Portrait of a Witch by GemJasmine
Portrait of a Witch by GemJasmine
The four of us while away the evening in each other's company. Ramzi and Sif are both charming in different ways and conversation flows easily from topic to topic, purposeless and relaxing. Ramzi regales us with stories of his travels and adventures, of which there are many. Despite his skill as a storyteller he does not seem inclined towards boasting or outlandish embellishment, making certain extraordinary details sound all the more remarkable, and when we tease him for something or other he takes it with good humor.
Sif seems to inspire that easy openness in others. There is an earnest curiosity there. She is one of those rare people that, when you're with them, makes you feel as if you have their complete attention. Even as I silently observe the others converse, only occasionally piping in with a remark of my own, she will look over at me, sharing in some unspoken thought, a silent reminder that I am no less present to her.
It's after midnight and the dining hall is all but empty when our little group eventually separates in search of beds. Moments in the conversation echo in my head as Ketil and I walk through the cool night air to our room. Ketil doesn’t have the same solitary tendencies I do, and I can tell how much good this night has done him. He likes these new people. I do too, and more than that I want them to like me.
I wake early the next morning, dressing myself while still half asleep. A cold fog has settled into the crevasses of the mountain, blanketing the village. Stepping out into the courtyard, the inn feels transported to another plane. Beyond the arch there is no village, only ghostly white void.
Though the hour is early for me, certainly earlier than I would have liked after such a late night, the courtyard is already enlivened with activity. Caravan hands are feeding and hitching the horses to the many carts and wagons, while others load fresh provisions for the journey. They are in good spirits as they work, entertaining each other with bawdy jokes and anticipating the pleasures of the city.
I find the little store front in a corner of the building, where the innkeeper is arranging the distribution of provisions. Mostly staple goods, suited to travel, but I see other things on his shelves too. A small wooden box, darkly lacquered, sits beneath a layer of dust on a high shelf, tempting the eye. Bottles of liquid in unnatural shades occupy another out of the way spot. I imagine there are things he has acquired from the travellers he serves, soon to be accompanied by trinkets from the Red Tower. He gives me fair enough prices for the valuables and I leave with a small pouch of coin, enough to pay our fare with the caravan, and maybe a week's lodging in Caer Vyr. After that we will have to figure something else out.
Beside the store front, out of the way of the work, I find a bench where I can sit and people watch. Ramzi darts back and forth, attending to whatever little fires require him, but when he sees me he pauses long enough to say good morning. In the second story gallery, by our room, I see Ketil emerge and stretch, pulling each arm across his chest and then up and back. In a corner across the courtyard, apart from the others, Sif exercises, doing cartwheels and somersaults and hand springs. Each motion, executed with apparent ease, gives the impression that she is only loosely bound to the world. Cut her tether and she will float away. She pauses, resting a hand on her hips, and when she notices me watching she gives a little wave.
Ketil and I share a breakfast of cold, congealed soup. Still delicious, but texturally unpleasant. Neither of us speaks, choosing instead to sit with our thoughts while we wait. Preparations seem to be finishing up and a harried looking Ramzi slows down long enough to tell us we depart shortly. Ketil volunteers to inform Sif, perhaps wanting a moment alone with her. I give him a sly smile, making him blush, and walk to the wagon alone.
The passenger wagon is fully enclosed, with shutters for the windows and a door at the back with a single step. It's decorated with painted vines that wind around the windows and door, flowering in red and white. Someone has furnished the interior with an eclectic selection of pillows and drapery on nearly every surface, giving more the impression of an intimate parlor than a wood barrel on wheels.
I settle in by one of the windows, tucking my things under the seat, and stare at a section of red velvet draped over a crate, not really seeing it. In that quiet, strange interior, my thoughts turn inexorably to the Raven Queen. To magic. In her own way I think she has been trying to teach me, to open my eyes to the subtler mysteries. I’m drawn to it, not just as a tool to protect myself and my reclaimed freedom, but perhaps as a means to invent myself. Is that what she intends for me? I can’t help thinking that there is more to this than a straightforward exchange. There is something she wants me to understand, but for what purpose I cannot say. Maybe she just needs someone to know.
