A grimy hovel squatted in the oaks and ashes. It was built into the base of a great and tall tree. A horribly thatched roof. Round windows. Ivy nearly covered them. Walls with copious moss wedged between cobble stones. A chimney that was falling apart, nonetheless emitted smoke. A child’s doll haphazardly dropped in front of the doorway.
A concussive flash rattled the windows. Two hags inside screeched in surprise, and one followed it with a cackle that wore its welcome. The two where raising a din, industriously moving about, and creating. One was at a mortar and pestle, grinding away kingsfoil herb and the bones of a dwarf. She was at a large table encumbered by flasks, condensers, distillers, beakers, crucibles, and spiraling tubes, herbs, books, even a spiraled and straight horn with a tuft of white hair. The other was in front of a cauldron, stoking the flames. Its bilge frothed and belched luminous verdant mist that creeped along the floor. A third witch sat dead and disemboweled on a stool, hands fettered behind her back. Her face rested in a grimace. Coals still burned within her abdomen, even though she’d been dead for at least a a pixie’s nap. The glyph for “heretic” was burned into her skull.
The shack was crammed. Thick volumes. Plants. Cages. Newts and toads frittered around. Even the rafters were burdened with faggots of long herbs and vegetables tied to them.
The red haired witch momentarily stepped away from the cauldron and returned with a massive heart, which she skewered on a dangling hook above the brew. Red essence dripped into the concoction, and it reacted with tumbling. She grinned a slobbery maw.
The warty one, less balding—but still no less homely—borrowed a flame from a candle nested on a skull, and lit a smaller one beneath a crucible, then turned her attention to a beaker. She carefully and patiently added the mortar’s greenish chalk into the beaker’s yellow viscosity. A raven cawed and flew to another tall bookshelf when it sparked and smoked.