Playing with Fire

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Unsettling Truths

“What happened?” A man’s voice said, piercing the darkness.

“I don’t know. I found her like this,” Carver’s voice responded.

“You saw the engravings on the arrow Carver.” The voice responded, “You told me she wasn’t one of us.”

“I didn’t think she was. Normally powers manifest themselves much earlier than this,” Carver replied gravely.

“That was a lie, boy, and I promise that it will be you; it will be the last one you tell me,” The voice responded. I realized with a start that it was the man claiming to be our grandfather. But what were they talking about? What did one of us mean was this some kind of cult?

“She’s awake,” Carver whispered to our grandfather. “Hey, Cordelia, honey, how are you feeling?”

I opened my eyes to see that I was lying on what looked to be like a hotel bed. “Where are we?” I asked, sitting up confused.

“You’re in my hotel room, dear,” Grandfather said, now sitting in a chair across the room.

“But how did I get here?” My voice wavered. I tried to remember how I got here, but my mind was blank. I remembered waking up and going to the dance studio, but after that, there was nothing.

I sat up gingerly, and Carver helped me. I winced slightly at shooting pain in my chest.

“You got here because you were shot in the chest with a crossbow by an assassin, and then you killed that assassin burning down a building in the process,” Grandfather said, drawing my attention back to him. “It was the most impressive manifestation I’ve ever heard of, although next time, I would recommend killing the assassin before he shoots.” Carver glared at him but didn’t say anything.

“You do realize that that’s crazy, right,” I said, figuring that he must be senile and that Carver was just humoring him.

I looked down at my chest, checking to make sure there wasn’t an arrow jutting out of it. Sure enough, my chest was arrow free; what I saw instead was almost more horrifying. There was a jagged open wound right in the center of my chest as if someone yanked an arrow out of my chest. However, the most terrifying thing wasn’t the whole in my chest or the blood-soaked leotard the had been cut open to get to my wound, but watching the wound slowly knit itself back together.

I screamed and tried to scratch at my chest as if I could get away from whatever was causing the miraculous healing, but I barely moved before grandfather flicked his hand, causing my wrists to be pinned to the headboard. I struggled instinctively against the invisible binding. I wasn’t sure whether I was more awestruck or terrifying.

“Is this really necessary?” Carver asks sadly, but careful to keep any challenge out of his voice.

“Yes, seeing as you’re father failed to properly inform her about our heritage, it falls to us, and I don’t have the patients for all the theatrics,” He said crossly. I wanted to cry, but I had a feeling that bawling my eyes out as I wanted to would only make the situation worse. “My dear, you belong to a very ancient warlock family, one of the four first warlock families in our world. Of course, there are many other warlock families, although none are as old or as powerful” He paused with a self-satisfied look. “Each of these families is characterized by the unique power of elemental control. Our family has the ability to control fire”.

“This is ridiculous,” I say, wishing my arms weren’t pinned behind me as I was beginning to feel restless. “Even if magic does exist wouldn’t I be a witch instead of a warlock? And why wouldn’t our father have told us about these abilities. I mean, it’s incredible why would he deprive us of that life”. I remembered being little and wishing for magical powers, just like most kids did. Never in my wildest dreams had I thought that I might actually have them.

“Your father was a ridiculous man. However, he did have sense enough to train your brother. I could not tell you why he choose to keep you ignorant. Perhaps he just thought you didn’t inherit the gift. Being a warlock means that our powers are passed down through the family’s men, whereas witches inherit their powers from their mothers. Because of this, most females born to warlock families never manifest any abilities; the same goes for men in which families; however, there are female warlocks and male witches.” Grandfather explains, grimacing slightly in disgust at the mention of witches.

I glance at Carver feeling hurt that our father chose to confide in him and not me.

“What about Charlotte and Channing?” I asked. As amazing as it seemed, I already excepted that magic existed. I doubt I would have been so quick to accept it if I hadn’t seen evidence of it with my own eyes. Accepting that I was one of the people who possessed the ability to produce magic was a little harder to believe, although as much as I hated to admit it, I wanted it to be true more than anything.

“They’re not like us,” Carver said quickly. “They’re actually only our half-siblings from a previous relationship mom had.” I blinked, shocked at the news, although I guess that explained why they looked so much like mom rather than dad.

“Anyway, we need to be getting back to England. I have a flight booked for the day after tomorrow. You too don’t have to worry about anything. I’ve had all the arrangements made. I’ll have a car sent to your house and bring you to the airport then” Grandfather flicked his wrist, releasing me. “I have some calls I have to make, but you can stay until you feel strong enough to head home” He put on a jacket and headed out of the door, not giving me time to object.

By now the hole in my chest had closed up with nothing to indicate that I had almost died. I stood up, seeing the hoodie that I’d worn to the studio this morning draped over a chair along with the rest of my stuff. I grabbed it, pulling it on, feeling slightly dizzy. Whether it was from the injury I’d suffered or the information that had drastically altered my reality I couldn’t be sure.

“You should probably stay sitting for a little bit. The spell grandfather cast is a powerful one, but even with a spell that powerful cast by someone like grandfather, it’ll take at least a little bit for you to feel completely normal again,” Carver said, gently guiding me back to the bed.

“What do you mean someone like him?” I asked, realizing that Carver might be able to answer some of the questions grandfather hadn’t.

“Grandfather is a mighty warlock. Quite possibly the most powerful one alive right now. He is also the equivalent of the president of our society,” Carver said. Before I could ask him to elaborate on that, Carver continued anticipating my question. “Grandfather is the high Priest of the cardinal coven. They lead several covens that represent the authority for different regions where there are large communities of warlocks.”

I nodded, trying to process this all. I guess it would make sense that warlocks would have their own version of government.

“Why is he in charge? Is it because he’s so powerful?” I asked, curious about this world. My world, I mentally corrected myself.

“Kind of,” He said with a shrug, “Members of the cardinal coven are comprised of five warlocks from the four main warlock families. These individuals are identified by their ability to not only control the element of their family but create it. There is one from every family in every generation. When they bind the coven together, it’s revealed who the high priest is. The others are warriors, a healer, or an advisor. Most warlocks choose to belong to a coven although some choose to remain alone because while being part of a coven offers a certain amount of protection, it also binds you with the other members of your coven.”

“So you are going to be part of the cardinal coven?”

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