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Eerie shadows danced with the flames of the fire as it tickled and teased at the feet of the young woman bound to the center stake. The shadows passed over the many faces that silently watched the woman burn. No one moved to help nor did anyone make one sound of protest.
“It was an accident,” the woman screamed. “I never meant for anyone to get hurt.” She screamed as a man added more wood and brush to the fire. Another man worked a blacksmith’s bellow that had been altered to stroke the heat and fury of the fire.
“Women cannot handle the power,” rang a voice from the crowd, “They are weak and are unable to control the magic. This is no hobby for a weak and idle mind. No woman shall ever again wield this powerful art.” So it was decided that no woman would be allowed to study or practice any form of magic.
Laws were passed to make this proclamation solid. However, they were superficial in there existence. Superstition turned a calm people into an unruly mass. Woman were accused and tried guilty in a matter of moments. Many innocents were harmed as the fear spread. It was used as a scapegrace to jealousies, hurt pride, and spite.
The women who were born with a natural ability, call it even a calling, hid what they were able to do. This was not always possible for some. As a girl came into puberty, it became harder to hide what she was. As a girl reached this pinnacle of womanhood, she came into her true full strength ability. Without training, this resulted in disastrous consequences, as the magic sprawled out of her control.
Those who were able to remain hidden did so by presenting just as meek and humble a persona as that long ago voice had proclaimed. For all appearances, woman was an idle and stupid creature without a thought in her pretty head. To be otherwise would mean death. It was a dark time to be a woman.