EVOLUTION OF THE TRANCE WITCH

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Chapter 3 Foregoing Troubles

Chapter 3

Foregoing Troubles

It was dark and the large and wild grass drenched and thick with mud under their feet as they tread through the hazards of nature. Save your heart from drowning in sorrow. She could not bear it; to go on another step. Latonya’s legs gave out and she collapsed upon her

knees. Annamarie turned and insisted that they go on, even if just a bit further until they reach the shelter of the trees. “Why do they treat us like this, because we have a gift to use magic. Why do they want us dead...”

Annamarie came and bent to her sister’s face. “It is because they can’t have control over it and power over it... they want the magic, they want to be able to use it too... in truth, you can’t control it... it controls you... and you can’t have power over power... and that is what they want. Come now sister, the trees, let us find refuge in the trees.”

“The trees will not save us from what is doomed us Annamarie.”

“No, but they will shield us while we face it.” She helped her sister up and they walked through the remaining grasslands and made it to the silence of the trees. The night grew calm and the rain had stopped, but they carried on through the woods. There was something strange

about these woods, something evil. A fog rolled in cloaking the ground beneath their feet. “Annamarie look out!” A boulder plummeted down from off of a mount of protruding rocks. Annamarie saw the rock tumbling toward her and put up her hands forming a liquid shield. The boulder struck the shield and directed on a new path until it collided with some obstacle in the distance.

The rain started up again. Not pouring, but sprinkling down upon them in their dark hooded garments. They continued walking on until they had come to a cave. Annamarie used her magic to extinguish light from her palm and the cavity within the earth promised to be empty to give them shelter and a place to sleep for the night. They couldn’t tell from on the outside, but the cave opened up to a great and vast wonder with columns, stalactites, stalagmites and pooling water.

“If we are not careful, something tells me a lot can go wrong very quickly here. See the point on the mound their, the crack that lies at an angle half an inch away from splitting completely... what is keeping it held together, I have no idea... how it has stood there

that long without breaking off, I also am impressed by this. Watch your step... if it is to break and fall, it is to trigger a whole lot more of them to do so as well... especially most dangerous and what I’m worried about... the one’s on the roof of the cave...”

“Let me use my magic to start a fire.”

“Are you mad! I can not let you do this, you can not use magic, you will call the devil to come for you! Is that what you want?”

Latonya looked at Annamarie and she said. “I will start the fire!”

Annamarie, you’re growing weak. You should not use up all your strength on magic, it could make you ill.”

“What would you have me do, see to it that we freeze huddling together to barely keep warm, no, I will use magic before I let us go on without it; till we are taken by the ravages of the cruelty of the wild.”

Annamarie’s eyes glazed with the flickering of a fire as she looked to the dryness of the ground and whispered in a quick tongue. Then the flickering flames mirrored in her eyes projected and turned into a real source and a crackling fire burned before them.

Annamarie collapsed and Latonya grabbed hold of her, catching her before she fell. She sat with her, with her head in her lap stroking her cloak for awhile to make sure she would rest comfortably. She then herself shut her eyes and fell asleep to the music of the burning

flames flickering in the darkness of the cave chasing off any chill that would dare touch them.

The next morning Annamarie awoke to the sizzling of a rodent her sister had cooking on a stick. “Oh you’re awake, good. I didn’t want to wake you, I wanted you to get all the rest you needed. I went out and caught this- no I did not use magic, I made a trap.”

“You would have me wake and worry of where you went off to or what might of happened to you rather than waking me? Do you think that was wise sister?”

“You are always looking out for me... ever since we were young... now it is my turn to look after you, to make sure you are strong and fed some meat.”

“It is a squirrel?”

“Yes, it is a squirrel!”

“How did you catch it?”

“I made a trap with a piece of our loaf as bait. A fair trade to catch something like this I’ll indeed say.”

“It is...”

Annamarie bent up and wiped her face on her sleeve as she neared the fire closer to Latonya, and said to her. “Thank you Latonya... thank you for being my guardian through the night and thank you most of all for being my sister... I could not ask for a better sister. Though if

I appear to waver on this journey, promise me you will not use your

magic.”

