Faustus Blackwood – the recently widowed Dean of the Academy of Unseen Arts – had been surprised to hear from Professor Crow that Thorn Mortimer had not only angered but nearly killed her Herbalism teacher by her dangerous overuse of ingredients. The clawed man wouldn't stand for it, Thorn was his favourite student, frankly of all time, and she hadn't ever caused a single problem since she'd started at the Academy. Of course, the second he'd heard what had happened he'd ordered her into his office, just because she was his favourite didn't mean Faustus would show favouritism.
The young woman arrived at his office soon after her last class just as he'd instructed, his eyes raked over Thorn as soon as he saw her quietly step through the double doors and close them behind her. Thorn was a beautiful and very smart young witch in her final year at the Academy so he wanted to get to the bottom of the issue fast. She had skin like snow and long hair that hung around her face as though it were an obsidian cloak, her eyes were the color of polished emeralds lined in a thick black eyeliner that Faustus was sure was only there to emphasise those eyes. Her lips were plump and black, her skin smooth. She wore a midnight blue corset, tight white pants and looked every inch the powerful witch she was. Father Blackwood would have been a liar if he said he didn't find her stunningly attractive.
As soon as the doors closed he gestured for her to sit opposite him at his desk which she did with only a quick glance to the Ebony crib where Judas slept peacefully. Faustus sat back in his high-backed chair with a cup of tea and several pages on his desk looking powerful and imposing as always.
“What happened, Thorn?” He asked in a deep and oddly alluring tone.
“It really wasn't a big deal-” Faustus cut her off abruptly.
“Not a big deal?! I thought you were smart, Miss Mortimer, might I remind you that you very nearly blew up not only yourself but Professor Crow as well.”
In all honestly Thorn didn't think that would have been much of an issue, Professor Crow was a terrible teacher; he wouldn't admit it but Father Blackwood would also agree. When he just continued to glare at Thorn expecting a better answer she realised he wasn't going to just let her get away with it and she sighed; she even sighed beautifully.
“I'm sorry, Father. I... I haven't been sleeping very well,” Thorn looked off into the fires of his office “my hand slipped and I ended up adding too much Toadflaux. I really am sorry and I promise it won't happen again.”
Faustus' head tilted ever so slightly as he raised an eyebrow. “It had better not, Miss Mortimer.”
It was then as she continued to stare at the fires that Faustus realised how sleep deprived Thorn looked, her eyes were lined in black as always but he could still see the dark rings of sleeplessness that lurked there and a tenseness gripped her body refusing to let her relax. Blackwood wouldn't stand for it, not his prized student blowing up professors.
“Why have you not been sleeping?” There was that deep tone again.
There was quiet for a time then and it irritated the High Priest, he fixed his eyes on the young witch before him. Though blue like ice his eyes held a darkness that clearly informed people not to cross him.
Thorn sighed. “It'll be the anniversary of my family's murder in a few weeks and I never sleep well when it approaches. I can usually keep it under control but... maybe it's because this is my last year at the Academy.”
Faustus knew exactly what she spoke of, he remembered as though it were yesterday.
“My condolences.” He said obligatorily.
Father Blackwood had admired Thorn's father, Abraham Mortimer, he had been a strong and powerful man, well respected by all. Faustus shuffled ever so slightly in his high backed chair before he spoke again.
“I can understand your troubles, the loss of one's entire family is not easily forgotten. However, you are better than this, Thorn.”
He treated Prudence the way he did because she was his daughter but he had taken Thorn under his wing because he saw such potential in her, she'd done nothing but excel in his demonology class and the raven-haired girl had never achieved anything less than full marks in conjuring. He sat forwards then but paid more attention to his papers than the young witch before him.
“You caused no real damage during your blunder, no one was hurt despite how much Professor Crow complains, but I do not want it happening again.”
Faustus rose to his feet then and started to gather up vials and a small cauldron. It was that moment that Judas chose to start crying almost the instant his father had started to brew. Even though Thorn didn't say a word he knew she saw his deer caught in headlights expression. She glanced over to the Ebony crib with those stunning green eyes almost awkwardly.
“I, em, I could-” she gestured to the boy “-I could comfort him... if you like... until you're done, Father.”
Faustus paused a moment to mull the whole thing over, Judas shouldn't have even been there, he should have been with a Nanny or better yet his mother but his son had only just been born, he'd had other things on his mind and a Nanny had fallen to the bottom of his list of things to do. Eventually he gave a curt nod and returned his attention back to the job at hand while Thorn slowly stood and went to the crib, truthfully he didn't think his son liked him very much.
Ever so gently Thorn lifted little Judas out of his crib and rocked him lovingly in her arms as she walked around the crib in circles in an attempt to sooth his tears. Faustus surreptitiously watched the young witch out the corner of his eye and was surprised by how quickly Thorn managed to calm his child; she'd made quite the impression on Judas rather fast. The High Priest would never see his wife – Constance – hold Judas and he couldn't help but assume it was her weakness and how she'd perverted the Dark Lord's feast that had lead to her death.
He made quick work of his self-set task, it wasn't exactly difficult, and soon he packed his things away and returned the cauldron from the shelf he'd taken it from, all that remained was a small glass vial with an opaque green-blue liquid in a clawed hand.
Quietly he hovered over to Thorn who had a calmed and dozing Judas in her arms, she looked as though she'd done that before.
“Here-” he held up the small vial for her to see, the glass glistened in the fire light “-this will help you sleep. You could have made it yourself.” Faustus informed as though she should have thought of it long ago.
“If we were allowed access to Foxglove.” She reminded.
Faustus let out a deep hum, he was stood so close behind her that he could smell her perfume and the scent of her shampoo.
“Indeed, but we can't have that problem going on again.”
He looked down at Judas snoozing in Thorn's arms and had to admit it was the happiest Judas had been since birth as far as Fustus could tell.
“You are good with him, my boy likes you. Have you considered midwifery?”
Thorn shook her head, emeralds locked on the baby. “I don't know what to do after I leave. I used to care for my little brother after my mother died though. I like kids, they're such potential, the future of our coven.”
Suddenly the young witch realised she still held Judas and his father was so close behind her, after only a moment of hesitation she managed to swap the baby for the vial.
“Thank you for this, Father.” She flashed him a smile.
“You are quite welcome, a drop a night should do it. I made it quite strong,” he told her dismissively “but I don't want to hear of any more mishaps.”
Thorn nodded. “There won't be any, I promise. Good evening, Father. Bye...” a pause, brief and hardly there “I'm sorry, I don't know his name.”
“Judas.” Faustus supplied easily as he looked at the sleeping boy already with a full head of dark hair.
Thorn left then, Faustus stood there beside the crib watching as she closed the doors and she vanished from sight. The Mortimers had been one of – if not the – most powerful and influential families in The Church of Night until a team of witch hunters had somehow managed to assassinate the whole family. Thorn had only survived the slaughter because she'd been at school, her father, Gray and Alistair, who'd been her elder and younger brothers, hadn't been so lucky. Though in her first year she'd gone straight to Faustus after Lady Blackwood had informed her and asked for help tracking the hunters down. He'd leapt at the chance to help her, she'd been little more than a child but she'd been angry and powerful; something he'd respected. Faustus had gone with her not because he'd thought she'd needed someone to take care of her or protect her but because he admired her strength and had refused to stand for witch hunters killing off members of their coven.
In Faustus' opinion Thorn was the sort of witch he wanted their coven members to aspire to be, relentless, powerful but at the same time there was something almost submissive about Thorn and Faustus adored that. In his eyes she was the perfect witch, a witch who'd come to him in her time of need. Thorn Mortimer was the living legacy of one of the founding families of their coven. She'd make an impressive wife one day, just her name drew power and respect. She'd elevate any man no matter his position. Her womanhood didn't weaken her either, Faustus could see the fire in her eyes, it had always been there – even when she'd first started at his school – Faustus knew she'd made her father, Abraham, proud.
On her way out Thorn glanced over the railing down at the large statue that stood as the centre piece for their school, when she rounded the nearest corner though she quickly ran into Prudence who was – amazingly and rarely – alone. The shorter and younger girl had a smirk on her face but Thorn didn't much care.
“Finally learnt you're not perfect, huh, Thorn? You know, now you're a screw up.”
Prudence blocked Thorn's path, the older girl smirked as she looked Prudence over with a rather unimpressed expression.
“Oh, I never said I was perfect and it seems nearly killing Professor Crow isn't overly important.”
Prudence raised an eyebrow. “You're not in trouble?”
“Of course not.” Thorn flashed the younger girl the small vial that Faustus had given her not a minute earlier. “Father Blackwood has a soft spot for me since he's my mentor. It's nice being his favourite.”
Prudence's face fell then and Thorn internally grinned, no more than a second later Prudence thrust her hand out to send the older girl flying... but to no avail. Thorn didn't move a single inch, the most that happened was that Thorn's raven hair fluttered slightly; clearly Prudence hadn't seen that coming. That unimpressed look Thorn wore only deepened.
“Really, Prudence? I'm a Mortimer, remember, you'll need to do better than that.” A momentary pause hung between the two witches then the emerald eyed beauty tilted her head to the side. “Like this.”
With a flourish of her hand Prudence flew back into the solid wall where she landed with a dense thud. Thorn looked down at the younger witch as she tried to get up.
“If you're thinking about hexing me, don't. The most you'll do is irritate me. Night, Prudence.”
Thorn strutted off then down the long hallways and out of sight leaving Prudence to awkwardly push herself up to her feet. Thorn Mortimer wasn't like the the Weird Sisters despite being an orphan herself, Thorn didn't have friends because she didn't want them. She wasn't cruel or spiteful or vicious unless provoked, in fact the only people she'd ever seemed to go out of the way to talk or be nice to was Father Blackwood and Thomas Delaney her former boyfriend. He'd left the year previous and they'd just drifted apart after that, or at least that was the story Thomas had gone with. Prudence and half the school knew that in reality she'd grown bored of the warlock, no one in their right mind would have willingly let a Mortimer get away, especially the last one.
Thorn hummed to herself as she avoided everyone else and headed up to her dorm room and most of the other students seemed to be doing the same; eager to dump their stuff and do something more fun. Once inside she settled down on her bed with a book entitled Advanced Tethering and Binding Rituals by Jenkins Ascelin, Thorn treasured that book, it had been a gift from her older brother, Gray, for her Dark Baptism. The rest of her dorm mulled around her but Thorn didn't really notice or care.
Meanwhile Faustus sipped at his tea while he looked down at his sleeping son. Judas was his heir and would do him proud of that he had no doubt. His boy hadn't cried much, he was strong after all, but when he did cry it was loud and beyond casting a silencing spell Faustus hadn't found much to sooth him. Thorn though, she'd calmed Judas in minutes, maybe Judas needed a maternal presence.
The shadow of Madam Satan appeared then and Father Blackwood sighed; he really didn't like her being in his school and he certainly wasn't in the mood for her veiled threats.
“What do you want?” He asked very disinterestedly.
She walked over to Faustus and stood between him and the fire so she could look down at baby Judas, the firelight danced across their faces.
“I just wanted to see the babe. He's your heir after all.”
“Indeed he is.” He took another sip of tea.
“His name?” Madam Satan enquired with a slight raise of her eyebrow.
“Judas.” Came Faustus' quick response.
She just smirked. “How fitting. Shame about your wife, a boy needs a mother.”
“Lady Blackwood was weak, I always knew that, her death was no real surprise. Judas though is a Blackwood by blood, he'll be a powerful warlock.”
There was utter quiet for a moment as Madam Satan looked over little baby Judas with an indecipherable expression then she glanced over to the recently used cauldron up on the small shelf in the far corner of Faustus' office while the High Priest went back to his high backed chair.
“I notice you have a... predilection for young Miss Mortimer. What did she do to earn your affection?”
Faustus glared at her then but soon took another sip of tea, which happened to be the last, before he set the cup down on his desk. He did his best to ignore Madam Satan as he started to look through his pages, it didn't work though, he could feel her dark eyes on him. Faustus sighed but refused to look up and give her that satisfaction.
“She did nothing and I have no affection for her.” He told her nonchalantly.
Madam Satan perched on the very edge of his desk and leant back a little as though she owned the place, she wanted a rise out of him but Faustus wouldn't give it to her. He took a deep breath as he started to make small edits to the work before him.
“We all know that's not true. She's a beautiful young girl,” she began with a teasing smirk “bit too young for you though, don't you think?”
Father Blackwood didn't speak, he still refused to grant her one iota of satisfaction. Madam Satan chuckled to herself.
“Your silence is as good as a confession, Faustus. But I don't blame you, she doesn't help the matter with all those revealing corsets and short skirts, though I do actually like her shoes.”
“I'd be more careful if I were you, it's starting to sound as though you have the affinity for Thorn.”
Madam Satan's head tilted a little in thought. “Mmm, maybe if she weren't a child. A strange name though, Thorn, not exactly pretty is it?”
Faustus set the pages aside and leant back in his imposing chair, firelight danced across his dangerous features, he really did have better things to do; pull his own teeth out, ground them into a powder and snort them perhaps.
“Oh, I don't know. Every rose has its thorns ready to prick and draw blood, danger hidden behind beauty. I think that rather suits her.”
“So you admit she's beautiful.”
Is there any future where she leaves any time soon? “It cannot be denied, however, it does not mean I am attached to her. Also, I think I have had enough of whatever game this is. You've seen my son and if you've not got anything regarding Sabrina then clearly we're finished here and I need to finish these.” He gestured to the stack of paper beside him and Madam Satan huffed.
“Fine.” She rose to her feet. “You pretend all you want.”
She finally left then, wandered off to who knew where and Faustus got some much deserved peace and quiet. He might have needed more tea though.
Sabrina, Agatha and Dorcas were sat outside class waiting for Prudence when Thorn passed them, the clack of her knee high tweed boots sounded, she loved those Steampunk style boots and wore them almost constantly. Thorn carried a stack of books in her hand completely unaware of Agatha's glare. In an instant Agatha was on her feet and had all but blind sided the elder girl, she slammed the books out of Thorn's hands but before they could crash to the floor Thorn caught them and they hovered back up into a neat pile cradled by her arms.
“You're going to want to be nicer to Prudence.” Agatha all but growled while Dorcas and Sabrina just stared in surprise.
Thorn flashed a smile. “Or what, baby witch? And has it really come to Prudence sending her sisters after me rather than doing the deed herself?” She made a show of pouting. “Pity. Is this because Daddy likes me better?”
The group's eyes went wide, no one but the Spellman family, the sisters and Father Blackwood himself should have known who Prudence's father was. Agatha was the first to recover, eyes still dark as she stared the taller girl down.
“You really shouldn't make enemies of us, and certainly don't think we're scared of you because you're a Mortimer.”
Thorn grinned. “Of course not! It's no fun if you fear me just because of my name, it should be because I'm more powerful.”
The sisters and Sabrina hated to admit it but she was more powerful than them – maybe not Sabrina but her magic was far less free flowing then Thorn's was.
“We'll burn you.” Sabrina tried to get Agatha to stop, she could see it wasn't helping but the dark-haired girl didn't seem to take the hint.
“Good luck with that.”
Thorn carried on down the hall then, her heels clacked on the onyx like floor and Sabrina felt herself relax, everyone at the Academy of Unseen Arts knew not to mess with Thorn Mortimer, she was powerful, a thoroughbred witch and basically the Academy's valedictorian; everyone knew it except for Agatha it seemed. Thorn hadn't started fights but she'd never lost one.
Agatha slumped back down onto the wooden bench between Sabrina and Dorcas where she quickly realised Prudence wouldn't be happy when she got out of class. Sabrina sniffed at the air a little distastefully.
“Can you smell burning?” Asked the blonde and the other two girls started to look around.
“Yeah.” Muttered Dorcas. “Unholy God, your hair is on fire!”
The pair quickly set about patting Agatha's long braids out before any real damage could occur. The smell would linger and her braids had ended up a little lopsided but that was it.
Dorcas sighed. “You really shouldn't antagonise her like that. Burn her? Really? The whole school knows Pyrokinesis is her speciality.”
That was true, Thorn was unmatched when it came to fire, it was her plaything. Frankly Miss Mortimer was annoyingly good at all her classes, especially Demonology but fire was her true forte. Faustus had actually wondered many a time if she were capable of summoning Hellfire.
The soon to be ex-student made her way down the long halls through each room with a small smile on her face, she could have turned Agatha into ash but it would have been over the top, it hadn't been needed, Agatha just had to remember who not to threaten and she'd promised the High Priest he'd have no more problems with her. She walked up the wooden staircase and knocked on the door to Father Blackwood's office, Thorn could see him through the glass with his back to her hunched over his desk but as soon as he turned to see her he gestured for her to enter.
“Thorn,” Did the Father just smile at me? “to what do I owe the pleasure?”
“Em, sorry to bother you, Father Blackwood.” She said a tad disjointedly.
“No, no bother at all, I was almost done anyway.”
“I was hoping you'd read my Demonology essay and suggest any edits.”
In all honesty he'd been looking for something more interesting to do than grading papers and finishing his lesson plan.
“Certainly, though you very rarely need to make changes.”
Thorn really was his favourite and he hated that he couldn't turn that off. Faustus rounded his large desk and shuffled his things over to one side so as Thorn could set her books down.
“Thank you, Father.” She smiled. “This is my final Demonology essay for you and I just want it to be perfect.”
“Always so dedicated to your schooling, it is something to be admired, Thorn.”
Her smile grew before she turned her attention back to her books and took out her essay. She hunched over the desk similar to how Faustus had only a few moments previous and the High Priest could see straight down her corset, he knew she'd not been putting herself on display for him on purpose but for the love of Lucifer she was distracting. It was only when she started to speak again that Faustus drew his attention back to the world around him.
“I suppose edits isn't really why I'm here. I know you gave us free rein with which demon we chose but I've found that certain parameters you set don't match my chosen subject.”
Thorn looked up at him then as she finally sat down and damn those emerald eyes and stunning cleavage; Faustus had to mentally shake himself.
“Well,” he began in a deep voice “which demon have you chosen?”
“Balam.” She answered a little fast. “Though me research suggests that Balan might actually be his true name.”
Faustus raised an eyebrow and rested his hands in a pyramid under his chin. Silence hung between them for a few seconds.
“Balam is not just any demon, he's a Prince of Hell.”
Thorn nodded, he loved it when she spoke of her work, she was always so animated.
“Yes. I think that's why I'm having problems. I wanted your help, you'll be able to tell me if I've overlooked something or if this is utterly unusable and I should start from scratch. I'd rather not do that but like I said I want this essay to be perfect for you.”
Faustus reached across the desk and took her essay into his hands, it wasn't as long as some of the pieces she'd handed in over the years but he suspected that was because she'd not finished.
“I'll read it now for you.”
There was that smile again, so beautiful but hiding a powerful danger. “Thank you, Father.”
Thorn had just expected him to skim read it, Faustus Blackwood was a very busy warlock after all but no, he carefully went through every line while she waited. He had to read slow because Thorn had gone into an awful lot of detail and he didn't want to miss anything. The first six or so paragraphs were read in utter silence but then she drew his attention momentarily away.
“You're son not here?”
“No.” He shook his head ever so slightly. “He's with his Nanny.”
The younger witch nodded seemingly happy with his answer though Faustus didn't look up from her essay to see it. Once some distance into her work he glanced up but quickly had to force his head back down to the handwritten text, she'd crossed her legs which showed off the lace tops to her stockings and milky thighs. He swallowed audibly
After a while Thorn found herself at a loss for what to do, sit there quietly was the obvious solution but she'd never been one to just sit and do nothing. Her green eyes trailed over to his bookshelf on the far right of the room and she tilted her head slightly to try and read the titles though it wasn't too much avail. They didn't look regularly used or even touched, probably for display purposes more than anything else, but still Thorn found herself curious.
“May I, Father?”
She gestured to the shelf and Faustus' eyes peered up but for a second before he have a curt nod and returned to her essay. Carefully Thorn rose to her feet and went to the bookshelf to peruse. Faustus hated that he couldn't keep his blue eyes from straying up to admire the backs of those long legs, smooth and perfect that ended in some really unnecessarily high heels.
Faustus hadn't ever paid any attention to a woman's shoes before, not one iota, not with Constance or any other woman he'd bedded. But those long legs vanished into some seriously stunning boots with little silver buttons and a brocade pattern in a color that matched her eyes. They were a focal point that drew the eye in and forced his attention upwards to the ridiculously short black skirt and then further to the laces of her corset and her long raven-hair. He'd thought Thorn Mortimer beautiful since the her Dark Baptism but she'd never been so prominent in his mind before, maybe it was because he knew he'd been leaving soon.
The essay though, he had to finish her essay, so Father Blackwood forced his head back to the last few paragraphs. Her work was good – always was. He heard her remove a book from the shelf but no, he only had two more lines, he'd not look up again. Almost the second he'd finished Thorn spoke as though she'd been able to tell how far through he'd been. Faustus set the essay back on his desk and made certain to look at her face and not the way her raven-hair cascaded over her shoulders.
“I have this book in my dorm.” She looked at the leather-bound book with such care.
“Yes, Jenkins Ascelin wrote some rather interesting and easy to comprehend texts. However, I am curious as to why a witch as advanced and skilful as yourself would keep such a tome amongst her things here at the Academy.”
Thorn seemed a little mournful then and slipped the book back into place before she returned to her seat.
“Gray gave it to me when I had my Dark Baptism, it's the last thing he ever gave me.”
“Yes, your brother was a very good warlock. He truly excelled at Invocation. Very impressive, your brother's Invocation, your Conjuration, it would have been nice to discover what your younger brother advanced in.”
“Probably Herbalism. Alistair was forever mixing things together.” She took a breath. “Anyway, I'm taking up your time. What do you think about my essay?”
Faustus had actually momentarily forgotten about that. He picked it up again and thumbed through it.
“It's actually rather good. You're right, certain prerequisites of the task won't be possible for you to complete.”
Thorn sighed. “I need to chose another subject, don't I?” She'd expected that.
Father Blackwood thought for a moment then shook his head and set her work down again.
“No.” Thorn raised an eyebrow. “Usually I would say yes and have you start over but I am curious to see where this goes. I cannot fault your work so far, it might not be the essay I set but it is a very good essay. I would rather see where this takes you than you throwing yourself into something new.” He drummed his claws on the desk quietly. “No student in my time here as Dean has ever handed in something on Balam or any other Prince of Hell.”
“I could always do two, finish this and write something else that would fit your original parameters.” She suggested.
That right there was why Thorn had always been his favourite, not only did she work as hard as she could, excel and carry power wherever she went but she – for some reason – always went out of her way to try and please him; something she usually succeed in doing.
“I appreciate your work ethic, Thorn. I wish more students were like you.” He handed the essay back. “But no, that won't be necessary, just complete this.”
“Okay, thank you, Father.”
Thorn gathered up her things with a faint smile on her purple lips and turned to leave, it would be better once she was gone, Faustus would be able to calm his racing heart, but then a scrap of paper on the floor beside his desk caught his eye.
“Wait.” The young witch instantly turned back, arms full of books. “Come here.”
Thorn obeyed quickly without argument, in fact thinking about it she'd never argued with him over anything, always so eager to please him. She half rounded the his desk so as she was almost stood next to him. Faustus reached down teasingly slow and plucked the little scrap of paper from the floor, he leant back comfortably in his high backed chair so he could read her delicate handwriting.
“Consequences of his actions?” Faustus raised an arm up.
“Sorry, Father.” Thorn took the paper scrap, their fingers brushed together lightly, his skin so warm. “I write little notes to remind me of stuff I want to look into.”
He couldn't argue with that. “I'd recommend instead of focusing on consequences, you think more about he reasons for defying in the first place.”
Thorn nodded, his suggestion seemed more logical. “Yes, Father.”
It would have been so easy for him to just pull her down into his lap or push her against his desk and keep her there, but Father Blackwood resisted and watched Thorn leave his office completely unaware she'd gotten to having the High Priest between her legs. Witches didn't do love very well but they certainly did passion.
On a Tuesday when Faustus had finished his classes for the day he headed towards his office, his quiet sanctuary. He noticed Thorn sat on a bench that faced the focal statue of their Lord with a book he didn't recognise at a glance but he didn't stop, just walked into the next hexagonal room and up the staircase that wrapped around the walls. He'd refused to let those long legs and the tops of her lace stockings draw him in, especially not with so many students wandering about. Thorn hadn't seemed to notice him and for that he was thankful.
The second he entered his office of varying shades of black he stripped off his academic gown and tossed it over the arm of his high backed, wooden chair, but when he turned to close the large double doors he came face to face with Zelda Spellman. He backed away instinctively, the elder Spellman sister got ideas when they were in close proximity.
“Yes, Zelda?” He asked in that deep, enunciated voice of his when he saw the outraged look on her face.
“The Mortimer girl is sat out there, wearing next to nothing. When did witches become whores? She looks like a cocette. Satan be praised that Sabrina has class.” She ranted.
Faustus didn't really know why she'd had to come and tell him and honestly he didn't care, their... rendezvous had faded into nothingness, to Faustus Zelda had been nothing more than something to scratch an itch with but the new Directrix of the Satanic Choir hadn't quite taken the hint.
“Yes, well, the Academy has no dress code beyond clothes and I've never had any complaints about Miss Mortimer's attire.”
Zelda snorted. “Of course not, dressed like that every man in the school would be enjoying it too much to complain.”
The witch very quickly realised her mistake then, her eyes widened in fear but she covered it well. After a deep breath the Directrix shuffled closer – much to his annoyance – and ran her hands up his lapels.
“Not that I'm saying you would be so easily swayed by her whore-ish dress sense.”
Father Blackwood further backed up to put some much needed space between him and Zelda, not only did he not want her touching him but he was probably the most swayed man in the Academy.
“I wouldn't, no. And please do not refer to my students as whores, especially my best student.”
Thorn Mortimer was many things but she was no whore, yes her clothing leant maybe a little too close to revealing but it was tasteful.
“Yes.” Zelda nodded slightly. “I apologize, Faustus. I was just surprised to see so much of her legs on display. I'm also a little surprised she's not killed herself in those shoes.”
Faustus had endured enough of Zelda Spellman for one day, he slumped down into his high backed chair and set about planning his next lesson.
“Zelda, did you need me for some reason or just to complain about Thorn's heels?” He refused to look up from his desk.
“Em, yes, there was.” She responded a tad awkwardly. “I was wondering if I could maybe change up the song lost for the Satanic Choir.”
Faustus just nodded, a sharp, curt nod. “I don't foresee a problem with that. Do as you please, you are the Directrix.” Zelda had been slightly reluctant to ask because she'd not wanted to remind him of his deceased wife but it seems her concern had been pointless. “If there's nothing else.”
Zelda reluctantly took the hint and Faustus quickly rose and closed the office doors as soon as she was gone before she could pop back up with something else. Peace. He'd found her interesting and had once sympathised with her for all of an hour, she'd allowed him to explore some of his proclivities but her constant urge for him had quickly bored Faustus. Zelda was the Academy's Directrix and the unholy Godmother to his son, that was where it would end. The High Priest had better things to do than indulge a Spellman.
The raven-haired witch had been sat in the library for a good hour when Sabrina slipped into her line of sight, Thorn didn't look up as the Weird Sisters surrounded her and Sabrina perched on the dark wood desk beside her. There was quiet for a moment where Thorn continued to scan through the large tome before her.
“Can I help you?” Thorn asked and turned a page.
“We need your help.” That gave Thorn pause and she actually tilted her head up to look at Sabrina. “It involves fire.”
“Well, color me intrigued. Go on, little Spellman.” Thorn folded her arms and let herself fall back in her seat.
“You know Arthur?” Sabrina enquired.
Thorn nodded. “Yes, he's in my year after all. Why?”
“He's been naughty.” Chuckled Prudence as she perched on the desk on the other side of Thorn.
“Rude even.” Added Agatha.
Thorn made a face that demanded Sabrina got on with it.
“He's been pressuring the girls into sleeping with him and when they say no he tries to use magic. Professor Crow knows but won't do anything about it, says there's no real evidence and yesterday he tried it with Dorcas.”
“So what? You want me to go running to Father Blackwood because I'm his favourite? Surly Daddy's little girl here could do that.”
Thorn glanced at Prudence who seemed irritated by the term but the younger witch said nothing.
“Oh, we want to do something better than getting Blackwood involved. We want to... bind his magic but it needs a controlled burst of fire at an exact temperature, and as we all know you're the school's fire starter.”
Thorn raised an eyebrow. “It takes four of you and me to bind one one warlock? And not even a very good warlock.”
“Five, Nick Scratch is going to help us-” Supplied Sabrina before Prudence cut in.
“The way we want to bind him, yes, it takes that many.”
Sabrina drew Thorn's attention back. “Come on, please, Thorn. We know you're not as heartless as people assume.” She huffed. “And as your mere presence constantly reminds us, you're a Mortimer.”
Dorcas spoke then which actually surprised Thorn, Dorcas had been so quiet that she'd almost forgotten the witch was there.
“And, you know, like you said, you're Father Blackwood's favourite so you can help us get away with it.”
Sabrina, Prudence and Agatha glared at Dorcas which quickly forced her silent. Thorn made a display of thinking the whole situation through, head tilted a little knowing the long pause would easily annoy Prudence.
“Very well, I'll help you but only because Arthur Moran is the most annoyingly pathetic warlock I've ever had the misfortune to meet. I also want to know exactly what binding ritual you have in mind, if it takes six witches then it's clearly old school and I don't want it going off and killing us all.”
Sabrina nodded, that was a perfectly fair request in her mind.
“Sure, we can do that. Not a problem. Meet us by the statue tonight at the witching hour. Agatha will bring up a copy of the ritual later.”
The Weird Sisters and Sabrina strutted off then and Thorn went back to her reading, it had been quite some time since she'd been part of a ritual.
It was ridiculously early when Thorn, Sabrina, Nick and the sisters returned to the Academy. Thorn had to admit the binding had been fun, Arthur still had full access to his magic but using it would forever result in varying periods of impotence; so fitting.
As the eldest, Thorn had headed off on her own as they all snuck back to their dorms, the teaching staff and Father Blackwood always did late night rounds to make sure everyone was in bed but that would have ended a good hour or so earlier, it was just her in those halls. She found herself reading through her notebook as her heels click-clacked quietly on the onyx-like floor, it was full of edits for her essay for Faustus; his suggestion had really helped her. She was almost to her dorm room and had sorted the edits into easy to work in bulletpoints when a shadow emerged directly in front of her and Thorn ground to a halt. Zelda Spellman. The Directrix fixed her with a look of... Thorn didn't know what.
“Miss Mortimer, what are you doing out of bed at this hour?” Zelda demanded.
“Walking. Didn't know you were doing rounds up here now. It's usually Father Blackwood that covers this part of the school.”
In fact the only time Faustus didn't do his rounds was if his job as High Priest trumped his one as Dean.
“That's no concern of yours and you'll answer my question, Mortimer.” Zelda folded her arms over her chest to try and appear imposing but it didn't work on Thorn.
“I don't sleep properly. Father Blackwood is fully aware I wander the halls sometimes and doesn't have a problem. Usually I end up helping him do something. So,” she clapped her notebook closed and tucked it against her “if you'll excuse me...”
Thorn made to move around Zelda but the elder woman blocked her and Thorn sighed; she really wasn't in the mood for whatever this was.
“Why are you so insolent?” Zelda growled.
“I'm not insolent, just grouchy when I can't sleep. So, if you get out of my way I can go-” Zelda cut her off.
“Now you listen to me, Mortimer-”
Thorn had let this go on long enough, Zelda Spellman had done nothing but glare at her since she'd taken over as Directrix of the Satanic Choir.
“No. I won't be taking orders from a- what is it teenage mortals would call it? Ah yes, a glorified substitute teacher.”
With that Thorn rounded the strawberry blonde haired woman and finished the short distance journey to her dorm room door where she vanished from Zelda's sight. The raven-haired beauty tossed her notebook down onto her night stand then started to change into her pyjamas, normally she'd have taken them across the hall into the bathroom but everyone in her dorm room was fast asleep so it didn't really matter. She'd been relaxed two minutes previous but Zelda had destroyed that. Thorn really didn't like that witch, every time the Directrix saw her she'd glare at Thorn as though she were a thief for some unknown reason. She'd evern wondered about asking Father Blackwood if there had been some kind of feud between Mortimer and Spellman, frankly though Thorn didn't care that much. Whatever Zelda's problem was it didn't seem to extend to Sabrina or Ambrose which suggested it wasn't a feud, just that Zelda was just jealous witch who'd decided Thorn would be the target of her ire.
None of it mattered though, Zelda's problems were Zelda's problems. Thorn slipped into bed and settled onto her side in the quiet darkness, she could hear a couple of other girls breathing and one snoring but she ignored it in favour of closing her eyes and waiting for sleep to take her. Nothing. Almost twenty minutes she lay there and Thorn hadn't so much as yawned, she'd never slept properly but with the anniversary of her family's slaughter coming up it was even worse. With a sigh she reached into the draw of her night stand and took out the almost empty vial Father Blackwood had given her and took a single dose before pushing the cork back in returning it to the draw. Again the young witch lay there with her eyes close and then, finally, she drifted off.
Dead, her father, her brothers, they were all dead. Everyone she had in the world had been murdered and because of what? The fear and hate of mortal men. Thorn had skipped right past sorrow and launched into anger, she wanted revenge, she wanted them all to suffer! It was her first year at the Academy of Unseen Arts but still she marched through the hexagonal rooms and up the stairs to Father Blackwood's office. She knocked loudly, she'd not be sent away, she'd not be ignored. Sixteen or not he'd hear what she had to say.
“Come in.” He ordered in his alluringly deep voice and Thorn wasted no time strutting inside. “Ah, Miss Mortimer, I assumed you'd be to see me soon. You have my condolences, Abraham Mortimer was a great man.”
“I want them dead.” Thorn announced quickly and Father Blackwood raised an eyebrow, he rose to his feet and rounded his desk so as he could perch on the front to look at her better. “To suffer.”
“Witch Hunters are a plague, Thorn. They will be dealt with of that I assure you, I will not stand for our kind being killed off, especially an entire founding family. In fact, now you are the only witch of founding family lineage remaining.” His voice was so calm. “They will die. I have already begun searching them out.”
“Good. But I won't be letting whoever you assign to this kill the mortals who murdered my family. I want to drain the blood from their bodies and hear their bones break.”
Suddenly a rather large fox hopped up onto Thorn's right shoulder from behind, it was jet black save for a small white-silver tip to its tail, she didn't move an inch but Faustus' eyes flashed over to the creature.
“Familiars are not permitted on school grounds, Thorn. You know that.”
“Caligari just watched Alucard and Lugosi-” Her father and Gray's familiars “-die! He's allowed to be over protective. You're the High Priest, you have to know where they are.” Thorn sighed then as she realised she was all but shouting at the warlock and had no real right to, she was actually surprised he'd not shut her down. “Please, Father Blackwood, wouldn't you want to do the same if it were your family?”
She watched the older man look her up and down for a few seconds as he thought quietly to himself. She'd lost her mother, Alarya, at such a young age which had bonded her even more strongly to her father and brothers. Her elder brother and his familiar, Lugosi, had been her best friends for much of her life and they'd been taken. By a rival coven she could have understood but Witch Hunters!? No, she'd not let mortals get away with it.
Faustus nodded. “Alright. I respect your argument and yes, we will do this.”
He'd decided to go with her, to help her, not because of her young age but because he admired that burning strength and vengeance in her eyes. Mortimers truly did live up to their reputation.
“Thank you.” She meant that, she'd never meant it so much in her life.
Thorn's eyes shot open then and she found herself on her back staring up at the dark ceiling, she'd expected dreams of her brothers and father but no, she'd dreamt of the man who'd helped her, who'd gone out of his way to make sure she had her revenge.
Suddenly one of the girls she shared her dorm room with dropped her books and snapped Thorn from her thoughts. She couldn't lay there all day, she had classes, so the raven-haired beauty pushed herself up and prepared for her day.
Faustus wasn't happy. He'd be taking on new students in the next few days, March had been a busy month for their coven in terms of Dark Baptisms and he still had to plan out the school schedules. To top things off he'd developed a headache almost the second he'd left his office to do his night rounds. The witching hour had ended and the teaching staff were all finishing their rounds to make sure the students were asleep rather than trying to hex each other before they went off to sleep themselves. Faustus needed sleep but he was well aware that slumber was far off, being Dean to the Academy of Unseen Arts as well as the Church of Night's High Priest didn't leave him with much free time.
He strutted down the almost pitch black hallways of the elder girl's dormitory. Every now and again there was a lit sconce on the hexagonal walls but not enough to really light up the place, none of that mattered though, Father Blackwood knew his way around the Academy like the back of his clawed hand. He was on the last leg of his journey when ice colored eyes noticed small fireballs appearing and reappearing in the distance beside a door. There was only one witch who wandered the hallways at night. Slowly he made his way towards the young witch, he loomed out of the darkness to see her sat Indian style in her pyjamas when she created a larger ball of fire, she jumped when his face appeared in the fire light.”
“Unholy Satan!” The fire faded.
“Apologies, I did not mean to scare you.” He said honestly as he planted his rabbit headed cane between his feet and folded his hands atop it.
Thorn scrambled to her feet so as they were face to face rather than face to mid thigh then re-conjured the ball of fire so as they could see one another better. It was then Faustus noticed her pyjamas, loose shorts and a deep v-neck t-shirt all in purple.
“I made you enough draught for another three days.”
Thorn shrugged. “It's gone and I never sleep this night. The fire was to distract me.”
It all clicked then for Faustus, this was the night her family had been murdered, in that moment his headache didn't seem so much of a problem.
“You intend to sit here all night?”
Thorn nodded. “I've finished my essay so I haven't anything better to do, Father.”
Faustus was struck by an idea then, mutually beneficial because he got things done quicker and she would be distracted.
“Come with me, Thorn.”
He simply walked off after than knowing she'd not complain just follow him, and of course she did, the light faded in her hand and the pair navigated by muscle memory alone. They walked the short distance to Blackwood's office in silence, it didn't feel as though anything needed to be said or like there was a void that needed to be filled, it was calm and strangely peaceful. Nothing needed to be said so nothing was, they just quietly listened to the sound of footfalls and Faustus' cane as it tap, tap, tapped.
When they entered the High Priest's office the fires burst to life and he closed the doors softly, when he turned to face her and saw Thorn in the firelight properly it struck him as to how bad of an idea it had been to take her to his office, all she wore was a loose t-shirt and a pair of shorts, she didn't so much as have socks on. It was too late for him to back peddle though and no one had seen them, there she was stood before him waiting patiently. He was so used to seeing her in heels than he'd not realised she actually only came up to his nose, it was strange to him when he'd grown so used to looking her in the eye.
“We will be gaining seven new students at the beginning of next week and I am yet to build their class schedules or assign someone to give them the tour.”
He spoke as he checked the time on his fob watch that was tucked neatly into his waistcoat. Father Blackwood always showed new students to their first class but he very rarely did the whole tour himself; much too busy. He'd shown Thorn around personally as he had her older brother but that had been because they were Mortimers and the children of the last founding family got special treatment. The Pentercost family had just naturally died out almost forty years previous and the last of the Zurie family had been excommunicated in disgrace just over a century ago after trying to wipe out the other two families; it was more then they'd deserved in Faustus' mind. Through all that the Mortimers had kept their station and reputation. Now that the family had been annihilated Thorn had the power of a whole family on her shoulders and Satan be praised she carried it well, just as her children would after her.
“What do you need me to do, Father?” She asked sweetly.
Faustus rounded his desk and pulled a set of files out of the top drawer before he sat down and slid a small pile towards her, Thorn took the hint to sit down.
“You do the witches, I'll do the warlocks.”
Thorn looked through the three files when it became clear that the Dean didn't intend to say more; Aurora Cain, Willow Danson and Crimson Brink. Truthfully the last one amused the young woman, it sounded more like some bad mortal perfume.
Occasionally the fire crackled but otherwise they worked in utter quietude, she glanced up at him every now and again to watch his hands, long, slender and dangerous, but Thorn never lingered long. The task he'd set her was fairly straight forwards but was time consuming, it wasn't as simple as just picking a few subjects for them. Just as Thorn had finished fitting Miss Cain into the Satanic Choir without disrupting Herbalism she decided she'd had enough of the silence, comfortable or not she wanted to hear his voice.
“How is Judas?” The younger witch enquired. “Nanny working out?”
It surprised Faustus to hear the tone of genuine curiosity in her voice. That boy had a powerful future ahead of him and he was utterly adorable.
Faustus glanced up from his work, several pages and a fountain pen in his clawed hands.
“She is adequate I suppose. Judas doesn't seem to be very fond of her yet though.”
Thorn didn't appear overly surprised. “Some babies can be picky over who cares for them. Alistair hated my father at first, he just clung to me after mother died. I think for a year or so he actually thought I was his mother.”
Father Blackwood had no hardship believing that, he'd seen how quickly his son had taken to her.
“Clearly you have the maternal touch. You really should consider midwifery, Thorn.”
The raven-haired beauty shook her head but not in disgust.
“No, too messy. I still have no real idea what to do once I leave.” The one thing Thorn wanted to do for a living was seriously unlikely to happen and she'd accepted that.
“You have all the time in the world to figure that out, Thorn, you have your family's entire fortune after all.”
“I suppose so.” She replied with a gentle yawn, clearly Blackwood's task had helped her mind relax.
With a delicate flourish of her left hand she summoned a tea-tray onto the end of his desk and rose to her bare feet so as she could pour.
“Would you care for some tea, Father?” He loved the way she said 'Father'. “If not I could get coffee.”
He loosely gestured to the tea-tray with the hand that held his fountain pen.
“Tea is fine, thank you.”
It had recently occurred to him that he very rarely said 'thank you' and that when he did it was usually to Thorn. He saw the little nod she gave him then let his icy eyes trail down to her hands as she poured, she'd clearly summoned the cups and teapot from the school kitchens, white china with the school crest painted on the front in a dark – almost black – purple. When she set the cup down before him Faustus quickly picked it up and took a much needed sip.
“Earl Grey, a fine choice.”
Thorn flashed him a smile as she sat down to sip at her own tea.
“I hoped so.”
Peace settled in again and the pair returned to their work, Faustus couldn't remember the last time he'd just sat opposite someone and worked without them looming or incessantly demanding he make conversation. Whenever Thorn spoke to him or asked a question he never felt like he needed to give a long answer, he knew she'd be perfectly content with little more than a 'yes' and a nod. In a way it made him more inclined to converse with her, Father Blackwood hadn't ever been overly social and neither was the young Mortimer.
“Hmm, I've not seen a Lang join us in quite some time.” The warlock mused aloud after a time which drew Thorn's head up.
“Only child?” She enquired.
Faustus nodded. “Yes. Very over-confident if his Dark Baptism was anything to go by, I'd forgotten about him. Still, he serves our Dark Lord as we all do.”
Faustus never looked up from his work, it was safer that way, made him less likely to stare at the deep V of her t-shirt and the view of her cleavage it gave him.
“Is he the one obsessed with summoning things?” She asked as memories filtered back to her.
Faustus nodded. “He is, hopefully he'll learn rather than using that over-confidence to get himself killed. We are not an infinite number.”
She set her pen down a few seconds later and sighed. “Father, what should I do if I have two classes but they're on at the same time?”
He glanced up then but forced himself to only look her in those bold emerald eyes.
“Can you edit the other classes?” Thorn shook her head. “Then decide which she will excel at and place her in that one.”
Thorn took up her pen once more and made a quick note. “Invocation it is then.”
They sipped at their tea and occasionally spoke of small unimportant things as they finished their task and soon Faustus realised his headache had faded away to nothingness.
Only when the sun had started to rise and peek in through the windows did Thorn stack the files up on his desk neatly and bid him a good morning, Faustus really hadn't noticed the time pass.
“I will see you in class later, Thorn. I'm looking forwards to reading your complete essay.”
She nodded and left, he watched her go pausing only to close the double doors behind her. Better she left then before people started to wake, it wouldn't have been good for them to see her in nothing put her pyjamas leaving the Dean's office. As he sat staring at the closed doors Faustus realised he'd managed to avoid ogling her for most of the time she'd been there; it was a step in the right direction.
It had been raining all day and night, harsh, heavy droplets that struck glass and roofs with anger. It showed no sign of stopping. Normally Thorn liked the rain, the sound soothed her but even the Pluviophile had grown annoyed with it. Her lessons hadn't been overly interesting either, Ritual Magic hadn't taught her anything she'd not already known and Latin had almost put her to sleep. Tempus fugit, not when you're in Professor Báthory 's class it doesn't. The one amusement to her day had been Arthur Moran trying to convince her to break the binding on him, but she'd refused. Maybe one day she, Sabrina, Prudence and the others would lift it but for now he needed to learn a lesson. That and who was he going to tell if they didn't do it right away? Run off to Father Blackwood saying witches had stopped him getting it up? Thorn snorted at that, a very unladylike noise but no one in the hallway seemed to notice as she wandered down towards Demonology. Once inside the dark painted room she found that save for the High Priest she was the only one there, odd, she'd been taking it slow on account she'd had even less sleep than usual. Thorn took her usual seat closest to the desk, Faustus looked over at her from the chalkboard that was covered in symbols and several extracts in Latin that had been written in the High Priest's calligraphy style handwriting.
