There Were Twelve Witches Bold

https://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/thetwelvewitches.html

Among other things, for there to be a setting, there must be characters.

This particular song is nice because it gave me the framework for twelve NPCs upon which to build the world around. Twelve witches. Lived in the North. Some good, some not-so-good, some crazy, some, well… Each witch got a line or two in this song. Now I had to build upon it.

So my brain started going. Stream of thought and all that. I don’t want to dig up the original stuff I wrote – I’m sure I have it somewhere. But I can summarize. First thing I did was isolate the salient points. Next thing was to find more songs that I could use to expound upon those basic thoughts.

I came across another song, Who Told the Butcher, which has absolutely nothing to do with witches, magic, or anything else.

https://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/whotoldthebutcher.html

This song is a riddle about fishing lures. However, in my mad, warped mind, I figured out that I could correlate each of the “characters” in Who Told the Butcher to the twelve witches!

Each witch has a line or two in the primary song, and with a correlation to the other song, I can infer a bit of personality. From that, I determined the type of caster (in D&D 5e, there are more caster types than non-caster types. Not just the 3 arcane types, wizard, warlock, and sorcerer, but there are bards, clerics, druids, rangers, monks, paladins, eldritch warriors, and trickster rogues. Am I missing any? Probably.) With the twelve descriptions, I could cover most, if not all, the caster types in one form or another.

Naming them was a fun challenge. If I could find another song that named the character, I’d use it. If not, I’d come up with a name from another source. For most of them I used a hybridized Latin word that would roughly translate to what the character represented.

Here’s the list. The witch, with her related verse, her “Butcher” reference, and at least one song that applied, usually as “back story.” (I’ll not link to the songs here. They are all on the Mainlynorfolk site. You can go look them up if you want.)

Procella: “the first witch, with her hand, the storm could hush”; “Queen of the water”; All Around My Hat

Ventusa: “and the second witch could stop all the torrents rush”; “Wickham’s fancy”; Drink Down the Moon, Ups and Downs

Cithara: “and the third witch, she could strike upon the golden lyre, and she charmed both young and old into the dancing fire”; “The butcher”; Harvest of the Moon, Black Freighter (modified); Demon Lover; Shaking of the Sheets (also modified)

Syreni: “the fourth witch she could dive in the sea as a fish”; “Teal and black, teal and green”; The Fisherman’s Wife, Lowlands of Holland (modified), and, most importantly, the nurse from The Heir of Linne

Lady Isabel: “and the fifth witch she never wanted any meat on a dish”; “Lady of the lake”; The Elf Knight (Isabel is named in this song); The Hills of Greenmore, (Note, the song Isabel, doesn’t work for this character, so I couldn’t use it.)

Pedora: “and now the next witch go under the earth could she”; “Old brownie”; The Brown Girl

Navita: “and the seventh witch could dance upon the rolling sea”; “Poacher”; Elf Call, Weary Cutters

Allison: “and the eighth witch on her horn she would blow a blast, and everyone who heard would shudder and stand aghast”; “Kate McClaren”; Allison Gross (name reference), Little Sir Hugh, Lord Randall, Cruel Mother, Cold Haily Windy Night

Regina (aka Tari): “oh the ninth witch she tamed all that in the greenwood crept”; “Royal coachman”; Thomas the Rhymer

Vigila: “and the tenth witch, not a nap she had ever slept”; “Solder Palmer, Grenadier”; Orfeo/Nathan’s Reel, Lady Diamond, Unquiet Grave

Colubra: “the eleventh witch, the grisly lindworm bound”; “Connemara black”; King Henry

Propheta: “and the twelfth witch she could all things understand”; “Humpy black”; The Two Magicians, The Old Maid in the Garrett, The Song Will Remain, and Propheta is the author of Who Told the Butcher

A note about the modifications: Since I built my own setting, I didn’t want to use Real World references. If I could make a few simple modifications to the song lyrics to replace a real-world location with one in my world, I’d do it. Some songs, however, required too much modification, and just simply couldn’t be used, no matter had badly I want to shoehorn it in.

This is enough for now. Next post I’ll talk about… I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet.

The Great Curse

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