BOOK I: WOLGAST CASTLE
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I have failed.
The earlier outside rhythmic pounding—workers nailing my platform—no longer reverberates inside this witch tower.
But I still have tonight to succeed.
Criers announced the event. “Tomorrow, the burning of Sidonia the Sorceress, Lady Sidonia von Bork.”
Hordes of humans will crowd into the town square, anticipating the entertainment during this otherwise cold and boring spring. Each adult and child is imagining the future events differently, but with enough similarity to bring my death.
I don’t want to die. Not yet.
Not if my death might allow Annihilation. Not only of every human, but every being’s death. Not only the death of every living thing. Every world will explode like fireworks and shrivel into ash. The ash into nothingness.
I thought I could prevent Annihilation.
“You still can.” The lion-like being perched on one of the barred, ceiling windows folds its paws together, mimicking the human praying action.
Yes, I could change shape and escape. But, such an action would prove beyond a doubt that “witches” do exist and cause our breed increasing harm—if anyone survived. And more would die by humans burning humans in the erroneous belief that they are witches.
The daemons would see to that. Daemons desire only one thing: human annihilation.
I believe human extinction is the fuse of total destruction. Daemons believe I am wrong.
But because of the One Law: Harm No Other Being only humans are allowed to kill humans.
What chicanery the various layers of daemon society have originated over the human ages: a small strife between two people through wars among tribes, nations, and now religions.
The daemons’ manipulation of the witch idea started by infecting only two persons’ thoughts, yet these thoughts have killed hundreds, if not thousands, and may have snagged the daemons’ worst enemy: me.
Daemons whispered to Heinrich Kramer. He wrote them as a book, “Hammer of the Witches,” the book that gave words to the witch craze.
Daemons murmured in the ear of a little boy, Giovanni Battista Cybo, later Pope Innocent VIII, who was far from innocent. He issued a papal letter, called a papal bull, with the innocuous title Desiring with Supreme Ardor. By its words, it creates hatred to kill other humans
Ah, what delicious irony! Daemons used the humans’ fear of their existence to kill other humans.
I must admire the daemons’ finesse. Not only did they create hatred of witches, they forbid humans from using every being’s natural ability. Humans were no longer allowed to create with thoughts alone.
The bull-like being on the other side of the upper window snorts.
His air blow causes shivers up my spine and strengthens my already strong will, my desire for action.
I do a coranto across the straw-strewn floor. As I leap forward onto my left foot, I fly up and tag him.
But my lift is no longer strong. I stumble, slam into the door, and grasp the cold, iron bars.
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SIDONIA the SORCERESS
Book I: Wolgast Castle