THIS STORY IS MY CHILD…ANYONE WANT TO ADOPT?

When it’s my turn to do a blog post, I usually like to write about something creative and interesting in our Perfect Coven world.

That’s not the case this month.

I’m going to rant about writing.

I love writing.  It truly is one of the things I love most in the world.  If I could write all day long and still afford to eat and live indoors, I would.  I almost constantly have stories and ideas for stories dancing and spinning in my head.

Then there are moments of reality.  Moments when I realize that writing is WORK!

I am currently working on some solo projects of my own, but the thing giving me fits and making me think about taking up alcoholism as a hobby is the edit and polish of PERFECT COVEN, BOOK 3:  JASPER’S SONG.

Don’t get me wrong:  I love this book and the whole “Perfect Coven” project.  I really do. But I have read that story so many times that I know the characters almost better than I know my own lifepartner and friends.

And it still isn’t quite what I want it to be.  I can’t define what’s wrong with it, because there’s nothing wrong with it.  But this odd sense of compulsive perfectionism makes me keep going back to it and back to it and back to it and back to it……..

Sadly, this is not the only work where I react like this.  In my solo work, HAND OF THE WITCH, I did so many re-writes and edits that I was dreaming the thing!

What is it about writers – or writing – that makes us do this?  In most activities, even other creative activities, one can easily tell when the work is done.  Writing doesn’t seem to work that way.

Are we emotional masochists?  Or just obsessive?

Sid says:   I would like to laugh, but ummmmm…who else is in the same boat with their writing projects? (*raises hand slowly*) At this point, I’m randomly assigning draft numbers because I honestly can’t remember how many times I’ve edited/revised/rewritten Cursebreaker’s Dance. I’m heartily sick of Shelley and her drama, even though I created it all. And yet, I love the project. I love the world. I love Jasper’s Song (which is fantastic, by the way, no matter how James feels) and Charlie’s Web(also fantastic,though Mickie thinks otherwise). But Cursebreaker…I’m content with its current form, but I’m not happy with it, if that makes sense (and to way too many of my writer/artist/musician/pick-your-creative-field friends, it does). I know I have to let it go sometime or I’ll never write Siren’s Secret, and I’m pretty sure Jasmine will haunt me if I don’t write her story (and I don’t even want to know what Annaliese will do to James if he doesn’t write Cat’s Cradle). We have to let our children go sometime, even when we’re not completely sure they’re ready. 

Mickie says:   Sounds familiar, yes.  I am so close to finishing my draft but have been over-thinking it to pieces.  I need to just do it, but I feel like I’m sabotaging myself.  Maybe it’s first time writer issues for me, because I’m not only deeply concerned about what I have written, but I’m already dreading my editing and revision stage.  I do think that every writer (or musician, or painter) suffers from obsessive perfectionism, and will always think their final work can be improved.  However, I’ve learned from Star Wars and once it’s finished, I swear I’ll leave it alone. 

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A Familiar Speaks

Recently, several students at Great Lakes University were waiting for a show to start at a local club.  While they were waiting for the musician to come out onto the stage, a bird that appeared to be the familiar of a witch came into the room and quite deliberately perched on the students’ table.  As the students engaged this bird in conversation, one of them thought to record the conversation. The following is a transcript of what the bird said to the college students.

You kids are actually the second group of Orthos I’ve heard talking about familiars tonight.  Apparently a lot of you are interested in what familiars are and do. It’s a good question, and one you should all take a more active interest in learning about.

If it weren’t for familiars, human witches would have almost no use of their witchery, and what little use they did have would be unstable and potentially dangerous. Only familiars allow witches to…

What was that?  Oh, me? Yes, my name is Georgietta. Of course I’m a witch’s familiar. How often do you see a metallic gold canary? I don’t think you’ll find one like me at the pet store.

But I guess this guy’s question is as good a place as any to start. Yes, familiars are all somehow different than ortho animals of their type. My friend Jesse has gills, which is not normal for most dogs. My friend Samantha has two tails, and that’s uncommon even for an Irish Setter.

I just realized:  I have way too many dog friends.

Anyway, familiars all have some physical trait that marks them as separate from the rest of their species. This is how when you see a young animal you can tell if he or she is going to end up becoming a familiar. Think about that the next time you’re looking at a litter of kittens and you notice one that’s bright green.

