Day 30: The Witches’ Laws

Author Jenna Eatough's Flash Fiction Story from Fyrecon's Fyretober Writing Prompt 2023-10-30

During October I am bringing you extra flash fiction or poetry in celebration of the season and inspired by Fyrecon’s Fyretober!

Enjoy my thirtieth entry into Fyrecon’s Fyretober!

Fyrecon's Fyretober Daily Prompt List

1. New neighbors
2. It’s Alive
3. No Exit
4. Walk in the cemetery
5. Door in the wall
6. Mirror
7. Space visitors
8. The Monster Is
9. Anti-magic costumes
10. Skeleton’s battle cry
11. Djinn party
12. Space dwarves
13. Zombie fireball
14. Possessed guild house
15. Lorekeeper’s mask
16. Dragon sight
17. Alien scryers
18. Trick-or-Treating Shapeshifters
19. Disguised spellbook
20. Screaming trapdoor
21. Ghost weaponsmith
22. Jack-O’-Lantern avatars
23. Phoenix light sail
24. Sparkle castle
25. Graveyard pocket universe
26. Sentient wand
27. Haunted Skyhook
28. Pirate space elevator
29. Disguised terraforming
30. The Witches’ Laws
31. Precognizant cats

Bonus Fanged griffin

“I called to order the nine thousandth, fifty-fourth meeting of the Magical Collegium.” The gavel wrapped against the table emphasizing the High Seat’s ringing in meeting. Esmeraldan winced as the gravel struck, though. She much preferred it when a warlock did not fill the high seat. They never understood the intricacies of the gavel, or how left unshielded the surge its enchantments could affect those in the room. Enchantments which were meant to keep malicious users out of the collegium. Nobody wanted a repeat of the lich incident of eight hundred and nine, but they also didn’t need to start meetings with headaches from the gavel being used incorrectly.

The man shuffled through parchments which appeared older than him, rearranging them before he began speaking. “The only old business we have… on the table… is the refurbishment… refurbishments of the… Cauldron. Namely… how to raise… the funds for it,” he said in broken statements shuffling through the documents, as if without the notes he couldn’t recall what had been discussed last year.

The High Seat looked up from the papers as outcries broke out around the chamber. The warlocks, his own party, found the request outrageous. They insisted they should not have to pay for the other sects’ cauldrons. After all, if they wanted one, they could always just… Esmeraldan stopped listening to their protest. The Wizards began protesting. Then the sorceresses. Her own conference, the witches, wisely kept their mouths shut.

Twisting her chair Esmeraldan glanced at the time. Certainly, the spell on the chamber remained strongly in place. They wouldn’t age or fatigue from hunger and thirst. The spell seems more twisted than useful. A sorceress must have devised it to both torture them for longer under the guise of allowing them unlimited time to work through the year’s issues. Seconds in the outside world turned into hours within the chamber. Perhaps years if the problem were cantankerous enough.

Luckily, the High Seat this year didn’t seem inclined to solve this predicament than the previous ones. He was inclined to end the discussion more quickly. Ringing his gavel upon the table again, he declared the item tabled until next the council met to allow for more research.

Esmeraldan chuckled to herself. Perpetuating today’s problems into tomorrow always produced great results for magic users. Certainly such a course hadn’t lead to the sinking of Atlantis.

Of course, even with his pronouncement the discussion did not halt immediately. Disgruntlements simmered, percolated, and dribbled out until the last voice fell silent.

Esmeraldan sighed, turning to look at the High Seat. As unenjoyable as rehashing tabled business was, she knew what he would dredge up next. As High Seat and his own conference playing the victims, how could he not?

“I’m now opening the floor for new items of discussion. The Warlocks have an item to bring before all,” the High Seat rang his gavel again. Almost before he had connected wood to the table, the Warlock contingent sprung from their seats and hollered. Esmeraldan glanced down and examined her nails, pretending not to hear them seemed far preferable to hearing the drivel they said. At least until the high seat managed to bring them to silence. “Esmeraldan, what do you have to say to this?”

