This may be in the "Space/Colonies" verse but I am uncertain.
"This is how we've tested since the dawn of time."
Ruttiger's mother, the Dame Anne Halloran, was adamant. Ruttiger himself was not quite as confident. "Are you sure it's needed, mother? To test her for a witch...?" He was, after all, rather fond of the girl in question; he was also a pragmatic young man, and did not really wish to be tarred by association.
"I am certain." Dame Halloran put down her booted foot with a thump. "She has shown all the signs."
The girl in question was not in the room; that wouldn't have been proper. Dame Halloran's seven sisters had her in the back room of the chapel, going through the cleansing rituals that were nearly as old as the test.
"She's still young. You could be mistaken." Ruttiger really did want to be cautious. He was speaking hunched, shoulders forward; he was quite a bit taller than his mother, which was exactly what he didn't want to remind her of at the moment.
"If she is so young as to be too young for the test, Ruttiger Mensen Halloran, then she is far too young for you to be stepping forward as her champion or her luger. You're nearly a man grown."
Nearly was both too close and good enough. Ruttiger sighed, and lowered his head in respect. "I worry about her, mother. I don't want her hurt."
"The test has been used since humankind was sprung here. It will be used until we are gone. It is the way things are, my son, and sooner or later you will have to accept it." She patted his hand. "You will have daughters some day, and they will have to be tested, too, if they show the signs. They will have to stare at the fire, just as I did, just as Renia will. They will have to be tested for a witch. Don't you want a wife who has passed the test herself?"
Ruttiger sighed. As always, his mother was right. She set the field of battle; it was easy for her to win. "Yes, mother."
"Very good. Now go take your seat, young man. The testing is just about to begin."
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