Chapter 1: Chapter One: First Steps
- First Steps
After the trial had adjourned, Faragonda and Saladin had decided to take on the role of guides. They showed the Sylvane siblings where everything was.
A dining hall in the center of the Fortress, a large area ready to host and feed an army. It was decorated in golds, with murals depicting the Nymphs of Magic, the Great Dragons: light and dark, as well as the creation of magic.
A potionology and herbology lab had been set up downstairs and was lined with fireproof and explosion-proof walls. It had a large window to bring in light, perfect for the herbs that were growing in the small garden. Salvador had been so jealous that his at Obsidian wasn’t so grand.
The training room was outfitted with magic-tech. Morphix beings that could become any sort of creature to fight. An alternate reality simulator to prepare for certain battles. Swords and shields readily available for those who wished to better themselves with weapons. Bows and arrows….
The library was expansive, filled with knowledge of the history of magic, not to mention a cacophony of spells and spell books. Griffin had to keep herself from swooning at the books in her grasp. Her brother had laughed, joking about how she’d get lost in there…
The meeting room was apparently the trial room as well. A podium in the center for whoever to advocate for their plan to be executed. Maps and war boards had appeared, little figurines used for the visual representation.
The infirmary had been connected to the labs for quick access to the herbs needed. Several little rooms within in case of multiple injuries. (Or an illness that didn’t need to spread.)
Their little ‘tour’ concluded in the living halls. Doors spread on both sides of the halls, little plaques used to denote who lived in which room. “This one will be yours, Griffin… Just right across from me and Hagen.”
Griffin couldn’t help but smirk. “I knew there was something more going on with the two of you.” She teased. Faragonda flushed.
“Don’t be like that, Griffin.” She shook her head, looking to Saladin. “Besides… Saladin is just a little down the hall. He and Amelia share their room… Salvador… Yours is just across from theirs…” She tried to change the subject.
“You’ll both need to report to the infirmary for a physical… We need to make sure you’re both in top shape. After all, you did say you were attacked by a Hydra last night.” Saladin reminded them.
“We were… I wasn’t lying when I said the Coven will kill us for leaving.” Griffin paused. “Especially those of us that were once bound in blood.” She muttered. Faragonda gasped, her blue eyes widening.
“Griffin… Blood magic? Seriously?” Griffin gave a slight shrug.
“I did what I thought I had to do. Besides… Who was I to say no to the Ancestral Witches?” Griffin asked.
“Yeah… Very few have been known to turn them down… And it never ended well.” Salvador sighed. “Guess we’re going to be on the ‘Kill on Sight’ list they’ve got.” Griffin took a breath.
“Could be worse… They could actually catch us.” Griffin reminded. Faragonda paused.
“Would… Are they really that bad?” She asked.
“We’ve heard stories but… I mean… It can’t be all that bad, can it?” Saladin asked. Griffin and Salvador shared a mirthless laugh.
“That depends… How do you feel about torture? Traitors to the Coven get a special trial were every member gets to have a crack at them. They can’t fight back either, so they just get beaten. And it ends with the Mistresses decide to kill you.” Salvador answered. “Though, that’s just for normal members. Griffin was one of the Inner Circle, so I have no idea what they’d do to her.”
“Drain me completely of my magic, poison me with Mandragora’s pets, have Darkar have me hallucinate… Probably get lashing from Tharma’s lightning whip… Belladonna would most likely do the finishing blow by freezing me from the inside out…” Griffin deadpanned. Faragonda and Saladin paled.
“And you joined them… Willingly?” Griffin sighed.
“We didn’t have much of a choice. And you know it.” Faragonda bit her lip.
“Well… Now you don’t have to worry.” She gave a slight smile. “We’re going to stop them. All of them.” Griffin sighed.
“I just hope you’re right.” She looked to Salvador. “We may want to check out our rooms before we head to the infirmary…”
“Right. So… You first or me?”
“Oh… Ophelia doesn’t work alone down there… Palladium and Kaia both work down there too, most days.” Faragonda gave a smile. “I hope the two of you will find friends here. I know this is going to be an adjustment, but… The people here are nice.” Griffin snorted.
“I think the only two who really want to kill us are Erendor and Oritel.” Salvador looked to Saladin.
“So who… Who’s mostly in charge here? Like it’s known about the Ancestral Witches ruling over the Coven… Who runs the Company?”
“Typically it’s Marion and Oritel, as a unit. Clacea sort of runs it… It’s… A joint effort I guess, among the Council and the Monarchs.” Saladin told them. Griffin sighed.
“Oh that’s going to make things interesting.” Salvador pulled his sister for a side hug.
“Griffin… Remember, we have to play nice with everyone here…” Griffin rolled her eyes.
“If you say so.”
Griffin looked her new room over, a bit of nostalgia hitting her. It was a dorm-like room, like the ones at Cloud Tower. There was a queen-sized bed, a simple pale color. A desk and chair near the window. A dresser near the desk. A door leading to the en-suite bathroom.
She closed her eyes, a simple spell leaving her lips. Her bags appeared, a new note on them. From her mother. It was a warning that the Coven had already sent someone to look for them at home.
Griffin swore, saying a quick prayer of thanks that her mother was fine. ‘Guess I’m religious now.’ She sighed, doing another spell to make her unpacking fast and efficient. Her notes splayed on her desk.
Now all that was left was to get a clean bill of health from the infirmary nurses….
Chapter 2: Chapter Two: Say What?
- Say What?
Griffin waited by her brother’s door, tapping her foot as he finished packing. His door opened, his face pale and more serious than it had ever been. “They ransacked Mom’s looking for us.” Griffin took a breath, holding her brother’s hand.
“I know. I know. But they didn’t find us and they didn’t hurt her. As far as they know, we could be dead. And that’s how it’s going to be.” She squeezed his hand. “We’re going to get through this.” Salvador gave a breathless laugh.
“When did you become the positive one?” Griffin gave a wry smile.
“When my Big Brother decided he needed me to be one.” She lightly pushed into him. “Come on… We need to get checked out by their medical staff.” Salvador sighed.
“I hate physicals. And doctors. And needles.” Griffin rolled her eyes.
“Suck it up. What was it you said? We either play nice or go to Omega?” He frowned.
“I don’t think I ever said it like that.”
“Point is, we’re going through with it.” She took his hand, leading him down the corridors. Members of the Company loitered the halls, some stopping to stare as they walked back.
Griffin kept her eyes forward. She had no desire to try and defend herself against the fairies and heroes. All she wanted to do was get this physical over with and get to work on stopping the Coven. (And then getting her life back in order.)
They sat in the infirmary’s waiting room, when a woman wearing scrubs came out. “I’m Ophelia, head medic of the Company. Mr. Sylvane, if you’ll go to the room on the left, Kaia will be with you shortly.” Salvador gave a nod, making his way toward the left.
Griffin could hear a soft voice welcoming him in, along with the casting of a soundproofing spell. “It’s to keep confidentiality. Will you come with me, please?” Ophelia led Griffin to a room in the center.
“Better facilities than the ones in Obsidian.” Griffin commented, sitting on the bed. “So… What do I need to do?”
“Will you please take off your shirt and pants? You and your brother both mentioned being attacked by a Hydra, and I’d like to make sure you don’t have any untended wounds.” Griffin paled a bit.
“I don’t think that… I mean….”
“Honey, it’s okay to be shy. I just want to see if you have wounds that need tending too. I promise there is no judgement here.” Ophelia, gave a smile. “And if it helps, I’ve seen it all before. We actually had a member, I won’t say who, who managed to get into some heavy poison oak. You want to talk about bad?” She chuckled.
Griffin bit her lip. “Fine… If you have too.” She stood, discarding her shirt and pants. She took a breath as Ophelia looked her over, watching as the woman’s calm demeanor changed into one of great concern.
She knew how her body looked. Scarred from the Mistresses’ form of training. A scar down her back from being lashed with the lightning whip. Marks on her legs from Belladonna’s ice daggers. The small scar on her arm, the only remnant of her pledge to Valtor. Cuts dug into her ankles and wrists from fighting with Lysslis’ monsters.
“What did they do to you?” Ophelia murmured. “This… How long have you had some of these?” Griffin paused, thinking.
“Since I joined… I… I trained with the Ancestral Witches and… They spar to win. Nothing is held back. It’s… to make sure we can handle anything thrown at us. Our lives don’t matter to them. We’re soldiers. Weapons.” She moved to grab her clothes, putting them back on.
“What about the scar on your arm?” Griffin took a breath.
“Blood magic. I reversed most of it… I’m no longer bound… But the scar will remain.” She gave a slight smile. “It’s… A reminder… To never lose myself again.”
“I suppose that’s a good thing then.” Ophelia stood. “I’m going to run some tests on you, to check for internal injuries… Do you have any allergies I should be aware of?” Griffin shook her head.
Ophelia looked over Griffin’s charts. “Griffin… I have to ask, when was the last time you had your menstrual cycle?” Griffin paused.
She couldn’t remember. But that didn’t mean anything… Stress always messed with her, and she was in the middle of a war. Not to mention she was never regular anyway… “I’m not sure. But with everything that’s been going on… I’m not surprised. I was always irregular.” Ophelia made a note.
“Right. So here’s the thing. You’re healthy, which is wonderful. But you’re not going to be on active duty. I’m going to let Marion know to keep you on the home-front working battle strategies. Perhaps a few defense against dark magic classes. But nothing in the field.”
Griffin frowned. “You said I was healthy. Why can’t I be out there? I… I have to help fix the mess I created.” Ophelia handed Griffin a few papers.
“I get that. But field work would be too stressful on you and the baby and we can’t risk that.” Griffin paused, her mind scrambling.
“Baby? What… I’m not pregnant… I can’t be…” she swore, looking at the papers. Confirmation tests. Positives. No way around it.
“You are… About 9 weeks. Have your powers been acting up? That’s a sign you may have missed.”
Griffin paused, swearing softly. “Great. Just great… As if this wasn’t complicated enough…”
Ophelia bit her lip. “And assuming you didn’t know… The father doesn’t either?” Griffin looked up to Ophelia, her body rigid.
“You can’t say a word. He can never know.” She took a breath. “He can’t know. I’ll be damned if this child suffers at their hands too.”
Ophelia took her hand. “Griffin… No one will know anything except that you’re our strategist and not field ready. Though I do suggest talking to Marion and Oritel.” Griffin looked up, trying to think. “If you want options…”
“I just… I need to think this through. If I keep the child, there’s a chance they’ll find out about them and take them after they kill me. If I give the child up… They may be safer… but…”
“But you’ll be swarmed with regret for not caring for your own child?” Ophelia squeezed her hand. “No one can make this decision but you. Your instincts tend to be good, go with what they tell you.”
Griffin gave a weak smile.
“Yeah… Thanks.” She took in a breath. “Are we done here?” Ophelia nodded.
“We are…” She stood, grabbing a bottle and handing it to Griffin. “These’ll help with the pregnancy. And please try not to stress yourself out.” Griffin sighed.
“No promises…” She took the bottle, stashing it in her pocket. She walked out of the room, sitting in the waiting room, wanting to wait and speak with Salvador.
She couldn’t make this sort of decision alone, she didn’t want to. Not when she was this scared… And worried.
Chapter 3: Chapter Three: What Do I Do?
- What Do I Do?
Salvador gave Griffin a look as he exited the main portion of the infirmary. “You didn’t have to wait on me, Griffie… I could have met you at the dining hall.” Griffin shook her head.
“No way. Not right now… Right now… We need to talk.” She gestured for him to take a seat. “Please.” Salvador tilted his head.
“You okay? You’re acting weirder than usual… Are you sick?” Griffin looked up, taking a breath.
“I wish it was only that.” She paused for a moment. “How did your exam go?” Salvador frowned.
“I’m in good health… But we don’t need to change the subject.” He took her hand. “Sis… Just spit it out.”
Griffin paused again. “Remember how you accused me of being pregnant before we left the Coven…? Well… There may have been some merit to it…” Griffin gave a sheepish smile. “And I may need some advice on my options because…. I don’t have a plan.”
Salvador paled. “You’re pregnant…? Oh shit… And Valtor doesn’t know… Oh but when he finds out… And… Oh hell…” Griffin hit his shoulder.
