A Witch’s Tale
-dedicated to my sister that gave me so much support, and who is so madly in love with Shinya, VanillaMint and all of the Jrock fans out there!! ^^ This fic is based on a book called,’ The Witches of Pendle’ by Rowena Akinyemi. I changed the story here and there a little bit…^^ Enjoy!-
1634. Spring arrives, but it’s not difference to those who are locked up in the prison of Geist Castle. No windows, no beds, no chairs, and very little food. The people, who were mostly women, sat on the cold, hard floor, wanting to go home at leave that place. Once in a while, the guards open the door to put down some food and water and close it again.
How do I know so much? That’s because I’m one of those people that are locked up in the prison. Why am I here? I’ll tell you later. Day after day, I sit on the cold floor, thinking of home, going back to the only people that loved me. Sometimes tears fill my eyes, but I blink them back, reminding myself that I have to be strong to survive.
My name is Terachi Shinya. Even I’m not sure the true reason why I’m here. Maybe the same reason everyone else in this prison. Because some fools think that I’m a witch.
I heaved a sigh, leaning my head againts the cool wall. I closed my eyes, remembering what Kamijo-san, from the church near White Village, told me. He assured me that he believed that I was innocent, and he told me that the boy that put us all here was to be questioned by the judge when they reached the city. The boy had told some people that he had seen us at Gray Stones, attending a witch’s council. Of course, that was only true for those who are witches, so it’s not true for me. I’m not a witch, and I’ll repeat that statement over and over again to prove my point.
My heart filled with worry, thinking what the boy might tell the judge. The truth, or will he tell more lies?
But now, I’m ready to tell my story. About rich men, children, villagers and of course, witches. This happened to me, and I would like to share it.
I was born in 1603. My family was very poor, and when my father died, we were even poorer. To make matters worse, I was always sick. Spring, summer, winter, fall, I was very weak, and very ill.
I lived with my family in a house named Malice Tower, near a village named Black Walls. Malice Tower was an old, dirty place. Rain came in through the windows and we didn’t have a door. Perhaps the only thing that I liked about Malice Tower was the fact that it faced a beautiful hill, Sakura Hill. On top of the hill, there was an old sakura tree that someone had planted there a long time ago. Every time I look out to the hill, I feel like it’s protecting me from the strong winds that come from that direction.
Maybe I should explain about my family before I go on any longer. I have a mother, but she is actually a he, named Mana. He prefers to be referred to as a woman, don’t ask me why. Also living with us, was Mana’s older brother, Gackt. He’s normal enough, just quite pale and scary. You could never guess what was in his mind. I had two older brothers, Kaoru and Toshiya. Kaoru was often mistaken as a girl, probably because of his long, flowing black hair. Toshiya was… dumb. He just sits in one place and repeats words over and over again. I, on the other hand, always dressed up in girl’s clothes, because mother had told me to. Saying no to mother was impossible, especially for a boy my age. So I followed his wishes and now the villagers seriously think that I’m a girl.
Anyway, my life started to change when I was about 10 years old, during the month of March in 1612. Mother and Gackt were sitting in front of the fire with their dogs, talking about something, and Toshiya was sitting in a corner, fidgeting with his fingers.
“I want bread. Go find bread,” he whined.
Kaoru instantly got up, and taking a coat and slipping on a pair of old shoes, he ran out. I followed him.
“Nii-chan! Wait!” I called out to him. He cast me an annoyed look.
“Go back, Shinya. I don’t need you. I have my dog here, so go away,” he told me in an irritated tone.
I looked at his dog by his feet. I didn’t like the dog, for it was too big and always hungry. It often took my share of food, leaving me with very little food to eat.
I followed my brother anyway. He sighed and murmured something about stubborness. He walked fast, and I quickened my steps to catch up with him. We almost arrived near a river when we met Kozi, a pedlar that travelled from village to village, selling things to the villagers. He spotted us and quickened his pace. Kaoru and I caught up to him, and Kaoru tugged at his sleeve.
“ Please, Kozi-san. Will you give me some money? My family is starving, for we have nothing to eat,” my brother pleaded.
