The Familiar Faery by D.Elliott
My name is Saul Pilkinghorne, I investigate the claims of injury & fraud by witchcraft. I work for the Church in Rome & have been given a special vocation; that of inquisitor, also known as a demonologist & judge .
I had been called to a small town because of the strange incidents that had started happening there. The reports began with families who had had their horses stolen in the middle of the night & found the next morning ridden to their death. Other families had members who were all falling ill to a sleeping sickness that they were not waking up from. There were even more reports from families that the children were seeing a faery creature around babes heads that no adult could see.
I had been to this town before to watch over a trial of a woman who had been charged with being a witch. She had been acquitted through lack of evidence & I remember the townsfolk being agitated at the outcome. I had found her to be a strange woman, a loner with little respect for the Word of the Lord, a follower of pagan ways.
Her crime had been to con the townsfolk into purchasing her strange remedies for ill health & invocations for various whims & hopes, enchantments & such like. All of them had turned out to be fake concoctions & naturally the people duped had wanted compensation.
As I say she had proven innocent but here I was returning to a town that were once again bringing the same charges against her.
They believed she was responsible through witchcraft for the horse thefts & the sleeping people & was also in league with the faery. I could see their reasoning; each family that had been afflicted had been one of the many that had brought charges against her as a witch before.
The townsfolk were wanting to blame her but as yet I had no evidence. I tried to visit her but no-one had actually seen her in a long time. After some investigations I began to wonder if she was still alive for she had not been seen for over a year. I knew the local folk feared her as much as they hated her. Now I realised the townsfolk had taken the Scripture too literally & were refusing to accept her.
‘Thou shalt not suffer a witch!' the local magistrate quoted at me.
"So you drove her out of town!" I was bewildered.
“It was many years ago...” the magistrate began.
"Three," I confirmed.
“Three years to cohort with the devil," said the priest of the town. He was pale & old.
"You have to stop her before she attacks other families!” the magistrate almost seemed to be pleading.
“ I cannot find her,” I told him. "How many other families do you feel are at risk from her?”
“There are ten others that also brought charges against her before,” then as an after thought the magistrate added. “Do you think we should put guards with them?”
“Guards?” I almost laughed. “Against witchcraft?”
The priest began to recite the Lord's Prayer. The magistrate took me aside.
“I hear tale that she flies about in the full moon,” he whispered. I nodded & left. The woman had indeed put fear & suspicion into all.
As I said I searched the countryside for her but she was nowhere to be seen. No-one had seen her anywhere & so I decided to return to the town one evening. As the sun set I decided to pray whilst the horse plodded & I asked the Lord for guidance to the true culprit of these crimes.
Night fell & the dim lights of the town twinkled far in the distance. Slowly the full moon rose bringing the magical silver light to the land. We had entered a small woodland which darkened our passage. I was relieved when we broke the cover of the trees, my steed was not. He whinnied & I tried soothing him with a hand on his neck. I saw his ears go back & felt his muscles tense.
I looked up & there on the hilltop in front of us I could see a distinct silhouette of a person. It was the woman they called a witch. She had her back to us as she pranced on top of the hill in the moonlight. Beside her danced the tiniest being i had ever seen. It stood up to her calf & flittered about, dancing & skipping with wings that lifted it up into the air. From afar I could not tell the gender of the delicate creature but it wore loose clothing & its hair was wild with the tops of pointy ears poking out.
I was to discover later that the reason I could see the faery familiar of the witch was because of the moonlight rays that bathed it. Any other time I would have been blind to it. This would be deemed a criminal act, a witch cohorting with demon creatures.
Just as I thought this the faery creature sniffed the air then turned around & looked directly at us. My horse reared up & I was thrown as it bolted.
As I got to my feet I saw the familiar faery take to the air & speed after it. It caught my horse & grabbed it by the mane before throwing itself onto its back.
I could hear the faery screaming with glee as my horse screamed with fear & the witch screamed with rage. The witch lifted her hand & began to recite what I presumed was a spell then suddenly she noticed me standing at the bottom of the hill. She turned & and ran the other way. I immediately set off up the hill but by the time I had got to the top she had disappeared.
I looked back over the land & could see my horse galloping through the fields. The faery rode majestically on its back as the horse panicked beneath it. The faery had turned its head & I could see they were heading up the hill. I could hear my horses fast hooves as I ran behind a bush.
The faery yelled faery words & I heard the horse scream as it was bought to an abrupt halt just a few feet from my hiding place. I could hear my horse breath heavily as the faery called out in it's strange tongue.
I jumped out from the bush & up onto my horse grabbing the faery with both hands. The horse already scared out of its wits began to bolt but I am a trained horseman & held with my legs. It was not easy calming a startled horse & holding onto a spiteful faery at the same time.
With it captured in my bell jar I got a close look. Though delicate it was a fierce creature. My arms & fingers were bruised from its kicks & punches as I had struggled to capture it. It's skin was green but almost translucent, its eyes were dark balls, no white at all. Black beads that stared furiously at me. It's fine transparent wings fluttered wildly in frustration. It would not stop throwing itself against the glass & buzzed constantly as its wings fluttered.
I now had my evidence. I woke the magistrate & priest & told them to meet me in the chapel. I went back & checked on the taery. I was now getting concerned about it. It looked weak & battered. It was pounding the glass with its fists as it lay on the bottom. I immediately opened the jar but it did not attempt to escape. Its breathing was irregular & its eyes full of tears.
“What can I do to save you?” I asked.
“Take me back to my mistress,” it said softly.
“I do not know where she is,” I confessed.
The faery rolled its eyes & laid its head back on the glass. My heart was pounding. I had never seen such a creature & now I felt responsible for its physical state.
“Tell me who or what you are,” I asked.
The faery looked up at me. “Not your sort.”
I t s voice was no longer soft but cut through me like a septic knife, It spat at me, tiny spittle but that took its energy & it crumpled into a foetal position.
I carried the motionless creature down to the chapel to show to the magistrate & priest. They stared in almost disbelief at the now dead faery. It's eyes were open but rock hard blackness. Its limbs hung loose, it's hair now coarse & dry.
“It is a doll,” the magistrate exclaimed.
I tried to convince him otherwise as I watched the priest cross himself.
“It is not of this world,” the priest mumbled.
“What of the witch?” the magistrate asked.
“I do not know,” I shook my head, unable to take my eyes off the dead creature which was losing colour fast. It was withered now, no longer a beautiful magical creature but a limp bag of skin & bones.
“It is decomposing before our very eyes,” the priest exclaimed.
“It's it because it is evil in the Lord's house?” asked the magistrate.
The priest was telling him yes but I was not so sure. I heard tale that familiars of witches had a special relationship. They were linked in a psychic way & I wondered if maybe that was what was killing the faery. Maybe the witch had broken the link. Familiars were used to dispatch to bewitch people yet this faery had ran off of its own accord. Maybe they were not linked at all.
The magistrate woke the guards up & sent them out to look for the witch. They came back a few hours later adamant she was not in the land. By this time neither was the faery. It's body had dissolved into dust that had then blown away before any of us could collect it.
I spent the day blessing the doors & gates of the town for the folk, it made them feel at ease. I stayed in town for the next week by the end of which I was adamant my work was done for no more incidents occurred; no horses were stolen, no more sleeping sickness, in fact the surviving victims of the disease were waking up, & children no longer saw a faery round the babes. Soon the towns way of life fell back into its regular path. The faery & the witch became folk tale & I travelled onto my next calling-a witch & her cat were causing trouble in another town.