Spring 1, week 1

This is my first “official” entry into this endless journal. I’ve decided I’m going to continue the style of the witch who owned this cottage before me. I still don’t know much about her other than her interesting style of writing and that she’s gone missing. She’s written in here that she’s not sure when she’ll be back, but maybe as I read more I’ll find out where she went?

I was met by the mayor, I was so nervous I don’t even remember his name. He seemed nice enough, chatted about my journey on the way to the cottage, that sort of thing. He didn’t know where the witch had gone, just that she’s missing. He seems pretty certain she’s not coming back, but he also seems to view witches as some sort of mythical being who sometimes just vanish into the air forever.

Speaking of the cottage, this place is a wreck. Has it really only been 3 months? There are plants growing through the floorboards in places, broken windows and a leaking roof, and only 1 garden plot which is completely overrun with weeds and rocks. How do you even overrun a garden plot with rocks?

Anyway, this journal is amazing. Whoever she was she was clearly an expert at healing people, how I wish I could have met her and studied from her! She’s listed every plant in the local environment and what they do, even some things that aren’t quite plans… I’ve only glanced through it but I can tell I’m going to need to memorise this. There’s also pages upon pages of conditions and ailments that she’s noted, along with what sort of treatments work.

I may not be able to learn directly from her, but I’m going to start with her notes. Maybe I can send off for some more books once I get some more money. Oh yes; money! I’m going to get paid for healing people! Not every village pays its witch but the mayor said they’re a good sort here. Not only will they pay me but the mayor funds the witches meals, he sends one of the children up every few days with a basket of goods.

Apparently it’s tradition, that the witch then uses those funds to improve the cottage and their equipment. The village will keep me fed as a thank you for looking after them.

That said I did hear they have a doctor here as well. Maybe I’ll meet them, but it sounds like they’re quite popular. I’m wary about doctors, they’re usually so officious and condescending about witches. Just because we target different maladies they think we’re hacks or frauds. I’ll try not to judge a book by its cover, but I get the impression if I don’t impress people will flock to the doctor instead.

I’m exhausted and I’ve hardly done anything. The rain has let up a little, it’s just a drizzle now. I’m going to unpack what little I’ve got and rest, hopefully tomorrow will be brighter.

My first patient already! I was so startled! I’ve been spending my time cleaning the place up, thankfully a few charms helped there. The was a hammering at the door and I thought it was my food delivery already, but when I opened it there was the town baker.

I didn’t even get a chance to say hello before he started talking at me, very loudly. He’s a very rushed baker who burned his hand on the oven when he tripped because he was rushing. Sounds like it might be a theme for him. I started gathering details and inspected the injury. He’s apparently visited the doctor who told him to just keep it clean and it would heal, but he wants to be back to using it immediately so came to visit the new witch.

Patient Details

Name: Gottrey Mapleby

Occupation: Baker

Ailment: Baker’s Blisters – burns over both hands from tripping and grabbing a hot oven

I checked the cupboards but there’s nothing useful here. I knew I’d need to go out so I sent him home and told him I’d bring him a remedy but to follow the doctor’s advice. I don’t think he liked that.

I checked the journal and I’m going to need to go looking for Shadow Sharks in the Meltwater Loch. They’re going to be perfect if I can find them. I’ll need at least 2 but I’m going to see if I can find some more.

That was…. something. Wow. I found 3 usable Shadow Sharks, but goddess did a lot happen.

The first thing I found when I wandered around the lake was a Shadow Shark on a spit by the shore! It was enormous, and run through on an entire spear, and it was slowly rotating on a fire! I need the ink they produce, rather than the meat, so it wasn’t going to be any good, but I was so wary looking around for whatever had been big enough to fish a whole one out.

Suddenly out of nowhere I hear this deep deep voice say “Hello there little one!”. I jumped out of my skin and when I spun around there was a giant just sitting there. I’ve never seen one in the flesh before and it sounds silly but they were so big. Not just physically, but they seemed to take up so much more presence than just their size.

I stammered out something about being the witch and looking for Shadow Shark ink and they chuckled and pulled out a jar of it, and just handed it over! I asked if it was really okay for me to take it and they said I could pay them back later, that I should consider it a favour. I was so grateful I didn’t even ask their name before I left them to their meal, but I hope I see them again.

I kept wandering and found some ships wrecked against the coast. The witch said the sharks can sometimes hide among the wreckage so I clambered inside and started looking around the water. I slipped in more than once, luckily I left anything that needed to be kept dry at the cabin.