“Go away, leave me alone! Why should I give money to people like you? It’s only better if people like you cease to exist,” he scorned at us.
“Give. Me. Some. Money.” Kaoru said through gritted teeth.
“Never. You’re a bad family, you Camui’s. Your father was a bad man as well. Go back to that dirty, ugly family of yours,” he said, sneering.
“Don’t talk about my family that way, Kozi. You’ll be sorry, mark my words. Go dog! After him!” Kaoru yelled.
His dog ran towards Kozi, causing him to run away, dodging the dog.
“Call back your dog, you – “ his words died at his lips when he suddenly fell to the ground, immobile.
I glanced at Kaoru. I’ve never seen him look so calm. The gleam in his eyes gave me goosebumps. He looked at Kozi’s unmoving figure on the ground and then turned to me.
“Go call some people from the village. Be quick.” He ordered.
I took off towards the village, telling them about Kozi when I arrived. Several villagers followed me back to where Kaoru was standing. I went over and joined him. The doctor examined Kozi, telling the others the he was alive, but very ill. He looked at Kaoru when he said this.
“That Camui… she’s a witch! She cursed me, she wanted me to die!” Kozi choked out.
“Oh, please. I just asked for some money, that’s all. And I’m not a girl,” Kaoru said, crossing his arms.
“You expect us to believe that, witch? Go away, our village doesn’t need people like you!” they yelled at us angrily, carrying Kozi back to the village.
I could see how angry Kaoru was. He balled his hands into fists and walked off angrily, his long hair flowing behind him. I followed him back, hungry and angry. I was still too young for this. I was angry because Kozi was ill, I was angry because the villagers hated us, and I was angry because my brother was a witch.
Two weeks after that, Kaoru was called by Hayashi Yoshiki. Kozi’s son accused him of causing his father to fall ill, and Yoshiki wanted to see Kaoru as soon as possible. Hayashi Yoshiki was a very important man. He lived in White Village, not too far from Black Walls. The name of his house was Mirror Hall. He was considered the judge of the area, everyone came to him with their problems, and he tried to solve them as best as he could.
I followed mother, Kaoru and Toshiya to White Village. Gackt was left behind to guard the house, and I wouldn’t risk staying in the same room with him alone, it was too dangerous. Sure, he looked harmless, but mother once told me that he was more violent than he looked.
When we reached Mirror Hall, I realised the reason the place was called Mirror Hall. There were glass windows all around the house, and when we went in, there were mirrors along the walls. It was a beautiful place, I never wanted to leave it.
Two men escorted us into a room, where a kind-looking, handsome man was waiting. This must be Hayashi Yoshiki. He looked up from his paperwork and smiled at us. I felt a chill, and shivered. He noticed because he smiled at me and told me to go sit near the fire. I gratefully did, holding out my hands to the warm fire.
I stole a glance at Kaoru who was standing in front of Yoshiki. He had pulled his hair into a long ponytail and looked at Yoshiki, waiting for him to talk.
“Two weeks ago, do you recall meeting the pedlar, Kozi-san near the river?” he started, looking at Kaoru.
“Can you tell me about it?” Yoshiki asked slowly.
“Well, I was just looking for some food, and I met him. I asked him for some money, which he didn’t give me. Instead, he started saying bad things about me and my family. So I got angry. So I cursed him. So I’m sorry he’s sick,” Kaoru replied tonelessly.
“Did you wish for him to die?” Yoshiki asked again.
“Naturally. Who wouldn’t?” Kaoru answered.
“Nice attitude you got there. Can you tell me about your dog?” Yoshiki asked.
“That dog is my friend. I found him a few months ago, and even Gackt likes him,” my brother replied.
“Did your dog run after the pedlar?”
“Like, no duh,”
Silence filled the air. I never thought that my brother could be so defiant at times like this. I turned towards the fire again, but I turned around again when I heard Yoshiki call Toshiya in.
Toshiya walked in, scratching his head. He’s very sensitive, and very easily scared. The moment he saw Yoshiki looking at him, he burst into tears.
