• Fur Affinity Forums are governed by Fur Affinity's Rules and Policies. Links and additional information can be accessed in the Site Information Forum.

Critique: Toil (A short story a little different then normal for me)

Corran Orreaux

Active Member
I have posted this thing on my FA, but I'm still interested in what ya'll think. Toil is a short-story that's different from what I normally write - mainly since it starts my sona. I guess the main goal of the story is to set up some intrigue and mystery for my sona that I plan on fleshing out more in latter shorts and stuff. So I guess you could call it a prologue.

This story does contain a little imagery that some may consider offsetting, so if content like that upsets you this might not be the best read for you. Nothing horribly graphic or bloody, but gross I suppose.

Thank you.

"You can call yourself whatever you want. 'witch' seems to be the most popular, but admittedly most males tend to be more choosy about such things. I assume they feel 'witch' is too feminine..."

Green flames hugged the pot. Harsh wisps of fire rising up from the mess of kindling below. What was inside the mighty black cauldron Corran didn't know - part of him was too scared to ask - but most of him couldn't keep his eyes off the hypnotic ebb and flow of the fire.

"Wizard. Witch. Sorcerer. Whatever you want I don't care... just so long as you add 'Marble's apprentice' somewhere among your titles."

Corran heard her, but he didn't. The fire was beyond hypnotic, it was intoxicating! For what reason he couldn't explain but he didn't want to anyway. The deer didn't realize but his maroon paw was slowly inching towards the flames. Body desperate to feel what might come, no matter the risk of pain.

Corran gasped. His hand shot back in a sudden jolt of pain that left him holding it close to his chest. His focus broken, he was finally able to look up at the woman sitting at the other side of the pot.

Even when seated Marble stood a couple of feet above Corran. Not much fur could be made out under her heavy black robe - various trinkets, baubles, and plants clutching at her clothes. Weeds twisted and wrapped around her arms. Weeds not tied but seemingly morphed into each other, impossible to see where one dandelion stem began and one prickly lettuce mass ended.

If he hadn't been told Corran would have no idea that Marble was a savannah cat.

"If you aren't trained in handling it the fire will do far more than just burn you at the touch.

German! Corran had just realized her accent had a German edge! Where in Germany if truly from there at all the much younger deer couldn't place.

"If not for me just there something... well, let's just say that something wicked would surely this way come if I didn't stop you,"

"S-stop me?" Corran held the affected hand up to his face. The fire under the pot had receded somewhat, leaving far less light in the hut than previously.

The edges of his fingertip fur were singed. While he still felt pain, it was no longer burning, now something far duller, far more bearable.

"You didn't even mo-,"

"Are you so sure of that?" Marble cut him off. A creeping smile taking over her matted ash and scar stained face.

"I... no."

"Good!" The witch yipped. Slapping her paws down on her knees and laughing.

"Don't be sure of anything, not totally. That's the first rule of learning magic!"

Marble rose to full height. If she was taller than Corran before, standing up she towered so greatly above the deer that he couldn't help but feel scared.

Her earrings flopped around as she tilted her head from side-to-side. Corran guessed she was... examing him? He wasn't sure. But her rapid head movements reminded him of a parrot, which for some reason made him feel slightly relieved.

Her earrings - Corran finally managed to notice - weren't earrings. They *were* her ears. What was left of them. Skin flaps with little fur left waving and snapping around. They seemed to be rotted, barely hanging onto her head and sagging to the point where they were somehow closer to the sides than the top.

Corran froze up, grinding his teeth together in a nervous shock.

Marble seemingly sensed his fear because at an instant she stopped, her head half-tiled to the left, staring down at him with amber eyes that almost glowed in the frail light of the fire.

"I told you..."

She dropped to her knees, finally reaching Corran's eye-level with only the cauldron between the two.

"Don't be sure of anything."

She pushed her face toward him, hanging her head over the pot. The rising heat and the bursting bubbles didn't bother her at all. Corran's own amber eyes went wide in total shock. He brought his paw up to his mouth and bit down on his hand, drawing blood instantly but successfully suppressing a scream.

Marble's face had changed. It wasn't rotted, scared, or twisted any longer. All of her fur was gone, replaced by smooth white flesh. A mass of long brown hair draped down to her shoulders. Eyes turned blue instead of amber.

She licked her lips slowly, dragging her now larger, extremely unfeline-like tongue over them.

"W-what the hell is that?" Corran finally managed to speak, bringing his shaking paw down to his lap.

"A creature." Marble leaned back, the flames dying down at her retreat into the shadows.

"Not from this world, but something similar."

She stepped back further into the hut, into the darkness. Corran could barely see her anymore, she blended into the oppressive veil near perfectly. The fire fell to just embers now, Corran could barely make out anything, even what was left of the fire. His heart began to race, it took all of his willpower to not turn and run. To break down the rickety old door behind him and never look back. He could make it, surely. Deer were fast runners after all!

"What are you?" Corran asked despite knowing. Or at least he was sure he knew. He'd heard things, both folklore and withered texts on a witch. Scattered scraps of many different witches that he barely managed to tie together into some type of profile.

"I am!" All at once what was left of the fire went out, leaving them both in total and unrelenting darkness.

"The Bitch of Beswisor!"

The air around them cracked at the name. It emanated fear, emanated power. Voices in his mind whispered the name all at once. Male and female, young and old, in many different languages. Corran screamed, slamming his paws over his ears, even knowing that it would have no effect.

And all at once it stopped.

Light filled the hut. Candles Corran didn't realize lined the walls burned to life. The fire under the cauldron relit itself, but with normal flames instead of whatever green supernatural monstrosity came before.

And the witch... she looked normal. Old, with patches of gray fur all over her, much of which still obscured by her heavy wool robe, but as a whole she looked like a relatively healthy old woman.

"You'll find a place for you outside." Marble pointed a thin finger towards the now open door.

"Rest. We start soon."


Leather-clad Lobo
As I'm not an expert in writing...I can't really offer much in the way of pinpoint critique.

What I will say is that it's an interesting short story and it's well-written!