Welcome to Friday Fiction. Yes I decided to change the name but not the tag. This scene comes from that rural fiction work I introduced in my post on November 13th. For those of you who are new – it’s an urban fiction work I set in a rural area. The character Thea here in this scene is a witch, and has the position of Crone of the Appalachians. Through some very unusual circumstances we won’t go into here she’s very young to hold that position. However, she has been asked by a friend of the former crone to help with the investigation of a series of crimes. Here she does some fancy spell casting to help her with that effort. I hope you enjoy it! The voices of other women in her head are the former crones’s spirits who have agreed to help her with this task and advise her. Let me know what you think.
Once up to the large round room above all in the magnificent house Thea slid on a spring green robe noting the feeling of approval from Hattie but all remaining crones stayed silent. She picked up a coil of silver birch bark and her athame. Chanting her usual opening of the circle spell she began to walk clockwise about the circle. The familiar falling away of all things but her own energy and that of the energy she was molding fell upon her. No longer did she feel the air or the water. No longer did the robe scratch or the floor feel cold. No longer did the scent of the hyssop and iris flow up from the heat of her own breast. Instead it was all replaced by a tingle that became a great flow of power. She didn’t see a room and a silver circle embedded in the floor. Instead she saw herself as a white light flying slowly about the circle that as she passed glowed bright with blue energy. The chaotic flows that were outside and inside the circle gathered to the outside edge of it and began to flow in the same direction as she moved. The center of the circle became a void one where her own white energy flowed from the interior of the circle and filled that void. When she reached her damp footprints where she had started Thea was no longer a human performing magic but instead her full magical self the crowned crone of the Appalachians. As the circle closed she felt that powerfully satisfying snap of a circle well cast closing. She stopped chanting and to hum the beat of the chant while all the energy she had summoned or tamed flowed with her throbbing in time to her hum. She continued moving in a clockwise spiral toward the stone chalice in the center of the circle.
All things tuned to magic took note that the crone had unveiled herself completely and was summoning powerful beings for a confab. An eerie silence fell upon those aware. Creatures of all kinds feeling the thrum of deep magic moving from the bones of the old mountains looked to the starry skies in anticipation. Something was happening and those that were wise sought shelter, those that wanted power were envious, and those who bore news to their brethren were curious.
When Thea reached the center of her protection circle she cut the curl of bark into two pieces place one to the east of the chalice and one to the west. She lit the one to the east while calling for the tower. “I summon and stir to call forth the mighty one of the East. The great guardian of the air come forth from thy tower and heed my words.” She gave a salute to the east and the energies that spun about the circle vanished leaving Thea standing in her own ball of white light within her tower. She moved to the west and lit the bark. “I summon and stir to call forth the mighty one of the West. The great guardian of the water come forth from thy tower and heed my words.” This time as she saluted the hum of her chant rose from the energy summoned and flew out in both directions. To the mind’s eye the boards of the room blew apart silently and faded into the starry night sky. Thea’s white power expanded until only she stood in the center between the two flame holding her athame high over her head with both hands.
Simultaneously the skies in the east and west broke open in this alternate world to show a blue glow to the west as a large ancient black rectangular tower slid out to float 10 feet from Thea’s circle. In the east the crack was lit with yellow light and a matching tower slid into place 10 feet from Thea’s circle to the east.
“Greetings ancient ones.” Thea’s voice was now a composite of the crones that stayed to help her with her natural one the lead speaker. “I bear thee news of a wrong done thee. Come forth to be warned by the Crowned Crone of the Appalachians.”
The tower to the East opened and from it a blast of primordial air came forth bearing with it the scent of birth and decay, the promise of diverse life and unification of death. Thea’s circle held and the blast flowed over her protective bubble. From the opening an immense hooded figure stepped forth and stood looming over the small woman and her alter. Gusts of air played about this being like puppies dancing about an owner newly returned home. Thea made sure not to look at the exposed feet of the creature. Viewing such an ancient and powerful being would quickly drain her forces. Also she thought some things are better left unknown.
This action was then mirrored in the west with the opening of that tower and from it a spray of primordial waters came for cleansing and contaminating at the same time. From here a being as ancient as the earth stepped forth mirroring its twin of the air but from it dripped the waters. The robe clung to the figure hinting at gaunt limbs but bloated middle. Again Thea pushed the image away, there was much to distract one in magic maintaining focus was the key to power, and when dealing with the most ancient of earthly beings she need all her focus upon her task.
“You have summoned us Crone?” The East rasped in a voice that scraped upon the ear as desert winds sculpted stones.
“You spoke of a wrong done to us, Crone.” The West gurgled as putrid water gushed forth from the cowl of the cloak.
Thea lowered her athame put did not put it down. “Yes, tonight I was made aware that a being had blinded you while summoning your power in an attempt to appear to be something it is not.” She didn’t see drawing this out any longer than it had to be. She wanted to warn them, to not be held accountable for knowing of the great beings being blinded but not telling them.
