Authors: Richard Shekari
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Otheris and the
Serpents of Qhudrus
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The great witch
The road to
The Serpents of
Misciew, Ron Terna Torkwembe
…Your words of
encouragement and profound support greatly influenced my desire to
write this piece.
great witch of Moughdug
“Let go of me
Otheris!” cried the old witch in her black cloak as she struggled
to free her neck from his grip, he kept walking and didn’t care to
look back as he dragged her down the village, “Let me go!” she
barely choked struggling with mucus all over her face and his hand.
Other than her creaky old voice, only the chirping of the crickets
and the hooting of the owls could be heard. Otheris uttered no
words as he tugged her.
son of Delial, have mercy and free me,” she pleaded, “I shall not
come near thy household again!” still struggling for air to
“You shall be
free. I have no plans of taking your life oh great witch of
Moughdug. You should know that by now, the village folk need to see
you in your true form,” replied Otheris.
“I beg of you.
Heed my words son of Delial; neither I nor my prentice shall fly
near thy domain from hence. Spare me,” she entreated.
The village was
as mute as a graveyard. They passed some houses and arrived at a
place that seemed to look like the market place, with his fingers
still clenched to her wrinkled neck. Otheris threw his sword on the
ground as he approached a big bell hung to a barren old tree at the
centre of the village.
“Otheris No! No
Otheris!” she cried out.
a mallet that was kept on top of the big bell and struck it three
times, and the old witch turned in dismay as a dreadful horror
usurped her senses.
“Why do you
worry? The village folk said that the oracle had foretold your fall
in the hands of the one who is pure in heart,” he said, “not that I
am an ardent follower of such ridiculous asinine way of thinking, I
am just fed up with your vileness!”
reeks of pride son of Delial! No one is burning anyone tonight,
you’ll see!” she vaunted.
folk began to light up their lamps and their voices were heard. The
witch didn’t want them to see her as she was, and for every time
Otheris banged the big old bell more lamps would be lit and more
really put up a good fight,” he threw the mallet on the ground.
“I’ve got to admit, you’ve got skills even the serpents of Qhudrus
lack,” he said smiling as he lifted her up above his head with his
left hand, leaving her legs dangling in the air, “for years no one
believed me” he heaved a deep sigh, “but today….the truth shall
The old witch
managed to turn around to see if anyone was coming, she then stared
down into his eyes and made few attempts to kick him with her legs
but he lowered her down hard.
“You fool,” she
grumbled, “no one burns tonight! You hear me son of Delial? No
one!” she bit his left hand almost ripping a lump off of it.
screamed but didn’t let go of the witch.
“Mark my words
son of Delial; I shall bring dusk on you gullible lad!” bragged the
released his left grip and squeezed her neck harder with his right
chanted the old witch as she shape shifted, and
began to shrink right before his very eyes.
You bit me!” He cried out. Otheris was astonished seeing that she
could shape shift into a smaller being.
locked her powerful teeth to his thenal and the excruciating pain
sent Otheris to his knees.
“I rule this
filthy lands you and these wretched people call home and all of
Qhudrus as well, and there is nothing you can do about it boy!”
boasted the witch as she shrank small enough in order to escape his
grip. Otheris still refused to let her go, he wanted to make sure
her true identity was exposed to the villagers.
started to come out as they headed toward the old tree.
Today you shall know why they call me the great witch of Moughdug!”
she maniacally bragged, opened her mouth wide once more and went
for his flesh.
“To hell with
it!” Otheris said as he opened his mouth and swallowed her
the old witch, but it was too late; Otheris had ran his teeth
through the tissues around the bones in her neck, he felt the sound
of her flesh ruptured as his incisors pieced through her bones
ripping her head off with one bite.
Otheris fell to
the ground and spat the head out, he could not bear the unpleasant
taste of blood in his mouth and began to puke still holding to her
miniature body in his hand. Otheris then fell to the ground
panting, and as he lay facing the full moon, the villagers
“What now son
of Delial?” asked one of the villagers.
his head to look at them, spat again then rested his head on the
“Have you come
to parade your folly again Otheris!” said another who was holding a
up, “Here!” He suspired as he raised his right hand up for the
village folk to see what he held, Behold! The great witch of
Moughdug! I have caught her and brought her to you my brothers, to
see, and to know that I lied not to anyone!”
folk began to laugh at him, Otheris then threw the headless
miniature body of the witch at the one holding the torch.