“Now, now. Don’t cry, I just want to ask you some questions about your mother’s brother, Gackt,” Yoshiki said in a comforting tone.
Toshiya stopped crying and sniffled. Kaoru came to his rescue.
“My brother doesn’t know much about Gackt. Let me tell you. We always go around looking for food, and sometimes we ask for food from people.” He paused. “Gackt cursed a child once,” he said quietly.
“Well, so did you! I found out!” Toshiya suddenly cried out, giggling hysterically.
“Quiet, please. Kaoru-san, is this true?” Yoshiki asked.
“What do you think, Hayashi-san? Of course it’s true, I cursed a child once. The little thing just didn’t know when to shut up. The child called me a witch, I was angry, I cursed him. I’m very sorry he died,” Kaoru answered as though it was the most common thing to have happened.
“Camui Kaoru, I’m sorry to say that you will be taken to prison here. You may not go home,” Yoshiki told him quietly.
“NO!!!! You can’t take him away from me! I need him!” mother cried out.
I pulled my hands away from the fire and looked at my brothers, and my shrieking mother and sighed. Life just couldn’t get more complicated than this.
Several weeks later, Hayashi Yoshiki and his men came to our house, Malice Tower to talk to Gackt. I spotted them coming and I woke up Gackt at once, earning a slap on the cheek at once. He got up anyway, and talked to Yoshiki and his men. Mother was next to him, holding his arm and Toshiya was staring into oblivion, as usual.
I decided to stay outside as they questioned him. I heard him tell them the whole truth, about how we became witches and all that. Tears filled my eyes. My whole life was crumbling to the ground, and I was only a 10 year old boy. I tugged on the tear at the hem of my frayed dress and wiped the tears from my face away. I could hear mother shrieking from inside and I saw him run out and grab his brother’s legs. Gackt knelt down to mother and whispered in his ear, and mother let go of his legs, whimpering as they took him away. To the prison at Geist Castle.
After that, Toshiya and I were often beaten by mother. He was angry at the men that took Gackt away, and he let it out on us. Day by day, I grew to hate him for treating me and my brother like that. He would always tell us to go out and find food, and if we didn’t find any, he’d either beat us or forbid us to come in. I could tell that Toshiya was starting to hate mother too.
One day, mother sent us out to look for food, and as usual gave us warnings not to dream of entering the house without food. Toshiya and I took off. He told me to sit under the sakura tree and wait for him to come and get me. He told me that he’d find food by himself, and he told me not to worry. Somehow, I trusted him and sat obidiently under the tree, looking down at the village of Black Walls.
I must’ve drifted off, because the next thing I knew, Toshiya was standing in front of me, smiling. He’d found food! Not just any food, he found a sheep! Now we could have a real dinner. I followed him down to our house and we happily showed the sheep to mother. Mother, of course was delighted and he made me help him prepare dinner. He wanted to invite his friends over that night. I took this as a bad sign. Mother’s friends weren’t actually safe, in any way. I helped him anyway, not wanting to be beaten again.
That night, mother’s friends came and she told them about Kaoru and Gackt.
“Why don’t we go and bring them back?” someone suggested.
“Yeah! We’ll curse the guards, and we can easily bring them here!” someone else piped up.
“We’ll kill if we need to!”
My house was very noisy that night, filled with suggestions on how to bring back Kaoru and Gackt from Geist Castle.
“Shinya! Bring me the drinks, now!” mother called to me.
I got up and fetched the water bottle and brought it over carefully, when I felt a leg trip me and make me fall. I accidentally dropped the water bottle, and I saw mother glowering at me.
“You silly, foolish, clumsy child! What a witch you are!” he cried at me, slapping me hard.
I ran out, cupping my cheek and looked up at the sakura tree. I wasn’t a witch. I was just a child. I looked up at the dark sky, it looked like rain. I looked in the direction of my house, then back at the tree. I’d made up my mind.
“I’m going to tell Yoshiki-san about mother,” I whispered up to the tree. I bowed slightly and went on my way, Toshiya trailing me from behind.