“Shut. Up. He’s not going to find out. Okay? I have an idea of how to keep that from happening. But the point is… I have two options that need to be weighed because I have no idea what I should do.”
“But… You always have a plan. You’re main thing is plans. You have contingency plans to your contingency plans.” Griffin shook her head.
“Salvador… I’m going to be honest with you… I didn’t have any more plans after we were apprehended by the Company. I fully expected us to be executed for treason or sent to the Omega Dimension.” Griffin swore. “And I never had plans for this… We were always careful.”
Salvador took a breath. “Okay… So… I don’t know what I should tell you to do. You work best out of self-preservation. What’s your biggest fear where this child could be concerned?”
Griffin pulled her legs up to her chest. “I’m terrified of them getting the child… If the Ancestral Witches take this child… I don’t want them to end up like Valtor… So disconnected from the value of life and the Balance… I can’t…” She shook a bit, emotions bubbling up.
“I don’t want them to be some pawn in this stupid war.” She looked to her brother. “I know I don’t expect me to survive this war… But if I do… Could I live with myself for giving the baby up? Should I try to raise them as a single parent? I mean… I know I’d have you and Mom to help…”
“I just… I’m not even sure I have maternal instincts. I…” Salvador placed a hand on her shoulder.
“Sis… You’re a Mother Hen. How often have you tended to the wounds of those in the Coven? How often did you tend to my wounds? Or what about Ediltrude and Zarathustra? How often did you care for them or remind them to do something?”
Griffin gave a look. “You know it wasn’t like that. And I wasn’t exactly soft with any of you…” Salvador laughed.
“Mom wasn’t with us either. You have a similar style. The old ‘what did I tell you because I told you’ style.” Salvador smiled. “I think if you wanted to do it… Do it. But if you honestly, deep down, truly believe that the kid will be better off with someone else, away from all of it. Fine.” He paused.
“But let’s face it. Lies and deceit are what got us as far into this mess as we’re in. The baby will be better off with you. Someone who can help them with their powers when they come in. Especially if the baby has… His… Powers. You’re the only one besides Marion who knows how those powers work.”
Griffin gave a slight smile. “Thank you. I… I think I needed that.” Salvador playfully bumped her.
“Of course. What are Big Bros for anyway?” He smiled. “Now… The question is… How are you going to tell Mom? Or the Company for that matter?” Griffin groaned.
“I’m going to end up dead… I just know it. This will be all Oritel and Erendor need to want to kill me.” Salvador snorted.
“Like Marion would let them.” He kissed his sister’s cheek. “You’re going to be okay. Both of you.” He gave a smile. “Even if I have to be sure of that myself.” Griffin leaned into her brother.
“I love you, goofball.” He grinned.
“I love you too, Wiatch.” Griffin snickered. “There’s my sister. I knew she was in there somewhere.” He teased.
Chapter 4: Chapter Four: Just So You Know
- Just So You Know
Griffin hated being put on the spot. Especially like this…
She and Salvador had just finished up dinner at the dining hall with Faragonda and Hagen, Griffin trying to find the words to admit her condition to them… (Always start small with people you trust most first… Then work your way up.) But Erendor had other plans.
He stormed in, Oritel and Marion at his side. “What does Ophelia mean when she says you can’t help out in the field? I thought that was part of your sentence, Witch.” He snarled at Griffin.
She could feel the eyes of everyone in the room staring at her, her nausea rising. ‘Oh this is going to suck…’ She thought, trying to find the words.
“Erendor, she doesn’t owe you an explanation. She doesn’t owe you anything.” Faragonda stepped in. “Besides, she probably got hurt by the Hydra… You can’t blame her for wanting some time.”
“Yeah. And it doesn’t mean she can’t come up with her plans. That doesn’t require field work, just knowledge of the battlefield and the players. Which we all know she’s an expert at.” Hagen also defended her.
Griffin felt a bit warm inside from that, knowing that they cared. “No. It’s fine that they want to know. I’d want to know too.” She stood. “After all, for all they know, I have some sort of sickness.”
She faced the three Monarchs before her. “I’m not exactly sick, nor am I physically injured.” Erendor stood his full height, a least a foot taller than her.
“Then why aren’t you going into the field with us? Still planning on delivering us to the Coven?” He pulled out his sword.
Other members stood up, rushing over to see what was happening. Griffin couldn’t stop herself from chuckling. “Fine. Go ahead. Kill me if you want. But if I were you and wanted to keep a clear conscience, I’d wait about eight months first.”
That made everyone pause. Griffin’s eyes widened as she realized what she’d said, hand covering her mouth. Faragonda came over to Griffin, placing a hand on her shoulder. “Are you saying…?”
Griffin gave a slow nod, fighting tears. This was not at all how she saw this happening. Erendor kept his sword out.
“Maybe that’s just reason enough….” Marion stood in front of him.
“How can you say that when you have a child on the way, yourself? What would Samara say?” Marion glared. “And just because of what she’s done is no bearing on what the child will be like. Nature versus nurture, Erendor.”
“Oh please, Marion. We all know who the father has to be. You can’t honestly say you want Valtor’s child to live.” Marion glowered, her eyes lighting up with the fire of the Dragon.
“Erendor… Everyone deserves a second chance. And a child who hasn’t even been born yet…? That child deserves a chance as well. Do not make me fight you on this.” She looked to Oritel.
“Come on, Erendor… Just leave it be.” Erendor glared at Griffin.
“This isn’t over.” He put his sword back, leaving with Oritel. Marion came over to her, placing a hand on her other shoulder.
“Griffin… There is no shame here. Luna actually had her child just a few months ago… A little girl… And Alyssa is almost ready have her little girl. You won’t be the only one in this ship.”
“I’m still worried. I don’t… He doesn’t know and I don’t want him to know.” Griffin admitted.
“Don’t worry… He won’t… The Fortress of Light is impenetrable to them.” Griffin gave a weak smile.
“Of course.” She looked to Faragonda. “You’ll keep close, won’t you Fara?”
Faragonda gave a smile. “As close as she’ll let me. Though she’s already threatened to blast me if I get too close.” Griffin chuckled.
“You have a tendency to overdo it, Faragonda.” The fairy shrugged.
“It’s part of my charm.”
Chapter 5: Chapter Five: Bringing Down The Circle
- Bringing Down the Circle
She was in the meeting room, a map pulled up, papers everywhere as she tried to put together a plan. Faragonda watched in awe as Griffin worked, helping out when she was needed. “I’m glad you’re settling in better.” She commented.
Griffin gave a look. She and her brother had been there a week now, worked two different cases, and well… Salvador had a better time making friends than she did. Though she wasn’t exactly looking to make friends.
“Right.” She had her eyes glued to a paper and smirked. “I think I’ve got a plan that will work…” She looked to Faragonda. “I’m going to need Oritel, Saladin, Radius, and Hagen.” Faragonda frowned.
“A guys’ mission? Why? I mean… Shouldn’t we send in a few fairies too?” Griffin shook her head.
“No way. For this work, we need wizards who can wield weapons just as well as they can use magic. That’s our golden four.” Faragonda paused.
“If you say so…” Griffin raised an eyebrow.
“What? You doubt me?” Faragonda shook her head.
“No. It’s just… You haven’t even said who they’re up against…” Griffin created an image.
“The Wizards of the Black Circle. Which is why we don’t need any fairies mucking up the mission. They draw their power from draining fairies of theirs. If there isn’t any fairies for them to drain…” Griffin looked to Faragonda to fill in the blanks.
“Then they won’t be as powerful.” Griffin smiled.
“Exactly. Now… Please bring in the boys… They need to be know what they’re up against.” Faragonda nodded, making her way out and into the corridors.
Griffin took a breath and a sip of the herbal tea Palladium and Salvador had been making her drink. Two thermos full a day. (“It’ll help with the nausea and the baby’s growth.” They promised. Griffin had to scoff. The only thing it did was leave a bitter aftertaste and make her drowsy.)
The wizards came in behind Faragonda, weapons attached. “Alright, let’s hear this plan of yours.” Oritel crossed his arms.
Griffin gave a smile, creating images of each member of the Black Circle. “They’ve been attacking fairies left and right throughout these realms…” She brought up an image, showing the realms and where they were relative to each other. “If my calculations are correct, they’ll be heading toward Deaina next.”
It was the next realm in the sequence. “Now, if we want to stop them, we need the four of you. You’re all strong wizards, but you know how to handle combat weapons too, something the Black Circle is weak against.”
Hagen smirked. “I remember. I had that one on the run when we first met….” Griffin nodded.
“And you need us because the girls are fairies…” Radius supplied.
“Bingo.” She brought the images of the Wizards to the forefront. “Now… You need to know their individual powers and abilities.”
“Duman is a shapeshifter. But if you can keep him in one shift, you can handle him a little easier.” She looked to Saladin. “Are you up for the challenge?” Saladin grinned.
“I’ve never backed down before.” Faragonda groaned.
“Oh… I think we’re all aware of that Saladin… It’s why you’re our most frequent resident of the Infirmary.” Saladin shot a look.
“Can I help if I’m not as fast as some of these others?”
Griffin whistled. “Stay on task please.” She looked to Radius. “Anagon can run as fast as the wind and can create whirlwinds. But you… You’re the King of the Rising Sun, one of the brightest beings in the realms. You can blind him, temporarily, long enough to subdue him anyway.”
She turned to Hagen. “Gantlos can create earthquakes and seismic waves. I’ve studied how you fight, Hagen, and you’re sturdier than most. I’m certain that you could withstand anything he did to you and manage to outdo him.” Hagen gave a nod.
“I’m up for it.” Griffin turned to Oritel.
“I figured since you’re one part of the Dragon Fire, you can handle Ogron. He’s the leader and the one who can absorb any magic thrown at him and use it for his own. Be careful that he doesn’t get that chance.” Griffin looked to Oritel. “And please… For Marion’s sake, don’t try any heroics. Just get the job done and get back.”
Oritel took a breath. “Fine.” He looked to his friends. “Men… We’re headed to Deaina.” Radius opened the portal, letting the other three walk in first. Griffin pinched the bridge of her nose.
“I hope they listen to me… I do not want to handle their widows if anything happens…” Faragonda frowned.
“Only two are married…” Griffin snorted.
“That may be so, but you and Amelia are awfully close to Saladin and Hagen… And I can only imagine the two of you angry.” She waved her hands, the maps and papers disappearing. “Now… I wonder if I should go ahead and-”
“No. Now you’re going to go get something to eat. I know you skipped breakfast today and its lunch time now.” Faragonda took Griffin’s hand. “After all, you’re not just trying to keep yourself alive these days…” Griffin rolled her eyes.
“This is what I get for naming you as a godmother.” Faragonda chuckled.
“I think you like the idea of me being the baby’s fairy godmother.” She paused. “Have you told your mother…? Or Ediltrude and Zarathustra?” Griffin gave a smile.
“I have. And… Speaking of the twins… They want to help. Us, I mean. And if you think about it, having more witches on board will be better for us in the end. And perhaps we could call in those friends of yours… Griselda and DuFour…”
“I think you may be onto something, Griffin.” She smiled. “Oh… And what about Wizgiz? I know he’s a professor at Alfea, but he’s a powerful shapeshifter and we could use him.” Griffin nodded.
“We’ll need to bring this up to Marion. And Oritel…” She took another drink from her thermos before shaking her head. “I’m going to kill my brother… This tea thing isn’t going be any help.” Faragonda chuckled.
“I’m sure it has its merits.”
The boys had been successful, bringing in the Wizards to the Fortress, powers bound by the cuffs they wore. Ogron swore when he saw Griffin.
“I heard you’d become a traitor, didn’t really believe it though… But I guess it was all too much for the witchling.” Griffin shot Ogron a look.
“At least I’m not the one in cuffs.” She looked to the other three, hearing the slurs and curses they slung. She shrugged it off. “Now boys… You all know I’ve heard worse. I did work closely with the Ancestral Witches after all.” She half-taunted.
Salvador just shook his head. “Honestly, it’s like they forget you’re a witch and heard it all before at Cloud Tower.”
Oritel and Hagen made the Wizards straighten up. “Come on… You four have a date with ice snakes.” Omega. Well… It was what it was.
Ogron glowered at the girls. “This isn’t the last you’ll see of us… We will destroy every fairy and take their powers for ourselves. We will reign.”