What? You’ve never seen a young animal that was so different from its littermates? Really?  Are you sure you’re paying attention?

Also, familiars have what many of our witches refer to as a “power” although this isn’t really a good word for it. Like the two examples I gave earlier, my friends Jesse and Samantha. Jesse can breathe under water and can stay submerged for longer than anyone has timed. And that makes sense to me, since he’s bonded to a Water witch. Samantha is bonded to an Air witch, and she can walk on air.

Excuse me? Did you actually just ask me what my power is? Seriously? I take it you see a lot of talking canaries. I’m just the first one you’ve seen today, is that it?

At this point, the bird somehow managed to give the impression of looking down her nose at the man who had asked what her power was. This was rather startling, since she didn’t even have a nose!

Sometimes the familiar’s “power” is a direct reflection of the witch’s Talent, like my friends I mentioned. Sometimes, the familiar has a power that allows her to directly aid the witch. I have a friend who’s bonded to a Psi, and she can help him control his workings and keep him from being overwhelmed. She’s a wolf, so we’re back to that whole I-have-too-many-dog-friends problem.

Even I could be seen as a reflection of my witch’s Talent. I can talk, communicate. My witch is a Bard. He’s actually the one you’re here to see tonight. By the way, you need to tip the bartender and the waitresses really, really well; my guy gets a portion of the tips.

Anyway, you wanted to know more about familiars. Let’s just say that we’re the reason human witches are able to do as much as they are. We stabilize their witchery. A portion of their power goes through us. We’re like lenses that focus the power the witches use for their workings.

Of course, we’re also like batteries, because our witches are stronger when we’re around, even if we aren’t actively doing anything to help them.

Several of the students began asking questions then, drowning one another out as they began almost yelling. Finally, the canary managed to isolate a few of the questions so she could answer them.

No, there’s no way to actually describe just what it is that we do for our witches. It just sort of happens passively, as part of the witch-familiar bond.

What are we?  What do we look like? We’re animals.

What?  Yes, some scholars of witchery do think we’re the animal equivalent of witches. And some think we’re ancient powerful spirits who have taken mortal form to help and guide witches. Some think we’re just aberrations, strange creatures that have decided to pair-bond with human witches to make ourselves stronger as well as them, sort of like benign parasites.

Do I know which one is true?  What makes you think any of those ideas are? But, yes, I know what we are. We all know.

No, I’m not going to tell you. We don’t even tell our witches, what makes you think we’re going to tell you.

At that point, the lights began to dim. The bird, Georgietta, took flight.

Enjoy the show.

Sid says:   I love this on so many levels, not the least of which is that we’ve been discussing the place of familiars in PCEarth. Who better to give us some insight than Ette? The more we know, the more our world grows. Familiars are vital to our witches, as partners, companions, teachers, and more. They’ve turned out to be characters in and of themselves, separate from their witches, and are simply a delight to write, especially the snarky ones (Ette).

Mickie says:  What a fun little story/vignette!  It does so much: gives us a nice view into Ette’s mind (and ego), and gives a nice basic lesson about familiars.  Ette is such a brat! I love it.

**This story is also available on the Perfect Coven Wattpad (here).

The Limitations of Witchery

Witchery is a powerful force in the world, and witches have always been able to achieve deeds that seem nearly miraculous.  Yet, despite millennia of practice, there are some goals that witchery seems unable to reach.  Perhaps appropriate workings have yet to be designed, or it may be that witchery – like most other human endeavors – has some firmly established limits that cannot be exceeded.

Following are five of the most classic goals that no witch has yet been able to achieve, though classic studies of witchery insist that they should be possible.

Living human flight

Air witches have long sought the secret of flight.  Some witches of a particularly strong Air Talent have been known to levitate or slow their rate of descent in a fall, but flight itself has not been achieved.  No fewer than thousands of witches have crafted workings designed to bestow the power of flight upon themselves or other humans.  The closest to living flight yet developed was the Air witch Pierre Duplaise in the early 1900s who created a working that would allow him or any other person to rise into the air and hover for an indefinite period of time.  Duplaise could move himself about in the air by pushing off objects and drifting in his chosen direction, but if there were no sufficiently large objects for him, he was limited to mere levitation and hovering.

