Dedicated to my late Aunt Pam. A true beautiful lady; and I am sure your light is now burning bright in Heaven.
Dedicated to my late Aunt Pam. A true beautiful lady; and I am sure your light is now burning bright in Heaven.
Justin Bieber is good at table tennis, but is Hamish’s Dad better? The international sporting event of the century! The Blake Bieber Cup!
Ever have those times when you are driving along and a song will come on the radio and just take you back in time in your mind? Like an emotional trigger, you find yourself thinking of people, of places of when you first heard the song. A movie that I thought captured the ideal was probably Forest Gump, where the music was just as important in telling the story of Forest’s life. If I could build a playlist of my life through music, I am sure that the top ten songs would be from those important family moments, or even the world events that happened at the time.
Sadly for me, the song that stands out in bringing an emotional response, relates to the death of a beloved Aunt. I can’t help but burst into tears whenever I hear it. Both for the lyrics, and the memory of losing someone that I adored from cancer.
The Black Tower
The raven had flown in a different direction to that of Zachary. While the Embassy staffer was on the right trail, Raul had one place he wanted to stop at off first, and this was more or less dropping in to pick up an artifact to assist him. His fury at the Fallens was nothing compared to how he felt now. He knew what he heard. There was no mistaking that Bandit had called to him, begging him for help. And help he shall.
Flying across darkening skies, he was travelling back to his ancestral home. Known simply as the Black Tower, it had given rise to many of the Black family. While his mother remained in residence, the wandering Warlock often went beyond it’s borders to seek out new spells, allies and of course….his slaves. Marguerite was not fond of Raul bringing home his women, and often beat him about the head viciously when he ever did something that displeased her. You could say that she wasn’t exactly a maternal figure. If it was possible to get into the Tower and simply grab what he needed before flying out again, he would. Trouble was the gargoyles that sat upon the top most turrets of the tower kept watch of all that entered the castle, and were certain to alert their Mistress of the prodigal sons return.
Darting through an open window, which just so happened to be the study, the raven hovered over a table, before changing back into his bipedal form. He landed heavily upon the oak desk and let out a sigh as it appeared that no one had caught sight of him yet. At least that is what he thought.
“Hello Brother.” A smarmy voice said, as a head popped up from one of the velvet couches. It was Raul’s brother Marcus. Raul rolled his eyes. Oh…how he hated his brother. He was the last one that he wanted to see first up. Marcus on the other hand was more than delighted to see Raul. it would mean that Marguerite had someone else to focus her wrath at.
“Mother missed you so.” A mock pout then was followed by a laugh, as he sprang up from behind the couch and waltzed around it to the small mini bar. He started to pour himself a scotch as he waited, almost breathlessly for Raul to say….something.
“I bet she did. Look, I am not here for a social visit. Just to grab something out of my room and….”
“Ahahaha….told you she missed you.” Marcus took a swig of his scotch as he watched the scene unfolding before him.
“My baby boy….come to Mummy for a hug.” Marguerite held her arms open. The woman with ample bosom and strikingly young features bore a sickly sweet smile as she waited for her son to do as he was told. Skulking Raul trudged over and he glanced away as he allowed himself to be embraced. Oh, she held him tight for a moment, before smacking him violently about the head.
“YOU…NEVER…CALL….HOME!” ~Whack whack whack~ It was true. He didn’t. Why on earth would he want to keep his bat shit crazy mother on his speed dial. Watching Raul getting beaten, Marcus couldn’t hide his amusement if he tried. Oh how he loved family reunions. When Marguerite finished beating him about the head, she seemed to switch back to the caring mother side, hugging her son again and then patting his chest.
“Mummy loves you, my baby boy.”
Talk about twisted. Raul tried to smile at his mother, but it was clear his head was throbbing from the attack.
“Yes, yes Mother. Uhm…as much as I like this, I need to get something from my room.” He was keen to make a hasty retreat to his room, to find what he needed, but his Mother….well she was having none of that.
