Following on from “Just the beginning” – The Witches Circle series.
Oridin Lexington:” I see. So what does that entitle for us all ?”
– Oridin had kept quiet the entire time , hearing more and more that has been said it was implied Greed and Gluttony are not on the same boat when it came to understandings and the Apprentice realized this must mean that they had to be enemies possibly. These were all theories however, as the apprentice did not know who these people were or anything and was only going by the context that was given. He walked closer to Esme before looking around at the more empty space since more and more have them left and now leaving barely anyone in this area . Oridin would then ask her where they should go now , since there seemed to be nothing for them out here at this point in time. –
Oridin Lexington:” So where should we go next ? ”
In the middle of the circle a sudden burst of light spread out and was followed with the second half of the prince’s shrill scream of pain and when the light dissipated and lighting returned to normal, Astaroth was kneeling in the middle rubbing his temples and cursing all that is holy. Especially archangels and their barriers of no-leaving-for-you-mister. After about five seconds or so he stood up and looked around. He could feel there there was no shred of his powers in this golem, an uncomfortable feeling that left him on edge. He wouldn’t be able to protect himself at all, although perhaps he could just remove the crown and be fine.
He saw two people and bowed towards them as their attention would surely be on someone that appeared as suddenly and extravagantly as he had. If it had been up to him though, he would’ve arrived without screaming in pain and blasting out light. He was hoping he’d brought a little bit of his seal with him and thus weakened it. He had suspicions that were not the case though. That would simply be far too convenient.
“I do apologise for this horrid entrance. I would’ve chosen something less bright and soundless, but such is not my luck.” he smiled sweetly at the two. “My name is Astaroth and I hold the current title of Pride.” he bowed deeply this time. “I wish to speak with your elder, if that is alright?” he kept it short for the clock continued ticking and Salem had said he wouldn’t be able to keep the golem up for too long. Astaroth hoped the kid wasn’t exerting himself too much. He would feel horrible if Salem would use up too much of his powers when Astaroth really could’ve just sent a raven. All he could do now though, was his best at explaining his situation to whoever wanted to help and make it appealing enough for them to actually try and break the barrier.
She moved her eyes to watch Shamus leave, before looking up at Lavinia. “I appreciate the offer, but I made the mistake in trusting the wrong people before. I’m not making that mistake again.” she then said. She turned to glance at her family behind her when Lavinia spoke, before looking back at her with a curious expression, watching the Elder witch walk off with narrowed eyes.
“You were right about the heart. It’s not yours that is needed, but that does not mean that you are out of danger. This….is only the beginning.”
Another voice spoke, and Mariela turned to look at her. ‘I never said I wasn’t out of danger.” she spoke. “I know fully well the amount of danger I could be in, but I’m not at all worried.” she said afterwards. She turned her head to look back in the direction the other witches had walked to before speaking again. “As much as I appreciate your Elder’s offer, I’ve trusted the wrong people too many times.” she said, looking back at the girl. “One of those times lead to my death.”she then said. “Until I’m proven that all of them can be trusted, I’m not taking any chances.” she then spoke after.
Mariela heard a scream of pain, and then saw a flash of bright light. She immediately turned her head to the source, taking a few steps back as the person appeared. She gave a small curtsy when he bowed, before turning to look back at Esme.“I think I’ll take my leave now. Give your Elder my apologies.” she then said, nodding her head in farewell before turning and motioning for Scar and her family to follow her, before exiting the Witches Circle. Did she make a mistake? Maybe. She didn’t know. But everyone makes mistakes, and everyone has to deal with the consequences. Was Mariela worried? Not really. Good always wins.
Scar hated being right. He knew from the start that going to the Witches circle was a bad idea. He didn’t trust the Elders at all, and the news that another Princess may possibly have been killed in their sacred grounds meant that the likes of the new Princess of Greed being there – she’s have no protection anyways. The alp however was proud of his Mistress. She handled herself with a sense of pride and dedication to the protection of her family, no matter who was making threats with them. She bluntly told them all, she would kill anyone that tried to harm them. So much passion in her voice, that tears welled in Scar’s eyes. She was nothing like Lydia, and he thanked the maker for that fact. Mariela didn’t need these beings protection. He and her family would be that circle of trust…their bonds already proved over and over. In the maze, and back at the castle. Mariela had been burnt by those she trusted. She swore never again to take that chance.
