The Weather Witch and Her Wind
rating: +6+x

In a ramshackle cottage sunk in the middle of a swamp off in a corner of the world, the breezy sigh of a moody wind elemental echoed off cluttered shelves, jars, and cozy wood furnishings. She leaned against a curved window frame, peering out into the green and gray waters of the murky bog. Raindrops fell at a steady pace from high above, rippling the muddy water with countless little waves. The sky was full of dark ashen clouds, wringing out the rain they had collected for so long across the humble swampland. She sighed again, a bit louder this time.

“Yes, Sirocco? Is sighing the new way to cast wind magic? It certainly suits you.” With a snicker, a young woman dressed in tattered robes and a faded yellow rainhat strode by. The wind spirit's skin prickled from the sheer positive energy she radiated, in such contrast to her own relaxed (and yes, perhaps a bit dark) mood. In one arm the raincoat-clad woman carried a bundle of wood, which she quickly threw down underneath a small gray pot sitting in a cozy stone fireplace. Sirocco watched idly as her animated housemate stepped lightly from shelf to shelf, gathering ingredients and materials from their dusty heights. The elemental had never understood how the young witch could reach seemingly anywhere at random and find just the thing she needed in a room this cluttered. Perhaps it was an innate skill of the more magically inclined humans, she mused. The way the raincoat swirled as she gracefully ducked under hanging cloves of various herbs and gently swinging bottles was a little distracting, like an improvised ballet for flickering fireflies.

“Sirocco?” The wind spirit blinked. “I asked if you could light the fire?” Sirocco nodded, performing her own impromptu dance as she stumbled over bits and pieces of potions and spellcraft on her way to the fireplace.

She knelt by the fire-blackened cauldron, tracing one hand in a delicate pattern as she lit a match in the other. “My apologies, I was-”

“Watching the rain, yes?” The smiling witch finished for her.

With a crackle, the tiny flames grew under the pot. A tiny breeze coiled around the infant flames, feeding them without smothering as the hearth warmed. “Yes, watching the rain.” Sirocco agreed, her hands falling back to her sides as she stood. She returned to her place by the window as the young witch began pouring ingredients into the cauldron. Witchcraft had never been something Sirocco had been interested in, before. Elementals like herself were only concerned with their own magics, after all. It was rare to encounter a situation her wind couldn't simply blow away. She folded her hands neatly, watching as the pot began to boil.

The raincoat bounced from shelf to shelf now, chopping the leafy end of one plant while peeling the skin from another to toss into the brew. All the while the witch smiled, humming to herself while she worked. Sirocco never could understand how the human could have so much energy and positivity in a mud utopia. The rain still dripped steadily outside, drumming lightly on the window Sirocco leaned against.

It wasn’t that she disliked rain, honestly. In the Aether, she had lived with many kinds of wind and air elementals, and many had been rain attributes of some type. Storm clouds, hurricanes, summer showers had all been known to her. The Aether was a constantly shifting, divine place, and though one could grow tired of ever-changing scenery, it certainly held more charm than… mud. To put it bluntly, this rain had overstayed its welcome. Were Sirocco a superior elemental, she might just have spent herself entirely to move the cursed storm across the continent out of spite.

Sirocco sighed again, quieter this time. She knew her summoner was working intently. Though she didn’t exactly know what kind of potion this would be, she did know that the witch had been gathering components for it since the previous year. There had been a few forays into town, even, to visit merchants and traders from as far as the Southern Alliance. As the witch stirred her concoction, Sirocco decided to ask.

“Well, my dear southern wind, recall if you will the merchant we came across in Herinen?” Sirocco nodded, envisioning the bronze-skinned man who wore light silken robes among fisherfolk. “He certainly was out of place there in the bay, but his goods had come from far south, he said. Somewhere around Vuori-Varja, he had come into possession of quite a valuable item indeed, which I was able to purchase from him for… quite a large amount of my savings, mmm.” Her smile turned to a wince for a moment. “Perhaps I could have haggled better. Ah, well.” Cheery again, the witch vanished into the back of the cottage for a moment, before returning with a smooth, cloth-wrapped bundle.

She motioned Sirocco closer, then unwrapped the delicate item. The elemental nearly gasped aloud as she saw what her summoner had obtained. Shining even in the dull gray afternoon, a pristine blue sky drake scale sat nestled in the thick cloth. “You spent this much…” She whispered, tracing the curve of the brilliant blue scale. Grinning widely now, the witch nodded.

A few hours later, the potion was finished. Calling for Sirocco, the young woman poured out a sample into a glass vial and marched outside into the lightly falling rain. The wind spirit followed, tiny drips cool across her back. The witch motioned for Sirocco to come closer, then told her the plan. Sirocco, confused, took the vial and held it up, gathering manna as she peered through the treetops for an opening. Finding a gap in the branches, she channeled a spell and launched the vial up, up, up over the swamp, and into the dreary, dark sky. Feeling a bit drained, the wind spirit scowled up at the unchanging storm above. She dropped her arms, looking to her companion. The witch was looking upwards too, waiting patiently. Sirocco glanced back up, peering fruitlessly through the murky sky.

And then the sky exploded. Sirocco stumbled back, tumbling into inch-deep muck as her wide eyes flashed with wonder. From some point high, high above, an enormous blast of wind had driven the dark clouds away, spreading not just over their tiny lodge, but as far as Sirocco could see across the swamp! The rain slowed, then stopped, and what few clouds remained turned ivory white across a radiant blue sky. Sunlight shone into the swamp for the first time in weeks, illuminating the marshland with deep color and beauty. And laughing madly in the center of a dazzling sunbeam was that faded yellow raincoat, spinning wildly as she celebrated.

Sirocco smiled as well. Despite the weeks of darkness, the frustration of unending rain, and the ugly mess of mud and slime that had surrounded them for so long, she felt good. The feeling of sunshine after so long without was simply intoxicating. After five years as a summon, the wind element felt like she was finally beginning to understand the human who had called her.
Though she had never been bound, she had stayed, out of curiosity, or perhaps a malicious desire to see the young witch try fruitlessly to achieve greatness. But after time, those feelings had faded, and she simply… drifted. A small breeze, waiting to be swept alongside something bigger.

She gazed at the unending blue, then back to her joyful summoner. This was why she stayed, she knew. Moments like this.

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