Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Witches of the Dark Country: Goody Gallows

The fetid bogs and benighted forests of the Dark Country are filled with all manner of hags, witches, strigoi, and other cronish creatures.  This series of articles is meant to detail only the most powerful of these "women."  They owe much to Scott's Granny Grimtits, the various witches of Adventure Time, and VectorSigma's Random Tables for Generating Striga.

Witches are without exception loathsome and hideous creatures, but none more than Goody Gallows.  Goody is a stunted, emaciated figure whose skin is pulled taught over her bulging, misshapen bones.  Her skin is mottled grey, and here and there black down feathers emerge from bleeding sores.  What little hair she possesses grows in small clumps across her scalp, neck, face, and shoulders.  Some patches exceedingly long, but these are universally gray and wispy.  Her nose and upper jaw fuse into a strange, hooked beak, while her lower jaw is little more than a limp flap of skin that moves unsettlingly whenever she speaks.  The whole effect is that she looks something like a humanoid buzzard.

The toothless nannies of the Dark Country will tell you that Goody Gallows' birth was the result of her equally cronish mother's copulating with a carrion bird.  She was born only three days later and grew to full adulthood three days after that.  Shortly thereafter her mother was slain, and the nannies bicker over who did the slaying.  They all agree that it was a beautiful woman who was avenging the death of her lover, but the particulars are enough to start fist fights.

Since then, Goody has born hatred for all beautiful women.  She is particularly fond of strangling brides the night before their wedding and eating their hair.  This gives Goody Gallows the ability to transform into the bride, and she then fakes her way through the marriage celebration.  On the wedding night -- during the act of love -- she returns to her horrid natural form and slays the husband.  Old wives say she then takes whatever bits she found most "handsome" from the groom and sews them to an enormous flesh golem she has fastened from other victims.  This abomination is one of the few things uglier than Goody herself.

Goody Gallows' preferred method of travel is her mother's coffin.  She opens the lid and crawls in next to her foul predecessor.  Once she closes the lid her coffin flies to whatever location she wishes.  Any obstacles in its path will be moved aside with magic.  Trees will hunch and bend, doors will fling open, and hills will crack into strange, crooked valleys.  Once it has arrived, the coffin lid flies open and out pops the irate witch.  She always carries a dagger made from the thighbone of a drowned woman, but she prefers to strangle opponents even when this is unwise.

Goody is foul tempered even by the standards of witches, and as a witch born from a witch she is almost universally hostile to mortals who happen upon her.  She reportedly lives in a hut inside a gigantic birds nest somewhere in the Fog-Bound Forest.  Those living near her home know to keep a goose inside during dark nights because she fears geese more than all other things.

Note: I was going to call these posts "Witch Wednesdays" but then I realized it's unlike there will be more than three or so.


  1. Cunningly fashioned! I frown on the demonsterisation of witches, generally.

  2. Stories about freaky witches are some of my faves. Can't wait to see the rest.