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Witches are generally human females that harness magic in the Wardstone Chronicles and Starblade Chronicles.

Description

Witches are one of the most powerful physical forces that have been known to serve the Dark and the Old Gods who still live, as they are the source of their power.

As well as individual power, they have the advantage of belonging to large groups, for example; in Pendle, there are a considerable amount of witches, who usually fall into one of three clans: The Malkin clan, the Deane clan, or the most powerful, the Mouldheels. Witches vary in type and tactics, with various types of magic being practiced in the County, and into different lands.

The physical characteristics of witches can differ greatly from humans, depending on whether they are a different species, and they may possess a wide variety of qualities.

Characteristics of witches

Witches are a powerful group of individuals, due to their ability to directly harness the Dark for a wide array of uses, and they seem to possess physical abilities that exceed the normal expectations of humans. They are known to have a special skin mark in the form of a moon that marks their descent into darkness, waxing from a crescent moon to a full one, as they draw closer to becoming true witches and having their hearts totally hardened by the Dark. The mark grows fuller through the usage of dark magic, though it is currently unknown if benign witches have a way to harness power without this occurring. It is possible, though rare, for a witch of this type to be born with an innate storage of dark power to be drawn upon, rather than have to actively go out and obtain this power, though the resource is finite. In addition to this, they have acute night vision and a supernatural sense of smell, being able to anticipate events with long sniffing and identify the characteristics of something with short sniffing.

Being a witch is a genetic quality, but the exact origin of the various lines is unknown. It is possible that it is the gradual result of long term dabbling by regular humans. All witches thus far have been female, with males typically being referred to as sorcerers or mages. Not all witches worship the Fiend, though it is common. Many worship various Old Gods like Pan or Golgoth.

Types of normal witches

Normal witches are those which are mostly human in appearance, though usually unattractive. In addition to the ability to store and use magic, they are noted on several occasions to possess superhuman strength and speed. Aside from methodology, there is little to distinguish between them and Romanian and Celtic witches, thus, until otherwise stated, they are considered the same.

The benign

Main article: Benign witches

These are wise women who have great knowledge of herbs and potions, and are generally healers. Others might also be midwives and by helping their villages, save countless lifes. They serve the Light, and gain small amounts of money for their work, and if their clients are poor, they will usually work for nothing. These women can also be relied on to help spooks and their apprentices with their local knowledge and healing capabilities. Charges of witchcraft may be brought against them from time to time, and spooks should be prepared to protect them by educating their neighbors about benign witches.

Notable benign witches in the County:

Agnes Sowerbutts of Pendle could also fall into this category of benign witch, but her status is uncertain. She is a healer but uses mirrors for magical purposes, something usually considered a tool of the Dark.

The malevolent

Main article: Malevolent witches

These witches draw power from the Dark and pursue their own ends, often without any consideration of the consequences for others or deliberately setting out to do harm. While some serve the Fiend directly, many act for their own interests. There is also a wide spectrum of power and ability, with the lowest end of the scale consisting of witches who dabble in witchcraft to survive; as a means to fill their belly and gain shelter against the cold ravages of winter. At the highest end of the scale, witches can have the power to rule over an entire kingdom.

Malevolent witches use their powers for evil. The magic used by this type of witch can be classified under one of these three different categories: Blood, bone, or familiar magic. If a witch practices any of these types of magic then they will most certainly be classified as malevolent.

Notable malevolent witches

The unaware

Main article: Unaware witches

It is possible for a witch to live out her whole life and not once realize her potential. This never happens in witch communities such as Pendle; here, an unaware witch is quickly sniffed out by the covens and forced to develope her powers to strengthen her clan and family. But, in some isolated villages, the ability may jump two or three generations and suddenly manifest itself in a child who is completly unaware of her own powers. Sometimes her abilities are discovered in a crisis. for example, when her own life or that if a loved one is threatened, a witch's latent power may flare up. Even then, many attribute it to a 'miracle' or the intervention of some deity rather than realizing that the true power lies within them.

Types of Lamia witches

Lamias are virtually the same as ordinary witches. They are slow shape-shifters, taking many months to complete their tranformation which is brought on by the introduction or removal of people over a period of time. There are two primary categories of Lamia witches, the domestic and the feral. Lamia witches shun sunlight and at night, they drink the blood of men. Mam, originally known as Lamia, produced this line of witches after being transformed by the Old Gods for her actions, and she is still worshiped by some of her descendants. They are known to use magic to lure prey when hunting.

Domestic Lamias

These are Lamia witches who have spent some time with humans, thus taking the appearance of a normal, if not beautiful, woman. Even when domestic, they retain a line of green and yellow scales along their back. An example is Meg Skelton.

Feral Lamias

These are savage and don't have the appearance of a woman. They are bestial in form, with savage claws, losing the ability to speak. Despite this, they are still quite intelligent and can use magic to aid themselves. An example is Marcia Skelton.

Vaengir

The winged counterpart of feral Lamias, they possess insect-like wings and are much rarer. This is in contrast to their progenitor, whose wings were bird-like. They are known to serve Lamia's enemy, the Ordeen, prior to her destruction. They are far more dangerous than regular Lamia witches, just one being sufficient to turn the tide in major battles.

Earth Witches

The witches of the Old God Pan have immense natural capabilities. They look as normal witches, and behave as ordinary people would except for seeing large amounts of beauty in nature. One example would be Alice Deane, who is the first - and only - known Earth Witch. An example of her power was when she opened up the Fitzanda Fissure and allowed the Northern armies to escape largely unscathed. The effort did almost kill her, however.

