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from Aradia's Diaspora by Susan Woerner

Copyright © 2018–2019 Susan Woerner

Scene 11

We rode Arion out of the protective circle. I looked back and couldn’t see the rainbow of dust that surrounded the place. I asked Isobeau whether the shadow creatures would be waiting in the woods for us.

“It is likely they were called back by the witch who sent them,” she said, “I have been told that to maintain that magic drains a woman of life and so she cannot hold it for too long.”

We rode in silence. A witch was hunting us? But who? Why? I thought the villagers I encountered on that first night during the fire were all normal people. Well, if normal means looking like a peasant out of the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries. And thought I was a witch.

“Isobeau, why did those people, the villagers, seem to hate me or fear me? Did I do something to get that response?”

“Is this some kind of test? You are a witch, you know these things better than I,” she said.

I was glad I was riding behind her so she couldn’t see my eyes roll. Sigh.

“You keep saying you are not a witch, yet I see with my own eyes that you are different in all things,” she said, “I do not care whether you are a witch or which type of witch you are. You have not harmed me nor Arion, so I know you can withhold your power when you want to.”

The air was full of pine and damp leaf smell. I relaxed, giving my arms a break from holding on to her. I laid my cheek against her back. She didn’t s...







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