Some witches have even managed to control their fall from great heights.  Not merely controlling the rate of descent, but even allowing themselves to move about in the air.  Though close to flight, their movement continued toward the ground, albeit much more slowly than were they purely at the mercy of gravity.

When asked why witches could not fly under their own power, renowned Air witch Orville Wright (who learned to use machines to do what witchery could not since his own Talent was so minimal as to be almost non-existent) replied, “It might be because people aren’t birds!”

True shapeshifting of humans

Witches have long known that a species of shapeshifting supernaturals exists, or at the very least once existed.  This has caused many witches of various Talents, primarily Earth, Shaman, and Druid, to seek to create workings that would allow humans to change into other creatures.

An innumerable list of workings and even worked objects have been created with the intention of turning human beings into other animals.  None have been truly successful.  Some of given the human in question certain animalistic features:  cat eyes, donkey ears, kangaroo legs, scaly skin, etc.  Bestowing animal abilities onto humans has long been a standard working for many witches, but those have never been more than short-term modifications to a person’s abilities.  Even this, however, is limited to enhancing what humans can do rather than bestowing completely new capabilities.  For example, a person can be given the agility of a cat, but that is only an enhancement of a human’s natural abilities.  A person who is paralyzed, for instance, will still not be able to move, no matter how many “Agility of a Cat” workings might be placed on him.

Immortality

Witches are far, far from the only people who have sought a way to bypass death and live forever; no one group can put an exclusive claim to that particular ambition.  Witches, however, have resources for the work that are not available to Orthos.  Given their connection to healing workings, it is not surprise that Earth witches have been very involved in attempts to achieve immortality.  Less expected is the fact that many Shamans have also put effort into immortality; their rationale is that there are creatures that are effectively immortal, so the potential to become so is inherent in nature.  However, they have not yet found a way to make this potential open up to any except those few creatures for whom it is already a reality.

Witchery is certainly able to increase a lifespan and to heal a broken or diseased body.  But the increase to a lifespan seems to be limited to what has already been known to occur naturally in humans.  Witchery can extend a life past the century mark, but to date no witch has ever managed to live or make another live past roughly one-hundred-twenty years.  Even this degree of life extension has required repetitions of the original working; when the working is not done on a regular schedule, the passage of time seems to catch up with the person in question a very short order.

Creation of life

Folklore, religion, and literature are filled with persons who create living beings either from pure nothingness or by bestowing life upon previously lifeless matter.  In the world of the Perfect Coven, this endeavor has been attempted by witches, as well.  As might be expected given their affinity for material results and healing, Earth witches have been among the involved in attempts to create life.  Equally engaged in pursuing this creation have been a number of Augers.  This Talent with its ease of ability to deal with spirits has long given a drive to bring those spirits into a more purely physical existence.

Many Earth witches have physically crafted a variety of objects, duplicates or imitations of living beings, and sought to bring these things to life with their witchery.  While the Earth Talent gift for healing is able to mend and repair a living body, it has always fallen short in the attempts to create one.  The bodies crafted by these witches have gained a measure of animation, able to move and act, but no Earth witch has yet succeeded in doing more than creating a moving object.  There has been no actual life, awareness, nor volition in these creations.

Augers have taken a similar, but slightly altered approach to the goal.  They begin with the same creating of a form, but then call a spirit to inhabit it, rather than attempting to animate it with their own witchery.  This has resulted in some amazing imitations of life, but the “creatures” brought forth have had no biological functions, the bodies do not develop nor do any of the normal things that living bodies do.  These, too, are nothing but witchery-created automatons.

Some scholars have theorized that if an Earth witch were to craft a body and an Auger were then to summon a spirit to inhabit it, the resulting combination might be closer to alive than any other witchery has yet achieved.  The difficulty in this has always been the odd quirk in the Auger Talent that makes an Auger working with any other witch so challenging for any save the most skilled witches.

Create lasting emotion

This goal has been the ambition of many Psi-witches and more than a few Bards.  Both Talents are well-suited to working the emotions of humans.  The creation of a new emotional state in human beings is second nature to Psi-witches.  With the power of music as their primary tool, Bards are almost as skilled in evoking emotions.  Both of these working can create very strong, but temporary emotions.  While in effect, the emotions created by witchery are very real, and the person experiencing them responds as if the feelings were his own, created through normal means.