I become aware of Ketil and Sif approaching the cart, and I turn in time to see them sharing an intimate look. The single step by the door is quite high off the ground and Ketil takes hold of the door frame as he climbs up. Sif follows after, walking right up to the edge and leaping with both feet to land perfectly at the threshold. Ketil claps and she gives the tiniest bow and takes a seat across from me and him.
Soon the caravan rumbles to life, a line of wagons like a centipede scuttling its way out of town and towards the mountain. The ride is bumpy and I'm grateful for the pillows. I gather them around me like a nest and watch the scenery go by. All of us seem to mutually agree that it's much too early in the morning for conversation, but as the hours go by that silence eventually lifts.
"I should tell you,” Sif pipes up, “I had paid to have the wagon to myself, preferring to travel alone, but you seemed interesting. An androgyne with a sword and an accent from my homeland, and a handsome young man with sensitive eyes who has clearly seen some rough treatment. I’m ever so curious, where did you two run away from?"
On instinct Ketil’s hand goes to the wound on his head. It’s healing well, but there’s no hiding it was a nasty cut. Neither of us answer immediately.
“You don’t have to talk about it, if you don’t want to.” She says, and then in a lighter tone. “I’m very excited to be returning to Caer Vyr, it's a beautiful city.”
"The Red Tower." Ketil blurts out. "We were slaves there, to a horrible man."
She reaches out to touch his arm, open sympathy on her face. "I have heard the stories. I’m very sorry. How did you manage to escape?"
Ketil looks at me, and then to the sword sitting innocuously at my side. "We had help."
“Will they be looking for you?”
I can’t help but smirk to myself. “No. No they won’t.”
She regards me for a moment. “You’re a little scary. I like it.”
“They can be, when they want to. There is no one I would feel safer with.” Ketil's remark catches me a little off guard, going right past my defenses. I don’t know what I should say. His trust feels like a gift. One I am not certain I deserve.
Sif voices the feeling for me, her tone dreamy. “That’s beautiful.”
There is no way she can know exactly what his trust means to me, but she knows it means something. She seems to perceive some fragile part of me, exposed, and my instinct is to hide, like a rat shying away from candlelight. I know this feeling better second hand. Often it's there, written on someone's face, when they realize I see them. The light isn’t harsh though, and I think I might reveal more if left under that gaze for long enough.
“How is it that an acrobat can afford to travel in a private wagon? Ketil asks, shifting the attention off me.
"I've been successful. But it's not my money. My patron paid for it."
“Did Ramzi refund your fare at all?”
"He did, partially. He is really very fair...fare." She repeats the word slowly, playing with it. "He also apologized for putting me on the spot. So, what are you going to do in the city?”
“I honestly don’t know yet.”
“Then you can do anything. You could be a sculptor and sit by the harbour in the afternoons, watching the ships. Or maybe a baker with a mysterious past." The sound of shifting fabric as she leans forward, just a bit. "I could show you around, if you like."
I turn from the window to see the two of them looking at each other, their expressions dense with subtle shades of meaning, signaling what they don't yet say. Her eyes flick to mine for a moment and her smile broadens a little. No discomfort or self consciousness. Just an innocent delight. I feel as if I can see her future in little flashes. Performances of poise and skill that thrill many, but none more so than herself. Quiet days of simple pleasures. Passionate love affairs. It’s easy to imagine Ketil there, by her side.
“I’d like that.” Ketil replies.
It’s nearly noon when we cross the snow line. At first there are little tufts of snow in shaded places, and then more and more until nearly everything is blanketed in shining white. Much thicker, and it will have to be cleared from the road ahead of the wagons, which could add considerable time to the journey, but I don’t dwell on hypothetical inconveniences, I just enjoy the scenery and the crisp, cool air.
We are deep into the mountains when I begin to hear some commotion coming down the line of wagons from the front. Shouts and cries carry over the sounds of the horses and the caravan comes to a slow stop. Peering out the window I can see the cause. An enormous tree has fallen across the road, blocking the way. Caravan hands move up beside the line of carts towards the barrier, looking worried. I don’t have to look long to see why. The trunk was roughly felled, by axe.