“You must be
mad!” said the one holding the torch as he jumped off. The village
folk gathered around to see it as Otheris stood up in search for
the head. Astounded by what their eyes beheld, they all left their
“This can’t be
true!” said the one holding the torch, baffled as he lowered the
torch down to shine light on the body. Otheris found the head then
threw it near the miniature body, as it landed, the villagers moved
a few steps back quickly.
“You have to
take this to the third palace! We have to alert the king! Otheris!
Otheris?” said one of the villagers who looked around but sighted
Otheris walking home, wiping his mouth with his garment.
Otheris!” a woman voiced out, “wake up Otheris!”
“Oh come on,
can’t a man just have a good rest in this house?” he grumbled.
“Yes he can! Of
course he can…if he sleeps like normal people do and not go about
hunting crones and fays every night. Get up!” commanded the
Alright! I am up already,” he said as he stretched, “what’s for
breakfast? I am hungry!”
“Of course you
are! But first, the king has sent for you, the guards are outside!”
“I have to eat
something! I don’t want to die of hunger, and I know you won’t be
happy if your precious Otheris dies either!” joked Otheris as he
promise you by the time you get back son I’d have your favourite
meal on the table! Now go before the villagers have another reason
to start spreading silly rumours about you again dear!” she
Zeenah!” he said as he stood up and walked out of his room, “off I
Otheris met the
guards outside and tried to keep up with them as they walked to the
third palace, but he was too weak so he spoke to one of the guards
to please run fast and have food be made ready for him at the
arrival, he met most of the village folk standing and some men
seated near the king.
You have earned a place amongst men, my friend. Here!” said the
king to Otheris as he pointed his finger at the seat next to
through the crowds, “I am hungry my liege!” he said.
exclaimed the king, “if the great village of Moughdug lacked no
food, it would be an insult for its king to have half of what it
owned in the storehouse my friend,” he laughed, “what would you
like to eat?” asked the king as he smiled gleefully at Otheris.
bread would be fine your majesty!” replied Otheris.
“I like you!”
said the king, “Ha-ha! Bring him the finest of the wines and make
sure the finest of the soup and meat is brought along with the
loaf.” ordered the king as he tapped Otheris, “You know, when I was
your age my father taught me a lot of things. He even taught me how
to woo a woman my friend,” he laughed, “my father, before he died
advised me to try and make every village under my rule look like
the capital, and do you know what I did?” he smiled, “well, I built
a palace in all the seven villages, just like this one! This way I
can spend time with my people and understand them better and of
course, this requires I spend about a year or so in every village I
visit,” he tapped Otheris on the shoulder, “now, you! I see that
you have hidden gifts which will be of benefit to these villages,
and my entire kingdom as a whole,” he lowered his hand and pulled
out a small crown from underneath his throne and said, “could you
believe I have crowns like this one under all my thrones, in all
the seven villages under this kingdom? With all that I have known
and with all the wives and concubines I have, my friend, not a
single male child!?” he simpered, “however, I believe I need not
worry anymore,” as he returned the crown where he pulled it
walked in with trays.
“Ah! You! Bring
the table here!” ordered the king as one of the guards quickly
brought a small table and kept it before the king and Otheris. The
maids placed some bread, a bowl of soup, roasted turkey and a jar
filled with wine on the table.
“Today you eat
with your king! Today this kingdom celebrates and honours you
Otheris son of Delial! Eat!” said the king as he pushed the table
in front of Otheris, “I shall soon organise a feast in your honour
Otheris cut a
piece of bread from the loaf and dipped into the soup before him
and then he swallowed it.
“Ha-Ha! I can
see you are a man of action my friend! I like you!” added the king,
“Okay! Everybody out!” he clapped, “Karim, you stay!” pointed at
one of the well-built men among his guards.
“I like his
beard!” referred Otheris to the one called Karim as he turned to
the king, “I really would love to have a beard like that!”
Otheris, grow it!” answered the king laughing.
The guards, the
maids and all the men walked out silently leaving only Otheris and
“I will not
waste your time my friend. We both know how precious time is, don’t
we? Now, you have proven wrong all the village folk after all these
years and you have gladdened my heart. But I am not happy about a
few things; one, I don’t like the way these witches wrapped their
chains around the feet of these young men in my kingdom, amongst
other things! Otheris, I need to ask you for a favour, just one!”
the king said, “You look like a young man who has got too much to
do! Ah! Too little time!”