I walked quickly to avoid the coming rain. I could hear thunder above me, and I quickened my pace. I walked through the Wavering Woods when I heard the sound of horse hooves up ahead. I was surprised to see that it was Yoshiki. He looked at us in surprise.
“Ah, the Camui children, may I help you in any way?” he greeted us gently.
I looked down at the ground and then I looked into his warm, gentle eyes.
“I was on my way to Mirror Hall, to see you, sir,” I said to him.
“See me? What’s your name, dear girl?” he asked me.
“My name is Shinya, and I’m not a girl. This is my brother, Toshiya,” I told him.
“What lovely names. Now, tell me what you wanted to see me about,” he said to us, smiling. “But, it looks like it’s going to be raining pretty hard soon, so why don’t we go to Mirror Hall, ne?” he suggested.
I nodded as he easily lifted me up and placed me in front of him on his horse as Toshiya jogged behind us.
When we reached Mirror Hall, Yoshiki’s seravnts were waiting for him at the front door. He told them to get some food for us. I looked around, and decided this was certainly the most lovely place I’ve been in my whole life. I sat down with Toshiya on the floor in front of the blazing fire, listening to the rain fall againts the windowpanes. The maid brought in some warm bread and milk, setting the tray down in front of me and Toshiya. Toshiya took the bread and divided into two pieces, offering me one. I thanked him as I took one from him and took a small bite. I was worried, what would I say to Yoshiki? How could I say it? My thoughts were interrupted when I heard Yoshiki call out my name.
“Shinya-chan? You said you wanted to talk to me?” he said to me. I nodded.
“Yes, sir. It’s about my mother.” I replied, then paused.
“Yes? Go on, don’t be afraid,” he told me.
I still couldn’t get my lips to move. Yoshiki kneeled in front of me and looked at me with his soft, warm eyes.
“I’m afraid, sir. I’m afraid of my mother. He’s a witch, and he can kill people. I’m afraid he’ll kill me someday,” I told him, my voice wavering.” He and his friends want to rescue Kaoru and Gackt from Geist Castle… they said they’d kill if they have to,”
Yoshiki held me close in his arms and stroked my back soothingly as I sobbed into his shoulders. When he pulled back, I was no longer crying, but the pain was still in my heart. I spotted a redhead about my age at the door.
“Don’t you worry, little Shinya.. Do you mind waiting for a while?” he asked me. I nodded numbly.
Several minutes later, he came back with two of his friends that I had seen earlier. The three of them sat in front of the table and Yoshiki gestured me to come to the table. I went to table and stood in front of it silently.
“Now, Shinya. Do you mind repeating what you told me just now to these two men?” Yoshiki asked me kindly.
I nodded and repeated everything I told Yoshiki. I didn’t cry this time, I was just to tired to. They looked at me gravely and whispered among themselves. Yoshiki nodded the turned towards Toshiya.
“Toshiya-kun? I have to ask you some questions, if you don’t mind me asking,” he asked slowly.
“Ask away,” Toshiya answered, smiling at him.
“Is your mother a witch?” Yoshiki asked.
“Isn’t that what Shin-chan said? Of course he’s a witch. So are all of us,” Toshiya answered thoughtfully.
“I know that Kaoru and Gackt are both witches, but what can you tell me of your mother?” Yoshiki asked again.
“Well… mother has these clay doll things. If I’m not mistaken, he killed a man once. I think his name was…Kyo, or something like that. Mother broke one of the clay dolls, which was meant to be him, and a week later, he died.” Toshiya replied steadily. “I’m a witch, and I can kill people too, just like Gackt and mother,” he continued, smiling a bit.
“Nii-chan! That’s not true! You don’t kill people! You never have and you never will!” I cried.
Toshiya violently shook his head.
“No, Shin-chan. I did kill someone, with the help of my old dog. I was so angry with the man, I almost killed him myself, but my dear doggie did the job for me,” he said quietly.
Oh, great. How perfect. Now my brother is a witch as well. I lived my life with witches that could kill, that could do awful things to others. I blinked back the tears that formed in my eyes.
