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On Editing

Wow. 5 weeks and about 4 days. That’s a long time to remain in a heightened state of stress. I didn’t even realize it, but the amount of stress that I feel like I’ve processed today is… amazing. I got the edited version of my manuscript back today.

 

I’ve read through the notes and changes once already and now I’m just starting to dig into the suggestions. They are all good suggestions. There were a couple of comments I may not incorporate, but most of them were spot on and I can see that they are going to make the book so much stronger.

 

I am now supremely convinced of the value of a good editor. So…what did she change? Well, the basics are all still there. My story didn’t change. The changes tightened the dialog, made for better flow, more punch, more drama, and more emotion.

 

Yes. This was completely worth the money.

 

Here is the original version.

Ealasaid

 

The crash that came from the kitchen had me leaping to my feet, but the sound of his fists on her flesh sent me cowering back under the thin blanket. I held my breath, praying to the Fates that he would leave quickly. When all had been quiet for a few minutes, I rose and cracked open the door. 

 

“Mama?”

 

I emerged from the drafty bedroom when I heard raspy devil voices carrying through the thin walls of the house. Acrid smoke lingered in the air. The threadbare shift I wore did little to keep me warm, so I hugged myself tightly as I crept on bare feet across the wooden floor. A loud bang came from the kitchen, and I heard him. The devil. 

 

“You worthless whore! How stupid must you be to burn bread?” His raspy voice sent a chill down my spine, but it was the sickening sound of his fist to my mother’s jaw that sent me scampering back to the bedroom door.

 

His heavy footsteps stalked away, into the lavish room he used to entertain his guests — the room I was never allowed in. I heard voices, low and intense as I stole back to the kitchen to check on my mother.

 

“…aura emerged?” 

 

“Not yet. Is there no other way to tell?”

 

“None we have been able to discern. Stay your ire. You will be well rewarded for this burden you have shouldered these sixteen years.”

 

“I had better be.”

 

The creaky floorboard just outside the kitchen betrayed me and I winced at the sound. 

 

“Damn that cursed brat,” came the devil’s terse growl and I heard the ancient Delvian spell a second before the door slammed shut. His secretive meetings had become more frequent over the past year, but I rarely overheard conversations as I had done so today. I had the distinct feeling they were talking about me and I shuddered again as I crept into the kitchen.

 

My mother was standing at the stove with her back to me. I reached out a trembling hand and touched her shoulder. She flinched and turned her head.

 

“Oh mama,” I whispered sadly. A bruise was already darkening her right eye and her lip was split and trickling blood down her chin. She looked right though me, her eyes flat and dead. Always when the devil would come, his spell would steal her conscious thoughts and she would mindlessly obey him. During those times, I felt no love from her, not even a spark of recognition and my heart would ache as I cursed the devil under my breath. But my curses were useless, as I was still too young, for though I was a witch, my power had yet to emerge.

 

Wordlessly, my mother turned back to the single burner over the stove’s flame, stirring the pot of grain that would be our bland, meager lunch. A loaf of burned bread still steamed in the trash bucket. I reached into my pocket and withdrew a well worn rag, dabbing at her lip as she stared straight ahead, almost unblinking. When I was satisfied that she wouldn’t bleed into the pot, I stepped back and watched her. A bit of blood had soaked through her shoulder — a wound that never seemed to heal. I’d often asked her to let me tend to it, but she refused every time, pulling away from me as tears fell from her eyes. 

 

The rich scent of salted beef and potatoes still lingered in the air — a meal she had cooked for him. We were never allowed to partake of his food, surviving only on the bland grains and a few scraps of meat he would give us, along with the peaches I picked from the tree in the yard. 

 

I checked the pot in the wash basin, hoping for a few tasty drippings from his meal, but after he’d caught me once, licking a spoon of rich buttered potatoes, he’d beaten my mother bloody and from that day forward, he commanded her to serve him and immediately wash the dishes afterwards, so we would have nothing but what little he gave us. 

 

The door to the devil’s room slammed open, and I darted around my mother, cowering just out of his sight and watching. 

 

He was a short, squat man, bald as all devils were, with pale yellow eyes and sharp teeth. Behind him trailed a taller man who smelled of onions and a woman, young and beautiful save for her pointed teeth and bald head. She wore an elaborate hat, full of feathers and baubles and I stared open-mouthed as her scent invaded my nose. She smelled of decay, as all devils did, but under that something sickly sweet lingered. As they passed my mother, I heard the woman hiss to the other two. 

