“I’m not sure what to do...I need to think. Alone. Is that okay?”
Nikoli nodded in agreement, but seemed a bit concerned by the way his brow was creased.
“Of course. Sharon?” Sharon led Leila to the back room, where there was a lovely purple velvet rocking chair to sit. For some unknown reason, this soothed her.
“Take your time, dear. We’ll be right out here. I’ll make sure no one disturbs you.” Leila nodded her thanks and let out a deep breath once Sharon closed the door behind her.
She let her hands graze the soft back and seat cushion before sitting down. As she leaned her head back, she closed her eyes against the harsh light of the naked bulb that hung above her head. Grabbing her necklace, she rubbed it methodically, trying to draw some power from it.
“Help me gran. I’m not sure what to do,” She sighed and felt the amulet begin to warm from her touch.
The warmth filled her hands and slowly spread throughout her entire body, making her glow with that strange silver-violet light. Leila didn’t want to open her eyes for fear that the sensation would stop. She began to feel confidant, strong, brave. Visions of her grandmother began to appear behind her lids. At first they were just flashes, memories, dreams. Then they began to slow down, allowing her to watch them more closely. Finally she was back with her grandmother, both really young, sitting at her table once more. It was comforting to Leila, albeit a little unbelievable. Her grandmother touched her hand and somehow she was able really feel it, like it was actually happening. Impossible...was her first thought. Soon she remembered that nothing lately was as improbable as it once seemed.
Her world had been turned upside down, in both good and bad ways. She had found herself after being kidnapped, her career was turning around, she found a way to talk to her gran, she had powers and best of all she had found the love of her life. None of the options included her remaining a witch, but she didn’t see how they could really take that from her. It was harming no one. They seemed to be acting out of irrational fear once more. Are they afraid of what I can do? Are they afraid of me? Leila wondered. She didn’t know the answers, but she wanted to. Her grandma turned to her and smiled that knowing smile she always had.
“Removing the amulet keeps your powers intact, but trapped inside the necklace. They cannot touch the necklace and they know this. However, they will ask you to destroy it, as you are the only one with the ability to do so. I will help you. I won’t let you give up your heritage.”
Leila let her tears flow down her cheeks in tribute to her relief and the release of her pain. She had to believe that this was real and not just some figment of her imagination. She knew that she couldn’t let go of being a witch. It was a part of her. It made her feel special. It was everything she had ever dreamed. She could do anything she wanted with her magick.
“I don’t understand. How can you help? You are just a ghost now, gran. Please show me the way. I love Nikoli. I don’t want either of us harmed. I can’t just walk away from him now, not after what we’ve been through, but I can’t give up my powers either.” Her grandmother chuckled and cradled her face in her hands lovingly.
“You will not be giving up anything. Leave it to me. I can help more than you think. I am going to teach you how to protect your mind so that they can’t see the plan. Here’s what we need to do…”
Leila listened to what her beloved grandmother was telling her and took it to heart. When they were both confident enough that she could use her abilities to shield her mind, she was shown the next step. After they discussed everything in length and great detail, Leila knew it was time to let her go.
“Will I ever see you again?” Her gran nodded and grinned great big.
“I told you. I’m not going anywhere. I’m always here. I’ve told you all you need to know to make this work. They will never bother you again after this. I promise you, dear. You will both be safe!” Leila thanked her and gave her a hug. She was sad to see her go. Her gran was hands down her favorite person in the world. She even trumped Nikoli, barely, but still.
Her opinion and advice still meant a great deal to Leila. It made her happy to know that it didn’t have to end just because her gran had passed on to the next plane of existence. Opening her eyes, she got up with renewed strength and vigor. She knew exactly what had to be done. It was going to be hard for her to pull off, but she had to believe in herself and the plan in order to succeed. She had to have faith in her gran as well. After all, she was a smart lady. She had basically written the book on how to fool a vampire. Leila exited the room and looked at the other two. They both looked expectant, but confused. Sharon seemed to be concentrating on her awfully hard and it made Leila chuckle.
“Don’t bother. You can’t read my mind any more. No one can. My decision has been made. Let’s go face the council together.”
When Sharon got up as well, Leila halted her with her hand.
“I think it’s probably best if you stay here, for your own protection. I can’t have your death on my conscience. Thank you for your help. We’ll return soon.” With that she hugged her and grabbed Nikoli’s hand for moral support.
“Are you even - ?” Leila cut him off with a shake of her head, not wanting to talk about anything any further.
She didn’t want any reason to falter in her approach to the Elders. It was vital that it all went smoothly. If it did not….No! She shook her head in resistance to the negative voice, silencing it effectively. I will succeed. I will not fail. That is NOT an option!
“You’re just going to have to trust me. It will be okay. We will be together. I know what must be done, you needn’t worry.” He seemed taken aback, but said okay, letting out a frustrated breath.
She smiled at him and together they went to face the ruthless Elders, confronting their destiny head on.