They say I am a witch. They have shackled me with this accusation, and have chained me in this cell. One week ago, they burst into my house, taking my mother, my aunt, and I, claiming that we have been practicing the darkest of heresies and we were to be put on trial in a week’s time. Several other women have been similarly taken, and the same charges have been leveled against them.
We have been locked away in this dark, damp hole for days now, whispering among ourselves about what could have possibly sparked this turn of events. Many of the others believe it is a misunderstanding, and they intend to set the record straight when we have our day in court. I, however, know why we are here.
They are afraid of us. The elders are not accustomed to so many questioning their decisions and asking for explanations. Those of us gathered here are the vocal ones. We are the ones who have stood up against their oppression and raised our voices when we felt things were not as they should be. Now, here we are, on trial for crimes we did not commit, based on evidence that does not exist, and we face punishment we do not deserve.
They wish to remove us; the penalty for witchcraft is death. They fully intend to burn us at the stake in order to eliminate those of us that they view as threatening their regime. They have ruled over our town unchecked for decades, and now they are being called upon to answer for their actions; they cannot have this, and thus must find a way to remove those who would hold them accountable.
I do not wish to die; I do not believe that any who face death under such circumstances wish for death. However, if we are unable to persuade the town council that we are innocent and that the elders are corrupt, then I would rather die anyway. I will not recant of heresy I did not commit just to be placed back under the heavy yoke they wish to burden us with.
I know what lies ahead of me; I know that by the time the sun rises twice more, I shall have faced the judgement of the council and the heavy hand of the elders. I know that the council is not likely to hear my case fairly, as their ears have been filled with nonsense and lies already. I know that I face an uphill battle just to keep my own life, let alone to save the lives of my friends and family. Yet, despite the bleak circumstances, I must carry on. I must try, with all that I am, to prove to the council that we are innocent, and we are simple people caught up in the webs and machinations of the twisted men who rule our town.
And so, I wait for morning. Tomorrow we go before the council and we make our case. Tomorrow we are given the chance to fight for our lives and our freedom. Until then, I rest, I plan, and I prepare. I do everything I can to keep my heart still and my mind clear. I must save up the fire in my belly for the proper moment. The waiting, though…it is…agonizing.