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Post Details
title Chapter 3
name Aileen Doll (ip:)
  • date 2016-11-23
  • Recommend Recommend
  • hit 343
point 0points

Hill of Sidh


Novelist : Judit Elias



CHAPTER 3



Nights in the little town in Victoria had changed. The rural village had once boasted peaceful hours under the stars, but that was no more.


“Hurry up, mistress Licorice,” implored young Camellia.


Licorice was incessantly shrinking down books with magic and filling a big bag with them.


“We should go now,” Camellia said.


“But we must save all the research,” replied Camellia’s twin, Cedric, who was carefully placing vials, full of colourful liquids, inside a purse. “Cammy, come here and help me instead of whining.”


The little girl ran across the room to her brother, but stumbled over one of the objects lying on the floor and fell, face first, on the ground. Cedric rolled his eye.


“On second thoughts,” he said, “better find another occupation that keeps your clumsy hands away from anything breakable.”


Camellia stood up. She was used to tumbling and bumping into things every now and then. She checked herself in the mirror. Her face was covered in dirt but everything was in order: fuzzy red hair tied down in two braids, two pointy ears and one big green eye in the middle of her pale, child-like face. She would have liked to have human hands. She had always found them so delicate and many-fingered. Instead, she was stuck with her chubby three-fingered hands with terrifying claws. She filed them daily but they just kept on growing. She redid one of her braids, which was coming loose. Her hair was nice, she decided, she liked the colour and the reddish shine it had, even in the dim light of the candles.


“It’s not easy to see where things are exactly when you’re a cyclops,” she complained shyly.


“I’m a cyclops too,” Cedric pointed out, “and I’m nowhere near as clumsy as you!”


Cedric was almost identical to his sister but with unruly short blond hair.


“Stop it, you two,” said Licorice in her soft velvet voice. “Camellia, won’t you please make sure our coats are ready? It won’t take much longer.”


“Yes, mistress!” replied the girl, rushing out of the basement.


             “Great idea, my Lady,” mumbled Cedric. “That will keep everything in this room safe… for a while.”


Licorice smiled. It was a lovely smile which could have charmed any heart. The young mistress would have been pretty. More than pretty, stunningly beautiful, with luscious curled ivory hair that fell to her delicate shoulders, eyes highlighted by long lashes, a small pointy nose and juicy red lips. She would have been a sight to behold if it weren’t for her skin, hard and grey, dead and cold to the touch. Licorice wore a black dress and gloves that covered her arms.


“But your sister was right,” she said. “We must hurry.”


Cedric sighed, frustrated.


“I still don’t understand why we have to leave. This is your home, my Lady.”


Licorice stopped for a beat to look around the room. This was, indeed, her home, full of memories she cherished. She had been born in it and, despite her frequent travels, it had always been a place to come back to. She could almost picture her father pacing in the little basement-laboratory, always with a book in his hands, while she helped him. Her father had been a brilliant mind, as her mother had been, but the memories of her became more distant and blurred, for she had died when Licorice was a very young child. Now Camellia and Cedric were all she had.


“There’s nothing left for us here,” she said firmly. “And it may be… beneficial to leave now.”


Cedric raised his gaze. He had understood what the mistress meant.


“Still,” continued the boy, “it feels unfair having to leave in such a rush. We should fight back.”


Licorice appreciated her young servant’s honesty.


“We may have to,” she replied, going back to packing.


The voices from outside the mansion, the angry shouts and screams, were getting louder and louder. Licorice could make out most of what they said: ‘Burn the witch!’ ‘Slay the one–eyed monsters!’ She could also smell the fire.


The townsfolk had finally entered the manor. They were armed with torches, knives and any object they could use as a weapon, and they destroyed everything in their path.


Camellia rushed into the basement with the coats. Licorice instructed the twins to put them on and grab their bags. She put on her dark veil. The mistress and the cyclopes left the basement, walking up the stairs towards the voices.


“Come out of your hideout, witch. We know you’re there!” shouted the mayor.


