A 2-post collection

Challenge #01054-B322: Joint Custody

Two separate magical entities turn up for the same baby. -- Gallifreya

They both appeared at the christening. Calamity in a plume of green fire and Disastra in a cloud of roiling purple smoke. Both with identical words.

"Give me the child!"

The proud parents recognised one of them and boggled at the other. Then at their spouse.

"I can explain," they both said.

He had paid for an invulnerable armour with the life of his firstborn. She had paid for the potions that saved them both with the same coin.

And now the little girl named Gloria was claimed by both witches.

The parents tried the usual bargains, of course. Nobody expected otherwise, but they were no proof against the magical law. Besides, Gloria had already been blessed to be loved by all who knew her.

Calamity and Disastra had been quite prepared to enter a magical battle for the custody of the child, but the High Judge had other plans. He decreed that they both could raise the child together.

The first few months in the little cottage far from anyone or anything were... cold, to say the least. Calamity and Disastra both sniped at each other incessantly, constantly trying to outdo each other in looking after Gloria.


Gloria was five when she saw her mothers kiss for the first time. The constant tension in the air released like a thunderclap as lips met lips. As arms wrapped around the other.

She laughed, of course. Life with her mothers was constantly amusing. But this was different to the usual petty squabbling. It was... powerful. Just like that, the gloomy shadows vanished from the corners of the cottage and light bloomed there. Flowers replaced cobwebs. Sparkling gemstones replaced scuttling insects. Even Mama's old crow conspired to look shinier.

Mommy seemed stunned, too. She looked around her at the prettiness emerging all around them and said, "This is your fault."

"It's love," said Mama. "It's both our faults."

That was the day that Gloria learned that love had the power to defeat almost anything. Even from within. Mama and Mommy kept up their bickering, but it was never as ferocious as it had been when she was little. It was how they flirted.

Gloria learned that love came in many shapes and as long as nobody was hurt, all was well.

And they taught her magic. Not good magic, nor evil magic. Just magic. How it could be used for or against a person. They taught her how to see through people and into their true hearts. Taught her to defend herself about people who wished to own her.

She learned to talk to the wild things, and saw beauty in monsters and humans alike. She learned that all had their place in the wild world.


Gloria was eighteen. Calamity wept because Disastra was weeping. And Disastra was weeping because it was time for their little girl to find her way in the wild world.

Gloria knew it too. She had blessings aplenty. She had knowledge, too. And she had a few pickings from those foolhardy enough to attempt to rescue a beloved child from two powerful witches.

They had given her the best that they could.

"Your fate and ours depart here," said Calamity. Her voice raw with emotion.

"Luck follow you," quavered Disastra.

"O Mama... Mommy... Please don't cry?" Gloria hugged them both. "It's not an end. It's a new beginning."

They held each other as they watched her go. They had made her a force to be reckoned with.

"I guess," said Calamity, "this must mean goodbye for us, too."

"Does it have to?" murmured Disastra.

Calamity wiped her face. "I guess we could stay. Just in case she needs us."

"Yes. Just in case."

"Soft-hearted old fool."

"Emotional cow."

They giggled at each other and kissed. And stayed. Just in case.

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