As she walked out of class, she looked down to her locket that she wore around her neck. It was time she had some answers, and she needed to find Vee to get them. Walking without paying attention to where she was going, she ran into Narcissa.
“Oh, I am so sorry!”
“No, it was my fault. I wasn’t paying attention at all.”
“Narcissa, do you know where I can find Vee at right now?
“She should be in the prayers point park. She usually sends her prayers to the goddess around this time every day.”
Walking in the middle of town she felt a sense of urgency. It was as if she couldn’t get to Vee fast enough. She wondered what could be causing her the sense of unease that she so suddenly felt. Looking around she realized where she was at. Standing right in front of her stood three pillars side by side. It was the place she was killed at.
She kept walking, wanting to get past the emotions that seemed to linger inside of her. She found Vee and stopped before walking up to her. The place of prayer wasn’t meant to be interrupted, nor was it to be disturbed in any way while someone sat praying to the Goddess. As she waited, she heard a voice calling out to her. It wasn’t a voice of a man, but instead it was the voice of a woman.
The voice sounded rather angelic. She couldn’t make out what she was saying to her. It was as if she were singing to her. She hadn’t even realized that Vee had gotten up and was staring intently over to her.
“Vee, I have a few questions that need answers.”
“Okay, I am all ears.”
“Where is my father?”
From the blank expression on Vee’s face she could tell this wasn’t a topic she wanted to discuss. It was as if she had seen a ghost. Her vacant expression along with her face turning pale white she almost looked scared.
“Your...father isn’t here. He...left a while ago.”
“Okay Ms. vague response.”
“Katerina, there is much you don’t know and much that I do not wish to talk about.”
“I understand that, but you can’t just keep information like this from me. I just learned of my great, great grandfather, who, by the way, was a certified murderer and evil devil spawn. My magic comes from darkness and I think if I knew more about him and his family, I could understand my magic a little more.”
Looking around as if to see if anyone was around or listening, she motioned for Katerina to follow her. What she didn’t understand is why her father’s family was such a big hush, hush in this town. Was her father really that awful that she couldn’t speak his name without inciting fear and hushed tones? She followed her mother out of the prayers park. They walked in silence for what seemed like hours.
She realized that her mother was leading her along the ‘forbidden path’ and to the area where she stumbled upon when she had first arrived. They walked until they stood in front of Dorian Gratu’s statue.
“This is a spelled magical place. It is safe to speak here without fear of someone listening in. In this place we cannot be seen nor heard.”
“That is another question I have. Why can’t I speak openly about my father’s family?”
“Your father was the most handsome man I had ever met. When we were to be wed as children, neither of us were keen on the idea. As we grew older, and spent more time together, we fell in love. He was always so gentle and kind to me. He treated me like a queen should be treated and loved me unapologetically. When he turned eighteen, he went through his ascension as all witches do.
When your father ascended, he changed. He no longer looked at the world with marvel and fascination, but rather mistrust and distain. He no longer treated me like the queen he once had. The dark magic had consumed his heart and mind. He was no longer the man I fell in love with, he was someone else entirely.”
“How did the magic consume him? If ascension is a normal witch thing, how was it different for him?”
“In the Gratu family, there have been all male heirs. When a man in the Gratu family ascends on his eighteenth birthday, the dark magic that lays dormant comes out all at once. New power is consistently grown each day I think to prepare the body to receive the power they will receive when they ascend. For that day you are at your most powerful and there really is no telling the extent that it can reach. On their twenty first birthday, all the power that you feel on your eighteenth birthday cannot even compare to the power you receive then.
It is almost an intoxicating feeling. Your father described it to me on several occasions as if every time were different. It was like a drug that he couldn’t get enough of. The pull of the dark magic is to use it, and your father misused his powers in everything he did. The more he used them, the more he changed. It consumed his thoughts and hardened his heart, and he kept feeling like he was being drawn to this statue.”
“I think I can relate to that part.” She wanted to tell Vee about being led here when she first arrived in town, but something was telling her not to.
“What do you mean?”
“Nothing, I just feel like I need to know who he was.”
“See, that is what I am trying to tell you by the end of it, he didn’t even know who he was. Much less anyone else knowing him.”
“What did he do that was so bad?”
With a pained look on her face she continued. “You learned of your great great grandfather, Dorian, today did you not?”
“Somewhat I guess.”
“So, you know that he had discovered how to steal the powers of other witches and thus draining their very life essence from them?”
Thinking back to class she had been in and out of thought and realized that her teacher had said that in class. She still couldn’t fathom how someone she was related to could be so evil. To take another person’s life without a thought or care in the world was unthinkable.
“Your father had found Dorian’s Journal and in it lay all of his family’s dark magic spells and history. With it he learned how to do the same. When I became pregnant with you, your father became obsessed with the prophecy of a woman heir born to his family. He swore that he knew you would be a girl and that you would be the one to bring back Dorian and with him a literal hell on earth.”