“I will not use my magic. I’m long used to the unusual and interesting enough to know that I have the ability to withhold from using magic, sister. There are things that I have come to understand about magic... most recently I have come to understand that it comes with a great price... and there is no taking it back once it is done. I have found satisfaction in magic, but I know I will come to hate it, for all the trouble it has caused.”

“Latonya, it is not over yet; we don’t know what is to come of what has been done now. We are facing troubles, but we are not without hope. We will find a way to get through this and we will find a cure for this curse that is so treacherously stricken upon you.”

“What would I do without you sis.” The squirrel was well passed done by now and she pulled it from off the fire for awhile, picked at it and picked at it searching for a part that was cooled down enough to tear.

“I’m angry with all of this, angry at the Vampires taking our mother.”

“They didn’t take her... we do not know what is exactly the cause of this, vampires will do what vampires do... but what had made it easy for them with us... I know we have been betrayed and this whole thing is bigger than you and I... it goes for all witches I fear.”

“I’m still full of rage for them, I hate them, I want them all dead.”

“Don’t be mad at something you do not understand, don’t know everything about... for what are you to be mad at and what are you to hate if you do not know what all is there for you to distress your inner peace so... and whether you should hate it or not. Don’t let

hate blind you, is all, Latonya...”

“You are wise sister and your words are the only thing that seems to make sense in the midst of all this chaos... and it is not like I don’t have much to say myself... what I’m wondering of this... and what’s to come. I’ve just grown akin to silence... if I am quiet... I somehow believe then the devil can’t hear me to find me.”

“We should be on the move. Who knows what is to find us if we stay here any longer. Let’s put out the fire.”

They climbed out of the cave into a bright and sunny day, the rays of light kissing the earth strongest where there weren’t any trees to shade it, and reflected on the puddles from the rain storm the night before. A rabbit frolicked over the wet ground and disappeared. It was a nice day. A few clouds sitting in the sky yet, but not enough to worry about a downpour today. It was pleasant weather and the wind last night seasoned them to be expecting of worse than this blissful slight breeze. They had removed their hoods to let the sun kiss theirfaces also.

By the time they reached the real depth of the woods it was sunset and how vibrant the light from the ending of the day brought out all the charm of the rustic trees. They continued on in hopes that they would come to a place so damned and despaired that not even the witch hunters would follow them there. No doubt the devil would be after them even still; no matter where they went, no dark and gloomy place wasn’t home to him as well as the vampires. Would the vampires be after them even still though if they knew the devil was out for Latonya’s soul... It was night, and the cold air nipped at their ears as they raised their hoods drifting into a deeper pit of darkness within themselves now, snuggling close by a fire. The atmosphere around was still and quiet all except for the sounds of the owls and other nocturnal mammals out on the prowl.

“Most birds sleep at night... why don’t owls? Is there something unholy about them?”

“There are a lot of things still I don’t understand. It is what makes us feel unsure and insecure... not knowing... for this reason sometimes it is better not to know... for what if you do learn what you wanted to know... what would you do with it if it didn’t seem to give you the answer you were looking for.... hoping for... what if it turned out destroying your sense of purpose.... what if it told you something abominable and evil was in control, was holding all the answers you sought out... and was doing so to make you weak and feeble so they have the upper-hand always... and you have all these unanswered questions. Sometimes it is safe not to know... but also not to let on that you don’t know or that you do. Keep the devil guessing.”

The next morning Annamarie woke alone! Latonya was gone, nowhere to be seen. The fire was out just a few smoldering coals now. She didn’t hear a sound for miles, there was nothing but utter silence. Then she remembered those words that Latonya had said about silence. She scrambled up frantically looking around and then chose a direction and shouted. “Latonya!” Latonya didn’t answer. Where had she roamed off

to? Annamarie heart raced in panic. She had lost her sister... how could she let this happen. She bent her head up to the sky, her hood falling back from off her rich crown of curls, and cried to heaven.

“Latonya!” She would have began to sob if it weren’t for her brief discovery of her sister’s presence when she lowered her head and then saw her there; standing in front of her with her back turned and her head bowed.

