One of the greatest discoveries one makes, one great surprise, is to find you can do what you was afraid you could not do...
Tara soared high above the skyline, the currents, forcefully whisking through her hair, while adrenaline pumped through her entire body.
Soon, her mind’s eye began to see the signature flashes of green and cool waves of blue. Her internal beacon told her she was getting close to her Coven. It was not long before her colorful navigation system led her to Godric’s mansion.
Alcide stood just outside the gates attentively gazing up into the sky in awe as the beautiful, magical woman slowly descending. Her long, obsidian locks billowing softly as she slowly descended. He could not take his eyes off her as she landed gracefully, only a few feet away from the infatuated wolf.
“Hello Tara,” his warm, brown eyes beamed at her sexy frame and she smiled welcomingly, quickly approaching him.
“Alcide...” Taking him by surprise, she crashed into him, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him into her soft embrace.
He could feel the blood rush to his cheeks, he knew they were bright red, and his entire body became hot with arousal. “Tara.." No other woman has ever had this effect on him.
“I’m so glad you’re okay,” she sighed heavily, “I’m so sorry I wasn’t here when you’ll needed me.”
His dark eyes became lost in her sincerity, he cleared his throat and said; “You’re here now, that’s all that matters.” His tone was somber, and she could feel his dismay, heard his mournful thoughts. He had lost his men, his friends, his brothers.
Inside Godric’s mansion, the state of the remaining coven was heartbreaking as well. The sight was nothing like the first time she saw her Coven. Tara greeted Jessica with a hug and it jarred the teen’s emotional state and she began to weep.
“It’s okay Jess, I’m here now. I ain’t going anywhere-no more.”
Tara solemnly scanned the room. Only a dozen mournful witches bravely held themselves together in Godric’s library. She took immediate notice of the Coven’s scribe, her face was virtually absent of color, Tara thought she would become physically ill at any moment.
“All the history, art, memories are all gone.” The woman nervously ran her fingers through her reddish-blonde hair as overpowering tears rolled down her high cheekbones. “The only thing I managed to save was a hand full of the ancient scrolls,” she carefully opened one of Godric’s glass shelves, gently placing the three large Samaria, Aramaic, and Latin papyrus-parchment rolls on his shelf. “The rest are gone…forever…” she sighed deeply.
Nora placed a comforting hand on Holly’s shoulder.
“The memories are not gone; our history lives in you Holly. It lives in all who have survived. This is the beginning of our next chapter.”
Naomi called the Coven to the round table in the library and Cathy served hot coffee and hot chocolate. Everyone listened attentively as Nora spoke.
“As you all know Absalom is pure darkness, a plague that wants to consume the Earth, the complete opposite of Isis, who brought forth the light and seeded the Earth. That is why our heavenly mother created a protector in our likeness. Now that our savior is born again, I truly believe this is the end of the witch hunters’ reign of terror.”
Tara stood firm, drawing strength from Nora’s words, embracing her newly held position, accepting her purpose, her responsibility, and her sworn obligation to protect the ones who depended on her.
“Tara…” Nora said, taking Tara’s hand in hers, “A dead leader of the witch-hunters told us that your mother, cousin, and our sister Willa have been taken as sacrifices to Absalom.”
Tara gasped; it felt as if all the air had been knocked out of her, her breath hitched as her brain formulated no thoughts other than to register that she was shocked. Her worst nightmare had just become reality and frustration singed through her gut, seeping into her gulped hard, swallowing the bile that threatened to emit from her gut. She stiffened her lower lip, refusing to let it tremble. It felt as if her world was hurtling down on her.
“GOD DAMN IT..!” she wailed out, unable to stifle her emotions.
“I don’t believe it’s too late to save them,” The cerulean-eyed brunette solemnly added, she knew witch hunters liked to torture witches first.
The night before, pure exhaustion had taken the teenager, yet she still slept uneasily. But after sleeping a few hours, Jessica’s mind was a bit clearer and she was able to recall a few vital memories of her missing friend.
“I think Willa was tricked by a spy, she’s been chatting online with a guy named James. They had a date the night she went missing.”
“Jess, we gonna find her,” Tara assured her weary progeny.
“Sorry, I’m late...”
A familiar voice announced from the entrance way. Tara swung around and let out a shocking breath.
“Bad news, Willa is dead, but she told me where to find my queer son and drunken sister...Hi, Tara.”
Tara could not believe her eyes, standing tall and proud in the doorway was her aunt Ruby Jean! Ruby’s announcement caused a dreadful shock to sweep the room, gasp and wails of anguish resonate as the coven members are overwhelmed with sadness and despair.
“Aunt Ruby Jean, what are you doing here? I thought you were…”
“Crazier than a shithouse rat..?” Ruby clipped.
“Well… yeah…” Tara admitted although she was not going to say it so crassly.
Ruby Jean strolled promptly towards her niece, as she slid on her spectacles to get a better look at her.
“Well, Miss Thang, I ain’t’ crazy. I really do see dead people. You- of all people should have believed me. Hell, if wasn’t for Isa, I’d still be stuck in Reynard Manor.”