Faragonda snorted. “Sorry… Heard it all before.” She dismissed them, blowing a kiss as Hagen and Oritel led them off. Salvador chuckled.
“Seems you’ve got guts, Faragonda.” The brunette grinned.
“It’s a gift.”
- Something In The Water
Griffin paced around the meeting room. Most of the Company members were out catching Coven members, an attempt at weakening the Ancestral Witches’ forces.
Oritel, Marion, Radius, and Magnethia were on Zenith tracking down the elementals: Ali, Venata, and Myronn.
Faragonda, Palladium, and Codatorta were at Vesia hunting down a lead on Maeve and her group of pirates.
Saladin and Hagen were chasing down Aro and Senna. Okay… So not most of the members were out… But enough were to make the Fortress seem…
“We thought we’d find you here.” A familiar voice called. Griffin looked up, giving a smile.
“Ediltrude! Zarathustra! I’m so glad you decided to help.” She walked over to her friends, a warmth feeling her.
The green haired witch chuckled, leaning against her darker haired sister. “Of course. Any chance to get out of working with our parents.” Ediltrude groaned.
“Right. They are really trying to push Coventry Academy on us… No thank you.” Griffin gave a shrug.
“I don’t know… Sounds a bit cushy.”
“Yeah. And boring…” Zarathustra looked around. “So… What are you working on? Anything we can do?”
Griffin shook her head. “Nothing right now, actually. We have a few groups out looking Coven members.” Ediltrude nodded.
“So… Is it true..? That you used to work with them? I mean… Did you really work with the Ancestral Witches?” Zarathustra asked. Griffin flushed a bit.
“Yeah… Not my brightest idea.” She gave a sheepish smile. “I mean, it was practically a cult.” Ediltrude shook her head.
“It could have been worse. You could’ve ended up dead.” Griffin sighed.
“I know.” She noticed someone outside the meeting room, pacing about. “I hate to cut this short… But I have a feeling I need to talk to them.” She gestured to the person pacing. The twins gave a shrug as Griffin walked out.
The ‘other person’ ended up being Oritel’s younger sister, Daphne. Her long blonde hair was pulled into a ponytail, amber eyes glowing with power. Anger radiated from her. “Where’s my brother? I’d like to talk to him.”
Griffin took a breath. “He and his wife are out with some of the other’s. They’re going to be bringing in-”
“Coven members. Right. He just doesn’t want to finish our talk.” She huffed. Griffin paused. She had no idea how to work with this. She was the kid sister… Not the older one.
“What talk? Maybe it’s something I can help with?” Griffin offered. Daphne shot her a look.
“Look… Don’t take this the wrong way, but you were one of them and I highly doubt that my brother listens to a word you say.” She snipped. Griffin frowned.
“I may have been one of the Coven members, but I’m no longer one of them.” She took a breath. “And you’re right… Your brother doesn’t tend to listen to me outside of that room,” Griffin gestured to the meeting room, “but that doesn’t mean I can’t attempt to help the two of you communicate better. You forget, I’m a little sister too.”
She gave a slight smile, trying to soften a bit. “I have an annoying older brother and not a day goes by that I’m not tempted to make myself an only-child… But when we do try and decide to talk things out… We remember what it means to be siblings.”
Daphne gave a slight laugh. “I know that feeling. Oritel… He… He acts like just because he’s king now, that means he can boss me around. Hell, he used to boss me around just because he’s the older sibling.” She looked down.
“But it’s like… He doesn’t take me seriously or listen to any of my ideas.” She looked to Griffin, amber eyes saddened. “He even sent me away to Alfea, which, don’t get me wrong, is a great school, but there’s a crisis going on. And he won’t let me help.”
Griffin sighed. So that’s what this was about. “I know you don’t want to hear this… But your brother does care about you and the reason he doesn’t want you involved is most likely because he’s scared for you. Just like he doesn’t trust me or my brother because he fears us. Not because we’re stronger or anything, but because of the threat we could pose to others.”
“He worries for you because he’s your older brother and to him… You’ll always be his kid sister. Just like how my brother views me.” Griffin gave a saddened smile. “It’s one of those things. Sort of like… How parents always view their children as just babies.” Daphne snickered.
“You don’t get to use that one yet.” She teased. Good. Her mood was softening. “And… I get why he’s overprotective… It’s just… I’m a Sirenix fairy, Ms. Griffin. Which, that’s a big deal to fairies. Most of the fairies in the Company just have their enchantix. I’m beyond strong. Hell, I’m stronger than my sister-in-law…”
“But… He still doesn’t want me helping. I can take on most of the Coven members… And I did… Once… Valtor and Mandragora attacked on Domino and Oritel and I teamed up… but…” The blonde looked down. “I want to help fight…”
Griffin hummed a bit. “I know… And I know many who would be honored to fight with you… But you need to see this from his side.” She paused, checking to see if she had Daphne’s attention. “Your brother knows he has no sense of self-preservation. We all know how easy it is to goad him into ridiculous situations.” Daphne chuckled.
“Yeah… I’m beyond aware of that.”
“See… So he knows… If he gets caught up in some scheme against the Coven and he… Doesn’t make it back… He wants to know you’re safe so you can take the charge. But if you’re both in the middle of things at the same time…” Griffin let her fill in the blanks.
“It means Domino would fall…” Daphne groaned. “I can still be angry with him, right?” Griffin laughed.
“Of course. Personally, I’m still angry with my brother over things that happened years ago. Like when he talked me into ballroom dance classes because of some boy he liked. Or when he talked me into joining the Coven and my idealistic-self believed in them.” Griffin shook her head.
“Anyway… Is there anything else you need? You’re brother probably won’t be back until-”
A portal opened, Radius and Oritel rushing in with Marion. She was unconscious, the boys carrying her toward the Infirmary. Magnethia managed to come in through the portal before it closed, Maeve cuffed and in her true form.
“Traitor!” Maeve hissed at Griffin, Magnethia keeping a strong hold on her.
“What happened to Marion?” Griffin asked, ignoring her former friend. Magnethia bit her lip.
“There was an accident and Marion’s powers went out… Not completely… But… She got dizzy enough to pass out…” She looked to Daphne. “I wouldn’t worry too much… She’s strong.”
Daphne swore. “Marion is… My brother, however…” She looked to Griffin. “Thanks for the little sister talk… But my brother needs me right now.” Griffin gave a nod.
“Go. Check on them. I’ll help Magnethia get Maeve to the Council.” Maeve hissed.
“You don’t get to say my name anymore, bitch!” Magnethia tutted, letting an electric wave go over the cuffs.
“You need to learn some manners.”
“I heard you and Daphne had a nice chat.” A familiar voice spoke. Griffin turned around, a bit of a smile on her face. Marion was standing, much healthier looking than she had been a few hours ago.
Griffin set her papers down, deciding to wait on finishing the plan she was working on. “We did… It’s more difficult being a little sister than people realize, you know.” Griffin half-teased. “So how are you feeling? You looked like death when they brought you in.” Marion chuckled.
“Thanks for sugar-coating it.” She pushed back a strand of her loose red hair. “But I’m fine. In fact… I’m healthy… I just… Can’t go out into the field for a while…” She gave a sheepish smile. “Seems you and I are in similar boats.” Griffin laughed.
“So you’re pregnant too? We should start a club.” Griffin teased. Marion grinned.
“We may have too. Or check what’s in our water supplies.” Marion laughed. Griffin shook her head, snickering still. Marion placed a hand on Griffin’s shoulder. “Maybe our kids will be friends? Wonder how well that’ll go over…? The heirs to the Dragon Flame and the Dark Dragon Flame? Bffs?” Marion teased.
Griffin laughed. “Wouldn’t that be something?” Griffin teased.
I know Daphne is Bloom's sister in the show and comics. But with my timeline... I made her Oritel's younger sister.
Chapter 7: Chapter Seven: The Fall of Neruman and Acheron
- The Fall Of Neruman and Acheron
It was dark, the moon was the only source of light. Griffin ran as fast as she could, but she was slower these days. Four months along, and tired. Always tired.
But she had to run. Had to. If she was caught-
“You know you can always come home, Griffin… We will forgive you for your traitorous moment. You’d just have to deliver the Company to us…” A familiar voice soothed. Griffin stopped, not wanting to run into the man before her.
Valtor. He gave a smile, extended his hand. “Come on… You can’t honestly say they treat you well in the Company… Wouldn’t you rather be home…?” She kept her distance.
“Obsidian isn’t my home. And I’m not going to be complicit in genocide.” She stood her ground. Valtor chuckled.
“Oh come on, Griffin… Don’t you want us to be a family? Do you honestly think you’ll be able to keep my child from me?” Griffin glowered.
“You’ll never be part of their life.” She drew her power from the clearing, praying that this time her powers would work properly as she blasted at him, trying to keep away…
She shot up in bed, sweat pouring down, covers kicked off. Her breathing was off, close to hyper-ventilating. Sick… Oh she felt sick…
She ran to the bathroom, splashing ice cold water on her face. ‘It was just a nightmare. Just a nightmare…’ She repeated to herself.
A knock on her door nearly made her jump. “Griffin… You okay? I heard you yell…” Faragonda asked, her voice laden with concern. Griffin took a breath.
“I… You can come in…” She voiced, leaving her bathroom as Faragonda came in. The fairy was still in her own pajamas, a shirt much too large for her covering her slight frame, hair fanned out in places.
“You okay? Did something happen?” Faragonda asked again. Griffin shook her head.
“Nothing… Nothing real anyway…” She sat down on her bed. “I’m still having those nightmares.” Faragonda sat beside her, pulling her into a hug.
“Hey… No shame in nightmares.” She gave a slight frown. “Though I am concerned about their frequency… Didn’t you say Lysslis could control dreams to an extent?” Griffin swore.
“I did… She can… I just… I don’t think she can actually get to me here… The Fortress of Light is too well warded against their magic…” Griffin shook her head. “Anyway… I need to get started. I’ve been hearing rumors that Neruman and Acheron are working together on Eros.”
Faragonda stood in front of Griffin. “I’m going to say this as your friend… Are you sure you need to be working this hard right now? I mean… I get that it’s not field work or active duty… But all this planning and strategizing and focusing on the Coven can’t be good for your health.”
Griffin stood, letting herself tower a bit over Faragonda. (She loved being taller than her counterpart. She really did.) “Fara… If I don’t put myself to use, Erendor and Oritel will kill me. Or at least, they’ll be more likely too. They already barely trust me.”
“But Daphne and Marion do. And so does Samara.” Griffin snorted.
“And that only goes so far, Faragonda…”
The fairy took the witch’s hand. “In your mind, maybe… But in reality, it means more than you think.” Griffin rolled her eyes.
“If you’re not going to be any help, please leave.” She smirked. “Besides, I’m sure Hagen’s looking for his shirt.” Faragonda flushed.
“I stole this shirt fair and square, thank you very much.” She tried to fight back, turning to leave. “And I know I can’t talk you out of planning, but at least eat breakfast first… I’d rather not have you pass out. Again.”
Griffin scoffed. “It was one time. And we managed to catch Andre and Calliope.”
“You. Passed. Out.” Faragonda gave a look. “If I don’t see you down for breakfast, I will send Palladium and Salvador after you. And you know how annoyingly cozy they’ve gotten the past few months.” Faragonda threatened.
Griffin swore. The fairy was right. Her brother and the elf were practically attached at the hip… And if she thought her brother’s form of jokes were awful… Palladium’s were even worse. “Fine. Fine.”
Griffin studied the group before her. Zarathustra, Ediltrude, Griselda, DuFour, Erendor, and Codatorta.
“I know you may think that you’ll be overkill for dealing with just two members of the Coven, but considering who you’re going after… This is for your own protection. Neruman is an exceptionally skilled wizard, not to mention his blood bond to Lysslis is… Strong to say the least.”
“And then there’s Acheron. With his… Legendarium… He can bring forth and control creatures of absolute nightmare. Taking them both down will require teamwork and trust.” Griffin looked to Erendor. “I know that may be difficult for some of you, but their specialty is to divide and conquer. Don’t let them do that to you.”
She handed a piece of paper to Zarathustra. “This paper is an incantation that should be able to imprison Acheron inside his own book. You won’t be able to do so alone, as it’ll require both dark and light magic.” She turned to Griselda and DuFour. “You two will need to help the twins with this spell.”
