The Old Cottage



Steve Hatherley

At the end of an old track, a mile long through dark woods filled with twisted, stunted trees lies a cottage. It's an old cottage, ruined and overgrown with vegetation. The windows gape open, the door is rotting and ruined. Inside, the cottage is pleasantly unspoiled. The woodwork is in good condition, and there is still even furniture inside.

On top of the old beams, between the joists that hold up the first floor, a small coin-sized artefact can be found. The artefact is silver, and not quite circular. On one side is writing, and on the other is inscribed a five-pointed star inside a six-pointed star on one side.

Possibilities

1     The artefact is a ward of protection - it has protected the cottage from the elements, wildlife and dark forces. As a result of the ward, no animal will stay in the cottage and plants wither and die. The ward was created by Zachary Bleach, a nineteenth century occultist and member of the Golden Dawn, who used the cottage as a retreat and safe haven. Removing the artefact from the cottage destroys the ward.

2     The artefact is an old Moroccan coin that has worn over time. It was placed in the rafters of the cottage by the owners as a lucky charm.

3     The cottage used to belong to Alice Catmint, a white witch whose spirit is bound to the place. When she died, her neighbours tried to remove her body, but when they did the cottage started to immediately decay. So they returned Alice's body to the cottage, and put it into the bread-oven in the side of the inglenook fireplace. (A local legend has it that bread baked in the oven brings good luck.)

As for the artefact, it belonged to a stranger who sought shelter from a storm in the cottage. The stranger was Alice's true love, and she only spent one night with him. Before he left the following morning, she stole a coin from his purse and worked her magic on it. The coin brings good luck to the stranger and his descendents, and it continues to bring good luck to this day. Exposing the coin to moonlight breaks the spell.

Copyright (c) 2003 Steve Hatherley