Painting with Brooms

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Running out of time

Over the next two weeks they sent another two women- neither were his beloved. I could sense he was getting frustrated but at this point I was just counting the days. The vines where growing, wrapping around my wrists, up my neck and it was so hard to breathe.

I could feel myself slipping into a hopeless state surrounded by mounds of stuff as I lay on my bed unable to fathom the idea of getting up. The last three days I didn’t even have the energy to follow Nicodemus around. It had been fun the first few days, tagging along, seeing all the creatures meet with him in the forms of business meetings, trade negotiations- I got to see him use his power once on another vampire during an interrogation. That was fun... but after a week or so it got to be very dull. That combined with each and every morning making it harder to sleep as I lay my head down while the sun rises before it begins to suddenly grow the feeling so painful sometimes it left my body burning for hours.

It also tended to be a hazard to leave my room if I stepped foot outside the castle walls. Seeing vines trip me, experience drowning from one of the girls (girl number three that tried to friend me) after she touched my hand among a few other things. I was getting tired of seeing my death while unable to stop the one currently devouring me slowly bit by bit. It was like a bad final destiny movie.

It had only been three weeks of paradise and here I was stuck in bed unwilling to get out. My phone rang and I ignored it. My cellphone rang and I ignored it. Browsing through my phone a few messages popped up from Monica that I swiped away. Then early into the night Nicodemus when I was awake again. Another witch in the castle. I wasn’t in the mood.

I slept some more. Monica entered my room at one point- then slowly retreated when she saw me asleep. To polite to wake me. I woke up to a voicemail from Nicodemus. I ignored it to get up to pee. Then I went through the motions of showering brushing my teeth getting dressed and heading to the kitchen to eat.

Life was over, but mint ice cream still existed. At least it would have if there wasn’t some bitch sitting there enjoying MY ice-cream. She even had the audacity to sit there and moan as it slid between her lips. This green ball of fluff with stupid long ass green ballroom gown gloves was destroying my last slice of heaven. “That’s my ice cream.” I demanded as I stormed in with my brows furrowed.

The female looked up startled. “I’m sorry there was no name on it.” She replied lifting a brow curiously as she tilted her head looking me up and down. It was as if she couldn’t care less!“Are you a feeder?” She asked curiously.

Oh hell no.

I narrowed my eyes, anger fueling my magic as I flicked my fingers up tracing runes with my fingers in the air feeling it start to work wobbling the container- before the magic sputtered making me grit my teeth and the light in my eyes die. My magic was getting weaker. I was coming close to death day by day... Now I couldn’t even get back my ice cream.

The female chuckled softly, more amused and partly pity instead of mocking me. That felt worse. I’d rather she be mocking me. She set down the container before she folded her hands in front of her as if we where all business now. Oh hell was she that witch they sent? “So you’re the witch that they didn’t kill. I assume you’re responsible for the barrier?” She tilted her head again like a weird bird a twisted smile on her lips.

Yep she was a witch. Clearly she knew exactly who I was. But to what extent? She’d probably try to kill me anyways- I was labeled a traitor now. I hadn’t had a vision yet though. They where coming easier and stronger now. Guess it had something to do with being near death, or the spell was working as it took my life.

I couldn’t show weakness though. Prove I was a match. Maybe that would stop the vision from even coming. “My name is Raven.” I said crossing my arms glaring at the dark haired woman. “As I said that’s- my ice cream.” I flicked her wrist mustering as much energy as I could again and it moved fractionally across the table-before the witch twitched her pinky finger moving it back against her stomach pressed into the side of the table.

Oh fuck she hadn’t said a word. She didn’t write a rune.

“What’s you’re real name.” She asked calmly grabbing the spoon to take a bite.

My anger was quick, she had to be joking. She probably KNEW my real name. I slammed my hands on the table. “Look bitch that’s my ice cream and unless you want out of here in a body bag give me back my fucking ice cream; and leave. The master doesn’t want any more nonsense, we all know the coven leadership refuses to actually come here and marry a vampire. They sent me here to die so the least I can do is keep out scum like you.”

Her face didn’t change she just kind of looked up at me as if processing my words as she slowly moved the spoon in her mouth and out. Was she an idiot!? “What’s you’re real name?” She asked again slowly as she dipped for another spoon of ice cream.

This ugly little toad. I growled reaching for my ice cream to rip it from her hands. I was inches from grabbing it as she pulled back slightly and lifted a hand to her brooch. It shined momentarily before an invisible barrier shoved me back six inches and became solid. My eyes went wide- she actually had one. Ha. Like that would stop him from draining her. Fake magic didn't uphold a contract. "Imbued with magic? That trick won't last long stupid mime." I mocked since she hadn't said a word. I must have missed the first flash.

***

“You’d be surprised.” She answered popping another small spoonful of ice cream into her mouth. “Now tell me, what’s you’re real name. I won’t ask again.” Her voice a bit more firm. She could probably kill me with a flick of her wrist- but still no vision. Maybe this was a mercy killing, or the way it really ended. Or my visions where failing.... I thought they where getting stronger. I wasn't going to be bullied into my grave.

“Just because you’re all dressed up like you’re some old grand witch don’t think your little parlor tricks-”

She pointed her spoon at me and then at my feet- freezing my boots and the outer lining of my socks. I couldn't move, she hadn't said a word and her brooch.... never flashed. She quietly sat back down spooning another bite into her mouth as if nothing occurred

I yelped out in pain a bit as the cold bit in my eyes still wide as I tried to think about the damage that could be done if she had wanted- or worse hadn't had control as my eyes teared from the pain. She had made her point clear- still hadn't killed me though. “I did warn you.”