“Looks like we're getting another essay, Father.” She said with a smile.
“You are.” He answered simply. Elocution perfect as always. “There is plenty of time for a last one, I want to make certain your classmates have actually been listening to what I've been teaching.”
She couldn't help but note he'd not included her in his irritation.
“Alright.” Thorn nodded as she pulled a pen from her black sailor shorts.
Faustus took a deep breath before he went back to writing on the chalkboard, she was wearing those boots again, the tweed ones with the brocade pattern and little buttons, the ones that drew his eyes in.
As Faustus had expected Thorn was the only of of his students who didn't grumble about the surprise essay, Blackwood didn't believe in letting young witches and warlocks slack off just because they'd soon leave the Academy of Unseen Arts to fend for themselves. He'd not go easy on them. Faustus had taken inspiration from Thorn's essay on Balam so he suspected she'd already got several discarder information she could use as a basis, in a way she already had a head start.
When he finished his lesson his students handed in their essays then filed out save for one, Thorn, which was odd because she wasn't one to loiter. He paused cleaning off the chalkboard and turned to face her fully as he pulled a small bottle of hand sanitiser from his breast pocket and washed away the chalk dust.
“Yes, Thorn? Do you have questions about the new essay?”
Thorn shook her head. “No. I just wanted to thank you for letting me help you this morning, I really needed a distraction. So thank you.”
The younger witch looked so delectable, black lips and pale skin, little shorts her hair braided over her left shoulder. He really would have liked to just rip that midnight blue silk blouse off of her but no, no, not a good idea.
“You are welcome. Though your presence did also make things easier for me. How do you feel?”
Normally he'd not have cared enough to ask a question such as that but something about about Thorn Mortimer compelled him.
“Better,” she began slowly “never going to be fantastic but better than usual. Here.”
The raven-haired beauty held up her hand and a tiny basket of cookies appeared in her palm that she set down on the small desk quickly.
“Thank you. Bye, Father.”
Thorn vanished out the door but Faustus didn't notice, he was much too busy staring at the cookies. This was unprecedented, no student had ever given him a gift before let alone cookies. Faustus didn't quite know how to respond, he wasn't really a sweet person, he'd indulge every now and again but not often. Still, he took one off the top and took a bite, maybe he should have been more cautious after what the Spellmans and the Weird Sisters had pulled but the High Priest seriously doubted Thorn would try to poison or drug him. The cookies were chocolate chip and actually pretty good.
“When did she find time to do this? She really doesn't sleep.” He mused aloud.
That girl never ceased to surprise him.
Meanwhile Thorn made her way down the long hallways. Maybe making the High Priest cookies had been a little to much, a bit overzealous, but it was done and Thorn couldn't take it back. It was lunch but Thorn wasn't especially hungry so the decision to skip it hadn't been that hard to come to. Instead of eating she headed for the library to get a start on her new Demonology essay but – annoyingly – before she could even make it halfway there a younger blonde boy stepped into her path and blocked her way.
“You're Thorn right? Thorn Mortimer?”
The raven-haired beauty nodded. “Yes.”
“Excellent.” The warlock clapped his hands together. “I'm Christopher Lang.”
That confused Thorn, it went against what Faustus had told her. She tilted her head slightly and raised an eyebrow.
“You're not suppose to start until next week.”
“I know. My father – you've probably heard of him, Richard Lang.” Christopher boasted before a frown took over, Thorn hadn't heard of him, not once. “He insisted I start early as punishment.”
Thorn didn't care what he'd done to warrant the apparent punishment, frankly she wanted the younger boy to just get to the point and let her carry on to the library.
“How do you know when I'm meant to start?” Christopher asked curiously.
“I know a lot of things, quite a lot of them I'm not meant to know and I don't need magic to do it.”
Christopher shook his head as though pushing the tangent away before they got too far down it.
“Whatever, I want your help. I figured a way to summon a particular demon, and I want to prove I can do it. We can do it together, two of us will make the spell so much stronger. Together.”
Christopher shuffled a little closer then and flashed her an expression that he probably thought was alluring, Thorn's brow furrowed in confusion and something that had quickly started to turn into annoyance.
“No.” Was her answer, simple and calm.
“No.” She repeated. “I won't help you summon anything, especially when you don't know what you're doing. You're here for a reason and clearly your father felt that as well. Learn your trade rather than launching into something arrogantly. Just take my advice and don't summon, conjure or attempt to bind anything, and never on school grounds.” She fixed him with a stern look. “Don't make me have to tell Father Blackwood.”
Christopher snorted. “You think I care what Blackwood would say?”
Suddenly Thorn backed the blonde up against the dark wall so he had nowhere to go, eyes dark as she loomed over him.
“You will show him respect! Not only is he the Dean, he's the High Priest.” Thorn growled.
Christopher nodded to himself as though he'd figured something out and smirked, she didn't like the look of that.
“So that's why you're his favourite. My father has been pushing me to get you to marry me, something about station but you're Blackwood's aren't you. Never mind, I don't need you and I won't marry just because my father tells me to.”
Christopher made to storm off but Thorn pushed him back against the wall and fixed him with another harsh glare.
The blonde sighed. “Fine, I won't do anything. I need to go over the spell anyway.”
He forced himself past her then and Thorn just stood there until he'd rounded the corner and left her sight. As High Priest of the Church of Night Faustus deserved respect, he'd done so much for their coven, restored their traditions after Edward Spellman had abolished them. Faustus Blackwood had earned respect. And she'd have rather knelt before the false God than marry the likes of Christopher Lang. If his father wanted status and power he certainly wasn't getting it from her.
Faustus glared at the chair Thorn usually occupied while he waited for his students to copy down the symbol he'd drawn on the chalkboard. Not one, not a single one. Thorn had never missed a class, she was always there being his perfect student and to make matters worse her essay was due. Thorn had never so much as asked him for an extension. Where in the name of The Dark Lord is that girl?
When he finished teaching his class made their way out but he stopped one of the shier witches in that deep and powerful voice of his.
“Mavis, come here.”
Mavis stopped dead in her tracks and turned to face the High Priest, she pushed a stray lock of auburn hair behind her ear.
Clearly she was afraid of him, which was to be expected. She wasn't an overly impressive witch or a particularly powerful one either but she did share a dormitory with Thorn.
“Where is Thorn?”
“... I don't know, Father. She wasn't in the dorm this morning when I got up, but that's nothing new. I thought maybe she was in the library. I could ask around for you.”
“That won't be necessary.” Said Faustus with a slight shake of his head. “Off you go, Mavis.”
The girl nodded and scurried off with her notebook cradled to her chest as if it were a life jacket. The High Priest just went back to staring at the empty oak chair; the whole situation was entirely unusual.
“Where have you run off to?” He mused aloud.
She'd not told him personally where she'd vanished off to then certainly no one else would have answers for him. Of course he could have summoned her from wherever she was and demanded she explained herself but it seemed more enjoyable to him for her to have to come to him and explain. Thorn could handle herself, if she was gone more than a day he'd bring her back against her will.
Meanwhile Thorn walked through the vestibule of her family home, Mortimer Manor, with her fox familiar Caligari at her feet. Things had been smashed and tipped over, the sight actually hurt. They were all things yes but that house and everything in it was all she had left of her family. Caligari had woken her up in the middle of night at the Academy to inform her that a group of mortal teenagers had broken into the rarely occupied house to see what the could steal or just trash. Caligari had scared them off and put the fear of Satan into them. Of course they'd not be coming back and hadn't taken anything but the black fox had still been cautious when he'd told her.
The mortals hadn't made it upstairs, just the vestibule, parlor, her father's study and part of the dining room had been turned over.
“Why do mortals enjoy vandalism so much? All it does is prove how pathetic a creature they are.”
She grumbled and Caligari nuzzled into her side as she righted the marble column set the bronze bust of her great-grandfather – Griffin Atticus Mortimer – back on the top. Thorn tickled her fox's ears, he might have been a familiar but he did enjoy being fussed over, sometimes he acted more like a lazy cat.
“Tell me you at least clawed them, Caligari.”
The black fox barked and she flashed him a smile. He hopped up onto her shoulder then as was usual for him and loosely wrapped his fluffy tail around her neck while she used her magic to sweep away the glass. She repaired the mirror that had been in her family for more generations that she could count. With a wave of her hand the spray paint erased itself from the burgundy walls and finally the vestibule returned to its normal splendour.
The Parlor took far longer to tidy on account of the half empty beer cans that had been hurled at the walls and into the fireplace, most of the damage looked repairable thankfully but that didn't really make the situation any better. It was her father's study that hurt her the most though, they'd completely destroyed it, the desk had been flipped – surprising considering it was a heavy and made of mahogany – the books had all been ripped off the shelves and the glass decanter had been drained and broken. However none of that had her attention, the tiny crystal shards that had once been a bat did. Her mother, Alarya, had given the ornament to her father as a joke long ago, she'd believed it looked just like Alucard – her father's beloved familiar. Thorn shared at those shards for a long time, her entire family had been massacred by witch hunters and now yet more mortals had stormed in and tried to destroy their memory.
Caligari bounced down from her shoulder and padded off but she didn't notice, just gathered up the remnants of the ornament and set them on the desk once she'd righted it. The fox barked then and Thorn's head snapped up.
She went over to the bookshelf and her darling familiar pawed at the wooden frame. Something was odd about it, she brushed her hand over the black wood slowly, smooth and polished. There was magic in it, her father's magic. For a moment it was almost Abraham Mortimer was there with her again. She pushed on the wood and it simply floated backwards a foot or so then rolled to the side so it was tucked behind the wall. With the bookshelf gone Thorn was faced with a small wainscotted room, there was a large table in the middle of the room stocked with dusty vials and jarred ingredients.
“This is my father's workroom.” She told Caligari while he sniffed about. “I'd forgotten this room even existed.”
Thorn let her hand glide along the wooden table as she looked around, Herbalism had been a hobby of her late father's but she and her brothers had been very rarely allowed into his workroom. The air smelt stale and cold, that room hadn't been opened since before her family's murder, a time capsule. Things had been left out and looked like her father would be back any moment, or at least they would have had everything not been covered in dust. She'd have to air the workroom out once she'd finished at the Academy of Unseen Arts, Father Blackwood had been right, she'd got all the time in the world to decide what to do with her life and power, she could use some of that time to breathe life back into that room.
So the hand sanitiser thing comes from S01X02 where Richard Coyle puts that bottle back into his pocket rather than setting it down on the table. No idea why but it's just something that stuck with me, Faustus seems like the sort of guy to carry hand sanitiser on a permanent basis.
The Church of Night's congregation had been gathered together to elect a new secretary for the Church. Father Blackwood's wife, Constance, had done it previously as was tradition but since her death there wasn't a High Priest's wife to fill the role and someone had to do it. Of course Zelda Spellman had instantly put her name forth, annoyingly for Faustus she was the only one to have volunteered and he desperately wanted another option, literally anyone would do. Zelda's attempts to regain his attention had started to escalate and frankly he was coming close to giving in simply because he'd not bedded anyone in so long.
All thoughts left the dark-haired man though when his ice colored eyes accidentally landed on Thorn sat on the end of the second to front pew. He'd not seen Thorn all day, she'd never shown up at the Academy of Unseen Arts and he'd started to debate summoning her but there she was, safe and sound. Not that I was worried about her.
The whole night was about him trying to get someone else, anyone else, to volunteer for secretary so he forced his attention back to his coven. Faustus planted his cane between his feet and rested his clawed hands atop the carved rabbit head.
“As we all know my late wife was the Church's secretary for many years but, with her death, the position goes unfilled and we cannot have that.” The congregation nodded. “Now, Sister Spellman-” he gestured over to Zelda to his left “-has kindly offered to take up the role, however, I would not be doing my duty as High Priest were I not to give everyone the opportunity. If anyone would like to volunteer please rise and state your name. Zelda, stand as well.”
Of course she did with a please grin on her face as she glanced around at everyone else, Sabrina sat at her side with an expression more suited to someone who wanted to return home than sit around listening to the leader of their coven. He wanted someone to stand up but no one did, not a single person and Faustus hated it, he didn't want to spend any more time with her than he needed to. Still, no one stood and Zelda grinned proudly as though she'd won some sort of award. His eyes glanced over the congregation, they weren't going to stand, no one wanted the job and neither did Zelda really, she just wanted to be close to him and have some sense of power.
He looked back over to Thorn but her expression was just like everyone else's, completely uninterested. She met his eyes for a moment and her brow furrowed a little, or at least he thought it did, he turned his gaze away too quickly to be sure. Faustus sighed, he'd just have to put up with Zelda. He opened his mouth to congratulate the strawberry blonde woman but then he heard a pew squeak.
Everyone's eyes flicked over to the young witch while some muttered to one another, voices indecipherable. This was a Mortimer, her volunteering was no small matter and the coven quickly settled into gossiping. Faustus raised an eyebrow, he'd not expected her of all people to volunteer, Zelda glared over at the younger witch but Thorn didn't notice and if she had she'd not have cared.
“You volunteer?” Father Blackwood tried to keep the surprise from his voice.
Thorn nodded. “I do, your Excellency. I'm young and Sister Spellman has already taken up the role of Directrix while continuing to run the Spellman Mortuary with her sister. It would be unfair to overwhelm her. Also, Church Secretary should have one's full attention.”
F austus nodded slightly to himself. “A good point, a very good point.” There was a brief pause then where he all but breathed a sigh of relief. “Thorn Mortimer for Secretary, yea or nay?”
There hadn't been any doubt as to how the congregation answered, a round of yeas sounded except for Sabrina's tiny little nay. Zelda slumped back down into the pew beside her niece and folded her arms in anger and irritation.
“The yeas have it.” Faustus couldn't resist, he smiled a little. “Thank you for your service, Thorn.”
“It's an honour, Father.”
T he High Priest could have lingered on that pleasant smile or Thorn's polished emerald orbs but no, not in front of everyone, so he turned his attention back to the congregation to address them all.
“It seems we have no other business so I thank you all for your time and dismiss you.”
Steadily witches and warlocks rose from their pews and left the Church, some stopped to chat to one another but most went straight out the doors. Faustus vanished to the back room of the Church where he kept his robe and stored some items such as the selection box for the Feast of Feasts, his cane on the dark floor was the only sound he made.
Thorn tugged her dress down her thighs a little as she left her pew, the dress might have been short but it was lovely and warm and soft. One of the more simple outfits she owned, made of dark brown knitted wool with long sleeves and a turtleneck. She didn't wear the dress very often but with there being a chill in the air she'd gone looking for something cosy.
The raven-haired witch made her way past the front pew and walked about halfway towards the doors before the sound of Sabrina and Zelda talking reached her, well, the sound of Zelda complaining she'd not gotten her way reached her.
“... uses her name to get her own way. She doesn't even want the job.” Grumbled the elder witch.
“And neither did you really.” Thorn couldn't resist some teasing. Zelda spun around to glare at her. “Although, I'm sick of your spiteful nature and I also know what you really wanted.” Thorn chuckled. “It was just so much fun to take it from you.” A split second passed then the girl with green eyes turned her attention to Sabrina. “See you at school, Sabrina.”
With that Thorn left the Church, Sabrina and her Aunt Zelda were forced to just stand there and watch as she vanished out of sight. Thorn made her way down the path through the woods back towards the school, she could see the Weird Sisters some distance ahead of her but she didn't bother them and they didn't bother her. It was only then that she realised she didn't actually know what The Church of Night's Secretary did. Maybe there was a pamphlet?
Sabrina's brow furrowed as she stared at the double doors to the church.
“Why don't you like her, Aunt Zee? I know she can be aloof and kind of condescending but Thorn is not that bad really. And what did she mean by 'what you really wanted'?”
“That's none of your concern.” Said Zelda quickly.
Sabrina stepped ahead of the older witch as she slowly headed towards the door with a shrug.
“Well, whatever it is it's starting to sound like you and Thorn are fighting over Father Blackwood which is kind of creepy and weird.” Another shrug. “Come on, Aunt Hilda will have finished dinner and you know how she hates good food going to waste.”
Zelda just huffed and followed her niece before the girl asked any more questions.
Meanwhile Faustus sat in the arm chair in the church's back room with a firm grip on his cane. Yes, he was pleased Zelda wouldn't be Church Secretary but he'd not planned on Thorn taking the role, it was better she did but still not fantastic. Rather than having a witch throwing herself at him he'd have to control himself with an iron will. Then again Thorn was certainly the lesser of two problems... and by far the prettiest.
First thing the next morning before classes started there was a knock on Faustus' office door at the Academy, he called out a quick and slightly disinterested 'come in' only to look up and see Thorn. She wore a black a-line dress with a slit in the short skirt that slightly revealed the top of her stocking. The see through lantern sleeves floated around her arms and he adored the way the dress' keyhole neckline teased him with pale skin just above her cleavage. Maybe she was trying to kill him, Faustus had always known what he liked but he'd never been so affected by a woman in his life.
“Morning, Father.” She flashed him a little smile.
“Thorn.” Blackwood set his fountain pen down and leant back in his high backed chair to look at her. “I assume you've come to explain your sudden absence.”
Thorn nodded. “Yes. I'm sorry, Father. Mortals broke into my home and tried to rob and trash it. Caligari stopped them but there was damage.”
Faustus raised an eyebrow. “Not too much I hope.”
Thorn shook her head and set her essay down before him. “I can fix most of it. I brought you my essay, I apologize for its lateness.”
Faustus reached for the essay and gave it a cursory glance before he returned his attention to the raven-haired beauty before him.
“Well, it's never happened before so I suppose your absence is forgiven. I've not graded them yet.”
“Thank you, Father.” There was that smile again. “And thank you for appointing me Secretary.”
Faustus folded his fingers into a little pyramid, dark eyes raked over her as though trying to decipher something.
“Yes, why did you volunteer for that? No one else seemed keen.”
“Exactly. I could see you didn't want Zelda Spellman having the job so I thought I'd give you another option since you couldn't just pick someone.” Thorn shrugged.
“How thoughtful.” Said Faustus in an attempt to get away from the why question and fortunately Thorn didn't push.
“It does occur to me though that I have no idea what I'm to do. Apparently, several of my ancestors have been Church Secretary.”
Faustus nodded slightly. “Indeed, as you know three families founded the Church of Night. Pentercost , Zurie and, of course, Mortimer, with Diebenkorn Mortimer as the very first High Priest so of course his wife became the first Secretary. In a way it is fitting you have the job now.”
“Kind of like a birthright then.”
Faustus smirked. “Yes, a birthright. As for your duties it is rather simple. It's your job to call the congregation together when I tell you, arrangements for the Feast of Feasts will also be your responsibility. If I ask you to you will serve as second chair before the Sacrilegious Court, though that has very rarely occurred. Preparations for Dark Baptisms are always left up to the families however, they will run all decisions by you. If you feel there is a problem you will relay them to me. And finally, if there are issues that I find I am not required for you will deal with them.”
Thorn's brow furrowed. “So I'm sort of your second-in-commend?”
There was a pause then, short and quiet as Faustus looked at the young witch.
“Apt. That's why it is a role usually reserved for the High Priest's wife.” Faustus back peddled then and avoided going any further down that tangent. “After my demonology class on Thursday you'll accompany me here to my office and we will go over any relevant information.”
Thorn nodded. “Yes, Father. Again, I'm sorry for leaving unannounced.”
Father Blackwood fixed the snow skinned witch with a firm glare. “It will not be happening again.”
It wouldn't, he knew that. She was his perfect student and had more often than not gone out of her way to make his teaching life easier.
“It won't.” She assured him.
“Good. Off you go.”
Thorn left his office and Faustus forced his attention back to the work in front of him.
Come Thursday evening and Thorn strutted quickly down the hall towards the High Priest's office. She'd made a quick trip to the bathroom after her demonology class but knew Blackwood didn't like to be kept waiting so she walked a little quicker than usual, but just as she passed the statue of their Lord a huge crash drew her attention.
T horn's head snapped up towards the Herbalism section of the west wing to find everything in darkness, utter pitch black but still she went forwards a few steps unafraid. It was strange, after classes ended most students went to their dorms or the library until dinner was served in the dining room on the other side of the school. Whoever was lurking in those dark depths it wasn't a student. No, it was powerful and old, ancient even. She could feel its persistent power drift down the hall to her but she didn't run.
“What are you?” Thorn demanded of the darkness.
A chuckle, high-pitched and imp-like.
“ He didn't like you.” The cryptic voice teased, something about it seemed vaguely familiar. “ Much too headstrong for a woman, women should just shut up and do as they're told.” Thorn raised an eyebrow at that but said nothing. “Doesn't matter though, Christopher is dead now... and soon so will you be.”
Realisation washed over Thorn, her eyes went wide and a split second later she raced away, up the stairs and burst through the door to Father Blackwood's office; chest heaving. The warlock looked up at her with annoyance.
“And what took you so long?”
“Bigger problems!” She wheezed. “Christopher Lang summoned a demon!”
Faustus launched to his feet. “What?”
“I'm pretty sure that the idiot's dead.”
The High Priest ignored Thorn's comment and instead fixed her with a glare.
“Where is it?” He demanded.
“In the Herbalism hallway.” She said quickly.
In an instant Faustus snapped his clawed fingers, a sharp thunderous sound. The whole school burst into light and a moment later the Academy's plethora of teachers appeared around the office looking confused. Faustus didn't miss a beat.
“There is a demon within these walls, summoned by a student. Evacuate the students with haste.” The teachers nodded and the Dean turned his attention to Zelda who stood beside Thorn looking unimpressed. “Zelda, gather Prudence, Sabrina, Agatha, Dorcas and Nicholas Scratch at the statue of our Lord Satan.”
It amazed Thorn at how quickly the teaching staff fled the room, clearly when Faustus Blackwood gave them an order they hopped to it, all but Zelda who continued to stand and give Thorn irritated sideways glances as if it were her fault. Her head snapped up when the Father used her name.
“Thorn, go back down and ward the hallway to Herbalism. If it's still in there then it's trapped if not, then it can't get back in.”
“Is that really wise? To have her perform such a task?”
“Do not question me, you're wasting time and you have your orders. Do it.”
Everything happened quickly then and the school cleared in what had to be record time, clearly Father Blackwood had planned for extraordinary speed and precision.
The demon hadn't been in the Herbalism hallway when Thorn got down there so she'd re-lit the sconces then warded the hallway to block it off entirely, nothing would get back into the network of rooms unless she allowed it. Thorn jumped when she turned around to find Faustus only a step behind her.
“Forgive me, startling you is starting to become a habit.” He spoke while looking past her down the hallway. “Was the demon still in there?”
“Regrettably not, Father. However, it's not getting back in there.”
“Good. One less place to search.”
“Search?” Questioned Thorn with a raised eyebrow.
Faustus nodded. “Yes, the Academy is much to large to use a location spell, it will clearly be quicker to search on foot.”
He was pleased when she didn't object, not that he'd thought Thorn would.
“That's why you sent Zelda to get the sisters, Sabrina and Scratch.” She nodded to herself.
Faustus made a vague gesture as he turned and made his way back to the statue and Thorn followed loyally. There before the idol of their Dark Lord the others had gathered, Zelda stood with her arms folded across her chest as though she'd been personally assaulted; she opened her mouth to say something but Father Blackwood spoke anyway cutting her off before she could get a single syllable out.
“We have to search the entire Academy and quickly. I have sealed the building so as the demon cannot escape but despite that I will not allow this creature to have free rein of my school. The Herbalism corridor is blockaded thanks to Thorn.” The Dean turned his attention to the raven-haired witch then. “Did you see Christopher Lang's body in there?”
Thorn shook her head. “No, even when I re-lit the sconces I saw nothing.”
“Then it is likely that his corpse has been possessed.”
Suddenly they all saw Sabrina as she gestured wildly and they looked over to see the confused expression on her face.
“Wait, wait, wait! What's happening? Who is Christopher Lang and why is he a demon?”
Prudence huffed as she turned to her short friend. “Weren't you listening, Sabrina? Someone summoned a demon onto school grounds and got themselves killed, now they're being used as a meat suit for a demon.”
Sometimes Sabrina wondered if Prudence was capable of saying a single sentence without sounding patronizing and condescending.
“Pairs.” The word drew every attention back to the imposing looking High Priest. “That will work out best. Sabrina, go with Prudence to the East wing. Agatha and Dorcas to the North. Zelda, take Nicholas to the West wing. You can skip Herbalism obviously. Thorn and myself will take the South wing. Try not to die and do hurry.”
Zelda clearly didn't like being sent with the young warlock rather than Faustus but she was wise enough to stay quiet and just obey him. They all branched off and made their way through the school, Faustus nor Thorn spoke as they went down lit hallways checking rooms as they went. Each time they found it empty Thorn sealed it while Faustus kept watch. It wasn't until they'd been through three hallways that the young witch spoke.
“This is my fault.” She sighed.
“How do you reach that conclusion?” He asked without turning to look at her.
A pause, a little longer than needed. “A few weeks ago he asked me to help him summon a demon, I think he thought it would make him look good. Apparently his father wanted me to marry him which is just... I don't have words for that. Anyway, I shut him down, told him it was stupid and he'd get himself killed. I thought he'd listened. This is my fault, I should have told you.”
“I very much doubt that, Thorn. Even if you told me I don't believe Lang would have obeyed very long. He was arrogant. I'm surprised he didn't kill himself sooner. No, the most you're guilty of is denying us a little forewarning.”
He was being kind and that confused Faustus. Thorn had known about Lang and his stupid plan, she should have told him! However, there he was reassuring her while hunting a monster through his halls.
“He's lying to you, little girl.” Chuckled that demonic voice once more. “This is your fault.”
Their heads snapped to the darkness at the end of the hallway with raised eyebrows before flashing glances at one another. Their eyes locked for a moment both clearly cautious, then with a single snap of her fingers each and every sconce along the darkened hallway roared to bright life. There at the end of the hallway stood Christopher Lang, or at least whatever was using his lifeless body. Christopher's skin was paper white and the veins around his temples were jet black to match the pool of tar his eyes had become, surly there was more but the second the light touched him the demon fled away into the black in a cloud of dust.
“It's playing with us.” Thorn hissed.
“Indeed,” said Faustus slowly “but now I know what it is. It's a shadow demon, they can't stand light of any kind and cannot survive in it very long.”
Thorn nodded as they carefully continued to tread down through the school.
“That's why it took Lang's body, to protect it from the light. Shadow demon's were born of darkness,” began Thorn as she remembered Father Blackwood's lesson from quite some time ago “they try to avoid light at any cost because it drains their abilities. Makes them weak.”
“Hmm, good to know someone listened to my classes.”
Thorn chuckled at that as she sealed off another room. “Always. You're an orator and everything you teach is very interesting. Most of my professors are rather loquacious.”
The very next hall they turned down was pitch black, they were clearly getting closer to the demon. The pair paused, slow and cautious was the wisest course of action. After a quick glance at one another Faustus gave her a curt nod.
“Thorn, turn the lights on.”
The raven-haired beauty obeyed and was quick about it. The flames bounced their glow off the walls but the demon was nowhere to be found.
“We need to move faster, this slow but safe method is not working out as hoped.” Grumbled the Dean.
“However, we can track it.” She paused a moment there. “Which may well be exactly what it wants.”
Teacher and student continued to stalk the demon, Thorn sealed each room as they went denying it yet another hiding place. It taunted them every now and again but Faustus and Thorn were too smart to be drawn into its teasing, wouldn't let it put ideas inside their heads for its own sick games. Eventually they happened upon a fork of darkened corridors and it quickly became glaringly obvious what the shadow demon wanted.
“It wants us to split up, doesn't it?” Sighed the young witch.
“Yes.” The High Priest confirmed. “However, we aren't going to do that.”
Thorn took the liberty of lighting up both hallways as far as she could see. Still Lang didn't appear to taunt them just the hexagonal room maze of walls.
“Ward that one and follow me.” Faustus ordered with a loose gesture to the left hallway as he turned to the right; Thorn had to jog after him. “Best not to split up lest it pounce.”
Thorn ignored the 'you need protecting' in that sentence, it was unusual from him but with a shadow demon wandering around Thorn could understand why.
“It's just the choir room and the graduation hall down here, ri-”
Before Thorn could finish her sentence the choir room door opened and a cloud of black sucked her in; she screamed as the door slammed shut. The warlock launched after into the darkest depths of the choir room. Faustus had taken all he could, he wouldn't let the demon roam his school any longer and he certainly wouldn't allow harm to come to anymore of his students... not Thorn. He lit the room with anger and glared at the demon as it stood inhabitating Lang's body on the stage. Thorn lay slumped against the far right wall having been thrown into the mirror that had hung there; shards of glass surrounded her spotted with crimson blood.
I n a sudden rage Faustus flung Lang at the wall and held him there, he couldn't let the demon get away and the longer it hung in the fire light the weaker it became. At first the High Priest had struggled to hold the shadow demon but soon he felt his muscles relax and it grew far easier; that earned a smirk. The demon couldn't break free and it knew it.
“Thorn!” He growled out, just because holding the demon had grown easier didn't mean it didn't take a huge level of concentration. “Find something to contain it!”
Awkwardly the young witch looked around until she came across a flute case that was just out of reach beside a guitar case. With a hiss of pain Thorn shuffled towards it – she ignored the pain and glass as best she could – and reached out with a long stretch, the pain in her leg was agony and she was fairly certain she could feel bone pressing against skin. She couldn't reach it, her leg wouldn't let her go that extra two inches to reach the case so, with annoyance, she flicked her hand an the black flute case scraped across the glass covered floor to her. With a groan of anguish she flicked open the case and tipped everything out of it, the three flute sections, the cleaning cloth and even the protective foam found itself cast aside. The case wasn't exactly what one would like of a demon prison but it would do in a pinch, Faustus could put extra warding on it; they had to trap the damn thing first.
Fire light reflecting from the shards of mirror caught her green eyes and an idea struck her. Thorn gathered up the larger pieces as fast as her stinging hands would let her and tossed them all into the case.
The Demon chuckled at it fought against Faustus' restraints; dark eyes locked on Thorn.
“Silly little girl. A music case will never hold me! You know nothing, do you. Silly girl, stupid girl. Just give up now and I'll give you a head start while I deal with your teacher.”
Thorn glared up at the demon in Lang's pale body, her eyes darkened with rage.
“I am Thorn Mortimer, last of my name, and I will not be dictated to by you!” She turned her attention back to the case and broken mirror. “Glass of image, bind and fix. Force the dark to see its visage. Glass of image, light of phoenix. Imprison darkness demon with its vestige.”
Quickly the glass shards bound together and moulded itself to the case like a perfect mirror lining. Pleased with the result – not her best work but she had only had ninety seconds – Thorn pushed the flute case across the dark wood floor where it bumped into Faustus' foot. With little more than a glance down to the open case Faustus nudged it so as it lay between his feet and glared at the weakened demon.
“Turpis et infernis in terris pariunt. Adiuro vos tamen hoc graecas munus!”
The demon fought, for the love of Lucifer did it fight but the fire light had weakened it. It should have killed them when it had the chance, toying with them had been more important to the demon and all it had resulted in was its own downfall. With a strangled cry a cloud of black was ripped from Lang's dead body and crashed into the flute case and locked; Faustus slammed his foot down on it just to be safe as he bound the thing. A rusty chain wrapped around the small case and Blackwood was sure the shadow demon wouldn't be escaping.
Faustus relaxed, it was contained and couldn't cause any more havoc in his school. Christopher Lang lay up on the stage, body cold and lifeless, just a shell of nothingness. Thorn hissed as she tried to stand and his eyes snapped over to Thorn, she couldn't stand. He leapt into action and marched to her side where he took a knee, it was plain to see her leg was broken and her palms scraped and scratched by the mirror.
“It threw me straight at the wall, I didn't even see it coming.” She sighed.
“Your leg is broken.” He told her. “Easily fixable.”
To Thorn's amazement the Dean lifted her into his arms bridal style as though she were little more than a feather. The dark-haired man said nothing as he carefully bent to pick up the flute case prison as well before he carried both out of the destroyed room and down the halls back to the statue. Thorn didn't say a word, didn't quite know what to say. Thank you?
Zelda's eyes went wide when she saw Thorn cradled in the High Priest's arms and a spark of anger filled them when she noticed the younger witch had snaked her arms around his neck.
“You found it then.” Said Sabrina which drew her Aunt's attention back to the problem at hand.
“Indeed. It's in the flute case.” All eyes fell to the case that Faustus held in the hand that supported Thorn's legs. “Sister Spellman, inform all the students that they'll return in the morning. no exceptions, and have the other professors arrange for that.”
Zelda nodded. “Of course, but are we certain that the demon is contained?”
“I trapped it myself, it's not getting out. Go.” The strawberry blonde haired witch obeyed quickly when authority filled Faustus' voice. His icy eyes fell to his illegitimate daughter. “Prudence, take the others and start removing the wards. Find where Lang summoned the infernal thing as well and make sure nothing else can slip through.”
“They can't remove mine, I blood bound them.”
Prudence didn't look impressed. “Overkill don't you think, Mortimer?”
Faustus smirked in that devilish way of his as he glanced down at the young woman in his arms, no one saw that look very often, it was his 'I'm proud of you' look.
“No, only someone of her lineage could break it. Quite clever.
Sabrina's brow furrowed. “Why?”
“Because that way the demon couldn't kill her, it needed her to break the binding and let it out. Same reason it needed me alive.” Probably why it separated us. Faustus turned his attention back to Thorn. “You were turning the building into a prison.”
Thorn shrugged. “Plan B and all that.”
“Prudence, clear Christopher Lang's body out of the choir room as well.”
“Oh is that all?” Grumbled the youngest Spellman and Thorn felt Faustus grow irritated; a tightness appeared in his shoulders.
“Do as you're told, Sabrina. We don't have time for this and you do not give the orders here.”
The High Priest just walked away then up to his office with Thorn, he didn't care what Sabrina Spellman thought, he just cared that she did as she was told for once in her life. The young witch said nothing, she could feel the tension in his body and chit-chat didn't seem wise. There was something about Sabrina that just got to Faustus.
Once inside his office Father Blackwood set Thorn down in the chair she usually favoured and then turned to close the imposing double doors.
“I'll remove the warding first thing in the morning, Father.” She promised just to say something.
Faustus nodded. “Good. We could do without witches being locked out of lessons.”
The High Priest stripped off his suit jacket and cast it over his chair. Thorn watched as he carefully rolled up his sleeves to the elbows and knelt down before her. She liked his arms, they were strong without being too muscular and had a light tan. The raven-haired beauty forced her eyes not to widen when he parted her legs a little so he could kneel between them; she might have even held her breath. Faustus stretched the damaged leg out and pushed her dress up her thigh to reveal the top of her stockings; his clawed hands were so warm. She could feel his sharp nails brush against her snow white skin when he unclipped her garter then slowly and wordlessly rolled it down her leg. Thorn bit her lip as she forced her heart rate under control. Once the stocking reached her ankle he slipped off her blood red heel and set it down without so much as a sound.
Faustus couldn't stop himself from sliding his hand back up her leg as he checked to see how bad the damage was; so soft, so smooth.
“This shouldn't take too long to repair.” He informed a little breathlessly but he did his best to hide it. Thorn said nothing as he continued to all but caress her legs. “I can heal your leg in a few minutes but it'll hurt for some time though.
“I'm okay with that.”
To Faustus it seemed like a very oddly phrased sentence but he said nothing about it and instead he rose to his feet and opened a small draw over beside the bookshelf with a bronze colored key. The draw contained several small glass vials each filled with different colored liquids all just waiting to be called into action. Faustus rooted through them only for a moment until he found the one he was looking for and then he was back on his knees before her and for the love of Lucifer was she beautiful. Witches didn't do love, they did passion and damnit did he want to be passionate with her; as cliché as it sounded. Father Blackwood poured some of the dark green liquid onto his palm then offered her the vial.
“Drink that.” He ordered.
Thorn hesitated for only a second before she obeyed and drank the dark liquid down while Faustus coated his hands. She almost gagged, like when someone experienced the burn of whiskey for the first time.
“What is that?” Her face scrunched in a very unladylike manner. “It's disgusting.”
“It's probably better you don't know the ingredients. Just drink it all.” He told her a little absent-mindedly as he rubbed his hands up her calf, past her knee and almost to where her dress skirt started.
It stained her leg a thick dark green but it quickly absorbed into her supple skin. She watched him every step of the way, green eyes firmly fixed on the High Priest.
“There.” He said once he was done. “Stay still and the bone will knit back together. The less you move the less painful it will be.”
“Thank you, Father.” She smiled pleasantly at him.
“You're welcome.” Faustus cleaned the remnants of green paste from his large hands with a handkerchief that he pulled from his black waistcoat. “We've lost one student tonight, I will not risk another.”
The 'especially not a Mortimer' was left unsaid. Faustus discarded the dirtied handkerchief and roll his sleeves back down before he rested her leg up on his desk.
“I have matters to take care of. I shall return later. Stay here.”
Thorn nodded. She had no idea Father Blackwood was so good at Herbalism, but she doubted that one got to the position of High Priest without excelling in a number of subjects; she could already feel her leg fixing itself. Bone fusing back together and healing.
She opened her mouth to thank him again before Zelda entered the office with a disgruntled expression that might have been a permanent part of her face. Her face grew shocked when she saw Blackwood knelt before his student; only when the silence went on too long and Faustus prompted her did Zelda snap back to the world.
“Yes, Sister Spellman?”
“Em, the teachers are informing families that all is once again well and that the students can return without worry. Also, most of the hallways have had the warding removed.”
“Good.” Said Faustus as he rose to his feet and slipped his coat back on. His icy eyes glanced over to young Thorn. “Remember what I said about staying still.”
Thorn nodded. “Yes, Father. I won't move a muscle.”
Thorn flashed him a smile and Faustus saw it for what it was, a teasing smile of fun but Zelda saw it as something far different and ire sparked in her eyes. Fortunately Faustus diffused it without even trying.
“Follow me, Zelda. I need to inform the Langs of their son's death, best to have a woman present.”
The strawberry blonde witch nodded and went with him as he strutted out of his office. As soon as they were gone Thorn let out a deep sigh. She'd always found Faustus Blackwood attractive. His stoic manner that made him unpredictable and that perfect English accent full of elocution that existed solely to intimidate men and make women swoon. Thorn pressed her thighs together a little awkwardly what with one leg elevated on the Dean's desk. Faustus had hardly touched her yet she was a quivering mess. Still, he was her Dean, her High Priest! Thorn knew he was a good man at heart. Father Blackwood might not have always gone about it in the best way, but she believed in him, in the end he'd do the right thing for their coven; even if others disagreed.
T horn tightly closed her eyes and willed away her want, willed away the feel of his warm skin on hers, willed away how his sharp nails had danced over the flesh of her thigh so delicately. Faustus could have sliced through her skin like tissue paper had he been so inclined but no, he'd been so gentle. She willed away the whole experience as best she could, Thorn willed it away so well that after thirty minutes of sitting in silence with her eyes closed she fell asleep.
Informing Christopher Lang's family of their son's death had gone just as imagined; anger followed by outrage at Faustus himself before they'd slipped to the realisation that Christopher had been stupid and invited his own death. Faustus had calmed them but eventually he'd had to take his leave and of course Zelda followed behind him.
When the pair returned to the Academy of Unseen Arts they were met by the Weird Sisters by the statue of their Lord. Prudence perked up the second she saw them.
“Father, we found where the shadow demon was summoned. Seems Lang had set up in the Herbalism storage room, that's why Thorn first saw him down there.”
“Sabrina and Scratch are dismantling it.” Agatha finished for her surrogate sister.
The High Priest nodded. “Good. Gather everything together and I will deal with it.”
“Yes, Father.” Replied all the trio of girls.
The sisters strutted away but Faustus ignored where to, he simply marched up to his office with Zelda trailing behind. He reached for the handle to his door but paused when he felt the strawberry blonde far too close behind him. He'd had enough of her.
“Sister Spellman, you have done more than enough for one evening. The school re-opens in the morning as usual.”
Zelda flashed him a smile but was clearly annoyed. “Of course, Faustus. Goodnight.”
Reluctantly she left him be and Faustus sighed a breath of relief. Finally he entered his office only to find Thorn Mortimer asleep with her previously damaged leg stretched up on his large desk. Faustus had completely forgotten he'd left Thorn there with orders not to move. He had to admit she obeyed well. Her leg would have certainly healed.
Faustus walked around her to his desk and took off his thick overcoat that he set over the arm of his chair, his cane soon leant beside it.
Faustus turned to look at her and met those beautiful green eyes.
“Your leg should have healed by now.” That was best, straight to the point.
Suddenly Thorn seemed to realise how she was sat and what time it was, she shuffled up in her seat and quickly pulled on her stocking and shoe.
“I'm sorry for falling asleep, Father. Guess I was far more tired than I thought.”
The young witch made to stand up but the second she put weight on her foot she hissed and stumbled. Faustus caught her in record time – before he'd even realised he'd moved in fact – and damn him because he could feel her impressive breasts against his chest.
“Thank you.” She said quietly.
“Of course. The muscle around the bone will hurt for a few days.”
Thorn nodded and tried to leave Blackwood's office again but Faustus' body wouldn't release her. He mentally shouted at himself to let go but he just couldn't obey. Their eyes met and surly she had to know what he wanted.
Faustus glanced down to her bold red lips and when she wetted them he couldn't take it any longer. The High Priest crashed his lips to Thorn's. The next thing he knew he'd thrust her up onto his desk knocking several items out of place and onto the floor. Her legs wrapped around his waist; she ignored the twinge of pain in her leg. She tasted of strawberries, why does she taste like that?
Faustus ran his strong hands up her lace stocking clad thighs, sharp nails brushed over her skin and Thorn moaned. She moaned and Father Blackwood felt a growl rumble from his throat that earned a nip to his lips. His skilful fingers adeptly opened the buttons of his waistcoat and pushed it forcefully off his broad shoulders where it slumped to the floor. As soon as it was off his body Faustus crept his hands under her skirt to Thorn's core; her wet, needy core. She moaned out for him again.
Faustus smirked. The lace of her panties were soaking wet and he was the reason; he swelled with masculine pride.
“Such a needy little whore.” His breath caressed the sensitive patch of skin just under her ear.
Thorn pushed his suspenders off while he all but tore open his pants before she tugged away his cravat so as she could kiss at his warm neck. Faustus had been thinking about this for years and he couldn't wait for one more moment. He shed her of her purple panties with a little help from Thorn and tossed them behind her on his desk and then, finally, thrust into the younger witch. Thorn gasped at the sudden intrusion, a sound Faustus delighted in.
He pressed hungry kisses and bites down her pale neck and over the top of her breasts as he thrust deep, hard and fast into her wet heat; satisfying an urge he'd had for so long. She groaned and clawed at his shoulders in a desperate attempt to keep him close, Faustus didn't allow it though. Before Thorn could realise she'd moved Faustus had pinned her flat against the desk by her wrists. Dominating, powerful, and it made Thorn purr.
“Harder. Please, harder.”
Blackwood found he couldn't deny her, not when she begged so prettily. His lips found hers again and he had to fight not to cum there and then. He wanted to hear her moan out for him; beg, gasp. His grasp on her wrists was tight and balanced on the border of pain and pleasure. His sharp nails dug into her skin as her hands clenched into fists. Her eyes slipped shut when he thrust into her sharply and Thorn let out a little squeak that made him smirk. Faustus found her lips for a bruising kiss, her bold red lipstick rubbed off on him but he couldn't have cared less in that moment. Those claws of his finally released Thorn's pale and bruised wrists in favour of ripping open her blouse buttons – small, round like a tear – flew off and bounced around his office, the sound muffled only by heavy breathing and moans from the raven-haired beauty underneath him.
Faustus pulled the cups of her bra down to nibble on her nipple with sharp teeth. Thorn let out a deep groan and Faustus couldn't help but smirk. She was so close, Faustus could feel it, her walls quivered around him. Three more sharp thrusts and Thorn came with a yelp and a breathy cry of his name.
Oh, he liked that. She'd never used his given name before and he loved the way her voice made his name sound. Thorn's walls clamped down around him, it pushed Faustus over the edge and he came with a grunt as his nails dug into her flesh.
At first it had been like laying in the ocean, land nowhere in sight and staring at the storm clouds far away. However, soon he'd filled her and those storm clods had descended with hardly any warning. Suddenly waves had been crashing against him, they'd washed over him until finally he'd been submerged into the waters of pure ecstasy. He'd have let himself drown in those depth if he could have; would have delighted in it.