 

“Stay vigilant. We will soon know. If you control the one, you will be richly rewarded. Our numbers are growing by the day and when we can prove the prophecy can never be fulfilled, we will be able to call every member of our race to our side.” 

 

Her words grated along my spine and I sunk lower, covering my ears against the sound of their voices. I watched the two devils leave and quickly scampered back into the small bedroom my mother and I shared in the devil’s home. 

 

Closing the door, I dug my fingers under the loose floorboard and pried it up carefully. Underneath was a cloth-wrapped parcel that was the only possession my mother had in this world other than her clothing — her spell book. 

 

Tucking my legs underneath me on the thin mattress, I unwrapped the spell book and ran my fingers lovingly over the cover. A map of the world was embossed in the leather and my mother had burned our surname across the bottom. Guinne. She and my father had worked on the book together for the two years they had before his death and on the inside of the cover were their names, Edan and Rhona, as well as mine, Ealasaid. 

 

As I did often when my mother was in the throws of the devil’s spell, I read through the first ten pages of the spell book that presented the history of the world, Carraig an Ghrian, and of its creators, the Fates. 

 

A hundred thousand years ago, when the world was created, three races were blessed to grace its mortal coil. Witches, humans, and devils each had their own unique gifts to offer the world. For many years, there was peace, but as the races evolved, a power struggle emerged. The struggle had led to the Great War and after fifty years of strife, an uneasy detente was achieved. 

 

Though my father had fought bravely in the war, the spell book had few details of it. Whenever I asked my mother to tell me about him, all she would say was that they lived a lifetime in the two short years they were together and she loved him dearly. She cried those nights, silent tears that I knew she meant to hide from me, so eventually I stopped asking her about him. 

 

“Ealasaid?” 

 

Her soft voice brought me out of my reverie and I tossed the treasured book aside, leapt up, and embraced her. She held me close for a long time, shaking slightly as she tried to erase the memory of his fists and his words. 

 

“He is gone, my jewel. Come. Lunch is ready.” When I finally let her go, she shuffled out into the kitchen, a broken, tired woman, even though she was not yet fifty, still young by any standards. 

 

As we ate, huddled around the single candle we were given for light inside the windowless room, I begged my mother to run. 

 

“I cannot,” she sighed heavily. “He has bound me to this place. To him. You know this.” 

 

“That is all you ever say. ‘He has bound me’.  Why will you not fight this? I can help. I want to help. Tell me what to do!” I took my mother’s cool hands and held her pale, tired blue eyes with mine. 

 

“Please,” she managed through the pain that would grab her whenever she tried to speak of escape, “his spell… I had no choice. He found me… you were only days old.” A sob burst from her lips and she moaned as she continued, fighting for every word. “He used a mind-mage… tricked me. His magic… infected me and I am powerless against it.”

 

She dropped her head heavily into her hands. “Your witch’s flame is about to ignite. Soon you will be able to free us both. I know it.” She tried to smile at me.

 

“How? What is a mind-mage? Mama, please! I am old enough to know the truth.” 

“When the time is right, Ealasaid. When the time is right you will understand. I’m sorry. I cannot say more.” 

 

I scowled at her as only a teenager could and pushed away from the table, escaping out into the small backyard that was my only refuge from the chill of the devil’s home. The sun was shining and I climbed the old, gnarled branches of the peach tree, basking in the warmth and filling my belly with the sweetness of ripe fruit. I looked over the fence that kept us prisoner and dreamed of freedom. 

 

My mother and I lived in Rassoul, a devil run city in the East. I had no knowledge of how we came to be here. This existence was all I had ever known — the chill of the devil’s home, the spell that kept my mother prisoner, and this peach tree — one of my only joys. I knew my mother had fallen under the devil’s spell within days of my birth and the death of my father. I knew the devil looked at me with a gleam in his eye, but though he often tried to hit me or spell me, I was protected by my father’s sigil — a stone pendant with the etching of a bear. It would warm against my skin whenever the devil was near and my mother would touch it every night when she tucked me into bed, murmuring a few old language words. “My soul. My strength. My love. Protect her.” 

 

I watched the horse drawn carriages carry the local devil elite to and from their homes and the children playing in the street. The devil’s home was spelled, and though I often called out to the children my age, they never heard me.  One day, I dreamed, I would be free of this existence. There were humans in Rassoul and while their magic was more subtle, only able to influence the land to grow or heal, as a general rule they were friendly to witches and would give me a job once I reached sixteen — the age I was legally able to be on my own. 