“Let me go.” I begged struggling in the ice.

“Then answer my question; I’d rather not have to force it out of you.” She replied calmly as if we where sitting in a classroom, a teacher talking to a student pretending to be understanding. They just made things worse though.

“Linda!” I yelped out in anger, I couldn't handle the pain, the ice had moved up to the cursed vines- it's thorns digging into me. “Ok? Please just let me go!”

She rolled my eyes and rotated her spoon in her mouth; the ice suddenly turned to water as I panted trying to catch my breath gripping the table. “So much power in a name little one; and you give it so freely. Some witches know how to bind you even after death with just your name.” She said as if teasing me. Are you kidding me? WHAT KIND OF WITCH TORTURED PEOPLE.

“You just never give your name to a Fae- witches don’t have that kind of power.” I replied crossing my arms to try and regain some sort of composure- what little I had left. This woman... maybe she was the real deal. I hadn't even seen Iona be able to use spells of that magnitude without uttering something.

She leaned forward a small smile on her lips. “Have you ever heard my name I wonder? My name, is Princess Tatiana Echo-Ariadne Roisin, and despite never having an official coordination; I am the last in line for the throne of Witch Queen.”

“P-p-p-” My face went white my eyes looking at my ice cream. She was the witch of legends. No one knew which coven she belonged to anymore or if she even existed at all. She was the witch people told their children about- telling them that if they where bad she would come and poison your food just by touching your spoon. No magic in the world could stop her poisonous kiss- even the Fae would rot away at her touch. She was death incarnate.

“Oh- did you want this now?” She asked innocently holding it up.

That's why my vision hadn't triggered. She never intended on giving it. Or maybe she was bluffing but... I doubted it. The fabled poison princess, she was the only one I could see using powers like that considering it wasn't even supposed to be possible. “Y-you saved me. You didn’t let me eat it.” My lip trembled a bit as she looked at me with pity. I couldn't help it. This was like... yelling at death for not taking you- not realizing you're actually asking for death. Tempting fate.

“No I didn’t. But you Linda will not tell a soul in this castle about my identity or I will be sure to break your flimsy little barrier around this place ending your life. Not including the hell I will raise afterwards. I’d rather it not get that messy though, now have a seat.” She said gesturing around with her spoon.

I swallowed hard my hands in fists at the thought- if she was here she did intend to kill people... but she also didn't kill me so I would hear her out even if it was only to warn Nicodemus. She folded her hands once more putting the spoon back into my ice cream straight up. “I was sent here by the covens- they told me I was to marry a vampire and destroy this coven. I complied; as I have few times before in history. This time though the leaders have not been entirely honest; and a turn coat witch? Yet one so weak is allowed to live on their own as a rebel? We both know that’s now how the covens work. You have to be beneath notice or have powerful friends; neither define you. So the question remains on how it is that you’re still alive.”

I frowned crossing my arms, she should know this already but I didn't think she was making it up. The covens where good about that- missing information. But now they where fucking with someone powerful. This could benefit me. “I’m clairvoyant, I can see certain things in the future but I’m not very good at painting a clear picture.”

“Idiots... they haven’t figured out how to kill you then. You’re lucky.”

“I can see every move they make, I’ll be just fine.” I snapped- I may be weak but my visions where the real deal.

“Except you wanted to eat your ice cream a moment ago. If I had let you- which normally I would have; you would have been eliminated.” The blood drained from my face a bit remembering that. Yeah maybe they weren't that strong “Do you know why I left you alive?” She asked softly.

“No.” I said softly.

“I don’t like liars. There is an amount of honor among witches and I’m not someone who follows others blindly. Deception is a game I play very very well- and you dear girl will be my informant in this new game if you want to continue living. That is not a threat but a promise; I will protect you as long as you assist me. Now tell me- what is this deal the witches made?”

I let out a slow breath as I considered it. Maybe Nicodemous was right- maybe she did know how to find my beloved. That might mean betraying him. I'd have to figure it out as I went. At least I might have a chance at survival. Maybe that's the real reason my visions hadn't warned me. “I don’t know the exact specifics, only that one of us is supposed to marry their prince and produce offspring. Don’t ask me how it’s supposed to work considering it requires turning us- but it was a deal made with the Fae. The vampires- their royalty has ruled over the gate here for centuries, it’s one of the safest places for their people to come and go on this side or the other. The deal was made in exchange for the witches to use their king in a ritual... for me.”

“Those imbeciles....” She whispered furiously. “How many more days do you have?”

D-days? How did she? She knew what spell was used? “W-what?”

“I’ve lived long enough to know what that spell actually does and why it’s forbidden. It killed their king and placed a curse on you- and because they don’t know how to fix the curse that’s going to kill you; they gave up you in exchange. Trying to give a life for a life- but the Fae are smarter than that. They wouldn’t give up their king that has helped keep peace here for so long- it wouldn’t surprise me if they knew exactly what the spell would do either. You’re collateral to both parties and you’re useless anyways since you can’t channel your gift.”

My cheeks heated in shame. I wished I had known at the time... I didn't know enough about my gifts then. Or spells of that magnitude. I was so honored I ignored any worried looks...

“I have a solution- if you assist me.” She said standing and chucking the ice cream, spoon and all in the trash bin. I hoped Trent wasn't a garbage boy. “Follow me.”

I didn't want to... but what choice did I really have? She had answers...

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