Finally he released young witch and crashed down into the chair she'd once occupied where he tucked himself away. He watched Thorn's chest rise and fall as she sucked in desperately needed air. She straightened her bra and then closed what remained of her blouse buttons. Slowly Thorn slipped off the desk and settled into Faustus' lap, she snaked her arms around his neck and snuggled into his chest. The High Priest watched with a raised eyebrow as she kissed at his neck.
“What are you doing?” He asked in a deep voice.
Thorn paused for a moment too long until she looked up at him with uncertainty in her dazzling eyes.
“Cuddling you.” She replied as though it were simple.
Faustus' brow furrowed. “Why?”
There was a pause and then Thorn's face fell. She looked so hurt but Faustus said nothing, hardly even moved. His arms rested in the chair rather than around Thorn, his shoulders weren't tense but he certainly didn't seem relaxed.
“I thought you were different.” She said quietly. “I wanted you to be different... but you're not, are you?” She nodded sorrowfully. “I get it, I've satisfied your little urge and now you don't need me.”
Thorn huffed and rose to her feet; she towered over him from his seated position.
“It was silly of me to think-” The raven-haired beauty trailed off sadly and made to leave.
Thorn cut him off with an angry tone. “Keep them. You can have them as a trophy of your Mortimer conquest.”
She left then, not with anger or shouts but quietly with sorrow walking beside her. Faustus said nothing just sat there. He'd never thought about what would happen after they had sex, he'd been too focused on the having sex part. He'd not meant to hurt her but Thorn had been right, he didn't need her now. The High Priest had sated his desire for the young witch. Still, Faustus rose to his feet and went to pluck Thorn's lace panties from his desk then pressed them to his nose, she smelt delightful; like a sweet but addictive treat. Now Faustus had taken her, filled her, he had no need of Thorn any longer. Right?
Three days. Three days Thorn had been giving Father Blackwood the cold shoulder. She'd been short with him in classes and didn't seem to have paid any attention to a word he'd said. Her graduation was fast approaching so he could have just waited her mood out until she left, but some of the students had started to notice and he couldn't have that. Wouldn't have that. He'd tried to corner her in the library when he'd spotted her but she'd cleverly given him the slip, it was no easy task to evade Faustus Blackwood but Thorn had managed it with what had seemed like ease; he respected that. She'd done a similar thing to him in the dining hall and frankly he thought it easier to demand her into his office or call her out of class but that would have drawn suspicion.
Reluctantly he'd been forced to wait another day and a half until she'd entered his Demonology class once again. In that time his irritation had only grown. When Father Blackwood's lesson ended and all the students abandoned the room he'd called out for her.
No one could have mistaken that order. Mavis shot Thorn a cautious glance but the taller witch ignored it. With a sigh she turned to face him and Faustus looked her over. Had he gone mad or was she more beautiful that usual?
“Yes?” She asked in a clear 'I don't want to be here' tone.
“Show some respect.” He snapped.
With very little emotion she amended herself. “Yes, your Excellency?”
The High Priest beckoned her closer and reluctantly she acquiesced by walking the few steps across the classroom until she was only an arms length away from him. There was a long pause that hung between them, one of those thick pauses and when he finally did speak it was in a deep, powerful and unwavering voice. He could have just yelled at her but no, all that would do was force more ire into her green orbs.
“Thorn, I understand your feelings after what transpired between us-” he told her calmly as he thought about his words “-but I will not have whatever tantrum this is paraded in front of the other students and teachers.”
Thorn nodded to herself. She didn't look at him more past him.
“You don't want me to show you up, got it. Can I go now?”
Faustus had never heard such insolence from her before; she'd always been his favourite student. He'd expect such a thing from Sabrina Spellman or even Prudence but not Thorn. Perhaps he'd hurt her more than he'd believed.
Faustus never apologized but she deserved it.
“I apologize if I hurt you, it was not my intent. I am simply... unused to affection of that sort.” Well, this is more awkward than I'd imagined. “I should not have let you believe your touch was unwelcome.”
Thorn looked at him then, not past him but directly in the eyes and her features softened.
“I'm sorry as well. You're the High Priest, you deserve some common courtesy.”
When she looked at him with those big emeralds he had to have her. Blackwood had thought he'd gotten her out of his system but in that moment he realised just how wrong he'd been. He wanted her again and after the foul mood she'd been in he wanted to punish her. Faustus slammed and locked the door with a simple thought and smirked at the young witch.
“Bend over the desk.” He ordered.
Thorn didn't say a word, just went and did as instructed. It was then he knew she wanted it just as much as he did.
“So eager for your punishment, that's good. You are willing to repent your wrong doings.”
Father Blackwood couldn't have cared less if Thorn was truly sorry for her mood or not but he'd never tell her that. With a hidden smirk he flipped her short checked skirt up to reveal her black satin panties and garter belt. She only wore those things to kill him, he was certain.
Faustus could have spanked her, left his hand print on her ass and Lucifer did he want to but no, Faustus had a must more sinful idea. There was a pause where he soaked up the sight of her bent over the dark desk for him, those lace stockings that decorated her long legs wonderfully and her smooth porcelain skin. Eventually his icy eyes fell on his cane that rested against the desk and he took it into his hand; Blackwood would enjoy this.
Slowly he dragged the head of his cane up over her backside, at first nice and gentle.
“Such a good girl being so still for me. Yet that doesn't change your actions, Thorn, and as High Priest it falls to me to punish you.”
With glee in his eyes Faustus lifted the cane up and then brought it down on her pert ass, not cruel but she certainly felt it. Thorn let out a yelp and Faustus felt himself twitch with want. Smack! A little harder the second time, the other students had seen her disobedience after all. Another sweet yelp escaped her and Blackwood knew that if he peered at her face he'd see her eyes closed in delight. Thorn might have been his perfect student but she was a naughty little witch.
“You disrespect your High Priest, you disrespect the Dark Lord.” Smack! “I am his representative on Earth-” Smack! “and I will not allow such impertinence.” For the love of Lucifer, she made such stunning sounds. “You signed your name in the Book of the Beast, vowed to obey him-” Smack! This time she gasped and Faustus had to hold in a growl. “-and you will honour that.”
He slapped the rabbit headed cane against her reddened flesh once more and Thorn's hands squeezed into fists. Faustus could feel his hard length strain against the confines of his pants, the little mews, whimpers and gasps she let out only made it worse.
“You will uphold your family's reputation.”
Faustus paused in his rant to run his palm over her ass – a touch she arched in to – he could feel the raised welts there but between her legs was what he really cared about. Faustus slipped his fingers across the gusset of her panties and grinned.
“Soaking wet. Such a naughty little witch, aren't you?”
When Thorn didn't answer him he brushed his fingers over her core and forced a groan from her parted lips.
“... Yes, Father.”
Carefully he set his cane down to rest against the desk before he grabbed a fist full of her long raven hair and yanked the younger witch up so she arched and pressed his hard length against her. He loved the little mew she let out, it almost sounded like a purring cat. She was a Mortimer, a member of a founding family, born into respect and yet there she was at his mercy; and she loved it.
Faustus kissed at her neck as his hands slipped down her slender body until he was forced to release her so as he could slide her panties down her legs. She stepped out of them and Faustus subconsciously pocketed the scrap of wet fabric away in his academic gown. The High Priest couldn't resist any longer, he ripped himself out of his pants and rubbed his thick length along her folds with a predatory smirk.
“Please.” Thorn begged.
“Well, you did take your punishment very well.”
Faustus yanked the younger witch up and before she could even process the movement he had her slammed against the wall beside his chalkboard, her legs snaked around his waist and then he finally thrust into her wet heat; deep inside the younger witch. He'd have liked to take his time but people would grow suspicious he they stayed in the classroom too long. Thorn clung to his neck and crashed their lips together in a fierce kiss. Her sharp heels dug into his lower back but Faustus didn't care, couldn't have cared less, didn't care if he bled.
Father Blackwood kissed down the crevice of her breasts until she tugged his head back up for a needy kiss. So beautiful, so soft, so powerful, so his.
“Faustus!” She gasped against his lips. She'd called him by his given name the last time as well and still he delighted in it.
His thrusts grew erratic.
“Say it again!” He ordered a little breathlessly and it took her a second to realise what he wanted.
“Faustus.” Thorn whispered against his ear, her tone teasing. “Faustus- Oh Satan! - Faustus!”
Thorn came with his name on her lips and bit down onto his neck to quieten her scream. Her walls tightened around him and the sharp pain of her teeth at his neck pushed him over the edge into oblivion. Three more thrusts and he was spent and panting. Almost on auto-pilot he lowered them down into the desk chair much as they'd been before but this time he wrapped his arm around Thorn and kept her close as she snuggled into his chest.
“You're really not used to affection, are you?” She asked softly after a time.
“No.” He eventually replied. “My relationship with Lady Blackwood wasn't like that.”
“I'd started to forget what it felt like to be held.” She cuddled in closer. “Thomas didn't do that and obviously my family isn't around.”
“You have no one?” Since when did he care?
“Well,” she started with her eyes closed and her hands at his lapels. “I have my Uncle Kylian, he's my mother's older brother. He's never really around though, spends most of his time in England. My father didn't like him.”
Faustus had a vague memory of Kylian Gethic, a very mediocre witch in all honesty from a no one family. However, his sister – Alarya – had done well for herself to marry into the Mortimer clan.
“When did you last see your Uncle?” Again, since when did he care?
Thorn shrugged. “A long time ago . Not since my Father and brothers died. He hung around for a few weeks and then just vanished off back to his life in England.”
Gently she kissed the underside of his chin and Faustus' eyes glanced down to see her, so perfect in his lap. He revelled in it.
“This is nice.”
Faustus had thought taking her would cure his want for her but no. Not at all.
“Indeed.” He agreed.
Father Blackwood would keep her to himself as long as he could. Zelda had been something to sate himself with, scratch an itch, but Thorn Mortimer was something else. He had to admit – never aloud of course – that holding her was enjoyable and peaceful.
“I didn't mean to show you up in front of the school.” She apologized. “I know I'm your favourite.”
Everyone knew that but most didn't have the courage to acknowledge it. There was quiet for a long time.
“Does this mean I'm your plaything now?”
Faustus smirked. “Would you like to be?”
“Yes.” She answered quickly and Blackwood chuckled.
“Then you shall be.”
Suddenly there was a knock on the door and Thorn tensed though Faustus believed that to be from irritation rather than worry.
“Father?” It was Mavis Tremaine; that girl had the annoying ability to appear at the most inconvenient of moments. “Father Blackwood are you still in there? I left my bag.”
Two sets of eyes, one blue and one green, glanced silently down to the seat Mavis hadn't long ago occupied and sure enough there was her bag. That girl would forget her head were it not screwed on. With a quick but tiny gesture Faustus unlocked the door then pulled Thorn tightly against him. She watched his lips as they formed whispered words of a spell and then everything went black; like when the lights were turned off and one's eyes had to adjust. Thorn blinked rapidly to force her polished emeralds to work again and then she realised where they were; Father Blackwood's office. Clever man. He released his tight grip on her and set his cane against his desk, Thorn hadn't noticed him retrieve that.
“Best you go back to your lessons, Thorn, I have things to do and your absence will no doubt be noticed.” A little reluctantly Thorn stood. “No one will know about this, especially not while you are still a student. Understood?”
Thorn nodded with a smile.
“Not a soul but Caligari.” She straightened and grinned at him teasingly. “Can I have my panties back or are you starting a collection?” He didn't look overly impressed but she continued to tease him. “Where are my other panties anyway? Did they smell good?”
Faustus rose from his chair and took the underwear from his academic gown and held them out for to take, she accepted them and slipped them into a small pocket in her skirt.
“You're starting to be rude again, Thorn. Do I need to punish you again?”
He'd meant for it to be rhetorical but still she answered.
Thorn snaked her arms around his neck and kissed the older man before she leant in to whisper conspiratorially into his ear.
“Father, you should know, I'll never ask to be spanked. I'll just misbehave until I get punished.”
Damn if that didn't make his cock twitch with want for the young witch.
“Off you go.” He said before he took her again.
“Seriously though, where are they?” Thorn pressed little kisses to his jawline. “I just want to know.”
Faustus sighed. “The bottom draw of my desk. Would you like them back?”
Thorn shook her head softly. “No, you keep them. You earned them.”
With that Thorn grabbed her teal bag from the floor where Faustus had transported them and strutted out of the High Priest's office fully aware he stood there staring at her backside. She was just as twisted as him and he loved it. He liked when she'd used his name again and he made a mental note to have her use it more often.
The day of Thorn's graduation arrived faster than she'd expected. The Winter Solstice would be in the following month but first she had to get through graduation. Thorn was excited to finish her schooling, to have the coven see her as a fully fledged witch and not just the daughter of a massacred family, or Father Blackwood's prodigy.
She stood just outside the graduation hall staring through the open double doors at all the chairs and family members who had come to support their children. Thorn had longed to see her father and brothers there, her mother too but that would never happen. There was a podium up on the stage where Blackwood would give a speech, candles lit the room making everything seem intimate despite the mass of people there. She could see Mavis and the rest of the Tremaine family – Mother, father, two brothers and three sisters; all older – with smiles on their faces. Thorn wasn't bitter but she did wish she could have felt her father's arms around her just once more, smell her mother's perfume, hear her big brother's voice and her little brother's laugh.
Suddenly arms snaked around her waist and a voice whispered in her ear.
Thorn beamed as her eyes went wide. She'd not heard that voice in so long that she'd almost forgotten it. The hands released her and she quickly spun around to see a tall blonde man with grey at his temples and a smirk. His suit was three-piece, pinstriped and perfectly tailored for his broad shoulders. He looked as though he'd been shrouded in obsidian.
Thorn hadn't seen her maternal uncle since her father's and brother's funerals and that had been years ago. He was the only family Thorn had in all the world and she was delighted to see him.
“Hello, Thorn.” He greeted in his perfect English accent.
“What are you doing here?”
The tall blonde man looked down at his niece with mock hurt in his brown eyes.
“As if I would miss my only niece's graduation.” He plucked a box from his breast pocket and held it out for her. “Here, I got you a gift.”
It was a long green jewellery box that looked old but well cared for and Thorn suddenly found herself excited.
“Thank you.” She exclaimed. “You didn't have to, Uncle Kylian.”
“It's not every day you graduate.”
Carefully she opened the box to find a silver charm bracelet, each charm of which were protections symbols.
“It's beautiful! Thank you, Uncle.”
Kylian smiled down at her.
“You're very welcome, Thorn. It belonged to your mother, Alarya wore it quite often as a child. You should have it.”
The blonde easily helped the younger witch to put the bracelet on just as Father Blackwood appeared from seemingly nowhere. Thorn didn't notice him until the High Priest was practically on top of them.
“Are you prepared, Thorn?” He asked an that deep tone of his and she nodded.
“Yes, I think so.” She turned to her uncle. “Father Faustus Blackwood, this is my uncle, Lord Kylian Gethic. My mother's elder brother.”
Kylian thrust his hand out and Faustus accepted it polity.
“A pleasure to meet you, Father Blackwood.”
“Indeed. Thorn has spoken much about you.”
Kylian flashed a smile. “All good I hope. I've not been around as much as I should have been, I spend too much time in England. Still, I couldn't miss my niece’s graduation.” A pause hung between them, hardly there. “Is it true that Thorn has taken over as the secretary for the Church of Night?”
Faustus took his hand back before it became awkward but still he nodded.
“She has, yes. Proven herself quite invaluable as well.”
Thorn tried not to mew when he flashed her a momentary look of want. For the love of Lucifer, how did that man do that to her? Fortunately Kylian didn't seem to pick up on it and Faustus carried on as normal.
“Well, please excuse me, Mister Gethic, but I have to prepare for the graduation ceremony. I shall have a chair set out for you at the front, Thorn is at the top of her class after all.”
“Thank you, Father.”
Faustus walked away then into the hustle and bustle of the graduation hall; people automatically moved out of his path. Thorn and Kylian turned their attention back to one another.
“He seems nice.” Said the blonde with a little sarcasm.
“Father Blackwood might seem standoffish but he is a very good High Priest. He has all but single-handedly restored the Church of Night to its former glory.” She felt the need to change the subject then. “Will you be staying long?”
Kylian shook his head. “Not long, no. I have things I need to attend to.”
Thorn deflated. “I was wondering if you'd like to celebrate the solstice with me at Mortimer Manor.”
Thorn hadn't spent the solstice with anyone save for Caligari or Thomas in years. Kylian thought for a moment before a smile erupted from him.
“How could I refuse my darling niece? I would be delighted to join you, Thorn. As I said, I have business to deal with but I can certainly return before the Winter Solstice and we can celebrate together. I trust Ásvaldr is welcome?”
Thorn nodded. “Of course. Caligari will be pleased to have another familiar present. He's been somewhat lonely since... the deaths.”
Kylian nodded in understanding and sympathy. “I can imagine.”
Thorn looked over to the podium then to see everyone taking their seats and Blackwood donning his academic gown.
“We should take our seats, Uncle Kylian.”
Kylian let out a little hum of agreement. “It seems you're right.”
The pair made their way down the central walkway between the chairs until Thorn veered off to climb up onto the stage with the other graduates while the blonde took his chair with the rest of the families.
Thorn was elated to have someone there for her graduation, it might not have been her father, Gray or Alistair but Kylian was her uncle, her mother's brother, the only family she had left in all the world. He'd never been around much, even before her mother's death, for some reason Abraham Mortimer had never been too excited about Kylian's existence. None of that seemed important in that moment though.
Faustus took full command of the room the second he stepped up to the podium and started to speak. All eyes were on him as he praised the students and thanked the teaching staff for their work throughout the year. He paused a time to mention a few students by name, Thorn Mortimer being chiefly among them for her hard work and devotion to her schooling as well as their coven. When his speech ended and he had handed the diplomas out to everyone the choir sang as was tradition.
Thorn though, she kept her polished emeralds firmly locked on her Uncle Kylian. She still couldn't quite believe he was actually there. Unbeknownst to the young witch Faustus kept his attention subtly on her. So beautiful, so smart, so powerful and as of that day no longer his student. Perfect. Every now and again he'd look away from her and over the crowd so as not to draw attention to the true subject of his gaze, but the bulk of his time in that room was spent watching her.
Thorn sat with her legs together and neatly tucked at an angle which had pulled her skirt ever so slightly up her thigh. Faustus couldn't see the tops of her black stockings but he knew they weren't hidden by much. Was Thorn teasing him? Knowing Thorn Mortimer that was more than likely. She wore white as though professing an innocence everyone knew she didn't have. The sweetheart neckline made with white lace that cuddled her beautifully but no, no, Faustus couldn't focus on taking her or what was under that white dress; not with so many people around.
In all honesty he hated the graduation ceremony. It was much too long and frankly half of it was utterly pointless. Still, the families expected a fuss and it was his job as Dean to give it to them. As High Priest he couldn't just zone out of the occasion until he end so he did the next best thing, rake his icy eyes across the gathered crowd intimidatingly and nod politely as people spoke. Eventually the graduation celebrations ended with a prayer to their Dark Lord, Lucifer, and then everyone was finally free.
The graduates all went off to their families with smiles on their young faces while the teaching staff huddled together to congratulate themselves. Faustus though, he wanted to return to his office, he had things to do. However, his presence was expected, so he found himself milling around the hall being roped into conversation with different students and their relatives every now and again. It wasn't until Kylian Gethic greeted him that Faustus even realised he'd drifted over to where Thorn and her Uncle stood.
“Father.” Said Thorn with a smile that he returned.
“Thank you, Father.”
Kylian smiled. “My niece has always been a hard little worker. So smart.”
Faustus nodded in acknowledgement. “I completely agree. I would not have mentored Thorn were she not a highly intelligent woman.” Father Blackwood turned his attention to the young witch. “Your command and understanding of conjuring is remarkable.”
Thorn blushed a little. “Thank you, Father.”
“My darling niece has invited me to spend the longest day with her. It has been quite some time since I have had family around me for the occasion. Have you any special plans for it, Father Blackwood?” The blonde asked conversationally.
Faustus glanced down only a split second before he responded.
“Regrettably not, no. My wife was lost to us this year so it will just be myself and my son, Judas.”
Thorn perked up at that.
“How is he? Judas is such a sweet boy.”
The memory of how quickly his son had taken to Thorn flashed through his mind then but Faustus pushed it away.
“Indeed. Judas is well, thank you for asking.”
“You and he should join us!” Kylian suddenly exclaimed as though he had any right to. “It would be a delight to spend the Solstice with not only my sweet niece but the High Priest and his son too.”
Well, her uncle had just backed Thorn into a corner.
“Yes, why not? You and Judas would be most welcome at my home, Father. It would be good for Mortimer Manor to be full of life once more. Your familiar is welcome also.”
It was an excuse to be around Thorn rather than his son's nanny and he'd not got any better plans. The house wouldn't even be decorated; that had always been Constance's thing to do. She had adored the solstice. Faustus nodded after a moment.
“It would be my pleasure, Thorn. I'm sure Judas will enjoy it as well.”
“Then it's settled.” Grinned Kylian. “The four of us shall celebrate together!”
“Wonderful.” Said Faustus though there wasn't really the emotion in his voice that was in Kylian's own.
Thorn smiled but Father Blackwood knew that look, it was her polite but irritated smile.
For some reason I imagine Kylian looking something like Kevin McKidd. Not sure why but my brain is rolling with it.
I'm sorry nothing got updated yesterday but I'm a florist and it was Mother's Day which meant I've not had time to eat let alone think about updating anything. Still, it's over now, I've had a sandwich and the fic has been updated so all is right with the world. :-)
The school seemed so quiet without the recently graduated students filling the Academy of Unseen Arts, and Faustus had found himself with so much free time as he always did a the end of the year. That didn't mean he sat idle, no, as High Priest he was always busy. The dark-haired man did miss seeing Thorn as she wandered the halls though. Still, he saw her when she joined him to discuss the Church; enjoyed taking her on the desk those nights. And, if the mass of scratches on his back were anything to go by she enjoyed it too. Thank Lucifer it had been one of those nights.
Nothing more had been said of their Yule celebrations save for when he was to arrive and that Judas' nanny was not necessary. Faustus had been pleased about that, he'd not intended to bring the woman anyway. Kylian Gethic had taken his leave until that night as well and he'd been pleased about that too. Yes, the man was Thorn's uncle but Faustus wanted her attention all to himself. Selfish but he didn't care.
The fires warmed him as he sat there at his desk putting himself back together after Thorn had delighted in being the one who dishevelled him. Damn, she was beautiful! She'd left not long ago but still he could feel her walls clamped around his member; a sensation he savored.
Faustus sat at his desk with a glass of amber liquid to indulge in after he'd indulged in Thorn's supple flesh. He'd return to his home soon bit he wanted a few moments of peace and quiet. That wouldn't happen.
“You're a naughty, naughty boy, Faustus.” Madam Satan said as she came into view. “I told you before that you're much too old for that girl. What next, Sabrina? No, her aunt is more your speed.”
She perched on his desk and looked at him with a dangerous smile.
“Want something, Demoness?” He asked with no real emotion at all and took a sip of his drink.
Madam Satan shrugged. “Just popped in for a little chat. Sabrina is taking nicely to having her name in the Book of the Beast.”
“All witches do.” Faustus responded simply.
“Care to share?” The woman gestured to Faustus' glass and he pulled it a little closer to his chest.
“I've no desire to share saliva with you, but I'm sure you'll help yourself.”
The dark-haired woman just smirked at him and got herself a drink from his decanter over in the corner of the room. She sipped it slowly as she sat down in a chair to face the High Priest.
The only reason she was there was to irritate him, Father Blackwood knew that but it had become a silly routine of theirs. Madam Satan would show up randomly and do her best to get a rise out of him, and Faustus would ignore her until she got bored and left him be. Were she not Madam Satan he'd have tossed her out on her ass and warded the whole building against her a long time ago. He'd not anger the Dark Lord though, not over the likes of her.
“I'll give you this, Faustus,” The demoness said after another sip “you have good whiskey.”
“But of course.” He responded dryly.
“Tell me, Faustus, why that one? Do you really like her or is it because she's from a family with power and you're a pilot fish?”
“Are you suggesting Thorn is a shark?” He asked to dodge her question.
Madam Satan smirked. “Oh, that girl can be vicious if she wants to be. All women can. I recommend you don't anger her.”
“I'm fully aware of Thorn's power.”
“Hmm, I think you're fully aware of most of her.” That actually got a little smirk out of him. “Anyway, back to the reason I'm here-”
“Oh, there's a reason.”
Madam Satan ignored his interruption and just carried on. “Sabrina's mortal friends at Baxter High have been a little tense around her since she signed her name and left her boyfriend, Harvey.”
Faustus sighed. “And why do I care about the love life of a teenage girl?”
Madam Satan snorted a little unladylike. “Well, you do have sex with one.” Father Blackwood didn't laugh but he had to admit he'd walked right into that one. “Has Sabrina made any real friends here at the Academy? She needs the support right now, the more comfortable she is the easier it will be to control her.”
Blackwood agreed. “Sabrina has befriended Prudence, Agatha, Dorcas and Nick Scratch. They're quite the little group. Also, I'd not worry about her single status too much since Scratch has his eye on her.”
The demoness raised an eyebrow. “A warlock? Good. The further away from the mortal world she gets, the better for us all.”
Faustus drained what was left of his drink and stood. “Are we finished here? I'm a busy man and I do have a son to tend to.”
Madam Satan sighed. “Fine, I can take a hint.”
She finished her drink, set the glass down on the large desk and vanished to where ever she went when she wasn't bothering the High Priest. Suddenly that peace and quiet he'd wanted returned and Faustus let out a sigh of relief.
When Faustus returned to his home he was greeted by his son's Nanny, Iris Sammel, an – almost stereotypical – older woman with grey hair held in a bun and a pale pink dress; all she missed was a pair of spectacles on a chain.
“Evening, Father.” She greeted with a pleasant smile.
“Iris.” Was all the acknowledgement Blackwood gave until he'd hung his overcoat up and then planted his cane between his feet. “How is Judas?” Faustus enquired in that accented voice of his.
Iris smiled. Her eyes – almost the same shade of dark blue as the walls.
“He is quite well, Father Blackwood. He ate not long ago and I set him down for the night. I think he missed you though.” She cleared her throat. “With how late the hour is I took the liberty of preparing tea for you and a light supper, it's all in your study.”
Cooking wasn't in the woman's job description but she often decided to play housekeeper and he couldn't ever decide if he liked that or not.
Faustus nodded. “Thank you, Iris.”
“You're quite welcome, Father.”
“I think that will be all for this evening, Iris. You may go home.”
The older woman flashed him an almost motherly smile. “Of course, Father. Goodnight.”
He didn't watch the woman get her coat but rather walked off to his study for some much needed tea. Sure enough as soon as he entered the room Faustus saw the cup of steaming tea and a plate of select cold cuts at his desk waiting. Many people probably assumed that as High Priest to the Church of Night he had an army of servants at his disposal, cooking, cleaning and what not but he didn't. Faustus didn't like having a plethora of people in his home. As soon as he'd moved into the large house he'd spelled the place to basically clean itself as most witches did and he actually rather liked cooking. Of course Faustus wouldn't ever admit that... to anyone. One didn't need an army of servants if one was tidy.
Faustus all but fell down into his desk chair after he'd rested his cane against the desk, and started to sip at his tea. He had to admit Missus Sammel knew how to make a damn good cup of tea. Blackwood really needed some sleep but food came first, the High Priest happily helped himself to the plate of cold cuts to sate his rumbling stomach. The dark-haired warlock leant back in his chair and ate in silence for what seemed like the longest time, peaceful and calm.
He should have expected Madam Satan to show up at his school office, she adored irritating him. Faustus had been happy and delighting in the post-orgasmic bliss of Thorn, of course the demoness had shown up to ruin it. Still, he'd made it home and his house was the one place he'd expressly banned her from, she could have tried to break through the warding but it would prove futile.
The High Priest had just finished his supper when he heard Judas cry and scream, the sound bounced around the house surprisingly well; annoyingly. At first he thought to let the child cry himself out but Judas very rarely cried and Faustus actually found himself halfway up the stairs before he'd even registered his concern. Seemed his paternal instinct had kicked in.
Faustus strutted into Judas' room. Dark wainscoted walls and large Gothic windows mixed together with hints of green to make Judas' room dark and intimidating while keeping an air of childishness to it. Dead in the centre of the room with an Irish green canopy over it stood Judas' crib, a stunning work of art, antique walnut with detailed swirls and peaks carved into the wood. There lay Judas, face red as tears streamed down his face and Faustus lifted the small boy into his arms gently.
“Hush, Judas. Blackwood's do not cry.” He told the child firmly, yet the crying didn't cease.
Seconds later memories of Thorn holding his son filled his mind. Her touch had been so careful and loving, so practised. It was rare for Judas to cry – his boy was strong – but when he did it took quite some time to calm him, Thorn though, she'd comforted Judas in a matter of minutes. Slowly he shifted Judas in his arms until he held him just as Thorn had and pulled his son in closer to his chest, a moment or so later the child's screams died down. Faustus just stood there a time with Judas rested in his arms, he rocked him back and forth until slumber once again took the boy and Faustus set him back down in the crib.
“Sleep now, Judas.” He rose back to his full height. “Seems you have developed quite the affinity for Thorn. Like father like son as it were.”
For quite some time Faustus stood there watching Blackwood Jr as he slept, so small. His only son, his heir. Judas would do him proud of that Faustus had no doubt. He'd waited so long for a child and now finally there was young Judas, shame Constance hadn't been able to give him their other son.
When his icy eyes started to slip shut Father Blackwood backed quietly out of Judas' bedroom and headed down the hall to his own room. Once inside the dark-haired warlock stripped off his shoes and clothes until he stood in nothing but his open pants. His suspenders hung at his thighs and his hair had turned into a chaotic mess but he didn't care, Faustus crashed down into bed and kicked the last scraps of fabric from himself before he pulled the covers over himself and passed out for the night... what little was left of it anyway.
Was there really any doubt as to what Faustus' familiar would be?
With young Judas cradled carefully in one strong arm from which his cane also hung, Faustus made his presence at Mortimer Manor's front door known with the large brass knocker carved to look like a wolf. The house was one of the largest in Greendale and sat on the very edge of town. Very few people – certainly no mortals – were aware but the house had actually been there before the town. It looked as though a Victorian Manor house had been picked up from England and sat down there in the middle of America; out of place but right at home all at the same time. If one were to see the house from an aerial view it would look something like a lemniscate symbol with a jet black roof and the west side of the house was covered in ivy. The window frames and large front door almost appeared to be made of onyx and arched in what could only be described as a staccato way. The brick had darkened over the years but didn't appear dirty despite how little occupation the house got after the Mortimer massacre.
Truthfully, Faustus was impressed by the house. He'd not been there in many years, not since Gray had been a student of his and frankly it hardly looked different. A wreath of sticks and berries with a pentagram in the centre hung on the door and he couldn't help but notice the way Judas watched it curiously as they waited for the door to be answered.
When he saw the door handle turn Faustus pushed away the thought that this was a bad idea away and stood tall.
“Good evening, Father.” Thorn smiled at him as soon as the door was open.
“Thank you, Thorn.”
The High Priest stepped inside out of the cold and delighted in the warmth he felt. Thorn beamed when he asked her to hold Judas so as he could remove his overcoat and hang it up. There was such love in her eyes for his son as she rocked him gently, Faustus watched her, couldn't resist. Suddenly a large, black fox hopped up from behind the young witch and onto her shoulder to see the babe and Faustus just stood there taking in the delectable sight. Thorn wore a beautiful burgundy dress in a Victorian style with puffed cap sleeves and a small bow on the front, the dress stopped just above her knee and had a court neckline that just teased him with her breasts. With Judas cuddled close to her and her familiar on her shoulder Thorn looked the perfect image of witch motherhood. Oh how he wanted to take her there and then.
Eventually Thorn glanced back up at him with that stunning smile.
“You remember my familiar, Caligari.” She said with a slight not towards the fox on her shoulder.
“Indeed I do.” He planted his cane between his feet and it was only then that Thorn noticed a small black nose and a set of golden eyes remarkably similar to Caligari's own. Faustus stepped a little to the side. “This is Ostara.”
Emerald orbs flashed down Faustus' legs until the stunning creature came into full view beside his feet. There sat a large black Hare with big ears and what had to be the cutest nose she'd ever seen. The animal was actually quite adorable which seemed odd somehow when one considered Ostara was Faustus' familiar; the two didn't seem to correlate.
Caligari hopped down then to investigate the new familiar in his midst. He'd lived with a bat, a snake and a hawk in the Mortimer Manor before the Witch Hunters had... done what they did but since then he'd been lonely; especially since Thorn spent so much time at the Academy of Unseen Arts. He sniffed at the Hare inquisitively as the witches watched.
“Well, they seem to get along nicely.” Said Thorn.
“Yes.” Faustus remarked simply so as he had something to say.
“Come on through to the salon. There's a nice warm fire and my Uncle Kylian arrived a short while ago.”
The High Priest followed the young witch – who still held his son – through into the next room where he felt the warmth from the promised fireplace; oh how he needed that. With a wave of his hand Faustus conjured up Judas' crib and Thorn happily set the Blackwood heir down gently then turned to face the dark-haired warlock with a smile on her black lips.
“Can I offer you anything to drink? I have quite the array of fine liquor.”
Faustus didn't even need to think about it. “Scotch.”
“Coming up. Please, sit and make yourself at home.”
So Faustus did, he took a seat in a leather armchair near his son and opposite Kylian Gethic. They nodded to one another in greeting as Faustus rested his cane against the arm and O stara hopped up into his lap; she'd been with him so many years and frankly that familiar was a part of him just as they all were to their witches.
“Good evening, Father. So glad you could join us.” Said Kylian with a pleasant smile.
Over the blonde's left shoulder stood the large Yule Tree that had been beautifully decorated while over the right was a large perch for and even larger owl of black and dark grey. Most owls looked regal, this one seemed as though it loomed.
“Yes, well, when Thorn so happily invited me how could I refuse?” He told Kylian in that deep voice of his.
“Let me introduce you to Ásvaldr, my familiar.” He gestured to the large owl. “He's a Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, has a wing span of over four feet.”
B ragging about one's own familiar. How hubristic. Faustus mentally sighed as he petted Ostara's head softly, she nuzzled into his touch as she always did.
“ I should have expected a Hare.” Kylian said a moment later over the crackle of the fire. “Especially after I saw that cane of yours. What's his name?”
“Her. And her name is Ostara.”
T horn chose that moment to return with a glass of scotch in a crystal glass and another glass of blood colored wine for her uncle.
“Here you are, Father.” Thorn smiled as she passed him the glass that he accepted fondly before she turned to the blonde. “And another for you Uncle.”
“Thank you, niece.”
The young witch took a seat and sipped at her own drink. Faustus couldn't help but rake his eyes over her beautiful skin, pale and soft.
“I trust all went well in England for you, Mister Gethic.” The High Priest enquired to be polite; not that he was often concerned with politeness.
The blonde witch nodded. “Kylian, please. And yes, Father, all went utterly swimmingly. Thank you. I must admit England does keep me busy, sometimes more than I'd like. However, I expect that you fully understand all that.”
“Indeed.” Faustus responded easy before he took a sip of his scotch. “Still, we all have work to do. Each have our duties.”
The evening progressed much like that. The three of them made conversation as Judas slept happily in his crib. Thorn got up every now and again to check on the child while Faustus continued to pet Ostara's fluffy black head and Kylian sipped at his wine. There was clearly a slight level of tension between the two men but they kept it civil and Thorn knew how to make a pleasant evening of the solstice.
Hours past and they ate, lit the Yule log then settled down to tell scary stories. Faustus had been rather impressed with Thorn's, she had quite the talent for atmosphere; a very lyrical voice. Once her turn ended Thorn offered them all refills on their drinks and vanished off to the kitchen to do just that.
“She's a good little cook, isn't she.” Kylian mused.
“Indeed.” Came Faustus' easy response. “Very good.”
The blonde nodded to himself. “Yes, women should really just raise children, they're weak when it comes to power and mortal women are even worse. Don't misunderstand me, Father, my niece is a very smart young witch but-” He trailed off to let Blackwood fill in the blank.
Normally he'd have agreed, in Faustus' opinion female witches weren't nearly as powerful as male ones. However, he'd not stand for Kylian Gethic of all people likening Thorn to a mortal!
“A man who thinks women should remain in the kitchen clearly doesn't know what to do with them in the bedroom.” Was the only response Faustus gave and it was in a rather sharp tone.
“Uncle Kylian, surely you have a story from all those travels of yours.” Thorn smiled when she returned and sat back in her chair once she'd handed them all their drinks.
Kylian flashed his niece a smile and sat forwards in his armchair; eyes shined in the firelight.
“It would be my pleasure, darling niece.” There was a momentary pause where Kylian downed what was left of his crimson colored wine and shuffled further forwards in his seat. “I know the perfect one. They're always scarier when they're true.”
Thorn tickled Caligari's ear.
“I invite you to give it your best shot, I do not scare easily.” Faustus smirked and Thorn adored that tone of his.
“Challenge accepted, Father.”
Thorn had missed celebrating the solstice. Usually she just spent the longest night of the year quietly with Caligari, it hadn't ever been depressing exactly just saddening. Sorrowful. Lonely. She could remember the solstice with her family before her mother had died. Decorating the Yule Tree, lighting the log while her father told tales and she played with her baby brother. Gray had spent every solstice figuring out new ways to make his sister jump. She'd taken those times for granted, of Thorn had ever had even the slight inclination she'd lose it all she'd have treasured the time more. Still, Thorn couldn't dwell in her sorrows.
For a moment he reminded Thorn of her mother, Alarya, with all that pale skin and her disarming smile. In truth Thorn looked like her father and brothers what with the dark hair and bold green eyes but Alarya's traits hid away in her daughter's mannerisms.
The fire crackled as the blonde began his story. Caligari bounced over to settle by the fire.
“Long ago, longer now than it seems, at almost year's end, when mortals had only just started to hunt witches, there was a young woman by the name of Martha O'Shea. She, like the other mortals of her village, worshipped the false god. They called her a 'good Christian woman' but like all mortals villages Martha's was weak to hysteria, paranoia and what could only be described as mob mentality. Fear spread through the village like Hellfire with a vendetta when stories of witches arose and, of course, these 'good Christian' people wanted to eradicate the perceived threat to their boring, pathetic lives. Mortals do like to kill all they don't understand. However, to do that they had to burn the witch. Drive it out! There was just one problem; there wasn't a witch in the village. There was a sickness, yes, but it was natural, our kind had nothing to do with it but still we received the blame. The panic was all for naught but still they persisted. For weeks names were shouted around, neighbour accused neighbour and husband feared wife, some were rolled up in the hysteria while others just wanted competitors dead. And they still called themselves 'good Christian people'. Eventually it drew the attention of a warlock most trusted by the Dark Lord and he decided to watch the madness unfold in secret. At night the village would light up and the wind would carry screams of the burning innocents for miles and miles. The smell of ash never left the air. They didn't bury the bodies, as witches they didn't deserve that so instead they simply cast the corpses out onto the river – or at least what was left of them – some drifted missing and some drifted found. Each night this happened but still the villagers would return home, blow out the candle and go to sleep as though all sins were gone; as though husbands weren't unfaithful and wives weren't chugging Carolina swamp juice in secret. Then one fateful day the mortal folk came for young Martha O'Shea, a woman innocent of any crime let alone witchcraft; they were too stupid to realise witches are born and so they bound the irons to her wrists with ire. But still, when she desperately tried to tell her friends, her family , the people she'd known her whole life that fact, that she was no witch, Martha found no aid nor solace, just judgement and hate. No, these people had turned against her out of fear and the mortal urge to kill. They wanted to watch her burn. So one night, just before dawn when only a sliver of red lit the sky, they forewent her trial and strapped Martha to the stake; ears deaf to her pleas. It was then surrounded by so-called friends and loved ones that Martha realised no help would come. No one cared. Then the true realisation came, her god didn't come to save her either... because he wasn't real. Martha learnt that as the fire was lit beneath her and flames licked at her legs while the villagers cheered her death on. She was no witch but all that hate, anger and rage called to the Dark Lord and he came. He was the only one that came. Her god didn't but the Dark Lord did and he gave her the power to curse them all; her soul for wiping out the mortal monsters. For revenge. Vengeance. Martha made the deal, made it willingly and eagerly. She cursed them all, had them murder themselves. Justice. Come dawn all that remained was the smell of smoke and scraps of flesh that had been ripped from bone. They'd torn one another apart piece by agonising piece. Flesh, muscle, bone, nothing remained intact, nothing at all. You see they'd wanted to kill, wanted to destroy and they used the tales of witches as an excuse to do it. Blood soaked into the grass, smoke lingered in the air and a strange silence settled over the land; nothing but birds and deer left. Not long afterwards one of the Dark Lord's most trusted disciples who'd been observing the villagers came across the chaos and death but he wasn't afraid of dead mortals. He found his way through the carnage to the stake and the still smoking remains of Martha O'Shea, and realised the magnitude of what he saw; what had happened. A mortal who'd been granted the power to cast a curse. He scooped up some of the ashes into a metal cup careful not to touch them directly and took it away with him for his research. He became obsessed with the ashes, bound them together into a pearl. Not just any pearl, the most powerful magical object anyone had ever seen. You see the ashes had been imbued with Martha's rage, pain and betrayal and when the disciple formed them into that pearl he concentrated that power. The Pearl was an object of chaos, pure unadulterated chaos. It did not choose between witch and mortal, man or woman, young or old, it simply affected, and it was the disciple's undoing. He caused his own death and destroyed himself. After that The Pearl was lost and it fell into myth and legend amongst witching kind. There have been rumours over the years as to its whereabouts; the pearl with no name created by an unnamed warlock. None of them have ever been corroborated though. Once there was even a rumour that The Pearl was here.”
“In Greendale?” Thorn asked almost excitedly.
Kylian tapped the arm of his chair with a long finger. “Yes. Right here in Greendale. Of course there was never any proof and it's not popped up anywhere else since. Truthfully, The Pearl could be anywhere, it could be in this house, it could be on the other size of the world.”
Kylian sat back in his chair and reached his hand up to pet Ásvaldr's feathers as the Yule log continued to crackle and burn. Thorn turned to Blackwood who didn't seem overly impressed, then again that was a constant impression for the High Priest of the Church of Night.
“Do you think The Pearl really exists, Father?”
“It is a possibility, yes. There have certainly been occurrences that have happened over the centuries that seem directly related to The Pearl but no proof as your uncle says.”
“What does it look like?”
Faustus smiled internally. There she went learning all she could again; was there any wonder Thorn had been his favourite student?
“No one knows exactly.” Said the blonde. “Accounts vary. Some say it's an opaque grey orb the side of your fist, others think it appears to be made of glass and lets the light shine through.”
“So even if someone did come across it they'd probably not realise what it was.”
“Oh, niece, I suspect they'd realise when they picked it up and felt the need to rip the nearest person to shreds.” Kylian cleared his throat. “Now, if you will excuse me I am tired and think I'll retire to my room. It was a pleasure, Father. Will you be staying the night?”
“I have a room made up for you, Father, and it will be rather simple to send little Judas up in his crib.”
Faustus didn't have to think about it a single moment. “I would be most grateful. Thank you, Thorn.”
“Then it's settled. I shall see you in the morning, Father Blackwood. Good evening everyone.”
Kylian flashed them both a smile then made his way out of the large room with his owl familiar, Ásvaldr, flapping behind him.
“Night, Uncle.” Thorn called out right as the blonde vanished through the door.
Faustus drained what was left of his glass of scotch right as Thorn launched herself at the older man and straddled him with a smile and pressed a kiss to his lips as her arms snaked around his neck; Ostara only just managed to flee Faustus' lap and went to settle by the warm Yule log with Caligari.
“You have just been waiting for your uncle to leave, haven't you, my Dark Angel?”
Dark Angel? He'd never called her that before and Thorn relished in it. It brought a happy smile to her face. Thorn kissed him again, he tasted to scotch, sharp and somehow bitter and sweet all at the same time.
Faustus' hands snaked up Thorn's firm thighs, over the tops of her stockings and came to cup her backside under her burgundy dress. He gave a little squeeze and smirked at the gasp he got in return.
“Why do you always smell so perfect?” The High Priest mused aloud. Thorn just smiled.
“Because I know you like it.” She chuckled against the skin of his neck.
Suddenly he rose to his feet and took Thorn with him, her legs wrapped around his waist as she kissed him . One of her hands jutted out towards Judas and the crib and babe vanished upstairs to Faustus' room.
“Play with me?”
Faustus Blackwood was a hard man to kill but he was fairly certain that if anyone could manage it then it would be Thorn. Faustus didn't need to be told twice, he kept a tight grip on her as he made his way through into the vestibule and up the imposing staircase of black and purple.
