"Tell me what you know," Nadya said. Megan glanced up at her with a frown.
"Why? You know what I know... you were the one who told me." Megan said.
"I know, but I need to hear it from you, from your lips... see your face when you say it, read your tone. All of these things are very important. Before we can proceed further, I need to know where your mindset is... what you're feeling." Nadya said. Megan sighed.
"There are two main types of magic... elemental magic, which some like to call natural, white or light magic, and blood magic, which some like to call black or dark magic. Light and dark work opposite each other. To reverse a spell cast by one element, one must use the opposite." Megan said.
"Simplified... but good enough. Go on." Nadya said. Megan licked her lips a bit.
"Most witches are born with the ability to manipulate magic in the world around them... but do not hold any themselves. Others... the rarely gifted ones, have magic in their blood, and can draw it from within." Megan continued. Nadya watched her curiously when she didn't immediately go on.
"And what else has magic in them?" Nadya asked. Megan took a slow breath.
"Shifters-" Megan began.
“Ulfhéðinn, use one of the proper terms I’ve taught you. ‘Shifters’ is too nonspecific." Nadya corrected.
"There are other kinds?" Megan asked.
"Yes... well, not in the way you think. But magic is all about using proper wording and phrasing.. one wrong word can completely skew a spell to disastrous results. You must practice." Nadya said.
“Ulfhéðinn are one of a kind. Out of all the extraordinary things in our world, there is nothing else quite like them. You should feel quite proud, even to be a half-blood." Nayda said. Megan watched her weirdly by her admiring tone.
"Keep going..." Nadya urged. Megan took another slow breath.
"Ulfhéðinn are one of the rare few beings outside of highly gifted witches that have magic in their blood. Their ability to heal, to bond, and to shift is a form of natural magic." Megan said.
"An infant Ulfhéðinn has one of the cleanest forms of magic in our world today, but as Ulfhéðinn age their magic fades. Ulfhéðinn blood is very valuable to far more than just our community. But because all actions, whether good or ill intentioned, leaves a certain mark on magic, the power it holds does not transfer with it unless it is willingly given. So there isn't any point in trying to steal it... otherwise, your kind would have far more enemies than they already do now. It's one of the things that makes them different from other shifters. You should never agree to give even a drop to anyone." Nadya said. Megan furrowed her brow.
"I give it to you." Megan said. It was their payment arrangement. Nadya just smirked.
"Well yes, but lucky for you, I use my gifts for the betterment of the world." Nayda retorted.
"What can be done with it?" Megan asked.
"Good... you're getting curious. I like all the questions." Nadya said. Megan frowned a bit by her teacher-like tone. She hated when she used it. It made her feel like a child.
"Lots of things can be done with it. Depending on the Coven, and what the Coven regulates, most of those that practice the blood arts would drink it." Nadya said. Megan stared at her, uncertain if she heard right.
"Drink it? What? Why?" Megan asked, unable to keep the horrified look off her face.
"Because drinking magic imbued blood will amplify one's abilities for a time. For instance... if someone needed to cast an extremely difficult spell. My own coven would use it in spells themselves, mostly hexes and curses. Using natural magic in blood spells is particularly powerful. Again speaking to the opposites." Nayda said.
"So some Covens are evil?" Megan asked.
"Evil is... subjective. Unlike all the silly stories and myths of witches that are told these days... there is no devil or demon worship in our craft. Magic is neutral, even dark magic. It's kind of like a gun... the gun itself is not evil, but sometimes, they are used for evil. However... there are certain... penalties one must pay for using the dark arts. Magic is not always without cost." Nadya said. Megan furrowed her brow.
"What do you mean?" She asked.
"Using blood magic costs a physical price. It will age you, drain you... it's why those that dabble in the dark arts will often use aging spells... usually by convincing humans into giving up years of their life. Again.. it has to be willingly given. There are of course darker ways of reversing aging, but most Covens these days have outlawed those spells." Nadya said. Megan frowned.
"You haven't told me much about your coven," Megan asked.
