The embers from the dying fire danced against the blackened fireplace as if trying to reignite the flames from the burnt ashes lying on the ground. The intricate stonework of the now antique feature of the oversized room stood cold and menacing against the warm orange glow the dwindling fire provided. The only light in the darkened room.
The fire was located in the centre of the room, the focus in the room was elsewhere. The slow, rhythmic swaying of the moth-bitten drapes over the slightly open sash windows lapped at the coven’s feet. The group of seven women had migrated from the warm comfort of the fire during the dark cover of night to the cool breeze that was whispering softly through the open window.
They stood still, heads remaining bowed under the ceremonial robes. Statuesque as they waited for the sun to rise and the spell to be sealed. It had taken some time to get the last remaining descendants of the Order of The Whitening safely in this room that was once their headquarters but now lay shielded from the world behind the most powerful cloaking spell their coven had even used.
Times were changing.
Old enemies, once thought of as long gone and no longer a threat had resurfaced. It seemed they had one aim, one goal and one thing that united them. To destroy the last remaining members of the Order before the millennia-old prophecy could come true. This was something The Order had never anticipated until now. They were overwhelmed and severely underprepared.
Clarina lifted her head and slowly turned to look at the women before her. All bound, all cursed like her, all sworn to uphold the one thing that kept this Earth running as all humans know it. The balance of good and evil is kept in check, and the gateway to magic and hell closed and undiscovered to non-magical beings.
They had thought it was gone, the threat, that it was banished and eviscerated.
They were wrong. Very wrong. The murder of their previous guardian of The Order, Deandra, caught them all by surprise. Their strength came in numbers and someone or something was trying to reduce their numbers. Clarina knew they belonged together, as one and somewhere evil’s reach couldn’t taint.
Her gaze was drawn to the window and outside. To somewhere beyond the black drapes that acted as a barrier to the human world and out to the horizon as the sun edged its way up to herald in the start of a new day. The spell was working, she could feel her powers magnified as the sun cemented the spell and went to work casting it far and wide.
The enemies of The Order wouldn’t be able to hurt them here now. the Order was safe, protected as long as they didn’t leave these walls. But Clarina knew, they couldn’t hide out here forever. Pretty soon The Disciples would descend on Earth in all the glory and infiltrate everyone and everything. They needed a plan before it was too late. Chanting could only keep them at bay for so long. Pretty soon, Clarina knew, they would have to harness the power of the spell book. Something they hadn’t done for many, many years. She wasn’t even sure if the 6 women in the building with her right now, could fully harness all the power to keep the threat at bay.
Clarina needn’t have worried.
They stood side by side, one by one as the women resumed their positions naturally. It was as if it only been a few hours since their last ritual casting, not a few hundred years. Slowly, they disrobed revealing themselves to the sun as their powers grew too, like hers. She watched as they embraced the energy from the rays of sun beaming through the full-length windows. Turning to face them for the first time in sunlight, Clarina, bowed at each member of the Order as they graciously lowered their heads to acknowledge their new guardian. Celia, Janey, Breanna, Lori, Caitlyn and Marley joined hands once more as they reconnected not only to nature and Mother Earth but also each and Clarina too as she completed the order and reinforced the power buzzing through the circle.
She could still feel the fear radiating from their eyes.
The same fear they have emitted as soon as they arrived at White Manor. Their faces free from expression now, clear and pure, as the magic coursed through their veins once more. But their eyes, they are the windows to the soul. They don’t lie and the same fears she felt glinted in each of her fellow witches eyes. The tears welled as she absorbed the fear as her own. It was something Deandra taught her during her training as second of the order many years ago. You are their leader, their protector and their fear is your fear.
But could she handle the fear? It seared through her veins as it found it’s new home in her heart and she swore, a piece of her died right there and then. They would all need each other to make it through this alive, but Clarina wasn’t sure they would all make it through this time if any of them did. This was the biggest threat any of them had ever faced and if truth be told, she wasn’t too sure she was up to the job.