With a few directions from Thorn Faustus found his way to her bedroom and tossed her down on the large four-poster bed made up in blood colored sheets. It looked antique and frankly Faustus couldn't imagine her room looking anything different. He watched with icy eyes as Thorn stripped herself of her burgundy dress until he had full view of her stunning body in nothing but her underwear and heels. Certainly the only person who stood a chance of killing him. He quickly stripped off his waistcoat and shirt, toed off his shoes and knelt onto the bed over her so as Thorn felt his weight. Faustus could get lost in those emerald orbs, it wouldn't have been hard.
When their lips met in a bruising kiss Thorn suddenly found her wrists pinned down by strong hands; Faustus had a grip that lingered on the border of pain and pleasure. His eyes were dark than she'd ever seen before, not just dark, powerful and bold.
His fingers scurried up her stocking clad thighs and tugged down her panties, Faustus cast them aside as though they offended him leaving the young witch bare to him.
“Stunning, my Dark Angel.”
Faustus' eyes caressed her supple body. So beautiful, so perfect, so utterly stunning. Without warning the High Priest yanked Thorn up by her long raven colored hair for a painful kiss. Within seconds he'd slammed her back down in the soft sheets. He pushed her thighs apart to fill the space between them. Faustus shoved her wrists into a single one of his large hands while the other found her dripping core with a teasing smile. So needy.
Normally Faustus would have taken his own sweet time with her in his arms but he'd been sat downstairs with Thorn and her uncle for hours completely unable to touch her. Kylian Gethic had almost driven him mad. He couldn't resist her after all that, his want was too strong. With one sharp thrust buried himself inside her. Had Thorn not registered a sharp sting at the sudden intrusion and lack of preparation she'd have wondered how Faustus had managed to get his charcoal colored pants open so quickly. The hiss of pain gave way rather fast as she revelled in Faustus' clear desperate need for her and Thorn actually found she liked the pain.
The High Priest forced Thorn to arch her back into his touch. Her wrists were pinned above her head as Faustus thrust deep within his darling Dark Angel and locked their lips together, he still tasted of scotch, his usual flavour.
“Please. I need it harder.” She told him breathlessly as her legs snaked around the older man's hips to keep him close.
“So needy, my Dark Angel, so perfect.” Faustus' grip on Thorn's wrists hurt delightfully. “You always know when I can't resist you, don't you?”
Faustus moaned, he'd got a tight grip on her but she was soon released so as his large hands could find a new home at her throat, he took a second to delight in the sight of her. Thorn clawed at his shoulders desperate to keep him close as her pleasure built.
“Needy little slut.” His voice was deep and a little breathless. “You've been teasing me all night with those long legs. Perhaps I should punish you again, it is my prerogative as High Priest.”
Thorn gasped, the memory of his cane against her skin lingered.
“Do it. Really do it. I want it.”
Faustus fixed his blue eyes on Thorn's amazing green ones, only a shine of dominance filled his.
“No, you would enjoy it and I do not take orders from you.”
“But, Faustus-” He cut her off with a tug to her long hair, just harsh enough to startle her but not enough to truly hurt.
“No!” He growled, his thrusts grew erratic for a moment but they didn't stop.
The growl was a deep and guttural one that almost – almost – pushed Thorn over the edge and into the tidal wave that was euphoric bliss. Thorn cried out with want as fingers once again clawed at his shoulders. The young witch's walls quivered down around her former Dean's hard length and Faustus groaned into her neck as his grip on her tightened as he tumbled over the edge and came deep inside her.
Though it no longer applied pressure Faustus still had his hand on Thorn's throat, his girl's hips still searched him out as they rode out the end of their pleasurable highs.
“Faustus, harder. Now!” She muttered in need for her climax. Damn he loved the way she said his name.
The High Priest chuckled darkly as he looked down at her destroyed and debauched face. Faustus pulled her by the back of Thorn's head and crashed their lips together.
“You demanded.” He told her sternly. “You don't tell me what to do, I give the orders, my Dark Angel. And naughty little sluts don't get to cum.”
Oh it had been a long time since he'd plaid this game so happily.
“Please, Faustus.” She begged but Faustus was having none of it.
“No! You need to do as I tell you.”
Faustus sat back on his haunches and forced Thorn down onto her knees and pressed her face to clean him off. Thorn made a show of lapping Faustus' seed from his softening length. The older man watched with hunger, his eyes didn't leave his darling Thorn for one single second; he didn't even blink.
When Thorn was done she looked up at the High Priest with the most innocence expression she could and wiped her lips with the back of her hand. Big blue eyes sparkled with delight. Thorn bit her lip. Blackwood wasn't stupid, he knew exactly what Thorn was doing, he made her sit there for a time while they just watched one another and then finally, when he could see that Thorn's knees had started to hurt did he pat his knee.
“Come here, Thorn.”
Quickly she scrambled to straddle him and cuddled into his strong chest snaked an arm around her while the other rested on her knee.
“What do you do?” He asked, voice deep.
“What you tell me.” Responded Thorn as she started to draw little circles on his pectoral.
“What are you?” Oh, if Thorn answered like he wanted there was no telling what he'd do to her in future.
“That's my Dark Angel. I think you've earned a treat.”
With that Faustus pressed a loving kiss to Thorn's temple as his large hands caressed her and then, without so much as a hint, he threw the young witch back onto the bed where she landed with a thud and conjured up a length of rope to bind her wrists to the posts with. It was ever so slightly too tight and that was just how he wanted it.
“Want your treat?”
Thorn nodded frantically as Faustus slid down her body. He left little kisses and nips up her inner thigh – smooth like porcelain – until he found where Thorn so desperately wanted him.
“Oh Satan!” She gasped loudly completely uncaring as to whether her Uncle Kylian heard her or not.
“Not quite,” he smirked “but I appreciate the complement.”
He looked at the delicate raven curls of her glistening sex, so wet needy, his mind muttered dominantly before his let his fingers stroke along her folds. She moaned, loud and a little breathless, if Faustus never heard another sound ever again he'd die a happy man; the sound was like music. Thorn was beautiful beneath him, hands curled into fists above her head where they'd been bound, lips parted to let little groans and pants escape as his clever fingers explored her wetness. Thorn had touched herself before but it had never been like this, she'd never felt so desperate for it. Father Blackwood's talented tongue lapped at her wet folds teasingly at first, tormentingly so, but soon that wasn't good enough for him. He brought her to the brink of pleasure and then pulled his tongue away, her eyes flashed with need; with want. Faustus wouldn't deprive his darling Dark Angel though, not when she made such wonderful sounds. With a grin he slid down her supple body to pepper sweet kisses to her inner thighs; he loved those thighs.
His tongue licked at her folds hungrily tasting the sweet flavour of the young witch. Thorn gasped out a strangled moan. His tongue lapped at her folds, he was amazed at how wet she was for him, her hands longed to cling into his jet black hair, grip it tightly as his tongue circled her clit; Thorn just wanted to mess it up, Faustus was such a well put together man and the thought of dishevelling him was just too good. He kissed that sensitive bundle of nerves over and over making her scream louder and louder for him, then he slipped a finger inside her. Thorn moaned which only spurred him on. A finger slipped into her wet heat and then another, he crocked them as he kissed her clit. It didn't take long for Thorn to start pushing back on his fingers, she was close and he knew that, so he slipped in a third finger. After a few moments of careful thrusting she groaned out and wrapped her legs around his head. Faustus made sure to keep the thrusts going throughout her orgasm until she was left panting, her eyes fluttered closed. Thorn felt nothing but pure pleasure.
“Faustus!” She all but screamed and Satan did that feed Faustus' ego.
He smirked when his lips met hers again, knowing she could taste herself on him. They lay together in the blood colored sheets a time, there bodies coated in a thin layer of sweat as their lungs sucked in much needed air. Only when she prompted him did Faustus finally relent and untied her hands, she stretched them a tad awkwardly then cuddled into the older man's side. They'd never done that before, they'd never had sex anywhere but Faustus' desk at the Academy of Unseen Arts.
The tingle of orgasm still radiated through his strong body. The sex had been wonderful but after a few times on the hard wood of his desk it had gotten a little stale; the bed was certainly softer.
Thorn's wrists hurt a little where they'd been tied but she didn't care, she had the High Priest beside her; Thorn was happy.
“I think we should use a bed more often.”
Faustus smirked as the arm he had around her tightened.
“I concur, Dark Angel.”
Thorn snuggled in closer. “I like you calling me that. Maybe I'll have to call you Lucky.”
Blackwood frowned. “You will not.” He responded quickly.
“Well, it was that or Fau-”
“You'll use neither.” He interrupted. “And why would you chose something as childish as 'Lucky'?”
The raven-haired beauty had to stop herself from smirking.
“You're name is Faustus and it means auspicious, fortunate, so lucky seemed appropriate.” She said as though it were simple.
Faustus wasn't impressed. “At least there was thought in it but the answer to both is still no. You will call me Faustus as it is my name and I am not a Labrador.”
Thorn sighed in mock annoyance before she pressed a little kiss to his naked chest.
“Fine. Tell you what, I'll only call you 'Lucky' if I'm terrified and desperately need your help.”
The High Priest sill didn't look overly impressed. “Hmm, or you could just ask for help like most people do.”
“And let whoever I'm scared of know? Nah, I don't think so.” She shook her head.
“You are very rarely scared so I suppose I will allow it.”
Thorn kissed him again then with a happy little smile on her stunning face.
“Good, but it's not like you were getting a choice.”
Faustus raised an eyebrow. “You're being rude, my Dark Angel.”
It was then that the peace and quiet was broken, Judas chose that moment to erupt into tears down the hall and Blackwood sighed internally; he'd been enjoying himself. The High Priest huffed as he made to stand up but Thorn stopped him with a gentle hand on his shoulder.
“I'll go. If Uncle Kylian is in the halls he'd be less intrigued by me walking around my house half naked than you.” With a little nod he watched her rise from the bed and throw his large white shirt over her beautiful pale body. “He just wants some attention, I'm sure.”
He saw the door close quietly and let himself fall back against the soft sheets where he just stared up at the Verdi style wainscoted ceiling. His good little girl and Faustus loved every second of it. It didn't take very long for Thorn to return with Judas in her arms, he was awake but had settled. Judas' father paused at that sight, she was utterly stunning and for a second before his mind returned to the world around him he imagined Thorn as Judas' mother.
“Told you he just wanted attention.” She told him as she sat back down on the bed with the child in her arms.
Blackwood loved his son but it would have been nice if he'd chosen another time to cry. Had Faustus not thought his son above such things he'd have thought Judas did it on purpose to gain Thorn's attention; frankly Faustus wouldn't have blamed the boy.
The High Priest pushed himself up onto his elbows beside Thorn as she settled back against the headboard. A few extra candles burst to life on the side table, it' hadn't been lost on Faustus that candles were everywhere in Mortimer Manor. She certainly had an affinity for the things, then again, she was the most talented witch he'd ever come across when it came to fire; and that reluctantly included himself.
Thorn had soothed Judas after just a few moments again and he watched her smile down at him almost lovingly
“He's going to look just like you, Faustus. To be honest I think he's all you, just Lady Blackwood's nose. Then again, all babies should inherit something of their mother. Father used to say I had my mother's smile.”
Faustus just hoped Judas hadn't gotten Constance's deceit or jealously, he never wanted a re-run of the Feast of Feasts scandal.
“Indeed.” The one word was the only answer he gave rather than airing his thoughts. “You are very good with Judas.”
Thorn didn't look up as she spoke, just kept her eyes on the child.
“It's because he's such a good boy.”
There was quiet for a while then and Faustus wasn't used to such calm peace. Him and a woman happily cradling his son. When Thorn yawned Father Blackwood searched for a new topic.
“Dinner was wonderful.” Since when had Faustus struggled for anything to say?
“Good. Thank you, I used to help my mother before she died. It was always myself and Gray's job to help her for the solstice. We did quite well.”
“Your brother cooked?” Of course he'd not tell her he enjoyed the culinary arts somewhat as well.
Thorn nodded without taking her emeralds off of Judas as he settled back into slumber.
“He was quite good at it. It helped him with potions as well.” Faustus understood that, it had been how he'd stumbled upon cooking. “He wouldn't have won any awards or anything alike but he could make a rather good meal.”
“I'm an only child-”
“Yeah, no kidding.” She interrupted but Faustus just carried on talking as if she'd not said a word.
“- but a brother would have been nice during the holidays.”
“Well, now you have Judas.” A pause, brief and hardly there. “... and you're quite welcome here.”
Oh, now that Faustus would take full advantage of.
“Thank you.” The High Priest said politely.
He watched with piercing blue eyes as she shifted her pillows around, settled the babe down here he was safe and boxed in then rolled onto her side where she closed her eyes ready for sleep. Seemed Faustus didn't have a chance of getting that round two he wanted.
“Goodnight, Faustus.” She whispered softly.
When the candles put themselves out Faustus copied her and rolled onto his side to face Thorn and his son. He'd never thought about the whole family thing. When Constance had been pregnant he'd been so focused on getting his heir that all else had gone out the window. Yet laying there looking at Thorn and Judas he couldn't help but wonder if he and the late Lady Blackwood would have had nights like the one he'd found himself in. It was a strange though for Faustus Blackwood. Truthfully he'd never really loved Constance, she'd been a wife of convenience but he'd started to think Thorn was different... and that started a whole new line of questions that it was just too late to think about.
So the hiatus is all over and done with - Yay! Thanks for everyone being so patient and I'll be back to posting on Sundays again. Hope you all enjoy!!!!
When Faustus awoke it took him a moment to remember where he was. Thorn Mortimer's bedroom, now that brought a smile to his face. Light had just started to creep in through the tiny gaps in the purple curtains and all was silent. He glanced over to Thorn fondly. She slept on her side facing him with one hand tucked up against a sleeping Judas; she really had come to care for his son.
He clambered out of the soft bed in nothing but his underwear and stretched; he'd stiffened up in his sleep. It was much to early to get up so as soon as he'd stretched properly and moved about a bit he'd go back to sleep until the sun rose properly and Thorn awoke. He was lucky to have a son who was such a fine sleeper.
Just enough sun came in for him to see properly. Faustus hadn't paid attention to Thorn's bedroom when they'd first entered – he'd had his mind set on other things – so he took the opportunity to look around; without being rude of course. Blackwood was High Priest, he didn't snoop like a mortal teenager. Still, her room was decorated just as he'd imagined with flourishes of purple in an otherwise dark room. Thorn had a whole wall of bookshelves – which was to be expected – and everything seemed to have its place. Vanity, dresser, a fireplace that seemed to light whenever she even remotely thought of it. What really caught his eye was a large painting directly opposite her large bed, the frame was clearly antique but the painting itself appeared slightly more modern yet still old. The delicate colors made up a grove of almost sorrowful looking trees over which was a family tree. Witches lived a lot longer than mortals so having such a large family tree was rather unique.
There at the bottom was Thorn's name beside her brothers. He actually found himself saddened when he remembered that everyone on there other than Thorn herself was dead, gone, a combination of Witch Hunters and the Zurie family had made sure of that. Thorn was all that remained of a dying family.
“What are you doing, Faustus?” Thorn's voice startled out of his thoughts.
She came into view beside him still wearing his shirt and cuddled into his arm. Why is she always so soft?
“Just needed to move a bit.” He replied easily. “You know your ancestry well, even my family tree can't be traced back this far.”
“Yep, all the way back to Marquis Aloyisus du Mortimer.”
“Marquis?” Faustus asked with a raised eyebrow as he pulled her tight against his naked chest.
Thorn nodded. “Yes. My family is originally French. At some point the 'du' got dropped, we don't know when so it just never appears on the painting after the Marquis.”
“It's enchanted, isn't it?”
“It is. Updates itself whenever a new child is born. If I ever have children they'll be on there as well.”
Faustus gestured loosely with hand Thorn didn't have a hold on.
“Diebenkorn Mortimer, founder of our coven.”
“Silly name, right? My father used to tell me about him, that he wanted to make a name for himself in the new world so he left his sister and his life in France and came here. After that you probably know more about my family than I do, you know, since you're High Priest now.” She paused then went up onto her tiptoes to kiss his cheek. “Come back to bed?”
Faustus nodded. “How could I resist?”
Faustus had left the day after the solstice with Ostara and young Judas, but Kylian had remained which Thorn had been delighted about. Of course she'd been delighted, she'd gotten to spend time with her usually absent uncle. Faustus? Not so happy.
His only saving grace over the post solstice celebrations had been that Sabrina Spellman hadn't managed to either anger the Dark Lord or reveal their kind to the whole world and start up witch trials again. She had, however, managed to perform a séance at her home along with Prudence, Agatha and Dorcas. Yes, he heard everything. Still, she'd caused no real damage so he'd chosen to ignore the situation, something Zelda had been uncharacteristically pleased about; Faustus didn't really care, he had more important things to do.
The students would return to the school from their holiday break at the end of the week and Faustus was down a conjuring teacher. He certainly wouldn't pick up the extra lessons and especially at such short notice. He could just shove the classes on someone else in the teaching staff but he was still technically down a directrix for the Satanic Choir, then again they seemed to be doing well under Zelda Spellman's guidance and he'd started to think about making her a permanent member of staff.
An idea struck the High Priest then and his feet fell from their place perched on his desk. Faustus shot to his feet and held his arms out as though holding someone's shoulders and began to chant quietly, his eyes closed as his lips moved slowly but deliberately. A moment later Thorn stood before him, his hands on her shoulders and a surprised expression on her face.
Faustus paused a moment when he saw her blouse open, not a single button closed. He took in the sight of her black lacy bra with hidden glee.
“Well, thank Satan you didn't summon me ten minutes ago, I was in the shower.”
It was then that he noticed the slightly damp tips of her raven hair and that she wore no make-up at all. Father Blackwood hadn't ever seen her sans make-up before, she didn't need the dark lipsticks and smokey eyes. Thorn was stunningly beautiful with the bold black she normally wore around her eyes that made the emerald color of them pop, but without it she had a pure beauty to her. Not plain, there was nothing plain about Thorn Mortimer but she had a sort of pureness that enticed him.
“Father Blackwood, my eyes are up here.” She said with mock outrage and he finally released her so she could close the small buttons of her black blouse. “What do you need?”
Faustus straightened his shirt sleeves. “I was wondering if your uncle would be interested in guest teach Conjuring for the Academy until he returns to England.”
He returned to his desk chair then where he leant back to resume his ever prominent looming and Thorn happily slipped into his lap, once his arms wrapped around her wast she cuddled into his chest.
“I'm sorry, Faustus but Uncle Kylian left this morning. He only returned to Greendale to spend the holidays with me... us. He won't be back some time.”
Well, that had shot his band-aid plan out of the water. Maybe he'd have to pick up the classes after all, he'd really rather not; Faustus had enough to do as it was. Thorn kissed him then, softly by way of apology and it all clicked into place for him. Those devilish blue eyes glanced up to he gorgeous witch in his lap. His favourite student, his best student and most importantly not his student any longer.
“Thorn, my Dark Angel, how would you like to do it?
“Do what, Faustus?” She raised an eyebrow.
The High Priest pulled her flush against him so as he could breathe her in, she always smelt so wonderful.
“You kept saying you didn't know what to do with your life now you've graduated and you enjoy being here, yes?” Thorn nodded. “Then how would you like to be the Academy of Unseen Arts' new Conjuring teacher? A witch like you wouldn't struggle.”
Thorn paused. “You want me to be a teacher? Here?”
Faustus nodded. “Why not? Mortimers belong in these halls. Your ancestors helped build it after all; and this new year seems to be showing us witches are making a stand if Sabrina is anything to go by. ”
Suddenly Thorn was beaming at him and kissed the older warlock deeply.
“Yes! I'll be your teacher!” She said without hesitation. “I've always wanted to do this.”
That got a raised eyebrow from Faustus. “Why did you not tell me? I'd have given you the job straight away.”
Thorn shrugged as she pressed a kiss to his neck. “I didn't think you'd want to play favourites and I'm not exactly qualified.”
“Dark Angel, you're the best student I've ever had, that qualifies you. The position is yours.”
Thorn kissed him again, her slightly damp raven hair brushed against his cheek like a gentle caress.
“Thank you, Faustus.”
“You are quite welcome.”
“You're not pleased about Sabrina, are you.” It didn't even need to be a question, his expression made it obvious. “The whole Top Boy thing came as a shock, yes, but she was right, nothing expressly said she couldn't run. I debated it myself since Gray was Top Boy.”
“Sabrina cheated... I just can't prove it.” He muttered to himself but Thorn still heard it; she had wondered why he'd asked her to help seal the desecrated church. Faustus raised an eyebrow when his mind registered what she'd said. “Why did you not run if you knew there was no rule against it?”
Thorn wasn't the sort of witch to shy away from anything even more than Sabrina was.
The raven-haired witch shrugged. “I knew it would irritate you and I don't like it when you're unhappy with me. I was already your perfect little student and I didn't want that to change a single iota. I did however like it when you came to me after your night at Dorian Gray's Room. How enchanting was Salome I wonder.” She let out a little hum. “You should wear a tux more often. I adore that cute little bowtie.”
“Minx.” Was his only reply.
Thorn smiled then all dark and appealing. “I think I should say thank you properly.”
He'd been about to question as to what exactly 'properly' meant when she slipped from his lap and down between his knees, asking became pointless after that. With a smile he knew would make a man do whatever she wanted, Thorn opened his pants and pulled his hardening member free. Almost tormentingly Thorn licked the head and tasted the bead of pre-cum, it wasn't unpleasant. She pressed little kisses to him until finally Thorn took the High Priest's large and engorged length into her mouth, his hand guiding her.
“Good girl.” Faustus panted as his hand tightened its grip on the back of Thorn's neck. “That's it... just like that.”
The older man's hips jolted up with a loud groan when Thorn leaned back to swirled her tongue around his head, his hardness slamming back into her mouth. Tears sprung in Thorn's eyes, whimpering at the sudden movement – almost gagging when Faustus hit the back of her throat. The raven-haired beauty glanced up at him but Faustus had his head tipped back and his mouth hung open in a silent moan. Thorn sucks grew more teasing despite Faustus' harsh grip. She hummed.
“Ah! That's it, just like that, Dark Angel.”
She felt so amazing wrapped around him, such a perfect little mouth being used for something so primal and sinful, it made it all the more arousing. The man with jet black hair finally managed to open his blue eyes and looked down to find Thorn watching him, seemed his little witch enjoyed watching his pleasure as much as Faustus enjoyed seeing her's. Locking their eyes Thorn took all of him into her mouth, perfect... until the double doors opened. He instantly sat up straight and managed to kick Thorn under his desk before she was seen.
“Yes, Sister Spellman?” Said Faustus in a tone determined to keep his his previous moans hidden.
“Faustus, yes.” Zelda strutted into the office and came to a stop just behind the two chairs that faced his desk. “I was hoping you'd be here.”
“It is my office.” He told her flatly.
“Anyway, I wanted to know if you had assigned a new teacher to Conjuring yet. If not I'd be more than willing to fill in a while for you.”
Zelda flashed him a smile that she must have thought charming but he just found it aggravating. It only got worse when he felt Thorn slip him back into her mouth. Faustus bit his cheek to avoid moaning.
“I'm afraid the position has been filled, Sister Spellman, but I thank you for your willingness to help.”
The strawberry blonde witch suddenly grew dejected. “Oh, of course. We all do our bit.”
Thorn swirled her tongue around his head then and it took all he had not to thrust deep into her wet mouth and use the young Mortimer for Zelda to witness.
“My I enquire as to who is taking over from Professor Russell?”
Faustus nodded. “That would – ah! – be Thorn Mortimer.”
The shock of Thorn's name must have been enough to mask his little gasp because Zelda didn't seem to notice. The witch didn't look happy though.
“Thorn Mortimer? She's not a teacher, got no teaching experience at all.”
“Nor did you in regards to the Satanic Choir yet you have done well.” Thorn must have liked that comment because she took him deeper until he felt his length hit the back of her throat and for the love of Lucifer was she trying to kill him? His hands clenched into tight fists, sharp claws dug into his palms.
“Are you alright, Faustus? You seem off.”
“I'm fine.” He tried not to growl as he felt his climax approach. “Thorn will arrive before the end of the week and will be our new Conjuration teacher. Her work as a student was exemplary and she is fully qualified.” He said dismissively. She didn't move. “Was there anything else?”
Zelda paused a second before she seemed to snap back. “No, no. That was everything. I'm sure she'll do a great job.”
“As am I.” He replied assuredly.
Zelda slipped out like a kicked cat but Faustus hardly gave her a second glance. He paused maybe a half second before he shoved himself back from the desk and yanked Thorn up by the back of her neck.
“Little whore, are you trying to embarrass me?”
Thorn smirked at him, her lips swollen and glistening. “Come now, Faustus. We both know the only embarrassed one would have been Zelda. You think people don't know she wants you? You should hear Shirley Jackson talk.”
Faustus crashed his lips to Thorns in a bruising kiss, his eyes had darkened when he pulled away.
“How about you get back to being grateful and put that mouth to good use.” It very clearly wasn't a suggestion.
“Of course, Father Blackwood.”
Faustus thrust deep into her mouth once, he'd not give her chance to torment him again; it was Faustus' turn for some fun. His hips thrust sharply causing her to cough. He forced her to be used as he chased after his climax, Thorn wasn't a weak woman, she let him do with her as he pleased. It didn't take long for him to let out a deep moan as he came down her throat. She licked him clean like a good little witch then tucked him back into his pants and crawled back into his lap with a smirk on her lips. She was so warm against his skin, so soft. Why is she always so soft?
“Zelda doesn't like me, does she?” The question was perfectly rhetorical but still he let out a little hum.
They sat there together in quiet for a time, peaceful, calm. Faustus was a strong and assertive man but when he was with Thorn he could relax. He could just hold her, Faustus hadn't ever had that so he cherished it when he could.
“Do I get an office?” The raven-haired witch asked then hopefully.
Faustus raised an eyebrow. “You're a greedy and fickle creature, aren't you, my Dark Angel?”
“Of course I am. Now, where's my office?”
Thorn flashed him that enchanting smile and Faustus relented; much too quickly for Faustus' liking.
“I suppose I can make room for you somewhere.”
She chuckled. “What a gentleman.”
“You don't have to have an office.” He reminded her with dark eyes and mock anger that did nothing to knock the smirk off her lips.
“Why thank you for your kind and generosity, Father Blackwood.” Thorn made a show of innocence.
“You're being rude again, Thorn. Wouldn't want to be punished again.”
“Ooh, promises, promises.”
Faustus Blackwood was older than he looked, much older, but Thorn made him feel young again. They kissed and he wondered how he'd resisted her so long.
“If you are going to be our new Conjuring teacher you'll need to get a lesson plan started.”
“Are you saying you don't want me warming your lap?”
The High Priest breathed out a laugh. “On the contrary, Thorn, I enjoy it immensely but we now both have things to attend to.”
She huffed good-heartedly.
“Spoil sport.” He reluctantly released her as she rose to her feet. Perfect. “Guess I should go and tell Caligari the good news.”
Then she was gone, vanished just as quickly as she'd appeared and it made him raise an eyebrow; very few witches were powerful enough to teleport without use of a spell. He himself had only heard of maybe ten in all of witching history that could and almost all of those hadn't been entirely human; he really needed to stop underestimating Thorn's power.
Faustus forced himself to return to his work as though he'd not just been sucked off by a former student.
Thorn had spent the better part of a week preparing for her new teaching post but she was determined to just have a calm day; everything was ready and waiting she just had to start the job. However, that morning when she got up Thorn found a small envelope waiting for her on the bed side table with her name written in Faustus' calligraphy style handwriting. Inside she discovered a brass skeleton key with a sort of Celtic design. The small note consisted of a single sentence; Ask and ye shall receive. Thorn hadn't been able to stop grinning since then; she'd gotten herself an office!
As soon as she got to the Academy of Unseen Arts students raised an eyebrow, whether that was curiosity as to why she was back or if Zelda had been voicing her 'concerns' about Thorn taking over she neither knew nor cared. The raven-haired witch carried a box up the stairs and into Faustus' office without even knocking to find him stood before his desk shirtless and halfway through changing. Thorn smirked as she set the box down on one of the chairs, she couldn't resist raking her fingers up his smooth chest.
“Knew I was here, I take it?” She chuckled.
“Unfortunately not, no, I spilt tea.”
He pulled his new white shirt up over his shoulders but Thorn didn't let him button it, she was too busy amusing herself.
“Well, at least I got a nice show. Though I did wonder if maybe Prudence had thrown it at you. She seems to be getting more and more defiant, especially around Judas.” Her expression faltered then for a split second. “Not that I would presume to instruct you on the care of your own children, of course.”
“Yes you would and she is. You know she actually asked to take my name.” He sighed. “With Iris dead though she is the only one to care for him while I work.”
Thorn's eyes grew wide. “Judas' Nanny is dead? When did this happen?”
“Almost a week ago.” He responded as though it was of little importance. “She had lived a long life.”
Thorn shook the thoughts of Iris Sammel from her mind and turned it back young Judas.
“Father, if you would allow, I would be more than willing to assist in his care. As you know I cared for Alistair as though I were his mother and I already have a rapport with him. There may also be a very secret Gethic family goat's milk recipe that my mother taught me.”
Faustus seemingly mulled the idea over for a few moments before he nodded and flashed his inamorata a small smile.
“I would welcome it, my Dark Angel.”
She rose up onto her tip-toes and pressed her lips to the elder warlock's as his hands went to rest on her hips.
“Good.” She kissed him again with a teasing smile. “So, where is my office?”
Faustus rolled his eyes, he should have expected that question.
“So mercenary and fickle, my Dark Angel.”
Thorn smirked as she kissed his pectoral. “You love it.”
The High Priest only let out a little hum in response to that before he released his grip on her in favour of finally buttoning up his shirt and returning himself to his usual state of debonair; he grabbed his cane. She lifted the box back into her arms and flashed him a smile when he kindly held the door open for her. They took a left out of his office and Thorn was surprised to find they didn't descend the stairs towards all the other faculty offices but instead walked the short journey across from Faustus' office to another set of imposing double doors.
“Your office, Miss Mortimer.” He said as he planted his cane between his feet. “I assumed you'd rather not be near Sister Carswell or worse yet Professor Crow.”
That man was the most irritating person she'd ever met. They stepped inside the and Thorn set the box down on the desk. Her emerald eyes looked around with a smile. The place was a little smaller than Faustus' with walls the color of leaves at night that she couldn't deny matched her eyes almost perfectly; Thorn wondered if he'd had place decorated.
“The name Mortimer really does open doors... right into a nice spacious office.” She teased.
Father Blackwood let out a little hum of the affirmative. “This used to be a supply room but it's size seemed more appropriate to an office instead. Also, it'll lessen the foot traffic up here. I took the liberty of having the place furnished but please do with it as you please.”
He did have it decorated then, her mind smirked. “Oh no, I quite like this. What do you think, Caligari?”
Before the warlock could so much as raise an eyebrow the black fox popped up and hopped out the box onto the desk that he quickly sniffed. Faustus sighed, clearly unimpressed not that Thorn cared all that much.
“Thorn, you know the rules. No familiars on school grounds for students or staff, myself included.” It wasn't lost on him that she'd broken that rule before.
“I just brought him so that he could see the office, that's all. It's not as though he'll be here all the time.”
Caligari barked and Thorn chuckled. “Be polite, Faustus is the High Priest and the Headmaster.”
Once again, Blackwood didn't look impressed so to distract him Thorn slipped back into his arms and kissed him while Caligari continued to explore the room for any secrets it might have held.
“Thank you for my office, darling.”
Distracting him seemed to work because he kissed back and ignored Caligari entirely.
“I'll leave you to settle in, I have things to deal with.”
After another kiss he was gone, the sound of his cane on the polished floors being the only indication he'd been there in the first place. Thorn stood there a time to just look around the room. The fireplace wasn't lit so she did that with nothing but a snap of her fingers then started to unpack her things, books went up on the built in bookshelves and she set the small crystal bat that she'd repaired on her nice new desk. Thorn crashed down into her black leather chair and Caligari hopped into her lap to snuggle. He was quite the cuddle bug, always had been.
“So what do you really think, Caligari?” The familiar let out a little chirp-like bark as he stretched out on his back like a baby whose tummy she couldn't ever resist tickling. “Hmm, he can be nice when he wants to be but you have to admit the dominant tone is sexy.” Caligari just looked at her. “What? I know what I like and I'm not afraid to say it. And what about you? Don't think I didn't notice you and Ostara getting all cosy. I do like the irony that you're a fox and she's a hare. Still, each to their own.” She petted his ears as he gave little barks and she chuckled. “Quite the little heartthrob.”
Thorn pressed a kiss to his furry head. It had been just her and Caligari for so long that they had a sort of short hand that had served them well. Another chirp-like bark sounded.
“Tomorrow morning. It'll be fun when Zelda realises this is actually happening and I'm a teacher. I do like that irritated expression on her face. It'll be nice to have something to do during the day though.” Another bark and Thorn shrugged. “I know I've been a little under the weather but I'm fine, really. Not as though I'm going to drip dead or anything but thank you for worrying about me.”
She paused then to look at the two chandeliers above witch and familiar.
“Do you think I should rip out all the lighting in here and just have candles? Yeah, I'm doing it. Want to help with my lesson plan?”
The creature barked.
When Thorn's first year students – oh, that would take some getting used to – entered the classroom and sat themselves down, she perched on her desk in the black dress she'd worn simply because she'd wanted to tease Faustus that morning.
“Morning. I'd like for you to tell me exactly what Professor Russell was teaching you before he left.”
One of them piped up quickly, clearly the teacher's pet type.
“Basic summoning, Professor Mortimer. Small objects and alike.”
Thorn nodded. It was a logical place to start and she'd assumed it was where Russell would have begun. She'd been surprised when she'd been new to the Academy that many of her fellow students had thought conjuring just meant calling forth spirits, rather than the wide expanse it really was.
“Alright. What's your name?” Asked Thorn as she shuffled a little further back onto the desk.
“Charity Lawrence.” Answered the teenage girl easily.
Stupid name for a witch. “Right, and how many of you understand what he was teaching?”
She was fully aware Russell had only been teaching them a few weeks before he'd strutted off with little warning. Only a few hands went up in response to her question which wasn't saying much considering her class of first years was only seven people; Thorn had always liked the class sizes at the Academy.
“Well, I was just going to continue but if hardly any of you understate how the magic works then there's no real way you'll be able to do it properly. So,” she clapped her hands together “where does our power come from? Oh, and tell me your names when you answer.”
Thorn could start really basic if needed and it seemed it was.
“Tate Hightower.” The boy over by the door with locks the color of slate. “Our power comes from the Dark Lord, from signing our name in his book.”
Thorn nodded. “Good, but that doesn't mean we all channel magic the same. I excel with fire, the Dean with telekinesis, Cassius with locator spells and I'm sure we're all aware of Ambrose Spellman's predilection for Necromancy. We all specialise in something whether we intend to or not. My point is that some of you will be amazing at this and some of you will take longer to pick it up because your magic does not flow so easily to this specific part of our abilities.” Thorn pushed a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “If I told you that there is an item in the bottom left draw of my desk and that you were to get said item, how would you go about acquiring it?”
They stared blankly at her for a brief time and for a moment she though she'd grown a second head or maybe the Dark Lord himself stood behind her.
“I'd visualize it.” Thorn raised an expectant eyebrow and the girl realised why. “Adele Leatherwood.”
“Okay so you visualize it, see exactly what you want then take it. You just have one problem, I didn't tell you what you were looking for. If you don't know what it is how do you visualize it?” A pause. Thorn couldn't help but watch as Adele's face dropped, seemed she'd been so sure of her answer; the mark of an unskilled witch. “See. Not as simple as you think. Come on, what else can you do?”
“Can we have a clue?” Asked the only blonde in the room, she didn't tell Thorn her name but that didn't matter since Thorn already knew everyone; Anna Hale.
Thorn breathed out a small laugh. “Father Blackwood was my mentor when I was a student and do you know the most important thing he taught me?” The faces of her nine students were blank. “It was that in the heat of the moment you can't rely on a teacher to do it for you or for someone to give you a clue. You have to do it yourself. Imagine I'd poisoned you and the cure was in that draw. I wouldn't help you. All you'd have to rely on would be yourself. So if I let your lessons be easy what are you really going to learn?” Thorn rose to her feet and rounded the desk to stand before the left side of her desk and the draw in question. “How do you get it if you can't see it and can't visualize it?”
For the love of Lucifer, they really were starting basic.
“Oh!” The redhead closest to Thorn perked up. “I could just send my familiar in to see it. You know, all quiet like.”
Seemed Eli Stone was going to be the idiot of her class.
“Too time consuming and what would be the point? If your familiar can see it he or she can grab it.”
Tate shrugged. “We could just take everything in the draw.”
Thorn smiled. “Closer but no.”
Montgomery chimed in then and she was pleased, frankly Thorn had started to think half of them would just stay quiet and let the others figure it all out for them.
“Focus on the energy?” Suggested the dark-skinned sixteen year-old.
“Good, Montgomery.” Finally someone with a brain.
“Monty.” He corrected quickly.
“Monty.” She repeated. “Everything, magical or otherwise gives off an energy. Now that you know that surly one of you can tell me what's in the drawer.”
“I'm Victoria, and forgive me but this is starting to sound like we're drifting away from conjuring. Aren't we to learn how to, you know, conjurer something up?”
Thorn sat down, clearly unimpressed and the rest of her students followed suit with disapproving expressions that they shot at young Miss Gossamer. The elder witch rested her fingers into a pyramid with her elbows on the desk.
“Let me get this straight. You want me to teach you how to summon spirits from the nether realms before you can get an object out of a drawer that is less than ten feet in front of you?” Some of her class snickered. “I think not, I wouldn't drop you in Germany only knowing what acht meant.” A pause, brief and hardly there. “I ask you all again, what is in the drawer? Show me.”
“An apple.” Said Tate less than a second later as he held up the rich red fruit with a smirk of success.
“Good.” Thorn smiled, then promptly held up her hand and the apple was sucked from Tate's to her own.
“Then where did the rose come from?” Asked Charity looking rather confused.
It was then that the group realised they all had a different object in their hands. Obviously Tate and Charity had managed to grab an apple and a rose, while Adele had a quill, Monty a sugar cube, Anna had an empty glass vial. Victoria had gotten the thimble and Eli the tea light.
Thorn smirked. “That's your other lesson. What is important to one person isn't always to another, and I never said there was only one item in the drawer. I just suggested it.”
Thorn knew she was going to like teaching that class, they were so suggestible. This is going to be fun.
When lessons ended and the students went off to the dining hall for dinner, Thorn found herself alone as she tidied away her things until she turned to see Faustus leant against the door frame, hands rested on his cane. She smirked with those polished emeralds of hers.
“You should stop watching me like that, Faustus, people will think you're stalking me.” She flashed him a smile as he entered the room and closed the door.
Faustus set his cane against the wall beside the door and grabbed Thorn's hips and pulled her to him so she was flush against his chest, easily she rested her hands on his shoulders.
“I'm the High Priest, people wouldn't dare.” Thorn just smirked. “How was your first day of lessons?”
“Oh, you do care.” The emerald eyed beauty kissed him, her lips soft and gentle against his own. “It went well. The set of first years are surprisingly slow but a few of them show promise.”
Father Blackwood let out a little hum of understanding. “Not all students are as perfect as you were at their age.”
Thorn breathed the older warlock in, his scent soothed her. “ Hmm, perfect, am I?” She teased.
“Perhaps I am petting your ego a little too much.”
She chuckled. “Faustus, you can pet me however you want.”
The dark-haired witch kissed him again and his grip tightened on her. Possessive. Strong. Thorn loved it.
“Such a bad girl, aren't you, my Dark Angel.”
It wasn't a question but Thorn couldn't resist a teasing reply.
“It makes life more interesting. More sinful.”
Her voice was like silk wrapped around him, so beautiful, so stunning. Thorn really was danger hidden in beauty.
Faustus cleared his throat. “Enquiring as to your first day is not the only reason I came to find you. I wondered of you'd like to join me for dinner tomorrow night at my home?”
“I'd love to.”
“Good.” The elder man nodded to himself pleased with the answer of his favourite witch. “Good.”
Faustus tilted his head down ever so slightly and pressed his lips to Thorn's then – reluctantly – released her and retrieved his cane from where it had been leant beside the closed door. He paused when he reached for the handle.
“Oh, bring Caligari. Ostara will not stop talking about him.”
That made Thorn chuckle. Father Blackwood longed to fill his arms with her supple body but he had things to attend to and he couldn't let himself be distracted by her.
“Strange isn't it,” she mused aloud, “we never really think about familiars being able to love or hate or fell anything really. Although, I'm pretty sure Caligari and Ostara have latched on to one another.”
“Indeed.” Blackwood agreed. “She's always been rather solitary until now.”
Makes sense. “Well, they reflect the emotions and personalities of their witch as well.” Thorn cleared her throat. “Anyway, I'll see you tomorrow night.”
“You will, yes. Also, we need to discuss the next Feast of Feasts at our church meeting.”
“Of course, Father.” She said customarily.
The High Priest was gone then and Thorn cleared away the last of her things. Her fist day had gone rather smoothly, it had been far easier than she'd expected actually. It amazed her at the intelligence level of some of her students – specifically one Eli Stone – but that was neither here nor there. Faustus had been right, Mortimer's belonged at the Academy of Unseen Arts. Her ancestor, Diebenkorn Mortimer, had built the school, it was in their blood. The Academy was essentially a second home for Thorn.
Just as she was ready to leave in search of something to eat, Montgomery Hawthorne cleared his throat and Thorn turned to face him; she perched on the edge of the desk. He'd cleared his throat in an attempt to avoid spooking her but only Faustus Blackwood could sneak up on her.
“Yes, Monty?” She asked as he came a few steps closer, he picked up the crystal bat she'd sat there. “Touch that and not even Father Blackwood will be able to save you.”
Upon hearing the warning Monty set it down and backed away from it, the warning clear.
“Sorry. I em, I wanted to ask... some of the students have mentors. Father Blackwood himself was yours, I heard. I was wondering of you'd consider being mine?”
Thorn looked at the dark-skinned teenager for a moment as though assessing something.
“Why me?” Was all she asked.
“Well, em, you're known for your skill with fire and I want to be as well.” He flashed her a smile. “That and how many people get to say their mentor is a Mortimer.”
Thorn nodded to herself. “So you want my name.”
Her tone wasn't accusational but Monty instantly started to backpeddle.
“No, no, that's-” She cut him off.
“It's fine, most people do.” From her desk draw she took the red apple that Tate had managed to get in her first lesson and set it on the desk top and gestured to it. “Go on.”
“What?” Montgomery was thoroughly confused and raised an eyebrow.
“Set the apple on fire. I want to see what sort of skill you have.”
Realisation struck the brown-haired warlock. “Oh, okay.”
There was a pause as he concentrated on the apple's red flesh. Magic flowed within all witches yes, but some found it easier to channel it towards certain things than others did, if Monty didn't have a natural aptitude for fire then there was no point Thorn taking him under her wing. She needn't have worried though because a few seconds later the once perfect apple burst into flames and filled the room with the scent of something akin to burnt apple cider.
“Good.” She rose to her feet. “You have potential.”
Without movement nor acknowledgement she put the fire out and left the apple sat there steaming. Monty looked hopeful.
“So you'll be my mentor?”
“I suppose so. I'd not intended to mentor for a while but you got in there first and I'm in a good mood, not to mention you actually have some skill.”
Montgomery practically beamed, his dark brown orbs glistened with glee.
“Thank you! I won't let you down, Professor Mortimer.”
Thorn flashed him a pretty but dangerous smile. “You'd better not. Now, go and get something to eat or you won't get a seat in the dining hall.”
The student nodded offered one more 'thank you' before he left and Thorn carried on with her evening.
When Thorn got home to Mortimer Manor she couldn't help but feel as though something was off, almost as though someone had been in her home but that was impossible. Ever since the mortals had broken in she'd warded the whole building with blood magic; she'd have been alerted if someone had entered without her permission. Of course Caligari would have noticed as well. It was all strange but she shoved the feeling aside for the oddity it was in favour of going to her bedroom to select an outfit for dinner with Faustus.
Caligari lay on her bed like an overly papered puppy while she searched through her closet for something deemed worthy.
“Caligari, how can I have so many outfits but still not have anything to wear.” The fox barked and Thorn let out a gasp in mock-outrage. “I am not picky.”
If foxes had eyebrows Caligari would have raised his, when it came to clothing Thorn was indeed picky. As he rolled over he let out a cute little noise.
“No, not the red one. I wore that last week. Ooh, what about the green one?”
Thorn promptly pulled a dress that she didn't wear very often simply because it was a bit long for her usual tastes. It came down to just below her knees and was the a deep bluish green with no sleeves and a Queen Ann neckline; Thorn looked beautiful in it when she had her long raven-hair drawn over one shoulder. She showed it to Caligari who purred in approval.
“Well, aren't you the sweet talker.”
Thorn hung the dress on the outside of her closet and took her favourite green heels out and set them near her dress before she went back to her beloved familiar.
