The Witch snapped her fingers. Sparks flew towards her fireplace, starting a blaze. She set a tea kettle on the spit, getting it ready to boil.

“As that waits,” she looked to the girls. “Can I interest either of you in a glass of water?”

Bethany nodded, her mouth currently full with another cookie. The witch drew some water from her well at the pump in the corner, and gave it to the girl.

“It is so nice to have visitors,” The witch said. “My name is Clissandra, though many call me the Witch of the Murky Meadows.”

“And you are in some trouble,” Arlyle muttered. She looked out the spire windows, back into the quickly darkening night sky.

Clissandra’s face fell. She looked at her kettle, and took it off sooner than she would have liked.

“It is not too much trouble. What kind of tea would you like?”

“Shaeryan Jade,” Arlyle looked at the witch. “Your familiar thought things were bad enough to find help. Even had a spell all set up to find us.”

Clissandra looked harshly at Thelonius. “You took the emergency spell?”

Thelonius grimaced. “It is an emergency, Clissandra.”

“It is nothing I cannot deal with.”

“They are hurting you,” The badger persisted. “They are hurting the Meadows.”

“Just a few rowdy kids.”

“Kids?” Arlyle and Bethany looked at each other. “We’re here to defeat kids?”

“You are here,” Clissandra filled two cups with tea, handing them to the girls. “Because I enjoy the company of two wonderful young girls who are also tea enthusiasts.”

Bethany smiled. “That’s us.” She laid a hand on Clissandra’s shoulder. “And good girls help those who need it.”

Clissandra sighed. “It is just a few kids, who seem to like being a bit rambunctious.”

“With a propensity for magic in their “rambunctious” mayhem,” Bricklebook muttered. “They have torn through the Meadows, and have a particularly potent desire to bring this spire down.”

“Why?” Bethany asked.

Clissandra started to answer, but Arlyle cut her off. “Because they’re mean, stupid kids.”


“Am I right?” Arlyle asked. Clissandra did not have a satisfactory answer, and said nothing.

“You have a bunch of kids running around, just discovered they can use magic, and now they get to do whatever they want,” Arlyle muttered. “They are out where no one can tell them no. And the weird old lady by herself isn’t going to tell on them or make them stop.”

“It is not that bad.” Clissandra said.

“It can be worse.” Thelonius said.

“Well, we’re helping you, so it will get better.” Bethany smiled to Arlyle. “Right, Ari?”

“Sure thing. I’ll take care of it.”

“We, Arlyle.”

“Uh-huh.” Arlyle set down the empty tea cup, and stood up. “Now I need you both to stay inside with the annoying badger, and stay out of this.”


“Stay inside?”


“They’re here.”

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

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