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BURN THE WITCH

Witch·craft

/ˈwiCHˌkraft/

the practice of magic, especially black magic; the use of spells.

Preface

I never thought I'd be the first one in the Magic Trials. I never thought I'd be chosen for them. And I never thought I'd be accused of being a witch.

Being in the Magic Trials is like having your pelt ripped off your shoulders. It hurts. Unimaginable pain as they try to find the black magic in you and snuff it out.

I was there.

Back then, cats, as a species, were primitive. Naive systems, thinking dumbly that everyone would follow the rules.

We didn't.

So we got the Magic Trials.

Our gifts became curses. Mind reading was no longer a show of strength, but a display of evil. Time travelling became dangerous, illegal, even.

We got royalty.

We got dictators.

Politeness is deception in pretty packaging.

But we didn't know that. So we welcomed a change in our system with wide smiles and hope for a better future.

We, of course, didn't get it.

One

"She's dead." "I can't believe it..." "Foolish kit." "May StarClan welcome her with open paws." "Fly high, my beautiful daughter..."

Silverkit's eyes cracked open, and everyone watching her began to bristle. She looked around, confused at the light flooding her senses. Someone let out a heavy gasp. Silverkit wanted to shrink into her pelt, embarassed at the memories now flooding her mind.

She had been stupid. Reckless. Jumped down the ravine on a large leaf. They had found her body and assumed her dead. Silverkit glanced about her, seeing the small hole in the ground and the shocked expression on every cat's face. Oh, She realized, eyes widening faintly. This was her funeral.

A brown she-cat with a brindled coat padded up to her, jaws parted. "Silverkit!" She hissed. She blanched. She hadn't expected her mother, Turtletuft, to be this angry with her. "Your paws." Turtletuft muttered, narrowing her own amber orbs.

"W-what?" Silverkit asked, disoriented. "Your paws and chest," Turtletuft spat. "They're... black." She turned away from her kit, letting out a low wail. A gray tom brushed his muzzle to hers, and she quieted down, though her eyes still sparkled with tears.

"I- I don't understand!" Silverkit whimpered. "What's wrong with having a black chest?" A kit watching nearby lowered her gaze. "You'll be executed." Silverkit looked at the kit. "What did you say?" The kit looked up. "Nothing! I didn't say anything."

Turtletuft let out another wail. "She'll be taken! She's too young for the trials." "What's going on?" Silverkit asked, eyes wide with horror. "You're a witch," Turtletuft moaned.

She froze, heart turning to ice. She could hear blood roaring in her ears, heart pounding loud enough to scare off a flock of birds. "What do we do with witches?" Turtletuft asked half-heartedly, staring into the distance. Soberly, the cats gathered for her funeral began to chant. "Burn the witch. Burn the witch." Turtletuft shook her head. "Energy," She mewed.

"Burn the witch! Burn the witch!" They yowled. Their words echoed in Silverkit's ears long after they had ceased, their meaning becoming clear to her in a flash, something that made her want to jump off the ravine again:

She would die tonight.

Two

Echo glared at Demon, wishing he would leave her alone. Demon chuckled, reading her mind. "Not gonna happen, little lady." She took a deep breath.

She couldn't run, because that was predictable. His sight depended on the most predictable outcome.

So she didn't run.

She charged.

Demon's eyes widened and he unsheathed his claws, but Echo was on him.

She clawed him blindly, unaware of his screams of pain. He managed to throw her off, and then he pinned her down.

"Labri, get her!" Demon snarled, flecks of spittle and his blood landing on her face. One of Demon's goons, Labri, padded out of the shadows and raised an unsheathed paw.

He brought it down, and Echo's face exploded with pain.

She let out a low scream, a loud, long caterwaul of pain that sent birds flying for miles. She felt Demon bristle on top of her, and assumed he smiled.

Her heart almost stopped as she realized that her eyes were open.

Her eyes were open, but she couldn't see.

"Not so tough now, are ya, little lady?" Demon teased. Echo felt something happen with the ground. It became harder, felt the blood stop pooling by her face.

Whatever it was, it had shut Demon and Labri up. With an inhuman scream of rage, Echo leapt at Demon, instantly pressing her claws to his throat.

With a growl, she ripped his neck open.

Her first kill.

As his warm blood washed over her paws, the only thought that rang in her mind was how good it had felt to kill Demon, the cat who had tormented her for so long.

Three

"Little morphling..." Queen Bellefrost muttered. "Little morphling, come out. Come out, come out, where ever you are." Her voice was deadly. Light. Vicious. Pidgeonpaw knew she couldn't come out from under the bush, no matter what Bellefrost threatened her with.

"I won't hurt you," The Queen crooned. "Turn yourself in now and we'll make your death quick..." Pidgeonpaw froze. Death?! Didn't she deserve a chance in the Magic Trials? Then again, she would rather die than become one of the brainwashed slaves the queens kept.

At the next Rebel council, Pidgeonpaw would make an appearance. But maybe she'd do better with information... She poked her head under another bush, so her voice sounded far-off, distant. "Let me be in the Trials and I'll turn myself in."

Bellefrost chuckled. "I'm afraid that isn't a possibility." "Why not?" Pidgeonpaw asked, echoing her voice father. Bellefrost's glassy silver eyes flashed. "Because the Trials will kill you. And what fun would it be to see someone kill you, when I could kill you... myself?" Bellefrost sneered. Pidgeonpaw's eyes widened. Bellefrost seemed to sense this, and pounced on where Pidgeonpaw had been moments ago.

Bellefrost's paws closed over a small weed in the dirt. She cursed under her breath and stormed away. Once Pidgeonpaw was certain she was gone, she morphed back into her cat form. Something, of course, was terribly wrong.

Bellefrost had called her 'morphling' and had pounced directly on her, yet somehow couldn't see her. Was there a chance Pidgeonpaw wasn't the innocent, magic-less cat she thought she was? Was there a chance this wasn't a mix-up... and that Pidgeonpaw was a witch?

Four

Arrne frowned at her paws, slim, lanky, long. She let out a long sigh, attracting the attention of Tamui, who was eating a shrew next to her.

More soon...

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