“He was right about me being a girl though, so what if he was right?”
“Do not speak such things! You are nothing like your father, or his father, or his father’s father. When the time came for me to give birth to you, your father locked me away. He tried to convince me that it was for my own good, to protect me. I knew better though.
When the time finally came, and I was in labor your father sent me a midwife. This midwife helped me to hide you from your father. He was going to drain your power and end your life. He felt envious of your destiny and thought to take it upon himself to awaken Dorian.”
“So, the midwife took me to my family that raised me?”
“Not quite, Katerina, the mid wife took you and raised you as her own. She couldn’t have children of her own. Her and her husband did a fantastic job at raising you, I think. She kept you safe and loved you as her own. They know where you are and why you are here. They are witches themselves.”
“Wait, so time isn’t moving differently here than there as you said? So, they knew I was a witch all this time? They are witches? What about my friends? They must think something has happened to me! I have to speak to them.”
“Tracy and Michael have told them you are on a trip to the mountains to get out of the city and visit with family. There is something really important that we have yet to talk about.”
“Well what about my father? What happened to him?”
“The night that I gave birth to you, he was more than displeased with the fact that I had hidden you from him. He lost his temper and decided he would make a spectacle of me in front of the entire town. He was going to take me to the square and burn me alive. He planned to accuse me of witchcraft and put me to the stake in front of the townspeople, witch and non-magic people alike. No one person had as much power and strength as your father had.
Much like his father and great grandfather, he possessed an immense amount of power. Especially after taking other witches’ powers. No one which would ever dare to stand in his way in anything he did. What he did not count on was the witch’s council gathering to curse him as they did Dorian. They placed the same spell on him that they had put on Dorian.”
She looked over to a fallen statue that was broken to pieces, it looked shattered as if something busted it on purpose. Kneeling down she cleared off the slab that read ‘Daniel Gratu’. “Your father was put here in this statue where he should have remained.”
“Should have remained? So, he escaped? How is that even possible?”
“It was not supposed to be possible. The spell that kept Dorian over the years was the same spell used to entrap your father. Each generation is more powerful than the last though. The night I came to you, he had escaped, and I feared for your life. I knew he would come after you.”
“This is insane, you do realize this right? What in God’s name were you thinking to keep procreating with this man over the years trying to have another me.”
Laughing, she responded, “That was part of your spell, none of us knew what we were doing over and over again. We kept reliving our lives over and over until you were born. Once you were born this time, we remembered everything. We remembered every birth, every loss, and especially the night the spell was cast. That is also how we knew that you had come finally.”
“This is just great; I am an all-powerful witch with extra superpowers that I have no idea how to contain nor control. I have a vampire lover who I love without having any control over that fact and whose ex-lover just so happens to want me dead. I have been intended in marriage to someone who murdered me.
Now I have learned that my own father would like nothing better than to take my powers and see me dead. I used to complain about having a boring life, and I would like nothing better than to go back to that ignorant existence.”
“We do not know where your father is at, all that we know is that he is not here. It is imperative that you learn all that you can to defend yourself. The upper hand that you have is that amulet you wear around your neck. It is a family heirloom on your father’s side. In each generation there are two amulets. One is worn by the father and the other is worn by the son, or in this case daughter.”
“Wait, so my father has the other one? How does that help me exactly?”
“No”, She pointed to Dorian’s statue. “Dorian was sealed with the only other one. His son had the other and passed it down to your father’s father and to your father and then to you. Daniel wants the amulet back along with your power. I am sure he will come for it and along with it, you.”
“What does it do exactly?”
“I do not know everything that it does, I do know that it protects you. I think that is enough for today. You have final exams tomorrow before the summer break.”
She hadn’t even realized how late it was, nor had she realized that she had been there almost an entire year. She had been spending so much of her time mistrusting Vee and time had just passed by. She started to walk away and turned to see Vee kneeling down staring at Daniel’s broken statue and realized that she had given her away to save her life. She loved a monster before he was a monster and did what she had to do to save her. She really did love her. She walked up and hugged Vee so tightly that she thought she might break her.
“I love you Katerina, and I am always here for you.”
“I know, and I love you too...Mom.”
She blinked herself from the grove to her house. Walking inside she sat on the couch and thought of all the things that she had just learned and knew, somehow, that there was way more to the story and she had to know.
She needed to know everything in order to be able to protect herself and those she loved. She wondered how heartless a man had to be to want the death of his own daughter. She knew from experience how intoxicating the feeling was to use her powers, the pull of it was like a drug.
Laying down on the bed she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep hoping to find some kind of peace in her dreams. Unfortunately, she found only worry and stress. She woke to find she was drenched in sweat and a foggy memory of the dream she was having. She laid back down trying to go back to the dream. She was walking along the forbidden path and walking into the spelled grove.
