A Tradition Delayed, A History Rewritten

(rather lengthy post!)

Looking up at the skies, I see a bolt of lightning illuminate the clouds nearby. They’re red this evening, heavy with blood rain. Just for one night, I remind myself, then my lovely storm will be back to cleansing Speirlinium rain until the snow comes.

It is not a tradition I enjoy, this blood rain, but far from common knowledge, the elementals and keepers of the veil are not all creatures of childlike innocence and light. They have a duality and their baser nature is not one that mortals would live through for long, if unleashed. The blood rain is only one of the traditions the Coven carries out, handed down to us from earlier groups of our ancestors, their names and faces lost to time and fading memories.

This year’s rain was delayed—the ritual hindered by the latest round of drama to find Speirling’s shores.

(insert whatever “fade to recent past” trick you prefer here)
Aettrynne Greymyst: Hello my Children. I knew you would come when I called.

Dantæ elbows Fae and whispers “Not like we had a choice.”

Aettrynne Greymyst: No, you really did not.

Aettrynne Greymyst waves her hand towards the bone-fire, causing it to change to a red flame, flaring towards the sky. A pentagram forms around it, glowing purple from the Speirlinium in the soil.

MinnieKittie: Oh!

Dhampir Eravisci clamps a hand over the moppet’s mouth. She lifts a finger over her own mouth and cocks an eyebrow. The kitten nods in agreement and is released.

Aettrynne Greymyst: Come! Come, my daughters—my priestesses! It is time for the ceremony. Take your places around the flame.

Faerie Scribe takes her place on a point of the pentagram scratched out on the ground. “Grimmie, here!” The Coven’s magical grimoire appears in front of her from a shower of sparks.

Faerie Scribe takes the pen that Grimmie offers and readies herself to record the ceremony.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine steps forward and takes the pentagram point to the right of Aettrynne.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine whispers: Why are the children here?

Dantæ walks over and stands at a pentagram point, motioning to Dhampir to come complete the pentagram.

Dhampir Eravisci does not like the idea of leaving Aevalle’s brood while a ritual is taking place but feels almost compelled by something outside herself to step forward.

Oreo OHare, taking a cue from the Governess’ anxiety, steps in front of her sisters, accepting the role of their protector, even though she’s not really sure from what.

Aettrynne Greymyst: My daughters, our little Coven has the strength of over one hundred years. We have marked the moons, honored the spirits, and kept forces at bay that would otherwise render this world asunder.

Aettrynne Greymyst: But now, it is time to expand our circle.

Aettrynne Greymyst motions and a larger circle appears around the bone-fire, outside of the pentagram but glowing as brightly.

Aettrynne Greymyst: It is time for our younger daughters, some of whom have traveled through time and space to be with us, to join our Coven officially! Come, little ones!

LunaMorgaine looks up from drawing in the dirt at Oreo’s feet. She sees the bright silver woman smiling and holding her hands out and begins to toddle towards her.

Oreo OHare grabs Luna’s collar and yanks her back. Something bad’s about to happen.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: Oh, hell no!

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine flies to place herself between the little ones and the Firth Witch. “You will not have my children!” The pentagram broken, the shapes on the ground dim and go out.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: I knew you were up to something, but no, not this!

Dhampir Eravisci moves next to Aevalle in front of her charges, and begins to snarl softly at Aettrynne. She notices Dantae on the other side and senses vines creeping in. So it has come to this. For seeming eons, there had been a standoff between Aettrynne and her priestesses. She had exploited their strengths since the time they were children themselves, honing their abilities for her own end—and they stayed, Dhampir included, because of some type of loyalty. Had not Aettrynne saved each and every one of them from certain death or a life of far worse? They had also seen what Aettrynne was capable of. And now, together, the priestesses of her Coven may all be slaughtered—but they would do so, standing together as sisters.

Faerie Scribe shifts uneasily beside the others.

Faerie Scribe whispers: Okay Grimmie, protection!

Faerie Scribe holds out her hands and grasps the weapons as the grimoire transfers itself into a shield and the pen into a gleaming sword!

Aettrynne Greymyst looks at her magical progeny and cackles. The sound drives the ravens and bats out of the nearby trees.

Dantæ whispers: Oh, that can’t be good. Aev, are you sure about this?

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine whispers: She’s not getting my kids!

Aettrynne Greymyst: But they are not really yours, are they? They were a gift from me, remember?

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: They’re from the future. Wasn’t that what you said?