Love spells exist in plentitude in legend and literature, but true witchery has never been able to make one person truly love another.  Creating infatuation is simple for Psi-witches and Bards (a simple working for one, and an empowered love song for the other), but any witch can do a working to raise amorous feelings in a human being.  This “love” is powerful, all-consuming, and intense.  It is also temporary.

The same applies to any emotions created through witchery.  Fear is an easy emotion to create, but it fades and loses its power over the subject.

Real emotions have not just a cause, but they grow, evolve, and adapt.  Falling in love is one event, but living in love with someone requires adapting to new experiences with that person, learning more about him/her, and sharing time together.  Emotions created by witchery of any form are incapable of this growth, and will thus fade away in time when they prove unable to adapt.

Given that witches are human, for all of their extraordinary abilities, it is a given that attempts to bypass the limitations of witchery will continue.  No human endeavor is likely to ever be allowed to rest on only what has already been done.

Perhaps there are some hard and fast limits to what witchery can achieve, perhaps not.  Most serious students of witchery believe that Orville Wright his upon a serious truth in his sarcastic response, and that witchery can never change the true nature of anything, only make slight and temporary alterations.

Others disagree.

No matter what the truth may be, witches will continue their workings, and someone may someday find a way to live forever or to soar through the air under his own power.

Mickie says:    I love this.  It gives a nice dose of reality that even magic can’t do everything.  It also provides us story tellers with some limitations to follow in the future.  There will be no immortal wizards coming forward to answer all our questions.  It also shows the balance in our shared world between magic and technology.  And when one falters, the other steps forward.

Sid says:  Humans, Witch or Ortho, will always attempt to reach past their actual grasp. In this, as in many other endeavors, people will always ask “could we”, but rarely (if ever) ask “should we”.  It has been speculated that perhaps limiting that grasp is one of the functions of a familiar – steering a witch away from what they should not attempt. However, witches will never know the truth of this, as familiars do not give away their secrets.

Looking at this from another perspective – as one of the writers involved in this series – having defined limitations on witchery makes for a more complex, interesting world. If all problems were easily solved with a bit of witchery, what reason would we have to write? James has given us some of the big limitations; it’s up to us (and our characters) to determine their individual limitations within these parameters, and others we will discover as we work in and continue to build PCEarth.

 

ALCHEMY – A WITCHERY SCIENCE

In medieval Europe and Asia, in the world we know, many scholars and learned men pursued the art of alchemy.  This forerunner of chemistry has been discredited on this Earth, but on PCEarth, that is far from the case.

While all witches are able to use physical items as a focus for their workings, those with the Earth Talent are most likely to do so.  The solid nature of their element makes working with tangible objects a reasonable and easy channel for their witchery.

Before the Pact and its spread to most of the world, many witches felt the need to hide their workings from their Ortho neighbors; this required secrecy that was not easy in most cases and not possible in others.  Earth witches took to working plants and creating potions with their workings embedded within the liquid.  A plant known to cleanse the body would be worked by an Earth witch and become a potion that purified wounds and enhanced healing.  The witchery would be used to bring out the inner properties of the plant and to enhance them, then the worked plant would be changed into a form that would make it useable by anyone, witch or Ortho.

This spread to include all manner of materials.

Before long, Earth witches had developed the science of alchemy.  Careful studies of natural objects and the inherent properties of each became treatises of how to use each in a plethora of potions, powders, unguents, and material transformations.  Each of the elements of earth, air, fire, and water was represented in the alchemical art, and witches of each Talent began to practice it.  However, alchemy remained the especial province of Earth witches, as their Talent has the greatest strength in drawing power from and granting power to materials found in and grown from the earth itself.  Other Talents, dealing as they do with elements that are less solid than Earth, are not as adept at this sort of working.

For a time, alchemy was the science for medical treatments and the improvement of people and things through witchery.  As other sciences grew, however, and became more widely known, alchemy fell out of favor.  While a witch skilled in the art of alchemy could produce a potion to counteract a poison, so could any pharmacist or physician – Ortho or witch – who had learned the medical sciences.