“Don’t cry anymore, Shinya. You can stay here with me. You’ll need someone to take care of you,” Yoshiki said to me gently.
The next day, mother came in escorted by two of Yoshiki’s men. Yoshiki had a cold look on his face that I’ve never seen before when he looked at him.
“Mana, your sons tell me you are a witch. Is that true?” Yoshiki questioned him.
“Toshiya told me about clay dolls. And just now, we found some at your house. Care to tell me what they really are for?”
“Didn’t you kill a man named Kyo with it?” Yoshiki asked.
I saw mother’s eyes look at Toshiya angrily.
“Good boy, Totchi! You told them about Kyo, didn’t you? Just couldn’t keep your mouth shut, could you?” mother spat at him angrily.
“It’s your own fault that you told me,” Toshiya said back.
“Fine! Yes, I did kill that Kyo… he was spreading awful lies about me! He was the reason the villagers stopped giving me food! That man deserved to die, I hated him so much,” mother said, trying to control his voice.
His gaze rested upon me, making me feel uncomfortable. He smiled at me eerily and walked in front of me.
“Maa… Shin-chan, you’ve finally grown a mind of your own, how exciting for you,” he said to me.
“You hate us, I know that. You’re quite lucky, you *are* different from your brothers. You’re not a witch like they are. Why? I’ll let you think about that with your newly found brain,” mother continued, glaring at me.
At that moment, I started to truly hate him. And I hated him for a long time. I just looked as Yoshiki’s men took my brother and mother away to prison at Geist Castle. My whole family is there now, and I am here at Mirror Hall.
After my whole family was taken to Geist Castle, Yoshiki took care of and let me live in Mirror Hall with him. The boy I saw the other day was his nephew, Daisuke. His parents died in an accident and Yoshiki has been taking care of him ever since. Life in Mirror Hall was very nice for me, I woke up to bright sunlight everyday, and my room overlooked the flower garden. Daisuke, who told me to call him Die, was very nice to me, even though he teased me a lot. And I was never beaten anymore.
From Mirror Hall, I could see Sakura Hill, but it was just something very small and you wouldn’t be able to see it if you didn’t look hard enough. Sometimes I’d take a walk with Die, and sometimes we’d walk until Sakura Hill, and at those times, I would look down to my old house, Malice Tower and remember how my life changed. Die would always comfort me if I was thinking about what happened to my family.
Summer came, and in August Yoshiki and I went to Geist Town to attend the trial of the witches that was held in front of Geist Castle. There were so many people in the town, and I was very afraid of the people there since I wasn’t used to being around so many people. The trial was to be held in a few hours, and the judge was an important man that came from a town far away.
There were many witches that were supposed to be trialed that day, but Gackt wasn’t one of them. He died of some kind of sickness a few weeks ago. And to think I lived with him some time ago. I waited outside with Yoshiki’s servant, and when the judge called me in, I slowly walked in, Yoshiki waiting for me next to a table in front of the judge. I bowed to the judge and I saw the guards bringing mother in. Mother looked at me, and his face turned red. I was no longer wearing the old, torn clothes, but I was wearing new, clean clothes, and new shoes. I could see him look at me with hatred in his eyes. I looked away, not wanting to meet his eye.
The trial for mother started, the judge asked him questions and mother answered tehm untruthfully. I saw the judge look at her skeptically, then look at me.
“Shinya, tell us about your mother,” he said.
So I told him everything he needed to know, about the clay dolls, about their plan to rescue Kaoru and Gackt from the prison, everything.
“Lies! They are all lies!! “ mother cried out.
“Silence. Take her away,” the judge said. He looked at me and thanked me for telling him what he needed to know.
After a few minutes, Kaoru was brought in, and I was very grateful that Kozi-san was there to tell the judge about what Kaoru did to him. Kozi-san looked like he lost a lot of weight, what Kaoru did to him must’ve been very shocking. After Kozi-san finished talking, the judge asked Kaory questions and he answered them, truthfully. I was surprised that he didn’t lie that mother did. The guards took him away and brought Toshiya in. I gasped seeing him and almost cried when I saw how he looked like. His hair was long now, and he looked very thin and dirty. He looked at me blankly and didn’t recognize me.
