“Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna,” the four women chanted in unison and continued to say it over and over. Energy began to gather in the air around them and a slight wind started to blow that stirred their unbound hair about their faces. Their chanting began in low voices, growing louder and louder until a beam of light appeared out of nowhere above them, signaling that the goddesses had heard their invocation and that they were there to aide them.
“We call upon you to aid us in our task,” Amy began as the representation of Earth. The spell that the four of them were about to do wasn’t exactly the one that they had planned for, but they had been practicing magic long enough to be able to put a spell together quickly. She threw back her head and spoke clearly, as she looked into the light the loomed protectively over them. “To right what was wronged, this is what we ask.”
“To stop the terror inflicted upon the meek,” Serena chimed in after Amy, as she mimicked her actions. “Make them not afraid, this is what we seek.” The light that hung over them gathered strength with each word and the wind that stirred the air kicked up a notch as well.
“To expel that, which doesn’t belong,” Elayne included when it was her turn. “To leave this girl as herself again, to make her whole and strong.” The light over them took on a red hue for a moment after she spoke, then returned to its clear shine.
As water, Connie was the last to add her words to the spell. “Great Goddesses that aid us in every way. We call upon your wisdom to help us on this day. A spirit of ill intent has taken over your daughter, give her light to see. As we will it-”
“So mote it be,” all four intoned together.
As each of the women spoke and added their words to the spell, so did they add the essence of what was a part of them. Energy of the four elements could be felt through their linked hands as it traveled the circle they created and gained power. Soon the light that swirled above them contained a smattering of all their power and they were ready to move to the next step. Now was the time to attempt to remove the spirit from the girl’s body.
Serena and Elayne unlinked their hands long enough to allow Serena to guide the bound body of Ravenmyst into the circle. It was obvious that the spirit that had taken over her body was struggling to get free, but the bonds of air that held him would only be released when Serena chose, and not before. Once the body had been positioned in the center of their circle, the women clasped hands again and the spell continued.
“Round and round the earth it turns,” Amy began and the body of the girl began to turn slowly clockwise.
As Serena continued the wind picked up yet again, “The need is great to blow out that which it yearns.”
“The power of heat to separate that, which does not belong.” A red-orange glow emanated from Elayne’s chest that in turn surrounded the girl as heat radiated on the faces of the women that formed the circle.
“The constancy of water of wash away what which has been wronged,” Connie finished and a halo of aqua blue encircle her head, ready to douse the fire when it had served its purpose.
“Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna,” the women began to chant once again after the last incantation had been spoken. Their voices were strong and sure, unlike the first time they began the chant. The Goddesses were already present, but they needed the power of belief to accomplish their task. The four women’s linked hands shook as energy swirled around them, trying to loosen the spirit from the girl’s body.
Meanwhile, Richard had finally managed to clear the last of the debris that covered Scott and Val. From his limited first aid knowledge he didn’t think that they looked to worse for wear and he was able to detect a strong pulse from them both when he put his fingers to their necks. He checked them over thoroughly, feeling down limbs to ensure that none were broken. They would probably be sore and bruised for a few days, but they should be fine after that. When he was confident that he had done all he could for the moment, he turned his attention fully to the circle to watch the women.
Things seemed to be going well as far as he could tell. He wasn’t sure exactly what his wife and the other women were attempting to do, but he had absolutely no doubt that they would accomplish good in the end. They had been a coven for a long time and had done many things to be proud of in the past. Tonight would be no different.
Unfortunately, the spell wasn’t working. The women continued to chant the names of the Goddesses that they had called forth to help them, but so far they had only marginal success. In theory, the spirit should have been pulled from the girl’s body and into the ring of fire that surrounded it so that they could dispose of the interloper safely.
Elayne opened her eyes after a time as she continued to chant to see how things were progressing. She watched as the essence of the spirit that had invaded Ravenmyst’s body began to be hauled from her flesh as she continued to spin in front of them. Hope swelled in Elayne’s chest and she felt her hands tighten on those of Connie and Serena as magical energy flowed throughout them. Her hope was crushed, however, when the spirit broke free of the spell and once again planted itself firmly in the girl.
A glance on either side of her told Elayne that worry was showing on the faces of Serena and Connie as well, but she couldn’t see Amy through the body in the center of the circle. Eventually all the women opened their eyes and looked around them as their chanting ceased.
“It’s not enough,” Connie said loudly over the roar of the wind that blew around them.
“What else can we do?” Amy asked, her voice as equally loud to be heard.
