my thunderstorm


Picrew: Baydews

Miel | 16 | he/they | Juniper Creek

When Miel was a pup, he was scared of his own shadow. He spent a not insignificant portion of his newborn and toddler years in wolf form—much to the shock of his parents who had assumed the family gene had been lost to time (the last known lycan before him was his maternal great-grandmother.) As he grew older, Miel gained a little more control over the shifts and even enjoyed showing off a little to his peers at school, much to the chagrin of his instructors.

At 13, the shifts stopped abruptly, leaving Miel halfway between—part wolf (ears, tail, teeth, and claws) but decidedly human in presentation. He missed that part of himself but no therapists could identify a clear sense of the root cause.

The next year, Miel was walking home from high school when he saw a new cafe that opened up—the Witch's Brew. Even as he rolled his eyes, he stopped inside. It was a cozy space that not only sold coffee and tea, but all kinds of curios—crystals, wands, bundles of dried herbs... but what caught his eye the most were the bath brews. Each concoction promised varying benefits to soothe the mind, body, and soul.

This isn't a story about how he bought a magic bath potion that kickstarted his shifts again. (It was a blend of milk, honey, oat, and chamomile.) It awakened something new in him—a passionate desire to learn how to craft experiences that would soothe others the way this bath calmed him.

He applied for a training position at the cafe—mostly cleaning tables and dishes, stocking shelves, and running out for deliveries. After a few months, however, he was able to make his first batch of potions: a lunar-infused bath crumble that created a thick layer of milky, moisturizing foam and shimmered silver and pink in the water. Its magic was designed to open one's intuition and welcome kind dreams at night.

A few years since Miel began to hone his practice, the Witch's Brew could barely keep his stock on the shelves! His mentors knew before he did that he was well overdue for his Magical Year. Though they were sad to hear he would be packing his bags to leave the Creek, they knew it was time.

With his parents help, he applied to several positions in neighboring towns in search of a mentor. After some back and forth, and many meticulous pro- con- lists courtesy of his father, Miel applied to work under Reyna Kobayashi at the Kintsukuroi Inn at Aspen Falls where our story begins.


  • Familiar Magical Character: A year after the shifts stopped, Miel's childhood raven plush—Ren— ruffled to life. All the years of loving her, confiding in her, transferred his latent magical potential into the very fabric of her existence. Now, when he needed her most, she was available to offer advice and encouragement on the next wing of his journey.
  • Mentor Magical Character: Holly, the Head Barista at the Witch's Brew, is a 34 year old solitary witch. She moved to Juniper Creek after graduate school (where she learned academia wasn't for her after all) and opened the cafe. She helped teach Miel how to brew and also shaped his initial understanding of magic.
  • Non-Magical Character: Alon repairs toys at his parents antique shop. He meets Miel one day while accompanying his grandmother's healer, Reyna. The boys bond over Ren (who Alon thinks is a regular plush at first) and become fast friends.
  • Magical Character: Chime, a harbinger of spring in the shape of a rabbit with fairy wings and ram horns, who requires shelter from Miel until the mossy buds that speckle their body fully bloom.


  • Non-Magical: The Aspen Falls Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, a place that promises to offer a lot of inspiration for new potions!
  • Non-Magical: The Pineda Bazar, an antique shop owned by Alon's family.
  • Magical: The Kintsukuroi Inn where he works and lives alongside Reyna's other pupils who each specialize in different healing magic.
  • Soak up the Moon: A pop-up shop at the inn where Miel sells bath potions and other ritual experiments. Patrons at the inn can purchase goods to use at home as follow-up to their healing getaway.
  • Non-Magical: The Aspen Falls Library, which also houses a used bookshop


  • Perfumer's Nose (marked): Miel's intuitive sense for brewing potions is due in large part to his heightened sense of smell. He can pick out scents with relative ease and identifying complementary fragrances.
  • Green Thumb: Miel's parents own a flower shop in Juniper Creek. Since he was a kid, Miel has helped his mom out in the garden with their plants.
  • Emotionally Observant: Miel can read someone's heightened emotions (joy, fury, sorrow) readily in their expression, body language, and tone.
  • Mathematically Minded: in order to better understand ratios for potions and balance his ledger at the boutique, Miel has had to hone his basic arithmetics.


  • Non-Magical: a membership plan for the Aspen Falls Arboretum—unlimited visits during the season and a discount for their farmer's market
  • Non-Magical: a planner/diary that he writes in daily before bed as part of his evening ritual; he has kept one every year since he was thirteen
  • Magical: A jar of moonwater that has been replenished for two years—very potent, especially as a base for potions.


