Alice Deane had never met Tom Ward by Kody Reavis

It was nearing the end of a chilly morning. My apprentice, Mr. Ward, and I, had finished
a somewhat decent breakfast at the expense of the boggart that shared our occupancy within my
homestead. I had just sent the lad out with a silver coin to return from the nearby village with the
week’s provisions after having thoroughly warned him of the possible encounters with women.
There was no doubt he’d inevitably soon learn to be prepared for such occasions during his
training.
Though I found the boy was surprisingly going to be easy to learn to trust with my life
one day, there was always something I trusted far more than any one person- my instincts. When
it came to my senses, my age usually defined the preciseness of its abilities, usually feeling them
waning with time, but at that moment there was an undeniable strength in the urge to remain
close to Tom as he completed his deeds for the day. I couldn’t shake the importance, as though it
were going to be a monumental day that could alter the course of the future forever. I had to
make sure the lad made it back safe… So, I did.
As a Spook, I wore my usual black cloak and tightly held my staff made of rowan wood.
I was very careful to bring along the necessary tools that would prove useful when dealing with
the dark, such as my silver chain, silver infused dagger, and pouch of salt and iron. Keeping my
distance as to not give away my presence to anyone in town, I simply kept still within a patch of
trees, watching as Tom stood his ground some distance ahead of my position. He was surrounded
by a few troublesome local boys trying to obtain a portion of the provisions for themselves.
Although I was a tad too far to make out what any of the boys were saying, it seemed Mr. Ward
wasn’t cooperating in the slightest to any of their demands.
I was hoping I could proceed a couple steps closer through the grass, but I felt a presence
take those steps for me just to my left. I kept still, waiting as a thin figure of a young girl with
long, black hair, and a black dress with a white string tied at the waist, made her way with
absolute silence and confidence towards the group of boys. The sight of her pointy shoes sparked
a flame that shot up through my chest. My body reacted before I could consider the possible
scenarios that would’ve come to pass had I not intervened at that crucial moment; the instance of
which Tom and the others would have come face to face with the witch.
Coiling my silver chain around my left wrist, I wasted no time casting the metal snare.
The chain lurched with a desperate, though powerful, force that fell from above to encircle and
tightly bind my enemy. I managed to succeed with a proper spread of the silver wrapped around
her body, even covering her mouth. There was no possibility of malevolent spells or profanities
to be weaponized against me. The girl fought and shook to break free to no avail. To my
astonishment, her eyes were bloodshot and locked wide open, filled with pure fury. I looked
forward at Tom to see what had transpired during the moment of action. The local boys were
running off with numerous foods, laughing and likely making fowl comments about Mr. Ward.
He was propping himself back to his feet from the dirt, collecting the remains of a ripped, near
empty sack. I felt for the lad, but he was stubborn, and life has a way of punishing those with
high values.
I knew I had to finish my duty and find a special place to keep the newly bound witch.
Carrying her up the hill unseen proved to be a difficult chore of my own. It was important to me
that Tom would never find out about the brief interaction. Such a first impression of a girl his
age full of deceit and darkness could have been detrimental to his apprenticeship… or even fatal.
And thus, Thomas J. Ward had never met Alice Deane, the powerful youthful witch who
would’ve become a key ally in his fight against the dark, and a cindering bond of love.

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