 

On the morning of my sixteenth birthday my mother woke me early with a smile on her face and her spell book in her hands. “Ealasaid,” she crooned softly, “you will soon know the comforting warmth of your magic. Your witch’s flame has started to burn and my daughter, you shall be so very powerful. I have little magic left in me, for his spell has long weakened it, binding me to him and this frigid place. But I can still see your aura, my jewel. A witch’s aura is as blue as the summer’s sky, but yours burns as green as an emerald. Only in legends has there ever been a witch with such an aura, and so I know that you are ever so special. Tonight, when he sleeps, you will run. Promise me that you will run.”

 

“No, mama. He will hurt you again. If I do not come back, he will kill you.” Tears streamed down my face.

 

The only time in my memory she had tried to escape the devil’s walls, his spell had nearly killed her. She’d been unable to move or speak for a week and had only been able to moan in pain as I tended to her. But I could leave. I had done it once, though my mother’s screams as he beat her brought me running back. Since his magic could not touch me, he’d hurt her, scarring her neck with boiling water and then leaving us without food for three days. I’d never tried to run again.

 

“I know. But if you stay, he will kill us both. It is only a matter of time.” A wave of pain washed over her as she tried to continue. “He… wants… you. Your sigil… if I die…” She fell to her hands and knees and was silent for several long seconds, finally shaking her head. 

 

“You must run, Ealasaid. Run or we will both die.” 

 

I nodded my assent and embraced her, crying silent tears for I knew we would never be together like this again. Finally, she extricated herself and went about her daily chores, cleaning and preparing the devil’s house and cooking his meals. But today she hummed as she worked, happy for the first time in my memory. 

 

When the front door slammed, I yelped and my mother ran for me, snatching the spell book still clutched in my hands with a look of stark terror in her tired blue eyes. Before she’d managed to stow the spell book under the floorboards, the devil kicked open the door of our bedroom. It flew from its hinges, glancing off her back as she begged for mercy. 

 

I screamed as he grabbed her by her long brown curls, hauling her up and then closing his hand around her throat. 

 

“You nearly cost me everything, whore!” he roared, and she clawed at his hands, her feet scrambling as he hauled her off the ground. Her choked cries echoed in my ears as I flew at him, trying to loosen his hand from my mother’s throat. But he was too strong and as I hung on to his arm, my face inches from my mother’s, he snapped her neck. 

 

I watched the light fade from her eyes and the devil released her body, letting it slide to the floor. 

 

“Mama,” I cried softly, and then his hands were crushing my arms as he grabbed me and threw me against the wall. The last sight I saw with free eyes was my mother’s lifeless body. 

 

Darkness pressed in on me like a stone. My eyes were open, but I saw nothing, heard nothing. I tried to rise, but I was dizzy, a sharp pain above my right eye keeping me from doing anything more than curling onto my side and weeping softly. He had killed my mother. I was alone.

 

My throat hurt. The single thought eventually drew me out of my grief and I touched my fingers to my neck. Where my father’s sigil had rested, now there was only a ring of metal that had been fastened tightly around my neck. It was thick, frigid, and had inscriptions carved into it and I clawed at it, desperately searching for a seam, a clasp — some way to remove it, but there was nothing. 

 

“Help me!” I cried, but the words echoed in the emptiness of the room. With my face pressed to the dirt floor, I scented the putrescence of devil magic, the smell of garbage left too long in the sun. Whatever this place was, his magic bound it. 

 

I stayed still until the pounding in my head subsided and then slowly, carefully, crept forward until I found a cold stone wall. I ran my fingers up and down the rough surface, searching for a door — any possible way out, but there was nothing. 

 

I had no bed, no chamber pot, nothing but the thin shift I had worn to sleep in. I banged on the walls, screaming for help I knew would never come until my voice was hoarse and my hands bruised. Spells flowed from my lips, but they were powerless, my witch’s flame still dark. 

 

Eventually I gave up, curling onto my side against a corner of my prison, shivering and waiting for the devil to come for me. 

And here is the newly edited version.

Ealasaid 

 

The crash from the kitchen had me leaping to my feet, but the sound of his fists on her flesh sent me cowering back under the thin blanket. I held my breath, praying to the Fates that he would leave quickly. He hated us with a purity that frightened me and she bore the brunt of both his fists and his words. When all had been quiet for a few minutes, I rose and cracked open the door. 