"My coven is open to all forms of magic, unlike others that restrict their member's uses. We are allowed to do as we wish, within reason. We are small compared to many. Our Coven mother is very unbiased, but we are getting off topic." Nadya said.
"Sorry... " Megan said.
"That's fine. Like I said. Questions are good. You are progressing." Nadya said. There was a brief moment of silence.
"Although since we are on the topic of covens... I suppose I should warn you. Your coven is quite well-known within our circles." Nadya said. Megan furrowed her brow.
"Mine? I'm not-" She began.
"I meant, your mother's. Every witch has a mark in their aura where their magic came from. The third order is a powerful group, not one you would want to cross. They are very talented and very dangerous. They specialize in blood magic." Nadya says. Megan frowned.
"I'm not looking to join-" Megan began.
"Join? Oh no... no coven would take you if you couldn't pass their test. Your magic matured wild. The fact that you have as much control as you do is quite astonishing. Most witches start training from the time they start showing signs of magic ability... and that is typically around five or six. By sixteen a witches' ability will have fully matured. Prior to that time, when one is deemed ready, a coven head will give you a test of control, to ensure you will not pose a threat to our secrecy and will abide by the laws of our society." She said. Megan frowned.
"Because you were born outside a coven... you are considered a renegade among our society. If any knew of your existence... you would have been forced to take the test, and if you failed... you would have been killed." Nadya said. Megan stared at her and felt a strange prickling of dread inside her. Why the hell was she just telling her this now?
"It was a risk for you to even come to me... If I was in any other coven, I would have turned you in to be tested, but lucky for you... my sisterhood is a bit more lenient. I have been given permission to train you first. You are such a rare creature... and have so much potential." Nadya said, almost as if she was admiring a dear pet. Megan glanced away from her and let her words fully sink in.
"I don't want to join a coven," Megan said firmly. All she wanted was to learn to control it, she wanted nothing else to do with any of it.
"Well... it's your choice. Not all of us are evil. Don’t believe the lies of those who were turned bias against us from birth. But you must take the test by a recognized coven, and then choose whether or not you join after you've passed. There are witches who choose not to quite regularly, more than you would think, though I can't imagine why. Having a sisterhood is quite vital to so much of our craft. But regardless, we all live by a certain set of rules. As long as you've passed the test, you will not be considered a renegade, and you will be left alone by all covens. This is what your mother did... for no coven head would have allowed her to give birth to you outside the sisterhood unless she was unattached. Most daughters of coven members are brought up together, with proper training." Nadya explained.
Megan was quiet for a moment. She hadn't thought of her mother in a long time, she was nothing but a stranger to her.
A long silence followed.
"You must keep clear of all covens until you've been tested. Because of your rarity and power, I doubt many would bother training you. They would test you, ensure you fail.. and then they wouldn't just kill you, they'd drain you. And that process would be so painful, you would wish for death." Nadya said. Megan looked back at her, even more horrified.
"But... I thought you said you can't steal magic." Megan said.
"No, they can't steal your wolf's magic... which in my opinion... if far more valuable, but you don't only have that inside you. I told you-you were special. I am considered gifted among the gifted, but you... you are a category all on your own." Nadya said. Megan frowned.
"But I... I can't-" Megan started.
"You are untrained... and your magic matured with you trying to suppress it. What's happening to you now will be... difficult to reverse. But let me put this in perspective for you... that blood curse you cast on that human boy, I could study night and day for twenty years and still never be able to cast that on my own, especially not instantaneously. Most spells of that nature could take up to a week to prepare, and you did it on accident, within minutes, wordlessly. Casting without speaking is an incredibly rare gift." Nadya said. Megan turned away, feeling suddenly sick to her stomach.
"How did you-" Megan began.
"When you visited me requesting that spell to block your bond... I got curious. I found where you came from. The reports on him were interesting reads. Humans can be so ridiculous sometimes in their quest to find ways to explain the unexplainable. A rare genetic disorder? For practically liquefied insides? That could only be one curse.. and that's an advanced spell. Needless to say, I was quite impressed." Nadya said.
