Day 18: Ugly Luck
James glared back and forth between the pair. Argent cracked first.
“The Scarlet Brands tried to hunt a member of a Coven,” he blurted. “A guy who was born Mythic. A centaur, I think. But he was a Witch, too.”
Triston weighed some private hesitation, but then nodded tightly. “One of Penrose’s, yeah. Like hell Penrose was gonna take that lying down.”
Argent’s agitation mounted. He fidgeted furiously with his bracelets. “Haven’s never been at war with anyone before. Sure, the Covens bitched at each other, but nothing that bad. They don’t usually, kill each other. I mean, publicly.”
A muscle spasmed in his jaw, and he fell silent. Triston sighed.
“The law in Haven is Covens and Guilds don’t mix. Not as friends, not as enemies. But you’ve never seen Penrose so mad. The Scarlet Brands came into their territory and attacked one of their Witches. The whole Coven turned out to fight the Brands, and the Brands just said they were in their rights because hunting Mythics is their law.”
It dawned on James suddenly where he recognized this story. A land of bodies, red cloaks—
“That’s it, isn’t it,” he said. “The One-Day War. Right?”
The Witches started. Argent’s fingers froze on the cuff hiding his kingfisher tattoo.
“Yeah,” Triston said. His eyes darted to the wrist Argent was covering. “Right. Figures you’d know. The Brands killed a lot of Penroses, but there’s no single authority Humans and Witches both answer to. The issue’s way too confused to sort out now.”
James sat back, appalled. “That’s how the war started?”
“Pretty much. Ugly luck and racism.”
Well, now James knew who he was dealing with, at least. Fuck.
Well, if it isn’t the story’s main villains, the Scarlet Brands. They hunt magical creatures–including, unfortunately for the protagonists, shapeshifters. Mostly they’re purist assholes, but are also the heroes of a few different stories I have concept drafts for, where at least they are indoctrinated purist assholes.