 

“Mama?”

 

Raspy devil voices penetrated my thin bedroom walls. I emerged from the drafty bedroom. My threadbare shift did little to keep me warm, so I hugged myself tightly as I crept barefooted across the wooden floor. Splinters jabbed at my tender soles. Acrid smoke lingered in the air and I stifled a cough. A loud bang came from the kitchen, mere steps to my left beyond another thin wall, and I heard him. The devil. 

 

“You worthless whore! How stupid are you to burn bread?” His raspy voice sent a chill down my spine, but it was the sickening sound of his fist slamming into my mother’s jaw that sent me scampering back to the bedroom door.

 

His heavy footsteps stalked away, down another hallway and into the lavish room he used to entertain his guests — the room I was never allowed in. I heard voices, low and intense as I stole back towards the kitchen to check on my mother.

 

“…aura emerged?” 

 

“Not yet. Is there no other way to tell?”

 

“None we have been able to discern. Stay your ire. You will be well rewarded for the burden you have shouldered these sixteen years.”

 

“I had better be.”

 

The creaky floorboard just outside the kitchen betrayed me and I winced at the sound. 

 

“Damn that cursed brat,” came the devil’s terse growl. I cowered back, seeing the bald, hairless heads of the devil and his guests snap in my general direction. Three pairs of yellow eyes watched me and a chill settled over my skin. I heard the ancient Delvian spell a second before the door slammed shut, hiding the room and its occupants from view. His secretive meetings had become more frequent over the past year, but I rarely overheard conversations before this moment. I had the distinct feeling they were talking about me and I shuddered again as I crept into the kitchen.

 

My mother was standing at the stove with her back to me. I reached out a trembling hand and touched her shoulder. She flinched and turned her head.

 

“Oh Mama,” I whispered sadly. A bruise was already darkening her right eye and her lip was split and trickling blood down her chin. She looked right though me, her eyes flat and dead. When the devil came, his spell would steal her conscious thoughts and she would mindlessly obey him. During those times, I felt no love from her, not even a spark of recognition. My heart would ache as I cursed the devil under my breath. But my curses were useless, as I was still too young, for though I was a witch, my power had yet to emerge.

 

Wordlessly, my mother turned back to the single burner over the stove’s flame, stirring the pot of grain that would be our bland, meager lunch. A loaf of burned bread still steamed in the refuse bucket. I reached into my pocket and withdrew a well-worn rag, dabbing at her lip as she stared straight ahead, almost unblinking. When I was satisfied that she wouldn’t bleed into the pot, I stepped back and watched her. A bit of blood had soaked through her shift from the never-healing wound on her shoulder. I’d often asked her to let me tend to it, but she refused every time, pulling away from me as tears fell from her eyes. 

 

The rich scent of salted beef and potatoes still lingered in the air — a meal she had cooked for him. We were never allowed to partake of his food, surviving only on the bland grains and a few scraps of meat he would give us, along with the peaches I picked from the tree in the yard. 

 

I checked the pot in the wash basin, hoping for a few tasty remnants from his meal,even though I knew there wouldn’t be any. After he’d caught me once, licking a spoon of rich buttered potatoes, he’d beaten my mother bloody. From that day forward, he commanded her to serve him and immediately wash the dishes afterwards, so we would have nothing but what little he gave us. 

 

The door to the devil’s private room slammed open, and I darted around my mother, cowering just out of his sight and watching. 

 

He was a short, squat man, bald as all devils were, with pale yellow eyes and sharp teeth. Behind him trailed a taller man, who smelled of onions, and a woman, young and beautiful save for her pointed teeth and bald head. She wore an elaborate hat, full of feathers and baubles, and I stared open-mouthed as her scent invaded my nose. She smelled of decay, as all devils did, but under that something sickly sweet lingered. 

 

As the devils passed my mother, the woman hissed to the other two. “Stay vigilant. We will soon know. If you control the One, you will be richly rewarded. Our numbers are growing by the day and when we can prove that the prophecy can never be fulfilled, we will be able to call every member of our race to our side.” 

 

I covered my ears against the sound of their voices and sunk lower to the floor as her words grated along my spine. The two devils left and I fled back to the small bedroom my mother and I shared in the devil’s home. 