“Latonya?” Latonya did not answer; she just stood there, unmoving and silent. Annamarie did not know why her sister had gone off alone. She didn’t know why she was standing there now silent and unchanging by her words. She didn’t know why... or did she... perhaps, but just too scared to find out for certain what was there under the draping cloak! Then, without reason, Latonya sped off hovering fast over the ground! The devil had her; he had to have her! Annamarie quickly dashed after her sister, speaking faint syllables under her breath along with

formed and emotional words executed harshly. “You can not have her!” She was far from reach of her at first, and then right there gaining fast and trailing just behind!

Latonya felt trapped inside her mind and sedated, delirious. She saw flashes of things happening around her, but not enough of each to piece together any sense. She saw beyond her trees and then nothing for a long time. Utter blackness... or was it just nothing. An

eternity of nothing. Blackness, idling or was she moving in this eternity of nothing... was she completely still... was she alive… was she dead... Where was she now? Was this hell?

Annamarie would have no more of this chase. She saw what Latonya did back at the vampire castle but didn’t imagine what was to come next. She came close and grabbed onto Latonya’s arm. Annamarie didn’t know what happened. She was in a drifting blackness, trying to understand what had happened, trying to understand her feeling of having no control, no consciousness anymore, but couldn’t. What had become of her? Was she dead?

The hopes for salvation from the devil for her sister had been deserted. Foolish she was to think she could keep her sister from what was inevitable; her destiny. But now this... this was an inexplicable phenomena, this odd state of being or not being... this disposition that prevented her from doing anything; failure from moving even her own body. Where was she.

Latonya was under the curse of the trance. But did not know it yet… and her sister Annamarie had been infected the same now upon touching her. The seclusion from their own consciousness and ability to control their own person was robbed of them.

Now they were wandering through these woods and deserted place from any human life. Hypnotized... and no other soul around to witness their grotesque appearance.

Latonya came to an odd relic and stopped. It was a gravestone worn and weathered from ages and ages of wear and tear. There was an inscription of something... but Latonya paid little attention or none at all. It was as if she had loaned her body to another who had needed it to complete something they were prevented to complete because of death. A spirit gaining human form through her. She was no more than a drone carrying out the queens bidding. Did she know she was being controlled, possessed by a lowly creature of the spirit world?

She felt something... it was a growing understanding that had developed. Unlike the last time she was taken by the devil, this time she knew something more of the experience... it was not the devil who had taken her... who had possessed her. Who had been here now to collect what was his; her soul. She saw herself standing in front of a gravestone and then nothing again... until she awoke laying on the forest floor disheveled and confused now seeing a broken headstone; smashed into pieces with a hole dug an exceptionally perfect rectangle.

“Latonya...”

Latonya turned to look back at her sister Annamarie, also lying on the dark soil. Was it so dark in color because this was an evil cursed place... she felt her heart drop into her stomach as Annamarie pointed to the gravestone.

“You did this... Why is this grave out here like this by itself… why has it brought you to it...”

Latonya stared at the hollow grave and was tormented when she beheld then something evil and bearing evidence that whatever was buried out here all by itself was not of this earth; this dimension even as it rose enveloped in a fog. And then floating in the air as a tiny gem, it blew into smithereens shooting out in every direction as dust to drift in the breeze to wherever the breeze would take it. Latonya felt

this to be the death of them all at this very moment. She didn’t know what it was or why it was out here, but she knew enough about magic and spells to know that something had been protected by an enchantment to be kept in a prison of a grave for a reason... and for a dreaded reason... Only the devil would know.

“Latonya...” Latonya watched till the fog had cleared and then gathered herself up on her feet and stared at the broken grave... into the pit of darkness and into the hidden mystery of what was there.

“The devil is here...” Annamarie said as if she was reading her mind and giving answer to what was resting in the ground below. The black rectangular man-sized pit, of which she dreaded to go near.

“Wait! Don’t Latonya!” Annamarie said in a desperate strain of her vocal cords; like Latonya was going to step forward, had planned on going over to see there to be a coffin inside... or so she would hope that is what she’d find.

