Tales of the Sea Witch & the Autumn King | Part 1

Part 1: A Drop in the Ocean

The hamlet of Snakeshill lay tucked away in a small woodland near the shimmering shores of Lake Ghizlain. Fields, fish, and game sustained the folk who called this home, working hard during daylight hours, and toiling just as hard in the tavern when the evening rose. On one of these nights, Fritza the barmaid stepped outside to give herself a break from the raucous noise inside. Stretching upwards, she yawned widely when a soft glow of light caught her attention behind the tavern.

Fritza heard a low muttering as she crept towards the light, grabbing the spade leaning up against the wall. “Who’s there?”

The light dimmed as the barmaid came upon a woman, long dark hair cascading over the face of a man, prone on the ground. The muttering came from the slender woman, and ceased the moment Fritza saw her. Caught up in the moment, the two women watched the man apprehensively, for what, Fritza didn’t know, when he sat up gasping and choking, ale spewing down his front.

“Wha-what, where… what happened?” The man choked, wiping his face shakily and looking around. He spotted the two women. “Where am I, n’ who are you?”

The dark-haired woman sat back on her heels, relief flooding her face. “You blacked out after drinking, you nearly died because of it, you buffoon,” she admonished, a frown creeping onto her face. “You oughta take better care of yourself.”

“What did you do,” Fritza found herself asking, dumbstruck at what she had just witnessed. She gestured to the man with her spade. “He looked like he’d left this world and you… you brought him back.”

The dark-haired woman rose to her feet, steel blue eyes glancing over the barmaid and the drenched man. “I just helped him survive, that’s all. I’m nothing special, ma’am.”

“But he was dead,” Fritza said again, fear starting to bubble in her chest. “What are you, a witch?” 

The man jumped to his feet, stumbling into the wall of the tavern but anger and panic ebbing into his emotions. “A witch? You’re a witch? What did you… what did you do to me! Witch! What did you do to me!?”

The dark-haired woman backed away from the pair as voices from within the tavern called out, footsteps crossing the wooden floors to see what the commotion was about. “I didn’t do anything, I-I saved your life!” she shouted. She grabbed her skirts and fled as the tavern emptied outside.

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