The Witch of Stroma

“Who are you?” William said. The woman squinted and replied “I am the baroness.” William drew breath sharply. William scowled “And you make a habit of frequenting the bed chambers of men who are not your husband!?” The Baroness stood perfectly still and replied “No. I do not. Men are savage animals to be avoided at all costs. That being said, I bear no ill-will to you presently and I have come to save your life. Tomorrow, as the tide turns favorable, Captain Garbhan will prepare his ship to cross the Firth back to Caithness. If you value your life, be on that ship. Go to your homeland, marry some other girl of your choosing there, and never return to this place.”

William scowled “What? No, I did not come all this way to go back empty handed.” The baroness approached and William held out the dagger. Something felt strange about this odd woman. She seemed to have the brazen sense of a prostitute who does not blush at the sight of a nude man and yet an air of confidence about herself as though she stood there as a man herself. The baroness replied “Fear not returning empty-handed. I warn this night so that you still live to return at all.” William swallowed hard and brandished out his dagger “Not a step closer!” He commanded at her. She stopped and looked at him closely. From her black expanse of cloth, she produced something which glinted lightly like a small rod of metal in the orange glow of the dying fire. Suddenly a flash of orange burst forth from it and the sound of a great wind all compressed into one tiny spot came. A flash of pain hit William’s hand and his dagger flew out of his grasp and clattered to the far side of the room.

William began to shout, but the baroness said “Yes, bring the whole castle down upon us now. I’m sure you will have a wonderful time explaining your nakedness in my presence to the baron.” This shut William’s mouth and he contorted his face at her in shock and anger. “That’s better.” The baroness said with an air of menace in her voice “I do not take kindly to being threatened, especially not by a man waving about a sharpened piece of iron. Now, you have my warning and it is the only one you shall receive. I am a busy woman and I do not have time to stay. Leave tomorrow or wish you had.” William shivered in terror. The baroness turned to leave and he whispered hoarsely at her “Witchcraft! A witch! A real witch!” She turned back at him and smiled lightly “You say that as though I care what you think of me.” She turned back to walk away. William righted himself and a thought struck him.

“Did you kill my squire?” He said to her. She spun around and shot him a confused look for a second, before her face fell back to bitter apathy “Before you ask such a stupid question ask yourself this. Why on Earth would I want your squire dead?” William thought for a second and she continued “The moon killed your squire.” William’s mouth fell open.

How the hell did the moon kill his squire?

He stood there gaping in shock at her as she calmly walked away but not to the door. She walked up to a flat of the wall and pressed a tapestry away. She held her hand against the wall and moved it along the flat wall. William heard something metal clank and she pushed the wall open revealing a secret doorway. “Sleep well Sir Brodie, tomorrow you return back to where you belong and you forget this place.”

She stepped into the hidden door and closed it behind her.

William quickly pulled on his underwear and retrieved his dagger. A small dent rested in the upper handle where-in a flattened piece of lead lay embedded. The weapon, as a whole, still seemed quite functional. William raced at the very wall the baroness had just passed through and pressed upon it with all his might, but it could not be forced open. He ran his hand over the exact spot she had just placed her own, but nothing happened. He felt about and found the secret seam of the door and ran his blade along it but accomplished nothing by this task. Finally, exhausted and defeated he collapsed back into the bed for the remainder of the night filled with dark and troubled sleep.”

Synopsis
Sir William Brodie’s thirteenth century quest for Baron Chuthak’s daughter hits a snag when the girl of his dreams turns out to be a fiend from his nightmares. William is forced to rely on the ominous 'witch' Lexi, a mysterious woman who has harnessed technology in ways beyond even the wildest imagination. William learns both of Lexi's true power as well as her demons in his desperate bid to free both her and himself.
I keep a pretty simple rule on writing. I only write it if its fun to write and interesting to read