The Witch of The Forest
Seraphie is a vampire who has seen a lot in her lifetime, and been many more things. Currently residing as the local witch of the woods near a town, she is the fable that mothers tell their children to keep them in bed. Most are too afraid to enter her forest, till one day she is met with a strange young man on a mission to find some herbs to help a sick friend.
Character Series: no character series
Group Series: The Marauders, 0
Author: Rebecca L. Lioncourt
The Witch of the Forest
There was a howling in the forest the night that Seraphie almost lost her mind, as if it hadn’t happened almost an unmentionable number of times since her creation. Four-hundred or so years, to her count; though her mind was quick to find its ways to forget the number after it had passed the first hundred.
Fifty years had passed while Seraphie passed in the forest; becoming something of a local legend, something to tell the children to beware of should they stray from their beds at night. Tattered clothes clung from her pale form, dancing between the trees as if the ghosts themselves were her partners. A rumbling from her chest when the hunger struck her, blurring the edge of her vision despite the battle inside of her to keep it buried beneath, till she could no longer bear it any longer and she fed.
Sometimes it was a stray guard patrolling far out enough into the fog of the cold nights. Other times it was a poor soul lost in the woods. On the rare occasion, an animal left for what the townspeople called the ‘Witch of the Woods’. She lost more and more of herself with each feeding, feeling her mind twisting further and further into her own mental palace, leaving behind the small girl who liked dancing in her father’s tavern, listening to the beautiful sounds of the stable-boys violin.
Poor Adrien. Drawn to the flame like they always are. Perhaps one day they’ll learn that fire burns.
Seraphie herself knew the meaning of flames all too well. The flames followed her wherever she went. Wherever she danced, chaos followed. Whether that was the vampiric allure or not, Seraphie did not know. She didn’t dare to ask herself.
She cried the day she forgot her mothers name. Then again when she drank from Adrien. But most of the time she wailed in the woods, the pained echo of it bouncing off the trees and out into the nearby town. The wailing meant death. Loss. Tears.
There was howling in the forest when Seraphie laid the boy down to rest in the ground. Something she had kept with her for far too long. Still dressed in her tatters, she continued dancing through the forest in a myriad of flourishes and dips, the ethereal forces touching gently, guiding her movements into a frenzy till she collapsed to the ground.
There was a large difference between simply surviving, and living, Seraphie was soon to find out.
Being the generation of vampire that she was, the sunlight did little to bother her, and even then, the canopy of branches shielded her from most of the sun during the daytime. She had laid down on a bed of moss for what had only seemed like a couple of minutes, as sleep claimed her. Upon awaking she found a young man leaning over her, sword in hand.
Panic swept through the young vampire and she scrambled back as he raised a brow at her.
“Did you hear me?” he had asked her, and she quickly shook the sleep from her body and mind, not quite realising she shook her head in time with them. The young man peered at her behind stern blue eyes, one side of his face partially marred by a long scar. Instantly Seraphie grew curious. Scars held stories, and she considered herself a purveyor of stories grim and dark.
“That scar on your face...where did you get it?” she had asked. He blinked a couple of times, before shaking his head. “I do believe I was the one asking the questions here. What are you doing here in the forest like this?”
A small smirk crossed Seraphie’s features. “Oh you know, the usual. Sleeping on moss. Watching the elk. Gathering herbs. Terrorising the townsfolk.”
“You’re that witch they all keep telling stories about.” He replied quickly and she saw the grip on his sword tighten a little as she stood up and brushed the dirt from her tatters.
“Wives tales, darling. Though often based in fact, usually aren’t all true, surely your smarter than that.” Seraphie remarked slyly, the smirk not leaving her face. “Tell me then, are you out here to kill me?”
“...I’m looking for herbs. One of the recruits fell ill last winter and still hasn’t recovered.”
Seraphie cocked her head to the side, eager suddenly to show off her prowess she had learned by the whispers in the woods. What was safe and what was poison. Where to find the hunt. Where to hide. “Perhaps I could be of assistance then?” she ventured, gesturing out into the forest. “Having lived out here for as long as I have, one grows accustomed to finding helpful herbs and the like.”