Camelia took her brother’s hand and squeezed. The shout had come from the ballroom, and they had to go through that room if they wished to leave the mansion. Licorice didn’t slow her pace. They crossed the hallway and entered the large ballroom. The high ceiling, adorned with images of clouds and angels, was lit by torches. They were met by a sea of angry faces.


“Wicked!”


“Abomination!”


“You should pay for your crimes! We have come to finish your heinous life!”


“Look at the monsters! Oh, what horrible creatures!”


“Burn it all to the ground!”


Licorice raised one of her hands and the townspeople fell silent.


“We are leaving,” she said in her soft voice. “Please, let us through.”


The faces before them looked indignant, and the townspeople started shouting again. The mayor took a step forward.


“Lady Licorice, you stand accused of witchery and evil. We have come to apprehend you so that you may stand trial.”


The young cyclopes looked at their mistress, who stood proud and silent.


“You have all seen it! By her silence she admits her witchery!” roared one woman.              Several cries of agreement came from behind her.


“If that is so…” the mayor said, “I sentence you to die in the pyre. And may you find salvation from your evil ways. Catch her!”


“You fools.”


Licorice didn’t raise her voice, it was more like a whisper, but everyone heard her clearly. She didn’t even look at them, as if the whole conversation was of no interest to her.


“As I have said, we are leaving. You will let us through.”


“We cannot let you leave,” shouted one woman.


And for the first time Licorice paid attention. She took a step towards the villager who had spoken and pierced her with a freezing stare.


“This town is cursed,” she said, pronouncing each word carefully. “You should leave now.”


A hush fell over the room. It was just for a few seconds but to Camellia it felt like an eternity. Someone grabbed her arm and pulled her away from the others. It was a tall man who was holding a big knife, pointed directly at her neck.


“I am not afraid of you!” he said, although his voice trembled. “I’ll kill this unsightly monster myself!” he cried.


“Let her go!” roared Cedric, mad at the sight of his sister in danger. He had already dropped his bags and would have charged towards the villager if the mistress had not placed her delicate hand on his shoulder.


‘Unsightly’, ‘monster’… Camellia had actually been called worse names. She used to be very upset by them when she was younger, but now she didn’t care. The big knife, however, scared her. It must have been used to chop meat and, although it was clean, her fine cyclops senses could smell the metallic scent of blood on it. It made her shudder.


“You will let the girl go,” said Licorice, her voice firm.


The man drove the blade closer to Camellia’s neck.


Slowly, Licorice removed her gloves. She could hear the townsfolk gasp in fear. Those who stood closest to Licorice began pushing back, panic in their eyes. Under the gloves, Licorice’s arms and hands were pure skeleton without any flesh.


“I told you.”


“She is indeed a witch.”


But Licorice paid no attention to the comments, which were becoming even more rage-filled than before. The mistress stretched out both arms and muttered some unknown words. A flash of light surrounded her palms, the blaze became brighter and brighter, accumulating in her fingertips, and a beam shot towards the knife. The man screamed in terror and, when the brightness dimmed, he could see that the blade had disappeared completely, leaving only the handle in his hand.


Camellia took advantage of his confusion to bite the arm that grasped her, as hard as she could. As she felt the grasp loosening she pushed and ran to her brother’s side.


The townsfolk couldn’t contain their anger any more.


“We must kill her!”


“Kill them all!”


The people charged. Forks, axes and burning torches pointed towards them. Two purple flames burst out of Licorice’s palms. The violet fire engulfed the townsfolk and, although it didn’t burn, the people screamed in confusion and fear.


“The mistress is so powerful,” mumbled Cedric in his sister’s ear.


Camellia nodded. She could feel her heart thumping with excitement.


“With her, there is nothing to fear,” her brother said, squeezing her hand.


The townsfolk were too scared to move.

“Let’s go,” said Licorice, not even looking back. The witch and the one-eyed monsters walked towards the door and left the mansion, never to return again.




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