“Only when you fill in Mummy of how you have been. I’ve been so worried. You need to take your medicine. I always make sure you take it when you are here. I should get it now!” It was like talking to someone with ADD. Before he could respond, she dashed out of the room at speed. At this point, Marcus doubled over laughing.
“That…was so worth it.” He had tears rolling down his cheeks from laughter, as Raul stood there rubbing the back of his head. “Why won’t she just die?” Raul wasn’t exactly fond of the woman. When Marcus got over the hilarity of the moment, he then sauntered over to his brother and asked.
One word summed up that situation. “Dead.”
“Shit. No spring wedding then.”
A sudden laugh came from the next room, and suddenly Madame had popped her head in to visit her dearest warlocks. “Now, now, Raul.” Madame purred, smiling then with brightened eyes. “That woman brought you into the world, don’t be surprised if she takes you out of it!” The words were cheery, against their dark meaning. “Ah, Marcus. Hello, lovely.” The witch would gaze at the other Black brother, sharp and deep brown eyes meeting his pair of blue. Her hair was darkened under her own spell, as she would never want Raul to know her true identity.. And, of course, her facial structure itself was different. She wouldn’t allow Raul or any of these sniveling warlocks to know her own identity – to recognize her truly would be a catastrophe! Though, from the slight shine around her face, she indicated to them that this was merely a mask, and not her true appearance.. For most, she would simply let the illusion go, but she wanted Raul to know it was a fraud..
“So, when’re you going to tell mother dearest about your child?” Madame tilted her head, looking at Raul – though, right on cue, she could hear Marguerite enter the room. “Oh, Marguerite! Raul didn’t tell you? You’re going to have a grandchild! She’s in her hideout, Raul, you might want to head there before your mother kills you..” Madame would smile, leaning back against the bar’s counter, taking a scotch glass and putting it to her lips to drink, an amused look on her face.. Ah. Marcus would get a kick out of this, surely? Madame definitely would..
How Raul ever thought that he could just sneak in and get an item of Bandit’s without being detected showed that the Warlock was not thinking with his head at all. With his mother now in a flap over him being home and racing to get him some of that disgusting medicine of hers, he didn’t think it could get much worse. But…it could. The sound of laughter came from another room while Marcus was speaking with Raul. Couldn’t have been a member of staff, since they would know the repercussions from such insolence. The owner of the laughter however was a mere guest of the Blacks, but as soon as she spoke, there was no mistaking the tone.
“That woman brought you into the world, don’t be surprised if she takes you out of it!” Such true words. In a way, the idea of having his mother give him some of that foul concoction could be a one way ticket out of this life. Raul scowled, when the woman swung into the room, much to the delight of Marcus, who was greeted with all the joy of a long lost friend. Marcus was still holding his glass of whiskey, with a smug expression still firmly in place. Marcus simply tipped the glass at her as a way of acknowledging her presence, but the twinkle in his eye spoke volumes.
“So, when’re you going to tell mother dearest about your child?”
This one sentence was enough to cause Raul to start a coughing fit, while Marcus on the other hand was pleasantly surprised. You could say that Raul’s brother found it too good to be true. Raul was never going to hear the end of this.
“Ever heard of a condom, brother?”
“Shut up, you.” Raul shouted at his brother before in a shot of anger he rounded on Madame Green. Disguise or not, he was pissed that this female busy body was entering the Black home to spread gossip. “Cats out of the bag now, brother. Wait till Mother…”
But Madame Green was going to beat Marcus to the punch. Singing out to her that Raul was going to provide her with a grandchild and that she was in her hideout presently. Raul shot daggers at Madame Green, as a ferocious scream of rage came from the other room.
“He what? A grandchild? RAUL TERADOR BLACK! YOU COME HERE AT ONCE AND EXPLAIN THIS OUTRAGE!”
That was it. With his mother set to attack her son over this terrible news, Raul was not about to hang around and be set upon. Madame Green had given him the location of his Bandit and unborn child, so the need to scry one of her personal items was no longer needed. Raul held up his hand as he muttered an incantation causing the crystal glass that Madame Green held to shatter, before he turned back into a raven and flew at speed out of the room. Talk about a hasty exit.