“We’ve put everything we have into the spell,” Serena countered. Which was true. They had already put every ounce of magick they had into the spell. There wasn’t anything more.
“We can’t just leave her,” Elayne called. That was certain. She hadn’t come this far to be denied closure to what was happening. Scott deserved more and frankly, so did she.
Richard had come forward at the first sign that the spell wasn’t working and had heard the final bits of their conversation over the blowing wind. “Can I do anything?” he asked from outside the circle. Wearily he eyed his wife and he could see the worry that filled her eyes. They had to do something fast.
“Unfortunately no, Richard,” Amy replied. “We’ve called on female magic, adding your gifts to the mix would only counteract the spell at this point.”
As if the spirit knew the women had been unsuccessful in pulling him from his new body, Zechariah used the magick he had been pooling inside him since one of them had bound him with the flows of air. He had no idea where any of them were so he decided to release a burst of energy from all sides of his body and hoped that it hit the one who held him and set him free.
Elayne and the others were rocked back on their feet when the burst hit them. “Don’t break the circle,” Amy called out and they doubled the grasp on each other’s hands. Somehow, they managed to stay together and on their feet but they all knew they wouldn’t survive another assault like that one.
“We have to do something, now,” Serena said, fear beginning to show around the edges of her voice. It was that fear that propelled Helen forward. Her mom was scared and Dad couldn’t help, that left only her.
“I can help, Mom,” she called out when she was close enough. At first no one heard her. The women of the circle were struggling just to keep the spirit contained. It was fighting hard to break the bonds of air, but for now they still held. There was no time for invitations; Helen joined the circle by placing her two small hands over the clasped ones of her mother and Elayne.
Both women looked down at her slight touch and it was on the tip of Serena’s tongue to ask what she was doing here when the girl spoke loud into the raging wind, with a voice well beyond her ten years. “I add my strength to the power of four. Allow what these women have taught to enter the circle and nothing more. We are ruled by the Power of Three. As I will it, so mote it be.”
They had all known that Helen had to have a great amount of power to have shown signs at such an early age, but nothing would have prepared them for the surge of magickal energy that coursed through the circle with her incantations. Feeling renewed, they picked up the chant again, this time Helen joining in with them.
Zechariah felt that he was losing the battle to maintain the body he had waited so long to have. He felt his essence as it pooled and was once again displaced from its flesh, left to hang in the air with no purpose.
“That’s it,” Connie said as the wind died down a little. They watched as the spirit was collected into a black blob in the wall of fire that Elayne had constructed around the body of the girl. Everyone that is, except Serena, who was looking down at her daughter with a huge amount of pride in her shining eyes.
Richard was proud of his daughter as well. His first instinct had been to pull her away from the circle when he saw her approached her mother. Something inside him, however, told him that all was well, that his daughter’s presence here was needed and that no harm would come to her. It was the same voice that was always in the back of his mind during every mission he had ever been on and one that he trusted implicitly because it had helped to save his life on countless occasions.
Amy pulled her hands from Serena and Connie’s and held them out in front of her, palms up. To keep the circle intact each woman cupped her elbows instead, allowing her the freedom of movement to accomplish what was to come next.
Using her natural element of earth, Amy said a few words to Cybele, the Phrygian Great Mother goddess of the earth and caverns for help. Dust and tiny particles of dirt collected in her open palms and within moments she held two halves of a metal egg that the women would use to house the displaced spirit. Amy held the two metal halves over her head and said, “Let the earth bind this spirit and let it bring harm to none. By the power of Cybele, keep this spirit from the sun. Housed in this egg, by the power of three times three. As I will it, so mote it be.”
The inky blackness that was Zechariah left the shield of fire that surrounded the girl and he soon found himself encased in something cold and hard and there was nothing he could do about it. He wailed in despair at the darkness he now found himself in.
In the circle, the body of Ravenmyst fell forward. The spirit was no longer controlling her so her body slacked against the flows of air that still held her unmoving flesh. Connie allowed the halo of water that was still gathered around her head to move forward until in was over the girl’s still hooded one. Releasing the water, Connie watched as it slowly rained fat drops of clean water onto the girl’s head, allowing the remaining evil of the spirit and the shield of fire to be washed away.
Once the cleaning was done, Serena gently laid the girl on the ground at their feet so that they could finish the spell. Now Elayne could see Amy from where she stood across from her and the metal egg that now held the spirit that she cradled with both hands.
