[ Author's Note: I'm attempting to participate in this year's FFXIV Write challenges in an effort to kick my ass back into writing on a regular basis. I'll be trying to explore characters other than Aurelia. Shocking, I know!
This bit is about Pellam Ursellement, or Pellam Dzemael, an Ishgardian Duskwight Elezen and Halonic Witch. Her family has a rich history of folk magic and kitchen witchcraft, which she practices very very quietly. Witchdrop may not be as much of a threat as it once was but... old habits and all that. Have a look at why she's so insistent on feeding people she cares about. ]
Old English fōstrian ‘feed, nourish’, from fōster ‘food, nourishment’, of Germanic origin; related to food.
Lady Celestine Ursellement was rarely seen without her apron and at least one wooden spoon. Her kitchen was a humble affair: a stone oven fed with wood cut by her husband, well-used cast metal cookpots and tools hanging above and beside, a large basin set into the counter for washing dishes, and bundles of fragrant herbs dangling from every possible spare space for easy use. When most mid-class Ishgardian households at least had someone to cook for them, Celestine was handling all of that herself.
"Never let a stranger behind your stove," she'd tell little Pellam as she stirred a stew. "The best way to practice magic is hands-on. The right blend of herbs, intent, and elbow grease is as potent a spell as one cast in dance and incense smoke."
"Feed the body, nourish the soul."
Celestine was Pellam's grandmother. Her mother was often busy keeping her in-laws happy - or straightening out problems between them and the other High Houses - so Pellam spent many a day with Celestine. Dzemael problems were not her problems, after all, so what better use of her time than learning how to cook... and all about magic?
The old woman's graying green hair reminded little Pellam of pine trees in winter, her charcoal-coloured skin bore the scars of a life spent foraging in the undergrowth and working folk magic in secret, folk magic brought to Ishgard from Gridania and carried down through generations of Ursellement women.
Folk magic for which food was a main component.
As a grown woman, Pellam de Dzemael stood before the stone oven in her cottage in Gridania. The scent of fresh potato scallion bread wafted through her home, and she called to her guests to join her for dinner. As Marielle Cartier - clad for once in civilian's clothes and looking all the better for it - settled into her seat, Guerrique poured rich dark ale into each of their mugs and offered a sheepish smile.
"Figured we'd want the good stuff to celebrate a job well done, aye?" He said as he settled down.
Hearty mutton stew was laid out, along with butter and the fresh bread. The Duskwight sat down to eat just as her guests started to dig in. She watched them eat for several moments before buttering herself a slice of warm bread, and she listened to their banter in contented silence. These were the evenings that she treasured most: a meal shared among friends, with nothing to concern themselves with but a good time.
The ingredients we use have magical properties of their own. As we cut the vegetables and meats and herbs, as we knead the dough to make the bread, as we simmer and stir we work our energies and our intentions into what we make. When we feed those we love, the spell is cast and everything we put into it goes to work. Protection. Strength. Clarity of mind. They will be ready to face the next task and remain safe while doing it.
To Pellam's guests, a meal prepared by the witch was simply a kind gesture: it was what she did. She fed people. They didn't know why, nor did they care so long as they had full bellies and a comfortable place to nap afterward. For Pellam, it was one more tool in her magical arsenal that would help bring loved ones back from their various trials and tribulations.
It was a shame that it did not seem to work for all of those she loved.
About the Creator
Loves Star Trek, cats, tallships, lost expeditions, and macabre things. Adult with ADHD. Wrangles vintage graphics into digital products and sells vintage stuff. Knows many things, finds it difficult to apply them.