“Let’s get out of here!” Annamarie spoke in a soft whisper as if that would keep anything else from happening or going wrong.

A cracking and exploding of wood came flying out of the pit! Annamarie whispered sharply in the magic tongue and opened a portal seizing her sister and fleeing before ever finding out what or who it was breaking out of the grave!

From out of the pit came a man with a medallion around his neck, of which, first thing, once he stood up inside the pit, tore off and threw aside.

The garment he wore was dusty, old and ragged, and of many layers of cloth. However long the amount of time he had been in the ground, it was certainly for a great deal of time. The man or whatever this being was who defiled the laws of nature, not arising only from the grave,but awakening again from a long and dreary sleep of uninterrupted dreaming; of which he didn’t mind much; he in a way enjoyed it. Though he knew a great deal of things of the world calling to him from far places, and it was agony being stuck there in the middle of these desolate woods beneath the ground, buried to never be found. He was locked in there by an enchantment; the amulet around his neck. A sudden flashback to ancient times of the Egyptians during the construction of the great pyramids, the times when the cult and worship of the dead was ritually represented by ceremonies, is the time period of where he came from... is what he knew to be. But this was an outrage to him! Being put in the ground by his own kin! Tricked into coming here to this empty forest where not even its own creatures would call this desolate place home. There was not a creature in sight. Those girls who released him were witches... he could sense that, and he wanted to go after them, but was too weak to. He would need to get well first, strong again; cleansed from the delirium of what that strong enchantment had stricken upon him. What were they doing out here in the perpetual horror of the woods... the loneliest place on earth. He crawled out of the pit like it was the most difficult task to proceed, barely strong enough to pull himself out and he laid on the ground completely out of breath. This phenomenon was restricted, not only to a small barbaric area, but in credence to the man. Isolating him from any hope of contact with the world again.

He closed his eyes concentrating his mind, meditating and a ray of light poured down upon his face. The chirping of a bird then came to his ear to grow nearer and nearer till the fowl landed gently on his chest. He grabbed ahold of the bird and thanked it for hearing his call and for the purpose of nourishing his body.

He was walking through the woods now picking his teeth when he noticed something strange. Someone was out there watching him, he could feel it. It felt like a lot of presences he sensed before, but this one was different in a way. It was hard to read as beast, human, witch or vampire.

He decided to continue on and pretend as if he didn’t know it was there; to see what it would do. He had a good amount of strength now gained, enough to use magic, he wasn’t worried. But whatever was out there, should be.

The woods became more habited, he finally came out of the darkness and abandoned woodland to one where wildlife roamed naturally. How beautiful these trees now and plants that dressed them like brimming skirts. The sun streamed down for any place that would have it and he loved the feeling of its warmth on his face. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath just standing there for a second sunning himself.

Then it hit him. In all this beauty and understanding of things that were and were alive and real; the reason he couldn’t sense what was out there watching him, even still tagging far behind; the reason was because the presence he felt wasn’t alive. It was dead. A ghost.

Could this ghost hurt him. Him being a physical being; it hadn’t so far. He felt and knew intuitively that the presence was not giving him its full attention, but rather an occasional glance; but how could he tell for certain really. It didn’t appear that it had been staring him down constantly, but instead just watching him; more of an observer than a predator. Baffling. He could go over this in his mind analyzing this creature to the utmost and to no end, for this mysterious being did nothing more which would give him a clearer picture of its intentions. Probably just a lowly creature wondering about, caught in between both worlds and curious as to why and frustrated how it can’t naturally be a part of either.

He never sensed a ghost before, why had that been. How strong this one should be for him to be able to sense it; and just because it hadn’t attacked him doesn’t mean it couldn’t. Its presence was intoxicating and curious. This being must have been a powerful creature when it lived and breathed.

