I feel sick to my stomach. I just watched a young girl executed for crimes of murder. Yet… her anger… no her rage at the injustice suffered by her mother was not without cause. I’m told the folks of this world, Damaina, do not sire children well. I’m not certain how many are unable to or should not have children. But those who can are not treated like people but like cattle at best, at worst, something else
We started our travels to the Basilica of St Timon in the company of Sir Hawkwood and his entourage: Adriana, Sister Bernice, and Sergeant Pi. We had to content with a malaise fog that could greatly harm us. As we came closer to the village of Swingford, we saw a man who had been crucified, flayed, and gelded, and not necessarily in that order. Thorne was able to speak with the screaming spirit. Apparently the man was killed by the Forest Witch. We saw two other men on the road in similar ways of death, and one older woman whose throat had been slit wide open. In the village, it is clear that Sir Hawkwood is welcome but we are not. By we, I mean those of us not from this world. The village petitioned Sir Hawkwood to do something about the murders. The man is a little simple, or ignorant, or both. However he does know how to listen so I grant you he’s not a complete idiot. He heeded our advice and tasked us with making it so.
The so-called Forest Witch is a young girl named Emerald. Her mother Deliah died in childbirth. She blamed her death upon the midwife and those who might have been the father of the child. Deliah had mated with several men to beget her last child at the urging of the midwife despite not being hale. Oh, and the midwife was Emerald’s grandmother. Talk about a family feud. And so anyone who might have been involved with the pregnancy was the target of Emerald’s wrath.
We visited Deliah’s home. There were eight children running around the place. Emerald had visited them since the first murder. She was watching over her siblings. She clearly loves and cares for her siblings. Poor girl.
We asked who else might have lain with Deliah. We found Heinrich the Carpenter. For a man under fog of death, he seems remarkably uncaring. He was going into the forest to fell trees, you know, where the Forest Witch hunts. We followed him, discretely. Gabriel and Carter moved closer to watch him unobserved. The rest of us stayed a ways away. It took some time but Heinrich felled a tree. We thought the attack might not happen today but we were wrong. Our scouts indicated trouble so we rushed forward through a portal that Thorne created. Heinrich had been impaled upon a spring spear trap. Carter was trying to help the man. And a girl was holding a knife to Gabriel’s throat. Remarkable that she got the drop on Gabriel. I was able to surprise her and get her off of him. She was mighty quick, springing abound like a wild animal. I told her to stand down but she would not. In the end, we had to subdue her. And taking her back to the village was a death sentence. Sir Hawkwood summary executed her. She could have been so much more.
What else could we have done? I don’t’ know, but this is not right. What was done to Deliah was not right. What Emerald did was not right. This village, this world, this way of thinking is not right. I think about Tamara and Lizbeth. Is this their future? Endless breeding until death? Will their children, my children become like Deliah, subservient and choiceless? Or will they become like Emerald, a threat to their society, someone to be eliminated? Is there another way? Is there a third path? There must be. There must be.