• Published 7th Jan 2016
  • 895 Views, 66 Comments

Witchers Weed - Orcus



Just a few days before Hearth's Warming, an unnatural blizzard lays siege on Ponyville, bringing a strange character into town with it. Serendipity, Thoraxis and Petra's blind daughter, and her visiting friend, Charybdis, decide to investigate.

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What Goes on in a Brewing Storm

A light snow that started a few minutes before had already picked up by more than a significant bit. The chunky, white specks fell as fast as rain, and the wind pushed it all in a slanted direction. Walking through the dark, night-struck forest and rapidly building storm, the three shapes of Serendipity, Zak, and Charybdis were going forward. The young filly's parents allowed her to stay with her cousin for the night, after she repeatedly asked the two if she could.

"We are almost there," Zak said, his voice aimed at Charybdis. "The ice around here is plenty, so do take care."

"Brr! Am I'm glad to hear that!" the unicorn shivered, as she tucked her face further into the collar of her thick, blue jacket. Soon after her comment, the sight of a wider-than-usual tree came into view. Sensing the uphill feeling, Serendipity sent out a pulse of magic, and got back the image of her home.

"There it is," she said, nudging her cousin's shoulder. Charybdis looked up, and let out a small cheer. Without a word she began running forward, causing Serendipity to laugh and chase after her, sending out several more pulses to make sure she didn't collide with anything.

"Careful of the ice! Careful of the ice!" the zebra warned, as he could only watch the two dash ahead. Charybdis quickly opened the door and fled inside from the gale, with Serendipity right behind. As soon as she walked in, Serendipity headed for the nearby switch and flicked the lights on, lighting up the inside and some of the outside. After hearing Charybdis toss her coat off and run elsewhere, she turned around and faced Zak as best she could.

"It's good to see neither of you slipped," he started, before she could. "On this ground, I myself don't have a very good grip."

"Are you sure you can make it back to Zecora's place fine, Zak?" Serendipity asked in a concerned way. "You might need a jacket, or maybe even a flashlight. I have a few in the closet."

"You don't have to worry about me," he smiled, straightening out his scarf. "Even through a storm like this, I know my way backwards through the Everfree."

"Well then... take care, Zak," the half-changeling said, sensing the zebra depart as she heard him crunch through the snow. She closed the door, and turned into her house, taking a few steps through it. When she didn't hear the hoofsteps of her cousin, she started to call out her nickname.

"Chary?" she asked out loud. "Chary, where'd you go?" Serendipity made her way around, heading to the greenhouse before long. Moments after approaching the door to the area where she kept her plants, she heard the sound of a conversation come from within.

"...So then what happened?" Charybdis's voice asked, sounding deeply interested. Serendipity let out a smile as she realized her cousin was talking to Hesperus, and quietly entered the greenhouse.

"And then... bang!" the snapdragon rose exclaimed, expanding his two main leaves for emphasis. "I got humongous! I ran around the forest on my roots, knocked down a few trees, scared some timberwolves, that kind of thing."

"That sounds like fun," the unicorn giggled.

"Oh, you bet it was!" he agreed, before sighing. "But... then Seren fed me a special kind of fertilizer, and I shrunk again. She told me it was "for my own good," but how can it be if I'm trying to take over the world? I don't want to be like all these other plants in this place! I don't want to stay in this pot my whole life!"

"Plants shouldn't take over the world," Charybdis said again, amused by his inconceivably far-fetched life goal. "What would you even do if you took over the world?"

"I don't know, I haven't gotten that far yet," Hesperus replied, basically repeating what he told Serendipity earlier, while frowning the toothy frown he usually made when he pouted. The plant's flowery red head lifted again as he caught a glimpse of the white shape coming up to them both.

"Oh, hi Seren," he spoke, prompting Charybdis to turn around as well. The filly flashed a smile to her friend.

"Your plant is so funny!" she laughed. "He thinks he can take over Equestria! Why don't any of your other flowers talk?"

"Trust me when I say that having one talking plant is more than enough," Serendipity chuckled, her unseeing eyes looking as though they were focused elsewhere. Charybdis's brow curled in a curious way as she turned back to Hesperus.

"What's he made of? I've never seen a plant like him before."

"Well, I bred him from a mixture of a lot of flowers and plants," she replied, walking up beside Charybdis and petting Hesperus on his flower head with a hole-filled hoof, causing him to let out a small purr. "Roses, Venus flytraps, and snapdragons are just to name a few."

"Cool."