Alchemy could only be practiced by a select few, and the number of those few doing so began to dwindle rapidly.  Before many generations had passed, alchemy was nothing more than a brief aberration in the practice of witchery, no longer a subject of anyone’s concern.

Now, in the 21st century, that is changing.  A new generation of Earth witches is finding promise and potential in alchemy again.  A new witchery practice is being developed.  This new practice is known as Thaumaceuticals; it is a new attempt to embed witchery workings into medicines, allowing healing witches to expand their work beyond the few people they can personal attend.

The inspirations for this field of study come almost purely from ancient alchemical practices.  Other than updated materials and equipment, most of the workings done in thaumaceutical work is identical that what was done by alchemists.

Will this new form of alchemy become a viable and respected part of witchery or will it fade away as it did once before?

 

 

Sid says:   The world of the Perfect Coven grows yet again! I have to confess that alchemy has always fascinated me, from the accounts of John Dee to the mysterious St. Germain to its inclusion in the Harry Potter books. James has dropped a few hints about what’s to come next, and now to know that there will be an alchemy element makes me even more eager to get the first trilogy wrapped and move on to the next books!

 

 

Mickie says:   One of the most fun things about writing is that you can invent stuff and then make it work in your world.  Thaumaceuticals – such a nifty concept.  I love the connection to alchemy.  I enjoy the esoteric mystery of it all.  And again, it gives us another opportunity to incorporate real world history into our story world, as there are some very famous (Isaac Newton) and infamous (Faust) Alchemists whose secrets may have major impact in our timeline!

Joan of Arc – Auger Witch or insane heretic?

The woman who would go down in history as “the Maid of Orleans” was born in France in January of 1412.  Her mother had a very difficult pregnancy and delivery, barely surviving the experience.  She had been terribly sick during the pregnancy and her husband feared that should would not survive.  He brought in a local midwife, who happened to be a highly skilled, if not very powerful, Earth witch.  The woman assisted in the delivery, and brought mother and baby daughter through in the best condition that could be expected. She spoke to Monsieur d’Arc and casually commented on the fact that if there were more Earth witches in the area, the delivery could have been much better, and lamented on the fact that so many of the local witches had died in recent years, falling to odd fevers.

Though the family did not learn of it for some time, the midwife herself died only a few weeks later. Her family feared she had contracted the Black Fever, as it was still known to exist in some isolated areas. The Black Fever, however, should not have caused her to lose control of her witchery as she did. Her death was mourned by the community she had served, but then passed off as simply one of the tragedies of life.

When she was twelve years old, Joan had her first vision of a divine being.  At least, that is how she explained the experience, referring to the entity as Saint Catherine of Alexandria.  Over the course of a very short period of time, she added many other names to the ones she saw, including “Saint Michael the Archangel”, “Angel Gabriel”, and “hosts of heavenly angels”.

Given that there was no significant history of witchery in their family, and that the girl had no familiar – which was known to be the single most indicative sign that one was a witch – no one suspected that Joan’s “visions” might be anything other than what she claimed them to be.  The era was rife with religious fervor, and for a virgin maiden to see heavenly personages was not removed from the worldview of the people around her.  The facts that she claimed to see a bright light just before the appearance of the visions, and that the ringing of bells often triggered such visions added to the perceived sanctity of her visions.

One of the most significant factors in Joan’s visions was that on at least two occasions – so stated in Royal Decree – other people saw the angels in her presence.  This surely, said the common wisdom of the time, proved that the child had commerce with the heavens.

Modern scholars of witchery claim that Joan had Talent as an Auger.  Not only is this one of the rarest of witch Talents, but it occurs most frequently in certain geographic areas, and France is not one of those. As no one at the time believed Joan to be a witch, she and those of her acquaintance quite simply believed her to be in communion with Heaven.

During the years of Joan’s early adulthood, war raged and grew between France and England. While this war was far from new, it reached some of its greatest ferocity during this time. Joan claimed that the angels and saints of her visions had instructed her to “go to France” making it clear that what was meant was the original royal domain of the nation.  Always before, the only advice the angels had given her was that she should be a good and pious woman, but now they began stating that God supported the claim that Charles was the rightful heir to the throne and that the English claim to France was unsupported by the divine. They began to instruct Joan in the ways of war and politics. Finally, they instructed her to seek an escort to the royal court.