  • Recipes
    • Bath Potions (marked): Miel specializes at making bath potions as a novice healer. His signature recipe is the Lunar Dreams—a potion for restless or nightmare plagued patrons. The one drawback to this potion is that it requires moonwater, which is hard to acquire in large batches.

Active memories and Experiences

  • Fire
    • Holly knew before Miel that it was time for him to branch out from their little store to acquire training from a more specialized witch in the city. Ever since he lost his ability to shift, however, Miel has found change frightening and difficult to confront. It took several pep talks about his abilities for Miel to view applying for a new mentor as a good thing—especially since Holly assured that a second mentor will only add to the correspondences she promises to send his way. (Holly + Perfumer's Nose)
  • Water
    • Upon arrival at the inn, Miel received warm greetings from his new host and mentor Reyna, a witch specializing in healing bath magic for 30+ years, and peers. Miel learned quickly that each of the other witch's had chosen healing magic after having been hurt themselves; not unlike his own path from shifting to brewing (Bathhouse + Emotionally Observant)
  • Earth
    • Despite his shy homebody nature, Miel promised his parents that he would apply for membership at the Aspen Brook Arboretum Society when he arrived in town. It has already paid off in kind with many hours spent wandering the gardens and meditating beneath the canopy of trees. He knows that the more time he spends there, the more he will learn about his craft and himself. (Membership at the Arboretum + Green Thumb)
  • Air
    • The first visitor to the Bathhouse when Miel was on duty was an old woman accompanied by her grandson, Alon. While the bell alerted everyone else to their arrival, Miel caught a strong scent of something he couldn't place—a nostalgic scent like the fur on a teddy bear or the slightly powdery note of a doll's face. In their brief encounter, he learned that Alon restores well-loved toys for his parent's antique store. There is something comforting and familiar about him due to this presence. Despite his short, shy replies, Miel is eager to learn more about this family (Hiroshi + Perfumer's Nose)
  • Light
    • Miel's bath potions have been "sold out" for months in his hometown. He's discovered that this is something he is truly passionate about in the longterm: helping people with a talent that he honed in part on his own journey to heal and accept himself. At the start of his Magical Year, Miel hopes to learn even more about his capabilities.
  • Dark
    • When Ren came to life, Miel was in utter disbelief. How could he possibly be a witch when he's supposed to be a lycan? Steadily, she convinced him to embrace this new aspect of his identity by documenting his journey including dream logs, drafts of recipes, and snippets of research on lycans possessing latent magical potential. (Ren + Planner/Diary)

Spellbook Entries

  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Fall
  • Winter

Spring Diary Entries

Chapter One: The Harbinger of Spring

As the first rays of dawn filtered through my curtains, a loud thumping on the door woke Ren who subsequently tugged at my pajama sleeves with her felt beak. “You’ve slept through that racket long enough,” she cawed, “go see what the fuss is about before I tear my own stitches out.”

She perched on my shoulder as I stuffed my feet into slippers, twisted my body into a quick stretch, and padded to the door.

Even though I have been practicing magic for two years now, I am still in awe of how little I truly know about the world.

Sat in my doorway was a fluffy rabbit with long, floppy ears, a set of curling ram horns, shimmering fairy wings, and a long trail of moss-speckled sprouts between its shoulder blades that curved around her neck and chest. Her wings fluttered until she floated to my eye level, puffing out her cheeks even as she spoke.

“Little witch, I am your Harbinger of Spring come to claim my respite during your Magical Year,” she said in a pitched voice that tinkled around the edges, “You must tend to me before the season’s end.”

I scrunched my nose as my wolf ears flattened back into my hair.

“Little? But you’re barely larger than Ren and she was a baby toy before she awakened as a familiar.”

The fey nipped my hand and flew off in a trail of amber dust and descended onto the windowsill. The sunlight spilled through her wings casting a rainbow of hues onto my duvet.

“Where’s your hospitality? Has nobody taught you any manners?”

“Okay, okay, I’m sorry.” I drew in a breath as I crossed the room and settled onto the bed, resting my head against the sill. “Truce? What’s your name?”

“My name is—” As she fluttered her wings her open mouth made a sound like wind chimes rocked by a gentle spring breeze; nothing I could replicate with my own tongue. “But you can call me Chime, I suppose.”

“Chime,” I repeated, spreading my palm open under the prismatic glow of her wings, “Nice to meet you; I’m Miel. How can I be of service to you this spring?”