The twins raised their heads to face one another then each cocked their head to the right as they spoke simultaneously. “What do you have to do with this blinding Crone?” Mists and air pummeled Thea’s protection she forced more energy of her will into it having it hold without wavering from the onslaught.
“I have nothing to do with these hideous acts but was made aware that it was done 6 times upon the mountains from which I draw my own power.” With that she pulled power from the stones with a great hum that even made the ancient ones look down to the bones of the earth. Her circle was empowered in all directions from the infusion of energy held for billions of years. “I am not part of this nor do I want my mountains so defaced. I want to catch this being and bring it into balance.”
“How has this creature done this?” The beings spoke with less power this time but still in perfect timing with each other.
“I have been made aware of six times.” Thea answered this time lowering her voice but letting the flora of their meeting place vibrate with the power she commanded as she spoke.
Again the cowled one raised their heads to one another and between a language more ancient than man, more ancient that any mountain or sea passed between them. Thea felt her being quiver at hearing such ancient power used so casually but with a gentle reinforcement from Mollie she stood strong.
As the voices united in a toneless chant openings appeared to the North and South. From the North the tower emerged from a golden brown light and from that tower with all the smells of the earth came forth that guardian with soil fell from its cloak. To the South from a red light came that tower. With a blast of fire greater than that of any furnace emerged the guardian of the south. About its cloak flames frolicked like small frogs upon a large black log.
Thea felt many of the crones cower before the guardians standing before them. Most had not seen these beings out of their towers. None had seen all four come forth from their towers at once. Thea closed her eyes to gain control of the powerful elemental energies now at play outside her protective circle. With a great push of will and bit of humming they too swirled in a clockwise patter reinforcing her protect, with a soft exhale and a bit of a smile playing at the corner of her lips Thea opened her eyes. “Impressive missy but we aren’t out of this alive yet.” Mollie’s voice whispered in Thea’s head.
The four beings conversed in their ancient language and the elements that built the earth they guarded battered Thea’s barrier. With the reinforcement of the flow of their own elements it held strong and didn’t waver. Each counter element answered the blast of it’s partner then both swirled clockwise again until the ancient beings were done conversing with their kin. Silence unlike any Thea had ever experienced fell upon the group. The guardians all tilted their heads to the right and spoke in unison. “So us where these abominations took place, Crone.”
“Gladly oh ancient ones.” Thea called forth the memories of the photos and from there summoned images of the locals. They flashed above her over the protection of the circle for all to see. The group sailed to be above each place to see it now and then as it was found with the victim. There was an audible snarl from the guardians when the stones with the black cloths were witnessed for the first time. The snarls made Thea’s mouth turn sour and her heart pound uncontrollably. To anger beings who had wielded powerful magic since the beginning of time on earth was a very stupid thing to do, this creature did not know what enemies it had made with twelve simple pieces of black cloth.
After visiting the last place the four again conferred in their tongue. When the talk concluded the silence fell again. This time the guardians of the Earth and Fire spoke together. “We thank thee Crone for your service to our brethren.” The figures bowed their heads to her in respectful nods.
“My thanks to thee o guardians of North and South for thy love and care of earth and fire. I thank thee for attending to my warning of thine brethren and bid thee love and care.” She bowed her head to each of them in turn. The guardians turned and entered their respective towers to depart to their poles. Thea stood again with only the unlimited power of air and water with which to contend.
“What do ye ask in return for the knowledge you have granted, Crone?” The mists and winds blew upon her protection.
“I ask only to be told if the being attempts this again. If it is within my purview I want to know where it is so that forces may be brought to bear upon it restoring the rightful balance.” She bowed respectfully to each great creature. “I do not wish to profit from your pain only to see that my mountains do not offend thee and that I preserve the rightful respect due to thee and thy elemental kin.”
“Very well if any of us are aware of such attempts we shall let thee know from our element. If our assistance is needed in balancing the offender we shall come to thy aid unbidden and protect thee and thine, Crone.”
“So mote it be.” The three said in unison.
Thea then raised her knife again and spoke. “My thanks to Thee o ancient ones, my magic’s done. Earth, water, fire, and air, I thank thee for thy attention and care. To all beings and power of visible and invisible depart in peace. May there always be harmony between us. My sincere thanks and blessings upon each.”
“And upon you gentle yet powerful Crone.” Spoke the remaining guardians. They turned to their towers and departed.
Thea began to walk in a counter clockwise direction this time humming the chant that had opened the circle. Once to the edge she cut through the power there with her athame saying. “This circle is broken all magic return to me and flow through me.” With that the room seemed to reassemble about Thea board by board the white globe of protection vanished and she collapsed exhausted soaked in sweat to the familiar smooth wooden floor of her turret. “Home.” She breathed and closed her eyes to fall into a deep dreamless sleep.