Aettrynne Greymyst: My dear girl, you are two hundred years old and have never had children. Do you really think that, at some point, you miraculously give birth to four? They are not from you, at least not in this history. And Lilith and Luna there—they are my grandchildren. Seems I have more of a claim on their being here than you, for any of them, no?

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine whispers: Dhamp, get them out of here.

Dhampir Eravisci whispers: Where to?

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine whispers: The library cottage. And you, Dantae, and Fae work together to put up the strongest protection spell you can muster!

Dhampir Eravisci whispers: Aevalle, what are you planning? Do not be stupid!

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine whispers: You don’t stay married to a man like Wrath Constantine for as long as I have and not learn a few things—now go!

Aettrynne Greymyst smiles slightly as the group retreats.

Aettrynne Greymyst: You know, dear one, I should be very angry with you for disrupting my plans. And for your threats. But I see, how do you ‘moderns’ put it—the “big picture.” Those children will be educated in the Coven—they are too powerful not to be.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: I know what you do to your students. You use them and twist their minds so that they believe that you are the only person in the world they can trust. Do you know what that does to someone??? Do you know how long it takes to trust, well, anyone??? Tell me…tell me why I should not scatter you to the winds right now!

Aettrynne Greymyst: Because you owe me.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine trembles and clenches her jaw shut so that the scream trying to make its way up from her belly will not escape.

Aettrynne Greymyst: Why do you hate that fact so?

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: The debt has long ago been paid, I think.

Aettrynne Greymyst: Did I not reunite you with your mother so that you could take your rightful place in the Court of the Sidhe?

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: Only after you used my power to your own ends, and my mother also rewarded you handsomely.

Aettrynne Greymyst: And she made you my charge--which you technically still are, Girl.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: But she did not know…

Aettrynne Greymyst: Did not know who I was? Did not know what was to happen? Your mother was and still is much more intelligent than you give her credit for. She knew the time was coming when the veil between the Sidhe and the mortal world would be almost impenetrable—when belief would die out to the point that only the strongest of the sidhe would be able to walk between worlds. And she knew that I would be one of the few who could protect you from some of the beings who might make it through. Your father’s murder firmed her resolve.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: Do not speak to me of my father.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine had always thought that Aettrynne was somehow responsible for her father’s death.

Aettrynne Greymyst: Fair enough. But I do know that you have the power of discernment. Believe me when I tell you that I have seen things—other times, other places—and I know of many things that you would not want to know of.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: Agreed. But you will not change my mind, Aettrynne. I do not want those girls brought up in the Coven.

Aettrynne Greymyst shouts: That is the only way to ensure their protection!

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine shouts: I will protect them!

Aettrynne Greymyst shouts: You cannot even be bothered to spend time with them! You ship some off to this “Faeway Academy” and call in Dhampir to reign in the ones left here! Even your husband is off “saving” a colony somewhere else!

Aettrynne Greymyst lowers her voice. “Now tell me, how exactly are YOU going to protect them?”

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine takes a step back, feeling like she’s been slapped.

LunaMorgaine whimpers quietly in the library cottage, wiping a tear away. “I want Momma.”

LilithMorgaine picks up her sister and hugs her. “It’s gonna be okay, kid.”

Dantæ turns her face away from the girls and calls forth another layer of living roots to surround the building.

Faerie Scribe whispers: The shouting’s not good but at least it means Aev’s still alive out there.

Dhampir Eravisci whispers: I should be out there, at her side. I should be the first to fall, not her!

Faerie Scribe whispers: Aevalle and Wrath trust you to protect their little ones. You are needed here.

Dantæ whispers: It’s gotten quiet out there again. I don’t like it.

Dhampir Eravisci waves her hand at the roots intertwining the room and coats them with armor made of white light. “Neither do I, neither do I.”

Aettrynne Greymyst: I do not say these things to hurt you, Girl.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: And yet, you do.

Aettrynne Greymyst: I have seen what their lives were like—before.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: That time. Whatever time you took the girls from. When you took them, you told us…you told Wrath and myself what you were doing, and we agreed?

Aettrynne Greymyst: No.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: You say you do not want to hurt me, but in some other time, you stole my children? You left Wrath and myself to mourn and search without knowing what happened to them?

Aettrynne Greymyst: How can I make you understand? I have traversed many timelines—probably many of them created in the days that I thought I could destroy the Roman Empire before its destiny was to be concluded. Yes, I have used you and the others to my own ends. And then I learned what happens when you alter what is meant to be. I brought the girls here to try to make a mends.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: And to have a way to manipulate Wrath and myself.

