Go to The Rose and Prince Brendan Blog for previous chapters.
This chapter belongs between the current chapters One and Two. Tom & Icy pointed out to me that Sienna mysteriously went from cow to woman. The Missing Chapter, Parts 1, 2 and 3, explains the transition from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2, for Sienna.
The Witch of Spawn Hallow stood in the shadows of the ancient larch and yew that made up the forest near the little farm where the sorceress, Ma-Sha, had just changed five red headed women into five fawn-colored cows. A dark haired man had left only minutes before, passing within feet of where The Witch hid, camouflaged by the green and browns of her clothes and the twigs and leaves woven into her hair.
She waited, hunkered down within the underbrush, until Ma-Sha left in the opposite direction. The young girl Ma-Sha had left unchanged went into the thatch-roofed cottage. The cows wandered into a pasture behind the house.
After several hours with no sign of anyone else about, The Witch rose from her crouch, stretching bunched and stiff muscles. She pulled her rabbit pelt shawl securely over her shoulders, and stepped out into the open. Looking around to be sure she was alone, The Witch walked over to the cottage, peeking in at the windows to see what the young girl was doing. The Witch saw the girl working at hanging bunches of herbs from the cottage rafters. She sang a ditty as she worked. The one table in the house was piled high with stalks and leaves.
The Witch moved on. The girl was too homey for her. From what she had seen, The Witch felt the girl would be too much Ma-Sha’s creature to be of use to The Witch. Better try for someone who felt misused. The Witch head for the cows.
As The Witch approached the five cows, all but the largest trotted away from her. That cow walked right up to The Witch. The cow’s head was level with The Witch’s head. The Witch placed a palm just under each of the cow's ears, her rag wrapped fingers spread wide, their tips pressing painfully into the beast’s skull.
The Witch, her eyes closed, placed her forehead to the cow’s brow. They stood together this way, heads touching, for almost an hour. The wind rose and unseasonably cold rain poured down, soaking both and driving the other four cows into a shed beside the cottage. Hail pelted The Witch and the cow, growing to the size of crab apples. The Witch never moved. The cow shook and flinched as each ball of frozen water hit its body. Lightening struck the ground beside them and thunder shook the air.
The smell of burned grass and earth accompanied complete silence. The Witch sank to the ground drawing the auburn haired, beautiful, young woman with her. They both knelt, foreheads touching, The Witch’s eyes still closed. The woman transformed from cow to human took shallow breaths.
“We must move from here,” said the woman. “We can not let Rose see us.” The woman spoke quietly. She took hold of The Witch by the elbows and raised her up. The woman held The Witch around the back, supporting The Witch and guiding her towards the forest. The woman led The Witch to a downed tree trunk, helping her to sit.
Both looked back through the trees to see Rose cautiously peek out of the cottage door, walk out into the yard and call out.
“Sienna, Scarlet, Poppy, Phoenix, Flann.” Rose walked around the cottage as the four cows hiding in the shed trotted out. Rose moved towards them but they skittered away from her and ran for the trees, avoiding the spot where The Witch and the woman waited. The woman laughed and collapsed on the log next to The Witch.
The Witch clamped her left hand onto the woman’s right knee.
“Sienna,” said the woman. She shivered.
“You will call me Loviatar.” Loviatar’s grip tightened on Sienna’s knee. “Say it.”
“Say, ‘I, Sienna, am Loviatar’s creature. I swear my allegiance to Loviatar.’” Her voice got lower and deeper as she spoke.
“I so swear,” whispered Sienna.
“No! Say it exactly as I spoke it.”
“I, Sienna, am Loviatar’s creature. I swear my allegiance to Loviatar.” The ground shook.