A small gray snout poked out of the den, sniffling cautiously. A warning growl called him back into the darkness where his siblings and mother were but the kit didn’t listen. Something about the world beyond their den was calling him. It was not a natural call but one he felt he had to answer regardless.
The second growl from his mother had the kit scampering back to her. It didn’t last for long before the call tugged at him more insistently. Head shooting up, he looked between the light of the entrance and his mother’s glowing eyes. In their stare down, a silent understanding was made and the young kit nuzzled into her fur for one last time before leaving the den.
The instincts that were driving him were not natural, at least in the way that the instincts his siblings followed were. This drive to find the thing calling out to him was stronger, more insistent. It kept him from stopping to rest or for a drink along the way.
The forest was an easy place for an adult fox to traverse but the young kit struggled over obstacles. Still he didn’t stop. The pull towards whatever it was drove him on and yet it kept him from danger. It was unnatural for the forest.
His short legs slowed down as he neared the clearing. The hum of noise put his fur on edge and he skirted the edges while trying to find the thing that had called him there. His stomach brushed the ground as he wiggled under a bush to get closer to the group.
They were odd creatures, standing on two legs and draped in such thin furs. They’d never survive the winter dressed like that. Oddly enough, there were other animals following the women around. Mostly felines but there were a few birds and a rat here and there. His nose told him that these were not tame creatures and yet, they weren’t quite wild either.
As he observed, his ears perked up at a sound that tugged at his soul.
“Thea! Come here child, it is time you pick your familiar.” One of the larger creatures, humans as he now recognized from his mother’s stories, called out. It was an annoying sound, grating his senses and causing him to bare his tiny teeth in unhappiness.
A short glimpse of dark auburn hair, streaked with white, tugged the kit into action again. He crawled low on his belly to follow the figure; the one called Thea was the one calling him. Her soul called to him. This young witch was the one he came for.
He followed her on the outer edge of the clearing until she came to a stack of cages. Inside were various animals, no doubt the selection for her partner. Growling low, he wanted to crush all of them for thinking they would take his partner.
As the girl looked over the cages, he found himself becoming more and more agitated until she turned away from them to say something to the group crowding behind her. Taking that opportunity, he darted forward as quickly as his short legs would allow him. Letting out a yip, he sunk his teeth into the girl’s skirt and tugged. The startled gasps were ignored as she turned to look down at him.
He wagged his tail in greeting as he released the flimsy cloth from his maw and tilted his head up towards her. There was a small click within his very being as they locked gazes. This was his partner, his witch. Thea was only the name that the coven had given her but as the light brown eyes slowly swirled to their natural gold; he knew that she wasn’t truly human.
But as she scooped him up and pressed a kiss to the top of his head, he didn’t care. He was at peace and would stand by her for all eternity.
Eloa’s eyes moved over the cages while the coven chittered behind her. Each woman had an idea of what creature she would chose. The mother of this vessel hoped for a cat or an owl while her sister wanted her to choose a snake. All of the usual animals of the coven were here and it was an impressive collection in light of how their kind was being hunted.
But none of these animals were hers. There wasn’t that feeling of belonging that the other witches had described when she would find her familiar.
“Thea? Sweetheart, have you found it?” She had to keep from snarling at the sound of that awful name. How she wished she could take up her true mantle and be rid of this body, taking her true name and powers. Unfortunately, the others had long disappeared and she was vulnerable alone. She needed to play little witchling Thea just a bit longer.
Turning, she pouted and gave her mother a teary look. Almost immediately, the woman melted and looked ready to rush over and envelop her daughter in a hug but protocol demanded that they do not touch her while she makes the choice.
“None of these are for me, Mama.” Her lip trembled and she was ready to step from the magic circle. The circle was meant to keep out all distractions while she connected with her familiar. Unfortunately, it looked like the sin-turned-witch was going to be different in yet another aspect; she wasn’t connecting to a familiar.
Before she could step from the circle, a high pitched yip made her pause and a tugging on her skirts kept her place. Ignoring the incredulous gasps and murmurs, she turned around to look at the tiny creature that was desperate for her attention.
Her eyes locked with the light blue of a gray and white fox kit. In that single moment, she just knew. This little kit was her familiar. She could feel her true power rise slightly to mix and war with the magic of her witchblood but this kit seemed to calm the storm for a moment. Bending down, she smirked at the knowing look in those wild eyes.
He knew what she was. That comfort allowed her to bring the kit closer and kiss his fluffy little head. Whereas the others were gone, this little fox would become her new partner, confidant, and conduit for her witch magic.
Giggling as he licked her cheek and nuzzled under her chin, she turned back to the coven with the brightest smile that she could manage. Their wary looks didn’t bother her as she bounced out and into her mother’s arms.
“Isn’t my familiar so cute, Mama? What should I call him?” She held up the kit to inspect him while he squirmed to get closer to him. As Eloa tried out many different names for her new familiar, both she and the fox ignored the stares that they were getting in favor of exploring this new link.
Fox and Sin-Witch were connected forever and they both planned to make the most of this new partnership.
I’m not sure if you remember, but Eloa was the Sin mentioned in Maura’s pieces about Derius. She’s originally one of my characters and in one time in her life, she was forced to take the body of a witch. This is the first meeting between her and her fox familiar
Next creature: Merpeople