Secrets of Henry 3

If I wasn’t troubled before, I surely am now–I saw the devil with my very own eyes!  It all began when I met the Uzhitz priest, Father Godwin.  He’s a soft spoken man, yet he practices with a wooden sword during every free moment he has in the day.  I don’t know what to make of him, but he asked for my help and I truly feel that I want to help anyone I can.

He wanted my help to find out if some local women were mixed up in witchcraft, and sent me to see a herbalist woman who lives in the forest between Uzhitz and Talmberg.  It seemed easy enough and I enjoyed the walk in the forest that morning.  I picked mushrooms, herbs and flowers on my way and felt better than I have since that last day at home.  I didn’t expect much would come of my mission because some people think of herbalism as a form of witchcraft itself.  I looked forward to meeting the woman, with hopes she might teach me something.

She told me she’d made a powerful ointment for the women because they were each desperate for help after personal tragedies.  The ointment is for summoning the devil.  I didn’t believe her one bit, and asked if she’d give the recipe to me.  “It’s made with two of the most deadly of poisons!” she replied.  “That’s why I’m so worried for those poor women–they could hurt themselves.”  What a stupid woman, and greedy too!  I agreed to help, but only because Father Godwin asked me to already.

“Thank you, young man!  If you really want to learn the craft, go inside my hut.  I have a recipe I give to guests–I know you’ll like it.”  I went into her hut and saw an alchemy bench with an open book beside it.  I read it and it’s the recipe for Saviour Schnapps, my favourite drink.  Wine is a pleasant drink with meals or in the evening before bed, but a shot of this fine liqueur is good for any time of the day or night!  Bianca used to give me these whenever she got new stock at her tavern.  My Bianca…

It was very easy to boil some wine and infuse it with a small amount of poisonous herbs in the recipe.  I filled several phials with Saviour Schnapps and drank one immediately, then returned to Uzhitz.  I questioned one of the women and she told me everything.  I took a soft approach with her even though I wanted to remind her that witches are burned at the stake.  She said they meet in the woods but there’s nothing harmful about it.  I had to see for myself, so I followed them that evening.  They went off the trail shortly after entering the forest, then went to a small clearing and lit a fire.  I crouched in the bushes and listened to them chant and call out to Lucifer.

Somehow they caught me and demanded that I come out of the shadows.  They swarmed me and started putting their hands all over me.  “Get off me!” I insisted and tried to free myself.  They were lustful and frightening, to tell you the truth.  I’m saving myself for marriage but they wanted to pleasure me, as one of them suggested.

“We’re ready to do anything for you, oh Lucifer!  Just rid us of the Cumans!” she pleaded desperately.

“Cumans?  I don’t mind getting rid of them, but I’m not Lucifer.”  They refused to believe me, and the effects of the witch’s ointment began to overcome my mind and senses.  I saw strange colours swirling around and between the women.  “What have you done to me?” I demanded to know.

“It’s all part of the ceremony, my Lord,” they answered.

I heard something in the forest and tried to see what was there.  The crazy colours in my vision vanished in an instant, as something like a flicker of darkness burst out of the woods.  From the darkness, I saw the red faced devil materialize.  It was pure evil and it hated me.  Lucifer wasn’t there to help anyone–he came for me.  He wants to hurt me.  He wants to consume me.

The darkness enveloped me and I fell unconscious.  When I came to my senses again, the women had transformed into farm animals!  I could not comprehend the sight of a talking horse.

The witches were completely unaware of the visitation that just occurred, and they still believed me to be the devil.  They also continued in their attempts to seduce me.  For a few moments, I played along as the devil and made stupid jokes at them, but they still didn’t understand.

Suddenly a pair of demons rushed into the clearing with axes swinging, and they went after the women.  I had to protect them for Father Godwin!  Somehow I believe they can be redeemed–all they wanted is an end to war and suffering.  All they need is time in prayer and reconnecting with the love and peace of Christ.

It’s a strange feeling thinking of our Lord while stabbing someone.  I swiftly killed both demons before passing out again.  I slept off the effects of the witch’s ointment and woke up at dawn.  The women were gone, and the only sign of the ritual was the bodies of the two woodcutters that were possessed during the night.

I returned to the inn where I’ve reserved the attic room as a private home.  I felt exhausted and most of the town was asleep, so I laid down to sleep a couple extra hours before going back to Godwin to report what happened.  I woke up in the dewy grass, a few paces from the side of the road.  I walked in my sleep again and might’ve even walked straight down the hill from the inn, crossed the river, and then laid down to finish sleeping rather than climb the next hill–but I have no idea how long I was walking.

I brushed myself off, then climbed the steep hill to speak with Father Godwin at the church.  He was very upset that the woodcutters were killed.  He insisted they were innocent, but I know they would’ve butchered those women.  They were possessed; I know that.  The devil sent demons to taunt me, and to make me kill as he tried to corrupt my soul.  There was nothing I could say to Father Godwin about that–if I revealed what I really saw, I’d probably be condemned to death due to witchcraft being involved.


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