“How-How long have you been a member of the Coven?” Tara asked, still taken aback by her Aunt’s unexpected arrival. She had not seen Ruby in four years. The last time she saw her, she and Lafayette spent an afternoon watching her behave belligerently, stare off despondently while being fed tapioca pudding.
“Two years ago today...I’ve been out-of-town. But Nora called me and told me the good news.” Her aunt smirked jubilantly; she’d always known there was something special about her tough nature niece. “I just got back from Toronto and I have 3 beautiful witches with me.”
Ruby Jean had taken Isabel’s place after her passing and appointed herself as the Coven’s recruiter. Being a traveling recruiter was also a way to elude her son who had been actively looking for her.
“Ruby Jean, I’m at a loss for words.”
“Well find them...” her Aunt sassed.
Nora interrupted the awkward reunion. “We haven’t the time, Ruby Jean, please.”
Ruby closed her eyes and took a deep breath. When she opened them, she saw Willa’s spirit. Ruby let out a gasp, the slain teenager’s appearance looked horrifying. Half-naked, bloodied and bruised, just as she was when she was murdered. The young woman is trapped between realms.
After a moment, Ruby Jean spoke. “The house is a few miles away, on a private road off St. Charles Avenue. Willa says bout a half-dozen sycophants and werewolves are there too.”
Holly interjected, “Maybe we should wait until night, so the vampires can help us.” The Elder already felt defeated, she wanted to run and hide.
“NO WAY!” Tara snapped. “I ain’t sittin on my ass, while my momma and cousin are next in line to be killed!”
Holly lowered her eyes in shame.
Tara quickly acquired the weary woman by the hand, holding it firmly in hers.
“Holly, I can feel your fear and it’s understandable. But I can also feel your spirit; it’s like mine. We fighters, survivors- we take care of our own.” Tara’s words offered more encouragement to the coven and to Alcide and his two men. With a sense of adoration and commitment, she scanned the room full of elemental enchantresses. “Those witch hunters don’t know who the fuck they messin with.” Tara began to give her orders. She instructed Cathy and Jessica to stay with the small children and new coven members. Cathy swiftly did as she was told and removed Mavis, Emma and the new members from the room and into Godric’s study.
“Please, Tara!” Jessica exclaimed, her expression was no longer sad, her sky blue eyes were full of wrath. “Those ass-holes killed my best friend. I want payback!”
A proud smile swept Tara’s lips, “Alright firecracker, let’s go get ’em.”
“YES!” Jessica shouted and they high five one another.
Although the drive was only fifteen minutes, it seemed to last three times as long, Tara thought as the group arrived on St. Charles Avenue that cloudy afternoon.
They discreetly parked Alcide’s truck and Nora’s SUV a few blocks down the road.
As they cautiously walked the private brick road, Alcide immediately picked up the scent of the same wolves who attacked Aether’s, Coven. He knew that if he could smell them, it wouldn’t be long before they would smell them too...if they hadn’t already picked up their scent. Alcide pushed open the gate and they all filed in slowly, staring blankly at a well-manicured lot.
But there was no house…
The group stood befuddled.
“Willa said we here.” Ruby Jean assured the group.
“It’s a cloaking spell.” Holly quickly gathered. “The house is here, it’s hiding in plain sight.”
Holly retrieved four large gemstones from her bag and handed a large white diamond to Tara, a sapphire gem to Nora, a rubicund gem to Naomi and she held the emerald one.
“Ecce prope Aether...” Holly chanted.
Nora and Naomi began to chant with her.
The spell unveiled the cloak. In a few seconds, Tara could see the house began to materialize out of thin air. After a few more moments, the three witches who held the jewels could see the house too.
Tara also saw several bright, amber-colored eyes glaring at them... surrounding them.
“We’re not alone” Tara warned.
“Wolves are here I can smell’em,” Alcide growled, his eyes glowed bright, he was ready to shift.
“Your right ...” Tara breathed, her flight or fight response was on high alert.
“Tara, take Ruby and get in that house!” Nora screamed out.
Not a second after, three menacing and snarling black wolves jump out of thin air launching a vicious attack; their prime target, Alcide, Tommy, and Hoyt. In the fusion of commotion, everyone scrambled in all directions. Alcide and Hoyt were able to shift into wolves and fought teeth and claws with the attacking wolves.
Unfortunately, panic had taken Tommy, and the teenage wolf did not shift in time. One of the wolves bit a chunk of flesh out of his neck, severing vital organs, killing him almost instantly.
Jessica furiously unleashed her magical flames; she set fire to the wolf that killed Tommy.
Tara did not hesitate, she grabbed her aunt by the hand, took a deep breath and when she blinked they were both inside the mansion. Her eyes began to see bright flashes of red; blinking rapidly, more than they ever had before. Tara knew something awful was in the house.
“Willa said, they in a dungeon.”
Suddenly Tara heard a gut-wrenching scream.
“That was Lafayette!” Ruby respired, “Willa!” the older woman cried out to Willa for help, but the girl’s spirit does not reappear.
Neither Tara nor Ruby could discern where Lafayette’s frantic screams were coming from.
Tara and Ruby ran all around the house, frantically searching for their loved ones.