Amy’s gaze met Elayne’s as she pushed the egg forward. She was holding the two halves together and that was fine for now, but something more permanent had to be done. Elayne understood immediately what Amy’s intentions were and she used fire to meld the two halves together. The spirit was contained, but they would have to discuss what to do with it later.
With great respect the women thanked the goddesses for their aid and watched as the light that had gathered over them faded, leaving a wonderful feeling of peace over the entire area. With that done, they released what remained of the elemental power that they had used and unclasped their hands. They were tired and would need a good night’s rest, but there would be no lasting effects from the activities of the night.
Elayne dropped to her haunches next to Ravenmyst and gently; she pulled the makeshift hood from her head. The young woman’s face was beautiful as she lay there, asleep. Elayne didn’t know if the spell had in anyway affected her magic and for now she was glad that Serena hadn’t yet removed the bonds that held her.
“Elayne,” Amy said quietly, bringing her friends attention to her once again. “I have to put us back in time. Are you ready to deal with the fire?” She still held the egg in both hands and Elayne knew that she wasn’t likely to let it out of her sight until they had come up with a solution as to what to do with it.
Elayne stood and after a quick glance in Scott’s direction to see that he was all right, she nodded. In the next instant they were back in regular time and the flames that were licking at the stage curtains roared to life once again. Elayne closed her eyes and beckoned the flames until they were under her control and finally they ceased to be. That done, she quickly turned and went to Scott, who was now struggling to sit up.
“Let me help you,” she said quietly as she kneeled by his side and eased his body until he was supported against her chest. She would never be able to fully express the relief she felt. It was done now. Scott was safe and in the end that was all that really mattered.
“What happened?” Scott asked. His voice was a little shaky and he held one hand to his head where she could just see that a bruise was beginning to form.
“It’s over,” she told him as she smoothed his dark hair back on the other side of his face and kissed the top of his head. He couldn’t see the tears that filled her eyes, but he heard them in her voice and he found her other hand and held it tightly in his.
Neither of them was aware that Amy had come over to Val’s side as well. He was sitting up and when he saw the egg that she held he looked at her questioningly.
“Everything is okay,” she told him as she leaned forward so that she could kiss his lips. “We’re okay.” Val took his wife in his arms and held her tightly against his chest. He tried not to think about how bad things could have turned out and he was so thankful everyone was all right.
Richard and Serena were both on their knees, their daughter between them. Serena wanted to scold the girl for coming when there was so much danger involved, but she was so relieved that nothing had happened to her that she didn’t have the heart for it.
“I helped, didn’t I Mom?” Helen asked, her blue eyes bright with excitement. She was a ten-year-old again, not the child-sized adult that had saved them all.
“Yes, you did, sweetheart,” Serena told her then she pulled the child to her chest and hugged her close while Richard kissed first his daughter’s head then his wife’s lips. Somehow they had managed to survive the events of the night, but he was sure the victory would seem bittersweet if they hadn’t deterred the young woman who had stalked Scott in the first place.
“What the hell happened here?” Ollie asked as he entered the scene and took in the charred curtains and downed framework of the stage. He looked freshly showered and was dressed as if he planned to go out for the evening. He saw Elayne with Scott propped against her chest and immediately went to his friend’s side. “Scott, are you alright, man?”
“Fine,” Scott replied as he reached out and took Ollie’s offered hand and allowed him to help him to his feet. “Everything is fine now.”
Ollie looked around again and noticed for the first time the girl that was still lying on the floor next to Richard and Serena. “Is that who I think it is?”
“Yes,” Elayne replied as she got to her feet as well and moved to Scott’s side.
“So you stopped her?”
“We’ll see,” she said optimistically as Scott pulled her against him. Connie came over then and looked over first Val then Scott. When she was satisfied that they had no major injuries and that they would be fine with a little rest, she went back to Ravenmyst to wait for her to awaken.
“What exactly went on around here?” Ollie asked as he once again looked around the area. “Or don’t I want to know?”
Elayne smiled at her new friend. It would be odd to return to her life after knowing Ollie and the others, but the realization that Ravenmyst was no longer a threat was starting to hit her and she knew that she would have to return home all too soon. “Let’s just say that we took care of everything.”
Ollie’s gaze met Elayne’s and his eyes narrowed at the melancholy that he saw in the liquid blue. He had the feeling that her despondency had nothing to do with what she and the others had done to stop Ravenmyst, but had everything to do with the fact that now the job was done. He reached out and took a firm hold of her hand and leaned over to kiss her cheek. “Well, I for one, am glad that it’s over and done with. I’m going to find the others and let them know what’s going on.”