“Right, I'm going to take a bath and I assume you'll be asleep here by the time I come back.”
Silly thing always passed out on her bed when left alone for more than five minutes. She slipped out of her heels and set her jewellery down in the dish beside her black jewellery box on her vanity. Thorn had looked forwards to a bath all day. After a quick tickle to Caligari's head she took a step over to the open door only to stop dead in her tracks. Her face paled as she stared at her family tree. Caligari was on his paws in an instant, concern evident, he barked once, no answer, he barked again and Thorn seemed to snap back.
“I'm-” Thorn cleared her throat. “I'm fine, Caligari. You shouldn't worry so. Love you. Now, I'm going to go take that bath.”
Thorn pressed a little kiss to the familiar's head between his pointy ears then left for the bathroom.
Thorn had been in the library a good twenty-five minutes to gather up books for her next lesson with the first years when Zelda rounded a corner with a book of her own bound in red leather held loosely in her hand; she flashed Thorn a polite smile but they both hew it wasn't real.
“Zelda. To what do I owe this pleasure?”
What she'd done to draw the eldest Spellman sister's distaste Thorn wasn't entirely sure but it was Zelder's issue, not Thorn's.
“I was just wondering how your new role was going. Found any upstarts or rude ones yet?”
Why does she always have to stick her oar in? Thorn grabbed another book that she'd not have been able to reach without the aid of her heels.
“I'm a Mortimer, they know better. How's the Satanic Choir?”
They might not have liked each other but Thorn would be polite at least.
“Remarkable actually. Especially since Faustus allowed me to change the songs up.”
Thorn stacked all her books into a neat – if rather large – pile and gathered them up into her arms while a few more floated off the very top shelves and down to join their friends. Of course, it would have been easy for her to have just had them float themselves to her classroom or to have teleported them there but acts of magic like that were how witches became lazy.
“Well,” she began with a smile “we all need a change now and then.2
“Indeed.” The strawberry-blonde witch let out a little hum, deep and disproving. “I so wonder though, how did you convince him to give you the job? Conjuration teacher isn't a profession one just stumbles across.”
No, he lay it at my feet, she wanted to snap but Thorn refrained.
“I didn't, he asked me to take over from Professor Russell. One can't beg for anything from a man like Faustus Blackwood. If he is willing to give it to you he'll just ask.. and he did. Now, if you'll excuse me I have a class to teach, we can't all be optional extracurricular.”
Miss Mortimer's strutted away then with her books to check them out of the library with Cassius. For some reason she always felt the need to get her claws out when Zelda was around and it often pushed her desire to be polite out of the way.
Once her books had been checked out by Cassius and she'd climbed the stairs to her classroom she spotted the Dean himself coming down the hall sans cane. Students instinctively made a hole for him as he moved in long strides; when his eyes landed on her Thorn's heart thundered in her chest.
“Ahh, Thorn, I was looking for you.” She didn't stop and leave them loitering in the hallway surrounded by students – and because she didn't wish to speak to him - so he ended up turning around and following her back towards her classroom. “Regarding dinner tonigh-”
The dark-haired witch cut him off lightly. “I won't be able to join you. I am sorry, something came up. Maybe next time.”
Thorn managed to get herself a little ahead of him but just when she thought she was in the clear Faustus grabbed her by the wrist and yanked her into her classroom, as soon as the door slammed shut she finally gave up and let the books fall.
“Thorn-” The High Priest cut himself off when he saw the small class of students waiting for their lesson. Reluctantly he released his vice-like grip on her wrist as his eyes flitted from her to he students and back. “We will discuss this later.”
Blackwood was gone then almost as though he'd never been there and Thorn quietly used her magic to neatly stack the books back up on her desk.
“Are you alright, Professor Mortimer?” Asked one of her male students and Thorn put on a smile.
Truthfully no, no, Thorn wasn't alright, she was scared but she couldn't tell anyone why; especially not her students.
“When am I not? Now, does anyone know what Hexennacht is and why it is important?”
Thorn was determined to ignore what had just happened with Faustus. The High Priest had said they'd speak but Thorn was determined to avoid that at all cost, in fact, she was so determined not to have the conversation that they didn't speak and hardly even saw one another for almost two weeks. Thorn didn't even meet him in his office to discuss the Church; her mind just kept flashing back to her family tree.
With each silent day that passed Faustus grew more and more irritated... and an irritated Father Blackwood was a dangerous thing. He hadn't been able to figure out what was wrong with his young lover, and the not knowing had quickly gotten under his skin. Thorn Mortimer wasn't one to play petty games with him, any other woman he could have understood it and ignored it, carried on with his life; he was a busy man after all. However, Thorn's sudden personality shift bothered him.
On day sixteen of whatever was going on between them he'd had enough of her avoiding him. It had started to mess with her work for the Church of Night and he'd stand for it no longer; Faustus expected better from a Mortimer. So, when he'd finished with another of Madam Satan's utterly pointless impromptu visits he teleported himself to Mortimer Manor where he found the large house in darkness. That wasn't a fact that stopped him though, Faustus felt the warding the second he approached the door alerting her to his presence but she made not attempt to banish him which was a good sign. The High Priest didn't need to call out for her, he knew exactly where Thorn would be.
Sure enough, when he entered the dark bedroom he saw her laying in bed with Caligari alert and watching him from the Ottoman. He knew sh e as awake as he stood at her bedside; Thorn kept her back to him, almost curled in on herself.
“Thorn, I demand to know what is going on. You have now missed two meetings for the Church and I'd rather not strip you of your position as Secretary.”
It was then that he heard a little sniffle and realised she was crying, he'd never seen her cry before, not even when her father and brothers had been murdered. Surprisingly he actually felt a pang of concern.
“What is wrong, Thorn?” Faustus asked somewhat more softly than he'd expected.
It took a long time and several sniffles but eventually she spoke.
“If... if I tell you then it's real and... I don't want to hear you say it.”
Faustus took a breath. “You cannot know my mind, Thorn. Tell me. Now.”
Finally Thorn rolled over to face him and looked him in the eyes. She opened her mouth once or twice but no sound came out, only when he thought she'd remain silent did she finally speak.
“I... I'm... I'm pregnant.”
Her eyes were beautiful full of tears but in that moment all Faustus could focus on was that one word; pregnant. Thorn rolled away from him to give him her back almost childishly refusing to look at him as she cried. Faustus suddenly found himself sat on the bed, wide-eyed and staring at the back of her.
“Don't worry.” She began between stifled sobs. “I won't end up like Prudence's mother and kill myself because you won't marry me.” Had he not still been focused the fateful word he'd have demanded to know how she'd learnt Prudence was his daughter. “I won't get rid of my baby though and you can't make me.” Thorn rubbed stray tears from her cheek. “No one ever has to know you're the father, I won't tell. I'll give it my name that'll prevent him or her being ridiculed.”
She'd thought about this in express detail that was very clear.
“Why are you so willing to hide the fact it is my child?” The dark-haired man asked in a state of shock.
His brow deepened when she laughed, actually laughed, and looked over her shoulder at him.
“Isn't it obvious? I love you, Faustus. I know witches aren't supposed to love like that, whole-heartedly, but I do. I love you. So course I'll hide the baby for you.”
Faustus' grip tightened on his rabbit head cane. “What-” he cleared his throat. “What makes you think I wouldn't marry you?”
Blackwood looked dazed and frankly he was, a complete state of torpor. The grasp on his cane continued to tighten almost painfully though. He and Constance had tried for so long to have a child and then Thorn had just conceived without any planning from them whatsoever.
“You're wife died literally less than a year ago, you just gave me a position at the Academy and almost everybody knows I'm your favourite. How would marring me make you look?”
She had a point, a rather valid point. Father Blackwood had refused to marry Prudence's mother for less than that.
“Thorn?” His tone had softened again.
Thorn's whole body tensed, Faustus was able to see it. She curled in on herself again and tears came forth anew.
“Please don't tease me.”
Father Blackwood rested the hand not grasping his cane on her sleeveless shoulder.
“I am not. I mean it, marry me.” He paused a moment, brief and hardly there. “Like you say, everyone is already aware that I favour you so that really doesn't matter. I defy anyone to find a better replacement for Algernon Russell. Also, I am the High Priest not a grieving child, I can marry when I please not when propriety dictates.” The hand he'd left on her shoulder slipped then and slowly moved down to rest upon her stomach, he could already feel magic that was not her own there. “I am High Priest of our coven and you are a founder, our families belong together, our child is proof of that. Marry me, Thorn?”
Thorn was silent for a long time, she even refused to look at him. Faustus remained patient though, he let her get control of her tears as he silently kept his hand upon her belly.
“You really mean that?” Her voice was but a whisper.
He nodded, it took him a moment to realise she had her back to him so couldn't see his nod. “Yes.”
Her child would have a father and Thorn could be with the man she loved, the man who'd gotten under her skin and bound himself to her heart.
“Yes. Yes, I'll marry you, Faustus.”
He flashed her a smile and carefully lifted Thorn into his lap where he kissed her as she wiped away half dry tears.
“My Dark Angel, you and I are going to make a perfect union. Imagine the power.”
Thorn smiled weakly, Faustus would always seek out more power and authority to add to his ever growing pile but she could see in his eyes the genuine care he had for her. Faustus was a man who often hid his emotions but when it came to her she could see the little holes in his mask. The young witch settled into Blackwood's warmth and rested her head against his shoulder.
“You carry the child of Blackwood and Mortimer.” He breathed almost to remind himself rather than her.
“Lucky baby.” She laughed in an attempt to lighten the mood.
“Indeed.” He nodded. “A truly blessed son. Satan be praised.”
Thorn froze in Faustus' arms. She loved him but sometimes the things he said about women hurt her. It was another reason she'd been scared to tell him about the pregnancy.
“I... I might have a girl.” She took a breath. “Faustus, you already have an heir, would it really be so bad if we have a daughter?”
He was quiet for a time, maybe that moment hadn't been the best time for such a conversation but it had started, and Thorn wasn't able to back-peddle no matter how much she'd wanted to. Silence. Nothing but silence for so long, so long that it was almost deafening. Just when Faustus' quietude went on a little too long he finally spoke; Thorn felt the rumbled of his deep voice in his chest.
“... If our daughter is strong like her mother then I will be grateful for her.”
Thorn looked up at him then with fresh tears in her polished emeralds. It might not have sounded like much but coming from Father Faustus Blackwood who'd developed a but of a reputation when it came to that subject, it meant the world. If it was because he'd already got Judas or because he'd have been pleased to have any child of a Mortimer she didn't know; frankly she didn't care.
Fear drained away, some of it was fear she'd not even known she'd had. Thorn wrapped her slender arms around his neck and cuddled in close to his strong and solid form. he pressed so close they were cheek to cheek, then, after a moment, Thorn whispered into his ear.
“You hurt my daughter and I'll kill you.” She warned.
Faustus didn't doubt for a single second that she spoke the truth, that was why he loved her. Thorn was unwavering strong. If he was going to die at the hands of a witch, Thorn would be the only one capable of besting him.
“I'd expect nothing less, my love.” Faustus pressed a kiss to her cheek. “How long have you known you are with child?”
“I found out the night before I brushed you off for dinner. I was in here with Caligari getting an outfit out and... I saw my family tree.”
Faustus' head snapped up to the large canvas the small scrolls for Gray and Alistair looked just as the last time he'd seen the Mortimer family tree but not Thorn's, no, her scroll had a small white loop slowly descending from it as though a painter had only just started on the next generation.
“I thought it only tracked the eldest child's lineage.”
Thorn shook her head slightly. “The eldest living child. By the time I'm ready to give birth there will be another scroll and when we name the baby the name will fill in.”
The fell into silence after that, Thorn let her body relax while Faustus had already started to think about having a worthy wife. He'd always known Thorn would elevate any man she married, Faustus couldn't be raised in position but her family's reputation would bolster his own. The longer he sat there though, the more he started to wonder if he'd have asked her to marry him even if she'd not been the last Mortimer. Yes, yes, he would have. Thorn wasn't like Constance or Prudence’s mother because he actually loved Thorn.
Sabrina, Nicholas and the three Weird Sisters sat together outside the library as they studied for an upcoming Latin test. Prudence though, she stared off into space; her fingers drummed against the desk.
“Are you alright, Prudence?” Asked Agatha but no response came from the girl across the table.
“I think she's trying to come to terms with Father Blackwood getting married.”
Nick laughed. “Yeah, strange. Thorn is going to be your Stepmother.”
“Nick!” Sabrina exclaimed as loud as she dared what with Cassius wandering about.
Prudence snapped out of her deep thoughts then and glared at her sisters and the warlock.
“Does everyone now know I'm his daughter?!” She somehow managed to yell and whisper at the same time.
Her fingers stilled and she pulled her hands together in her lap, tension obvious.
“No, of course not.” Dorcas assured as she set her pen down. “Just us and the Spellman family. We won't tell anyone else.”
“Promise.” Added Agatha quickly.
“Then how does Thorn know?” Prudence almost growled.
Sabrina just shrugged in a rather unconcerned way as she reached for a large leather bound book Dorcas had been using not a moment earlier.
“She's sneaky, smart and his favourite. Thorn probably knows more than Blackwood would like her to.”
“If she does know it would make sense to keep her close.”
“Agatha has a point.” Said Sabrina when she returned Dorcas' book. “I think it's power. We all know Thorn's family founded our coven and she's the last one. Making her his wife and adding her to his gene-pool will sky rocket his power and authority not to mention that of his descendents.”
“You think he'll try and get her pregnant?” Asked Prudence quickly, a slight look of concern in her dazzling eyes but she hid it well.
Sabrina nodded. “If he hasn't already. Kind of repulsive, isn't it? I know we live a long time but seriously, how old is he anyway?”
“Not a clue, is it that important?” Mumbled Nick as he went back to work. Sabrina shrugged again then frowned as she scribbled a sentence out and fixed it. She glanced up at Prudence. “Take it you don't want more siblings then?”
“Not if I can help it, no. I was content with Agatha and Dorcas.” Dorcas flashed a smile. “Now I have a half-brother and a woman who'd be happy to be the Father's baby factory.”
“I don't think it's that bad.” Agatha tried to reassure but it didn't really help. “It took a long time for Father Blackwood to get his son. Maybe it'll be the same with Thorn.”
Nicholas sat back in his seat and kicked his feet out which inadvertently set his bag skidding across the hardwood; he nor anyone else seemed to notice let alone care.
“Sounds like you're worrying over something that may never happen.”
“Anyway,” began Dorcas as she dug herself a deeper hole, sometimes the redhead spoke before thinking “you're a Night not a Blackwood so it doesn't really matter.”
Agatha glared at her sister. “Great pep-talk, Dorcas.”
Ambrose appeared then seemingly from nowhere and smiled when he set eyes on Sabrina with her friends.
“Ah, Cousin, have you seen Luke? He said he'd meet me at the library.”
The blonde shook her head as she turned to face him fully.
“No, I haven't. Sorry, Ambrose. Maybe try asking Cassius?”
Nick chimed in then with a helpful grin. “I saw him talking to Blackwood earlier but that was like an hour ago near the Herbalism wing.”
The dark-skinned man nodded. “Alright, thanks.” His eyes flashed back to Sabrina. “Cousin, if you see him please tell him I'm with Auntie Zee in the Choir room.”
Sabrina nodded. “Sure thing, Ambrose.”
Her cousin sped away then while the girls and Nick went back to their books. Sabrina felt bad for Ambrose, their Aunt Zelda had been grumbling about Faustus' and Thorn's marriage announcement on and off since the second she'd learnt of it. Said announcement had split the coven opinion-wise, half thought it was too soon after Constance's death while the other half hadn't been surprised in the slightest. Sabrina herself lingered on the fence, Zelda though, she had kept going on about Thorn not being good enough for their High Priest. In Sabrina's mind that was all crap, their positions made them perfect for one another almost like royalty had once only married other royals and upper gentry. Still, Sabrina had tried to keep her own opinions hidden from her clearly disgruntled – and that was putting it mildly – Aunt Zelda; Hilda and Ambrose had done the same. Hilda and the cousins hoped that Zelda would soon realise that Faustus Blackwood wasn't as great a catch as she seemed to think.
Thorn lay in bed at Faustus' home late at night with the High Priest beside her, he held a book in one hand while the other was around her and rested on her still flat stomach as she snuggled against him. It was peaceful and more domestic than either was used to; both enjoyed it though.
She watched his thumb as it absent-mindedly stroked her stomach, she couldn't help but smile; in a way she kind of wanted to see him in glasses. Thorn stayed quiet for a while as she watched but soon she couldn't help but rest her hand atop his larger one. That got his attention, icy eyes glanced from the book to his Fiancée.
“Do you even realise you do that?” She eventually asked. “Stroke my stomach.”
Faustus shook his head a little. “No. Have I been doing it long?” The book lowered a little.
“More or less since you discovered I was pregnant.” She didn't take her eyes from their hands rested on her belly. “I saw you with Lady Blackwood when she was having Judas. You were so protective of him even before you knew he was a him. Then the night of his birth, when we were all at the school, you were so panicked about them. I'd never seen you panicked before, don't think many people have.” A pause, light and gentle. “You've always wanted children, haven't you? Not just an heir.”
Faustus was quiet for a moment, he wasn't a man known for sharing his feelings with anyone, but soon he did speak. The book fell down against the sheets at his side and Thorn listened intently.
“I am an only child-”
“Obviously.” Thorn interrupted but Faustus carried on.
“- and frankly my childhood was rather boring. I had my schooling at which I excelled but otherwise I was bored. Father was not overly concerned.”
“You were lonely.” She looked up at him with such understanding.
“I do not get lonely.” He said too quickly and Thorn actually smirked.
“You can lie to me all you want but I see through you. That's why you were so pleased you found out Judas was a twin. That's why deep down you don't actually care if I give you a daughter, of course you'd prefer another son but you don't mind as long as Judas isn't alone.”
Faustus didn't answer as Thorn leant up to kiss him, she knew he'd never admit to any of that and she'd not make him. The dark-haired warlock could keep his secrets.
“You're a softy really. Don't worry though, I won't tell anyone.”
She smiled and for a moment Faustus looked as though he wanted to argue but he quickly decided against it and instead settled closer.
“You will be Lady Blackwood soon. Wife of the High Priest.”
She gripped his hand. “And I look forwards to it, though maybe Lady Mortimer-Blackwood? My name is my reputation after all.” She teased.
Faustus raised an eyebrow.
“We are witches, we so not hyphenate.” That made her smirk. “Anyway, you may be my Lady Blackwood but no one will ever make the mistake of forgetting your lineage.”
“Oh, I'm sure they won't. Now-” She pushed his hands down her body to between her legs. “-play with me? You have been teasing.”
Faustus smiled dark and devilish, book entirely forgotten. In an instant the covers were off and the book clattered to the floor. Faustus didn't voice it but Constance had refused him sex more or less since the moment she'd gotten pregnant but not Thorn, she was there and wanted him... needed him.
He stripped her of the tank top she wore and then slid down her body pressing light kisses to her skin until his fingers slipped into the waistband of her panties. Oh so slowly he tugged them down her supple legs until she lay bare before him. Thorn just watched him as he explored her body. Faustus pressed light kisses to the inside of her thigh and then he was where she needed him most. The younger witch gasped and gripped at his hair just to mess it up for her own amusement.
He growled almost animalistically which she delighted in. He wrapped his arms around her slender thighs to keep her hips down as he tormented her needy sex; for a stoic man he did enjoy teasing her.
The High Priest smirked against her heated skin as he nipped at her thigh.
“So needy, my Dark Angel. That's why I love you.”
Two fingers entered the young witch then and Faustus watched her head fall back against the pillows, her mouth hung open. So perfect, so beautiful, so his! Everything tingled or pulsed or remained completely indescribable.
“Faustus.” God he loved when she said his name. “You, I need you, please. I need you.”
He couldn't deny the woman he was to marry, not his pregnant future wife. The dark-haired man rose to his haunches and yanked her to him via a tight grip on the backs of her thighs; a spark of dominance. Thorn wrapped her legs around his hips and pulled Faustus down for a kiss as he thrust deep into her needy body. The idea of marrying her had been in his mind for some time but the pregnancy had given him the prefect opportunity to move things forwards long before he'd imagined.
Thorn didn't speak, she just felt, felt his calloused hands on her flesh, felt his breath ghost over every inch of her, felt his strength and dominance.
When he was spent Faustus collapsed on the bed and yanked Thorn to his side, their skin glistened slightly in the candlelight as their breathing returned to normal. Faustus' hand gently raked through her long raven locks, he adored her hair, so soft and always smelt of coconuts.
“I love you.” She breathed as she pressed a kiss to his chest lightly spattered with hair.
“And I you, my Dark Angel.”
In all his black garb Father Blackwood didn't look as though one would find much underneath, but take away the shirts and and his true strength was revealed. Faustus was muscular without being over the top, his arms and abs well toned almost chiselled. Thorn's favourite bit though was the lines of his neck where they met his clavicles and she couldn't resist pressing a kiss to the skin there.
“It's time you go to sleep, Thorn.” He told her when his hand went to rest on her stomach once more. “It's late and I have a Black Baptism tomorrow.”
Thorn nodded, he was right, usually was. She rolled onto her side and Blackwood pulled her in tight to keep her there. With a snap of her singers the candles put themselves out so only little wisps of smoke remained amidst the blackness. She focused on his thumb stroking her stomach while she waited for sleep to take her; Faustus could be tender when he wanted to be and that made her love him all the more.
Faustus was so calm when he slept, his sharp features relaxed and he looked happy and peaceful. It had been so long since Thorn had been held as she slept and it kept her sane. She snuggled close and let slumber take her.
Thorn sat in the salon at her home late at night talking to her Uncle via the large mirror above her fireplace with Caligari curled up in her lap as though guarding the baby... because that was exactly what he was doing.
“... wife of the High Priest. I am impressed, sweet niece.” Kylian smiled through the mirror.
Thorn beamed. “Thank you, Uncle. You are – of course – invited once the date is set. I was actually hoping you'd give me away, we are each other's only family after all.”
“I'd be honoured.” The blonde flashed her a smile. “Not every day one's niece becomes Lady Blackwood. Not only that, Thorn, but you're rebuilding our family. A marriage and a child is just what we need; it's no longer just you and I.”
Just hearing that warmed Thorn's heart. She tickled Caligari's ears as he nuzzled into her flat stomach.
“Indeed it isn't.” Thorn cleared her throat. “Although you don't seem overly surprised that I am marring Faustus, Uncle Kylian.”
That made him laugh. “No, I'm not. Father Blackwood has had his eye on you since you began at the Academy. Your father hadn't been too pleased as you can imagine but he never made any attempt to touch you and conducted himself respectfully so, you know, Abraham didn't kill him.”
Thorn smirked. “He was always protective.”
“More than you know, sweet niece.”
The fire crackled and warmed the salon while Caligari let out a little purr against her legs. Everything was calm and content, Thorn felt happy.
“Still, Father is not here and I am old enough to make my own choices.”
Kylian nodded. “And I do not doubt it.”
Faustus suddenly appeared then, he lookedF immaculate as ever with his hair perfectly combed and suit free of lint. Emerald eyes glanced up and flashed him a smile as she continued to pet her darling fox.
“Good evening, Dark Angel. Good evening, Kylian.”
The blonde nodded in greeting. “Father Blackwood.”
Faustus looked down to his future wife sat on the large classic style chaise lounge of black velvet. He ran a hand through her hair then bent to press a kiss to her blood colored lips.
“I have just come from a meeting with the council. The wedding date has been set for Tuesday.”
Thorn's eyes went wide and her face paled, her sudden mood change had Caligari lifting his head in an instant.
“That's in two days!”
Faustus nodded clearly not surprised by Thorn's exclamation and hesitance.
“It is, yes. However, The Council members are busy people and as High Priest I like to be prompt. Also, Tuesday is a perfect day for a marriage, as a witch you should be aware of that.”
“Why not a later Tuesday?” Kylian suddenly suggested; frankly Faustus had almost forgotten he was still in the mirror.
“Like I said, I am High Priest, I cannot conduct my own wedding and so The Council has set a date. It is two days from now or nothing, my love.”
“I shall have to teleport myself then.”
Thorn glanced from her Fiancé to her Uncle. “It's dangerous over such a vast distance.”
Kylian nodded. “But worth it, you are my only family and it is your wedding, sweet niece.”
“Then it is settled.” Faustus cut in with his deep, rich voice. Damn that voice did things to Thorn. “We look forwards to seeing you, Kylian.”
The mirror faded then and Kylian Gethic vanished leaving the couple alone with a half-asleep Caligari. A pause hung between them nothing uncomfortable, just long.
“You don't like my Uncle, do you?”
Thorn asked with a light smile as she tickled Caligari right under his chin which he adored.
“I do not trust him.” Came Faustus' easy response.
His future wife nodded. “Yes, he gives off that sort of vibe. Father didn't trust him either.”
The dark-haired Priest moved around from the doorway and sat down beside her and pulled Thorn to him.
“Abraham Mortimer was a good judge of character.” He told her gently; an unusual tone for him.
“I expected us to marry soon,” began Thorn with a light sigh, “didn't think you'd want me to be showing when I marry you, but Tuesday is far sooner than I imagined.”
He understood her reservation. “Your Uncle will still be there.” Faustus assured her.
“Hmm, Good job I have my dress already.”
Faustus was right, usually was, a Tuesday was a perfect day for a wedding. He pressed a kiss to her temple.
Thorn shook her head. “You don't think it's bad luck?” She teased.
“That is mortal superstition based on the sale of brides so fathers could offload their ugly daughters.” He said quickly.
“I know, but their fears are so amusing. I'm still not showing you though, simply because I know you want to see it. It'll be more of a surprise for you.”
“You'd deny your High Priest?”
Thorn clambered into his lap with a Siren like smirk – Caligari wasn't too happy when he found himself dislodged; with only a slight huff he padded off to lay by the fire.
“Only when it comes to my wedding.” She kissed him.
“Our.” He corrected.
“You already had a wedding, this one is mine. That and I'm the girl. Now, where is Judas?”
She sat back while Faustus let his hands rest on her hips it would have been so easy for him to slip his fingers under her blouse but he had things to attend to, maybe later.
“Upstairs in the crib you gave him with Ostara.”
Thorn's family home was one of the largest in all Greendale so it hadn't been much of a surprise when Thorn had made Judas his own little room just down the hall from her own, it had come with ornate crib that the baby had taken to rather quickly. It was nice for the boy to have his own space when Faustus and Judas were there: not that it happened very often.
With that Thorn was up and out of the Salon leaving Faustus sat there staring at Caligari who'd curled back up and gone off to sleep. He sat there a long time lit only by the fire that crackled every now and then, he didn't speak and truthfully didn't really think either, just sat there in peaceful quietude. No thoughts, no worries, no nothing, just calm and quiet. Faustus hadn't had any idea he needed that.
The Spellman family – sans Hilda of course – sat in a line at the Church Of Night with Luke beside Ambrose, and the Weird Sisters on the pew in front of them as they all watched The Council bind Faustus Blackwood and Thorn Mortimer in unholy matrimony. Zelda hadn't spoken to any of them all day and truthfully they'd given up trying to talk her out of her mood.
In Sabrina's opinion her Aunt Hilda had been lucky, being excommunicated meant she'd not been able to attend while Sabrina had found herself beside a sulking Zelda and behind a silently angry Prudence. The blonde glanced down to the end of the pew to see Ambrose and Luke sat quietly watching the proceedings as though Father Blackwood wasn't marring Thorn – a woman hardly out of being a teenager – for her name. The sooner this farce was over the better in Sabrina's mind; she'd had enough of The Council for one lifetime.
Just in front of the blonde sat Prudence with her sisters, despite being his daughter – his eldest born, or at least as far as they knew – Sabrina couldn't work out why Prudence cared quite so much. The marriage didn't really have any affect on her. Or maybe it's because he married Thorn so easily but denied her mother, she mused to herself. Yes, that made more sense, made Sabrina's heart go out to her friend as well.
Sabrina really didn't like any f this and she really didn't like being so close to the front. The blonde would have rather been at the back with Nick Scratch. In all honesty the only bit of the Blackwood-Mortimer wedding she approved of was Thorn's dress. It was stunning, all black silk and satin. The dress had a sweetheart neckline and off shoulder cap sleeves with small black stones around her hips that lead into lace panels over the long flowing skirt. Her hair had been styled in loose curls over her exposed shoulder, lips the color of crimson and as soft as velvet, those lips tied the whole outfit together; bold against her snow-like skin. Even Sabrina had to admit Thorn was stunning. Thorn had clearly gone all out without being overzealous or garish. There was a subtle elegance to her that k ept everyone's attention firmly on her and rightly so, it was her wedding day after all. Beautiful and Sabrina hated to admit it.
There was another thing she liked about the wedding and that was the two familiars sat in the isle watching, it was amusing to see a fox and hare sat as though they were Pongo and Purdy from 101 Dalmatians. Quite frankly Sabrina was upset she'd not seen a hare coming; of course it was Father Blackwood's familiar, she'd seen the cane often enough.
For their coven this marriage was important and blah, blah, blah, but Sabrina really couldn't have cared less. When the kiss finally came and everyone rose to clap she, Zelda and Prudence took a moment to push themselves up and clap with slow annoyance that ended up masked by everyone else.
“They look powerful together, don't they?”
Zelda's sudden speech actually made the blonde jump but she recovered quickly.
“Yes, Aunt Zee, they do.” She answered without really knowing what else to say.
“A Blackwood and a Mortimer union, surprised it took this long.”
People keep saying that as though it were fate, Sabrina internally grumbled.
Zelda's sour expression wasn't lost on Faustus as he and Thorn made their way out of the church with Caligari and Ostara close behind them, he really didn't care what Zelda thought though, she was of little importance to him in that moment.
“Lady Blackwood.” He said to his new wife with a smirk.
He stepped aside slightly so as she could step through he doorway ahead of him. He'd gotten her, Thorn was his, all his! The raven-haired beauty was his wife and mother to his unborn child. Oh, the satisfaction that ran through him.
Faustus pushed the door to Judas' bedroom where he found the new Lady Blackwood stood by his son's crib with him babbling in her arms.
“I went to get wine and when I get back my Dark Angel wasn't there, not a good sign for a man on his wedding night.”
He approached and snaked his arms around Thorn's hips then pulled her flush against his chest as he looked over her shoulder to his son.
“I'm sorry,” Thorn began as she carefully rocked the child without looking up “Judas was getting ready to cry, he's happy again now though.”
“Excellent. He's being good for his mother.”
Thorn's eyes widened and her body tensed in shock, her head snapped to Faustus.
“You are my wife now and so you are his mother.” The High Priest answered as though it were simple.
Thorn just stood there in silence a time, she'd wanted to mother the child more or less since the day she'd met him when Faustus had called her into his office. She'd just felt drawn to the child... did Faustus really mean it? When her new husband showed no sign of wavering Thorn beamed and her head turned back to the young boy; she pulled him close.
“Come along, my love, let the boy sleep now.”
Only a little reluctantly did Thorn set little Judas down and let him pull her out of the room back to his bedroom where he would have Thorn for the first time as his wife.
Thorn let Faustus pull her down the hall as his lips caressed every inch of exposed skin he could get at. Her beautiful wedding dress clung to her body almost like a second skin that Faustus longed to shed her of.
“You really are a vision, my love.” He breathed against her skin. “I understand why you refused to let me see your dress.”
“I told you-” kiss “-that it would be a surprise.”
As soon as they entered Faustus' dark bedroom he stepped back to look at his darling wife and then – when he'd soaked up his fill – Faustus oh so slowly shed Thorn of her wonderful dress leaving the beauty stood before him. Her black corset was simple but effective, it clung to her delicate body exaggerating her curves. Beautiful.
Her lace topped stockings were what had his attention though, he had to run his hands up her long legs and before he knew it Faustus had dropped to his knees while emerald eyes watched him. The High Priest ran long calloused fingers up the hardly there fabric as he shuffled closer to kiss her still flat stomach and Thorn let him, she'd let him do anything he wanted to her. His kisses were warm and wet, made her tingle. Then he was up on his feet again and had lifted Thorn into his arms so he could carry her to the bed where she quickly found herself thrown down among the sheets. Thorn loved that, when he threw her, manhandled her, dominated her. He wasn't the tallest man in the world – in fact with heels on she was almost the same height as him – but damn did he know how to use his strength and power.
Faustus crawled up onto the bed and over his new wife, ice-like orbs raked over her stunning form taking in every bit of her porcelain skin. Her breasts teased him from the corset, her dark hair hung around her face like an obsidian cloak. Gods, she was stunning. His clawed fingers ran over her porcelain thighs to push them apart so as he could settle between them. Faustus made quick work of unlacing her corset left her bare from the waist up, with a quick glance to those bold lips and even bolder eyes took her left nipple into his mouth to tease, couldn't resist, and Thorn gasped. This was what her body craved, what it had craved since the day she'd met him; Does that make me a whore? That I wanted him even when I was thirteen? Now wasn't the time for such thoughts.
Faustus slid his hands down from Thorn’s sides to her ass and gave the plump globes a nice, firm squeeze, she moaned, the sound bounced off the dark walls. The older man easily pushed his wife's legs even further apart apart to reveal her naked sex once she'd been shed of her panties, then he slid his right hand down to tease her while the left went up to cup her breast, Thorn's head fell back against the pillows as little mews escaped her lips. Father Blackwood continued his teasing putting his thumb on her labia and spreading them open, revealing Thorn’s folds and clit to his hungry eyes. Faustus surged with an animalistic pride. He pressed a small kiss to her shoulder then bit down as he plunged two digits into his Dark Angel, he delighted in the sounds the raven-haired beauty let out. Fingers thrust almost tormentingly until Thorn was practically dripping, body crying out for him, her chest rose and fell with needy pants.
“You like that my little wife? You need your husband to make you cum?” His voice was practically intoxicating. “So fucking greedy aren't you?” Her eyes were closed and she could hardly hold her head up, not that she tried very hard. He always spoke authoritatively but it was usually in regards to the Church or the Academy, but when he turned that deep, elocuted voice to what he'd do her Thorn would melt. “I've missed how you taste!”
Faustus pulled his fingers from her warm, wet heat and a feeling of emptiness swept over his new wife, she mourned the loss of him. He examined his drenched digits for a moment as though her juices were gold then hungrily licked her from his talented fingers. Thorn mewed.
“Always so perfect.” He mused allowed.
She was beautiful beneath him, her arms fell to grip the bed sheets, lips parted to let little groans and pants escape as his clever fingers explored her wetness. He brought her to the brink of pleasure, until she almost couldn't take it any longer, and then pulled his hand away just to see her eyes flash with need. Blackwood wouldn't deprive his sweet girl forever though, couldn't refuse her, not when Thorn let out such stunning little noises. With a grin he slid down her supple body to pepper sweet kisses to her inner thighs.
“Faustus!” She breathed, the sound of his name on her tongue spurring him on, made him want to hear her scream.
“Shush, you're husband is going to make you feel good.” He purred seductively.
His tongue licked at her folds hungrily tasting the sweet flavour of his darling girl. Thorn gasped out a strangled moan, she'd never felt anything like Faustus' tongue before and couldn't even put the feeling into words, she wasn’t new to this by any means but Faustus something unique. His talented tongue lapped at her folds passionately, he was amazed at how wet she was for him, her hands gave up clinging to the sheets and raked into his perfectly combed hair, gripping tightly as his tongue circled her clit. Faustus kissed that sensitive bundle of nerves over and over making her scream louder and louder for him, then he slipped a finger inside her. Her grip on his hair became vice like but it only spurred him on as she moaned and gasped. A second finger entered her wet heat and then another, he crocked them as he kissed her clit. It didn't take long for Thorn to start pushing back on his fingers, she was close and the High Priest knew that, he'd pushed her to the brink, taken his darling girl to the edge and reduced her to a quivering mess before him. After a few moments of careful thrusting she screamed out wrapping her legs around his head. Faustus made sure to keep the thrusts going throughout her orgasm until she was left panting, her eyes fluttered closed. Thorn felt nothing but pure pleasure.
“Faustus!” She all but screamed and Gods did that feed the High Priest's ego.
He smirked when his lips met hers again, knowing she could taste herself on him. Reluctantly Faustus retreated and ripped off his suit pants as quickly as possible. Thorn seemed to delight in just watching him, almost as though he was a mystery waiting to be revealed.
Only after peeling the dark fabric from his body so slowly it bordered on torment did Faustus return to his wife, he pressed his lips to hers and finally, finally, thrust into his little hellcat. He kept his movements slow so that she could feel every inch of his thick cock as he buried himself inside her. Thorn moaned, her back arched almost against her will and Faustus took the opportunity to grab her throat right where her neck met her clavicles, he squeezed. It wasn't like in the movies, a hard unyielding pressure, no it was just enough to hinder her breathing. The young witch needed this, to have her new husband dominate her. Some women would think choking to be one of the worst things to happen during sex but to Thorn it was heavenly. She knew that no other man would ever be able to satisfy her like the unyielding man on top of her could again; that and if anyone tried the High Priest would happily kill them.
Faustus' thrusts began slow and gentle but soon his need took over and he snapped his hips fast and sharp, he set a hard pace using Thorn's neck to keep her in place. The woman with raven hair could only moan and grip the bed sheets until her slender fingers turned white. Faustus groaned, his hips thrusting powerfully with a satisfying sound of slapping skin. Her polished emerald eyes fluttered shut but her husband didn't allow it and gripped her neck to ease, she was close so he squeezed harder.
“You keep your eyes on me, my Dark Angel. Understood?” He he was breathless but still crashed their lips back together for a heated kiss.
Thorn dangled on the very edge, looking down into the euphoric depths below with her new husband not far behind her, she wiggled her hips in just the right way, teasing, and send him into a primal rut, thrusting like his life depended on it. It was then that the young witch grew needier and Faustus flipped them so as he could watch his the curvaceous witch ride him, his long and talented fingers gripped her hips leaving tiny little bruises over the porcelain skin of her hip, pulling her down onto him, impaling her. Thorn grinned down at him, she'd never seen him so desperate, with her hands firmly planted on his chest Thorn leaned down to kiss him again, gasping at the new angle and the way her kissed nipples grazed against his chest. She missed the pressure on her neck but the force he used to pull her down onto him did wonders to make her forget that.
“Cum for me, my Dark Angel. Cum for your husband.”
It was then that she could take it no longer and plunged into the smouldering waters of bliss and euphoria her body clamped down around the older man as she rode out her orgasm, pulling him over the edge and into climax with her. When euphoria surged through her it was like something Thorn thought she'd lost had been returned, a missing piece back where it belonged.
“Faustus! Faustus!” Thorn screamed then collapsed onto his naked chest.
“Unholy fuck!” His voice was deep and breathless.
Thorn lay there with emerald eyes on her new husband as they regained their breath. His eyes were closed and his skin had a thin layer of sweat over it; she loved him. Soon though the covers became heavy and made her hot, she needed a bath.
Slowly Thorn rose from the bed and went to the bathroom as naked as the day she was born. Faustus watched her naked hips sway as she moved into the bathroom and out of sight. He was the only man who'd ever touch her again. Thorn belonged to him! She was still thin and slender but soon her belly would round with their child and their linage secured; Judas was his heir but this unborn child was blood of Blackwood and Mortimer. Together their power would grow... and for the love of Lucifer was she perfect.
Thorn appeared in the doorway then still wearing nothing but a smile and back-lit by candles. Faustus pushed himself up onto an elbow on his side as his eyes raked over her delicate form.
“Want to join me or is it too romantic for the imposing and great Father Faustus Blackwood?” She teased.
“You delight in sarcasm and teasing me, don't you, my Dark Angel.”
Thorn chuckled. “Always. It's a wife's duty, surely. Please join me?”
Faustus thought for a moment, made a display of looking as though it was a hardship before he silently got out of bed and went to his darling wife.
“How could I refuse you?”
His eyes were devilish and perfect. Faustus' arms snaked about her waist as he pushed her back into the bathroom. This would be fun.
Hilda watched her sister as she stood in the doorway to the mortuary. Zelda had hated when Father Blackwood had announced he and Thorn were not only to marry but expecting and that anger hadn't lessened over all the months that had passed since. It had only gotten worse when Thorn had started to show and worse still when twenty minutes previous Blackwood had shown up with his pregnant wife asking Zelda to put her midwifery skills to work once again.
“You alright Zelda?” The blonde asked and Zelda snapped out of her silence.
“Fine.” She snapped. “Why wouldn't I be?”
Hilda chose not to answer that as Faustus helped Thorn up onto the table and Ambrose set Zelda's equipment out. The blonde witch watched her sister storm towards the Blackwoods and begin her exam, it was rather early for any real information to be discovered about the baby but Faustus seemed determined to keep an eye on things.
Sabrina appeared down the long hallway then and stopped just to the left of her Aunt Hilda.
“Is she alright, Aunt Hilda?” Sabrina asked with folded arms.
Hilda sighed. “She'll be fine, Sabrina. Zelds always had a.... predilection shall we say for Father Blackwood.”
They were careful to keep their voices quiet lets the High Priest hear. The youngest Spellman didn't look impressed.
“I don't see why, he's, you know... Father Blackwood.”
Hilda breathed out a laugh at that, bubbly as ever. “I know dear, he doesn't do much for me either but clearly power and a deep voice is attractive to some women.”
“Do you think he actually cares about Thorn or is it just her name?”
Hilda's eyes snapped down to her niece at that question and the flippant way she'd asked it; not to mention Faustus himself wasn't ten feet from them. Hilda was fully aware of Sabrina's views of the High Priest but she'd not expected her to just blurt it out.
“You know, I actually think he does. He and the last Lady Blackwood seemed like they were married but hardly knew one another. Thorn though, he stays close to her, he looks at her like he cares. So yes, I think he actually does.”
“How far along are you?” Zelda asked as she hid her irritation.
“Sixteen weeks.” Came Thorn's pleasant reply.
Her hands rested on her belly while Faustus watched with a tender smile, no one had ever seen that smile but Thorn before.
Ambrose shuffled back towards his Aunt and cousin; he was fully aware he wouldn't be needed for a while.
“Have any of you seen him smile before?” Ambrose whispered. “I didn't even know he was capable of it.”
“Father Blackwood is a man of many talents, dears.” Hilda smiled. “Now, come along, let's leave your Aunt Zelda to it.”
The cousins followed Hilda back up to the main house then with Ambrose bringing up the rear and just like that Thorn had some privacy... or so she thought.
“Ambrose.” Called Faustus stopping the younger warlock in his tracks.
“On Friday the Academy is having an magic workshop for some of the less understood areas of our magic. I would thank you to take part, speak on Necromancy. You will – of course – not be allowed to perform any demonstrations.”
Ambrose nodded, any excuse to be out of the house now he wasn't under house arrest.
“I'd be honoured, Father.”
Faustus nodded. “Excellent. We shall see you Friday morning.”
He went back to his wife's side without another word and Ambrose stood there a moment until he realised he was loitering and walked out after his cousin and Aunt Hilda.
“I think Father Blackwood is becoming rather fond of you, Ambrose.” Hilda beamed when he caught up to them.
Ambrose smiled one of those charming grins of his. “Nah, Luke has just put in a good word for me and Blackwood knows I really want out of the house.” A pause. “You know, no offence.”
“None taken, Ambrose. You were under house arrest for seventy years. Now, I think tea is next on the agenda.”
Meanwhile Zelda carried out her exam, Faustus stood there in silence for longer than he cared to count while his wife and Sister Spellman talked about things he didn't understand; didn't want to understand.
“Is there any chance of Lady Blackwood caring twins?”
Even Thorn raised an eyebrow at that. Thorn and Zelda shared a quick look.
“Well, I can run some tests and of course it is possible.”
Commanded the dark-haired man with a stern voice and Zelda hopped to work while Faustus stood beside his wife with a hand lovingly rested on her belly.
“It's alright, Lucky.” Thorn told him gently and quietly so as Zelda didn't hear as she rummaged for something. “Nothing to worry about.”
Icy blue eyes glared down at her.
“I told you not to call me that.” He snapped in a hushed tone. “And you said you'd only use that infuriating nickname if you were terrified.”
Thorn nodded and glanced down to her stomach where Faustus' hand still rested. She loved the way he couldn't stop himself from keeping her and their baby close.
“Sorry.” She said quietly. “I kind of am though. I suppose that's normal.”
Faustus' stern and stoic expression softened at his wife's words, the lines in his forehead relaxed and devilish eyes grew loving and understanding.
“You needn't fear anything, my love. Sister Spellman took great care in delivering Judas.” He assured his young wife.
“Thank you, Your Excellency.” Zelda beamed as she snapped them back to the world around them.
Thorn let the elder witch prod and poke her for a good twenty minutes and Faustus steadily grew more questioning; the concern in his voice clear. Thorn found it endearing if somewhat irritating.
“Perhaps you should head upstairs, Father Blackwood. We won't be but a moment. I am almost done and Lady Blackwood should have some privacy.”
