The Witch House

When Megan Thorpe, a young teenage human girl, enters The Shallow Woods by accident, she meets a group of witches, warlocks, orcs, goblins, and other creatures. When her life is placed in grave danger, she finds out that she has new powers that she didn't know she had. The new YA fantasy novel by Robert Helliger.

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1. Megan

The eerie woods shattered the frayed nerves of Megan. She imagined her parents telling her not to do anything that caused her any trouble; she imagined the book she was reading on ancient witches. She gasped in surprise as a flicker of bright light from her dark bedroom, illuminated her face. The entrance to The Shallow Woods was full of Night Guards; the entrance was full of Orc Guards. She blinked her green eyes. Orcs weren't real. At least she ​believed ​they weren't real. In her mind, her fantasy novels she was reading were classics like Tolkien. "​The Hobbit​", was her favourite novel. She looked out of the glass window. Suddenly she heard the sound of footsteps down the long hallway. Her parents were yelling again. It was inevitable that they'd be divorced by the end of the year. Megan, who was a well-educated girl, knew what it meant to survive in the busy, 21st century. She opened the bedroom window, and jumped next to the green grass. Making sure she hadn't injured her ankles, she raced down the grey path towards The Shallow Woods...where the beginning of her incredible adventure had begun.

~~~

As she reached the front entrance, a musical female voice was uttered from afar: "​Willow! Dear Willow! Make everything work...​". Megan smiled. Then she saw the elf-girl. It wore a grey dress. And was barefoot. "Oh Miss! I thought that no humans would dare come here. Lady Harrow is watching our kind. She's a Sorceress, you know". Megan was lost for words. "I'm Megan. I fled my home because of my fighting parents. I was reading a book on Orcs, and I was eager to find out the source of the bright light in the woods". The elf-girl shivered. "I'm Elsa Deane. Please come with me".  Megan nodded. She felt courage to follow her friend into the woods. Then she saw a elf carriage in the middle. The wheels were damaged. Two of them were to the far-left, near the deep ditch that was covered in shrubbery.

"We mustn't see Lord Harrow. He'll be riding with his Army tonight. Apparently there's a sense that the next battle could be his last because of what happened to Lord Orton's reign". Megan stared at the elf-girl. "I'm sure that nothing bad will happen". By the time it had finished it's story, Megan stared at a broken Church. Suddenly she heard the sound of footsteps. "Someone's coming!", she shouted. Before she could do anything, the elf-girl gazed at the small groups of elves. And knew what was going to happen. She saw the leader. "Halt!", the elf yelled. It watched the elf and human girl...and gripped a sharp grey staff with its right hand. Then Megan gasped in shock, and awaited for it to speak.

~~~
"Tell me the name of your kind", Lord Harrow said. 

"Megan, my Lord", she said.

"You're away from your family?", Lord Harrow asked. Megan shook her head. She was about to say something when a tall, black, Sorceress wearing a black gown, glided towards the group. Megan backed away as Elsa was about to speak-but nothing came out of her mouth; the Sorceress grinned at them. "Ah, Elsa! Who do you have with you this evening?", she asked it.

"Megan. She's a human girl who left her parents...and met me in the woods", Elsa said. It was shivering; it was walking towards the Sorceress.

"​Come with us!", Lord Harrow ordered.

And he grinned, as Megan meekly followed them into the middle of the woods.

~~~ 

Megan appeared near ​The Orc Inn. Elsa saw several orcs grinning to each other, as they drank their ales. Nearby was a raging hot fireplace; the black iron-ore grille kept the fire from burning. The Sorceress glided towards the black chairs, as she warmed her small hands. Once she was warm, Megan did the same, followed by Elsa. Lord Harrow warmed his hands afterwards. Suddenly a small elven woman dressed in a green gown, hurried to the group. "My Lord, Ladies, girls...how can I help you all?", Darla Sweet asked them. "We're here for the evening. The human girl is in the employ of the Sorceress", Lord Harrow said. He was eager to believe in the news that Megan would go back through the woods, and head back to her bedroom. She didn't think that her mother and father would check on their daughter. She was hungry. And tired. "May I have a room, and something to eat?", she asked. "Room 4221 is available. We have stew", Darla said. Lord Harrow gave her ten gold coins. Megan was happy that she had a room for herself; the Sorceress clapped her hands. Blue flames burst from her hands. Then, as she grinned, Darla said: "Rooms 4222 through to 4228 are free". Megan nodded. Then, by ten o'clock in the evening, she knew that time was different in the fantasy land. She ate her stew without any kind of protest; she then walked to her room...closed the door...and waited for the bright morning to start.