Even as the implication becomes clear a dozen or more men emerge from hiding places beside the road, appearing from out of the snow like specters. Slightly ahead of the others is a giant of a man, wrapped in thick furs that make his shoulders seem impossibly broad, and flanked by a pair of archers. He stops his advance partway and calls out.
“Give up your weapons and valuables! Do so and keep your lives!”
Nearby I can hear our driver and one of the hands speaking in hushed voices, too quiet for me to make out, but accompanied by the slow sliding of metal on wood. Perhaps readying weapons.
Ketil looks at me, expectant, and noticing this, Sif raises an eyebrow.
“I’ll see what I can do.”
I swing open the wagon door and hop down, sword in hand, still wrapped in cloth. I only intend to make a show of being armed, alongside the other caravanners, as discouragement. Even as I land I hear the intake of breath, the nervous, twitchy movement as one of the brigand archers wheels around to aim at me, eyes wide, startled. I have only that instant to register him, to realize what's about to happen, before he shoots. The arrow leaps from his bow and cuts a path through the air towards me, deadly accurate and swift as thought.
It stops an arms length in front of me and explodes. Splintered fragments fly in every direction, plinking harmlessly off the wagon and making little craters in the snow. All attention is on me now.
No hurled stone nor arrow loosed shall touch you.
I’m a little upset and step closer, putting myself between the brigands and their prize. Undoing the cloth wrap from the sword as I do, and letting it fall to the ground in my wake. They watch in silent confusion as I thrust the point of the sword into the ground in front of me, planting it there like a fence post. From either edge I conjure a wall of fire. It slices outward forming a semicircle of roaring flame between us and the brigands. A few cry out in alarm, while others just look on, wide eyed.
“Witch!” Someone gasps, and I give them my most wicked smile.
From somewhere to my left I see Ramzi emerge, palms out in a placating gesture. “Good people, there is no need for any violence today. My esteemed friend is very protective,” He gestures to me, “but we would not see you leave empty handed. Remove the tree blocking the way and I will see you paid for your labor.”
I raise an eyebrow in his direction, but say nothing. The brigands confer amongst themselves in rapid whispers, while the twitchy archer's eyes dart back and forth between me and Ramzi. He has another arrow knocked, but his arms are relaxed. When he looks at me he almost seems apologetic.
Eventually the talking dies down and the brigand leader steps forward again. There is more swagger in his step this time, as if trying to convey an impression of being in control of the situation.
"I accept your offer."
His people make short work of the tree, multiple men with axes striking in an alternating rhythm at different points along its length, splitting the enormous tree into more manageable sections, and then rolling those off the road. From over the flames I watch the brigand archers, their forms warped by the heat waves, and they watch me. They're alert, but the tension is gone, or at least lessened.
When the tree is cleared, Ramzi tosses them a pouch. It lands just beyond the flames, clinking with coins. The brigand leader snatches it up, and hefts it a few times to gauge its weight. Evidently satisfied, he gives a curt nod to Ramzi and myself before signaling something to his men. Just as quickly as they came, they disappear into the trees.
When I am convinced that they are truly gone I pull the sword from the earth, extinguishing the flames. Left behind is a precise arc of blackened earth scarring the road, orphaning small patches of snow where it crossed the banks beside.
Ramzi stares at me, mutely, for some seconds before finding some words. “In all my travels I have never seen anything like that. I have heard stories of course, but to see it… If you had told me last night that you were a witch it would have been me asking you to ride with us.”
“I wasn’t sure how people would react. Why did you pay them anyway?”
“What I paid was but a small fraction of what we would have lost in a fight. You got me a very good deal.” He inclines his head in a very slight bow. “And I’m sure you could have driven them off, but then we would have had to move the tree ourselves, and while we did, maybe one of the archers gets it into his hypothetically spiteful little head to take another shot at us...” He finishes his thought with a little gesture of the hand, expanding his fingers as if revealing the outcome of such a scene.
