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The Vessel

For the Under a Spell Challenge

By Gabrielle R CharlesPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 9 min read
Runner-Up in the Under a Spell Challenge
5
The Vessel
Photo by Mallory Johndrow on Unsplash

"Body stolen, body repaired.

One provided, one ensnared.

A master you serve for a sum,

for a life once more beneath the sun.

To bring down my enemies and

those who have wronged me, for

that is what your charge shall be.

Serve me, and in turn, my soul.

I summon thee here, the Monster of Old."

____________________________________________________

Ash filled the sky the night Rose died.

The stench of rotting flesh permeated the air. The forest life was silent, the trees unmoving, black sentries. I mourned her all through that night, standing vigil before the pyre until it was nothing but blackened wood and the sun began to peek over the towering pines.

Rose was a sweet girl, a kind girl. She had no enemies, and yet she was played, twice betrayed.

I used to curse my very existence.

I hated being treated differently, being shunned for the mystical powers I wielded. I was disowned by my parents when they first realized my nature as a witch, and I'd been alone, wandering the old cobblestone streets of my hometown aimlessly.

My life had no purpose, I had no purpose.

Just when it truly seemed like all was lost, the Coven found me.

For the first time in my life, I felt like I truly belonged. My sisters took me in and gave me meaning. Sure, we were detested by the greater populace. Sure, at times we'd be hunted and driven out of our homes, but I finally had a place to belong, and that was all I could ask for.

The Witches of Waterwillow weren't unlike other Covens, leaders are uncommon amongst a sisterhood of witches. And yet, although her title was never official, she certainly assumed the role of leader more often than not.

Alice Ventura.

A truly exceptional witch, even amongst the exceptional.

Rose was charmed by Alice immediately. It was as if she'd put her under a spell without even using magic. The Coven found Rose when she was at a low in her life, so much so that she was tempted to turn to drastic measures.

Rose had never practiced magic before joining the Coven, having hidden that part of herself the way she learned how to. She was clumsy and without class, but possessed a remarkable talent for the trade.

None in the coven particularly liked her.

"How can someone like her hold such natural power? She's nothing but a fool."

"It's rotten luck really, to have such talent be wasted on a girl like her."

Rose would hear the things they whispered about her behind closed doors, could see the distasteful looks they sent her way. Despite this, she tried to keep her head held high, tried to not let their words convince her that she didn't belong, that she truly was a waste of potential.

I couldn't do anything to shield her from their cruelty, for I wasn't around at the time, and when I was awakened it was already too late.

But, in my place, there was Alice.

Alice befriended Rose, showed her how to wield the magic that coursed through her veins. Alice was by far the most skilled witch in the Coven, but as Rose continued to master her craft, Alice finally had someone who could give her a real challenge.

And Alice loved her for that, loved the fact that Rose could stretch her to her limits.

With time, they grew so close that they were nearly inseparable.

Rose was asked to join the Coven partly because of her magical prowess, and partly to make up the numbers.

'Eight makes a whole.'

A witch can always perform spells with or without a Coven, but rituals, enchantments, and conjures can only be made with a whole. The bigger the need for magic, the bigger the need for a group, thus eight became the golden number among witches.

Despite how most of them felt about her, Rose grew to love her Coven and proudly claimed herself as a Witch of Waterwillow. She grew close to some, but none as close as Alice.

Rose fell for Alice almost as soon as she met her, and only realized her feelings for her months later. More than just a friend, more than just someone who had given her life meaning, Alice became someone truly precious to Rose.

The feeling burned in her chest, and made her lie awake at night, swelling and swelling until she couldn't deny it anymore.

Her confession was a series of apologies and stuttered words, and worst she didn't feel any better when it was all set and done.

Shame made her unable to look at Alice, made her detest the feelings inside her. But Alice had regarded her with such fond eyes and spoke in a voice so soft.

"I love you too," she'd said, and Rose had believed her. But how could it truly have been love if she was willing to throw it away so easily?

The first betrayal came from Alice herself.

It only took a year.

Her friendship, her love, it was all a lie.

The moment the opportunity arose, she pounced on it.

You see, Alice was always an ambitious witch. She dreamed of doing great things, of reaching magical heights that no other had. Rose always believed that she could, even I thought that Alice could've achieved exactly what she hoped for if things had gone her way.

