Second Look at WITCH

WITCH is now officially up and available to buy! Get it now!

Or, if you’d rather, here’s another quick look at what you’ll get.

This scene doesn’t introduce a new character, like the last one did, but it does signal the return of Lady Caroline.

Lady Caroline is an odd one. She was originally just a throw-away character that I added to the third book because there wasn’t enough going on towards the end. And now she’s an integral part of the Snowverse. It’s weird how some characters just seem to grow, completely independent from your plans.

Anyway, here’s the scene:

Freya didn’t quite manage the shift home in her weakened state, only managing to get back to the roof of the cafe. She sighed, lying down with her backpack beneath her head, deciding to just stay there until she recovered enough Energy to shift home. After a few moments, she reached into the side pocket of the backpack, taking out a healing potion. She didn’t know that it would help, given that she wasn’t physically injured, but she figured it couldn’t hurt.

The healing potion gave her a pleasant buzz, and the pain seemed to dull a little, but it wasn’t anything close to a real help.After another few minutes, she brought out her phone, deciding that she needed to know about the curse, just in case the Demons tried to use it again. She couldn’t rely on Sarah saving her again. Especially when her Coven Head seemed to want her Witches to have nothing to do with Freya.

After another few minutes, she brought out her phone, deciding that she needed to know about the curse, just in case the Demons tried to use it again. She couldn’t rely on Sarah saving her again. Especially when her Coven Head seemed to want her Witches to have nothing to do with Freya.She rang the contact number for Fate. If Fate didn’t pick up, it was one of her Oracles, but

She rang the contact number for Fate. If Fate didn’t pick up, it was one of her Oracles, but usually Freya got to speak to someone in charge.After two rings, Anna answered the phone.

After two rings, Anna answered the phone.

So, the curse?” Anna asked.

Freya smiled. She liked how to the point the Oracles were. “Do you know anything about it?”

No, but Lady Caroline does.

Freya sighed. “I don’t really want to get involved with Demons in an official capacity.”

Do you want to know about the curse or not?

Freya sighed as she thought, taking a few moments before answering. “Alright, fine, tell me where to go.”

I’ll text the address to your phone. She’ll be expecting you.

Freya rolled her eyes. “I’m kind of out of commission right now.”

Get some sugar in you and you’ll be fine.

“Fine. See you.” She hung up before putting her phone back in her pocket.

She tried to sit back up at that point, wincing at the pain. She decided to shrink the bag back down and put it back on her belt, rather than trying to get it on her back. She shifted back down to the street below, though she found herself unable to glamour her armour. It was black and red, so it wasn’t too outlandishly obvious. It looked kind of… rave-y?

She didn’t care, she decided as she wandered into Tesco. No one was going to look twice at her. They would assume it was cosplay or performance art or something.

She quickly grabbed a bottle of Irn Bru and a bag of custard doughnuts. Then she grabbed a snack-size pork pie for good measure.

As soon as she was out of the shop, she ate the pie in two bites before washing it down with half of the bottle of Irn Bru. Anna had been right; it did make her feel better.

She opened her bag of doughnuts as she walked towards the address Anna had texted to her, taking one out to eat before putting the rest of them into her backpack.

She, by some miracle, managed to avoid getting custard all over herself as she ate the doughnut, walking all of the way to the address by the time she had finished, without having to shift.

She wiped her sugar-coated hands on her leather trousers before wiping her mouth on the back of her hand, using her phone’s selfie camera to check that she looked okay. Once she was sure that she was presentable, she walked into the building, seeing a woman at the front desk, despite the late hour.

“I’m looking for the R.C.E. office,” she said, giving the name that had been on Anna’s text.

The woman nodded, indicating to the lift. “They’re on Level Five.”

“Thanks,” Freya said before heading into the lift and hitting five. Within a few seconds, she was outside an office with a sign that said R.C.E. North-East. The door was, surprisingly, open, revealing a bunch of desks beyond, with no obvious receptionist. There were lots of different scraps of paper stuck to the walls, some tied together with string. If she squinted, Freya could see that the subjects of the photos sometimes had wings or fangs.

She knocked on the door, though the office seemed empty. “Hey,” she called. “Fate sent me.”

A door opened across the room, revealing Lady Caroline. She was wearing the same black military jacket that Freya had seen her in last time, but this time Freya recognised that the silver birds on the collar must be the symbol of her house.

“Hey, my office is over here,” the Demon said.

Freya nodded, heading over to her. Once she was in the office, Lady Caroline didn’t bother to shut the door behind her.

The office looked sparse, but the bin was filled with various Subway, KFC and sushi wrappers and boxes.

