First Look Friday: The Witch's Cauldron

 Image copyright Tengyart on Unsplash

Ketil, Little John, Rilpu, Robin, and Yitzy fell through a red mist for an indeterminate time and emerged in Xura near a tent at the ghoul carnival. An ancient crone was stirring a kettle. She beckoned the group with a welcoming smile.

“What’s in the cauldron, Mum?” Little John inquired. “It smells loike it would pair nicely wif a dank and molderin' tub of Newington Butts wif a Mrs. Duckett of juicy mince pies and mildewed Britney Spears on the side.”

“While Britney Spears and I performed unrelated sorts of music, I should not like to see the poor woman mildewed,” Ketil protested. “I apologize for my companion, Madam. Always thinking with his guts is he, and his friend is no different. While a mince pie does sound pleasant enough, I am quite sure that he meant something horrid. Whatever you are brewing in this fine and sturdy vessel reminds me of pleasant times in my youth. Such times were few and far between, but I remember those innocent moments fondly. Is there even the spirit of a ghost of a chance that this brew is something that shall bring me joy rather than culinary misery?”

“My dear lad, t ‘is merely a blend of lemons and oranges with mulling spices blended with a most excellent dry wine, fit for the Norse Gods themselves,” the old woman responded. “And I happen to have real mince pies, fresh from the Olde Vanguard Bakery in Dylath Leen. For the young serpent miss, a cache of fresh Jaklom larva to please the palate. I will fill these strong wineskins with the beverage for your journey and bundle the Jaklom larva into a bag. For our Yithian friend, I include a half dozen redstones from the River Xari. You ghoul-kind take your time and select a few choice parts for your upcoming journey. When you return, your wine will be ready for you.”

“That’s most excellent of you, Mum,” Robin praised. “C’mon, Candy and Ronnie, I’ve a 'ankerin’ fer a 'aunch. We can divide it between us ter 'ave mashed potato, and we’ll share the Newington Butts and mince pies and Britney Spears.”

“While I’ve no doubt that they would happily dine on Newington’s butts, I quite wish they’d leave Britney Spears out of this mess,” Ketil sighed. “They’ll give the poor woman nightmares. Strangely, however, they are making me hungry with their talk. You wouldn’t happen to know where a hungry Swedish ghost might procure a bit of mashed potato to go with his mince pie, would you, Madam?”

The crone reached into her bag, pulling out a pair of potatoes. She waved her hand over them, and they became shiny and clean. She snapped her fingers, lighting a small fire right on the wooden stand. She placed the potatoes in a small pot and placed them over the fire, stirred them three times, and tapped the side of the pot, sending up a spray of multicolored sparkles. She spooned a scoop of potatoes into one bowl for Ketil and another scoop into a bowl for herself.

The witch conjured up a chair and invited Ketil to take a seat and join her for mashed potatoes and mince pie while Rilpu unhinged her jaw to swallow a Jaklom larva.

This post was inspired by the What’s in the Cauldron prompt from Writers Digest.

This is a chapter from Naughty Netherworld Press’ WIP novel, The Key of Eidolon, which is a sequel to our first Tales from the Dreamlands book, Ketil and Yitzy’s Adventure in the Xura Dream House.


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  1. Hooray for crones being given the respect they deserve.

    1. Those that fail to respect this particular crone will get what they deserve. ;-)


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