But Alice was also greedy and impatient, and she wanted her glory by any means necessary. To achieve her goal and rise amongst witches, she needed to become strong.

So she found a spell.

An ancient spell, a curse that would grant the given witch a slave that they could bend to their will. A monster so ferocious, so cruel, the moment you'd lay eyes on it your fate would be spelled in blood.

All she needed was an excuse to use it, and as the stars would have it, the opportunity fell right into her lap.

The group of hunters that had been chasing the Coven all through the country, from the grassy plains to the forested mountains, had finally caught up.

Mere humans, yes, but they possessed magical weapons that any witch would fear, and the Witches of Waterwillow had never been a particularly powerful Coven.

Alice devised a plan.

While the rest of the Coven escaped deeper into the mountain, Alice would stay behind and deal with the hunters once and for all. She wanted to use their deaths as a chance to grow, and to start her down the path of total unchallenged power.

Her plan was met with immediate protest, especially from Rose, but to the Coven Alice's word was law, and that was all it took.

Rose, of course, assumed that she'd be leaving with the rest of the Coven, but Alice had other plans for her.

Rose knew that Alice could be cruel, probably the cruelest amongst the Coven. Always choosing to ignore her lovers less savory tendencies, Rose managed to make peace with it.

She never once considered that that cruelty could extend to her. Alice held such a power over the Coven that none of them dared to question her at times.

So when she chose her vessel for that spell, the rest of the Coven turned a blind eye, and Rose was betrayed a second time.

Even though they were sisters, even though she made them eight, Rose could always be replaced.

Maybe they'd mourn the loss of all that magical potential, but that was all.

The girl would die, and no one would care.

The stage had been set, the plan set in motion.

Five pyres set ablaze stood within the forested clearing. For a spell this cruel, mere candles wouldn't make the cut.

Alice brought Rose to the clearing, bound her with magic, and ignored her cries and pleas as she circled Rose with animal bones.

Alice had knelt before her lover and told her it was for the greater good. She smiled as she said that within time, she'd come to understand the meaning behind her sacrifice.

"After all, the more powerful the witch, the stronger the monster."

Without so much as an apology, without taking even a moment to second guess herself, Alice began reciting the spell.

"Body stolen, body repaired."

Rose had snapped.

Conjuring up the magic she wielded, she escaped from Alice's binds before she could finish the spell. It didn't take much, perhaps Alice never considered that Rose would attempt to fight back.

As she stood there in tears, staring across at her lover, she realized that within mere seconds Alice had become her adversary. Within mere moments, all that time she spent believing that she was loved and cared for had been burned in the pyre.

Rose then understood what needed to be done, and what she must become. Rose couldn't bear the thought of having to kill the one she once thought a lover.

But in order to save her life, Alice would have to die.

In order to survive, a monster was needed. In order to survive, Rose would have to die, and her convictions along with her.

And she did, the moment she countered Alice's killing spell, Rose was no more, and I took over.

Alice had always been strong, but I learned how to be stronger.

. . .

Oh?

Hadn't you noticed?

Rose and I, we're one and the same.

Alice wanted a monster, so a monster I became. I fought for my life that night and was only the victor because I knew there was no turning back.

I killed the one I thought I loved so she couldn't kill me first.

I mourned the loss of myself; the Coven would never let me live knowing what I'd done, and the hunters were only mere hours away, and I knew I'd have to be a monster for a while longer.

I've always known the world to be cruel, but that night showed me just how cruel it could be. If cruelty is all this world knows, then cruelty I'll become.

With the rising of the sun, I am born anew. With this new day, I shut my heart to the world and assume my new identity as a cold-blooded monster.

Because that's all I am, and maybe that's all I ever was.

Fantasy
5

About the Creator

Gabrielle R Charles

Hey there!

I am a 21 y/o writer of over a decade who has been crafting fantasy stories for as long as I can remember, and am currently working on publishing my first work within the next year.

Constructive criticism is always welcome!

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Comments (3)

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  • Hannah Moore4 months ago

    And that, I suppose, is how a villain is born. Nice work.

  • Novel Allen4 months ago

    Your story is so well thought out, Rose and the monster are one. evil met with evil. Great job, congrats on the win.

  • Kelly Robertson4 months ago

    Wow, you did a great job invoking emotion with how poor Rose was betrayed and then again by empowering her to become the one thing she never thought she would. Great twist! You definitely left me wanting to know more about what happens next.

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