"It's going to be time for bed soon," Serendipity said again, as she ceased her petting. "It's very late, and you remember what your dad said..."

"Ugh. I know, I know..." Charybdis moaned, before reciting what he told her. ""To be in bed before nine...""


A deathly silence had gone about on the empty street in Ponyville as the storm continued to pick up in intensity. The only thing that seemed to make noise was the sound of the wailing wind that blew the falling snow and ice around, and the only light seemed to be coming from the streetlamps that lined every street corner, their individual glows illuminating the weather surrounding them.

Sleeping soundly in his bed, was a young colt by the name of Cinnamon Swirl. His room was plain, and filled with toys and pictures, not unlike that of any other foal his age. Yawning, he slowly awoke, coming to his senses at a snail's pace. Looking to the clock on his wall, he saw it was twelve o'clock exactly.

As he wondered why he woke up, his gaze happened to go past the window. At first he just saw a streetlamp at the far corner of the street's block, but then, taking a closer look, he saw something else.

There was a figure standing on the left side of the streetlamp. A tall figure, rivaling the size of the lamp itself. Its unmoving, supernaturally skinny shape was eerie enough to cause a shiver to go down Cinnamon Swirl's spine, and it didn't help that it was partially silhouetted by lamp's yellow light, yet the visage it bore was nothing the colt couldn't discern. On the top of its head was a pair of long, feathery antenna, and below it, showing through the dark like a pair of piercing white flashlights, were a set of wide, circular, blank eyes.

It suddenly moved, extending one of its skeletal arms in Cinnamon Swirl's direction. One of its three claw-like fingers, the index one, uncurled outward toward him, before curling inward, in a "come here" gesture.

"Reup, tnurenev cuh te," it whispered in a way that seemed to echo all the way from where it stood to Cinnamon Swirl, through his window. Before the foal could discern whether or not the voice was a male or female one, he suddenly found himself enthralled by the very words it emitted. Cinnamon Swirl pushed back his covers and hopped out of bed. Unlatching his window, he opened it up and jumped outside into the street. He quickly trotted through the storm that went on around him, but didn't feel the slightest cold.

Now up-close to the being, Cinnamon Swirl saw it in its full detail. It was as if it was made entirely out of dull brown wicker branches, each curling around and woven together to form the monstrous, moth-like shape it possessed. Draped down from its back was a pair of long, dark brown, mossy strands that dragged several feet behind it like a parody of a regal, ragged cape, and partially covering its small, insectoid abdomen. He quickly realized they were like wings.

"Hold still," the figure commanded, in an otherworldly-sounding, heavily distorted tone. Cinnamon Swirl, now acting on his own accord, silently obliged. He didn't feel fear, despite how alien this being was, but there was a hint of panic going on in his mind.

The figure kneeled over on its long, thin legs, and unfurled its arm again, bringing its three-clawed hand up to the foal's brownish face. "Ammalf amina," it spoke. The moment the moth-creature talked, a sudden, white, candle-like magic wisp appeared, floating just above its palm. The fiery object didn't exude any heat as far as Cinnamon Swirl felt, but its very appearance was like nothing he had ever seen before, despite how simple it was.

The flame danced above its wooden hand for a good minute, but that was all it did. With what sounded like a disappointed sigh, the creature curled its bony, claw-like fingers inward, extinguishing the flame, and looked back to Cinnamon Swirl with its enormous eyes.

"Go back to bed, small one. You do not have what I am seeking," it said, as it stood back up. "Mutider."

Obediently, Cinnamon Swirl turned around and made his way back to his house, clambering through the open window upon reaching where he previously exited from. After shutting it, he crawled into bed, pulled his covers over himself, and instantly fell asleep.

"How disappointing," the creature muttered to itself from where it stood. "That marks the third foal tonight, and still nothing. My prize... my Thysania is here indeed... but where..."

It turned, and walked off a small distance, its peg-like feet leaving tiny, barely-noticeable holes in the snow below, while its wings dragged behind. "I cannot risk another attempt, for now. There's no doubt Luna is trying to spy on me by sensing my magic, tch, tch, tch..."

Without another word, the being disappeared into the darkness of the night, and the blizzard enveloped its form like wet ink.


Ding-dong.

Serendipity's previously-sleeping head shot up from her pillow as the sound of the doorbell ring went out. She let a silent, gasping yawn escape her mouth, exposing her fangs as she used a hoof to brush her messy pink hair from her cloudy, red eyes.

Ding-dong.

"What is... it...?" Charybdis's exhausted voice inquired, as she looked up, groggily, from the bed she lied upon nearby.