Her pink nose twitched in approval as her delicate paw met my hand, “My blooms require four nourishments to flourish. Sunlight, water from a flowing stream, a bed for sleep, and a token from your love.”

“Sunlight, water—wait, what?”

“A locket of hair, a confession, a first kiss: you know, tokens of love! Nothing fuels Spring’s spirits like young love.”

“B-but I just moved here.” A flush spread from my cheeks to the tips of my human ears. “I barely even know anyone. Love isn’t exactly on my mind right now.”

Metallic laughter peals from Chime’s mouth as she nestled into a pool of morning sunshine.

“Well, you’ve one of four. Better get a move on for the rest!”

After having breakfast with the other witches, I walked to the Arboretum. It was the first route in town I memorized, at the insistence of my parents who are still fretting over me being “cooped up” at the inn. I lay down in the grass nearby a stream and spread out my bomber jacket as a makeshift blanket to catch my breath. The air smelled of sweet spices and pine, lulling me into a brisk nap. When I woke up, I filled my canteen with water and whispered a blessing before sealing the cap.

On my walk back, I paused at the Pineda Bazar and bit my lip. I didn’t know what kind of bed would suit Chime. Would it be more sensible to stop at a pet shop? Obtain a planter box from a florist? As I tugged open the door, a delicate bell announced my presence. A woman came round from the back to the register carrying a broom.

“Tuloy po kayo! Can we help you?”

It took a moment for me to respond because truthfully, I didn’t fully know why I had entered the shop. My hands had acted impulsively on their own and it was too awkward to just back out.

“Uh, I’m just browsing for now, but thank you!”

She gave me a nod, eyes glancing briefly to my ears, the corners of her mouth raising slightly, and then cupped a hand around her mouth to call out “Adon!” As she disappeared into the backroom, I overheard a murmured exchange before a tall boy emerged wearing goggles and a smock smudged at the waist with ink and paint.

“Oh, hey, Miel!” He said, pumping disinfectant into his palms before extending a hand out to me, which I accepted. “My mom asked me to show you around the shop?”

“Oh, um, I’m only browsing, I’m not even sure what I’m looking for really..”

“Ah, come on, browsing’s easier if you know where to look, right?” He said with a wink as he discarded his safety gear and rubbed his hands together. “Now, where to begin?”

Adon guided me throughout the shop, occasionally stopping so I could take in the displays, or to comment on pieces that had especially storied histories. There were shelves of elegantly bound books that smelled of dust and ink, ornately carved furnishings that overwhelmingly fragrant with oak and cedar, and racks of silk dresses and wool coats with the faint traces of perfume and cologne from their former owners. Each corner had art tucked onto shelves or hung for display. It was simultaneously cluttered and organized and set my heightened sense of smell into overdrive.

“And over here is my playground,” Adon said, waving me toward an area behind curtains, practically bouncing on his heels. “I’ve just had a shipment of more items to restore come in so this will all be reorganized again soon, but—”

The room was softly lit by twinkling lights with a large, plush chair in the corner and a fluffy rug on the floor. The walls were covered from top to bottom with floating shelves holding all assortment of toys from translucent and vibrant video game consoles to dolls and stuffed animals.

“This one is fifty years old! I had to fully reroot the hair and it took ages for me to find the right photo to identify a perfect match for the shade and texture it originally had. And this one’s face was cracked but you would never be able to tell by looking at it now. Probably took me three days to finish. And this console needed a full rewiring on the inside since because someone probably spilled water on it, but it works like it was brand new. And…”

Adon’s enthusiasm was infectious as he recounted projects over the past few months, recalling every repair session in clear detail. In the corner, I noticed a small basinet.

“That one,” he said plucking it from the floor and lifting it into my arms, “had a split in the wicker and the lining was completely shredded. It took a while to identify the material—willow—but I was able to get a decent color match. My mom helped me choose the lining since it was impossible to replicate the original textile, but this is from the same time period at least!”

Our hands brushed against one another on the underside of the basket as he passed it over to me. I nearly dropped it, but caught myself and hugged it to my chest.

“Um, I think, maybe, I’ll buy this one.”

“Really?” His smile was lopsided as he walked me back out to the register not unlike his mother’s. “Is it for Ren? The handle should be sturdy enough for most ceiling hooks if she was hoping for a window perch.”

I shook my head as he rang me up. “I was visited by a demanding Harbinger of Spring this morning. She wants to be near the sun, so I thought..”