Being, as she saw the matter, a pious woman of true faith, Joan followed the instructions. Some historians would later that say that this was the step that would eventually spell doom for the Maid of Orleans. Being told by one of her “visions” that “only men may command in battle, you must become a man,” Joan began to dress as a man and to exhibit male mannerisms.

After many days of travel, Joan arrived at her destination and was escorted in to see King Charles. She immediately began speaking to the king of his own personal concerns, and prayers he had made to God. During her time with His Majesty, she was reported to be looking over his shoulder or to one side, as if listening to someone other than the king. It is now believed, of course, that she was listening to instructions and information from a variety of spirits, including those who would have been in the king’s presence during his prayers and could have conveyed such knowledge to the girl.

To test Joan’s orthodoxy and to see if she were truly blessed by God or a raving heretic, the girl was taken to the city of Poitiers, where refugee professors for the University of France tested her knowledge of theology for three weeks. During all their questioning, she answered everything they asked with precision and a vocabulary and understanding not expected of a barely-educated farm-girl. As when she spoke to the king, Joan only rarely made eye contact with any of these learned men, always looking over, behind, or to the side of them. In their ignorance of what she was doing – an ignorance many now believe she shared – they thought her to be humble, shy, and respectful to those of higher station.

As Joan went about reforming the French army, the force of her personality and the sheer vibrant charisma of all she did brought her a reputation as being a “living saint”. Despite the humility she had previously attempted to convey, she began to embrace the title. While never stating that she was, indeed, a saint, at no time did she deny the term nor ask that it not be used. Anecdotes from that time state that she had begun to act as if she were not even part of the group she grew to command, but distant from them in some way.

Not long after this, Joan’s behavior began to arouse suspicion in those around her. In the claim that would be seen as the moment that led to her eventual downfall, she stated that she and some other virgins had gathered in the local church and prayed over a dead infant so the child could live again long enough to be baptized. The doubt over her claim came with her statement that the child had indeed returned to life but died again almost immediately after being baptized. Only those women who were with her, of course, could testify to the event, and their statements of what had happened were far from in accord with one another.

After this event, her troops began to view Joan with more fear than respect. While always a figure of awe and divine majesty to them, Joan’s open claims to supernatural power of her own – literally the power to raise the dead – had turned her into a figure of fear and dread.

Despite, or perhaps because of, their fear of her, Joan’s troops rallied and fought like no soldiers had fought before. They brought victory to France, and led to the coronation of Charles.

The beginning for France was the beginning of the end for Joan. Overconfidence inspired by the almost non-stop promptings and speech of the various angels and saints led Joan into courses of actions that soon brought her to being injured in battle and captured by the English forces.

The charge brought against Joan was heresy, which while religious in nature was still seen as a legal violation. Joan’s apparent piety touched the hearts of the judges, and she was sentenced to prison after having recanted her heresy as the overly enthusiastic actions of a deluded and hysterical maiden. One of the strictest conditions of her sentence was that under no circumstances was she to ever again dress and/or act as a man. She agreed to this.

Very shortly afterward, Joan’s brothers arranged to break her from prison. This plan was dictated by several of Joan’s unseen advisors, who insisted that her work needed to continue and she could only do the holy deeds required if she were free from prison. By this time, her own will had been completely eroded by the incessant prompting of the various beings, and she immediately complied, forcing her brothers to make plans as instructed. Part of the plan was to have her dress as a man again so she could walk out with them. This plan, needless to say, did not succeed. Joan was arrested again, and this time the charge placed against her was “relapsed heretic”. Once convicted, there was no option other than a death sentence.

Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431.

In 1920, an investigation by the Catholic Church found that the region of Joan’s birth was still infested with pockets of contagion of the Black Plague. By that time, it was also known that the Hexern virus had been riding many strains of the Black Plague and had brought about the death of many witches. Scholars now believe that Joan was a witch with the Talent of the Auger, the ability to pierce the barriers between worlds and to call spirits into the mortal realm. How could this have gone unknown, since witchery was well-known then? If the child were infected while still in the womb – the mother was very sick – the virus would have been situated to manifest when the baby’s witchery came forth. No familiar would have ever bonded with the girl, as no familiar would have allowed himself to be bound to a witch who was already sickened with an illness that would claim his life as well.