Megan stood up from the stool and moved away from her when it suddenly felt like the air had left the room. She suddenly felt like she couldn't breathe.
She hadn't thought about Alexander for a long time. She desperately tried not to.
"What I was saying is you not only have the Ulfhéðinn magic inside you.. and that alone is quite potent, you have your own as well, from your mother’s ancestral side. Though I am unsure without a proper test, you are likely a Kincaid. That kind of power seems to travel along that bloodline." Nayda said.
A long silence followed, and Megan closed her eyes for a time. The flashbacks of Alex's face, the blood pouring from eyes, nose, and mouth... she could barely breathe.
"What did I do? Why did it kill him?" Megan asked.
"I don't know for sure without having examined his body, but my guess would be this; You are still part Ulfhéðinn, your ability to bond is quite intact, maybe even a bit stronger than the typical wolf because of your added blood magic. When you bonded with that boy... did it frighten you?" Nadya asked. Megan glanced away as she tried not to revisit too much of that memory. She grit her teeth a bit and didn't answer.
"Your bond is natural magic, and your inability to control your magic coupled with your repellent attitude toward it was likely what made you unintentionally want to break the bond. When one is not properly trained, the magic inside you does what you desire." Nadya said.
"I never wanted to hurt anyone!" Megan shouted suddenly, defensive.
"No, I never said you did... but what I'm trying to make you understand is, when you bonded with him and felt the magic of it, you hated it, didn't you? You wanted to be like a normal human girl, able to experience sex without commitment. You didn't want that bond... so your magic lashed out for you, and removed it. Again... your bond is white magic, so what breaks it is-" Nadya began.
"Blood magic." Megan finished quietly.
"Exactly... and as I said, that blood curse is a heavy level spell. For you to cast it without even knowing what it was... is quite impressive." Nadya said. Megan looked away from her again as she felt a vice-like pressure squeezing at her chest.
"In order for you to change... you must accept it, accept everything... every part of you. Accept that you killed that boy, accept that you are part beast." Nadya said. Megan took a shaky breath and licked her lips a bit nervously. It went silent for a moment.
"Is that the only way to break a bond?" Megan asked. Nadya laughed, taking Megan aback.
"Certainly not. There are several ways, death notwithstanding... although it's extremely difficult. Like I told you... a Ulfhéðinn’s bond is intertwined with the rest of their magic. Their ability to shift, to heal, to bond with their mate and their pack is all intertwined together. Think of it like... trying to shoot a single glass bottle off a rack of bottles with a shotgun. It's extremely difficult to break one without breaking the others... and as I said before, a Ulfhéðinn cannot live without their magic." Nadya said. Megan watched her for a moment, her brow furrowed.
"So... it'll kill them?" Megan asked. Nadya watched her curiously.
"The female Ulfhéðinn is the one who harbors the bond in her magic, so she receives most of the negative effects when things go wrong. There are some witches who have mastered the art of breaking the bond clean enough to leave the female intact ... but those are a rare few. Our Coven has been approached on occasion to severe bonds, usually from an accidental mating from very strict Ulfhéðinn packs. I suppose those individuals figured anything that might happen to them in an effort to break it would be less severe than the punishment they would receive for defying pack law. I've witnessed many in my lifetime... but only a handful of those could be deemed a success, even though most of them lost their ability to bond completely." Nadya said. Megan frowned.
"What happens?" Megan asked.
"It depends. From what I've seen, most of the time, the female dies, and those that do survive a botched breaking aren't usually physically or mentally well afterward, especially if any part of her magic breaks. Nearly all will eventually die. The males have varying levels of effects, but for the most part, come out unscathed. There is of course... another way that has nearly a hundred percent success rate, but it's a much higher level spell... and the cost of it is much greater than most are willing to pay." Nadya said.
"What would that entail?" Megan asked. Nadya smiled in a way that was almost unsettling.
"That's a conversation for another time." She said. Megan went quiet for a moment, and glanced off toward her shelves of books as she let everything sink in.
