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Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Here’s chapter 1! Any suggestions or thoughts are appreciated 😉

The Witch of Silveria



“Eyes straight, Konner. Meet me here when the sun settles.”

      The man chuckled, nodded his head, then turned his horse around, smile wide.

      “Kind sir, let me take your horse!”

      Fabian turned to see a young boy trotting towards him. He slowed his horse. “And why would I do that?”

      “Cause there’s a lovely tavern with splendid drinks, merry music, and plenty of women not far from here. A great many tales too! Many great tales if you prefer it that way. A by passer such as yourself should first see the wonders of Silveria and take a breath before doing business.”

      Fabian wondered if they might even have the information he was looking for. No one had so far. “How much do you know of this place, boy? And not just this city, but of the legends and folklore of Silveria.”

      The lad looked up and grinned. “Much. Come to the tavern and for a bit of coin, I can tell you everything you need within the hour.”

      Big tongues, many cheery pubs, and craving pockets. So Fabian had heard these people were. According to the king and court, his parents had been Silverian. Fabian let the boy lead him up the roadway, already hearing a woman’s glad singing as the sound of the two men playing lutes several houses ago faded.

      “Magic is greatly practiced here—in Silveria in general,” the boy said. “But this city, Nisti, not only has more teachers and masters of magic—even now in the tavern I’m gonna show you—but also Herlorah, the grandest lady of magic of all. And she’s probably in the tavern right now!”

      The great many things he’d heard about this city and Silveria was what had brought him here. “Go,” the king had said. “Search the kingdom. Go to Silveria, where it all began. Find it, Fabian! They are wise.” Not liking to leave his king after the incident with Lord Kinsley, he hoped the stories about Silveria were not vastly embellished.

       Konner Stone, a knight in training, was to accompany him on this quest, and Fabian hoped he wasn’t too caught up with the pleasantries of this place. This city was huge, so splitting up had seemed wisest. 

      “Her prices may get intense, but she will always find an answer to your question. What is your question, sir?”

      Who are my parents? People said they came from this city. This is not why you are here. “It concerns foreign magic, one that I have not heard much about. I know not whether anyone still practices it.” Immortality. Likely not. According to the sayings and legends about his own magic, granted through the ring on his finger, he was supposed to somehow be able to cure the king of his disease. “I hope this Herlorah can help me.”

      “She always can, sir. There’s never been someone travelling this way and going away emptyhanded. Here we are.”

      The tavern was big—made mostly of very red wood and black beams. Fabian had seen no beggars on the streets and only smiling faces. 

      “I’ll tell you how to properly greet Herlorah if you give me a silver coin, sir, and I’ll bring your fine horse to the stables too. That will be another coin. To the bit of information I gave you. Would you like to hear more?”

      “Thank you, but I will see Herlorah now.” Fabian reached into his pockets and retrieved three coins. “How then, lad, must I greet this woman?” Fabian dismounted, handing the reins and the coins to the boy. 

      He grabbed the silver, grin widening. “Just raise your beer to her and say good day!” And he walked away with Fabian’s horse.

      Merely the loss of some silver to that useless advice. Fabian turned and walked up the steps. Unlike most pubs and inns from the kingdom he was from, the steps did not creak. The entryway was swept clean and dry. Cheery singing and a combination of instruments playing welcomed him in. 

      Several heads turned as he entered. It seemed that lifting one’s mug of drink really was a greeting to this folk, as each man or woman that turned did so, even children. 

      “Care to wager a bet, stranger?” a man’s voice turned Fabian’s head. The voice had come from the old man sitting alone by a table, but he was staring into nothing.

      He had no time for this but the old blind man spoke. “Two coins if I can guess the color of your horse.”

      “And if I win, you answer me two questions about your city’s magic?”

      The old man chuckled. “White. Dappled with gray.”

      Fabian retrieved two coins.

      A girl that looked much too young for serving ale but with a joyous face came running to him, balancing two large bowls on her palms.

