A Nameless Witch
A. Lee Martinez
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A tale of vengeance, true love, and cannibalism
Being born undead can have its disadvantages, such as eternal youth and flawless beauty ---things most unsuitable for a witch. Hiding behind the guise of a grimy old crone, the witch is content living outside Fort Stalwart with her unlikely band of allies: a troll named Gwurm, an enchanted broom, and a demonic duck named Newt. She leads a simple life filled with spells, potions, and the occasional curse.
So when a White Knight arrives at Fort Stalwart, the witch knows her days of peace are at an end. The Knight is just days in front of a horde of ravenous goblings, and Fort Stalwart lies right in the horde's path. But the goblings are just the first wave of danger, and soon the witch and the Knight must combine forces on a perilous quest to stop a mad sorcerer from destroying the world.
Filled with menace, monsters, and magic, A Nameless Witch is a properly witchly read by the award-winning author of Gil's All Fright Diner and In the Company of Ogres.
adjust so well. He spent most of his time sulking in my tent. On those few occasions he followed me on my daily rounds, he never spoke a word among the camp. The children, sensing things the way young minds can, avoided him. The mothers were too busy watching Gwurm to pay Newt much mind. I kept a close eye on my familiar though, and there were no incidents of waterfowl blood rages. Another interesting turn came when my broom took on a life of its own. Magic, especially witch magic, doesn't just
fault. It could not be properly explained by her. Only by the magic, and the magic had never talked to me. Rather, I'd yet to hear it. I slipped on my dress. It was comfortable cloth cut in a most unflattering way. It failed to hide away all the unwanted charms of my unwitchly form, but it was better than nothing. Normally, I wouldn't dare be seen outside without a tattered cloak and a frumpy shawl. I scowled, pressing a palm against my flat stomach. I'd been working to develop a flabby belly
from bright green to dull orange. Mucus dripped from its wriggling mouth. Then it hacked into my neck. There was the gush of blood, the pain of tearing flesh, and my head bounced to the ground where it came to a rolling stop. The chimera, unable to hold its centipede form, melted and shifted once again. It became a large, two-legged toad with a face that was all mouth. It opened its jaws, showing rows of jagged teeth. I could feel my body, but it was as if my neck was a thousand miles long.
unison. The clouds overhead swirled in precise, lazy shapes. The phantom kingdom acknowledged our presence with a minimum of response. Our footfalls kicked up small dust clouds, each identical regardless whether spurred by hoof or troll foot. The grass parted, only to snap back into rank and file. I was horribly uncomfortable. We all were, but I could feel the void in this land. There wasn't life in any of this. I couldn't talk to the grass or speak with the trees. They were dead, empty things.
a chance. I put aside the distraction as we marched up the path. Magic is everywhere in all things and all places, but there is more magic in some things than others. Accursed witches and Incarnate sorcerers draw arcane power like lodestones. As we drew closer, that power crackled in the air. The magic knew a terrible battle was about to begin, and it offered all its potency before us to ensure a colorful struggle. Witch magic is a subtle art. I may have been out of my element, but Ghastly