“I think I’ll take my leave now. Give your Elder my apologies.”
Scar stood by her side and bowed politely before Esme and Oridin. “It’s time we went home.” The alp was already making plans on how to help get Mariela’s family home. He didn’t need the Elders to do what he had already done before. But at least now, Mariela had seen what witches and warlocks – the Elders were like. Looking back at Tessa, Sam and Sean, Scar motioned with his head that they start to leave the area. They had a long walk home.
In the forest edge a dark shadow hovered and there was a distinct chuckle that watched the scene playing out before him. So this…was the new Princess of Greed. Pretty. He thought to himself. Watching them depart, Marcus fell back into the shadows. He would make his move….when they were least expecting it. Here, at the Witches circle, there were the ancients that were sure to start whispering their annoyance. Marcus was not about to let that happen.
(TC – Marcus – Scar to Greed Kingdom)
Now that the Princess of Greed and her party had left, there was a great explosion of light from the center of the circle. It seemed that the royals of Hell were continuing to visit the Witches circle. Perhaps news of Gluttony’s murderous spree was starting to filter out to the other realms and more were coming to protect their own interests. Oridin asked where they were off to now. With the newest arrival, Esme knew that they weren’t going anywhere just yet. The apprentice served Lavinia no matter where she was in Dyre.
“I do apologize for this horrid entrance. I would’ve chosen something less bright and soundless, but such is not my luck.”
Fireworks and a light show. It had to be a royal. Esme offered a sideways glance at Oridin as she returned to hear the rest of the introduction.
“My name is Astaroth and I hold the current title of Pride.”
“Pride?!” Esme’s sudden cry of the Prince’s name showed that she was now deeply shocked that the one that Shamus had mentioned was now standing in the Witches circle. Did this…Astaroth know about Gluttony? The introduction showed nothing but good manners, and no real fret or worry. You could see the blood run from Esme’s face, and she stood awkwardly, her eyes darting around to see if the great Glutton would suddenly return unannounced, even though Lavinia had used a banishing spell that meant he could not return.
“I wish to speak with your elder, if that is alright?”
“You mean, Lavinia. She uhm….she’s this way.” With a sinking feeling in her own heart, she turned and gestured for the embodiment of Astaroth to follow. “Lavinia was here, but she left the circle.”
If Astaroth and Oridin followed, Esme would take them deep into the forest. Normally she would lead them straight to the cottage, but from the feeling of magical power, Lavinia had taken a different direction. Heading to a much darker place, where there was a special clearing. Within it stood an ancient tree that was devoid of leaves and flowers. There were no animals except for the raven which sat upon her shoulder. There was a great chair fashioned from the twisted roots that had come up from under the ground. Lavinia was sitting in this chair, meditating. Only when the trio entered the clearing did she open her eyes.
Esme bowed as she approached, with Lavinia staring down at her with a look of disdain.
“I have a guest that wishes to be granted audience….my Queen. It’s…Astaroth…the Prince of….”
Before she could finish, Lavinia bore a great smile and watched Astaroth approach.
“Ah yes….the Heart. Such a proud heart. One that beats so fiercely. It’s a wonder that it is still in your chest, but don’t worry, the Gluttonous one can not enter Dyre….I sent him packing.”
No doubt this was going to bring a series of questions from Astaroth, who knew nothing of the plots of the Prince of Gluttony. If he did feel threatened however, it came from the realms, not the Witches Circle.
“I know you….I walked with you once upon a dream.” Lavinia seemed to be enjoying this now, smiling over at Oridin and then saying to the young mage. “You may well be leaving us to go to a Castle that lay in the center of a lake.” The Elder spoke of the Kingdom of Pride, but that of course all hinged on what Astaroth said next.