Marguerite charged into the room, right as Raul made his escape, and she snarled furiously as she crossed the floor and shook her fist at his departing form.
“YOU COWARD!…YOU COME BACK HERE AT ONCE!”
Course, there was no way that Raul was going to do any such thing, now that he knew Bandit’s location. But the thing was that Madame Green did. Marcus was cautious at this point in time. He was not exactly his Mother’s favorite, and it was part of the reason that he was able to get away with a hell of a lot more than his baby brother.
“Oh Mother….guess he is not staying for dinner.” Marcus winked at Madame Green before continuing. “Shall I follow him and find this grand child for you?” The older warlock started to pour Madame Green another drink since the last one would be all over the counter top.
Marguerite turned on Madame Green with her hands on her hips. She was the one that brought the news and now the elder Witch wanted answers.
“What do you know of my Son and the woman that is bearing my grandchild?”
Scar’s past was starting to catch up with him, as Alice would soon reveal. Part Three of “Guess who is coming to dinner.”
Kingdom of Greed – Castle
Having Mariela standing beside him and staring at the mirror, she saw exactly what he did. Mariela was no fool and knew that the enchanted looking glass had magics that she was yet to truly understand. The fact that the gardeners decided to bring the mirror into the castle itself was certainly not approved by Scar, or the Princess. Later on it would have to be dealt with, but for now they had Mariela’s family waiting and it was probably a good idea to get a wiggle on.
With Alice distracting Mariela momentarily, Scar squinted at the mirror and even tried to touch his nose with his tongue, till he heard Mariela call back for him after threading her arm through Alice’s.
“Yes, of course, your Highness.” He was quick to respond, and it may have come off as being overtly formal. He didn’t say ‘my’ but went to using your highness as a mark of respect. Scar saw the offered hand and quickly took it, coming up along side her with Alice happily skipping on the other side.
Yes, Scar knew Alice alright. She had caused a great deal of trouble over in Wonderland, some of it good, some of it bad. Hopefully, she would be able to keep certain things to herself, and not try to compare the Kingdom of Greed to that of the Queen of Hearts court.
Alice then decided to make small talk as it was something she was fond of doing.
“You’re very pretty, Princess Mariela. Nothing like the Queen of Hearts. Oh…she was a nasty one. All you had to do was say one wrong thing and it was off with your head.’ her voice had a merry tinkle like sound to it. Child like and yet….something was a bit off. Alice wasn’t a child. In fact she was a young woman. Could it be her heart was forever young? “You don’t lop off people’s heads, do you, Princess Mariela?” The girl was full of questions, as Scar coughed loudly.
“Oh I am looking forward to seeing you eat, Alice.” He said this cause when she had food in her mouth, she stopped talking. Scar rolled his eyes and then offered Mariela a smile.
“What is keeping your family? Hmm?” He looked around hopefully, cause their conversation was going to be a hell of a lot better then Alice’s.
Alice started to giggle when Scar mentioned that he liked to see her eat. “You say the sweetest things, Hatter. Though, I have to wonder. Why aren’t you mad here? You…are far too normal. I find it strange.” She quirked a brow and pursed her lips together as though she was trying to figure him out. “Not scared of losing your head here, are you? Keeping up appearances?”
Oh this girl was getting on his nerves fast.
Scar was being overly formal… and it caused her to raise an eyebrow, but she just shrugged it off. When Scar took her hand, she gave him a smile, before looking over at the very happy Alice. She wasn’t sure how much this girl could be trusted… so wouldn’t tell her too much right now. After Scar took her hand and Alice linked arms with her, she then headed off to the dining room.
“You’re very pretty, Princess Mariela. Nothing like the Queen of Hearts. Oh…she was a nasty one. All you had to do was say one wrong thing and it was off with your head.”