Eventually I found a chest! A proper treasure chest! It was sad, though. There was a skeleton long cleaned, huddled round it as if hugging it. What could have meant so much to them? I was considering if I should open it to see when a shark bolted from behind it where I hadn’t seen, spurting ink everywhere as it did to escape. I bottled as much as I could in one of my jars. I didn’t open the chest, but I’ve made a note of it. If I’m back this way again…. maybe. What could drive someone in their dying moments to protect a chest, of all things?

I kept walking after that, I had the ingredients I needed but it was still early enough I thought I’d see where they day took me. It wasn’t long before I heard a call from the water and saw a rowboat headed over. There was a dwarf inside, a fisher, Molmurra. They were looking for edible fish rather than reagents, but they asked if I wanted to come out with them to look for more sharks at the same time, which I gladly agreed to.

They were so friendly and kind, but such a clever sense of humour! We chatted for a while as they rowed, although we kept a bit more quiet when they cast a line. They were an expert fisher too, I don’t think they ever waited more than a few moments from casting before they’d reel in with something else. We didn’t find any shark ink but they did haul up a Shock Fish instead!

They were kind enough to give me the fluids they excrete which are quite gross, but a useful alchemical ingredient. I tried to pay for the help but they said the company was enough of a reward and that I was a good luck charm to them!

Molmurra took me back to the shore a little ways from where we left, they headed back to their dock in good spirits and I thought I’d wander for just a little longer.

I found some rocks that formed a natural pool and clambered up to get a look, immediately slipping to fall in the water again. That was the right thing to do apparently because the splash scared off another shark! I bottled up all the ink but as I was doing it I found a bottle buried in the sand with a letter in it. I popped it into my bag for later, it’s not every day you find an ancient message in a bottle!

I’ve learned something new today, at a slight cost. I checked the witches notes and set up the alembic as instructed, ran some of the ink through it to distil it, which is supposed to be great for pain. I then added some more raw shark ink which helps burns heal, but it seems adding one reagent in two forms doesn’t achieve the right results. I ended up with black mess that smelt awful and didn’t do anything.

I looked at the notes again and it seems boiled Shock Fish Fluid is just as good for pain (lucky!). I heaved out the cauldron and got it bubbling with a quick charm, boiled the sparking liquid and it settled down into something a deep turquoise. I then dripped some raw ink in and instead of a mess I could feel the spark of power as I willed it to bind, and the turquoise seemed to grow brighter and glow a little. I’m certain this will work!

I’ve named this new brew “Baker’s Balm”, even though you drink it, and I’m heading down to the village to deliver it.

I’m back from the village having delivered the potion. Gottrey was suspicious at first, especially when I told him the “Baker’s Balm” was a drink not a topical treatment…. I need to work on my naming. I convinced him to try it and he reluctantly did despite the rather fishy smell and taste, but it immediately worked! I could see the skin heal over on his hands while we stared. I don’t know if he was more surprised or I was. I covered it up, though, and acted like I knew it would work all along.

He was delighted and paid me 20 silver on the spot! I couldn’t believe it, but he also nearly threw a basket of pastries at me in excitement. As I left the village I could hear him exclaiming to all his customers that the new witch “well she’s a proper good’un, despite being so young! I know she doesn’t look like much but she healed my hand up a treat, good as new!”.

I did it! Maybe it won’t be so hard here after all.

Oh right, the letter. I opened it up just now after forgetting in all the excitement. It’s an old worn glass bottle with a thick cork sealed with wax. I popped the cork off and pulled out the parchment, and got a bit of a shock. I’ve put the letter here.

Dear Samara,

How good it is to see you arriving at last! I so hoped it would be you they sent. How are you settling into the cottage? It needs a bit of work I know, but nothing’s better for the soul than cleaning out your home. Perhaps soon you’ll be able to call it a “home”, eh?

I do hope you’ll reply to me, if you want to simply write your reply on a fresh sheet of parchment, pop it back in the bottle and seal it with fresh wax that must be melted with your magic. Simply throw it back into the loch, a proper chuck mind, and I’ll get it.

Yours, sincerely.

So that was a little disturbing. It was addressed to me? And the ink looked almost wet as it if had been written moments before I opened it!

I sat and thought about it for a while, but what sort of witch is scared of the unknown? Not this one. I wrote back, which I’ve coped below, and I’m going back to the loch to throw it in today.

Dear friend in the loch,

Thank you for your letter, I’m so thankful for the warm welcome. I have begun cleaning out the cottage and you’re right; it’s rewarding! I hope to have it ready for winter soon, otherwise it will be an unpleasantly cold time.

Might I ask who you are? How did you know I would be coming, and how have you sent this message?

With the warmest regards, Samara


  • +20 silver pieces
  • +1 reputation
  • Villager met: Gottrey Mapleby (Baker)
  • Other met: Molmurra (Dwarven Fisher)
  • Loch Letter #1 Obtained
Photo by Luigi Manga on Unsplash

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