– Oridin bowed his head in return to the male that had done so to him ; being awkward about the whole ordeal and not knowing who they were personally or their importance and had only done so out of respect . When seeing the Prince of Pride announce himself Oridin felt quite shocked as to how many royals had appeared here today. It had to have been at least 4 . He didn’t know what to say next ; in fact , he couldn’t find any words to leave his mouth at this time but instead respectfully bowed to the male known as Pride as he spoke to them , he allowed Esme to speak for him as he couldn’t find anything to say so he walked simply as a mute with her to where she was bringing Pride . He didn’t want her to go alone , he didn’t have anything to do also and wishing to know more about the Elders is one of the things Oridin wished to do . He wanted to more closely get in touch with the art of magic and get much more close to how it should be wielded and how to do so efficiently . His mind hovered around the thought of how to introduce himself when reaching the Elder ; finding himself in face of Lavinia upon reaching her domain which was quite grim in nature and held solely but a chair and the tree that it was near ; Oridin can only assume the Elder was quite spiritual and he bowed in respect when she spoke to the group and then seemed to have spoken to Oridin about going to a Castle in which Oridin’s behavior broke its structure as his response came . –
Oridin Lexington : ” C-Castle ? I’m going where ? ”
– Oridin’s eyes seemed to have showed the sensation of fear, however it wasn’t the typical being afraid of something but in truth it was him being uneasy about going somewhere where he hasn’t been , a place truly foreign to him . Oridin had gotten use to this realm , and as scary as it sounded he sighed thinking about what may happen when he’s gotten there . He tilted his head down and stared at the ground before taking in a deep breath to say –
Oridin Lexington : ” Wherever it may be , I’ll go if that is the will of the Elders. ”
– There may be some good in going to another land , as it may teach him more about the world as well as expanding his knowledge . He could always use more , more to learn and the more things he could find out while being in the realms beyond the Witches Circle . His fear slowly faded into inquisitive bliss . He felt as if he could really do it. –
Astaroth jumped as his title was suddenly cried out. He had been out of the game for several centuries, if not a few milennia. Appearing nowhere, never sending messages and really just not contacting the world outside of his prison. Such a reaction was to be expected, however, it still surprised him. It was almost rude. He did forgive though as it was justified. Anyone would be surprised to see a man that had probably become a story in his time away. A myth, maybe. Or perhaps that was just Astaroth’s wishing.
Just as the girl had cried out, the boy beside her bowed. Perhaps he held a higher rank than the girl and thus had better manners?
He bowed to the girl again before following her. He caught up quickly so that he’d walk just a little bit behind the two. He was being lead somewhere, walking beside them would be useless and he’d just seem awkward whenever he’d take a step in a different direction than where they were heading. So behind it was. Walking behind also gave him a chance to take in the sight of the forest. There were no forests on his island and he so missed the free nature. All he had was a garden with herbs, a few flowers and an apple tree. It was nothing fancy, but he was fond of it. It provided solace from everything, because despite his lack of appearances he did have duties as a prince as every other prince should have.
Much to Astaroth’s displeasure, the girl stopped in a small clearing with a dead tree. Dead trees of course had their appeal, but Astaroth preferred them alive. This particular dead tree should most likely be considered the elder witch’s throne, he guessed.
He carefully stepped passed the boy and girl when the witch smiled at him and bowed deeply.
“I thank you, Elder.” he had been hoping it was something else, but his heart was certainly worthy of this blasted pain in his gut and now chest. “I had no idea it would be Gluttony. Now I’ll be able to prepare properly knowing who to expect.” his lack of questions perhaps came as a surprise, but he’d already known that he were likely to be attacked. Although he did have one question. Why his heart? But that would be a question saved for later for the elder spoke again.
“Oh? I do hope I didn’t embarrass myself.” he smirked. “I hope I can take it that you know why I’m here then?” he looked towards the boy with a friendly smile when she spoke to him. Perhaps he was an expert on barriers with extensive knowledge of angelic ones. That would certainly make Astaroth more than willing to invite him to his home.
