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  • Ryan Havdala

Hagmother Neb

The witches of Delrii commanded great respect for many centuries. They could wield terrible power, and their alignments were often fickle. More than one ruler in history had met their end after scorning a witch, and no amount of men under his command could protect him. On the other side of the coin though, witches could provide great power by divining the secrets of one’s enemies or by making or breaking the most resilient curses. Hagmother Neb in particular had a couple of stories told about her exploits, like how she broke the curse on King Laer’s daughter that had transformed her into a mouse, yet turned the same princess back into a mouse when she failed to receive an invite to her wedding to the Prince of a neighboring kingdom. It was mid-wedding. She appeared in a puff of smoke as the officiant asked if anyone had reason to object. It was one of the most exciting royal weddings of the century, even if it didn’t end in a marriage.

As the decades passed, though, witches commanded less and less respect. The wide accessibility of scrying meant that one didn’t need to travel to the witches' hovel at the heart of the woods for valuable information. And the curse-care industry had largely been co-opted by board-certified performers of hexectomy. But most witches stuck stubbornly to their tradition, Neb notwithstanding, and began to fade in relevance. But when the Devourers saw to the end of the scrying networks and the curse clinics, the survivors of the world found themselves again reliant upon the good will of witches. And the witches continued their work as if nothing had changed. They were an integral part of the world, whether cities existed or not, and they knew it. In retrospect, one can’t help but wonder if the lack of concern the witches felt as Artifice made them less noteworthy could be attributed to their superior divination. Maybe they knew the Devourers were coming and had no reason to fear, knowing they would soon be important again. But to suggest that the witches were complicit, or that they possibly had a hand in the arrival of the Devourers is to bring certain doom down upon oneself for the witches will not abide the scorn of lesser beings.


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