Seek us at the Crossroads

Ah, hello there. Lovely day for it, isn't it?

…You're scared. I can taste it on you. Nevertheless, I applaud your courage. Would you like to hear a story?

Once upon a time-That sounds nice, doesn't it? I always loved stories that start with once upon a time.

Ahem.

Once upon a time, in a forgotten little village scattered somewhere among the wild moors of England, there lived a woman.

She was kind and beautiful and loving beyond compare. Everyone who knew her loved and admired her greatly, without any hint of jealously. Her status as a maiden was one of curiosity, and frequently gossiped about around tavern fires and mugs of ale. Men and women alike wondered who would have the honor of making her their bride.

That is, until one day she went along and got herself pregnant out of wedlock, the silly woman.

In a single instant, all those who loved her turned their backs on her. Those who before held her in the highest esteem now called her names like 'whore' and 'harlot'. She even went to the father of her child, a wealthy man of the village, begging him to take her in. But he merely sneered at her, and threatened to loose his hounds if she did not leave at once.

What could she have done? Leaving was her only option. But in a time like that, a single woman on her own, never mind a single pregnant woman would not survive on her own. No one would help and invite judgement upon themselves. She'd be dead in a matter of days.

She certainly came close to it. Wandered the wilds, stomach twisting itself in hunger pains, mouth crying out for water, death was only a footstep away.

Until she found it. The crossroads.

Not all crossroads are magical, of course. Just throwing one road on top of another doesn't give you power. It comes from the ley-lines. Lines of mystical power running across the lands. Where two or more touch, a well of magical energy is created. Those with the know-how can extract that energy, pass it on to someone else.

A handsome stranger was already at the crossroads, as if he knew a desperate soul would wander by looking for help. The night was eerily silent. There were no wolves howling in the forests, or bats flying through the moonless sky. The world was holding its breath.

The woman knew of monsters. She had heard all sorts of stories about the dark and unknowable things that lurked just outside of human comprehension. She knew she couldn't trust that enigmatic stranger with the mismatched eyes who appeared to her. But he was so charming, his voice so musical. He gently took her hand and washed away all the struggles and the pain and the heartbreak of the betrayal of her family.

Then, in a soft, kind voice, he asked her how she would like to have the power to ensure no one could ever hurt her again.

From that day, the scared little peasant woman who was driven away from all she had ever known was dead, and what emerged was someone else. Someone that held the world's heart within the palm of her hand. Someone that could raise up mountains and bring down the full fury of the storm. All who beheld her trembled with awe, and knew they were witnessing a goddess of the wilds.

That little village in Cornwall, where the inhabitants exiled one of their own- you won't find it on a map, or find even a splinter of it where it used to remain. I believe the official theory was that it fell to disease, and the remaining villagers were forced to burn it.

From a simple peasant girl to a transcendent force, all in a single instant. All through the power of the crossroads.

How does it work? Magic, of course.

…You're laughing. Really? Of course, how silly to think that something like magic could possibly exist.

Magic is simply an alternative form of energy. There's no eye of newt, or toe of frog like those twits running around in robes and waving around sticks would have you believe. The art of sorcery is finding that source, and learning how to tap into it.

But it can be tricky. Magic doesn't lend itself to everyone. Scores upon scores of seekers have spent their whole lives questing for it, only to die tasting just the merest hint of it on their lips.

You could try it the "traditional" way. Years of intensive study. Waste away precious moments of your life deciphering dusty old tomes. Beg a sorcerer to take you under their wing in exchange for working you to the bone. If you're lucky, you might be able to light a candle or pull a rabbit out of your hat. Or you could take the smart way.

All the great sorcerers have only had a few drops of magical potential, yet they could part seas and tear down mountains. Imagine what you could do with the full force of a ley-line running through your veins.



…For a price, of course. You didn't think it was free, did you?

In return for the type of magical power that would let you rearrange the cosmos, I'd just need one tiny, unimportant, minuscule thing- your soul.

What's one tiny, inconsequential soul compared to all the power you could want?

Hmm?

Oh, the girl. No, she didn't trade away her soul. Fortunately for her, she had something much more interesting that the stranger wanted.

Yes, her child. In exchange for power, she gave up the one thing she had left in her life. It's not like it would've lived for particularly long, anyhow. A single mother on her own in those times? It'd be dead in a week. The stranger did her a favor, as far as I'm concerned.

What did he do with the child? Well, that's a riddle for the ages. No one ever saw the stranger again, or the child. I'm sure people have come to their own conclusions on the matter.

But enough talk. You've sought out the crossroads, made a blood sacrifice to conjure a demon. It'd be a shame to come all this way for nothing.

All you would have to say is yes…


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