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"On the whole I am inclined to think that a witch should not kiss. Perhaps it is the not being kissed that makes her a witch; perhaps the source of her power is the breath of loneliness around her."

Emma Donoghue: Kissing the witch (1997)

Deep inside I feel we're like

Trees in the wind

Deep inside I feel we're like

Leaves all in the wind

Blowing under the wild night sky

Leaves all in the wind

Trees in the Wind, Eivør Pálsdóttir


The Tale of the Witch

She was a queen. You could tell just by looking at her. There wasn't anything else she could possibly be, really. It was in her blood, in her eyes, in her flesh. One single move of her finger could stun the sea into silence, everything and everyone just naturally knew that she was the one who reigned. She was born to do it. The way she was dressed, the silk on her skin, the gems and diamonds and crystals in her hair, it all set her apart from other women. There was something about her that allowed no resistance, no opposition. One of her hard glances made the strongest and hardest men bend their knees in front of her. You wanted to serve her, to please her, knowing there was no other thing left for you to do. To those who didn't know her well, there seemed to be no softness about her. To them, she wasn't a woman, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a lover. She seemed to feel nothing, not like others did, and they never questioned it. And frankly, neither did you. To you, she was a queen.

She was different, even from those of her own kind. You could tell just by looking at her. She had a sister and two brothers, like many of us do. They were just like her, cut from the same cloth, so to say. Still, she always stood out. There was something in her eyes that you couldn't help but notice, and they all knew it, including her. Maybe it was the element she represented. As calm and studied as her outward appearance was, inside her veins a storm was raging, and her heart was jumping like a bird in cage. She was able to destroy the land in her wrath, like a wind storm eliminating everything in its path. She could soothe your pain, just like a cool wind bringing relief on a hot summer day. She could make you feel alive, like a breath of fresh air. Sometimes her eyes gave her away, reflecting the tempest inside her, but only her brother had ever been able to tell. He was fire, just like she was air, and they had always been the closest. Air spreads fire, and fire feeds from air, and her kisses felt tender on his skin. Some have said that air is superior to all other elements, and maybe they were right. Maybe that was the reason why she was the chosen one, even if no one ever spoke about it. And frankly, neither did you. You just knew she was different.

She had power, even if she had never asked for it. You could tell just by looking at her. They had just laid it at her feet, left it out for her to stumble over it. They wanted her to take it, since power is a horrible burden to carry. Maybe they had decided to give it to her because she was different, this I do not know. No one ever bothered to ask her if she wanted it. But she took it, nonetheless. And it suited her, it all came so natural. No one ever bothered to find out how many things she had to sacrifice in order to keep her power and to keep things flowing. There were a few who noticed how unjust her fate seemed, one man in particular. She fell in love with him, even if no one ever bothered to spare a thought on her ability to love. He tried his best, and wished so hard to take some of the burden off her shoulders, but he failed. He wasn't meant to help her, no one was. Just like no one ever bothered to think of her in dark nights when tears ran down her cheeks. And frankly, neither did you. To you, and it was as simple as that, she just had power.

She was beautiful, even if she never spared a single thought on it. You could tell just by looking at her. Her beauty never changed, never faded, never left her. That was probably why she was so indifferent to it all, and could only bring up incomprehension for the envy of other women who wanted to scratch her eyes out. While some wondered why the element air had chosen such a fragile female body to live in, it was no surprise why darkness, the other force she represented, had chosen her form. Her hair fell in black waves over her shoulders, endless like the dark night sky. The gems she wore in her raven curls seemed like stars, milky little lights illuminating the whole firmament. Her skin was like the moon, like an immaculate pearl. Sometimes her beauty made their eyes hurt, but it didn't matter to them. And frankly, neither did it to you. To you, she was just beautiful.

She was a whore, or at least that was what they called her. You could tell just by looking at her. She knew herself, she knew her body, she knew what she wanted and needed. She didn't ask, she didn't beg, she didn't fear. She slept with them all, gods and mortals, kings and peasants. It didn't make a difference to her, she did what she felt she needed to do. She slept with them all, blonde and bright or black and dark. It didn't make a difference to her, she was looking for other things. A certain gleam in their eyes and broad shoulders, a soft quietness, and a teasing but warm smile. She sank her nails into their flesh, leaving scratches on pale skin. She closed her eyes and forgot everything around her. As soon as they became one with her, she felt a certain kind of peace. She caused the clearest minds to go foggy as she wrapped her slender thighs around their waists, making them whimper her name into her ear, tears falling from their eyes. She lay in their arms like a piece of the moon, and they all felt like they were holding the greatest treasure on earth. For a brief moment, they felt like she belonged to them, like they had been able to catch and tame her. Later, they all realized that it was actually her who owned them, owned them like slaves. Just go and ask that blonde king, the one with the scar above his eye. He can tell you all about it, or at least he could, but the encounter with her had left him utterly speechless. Just like all the others. But it didn't matter to them, they just cursed her for never returning. And frankly, neither did it matter to you. To you, she was just a whore.

She was evil, and didn't bother to hide it. You could tell just by looking at her. Also, she was selfish, and she was unkind. She never understood how the hearts of her followers hurt, and never took offence in being called heartless herself. She did everything to reach her goals, to keep up her power, to sustain her position in the universe, she did what she had to do, without batting an eyelash. It was so natural to her to sacrifice, it never occurred to her that it wasn't so natural to others. Or maybe she had sacrificed that ability a long time ago, along with so many other things. Then again, what was evil other than good, suffering from its own hunger and thirst? They never understood how her heart hurt, and never took offence in being called ignorant themselves. They never understood that sometimes the pain was so overwhelming that all she could do was scream. But she took up with it, because she knew that a heart that hurts is a heart that works. They never understood that. And frankly, neither did you. To you, she was just evil.

She was magic, and that she was more than she was anything else. You could tell just by looking at her. It seemed as if she wasn't an actual person, she was just the shape and form magic had chosen to take in this world. That could have been the reason why she seemed both attracting and repulsive to them, she was something they couldn't even begin to understand. And frankly, neither did you. To you, she was just magic.

She was a witch, a perfect label they had found for her. You could tell just by looking at her. Even if they had no idea what it meant, it summed it all up pretty nicely. It was her looks that haunted them in their sleep, it was her voice that crawled under their skin like a thousand ants, and it was her power and her magic that rendered them speechless. It was the tingly feeling they got whenever they laid eyes on her, it was the taste she left on their lips. It was the freedom she possessed, even if she was in chains. It was that strange heart of hers, beating steadily in her chest and forever in your soul. She was a part of this world, whether they liked it or not. Whenever the darkness closed over the land, and the wind started to blow under the wild nights sky, she would return, too. No matter how hard they tried, they weren't able to forget her. And frankly, neither were you. To you, she was more than a witch.

And you quite liked it that way.

This was the tale of the witch. I leave it in your mouth.


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