“Agreed. We can’t have them running around and committing more mayhem.” Griselda nodded, closing her eyes. She and DuFour shifted into the enchantix forms, ready for battle. Zarathustra gave a slight once over to the brunette.
“You sure you can fight in that thing?” She teased. Griselda huffed.
“Of course we can.”
Erendor looked to Griffin. “Alright… So we have an incantation to stop Acheron, what about Neruman?”
Griffin smiled at him and Codatorta. “If the two of you can move fast enough, you can overwhelm him. Just keep him distracted long enough for Acheron to be put down. Then I’m sure the fairies and witches will help you two.”
“We can do that, can’t we Erendor?” Codatorta laughed. “We’ll show that fucker who’s boss.”
Erendor rolled his eyes. “I suppose.” He turned to Griselda. “Wanna portal us to Eros?” The fairy waved her hands.
“After you, your majesty.”
“I can feel the two of you in the room.” Griffin commented, turning to face her brother and Palladium.
“You were meant to.” Salvador gave a grin. “Come on… It’s lunch time. And I know you want to wait around in case of trouble and whatever… But you need to eat.”
Palladium took a few papers and files from Griffin. “I don’t mind covering for you, Griffin. I mean… It’s what we do here. Take turns. Keep from making each other exhausted.” The elf gave a smile.
Griffin glared. “Fine. But I’m coming back just as soon-” The portal opened up, Erendor and Codatorta were leading in, Neruman in chains.
Zarathustra held a book tightly to herself, chatting with Griselda while DuFour and Editrude shook their heads.
“I take it all went well?” Griffin asked. Neruman glared at Griffin and Salvador.
“I’ll be damned… You’re still alive and well. Thought Acheron’s pet Hydra was supposed to do you in?” Salvador gave a teasing smile.
“You know, we thought about dying… But decided against it. Just wasn’t in the plans, you know?” Salvador taunted. “You, on the other hand, are going to be meeting some very nice ice snakes.”
“Come on… We can’t keep your fellow Councilmen waiting.” Erendor taunted as he and Codatorta forced Neruman out.
Zarathustra set the book down. “So we trapped him inside of the Legendarium… But we have no idea where we should send it to…”
“I suggested Earth since it no longer has magic… I mean… How could he be released if no one on Earth has the power to do so?” Ediltrude asked. DuFour tipped her hat.
“That could be a good idea… I mean… It’s Earth. No one really believes in magic there anyway…” Griselda huffed.
“I think we should send it to a museum… Or to the Omega dimension… We shouldn’t take chances.” She recommended.
Salvador hummed. “I don’t know… Earth seems the most unlikely place for him to be able to escape. I mean… Edi’s right… There’s no magic on Earth, which means even if it gets read, no one will be doing anything destructive.”
Ediltrude glared at Salvador for the nickname, but before she could say anything, Palladium gave his own opinion. “Griselda has a point to though… Who would go looking for anything in Omega?”
Griffin sighed. “I’m honestly not the one to who makes these sort of decisions. See if you can get an audience with Oritel and Marion… I’m sure they have a few ideas. Maybe get a vote taken…”
DuFour paused. “You okay, Griffin? You look tired.”
“She’s not been eating well. Which is why we were going to force her to take a lunch break.” Salvador wrapped an arm around his sister. “Come on… I’m pretty hungry too.” Griffin rolled her eyes.
“One of these days…”
Chapter 8: Chapter Eight: Training
“Alright, here’s a few spells I think you two could use against Griselda and Wizgiz during this… Training exercise. To make it more like a real encounter with the Ancestral Witches and their Coven members.” Griffin handed a few scraps of paper to her friends.
Zarathustra frowned. “I don’t know, Griffin… Can we really pull these off?”
“I think so. Just focus on the negative energy around you. I know it may be difficult because of us being in the Fortress, but I trust you two.” Griffin gave a smile. “Besides, if I can’t help with this… I’d like you two to do so.”
“I suppose we can make it work.” Ediltrude sighed. “Assuming our asses don’t get kicked.” She led Zarathustra down to the field.
Griffin took her seat near Alyssa and Saladin. “What was that about?” Alyssa asked, bouncing her daughter on her leg. A sweet little girl with brown tufts of hair and the brightest green eyes. Griffin couldn’t help but smile at the baby.
“I was just letting Zarathustra and Ediltrude in on a few spells the Coven taught me… To make this more believable…” The chuckled when the little girl grabbed her finger, squeezing tight. “What’s her name?” Alyssa grinned.
“Flora… Flora Grace La Rosa.” Alyssa kissed the top of her girl’s head. “And if you think I have Rhodos wrapped around my finger… You should see him with her.” Griffin chuckled.
“So she’s a daddy’s girl…?”
“She tends to be.” She held Flora close. “I hope to be back on active soon though… Sitting around… Drives me crazy.”
Griffin snorted. “You’re telling me.” Saladin gave a fake cough.
“Ladies… I think Griselda and DuFour are about to get started.” He gestured down the field. Griselda and DuFour had transformed into their enchantix forms.
“This should be interesting… I hope Zarathustra and Ediltrude can pull this off.” Griffin muttered.
Griselda was demonstrating a few anti-dark magic spells as Zarathustra and Ediltrude ‘fought’ with her and DuFour.
Neither side was giving in as Ediltrude changed the pace, using a spell to turn the field to ice and nearly icing up DuFour’s wings.
Zarathustra started up a psychic attack, messing with Griselda and DuFour’s thoughts. For a moment, the fairies started fighting with each other, an illusion making them think the other was the enemy.
Though, in the end, Griselda and DuFour managed to beat the witches with a convergence spell that involved their fairy dust. Griffin studied it, making a few mental notes.
A spell like that could come in handy later on, after all…
The next to spar was Salvador training with Hagen. Griffin wanted to laugh, but she knew her brother was a decent fighter…
Not the best… But decent. Of course… Hagen was better. And trained with a sword. And just a bit too sturdy to be knocked off balance by a few illusion spells…
The training sessions ended, a few new spells learned by all that could come into play. “I think for the next session, I’ll summon a few shadow creatures… That should be make things really interesting.” Griffin suggested.
Griselda hummed. “I think that’d be great. Tomorrow good for you?”
“Assuming we’re not going after someone.” Griffin agreed. Griselda smiled.
“I think that should work.”
Chapter 9: Chapter Nine: Nightmares
It took some finagling and some rune drawing, not to mention at least three different protection spells, but Griffin was able to visit with her mother at Rancor.
Finally. Theodora had been pleased with seeing that her daughter was alright, though she did give a stern lecture about cults and how trusting the Ancestral Witches isn’t something anyone should do…
Which of course led to the discussion of Griffin being pregnant. “I could have sworn I taught you to be careful.” Theodora reminded. Griffin sighed.
“I thought I was.” She gave a slight smile. “But… I don’t think there’s anything I’d change… Well… One thing I’d change. But you can’t force someone to change sides.” She stroked Sasha’s fur, letting some of her nervous energy go.
“Well… I suppose there are worse things.” Theodora chuckled. She paused when she noticed her daughter’s actions. “Okay… What’s wrong? Is it the pregnancy? The emotional hazards?” Griffin snorted.
“My emotions are… Mostly fine.” Griffin bit her lip. “It’s the… I guess the guilt that’s eating me… And the what ifs… And… Playing back a few memories where red flags should have went off but they didn’t…” Theodora took her daughter’s hand.
“Griffin… We all have moments like this… What you need to focus on right now is that you’re doing what’s right for you and the child. You got away from a cult, you escaped an emotionally manipulative man, and now you’re the Company of Light.” Griffin squeezed her mother’s hand.
“That may be so… But… I can’t help but shake the thought of… I never should have went with Salvador that day. I never should have gotten close to Valtor… Hell… I never should have bound myself to him.” Theodora’s eyes lit up.
“Please tell me you broke that bond.” She said. Griffin nodded.
“Yeah… All that’s left is a scar…” She sighed. “A reminder…” She gave a slight smile when Sasha started purring, rubbing against her and letting her pet the soft grey fur.
“I just… What if I could have changed his mind if I’d stuck it out a little longer? Or… What if I do end up dying in this war… And they get the child?” Griffin felt her panic rise at that thought.
She could almost picture it, her child raised by the Ancestral Witches and the father… Turning out with no conscience or sense of the Balance. Merciless. Abused by the Witches and the crystals they used to ‘keep Valtor in line’ as a child. It made her sick.
“Griffin… None of your fears will come to pass. You’re a strong witch, much stronger than I would be in your shoes.” Griffin looked to her mother, tilting her head.
“What do you mean?” Her mother, aside from the Ancestral Witches, was the strongest witch she knew…
“I mean what I said. You’re stronger than I would be. You faced off against the Council. Twice. You had the courage to leave the Ancestral Witches when you realized what they were doing. You even managed to convince your brother into leaving with you.” Theodora smiled.
“You finished your father’s work. You changed things for witches in the dark realms, you’ve made things better. And now you’re working with your former enemies to take down the Ancestral Witches while facing the reality of being a single mother. That’s something I never could have done.”
Griffin gave a slight smile. “Maybe… But that doesn’t change… I betrayed the friends I’d made with the Coven. Some were legitimately good people. Just… misguided. And Valtor… I hate to admit it… But I did love him. I did see a future with him. And now I just feel like one of those pixies who has to face reality…”
“You can’t just stop loving someone, no matter what they do. And despite everything, a small part of you will always love him. You may never respect him or trust him again… But the love will always be there. And those friends you talked about… If they see how you and Salvador made it, how the two of you managed to escape… They’ll see they can too.” Theodora cupped her daughter’s face.
“You’re going to be fine, Griffin. You and my granddaughter.” Griffin smiled, then paused.
“Granddaughter?” She raised her eyebrow. “Mother… Have you been future-sighting again?”
“Perhaps.” Theodora grinned. “But if you need verification, I’m sure you’re friend Ophelia will do so… but the child is a girl. I can see her now. She’ll have his eyes, but oh… She’ll look like you. And, unfortunately for the magical universe, act like you, for the most part.” Her mother teased.
Griffin rolled her eyes. Her mother was reliable at making predictions… But they could be off sometimes… “I’m sure… But I’m going to get that verification… You have been wrong before.” She reminded. Theodora pulled her graying hair back.
“I was only wrong because I didn’t have the correct information beforehand.” She excused. “Now… Is it true that your brother is messing around with an elf?” Griffin snickered.
“Let me tell you about Palladium, Mother. Though… As far as Salvador’s boyfriends go… Palladium seems to the most decent.”
She was running again, faster and faster. Three crystals appeared, encasing her in a trap. “You pledged yourself to us, Griffin. We own you.” A familiar irritated voice called. Belladonna. Griffin couldn’t react in time, feeling the ice blades pierce her arms and legs.
She was pinned. A jolt of electricity ran up her body as Tharma whipped her over and over again with the lightning whip. “Traitors all share the same fate.” She cackled.
“Death is the only escape from us!” Lysslis reminded her, smoke encasing her, burning her lungs.
Griffin tried to fight back, but it was no use. She was going to die here…
An unfamiliar blast of power hit her. “I can’t believe you tried to keep me from my birthright.” A young child’s voice called. A small girl with purple hair and blue eyes. “But it’s fine now, Mother. My grandmothers have taught me everything I needed to know.” Griffin wanted to shriek.
To scream. This couldn’t be happening… It couldn’t….
She woke with a start, books falling around her. She’d been trying to find a way to capture Mandragora and must have dozed…
“Griffin! You okay?!” Daphne asked. The blonde rushed over, helping Griffin sit up. “I heard you scream out.” Her amber eyes were filled with worry.
Griffin shook her head. “Don’t… Don’t worry about me. I… It was just a bad dream.” She took a breath. “Never join a cult… It sticks with you.” Griffin half-teased. Daphne gave a wry smile.
“Yeah, no promises. Thinking of starting my own.” She teased back. “Hey... Just… So you know… I wanted to thank you… For the other day. Oritel’s been letting me come on a few missions… Though I think it’s only because Marion can’t.”
Griffin smiled. “If he’s anything like my brother, he needs someone to be his impulse control.” She teased.
Daphne laughed. “Oh yeah. That’s my Oritel.” She leaned against a bookcase. “So… I don’t suppose you want to talk about your nightmare?”
