It was common knowledge amongst witches that the more curses and malevolent magic you performed, the more deformed you became. Warts, crooked nose, greenish skin, creaky voice, hunched back, etc. There were no laws against casting curses and hexes, you would just have to bear the mark of your magic for the rest of your days.
When I saw old Agatha for the first time, I felt what mortals felt about witches. Cold and unyielding fear. She was covered with warts, on her face, her arms, even her neck. They spread across her body for what seemed like forever, she was as spotted as a cheetah. I thought she must be very cruel and spiteful and I did my best to avoid her.
What peaked my curiosity was how unashamed she was. She wore clothes that revealed her shoulders, didn’t bother with a wide hat or closk to hide her face. Wherever she went she stood tall and with what I thought was pride. How could one be so proud of so much malicious magic?
Then I learned her story. Agatha was a lesbian with dark skin. Paired with witchcraft it made her the perfect target for hatred and she had received her fair share. But it wasn’t until ten years ago that she started casting curses. She had witnessed a friend of hers be murdered in the street. And despite her testimony the murderer went free. She was younger and less aware of the world. So she did her research.
The more cases she read, the more victims left without justice, and the more criminals who walked free fueled her burning rage. And she decided that enough was enough. And so case by case she worked. She would find her way to the criminal and without hesitation she curse them in the way she felt was right.
Rapists found their genitals whithered and their bodies infertile. Murders found themselves crippled or bed ridden until they died. Homophobes and hate crimes were cursed with isolation and misfortune. Thieves found themselves broke. And abusers became weak and brittle having all their pain inflicted at once.
Oh yes agatha was very spiteful. But in my mind she was far from cruel.