Evil stirs in the forest of Downing, spreading blight across the ancient boughs. Busy with troubles of her own, Maud the village witch just wants to be left alone. Peace and quiet should be easy enough when you’re dead, right?
Reborn as a powerful lich, Maud is suddenly faced with the attentions of all the righteous heroes, holy clerics, and nosy neighbors of the realm. Now instead of whiling away the days in her garden with her cat and her knitting, Maud must figure out how much force is required to crush a man’s spine, the proper storage solution to keep a spoiling cadaver, and how best to display the remains of the fallen for maximum scare.
The cottagecore dream – holed up in your cozy cottage just outside your small village, doing craft projects and giving kitty scritches. If only uninvited guests would leave you alone! Granted, the crafting materials are body parts from the massacred villagers and the last round of visitors. And sometimes the visitors are clerics and paladins. But really! People have no respect for privacy these days.
I occasionally dip a toe into horror, but when I do it has to be on the lighter side and maybe include some humor. Liches Get Stitches is my horror ideal. Maud is downright relatable, despite being an undead abomination.
Maud was a nature witch before being turned into a lich, so gory moments are usually softened with nature metaphors. Even as she learns how to consume souls of living things to survive, she’s concerned with her garden staying pretty. Maud tries to reconcile her new existence with her former life and justify her actions as self defense. It’s twisted and I love her for it.
Other characters are not as interesting, largely because they keep ending up dead. The ones raised as undead minions are subservient to Maud and end up rather bland. Undead animals are more feisty. Maud experiments on the village chickens and geese before moving on to higher stake subjects.
Content warnings: Lots of human and animal death, with varying degrees of permanence. Multiple instances of gendered insults, both to and by Maud.