This is a continuous work in progress, a free blog read along. I decided to create a little series for followers with lots of awesome extras along the way. New instalments posted every Monday! Extras posted sporadically in between!
Instalment 3 – The Cruden Tale
Diary of a 3000 Year old Witch!
The day began with the morning sun breaking through the dusty drapes of Leyanne’s room. The ancient large four poster bed creaking as she emerged and slid from the layers of sheets and blankets onto the cold wooden floorboards. Today she was going to begin looking through the endless public records of births in the city library for any reference to a child named Dante, hopefully Cora would secure a meeting with the young seer from the coven she had connected herself to, giving them a better chance at locating this elusive male and as for the rest of the coven witches, they may yet be useful. The girl had no clue of the power and gifts she held within herself, if she did they would not be piecing together puzzle snippets and instead would have honed in on the hunter by now.
She could hear the ravens calling already, a tingling sensation within her bones erupted and she knew without a shadow of a doubt her Grimoire’s were close by. She knew today they would be delivered to the Clairmont’s house almost 3 miles away and soon be re-united with them, she missed them. A witch could always sense the nearness of her own personal items, her own magic. Grimoire’s were an important part of a witches life and craft, you were given journals from early on to record your rituals and spells. Each stroke of the pen infused a part of your magic within the pages, making it personal and turning it from book to grimoire, as it grew so did the power it held. A complete grimoire was a sacred thing, only to be passed down to another witch either within your bloodline or gifted to one you trusted or mentored. In a lifetime a witch could amass a collection of her own. You could not just take a grimoire or it would cease to open it’s pages to you, unless, you were human of course, as they sometimes stumbled upon them. Foolish humans who would use the magic within the book, possessing none of their own, yet a grimoire would curse every incantation or spell used from within in such cases. Humans didn’t have the knowledge or gifts to stop this from happening and so many tragedies had occurred in the world from misplaced Grimoire’s. A Grimoire had to know you were to be trusted as a witch to let you harness its power, only by gift or bloodline, there were no exceptions. Leyanne had collected many over the years, some had let her in and some hadn’t, that was the upside to being very old, her bloodline reached far through the ages from her mothers cousins and surprisingly, there had been witches in that side of her kin. Unwanted Grimoires were normally left behind by dead witches with no heirs to pass them onto but Leyanne had taken them to preserve and protect them in her vast library back home. They were sacred even when unusable, they should be protected for eternity as part of the witches soul still remained within the bound pages. They came in all shapes and sizes, some hand crafted, some leather bound and some more modern from recent decades. The outer shell did not matter, it was the wisdom within which was priceless.
She ran a bath in the claw footed tub just off of her own room in the old fashioned bathroom and warmed the water to boiling with the touch of a hand. An easy spell to master, most witches learned it young in life and of their own accord. She added scents, oils and salt to her water before stripping to get in, relaxing into the smell and feel surrounding her. Her morning ritual of cleansing and eating to start her day.
Dressed in a floaty layered dress with fitted bodice and short sleeves in muted colours, over heeled boots she headed into town, her dark hair hanging free down her back and her charms and stones dangling on chains down her front. She never went anywhere without them, they all had separate uses and purposes. Some were spells that needed to remain constant with her power, some talismans and some for protection. Her bangles clinked as she walked the few miles to town, even early in the day the sun was hot and the road dusty. She never saw much need for a car when travelling, she liked the time to walk and take in her new surroundings. She liked to feel at one with the world.