“You're a wise man, Ramzi.”
“Thank you! Come, let me get this show on the road once more and then we can continue to discuss my many virtues.”
For this leg of the journey Ramzi joins us in Sif’s wagon. He tries not to show it, but it’s clear he wants to know everything about the magic he just witnessed. Sif on the other hand makes no effort to hide her curiosity, immediately launching into a litany of questions with uncontained excitement.
“Where did you learn to do that? What else can you do?” She is leaning close, barely still on her seat.
“The Red Tower, sort of.” I answer. Ramzi reacts to the name with a quirked eyebrow, but waits for me to finish. “I don’t really know, so far I seem to mostly set things on fire.”
A sly smile crosses her face. “That seems like a good beginning to me.”
“Are you saying you were taught at the Red Tower?” Ramzi asks. ”I had heard that was home to some powerful sorcerer, but the kind you abandon your homes to avoid. Not the student taking variety.”
“The rumors sound pretty accurate.” Ketil says, without turning from the window.
“No, not a student.” I launch into the story, telling them about the sword, the constructs, destroying the tower, but omitting details about the Raven Queen. For some reason that I can’t quite explain, that part feels too personal to share just yet. I show them the sword, holding out the blade resting on top of the cloth. They study it intently, with a care usually reserved for holy relics.
“May I?” Ramzi says. He points to the handle with a finger, palm up, eyebrows raised. Somehow the redundancy of the gestures makes the request seem more passive. He won't be offended in the slightest if I refuse. Which makes me want to say yes.
I turn the handle end towards him and with great care he receives it. His eyes pour over it, inspecting first the blade, then moving to the cross guard and pommel.
“I have only a modest knowledge of swords and their history, but I can tell you that this one is quite old. Obviously it has seen some wear, but more than that the style has not been in regular use for many hundreds of years. Perhaps it is merely that I have recently seen its edges alight with fire, but despite its simple design it has an unusual beauty.” He returns the sword to me, and then as an afterthought. “Might I make a tracing of it, when we make camp this evening?”
I nod my agreement, seeing no harm in it, and liking that he shares my aesthetic appreciation for the sword. I take that commonality as an endorsement of his good character.
We make camp near the foot of the mountain, shortly before sunset. Caravan hands tend to the horses, while others prepare a fire and begin the work of the evening meal. A man hangs a cauldron over the fire. Another fills it with water, tosses in strips of dried meat, and chops onions. I force myself to ignore the food, knowing it won’t be ready for some time yet, though I admit I first wonder if it might be possible to speed it along with a little witchcraft. Can magic do that?
Ramzi’s wagon is similar to the passenger wagon, but painted in bright yellow, with a red roof and trim. Inside, shelves overflow with trinkets, books, odds and ends. A writing desk sits against one well, littered with papers. The far end as I enter is given over to a large, plush bed, bedecked in blankets and furs. A man dozes there, curled up beneath the mountain of bedding, a foot hanging lazily over the edge. He turns over in his sleep and I recognize him from the night before as the one who gave Sif his seat.
Ramzi follows me in and sits down at the desk. He clears a space in the clutter and produces a few sheets of paper, laying them out end to end. I hand him the sword and he sets it down in the center. Leaning against the wall, I watch as he painstakingly follows the outline of the sword with a tapered rod of black chalk. Occasionally he will use a pair of calipers to check a measurement, and mumble something to himself. When he seems satisfied that he has the precise shape committed to paper the upright posture and technical precision give way to more relaxed, interpretive sketching for the fine details. The sound of the soft scratches of chalk on paper mixes with the gentle breathing of the dozing man and the muffled conversations that drift in from outside. People are starting to gather about the fire, in anticipation of the meal. I'm hungry, but I enjoy watching Ramzi at this task, so I linger there until something specific to his internal world rouses him, and he lifts his head to take notice of the room for the first time in maybe twenty minutes.
“A sketch is never really finished, only abandoned, but I will call this one done.” He returns the sword to me once more and waves to the door. “Go, get some food. I am going to see if I can’t wake my friend here.”