“Not on your life.” Griffin stood. “Shouldn’t you be at Alfea right now? Isn’t it a school day?” Daphne snorted.
“I was there earlier. Besides, helping with the Company of Light gives me credits. I may even graduate early.” She grinned, helping pick up the books. “Poison?”
“I’m working on a plan to stop Mandragora… She’s one of the more powerful lackey’s the Ancestral Witches have. And if we can stop her… That’s a big step.” Daphne hummed.
“Isn’t this the spell DuFour and Griselda came up with?” Griffin smiled.
“Let’s just say I’m learning from you fairies… Just like I hope you’re learning from Salvador.” And me, she doesn’t say.
“Life works best when we learn from each other.” Daphne agreed. “Want some help?” Griffin smiled.
“Find us a table… I don’t think I can do the floor again… Valkyrie is not happy when we’re on the ground.” Daphne grinned.
“Valkyrie, huh? That’s different.”
“I just… Have high hopes for her… Even if I don’t have them for me anymore.” Griffin admitted. “Come on… Mandragora won’t stop herself.”
Chapter 10: Chapter Ten: Saving Matlin
- Saving Matlin
Griffin winced a bit, placing a hand on her stomach. “Easy there, Valkyrie… I know I promised a story… I know… but right now we need to wait on Mandragora to be brought in.” She tried to soothe.
Marion chuckled as she walked over. She was beginning to show too, her red hair loose and lines showing where she’s had trouble sleeping. “I take it yours is just as demanding as mine?” She teased.
Griffin groaned. “I don’t know what’s worse… The being kicked in the middle of the night or the weird cravings at all hours.” Marion shook her head.
“Tell me about it. I can’t even share a bed with Oritel right now because I’m burning hot most days.” She gave a smile. “Though I feel that means our little girl will share our power.” Griffin swore softly.
“Which means, more than likely, mine will have his powers… To keep things Balanced.” She leaned back. “I still worry about what I’m going to tell her… When she’s older.”
“Find a way to say the truth in a way she’ll understand… Depending on the age when she starts asking.” Marion gave Griffin a once over. “Have you been sleeping any better? Or have you still been having those nightmares?”
“Still having nightmares. And they’ve been getting worse…” Griffin sighed. “I just… I don’t know what else I can do. I’ve tried Palladium’s sleep potion. I’ve tried Faragonda’s meditation tactics. I even went so far as to get one of those Solarian lamps to try and sleep better. Nothing works.” She looked to Marion. “I take it you’re not getting much sleep either.”
“Bloom has discovered her feet.” Marion shook her head. “Which means she’s discovering my ribs.” Griffin couldn’t help but laugh.
“Oh I never thought I’d be so glad to be in the same boat with you.” Marion chuckled.
“I never thought we’d be pregnant together.” A portal began to open and both women stood, ready in case whoever came in needed help with their prisoner. (Or with themselves. The number of times someone came in injured was… It was something.)
Ho-Boe came in, frantic and holding Matlin in his arms. She was unconscious, dark hair down. Ho-Boe had singed clothes and was breathing hard. “It was Mandragora! She was on Melody and…” He swore. “She attacked us. We fought back, but Matlin… Matlin was hit…” Griffin looked to Marion.
“Get her to the infirmary. I’m headed to the potionology lab. Salvador and Palladium should be able to find an antidote.”
“Hurry. Please.” Ho-Boe shook. “I can’t lose her… I can’t lose them.” Griffin paled. So Matlin was pregnant too… Great. That just made things even worse.
“I’ll do my best.”
Griffin paced. “Can’t you two work any faster?” She asked. Palladium looked back.
“Unfortunately, no. We’re already working as fast as we can. I mean, we’ve shaved off a few hours thanks to your catalogue of poisons Mandragora uses… But the prep is…”
“It’s got to be an exact science, Sister. Don’t worry… We’ve got this.” Salvador flashed his signature smile. “Matlin will be good as new in no time.”
Griffin bit her lip. “I hope so… Ho-Boe is… He’s depending on us.” She made her way out of the lab and toward the infirmary waiting room.
Faragonda was curled into Hagen, shaking. Matlin was one of her close friends, so it was no surprise that she was worried.
Zarathustra was comforting Griselda, holding the slightly smaller fairy close and whispering to her. Attempted jokes if Griselda’s unamused look was anything to go by.
Ho-Boe was pacing, Marion trying to keep him calm. “You don’t understand, Mari… I love her… She’s… She’s my best friend, my wife. She… She’s the song I dare not sing… The mother to my future child.” He seemed like he was unraveling. “I abdicated the throne of Melody to my cousin for her.”
Marion placed a hand on his shoulder. “I get that. But all this worrying isn’t going to do anyone any good.” She reminded him.
Erendor walked in with Oritel, both men glaring at Griffin. “Why didn’t you warn us that Mandragora was headed for Melody?! We could have had guards waiting on her.” Griffin glowered.
“I’m not a member of the Coven anymore, so I don’t know their movements. All I can do is predict where they’re headed based on patterns they’ve made. Melody was never on Mandragora’s radar before, therefore, I never thought about it.”
Saladin and Amelia walked in, quickly stepping between the monarchs and Griffin. “Don’t you dare try to pin this on her.” Amelia glared.
“That’s right. She’s been a true Company member. No need to question her loyalty.” Saladin argued.
Oritel looked between the two of them. “When are you both going to remember that she bound herself in blood to Valtor?”
“I broke that bond, thank you.” Griffin spat. She gestured to Ho-Boe. “And right now, he needs support, not us bickering. So please, comfort your friend before you make things worse.” She half-threatened.
She hated being on the spot like that. She hated how everything was still automatically her fault because of a mistake or two she’d made. (The Ancestral Witches had given her everything she thought she wanted… They were smooth talkers, a cult with a fairly attractive leader as a figurehead. And she… She was young, idealistic, and foolish…)
Faragonda and Hagen directed her to come sit near them, Saladin and Amelia taking the chairs on the other side of her. Friends she could wait on…
Palladium and Salvador rushed out of the potionology lab and made their way into the heart of the infirmary, some sort of jars in their hands.
Everyone waited with baited breath, when Ophelia came out. “Ho-Boe, Matlin wants to see you…” She gave a smile. “She’s going to be fine.” Ho-Boe broke out into a grin, relief just radiating from him.
“She’s fine. She’s fine!” He laughed, making his way with Ophelia to the back. Palladium and Salvador walked back out, still slightly grim.
“What’s the prognosis? I mean… Ophelia said she was fine… But the way you two are looking…” Amelia started.
“It’s only a temporary solution… We made a potion that will work… For now. She’ll need a dose a week to keep the poison from completely entering into her heart. But we think we’ve got her saved for the time being.” Palladium answered.
“You couldn’t find a complete cure?” Hagen asked. Salvador shook his head.
“Mandragora… Doesn’t exactly work that way. Most of the poisons she uses are benign. You’ll feel sick for a few days and then you’ll be fine. Flu symptoms… But this new kind she used… It’s designed to kill. Which means the Coven is upping their game.” Salvador looked to Griffin. “They’re starting their execution plans.”
Griffin swore, getting to her feet. “Which means we have no time to waste. I’m going back to the library. There has got to be a way to catch her.”
“Matlin said she wasn’t working alone…. Someone called Zatura was helping her?” Saladin swore.
“Zatura…?” He looked to Griffin. “Zatura joined the Coven?” Griffin sighed.
“She’s bound to Belladonna. And Mandragora is bound to Lysslis. Those two must need Melody for something…” Griffin felt her mind racing, trying to piece it all together. She made her way out, heading straight for the library…
Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven: Stopping Mandragora and Zatura
- Stopping Mandragora and Zatura
Griffin fought with an unknown assailants, swapping power blasts and energy. A triangular trap tied around her, making her enable to move. She swore, trying to find an escape.
“Come home, Griffin… Come home… Join your brothers and sisters. You’re one of us.” Voices began to chant. Faces flashed around her, all members of the Coven’s Inner Circle.
“Join us. Join us.”
Griffin tried to get out of the trap, when a hand grabbed her wrists. “You belong to me, remember Griffin? You said so yourself… You’re mine. Forever and always. You’re mine.” Valtor spoke, hands holding tight to her wrists.
Her forearm glowed, His Mark returning. “Mine.” He repeated. Griffin struggled against him.
“I’m done. I’m done with this.” She seethed. “I don’t belong to anyone!” She fought against him. He laughed, holding tighter.
“The child’s mine too, you know…? We could be a family…. Isn’t that what you want?” She swore, drawing power in and blasting at him, making him let her go.
She shot up, papers scattering. Oritel snorted, walking in from where he’d been watching, waiting. “Sleeping on the job?” He sneered. Griffin glowered at him, the urge to strike getting stronger and stronger.
“Let’s see you do this while pregnant.” She retorted, keeping her cool. He looked her papers over.
“Have you gotten anything? We need to get Mandragora and Zatura. They attacked one of our own and-”
“And it’s crucial to find them. I know.” She looked back at her papers. “And I might have just found them.” She looked at Oritel. “Get Palladium, Luna, Alyssa, and Hagen.” Oritel raised an eyebrow.
“Why them? Why not send Ho-Boe or me instead of Hagen?” Griffin rolled her eyes.
“Because Ho-Boe needs to be with Matlin and you don’t need to go out there and bringing attention to yourself. Without Marion, you’re only half of the Dragon Flame. If Valtor sees you out right now, you’ll be a sitting duck.”
“Okay… And the reason for the others?”
“Do I really have to explain myself to you?” Griffin glared. “Because so far, I’ve done well in my team placements. Or have you not been paying attention?” Oritel glowered.
“I’m the one in charge here, Witch. Don’t forget it.” He stormed off. Griffin took in a breath, trying to calm herself down.
“One of these days… One of these days…” She vowed, making her way toward the meeting room to debrief her chosen four.
Griffin pulled up Zatura and Mandragora’s files, waiting as the crew she’d picked joined her. Alyssa and Luna were already in their enchantix forms, ready to go. “So, how are we going to do this?” Luna asked, all confidence like she usually was.
“Simple. Zatura is a master illusionist. Luna, Hagen, she’s all yours. The two of you have power that comes from light. Natural and through your forge.” Griffin looked the both over. “Zatura’s magic will have little-to-no effect on you.”
She turned to Alyssa and Palladium. “You’re both immune to most poisons due to being who you are and coming from where you do. Which means Mandragora will have a harder time fighting the two of you than she would anyone else.”
“That being said… The four of you need to stay safe and be careful. Please.” The group gave a smile.
“Don’t worry, we’ve got this.” Luna reminded her.
“Mandragora and Zatura won’t know what hit them.” Palladium grinned. “Promise.” Luna opened the portal.
“Let’s grab them.”
Griffin smirked, moving her piece on the board. “Checkmate, Saladin.” Saladin swore.
“Are you cheating? You’re mind reading, aren’t you?” He asked. Griffin chuckled.
“No. I’m not cheating or mind reading. I’m just good at chess.” She stood. “Now, as nice as this distraction was… I should be getting back to my post.” Saladin frowned.
“Can’t do that. You see, we’ve been thinking, and by we, I mean Faragonda and your brother… And… You need to learn to take breaks. Longer breaks than just thirty minutes. I mean, you’re pregnant, Griffin. You can’t just act like you used to. Body doesn’t work that way.” Saladin reminded her.
She rolled her eyes, muttering about meddling brothers and nosy fairies. “Then who’s watching my post?”
“Salvador. He’s just as capable at running point as you are. I mean, he did bring in his ex. And a few other guys. Remember?” Griffin frowned.
“Fine. Then what-”
An alarm rang out. Griffin swore. “What is that?” She asked. Saladin drew his staff.
“That is the alarm. A prisoner escaped. Which means we need to get you somewhere safe.” Griffin glared.
“I can protect myself.” She reminded him.
“I understand that… I do… But you’re pregnant and your powers are unreliable right now.” Saladin looked at her. “Now let’s get to cover.”
Griffin hated hiding out. She hated having Saladin protect her. And she hated not knowing who it was that had escaped.
Noises outside the room they were in got her attention. Zatura and Mandragora’s voices were arguing. Griffin swore.
“We have to stop them.” She whispered to Saladin. He took in a breath.