There seemed to be some sort of weather disruption in these parts lately, it should have been cold, winter! Yet since her arrival nothing but summer weather, the locals were calling it a freak heatwave but Leyanne knew better. The only being on the planet who was ruled by a sun god was about to awaken, the weather had everything to do with it. She had researched enough about the Aztec’s last night to refresh her memory of the ancient empire. They harnessed power from the sun and even though they called RA the sun god by other names, she knew what power he could distribute. The Aztec’s had believed they had five gods of the sun, an interesting belief system which pointed at higher beings leading them much like the Druids led the Celts. Star walking guides maybe? The warrior of the sun was the basis of the Hunter’s rituals, he was, technically speaking, their sun god and from her own experiences back then and what she had researched he was Ra in another form. An aggressive, powerful god with a thirst for war and chaos. He had moulded them in his image of the ideal warrior, gifted them with strength, speed, warrior instincts and aggression. The Aztec mortals looked to those with these skills among them as Gods in themselves and although there were only a small number among the tribes they had a reach that quaked through the lands. The Aztec’s had been known for slaughtering and enslaving mortals, overpowering neighbouring civilisations and forcing tributes to the five sun gods. She knew that they were being led on a quest to root out the immortals and the blood lust had grown out of control as the population had grown. The error of humans and the inability to murder without insanity leaching in. The Hunters were a different breed altogether and could kill without emotion. Unaffected by what they did , unlike their kin. It had been five hundred years ago when the high council had formed together creating a treaty between super-naturals and managed to begin the demise of the Aztec population. A necessity. The Spanish had moved in taking out most of the mortals left, for with the Hunter’s taken care of the armies stood a better chance. They had no idea they had been pushed to do so by a higher magical power. Following the crumbling of the empire, the Spanish had almost outbred the Aztec’s who were left but a small percentage still remained, true descendants. If any of the hunters bloodlines had survived at all then the high council would have known about it surely, they had done their absolute to make sure it was not possible. Death to most and infertility to any they could not reach. There should have been no bloodlines left.
The library was almost deserted, quiet and gloomy among the rows of old books and musty smelling paper. The little old librarian with white curly hair, rimmed spectacles and flowery dress smiled at her warmly. Leyanne had to admit she loved the smell and aura of ancient books and back home her own library was her favourite place to spend time. Books retained some sort of presence from past readers and it could be felt in the air all around her. A warm energy that relaxed her. She headed to the screens in the back room, every record was held on file here and would not take long to pull up births in the area for the time period, the male could be anything from twenty five to thirty five so she had ten years worth of records to search. To ensure she didn’t miss his age range she may just search further afield, although he had not looked too old and definitely not too young either. Skimming screen upon screen of birth certificates, Leyanne was already getting frustrated. She had not realised how many males had been born in this city in a ten year gap, this task was already proving frustrating. Her phone vibrated in her bag.
‘Leyanne? It’s Cora. I have some good news and some bad , I’m afraid.’ She sounded tense.
‘Yes, What is it? Leyanne answered, her eyes still glued to the documents on screen as she flitted through them aimlessly.
‘ The Coven are okay with you meeting Annabelle, but it has to be here and in their own coven house. They won’t let me bring her to you.’ I could hear the dissatisfied tone in her voice betraying the ordeal she had probably had convincing the Coven. I sighed and stopped flicking through pages on screen.
‘You will need to come for me then, I don’t have transport and you said it was Columbus? Right?….. Sooner the better, I’m at the library but this is futile. The Seer may be more worthwhile.’ Leyanne closes the pages in front of her, patience was never one of her strong points at all. She knew when she was flogging a dead horse.
‘I’ll head to you now, I left Cornel in the cottage I’m renting, he can’t venture out in sunlight so he’s sleeping it away’ the obvious affection in his voice betrays her.
‘So you and a vampire? How did that happen?’ She is intrigued, although vampires could fall in love, it was so very rare for them to take a mate that was not turnable. Witches were more useful unturned to vampires and I got the distinct impression Cornel had no intention of turning her anytime soon anyway.
‘We met in Germany, a ball. We just hit it off and I knew right away what he was. But he seemed so very different to the others. It was like we had always known each other and before I knew it he was staying with me long term. He travelled with me when I started to get the visions and dreams about Newark.’ her girly giddy tone made Leyanne feel a little envious for a moment. She had loved once, a long, long time ago. All life had taught her was that love had no place in an immortals heart if the one you loved could die of old age. Most witches were not immortal, they lived normal lives which some could extend to an extent. Leyanne was probably the only immortal witch in existence and not knowing the real history of her father made it all the more of a mystery. Was he immortal too? Was he even still in existence? Where was he?