She walked up to the statue of Dorian and lifted herself in the air chanting something in Latin. She was trying to release him. The statue started to crack and the amulet she wore along with the one he wore both started to glow and a light shot into the sky.
Whatever she was doing it was working. She looked back to see Alex and her mother running to her. Why were they there? She realized it was Alessandro and she knew it was another memory. Why would she try to release Dorian from his prison? Was she really that bad in her past life? Waking to the sound of her alarm clock she threw her head back down to her pillow. She felt like she had been running over by a truck. So much for a good night’s rest.
She hurriedly got dressed and blinked herself to school. As the day went on, she took each test and aced them all she knew she would, but she was still lost in her own mind. Everything she learned the day before and the dream, none of it added up. She was always told that there are always three sides to every story, yours theirs and the truth. She had to find out everything but more than anything she needed a break from all of this. She missed her friends and she missed her parents.
Everyone was boasting about how they were going to spend the summer break and even Alex had all of these plans for them. She wanted nothing more than to go back to her old life even if just for the summer. As the last bell rang, she walked out of the school and blinked back home to find Vee waiting by her door. She wondered why she was there.
“Katerina, I have a surprise for you.”
“Okay...what is it?“\
She turned to see Amanda running up to her. She couldn’t believe it she was just thinking how much she had missed her. She didn’t understand how it was possible for her to be allowed to be there.
“I don’t understand. How is it that you are here?” Looking to Vee she was asking for confirmation. “How?”
“I have spelled her she won’t remember anything once she leaves. I have made it possible for her to be able to stay here all summer so that you can have some kind of solace.”
“She won’t remember anything. You told her? She is okay with it?”
“Hello!? ‘She’ is right here, and ‘she’ can hear you.”
“I am so sorry; I just didn’t think you would be so...okay with all of this.”
“I have always told you that you were probably a witch in a past life, that is the only thing that makes sense with your whole burning at the stake birthday dream. Besides, you know I have always been interested in this type of stuff. This is like so cool.”
“It isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, but first things first. Let me get you inside and unpacked and I will fill you in on everything.”
She hugged Vee and thanked her for bringing Amanda there. She felt so much more comfortable in the fact that she had her best friend with her. It made her feel not so alone. That morning she stayed up telling Amanda everything. She told her about her dream and what it meant, about Alex and Alessandro and the difference between the two. She told her about Raphael and even ‘Low-life Lorraine’. After telling her everything and then filling her in on Dorian, and Daniel, she looked at her waiting for her to say something.
Instead she stared blankly at her as if she didn’t know what to say. “Well, there it is. Say something, please.”
“That is a lot to take in at one time. I really don’t know where to start or what to say.”
She knew that Amanda probably wouldn’t understand some of it, but it felt good to be able to talk to someone about it. They started discussing everything and she started to get tired. There was just so much to discuss and probably too much to do so in one sitting. She couldn’t help but to put it all out there so that when the next day came, she wouldn’t have questions and instead she might could give her some insight into things that she herself had questions about.
The next day she woke up to Amanda bouncing on her bed. “Wake up sleepy head! It’s time to give me the grand tour!”
“Okay, okay I’m awake. I have to get dressed and then I will show you around.”
“I am so excited to meet all your new friends.”
“Yeah, I don’t have any friends here. Everyone is either scared of me or they hate me, and for good reason.”
“Well I have got to meet your sister and see the town. Let’s go your big grump.”
As they were about to walk out, someone knocked on the door. She opened it to see Alex standing there. He was such a handsome man. He walked up to her and kissed her so passionately that she forgot, for a moment, that Amanda was standing there. As he wrapped his arms around her, she peeled back from him.
“This is Amanda, my best friend growing up.” She said as she gestured toward Amanda. He looked over to her and looked confused. She knew it was because she was a mortal that she shouldn’t be there.
“Any friend of Katerina is a friend of mine.” He said as he bent to kiss her hand. “So, she knows everything?”
Amanda looked at him and said, “Why yes, ‘she’ does, and ‘she’ can speak for herself.”
“I didn’t mean any offense I just don’t understand how the witch’s council granted you the ability to know about us.”
“Vee spelled her, when she leaves, she will forget everything.”
Amanda elbowed her and whispered, “If he isn’t yummy, I don’t know what is.”
“Okay, so this has been so great, but I have been charged the responsibility of escorting Amanda around the town. Alex, I will see you later okay?”
“Of course, I wouldn’t dream of interrupting such an important day.” He said as he bowed to them and disappeared.
“Wow, you weren’t kidding about the super speed thing. It was like I blinked, and he was gone.”
“Yeah, you get used to it. Speaking of blinking, are you ready for your tour?”
“Yeah but what does blinking have to do-”
She grabbed her hand and blinked her to the school. “Woah, talk about a head rush.”