Once again, the judge asked questions, but Toshiya didn’t answer them. So the judge asked me, and I answered slowly. I really didn’t want to tell him, but Yoshiki was urging me to go on, so I continued telling the judge about my brother. Toshiya looked me with a hurt expression, and I just couldn’t look him in the eye. They took him away, and Yoshiki took me out of the room, and outside, we heard the sounds of people crying and yelling. He patted my head and held my hand. His servant smiled at me.
“You’re a good child. It was very brave of you to tell the truth about your own family like that,” he said to me kindly.
Yoshiki smiled at me too, and we headed back to Mirror Hall together. Die was waiting for me when we arrived, but I didn’t know what to say to him. I knew what would happen to my family, and I just couldn’t bring myself to tell him about it. He put a comforting arm around my shoulders, anyway.
A few weeks later, on the 20th of August, 1612, my family was hanged in front of Geist Castle. I knew this was going to happen, but I still felt sad, of course, they were my family, eventhough they were witches. I had lost my family, but I still had Yoshiki and Die. They were my family now. I stayed in my room the whole day, crying. Die crept in and hugged me comfortingly. I was glad that he did, I really needed to be comforted at that time. I still felt guilty, I felt that I killed my family for telling the truth about them, eventhough Yoshiki told me that I’d done what was right. I tried believing him, and bit by bit, the guilt was no longer there.
For years, I lived in Mirror Hall with Yoshiki and Die happily. I was very happy, I learned many things that I wouldn’t have been able to learn if I had stayed in Malice Tower. I learned to cook for them, and I ate good food and lived in a warm, safe place. Die and I became lovers, after he told me that he loved me, and my life was so very complete. Yoshiki didn’t protest, he was very happy with what we told him. I lived there for twenty-one years, and I never went near Malice Tower again. I was content living in Mirror Hall with those who I loved, and I had planned to die there too. But life never goes the way it’s supposed to be, sometimes. And that’s exactly what happened to me.
In 1633, I was taken to Geist Castle, where the spirits of my family were waiting for me. Die had done everything he could to make them let me come back, he even tried blackmailing some people, but I told him that the truth will come clear someday, and that it was okay. I still remember the look on his face as he kissed me softly on the lips and held my hand tightly before the guards took me away.
When I was still a child, I had killed my family by telling the truth. But now, will lies kill me, here in Geist Castle?
Kamjio-san visited me again, and Die came with him. He told me that the boy was lying because he wanted attention from his father, but the boy told him that after the judge decided to execute us all. I saw that Die’s eyes were red and brimmed with tears. I felt my eyes well up as he took my hand.
“Shinya… if you die, then I’ll die too,” he told me shakily.
“No… you still have to live, you can’t sacrifice your own life, Die. Don’t die because of me,” I replied, stroking his face softly.
“You are the reason I live, Shin-chan. If you die, I’ll have no reason to continue living,” he said, softly.
“Really? Then, if you love me so much, live for me. That’s all I’m asking, for you to live for me,” I told him.
He looked at me sadly and nodded. He gave me a last kiss before he left, and I still can feel the warmth of his lips on mine. I look around the dark prison, the people around me were crying, but I had no more tears left in front of me. I know my family is here, waiting for me to join them. And I know that I’ll soon be joining them. I look at the door as the guards open it, and I know it’s time. I smiled at the irony. I killed my family by telling the truth about them, and some boy is going to kill me by lying about me. Yoshiki wasn’t here to save me, he had died sometime ago. Before he died, the villagers of White Village didn’t dare say anything againts me, but after he died, they talked about me night and day, fearing me because my family name was Camui. They even said that I cast a love spell on so he would love me. Die was angry at that remark, and he changed my name to Terachi Shinya. That wasn’t enough to save me, but at least I know that he really loves me.
I stand up and walk towards the door with several other witches, and now I must end my story right here. My family is waiting, and I have to repay them for what I did to them.
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