‘So it’s love then? Not worried about falling asleep next to someone who sees you as a potential breakfast’ Leyanne giggles, her dry humour as always unable to keep itself quiet.
‘No, I trust him. He’s stopped feeding on human’s for me. I think that says it all. Especially as he’s been doing it for two thousand years’ Cora sounded hopelessly convinced.
‘If he is an ancestral then where is his coven?’ Leyanne steered the conversation away from dreams and rose tinted outlooks, all vampires of a notable age usually either ruled a very long established coven or were part of the high council within one, under the rule of an even older vampire. Ancestral’s were supernaturals over the age of one thousand, ones who had lived long enough to be far and few between. Origins of bloodlines, usually pure blood’s if they were of notable age. Even immortals could be killed and the longer you lived the less older supernaturals you came across. They had either gone so far underground and kept out of the human world or fate had finally caught up and taken them from this place. Ancestrals were rare, Leyanne knew as she was one.
‘He lives with the original Dracule Coven in Old Transylvania, it’s funny his coven still call it that.. He is part of the council and as far as they know he is travelling right now. Seeing the world. He has to go back at some point when we find out what is going on with this hunter. It will affect them too.’ She sounds wary and uptight all of a sudden. the slight tremble in her voice giving her away.
‘So he is a descendant of the infamous Count Dracula’ Leyanne laughs, a fable so far twisted and turned in human tale that no one really knew the truth. Dracula had been one of a long line of his kind of pure bloods. Born not turned and each had met with horrific ends due to the love of drama and horror. That was before Vampires realised a life of secrecy served them better.
‘I guess’ Cora giggles too, she knew the tales.
‘Explains the accent’ Leyanne laughs again and hears Cora laugh too.
‘You can talk! With that Scots twang and words like ‘Wee’ and ‘aye’.’ Cora had known Leyanne years before, a short stint in her hometown in Germany when Leyanne had been wandering. She had helped her with some spells and rituals in return for a place to stay for a few months. A friendship of sorts.
‘Right, come get me. We have things to do.’ With goodbyes, the women hung up. Leyanne righted her dress and moved from the computers, picking up her bag. Turning to leave she walked along an aisle near the back to avoid a group of young teens who had appeared. Moving around them she caught her bag on the corner of the table piled with returned books causing a few to slide off. Cursing inwardly she scooped low to pick them up and turned facing the table as she stacked them again. Her mind blank and eyes trailing some of the older dustier covers before her with interest. Her fingers tracing the titles slowly, her love of books evident. She was about to turn when a poster on the wall caught her eye. The name caught her eye. Dante Torres. She moved closer scrutinising it. It was a poster for a mixed martial arts tournament in town in the coming weeks, the headline fighter was a returning champion named Dante and scheduled to a homecoming charity fight. Interesting! There was a picture of two men in shorts and boxing gloves. Both topless and mid fight pose. The one with dark hair had tattoos over his upper torso and down one arm completely, although his body was turned in a way that she could not see his chest art clearly. That is where the sun mark always lay. What she could see though was one arm from wrist to shoulder covered in Aztec ink. Yanking the poster from the wall, she folded it up and put it in her bag. Not caring if anyone saw her, she moved swiftly , getting out of the library in haste and heading out towards the roads coming from the direction Cora would be appearing.
Finally, when Cora arrived, Leyanne had already been pouring through a phonebook in a public call box. She had ripped several ‘D Torres’ from the book in several areas around Newark and nearby. Surprised at how many there had been with such an unusual name. Most had addresses. Cora looked her up and down as she slid into the car with the handful of pages and was soon brought up to speed on what Leyanne had found. Squinting at the picture of the man on the poster she smiled encouragingly.