He sensed that whatever was troubling her had something to do with Scott and that they needed time alone to deal with things. He hoped that the two of them got their shit together and decided to make their relationship more permanent. He understood that Scott had some hang-ups over his divorce, but it was obvious that the two of them loved each other and that they belonged together. He hoped that everything worked out.
Elayne watched as Ollie walked away and wondered how she was ever going to get her life back to normal. She loved Scott with all her heart, but she had known from the beginning that anything she would have with him would be temporary. Somehow she was going to have to make the memories that she had of him last for a lifetime because she already knew that there would never be anyone else in her life.
“Looks like things can get back to normal for you now,” she told him quietly. She had her eyes glued to the floor; she couldn’t look at him just yet.
“Normal?” Scott laughed as he turned Elayne in his arms so that they faced each other. “How will anything ever be normal again?” God he loved her. Scott found himself wondering how he was going to ask her to spend the rest of his life with him. He knew he still had issues over his marriage to Kristen, but he was more than ready to make a lasting commitment to Elayne. Did she feel the same? Maybe all she wanted to do was get home and away from the craziness that was his life. He prayed that wasn’t the case.
Elayne dared to look into his eyes and she smiled slightly when she realized that he was going to be okay after everything he had been through in the past few months. She was glad for that at least. “We should probably get you and Val back to the house. Are you sure nothing is broken?”
“I’m fine,” he assured her as he pulled her closer to him so that he could lean down and kiss her upturned mouth. He looked into her eyes for the first time and saw the lines of fatigue that outlined them. She was tired, and for that matter so was he. He couldn’t wait to go to bed, but he wasn’t ready to until he knew Elayne would be there to wake next to him for the rest of his life. “There’s something I want to ask you.”
“Okay,” Elayne said slowly, worried that he was going to ask her and her friends to clear out of his house as soon as possible. She knew the idea was silly, but the doubts that had plagued her since the beginning of their relationship wouldn’t shut up in the back on her head.
Scott lifted a hand and ran the back of his scraped knuckles down her soft cheek. He knew now that this was the woman he had been waiting for his entire life. As he looked down at her an epiphany of sorts lodged in his mind. The time he had spent with Kristen had taught him to appreciate the real thing when he found it. He realized that he no longer held any regret or malice toward her or their marriage. It was something that was supposed to happen when it did and for that Scott was grateful.
“I know that the timing isn’t the best, but I don’t want to go on another minute without asking you something very important.”
Elayne’s brow creased at his last statement. What on earth was he talking about? She was at a loss as to where he was going with this, but thankfully she didn’t have to wait much longer.
“I’m sorry that I’m not fully prepared to ask you this,” Scott continued. He took her left hand in his and brought it to his lips where he held it for an extended moment. “I know that I haven’t met your family and that you only know Evan but-”
“Scott what are you talking about?” she asked finally, unable to stay quiet any longer.
He smiled then kissed her ring finger before finishing. “I’m talking about you and I getting married. I know that the timing is odd, but you know that I love you more than anything else in the world. I want to know that for the next forty years or so that we can belong to each other.” He lowered his head until it hovered over hers. “I want you…”
Elayne’s heart did a double take, as suddenly all of her doubts and hesitations left her mind like a huge weight being taken off her shoulders. Scott loved her. She already knew that, but he wanted them to get married and spend the rest of their lives together. She couldn’t think of anything that she wanted more.
A stupid grin spread across her features as she looked up at the man that she loved. “Are you sure about this?” she asked.
“Of course I’m sure,” Scott replied as he returned her smile. “I love you,” he whispered just before his lips met hers in a kiss that sealed their lives together forever.
“And I love you.”
The sun reflected brightly of the blue-green waters of the Pacific Ocean. The day was a perfect one for boating and Elayne was glad that they had been able to charter a vessel that was large enough for everyone to join them in this day of celebration. She felt safe and precious as she stood near the rail of the large sailboat, Scott holding her tightly against his chest. It had been two days since the encounter with Ravenmyst and the spirit and in that time many things had changed, while others had stayed the same.
Connie and Serena had taken Ravenmyst, a.k.a. Irene McAllister; to a nearby hotel until she regained consciousness a few hours after everything had settled down at the arena. It was odd to everyone involved to finally place a real name with the girl who had been nothing but a pain in the ass for them. It was also odd in the end to think that in a way she had been a victim in all this as well. The spirit had used her stupidity involving the Craft to get her to help him regain an earthly body.