“You mean, I do. I’ll get their attention, you need to-” The door opened. Mandragora smirked, her blue hair strayed out, clothes torn.
Zatura seemed tired, but manic. Eyes widened and smile crooked. “Lookie here… A traitor and a wizard.”
“I bet our Mistresses would just love to see you, Griffin… You’ve been so bad.” Mandragora opened her palms, about to summon her pets.
Griffin couldn’t keep herself from casting a spell, one that rendered Mandragora mute. Saladin grinned, using his staff to draw his power out, attacking both Mandragora and Zatura.
The witches jumped out of the way, Zatura’s leg getting hit and causing her to fall. “That’s not very gentlemanly Saladin.”
“Sorry, I don’t care for harpies.” He sneered, sending another blast toward her. Mandragora glared up at Griffin, grabbing the nearest object for a weapon.
Griffin cast a shield spell, trying to keep herself protected.
The commotion brought on the attention of the others. Alyssa and Palladium made it over, Palladium’s clothing torn from the previous battle. He and Alyssa joined forces, creating living vines to tie down the witches.
“And that should do it.” Palladium smirked, cuffing them. Zatura glared.
“This isn’t over!” She looked to Griffin, snarling. “You’ll get yours. They will kill you. And they will make you wish you’d never been born.”
Mandragora tried to speak, still muted by Griffin’s spell. She glowered at Griffin, her meaning all the same.
Griffin noticed the others looking at her. She shook her head, giving a smile. “I’m getting used to the traitor speeches. Trust me. I’m fine.” She took a breath. “I think I’m going to lay down. I’m not feeling well.” She made her way to her room, needing the privacy.
She couldn’t help but smile, looking her room over. It’d become smaller, making room for a bassinet and a changing table. A small dresser for baby clothes. A little basket of toys. It wasn’t much for a nursery, but it was a start.
Hagen had actually crafted the bassinet, using his forge’s magic to enchant it. Griffin would always know if someone was near her child, or if her child wasn’t there. Faragonda and Amelia had assisted in getting the changing table and clothing, arguing over which little Valkyrie would actually end up wearing.
And Saladin had brought books. Simple children story books, but it was a wonderful gesture. A slight kick made her laugh.
“Okay… What story do you want? We have ‘The Tale of the Dragon and the Gryphon’.” She scrunched up her nose. “Your Uncle Saladin thinks he’s funny with that one.” She looked at the next book. “There’s… Nope that’s for when you’re at least five and your powers start coming in… Though I’m not sure what help a ‘My First Spell Book’ will be.”
Another kick. Get on with it. “Okay… Okay…. This may turn you into a cat lady like your grandmother, but I’ll read about ‘Three Little Kittens’.” She half-teased, opening the book.
This was the only time she felt more like herself. She wasn’t fighting or plotting, and no one could make her feel worse than she did. It was just her and her daughter. Her own, special Valkyrie.
Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve: Curse of the Sirenix
12. Curse of the Sirenix
Griffin couldn’t help but laugh. Salvador and Palladium were doing ‘impressions’ of Zarathustra and Griselda, earning them glares and curses from said women. It quickly escalated into an exchange of jokes and bad memories at the others’ expense.
It was… The most normal conversation she’d been part of in a long time. It wasn’t long before Faragonda and Ediltrude decided to join in on the teasing, leaving them wide open for attacks on their own loves of choice.
“You have no room to laugh, Griffin! You’re the one who joined a cult for a guy.” Ediltrude sneered. Griffin rolled her eyes.
“At least I didn’t try to bewitch anyone. Remember junior year, Ediltrude? Because I do.” Griffin teased. Zarathustra chuckled.
“She got you there, Edi.” Ediltrude glared at her sister.
“Seriously? Edi? Okay. Guess we’re going back to Zara then.” The dark haired witch sneered. Her green haired sister snorted, leaning into her girlfriend.
“See how I get treated, Griz?” She pouted. Griselda shook her head.
“Witches… What can you do?” Faragonda laughed.
“I guess we befriend them.”
“Yeah, who’d have thought we’d all be sitting here together? I mean, back in the day, we’d have tried to kill each other.”
“Wow… Sounds like high school with you guys was fun.” Salvador teased. “I wasn’t able to go to Red Fountain because of my tendencies with dark magic, but I bet it was fun.”
Hagen gave a smile. “You didn’t miss much. Just girls being girls.” Griffin snorted.
“And you guys picking sides.” Griffin reminded him. Hagen shrugged.
“You ever try saying ‘no’ to Faragonda? Because I’ve tried and it’s difficult.” Hagen reminded.
Griffin was going to retort when the doors of the dining hall slammed open. “Witch! You’re coming with me!” Griffin paused, looking to Oritel.
“My name is Griffin, I know you know that. And before I go anywhere with you, what’s this about?” Griffin asked, getting to her feet. She wasn’t very intimidating anymore, not with her bump more prominent.
Oritel paused, worry on his face. “Fine. Griffin. I need you on Domino. It’s Daphne. And the only one who can deal with this is you.” Griffin frowned.
“What are you talking about? What happened to Daphne?” Oritel glared, more from impatience than actual anger.
And fear. Griffin could feel the fear radiating from him. “Those damned hags you used to work for cursed her! And she’s… She’s raving and attacking people. I had her locked away in Domino’s dungeons, but it won’t hold her long.”
Griffin took a breath, looking to her brother and the others. “Okay. I’ll help you with Daphne. I’d hate to lose one of the only level-headed Dominans I’ve ever known.” Griffin teased. “Lead the way.”
Oritel nodded, taking her out of the dining hall and toward a portal he’d opened.
The Dungeons of Domino weren’t so bad compared to most she’d been in. Well lit, blue brick. Almost lovely.
Almost. She could hear the screeching of Daphne, yelling curses and hexes that a fairy shouldn’t know. When they stood in front of her, Griffin could have cried.
The Daphne she knew was a sweet young girl with wide amber eyes. Long blonde hair that just seemed to dance with her. A kind, but determined smile always at her lips.
The Daphne before her was a strong difference. She was in a version of her Sirenix form, wings dinged and hanging low. Her hair was a duller color than normal, her face in a scowl. Eyes black, almost demonic. Her clothes ripped and dark in color.
“I will rip you all apart!” She shrieked, a voice not even belonging to the Princess of Domino. Griffin swore.
“What did they do to her….?” She asked. Oritel shook his head.
“I don’t know. It happened so fast…” He grabbed Griffin’s shoulders. “You have to fix her. You’re the strongest dark magic user I know that isn’t…. That isn’t with them. You have to fix her.” Oritel’s face had softened, full of worry and fear. “Please save my sister.”
Griffin looked to angry girl in the cage, pacing around and swearing like some sort of shadow creature. “I’ll do my best. But I don’t want to make a promise I can’t keep.” Griffin went closer to the cell.
“Daphne… Daphne… I know you’re in there. You have to listen to me carefully. We’re not your enemy. You need to trust-” Daphne lunged at her. Only the cell bars protected Griffin from the attack.
“The last time we trusted you, you ran scared to the Company. Unworthy of the title of Witch!” Daphne snarled.
Griffin caught the sigil on her arm. A triad of symbols she’d seen before. “They bound her in blood and it’s corrupted her.” Griffin told Oritel.
Oritel tilted his head. “What the hell does that mean?”
“It means we don’t have much time before the corruption takes over and Daphne becomes a permanent monster.” Griffin walked over to Oritel. “Go to Alyssa. Tell her to get a vial of tears from the Black Willow. And tell Luna that I’m going to need those spell catchers. And I’m going to need to borrow those anti-magic cuffs.” She paused. “And something to drink if you can swing that. This spell is going to leave a bad taste in both our mouths.”
Oritel furrowed his brow. “But it’ll work?”
“It’s the only thing that will. Now go.” Oritel nodded, making another portal and walking through.
Griffin turned back to the Sirenix fairy. “Tell me, who do you think you are?”
Daphne snarled. “I am the heir of Domino. I am the downfall of Oritel’s reign. And I will end you, traitor.” Griffin studied the fairy’s movements.
“Right. Right. And are these your own thoughts? Or are they thoughts implanted in you by the Ancestral Witches? Trust me… I know it’s hard to distinguish sometimes. But you’ve got to fight them, Daphne.” The fairy hissed
“Stop acting like you know me!”
“I don’t know you. You’re right.” Griffin gave a smile. “But I do those hags that are pulling your strings. And I know how much you do love your brother. I remember that you took a lightning blast for him not too long ago. You helped him with his coronation speech.”
“I also know that you’re a stronger fairy than they are witches.” Griffin reminded. “I mean, how weak is a witch if she has to draw power from more powerful beings? That’s a parasite, not a witch.”
Daphne snarled. “You don’t know anything!” She lunged again.
The portal opened back up, Oritel walking in with the requested items. “How are we setting this up…?”
Griffin stood. “Cuff her and I’ll set it up. Just make sure she can’t break free or attack me.” Oritel nodded, easing in close.
“Daphne… Daphne… It’s okay… I’m just going to make sure you become yourself again.” He cuffed her quick, looking down as she snarled at him.
Griffin walked into the cell with the items, setting up the catchers in a triangle pattern. She started the chant, the catchers lighting up, almost a blinding white light emanating from them.
Griffin opened the vial of Willow tears, tossing them around Daphne, watching as the sigil on her arm began to disappear into a scar. Griffin continued the chant, not stopping until the light and water became one around the princess.
Soon enough, the woman before them was the Daphne they knew and cared for. Her hair back to golden blonde, eyes wide with wonder. “What… What happened?” She asked, wincing. “And what the hell is that taste?” Griffin laughed, handing her the juice Oritel had brought them.
“Trust me, it’s better if you don’t know.” She took a sip from her own cup. “How are you feeling?”
“Like my head was going to explode.” She looked up, smiling at Oritel. “Why do you look like your dog died?”
Oritel gave a slight laugh. “I’m just… I’m thrilled to have you back, that’s all.” Daphne frowned.
“What do you….” She paused, realization hit. “I was spelled. Majorly spelled.” Griffin sighed.
“Cursed, actually.” Griffin bit her lip. “You can’t use your Sirenix anymore… It’s… It’s been corrupted.” Daphne jumped up.
“No way… I… That’s my power. I… I earned that form.” Griffin paused.
“I know. But what they did to you was blood magic… I was able to bring you back this time…. But… Your Sirenix form is cursed. If you use it again… I may not be able to bring you back.”
Daphne swore. “Great… Just great.” She looked to Oritel. “And I suppose I still have to go to Ophelia?”
“You do. You need to get check out.” He looked to Griffin. “Thank you, Wi-… Thank you, Griffin. For your help.” He gave a smile. “I… I owe you.” Griffin shook her head.
“Don’t worry about it. Just count it toward my ‘rehabilitation’ that Faragonda keeps talking about and we’ll call it even.” Oritel laughed.
“You got it.”
Chapter 13: Chapter Thirteen: Fighting For Andros
For the record, when I first watched Winx, it was the 4Kids dub... And I sort of prefer those voices for characters... Which is why Codatorta is coded as Irish/Scottish....
- Fighting for Andros
Griffin paced around, her breathing more labored. She was waiting on her team to arrive so she could deliver the news…
Andros was being attacked and newly crowned King Teredor and Queen Niobe needed assistance. Immediate assistance.
The doors opened, the crowd coming in. “What’s going on? We received the distress signal.” Faragonda flew in, ahead of the others. Good. The fairies were already shifted and ready for battle.
“The…” Griffin swallowed. “The Ancestral Witches have resurrected an ancient force known as the Army of Darkness. They are a force that protected Obsidian, back when the Monarchy was still in power.” Griffin bit her lip. “And they can only be summoned through the use of the Dragon Fire… Which means Valtor has discovered his true potential…” She looked at the group before her.
“They’re attacking Andros and Teredor and Niobe, along with King Neptune and Queen Ligea need assistance. The mermaids and Androsians are strong, but the army will not let up unless they’re defeated or banished.”
She looked the group over. “I picked you because your connections to light will better suited. Luna, Radius, you’ll need to lead separate charges against the army. Make groups within this one.”
She turned to Faragonda. “Keep to the air, and do not let them drag you underground. That will be your downfall.”
“And everyone, please be safe.” Luna grinned.
