Ajatar the Forest Elemental
Earth, Wind, and Fire. Wait for it .... Water. The four classical four elements have been part of mythologies since the first time a smarter than average Cro Magnon decided to cash in on his superstitious tribe claiming to have a direct hot line to the somewhat amorphous deities.
Deities and demons have proliferated over the intervening 20,000 years or so, with the winners being those smarties who knew how to cash in on fear. The shamans, priests, and other assorted grifters.
- Earth: The ground shakes and splits open. Uh oh, the earth god is ticked. If you’ll just give me your hard-won haunch of mammoth, I’ll intercede on your behalf.
- Air: Windstorm coming up. Boy, are you in trouble for holding back on my share of the cave bear hide. Ol’ Wind is mighty pissed.
- Fire: See what happens if you don’t listen to what I say. Your whole forest burns because you all are bad people. Just lay a pile of pretty shells at my feet and I’ll see if I can placate the Fire Demon.
- Water: Oopsie, a flood. Well, wasn’t I the smart one for building that big boat. Did I mention the fare? All proceeds go to the Water God, of course.
Before a caveman could count, um, one. The world was littered with all sorts of mythological beings lined up by the wise shaman to collect trade goods from the fearful masses.
|Witch Ritual Dress 2.1|
by ~corsetiere on deviantART
Ajatar was known as the Devil of the Woods, so I set her in a magically protected forest glade. She controlled her local flora (writing tree roots, fast-growing brambles) and snakes to protect her cache of boxes, bottles, pots, a bent bicycle tire, laundry detergent, dried flowers, old tennis shoes, and Andy.
Oh, right, Andy happens to be a changeling, a human who spent much of his life in the Troll Kingdom and is now Kat’s main squeeze. Ajatar kidnapped him to draw out her sister, Ilmatar, an air spirit who had been hiding out on Galdorheim disguised as the old witch (she prefers sorceress) Mordita.
Lots of stuff happens, but the sisters finally come together in an epic battle (they’re fighting over a man, wouldn’t you know). Ajatar takes her dragon form, while Ilmatar becomes a giant white roc.
Excerpt from Midnight Oil:
She rose with the heat, dropped low and sped across open fields when clouds blocked the sun’s rays. Yet, neither heat nor cold drove her. She flowed over or around as she pleased. When she was in the mood, she flattened everything in her path.
She laughed, and earth-bound creatures cringed at the booming thunder. She smiled, and a gentle breeze danced over hills and valleys. She reveled in her freedom and then grew angry when she thought how Ajatar stole this from her. She’d almost forgotten the power and glory that was Ilmatar.
Now, she’d get payback. Ajatar, she vowed, would regret this day for the rest of her days if Ilmatar the air spirit had any say.
But enough reveling for now. She had a job to do. Gathering free air to her as she flew, she coalesced into a cutting shaft, sharp and deadly as any arrow, and one thousand times as large. She swooped up, down, and sideways, leaving a vortex of spinning air in her wake.
Ajatar had heard her coming; she could hardly miss Ilmatar’s roar. Ajatar grew taller, rising above the treetops, spreading her vast scaled wings. Her mouth gaped and fire roared out. With a single downward thrust of her wings, she soared upward. Ilmatar’s tornado followed close behind.