The forest cleared and there was an opening just beyond. As he tread towards it he came to a grassland wet and flourishing. Those two witches, they were here; when they came and when they fled. Where were they now! He could not see them, and if he could not see them, no one could. In meaning he had a very keen sense of the whereabouts of others of his kind, but now he did sense something... it was not them... but the smell of betrayal, yes, one of his kind being used as a tool to seek out his own, hunt them down and kill them. How careless he would be if he was to go towards this direction. How careless indeed. “I am the wizard Althalos speaking for all the mithril and mages over the centuries, torn from his world to awaken into yours… you have brought disgrace and dishonor to what you are, you are the butcher, butchering your own kind. That’s what I will call you, the Butcher.”

Far away to the one that was seeking at last found something; this message had come to him and he knew, he knew it wasn’t meant for anyone else. This sad and dishonorable excuse for one that practices the ways of magic. He had betrayed his own kind. It was in his heart.

He didn’t wish to escape nor had any loyalty to what he was anymore. He was dead inside. He was deceived; looking out for his own skin, making selfish decisions. Countless numbers of his kind that he had hunted down and killed; the Butcher.

Horses neighed and impatiently clotted a hoof in the mud as the Witch Hunters waited for the Butcher to find the girls. They did not at all know what was to come, that the hunters would soon have them! Althalos had to save them from this. Was this why these two fair witches would

have been in such a place, the place where they found and freed him; he understood now. They had sought out such a place as the dreary dark woods to find a refuge to escape; away from the hunters; it wasn’t hard to figure out.

He closed his eyes and pictured them treading through the grasslands, they were close. Too close for him to feel at ease about reaching them in time! He shed his ragged garments transforming them into something more appealing for the occasion. A pair of trousers and a frilling shirt. He took off running towards the hills in the distance of which these two damsels were to soon intercept this dreaded doom.

His hair tormented unruly by the rushing of the air as he dashed on, trampling and breaking over the large blades of grass.

Latonya and Annamarie moved on, climbing over a mound and down the other side when something came to their attention from this now elevated viewpoint. The Hunters were after them! Why did they not sense their presence. Something was different; what was this blockage

to where they could not sense their presence. They shouldn’t have left the woods! They would have been better off facing whatever was coming out of the grave!

The atmosphere grew thick with regret and dismay. Annamarie hated that she did not take to a different path; coming out of the woods back into the open grasslands had sealed their fate! They began to run as fast as they could!

“Annamarie, let me use magic.”

“What are you mad!? Remember what you promised. Don’t Latonya.”

Latonya knew that she had more energy than Annamarie and could work the magic that could save them. But right now she would listen to her sister and keep her word... only until it was absolutely necessary would she step in and break her promise. If it would save their lives, she would do it, even if it would damn her soul. How and why she felt so willing to make such a sacrifice was beyond her. But it seemed right, and it felt like that was what she was born into this world to do. Had she never realized this before. Her sister always looking after her, now was her turn to look after her sister.

She looked to her sister and then noticed that there was something in the distance moving towards them, and it was coming at them fast, tearing up the ground behind it! Should they be more worried of this thing? This thing that Latonya could not quite make out? Annamarie soon noticed the growing ruckus to her left and glanced to see what it was; rotating her head back and forth from the spectacle to the front of her watching her footing, and then back to the side, she as well wondered whether she should worry about this as a threat; this thing moving towards them at incredible speed!

It was a man, she clearly noticed as he neared and continued to do so rapidly and unwavering. Bold and daring this man, no... he was more than a man, he was one that also wielded magic.

He came to them and grabbed ahold of each of them as they all ran together now, and then he blasted up high into the sky and landed far away from these places that had nothing for them but hate and a cruel fate.

They came to rest in a field of flowers where the midday sun shone brightly and chased away all fear of danger. He released them and they both stood by each other looking at him searchingly, grateful.

“Thank you.”

Annamarie was silent.

“I should be the one thanking you... thanking you for releasing me.” The man said, standing in a sideways position to them.

“Latonya looked at him and then understood and declared in question.

“It was you who was imprisoned in the grave!?”

“Yes. You are absolutely correct on that.”

Annamarie still didn’t say anything and thought him a suspicious character. For only something evil could have crawled out of that pit. And would be put in the earth and sealed by such a spell in the first place.

He wasn’t one to read minds, but something told him that Annamarie wasn’t so thrilled about him as Latonya.