Watching Esme, Oridin and the visitor – a golem of Astaroth approach the dead tree throne, Lavinia adjusted her posture so she was sitting more regally upon her knotted wood seat. Another raven happened to swoop down from the skies and landed just on the edge of the throne, bowing graciously with its wings spreading before the Supreme Elder. A note was tied to its leg, and while she could hear the one known as Astaroth give thanks for allowing this meeting and also the revelation about Gluttony, Lavinia untied the note and read the contents that were written in a familiar script. The Queen of witches could not hold back the laughter that bubbled up from the very pit of her stomach.
How odd. There were now two witches that held thrones of the seven kingdoms. Katrina had somehow managed to get the crown from the Princess Sayaka. It was completely unexpected, but there was a silver lining to this latest development. Folding the note, she tucked it into her dress, before returning her attention with a much more somber expression, when Astaroth had mentioned that he had no idea that Gluttony was after him, nor why.
“Now I’ll be able to prepare properly knowing who to expect.”
This statement brought a surprised look from Lavinia. Preparing for the onslaught of a demon Prince like Gluttony was going to be no easy feat, especially with the current upsets that were being caused by the time piece. Astaroth had not been present when the Lord Gluttony had, and missed the change in the Queen of witches herself, from the disruption in magic and time.
“You might have trouble expecting the unexpected.” By this, Lavinia meant that nothing was set in stone. “You see, there has been a shift in powers to many creatures both magical and not. This is more than some simple quest for power. For you see, there is a power that Gluttony cannot control – though he may fail to understand what that is.”
Rising up from her throne, she slowly walked down each step till she was on level ground and was standing before the gathering.
“You suspect I know why you are here.” Lavinia paused and then nodded to both ravens to take flight, before returning her attention to Astaroth. “A deal was done with a Prince who now wears a specific piece known as the right hand of doom.” The Dark one had explained to Lav earlier about what the consequence of this was, and that in order for Gluttony to keep the hand, he must bring a trophy that was worthy.
“The pain you suffer from. The stomach pains, the headaches. Your bodies way of letting you know that you are in danger. A sense that…serves you well.” It had, since the quest for answers to his ailment had brought him to the Witches circle, rather than going to a simple medicine professional.
“The heart that beats so strongly within you, is one of great power. The one that holds that heart in his hand….gets control of not just the heart’s owner…..but everything and more. A proud heart is akin to the heart of the Great Lion.:” If Astaroth was paying attention and closely, he might realize the severity of danger that he was in.
“You have one good thing on your side, aside from those that are honored to serve you till death. There is a time limit on acquiring the heart as the trade. You have six days remaining. I suggest, you return to your kingdom, but….before you do I shall give you a gift.”
This was when she looked to Oridin. The young apprentice mage that had been keeping close to Esme during this meeting, but eager to learn more about the path he was to take.
Lavinia went to a tree that had a large hollow in it and reached inside. She took out three black candles. Each one bore a special marking that was emblazoned as though by fire. She cut her finger and then with her own blood, she let it seep into each candle’s markings infusing them with a certain type of magic. Lavinia called over Oridin to her side as she went to hand him the candles.
“Take these, along with this.” Lavinia took a ring off her own finger, that contained a special stone that was jagged in shape. The black stone was small enough that it was easily carried on one’s person and remain undetected by others.
“Light the three candles at midnight, on the night of a full moon and place them in a triangle formation. The jewel ring should be placed in their center.” Handing the mage the ring, she added;
“Once all the candles and the stone are in place, speak the following words aloud:
Stone of the earth,
Guard my heart with your strength,
Protect it from evil and harm,
That no danger may pass,
No threat draw near.
Smiling at Oridin, she concluded what must be done after the chant. “Extinguish the candles and break them. Then get the Prince of Pride to wear or carry the stone any time he felt the need for added strength and security against an intrusion on his heart.”
The spell explained, Lavinia returned her attention to Astaroth.
“Take Oridin with you on your return and the gift will be put into play. It is the best I can offer you, and the boy will learn much on his travels. At the end of the sixth day, when the time piece has run out, he shall return to our circle and be raised to that of an Elder for his dedication to the craft.”
It would be a win win…surely. She waited with a smile for Astaroth and Oridin to speak.