Alice spoke, and Mariela turned and gave her a smile. “Why, thank you, Alice.” she thanked kindly. “I’m nothing like the Queen of Hearts, in case you haven’t noticed.”she then said, turning to look forward again. At Alice’s questions, Mariela blinked before looking at her. “No…” she answered slowly. “I would prefer not to. I had enough blood on my hands today… I’d rather get anymore.” she spoke, both metaphorically and realistically.
At Scar’s comment, Mariela turned to him and glared. Apparently, he didn’t like Alice. At least… that’s what it sounded like. But when he smiled at her, she smiled back. “They’re probably at the dining room waiting.” she spoke. Alice began talking again, and calling his comment… sweet. This caused her to tilt her head and raise her eyebrows at the girl. “I don’t think Scar was trying to be sweet with that statement, Alice.” This girl didn’t seem very bright…
Alice asked Scar questions, and she stayed quiet. She didn’t know how to answer them, so she decided to let Scar answer those questions. She looked around more as they reached the dining room, before seeing her family and Tessa waiting by the door. They gave a confused look at Alice, but she just nodded, basically telling them she’d explain later.
Kingdom of Greed – Castle
Was it possible to have a person in one reality and then another version of them somewhere else? From what Alice was saying, in Wonderland, Scar was known as Hatter, whereas in the Kingdom of Hell he was a demon of nightmares. Though he had changed so much since he arrived it was hard to believe that he was the same person at all. Even Mariela would swear to that. She had found him very difficult in the beginning, but he soon proved his worth and repeatedly put his life on the line for her. Ending up back in Wonderland, courtesy of the mirror though was not something he had ever envisaged happening. What was equally weird was that Alice was able to step out of the mirror and into this reality all by herself. Though the truth was more that a fumbling gardener had accidentally activated the mirror into life. The mirror was on loan to Greed from Raul – who was Lydia’s beau for a short time. He was the one that truly understood it, and had used it previously to gain access to other worlds. Planes of existence that was out of reach to most magical creatures. There was one or two that could walk between the planes without the need of a magic mirror and unbeknownst to Scar, the spider that they had been trying to track down from the Blacksmith shop was one such creature with that power.
Alice had been inquiring as to why Hatter was acting the way he did. She even was wanting to know if he was afraid of being beheaded by Mariela. The very notion that the witch Princess would ever do such a thing was laughable. Lydia was known for odd bouts of cruelty, but even so, her mantra was never “off with your head”.
“Alice, I could never say that the Princess would be so terrible that I would fear for my head. Truth is, even though this is hell and a Kingdom of Sin, the Princess is not evil. She’s nothing like the Queen of Hearts.”
As he said that, he gave Mariela a warm smile, and reached for her hand to squeeze it as reassurance. It was a gesture that was seen by Alice, who looked a little bit upset by it. If what she now started to understand being truth, then Scar loved the Princess, very much.
“And you’re not mad…because?” Alice simply couldn’t let it drop.
“In Wonderland I had a very good reason to be mad. Anyone would in that crazy place. I won’t say that Greed is perfect by comparison. I’ve not yet been able to experience one normal day, but its now run by Mariela and i know that great change is coming.” Scar wanted to be optimistic on that level. After the lunch, there was going to need to be a few major decisions made. Sean, Sam and Tessa didn’t belong in Hell and as much as Scar wanted Mariela to enjoy her family while she could, eventually she was going to have to say goodbye. How would Mariela cope with no longer having them with her? Scar was starting to think she was going to need all the support that she could get, and he knew that no matter what happened, he would not let her down.
Entering the dining hall, Scar smiled on seeing Mariela’s family assembled. “Sorry for the delay. Unexpected visitor.”He motioned to Alice, who was staring up at a portrait of Lydia….who looked exactly like the Queen of Hearts. The clothing and hairstyle were different, but it was the same woman.
“Why is the Queen of Hearts on the wall?” She asked, her mouth wide open and her eyes widened with shock.
The mystery of Selina’s past was slowly coming to light. Joel and Ava would need to do more however to help the girl. Did the Library hold the clues?
