THERON II

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Part Three - Starts With a "W," Ends With an "Itch."

EVIE

I stare at the cold, metal tether drilled into my floor.

The same tether that secures the heavy iron chain.

The same chain that imprisoned Kai at the opposite end.

Kai, who laid defeated with his massive wolf head resting on his paws.

Kai, whose big swirling eyes lost their brilliant color.

Kai, whose fur was dull, dinghy, and matted—caked with dried blood and rotten food.

Blood I drew from him.

Rotten food I threw at him.

Rotten food I tormented and taunted him with... never allowing him to eat even the smallest of bites.

The memory still haunts me.

But the black magic no longer consumes me.

I wipe away the single tear that has leaked down my cheek. Part of me wants to forget the whole situation ever happened, blissfully unaware that I was ever that cruel.

But it’s the other part of me, the masochistic side, that forces me to feel the pain.

This is my punishment.

This is what I deserve because I wasn’t adult enough to accept his rejection.

I was such an idiot.

My auburn hair has lost its luster and my nails are chipping—cracking. My skin looks pale and gaunt. Gone away is the youthful shine my use of magic blessed me with. It’s been less than a week without my powers and already the effects are starting to show.

I’m not sure how I will survive ten years.

If I survive ten years.

“Miss Evie,” the servant’s voice comes from the other side of my door, accompanied by a light knocking. She peeks her head in without asking permission, which I know means my mother has summoned me. “Your mother has called an assembly and requests your attendance.”

I sigh, my fucking mother and her stupid assemblies, “There is a fine line between request and demand, Meranda. Which is it?”

Meranda’s black hair falls in waves over her shoulders and down her chest. Her measly black and purple dress, colors that station her rank as a servant, is too long. The ends are frayed and darker than the rest of her outfit, her shoes lost somewhere underneath.

She clears her throat and stands a bit straighter, “She was extremely insistent.”

So, demand it is then.

My mother demanded my presence.

And it is my mother’s haunting words that force me to move my feet, “I want the boy... I will consult the book when we arrive in Barbados.”

If she is calling for an assembly, then that means she found something.

Something that does not bode well for the little Ancient, Theon.

I glance once more at the cold marble floor that holds the silver tether, “I do not wish harm on Evie. I only want her to learn from this.”

Well, Kai, we’re about to see what I’ve learned.

***

The assembly room is a large auditorium, built off two hundred from the main house. It is big enough to host over seven hundred witches—seven hundred coven leaders from around the world.

And my mother is standing on the stage, front and center of all seven hundred of those witches. They are loud. Chattering and cackling, curious and speculative of why they were summoned here.

I take my seat in the middle of the front row. Mother wants me here, this specific chair reserved only for me. “You need to watch—learn, Eve—because one day you will take my place and I will no longer be here to guide you,” she warned me. Yes, being the daughter of the Grand Witch put me at a higher standard than anyone else but her title is not my birthright. I had lessons to learn, magic to be taught how to wield and control, wisdom to grow and nurture and flourish the knowledge of when to use those powers and when to stay them.

What positioned me for her title was not our shared DNA, but my excessive abilities that rivaled all others. I will be the most powerful High Witch of all time and they have great plans for me once my mother passes.

Plans she is already laying forth...

Plans I want nothing to do with.

“Sisters,” the endearment echoes through the large hall, the microphone before her screeching and crying with the sound of her nasally voice. She ignores it, “Welcome one and all! I know this was a highly inconvenient meeting for most of you so I will not drag it out longer than necessary.”

She slams her fists on the wooden podium, almost giddy, “I came across a boy a week ago but not just any, regular boy! A special boy. The product of two Ancient weres!” Her eyes are violet with hunger and enthusiasm. Her red lips tug at the sides, the shadow of an evil sneer hidden under the guise of righteousness.

She makes me want to puke.

I turned my head, eyeing the astonished gasps that ripple throughout the room... great, she has their attention.

“Now, I know very few of you may realize what this means.” She chuckled, pleasantly fake as always, “Even I, myself, had to consult the grimoire! But what I found written there will favor all of us.”

The anticipation heightens, witches leaning forth in their seats, breaths held and mouths salivating for information because apparently, this boy is rare.

This type of occurrence is rare.

And witches fucking love “rare.”

Mother lets the atmosphere marinate, the excitement rising to a boiling point before she opens her mouth once more, “The grimoire states, and I quote: He whose blood is pure, untainted with lesser beings and born by nothing short of godly parentage, shall free the shackles that bind and restrict the magic that yearns to be set loose upon the world. This blood will give rise to a new dawn. The rule of witches will be once more.”

Cheers erupt from behind me but I can do nothing but stare at the stranger I call family. She can’t seriously be considering this!

He is a child.

I may not know a lot about our laws but I do know that child sacrifice is unforgivable.

It’s a product of dark magic.

Necromancy.

It goes against nature and all we stand for.

But apparently, we hate werewolves more and revenge is a tasty apple drenched in blood.

“I will get you the boy, my sisters! And once we have consumed every ounce of his essence, we will make those beasts pay for ever binding us to a treaty we never wanted in the first place! They will suffer by our hands and our hands alone! And we will rule the world, as it was always meant to be!”

The roaring crowd fades to mere background noise as mother’s eyes connect with mine.

They speak clearly.

Concisely.

And the finality is chilling: ”I will have the child... and no one will stop me.”

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