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Maxed out

The bewitching power of the Games

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Things went on like this for centuries; gatherings were loosely organized at best and contests of skill took a backseat to the general camaraderie of just getting down and being witchy. Being only human, despite what the Inquisitors charged, the challenges grew and grew and the contests became spirited, no pun intended. It wasn't long before the witches realized they were on to something and needed to organize these gatherings not just to show off their skills - acts sure to dazzle and awe the peasantry - but to answer the burning question: which witch is best?

So a few of them got together, formed the Witches Organizing Committee, laid down some organizing principles, elected a president for life and hammered out events at which they'd compete for personal glory. The earliest Witch Games, held in a Tyrolean village whose name has been lost to history, took place around 1340. Events included sorcery, magic, spells, conjuring, invoking of spirits, shape-shifting, clairvoyance, flying, astral projection and killing at a distance. It's reported one of the most popular events, becoming invisible, was dropped after the first Games because it was both impossible to judge and because at least one contestant claimed she'd "won" even though it was proven later she wasn't even in attendance.

According to legend, the Games were a success. So much so the WOC president proclaimed them "The best Games ever!" Alas, the witches' timing was not as prescient as their highly-vaunted ability to see the future. A few short years later, Europe was plunged into the Black Plague, killing upwards of half the population. Naturally the witches were blamed for it.

The Games were resurrected in 1480, held again in the Tyrol, considered by then the permanent home of the Witch Games. Again, they were quintessentially successes in individual triumph. And, sadly, again they were ill-timed. It was only six years later that Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger, two of the meanest, torch-wielding Inquisitors ever spawned by the One True Religion, published their treatise on persecuting witches, Malleus Maleficarum . With a codified rulebook on identifying, trying and executing witches, that part of Europe became highly hostile and the Games were once again disbanded.

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