Witchbound – Chapter 0

In lieu of an introduction, a warning to the reader.

This is not a story I wrote by myself. 

I stumbled upon it, like when you go down to the beach and spot a glistening pebble, or maybe a shard of glass smoothed over by ceaseless foam.

Have you ever felt like you have something you want to say, and it sits in your throat, and it hurts, but you cannot spit it out?

I hope, by the end, I can finally rest.

You should know that, up until a few years ago, you could still see, in a valley at the border between what are now Austria and Slovenia, a solitary river unraveling through verdant banks. I ended up there by pure chance, during a vacation.

I was really tired from driving, my clothes drenched with sweat due to the sun looming over like an open furnace. So I decided to park the car on the banks and stretch my legs. 

The river gurgled happily, carrying over its waters to the nearby sea. A place like so many others, were it not for a detail: on the other side of the river stood a lonely statue, its dirty marble peeking through a canopy of weeds.

That got me curious. Why build a statue in the middle of nowhere?

The river was wide and deeper than I felt confident to walk across, but there was a thin bridge just nearby.

I reached the statue, noticing how amidst the grass and the pines one could see the signs of long-abandoned houses: fallen walls, dirty patches that must have once been roads. 

The statue looked over to the river. I pulled on the weeds, revealing two female figures. I couldn’t say who they were supposed to be: their heads had broken, or perhaps they had been taken. The rest of their bodies was covered in bullet holes and small grenade impacts, still oozing rust. They lay back against back, and judging from their posture they might have looked at each other. 

The basement held a few words, but I couldn’t identify even those. 

Still, I felt like I had took a step into a strange and unknown turn, one laying just off the side of the main road. My heart picked up pace as I passed my hands over the coarse stone. 

I took a few pictures, and then I pulled the weeds back like a curtain. 

I couldn’t find anything laying around that could help me to identify the origin of the statue, or who the two women might have been. 

I regret now not spending more time around it, touching the stone and trying to understand its secrets, but I was still very tired and very grumpy after the long drive, so I went back to the car, safely assuming that whatever the statue might be, it could wait. 

When I came back to that spot the next summer to see if I could find something about it, I found an artificial basin in its place, its blue waters mocking me. 

But I did not let go of the statue. Its mystery gnawed at me, pulling me into it. Who were those two women? Why did someone buy a statue like that besides a river and how did it end up so defaced?

I decided to take two more weeks of leave, and then two more. I spent all the time I could looking for archives, photographs and hearsay that could answer my questions. 

This story is the result. 

Much of it had to be patched together. And I apologize in advance – I might have made an assumption too many here and there.

I also tried to adapt it to a more contemporary style, to make it more digestible, while also remaining strictly faithful to the original material.

The result is imperfect.

Still, while trying to spin the tale back together, I felt like I was doing a service not just to my curiosity. I felt like I could go back to that summer day, and wait by the statue for a few more hours, and do the right thing this time. 

Sit down and listen.

Author’s Notes: welcome to my new webnovel! This is a story that’s quite dear to me. You might have read a few of the shorts with these characters and this setting already, but this is the actual start. I am incredibly excited to begin anew and I hope you will have a lot of fun with it!

Get ready for a tale of magic, reborn Witches, prideful Princesses, and the destructive power of love.

Thanks for reading.


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