The birds followed xir like a storm of feathers, from magpies to falcons to blue jays and owls, the storm cloud of feathers and beaks and razor sharp talons was always there, even though no one else ever seemed to see it. Xe was the only one who seemed to see them, but xe left seed out for them every morning anyway, even if they turned out not to be birds at all.

The spirit let the soaking werewolf in, never turning from xir duties as shopkeeper. “I warned you, didn’t I?” xe chided as the werewolf slumped miserably in front of the ever-burning fireplace. “I warned you that it would rain today, no matter what that hack meteorologist on the tv said.”

The werewolf muttered mutinously under zir breath, glaring up at the spirit whose feet never seemed to touch the ground. “Once a witch, always a witch, huh? Even in death.”

The spirit gave the werewolf a knowing smile and went back to polishing the crystal displays.

The great willows and oaks sang an ancient, elderling song as the Fair Folk and Elves made their passage, their pilgrimage, through the forest. They came through once every one hundred years, and every time even those with little magical talent could hear as the trees and the very earth below their feet sang songs of joyous tune as response to their arrival.

Underneath the silver light of the full moon, the haggard coven met in secret. Ragged robes, dirty clothing, they prayed in silence for their lost brothers and sisters. To their deities they prayed, for forgiveness, for safety, and for aid in their upcoming struggle. Underneath that pale moonlight, the coven made a pact. Their deities at their sides like sharpened weapons, their magic roiling in their blood, they swore to right the wrongs done against them.

It was only xe and xir companions who noticed something was awry with the party they’d been invited to, as they all watched from the sidelines and the rest of the party goers sang and danced and drank to a song from a spectral band. It was then that xe noticed the state of the ballroom; decaying, dust covered, and covered in cobwebs. And once the illusion faded, xe saw it all for what it truly was.

The greater demon hunched over the small, frilly pink table with xir claws desperately trying to keep a hold on the dainty teacup, trying to keep it steady as to not spill its contents. The child before xe beamed at the demon, handing xe another slice of cake. “Thank you for coming to my party!” ze cheered, not minding the curling horns, the lashing tail, or the ragged wings zir guest had in the cramped playroom.

The witchwoods swayed in the summer breeze, the songbirds trilling a dark song through the shaded glade. The air was heavy here, thick with forgotten magics. The Faerie grinned, revealing sharp teeth as xe crooned at the carefully woven reed cradle. The baby, swaddled thoroughly within thick blankets, blinked up at the Faerie and cooed happily, eyes alight with joy.