Aettrynne Greymyst: No! Well, okay, a bit. But that was not my chief reason.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: How could you be so cruel? You leave us in those other times to mourn our lost children and you bring them here to exploit our feelings for them, then demand them for your own? I have always known you to be a monster, but…

Aettrynne Greymyst: I could not get your permission to take them because there was no you there!

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: I do not understand.

Aettrynne Greymyst sighs heavily as if finally dropping a weight she had carried for ages. “I caused a great splintering with my hatred and I have tried to visit all of those timelines—all of those splinter dimensions, or at least the ones I have found so far—to make right for those who I care for. But in each one, there is no Aevalle, no Wrath. So much carnage and malevolence running amok. Good people turned to reprobates. And in every one of those worlds—Wrath is dead, you are dead. And your children have been left like waifs to beg or be enslaved. How could I leave them like that?”

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: I do not believe you.

Aettrynne Greymyst: Your mother gave you the power of discernment, Girl! Use it now!

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine feels an overwhelming flood of grief envelope her.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine whispers: How could you let us die?

Aettrynne Greymyst: If I had the power to change things, I would have. But through my horrendous errors, I have learned. Altering those timelines would have led to further collapse. But I could see the future of your moppets. There, they would have each died in childhood, left to go to dust wherever they fell. Here, I saw them growing into their own strength. They can do great things in this world, if properly trained. And bringing them here gives you the children you will not have.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine feels her will beginning to crumble as things she thought she knew begin to fall away.

Aettrynne Greymyst: I cannot change my actions from the past. And I do not know if I will ever give Dhampir, Fae, Dantae, and yourself enough reason to fully trust me. But I can help your progeny reach their destiny here, and you reach yours.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: But if they want to turn away from magick, and make their own destiny, you will allow them that choice.

Aettrynne Greymyst falters, but knows this is a sticking point. Aevalle’s determination is almost fully dissolved, but it can roar back in a moment if she does not hear what she wishes. “Y…yes.”

Dhampir Eravisci is jolted by a knock from outside. “I knew it’d been too quiet.”

Dhampir Eravisci positions herself to defend the little ones.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine: It’s okay. It’s all over. Everyone can come out now..

Faerie Scribe whispers: Holy mother of Pearlie! Aev’s killed the Firth Witch!

Dantæ claps her hands several times quickly and the living roots begin to pull away, retreating back through the floorboards and into their earthen home.

Dhampir opens the door, but sees the unexpected. There, behind Aevalle, stands Aettrynne, much more unscathed and unscorched than she should be.

Faerie Scribe gasps and Dhampir claps a hand over her mouth without even looking, out of habit.

Aettrynne Greymyst: Shall we continue the ritual?

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine feels several sets of questioning eyes upon her. “It’s okay. No, she hasn’t mesmerized me. We’re going to try it this way and, eventually, the girls can make their own decisions.”

Dhampir Eravisci whispers: I hope you know what you’re doing.

Aevalle Galicia-Constantine whispers: As do I, my friend, as do I.

(fade back to present here)

A small twig snaps behind me, followed by a light footfall.

“Hello, Aettrynne.” I say over my shoulder. I know she wants to talk—I would have never heard her coming otherwise.

“The Girl gets more and more bold.” A smile cracks her features, but just barely.

“If you haven’t noticed, I am no longer a girl. After tonight, I think I am feeling all of my two centuries of aging.” I sigh slightly and feel a shiver run through my body—Speirling always seems more chilled, just before dawn.

Listening to the Firth Witch

“Compared to me, you will always be a child--that little half-breed kitten caged and displayed as novelty in a traveling show—though, that memory does not do you credit. You have grown much.”
I wince at the memory of being stolen from my mother and dragged around as a side-show freak. “I have…seen much…in my life, though I’m sure not as much as you have.”

“You were only provided a glimpse this eve. I fear more would twist your mind until you became…”

“Like you?” Even though I did not look at Aettrynne directly, I knew she flinched a bit.

“You do not need to be like me. That was never what I set out to achieve. There is only one Firth Witch and, for now, that is enough.” Aettrynne looked at me and, for once, I did not feel like her eyes were burning into me.

“So, what is it you hope to achieve?” I turn to face her.

“As I have said, to make sure that all of my ‘daughters’ fully inherit your legacies.”

I turn towards her. “But we’re not supposed to know what those are. We’re simply supposed to trust you.”

“Have I not earned your trust yet, Girl?”

I study her for a moment and she reaches out her hand to me, palm up. I blink. It is a sign of change, perhaps a new beginning. If only I trusted new beginnings.

A New Beginning?


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