Thorn nodded in approval, only when Faustus saw that nod did he acquiesce with a little nod of his own.
“Very well, I shall see you in a moment, my Dark Angel.”
Faustus bent down and pressed a kiss to his darling girl's forehead then strode towards the open door and vanished with nothing to indicate he'd ever been there but the echo of his cane on the floor.
Zelda could see Faustus cared greatly for Judas and now his unborn child but the love he had for his wife was different. The strawberry blonde witch hadn't ever heard Faustus refer to the previous Lady Blackwood as 'Dark Angel' or 'My Love' or anything even remotely similar. Faustus Blackwood actually loved Thorn... and didn't that irritate Zelda.
“Are you alright?” Thorn asked after a time when the elder witch had been quiet too long as she rubbed her stomach. “Zelda?”
The Spellman's head snapped down. “Fine. I'm going to need a urine sample and you should avoid intense spell casting until after the birth.”
Thorn nodded. “Yes, of course. Faustus has been rather insistent on that front. He won't admit it but the loss of Judas' twin plagues him.”
That actually gave Zelda pause. “Children are precious, a parent should never have to lose them.”
“Yes, the Dark Lord has called them but it doesn't make one feel any better.” Thorn mused aloud.
Zelda sighed. “Indeed not. May I ask, do you believe you carry a girl or a boy? Witches often have an innate sense of their child's gender. It can be a very clear sign.”
A pause, tiny and hardly there.
“It changes. Sometimes I'm almost positive I'm having a boy then there are times I wake up and the certainty has swapped to a girl. Why is that?”
“It's not always correct but there is a very high percentage who have predicted correctly. However, your certainty changes could be an indication of twins.”
Thorn didn't look up from her stomach. “Twins do run in my family. Not so much in recent generations though they ran rampant once.”
“Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Lady Blackwood. I'll perform my tests and we'll find out. With you not being overly far along the tests will take a little longer to provide a result.”
Thorn Blackwood absorbed all the information slowly with a gentle nod.
“I don't mind waiting, this is mainly for Faustus. I'd have been perfectly content to wait for my family tree regarding twins, and as for gender I'd like a surprise.”
“Family tree?” Zelda's brow furrowed and Thorn nodded.
“Yes, it's enchanted to update itself when a new child in my bloodline is conceived. It's supposed to follow the eldest child but since... since Gray's death I am the oldest. The painting is how I knew I was pregnant, the connecting lines from my scroll had started to form.”
The eldest Spellman sister seemed surprised. “I didn't realise any of those still existed. They're very rare. The Spellman family had one once but it was lost to us more than a century ago.”
“My family has always treasured it.”
Meanwhile Faustus had made his way upstairs just as Hilda was crossing to the parlour with a tea tray in her arms. As soon as the blonde saw him she flashed him a generous smile.
“Ahh, Father Blackwood, we were just going to have a little spot of tea in the parlour. Would you care to join us until Zelda and Lady Blackwoood are finished?”
Faustus tugged his fob watch from his waistcoat and back up to the blonde as he tucked it away.
“Why not, thank you for the invitation.”
He followed Hilda into the parlour where she set the tray down and gestured to a chair beside the fire; Faustus sat. Ambrose didn't glance up from his book for a second while Hilda poured the tea into little floral cups.
“Sabrina not joining us?” Faustus asked innocently as he toyed with his cane.
The High Priest wasn't stupid – far from it – he was fully aware Sabrina Spellman didn't like him but frankly he didn't care, she could think whatever she wanted as long as she avoided destroying their traditions any more than she already had.
Hilda handed him a cup and he nodded his thanks.
“No, I'm afraid not, Father. She's gone to meet her friends.”
He wasn't surprised and his expression showed it. “The mortals.”
It quite clearly wasn't a question.
“Yes.” Replied Hilda completely unnecessarily as she handed Ambrose his cup of tea who took a big gulp.
“Thank you, Aunty Hilda.”
“You're very welcome, Ambrose.”
The blonde turned her attention back to Father Blackwood, that smile of her's ever present.
“It's delightful that The Dark Lord has blessed you and Lady Blackwood with a child so soon after your wedding.”
Icy eyes followed Hilda as she grabbed herself a cup and sat down; he took a sip of tea and nodded.
“It is wonderful, yes. Thorn is a very strong witch, she'll make an excellent mother.” Another sip.
Ambrose finally set down his book on the arm of the chair and joined the conversation, dark eyes focused and dazzling.
“The Academy students have taken to her as a teacher as well.”
Faustus nodded. “I never doubted her. My wife was an excellent choice to replace Algernon Russell. Her teaching methods have been a little unusual at times but I ascribe that to her age and Thorn's preferences on her own education.”
Ambrose half stood to get himself another cup of tea. “ According to Luke, a few of the first years have developed little crushes on Lady Blackwood.”
There was a pause then where the cogs of Faustus' mind turned.
“I can hardly blame them.”
Ambrose wanted to chuckle, he really did, but somehow he didn't think it would go down well with the High Priest; that and Ambrose had to agree. Thorn was the sort of woman that men lusted after, fortunately though Thorn hadn't let that attention go to her head. She was fully aware she was beautiful but relied on her abilities and skill to get her what she wanted rather than letting her looks do it for her; to Thorn that would have been easy.
“Lady Blackwood seems to have taken to teaching well.” Said Hilda in an attempt to change the subject a little.
Thorn appeared in the doorway then with Zelda just a step behind her.
“Why thank you, Hilda.”
All eyes snapped up the raven-haired beauty, gone were her short dresses and killer heels until after the birth but still she looked as imposing as her husband.
“Would you like some tea, Lady Blackwood?” Hilda hopped up intent on pouring but ground to a halt when Thorn shook her head.
“No, but I appreciate the offer.”
Faustus downed his tea in a single large gulp and set it down on the tray with a light clatter then rose to his feet; cane planted between his feet.
“We should be going.” Father Blackwood went to his wife. “I thank you for tending to my wife, Sister Spellman.”
Zelda nodded with a small smile. “Of course, Father.”
“When will you have the results of your tests?”
Thorn rolled her eyes. “Faustus, don't rush the woman. These things take time for a reason.”
Zelda answered anyway. “It shouldn't take too long, Your Excellency, maybe a week since the pregnancy is so new. The magic will have to search a little more. I will – of course – inform you both as soon as I know.”
“Excellent.” Replied Blackwood easily. “Good day to you all.”
The dark-haired warlock snaked an arm around his young wife then and guided her to the front door, the sound of it falling shut was Zelda's cue to collapse in the chair Faustus had occupied not a moment earlier. Ambrose flipped through his book suddenly disinterested.
“You alright, Zelds?” Did Hilda ever stop smiling?
“I'm fine.” The strawberry blonde witch sighed. “Just-” She fell silent; didn't know what to say.
Ambrose knew though and he went there... rather quickly.
“Seems like ten minutes ago she was Thorn Mortimer, his favourite student and all powerful fire starter. Now though, she's Lady Blackwood and pregnant with his child on top of everything.”
“Yes, thank you, Ambrose for recapping the last year of our lives.” His elder aunt grumbled as she got herself the last of the tea.
“I think little Judas will enjoy having a sibling to play with. We did enjoy playing as kids and so did Sabrina and Ambrose.”
Ambrose's brow furrowed. “I wasn't exactly a child though, was I.”
Hilda nudged him in jest. “Maybe not but you still played with your cousin.”
“He's hoping for more twins.” Zelda's rested her head in her hand. “I don't think I could handle what happened to the last Lady Blackwood and the elder twin happening again.”
“Might not want to make it sound like he gets a new Lady Blackwood every spring, Aunty Zelda.” Muttered Ambrose but he went entirely ignored.
“Don't worry, Zelds, it won't happen again. There's nothing to even say she'll have twins.”
“Apparently they run in her family.” Grumbled the elder Spellman sister in a sarcastic sing-song voice. “Just something else that makes her perfect in his eyes. I mean, I may not like her but I wouldn't ever wish the loss of a child on her.”
“Zelds, we'll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it.” She sipped at her tea.
Meanwhile Faustus and his new wife made it outside and down the dark steps, their feet crunched the leaves under foot. Blackwood had his arm looped with Thorn's.
“You don't have to rush things, Faustus.” Thorn told him softly.
Faustus paused then in his long strides and brushed a loose strand of raven-hair behind his wife's left ear.
“I believe in being prepared, my Dark Angel. It has always served me well.”
Lady Blackwood nodded. “I know you do, darling, but not everything needs to be watched like a hawk. We're having a child not sorting out a funeral.”
Faustus sighed. “Yes, dear.” He pressed a hand to her belly. “I am fully aware of that.”
“I'm here, Faustus. Your baby and I are here and we're not going anywhere. I promise.” She knew he wasn't a man for sharing but Thorn knew him better than anyone, knew he was sensitive when it came to his children. “So relax, you run a school and the Church of Night, but this is our child, you don't have to do everything on your own.”
Sometimes Faustus forgot that, he'd grown up an only child with a father who had been heavily focused on his work and a rather disinterested mother. He'd not suffered through childhood at all but he had grown up intendant and prepared to do everything himself. Faustus was also fully aware that Thorn worried.
“I know, my love. How about we go to lunch before returning to the Academy?”
Thorn smiled. “I'd like that, and I think so would the baby.”
She pressed her lips to his then and the warlock slipped his arm around her waist so he could guide her away from the Spellman property.
Late at night Faustus stood by his bed watching his new, beautiful wife sleep on her side with little Judas snuggled against her side, she looked stunning wrapped up in his blood-colored sheets full of his child; it amazed him at how quickly his son had grown. So beautiful, the pair of them. The High Priest wanted to climb into bed with her and pull Thorn close to his chest but no, not yet, he had things to attend to in his study for the Church.
Faustus bent and pressed a kiss to Thorn's forehead before he left the room as quietly as he'd entered dressed only in his dark pants and dress shirt. Faustus was pleased to have Thorn in the house, her predilection for fire meant she heated everywhere she went subconsciously; he'd never known it to such an extent though. Faustus actually popped a button open.
As he descended the grand staircase Ostara suddenly launched up them at full speed, large hops that took two steps at a time. He didn't need to ask why though, Faustus saw what had her so terrified, all around him the house burned. In the split second Faustus blinked at it the fire doubled in size. His icy eyes went wide and the quickly growing fire spewed out smoke that stung them.
“Ostara, who did this?!”
He demanded but the black Hare didn't know and Faustus didn't wait for an answer, just plucked Ostara up and rested her on his shoulder as he turned and raced back upstairs. Caligari appeared from the smoke then and raced up with them. He was grey from soot and looked a little frazzled. The fire was raging too quickly, much too quickly; this wasn't an accident, someone was doing this!
In seconds Faustus was up the staircase and down the long hall into his bedroom where Thorn startled awake.
“What in Satan's name is going on?!” Thorn all but interrogated as she rubbed at her eyes; the sudden noise jolted Judas into consciousness and tears.
She pulled Judas close as she shuffled to the edge of the bed and shoved the covers away.
“The house is on fire.” He said quickly as he helped Thorn up and wrapped her in his suit jacket that he pulled from the Ottoman, then went back for his cane. “Come along.”
“We have to get out before I can put it out. It's too big.”
Thorn didn't argue, she followed Faustus out of the bedroom with Judas in her arms but instead of turning towards the staircase – that she could see smoke rising from – Faustus guided her to the end of a long hallway. It was a dead end with nothing but an ornate vase of flowers sat there alone... or so Thorn had thought. Without pause Faustus pressed his hand firmly against the dark wall and it squeaked open.
“Full of surprises aren't you.” She muttered as she followed him and the familiars around the vase and down a very rarely used – and fairly bloody dusty – staircase. Sconces lit as they moved, quick but not panicked steps. When they reached the bottom Judas got control of his tears and cuddled against Thorn's bosom. The quiet was quite welcome. The cold grey stone at the bottom of the stairs froze Thorn's and Faustus' bare feet but neither said anything about it as they almost jogged down an obscenely long hall. Caligari and Ostara stuck close to them, concern for the children evident.
Suddenly they found themselves at a solid brick wall and Thorn opened her mouth to grumble but it was for nothing as Faustus pushed it aside similar to how the last had moved. They marched up the few tiny steps behind the wall into a room Thorn quickly realised was the storage shed that lingered in the tree line that surrounded much of Father Blackwood's home.
Faustus burst out the shed door he and his wife looked up at the house, most of which was in flames. Thorn set Judas down on the grass and the fox and hare gathered around him; a little ring of protection. Warlock nor wife paid any attention to that though, they were too busy stood side by side as they began to chant quietly but determinedly. The fire actually started to die down as they cast their spell but not by much.
“Something is fighting us. I should be able to put this out on my own.” Growled Thorn and Faustus' head snapped up to his wife.
“Stop! You let me do this.”
Thorn's brow furrowed. “No, you need me, the fire is too big.”
Faustus fixed his pregnant wife with a stern glare. “I will not have you put our child at risk with spell casting! This house is already lost, this is about preventing it from spreding to the woodland now.”
Thorn just looked at him shocked, brow furrowed and emerald eyes sparkled in the moon and firelight.
“This is your home.” She whispered as Faustus dropped his cane so he could better cast.
“It is a building, everything important is now outside.”
Faustus spoke without looking at her but still the words brought a tear to her emerald orbs more than all the smoke ever could. She just stood there and watched her husband control the fire as best he could. The flames glowed an aggressive orange and lingered in the large arched windows like a pleased ghost that had just chased out the new residents. In a way it was beautiful, an oil painting of destruction and loss.
This hadn't been an accident, both man and wife watched as the house of Blackwood crumbled and fell. Thorn felt Caligari brush against her leg but she didn't look down, couldn't take her eyes from the fire. Her whole body itched to help, fire was her playing, she could control it but Faustus was right, they couldn't risk the baby. A noise that didn't belong caught her attention then and her head snapped away from her husband to the west to see a shadow partially lit by the blaze; just enough to reveal the shadow as a man in a suit.
“Found our arsonist.”
Thorn took a single step away and Faustus verbally forced her to a halt, voice authoritative as always.
“Don't you dare!”
“I can get him-” Blackwood cut her off.
“You are not leaving my side! You'll do as you're told and obey your husband. Stay right where you are.”
Thorn raised an eyebrow as he continued to control the dying fire. Had the circumstances been different Thorn would have launched Faustus at a tree but she understood why he was being the way he was - his house had just been set ablaze with his wife and son inside and now his pregnant wife wanted to follow the man who'd just tried to kill them. No, she couldn't do that to Faustus and Judas, and so Thorn just stood there and watched it all burn. Strange how fire was one of the most beautiful yet destructive things in existence, a dragon had been angered and the house of Blackwood was already lost. The warm glow caressed her face as she accepted the destruction before her. Twenty minutes ago she'd been asleep with the child who'd become her son snuggled close, now she was stood outside being coated in a layer of soot while her husband lost his home.
When the fire was out and the orange sun had risen Faustus and Thorn walked through the charred remains of his home, their expressions stoic and hard. Only a little over a third of the once great house remained standing, the rest wasn't much more than smouldering rubble trapped within the trees.
“Why would someone do this?” Thorn asked as she pulled Judas closer to her chest, a silent but protective action. “Who would do this?”
The dark-haired warlock sighed deeply as he stared at the debris rather than glancing up to his wife a few meters away.
“I am High Priest, that brings enemies.” Was his only response.
“You have been the leader of our coven for a decade and a half, why now? By all accounts this doesn't make sense.”
“Nor do the minds of arsonists.” Finally he looked up at her and extended an arm out for her. “Come here, my love.”
She obeyed, of course she did. Thorn had to step over or around bits of broken brick or burnt wood which proved to be no easy task with Judas in her arms, but she made it to her husband who instantly took her into his strong arms; the smell of smoke lingered on him.
“I know what you're thinking and it's not true, my Dark Angel.” He assured. “None of this is because of you.”
Thorn nodded but she didn't believe him. “I don't like coincidences, Faustus, they're suspicious.”
Faustus couldn't argue with that really, it was a code to live by.
“Indeed, my love, but still, this isn't your fault. I promise you-” he rested a hand on her belly “-I will find who did this, and I will make them suffer in hellfire. No one endangers my wife and children.”
Had the situation not been serious Thorn would have delighted in Faustus' authoritative voice; it was part of what made him attractive.
“I don't doubt you will, darling.” Thorn rose up on her toes and pressed her lips to the High Priest's own for a chased kiss. “At least we answered the question of where to live.”
Faustus grumbled in the back of his throat, the question of what to do with her ancestral home had been brought up on more than one occasion.
“Yes, this isn't worth rebuilding.” Faustus kicked a brick with his foot.
Thorn chuckled. “I took your name, we're keeping my home as Mortimer Manor.”
“But of course, my Dark Angel. You should go there though, settle Judas in. I'll remain here and salvage what I can.”
“I can help you.” She offered politely with a gentle smile but he'd not have his pregnant wife rummaging around in the debris.
“Not necessary, my love. Don't trouble yourself.”
Only a little reluctantly did Thorn nod and obey her husband's wishes; Judas had started to become heavy in her arms.
“I love you.”
“And I you. GO on, you should rest, Thorn.”
Thorn didn't like being sidelined but the thought of sitting down really did sound rather good to her in that moment. Back at Mortimer Manor she'd be able to put the boy down for a nap and have Caligari watch over him while she had a much needed rest and contacted her Uncle Kylian.
“Alright, Faustus. If that's what you want. I'm going to go ward my home against fire, never thought I of all people would need to do that.”
Faustus fixed her with a glare. “You're-”
She cut him off. “Suppose to be refraining from intense spell casting, yes, I know, both you and Zelda Spellman have made that perfectly clear, thank you. However, I could ward in my sleep, it isn't strenuous in the slightest.” She flashed him a smile. “Worry not, Faustus, I'll be fine.”
Thorn pressed one more kiss to his lips then traipsed out of the rubble and away. Faustus stood there a moment looking at her until she vanished from sight and it was just him alone in the ruins; he stared at them instead. He might have grown up in that house and it may have been his home but he wasn't as pained as most would have expected. Houses could be replaced and memories were stored in his head. His wife and children were safe, that was the important thing; Thorn, Judas and their unborn child.
Using his cane Faustus prodded at the rubble to turn over bits of brick and burnt wood, smoke still rose from some sections but otherwise all that remained of the fire was chard debris and a thick layer of ash that tried to dominate his lungs. He stood in what had once been the kitchen bit not two feet from his side sat the claw-footed tub that had fallen through from the level above that no longer existed. The bath had been filled with bits of dusty brick and mortar but Faustus hardly even noticed, he just wandered through the remnants with an unreadable expression. Occasionally he'd have to sidestep something but soon he reached what had been his study. Eight and a half hours earlier Faustus had papers and items in there all safe and sound, he hoped they'd stayed that way or at least be salvageable.
As he searched through the mess and ash he couldn't help but be reminded of the Solstice when Kylian Gethic had told his niece of the old wives tale about The Pearl; thick ash that lingered in the air like a curse.
Unfortunately for the High Priest most of his papers were gone as was to be expected but certain things had been kept safe from the lick of flames by binders or the fact they'd been in his desk drawers; these things he grabbed quickly and stacked into a neat pile on the desk while his cane rested against the chard wood. Once the singed pieces of paper were neat Faustus brushed rubble out of the way with his polished leather shoe and sat down so he could shuffle underneath his large desk on his back, filthy but necessary.
“Reveal.” He said simply but with purpose and the once sheer desk showed a break in the wood before a tiny door popped open. “Excellent, it's undamaged.”
From the small space Faustus carefully reached in and took a solid black book; a Grimoire. He easily rose to his feet and set the Grimoire on top of the pile only to see Ostara sat quietly beside the stack. He quickly started to brush himself clean of the ash and dust.
“You are supposed to be watching over Judas with Caligari. Why are you here, Ostara?”
The Hare let out a little clucking noise and Faustus nodded almost nonchalantly.
“When I saw you charge up the stairs, I assumed you'd seen more than just the fire.” A small hum-like sound left the familiar's mouth as he freed himself from the last of the brick dust. “Masculine magic is of little use to me, Ostara. Thorn saw a man flee while the house burnt. Did you see what this man looked like?” Ostara ground her teeth. “Do not snap at me!” Faustus commanded and the hare pulled in on herself ever so slightly. “And what do you mean someone was in my study?” Little noises continued to leave her as she spoke and Blackwood listened intently as he retrieved his cane and the stack of books. “So, this man was looking for something. The fire started in the hallway which would make sense if they hid to avoid you and Caligari.” Ostara let out another tiny hum as she jumped the distance from the desk to Faustus' shoulder. “Hmm? Yes, accidental. If one is looking for something it is usually not a good idea to burn the hiding place to the ground.” Faustus mused aloud; another hum from the familiar. “Good idea, Ostara. I'll have the family heads gathered together tonight.”
Father Faustus Blackwood would find out who did this and he'd do far more than excommunicate them or strip them of their powers, he'd fucking kill them! Make them beg for death. He wouldn't do it because they'd burnt down his home, no, that was just a building, it wasn't because they'd tried to steal from him, it wasn't even because they'd nearly destroyed the Blackwood family Grimoire. No, it was because his family had been in that house. Thorn and his son had been asleep, had he not gone downstairs when he did they might have died. That was why the perpetrator would suffer pain worse than the anger of the Dark Lord.
Zelda Spellman answered the knocking at her door with a huff, Ambrose had only just finished with old Mister and Missus Parkinson and their three bickering children had been on the phone almost constantly all day; quite frantically they were all just fighting over who got the money and didn't want to spend any on the funeral. Cheep sons of bitches, grumbled Zelda's mind. The redhead really wasn't looking forwards to the funeral the following day.
Her expression faltered when she yanked open the door to see Thorn Blackwood on her door step with young Judas in her arms. Of everything that could have happened that day, Thorn showing up hadn't been on her list.
“Lady Blackwood,” and didn't the eldest Spellman hate having to call her that “to what do we owe the pleasure? Please, come in.”
Zelda stepped aside to allow the younger woman inside and Thorn nodded her thanks.
“Thank you, Zelda. Faustus isn't here you can call me by my name.”
“Of course.” She responded in a tone that said since-bloody-when-have-we-been-friends?
“After the fire last night-”
Zelda cut the younger witch off with false concern. “Yes, I heard but I had hoped it wouldn't be true.”
“Regrettably it is. Faustus will be assembling the family heads tomorrow night apparently.” She shifted Judas in her arms. “Anyway, speaking of my husband, he wishes for you to check me over and make sure the baby is alright. He does worry so.”
“A father always should.” Said the elder witch told her simply for something to say.
“Forgive me for imposing.”
“Oh, nonsense. No imposition at all. Ambrose is using the mortuary but I'm sure we can make due with the parlour. Please go on through, I'll have Hilda make you some tea.
Thorn went through to the parlour with young Judas lovingly in her arms while Zelda ran into the kitchen where she found her sister at the sink.
“Hilda, Hilda, Hilda.” Zelda chanted quickly forcing the younger Spellman to spin around expecting there to be another Demon in the house. “
“Zelds, what's wrong?” She asked quickly.
“I need you to make tea and bring it into the parlour for me.”
“Tea?” Hilda's brow furrowed in confusion. “Whatever for?”
Zelda sighed. “Lady Blackwood is here. Faustus sent her to have me check her and the baby over.”
“Ooh, better get that tea on then.” Hilda busied herself quickly. “Don't want to keep Lady Blackwood waiting.”
Zelda grumbled. “Yes, but why she is here is important. The rumours are true, Father Blackwood's house was burnt to the ground last night.”
The bubbly blonde's face fell. “Oh, how awful. Is Judas alright? I hope so, poor boy.”
Zelda didn't appear to share her sister's concern. “He looked well enough.”
Hilda let out a sigh of relief. “Satan be praised. Now, off you go, I'll bring the tea through when it's ready... maybe some biscuits for Judas, I've got chocolate chip around here somewhere.”
“Good. Thank you.”
Zelda rushed to gather up her things then went back to the parlour where she found Thorn sat in the chair Faustus usually favoured, she didn't think for one second that it was a coincidence. Judas sat in the chair beside his mother babbling away to himself while Thorn watched with a loving smile.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.”
“Not a problem.” Said Thorn without looking up. “Especially when I arrive entirely unannounced and ask you to drop everything on my husband's orders.”
The elder Spellman crouched down beside Thorn and took out her things out from the leather doctor's bag that sat beside her.
“I'm sure there's nothing wrong, but it's always best to check. Were you exposed to any smoke?”
Thorn shook her head as she finally turned to face Zelda. “Not really, Faustus got us out before the fire got upstairs. I and the baby probably breathed some in but that was while we were outside so I had plenty of fresh air with it.”
“I suppose I should tell you, Lady Blackwood,” started Zelda with a hint of cautiousness “I got the results of the tests I ran this morning. I am yet to inform Father Blackwood.”
Suddenly concern wasted over Thorn. “Is there something wrong?”
“No, no, not at all. No, the results to your twins test.”
Thorn let out a sigh of relief. “Faustus won't be disappointed with only one child, I assure you.”
“It's not that, Lady Blackwood. You said twins run in your family however I believe triples might as well.”
Thorn paled, eyes widened and her heart stopped for a moment. The woman just froze.
“Three?” She tried not to squeak.
In hindsight it did explain why she'd been the size of a whale by twenty-nine weeks.
“Yes, three.” Zelda confirmed.
Thorn just repeated it. “Three.”
“You should be honoured, Lady Blackwood, three is a strong and magical number. You will put three lives into the world and that will be returned to you thrice over.”
A pause, hardly there as Thorn tried to get her head around the idea.
“Yes, indeed. Satan be praised.” She took a breath. “Three is just something of a shock. This is my first pregnancy so I was not expecting twins let alone triplets. Are you sure?” Zelda nodded, this was the closes to panic she'd ever seen from Thorn. “Faustus will be overjoyed.”
“I expect he will, yes. It also explains why your innate opinion on gender were so varied on a daily basis. I must confess I had believed you would already know from your family tree.”
Hilda came in then with a tea tray and a plate of cookies that she set down on the coffee table quietly and started to poor. Thorn accepted her offered cup with a small smile.
“Thank you, Hilda.”
“I got the little one some cookies as well, a nice little treat.”
Thorn smiled again and passed Judas one of the cookies which he started to gobble up quickly. Only when Zelda glared at her younger sister did Hilda vacate the room and go to do whatever it was Hilda did when she wasn't bothering Zelda.
“I have not viewed my family tree in many weeks.” Thorn informed when the door clicked shut.
Zelda nodded without really caring about Lady Blackwood's answer. “It will most likely tell you the same as I have.”
“Thank you, Zelda.”
“Let's check on them, shall we? Then I'll look at Judas.”
Thorn glanced down to her son as he continued to nibble on his cookie happily. He was dressed in his little suit as usual, originally Thorn had dressed him like that to tease her husband but Faustus had seemed to approve and over time it had become normal. Judas truly was the spitting image of his father; jet black hair and icy eyes.
“He seems in good spirits considering what happened the other night, hardly even cried, he's a strong one just like Faustus.”
“It sounds horrendous. I can't imagine, especially with a child in the house.”
“Thankfully we were never in any real danger because of Faustus. Of course he'd not let me extinguish the blaze, too much stress on the baby... babes.” She took a breath. “That will take some getting used to.”
“I suspected it would.”
Zelda went back to her work while Thorn watched her son finish his cookie and look around for another that he'd not be getting; Thorn wouldn't admit it but she spoilt the boy enough as it was.
Faustus walked into Mortimer Manor with a stern expression coating his sharp features and hung his overcoat up in the coat closet before he made his way into the salon. The fire was lit but Thorn, Caligari, Ostara nor his son was anywhere to be seen.
“Dark Angel?” He called out in that deep tone of his but no answer came.
Blackwood hadn't seen his young wife since the early afternoon when he'd told her to go see Sister Spellman.
He stepped back outside into the vestibule and glanced up the grand staircase when suddenly she appeared from a room he'd never entered before just off to the left of the staircase with a smile on her face.
“Hello, Faustus. Come here, I've got a present for you.”
His pregnant wife reached out for him and Faustus instantly gave her the hand not holding his cane so she could pull him into the room.
“Judas is sleeping, I take it?” He asked as they passed the stairs.
“He is, he was sleepy after I took him to the Spellman house. Now come one, present time.”
Faustus let Thorn drag him through to what he soon found was a study. The books he'd salvaged from his destroyed home sat on the mahogany desk. The room was beautifully decorated but Faustus found his attention firmly on his wife and the way memories seemed to cling to her.
“This was my father's study when I was a child and my grandfather's before him. I never use it and since this is now our home I thought it could be yours.” She smiled up at him. “The house is mine but this room will be yours.”
Faustus flashed his young wife a smile, one of the rare ones that only Thorn got to witness.
“Thank you, my love, truly.”
“There's more. You had your secret hallways and rooms, I have mine.”
Thorn pressed lightly on the bookshelf and it easily floated back about a foot before it rolled off to the side.
“A secret workroom?”
Thorn nodded. “Diebenkorn Mortimer was a paranoid man and as a result there are dozens of secret rooms and passages ways in this house. I and Gray used to run around and see if we could discover new ones, I hope our children will do that one day.” A hand rested on her round belly. “Do with it what you will, all I ask is that you never damage or remove the desk. It has been in my family since Gaspard Mortimer, were it to be damaged my father would climb out of his grave and make me rue the day I was born.”
Father Blackwood's icy orbs looked down to his books still sat in a stack but they weren't wha t caught his eye, it was the crystal Hare beside them. Faustus raised an eyebrow.
“What is this?”
Thorn closed the secret workroom away again and grinned as she went to her husband who easily wrapped his arms around her after he'd rested his cane beside the desk. Thorn's expression was delightful.
“It was a joke of my mother's years ago. She gave my father a crystal bat that he kept on his desk; it was supposed to be Alucard, my father's familiar.
Faustus nodded in understanding. “And this is Ostara. Thank you, my Dark Angel.”
He kissed her forehead as a hand rested on her rounded stomach. She'd gone out of her way to make him and Judas welcome and at home; Faustus had to love his wife for that. So wonderful, beautiful and round with his child, Faustus thanked The Dark Lord for her every day.
“Thank you for this, Thorn, though I'm likely to spend many a night in here.”
Thorn chuckled at that and pressed her cheek to his chest. “I know. You're work keeps you up at night. Fortunately, so do I.”
Faustus breathed out a laugh, it was a bad joke and they both knew it. Still, it had gotten the desired affect.
Suddenly Thorn was up on the desk with her husband stood in the gap between her parted legs. His lips pressed to her plum colored ones as she clung to his lapels. Safety snaked around her like a cloak when his arms encompassed her.
“I may be a minx but I'm your little minx.” She kissed him again.
“And never forget it.” His voice remained deep and dominant just as Thorn liked.
Faustus made to kiss her again but Thorn stopped him and looked down to his fob watch chain instead; the High Priest's brow raised.
“There is something else you should know about the pregnancy.”
“What is wrong?” He demanded, concern evident, just as Thorn had expected.
The raven-haired beauty paused for a moment longer than needed, cruel maybe but it amused her somewhat.
“Well, we're going to need to get more cribs.”
Faustus' eyes widened and then he erupted into a grin. “Twins. I knew you would reward me, my Dark Angel.”
Thorn shook her head. “No, you're wrong, darling, we both were. It seems Judas isn't going to have a new sibling, or two, he's getting three.”
Faustus' eyes further widened but this time with shock. “... Triplets?”
Yeah, that was the tone Thorn had used as well.
“I was shocked as well.”
“Thrice blessed by The Dark Lord. I knew great things would come of our union.”
He kissed her once again though this time deeper and Thorn let her hands slip past his suit jacket and underneath, past the suspenders to wrap around his flanks.
“I love you, Faustus.” She breathed against his lips.
“And I love you, my Dark Angel.”
Thorn didn't mention that one or possibly even two of their children would be girls, he didn't need to know that in that moment.
“I didn't believe Zelda at first,” she began slowly as she pressed herself into his chest “but when I came home I went upstairs and looked at my family tree and there they were, three scrolls void of name.”
“This warrants celebration, Thorn.”
His lips locked with his young wife's once more. He'd said celebration but quite frankly Thorn knew it meant he wanted to play with her.
Many had gathered around the large triangular table in the Mortimer family's confrence room. It had once been used solely by the heads of the founding families – hence the three sides – but the Pentercosts and Zuries hadn't met with the Mortimers since the Zuries had tried to kill off the other families decades ago. Now, Thorn was all that remained of them and she sat beside her husband at the south facing part of the table looking just as imposing as he did; she'd insisted they sat where they had since it had been the side her family had always favoured. The young witch had one hand on her belly and the other drummed on table's dark wood while the High Priest addressed the other family heads.
“... I called you all here in regards to the loss of my house.”
Zelda listened intently as Faustus spoke, as did Athelstan Scratch – Nicholas' father – and Monty's mother, Aria Hawthorne; Edgar Tremaine seemed to balance on the fence of caution and confusion but if his daughter, Mavis, was anything to go by that was a regular occurrence in the Tremaine family. Thomas Delaney's mother had spent a good five minutes of glaring at Thorn with the how dare you dump and embarrass my son expression but Thorn had soon grown irritated of it and flashed her own glare that had shut the elder woman down instantly.
“Do you suspect someone from our coven, your Excellency.” Zelda asked as she leant forwards in her chair.
“Worse, Sister Spellman, I believe it to be an outsider.” Said Faustus. “I did not call you all here to Mortimer Manor to accuse any of you but rather to warn you.”
Richard Lang raised an eyebrow. “Warn us, Father?”
“Yes, warn.” He confirmed with a stern expression. “The fire was clearly unintended but once started the perpetrator decided to accelerate the flame in an attempt to push off any pursuit.”
“How does one accidentally set fire to a building?” Enquired Athelstan Scratch in an uninterested grumble.
“Stupidity.” Came Zelda's quick reply.
Faustus nodded in his chair and rested his head in his hand. “Indeed.” He glanced at his wife. “Some time ago my wife informed me that certain things had been moved in her home. As I said this was some time ago and didn't cause much concern for either of us. However, my familiar notified me that the warlock intruder seemed to be searching for something.”
“Are you saying our homes are being... cased for something?” Asked Randall Hightower as he rubbed at his brow.
Thorn sighed, frankly she felt as though they were beating around the bush. “It is possible, yes.”
“We currently do not know what or why. However, it would have made the most sense for someone to investigate my and Lady Blackwood's homes first as I am High Priest and my wife is a Mortimer.” He gestured to Thorn. “Next would be the Church itself and then I suspect the Spellman residence will be next, if it hasn't already been searched.”
Zelda's eyes widened as Ezma Leatherwood and Orville Stone – who flanked her – shot her sideways glances.
Thorn rolled her eyes. “Isn't it obvious, Zelda? Your brother was the last High Priest.” In all honesty Thorn didn't like having all these people in her house, the sooner they were gone the better in her mind. “Search the most likely of places first and then the more unusual ones. Had Caligari and Ostara not interrupted this intruder we likely wouldn't have noticed their presence.”
Faustus nodded in agreement. “My wife is right. Now we know about them and we can protect ourselves.”
“Is there anything one would want to steal from the coven?” Asked Charity Lawrence's father, Karl; his voice almost as deep as Faustus' own.
“Not to my knowledge.” Answered the High Priest then Thorn's head snapped towards him.
“Is it not possible that it isn't important to us, just to whoever wants it?”
“Do you think it could be the last of the Zuries trying to make a return?” Queried Sister Spellman, eyes wide and concern evident; the Zuries were the last thing they needed.
“There are easier ways. Also, if it was them they'd have attempted to kill me when they had the chance.” Thorn rested her hand on her belly in an attempt to calm the triplets' kicking.
“Indeed.” Agreed her husband. “They're more the stab first and ask questions later bunch.”
That made Thorn chuckle to herself. “Hmm, never knew why they were named a founding family, they never actually did anything.”
“You can say that again, Lady Blackwood.” Gerald Gossamer said more to himself than Thorn as he ran a hand through his long white hair.
Faustus reached for his tea that had probably ended up half cold at this point and took a long sip; not as cold as imagined.
“Have any of you noticed odd things in your homes or had anything reported to you?” There was a mass of shook heads and quiet negatives. “Then best be on your guard.”
The triplets really were going for it in regards to kicking their mother by this point and it had started to grate on Thorn so when she spoke her tone was slightly more harsh than she'd intended.
“We suspect the Academy to be next since Blackwood, Mortimer and Spellman have served as Dean; it's an obvious place to hide something.”
“Are our children safe?” Demanded Damien Hale.
Faustus didn't take kindly to the insinuation. “The Academy of Unseen Arts has been standing since its construction by Diebenkorn Mortimer, it has served as a safe haven for generations and will not be easily infiltrated. The Academy is in no danger and nor are your children.”
“Tell that to Christopher.” Hissed Richard Lang.
Thorn fixed the elder warlock with a glare, eyes devilish just as when she'd glared at his son.
“You will show your High Priest some respect, Lang!”
Faustus had to hide his smirk, his wife was a fierce little hellcat and she'd only gotten stronger since the pregnancy. Damn he loved that woman, so powerful, so authoritative.
“The Academy did not endanger your son, Brother Lang, your son endangered his school. His actions nearly killed my wife and put the life of ever single student in danger. I can only hope his younger sister and cousin have more sense.”
Faustus firmly put Richard in his place; the warlock opened his mouth to protest but shut it again quickly when he realised he didn't have a leg to stand on and angering The Dark Lord's representative; Zelda his a chortle as did many of the other guests.
“If anything such as what we've discussed occurs in your homes I want to hear about it immediately. If I am indisposed you will inform Thorn as she is the Church's Secretary. Understood?”
“Yes, your Excellency.” Said Zelda quickly like an overeager child while everyone else nodded.
Faustus was pleased with himself. “Good. Return to your families. Satan be praised."
“Satan be praised.” Agreed the collective.
Thorn perked up when the guests raised from their seats and started to leave her house. Once the wards around her house told her they were all gone she breathed a sigh of relief, it was just her, Faustus, the familiars and Judas upstairs in his crib napping. Slowly she shifted into her husband's lap where she cuddled into his strong chest.
“Worry not, Faustus. We'll find whoever this person is.” Thorn pressed a kiss to his cheek as Faustus' arms tightened around her.
“Yes, we will.” He assured without hesitation. “And then I'm going to flay him. No one endangers my family.”
Thorn's bold black lips pulled upwards into a smile. “So protective, I love it.”
She knew he was stroking his thumb over the her baby bump bit seriously doubted he was aware of it, never was.
“You are my wife and my children, I will protect the five of you... always.”
“We know you will.” As if to confirm their mother the triplets kicked against their father's hand. Thorn watched him light up, he was always so stoic and stern until it came to their children. “See, they know Daddy's here.”
“I still cannot quite believe there are three of them. Thrice blessed.”
Thorn snorted. “You can't, I'm the one carrying them. I'm already twice the size I expected.”
“You are beautiful.”
“Yes, a beautiful Hippopotamus.”
Faustus had to admit he missed her short skirts and dresses until after the children were born, he loved her legs.
“Anyway, I'm eating for four so shall I make dinner?” She looked up at him hopefully.
“Ooh, you must really love me.”
Thorn pressed her lips to his for a quick kiss then rose to her feet only a little awkwardly thanks to the bump. Discovering Faustus could cook had been like discovering the sky had turned neon pink; unexpected and approached with caution.
Several months went by without any hint as to the perpetrator of the fire and frankly Faustus had started to wonder if they'd found whatever it was they'd been looking for, if they had then it was unlikely that the Church of Night wouldn't ever hear from them again. That did nothing to please the High Priest.
Thorn had become irritable over the last month or so as well, then again carrying triplets was talking its toll on her both physically and mentally. Faustus wouldn't ever admit it but he'd started to fear her, a witch as powerful as Thorn who was in pain almost constantly and had hormones raging in her system; yes, Faustus was scared of his wife. To be perfectly honest Faustus had been happy to lock himself in the study she'd gifted him and work away until dawn. She was none months and Faustus hoped the last of the thirteen passed quickly.
A sudden knock jolted the High Priest out of his thoughts and he breathed a sigh of relief, if Thorn had knocked it meant her mood was what one would consider normal. He looked up just in time to see her enter the sconce lit room with Judas on her hip ; every room in Mortimer Manor was either lit by candles, sconsces or fireplaces. Thorn was the perfect image of motherhood in her black night dress; damn he missed her short negligees of silk and lace.
“Yes, my love. Are you alright?”
T horn flashed him a smile. Yep, normal mood.
“Judas insists on seeing you before he goes to bed. You should be proud, he's stubborn and unwavering just like you.” His wife teased.
Faustus usually denied most of Judas' childish demands but the goodnight wasn't one of them. In the High Priest's mind a son should have respected their father, be aware of their strength and authority but still loving.
“Of course.” He nodded.
Thorn carried the young boy over to his father and handed him over once the man had stood. It amazed the pair of them at how quickly Judas had grown in such a short time. Sometimes nature was more miraculous than the Supernatural. Zelda had said most witch babies started to speak at around six months but Blackwoods had always been overachievers and Faustus had been proud to know Judas had started at five. One couldn't hold a conversation with the child of course but Faustus knew his son was a smart one and would do him proud.
“Da-da!” Babbled the boy happily.
Judas was a little over a year and a half old, he toddled, he talked, he played with Caligari and Ostara at every chance he got, soon though he'd be a man just like Faustus; powerful and imposing.
“Goodnight, my boy. Be good for your mother.”
Thorn beamed. “I'm sure he will. I'm going to go to bed early as well, the triplets seem to be asleep so I intend to make the most of it and sleep while I can.”
Faustus truly couldn't fault her in the slightest. “A wise decision, my Dark Angel. I will be upstairs in a few hours, I have a couple of things to sort out.”
Thorn nodded as she stifled a yawn. “Of course, I'll see you in a while.”
She leant in for a kiss that Faustus easily supplied and then she took Judas back into her arms, he instantly snuggled in close to her.
“Come along, little one, Daddy is working.”
Thorn let Faustus press his hand to her rounded belly in a loving gesture for a moment before she left her husband in peace. The raven-haired beauty loved the tiny displays of love and affection he gave the five of them when they were alone, it made the moments all the more important and special.
She carried Judas up the stairs and along the ornately decorated halls to his bedroom where Judas went into his bed easily and gripped the soft cobalt blanket.
“Night, Judas. Sleep well.” She whispered softly.
“Mama!” The boy babbled sleepily.
“Yes, Judas. Goodnight.”
The raven-haired beauty bent down and pressed a gentle kiss to his little forehead as a hand brushed through Judas' jet black locks; just like his father's. When the child's eyes started to flutter shut Thorn backed out of the room, the door always stayed open just a crack so as Ostara and Caligari could get in easily. Thorn was pleased when she slipped into bed and of course Caligari was curled up on the comforter with his little head rested on his fluffy tail while Ostara lazed on the Ottoman. The fox let out a little bark and Thorn chuckled as she leant back against the soft pillows and headboard.
“For now, yes, but I think they're waking up again. Obviously they heard me say I was going to bed. At last Judas is asleep.” Ostara suddenly jumped down from the Ottoman and hopped off out the room. “Where is she going?”
Thorn enquired of her fox while her emeralds stared at the open door where the Hare had been not a moment earlier. The familiar barked again without lifting his head from the fuzz of his tail.
“Faustus wants her.” Thorn repeated. “Obviously, he's got a list of tasks for her then. It's just you and me then, come on.”
Caligari didn't need to be told twice, he bounded up the bed and settled beside Thorn's bump; he purred and Thorn couldn't help but tickle his ears as she answered the purr.
“He's not angry but he's still irritated I won't let Zelder decipher their gender.” She smiled to herself. “I thought of a name yesterday, Valentin, but Faustus didn't seem a fan despite its meaning.” Caligari chirped and Thorn flashed the creature an unimpressed deadpan. “What do you mean, you know why? It's a nice name. Valentin Blackwood, I thought it sounded rather regal.” The fox snorted. “Yeah, well, what would you know? You're a fox. Leave it to you and we'll end up with Sprinkles, Buttercup and Caligari Jr.” A bark. “We are not naming one of them Caligari Jr.”
Thorn settled further into the soft bed as the candlelight warmed her; her fingers continued to tickle and scratch at her familiar's head. The triplets were clearly awake but fortunately they'd not decided to attack there mother's spine so Thorn decide to bask in it while she could.
“Evangeline is a really nice name for a girl, and I like Anastazia as well.” Caligari chirped and Thorn shook her head. “Not since I mentioned Valentin as an option. Faustus is a busy man and we still have months until they're born. There's plenty of time for names yet.”
The black fox cuddled closer to her warmth as if silently asking for more tickles that Thorn quickly gave him. A few moments of quiet went by with nothing but the crackle of fire and then he chirped again; such a cute noise.