 

Closing the door, I dug my fingers under the loose floorboard and pried it up carefully. Underneath was a cloth-wrapped parcel that was the only possession my mother had in this world — her spell book. 

 

Tucking my legs underneath me on the thin mattress, I unwrapped the spell book and ran my fingers lovingly over the cover. A map of the world was embossed in the leather and my mother had burned our surname across the bottom. Guinne. She and my father had worked on the book together for the two years they had before his death. On the inside of the cover were their names, Edan and Rhona, as well as mine, Ealasaid. 

 

As I often did when my mother was in the throes of the devil’s spell, I immersed myself in the spell book. The history of our world, Carraig an Ghrian, and its creators, the Fates, came alive within the pages.

 

A hundred thousand years ago, when the world was created, three races were blessed to grace its mortal coil. Witches, humans, and devils each had their own unique gifts to offer the world. While the races enjoyed brief spouts of peace and intense spats of war, there was no war as terrible nor as catastrophic as the Great War.  It raged for fifty years, obliterating whole cities, thousands of lives, until finally, an uneasy detente was achieved. 

 

Though my father had fought bravely in the war, the spell book had few details of his time as a soldier. Whenever I asked my mother to tell me about him, all she would say was that they lived a lifetime in the two short years they were together and she loved him dearly. She cried those nights, silent tears that I knew she meant to hide from me, so eventually I stopped asking her about him. 

 

“Ealasaid?” 

 

Her soft voice brought me out of my reverie. I tossed the treasured book aside, leapt up, and embraced her. She held me close for a long time, shaking slightly as she tried to erase the memory of his fists and his words. 

 

“He is gone, my jewel. Come. Lunch is ready.” 

 

When I finally let her go, she shuffled out of the bedroom and into the kitchen, a broken, tired woman. Even though she was not yet fifty, still young by any standards, the devil’s rage had worn on her body.

 

As we ate, huddled around the single candle we were given for light inside the windowless room, I begged my mother to run. 

 

“I cannot.” She sighed heavily. “He has bound me to this place. To him. You know this.” 

 

“That is all you ever say, ‘He has bound me’.  Why will you not fight this? I can help. I want to help. Tell me what to do!” I took my mother’s cool hands and held her pale, tired blue eyes with mine. 

 

“Please,” she managed through the pain that grabbed her whenever she tried to speak of escape. “His spell…I had no choice. He found me…you were only days old.” A sob burst from her lips and she moaned as she continued, fighting for every word. “He used a mind-mage…tricked me. His magic…infected me and I am…powerless…against it.”

 

She dropped her head heavily into her hands. “Your witch’s flame is about to ignite. Soon you will be able to free us both. I know it.” She tried to smile at me.

 

“How? What is a mind-mage? Mama, please! I am old enough to know the truth.” 

 

“When the time is right, Ealasaid. When the time is right you will understand. I’m sorry. I cannot say more.” 

 

I scowled at her, pushed away from the table, and ran across the splintery floors, escaping out into the small backyard that was my only refuge from the chill of the devil’s home. The sun was shining and I climbed the old, gnarled branches of the peach tree, basking in the warmth and filling my belly with the sweetness of ripe fruit. I looked over the fence that kept us prisoner and dreamed of freedom. 

 

My mother and I lived in Rassoul, a devil run city in the East. I had no knowledge of how we came to be here. This existence was all I had ever known — the chill of the devil’s home, the spell that kept my mother prisoner, and this peach tree — one of my only joys. I knew my mother had fallen under the devil’s spell within days of my birth and the death of my father. I knew the devil looked at me with a gleam in his eye, but though he often tried to hit me or spell me, I was protected by my father’s sigil — a stone pendant with the etching of a bear. It would warm against my skin whenever the devil was near and my mother would touch it every night when she tucked me into bed, murmuring a few old language words. “My soul. My strength. My love. Protect her.” 

 

Horse-drawn carriages carried the local devil elite to and from their homes and the children played in the street. The devil’s home was spelled, and though I often called out to the children my age, they never heard me.  One day, I dreamed, I would be free of this existence. There were humans in Rassoul and while their magic was more subtle, only able to influence the land to grow or heal, they were friendly to witches and they would give me a job once I reached sixteen — the age I was legally able to be on my own. And that day, it was coming soon.