“You are probably wondering why I was put into the ground and locked in that box by an enchantment.”

Annamarie gestured with a nod for him to continue, and then said. “Yes...”

“A long long time ago... something had happened... something unusual, but more importantly, evil. Not the evil you think and understand when you hear the word normally. But something that was equally as beautiful as it was evil. I was locked in that box by my very own mother for the fear of what I had become... the thing that happened to me is still as unexplainable as it was to me all those centuries ago as it is right now. At this exact age you see me as, is when it happened. I had grown, I had practiced and learned the ways of magic

very well. There was this book... this book of spells I stumbled upon not like any book of spells I had ever seen before. This one told of dark and wicked magic. After reading it, something happened to me.... the dark magic wanted me, it craved with desperation to be used, to get out of the book. I could feel it as if it was alive and it was calling to me. I knew of it, so I gave it existence and a place to reside in my mind. I told my mother of this... and she had me and the book both separated, and I was buried in the earth, gagged and taken away one night without given a reason as to why, without given an answer or a proper conversation of what was happening to me, and where the book came from... but I knew that it was the book of spells that put me in the ground... was it to silence me or was it to keep the words of the pages I’ve read from tempting me to my limits of tolerance to where I would break and welcome the darkness, and let the black magic take control. I told my mother how it spoke to me so... oh so intimately... like a lover... she didn’t like this... I could see the fear in her eyes... but I could have never predicted that she would go so far as to bury her own flesh and blood alive. There must have been no other way for her to deal with what was upon me. I forgive her... but now that I am alive, freed and it should be a great and wonderful thing... regrettably, I have no one left in this world to call my family... what a thing of misery is that and it seems that I have only just for the first time acknowledge this.”

“There are many things that we don’t recognize until we open up to them. Like qualities and flaws within ourselves, it is not our nature to accept the bad so easily as the good. It is for survival that we are like this. Us as well as humankind. It is our condition of being able to bleed when we are cut, to become ill when we are weak. Don’t sulk within yourself on this now when if before you hadn’t.”

Althalos drew his eyes to Annamarie’s and faced her raising his chin as if coming out of a miserable state of gloom to finally feel the warmth of the sun.

Latonya looked at Annamarie and Annamarie turned to look back at her; her face adorned with an angelic smile of her closed mouth, as her eyes also appeared to have smiled. This told Latonya that those words were meant for her too.

“Your words are gracious... forgive me for not giving you my name, it is Althalos.”

“Annamarie and Latonya.” Annamarie said, in taking the liberty to do so.

“Does it taunt you still? Now that you have awoken... do you hear its call?”

“Latonya.” Annamarie said as if she was burdening him miserably by bringing up such a thing.

“Yes, I hear it... but it is not as strong as I heard it call to me before. It must be because it is very far away... most likely buried in the ground as well; but if under enchantment, I do not know. I was buried with a medallion. One that is rare and able to keep anything from breaking free of it.”

Annamarie’s curiosity was raised significantly by this. “Medallion? Nothing can break free from it... what kind of magic is this?”

“These medallions have been enchanted by the ancients of those who practice magic... and have molded it, perfected it, written it down from the very beginning. I hadn’t seen one since it was placed around my neck before I was thrown down into the box and sealed into darkness.”

“Such magic could be used for something good... like keeping the devil from taking someone he has marked as his possession.”

“Yes it could be... and that is probably what my mother intended with me.”

“I would like to go back and retrieve this piece of rare magic.”

“We can’t... it shattered... your sister broke the spell that was upon me... I don’t know how she did it... it would take a considerably strong kind of magic to break such a powerful enchantment...”
 “The devil is after my sister... he takes her and uses her to do his biding... she carries out his evil ways... I’ve seen it happen twice, right before my eyes.”
“The devil is after your sister...”

“I fear that he will not stop until he has collected what is his... her soul.”

“Her soul is his...”