Outside I spot Ketil and Sif sitting near the fire, lit in profile by the dancing flames. They talk and take turns scrutinizing something on the ground between them. Sif says something and Ketil laughs, his hand coming to his mouth as if trying to keep the noise inside. She glances my way, her eyes tracking mine as I approach, holding my gaze for some moments while I weave through the caravanners. Joining them, I see that Ketil and Sif are playing some sort of dice game. They each have a small pile of tokens, in the form of rough lumps of glass. Ketil has considerably more, but he doesn’t seem to be happy about it. Sif rolls three dice onto a wooden tray set between them, scowls at the result then rolls again. This time she smirks in satisfaction and shoves the last of her tokens into Ketil's pile.
"I can't believe it." Ketil says, and then to me, "She cheats. It's the only explanation."
"I have a different theory." Sif throws back.
Ketil gets up and dusts off his pants. "Here, take my seat. I'll get you some soup. Maybe you will have better luck against her."
I take his place while Sif counts out twelve tokens for herself, leaving the same for me.
"Have you played Kasta before?" She asks.
I shake my head, and she launches into an animated explanation of the rules, holding up the dice and tokens as props. We take turns rolling, trying to get different, high value combinations. It's mostly random, but the starting player can choose how many times they want to roll the dice, up to three, and then the following players have that many tries to beat them with a better combination.
She has me start. I toss the dice into the tray, getting the highest scoring roll on my first attempt.
"You sure you're not using your witch powers?" She rolls the dice, in case of an unlikely tie, but to no avail, and I toss four tokens into her pile.
"I wouldn't even know how."
"Maybe you are doing it subconsciously."
A few more rounds go by, narrowing my lead as she gets a few single token victories in a row.
"Are you and Ketil together?" The question sounds casual enough, but her eyes don't match her disinterested affect. She wins another round with two rolls.
"Not exactly. We have been intimate a few times, but we are just friends really." Not an answer she expected. I watch her expression, trying to determine what this new information means to her. She isn't sure yet.
She tosses a token into my pile, goes again, handily getting another one token win. It goes like this for many rounds, small victories, worth only a single token, but mostly they end up in my pile. I don’t know how she does it, the game seems almost completely random. Most of the time there is only a single decision to make, but more often than not she makes the right one and I don’t. It vexes me.
“This is a terrible game.” I say. I have twenty two tokens in my pile.
“That sounds like the opinion of someone about to lose.”
Ketil returns, holding out a bowl of soup for me, and sits himself down beside us. The soup is thick and full of lentils and smells amazing.
“She does cheat.” I say, through a mouthful of soup.
“Quit stalling and roll.” She speaks, an impish grin on her face, and I can’t help but smile in return.
I roll the dice and lose on a particularly bad combination. She flicks the last of her stones into my pile and pumps both fists in the air in triumph.
“It’s ok. Next time we can play cards.”
daily single-card pull #7 - Ace of Swords
[ new ideas and stimulation, starting new projects, encouragement, motivation, power ]
It might be time for you to embrace a new source of energy within yourself. This card implies there's a new opportunity for starting a new project, with a renewed will to do. Strike for success and don't lose this chance.
1 Question General Readings
single question (what does [name] need to know?) readings are $5, $1 an additional question.
Nine card love readings are $10. Additional questions are $1 a question.
Past Life Readings
An eleven card in-depth past life reading is $25. Additional questions are $5 a question.
5 card soulmate readings are $15. 8 card twin flame readings are $20. Additional questions are $1 each.
Shadow Work Spread
This spread exposes your faults and how to fix them. It is 6 cards and $10 a reading, $1 for each additional question.
Spirit Guide Reading
A 5 card spread on your spirit guide. $5 a reading, $1 for additional questions.
Self Love Spread
Six card spread on your blockages and how to love yourself. $5 a reading, $1 for additional questions.
A spread that you choose and send me. $1 per card.
Birth Chart Reading
$10 a reading. Send me your birth date, time, and place. If you're uncomfortable sending me this information, then use astro.com and send me your chart.
