The Silva Witch

By: Tallisen Smith


Lantern by Anisa Lopez


Is there something you would die to receive? Fame, money, answers, even revenge? Then perhaps you’re capable of locating the Silva Witch. The Silva Witch resides hidden in the forest and only shows herself to those who truly need her. However, the path to finding her is not an easy one. If you have any reservations about what you desire, then you are not worthy. 

The first step is simply to walk through a forest during the night of a full moon. Any forest will do, as eventually, you will leave. As you wander, take a moment to focus yourself. See if you can sense her energy in the area around you. If your desire is strong enough, she will know you are there and send out a signal for you to follow. Make sure that you travel alone, or else the other person’s thoughts will conflict with your desires and prevent the witch from locating you. It varies from person to person, but you will know it’s her once you feel it. If you wander for over an hour and feel nothing, then your desire isn’t strong enough, and any longer in the forest would be a waste of time. Once you finally pick up on her signal, you might notice the energy is concentrated in one direction. Start heading to the place it’s coming from. As you get closer, odd things may start to appear. Perhaps a blue mushroom, a strange sparkle in the trees, or unrecognizable creatures darting through the bushes. These could be the residents of her realm seeping into the regular world. It could be tempting to investigate them, but don’t get sidetracked. The longer you delay, the more her energy fades. 

Soon there will be a point of light in the distance, which is the opening to her portal. As you approach, you will realize that it’s actually daylight. Her realm is cursed to never experience night, as she gains the most power from the moon, which is how she can only find people outside of her realm on a full moon. As you reach the portal, it will almost feel as if you are being sucked inside. Hurry through quickly, and make sure too many creatures don’t exit the portal, or else they will cause unnecessary havoc. 

Going through the portal signals the point of no return. You will see that the portal has disappeared if you look behind, and you can only move forward. Trying to turn around at any point will cause you to become stuck in an endless loop, but if you have thoughts of turning around, you shouldn’t be there in the first place. 

Her realm takes on an appearance much like the ordinary world at first. The only indication that you would be in a different place is the change from night to day as you exit the portal. Right away, you will be standing on a dirt path, and on either side are thick trees and bushes preventing you from straying too far from where you need to go. As a matter of fact, leaving the path exposes you to the many creatures that only reside deep within the forest, which can be fatal. Therefore, staying on the path is the most logical and convenient option. While walking, it is vital that you make as few stops as you can. Some creatures native to the realm will learn of your presence and come to investigate, and although many are harmless, some are hostile towards unfamiliar lifeforms. However, if you continue walking, you should be safe for the time being.

After a few minutes of walking, the surrounding vegetation will start to look more colorful and feel less natural. A surplus of purple mushrooms will be growing alongside the path and in front of you. As you continue along, the mushrooms start grouping together and become less sparse. Soon they will be everywhere, and it will be difficult not to step on them. You have a choice: Cover your nose and mouth with a cloth to avoid inhaling the spores or allow yourself to breathe them in. Both choices have their own benefits and drawbacks. For example, if you inhale the spores, you become in tune with the world around you, and it’s easier to see all of the things that would normally remain hidden, revealing the realm’s true colors. If you choose to avoid the spores, you will remain in your current state but remain unaware of many things around you. If you happen to inhale the spores, you will gain new insight but lose many of your cognitive abilities, which could be fatal later on. But so could being oblivious. The choice remains up to you since you know your own strengths and weaknesses.

Eventually, you will see fewer mushrooms until only a couple shows up every once in a while. This is the sign that you are about to come across your first official trial: The Watcher. The Watcher is a creature that hides behind the trees and stalks its prey until they let their guard down. It’s tough to spot, and some even mistake it for their own shadow. Unless you have the enhanced senses from the spores, he will be impossible to see, but it’s no simple task to locate him even with the mushrooms. The only way most even know he’s there is through the uncanny feeling that something is constantly watching them. The best way to escape him is to bribe some of the pixies, the tiny glowing dots that flitter amongst the trees, with raw meat of any kind. They will then follow you around the forest, and their light will keep The Watcher at bay. You could also try defeating it, but there have been no cases of success so far…

After some time, a river appears alongside the path, and The Watcher and the pixies will leave you. The water from the river is pristine and blue, and it may be very tempting to drink from, but doing so will cost you your life. Inside the river are Nguruvilu: creatures with the head of a fox and the body of a snake, with a sharp claw at the end of their tail. If you get too close to the river, they will grab you and pull you in, drowning you. As long as you stay on the path, however, they can not harm you. They will be easy to avoid until you come across a point where the river intersects with the path, meaning you will be forced to cross. The Nguruvilu are known to make the water look more shallow than it actually is, and then as you enter the water, they create a whirlpool that traps you while they pull you down. Unfortunately, this is unavoidable. Your only chance of getting to the other side is by taking a weapon of some sort into the water with you and fighting back. If you injure them enough, they will cease pulling you, and you can quickly swim to the other side.

Congratulations, if you made it this far, then you have not only survived the previous trials mentioned but other challenges that are impossible to predict. All that’s left is to walk until you reach the end of the path and come to a large clearing, and there, in the middle, is the Silva Witch. The Silva Witch stands at almost 7 feet and wears a long white cloak that naturally seems to float in the wind, despite the air feeling almost unnaturally stagnant. Covering her face is a long veil made of gauze. Surrounding her are bushels of rosemary and clumps of heather with her fox familiars sprinkled throughout the clearing. As you approach, the Silva Witch will reach out a pale, bony hand and beckon you closer; she has been waiting so long for another to be worthy of her gift. Slowly, she will lower herself until her face is right in front of yours.

“Lift my veil, child.”

Some say their arm moves on it’s own as it reaches towards the veil. Her face is stark white and alien-like, but the most noticeable feature is her eyes. Her eyes are two pitch black voids that threaten to suck you in if you let them.

“Stare into my eyes. Let me read your soul,” she will say. There’s nothing that can be said about what one might see in her eyes. Some even suspect that rather than reading your soul she steals it in exchange for your wish, however no one comes back with the memory of what those eyes reveal. One moment you will be gazing into her empty eyes and the next moment you’re standing back in the forest you began the journey, staring at the night sky.

The journey is over. You can now go home and whatever you sought at the start will be granted to you. It’s so wonderful to have the one thing you want most in the world, if you can ignore the ever-nagging feeling that a large part of you is missing.