“I am not sure how... but by situation and desperation, rather than verbally, I believe that Latonya called out to him for his aid unconsciously of it in this world... but had done so by will that she wanted to get out. We were imprisoned in the dungeons of the castle above the forest of windward. The castle of vampires. We broke out by these efforts of my sister... She tried to use magic... but she knew it was no good for the bars were impenetrable even by magic. Then I saw it.... the devil had come into her and gave her the power she asked for... and then when what she had asked for was done... he left. We fled, having to leave our ill and dying mother behind.”

“You want to put your sister in the ground?”

“No, I want her to wear the medallion.”

“Wearing the medallion will cripple her; put her in an unnatural state of sleep. It will not keep her safe from the devil.”

“Then so be it, at least I would have done something. At least I would have tried. Latonya can not be left like how she is; she has no control over when or where the devil takes her.”

“There is a place we can go to find answers of the whereabouts of these enchanted medallions, but bear with me, I can not guarantee that it will still be standing.”

Althalos noticed her inquisitive manner and slowly crept forward nearer to her. “You can not put your own sister in the ground... if that is the only way about it; if that is the medallions only use… you must find another way.”

Annamarie could hear in his voice how personal this was to him. He was connected to the words he spoke more than any of them would have been if they had communicated this; even if in a different way.”

“I will not bury my sister alive.”

Annamarie admired him more now, if she had admired him at all before. He meant to do right by them and this was important to him. It was personal. Remarkable. It was something beyond her and her sister alone... Althalos had a direct and intimate connection with the medallion.

The book of darkness is calling me...

Calling me...

Like a lover...

The day was coming to an end quickly. The sun strewn across the ground in uneven patterns as they walked through the field coming to a dirt path traveled much by merchants and farmers selling their wares to the town’s shopkeepers.

Three O’Clock and all’s well! Annamarie imagined the towns announcer would be shouting about now. It was three O’Clock by the position of the sun... but it was anything but all well; at least for them anyway.

Down the path they went as the trail would stop behind the rolling hills, and then start up again. It was a remarkable view, but the scene promised them that it was going to be a long walk from here to where they were going. Althalos knew where he needed to take them...

and where he also needed to go for himself, if he was to pick up the pieces of his life, from up until the point he had been put into the ground. Though no doubt, did he expect anyone to still be alive from that time... and not just that, but none left of his bloodline; in fact he assumed their to be nothing left but ruins of the once great and secret colony. He would hope that the structure had still survived, and that it was still home to those who practiced magic. But only in his wildest imaginings could he have hoped for that.

He could not remember much after he had stumbled upon the open book, the book that called to him. The book that he had no idea would have such an affect on his life as he knew it. Why did so much seem to be lost from his memory. Why could he remember nothing but his mother betraying him. The walls, they were cold. He remembered the walls were always cold, especially in the mornings. He would wake earliest and walk down this long cobblestone hall. The whole place was built of stone and carved out of the rock as a natural foundation for it. Out in the forest there would be large groups of witches, warlocks, sorcerers, enchantresses, all those who practiced magic. They’d be out there watching a demonstration of some kind and he would be observing from afar with his arms rested on the wall of one of the arched openings of the enclosed balcony. The large and long walkway that would witness more traffic than any other part of the structure. He would just rest there, leaning on the ledge of the archway; he did this a great deal many times.... but why? He could not remember.

In all it’s seclusion, this place was the epitome of good taste and elegance. The carving and the design of the structure was of great care and detail. Far from barbaric that one would expect from their kind.

I studied as an apprentice under a name I would not answer to if called by it now... for it is a name that I do not remember. But wasn’t it my name, I should at least know my name if not anything else. My name is Althalos now... but what is the name of which I had before... why don’t I know of it or have it as mine today. It was my first name... the name given to me at birth, but I don’t remember it.

What is my name. The book of darkness had chosen that name for him. All along blinding him from his true identity. His mother knew there was a change in him... how did he not think that he might have appeared delusional and crazed to his mother and that the book of darkness was controlling how he perceived things.

“Your days are numbered.” “My days are many!” He was arguing with himself. He had to be out of his mind. But he was successful in saving these two young witches and that had to account for something; only a sane man could pull off a tasks like that and outsmart the Witch Hunters. Although... isn’t it most true that the psychopathic mind often appears to be one of above average intelligence.

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