..How would you define darkness? Is it too many shadows or just lack of visible light? ….
The Gravel Forest is usually a very dim place. Soaring pine trees seem to reach the holy heights of heaven, leaving hell by its heels. I haven’t eaten anything for two days, but I was not even hungry. I had to go just a little bit faster. Arriving at that place after dark would be suicide.
White’s witch shed was almost at visible distance. The path is usually easy to find if she wants you to find it. The bright white light gleamed through the windows, leaving all life around the hut crawling away half blind, but for me the light was the guide that led me closer and closer to the door.
Once I entered the hut, the light become unbearable. The walls were soaked with lucid spirit reflected from an object standing in the middle of the room; an enormous golden bath. She was half submerged in rainbow colored liquid, half turned away from me.
“Finally, what took you so long….” her voice sounded like early spring breeze, soothing and soft yet cold as ice.
“You know why I am here so just tell me your price.” She started to laugh. The soft sound of thousands of crystal bells filled the room but she didn’t turn towards me.
“Well ..oh..well… You know my price already. But my dear that’s the problem you’ve hardly got any soul left, you see?” She took a white, gleaming soap and started to foam it along her forearm.
“I will give you half of my heart.” She stopped lathering her skin, put the soap aside and she finally turned towards me. Her long silver hair framed her strangely beautiful face, or at least half of it. The other half was missing.
“You’ve got my attention now. But why would you want that Balm so badly? If you give me your whole heart I can save your sister. You know I could. The inquisitors are going to burn her tomorrow morning at the stake. She will be screaming like a jabbed pig when the flames of the holy fire will start burning her body to ashes.”
Her voice didn’t sound like bells anymore. It sounded like glass shards piercing through my body.
She started to laugh again. “Or are you really planning to do nothing to stop it?”
“Shut up! Half of the heart won’t be enough right? To fix what once used to be pretty face of yours. I will give you half of my heart for the Balm of Gilead. You go and get the other half wherever you want.”
She stopped to laugh and gave me annoyed gaze, but soon after she calmed down. “You are not as entertaining as you used to be. Oh well…There is not much left on you that would be worth something but I will settle for the half of your heart…”
When I left the witch it was almost morning. I wrapped the Balm of Gillead in a piece of old fabric and put it my bag. On my way out of the forest I saw a column of smoke rising from the City. It was the inquisitor’s stake. Even though I had nothing to gain from sitting down and watching. I did. I felt burning pain filling my whole body. I stayed there until the last fire burnt out. Then I took my horse and went north to the Purple Woods to meet the Demon spirit of a Crimson Dawn.
..to be continued.