Willow Liradeene (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Willow Liradeene (open) Willow Liradeene (close) Willow Liradeene True to her name, Willow is a tall, lithe thing, all angles and sharp edges. She casts a striking figure, and while her movements are graceful, there is something unsettling in the way she moves, bringing to mind panthers in unexplored jungles and sudden storms that descend without warning. There is definitely something other about her, something hidden, and most people can sense it like animals can sense impending disaster. Willow is strange. She wears her charcoal hair in an updo to suit her mood, unabashed to accessorize with feathers, beads, braids, flowers, and other more eclectic and eccentric signature pieces. When left alone to its’ own devices her hair falls to just above her hips like a waterfall, obstinately straight, as if challenging the world to tame and coax it otherwise. Willow had tried – on several occasions – to do just that, wielding weapons of product and hair spray. She lost the battle, and hasn’t bothered with such frustrating, unnecessary things since… Under construction! The apartment Willow had come to call home was off the beaten track, and that suited her just fine. A maze of alleys and side streets proved her favourite way to navigate to the city centre, not that she was doing much of that today. Or yesterday. Or the day before yesterday… or, actually, when was the last time she had left her home? Willow leaned back in her rickety wicker chair and stretched like a cat. Meanwhile, a stack of papers on her desk decided this was their perfect chance to escape and scattered themselves across the floor with gusto. Willow clicked her tongue in annoyance. It had dawned on her the last few days, somewhere between the gallons of herbal tea and dumping her writing hand in buckets of ice water, that perhaps she was a little overworked. One glance around her once tidy home confirmed her suspicions for sure. She needed an apprentice. And funnily enough, she doubted putting an ad in some of the local papers would find her a suitably skilled worker. It was a sad truth of the march of progress that the Great Arts were in decline. No, Willow would find no apprentice, and she would bear this burden alone with her herbal tea. The young witch pressed the heels of her palms into her eye sockets and tried to think through the onset of slow delirium. It was hard to think through so many layers of lack of sleep, and lack of proper sustenance, and her mind buzzed with ancient words and forgotten lore and binding spells and… and… summoning spells. Spells for calling familiars. She snapped to attention, straight up like a bolt, her eyes wide and searching the room with vigour. Willow slopped messily to the door, upturning piles of papers and dislodging artefacts that had… collected… on her floors. She snapped a piece of chalk from the blackboard cupboard in the kitchen and rushed into the living room, mouthing syllables that threatened to disappear back into the recesses of her mind. She threw her rug aside and pushed the sofa back as far as it would go, revealing the darkwood floor beneath. Willow kneeled on the floor – her chalk circles were nothing short of perfect, by now, she’d drawn so many in her lifetime –and her mind reeled, sifting through the stores and stores of old knowledge that was her birthright. Willow drew. Let’s see... the first night after a new moon… a spell best performed at an in between time, preferably midnight… Willow looked up to squint at the blinds. The new rays of dawn peaked through, where she hadn’t shut them properly. Good enough, it still counted as an in between time… she should probably anoint the room with sage to ward off evil, but it was hidden somewhere in the mess of her home, and god knows she couldn’t be bothered to go treasure hunting for it now. It didn’t really cross her mind that she hadn’t taken the time to recall what she was summoning. In her sleep deprived state, she’d just picked the first familiar spell that came to mind, she hadn’t thought it through. A terrible way to do witchcraft, out of place for someone who was usually so particular. But perhaps some hand of fate was guiding Willow’s actions, and as the girl bit her thumb enough to draw blood, and slammed her bloody fingerprint into the final seal she had drawn, she thought – for the briefest of moments – that she had felt a surge of energy more powerful than anything she had ever experienced… She stared at the emptiness within the circle before her, groaned loudly, and crashed facefirst into the couch like a plank of wood. Her half-hearted attempts, her call for help, had gone unanswered… or so she thought. Little did she know, Willow had just summoned a Demon to her world.