“That is called blinking, and this is my school and my old family home.”
“A castle... you have a castle?”
“Well it isn’t just mine but yeah.”
“Well, your majesty.” She said as she bowed.
“Stop it, ha-ha, this is all weird right?”
The entire day she spent showing her around the town and laughing and carrying on she almost forgot about her psychotic dad who wanted her power. She had to show Amanda the grove so that she could understand more about everything. She hoped that by helping Amanda understand better that she, in turn could help her understand more.
“I want to show you something. Grab my hand and close your eyes.” She said as she reached out for Amanda’s hand. She blinked them to the forbidden path and motioned for her to follow. When they reached the Grove, she looked at Amanda to see her reaction. She looked like she was unimpressed.
“Why are we in a gargoyle cemetery?”
“Those statues are regular old statues, and nothing is special about them. These two right here are the reason I brought you here. This one,” she said as she motioned toward Dorian’s statue, “Is my great great grandfather on my father’s side. This one,” she said as she motioned toward her father’s broken statue, “Is my father.”
“Okay, so they are important enough to have statues made of them. What about them?”
“They aren’t just statues, they are prisons.”
She spent the next hour explaining everything fully about her father’s family. She needed her to know everything even if she didn’t want to know and even if she wouldn’t remember before long. She hoped that Amanda would help her learn more about her father’s family and help her to figure out how to stop her dad. She knew that eventually her father would come for her and she would need all the help she could get.
The entire night she showed Amanda around the town and the castle. She hoped that by showing her everything and explaining as much as she could, that Amanda would be able to help her. There was still so much that she didn’t yet know, and so much that she needed to know. They spent the entire night walking around and talking about everything.
They spent most of their time that night in the grove just talking and catching up on her new life and her old one. She wondered if it would be so bad for Amanda to not forget once she had to leave. She knew Vee would not approve but she decided to let Amanda keep her memory. She just had to figure out a way around Vee’s memory spell.
The Next couple of weeks passed so fast and the longer Amanda was there she realized she really wouldn’t be able to let Vee wipe her memory. To not remember seeing her and to think that she had abandoned her. This was the first she had seen or heard from Amanda in a years’ time. She needed Amanda.
Over the weeks she had been there, she helped her with understanding all of the things she had no one else to confide in or talk about with. Every time she mentioned Dorian or Daniel to anyone, they just looked at her with concern and a small twinkle of pity appeared in their eyes.
One thing that was not mentioned during the time Amanda was there was the fact that Daniel’s statue was destroyed because he broke out of prison. The fact that she wasn’t supposed to be fetched until her eighteenth birthday. Her magic was that of her mother’s mostly. Basic witch power that all witches get on their sixteenth birthday to give them a taste and plenty of practice before their eighteenth and way before their twenty first birthday.
“Kat, let me ask you something.”
“Your fathers’ statue was broken into a billion pieces.... How did he die?”
Looking toward Amanda’s concerned look on her face, she realized that she hadn’t told her that part. She didn’t want to scare her. How would she take knowing something like that?
“Well, he didn’t.” She could tell Amanda was confused. She had to tell her, and fully understand if Amanda wanted to leave right then. If she herself could, she would run as far as her feet could carry her.
“Then what happened to his statue...I mean prison?”
“He escaped...to come find me...and steal my power. Which, will end my life.”
Her blank expression said all there was to say. Katerina fully understood if she would want to leave after hearing that. After-all, that meant her own life could be at risk just for being around.
“Geez, you have always been at tad morbid, but to say that with a straight and unconcerned look on your face?”
“Well, I don’t know that I have fully accepted that part of all of this. I honestly don’t even...” She trailed off not wanting to say that part.
“You don’t even...what?”
Rolling her eyes and turning her face from Amanda, she said, ” I honestly don’t even know if that is true.”
Putting her hand on her hip she stood there with a ‘don’t be a moron’ look on her face. “You mean to tell me that you don’t believe the story that everyone around here seems to know and talk about in hushed whispers? You don’t believe the entire town?” She rarely used sarcasm but when she did it made you feel like an idiot.
“I know it seems crazy but something in me just feels like something isn’t right about it all. I can’t really explain it, but I feel as though Vee can’t be trusted.” She had already caught her sneakily stealing her powers and there is no telling what else she was capable of. Mother or no mother, something was off about her.
“Okay so I have a couple weeks left here, we can spend that time digging into the past if you want. I am always up for a good mystery docudrama and this is real life, even better.”
She didn’t want to put all of this on Amanda’s shoulders it wouldn’t be fair to her, this was her own burden to bear. She then realized that she would only have a couple more weeks with Amanda there and realized she would have to say goodbye to her, probably for another year. The thought of having to say goodbye to her best friend was a stab to her heart and she wondered if there was a way for her to stay.