“Don’t worry, Griffin. We’ve got this.” She looked around. “Oritel won’t be joining us?” Griffin shook her head.
“Not this time. He wants to stay with Daphne and Marion at the moment.” Hagen nodded.
“Marion’s not been feeling well… I think she’s having as bad a time as you are.” Alyssa looked around. “But we don’t need to be focusing on that right now, we need to head out.”
Radius opened a portal. “Everyone, let’s move out.” The group marched out, leaving Griffin alone.
“And I’ll monitor…” A slight kick made her wince. “Or I’ll find Salvador and let him monitor while we go rest.” Griffin amended. Valkyrie was getting stronger, closer to being ready… Griffin just hoped it was soon.
“I still don’t like this… They should have been back by now… Maybe I should let Oritel know…? Send in some troops from Domino…? I mean… If the Dragon Fire can summon them, it can banish them too…” Griffin started writing out a plan for such a move. Ediltrude groaned.
“Griffin… I love you. You’re brilliant and you’re strong. But this…? You need to let it go. They’re all big boys and girls out there. They can handle anything. I mean, they even gave us a run for our money. Remember?” Ediltrude tried to lighten the mood.
“The witch is right. Ye just need to trust in them. Relax a bit.” Codatorta reclined a bit, laying on the couch. “Besides, not much ye can do right now anyway. Yer close to delivery. Ye can’t be gallivanting around fighting.”
Griffin sighed. “I know. I know. But I still feel responsible. I mean… If I hadn’t taken Valtor to Pyros… If I hadn’t trained with him… Maybe he never would have figured out how bring in the army…” She paused. “That’s it…”
She stood, looking to Ediltrude. “I need you to do me a favor.” Ediltrude sighed.
“I’m going to regret this… But sure… What do I need to do?”
“Go to Andros. Tell anyone on our side that they should be looking for Valtor. If the Army of Darkness is there, he has to be nearby. If they can weaken him or make him lose his control for even a moment, the Army will dissipate and go back into Oblivion.” Griffin took Ediltrude’s hand. “I’d do it myself, but… It needs to be you.”
Ediltrude gave a smile. “Guess I’m going to the beachfronts of Andros.” She looked to Codatorta. “Watch her for us… She’s got a tendency to overwork herself.” Ediltrude teased, opening a portal to walk through.
Codatorta chuckled. “She’s gotta point, Griffin. Relax. Grab some grub. Go to your room. They’ve got this.”
Griffin looked to him, amber eyes focused. “I hope you’re right… For the sake of the magical dimension… I hope you’re right.”
Griffin made her way into the infirmary, saying silent prayers that everyone was okay. “How bad is it? How is everyone?” Griffin asked, looking around the waiting room.
Luna gave a smile. She and Radius were sitting together with Rhodos and Alyssa. “We’re mostly okay. Niobe and Teredor are tending wounds on Andros. The others are here getting their wounds treated.”
Radius took a breath. “You were right, by the way. Valtor was the one behind the attack. Once we figured that out and started directing our attacks toward him, the Army of Darkness just… Faded.”
“Yeah. It was a lucky break too… We were… We could have died out there. It was…. It was bad.” Alyssa admitted. “But Ediltrude got the message to us in time.”
Griffin gave felt relief. “Good. I’m glad you’ve all made it back okay.”
“Oh we are too. I’d hate for our parents to try and raise Flora on their own.” Rhodos teased.
“Or our parents trying to raise Stella… She already has a schedule she’s on and… We’d rather not mess that up.” Luna laughed.
Griffin chuckled. “I’m sure they’d be okay. But it is great you’re all okay.” She took a breath, wincing a bit. A bit of pain hitting her. “Luna… Alyssa… Want to give me a run down on how you knew about when you were delivering?” She felt a bit damp. Not good.
“Griffin. Take a deep breath… I’m going to take you back into the infirmary and get you to lay down. Luna, why don’t you go and find Salvador and have him meet us back here?” Alyssa carefully took Griffin’s hand, trying to keep the calm.
Luna nodded, jumping up. “He’s at the meeting room, right?” Griffin gave a nod.
“He should be… Or he’s with Palladium in the… Potionology lab…” She answered. Luna looked to Radius and Rhodos.
“The three of us should be able to find him. Let’s go.” She scurried them out.
Alyssa led Griffin to an unoccupied infirmary room, casting the soundproofing spell. “Go ahead and change into this.” She handed the witch a gown. “I’ll go grab Ophelia.” Griffin paled.
“Is the Fortress even equipped for this?” She asked. Alyssa chuckled.
“It is. This is where I had Flora. And where Lidia had Diaspro. And Saladin’s sister had her son, Helia here.”
Griffin gave a slight smile. “That’s… That’s more encouraging…” Alyssa took her hand, squeezing.
“Don’t worry… We’re all here for you. Now…. I’m going to get Ophelia and Kaia. And I’m sure your brother will get your mother here. I know it may take time, but most of us had our own mothers there… It’s only natural.”
Griffin felt herself relax a bit. “Okay. Okay.” She watched as Alyssa left, wincing a bit more. “Hey there… Don’t get into a rush…. I’m not even sure I’m ready yet…” She chided, undressing and setting her clothes to the side, changing into the gown. “Oh this is gonna be awful… But I know it’s going to be worth it… Assuming you don’t kill me as part of your entrance into the world.” Griffin half-mused.
Chapter 14: Chapter Fourteen: Valkyrie
Griffin frowned over at the corner of the room. She’d been hooked up, worried over, check on, and now her mother and brother were chanting in the corner. “Am I allowed to know what’s going on? Because I’m fairly certain I should know about anything going in this particular room at this time.” She snipped.
Theodora gave a chuckle, pulling away from her son. “All we’re doing is saying a spell to promote a healthy and easy birth, and for my granddaughter to be of strong will and to have good instincts.” Griffin gave a weak smile.
“You mean better than mine and Salvador’s?” Theodora shook her head.
“I didn’t say that, Griffin. Your instincts have been wonderful so far. You made one mistake. One choice. It’s not on you that those… Those so-called witches pulled you in on false promises. They are considered the first and the most powerful of us… Not even I could have discerned their truths from their lies.”
“Besides… You never would’ve went along with it if I hadn’t pushed. So don’t worry about it.” Salvador paused. “While Mom was doing that… I may have made an invocation of my own… To the spirits of the Valkyries… I know, it’s cheesy and everything… But they guided and protected the warriors who were wounded and injured and they lead soldiers into making the best decisions… I just… I wanted them to protect and guide her.”
Salvador gave a bit of a sheepish smile. “I mean… Let’s face it… She’s your daughter, she’s definitely going to be a fighter.” Griffin had to stop herself from laughing.
“Stop. Don’t make me laugh right now… It hurts.” She leaned back. “I really hate this. Mom… How did you do it? And twice?”
Theodora snorted. “I ask myself that question every day. I mean…. You think I’d have learned after the first time… But then Salvador seemed a bit lonely and I remembered how great it was to have my sister growing up and your father had his brother…. So we had you.” She laughed.
“And Salvador hated having to share. He pouted the entire time I was pregnant with you. But once we brought you home and he got to hold you, he decided ‘I guess we can keep her’.” She chuckled. Griffin tried not to snicker as Salvador turned bright red.
“Thanks, Mother. Really appreciate that.” He shot out. Theodora ruffled his purple hair.
“Oh, Salvador… I can’t help it. That was one of the few times you weren’t trying to kill each other. I mean, as you two grew up, your father and I had to come up with more elaborate ways to separate you.”
At that time, Ophelia had come in, trying not to chuckle. “Oh I can imagine that. You should hear these two sometimes in the hallway. Especially when we had to start letting Salvador monitor missions instead of Griffin.”
Theodora sighed. “That may be my fault… I always preached to my children that if they wanted something done right, they needed to do it themselves…” Salvador snickered.
“Among other things… Like the right way to brush Sasha.”
“Or to pay attention when she warned us about something because if we did it anyway and got hurt… There was no sympathy. It was all ‘I told you this would happen. Go get cleaned up, it’s just a little blood.’” Griffin reminded. Theodora snorted.
“Oh please… The two of you couldn’t be coddled, even if I wanted to coddle you. Both of you were so independent. Though until Salvador told us he was gay, he often enlisted Griffin into helping do things he thought would impress a crush he had.”
Salvador flushed. “That only happened twice.” Ophelia hummed.
“Oh really? What things did you two do?”
“He talked me into a ballroom dance class. And horse-riding… Which… I actually enjoyed that one.” She winced, letting out a swear. “Okay… Valkyrie is going to have his sense of patience. Which is none.” She looked to Ophelia.
“Please… Please tell me it’s almost time. I know pain. I’m good with pain… But this…? This feels like I’m being torn apart.” Ophelia took her hand.
“Deep breaths. You’re going to be fine. Just a little longer, okay? You’ve made it to five. Do you want something to ease the pain?”
It became a blur after that… Talking with her mother and brother. Salvador getting asked to leave. Kaia coming in to assist.
And the cry… That cry into life. A small bundle handed to her, letting her feel her own child. A girl. A little girl.
Kaia took her, cleaning her off and weighing her, checking her out. Griffin didn’t have her glasses, but could see the blurs moving around, whispering.
“What’s going on? Is she okay?” She felt panic rise. Ophelia came over, handing the small, squirming baby to her. Griffin held her close, feeling the heartbeat, hearing the cries soothe into quiet.
“She’s fine, Griffin. She just… Has an interesting birth mark.” Griffin paused.
“The mark… A black dragon coiled up with the wings unfurled?” She asked. Theodora paused.
“You’ve seen it before then…?” Griffin nodded.
“Valtor has the same birth mark… It’s… It means the Dark Dragon Fire will reside within her.” Griffin held her daughter close, nuzzling the top of her thin purple strands. Purple hair… Her daughter would be like her, in that regard.
Pale skin, all ten fingers and toes. A hint of a sharp nose, like hers. Her eyes… Not quite ready to open. Not yet.
Ophelia and Kaia cast a quick spell, cleaning up the room. “Do you feel up for visitors yet? I know your brother is pacing out front… And Faragonda and Hagen have healed from the events of Andros, which means Faragonda is excited to meet the little one.”
Griffin looked down, focusing on the baby asleep in her arms. “Can… I wait a little bit? Just to… Calm down?” Ophelia nodded.
“Of course. It’s overwhelming bringing a child into the world.” Griffin gave a nod, looking her daughter over.
“Mom… Could you hand me the onesie Salvador brought in? And a diaper? I don’t want her getting cold…”
Faragonda cooed as she held the little witch. Valkyrie had been dressed in a black onesie with the yin-yang symbol, the symbol of Balance. “She’s so cute… How is she yours?” She teased at Griffin. Griffin rolled her eyes.
“Magic.” She deadpanned. She still feel tired, beyond tired, but it was great… Having her mother and brother around. And her friends. It was… Normal. Normal enough she could forget about the state of the world for a moment.
“Do you think her eyes will change?” Hagen asked, looking at the baby. Her eyes were open now, somewhat… A pale blue color.
“I hope so… But if she doesn’t inherit the Sylvane amber eyes… Well, that’s fine. I guess.” Salvador teased a bit.
Griffin shot him a look. “I’ll just be thrilled if she can see better than I can.”
Saladin chuckled. “You could always try contacts, Griffin.” She looked to Saladin.
“I know. I just can’t help the sinking feeling that I’d end up blinding myself further by forgetting to take them out.”
“Suit yourself.” Saladin grinned when it was his turn, holding the baby carefully. “She’s small…”
“Five pounds, seven ounces. And she’s about 17 inches long… Which… is a little small… But given how stressed I’ve been throughout the entire pregnancy… I’m not surprised.” Griffin admitted. Valkyrie made a little cry. “Hand her here. And everyone out…” She ordered.
Saladin handed her the baby. “Yeah… That would be our cue…”
The group made their way out, Theodora pausing. “I’m proud of you, Griffin. She’s beautiful.” Griffin gave a smile.
“Yeah… She is.”
Chapter 15: Chapter Fifteen: Life Balance
- Life Balance
She walked with Valkyrie, keeping her close and cooing to her as she skimmed over files and reports. There was a minor disturbance going on at Lunalia. Amaranth and Feras were leading a group of ShadowHaunt creatures in terrorizing the realms.