"Just the doorbell, Chary. I'll get it..." Serendipity yawned back. She rose out of bed sluggishly, and managed to muster her sight-spell, before stumbling through her house, to the front door. Upon reaching it, she shook her horned head until she was fully awake.

Ding-dong. The bell rang again. Sighing, Serendipity placed her ear against the wooden object. "Hello? Is somepony there?" she asked. Her blind eyes lit up when a young, male voice responded.

"Ah yes, somepony is here," the voice said, in an optimistic way. "May I come in?"

Reaching over and feeling around a nearby coat rack where she kept her trio of spare keys, Serendipity located them, and used the first two to unlock two of the adjacent locks on her door. With the last lock, a silver security door chain still in place, she peeked out from the crack made in the doorway, before casting her spell. She saw a pony-sized shape clad in a great amount of clothing by the looks of it, and a large lump rested on its hatted head.

"What business do you have all the way out here, stranger?" she inquired, cautiously. The strange character loosed a friendly chuckle.

"Hmhmhm... all other places were closed in Ponyville, so I was pointed out here. I came wondering if I could stay here for the night, and maybe a few more afterword," he replied. "I go by the name of Striga. Striga Phobetor. This rascal aboard my head is my pet moth, Augur."

"That thing on your head is a moth?" Serendipity asked, surprised.

"Yes it is," Striga said. "But back to the point, I need a place to stay, and you're my best chance of getting out of this here storm. I even have bits to pay for the rent!"

"Well, I have a spare room, yes, but..." she replied, trailing off as she remembered the spare chamber she had, filled with practically nothing. "...There's no bed in it. Or chairs. Or cupboards."

"I'll take it!" he said, joyfully. Rolling her eyes at his enthusiasm, Serendipity unhatched the chain lock and turned the knob, opening the door. Striga trotted in out of the raging storm outside, shaking the snow off of his clothes before entering, as Augur flapped off of him, flying a short distance through the house before landing on the wall.

"So... where is this room?" the pony asked.

"Just down the hall a bit. Follow me," Serendipity replied. As the two made their way to the area, Serendipity's newest guest looked around, admiring the detail put into the making of the house.

"I must say, this is a lovely interior," Striga complimented. "In my earnest opinion, this is the perfect place to set up an abode in the forest without having to get into the complicated matters of building one from various bits of timber. This tree was more than wide enough to build a house in!"

"Heh. I had help picking it out," the half-changeling chuckled, as the door to the extra room came into view, and she sensed they were nearing it. "You know, I bet you would think that I would be surprised to see somepony like you arrive at my doorstep at this time of night, but I'm actually more shocked that you didn't comment on my appearance yet."

"So what? You're an albino pony. Big deal," he said. "I've seen stranger..."

"Actually, I'm not a pony at all," Serendipity replied, as the wings on her back briefly buzzed for emphasis. "I'm half-changeling, half-wyvern."

"You are? Neat!"

"That's it? "Neat?"" she inquired.

"What? Were you expecting me to give you a trophy for being one?" he laughed hysterically, his white eyes closing with the unkempt, joyful emotion he felt from behind his cloak. "Hee-hee! Oh, I'm sorry, but I don't care very much about other's appearances when they're not part of my current schemes and plans. You could have been a giant swamp monster, and I wouldn't have noticed as long as you were kindly like this."

Serendipity couldn't help but smirk at his overreaction, as her hoof pulled on the doorknob and opened the door for him, revealing the empty inside. When he had a good, long look, she tapped a hoof on the ground and spoke up.

"This is it," she sighed.

"Hmm... roomy, wooden, bears the sweet smell of dry sap, square... It's perfect! I thank you, Serendipity," Striga responded, having calmed down. "I'll make sure to pay for this night first thing tomorrow morning, I swear to it."

"I'll be waiting," she smiled. Bowing his head to her, Striga walked in while Augur flew in a few moments before he could shut the door. With this bit of business done, Serendipity calmly walked back to her room to rejoin Charybdis, thinking of her new, peculiar guest. As she approached her cousin's bed and made sure it was tucked in properly, she heard her stir.

"Who was... that?" she inquired, sleepily.

"Somepony looking for a place to stay for the night," she replied softly, as to not fully wake her up. "He seemed very eccentric, but I'm sure you can meet him in the morning."

With a yawn, Charybdis fell back asleep. Having the same idea in mind, Serendipity closed and locked the door to their room, and crept into her own bed. After a few minutes, she too drifted away in peaceful slumber.

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