Further, the beings Joan saw and spoke to are exactly the sort that were most often called up by the few Augers of European lineage at that time. Almost all such workings were done in a religious context, for fear that the power of man would be insufficient to deal with such beings and that the blessings of God was required.

Was Joan of Arc really a witch who fell victim to insanity brought on by the Hexern illness? Was her loss of will truly the result of unending spiritual visitations or merely the last stages of a fatal illness? Sadly, while history and science now indicate that this was indeed the case, no firm answer will ever be found.

Sid says:  Oh, wow. Joan of Arc/Jeanne d’Arc has always been a favorite legendary/historical figure of mine (along with Pope Joan), and I actually think I like PCEarth Jeanne even better! This is an amazing piece of PCEarth history, along with some significant insights into the effects and the reach of the Hexic demon. Our world grows ever more complex, deeper and richer with every blog post, short story, and discussion.

Mickie says:  So many possibilities and as much of a mystery as the Joan of Arc of our world!  We’ve been working to build the history of Perfect Coven Earth, tying it to our history’s famous events and personages, but making sure the magic of PC Earth is alive and believable.  Writing these stories and histories and giving them a supernatural or magical twist helps us define this world we’ve created and understand it better.  It’s also a nice reference library for building new characters.

Historic Witches – Winston Churchill

One of the most influential witches – indeed, one of the most influential people – of the past few centuries was Sir Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of England during one of the most turbulent times that country and the entire world ever knew.  Born into a family of aristocratic background, Churchill came into the world with privilege known to few.  Being born a witch with the Druid Talent added to that.

Most witches with Druidic Talent tend toward a scholarly bent and embrace education fervently.  Winston was only a mediocre student during his school years and found formal education to be difficult and tedious for him.  Because of this, he felt his witchery Talent to be of no real value and turned away from it, simply not seeing it as part of his life.  Despite this avoidance of his witchery, Winston was bonded with his familiar in his middle teen years.  A bulldog named Dodo became his near constant companion.  While naturally possessing the necessary physical “anomaly” signifying a familiar, Dodo’s difference was not a visible one, as has been known to happen with other familiars.  History now shows us that the bulldog Dodo actually possessed a band of feathers around her neck.  Winston kept the feathers cut back as far as possible, making them look (to a casual glance) like a collar around the dog’s neck.  Her power was a rather subtle one, but one that proved invaluable later in Churchill’s life:  any working done in Dodo’s presence was magnified two-fold in effect, literally increasing Winston’s power.

Many people in his life remained unaware that Winston possessed any sort of witchery at all.  He was rarely seen to do any kind of working, and his growing love for all sorts of animals made his traveling with one or more dogs seem less like a witch and his familiar and more like a man who loved animals wanting them in his company.

Upon attaining the office of Prime Minister, Winston Churchill found reason to finally embrace his Talent as a Druidic witch.  Given the Druid tendency to work through connections to what they are affecting with witchery, Churchill used mementos from people, including correspondence, to work the people he knew.  His workings were geared almost exclusively toward creating for himself the strongest network of people he could.  The people he wove into his web became advisors and assistants in his government work.  His ability to understand the people to whom he was connected allowed him to make the greatest use of the abilities and skills of those around him.

As he became more comfortable with his Talent, Churchill found himself being more drawn to scholarly pursuits, and found a great love for knowledge.  At one point, he was recruited into a coven composed entirely of Druids who embraced the goal of rediscovering and revitalizing some of the ancient Druidic workings.

But Churchill’s greatest workings of Druidic witchery were done purely on his estate.  He learned a Druidic working that allowed him to communicate with animals, something that was apparently common knowledge to ancient Druids.  His estate became a sanctuary for animals of all sorts: dogs, cats, butterflies, pigs, and swans were among the most commonly found there.  Winston spent his happiest hours in the company of his animal friends and speaking with them.

Though his witchery remained a minor aspect of his public life, the results Winston Churchill achieved from it have caused him to become one of the best-known people in the history of the modern world.