      “How can I help you, good sir? A beer, perhaps? We have an excellent brewed ale made sweet like nectar with a flower I promise you’ve never seen nowhere else. Only grows in the green mountains of Silveria. And the recipe is only known by the greatest taverns of each town or city, or the king’s personal—”

      “Where can I find Herlorah?” he asked, knowing she would never stop speaking otherwise.

      “Right that way, sir,” said the girl, motioning to a table where a woman and several men were sitting at. “Know you how to greet her, though? Do it wrong and she’ll never even look at—”

      “I suppose I’ll need an ale, is it?”

      She nodded. “So it is. Care for a riddle? Your ale will come with no plea of coin if you’re right, and an extra one if wrong. It’s a song, you just have to find the end. 


A redhead retrieves your burden.

Another runs to the tavern.

A blind thief knows because of the boy’s eyes.

A blind man grows rich, but not because of a bet.”


      “My horse is stolen,” Fabian surmised. Turned to see if the blind man yet sat there, but he was gone.

      The girl seemed surprised. “A free ale it is.”

      He’d already lost his horse. The city was large and he was a stranger. There would be no way to retrieve it now.

      As the girl hurried off, Fabian walked towards the occupied table. The one he suspected to be Herlorah—as she was the only woman by the table—was playing cards with the men. Her blond hair was graying at the roots, but her large eyes gave her a youthful appearance. Or merely lively, he decided. Her mouth was turned into a wide smile as she turned to look at Fabian. She wore a faded dress of bright red. “Good day, sir. Why don’t you join us in a game of cards, and perhaps you could win a nice little piece of land where if toiled and plowed, you could grow a prosperous crop. Just throw in what you got here and you may be the lucky traveler.”

      “Are you Herlorah?”

      “Ah, you’re here for me. Then you have heard of my works as a magic lady.” She glanced over at the men.

      “That is why I am here, lady.” 

      One of the men nodded at him and scooted away, making way for him to sit down.

      The girl with the ale came back and handed him the cup, and with the other hand, she collected the coin Fabian drew from his pouch. 

      Herlorah’s smile grew wider. “Well, what will it be? Or is it just a story for tonight? I have plenty of tales and much knowledge of magic.”

      He wanted to find his horse but remained seated. “If I could speak to you in private, lady, I would be significantly obliged.”

      She nodded. Turned to the men. “Later, lads. Let’s show our fellow visitors our humble hearts, shall we?”

      Chuckling, the men stood up. “Good luck, witch.”

     A witch? This was normal in Silveria, he reminded himself. A witch, gambling for land. Hopefully, she would be able to help. 

      Fabian sat down across her, just then realizing how exhausted from the journey he was. The music and raging of the people was so loud, he wondered if he’d have to shout for her to hear his request. A private conversation indeed. 

      She leaned forward. “Tell me, stranger with hair so bright as if kissed by the moons, what matters of importance bring you here?”

      Mentioning the moons? Did she perhaps know he had special abilities? No, he reminded himself that the crossing of the two moons, Leusha, had nothing to do with his gifts.

      “What do you know of the waters of immortality?” he asked, trying to remain quiet. 

      Her eyes grew large and she glanced around herself. “This . . . this is nothing that is practiced anymore. It has been—”

      “Forgotten, yes, I know.”

      “No,” she said, shaking her head. “It is not permitted. At all.”

      “But hasn’t some ritual been performed in Silveria?”

      She nodded. “A long time ago. Not many times. But legend has it, that a Silverian soothsayer was one of the first. A very wise man, with many wise sayings, who wished to have this ritual done on him as he drank the waters from his pouch. It is said he needed all the mages he could have to give him their blessing. Sir, I am not really supposed to—”

      “And who is that man? Where can I find him?”

      Chuckles. “Sir, this happened many lifetimes ago. I do not currently know where this man is. Nor his true name. Nobody does.”

      “What about the mages that helped?”

