Millennia ago, when the Valg broke into the world, witches did not exist. It was the Valg, and the Fae, and humans. But the Valg wanted the world for their own, and they thought a good way to get it would be to ensure that their offspring could survive there. Humans were not resilient enough to breed with, but the Fae were much stronger and the Valg began kidnapping and breeding with them. Their offspring became the first witches.
The witches had different traits and could be categorized into two different species. The Ironteeth took after their Valg ancestors more, and were more demonic and vicious, while the Crochan witches got more of the Fae traits. The witches existed long before the first Valg War, but when the time came to fight against the Valg the Crochans fought with Brannon Galathynius and the people of Erilea.
After the war, the people of Erilea did not want the witches there, but King Brannon didn’t think it was right to hunt them all down. So he gave the witches the Western Wastes where they lived until the witch wars, 500 years later.
As a result of the witch wars, and the destruction of House Crochan by the Ironteeth Alliance, the Crochan witches were scattered across the continent and became nomadic. For the next five hundred years the Crochans were hunted by the Ironteeth, who hoped to find the one Crochan who could reverse the curse placed on the Witch Kingdom by the last Crochan Queen. Crochans learned to survive by pretending to be wise women and healers, hiding both from mortals and the Ironteeth Witches who hunted them.
Centuries after the war, the daughter of the Blackbeak Matron had a child with a Crochan Prince, the son of Rhiannon Crochan. They believed that she would be the one to break the curse on the land. They were ultimately killed by the Matron and their child, Manon Blackbeak, was raised by the Matron to be her vicious, cold-hearted heir. Rhiannon, Manon's half-sister and the then heir to the Crochan throne was killed years later by her own unknowing sibling.
Manon eventually discovered her heritage and defected from the Blackbeak clan, gathering the Crochans together and uniting both witch species to fight against Erawan and the Valg during the second Valg War. The curse on the Witch Kingdom was broken, and the Crochans and Ironteeth returned to the Wastes.
Powers and Abilities
- Immortality: Crochan witches age very slowly and as such have great lifespans.
- Flight: Although they cannot fly unaided, Crochans can fly using brooms.
- Battle prowess: Crochans are trained rigorously to become skilled warriors.
Along with this, Crochans also have the ability to do magic, something that their Ironteeth cousins are not capable of. Crochan magic is benevolent in nature, and individual Crochans have been shown using it to make glamours and heal injuries.
Like the Ironteeth, Crochans descend from the unions of Fae and Valg long ago. Their culture, however, is much more similar to that of their Fae ancestors.
Crochans are generally more benevolent than their Ironteeth counterparts; they prefer peace to war. Nevertheless, they are extremely capable warriors who are not to be trifled with. Bands of Crochan covens itinerate from camp to camp to attend to business. This semi-nomadic lifestyle is largely due to the Ironteeth’s half-millennium history of pursuing and hunting them.
Hearths play an important role in Crochan society. Each family has a hearth whose flame never extinguishes, but rather is kept burning and moved with them between camps and homes. There are seven Great Hearths. Glennis Crochan’s hearthfire was gifted by Brannon Galathynius to Queen Rhiannon Crochan. So priceless was this eternal flame that in her flight from the sacking of the Witch-City, Glennis’s mother made certain to smuggle it out in a glass globe, along with Rhiannon’s newborn granddaughter. It has been kept in the royal hearth since then. Before magic disappeared from the continent, the Crochans, on the advice of their seers, used Brannon’s flame to ignite ordinary fires, which they sustained until the return of magic. When magic did return, the eternal flame ignited in the royal hearth once more.
While Crochans will not balk from a necessary skirmish, they do not officially go to war until a Crochan Queen ignites the Flame of War. In order to do this, the queen must take a flame from Brannon’s eternal fire; that flame is passed from hearth to hearth and village to village.
As is true for the Ironteeth, Crochan reproduction is difficult and often dangerous. Maternal mortality rates are a concern, and conceiving in the first place can prove challenging. According to Manon, the Three-Faced Goddess made this so to prevent the Crochans and Ironteeth from overpopulating the world and consuming all available resources.
Male Crochans are a rarity: The vast majority of Crochans are female. Because of this, their society is matriarchal. The male partners of Crochans are almost exclusively not witches. (Whether or not Crochans partner with Fae is not specified, although given the Crochans’ Fae ancestry and known partnerships between Fae and humans, a Fae-Crochan union is most likely possible.) For their protection, these mortal men do not travel with their wives and lovers; instead, they remain at permanent Crochan villages or homes, where they presumably raise any young children they may have. Crochans choose mates for themselves, and the bond is spiritual and long-lasting. As a rite of passage, each Crochan receives a red cloak when she first menstruates. Whether there is an equivalent of this ceremony for male Crochans is unknown.
Crochans hold fast to traditions pertaining to brooms. While the Ironteeth use ironwood to craft their brooms, the Crochans use redwood. The quality of a broom’s twig bindings indicates rank or wealth. For example, a prominent Crochan’s broom might be bound with gold, whereas most Crochans employ lower-quality, more common metals, and the poorest resort to twine. The Crochan rite of passage into adulthood entails sending young witches into the wilds to fend for themselves with only their knives and brooms.
Like all witches, Crochans believe in the Three-faced Goddess.
Crochans resemble humans in all aspects except their blood, which is blue instead of red.
- Rhiannon Crochan †
- Tristan Crochan †
- Rhiannon Crochan II †
- Glennis Crochan
- Una Crochan
- Bronwen Crochan
- Manon Blackbeak-Crochan
- Baba Yellowlegs claimed that Crochan witches tasted like summer grass and cool water.