Thorn laughed softly. “Would you want to be saddled with the name Abrahamina? I do like the idea of naming one of them after my father, though as a middle name would be better, I think.” Caligari could practically see his mistress' mental gears moving. “Abraham Blackwood sounds good right? Ooh, or Aidan, that's cute.” The fox barked almost absent-mindedly before he started to wash his tail. Thorn nodded in agreement. “Good point, cute probably isn't what Faustus wants for our children's names. Screw it, let's just go classic witchy mortal and just call them Harry, Ron and Hermione- Satan that whole idea was an affront to all of us.”
Thorn paused then and went very, very still as if waiting for something that didn't happen. A hand went to rest on her belly and the young witch breathed a sigh of relief.
“Don't make any sudden moves but I'm pretty sure they've gone back to sleep.”
The lights went out in an instant, only the sign a fire had ever been lit was the faint scent of smooth and ash. Caligari let out a little disgruntled noise.
“Not another word, fluffy-tail, I'm taking what sleep I can get while I can.”
Meanwhile Faustus sat downstairs with Ostara in his lap dozing; the creature had come back from her little task much sooner than expected so had decided to take the opportunity for a nap. Faustus didn't much care since he had papers to grade and had found it a more laborious task than usual. Thorn had a habit of springing her students with tests on a semi-regular basis so he couldn't quite figure out how she managed to mark so quickly. Then again, his wife was a Mortimer so Faustus seriously doubted he should have been surprised by anything she did.
The dark-haired warlock huffed out a breath when his fountain pen spurted and covered half the desk, his whiskey glass and the edge of the essay he'd been going through in ink.
He sighed and took out his handkerchief to wipe it away. Fortunately the ink didn't look as though it had caused any staining to the desk, if it had Faustus knew his wife would kill him; literally.
Suddenly the Hare hummed and snapped the High Priest out of his grumblings.
“Don't you think I'd have gone to bed if I could, Ostara? I need to finish this and then I must attend to Church matters.” He discarded the stained handkerchief on the edge of the desk. “Besides, Thorn will sleep better if I do not disturb her.”
Ostara rolled onto her back and stretched almost obscenely as she let out a little cluck sound; Faustus' head snapped down.
“I do not fear her!” He exclaimed in irritation but Ostara didn't seem to believe a word that came out his mouth.
Faustus went back to work with a scowl, he wasn't afraid of his wife. However, all of that was soon forgotten and the High Priest found himself lost in his work fairly soon.
Gray Mortimer's graduation had been long awaited for the Mortimer family, he was the first Mortimer to graduate since Abraham had many decades earlier and the patriarch couldn't have been prouder. The tall man with jet black hair brushed non-existent lint from his bespoke suit as he left his seat on the stage with the other graduates and went to his father, sister and brother. The speeches had been made and families were steadily taking it in turns to rope Father Blackwood into conversation. Thorn though stood between her father and Gray while she held Alistair's young form in her arms while people flitted around them. Abraham nodded politely to those he didn't want to talk to... which was almost everyone.
“Daughter, do put your brother down.” Abraham said so only she and her brother's could hear. “He is four and perfectly capable of walking unaided.”
Thorn nodded. “Of course, Father.”
Lord Mortimer paused a moment after Alistair was on his feet with his hand in Thorn's then raked a hand lovingly through her raven locks.
“I know you care deeply for your brother, my darling girl, you have raised him well in your mother's stead, but we are Mortimers. We do not appear weak or do anything to even remotely suggest we are under any circumstances. Do you understand, daughter?” He asked with a gentle smile on his lips.
Abraham Mortimer was a tall, imposing man with grey hair and a neat trimmed beard and piercing green eyes. He wasn't a man to be messed with but he loved his three children dearly, they were his pride and joy and he became a different man when he was alone with them.
Having insisted on Alistair walking Lord Mortimer spun around on the spot only to find Faustus Blackwood and his wife rounding the Langs in an attempt to escape them; Abraham understood that well as he'd done it many times himself.
“Good evening, Faustus, Lady Blackwood.” Greeted the elder warlock pleasantly.
The Blackwoods came to a halt before the tall, suit clad man and Faustus planted his cane between his feet.
“Lord Mortimer, a pleasure as always.”
“It will be sad to see Gray go, he is such a talented student.”
Gray nodded his thanks. “I do my best, Father. However, the Academy's halls won't be void of Mortimers long, my sister, Thorn,” he gestured to the young raven-haired witch beside him “will have her Dark Baptism in a few short months.”
Faustus' blue eyes tilted down to Abraham's middle child and she smiled up at him sweetly; this girl was beautiful and she knew it.
“Good evening, Father.”
“It is a pleasure to see you again, Thorn. I hope you can live up to your brother's reputation.” He said in a deep voice while Constance just stood there and looked pretty.
The bearded man breathed out a quiet laugh. “I have learnt to never underestimate my daughter, Faustus. Thorn has quite the... fiery personality.”
Gray cleared his throat drawing everyone's attention. “Please excuse my siblings and I, we should greet some of the other families.”
The eldest son pulled his siblings away then through the crowd and hubbub to the graduation hall's entry way where they could talk in peace. As soon as they came to a halt and Abraham was out of sight Thorn lifted Alistair back into her arms and he wrapped his arms around her neck. Their mother had died birthing Alistair four years previous and despite only being fifteen Thorn had easily taken to mothering him, she had raised Alistair and doted on him.
“Is there a problem, brother?” Asked the middle child as she looked up at Gray's bold eyes.
His hair was always neatly combed and not a speck of dust on his beloved suits, he was every inch Abraham Mortimer's heir. In truth many expected him to take over from Faustus Blackwood as High Priest one day, Father Gray Mortimer sounded pretty good.
Gray shrugged. “No, no problem, you know, if you think you making twinkle eyes at Blackwood isn't a problem.”
Thorn's brow furrowed. “I was not.”
“Were.” Said Alistair from his place in his sister's arms and Gray laughed.
“There. If Alistair can see it then it's a bit bloody obvious, don't you think, sister?” He flashed her a teasing grin, they loved one another dearly but couldn't ever resist impishly tormenting one another. “You're fifteen so crushes are normal, but not him. Blackwood is our High Priest, Dean and married so down girl for Lucifer's sake.”
Thorn leant back against the wall as she shuffled Alistair in her arms and donned her best Daddy's Little Whore smile.
“Gray, I know it's not ideal and I'm never going to do anything but look at him.” The pair looked through the crowd to where Faustus and Lady Blackwood still spoke to Abraham. “All dark and imposing, and you just know he's stronger than he looks.” She bit her lip and Gray rolled his eyes. “The authority, mmm. Then there's that cane, wonder if he'll spank me.”
“And on that note my sister is a delinquent whore intent on debauchery.”
Thorn snorted in a rather unladylike way. “Darling brother, don't try to take the high ground when it comes to being debauched remember, we share a bedroom wall. How many girls do you traffic through there anyway? Then there's the man you go through when you think Father isn't looking. Gray, you do realise he doesn't care who you fuck, right?”
The eldest Mortimer nodded almost complacently. “Okay, I get your point and yes I know Father doesn't care but a lot of the guys I bed think he will.” He cleared his throat. “Now, do you think you can avoid making fuck me eyes at Father Blackwood for a while? At least for the rest of the evening would be wonderful.”
Thorn bounced little Alistair into her left arm – frankly at four years old he was a bit big for her to hold like that for long – and saluted her elder brother playfully.
“Yes, Sir, Master Mortimer, Sir.”
Gray chuckled; he sounded just like their father when he did that. “Sarcastic much, sister?”
Abraham appeared from the gathering then and strode across the room to his children; Thorn made no attempt to put Alistair down.
“There you are, children. My business has been concluded for the evening so if there is no one you wish to speak with, Gray, I believe we can leave.”
Gray shook his head. “No one, Father.”
Abraham nodded curtly. “Excellent. Gray, take your brother to the main hall.”
The Mortimer heir carefully took Alistair from Thorn and supported him on his hip before he left the graduation hall without compliant. Alistair didn't like being away from Thorn, she was his mother more than his sister but he didn't grumble.
Thorn made to follow her brothers but a large hand on her shoulder stopped the girl in her tracks. She looked up at him with bold green eyes.
“My darling girl, you are the representative of our family at the Academy of Unseen Arts now, you have much to live up to.”
Thorn nodded. “I understand. I won't let you down.”
Abraham smiled. “I know you won't, Thorn, because you're my strong child. The brave one. Not only are you the middle child but you are a girl and many will not let you forget that, they will ride you harder because of it. Faustus Blackwood will be one of those people. Most parents would be concerned about that but not me, do you know why?”
Thorn shook her head. “No, Father. Why?”
“Because one day you will marry and lose the name Mortimer, so you have to make sure no one will ever forget who you are or where you came from. Being a girl has made you a fighter, made you stronger than people like Faustus Blackwood will expect. I am proud of you, Thorn.”
Thorn beamed up at Lord Mortimer. She and her brothers might have lost their mother but Abraham did his best to support his children.
“Thank you, Father. I love you.”
The bearded man rested his large hand on the small of his daughter's back and guided her out of the hall.
“And I you, daughter.” He chuckled then and Thorn raised an eyebrow. “Also, your brother's are correct, it is clear you desire Faustus Blackwood.”
“You heard that?!”
Thorn paled while Abraham continued to laugh.
“I hear everything, Thorn. You start fires, I hear all. Come now though, your brother's are waiting.”
The raven-haired witch didn't awake forcefully or suddenly by any means, it was a gentle opening of tear filled eyes. Carefully the pregnant woman propped herself up in bed and rested her hands on her belly. Thorn didn't know when Faustus had gotten into bed besides her but he lay there asleep oblivious to his wife's quiet tears. She did her best not to disturb him as she got out of bed.
Seven months after Gray's graduation her family had been murdered and Thorn had lost everyone she'd ever loved.
Thorn gave stopping crying the old college try as she left the bedroom but no, they'd not stop until she had no more to give. She made the small journey next door and into her brother's room which she kept in perfect order as though he'd only just left the room. Thorn rarely went into her brother's room but when she did it was with tears.
Careful so as not to wake the triplets Thorn lay down on Gray's bed; he'd been gone for years but the pillows still smelt of him. Thorn clung to the sheets fully aware that she had no choice but to cry it out.
Zelda found herself called into Faustus' office as he prepared to return home to Mortimer Manor for the night; the fires had almost died out and only a few small lamps lit the room. He hardly looked up from gathering up his things as Zelda stepped inside.
“You wanted to see me, Faustus.”
The High Priest moved a few books into a stack and returned them to the nearest of the dark bookshelves. His sleeves had been rolled up exposing his forearms and their tanned skin; Zelda couldn't help but admire the toned limbs.
“I did, yes.” He told her as he returned to his desk and sat down. “I am not sure if you are aware but my wife's birthday is approaching and I would like for you to plan her birthday celebration for next week.”
Zelda raised an eyebrow. Had he really just asked that of her?
“Me, your Excellency?”
Faustus nodded as though it were simple. “It is high time that this coven got back to its usual practices and celebrations, Zelda. You were well-known for your party planning skills when Edward was High Priest and I would like for you to plan one for Thorn.”
Zelda Spellman hadn't ever expected such a request and especially not from the High Priest. Faustus hadn't ever planned anything for the former Lady Blackwood. However, he'd asked in a 'I'm not taking no as an answer' tone and frankly Zelda would have liked a chance to remind him how useful and prominent she was within the coven.
“I'd be honoured. Should it be held at Mortimer Manor?”
Faustus nodded, a curt movement. “Yes. In the ballroom.”
Ballroom? This girl's got it all, hasn't she. “The ballroom, of course. Is it to be a surprise celebration?” Zelda tried to ask as though she wasn't internally grumbling.
“No. My love detests surprises of that ilk. I believe it is because she has no chance to contemplate an outfit.” Informed Faustus almost absent-mindedly.
The scraps of fabric that whore wears are not outfits, growled Zelda's mind.
“In that case, I will ask Lady Blackwood's opinions and requirements tomorrow.”
The witch flashed Faustus a smile but all she got was another curt nod and a flat tone.
“Good. Our church hasn't had a gathering of joy since the last Feast of Feasts and this will be good for the coven.”
She sensed she'd been silently dismissed then so bid the High Priest a good evening and left his office with her irritation locked away deep down. Not only had Faustus married a spoilt and self-absorbed child but actually seemed to love the little whore. She could remember Abraham and Alarya Mortimer, the elite founding family; for the love of Lucifer did it grate on Zelda.
When she made it home Zelda marched straight into the kitchen and pulled out the huge array of cook books she and her sister had stashed in the house. Zelda flicked through them with frustration for several minutes before Hilda placed a hand on her shoulder and pulled her elder sister out of her thoughts.
“You alright, Zelds?” She asked cheerily. “Planning on doing some baking? That'll be a treat.”
Zelda grumbled. “It's not for you, Hilda. Father Blackwood has entrusted me with the preparations for Thorn Blackwood's birthday celebrations.”
Hilda had pause at that and her smile faded away as her brow furrowed only to burst forth anew seconds later; Hilda put her mask back on.
“A birthday celebration? The last Lady Blackwood didn't get that and if anyone would have a party for the Church wouldn't it be Father Blackwood himself?”
Zelda huffed. “I have no idea any longer, Hilda. All I know is he says it'll be good for the Church of Night to get back to normal and I have to plan it.”
“Why don't you let me help, I know I'm excommunicated but I make a great cake.”
That was Hilda, all reassuring and supportive.
“Thank you, Hilda. I have no idea what to choose for canapés.” Zelda huffed as she let her sister take the book.
Sabrina marched into the kitchen then intent on getting herself a sandwich to calm her grumbling stomach that her two aunts could hear gurgling.
“What are you doing?” She asked softly when she pulled the fridge open.
“Your Aunt Zelds is planning Lady Blackwood's birthday party.”
Sabrina snorted; the audacity of that man was ridiculous. “Seriously?”
Hilda nodded while Zelda flicked through the books looking for options; she didn't want anything to do with any of this but Faustus was the High Priest and Zelda would make damn sure she impressed.
“I am yes, now, help me pick out a suitable selection of canapés.” She said to her niece without looking up.
Sabrina didn't appear impressed, mainly because she wasn't. “You could have said 'no', Aunt Zee.”
Zelda signed and finally looked up to face Sabrina. “No one says 'no' to Faustus Blackwood, even before he became High Priest that was true.”
“I did.” The blonde informed with a satisfied expression.
Zelda sighed. “Yes, you did, and look how much trouble you caused because of it. You're name is in the Book of the Beast now anyway. Why couldn't you have just signed and let us skip over all that chaos?” Sabrina opened her mouth to complain and protest but Zelda didn't give her the chance. “Never mind.” She looked over to Hilda then as she paused in her search. “Smoked Salmon or is that too mortal?”
Hilda shook her head. “Oh, I don't think so. Maybe ask Lady Blackwood, it is her party after all.”
Zelda didn't seem too keen on the idea, just snapped the book she held closed and wandered off to who knew where. Hilda glanced over at Sabrina as she started to put the books away.
“It's alright, Sabrina, Zelds is just a little stressed.”
Yeah, and don't we all know why, muttered Sabrina's mind. It was no secret that she didn't like Father Blackwood but she disliked the way he treated her Aunt Zelda even more. She was more than a lackey or some sort of factotum.
When Faustus had told Thorn he was throwing her a party she'd raised an unimpressed eyebrow, but her husband had been rather insisted. 'For the coven's moral' had been his main selling point and finally she'd agreed. That was how Thorn had found herself going through her cast closet in search of a dress. The one she'd wanted to wear she'd grown out of.
“I'm fat.” She grumbled as Faustus buttoned his waistcoat.
He didn't look up. “You are with child, my Dark Angel, three of them. You are not fat.”
“Yeah? Tell that to my closet.”
She pushed a dress aside but Faustus stopped her – she'd not even heard him move – and took the dress out into the candlelight.
“I've got no hope of fitting into that at the moment and no one wants to see a dress that short on a woman as pregnant as I am.” She chuckled softly.
“You wore this to your Dark Baptism. In this dress you signed your name.” His voice was deep but gentle and Thorn found herself leaning back into his strong chest.
“I'm surprised you remember what I wore.” She closed her eyes and breathed him in as her head fell back to his shoulder.
He breathed out a laugh. “I wanted to take you over our Lord's book, of course I remember.”
That had her laughing as hard as her pregnancy would allow.
“Naughty boy.” Her teasing tone made Faustus shift his eyes from the stunning black dress to his wife. “Do I have to wear it for you when I'm thin and pretty again?”
“You may not be thin but you are always far more than 'pretty', my love.”
The corner of Thorn's mouth pulled up as though she'd won a game.
“Ha! So you admit I'm fat.”
Damn it all to hell! She'd trapped him into that one and now Thorn had him in a box. Her mood swings would have a goddamn field day with that one.
“I shall check on Judas.” He put the dress back in its place. “Dress quickly, you have guests waiting and have had quite some time to select an outfit already.”
Faustus kissed his young wife then left the bedroom while Thorn smirked to herself knowing she'd backed him into a corner. Also, of course she'd chosen an outfit already. She had longed to fit into her mother's ballgown, she'd loved that dress since long before Alarya had gifted it to her shortly before she'd died. Still, there would be time to wear it in the future.
Thorn slipped past a few more dresses and then glanced at the garment bag that contained her wedding dress. So many beautiful outfits she could have worn for Faustus but the triplets had made sure she didn't fit in any of them. With a sigh Thorn took out her dress for the evening.
“I'm ready for you three to be born now.” She told her children. “You've destroyed my body enough, time for you to enter the world and wake your Daddy up every ten minutes instead of just me.”
At least the raven-haired witch's thirteen months were almost over; that was one boon.
Meanwhile Faustus had entered Judas' room where the boy lay playing with his toy spider happily. Faustus raised an eyebrow as he rested his cane against the dresser.
“Your mother does like to indulge you, doesn't she, son.” Judas dropped his toy then and stretched to reach it. “And why must she insist on dressing you like me?” He sighed and picked up his heir who refused to release the spider. “I expect for you to behave while your mother and I are downstairs.” He pressed a light kiss to Judas' head. “Ostara, Caligari, do not take your eyes off of my son.”
The black Hare crawled out from under Judas' blanket then as Caligari padded in through the open bedroom door. Faustus knew they'd protect his child just as they always had.
Faustus' heart swelled with pride though his face didn't show it.
“Yes, my boy?”
Blackwood nodded as Judas cuddled into his father's chest.
“She's dressing, Judas, she'll be in shortly.”
“I'll be in now.”
Faustus spun around with his child to see his darling wife dressed in a long black gown accented with red. Her hair the ever beautiful cloak of obsidian that only worked to make her polished emeralds pop; her lips the color of onyx.
“That is the fastest I've ever known you to get ready.” He teased.
“My son called, of course I hurried.”
Father Blackwood smirked one of those micro-smiles of his and let his wife take little Judas into her arms. He delighted in hearing her refer to his heir as her son, yes, she'd not bore him but Constance wouldn't ever meet him and Thorn would be the one to raise him. Judas was her son.
The child instantly snuggled against Thorn and thrust his spider up for her to see, it's thick orange and black legs spilt all over the place.
“You do love this thing, don't you.” She smiled lovingly.
“You're influencing his familial choice, Dark Angel.” Faustus said in a disproving tone but Thorn didn't seem to care.
“Oh hush. I had a cat as a child and Gray had a toy dog, it didn't influence us in the slightest.”
Faustus grumbled to himself but said nothing more on the subject. Instead he straightened his cuffs and retrieved his cane.
“Our guests await, my love.”
Thorn nodded and set the child down; Caligari and Ostara instantly went to settle by his side.
“Goodnight, Judas.” She said softly.
Blackwood rested his cane-less hand on the small of his wife's back and guided her out the room and down to the grand ballroom; a luxurious long room with carved wainscoted walls and marble floors. Thorn paused just outside the large double doors.
“This room hasn't seen a party since my mother died. It was like my father didn't see the point any longer.”
“Understandable. However, there is an event now and it has reason; your birthday and the moral of our coven.”
She nodded. “Of course, darling. No rest for the wicket.”
He pressed a small kiss to her temple. “As if our Dark Lord would expect anything different.”
The pair drifted around the large room where they greeted guests and pretended they cared about anything the coven members said. Music plaid lightly from the piano in the far left corner of the room and Thorn couldn't help but remember the last party to be held there.
“Faustus, Lady Blackwood.” Zelda smiled a little too wide when the couple met them and Thorn forced her memories down for later.
“Sister Spellman.” The High Priest responded easily. “I applaud you for your work this evening.”
Zelda brushed the praise off while Sabrina watched from a distance with a thoroughly unimpressed expression.
“It's nothing, not everyday the Church of Night has a party.”
“I love your dress.” Said Ambrose as he appeared beside his aunt; no doubt Luke hadn't arrived yet so he was looking for something to occupy his time.
“Thank you, Ambrose.” Thorn flashed him a small smile. “Not to sound materialistic, but I do adore a good dress.”
“I can't fault that.”
Randall Hightower and Richard Lang appeared then though Thorn paid them little attention. Faustus turned to address them.
“Excuse us, Your Excellency,” began Hightower “but would you permit us some of your time? We would like to discuss something with you.”
“Of course.” Faustus pressed a kiss to his wife's lips. “I'll return shortly, my love.”
Thorn nodded in understanding and then she, Ambrose and Zelda watched as the three men walked away to the ballroom's peristyle. Once they were out of sight Ambrose pulled Thorn's attention back.
“Can I get you a drink, Lady Blackwood? The punch is delightful.”
“Yes, thank you.”
Thorn looped her arm with Ambrose's and let him lead her off towards the punch bowl rather than hanging around with Zelda who smiled but clearly hated her.
“I would have brought the drink to you, Lady Blackwood.” Smiled the dark-skinned warlock only for Thorn to flash him another smile.
“I'd rather talk to you than your Aunt Zelda, Ambrose.”
He chuckled. “A lot of people think like that. She can be rather trying at times. Aunty Zelda did put in a lot of work for tonight though.”
He released Thorn then so he could ladle some punch into a crystal glass for her, once it was full he handed her the glass; she took a sip.
“How are you taking to your freedom, Ambrose?”
Ambrose beamed. “Very nicely, thank you, Lady Blackwood. It was like riding a bike. Sometimes I like to just walk through the woods.”
“I can't blame you, it's delightful. Also, you may call me Thorn, all this 'Lady Blackwood' stuff is more for Faustus' benefit than mine.”
“Of course, if that is what you would prefer.”
Thorn actually liked Ambrose Spellman, in her opinion he was the only non-irritating one and always found a way of lightening the mood.
“How are things going between you and Luke?” Ambrose flashed her a face of confusion. “Oh, don't look so stricken, of course I know about the two of you. Everyone does. Luke and I have known each other a very long time, he and my brother were once quite close.”
“They-” He trailed off as Thorn nodded.
“Yes, but like I say it was some time ago. I see the little smiles you two share with one another in the Academy's halls.”
The elder man grinned to himself, his eyes shone with thoughts of Luke. “Well, were not exactly an... item and I don't really think we ever will but we have fun.”
Thorn chuckled and took another sip of her punch. “Isn't that what is important? Knowing you're happy with the other person. Why should we all have to fit into a box?”
“You make a very good point, Lad-Thorn.”
“I'm full of random bits of wisdom. I think I get it from my father.” She chuckled. “Anyway, your Aunt Zelda, does she show any sign of ending her anger towards me or am I in for this for the long haul?”
Ambrose paled ever so slightly. “Em, well-”
“You can answer me honestly, Ambrose.” She assured. “I'll not take your head off, I'm pregnant not homicidal.”
That put the warlock at ease and he smiled as he calmed down.
“It's not that Father Blackwood married or even that he didn't chose her – she's never really expected that – it's just that the wife he chose is-”
She cut him off. “Me. Let me guess, I'm much too young and unworthy despite being a Mortimer.” She said sarcastically.
“No one questions your worthiness to be Father Blackwood's wife. Although, yes, she believes you to be too young.”
“Zelda is a very strange witch.” Thorn spotted a tray of canapés as they went past. “And I assume it was actually Hilda rather than Zelda who made most of the food for tonight.”
It wasn't really a question but still Ambrose answered.
“Yes, mostly.” He paused but a moment. “Aunty Hilda also made you a cake.”
“Oh Satan, do I have a cake as well?”
Ambrose's brow furrowed. “You... em, didn't know?
The raven-haired beauty shook her head. “No, but it's not exactly a surprise. Ouch!” She suddenly hissed and her hand not holding the punch glass shot to her belly; Ambrose's eyes went wide with concern.
“Are you alright?”
“I'm fine, thank you. Just one of the triplets seems rather keen on cake.” She chuckled.
The Spellman seemed cautious but he soon got his bravery gathered.
“May I?” He gestured to her stomach.
Thorn paused but a second as she thought about it and then finally gave her acquiescence. She took Ambrose by the wrist and slowly pressed his hand to the spot where the baby kicked; his face softened.
“That's amazing. I didn't know the kicking would be so strong.”
Thorn shrugged. “This is preferable to them all assaulting my spine.”
Ambrose seemed horrified by the idea. “I can't even imagine.”
Thorn breathed out a laugh. “Be thankful. Fortunately it's almost been thirteen months and I don't intend to have anymore. Four young Blackwoods is more than enough, I think.”
As he spoke the words 'I agree' his dark brown orbs that looked like burnt honey spotted Luke enter the ballroom looking immaculate. Thorn noticed it all as the kicking died down.
“Off you go then, I know you'd rather be with him than me.”
“Thank you, Thorn. Enjoy your party.”
The Spellman headed off then and Thorn watched him leave with a soft smile. Ambrose looked at Luke the way Gray once had. Still, she couldn't just stand there all night watching two men flirt so she took another sip of punch and smoothed a hand over her belly.
“Less kicking would be appreciated, my little Billy Goats.”
After a breath Thorn made her way through the crowd offering greetings to people she had no real want to speak to until she reached the large, open French doors that went to the peristyle where she found Faustus, Richard and Randall chatting by a column.
“... especially with-”
Faustus cut himself off when he saw Thorn.
“Forgive me if I'm interrupting.”
The High Priest shook his head and then snaked an arm around her waist to keep her close.
“Not at all, my Dark Angel. Lang and Hightower were just about done here.”
“Evening, gentlemen.” Said Thorn sweetly.
Taking the hint the two men took their leave. Thorn let her husband guide her back into the ballroom where the evening was in full swing around them.
“You have perfect timing, my love.”
She smiled and pressed a kiss to his cheek.
“I had a feeling you might have needed rescuing. Richard Lang does seem to have such a high opinion of himself after all.”
“Hmm, like son, like father it appears.” Thorn sipped at her punch again. “How is the punch?”
“A little too sweet but not that bad.”
To be honest she'd become hyper aware of sweet things and so didn't know if the punch was too sweet or if it was just her and her hormones making it seem that way.
“Good, now I have a surprise for you, my Dark Angel.”
Thorn raised an eyebrow. “You know I don't like surprises, Faustus.”
“Oh, you shall like this one. Trust me,”
She let him lead her through to the vestibule of Mortimer Manor where she spotted a familiar blonde hanging up his coat. Thorn grinned.
“I did tell you that you'd enjoy this surprise.” Blackwood smirked to himself.
“Hello, sweet niece.”
The English man hugged Thorn but hissed and took away his right hand, it was then they saw it was bandaged up.
“What happened, Uncle?” Thorn asked with concern.
“It's nothing, just an overzealous witch who learnt not to question me.” Kylian flashed a smile. “Honestly, it is nothing to worry about.”
Faustus pressed a kiss to his wife's temple. “I shall leave you with your Uncle, Thorn. I must return to our guests.”
The young witch nodded. “Of course. Just call if you need rescuing again.”
He didn't respond, just made his way back into the ballroom, the sound of his cane the only indication that he'd ever been there to begin with.
Lady Blackwood took her Uncle Kylian's uninjured hand in hers and leant into his side. He looked powerful in his Victorian-esque suit; the deep darkness of his shirt brought out the color in his eyes.
“Thank you for coming, Uncle.”
“It is your birthday celebration and I have missed so many. I am making up for lost time.” He squeezed her hand in his.
“Well, you're doing a wonderful job so far, and it's only my birthday celebration in name. This is more a chance for Faustus to assess the coven without them realising.”
“A husband should be with his wife. An unhappy wife leads to problems.”
“I don't mind.” She said truthfully. “I didn't really want a party and there is a job to be done.”
She shrugged as they walked through to the ballroom. Eyes locked on them but no one made any attempt to make their way over and introduce themselves for which Thorn was thankful. Kylian's eyes wandered around the large room.
“The last time I saw this place lit up it was to celebrate Gray's Dark Baptism.”
“That was some years ago/” Her brow furrowed as a memory filled her mind. “And you disappeared for half of the evening if I remember correctly.”
“Surly it couldn't have been that long.” He shrugged it off and Thorn moved on from the subject.
A small smile crawled onto his lips. “Don't mind if I do.”
The Uncle and niece part walked over to the punch bowl – Thon's heels clicked as they went – and Kylian helped himself to a crystal glass of pink-red punch. When the blonde took a sip he didn't seem to like it.
Thorn smiled softly. “That is exactly what I said.”
Prudence and the Weird Sisters appeared then to refill their own glasses and Thorn internally grumbled, she wanted to just spend time with her Uncle Kylian.
“Lady Blackwood.” Prudence greeted but she couldn't hide the bite in her voice.
“Prudence.” She returned in kind as she attempted to ignore the fact this girl hardly younger than her was her step-daughter. “I see Sabrina hasn't tracked you down, I would have thought she'd find you and latch on.”
“She's with Nicky.” Prudence's beautiful dark eyes raked over Kylian; so did those of her sister. “Who is this?”
“My Uncle.” Kylian bowed like a perfect gentleman. “Lord Kylian Gethic, this is my Prudence Night and her sisters, Agatha and Dorcas.”
“A pleasure, ladies.”
“Lord Gethic.” Prudence responded politely with a slightly hungry smile.
“As nice as the attention of three young witches such as yourselves is, I'm afraid you'll have to excuse us. I've not seen my niece in some time and this is her birthday celebration.”
He kept his smile level and gentlemanly but Thorn knew her Uncle Kylian, he wasn't interested in these children. Had it not supposed to be a secret Thorn would have used the term step-daughter and really irritated Prudence.
“Of course,” said Prudence only a little annoyed “family is important after all.” And there was totally no hiss in that snide comment.
Kylian and Thorn stepped away and closer to the large fireplace near the piano. They could both easily see Faustus as he headed back out on to the peristyle, though this time he was followed by Damien Hale and Ezma Leatherwood; probably gathering as much information as possible while calming their concerns and complaints.
Kylian talked to Thorn a short while about random things including the babies and Alarya Mortimer. People kept coming to say hello and wish her a happy birthday every now and again but for most of the night it was just her and her Uncle. For a very long time the blonde had been the only blood she had left, true, there were probably some left in France but they'd been separated for centuries so could hardly be considered family any longer. Just her and Kylian, the last members of Mortimer and Gethic, now though she was carrying Faustus' children and there would soon be three new members of their bloodlines. She'd often wondered why Kylian hadn't ever married – he was handsome and smart after all – but he'd just never seemed to come across a woman who captured his attention. Still, maybe one would some day.
When the evening came to an end and the guests left Faustus went upstairs to check on Judas who was fast asleep and had been for some time. Caligari and Ostara had snuggled up on either side of the boy and Thorn – who'd gone up ahead of him – had a smile on her face. He watched his wife as she bent to press a kiss to their son's little forehead and then head to their bedroom. As the High Priest pulled his son's bedroom door to he heard water running, seemed Thorn was getting her much longed for relaxing bath.
As soon as Thorn was in the warm water she settled back and rested a hand on her belly as the candles warmed the room. Everything was peaceful, the only noise being that of Faustus changing in the next room. For a few minutes she spoke to the triplets who had decided to go to sleep for the night and then Faustus slipped into the room. She glanced up to find her husband shirtless; very handsome but he looked tired.
“Did you learn whatever it was you wanted to learn tonight?” She asked softly.
“Somewhat, my Dark Angel. How was your Uncle?” He enquired more of Thorn's benefit than his own.
“He's in the guest room.” She shifted slightly, the sound of water sloshed. “Says he'll return to England tomorrow.”
“He does like teleportation, doesn't he.”
It wasn't a question but still his wife responded.
“We all have our specialities, darling.”
Faustus hummed in agreement and then Thorn leant towards the edge of the claw-footed tub to better see her husband. The warm water trickled around her porcelain body and Faustus couldn't help but think her beautiful as her wet skin sparkled in the candlelight. He leant against the door frame.
“Join me?” She asked with an enticing smile and a shine in her polished emeralds.
He loved it when she asked him that. Faustus didn't need any encouragement, he just kicked off his pants and slipped into the bath behind his wife so she rested against his chest. The High Priest's arms instantly wrapped around her and a hand went to rest on her belly over her own. She smelt of coconuts... how did she always smell so perfect?
“I'm glad all that is over.” She told him as she relaxed further into his chest. “I've been wanting to sit down for almost three hours now. I may just stay in bed all day tomorrow.”
“Lazy, don't you think?” He teased in that delightfully deep voice of his, thick with perfect English accent.
“I'm pregnant, cut me a break.” Thorn told him simply.
That had him smirking devilishly then he pressed a kiss to her shoulder.
There wasn't a sentence there, just the words of affection that made Thorn love him all the more. The pair sat together happily, the coven and the rest of the world got to see the stern High Priest but Thorn was his wife, she got the softer side and loving side that many would have refused to believe existed. She adored him. Faustus brought his other hand up to rest on her baby bump and they let the world melt away into nothingness.
Thorn's due date grew closer and Faustus seemed more afraid than Thorn herself at the impending birth of the triplets. He'd made all the preparations he could and then almost as if to spite him Thorn had gone into labour almost a week early. That was how Faustus had found himself sat in the study with Ostara on his knee, both of them listened to Lady Blackwood's hisses and cries of pain in the bedroom directly above his – formally Abraham's – study.
His fingers drummed rapidly against his cane as he clung to it for dear life while Ostara sat staring at the door. Faustus hated being afraid, losing Constance hadn't even occurred to him but then she'd died and now he couldn't get the thought of losing Thorn out of his head. She was a powerful and string witch, she'd be perfectly fine. He repeated that all in his head almost like a mantra but that didn't end his fear.
When all fell silent Ostara looked up at him, eyes full of concern and Faustus gripped his cane so tight the wood creaked. Quiet didn't mean anything, right? Thorn would have, of course, been drained after birthing triplets. All was well. All had to be.
The fire continued its warm dance for some time as Faustus sat there staring off into space and waiting for Zelda or Caligari to emerge and tell him what he already knew; his wife and children were fine. The High Priest had no idea how long he sat there – could have been days from his point of view – but eventually a knock came on the study door and Faustus scrambled to look as though he'd been doing something beyond panicking as the door swung open. In stepped Sabrina Spellman who'd reluctantly served as her Aunt's assistant for the birth.
“Yes, Sabrina?” He forced all his concern down until only his usual steady and deep voice remained; nonchalant.
“Lady Blackwood has given birth to triplets, all healthy, and resting. My Aunt Zelda says that you can see her if you'd like.” She spoke as though she'd expected him not to care.
He nodded. “Thank you, Sabrina. I shall be up in a moment.”
The blonde backed out of the room quickly after that, she'd not wanted to talk to him any longer than she had to. As soon as she was gone and the door had closed Faustus fell back against his chair and released a breath he'd not been aware he'd been holding. Once the breath was out the High Priest's head fell forwards to rest on the desk.
“Yes, thank you, Ostara, but now their safety has been confirmed.” His voice was a little muffled by his proximity to the desk.
Blackwood took a calming breath as he straightened himself up.
“Shall we go and meet my children?”
Meanwhile Thorn lay in bed all sweaty and drained, but all her attention was on the three beautiful babies that rested in the oversized crib beside the bed. Zelda tidied up her things, putting them back into a leather doctor's bag but Thorn's green eyes didn't leave her children for a moment.
“You can call me if you need anything but I doubt you will. You're labour went surprisingly well, I've never met anyone who birthed triplets let alone so easily. Apart from the candles.”
Thorn didn't look up. “All the women in the Mortimer bloodline have easy births. Every single one.”
Zelda's brow furrowed. “Forgive me, but your mother didn't.”
“She was not the Mortimer bloodline, she was Gethic.” She finally cast the elder witch a glance then. “Thank you, Zelda. I'm sure we'll be alright.”
The redhead nodded then went back to packing away her things.
The children did little more than exist in that moment but they did it so wonderfully. Three healthy Blackwoods, all with dark hair already apparent. A knock sounded then and Faustus entered sans cane.
“Zelda,” he began “I thank you for your skilled work in aiding my wife.”
“Of course, Faustus. You and Lady Blackwood are thrice blessed.”
“Indeed. Your niece is waiting for you down in the vestibule.”
Zelda nodded clearly aware she was being dismissed. She picked up her bag and took a few steps towards the bedroom door only to pause just before she reached for the handle and look back.
“Like I said, if you need anything.”
“Thank you, Zelda.” Thorn repeated and Zelda finally took her leave.
Once alone Faustus came closer to the triplets only for Caligari to move his head and reveal he'd been in the crib the whole time; the familiar clearly had taken up guard, something which Ostara did as well once she'd managed to hop up onto the night stand.
“How is Judas?” Thorn asked concerned for her other child.
“Our eldest sleeps, my Dark Angel. I cast a silencing spell over his door, he didn't hear a thing.”
Thorn nodded to herself pleased with the answer. “Good. I didn't want to scare him.”
There was a pause then where Faustus just gazed at their new children. Thorn watched him with a soft smile.
“Beautiful, aren't they.” It wasn't really a question. “You have two more sons and a daughter. And yes, the girl is the youngest.” She said as if sensing his next question. She carried on watching him watch them for a second or two before she began to speak again. “Are you alright, Faustus?”
That seemed to snap the High Priest out of his thoughts than and bent to kiss his wife as he brushed stray strands of raven-hair behind her ear.
“Yes, my Dark Angel, of course I am. Thank you for blessing us.”
Thorn smiled tiredly. “It was the Dark Lord's will, darling.” Another pause. “We never did talk about names, did we.”
“After you suggested Valentin, no. You have been thinking about them non stop though no doubt.”
Thorn chuckled because he was exactly right. “I might have thought of a few. I was thinking Duvall Abraham for the eldest, I've always liked that name and my father should be honored. I'm really not sure about the others though.” She took a breath. “Strange isn't it, I was the only one who wanted a girl and yet I never settled on a name for her.”
“Artura.” Said Faustus assuredly. “Her name is Artura Blackwood. She'll need a powerful name.”
Thorn smiled. “It's a lovely name.”
Faustus just carried on speaking. “The middle triplet will be Lucian, we owe our Lord our children. It is only fitting we honour him by naming one of our newborns for him.”
Thorn smiled but it wasn't a smile Faustus had ever seen from his wife before, it was almost as though she knew something he didn't but it wasn't something he was exactly concerned about in that moment.
“An excellent idea.” She leant closer to the crib. “Duvall, Lucian and Artura, my little ones. We make beautiful children, Faustus, don't you think?”
The High Priest sat down beside his wife on the bed. “Indeed we do. They'll do our families proud when they grow up.” He flashed a look at Thorn. “You're exhausted, my love, you should sleep.”
The young witch nodded in agreement. “Sleep sounds good but I don't want to take my eyes off them.”
Caligari barked and though Faustus couldn't understand another witch's familiar but he could guess what the fox had said.
“They shall be here when you wake, rest now.”
A little reluctantly Thorn settled down in the pillows.
“Would you please get me some water?”
“Certainly.” Faustus pressed a kiss to the top of her head then turned to the hare. “Ostara, I don't want you to leave their side.”
The familiar didn't make a sound but her agreement was evident from the way she straightened up. As Faustus made to leave the room he noticed all the wall sconces, it seemed as though the candles had been burnt down rapidly as there was little life left in the things. Wax had dripped down and hardened on the floor and walls while thick smoky scorch marks elongated up above the flame; Faustus didn't know what to make of it but his wife was thirsty and didn't seem concerned about the sconces so he ignored it.
His mind was full as he went to check on Judas who continued to sleep happily; Faustus decided not to remove the spell. He just stood there in the doorway for some time lost in his own mind. His wife was alive and they had three new children all with ten fingers and ten toes. The Dark Lord truly had blessed them. They would, of course, need to be presented just as Judas had but Thorn could sleep first; best not to take them and have her awake without them their, especially when his wife had been known to set people on fire.
Thorn stood beside the oversized crib gazing down at the triplets with a soft smile as they slept; she and Faustus did make some beautiful children. The door squeaked a little when the High Priest entered their bedroom and Ostara hopped along behind him. The sky had darkened some hours ago and the only sound from outside was the occasional owl hoot which only made her thing of Ásvaldr; although the sky did appear to be thinking about raining. As soon as Faustus made it into the room he set the cup of whatever it was down on the night stand and placed his hands on her shoulders so he could guide her back into bed while the black Hare jumped up beside the cup to watch over the triplets.
“Thorn, my love, you should be in bed resting.” Reluctantly Thorn obeyed him and got back into bed. “You know what Zelda said.”
Her polished emeralds never left the babes. “I just can't stop looking at them. Artura has your mouth, you know.”
Faustus sat down on the bed and wrapped an arm around his wife so she could rest against him; he kissed the top of her head lovingly.
“I hadn't noticed.” He reached for the china cup with his free hand and offered it to his wife. “You do need to rest though, birthing triplets is no small thing.”
Thorn snorted. “You don't know the half of it, darling. However, I was actually fine. The women of Mortimer blood never have an issue giving birth.” He thought that a strange comment so much so that his brow furrowed, but before he could ask her about it she was speaking again. “What is this?”
“Zelda said it would help you heal.”
“Is it magic?” She enquired as she took a small sip.
“Better, it's sugar.”
Sure enough she found a smile creep onto her face at the sweet taste, she'd always preferred savoury to sweet but this drink – whatever it was, she didn't care to learn its name – wouldn't last long. Thorn took another sip.
Faustus glanced over at his new children. It still amazed him even after almost thirteen months of the idea soaking in, that he and Constance had tried so hard for Judas and yet there the triplets lay, alive and happy without a single planned act to create them. Constance would think it cruel. His brow furrowed when he saw his youngest child.
“Why is Artura not dressed?”
Both boys lay in the crib dressed in black while Artura still wore her plain gown.
Thorn raised an eyebrow as she lowered the cup from her lips. “I didn't think you'd want to present her with Duvall and Lucian since she's a girl.”
That was still the plan right? The boys went with Faustus while Artura stayed with her mother.
“Artura is a Blackwood, she'll go with her brothers.”
Thorn flashed him a tiny smile half hidden behind her hand-painted cup. “Good. I shall find her something cute.” Father Blackwood didn't look overly impressed but knew full well his young wife was teasing him, still she amended herself. “Something cute and imposing.”
He pressed a kiss to her cheek then released her and rose to his feet.
“I assume you'll want Caligari to come with us.” Thorn nodded, it wasn't something that really needed a verbal answer. “I suppose a familiar in the Academy for a short time will not be too much for a break in the rules. Also, it is a special occasion.”
Thorn smirked. “Fortunately the Dean is rather taken with me and lets me get away with just about anything.”
“I am not a fan of other men trying to entice my wife.” He teased back.
“You'd better keep me sweet then.” She flashed him a smile. “And you love it.”
“Good luck making me admit it. Now, dress our daughter, there are people waiting to meet her and her brothers.”
The raven-haired beauty's head tilted to the side a little. “Can I please come with you?”
Faustus shook his head. “No. This is a Warlock only event. Besides, you need to rest.”
Thorn pouted knowing he'd never change his mind. “Artura gets to go.”
“That's neither here nor there.”
She really wasn't going to get her way and as much as it irritated Thorn she knew it wasn't worth arguing about. As a result, Thorn dressed Artura and let her husband take the triplets to the Academy with him. He'd promised not to be long, she hated being parted from her children so she found herself sat with Ostara and young Judas as he played with his spider by the fire in the parlor. Ostara chirped from her place on the couch and Thorn looked around and shrugged; she'd settled on the floor beside her son.
“I can't sit in bed any longer and I'll just bat my pretty little eyes at Faustus and he'll forget he's not happy with me.” Another chirp and Thorn chuckled. “What else is a wife to do?”
Her head spun back around and Thorn nodded. “Yes, baby boy, 'pider. Try pronouncing the 'S' though when Daddy is about.” Ostara clucked. “Sitckler isn't quite the right word. Seriously, you've known him since he Dark Baptism, has he always been like that?” It was safe to say that she was beyond surprised to learn he'd actually gotten better. She breathed out a laugh of disbelief. “I don't believe that for a single second.”
“'Pider!” Cried the boy once more just as triumphantly as before.
The raven-haired beauty pressed a kiss to the top of his head. It amazed her at how soft his hair was and just as jet black as his father's own, Judas really would grow up to look just like Faustus.
“Mommy loves you.” She told him sweetly.
