1410 — rural France
Rebecca knelt in front of the battered oak chest and opened the lid. Fall was fast approaching, and she’d used the excuse of needing the heavier cloak stored within it to fetch one more item. Carefully, she removed the blankets piled atop the cloak, then the cloak itself, leaving the floor of the chest bare. Just off the center of the chest lay a hidden latch; she depressed it, revealing an assortment of carefully wrapped items. One item, however, had broken free of its wrapper, and now glittered in the candlelight: a silver bracelet inlaid with a single carnelian stone. As the immortal woman watched, it shifted shape slightly, becoming a more attractive piece, set with twin rubies bordering the stone.
“Stop that,” she told it in a scolding whisper. It shifted shape again, becoming a gauntlet. She sighed. Someday, you’re going to regret being a keeper of magical objects, she told herself sternly. If the Church found out what you are, and found out what you have in your possession, not only will they burn you as a witch, but they’ll make sure your heirs regret it, too.
Still, there were some things she’d come not to like over her years of living longer than she’d ever dreamed, and if collecting things of legend, things of true magical power, things that the Church said were the work of the Devil, then perhaps it was her small rebellion. There was so much knowledge, Rebecca knew, that the Church did not have, did not appear to want the public to have, knowledge to heal, to help, to give hope. And now it was time to dispose of one item: the Witchblade.
It had come to her four years previously, when one of her servants’ children had, apparently, tried to wear it in its gauntlet form. He’d found it in the woods on the edge of Rebecca’s estate. It had driven the child nearly insane, scarred his arm where he’d tried to wear it, but when Rebecca had touched it in an attempt to remove it, it had shifted, dropped into her hand as a bracelet. It tried to leap onto her arm at that point. Mystical metal met immortal skin and Rebecca would swear later that she heard the metal snarl as her own healing ability defied the Witchblade’s attempts to pierce her skin. It fell to the floor, but not before she saw a vision of herself presenting the bracelet to a man, an unexpected traveler.
She took a deep breath. She wasn’t entirely sure what this cursed thing was, even after checking with one of the oldest immortals she knew. What she did know was that it had been trying to escape the chest for most of a month now. She’d heard it tapping against the floor; the servants had found the chest moved by mysterious means. It was becoming a danger to her house; superstitious servants swore the castle was haunted, and Rebecca did not need to lose any more servants to ignorant fright — or worse, a repeat of what had happened to the servant’s child – right before winter.
Now in her parlor was a man, an unexpected traveler — a minor French noble, on his way to the court. She had no love for the politics of the French court, and disagreed strongly with the way things were going. Something told her that the time was right to give this cursed bracelet away, and yet…. Rebecca was a healer, first and foremost. She’d been trained not to hurt others, but she’d survived the centuries by learning to adapt and knowing what to keep. If this shapeshifting bracelet was indeed the legendary Witchblade as the immortal she'd consulted with about it claimed it was, then perhaps all its knocking about was its way of saying it needed to go. She certainly wasn’t born to wear it. If she lost her head tonight, someone would find it and discover whether or not they were born to wear it. Cleopatra had worn it, she’d been told; it seemed to like royalty. Perhaps getting back into royal hands was what it wanted.
As she hesitated, the bracelet rattled in its place, as if to say, I could leave here on my own if I wanted to go.
“Fine,” she told it, picking it up and wrapping it back in the cloth in which it had lain for four years. She replaced the contents of the chest, then wrapped the cloak around her. She moved quickly out of the storage room and down the stairs to where her guest was waiting.
“I’d like to give this to you,” she told him and tried not to feel relieved it was going to be out of her house. “Perhaps this will help make up the fact to your lord that you are running late.”
The nobleman looked at the bracelet she’d handed him, and his eyes widened. “This is much too generous, Lady Rebecca.”
I insist,” she told him. “If the French court is anything like what I know, this will help.”
He nodded tightly. “Thank you, Lady Rebecca, you are most kind. This will definitely go a long way.” He kissed her hand, then stepped into his waiting carriage. Rebecca waved him off, hoping that she had done the right thing. It would be years before she would find out, and by then, nothing could be done for Joan of Arc.
Author's note: According to the Witchblade series timeline, the Witchblade may have changed hands as many as a dozen times before it came into the possession of a 16-year old peasant girl named Jahanne La Pucelle - Joan of Arc - in 1428. It is believed that the Witchblade was held by the exiled Dauphin of France, who knew only a fraction of the truth behind its powers.
A Turning of Hands by Raine Wynd
Disclaimer and Notes: Witchblade characters and concepts belong to Top Cow. Panzer/Davis owns the Highlander characters and concepts. Never been mine, never will be, but wow, what fun to play in these sandboxes….. Not my usual characters, either. Written for the crossovers100 LiveJournal community challenge, prompt #87: Choice.