I pulled the string taut as I eyed my prey, the small black horns poke through the wildflowers as they stalked the field near my cottage still unaware of my presence. Lok was poised beside me ready to chase the demon down in case arrows weren’t enough. We were usually pretty safe here in the secluded dark woods, the Fae and Supes who inhabited this place hid my magic from demonic assassins and hunters. The forest protected me from the humans. Many thought it was haunted by dark creatures who would lure them to their deaths or spirit away their children. While there were certainly those who would cause them harm in here, they would never hurt me. They were my friends even those who enjoy devouring the odd curious hiker. We have had the occasional run in with Supes who have been strong enough to find us in our little haven. However, the amount of demons appearing of late has been worrisome.
The demon lifted his head up above the foliage sniffing the air giving me a clear shot of his head, the corner of my mouth lifted. I released the arrow as he caught our scent, his eyes bulging before my arrow pierced right through his skull.
Lok took off to make sure he was dead, if he wasn’t, he soon would be. Lok was ruthless when it came to keeping us safe. I saved Lok and Jinx from some Fae hunting demons when I was young. I had used the shadows to rescue the scared and shaking puppy and kitten. I didn’t know at the time that they were daemons, fae creatures. Lok is a Cù Sìth better known in modern tongue as a hell hound and Jinx is what’s known as a Cat sìth, shadow cat. They were my companions, my family who had stuck with me through thick and thin, always watching over and protecting me.
I slipped the bow over my head following Lok. He was sniffing the corpse, nuzzling one of the demon’s pockets. “Hmm, what do we have here?” I looked at Lok, reaching into the pocket of his jacket feeling a hard, flat circular object. When I pulled it out, I saw it was glowing, “Curiouser and curiouser,” looking closer at it I saw that it was an amulet of some sort with familiar rune etchings engraved over the rough pounded bronze. In the middle there was a small crystal I recognised as chalcopyrite. A crystal used in spells, trinkets and amulets for finding lost things. Frowning I brought it up to my nose to smell it. I could smell the bronze and a hint of lavender and something coppery which was most likely blood.
“Shit, it’s a tracking charm. It’s not super strong but this means the demons are starting to work with fae to find me.” Lok growled low, his hackles rising. I ran my hand down his neck to calm him and to soothe my nerves, “It’ll be okay, we’ll just strengthen things around here. Let’s go home.”
Jinx wove her way around my legs purring like crazy while I stirred the rabbit stew I had put in the slow cooker this morning, adding in a little more water so it wouldn’t get too thick. She was nervous after being filled in about the amulet and had been glued to my side since Lok and I had come home. “Okay that is good to continue for another couple hours, so I’ll gather the things we’ll need to strengthen our boarder and protection charms.” I scratched Jinx behind the ears before grabbing my small leather bag which I kept my most used magical items and ingredients in from the floor beside the rocking chair. After checking I had everything, I needed in it for the usual upkeep I then pulled out some mullein, myrrh, nettle, rosemary, lavender, mandrake, dandelion and a twig from a blackberry bush to make a powerful smudge stick. I also added a small vial of anise oil before pulling on my dark green velvet cloak, tugging the hood up to hide my face.
Lok and Jinx followed behind me, the offerings basket carried in his mouth as we made our way to the edge of the shield, I had in place to keep our cottage and the area surrounding it hidden and protected further by magic. Lok placed the basket on a large flat rock that sat just outside our shield for our fae friends, we didn’t have to give them offerings to help protect us but I always appreciated their efforts so I always made sure to bring them some fruit, nuts, sweets and pastries as a little thank you.
I pulled out an athame, a small silver bowl and two vials I had made previously one with dried herbs and the other a concoction of different oils before sitting down on the soft grass, Lok and Jinx sitting on either side of me. Setting the bowl in front of me I tipped in the oils and herbs before turning to Jinx who held her paw out to me, I pushed the tip of the athame into the skin of her pad causing blood to well bringing the bowl under her paw, catching a few drops of crimson. “Thank you for your continued protection and sacrifice,” I blew gently on the pierced skin healing it instantly, she mewed softly in response before I repeated the process with Lox adding a bit of his blood to the mixture. Placing the bowl back on the earth in front of me I held my left hand above, the other holding the athame tightly bringing it to my palm pressing hard sliding it over my skin till a long, deep cut appeared. Pain flared in my hand though I was used to pain, this was good pain, protective pain that would be over soon. I added a fair amount of blood to the mixture to ensure its potency, it’d be even stronger if the Daemons had given more blood, but I hated using their blood in the first place. Fae animals had strong blood for magic, especially from my two companions who were rare these days, there were other watered-down variations of Fae hounds and cats, though nothing compared to them.
I used the athame to stir the ingredients placing the bowl once again in front of me, before standing. The protective earth energy began to pulse up through my feet, flowing over all my limbs filling me until it reached the crown of my head. Shivering from slight chill from the cool dusk wind which had picked up bringing in a heavy mist.
“Those under the protection of this shield may fear no foe, SO SHALL IT BE!” My voice echoing through the small clearing as I clap my hands together.
Like lightning it blasted over us in a clear bubble which extended over our home and the surrounded area. The shield invisible to the eye unless you knew it was there, although it could be sensed especially one as strong as this one however the magic of the woods helped to disguise it. This shield was to keep out all those intending to cause harm or approach with evil intentions, it also keeps the cottage and area inside invisible and could erase minds of those we wish it to. It was an extremely helpful, protective shield. I picked up the leather bag and walked to the edge, the energy tickled my skin as I stepped through feeling the newly strengthened barrier.
The area outside of the shield was lined with large fir trees, I used them to hang charms and carve different runes. I held the smudge stick in hand breathing on it until the edge was burning, smoke wafting up mixing into the air. My other hand rummaged into the bag pulling out the small vial, popping off the lid being careful not to get it on my skin. I turned it upside down allowing a single drop to periodically fall from the stopper then started my walk around the outer edge of the shield pushing positive, protective energy out hoping the oil and smoke would do its job. It should keep this area hidden from tracking charms and spells, the oil mainly targeting demons and evil entities. I would walk the entire perimeter three times, a magical number. In religions all over the world including the supernatural, there is significance in the number three. So, I would round the barrier three times to strengthen and boost my magic.