Scene setting : The City Library – Blood City.
Co-written with Temp and Gene.
Joel kept his composure as the young girl before him was practically falling apart. The shock at his words, that she was now in a time that was six centuries from her own, had her tearful and visibly upset. It was hard for even the Teacher to comprehend, but the truth was she was not of this era. Now, she couldn’t possibly be a time traveler if she didn’t know what century she was even in. This was why Joel asked her what the last thing she remembers. It could give clues as to who she was…or what.
“What doth I remember? Blood…Dark…and death…the death of mine coven…mine family.”
~Coven?….Dark?….Blood? The death of her family.~
Joel’s eyes widened at this. If what she was saying was true, then Selina was a witch. The teacher opened his mouth as though to say something but then quickly snapped it shut when he saw that Ava was seated out of ear shot, and had the attention of a male just across from her. He was unsure if the male worked at the library, or was a student. Joel didn’t recall him from the school or any of the neighboring shopping districts. Either way, he didn’t feel like explaining everything to a stranger, if the chap should try and engage conversation with them.
Thankfully, Ava headed over and motioned for the pair to follow her deeper into the Library. This wasn’t a bad idea, as Joel had already formulated a plan to find out EXACTLY who Selina was.
As the trio walked through the aisles of books, Joel said to Ava.
“We need to find out if there is anything here in the public records of a fifteenth century family of witches. A coven, in this very city.”
Joel was sure, that if they got more evidence of the existence of a coven, or Selina’s family, it may well have clues as to what happened to the family, and more importantly how Selina was here in this time, as though she had awoken from a curse.
Looking down at Selina thoughtfully, Joel tried to reassure her. “We are going to find your family in this age, and hopefully, they will be able to look after you. Surely, there are descendants.”
There had to be.
Temp: Selina had remained in her fragile state since the moment she started crying. At first she had no idea what the tears were for, but the facts slowly bled forth from her true self. Everything she had ever loved and held dear had been taken away from her. Her coven, her family, all burned, brutalized, murdered…but why did she remain? That fact wasn’t brought forth from her true self, unfortunately. All she really knew in this form were the things she was allowed to know, which meant a lot of answers were sealed away from her. This was most likely due to her awakened self not wanting to be further suppressed due to some kind of sensitive information. The one thing her awakened self had no control over was outsiders and their influence. Joel seemed determined to find information on her and her past, while Ava’s motives remained uncertain. She looked up at Joel with that same sad expression, her eyes dropping less tears now than before. “The Black…Halo…” The three words had been bouncing about her head wildly ever since she first lost control, and had been taken over by her true form. Was this the name of her coven? It seemed important to her when she spoke it, so surely it held some sort of importance.
It did not occur to Ava that the conversation between Joel and Selina might have been of importance. Though, her need to calm down seemed to be more important. As the three walked, Ava opened her mouth to ask what they had spoken about; however Joel seemed to have other things on his mind. After hearing him, her mouth snapped shut.
Witches? Coven? This was all too familiar; Ava wasn’t even sure if there was a coven in the city – well if there was a coven currently in the city. She gave Selina a horrified look when Joel reassured her.
“You’re a witch?” Luckily, her tone was more hushed than before. Her eyes weren’t full of disbelief. Instead, they were full of shock. It made sense, which was the worst part for Ava. Magic might be able to explain Selina’s origins. With each step, her acceptance of the fact that Selina came from the fifteenth century sunk in. Was she immortal? Were there even immortality spells? If so, Ava hadn’t encountered any.
“You’re a witch…” Ava repeated what she had said, expect it was a statement, “Okay. The Back Halo,” She chewed the inside of her cheek and nodded. The name was unfamiliar to her.
“What makes you think we’ll find anything to do with Witches, especially public records? Wouldn’t they hide themselves?” Witches had many stories dedicated to them; many of the recent ones were born after the period where Witch hunts were popular. Since then and now, Witches became nothing more than stories or superstition.