Methods of Payment and Contact
Feel free to dm me or email me at email@example.com. I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Reblogs are welcome!
my grandma is the sweetest, she got me these stones :)
Hi! I've recently come back to this blog and after unfollowing all the inactive people I've been left with a very bare dash! I'm looking for more witch-y type blogs to follow :-)
A bit about myself, I'm Heddwynn! I'm a 22 year old Cornish Witch that works with and worships the Theoi/Greek Pantheon...which also makes me a Hellenic Polytheist! I work most strongly with Hera, Dionysus and Hestia, but I do worship and give offerings to the whole Pantheon. At the moment I mainly practice divination and make some protective charms for friends.
I'm non-binary, queer and use they/xe pronouns!
Please reblog if/like/let me know if you're in a similar vein! Witchy of any variety, a hellenic polytheist, work a lot with tarot! I'm just looking for friends or blogs to follow :-)
Fortune Tellers' tables in fiction: round, one table cloth, a single crystal sphere
Fortune Tellers' tables in real life: candles, random items everywhere, cards falling around while shuffling and oh my goddess did I just drop my herbs everywhere again-
Sometimes I go through the "fück this life" moment when I just pick up what makes me happy and turn it into my own little ritual.
1. I light candles for myself, my close family, my cat, my friends, my ancestors, my spirit tribe, my deities, and for the land I live on and was born on. Yes, even for those who pissed me off, so I can complain directly to their flame.
2. I burn whatever my heart desires, but usually it's bay leaves, lavender, frankincense, anise, myrrh.
3. I sit at my altar and start venting/sharing my struggle.
4. I either cry or get angry. Or both.
5. I turn on the music and start dancing until I'm gasping for air.
6. I lay down, stare at the ceiling and start blabbering nonsense. Usually, I channel messages for myself during this state, without even realising. I just talk out whatever comes to mind.
7. I'm tired, so I thank everyone (through their candles) for being here with and for me.
If anyone wants to share their own "fück it all" ritual, please share.
I bought a Cricut Maker and this was the first t-shirt I made 🥰
Recommended tarot cards to place on your New Moon in Taurus altar:
🔮Nine of Pentacles
🔮the Wheel of Fortune
🔮Ace of Pentacles
🔮Six of Wands
🔮Four of Wands
These cards represent aspects of attracting material comfort, wealth, financial security, stable & abundant income, luxury living, prosperity, recognition, celebration, and "the good life". As Taurus is an Earth sign that focuses on our human needs and happiness in the physical realm, these symbols will draw in positive energy to obtain these blessings.
is perceptioncore gonna be a thing? who knows, but im trying my best to get the word out.
things that are definitely perceptioncore-
•carrying around a sketchbook to fill with your thoughts about the world
•being an “old soul”
•loving activities that let you express your creativity
•in the past being an obedient kid who always followed rules, but now seeing the world for what it really is
•folklore, tons of folklore
•always feeling like the world is either moving too slowly or quickly, never at the right speed
•learning to accept your emotions and feelings
•wanting new books, but you haven’t read the ones you already have
•being not super into politics, but knowing enough to start an argument at thanksgiving
•you’re probably in the lgbtq+ community (but allies are welcome too!)
•also probably into vampires/werewolves (who isn’t?)
•preference for dark and dull colors
•the moon is very pretty
•the thought of afterlife is both terrifying and intriguing
Simple Spell Jar for Focus
a small jar
a white candle
pen and paper
celery seed or celery salt
Light the candle
Create a sigil, charge by burning it. Drop the ashes in the jar
Add the crystals and herbs
Seal the jar with wax
💗💗abundant energy only please💗💗
💵take your desperation and “not enough” patterning somewhere else
🧚🏼♀️the only person i intend on saving in this life is myself
⚡️every human has free will and it is not my job to choose anyone else’s path for them
🦈i am not helping you by doing the hard work for you, i am robbing you of the chance for growth while calling it charity. i am encouraging you to become codependent on me in order to coddle my ego
🐡no more hand outs please. they are not from me or for me
On the worktable today...adding a light...