"When was the last time you shifted?" Nadya asked suddenly.
"A few weeks ago," Megan replied quietly. She felt a bit numb. Nadya nodded.
"I suggest you do so more often. I can see it in your eyes, and your aura. You cannot suppress your wolf, it will affect your ability to control all your magic." Nayda said. It went silent for a moment, and Megan looked away from her. She was still struggling with the flashbacks. It had been almost five years since then… but the memory was as fresh as ever.
"Even if you had been trained from childhood, your magic is unlike anything I've ever seen. You would have been a difficult one to teach… do you remember how old you were when you started showing?" Nadya asked. Megan pursed her lips a bit and shook her head.
"I... was raised in the wilderness. I mean... I don't know exactly when... but I remembered trying to hide it from my father." Megan said.
"Well... a rough estimate?" Nadya asked.
"As long as I can remember," Megan said. Nadya raised an eyebrow.
"So what are you saying? Three? Four?" Nadya asked.
"I guess... I don't know." Megan replied. Nadya stared at her for a moment, her expression was strange.
"The younger a witch shows power, the more powerful she usually is. Showing before the age of five shows great promise." Nadya explained. Megan said nothing.
"This was a good session. Come back in two weeks." Nadya said abruptly. Megan glanced over at her with a frown.
"What?" Megan asked.
"You heard me. Shoo... I have clients to see. Just practice your Latin." Nadya said. Megan stood slowly from her chair.
"So… how long is this going to take?" Megan asked.
"As long as it takes," Nadya said with a dismissing tone as she prepared her reading room. Megan felt her chest tighten even more... Every lesson, every lecture, felt like it was going at a snail's pace. This was the most they'd spoken in months, and like always, Nadya would just end it and send her away for weeks. The next Blood Moon was only one month away.
"Why two weeks? I can be back before-" Megan began.
"Because this is something that can't be rushed. Patience is a large part of our craft." Nadya said. Megan frowned at her. Lucas came to her often now, they spent a lot of time together, and she wasn't even ashamed to admit to herself that she wanted to be with him. The very thought of having to endure another heat cycle with another made her sick, but she couldn't risk it with Lucas, not until she was sure she wouldn't hurt him.
Being unbonded at her age made her heat cycles exceptionally powerful. It would drive her mad without relief. Enduring it alone was not an option. Nadya studied her face, and Megan quickly looked away.
"This is about that wolf boy, isn't it?" Nadya said. Megan took a slow breath and didn't answer.
"Don't do anything stupid. You kill someone here... and it's our problem too." Nadya said firmly. Megan grit her teeth.
"Is there any way you could stop my cycles? At least, until I have control?" Megan asked, her tone desperate. Megan knew it was a stupid question... she'd already asked before when she came to her the first time.
"Oh sweetheart… you know the answer to that. The bracelet I made for you is the best I could do. Your heat cycles are embedded deep within the magic of your being, there is nothing I can do to stop it." Nadya said. Megan looked back at her as she felt the desperation climb higher.
"Then… can you make it so I can-" Megan began again.
"No... honey, I can't. The blocking spell won't work on someone you want, only someone you don't. Matters of the heart are a tricky thing to manipulate. Especially a Ulfhéðinn bond." Nadya said. Megan felt the tears welling, despite herself.
"Then... how long do you think this will take?" Megan asked again. Nadya sighed.
"It all depends on you," Nadya said.
"What are we talking about? Months? Years?" Megan said as she felt the tightness in her chest by the implication of that.
"Sweetheart... you are a special case. Most children train between six to eight years before they are ready to be tested. It's true you have more control than most children do... but I don't know for sure how long it will take with you. My guess? It will take years. There is also a possibility that you might never gain control. There is no formula. I can't tell you." Nadya said. Megan felt suddenly like it was hard to breathe.
"You do nothing until I say you can. Understand?" Nadya said. Megan slowly nodded.
"Now go," Nayda said.
Megan gathered up her things and left.