      “Dead. Ages ago. Where this man came from, who he truly was, and where he went, he would not say. But he is the only one that ever came by with those waters.”

      “When has the Silverian last been heard of or seen?”

      She sighed and looked around. “This is a matter I should not tell you about.”

      “Well, you seem to know plenty about it.” Fabian stood up. “They told me that people came to you and never left without an answer. Good day—” 

      “It is said that a number of hundreds of years ago, he’s come over here again,” she spoke quickly, “seeking mages with the power of those that had performed it the last time, and had brought more water with him.”

      “For himself?” Did the ritual have to be refreshed?

      She shook her head. “He was not alone.”

      The time was right. “Who was the other man?”

      “Sir, I never said it was a man. The two people were said to have been disguised. The rituals have been performed that second time, but never since.”

      This had to be it. One of them had to be the king. “Has anyone ever returned? Any of those people that were made immortal?”

      She shook her head. “Not since. Why?”

      “Any known whereabouts? What was the ritual?”

      “It has been banned since, sir. As I said, it is not something we are supposed to be even speaking of. But I do have a scroll.” She glanced around, retrieving something from a satchel by her side. She slipped the scroll over to Fabian. “I have everything you need to know in here. All your answers. I cannot understand all of it, nor am I permitted to speak of these things, so take this.”

      Fabian reached out, but Herlorah took it back again. 

      “Not without something in return, right.” Fabian reached into his pouch and retrieved several gold and silver coins.

      “Tut, tut, tut. With these bits you wish to know all the secrets of life? Something I usually do not speak of? Nay, my friend, unless you have more—much more—I cannot give this scroll to you.”

      Fabian suppressed a sigh and a roll of the eyes and thought of what else could satisfy this woman. “My armor is made of an uncommon—”

      “You hardly carry any of that.”

      Fabian shook his head and drew forth his dagger. “This is an ancient blade. See this stone here? It is—”

      “No, no. I do not have interest in armor or weapons. How about your horse?”

      “My horse?” Why did everyone want his horse? It wasn’t like anyone could know it had been born on a night of the crossing moons and was an exceptional steed.

      “Well, you must have had some sort of transportation in order to get here from wherever you came from. It is settled. I want your horse and nothing more. And do tell, where are you from? Surely you haven’t come here just to hear of some dead magic.”

     “Fine,” said Fabian. It was already out of his grasp, might as well make the best of this situation. “My horse has been taken to the Red Stable. It is a dappled gray. A fine beast.”

     Herlorah smiled like she knew she was sly. She procured another paper. “Then let us make this exchange official.”

      It was such a ridiculous exchange. But even more so because there was no horse in this trade. Fabian paused before he put the ink to the parchment. 

      “Say I want more information than just this scroll. Make this a fair deal.”

      “My, you are a demanding one. Well, let me hear it and then we can negotiate?”

      What if this scroll had nothing on his abilities? He suspected that it may somehow lead him towards the man that had performed the act of immortality, and would state that his waters would be needed, but he needed to know how. He would try to get everything from this woman he could. Needed to make sure that the scroll contained everything he required. “I have several questions. Do you know anything about a disease that occurred to those that have taken of this immortality water?”

      “It’s all in here,” said Herlorah, holding up the scroll.

      “One more thing, then. I have abilities.”

      “Abilities?” Her interest seemed sparked.

      “Yes, but I know not how to use them. Not accordingly to this problem. I was wondering if you or your scroll has information about—”

     “Sign it,” she said, pushing the document at him.

      One more question. “Does this scroll contain the name of the man that possesses this water?”

      She smiled. “Everything you need. No one knows his true name. Some say Laughing Lamenter, others Weeping Jester. Ambassador of the moons, Messenger of Leusha. Riddler of wool and deceit. But the most oft used and diverse is what common people call him—The Sayer. He has all the answers. He holds curses and blessings. No one knows where or who he really is, but find him and you may have as well found your destiny. Now sign this, and it is yours.”


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