The day Faustus had referred to her as his mother had been one of the happiest days of her life, she loved that boy as her son, he was her son and the fact she'd not given birth to him didn't change that. After the massacre of her family Thorn hadn't thought about having children of her own, the idea really hadn't ever crossed her mind, but there she was with three sons and a daughter, a husband she loved more than witches should have been able to. She'd had one family taken from her but Thorn had somehow managed to build a new one.
Thorn beamed. “Oh, Judas, he loves you more than you'll ever know. Don't ever tell anyone but you're Daddy is a softy at heart when it comes to his family.” She ran her hand through his black locks. “Daddy won't ever admit that but I'm Mommy and Mommy can't be fooled.”
Happily little Judas went back to playing with his toy in the firelight. Silence took over for a moment before a memory of something Faustus had said flitted back to her.
“Ostara, do you think having this toy spider will encourage him to have spiders as his familiar?” There was a pause and then one of those adorable chirp noises from the Hare. “Good. That's what I thought.”
Suddenly Judas stuck his hand out to the fireplace and the orange glow, instantly Thorn made a fist and the fire extinguished itself. Judas' dark eyes shone up at her sadly.
“It's hot, my little demon.”
Tiny tears built up in his eyes and Thorn knew it shouldn't have been so powerful or effective; she relented.
Lady Blackwood sighed. “Fine, but we only look. You don't play with fire until you're old enough for me to teach you how to put it out.”
With a simple gesture the flames burst back anew forcing the room to once more glow a warming orange. Judas giggled with glee and clapped as he bounced up and down where he sat.
“You're going to be a firestarter as well.” She found his smile infectious. “Maybe we should start you with something that won't burn this house down too, though.”
Silent as a mouse Faustus appeared in the parlor and Thorn shot up to take Artura and Lucian from him which he was thankful for, holding triplets wasn't an easy task.
“Firstly,” he began as he shuffled Duvall in his arms “you shouldn't be out of bed. Secondly, do not move so quickly until you have recovered. Thirdly, please don't teach Judas to start fires at least until he can carry a proper conversation.”
Thorn smirked. “Yes, sir.”
Faustus raised an eyebrow. “Lastly, do not be sarcastic with me or you'll be punished.”
And didn't that summon a hungry purr of want from her. “Promise?”
The High Priest didn't answer but they were both smart enough to know how much Faustus enjoyed spanking, whipping and flogging his beautiful, young wife.
A moment passed then they moved on to a new subject. Caligari padded through the large door and hopped up to sit with Ostara.
“How were they?”
“They're Blackwoods, my love, so of course they were well behaved. How is Judas?”
The pair flashed a look at the boy who once again seemed more interested in his spider.
“An arsonist in the making.” Faustus still didn't look impressed. “He's been perfect as always.”
“Excellent. Now, it's late, to be with you and the children, I think. Yes?”
Lady Blackwood nodded; she hadn't quite realised just how late it had gotten. She glanced over to her beloved fox.
“Caligari, watch Judas. We'll be back in a few minutets.”
The familiar made a little noise of acknowledgement as husband and wife made their way out of the parlor and up the grand staircase with the triplets. It was only a short walk to their bedroom where the triplets found themselves settled into their oversized crib. Easily Faustus snaked his arms around Thorn and held her tight so her back was to his chest; he breathed her in, she always smelt so divine. So soft, so perfect, so his.
“Go to bed, my Dark Angel, you need to rest like Zelda said.”
Thorn sighed. “I know, I just couldn't sit in bed any longer and Judas wanted to play. Who was I to stop him.” She pressed a kiss to his lips. “Oh, and look at this.”
The High Priest let Thorn tug him over to where her family tree adorned the wall, a large grin coated her face. There, on the very bottom was what had her so happy. Sat neatly in their scrolls were their children's names in the same neat calligraphy style writing as all the other names: Duvall, Lucian and Artura. There was one difference however, rather than Mortimer the surnames now read Blackwood; seemed he was officially part of the family.
“I'm not sure it still classes as the Mortimer family tree now the name is Blackwood but they're on there.” She grinned.
“They're your blood as well as mine so yes it still is.” He cleared his throat. “This will follow Duvall, yes?”
“Uh-huh, Judas isn't mine by birth so he can't be on there. Shame really.” Thorn yawned.
“Bed.” Ordered Father Blackwood.
“Judas-” She began but he quickly cut her off.
“I will get Judas. You sleep.”
Only a little reluctantly did Thorn obey. She let him tuck her into bed and kiss the top of her head. With a soft 'goodnight' he left her to return to their son. The triplets would want feeding soon but Thorn could have a little sleep before then.
It was almost two weeks before Thorn could return to her duties as Secretary of the Church of Night. however, when she did Thorn rushed through her backlog of work almost as though it didn't exist. Part of the reason – not the main reason of course – that Blackwood had selected her as Secretary was because of her work ethic. When Thorn set her mind to something it damned well got done. That was how he found his young wife, sat on their bed with the triplets sleeping in their crib while their mother sifted through papers for two upcoming Dark Baptisms; normally the Baptisms were rather spread out amongst the year but occasionally they got a week with two or three.
“Are you coming in or standing in the doorway all night letting the cold in, Faustus?” She asked without looking up from her documents.
“Forgive me, my Dark Angel, but you looked so beautiful. Candle light suits you, but that is to be expected.”
The High Priest pushed off from the door frame he leant against and went to sit down on the bed beside his wife who settled herself against his chest instinctively.
“I love you.” Thorn told him softly.
Faustus wrapped his arms around her so she stayed close; he delighted in her warmth.
“And I love you too, Thorn. Though I believe it is time for you to copy the triplets and sleep. You still shouldn't be pushing yourself.”
Lady Blackwood breathed out a gentle laugh and let the pages fall down to the duvet so she could press herself even closer to her husband.
“Aren't I usually the one who has to tell you to stop working and go to bed?”
Faustus shrugged slightly. “Perhaps you're often right.”
That got a smirk out of his young wife. “I'm quoting you next time I'm lonely in bed because you're in the study.”
“Ahh, I've supplied you with ammunition I see.”
Thorn nodded as she closed her eyes and relaxed; he made her feel safe.
“Sleep. Judas is in his room, I and Caligari will watch over Duvall, Lucian and Artura.”
“Where is Ostara?” She asked quietly.
“On a little task I set her.” He responded easily.
The candles flickered. Soon enough Faustus got his wife off to sleep, taking care of three newborns, a two year old and handling the church was too much stress on her for his liking, but Thorn was just as stubborn as he was.
As soon as she was out Faustus stacked up her papers and sat them neatly on the night stand. He carefully tucked Thorn in before he went to check on the triplets. Caligari curled up beside his witch looking like an oversized ball of fluff as always. Faustus couldn't help the small smile that tugged it's way onto his lips as he looked down at his two new sons and daughter. Thorn had been right, Artura did have his mouth.
Thorn was a natural at being a Mother and it still amazed Faustus that she could keep up with three newborns and Judas all at the same time; he'd not admit it but he'd have gone mad long before the twins – had both been born – made it to two months. That was another thing that amazed him, time had flown by since the triplets' birth, they were two months old and perfect.
Something else amazed him also, something he'd rather had been finished with quite some time ago, he and their coven weren't any closer to discovering who had broken into and subsequently burnt down his home. There hadn't been any reports of other breaks ins or fires or damage in general, but Father Blackwood knew this spectre was still at large and would linger until they found what they came for.
Faustus had racked his brain for days – weeks – in an attempt to figure out what he or the coven could have possibly had that someone would go to such lengths to steal. Yes, he'd had a vast array of ancient spell books and then there had been his family Grimoire but none of those were worth such effort. He had a dagger stained with Angel's blood that had travelled down his family line for generations but that had still been inside its display case when he'd gone through the rubble; it now lived in the study Thorn had gifted to him. Maybe they'd been searching the wrong place?
A knock on his office door sent his head snapping up and he finally remembered where he was, his office at the Academy of Unseen Arts half way through grading papers.
“Come in.” He called loudly as he reached for his tea which – praise Satan – was still warm.
The doors were silent as they opened. Montgomery Hawthorne entered, his bag hung from his left shoulder and a small stack of papers filled his hands. He seemed cautious but most people did when they entered Faustus' office.
“Yes?” Father Blackwood really did need to finish grading.
“Sorry to bother you, Father, but I wrote my paper on the summoning of fire both natural and Hellfire for Lady Blackwood. She's my mentor.”
“And?” The High Priest raised a single eyebrow over his cup as he took another sip.
“Oh, em, well, Lady Blackwood told me that when I was finished I should give it to you since she's not returned to teaching.”
Ahh, so now his lady wife was using him as a postal service, lovely. Should I don the hat and satchel now or wait until I get home, he questioned himself sarcastically. This was because he'd not let her go back to classes; Faustus knew to never underestimate his Dark Angel but even she had limits regardless of if she was willing to realise that or not. He'd not let her start teaching again not while the triplets were still so young, he'd already caved and let her continue her work for the Church.
“Hmm?” You're lost in your thoughts again. “Yes, yes, leave it on my desk, I'll see that she gets it.”
Monty nodded. “Thank you, Father.”
He did as bid and set the small stack of papers down close to where Faustus' tea cup had been not a moment earlier then backed away slowly; like a mouse from a hungry cat.
“Father, can I ask when Lady Blackwood will be returning to teaching?”
“Not for a while yet, Montgomery, she needs to rest.” He told the teenager dismissively. “Why? Is Brother Ambrose not up to scratch?”
That had been yet another thing to amaze the High Priest. When Thorn had asked him to instate Ambrose Spellman as her temporary replacement he'd had questions, however, she'd chosen him for a reason clearly. Faustus wasn't stupid he knew that Ambrose was the only Spellman Thorn actually liked, he knew that there were things about him that reminded her of Gray as well. Those reasons were why he'd not argued when she'd requested the Necromancer.
“He's a very good teacher, patient and explains well.” Said Monty.
“But?” Clearly there was a 'but' coming; he set his cup down.
“But, he's not Lady Blackwood. She's the best teacher I have and I think that's true for a lot of us. Lady Blackwood just seems to.... know when we need something or don't understand.”
“Well, I'm sure she'll be pleased to know you value her as a teacher. As I said I'll see to it she gets your paper. Off you go, next class starts soon.”
“Yes, Father, thank you.”
With that Faustus was alone in his office once more.
He knew exactly what Montgomery had meant when he'd said 'she just seems to know when we need something or don't understand', he had stumbled across several instances of her doing just that. Faustus was fully aware his wife was a very powerful witch but sometimes she did things witches shouldn't have been capable of and sometimes things that needed chanting she'd do without a single sound expressed. Perhaps it was because she was of founding blood? Faustus had seen Gray Mortimer do something along the same lines once or twice as well.
When the High Priest returned home to Mortimer Manor he hung up his outer coat, made his way past the grand staircase of dark wood and into his study where he set down his things. He made sure to pull Montgomery Hawthorne's work free then went in search of his beloved wife. Normally at that time of night – nearing eleven – he'd find Thorn in the parlor and sure enough that was exactly where she was.
Thorn sat on the settee rocking Lucian in her arms while his fellow triplets napped in the oversized crib she'd summoned downstairs. Judas sat before the fire with his ever-present spider and the two familiars who'd functioned more as babysitters in recent months.
“Judas not attempted to play with fire again?” He asked as he entered the room and peered down at his sleeping son and daughter.
Thorn flashed a smile. “No, not yet. Lucian was demanding attention.”
“I'm sure he knows it is not polite to make demands of his mother.”
Faustus sat down beside her and pressed a kiss to her charcoal colored lips. So beautiful, so perfect, so his.
“I have an essay from Montgomery Hawthorne for you. I don't appreciate being your lackey, my Dark Angel.”
“Thank you.” She took the essay and gave it a cursory glance before smirking up at her husband. “But you do like making your young, pretty, intelligent and ever-loving wife happy.”
He hated when she did that, he couldn't bloody argue with it. Faustus grumbled a moment then leant back in his seat. He loved his wife but she had this way of beating him without really trying.
“You see potential in Hawthorne?” His voice was deep and tantalizing. “I've never expected much from his mother, Aria has always been fairly unimpressive.”
Thorn shrugged. “Monty is a hard worker, bright, and I have a soft spot for anyone who favours fire.”
“I'm not surprised. Why do you have such a relationship with fire?” He asked suddenly curious while he watched Judas play.
Thorn was quiet a long time as though remembering something, but just when he thought she'd not answer Thorn's lyrical voice sounded.
“There have been a lot of rumours – myths – about my family over the years, some are based on a shred of truth while others are completely fiction. Most of all they exist about why my family likes to play with fire, why it's part of us, but truthfully none of those are real. I can't tell you why my family lives amongst the flames but we always have.”
“You're a strange little lamb, my love, but the sort of strange I like.”
Thorn breathed out a laugh. “Well, they say people who are equally strange attract.”
Faustus raised an eyebrow. “No one has ever said that.”
She shrugged. “They should.”
Their attention turned back to the four children, it would be bedtime for them soon enough and once the little ones were off to sleep Faustus would slip into his study where he'd no doubtly stay until sunrise.
That was exactly what happened.
Before Faustus left for the Academy of Unseen Arts he'd stopped to put on his overcoat, but as he'd reached for his cane the sound of Thorn speaking in the parlor reached him. He poked his head in to say goodbye just in time to see Kylian fade from the mirror.
“Are you alright, Thorn?” Faustus asked when he noticed her furrowed brow.
She nodded. “I think so.” He sat down beside her and took Duvall from her arms. “My Uncle Kylian is acting … odd.”
Truthfully Faustus hadn't ever really paid much attention to Kylian Gethic; it hadn't ever been even remotely important. However, the blonde Englishman was the only family his wife had remaining for a very long time and if she was worried about her Uncle then the High Priest would show concern.
“Odd how, my Dark Angel?” He asked as he gently rocked a sleeping Duvall.
Lady Blackwood sighed while she continued to stare up at the mirror.
“I don't know, it's hard to explain. It's like he's … erratic.” Faustus raised an eyebrow. “No, that's not the right word but I don't know how else to describe it. It's almost as if Uncle Kylian is hiding something.”
“Perhaps he is.” Suggested her husband. “At your birthday celebration he told you he was having issues back in England.”
“Maybe.” Thorn sighed. “I just worry about him.”
Thorn leant into her husband's side so she could better see their sleeping son. Duvall looked exactly like a small Faustus and Thorn thought it adorable.
“Worry not, my Dark Angel.” Faustus pressed a kiss to her navy colored lips. “He is a strong warlock.”
The green-eyed beauty nodded. “I suppose you're right. I'm probably reading too much into things.” She seemed to snap to a new subject then. Thorn peered up at Faustus with a soft smile. “Darling, would you be okay to watch the triplets a minute while I go get Judas dressed?”
“I need to leave soon but yes.”
That seemed to please Thorn because she pressed a kiss to his cheek and then left the room, the sound of her heels on the hardwood the only reminder she'd ever been there.
As he glanced over at Lucian and Artura who napped in their oversized crib Faustus smiled. He wasn't stupid – far from it – he was fully aware that his wife was going stir crazy, she needed to go back to work at the Academy. Faustus knew Thorn was a strong and ridiculously powerful witch but she needed to focus on their children.
Soon enough she returned with Judas dressed and clutching his beloved toy spider. She set the child down in one of the large leather armchairs and silently conjured up a plate of apple slices that she gave the grinning little boy.
“You do know conjured food has no nutritional value.” Faustus pointed out.
Thorn didn't look at him, just set Judas' spider beside him so he could eat unencumbered.
“Not of it's the apple that was in the fridge and came from a tree by way of the market.”
She had him there.
After a moment Thorn took their eldest triplet back and Faustus rose to his feet. He kissed his darling wife and bid her goodbye then headed out of Mortimer Manor for the Academy.
When Father Blackwood had finally allowed Thorn to return to work teaching at the Academy of Unseen Arts she'd been overjoyed. It had been quite some moths since she'd stepped inside a classroom but Lady Blackwood took to it as though she'd never left. Monty and the other students had been almost ecstatic to have her back with them since most agreed she was the best Conjuration teacher they'd ever had.
When they'd broken off that morning, Thorn to her classroom and Faustus to his office, he'd had this nagging, incessant urge to go and check on her but ever time he had forced it back down; Thorn was a capable young woman and didn't need him following her about all day. His wife wasn't just Lady Blackwood, she was a Mortimer and – somewhat scarily – more powerful than any witch had a right to be. All that and a stack of papers had kept Fautus in his office and off his stunning wife's case.
Several hours passed and Thorn taught class after class without a problem … or at least she did until Prudence and the other Weird Sisters came in. It was no secret that Prudence seriously didn't like Thorn, most assumed it to be out of jealously that Thorn had garnered Father Blackwood's attention but Thorn new the truth. Everyone knew she was step-mother to Judas but only a handful knew about that being true of Prudence as well. It wasn't like the pair went shopping or talked or even liked one another but that didn't seem to stop the younger witch hating her.
When class ended Thorn watched everyone pack up their things and head out. However, right as Agatha and Dorcas passed over the threshold Thorn waved her hand and the heavy door slammed shut blocking Prudence in.
Prudence spun around to find Lady Blackwood perched on her desk, lips bold as blood and powerful eyes locked on her.
“This has to stop, Prudence.” She said calmly.
Prudence breathed out a laugh as she slipped straight into her over-confident persona; clearly it had been developed over years to protect her.
“Why? Sabrina's dislike of Father Blackwood is rather evident to everyone, so why shouldn't mine of you be?”
“Because with Faustus and Sabrina it's rather clear why. Your constant glaring at me is more suspicious to people.”
Again Prudence laughed the sauntered over to a desk and sat herself down as though she didn't have a care in the world.
“Oh, I see. You're scared folk will learn that your my step-mother and he's Daddy dearest. Why would that be so bad, huh? Ah, yes, because then everyone will know he can't keep it in his pants. Got you pregnant before he even married you.”
“You will not speak of him with such disrespect.” Strangely Thorn keeping her voice calm and even unnerved Prudence more than if she'd yelled. “He is your High Priest.”
“Not if Sabrina gets her way.” Prudence teased.
“Show some respect, and Sabrina will be dealt with in due course.”
Prudence's brow furrowed. “What's that supposed to mean?”
“As with many things, Prudence, it does not concern you.” Thorn rose from where she perched on her desk and went to sit beside the younger witch. Prudence watched her cautiously with every step. “Faustus told me you asked for him to acknowledge you some time ago, you wanted to take his name.”
“He said no. Thought you'd have been happy about that.” She sneered though the dark-haired woman didn't seem overly concerned.
“I was, though not for the reason you suspect.”
“And what is the reason then, hmm? Got any motherly advice for me?”
Thorn flashed her a smile. “For starters I suggest you stop trying to goad me, it will not work and is just a waste of breath.” She paused a moment and watched as Prudence seemed to back down a little. “The reason I was pleased he refused to name you Prudence Blackwood is because you don't need to be.”
“What? So because I didn't know about him before means I don't deserve a father now?”
“Prudence, you misunderstand me. Look at you, you have lived so many years with no mother or father. Many children – witch or mortal – that would destroy, but you? You have thrived, you made a family for yourself with Agatha and Dorcas. Faustus is your father, yes, but you do not need him. Why be Prudence Blackwood, daughter of Faustus Blackwood when you can be Prudence Night-”
The younger witch cut her off. “How is that better?” She demanded.
“Let me finish. If you were a Blackwood by name then everyone would just think 'oh, she's Faustus' daughter'. You would live off of his name. I am a powerful witch, yes, but I am a Mortimer and every time someone looks at me all they see is my family. They think of Diebenkorn Mortimer because he founded this coven, they think of Abraham Mortimer because of the work he did for the Academy or they think of Marquis Du Mortimer because he was our start.” She sighed. “They don't think of me, they think of a name.”
“I don't understand.” Her tone had softened, the hate had faded from her dark brown eyes and Thorn was grateful for it.
“Stay Prudence Night, make your own name because you are strong enough and powerful enough to stand for yourself. You don't need your father's name. My family is a legacy, his is powerful and overly ambitious. Mortimer, Blackwood, they have forced us into boxes and defined us … you don't have to be like that. You want motherly advice well here it is, don't traipse after your father when you can be your own person. You have sisters and friends that value you as a Night. That is who you are and I really don't suggest trying to cram yourself into the Blackwood box.”
Prudence was silent a long time. Neither witch spoke though Thorn kept her eyes firmly locked on her step-daughter. For a time Lady Blackwood didn't think the younger witch would speak, just continue to sit there staring at the ground, but then, when Thorn had been about to get up and leave her to it, Prudence's voice filled the air softly.
“... Thank you.” Thorn raised an eyebrow at that. “You're right, I don't need him. I'm me, I'm my own person and I don't need the acceptance of my father to be me.”
Suddenly Prudence reached across form her chair and wrapped her arms around Thorn for a tight hug. It certainly took Thorn off guard but she still managed to hesitantly hug the young girl back.
“I'm your step-mother, Prudence, helping you is my job even if no one knows it.”
The hug ended then, both witches looked awkward about it but neither complained. Prudence could feel her hate for Thorn draining away while Thorn knew that Prudence hadn't ever had a parental influence before and didn't quite know how to process it.
“You... you sounded like you aren't overly fond of my father.”
Thorn chuckled. “I love him dearly. I always have, even when I was younger than you I loved him. Loving him doesn't mean I always agree with him or think he had any idea what he's doing.”
Prudence chuckled. “Yeah, he does seem like that sometimes.”
“He always tries to do what's best for the coven and because of that he often gets tunnel vision. You should go to your next class, your sisters are probably trying to get the door open as well.”
Both glanced up to the door a second. “You're right.”
The younger witch stood up and re-gathered her things, but when she reached the magically closed door she looked back to Thorn who'd returned to her desk.
“I'm glad my half-siblings have you.” Thorn's head tilted questioningly. “You're a good Mom.”
With that Prudence was out the door leaving Thorn alone with a gentle smile on her face. Or, at least, she was for all of two seconds before Sabrina stormed in and fixed Thorn with a glare.
“You can't just lock students in classrooms! What is wrong with you?”
The Weird Sisters lingered in the doorway hesitantly but Thorn was seriously getting sick of Sabrina bloody Spellman.
“Sabrina, there is a difference between imprisonment and a private conversation. If you climbed down from your high horse for a minute then you'd realize that. Now, get out of my classroom, I'm going to sit here since you're already on The Cross.”
Sabrina shook her head as she breathed out a disgruntled laugh. “You're as bad as he is.”
It didn't take two guesses to figure out who the 'he' was.
“Now, now, Sabrina, that's not very polite. You'll show your High Priest some respect whether you like him or not. I think it also wise for you to stop shoving your nose into places it does not belong lest it be struck off. If you want to know what Prudence and I discussed you only have to ask her rather than this – frankly egotistical – display.”
She could see Sabrina's eye twitch, the power in her evident, but Thorn didn't care. If a fight ever did break out Thorn would win.
Sabrina seemed at a loss for words, her mouth twitched as though it tried to form a come back but nothing came out.
“We need not hate one another, Sabrina. After all, family sticks together.”
“Just because we're the same coven doesn't mean we're family!” Sabrina bit out then stormed off towards her friends and out of sight.
Thorn sighed. “That wasn't what I meant.”
Over the last few weeks Kylian Gethic had grown more and more out of character. He'd been short, standoffish and bizarrely hostile every time he'd spoken with his niece and for the life of her Thorn couldn't figure out why. She had, of course, tried to broach the subject several times but with very little result. 'Are you alright? Are you under some sort of curse' she'd asked him that morning via her mirror before she'd left for the Academy, but he'd just glared at her. 'Is that supposed to be funny' he'd shot back then faded from the mirror.
All that concern was how she'd found herself sat in her husband's lap in his office at the school, her cheek rested against his strong chest while he raked a hand through her hair.
“... what else could be wrong with him? I know we weren't that close when my father and brothers were alive but he's never been like this, Faustus.”
The High Priest sighed. “Dark Angel, your Uncle is a strong warlock, I am sure he's fine. His coven must be proving stressful for the time being. You remember what he said at your birthday celebration”
“I worry about him.”
Faustus pulled his wife closer against his chest, the hand in her hair continued to stroke through the long raven locks while his other hand pushed up her blood-red skirt to reveal yet more of her thigh. Satan she was beautiful. He pressed a kiss to her temple.
“I know you do, my love, it's part of the reason you're such a good mother, but your uncle is a grown man. He'll be fine.”
Thorn looked up at him and locked their lips together, he tasted of tea, his hands were warm on her skin.
“You're probably right. It's just this has made me realize how little I actually know about Uncle Kylian. Father never liked him and I can't help but wonder if this is part of the reason why.”
“Best not fret, my Dark Angel.”
She rested against him a time, cuddled up in his strong arms and perfectly tailored suit while she tried to move her mind from her Uncle to something more calming. His touch always soothed Thorn, made her feel safe and happy. She'd taught her last lesson for the day and probably should have been marking essays but Thorn couldn't bring herself to leave her loving husband.
Honestly, when Father Blackwood had first asked her to marry him she'd been terrified, despite his constant reassurances Thorn hadn't been able to shake the gnawing thought in the back of her mind that screamed he didn't lover her, that this whole thing was convenience. He could have denied the children like Thorn had suggested but not one person in their coven would have believed for a second he wasn't the father. Thorn had taken the role of Secretary to the Church of Night, she spent many a night alone with him because of that, then there was the fact she was the last Mortimer and Faustus did like power. All of those things meant marring her was the better option, it also meant that for many weeks after their engagement she'd not been able to truly believe he loved her … he'd not loved Constance. All those horrors had ended though when she'd seen the look on his face at their wedding, the genuine love, it was a look she saw in his eyes every single day since and one she treasured. Now when she sat with him no questions arose to pester her, no doubts lingered, Thorn just bathed in his comfort and knew everything would be fine.
“I love you.” He said in that deep tone of his while fingers continued to card through her long raven-hair. “If you and your Uncle are anything alike then he will be fine. Also, your father didn't like many people, Abraham was just skilled at concealing it. His eyes gave him away, I know he didn't much care for me.”
Thorn chuckled. “He didn't like you because of the way you looked at me.”
“Hmm?” Faustus raised an eyebrow, he'd always thought he'd kept his … admiration of Thorn a secret.
“He knew I was in love with you, thought it a schoolgirl crush that would fade.” Clearly he'd been wrong. “However, he saw the way you looked at me sometimes and Father didn't want you near me.”
“The name Blackwood not good enough?”
Thorn shook her head. “Oh, no. No, not that. Well, maybe a little bit that, but mostly it was the fact you were married, I hadn't had my Dark Baptism yet and he just straight up didn't trust you.”
It was Faustus' turn to chuckle. “Probably a wise choice of Abraham's.” His fingers slipped under her dress and between her legs. “Do you trust me?”
Lady Blackwood smirked. “Do I have much choice?”
Before Thorn knew it Faustus had shot up from his chair and thrust his beautiful wife onto the desk, their lips locked in a forceful but much needed kiss. Large hands pushed the skirt of her dress up to expose the tops of her stockings and then he slipped a finger into her panties so he could pull them off her tantalizing body. Thorn grabbed his lapels when he broke their kiss and drew him back into another when their lips parted a second time Faustus fell to his knees to kiss and nibble and tease up her stocking clad legs. She focused on her husbands calloused fingers on her skin, the touches that were somehow both tender and blissfully rough at the same time. Soon Blackwood's talented tongue found where his wife needed him most. When she tried to grip the large desk Faustus grabbed her soft, delicate hands and thrust them into his dark-hair where they belonged; Faustus loved it when his perfect wife just took her pleasure from him. Her pants, cries and mews made his ego purr, made him swell with an animalistic pride and masculinity.
It wasn't long before the young witch wrapped her legs around his head; Faustus clung possessively to her hips to keep them from bucking up. The sound of his darling Thorn's moans and pants spurred him on, the needy sound of her want almost as delectable as her taste. To Faustus his wife was like an a goddess he didn't deserve but he'd forever keep to himself. Selfish, possessive, call it whatever but Thorn was his and Faustus adored it.
“Faustus.” She cried breathlessly; clearly close.
Blackwood smirked as his tongue continued to drive his young wife to the very edge and then finally, finally, with a scream she came on his tongue. Thorn's head fell back as her lungs sucked in desperately needed air, her hands slipped from his messed up hair and Father Blackwood went back to peppering her thighs with hisses and nips.
“You truly are delectable, my love.” He said between kisses.
When her reply came it was hushed and breathless. “I aim to please.”
Faustus carefully pulled her skirt back down and pocketed her panties before he rose to his feet.
“Oh, you most certainly do, Thorn, you most certainly do.”
Husband and wife shared a kiss; Thorn could taste herself on his tongue. Faustus wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close so he stood between her parted legs with his chin rested atop her head. A display of his loving side that only his wife and children ever got to see.
“Why do you always take my panties? Is it some sort of conquest thing?”
Faustus smirked and kissed the top of her head. “I believe we've had a similar conversation before, my Dark Angel. Although, I will be here most of the night and shouldn't a husband have an incentive to work quickly and return to his stunning wife?”
“Sweet talker.” She pushed herself to her feet and straightened her dress. “Your hair is a mess and you're wearing my lipstick, might want to deal with that.” Another kiss. “I'll go get the children and you had better be home before I fall asleep.”
“Consider my orders heard and understood.” He teased.
“Good. Best you know your place.”
Suddenly Faustus yanked her so Thorn was flush against his chest, his eyes had darkened with warning and – though not overly tall – he loomed over her.
“You go too far, Sweetling. You may be my wife but I am still your High Priest.”
Thorn bit her lip. “Well, if you get home before I fall asleep you can make sure I always remember that fact.”
With that Thorn left Faustus alone in the office knowing that at the end of the day he'd bow before her if it made his wife happy. Blackwood fell back into his chair and started to straighten the mess of pages on his desk.
Meanwhile Thorn prepared for her classes the next day. She headed to the library to make sure Cassius had pulled the books she'd need and then tidied her office all without anyone even suspecting her underwear was actually in her husband's pocket rather than where they should have been. The whole thing took her maybe a little under twenty minutes and then she made her way through the Academy to the statue of their Lord where she stopped dead. There before her, staring up at the statue, was her Uncle Kylian; Thorn beamed though with puzzlement.
“Uncle!” She rushed to the elder blonde man.
When he turned his usual smile was nowhere to be found, he looked as though he'd not slept in days and though he wore his suit it was creased and somewhat dishevelled.
“Are you alright, Uncle Kylian? What are you doing here? Why didn't you tell me you were coming?”
“You're coming with me, Thorn.” Was the only answer she got, and answer that made her brow furrow deeply.
“Because if you don't you'll never see your children again.”
“Because if you don't you'll never see your children again.”
Those words froze Thorn to the core. This man was her Uncle, the only blood she had left seve for the children he'd just threatened. He smirked seeing the confusion and worry on her stunning features.
“Thought you were smarter that my idiot of a sister, Thorn. You're a Mortimer after all.” He mocked with a cruel bite to his words. “Oh, come on, who the fuck do you think has been sniffing around this backwards town? Searching. I burnt your lover boy's house down.”
That one word was all Thorn could get out as shock continued to rip through her. Kylian laughed at her again, this wasn't the man she knew, the man she'd known had been an act.
“Remember the Solstice? My little story? Your father had The Pearl, he had it and kept it from me so I killed his sons but he still wouldn't tell me. I though maybe he'd hidden somewhere else but no, it's still in this crappy town and I've had enough games. You, niece, are going to get it for me!”
“You killed my brothesr?” She asked in disbelief. “They were your nephews, your blood.”
“Blood is meaningless unless it's an ingredient. I'm not stupid, I laid a trap and Abraham walked right into it. There were Witch Hunters in the area so I just made it look like they'd done it.” He laughed again. “Now, unless you never want to see those brats of yours again I suggest you don't make a scene and come with me.”
Thorn burned with ire, wanted to impale Kylian Gethic on the horns of the statue behind her but she resisted; he knew where Judas and the triplets were. That reason alone was why she nodded and let him grab her by the arm.
“Thorn?” Faustus called down from just outside his office above them and two sets of eyes peered up at Father Blackwood. “Hello, Lord Gethic.” Kylian nodded in calm greeting. “Are you alright, Thorn?”
She nodded, if anything happened to her children she'd never forgive herself; Alistair had only been a few years older than them and yet Kylian hadn't had any issue killing him.
“Yes, fine. Don't worry, Lucky, we'll be back in a while, just going for a walk.”
“Very well.” He responded in that deep voice of his.
Kylian led his niece out of the Academy of Unseen Arts by a harsh grip on her arm and forced her towards the woods. She couldn't understand this, she'd long suspected something had been off about Witch Hunters managing to get the drop on her family but there hadn't ever been any evidence to counteract it. Kylian though? Her mother's brother? How had he slaughter his own nephews for a stupid Pearl that might not have even existed?! The realisation that had she been there he'd have killed her too hurt, this man wasn't her Uncle, he was a monster motivated by greed.
“How could you kill Alistair? He was a child.” Her voice shook but Thorn wouldn't give him the satisfaction of crying.
“Well, Abraham was more powerful than me, I needed a shield, didn't I.” He boasted. “It gave me just enough of a shot to kill good old Lord Mortimer and after that it was easy to kill Gray and the little one.” He chuckled. “Speaking of little ones, you'd best find me The Pearl, I know it's somewhere at Mortimer Manor, or all four of yours will be heading to the Dark Lord a little early.”
“I don't have it!” She yelled as he forced her faster through the leaves towards her home. “I never have, it doesn't exist and even if it did I wouldn't know where it was.”
“So many secret passageways in that fucking house. You know them all and you're going to help me search all the ones I don't know about.”
It hit Thorn then, when knowledge of someone lurking around their coven had started she'd sealed the house with blood magic with Faustus' bloodline as the only exception. Kylian was her Uncle, of course he'd gotten in without her knowing. Suddenly as squawk sounded above her in the night sky and green-eyes snapped up to see Ásvaldr flying high above.
When they arrived at her home Kylian shoved Thorn through the doorway into the vestibule while Ásvaldr settled himself on the bronze bust of Griffin Mortimer.
“Go on then, niece, where is it?”
“I told you I don't know!” She growled only to be struck in the face and set to the ground.
“Hold your tongue unless it's to say 'here Uncle, here is The Pearl'. Do you understand? And don't even think about using those powers of yours or those children are all dead.”
Thorn nodded as she mopped blood from her lip. So much of Mortimer blood had been spilt at that house, what was a few more drops. He forced Thorn back to her feet and made her go through ever hidden passage in the whole house, a number that lingered in the dozens. Her father's study was the obvious choice but surely she or Faustus would have found The Pearl by now. Would have helped if people actually knew what it looked like, could have been the size of her fist, could have been tiny, no one knew.
“Why do you want The Pearl so badly? It effects everyone, warlocks included. Only The Dark Lord is immune.” She asked as he forced her up the stairs with the owl trailing behind.
“Stupid girl. It's the most powerful magical object there is. Once I possess it I'll be able to do anything. I'll put an end to my enemies and take over.”
“This is about world domination? How cliché are you?”
Kylian struck her again. “Shut up, you fucking brat. Too much of your father in you, that's your problem, maybe if more Gethic had been in there you'd be smarter.”
When none of the passages yielded any result the blonde grew angry and shoved Thorn into her bedroom where he started screaming at her for answers on where Abraham might have hidden something so precious. Thorn honestly didn't know, she still didn't think such a thing as The Pearl existed, but if it had ever been there it couldn't have been now and she told him just that.
“It can't be gone!” He screamed only to throw everything off her dresser onto the floor where it landed with a series of clangs. Her large jewellery box nearly struck Ásvaldr on it's way to the ground where it broke spewing things out everywhere. “It can't be gone.”
“I've played your game long enough Uncle, where are my sons and daughter?” Thorn demanded only for the blonde to spin around and flashed her a rage filled look.
“You don't make the rules here, niece, I do! Just as dumb as your father, got his kids killed and now you're going to do the same.”
Suddenly Faustus burst through the door forcing everyone's attention towards him. He had clearly been running going by the flushness of his face and the quick rise and fall of his chest.
“What in Satan's name is going on here?” He demanded with a scowl.
“Nothing, Father Blackwood.” Kylian tried but the mess on the floor and the fact the sconces were burning high all over the house wasn't fooling Faustus. “Just a chat.”
“Do not play me for a fool, Gethic.” He pointed to his wife. “She called me Lucky.”
Thorn breathed a sigh of relief, she'd not known if he'd have picked up on that or not. When Faustus took a step further into the room he kicked Thorn's jewellery box and more items spilt out, specifically a simple silver chain with a small black pearl hanging from it. Kylian's eyes went wide when he spotted it, as did Thorn's while Faustus just appeared confused and rightly so. The blonde dove for the necklace when his niece reached out for it and scooped it up before her.
“Finally!” He cried, overjoyed. “Finally, I have The Pearl! Thank you, dear niece, if you hadn't have irritated me so much I might not let your children suffocate in the forest.”
Faustus' eyebrows shot up as he just the realised the triplets, Judas nor their familiars were anywhere to be found. He and Thorn focused on something else then, Kylian's previous bold eyes darkened until even the whites were jet black and they all remembered that being a warlock wouldn't protect against the rage of The Pearl. He launched at Faustus.
Thorn shot to her feet and with a wave of her hand set her Uncle flying back against the wall where he landed just under the window; The Pearl rolled out of his hand and his eyes faded back to normal.
“You stupid girl. Can't follow simple orders.” He spat.
Too late did Kylian realise his mistake. The fireplace burst to life and the sconces raged upwards against the ceiling but nothing set alight. Wind appeared from nowhere and Faustus had to sheild his eyes as his wife's hair blew in the harsh breeze.
“I am Thorn Mortimer, last of my name. I am of Founding blood and wife of the High Priest. I do not take orders from you!”
In her rage Faustus could do nothing but watch as Kylian Gethic levitated from the floor where he'd been slumped and then, without warning, burst into flames of Hellfire. He screamed, Lucifer did he scream but Thorn didn't blink.
Soon it was all over and Kylian crashed back onto the floor as nothing more than charred remains. The scent of burnt flesh and thick ash assaulted Faustus' nose but he didn't care, this man had threatened his wife, had stolen his children. In a crazed panic Ásvaldr took flight and crashed out through the window but he didn't get far. Thorn raised her hand in the air and the very second she clenched a fist the owl imploded on itself and fell from the sky dead.
She took a series of calming breaths before the flames died down to normal hight and then she retrieved The Pearl from beside her Uncle's body. Faustus backed away towards the threshold but when Thorn turned to face him here eyes were still the stunning green they'd always been; it didn't effect her. Thorn hung the necklace around her neck where small bead of black hung at the valley of her breasts.
“What are you?” Faustus asked in amazement and Thorn's head snapped up hurt.
“... your wife.” She whispered.
“If that really is The Pearl, you should be trying to kill me right now. You just killed your Uncle like it was nothing with Hellfire . You're more than witch, so what are you?”
"We don't have time for this, Faustus, the chil-"
"What are you?!" He demanded forcefully.
A pause, small and hardly there. “Do you remember when I first showed you that painting?” She glanced over to her family tree and Faustus nodded. “I told you we didn't know our family before the Marquis, that was a lie. We know who the start of our lineage is. When I said I couldn't tell you why my family lived amongst the flames, I didn't say can't because I didn't know, I said it because my family was sworn never to tell.”
“And who did start your family?” He asked suspecting he already knew the answer.
“... The Dark Lord. I am his descendant. Sabrina may be more closely related to him but my family bread us with the strongest witches and warlocks the world had to offer, it concentrated out power. Sabrina is my family, though she is his daughter and I his granddaughter of any number of greats, I could still kill her with little more than a snap of my fingers.”
Faustus swallowed. Blood of the Dark Lord, it explained so much, why she could do things without potions or chants, why fire was her plaything and why childbirth had been easy for her; she wasn't entirely witch.
“I didn't want to lie to you, same way my father didn't want to lie to my mother, but it has to remain a secret.” Thorn stepped closer. “I love you, Faustus, please don't take that away from me.”
Blackwood pulled his wife into his arms and held her tight. He'd come to accept she was more powerful than him in the time they'd been married and maybe this was as it should have been, him the Dark Lord's representative and his wife, the Dark Lord's granddaughter.
“I love you too, never doubt that, Thorn.”
Thorn let out a sigh of relief, she'd loved him since childhood and didn't know if she'd have been able to take losing him.
“Where are the children?”
Thorn's head snapped up. “He's warded them, I tried finding them the second I left the Academy but he said they were in the forest. I can track them based off that.”
In a blink of an eye Faustus found himself and his wife stood dead centre of the woods, he'd never known such a smooth teleportation.
She stood there in silence a moment with eyes closed as if listening for something that Father Blackwood was deaf to.
Once again she teleported them though Faustus didn't know which part of the woods they were in this time. Husband and wife found themselves in a clearing, the ground covered in a thick layer of browning leaves.
“They're not here.” He said as he tried to locate them, hands held out as he searched.
“No, they're here, I can feel it. They're right here!” Her voice cracked, these were her babies. “Wait! He said suffocate.”
Suddenly Faustus felt a blast and the leaves blew away almost like they'd jumped to the edge of the small clearing. Powerful didn't really come close to describing his Thorn. Both parents dropped to their knees when they found a long trough like box half buried in the wet soil. The dark-haired man found he wasn't even remotely surprised when the bindings and charms Kylian had placed on the box burnt away and he yanked it open revealing the triplets, Judas and two familiars bound together with chains. Cries erupted from the box as they called out to their mother and father.
Thorn burst into tears, she'd lost Alistair and Gray, she couldn't loose her children. Faustus waved his hand over Caligari and Ostara and the chains released as Thorn pulled Duvall and Lucian into her arms; Faustus grabbed Judas and Artura. They clung to their little ones in relief, the familiars curled around them, but before long Faustus found that Thorn had collapsed against him so he rested his chin atop her head.
“I love you.” He said quietly into the night.
Neither knew how long they sat there but it was long enough that the triplets and Judas calmed down and settled into the comfort of their parents, Faustus even managed to shuffle so he could wrap an arm around Thorn.
“I was so afraid when I found out I was pregnant.” Said Thorn when she noticed him bouncing Artura softly. “I thought I would give you a girl and she'd grow up with you disappointed, but then I gave you three children and I though that maybe – knowing I'd given you sons as well – Artura would be able to skate through. That you'd never fully approve of her but wouldn't view her as... what might have been. I never expected you to love her as much as you do, but our daughter has wormed her way into your heart. Judas is your heir, Duvall and Lucian will carry on your name and our reputations,” She peered up at him with those stunning green eyes. “but learn Artura is your loyalty, because she is a Daddy's girl. As she grows you'll realise she will stand by your side through anything without question. Artura may not carry on the family name but she will uphold the reputation you've built.
Faustus pulled his family closer. “I honestly did not expect to lover her either. However, she is my... little girl.”
It had taken Faustus a fair bit of time but he'd eventually been able to work out that Thorn and Sabrina were first cousins ten-times removed, which, quite frankly, he didn't seen as really being related any longer. Still, the knowledge might have come in handy later.
At first he'd just been pleased to have his children back and safe but after time to think and digest everything his wife had told him Faustus knew he was proud of her. She might have been the most powerful witch in creation and yet she loved him whole-heartedly just as he loved her. Their children could have even ended up more powerful than Thorn herself. Yes, she'd strengthened his family line considerably, but even if she hadn't he'd still love her. Truthfully he suspected that keeping that much magical power controlled must have been excruciatingly difficult and she deserved his respect for it.
They'd shown Kylian's body to the rest of the Coven and explained that he'd been the one causing trouble, though, of course, they didn't tell them his name and thanks to being barbecued in Hellfire no one had been able to identify him. Sabrina and Zelda had raised questions but Thorn had squashed them with that ever logical brain of hers. Surprisingly though, when Sabrina had started picking a fight with Thorn it had been Prudence to shut it down and diffuse the tension; Faustus made a mental note to ask his wife about that later.
Thorn continued to wear the necklace around her neck, rarely ever took it off for which Faustus couldn't blame her. When the children had been home and safe he'd asked her about it, how it had come to be a necklace hanging in her jewellery box amongst everything else. His reply had been so simple that he quickly realized just how much of a genius Abraham Mortimer had been. Thorn's father had given it to her as a present shortly before she'd left for the Academy, the best hiding place was in plain sight after all. Thinking back he'd been able to remember her wearing it when she'd stormed into his office all those years ago demanding to kill Witch Hunters.
Suddenly Thorn shuffled in his arms and Faustus snapped out of his inner thoughts and back to the bedroom around him. His wife lay cuddled into his side fast asleep and safe as he stared blankly up at the ceiling.
“You might have the power, my love.” He said softly so as not to wake her. “But I am your husband and I will keep you safe.” Fasustus pressed a little kiss to the top of her head with his moonlit vow. “I love you.”
He did, he truly did. Witches weren't suppose to love with such an intensity and Faustus had long believed no woman was worth dying for … but he'd die for her.
Massive thank you to everyone who has read, commented and left kudos. I really hope everyone enjoyed Faustus' and Thorn's little journey through the craziness of life. :-) :-D <3