“Ah yes, so you can try and kill me?”
“...You’re the one with the sword, darling, not me.” She laughed, hands up to show they were indeed empty. His eyes were suspicious, though he gestured for her to lead the way. “Tread lightly. And don’t try anything stupid, witch.”
He paused in his steps. “What?”
“That’s my name. If we’re going to be friends, I’d prefer you use it.” She stated cheerfully as she bounded ahead. He looked befuddled for a solid few seconds before he sighed and followed her.
“Lucien” he eventually responded. She turned back with a strangely disarming grin. “See? Now we’re friends, Luci!”
Lucien groaned. It was going to be a long day.
Strangely enough, the herbs that Seraphie had helped him gather had worked better than anticipated. Eventually his feet found themselves wandering, absently, back into her part of the forest again, raising a hand in greeting. She grinned again, that charming, gleeful smile not touching his eyes.
“Lucien, darling! I was starting to think you had forgotten about this little forest witch!” she laughed, then patted the ground next to her. He accepted the offer and let himself release a small chuckle.
“Seraphie it’s hard to forget a crazy vampire living in the woods.”
She cocked her head to the side, almost seeming hurt for a moment. “Not crazy, Lucien, never crazy. Just listening. That’s why I stay here in the woods.”
He laid back on the moss, looking up at the canopy of leaves. “You know you don’t have to live like this though, right Seraphie? If your scared of the townsfolk, I can put in a good word...it might take them some time but if they heard about what you did for my friend, they might see you in another light.”
She sighed deeply, her mask slipping for a moment before she laid next to him, arms resting across her stomach. “I’m not scared of the people in town, Lucien. Their stories amuse me. But I’m a second-generation vampire. It’s not that easy to kill me – most people don’t know how.”
Seraphie paused for a moment and blew a strand of hair out of her eyes before continuing.
“It’s me I’m worried about. There’s a madness in me that was born in the pain I left in the woods and it follows me. Whispers. Howls sometimes. I know if I were a normal person living in the safety of town, I wouldn’t want someone as dangerous as myself inside the walls.” Seraphie explained slowly, raising her hand to trace strange figures into the air above her, nonsensical and random.
“Perhaps. But if that were true you would have killed me. You haven’t...I don’t think your nearly as bad as your making yourself out to be.”
The young vampire winced at his words. Sometimes he reminded her too much of Adrien – it was the same mentality that proved to be his undoing too.
“You haven’t seen what I’ve done the past hundred years to survive, Lucien. I’ve...done terrible things. Horrid things, unnatural and downright evil.”
Lucien’s words came out quicker than either of them expected.
“I’ve seen plenty of evil, Seraphie. Learned to hunt it. Kill it. I don’t think your evil.”
She covered her face with her arm, a wry smile crossing her face. “Then your going to fall into the same misguided thinking that has killed curious little cats before you.”
“I’m more of a dog person, to be honest.”
She choked on her next words hearing his, and turned to face him, eyebrows furrowing. “Honestly, Lucien?!” she balked, and he chuckled again. “What? I’m not the biggest fan of cats. But seriously, give my offer some thought.”
“It’s never happening.”
It did eventually happen, Seraphie soon discovered. Her hands gripping tightly onto Lucien’s arm as he walked her through town, hood up and covered her from any wayward eyes. It was to be a short trip, he had promised, to see the town through fresh eyes.
“Everyone here is so...vibrant.” She whispered to him and he smirked.
“I imagine they would seem so after being isolated for so long. Come...lets talk inside.” Lucien responded as he held open a door for her. A tavern. Immediately there was a small pang of sadness at seeing familiar trappings.
...Not that different from papa’s tavern. What I wouldn’t give to be back home dancing...but no...they would all be dead by now, wouldn’t they?
Shaking the thoughts from her head, she took the offered seat in the corner and watched as Lucien pulled up his own.
“I wont beat around the bush Seraphie. I’m looking at leaving here. Becoming a sell-sword, or something to earn some coin.”
Seraphie immediately panicked, the thought of being alone again after finally making a friend who saw some good in her terrified the vampire and her eyes blew wide with fear. He held up a hand to stop any of her incoming words.