To everyone’s relief except the girl’s, her magickal ability had been removed from her body along with the essence of the spirit that she had unwillingly made a pact with. It just went to show that if a witch, any witch, misused her power, the Law of Three would bring all she did back to her three times as bad. It was sad to think that she might have been able to do good things with her gift, but instead she squandered it on selfish desires.
Needless to say, Irene had been very angry when she learned of her loss and she screamed many venomous threats to the two women that her Daddy would make them pay for what they had done. Since the idea was preposterous, Connie and Serena left not long after Irene had come around, not giving her the satisfaction of a response from either of them as they exited.
Another change was the weight of the diamond on Elayne’s left hand. Scott hadn’t waited long before calling his mother in Kentucky to inform her that he had found the girl of his dreams and that they were going to get married. Anne Marsters had been surprised by her son’s proclamation, especially so soon on the heels of his divorce from Kristen, but when Elayne got on the line Anne immediately fell in love with the young woman as well. With this leg of the tour over, Scott had a little free time so he promised to bring Elayne to meet the entire family before leaving for Europse, after he had a chance to meet her family in Michigan.
Elayne would never forget the feeling of him slipping the ring on her finger in the predawn hours that had actually been just hours earlier. After sleeping most of the previous day away they had spent the entire night making love in Scott’s four-poster bed. It was afterward, when he held her so close that she felt like nothing could ever hurt her again, that Scott had gently picked up her hand and slipped the emerald cut diamond over her knuckle.
“I love you,” he told her quietly in her ear and it was the best thing she had ever heard.
“I love you, too,” she said as she entangled her fingers in his hair and pulled him close for her kiss. They didn’t talk again for a long while.
It was Ollie that brought the two lovebirds out of their private world. “When are we going to get this show on the road?” he asked as he rubbed his hands together vigorously from where he stood a few feet away on the deck of the sailboat.
Scott laughed as he rested his forehead in Elayne’s hair out of exasperation. “Can’t you just enjoy the day, Ollie?” Ronnie asked as he came up and slapped his friend companionably on the back.
“No way,” Ollie replied as he shook his head certainly. “It’s time to see some mumbo jumbo.” Ollie had been really disappointed that he had missed all the fireworks the night of the concert regardless of the fact that both Richard and Val had told him the situation was dangerous. He had the magick bug and now he wanted to see the conclusion.
Elayne laughed too, as she shook her head at Ollie’s crazy obsession with the occult. “Okay, okay. Go find Amy and see if you can pry her away from her husband long enough to do this.” They hadn’t seen anyone else on the water for about an hour so the time to act was finally at hand.
Amy had retained responsibility for the egg that contained the spirit since the night of the concert. It wasn’t a glamorous job and everyone knew that she wanted this to be finished more than anyone else.
There had been much discussion during the past twenty-four hours over what to do with the egg. At first it had been suggested that a member of the coven keep it and look over it so that it was never opened, allowing the spirit to once again gain his freedom. The idea had been disregarded, however, because of the likelihood that at some point in the future, when it’s real origins had long been forgotten, that someone would unknowingly open it, eager to know what lay inside.
No one had liked that alternative so it was with much relief that Richard came up with the perfect solution. They would use his ability to shield himself from view to disguise the egg then bury it at the bottom of the ocean. That way, if for some reason in the future, the Pacific was no longer and anyone ever came across it, the egg wouldn’t be ‘found’ anyway.
Soon everyone was assembled on the back of the sailboat with Connie, Elayne, Amy and Serena standing together in the center. After the proper rituals of thanksgiving to the God and Goddess for their aid had been completed and the four directions had been called, Richard came forward to stand between his wife and Amy.
He held his hand over the egg where it rested in Amy’s upturned palms and closed his eyes to concentrate. Within seconds, the egg became transparent with only a tag of sorts that they would use to finish transporting it to its final destination. After that, the tag would dissolve forever.
Using her power of telekinesis, Serena gently lifted the egg from Amy’s hands and levitated it out over the water. Once it was fifty feet or so way, she dropped it into the water and Connie took over. Manipulating the water that the egg now found itself in, Connie pushed it down thousands of feet until it rested on the ocean floor.
When she was done, Connie moved her gaze toward Amy who in turn opened the earth under the thousands of tons of water and pushed the egg down further still until she couldn’t move it any more.
That accomplished, the women squeezed each other’s hands and once again thanked the God and Goddess for their intervention. For now, they had succeeded in their goal and were now able to continue on with their lives.
Everyone was excited about the upcoming wedding and there was much planning to begin if they were going to be ready for the October date that Scott and Elayne had already set.
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