone knew, evil and dark and murderous and, above all, perhaps, terrifying. She ate people alive, it was said; she had paved the walk to her lair with the bones of her victims, many ground into powder over the years – decades – she had resided there. She held the entire small nation in terror, and worked great evil from her mountainside abode. The trees were twisted, it was said, for miles in every direction.
Up that mountainside, now, Candor was being dragged, past the trees, twisted and stunted and very very creepy, past the caves where the monsters were said to live, down the path of bone, which was, indeed, white and in some places powdered. They had him chained hand and foot, tricep and thigh, until he was more of a ball of chain than a Hero. They had him on a sled, dragging him up the bone path, past the black trees with their blood-red leaves. And they were taking him as a prisoner to the Night Witch.
And Candor was smiling.
Nobody could see it, of course. He was gagged – nobody would take one of his kind prisoner without a gag – and his face was pressed against his knees. The smile was more of a figure of speech than a physical expression, but Candor had stopped struggling some miles back, feigning tiredness but really just not wanting to risk breaking free too soon. He’d felt a chain wiggle, the last time he gave it a good shake. And his people were known for being strong. They should have used better chains.
The path crunched under the sled, and, though he could see very little, he could see the tibia of some woodland creature. She ate her prey alive, but that was no human bone. The minions dragging him were panting. The hill up to the Night Witch’s cave was very steep.
Candor waited. They were almost there, and, when he was brought to the Night Witch, he knew, even bound like this, his plan would work.
The sled stopped. He could see nothing but the path, but he heard a door open. He heard the murmur of proud-minion-explanation. He heard the measured footsteps that had to be the Night Witch, and he saw the white leather toes of her boots.
Candor waited. The feet paused. Candor knew the moment she realized what she was seeing, the moment she recognized the tattoos and scars on his back.
“You?!” It was a gasp, from the Witch who was unshakable.
Candor smiled. Hello, darling.
This may be fae apoc.
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