‘It’s him! The visions showed that arm with tattoos, the body build, the hair and even the profile.’ She sounded excited. Leyanne was sure too but her feeling were more of apprehension. Yes, they maybe had identified him a bit more but every step closer to finding him was a step closer to danger. Cora was missing the bigger picture here. Missing what a Hunter meant, she had not lived through their existence the way Leyanne had. The poster showed that his natural skills for fighting were already ingrained, he was a champion after all. His aggression, his perfect physique, all signs that this was the right man. She had no idea if he was aware of what he was and how far his skills had made themselves known. One thing she could see from the poster that Cora had not said anything about. He was distractingly handsome. Rugged, darkish skin, dark hair that was short but still long enough to flop over his forehead. From the side you could see bright blue eyes and a perfect profile, rough stubbled jawline and high cheekbones. Hunter’s had always been handsome, it served a purpose. They were good at getting close to the victims, sometimes with seduction in some of the same ways the Vampires did. Physical perfection was usually a sign an Aztec was a Hunter pure blood. They all had look’s so far removed from the people around them, their own people. Even when born from a human mother and father. No one ever knew which of the Aztec children would inherit the gift but it was obvious from birth, all had the piercing blue eyes of the sky, paler tanned skin than most of the others in the tribes, dark hair. As they grew they superseded their peers in maturing fast, tall and powerful bodies and quick intelligence. This Dante Torres was looking pretty spot on so far.
Cora chatted mindlessly on the drive and Leyanne nodded here and there. She was lost in thought, trying to mull over things. Why now after five hundred years? Why were the gods alerting the witches? What was the point to all this? What could a lone hunter being awakened do to the vast population of supernaturals anyway? Leyanne felt uneasy and watched the trees and scenery roll by, trying to distract her over active mind. The drive to Columbus was not long and soon they were pulling up a long overgrown drive to an old house that looked like something out of a gothic horror move.
A tall woman dressed completely in white robes from head to foot, including a hooded cloak, appeared at the front door and made her way down the steps. Leyanne tried not to eye roll at both the appearance of the woman and the obvious Wiccan decor all over the porch and house. Huge wooden moons and pentagrams and hanging chimes. She could see every type of charm and talisman known to man on the old grey wooden house. Could it be made anymore obvious this was a coven house?
‘Cora’ The woman reached a hand out taking Cora’s in hers. They exchanged smiles, The woman seemed about mid fifties and had a shock of white hair that matched her outfit, her pale blemish free skin, a pretty enough face. Leyanne made no attempt to take the hand offered to her. She didn’t touch people unless she needed too. Any witch with half a gift understood why.
‘Leyanne Cruden I believe?’ The woman dropped her hand pulling a tight face at Leyannes rudeness. Leyanne did not care, offending people never phased her. When you had lived decades peoples attitude stopped bothering you.
‘Leyanne this is Deborah Matherson, The coven high priestess.’ Cora interjected quickly when Leyanne made no response. Leyanne just continued to look over the house and grounds in an obvious show of distaste. She hated the showiness. Witchcraft was a hidden craft, it was to be kept sacred and secret from the mortals. Obvious shows had fuelled a whole line of human wannabes practising dark arts they had no right meddling with.
‘Where is the girl?’ Leyanne butted in rudely, never one to care about manners and etiquette. She was not here to make friends, she was here to accomplish her goal. Witches of the past knew the hierarchy. Leyanne was one of the high council, all witches should not only know her on sight but act like she was master and ruler and never question. The decades had lost so much in translation. If she was back home in Scotland the coven’s made a point of fussing and bowing whenever she ventured their way. This woman riled her already, her superiority completely misplaced in Leyanne’s presence.
‘This way’ Deborah snorted after a moment, she had come to the conclusion she did not like Leyanne. Her manner cold and stiff. Leyanne could tell she was only biting her tongue because Cora had probably pre-warned her in a gentle way not to piss Leyanne off. The women walked back up the creaking porch steps and into the house. It was decorated in the same over the top Wiccan manner as the facade outside and you almost choked on the strong smell of incense burning in every room.
‘Trying to choke intruders to death?’ Leyanne cut in with a sardonic smile. Deborah threw her a look that clearly said ‘Are you thick?’
‘We are keeping the unwanteds out of our abode.’ She snapped.
