the immortal and the witch

written a few days ago but hadn’t typed it up before today. i think the prompt for this was “the immortal fell//into this mortal hell” but it sort of took a dire twist from my image for that awesome prompt (from this song) so I’ll probably use it again.

“You call yourself the Immortal?” Huna hissed, her visage dark and terrible as she loomed over us. She seemed to grow as her rage mounted, stretching taller and taller, growing to obscene heights until the trees around her looked small by comparison. I had the distinct impression that seeing the witch flummoxed my brain—that she wasn’t a single entity but the sum total of the verdant forest around us. That her continual growing and changing mirrored my brain’s turmoil as it struggled to unify the image.

That, more than anything, terrified me.

A gale rose around us, screaming up the rock-studded slopes of the mountain. It tossed trees’ massive canopies about like trifles. Out on the thin spine of land where we stood, the wind caught against me as though enraged to find me there. I slapped a hand over my hat and then forfeited it in favor of securing my cloak. Still, I felt a pang of regret to see the hat winging its way down the mountain. Vanity has ever been one of my strongest suits.

I feared the witch—to claim otherwise would be folly. I imagined everyone, including Savriel, feared the witch in this state. Rha cringed and cowered behind me—him I ignored, content to relegate my vengeance to the nebulous later. I found Drex’s eyes and the demi-god shrugged, his dark eyes huge and staring.

I stepped forward. I’d only meant to slay Golshirazi and be on my way. This war between the Three meant less than nothing to me—at worst, I found it irritating that defunct gods were willing to drag the whole of Silesia into their conflict.

“Greeting and hello, my gigantic and terrifying friend,” I said with a grandiose outward sweep of my hands. I stepped forward and the gale slackened somewhat, the witch settling back into her less physically imposing form. She stood out from her home, cruel, twisted staff in hand, and stared at me without expression.

“I do indeed call myself the Immortal. Jack Immortal. God of the Night Sky.” I gestured impatiently at Drex until I heard his footsteps behind me on the rock.

“And I, Drexiphilious, demi-god of metal.”

Huna narrowed her eyes and moved forward, her steps easy and lithe. She had that peculiar feature of looking immensely old and immensely young in a moment, her eyes bright and alive, her face lined and unmoving. In a way I supposed she was beautiful, if ageless witches of limitless power were your type.

“One of you calls himself a god, the other a demi-god,” she said, those sagacious eyes passing from me to Drex.

Drex laughed a little too quickly, a little too loudly.

“Ol’ Jack says shit like that. You just gotta—”

I slapped a hand over his mouth and he licked me, but fell into obeisant silence nonetheless. I pulled my hand away, wiping drool onto my pants, giving him a dour look.

“Why this distinction between us, O Witch?” I asked, countering her step with one of my own, low and confident as a panther. “Are we not much the same?”

She didn’t react to my goading. Oh well. She simply drew her slender frame back, crossing her arms across her chest.

“You have brought the war here.” I sensed more than I saw her attention pass to Rha’s hunched figure behind me. The crumpled and defeated Pope fairly whimpered. Drex gave me a look uncharacteristic to him—I suppose I’d failed to enlighten him regarding our purpose here. He looked guarded, and beneath that he looked almost wounded. I sensed that Drex was not the sort you wanted to betray—because he could be dangerous, but also because of the deep pain that I’d always sensed shuttered away within him. You couldn’t look at Drex with his big, dark eyes and want to hurt him again.

“Why?” Huna said, looking back to me.

“Because I am an instrument of chaos,” I said, giving her a broad, manic grin. It faded quickly and again I stepped toward her, my step a little menacing this time.


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