Scary Tales of the Druadach, Book 3

Author: Cassia Volcatia

I have on final tale to share with you now, dear readers. It involves witches and magic. And it takes place, as all such tales, in the shadows of the Druadach Mountains!

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The Sister Who Turned Her Skin Red

This tale comes from one of the few Reachfolk who would speak to your humble teller of tales without attempting to poke her with an axe. It is, in this fair scribe's opinion, the most chilling tale of all. The old woman spoke of two sisters, one fair and one dark, who were among the greatest of the Reach witches until their lust for power, in the old woman's words, devoured their good sense.

The fairer and elder of the Reach-witches, Tancia, was chosen by virtue of age and her powerful mastery of air magic to command her clan. Yet Tancia soon faced a challenger she had never expected—her sister Ulecia, younger by a year, and as powerful with water magic as Tancia was with air!

None in the clan could challenge either sister in combat, yet neither could anyone in the clan bear to see one sister slay the other. Tancia and Ulecia were the pride of the clan, the most powerful witches in generations, and no clan member wanted to lose such treasures. Yet no matter how the clan members pleaded with the sisters, Tancia and Ulecia could not agree on who would lead their clan. Eventually, the clan settled on the only way to decide the stalemate. A contest of miraculous magical tasks!

And so Tancia and Ulecia set themselves to a variety of feats of magical strength, each surpassing the other. It is said Tancia summoned a whirlwind powerful enough to move a cart, only to be dismayed when her sister summoned a river of water powerful enough to uproot a tree. No sooner had Ulecia made the clan's water as sweet as honeyed mead than Tancia made the clan's hunters as light as air, letting them walk into the sky and back down as easily as if climbing or descending a set of stairs.

In the end, the old Reach woman reported, it was Tancia who escalated the contest beyond reason. Desperate to best her younger sister, Tancia consorted with a Daedric Prince, offering to serve for seventy years in exchange for the power to command her clan. Yet like all Daedric bargains, the Prince offered more than Tancia requested. When she returned to her clan's camp on the day before the new chief was to be nominated, Tancia's fair skin was gone, replaced by skin as red as blood and eyes that glowed like tiny fires. And then, in front of the entire clan, Tancia boiled the air, roasting her sister alive.

Horrified and betrayed, the clan broke apart, yet the old Reach woman says the sister with the red skin and eyes of fire still wanders the wilds where the clan once roamed, screaming out challenges to anyone who can end her lonely existence—a solitary, mirthless, endless life without clan or family.

Yet the power the sister with the red skin possesses has become absolute, and none can defeat her. She remains a prisoner of her Daedric bargain, cursed with power no one can match and an immortal existence no one can end. Of the two sisters, the old Reach woman told me, Ulecia was the lucky one. She got to die free.

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