~~~

The following morning was dark. Megan shivered. Then, as she remembered about her human parents, decided to thought about them. But, after she begun to cry, Elsa spoke. "What's the matter?", she asked her. Megan didn't answer her. She took a deep breath. "My parents will be worrying about me", she answered. Suddenly the elf shook her head; the elf added: "Your world isn't in our world, Megan. Once this adventure is over, you'll go back to your bed...and go to sleep". 

~~~

The smell of elven tea wafted through the Inn. Megan saw the Sorceress grinning at her. "You're a survivor, child; you're a child of magic", she uttered. She glanced at the fireplace. The firewood rushed out of the black grille. Elsa waited, then she followed the human girl towards where they saw several Knights of the Blade guards who were holding their sharpened silver coloured swords in their hands. Megan shook her head. She didn't think that she was a witch. In short, she wished she was someone who had powers. Suddenly she saw a knight smiling at her. "What's the matter, child?", the Knight enquired. Megan took hold of her senses. "I'm fine, Sir". She started to blush, then she shook her head. She focused on the black windows. The Sorceress glided towards the fire. She warmed her hands. Then she saw three dwarfs sipping ales in their small, magical, goblets. "To the Sorceress!", Grieg Lier Kendall, the Small Dwarf, uttered. Megan followed Elsa to the back of the Inn. Suddenly she saw six Black Riders. They wore red hoods on their heads. The Leader shouted: "HALT!". Then he jumped off his horse, followed by the other riders, and they walked towards the Inn. In their right hands were sharp swords. Written on the swords were an old Language of the Dead Ones, a secretive order of soldiers who were beholden to no one; the soldiers had red eyes. They breathed in cold air. When they opened the front door of the Inn, Elsa shivered. Megan remained still as a statue. Then, after they walked back, the Leader stared at her. "Who are you, girl?", he asked her.

"Megan. I was in the woods when I met some elves", she said. 

"Elves. No elves dare come here". 

"They're here, my Lord", Megan said quickly.

And he laughed, then walked inside the Inn with the other soldiers.

~~~

A black light illuminated the Inn. Megan focused on Elsa. "What's going on?", she asked her. Elsa shivered. "It's the Black Riders of the Dead Order", the elven girl answered. Megan shivered. Before she could speak, a young wizard glanced at the her. "Don't move!", he yelled. Before she could do anything, he gripped his grey wand in the air in his right hand. Then he yelled: "​Illuminate! Illuminate!​". Seconds later the Inn was covered in a ashy light. Megan closed her eyes. She grinned at him. "Are you a wizard of note?", Megan asked him. The wizard blushed; he glanced at Megan once the spell had finished. "I'm Thorp Gaines Markham, a junior wizard of the Orders of the First Wizards". He bowed at her. "I'm Megan, a human witch", she said. Thorp gazed at her. "A witch! I've heard of many witches in my day, but not you. You're a human girl", Thorp said. Megan glared at him. "I hoped to be a witch one day, and live in a home away from my awful parents". Thorp nodded. He saw the Dark Riders grin at him. "My, Thorp! Your powers are terrible", the Black Rider Leader stated. He blinked his eyes from the light. Once the light left, he strode boldly towards them.

"What's a elf doing with a witch, girl?", he asked Elsa.

"She's...a...witch", Elsa answered.

"Well, I wished to be a witch. My parents are always bickering. They have no time for me". Thorp nodded. "My parents are High Wizards of the Night Falls Order. No one dares to go to my ancient castle in Rhodes Hearts Gravestone". Elsa nodded. "Mother and Father live in Shoals Woods. Our kind are magical. No humans ever go there; no orcs, goblins, and other dark creatures, are allowed there". Megan waited for something to happen. Then, to her shock, Thorp backed away from her. "I'm Megan". Thorp smiled. He waited for the Black Rider Leader to strike. When he didn't, the other soldiers laughed. Thorp walked to the fireplace. He warmed his cold hands. Megan followed him.  

"Are you here for a reason, Thorp?", Megan enquired. 

"Me. I had to get away from the Black Riders", he said. He sighed. Megan shook her head. She warmed her hands, then continued.

"What happened?", ​Megan insisted.

"I saved a servant-girl named Anne Rose Harrison from Dark Goblins last winter. She was a poor child whose parents died in the ancient village. No one knew they were in the village. The Final War of the Goblins killed a lot of people three hundred years' ago. I read it in a history book about the conflict. I grew up liking the elves. And I searched for Greenleaf Shore Forest, where they dwelled. After saving Anne's life, I knew that I was a legend in the village. I decided to shun the limelight and came to the Inn...and that's when I met you". Megan nodded. "I left my house by the bedroom window. I met Elsa here in the woods. It was a world away from the human world. I wanted to think that being a witch was a dream. But it wasn't a dream...it was real, just like this place was". And Megan smiled, as Thorp hugged her, and they rested their tired feet on the black chairs. 

~~~

Megan saw a witch speaking to the Sorceress.

"It's better not to know what they're thinking. I'm Helene Sharp". Megan smiled at her.

"Megan. I'm a witch". Helene laughed.

"A lot of humans aren't like our kind. They haven't got supernatural powers. Why are you here?", she asked her.

"I saw elves in the woods outside. I fled my bedroom window...and knew that the elves are in their own world. I have to go back soon". Helene nodded. She had long, grey hair, hazel eyes, and petite. She was wearing a black gown, and black boots on her feet. On the right, middle, finger was a red ring that glowed.

"Is that expensive?", Megan asked.

"Yes, only a true witch can wear the Ring of Darkened Shores", Helene answered. Megan nodded. She walked to the fireplace; she warmed her hands. Once they were warm, Elsa walked towards her. "Megan, if you want to become a witch, you need to join our kind", Elsa answered. She stared at her. And she nodded, and knew what she had to do.

~~~

Thorp Gaines Markham peered out of the window. Before he could do anything, a band of Dark Goblins were riding on grey horses. When they gripped the black reigns of the animals with their right, black gloved hands, they placed them across the black posts at the edge of the front door of the Inn. Then they grabbed their goblin swords in their hands, and were prepared to eat their late night dinner before the darkness arrived.

~~~

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