“Oh, wow! I’ve never seen a Harbinger in person. They say they’re supposed to be good luck.”

“Uh-huh,” I rub my elbow not wanting to admit that I knew startlingly little about what I was getting into myself. It wasn't the first time he knew more about this magic world than me.

“Come by again any time; we always have new stuff come in.”

My heart thudded in my chest on the entire jog back to my bedroom. Ren and Chime were in mid-conversation about my education for the year ahead, but stopped abruptly and stared at the brown lacquered basinet in my arms.

“Well, look at you,” the Harbinger rang turning a somersault in the air. “You found all four in record time.”


“There’s water in your canteen, very clever, and this bed will do fine hung up by the window, though you’ll need to keep the curtains drawn each morning, sorry to say.”

“That’s only three,” I insisted. “Sun, water, and a bed. I didn’t fetch anything else.”

Ren shook her head as the fey creature jingled.

“Hearts rarely lie even if you can’t hear them yourself. You might not have noticed, but something else fetched you.”

Chapter Two: Rinse and Repeat

Now that I have been living in Aspen Falls for a couple of weeks, I have settled into a routine at the Kintsukuroi Inn. Here is a copy of my current schedule for posterity:

  • 6 AM - begrudgingly wake up since Chime needs to bathe in sunlight; then I stretch, take a brisk shower, floss and brush my teeth (especially my canines!), get dressed, and make the bed.
  • 7 AM - head downstairs to the kitchen and make breakfast, though often Cheri will already have baked something delicious since she’s a genuine early bird.
  • 8 AM - sweep the front and back porch and restock any items in the bathhouse that might be running low — shampoos, soaps, towels.
  • 9 AM - take inventory at my pop-up boutique (Soak Up the Moon) and check the till. Not that items are flying off the shelves or anything just yet, but when my business does take off I want to be prepared!
  • 10 - 11 AM - the bathhouse section of the Inn opens. I’ll run between tending my own register and greeting patrons if the desk gets busy so Bryn doesn’t become overwhelmed.
  • 12 PM - the bathhouse closes for lunch hour. I eat in the break room and listen to the latest gossip while getting distracted by ideas for new potions.
  • 1 PM - check the inventory for midday restock and spot clean any areas that might need our immediate attention (you never know!)
  • 2 - 4 PM - back at the boutique and running errands as needed.
  • 5 PM - close my pop-up, take inventory, and remove earnings from the till. Update my ledger if there were any earnings to report. Then assist Cheri with preparing dinner for the other boarders.
  • 6 PM - the bathhouse closes for dinner. We discuss how our day went and our plans to decompress after a long day of attending to guests.
  • 7 PM - clean the bathhouse. Usually, I do all the laundry (including sheets and towels from the guest rooms.) Some of the heavier duty cleaning sends my olfactory senses into overdrive. The others have been very understanding of this so far but I hope I don’t become a burden.
  • 8 PM - take a bath and test product ideas. I’m currently working on an energizing potion, but that might not be the best idea to test at night… maybe convert this into a shower steamer?
  • 9 PM - last hour of free time before bed. Write in my planner, tinker at my workstation, check in with Ren.
  • 10 PM - bed time since I have to get up early :(

Even though I don’t see a lot of foot traffic at my shop yet, it’s nice to have a space that’s mine. Back when I was still working at the Witch’s Brew for Holly, it felt amazing to have one of my bath potions featured under the glass desk, to watch the stock sell out within a few hours as customers paired potions with tea, coffee, and pastries. It will probably take a while—maybe with some creative marketing strategies—to acquire repeat patrons in such a large city. For the time being, it’s nice to nestle items in their baskets on display knowing that they are handmade by me from the brew to to the labels. Over time, I’m sure I will decorate it for the passing seasons, pack sample sachets for frequent patrons, maybe connect with other local witches to set up a booth at artist markets.. I know my dreams are big and I still have so much to learn, but sitting at my desk fills me with inspiration for all that is to come.

Once my formal training sessions begin, my schedule will probably shift pretty drastically.. at least for a few days of the week. I don’t know what kind of teacher Reyna will be, but since her area of specialization aligns close with mine, I’m eager to learn as much as possible from her. Cheri says that I’m really lucky that there was an opening this year and I DO feel incredibly fortunate to be here. But sometimes I can’t help but get the feeling that some of the students who have been here longer, like Bryn, might not warm up to me as quickly.

But I can’t control that. I’ll just do my best and stick to the plan!

(And that doesn't include time for mindless day-dreaming, Chime, so let it go!!)