Lady Caroline looked her over, seemingly curious. “You know, when we met in London, I didn’t realise you were the Angel of the North.”

Freya shrugged. “I don’t really like telling people.”

“I kind of assumed the Angel would be Light,” she said as she made her way to the chair behind her desk. She indicated for Freya to take a seat on the sofa in the corner.

“I’m not Light or Dark. I don’t really want to get caught up in politics.”

Lady Caroline nodded. “Smart. But that’s not why you’re here. Fate said you needed information on a curse.”

“Yeah. A Demon cursed me this evening. Apparently the curse latched onto my Demon blood. Fate told me you might have some information.”

“May I?” Lady Caroline asked as she stood up, indicating to Freya.

Freya assumed she meant using some kind of sensing magic on her, so she nodded.

Lady Caroline closed her eyes for a moment, before opening them again and nodding gravely.

Freya had felt nothing.

“I recognise the curse,” Lady Caroline informed her. “It’s essentially used for law enforcement. If a Demon is sent to capture another Demon, they wear a charm that activates the curse if they are seriously hurt, incapacitating their attacker.”

“How did rogue Demons get such a charm?”

Lady Caroline sighed, sitting down before leaning back in her chair. “What do you know about these rogue Demons?”

Freya shrugged. “They attack me for various reasons. Usually to gain power. I know that their actions aren’t sanctioned by the Demon higher-ups, and you guys have better things to do than look after me. I’m not your responsibility.”

“Anyone who has Demon blood is our responsibility,” Lady Caroline corrected. “And they’re not just targeting you because you have the biggest target on your back. What do you know about Lord Uther?”

“Didn’t we first meet after I killed a couple of his men?”

She smirked. “Indeed. Lord Uther has quite the propensity for stirring up trouble. Unofficially, of course. None of his men wear his symbol, and they all swear that they left his service and went rogue whenever we have captured them. But all of the rogue Demons we’re aware of came from his service.”

“But you can’t do anything to stop him?”

“No. We only have circumstantial evidence, and he is the most powerful Demon after the King. Accusing him wouldn’t end well right now.”

“Do you know why he’s after me?”

She shrugged. “Best guess? The King has no heir, so he’s training Lord Uther’s son as a replacement. If you were to claim your place as a Dark Angel, however… Well, the precedent is ancient but it’s there. You could claim the place as heir for yourself.”

Freya snorted. “That’s… Hah! Does he seriously think I would want that? Honestly?”

Lady Caroline smiled. “It’s not about what he thinks you will do, the very fact that you could do it is enough for him to be pestering you with his men. Trying to get an estimation of your powers, perhaps. Or maybe he’s trying to get you so annoyed with Demons that you turn your back on your Demonic heritage. Whatever his endgame, I’m sure it’s because you’re a threat to his son’s position.”

“Yeah, well, his little posh-boy, boarding school, pig-fucker of a son can keep his precious position. I am not interested.”

“I doubt he would take your assurance on the matter. But I am going to get a counter-charm for myself. Some of his men are being a little too loose with their magic around Humans, and I need to be able to reign them in. I can get you one as well if you’d like.”

Freya narrowed her eyes. “Wouldn’t you have to tell your higher ups who you’re getting it for? I don’t know that I’m comfortable with the Demon King knowing what I’m up to. Or having any ties to me, really. Kind of defeats the whole ‘neither Light nor Dark’ thing I have going on.”

Caroline nodded. “I’ll keep it vague,” she assured. “I’ll say that it’s for one of my other team members. There shouldn’t be any questions beyond that.”

“And if there are?”

Caroline smirked. “Look, the King’s a friend. If I ask him not to ask, he won’t. Happy?”

Freya nodded, though it was a little reluctant. “Why are you helping me?”

“Why wouldn’t I? You’re an Angel and we have a common enemy. In truth, I have begun to suspect that you are only one of the directives Uther has been giving the rogues. After all, the ones in London didn’t seem to know you were there until you stepped in. They seem to be doing their best to reveal magic, without it looking like they were trying to reveal magic. Half of my job is now just cleaning up after them. Having you stop them before they do anything is one of the only reasons they haven’t succeeded yet. Anything that keeps you splitting their attention is good in my book.”

“I don’t want to get dragged into a Demonic conflict.”

“You’re already in it, Freya. And can you honestly tell me that you would stay out of it if the conflict spilt over to the Human world?”

Freya sighed, knowing that she was right.

“Anyway,” Caroline said as she got up, “I had better get going if I want to put in the request for the counter-charms tonight. Write your number down on my notepad and I’ll ring you when I get back.”

With that, she shifted out, leaving Freya alone in her office.

Freya wrote her number on the pad before shifting out herself, going straight home.

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