 

#

 

On the morning of my sixteenth birthday, my mother woke me early with a smile on her face and her spell book in her hands. “Ealasaid,” she crooned softly. “You will soon know the comforting warmth of your magic. Your witch’s flame has started to burn and my daughter, you shall be so very powerful. I have little magic left in me, for his spell has long weakened it, binding me to him and this frigid place. But I can still see your aura, my jewel. A witch’s aura is as blue as the summer’s sky, but yours burns as green as an emerald. Only in legends has there ever been a witch with such an aura, and so I know that you are ever so special. Tonight, when he sleeps, you will run. Promise me that you will run.” 

 

“No, Mama. He will hurt you again. If I do not come back, he will kill you.” Tears streamed down my face. 

 

The only time she had tried to escape the devil’s walls, his spell had nearly killed her. She’d been unable to move or speak for a week and had only been able to moan in pain as I tended to her. But I could leave. I had done it once, though my mother’s screams as he beat her brought me running back. Since his magic could not touch me, he’d hurt her, scarring her neck with boiling water and then leaving us without food for days. I’d never tried to run again.

 

“I know. But if you stay, he will kill us both. It is only a matter of time.” A wave of pain washed over her as she tried to continue. “He…wants…you. Your sigil…if I die…” She fell to her hands and knees and was silent for several long seconds. 

 

Finally, she shook her head. “You must run, Ealasaid. Run or we will both die.” 

 

I nodded my assent and embraced her, crying silent tears for I knew we would never be together like this again. I gripped her rough shift and captured everything about her I loved in that moment: her smell, her beautiful blue eyes, her love and hope that I would find a better life. When she pulled away, her fingers drew invisible lines from my shoulder, to my elbow, to my wrist, and then hung into the air, onto nothing. But she was smiling. And when she smiled, I tried to smile too. 

 

She went about her daily chores, cleaning and preparing the devil’s house for his guests and cooking his meals. But today she hummed as she worked, happy for the first time in my memory. She had refused her share of our meager breakfast and I sat on our thin mattress, forcing down the porridge. I tried to protest, but she insisted that I needed it more than she did. I scraped the bowl clean and was about to join her in the kitchen, hoping to steal as much closeness from her as I could on our final day together.

 

When the front door slammed, I yelped and my mother ran for me, snatching the spell book still clutched in my hands with a look of stark terror in her tired blue eyes. Before she could stow the spell book under the floorboards, the devil kicked open bedroom door. It flew from its hinges and bounced off my mother’s back as she begged for mercy. I screamed as he grabbed her by her long brown curls, hauling her up and then closing his hand around her throat. 

 

“You nearly cost me everything, whore!” he roared. 

 

She clawed at his hands, her feet scrambling as he hauled her off the ground. Her choked cries echoed in my ears as I flew at him, trying to loosen his hand from my mother’s throat. But he was too strong and as I hung on to his arm, my face inches from my mother’s, he snapped her neck. 

 

The light faded from her eyes as the devil released her body, letting it slide to the floor. 

 

“Mama,” I cried softly. 

 

His hands crushed my arms as he grabbed me and threw me against the wall. The last sight I saw with free eyes was my mother’s lifeless body. 

 

#

 

Darkness pressed in on me My eyes were open, but I saw nothing, heard nothing. I tried to rise, but I was dizzy. A sharp pain above my right eye kept me from doing anything more than curling onto my side and weeping softly. He had killed my mother. I was alone.

 

My throat hurt. This single thought drew me out of my grief and I touched my fingers to my neck. Where my father’s sigil had once been, now rested something evil. A thick, frigid ring of metal engraved with strange inscriptions had been fastened tightly around my neck. I clawed at it, desperately searching for a seam, a clasp — some way to remove it, but there was nothing. 

 

“Help me!” I cried, but the words echoed in the emptiness of the room. With my face pressed to the dirt floor, I scented the putrescence of devil magic, the smell of garbage left too long in the sun. Whatever this place was, his magic bound it.  

 

I stayed still until the pounding in my head subsided.  Then slowly, carefully, I crept forward until I found a cold, stone wall. I ran my fingers up and down the rough surface, searching for a door — or any possible way out — but there was nothing. 

 

I had no bed, no chamber pot, nothing but the thin shift I had worn to sleep in. I banged on the walls, screaming for help I knew would never come until my voice was hoarse and my hands were bruised. Spells flowed from my lips, but they were powerless, my witch’s flame still barely an ember. 

 

Eventually I gave up, curling onto my side against a corner of my prison, shivering and waiting for the devil to come for me. 

 

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