Sunday, October 3, 2010

Creature Feature 3: The Switch-Witch

EDIT: I am remiss for not crediting Kitty Lowrance for this one, as the concept was almost entirely her own, right down to the name.

These Fey are made of living hickory - extremely long supple branches forming the rough figure of a human. They are the height of an average human, but their lash-like fingers can reach up to 15 feet away to deposit welts on the flesh of their foes.

Switch-Witches grow when the cries of a child unjustly “switched,” spanked, struck or even beaten are heard by sympathetic Fey. These Fey plant the cries, then gather the child’s tears to water them. By the next twilight a Switch-Witch will have grown in the spot. It will then track down and whip the perpetrator mercilessly until dawn. Lashing them unconscious is enough - the Switch-Witch will wait until they recover enough to reawaken, then beat them back under, but won’t beat them to death unless they are attacked with enough power to potentially slay them.

A Switch-Witch will leave at dawn, but will return every night to repeat its retribution for a full lunar cycle. If slain, they’ll regrow from the same spot and return the next night. The only way to dispell them prematurely is to dig up the “seed.” The Switch-Witch itself will never lead anyone back to this spot - at dawn it simply wanders into the woods and dissolves into sticks. Only the child it is revenging can find the seed, via a supernatural intuition.

While the Switch-Witch may seem like a boon - a protector of the weak and small - one must remember it is Fey, and the blessings of the Fey are indistinguishable from their curses. The Switch-Witch punishes a light smack on the bottom that’s immediately regretted just as viciously as a severe beating from an unrepentant abuser. Furthermore, it will often decide anyone who could conceivably have contributed to the situation also need punishing - the rest of the household for not stopping it, someone who contributed to the perpetrator’s bad mood by being rude that day, or the wood wright that carved the paddle used could all wake up to the cruel caress of the Switch-Witch.

A Switch-Witch can attack with both arms each round, using them as huge whips, with each of six fingers leaving angry red welts. They will tear cloth to shreds - padded armor will be destroyed by the first hit. Other kinds of armor are ignored as the Switch-Witch’s fingers always find gaps, seams and other ways around them. The damage dealt has the potential to be lethal, but the creature will only do enough damage to leave its victim unconscious. It will not extend this concern for anyone that tries to interfere.

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