‘Try a yale lock and maybe a burglar alarm, it will have more effect.’ Leyanne smiled haughtily and caught Cora stifling a giggle. She had caught on just as Leyanne had that Deborah was one of the most clueless witches she had ever met, yes there was real magic within her but she was so focused on rituals and symbols she had never really found her own power from within. This was common in the witches. they relied so heavily on taking power from elsewhere that they neglected their very own inner energies. They follow her finally down an inner stairway to a basement and into what looks like a ritual alter room. Dark walls draped with purple velvet and adorned with symbols and candles. The floor painted with a huge pentagram and each corner dotted with a burning pillar candle. A large alter table at the far wall containing a mix of crystals, ornaments, figurines and hanging herbs. This was a common sight in most covens. Most of them carrying out Moon rituals much like Leyanne’s. Looking to the wall above the alter she could see the tunnel hole in the wall which would lead out into the upper air letting moonlight flutter down through a series of internal mirrors. A young girl appeared from the shadows, wearing a full white ensemble much like Deborahs. She had her face downcast and her hood up.
‘Annabelle?’ Leyanne queried and walked forward to stand in the centre of the symbol on the floor. She felt the instant crackle around her of the spell which had been placed down here and her eyes shot to the walls seeing the salt line all the way around the edge. They had tried to bind her powers while being in this room as some sort of protection. She looked up at Deborah with a raised eyebrow. The obvious smug look on the woman soon dropped. Leyanne clicked her fingers igniting every candle on the wall and the low fireplace to one side with a blast of flame showing her that her powers were not affected one iota.
‘What the….?’ Deborah’s shocked response sent all colour draining from her face. Her mouth gaping open.
‘If you are going to try and bind a witches power’s make sure you have a clue how to do it’ Leyanne smiled sarcastically. Cora tried to hide her grin and turned away to admire some crystal hangers in the corner. ‘Don’t insult a member of the high council either, such disrespect will not be tolerated again’ Leyanne snapped and turned back to the young girl. Deborah slunk back speechless, the first time real alarm on her face as she appraised Leyanne with wonder. Had she really doubted who Leyanne really was? Fool!
The girl had moved out and pulled her hood back, she walked forward into the light and lifted her chin to Leyanne almost shyly. She was impressed with the show of power, Leyanne could tell. The second Leyanne saw her face she gasped in surprise that was not concealed. She felt every face snap to her in confusion. The young girl had long black hair and pale white skin, the most translucent aqua eyes you had ever seen in an elfin face, a face so familiar it took her breath away and replaced her anger with tears.
‘Eleanor?’ Her voice croaked sadly as she reached out to touch the girl’s face. The girl looked to Deborah in confusion and then back to Leyanne, moving out of reach of inspecting fingers.
‘No, my name is Annabelle’ her cheeks coloured and she stammered. She looked unsure and shy. Leyanne snapped her focus back to the present, pushing down the sudden surge of emotion.
‘Sorry. No . Eleanor was your mother. She was my friend. You look so much like her.’ Leyanne needed to touch the girl to be sure but she was keeping her distance, the shock on her face evidence that she had no clue what Leyanne was saying.
‘I’m her mother!’ Deborah snapped moving close in anger, she moved in front of the girl shielding her some from Leyanne.
‘ Liar’ Leyanne pushed her aside without physical touch and felt a satisfied smile on her face at Deborah’s shock. She had never met a witch with any real power before, she guessed. The fear evident as she recoiled away back to the shadows, looking to Cora for help. Cora only shrugged and remained still. Moving forward Leyanne caught Annabelle’s wrist and immediately caught the flicker of visions. The girl’s eyes widened, she saw them too. A definite sign she was a Seer. The flicker of faces and places, people, and the birth of a little black haired baby with aqua eyes. Leyanne’s face came into view as she leant in blessing the child, casting a spell. Yes, this was Eleanor’s daughter. She released her and saw the confusion and question over the girls face.
‘It was you?’ the girl’s breathy question. ‘How did you know it was me? That I was adopted?’ her confusion was endearing. Leyanne sighed.
‘You look so much like her, only the daughter of an Elvin woman could look like you. The unearthly beauty is not human, it explains your gift as a seer.’ Leyanne motioned for her to follow and headed to the chairs crowded in a far corner, Deborah and Cora hesitated then followed.