Water Witches

Main article: Water Witches

Water witches are the aquatic variation of witches, being powerful swimmers with near-animal intellect. There are only two differences: Their appearance and their ability to cross running water and even swim in it. Their appearance is similar to that of a dead thing with webbed feet, claws on all extremities, and skin like that of a frog. Much of their time is spent submerged, as they weaken on dry land. They are known to employ skelts in their hunting and in their magic. This branch of witches is very dangerous due to their ability to hide in the water and take one by surprise, using their considerable strength hook prey and drown them.They retain the common weakness to salt and saltwater.

Bird witches

Main article: Bird witch

Magic

Main article: Witchcraft

The trademark weapon of witches is magic and it is practice in various ways, though noticeably different from the more methodical practices of mages. It can accomplish such things as scrying the past and future, allowing people to communicate through reflective surfaces, spy on people, curse enemies, heal the injured, influence nature, and a number of other things. The power must be gathered through a variety of means, including taking blood and bones, drawing on a familiar, using animism to drain the lives of others, or having an innate supply. The knowledge of magic was attained over time, people gradually identifying the properties of plants and animals used in spell, along with the development of language giving way to more complex works. Essentially, any desired effect can be acheived through their magic with sufficient power and knowledge of the proper procedure.

Animism Magic

This type of magic is also practised by the category of mages known as shamans, but its strongest adherents are the Romanian Witches. They feed upon the `animus`, the life essence of a creature: this is not its soul; it is our life energy. They then suck out the life force and this could take months or if thy are more powerful, or a coven could do this in seconds.

Blood Magic

This is the most basic type of magic practised by witches and most witches use it, but go on to practise more powerful magic. Blood features in rituals, especially at the time of the four main witch sabbaths. Drinking copious amounts, especially blood of children, increases the potency of dark magic. it enhances both scrying and cursing, the latter being used to bring about the death of an enemy from great distance.

Bone Magic

Curses

Elemental Magic

Familiar Magic

Mirrors or Scrying

Moon Magic

Sniffing

Spells of false appearance

Dread

Main article: Dread

Sympathetic Magic

Dead Witches

Main article: Dead Witches

There are three possibilities for witches when they die; they can go into the Dark, return as the undead or be born into a new body. Moving into the dark is contingent upon the proper sort of death, requiring them to either be burned or have their hearts destroyed. Even hanging and decapitation are insufficient. Undead witches gradually lose their ability to use magic, and their bodies will continue to decay causing them to weaken over time along with their minds. They will attempt to hunt and gather blood to restore their strength. Being powerful in life is no guarantee that the witch will be powerful in death, and many prefer to pass on rather than linger in their old bodies.

Witch Groupings

Clans

A witch clan is composed of family groups. Not all members of such clan will necessearily be witches, but the will support those who are. Witches often migrate to places which are a source of power or habe the right ambience for perfoming dark magic like the Pendle Clans.

Malkin Clan

The first witches to live in Pendle and now operatefrom theri stronghold, Malkin Tower. They are not only the oldest, but also the most powerful clan. The tower was original owned by a landowner but he was killed and the witches extended the tower by adding a cellar andan escape tunnel. Usually only a few members of the Malkin Clan live in the Tower and a few supporters. But most mebers of the clan live in a close village called Goldshaw Booth.

Deane Clan

The deanes were the second group to migrate to Pendle. Their Families came by boat from Ireland, the wet misty land across the western sea.Bloodthirsty battles were fought against the Malkins in Crow Wood, but they failed to capture the Malkin Tower. So they made their home in the village of Roughlee. The Deanes are the proudest of the main clans and are easily insulted. Sometimes they imagine grievances and become spiteful and vindictive. They still dream of making MalkinTower their own. Although Celtic in origin, after centuries of life in the county they gradually changed their ways. Their families interbred, formed the Deane Clan and ceased worshipping the Morrigan.

Mouldheel Clan

The Mouldheels, formerly nomadic, were the last of the main clans to arrive. These Witches went bare footed, and behind their backs, some called them `stink-feet` or `mouldy heels`, the latter evolving into their present name. The village of Bareleigh eventually became their home.

Covens

A coven means thirteen witches gathered to use dark magic, usually at celebratory feasts such as Candlemas(2nd February), Walpurgis Night(30th April), Lammas(1st August) and Haloween(31st October). The covens gather at midnight on those feasts, and ocassionally, drawing strength from the adulation of his worshipper, the fiend materialises briefly to accept obeisance and grant dark power. These former appearances of the Fiend often lasted just a minute or so.

Witch Assassins

Each Pendle witch clan( most noatbly the malkin, Deane and Mouldheel families) employs at least one witch assassin - whose primary role is to seek outand destroy their enemies. The sucessor is usually chosen by a challenge followed by mortal combat. The Malkins assassin is easily the most formidable. Three challengers are trained each year and take it in turns to fight her or him.

Grimalkin

The current assassin of the malkin Clan is Grimalkin. Very fast and strong, she has a code of honour and never resorts to trickery. She prefers her opponent to be a real test. Although honourable, Grimalkin also has a dark side and is reputerd to use torture. All ear the snip-snap of her terrible scissors. She uses these to shear the flesh and bone of her enemies. She also carves an image of her scissors into trees to mark her territory or warn others away.

Notable Witch Assassins

Notable Witches

Living:

Dead Witches:

joined the dark again:

Vulnerabilities and Weaknesses

Rowan Wood

Witches find the touch of rowan wood extremely painful, Tom Ward chose a staff made of rowan to try and rid the county of Mother Malkin. They cannot stand the touch of it.

Silver Chain

A silver chain is very effective when battling with a witch, if casted just at the right time, it can fully bind a witch, which is a very painful experience for them.

Salt and Iron

A mixture of these two substances can be very effective against most creatures of The Dark.

Witches and Water

A witch cannot walk into water, and therefore relies on bridges, or to be carried across by someone.