“To what?” Esmeraldan said, glancing up from her nails. “Sorry, I was busy making sure I hadn’t broken in nail in the last ten hours.” She held up her long, pointed, and intricately painted nails. They had taken her far too long to grow, and Esmeraldan took pride in them. Each one had been ensorcelled with a spell to aid her should she be beset upon. Whether she should be set upon by plagues, pixies, gremlins, and of course door-to-door solicitors. The last being the worst, of course.

No. Robo callers. Those were far worse. She did quite enjoy that when the spell upon her pinky was activated, the spell would spend hours upon hours wasting some scammers time while she blithely had tea, biscuits, and worked on her spells.

The high Seat scowled. “The warlocks have brought forth a complaint that Sandra, of your contingent, has broken the witches highest law. You own law.”

Esmeraldan blinked, pressed a hand to her chest, and gasped in shock. “Broke our highest law? Now that would be quite the brouhaha, wouldn’t it?” Turning in her seat, she turned toward a woman seated behind her. “Well, what do you have to say? Did you break our highest law?”

“No, ma’am, I did not,” Sandra said. Her short blonde hair bobbed about her face as she turned from the assemblage to look at Esmeraldan directly.

Nodding her head sharply, Esmeraldan turned back toward the High Seat. “There you have it. She did not break our highest law.”

“Outrageous,” the head of the warlock contingent. Esmeraldan didn’t find his protest shocking either. “We are supposed to just take the witch’s word that she did not because she said so?” The Warlock scoffed, waving his hand dismissively at Esmeraldan. “I demand compensation.”

“You demand compensation? You were wronged then?” Esmeraldan asked.

The warlock turned behind him and pulled another of the contingent from his seat. A man whose skin was decidedly blue and not a shade that did him favors. “You see what Sandra did to my son? She cursed him and the Witches Law clearly states that curses cannot be done for personal gain. This certainly was not for my son’s benefit.”

The son in question squirmed in his father’s grip trying to writhe back to his chair and back beneath the hood he’d had pulled over his head. Anything to help hide him, she supposed. “Da,” he groaned.

Still, the brief view of the son was enough to set off the rest of the chamber. The sorceresses started exclaiming that they would never do such a thing, and that the witches should be disbanded immediately. A tactic Esmeraldan knew was meant just to try and absorb their numbers into their dwindling contingent. The fact that they had fallen from popularity wasn’t Esmeraldan’s fault. She hadn’t made seduction passe. She hadn’t discouraged it either.

The Wizards bemoaned the witches’ irresponsible practice of magic. They never did miss a chance to drone on about magic needing to takes years of onerous study and determination with the strictest of adherence to guidelines to master.

The warlocks, of course, were having fun riling up each contingent against the other. Esmeraldan just sat quietly, staring at the High Seat.

Eventually he began to shift beneath her gaze and rang the gavel again calling the chamber to quiet. “What do you have to say?” he asked. She could hear the slight break in his tone and knew that it was time for her to bring out her trump card,

“True, we cannot use our powers for personal gain. However, we can use them for personal protection.” She had no sooner finished speaking than the warlocks were out of their seats blustering about the nerve of her accusing the vaunted son of tending to harm a witch.

Esmeraldan again waited until the furor died before standing. She crossed her arms.
“This council was made to resolve conflicts and bring forth the truth of those who wield magic. For magic, while it creates its own reality, cannot fracture reality overly much. A portion always remains, and here, where we come together, the filament may be drawn out.”

She turned toward the warlocks. “If you doubt mine or Sandra’s statement, I will happily call upon the old spells here to show the truth.” Raising her hand, she held up a single finger with a nail prepared and ready to call for the magic.

The warlock leader paled, and his son looked green beneath the blue. “No, no, her word will be fine,” he said and sat in his chair. “I withdraw the motion.”

Esmeraldan grinned at the warlocks. “I thought you might.” Reclaiming her own seat, she folded her arms and waited to see what the next bickering would be about. Warlocks. Fools to think she would not have been prepared. The century hadn’t arrived yet when they’d catch her napping.

Be sure to check out all the #fyretober creations.

#fyretober2023 #fyretoberflashfiction2023 #fyretoberprompts2023 #fyretober2023day30

“Fyretober is for everyone who loves to create, and this month we’re looking to see your flash fiction, poetry, and illustrations every day. We’ll be providing daily prompts for the month and want to see what new concepts and wonders you can make with them.”

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