A worgen witch disaster.

The task was easier together than it was alone. Months after the magical accident that gave Idella a double, the two worked together seamlessly. Two witches, identical from height, appearance, voice, and manner, poured over a litany of vials and potions, tubes and funnels, boils and toils until the ink from the mysterious letter was properly broken down: herbs. Local herbs, each unique to Duskwood, and the ink was fresh enough to be used within the last few months.

 

One Idella bit her lip. "Well, that doesn't tell us too much more than we already knew," she said aloud, worried.

 

"Yeah," the other Idella agreed. "We'll need to dig deeper. Miss Rann suggested scrying. Maybe…?"

 

The first Idella's eyes widened, and her partner quickly took in their meaning.

 

"Yeah, I know. Risky, scrying around there. It could raise someone's attention."

 

"Her attention."

 

Both went silent, swallowed briefly by old thoughts and fears.

 

"Okay," the second Idella piped up quietly. "We should still do it. It's the right thing, right? But we'll set up protective spells. We'll make it a one-way weave. That way if someone notices us poking around, they can't trace i –"

 

"She's better than that, Ida. She could easily poke through whatever weave we wrap around our scry spell to conceal –"

 

"Then we plant false leads, several of them, so each time a layer is unraveled, the next one points to a false end, then the next, and then the next…" The second Idella trailed off, distracted. The pair went silent again, though their lips moved, near simultaneously, chewing over the needed set of spells in silent calculation.

 

"You know," the first Idella said. "We're risking enough just by going there in person, like we do. Maybe it's time we just do it? Get it over with?"

 

The second Idella considered and said slowly: "Yeah, maybe we should."

 

"No protective spells?"

 

"Maybe just a few, to buy us time. We want to complete the scry, after all. She'd probably break through all of them, anyway. She's too good not to."

 

"Yeah," the other Idella replied shakily.

 

"Yeah," the second echoed in the same tone.

 

The room went silent for a third time, this silence lasting far longer than the ones before. After the long silence, both witches set to the task of preparing the scrying spell. Their faces were pale, nervous, anticipating, like one would be when visiting an old, but thankfully forgotten friend. Their preparation continued far into the night, with candles burning and lighting the dusty window panes of the shop till nearly dawn.

 

Come daybreak, both were sprawled on the floor, exhausted and asleep, not minding the stiff wooden panes that poked and prodded every jutting bone. From the work equally sprawled over the floor, their preparatory spells looked complete. Still, they slept, apparently not to be bothered until rest had its diligent due.

Author Idella
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