Valkyrie reached for the papers if they flew close enough, making little grunts of anger when she couldn’t reach. “I know, I know… But now’s not the time to mess with the files… Momma has to keep the rest of the team alive.”
She couldn’t help but smile at how serious her daughter looked with her face in a frown. Blue eyes shining… ‘Of all the things to get from him… It was his eyes…’ She couldn’t help but shake her head. At least they seemed to work better than hers.
“Okay Valkyrie… How about this… I turn it all over to your Uncle Salvador… and I go see if I can put you down for a nap?” A noise escaped her daughter. “Don’t argue with me… I can see you rubbing at your eyes.”
“Awww… That’s cute.” Salvador cooed, walking into the room. She gave a look to her brother.
“I haven’t even sent for you yet.” He chuckled, opening his hands to take Valkyrie.
“I wanted to come see my niece. Look how big you’ve gotten already… You’re only what… A month old? I’m so glad you’re bigger than you were… You were a bit small there at the start. Had me worried.” He cooed to the baby. Valkyrie reached for his fingers, holding tight. “Such a strong grip…”
Griffin chuckled. “She fighting sleep right now. Which means… You can either take her and try to get her to sleep… Or you can help the team fight a bunch of nightmare creatures on Lunalia.” Salvador hummed.
“Let’s see…. Help save the world…. Or help put you to sleep.” He cooed at the baby. “Now… I love you. I do… There’s not much I wouldn’t do for you. But the team needs someone to help keep them alive… And from what I’ve heard… Your mother tells the best naptime stories.” He handed her back to Griffin.
Griffin held her little girl tight. “Tell your Uncle Salvador you’ll see him soon. You’ve got a date with your bassinet and a stuffed dragon.” Salvador chuckled.
“Saladin really got her a plush dragon?” Griffin groaned.
“He did. But hey… She likes it. So who am I to judge?” He laughed.
“See? You can do this mom-thing.” She gave a weak smile.
“You say that… But this has just been four weeks… Four weeks of motherhood… I’m not even sure I’m real these days.” He looked her over.
“Let me guess… Sleep loss?” Griffin swallowed.
“Yeah…. I just… She cries and I tend to her. Or… I have a nightmare that she’s gone and I just have to… To be awake and watch her sleep and make sure she’s there.” Griffin kissed the top of Valkyrie’s head.
“I just… I can’t help but worry… You know?” Salvador placed a hand on her shoulder.
“You’re doing fine. And this…” He gestured to the Fortress. “This is something that will all blow over. It’ll pass. It might pass like a tsunami, but it will pass. And your daughter will never be like them. She will grow up knowing she’s loved and that she’s far more powerful than they will ever be.” Griffin gave smile, leaning into her brother.
“Thank you. I… I needed that.” Salvador smiled.
“Go put Little Dragon down for her nap. I don’t want to find out the hard way if she can breathe fire when she’s cranky.” He teased.
She set the book down, listening to the soft snoring of her little girl. She was stretched out in the bassinet, little arms and legs just sprawled. Her fingers would twitch and move every once in a while.
“It’s amazing how something so small can be so important…” She whispered. “It’s even more amazing how much you can change life for so many people… Your grandmother, for one… I’ve never seen her so soft… And your uncle absolutely adores you. I think he’s even trying to talk his elf into children.” She chuckled softly.
“Faragonda is so excited about being your fairy godmother… I’m sure you’ll tease me relentlessly for giving in to her when you’re older… And Saladin… He’s never curbed himself so much.” She smiled.
“Not to mention what you’ve done for me… I’m not going to lie… I was fine with dying for treason, I was fine with the Company killing me. I was even fine with the Coven killing me… But now… I have a new reason to live.” She carefully stroke Valkyrie’s little hand, grinning when her fingers gripped her finger.
“You’re already so strong.” She admired. “My little Valkyrie.”
Faragonda was flittering about, babbling to Valkyrie about this and that, showing her around the foyer of the Fortress. Griffin couldn’t help but shake her head. “I think she’s having a blast.”
“I do too.” Saladin laughed. “So, I heard you may be heading back into active duty soon.” Griffin nodded.
“I know I’m supposed to wait so long… But… With everything that’s at stake and how quiet the Coven has gotten recently… We can’t be short-staffed.” Saladin sighed.
“I’ll be glad when it’s all over… I can’t believe I’m saying this… But I’m ready to settle down.” He laughed. Griffin shook her head.
“I know what you mean… But they have to be stopped… Or we’ll all be doomed.” Faragonda skipped over, grinning.
“I don’t know why you two look so solemn… But Valkyrie is obviously having a better time out here than you are. Which means you need a hit of baby joy.” Faragonda chuckled. Griffin laughed, waving to Valkyrie.
“Your Aunt Fara is silly, isn’t she? Yeah… I can’t wait to hear you tell her how silly she is yourself.” Faragonda snorted.
“She might actually enjoy being in my presence.” She smirked. “Besides… She may end up being a fairy… Ever thought of that?” Griffin scoffed.
“While there would be nothing wrong with Valkyrie being a fairy… I have my doubts about it. One… She’ll be coming from a long line of witches. And two… Dark Dragon Fire.” Faragonda shrugged.
“Hey… She could be a dark fairy… They happen.” Saladin laughed.
“Yeah… Like once in a hundred years. Sorry, Faragonda… Little Dragon there is going to be a witch.” Saladin sided with Griffin.
“Hah.” Griffin laughed, taking Valkyrie into her arms. “No doubts here.” She teased.
Chapter 16: Chapter Sixteen: The Trial of Griffin Sylvane
Okay... So I won't be posting for a day or two because of work... Which is why you're getting this influx of chapters. Also... M warning for this chapter because this chapter contains torture elements. So... When you get to the ---WWWWW-----, skip if you don't want to read. This is your warning.
- The Trial of Griffin Sylvane
“This is a suicide mission… You know that right? I mean… Griffin this is insane!” Faragonda argued. Griffin sighed.
“I know. I know. But we need to get those artifacts back and we can’t do that unless they’re distracted…” She placed a hand on Faragonda. “Look, my mother is here to watch Valkyrie, so I know she’ll be safe. I gave you and Saladin a map of Obsidian… All you have to do is wait for Fiona to take me in.”
“Question… What makes you so sure Fiona won’t kill you on the spot, Sister dear…? Why not just jump in and start a fight with Valtor?” Salvador quipped. “Or maybe… Let me take the fall for this?”
Griffin shook her head. “No. I was Inner Circle. They’ll want to make an example of me and my betrayal. Something they wouldn’t do with a foot soldier. No offense, Salvador.” Salvador sighed.
“Are we forgetting that this is practically a suicide mission? Because I’m not forgetting that!” Faragonda was starting to panic. “Griffin… I admire your fearlessness and your bravery… But this… this is too much.”
“Faragonda has a point. I mean… Griffin, you have a newborn daughter. You don’t need to be jumping into battle like this.” Saladin tried to sway the witch. Griffin swore.
“You don’t get it, do you? My plan is foolproof. They’ll all be so busy with me, they’ll never notice the two of you sneaking in and taking the artifacts. And by the time they realize anything, you’ll be long gone.”
Faragonda huffed. “Yeah. I heard. Great plan… Still suicide by Coven.” Faragonda took Grififn’s hands. “No.”
“I’ll be fine. I’m a master escape artist… Remember?”
“Yeah… And you’re also the master of hoarding all your guilt and anxiety and then lashing out in a self-destructive manner…” Salvador reminded his sister. “Do I need to bring up the near drowning incident you had back when we were kids and you accidentally outed me?”
Griffin took a breath. “No. You don’t. But you do need to trust me. I can do this.” She looked at the three of them. “The only way this plan works is if it’s me. Unless you know of any other Inner Circle traitors…?” No one said anything. “What I thought.” She looked to Salvador. “On the off chance I don’t make it back… You and Palladium will watch out for Valkyrie… Or I’ll haunt you.”
She looked to Faragonda and Saladin. “Ready?”
Faragonda groaned. “This is a bad idea. No… Scratch that. This is a horrible idea… But I’m going so I can say ‘I told you so’ later.”
“Yeah… I’m the one who’s supposed to be impulsive in this group…” Saladin sighed. “But I guess we’re ready.” Griffin cast a cloaking spell on Faragonda and Saladin, a way to keep them from being detected.
“Please… For the love of the Dragons… Everyone come back in one piece.” Salvador opened the portal. “Good luck…”
Fiona fired blast after blast, growling as Griffin dodged and extinguished her flames. “Damned traitor! You were hiding for so long! What made you come out to play?” She snarled.
Griffin sent a few blasts Fiona’s way. Nothing damaging, just enough to keep the appearance she was really trying to fight.
“What can I say? The hydra Acheron sent took its toll on me. But I’m back in the fray.” Griffin taunted, sending a bullseye hit and making Fiona fall back a bit. “Wow… I haven’t been in a fight for months and I’m still better than you.” She snickered.
Egging on Fiona was just what she needed to do… She just had to wait for it. Fiona began to rage, her blue hair becoming flame like as she sent blast after blast to Griffin, making her fall.
Griffin winced as Fiona yanked her up, cuffing her. “Seems you’re rustier than you thought, bitch.” Fiona snarled. “Now… I know a few dozen people who’ll be thrilled to see you back in the Palace…” Fiona grinned, her teeth seeming to be sharper than they used to be. Corruption…
Griffin struggled. “If they’re just going to kill me, why not do it here? Get it over with?” Fiona laughed. Maniacal.
“Oh, Griffin… Don’t you realize…? You’re going to be made an example of.” A portal opened. “In you go, traitor.” She shoved Griffin through.
They waited in the foyer of the Obsidian Palace, making Griffin frown. “What? Do I need to make an appointment before they kill me?” She half-joked. She was trying to keep her nerves down, to prevent from cracking under the pressure.
Fiona scoffed. “Don’t worry… They’re just preparing for your trial. After all, treason is a serious offense.”
Before Griffin could even retort, a being stepped from the shadows. Familiar red eyes and armored skin, though it was more skeletal than before. More corruption. “Griffin… So glad I get to bear witness to your execution.” A familiar voice called.
Darkar. “Darkar? What happened to you?” She asked. Darkar growled.
“You had Mandragora taken from me… So I delved a little deeper into ShadowHaunt…. And I found my true self. Marvelous, isn’t it?” Griffin shook her head.
“No. It’s not. It’s actually a little sickening.” He grabbed her, pulling her by her hair. She winced as her glasses fell, the tugging on her hair feeling like her scalp was coming off.
“I wouldn’t get too snarky, Witch. Your time’s about up.” He let her go, turning to Fiona. “They’re ready to begin. Bring the traitor into our… Court room.” Fiona nodded, grabbing tight to Griffin’s forearm.
“Time to see what the fates have in store for you.”
The ‘court room’ was an open field. Griffin was forced into the center, chained down and unable to connect to her powers. Inner Circle members were all around her, jeering and sneering. ‘Shouldn’t he be here…?’ Griffin thought, noticing Valtor was missing.
A noise brought her attention to the front. She couldn’t tell for sure, but she knew the outlines of the Ancestral Witches. “We are here today to rid ourselves of the one who betrayed us to the Company of Light.” Tharma’s voice boomed.
“She gained our trust. Made us think of her like a sister, like a friend… We trained her, taught her what we knew, made her important… And how did she repay us?!” Lysslis incited the crowd. A chorus of ‘traitor’ and ‘destroy the witch’ echoed around the room.
Griffin took in a breath. She could handle this. She could handle this. “We took her in and she spat at us… So now… We’re going to make sure she knows exactly where she stands with us now.” Belladonna roared.
Footsteps. Belladonna had gotten in front of Griffin, holding her chin. “What is the Company planning?” Griffin glowered.
“The same thing they’ve always been planning… Sending you to hell.” Griffin answered, defiant. Belladonna hissed, drawing out her ice blades.
Griffin forced herself to keep a straight face as the cold struck her, as the knives dug deeper and deeper into her flesh. She could feel the blood pour more than she could see it. Her arms and legs throbbing a bit.
“Tell us how to get to the Fortress.” Tharma tried. Griffin kept her head up, allowing herself to laugh.
“The Fortress? Simple… It’s through the woods and passed the river.” She taunted. Tharma growled and Griffin could hear the crackle of lightning.
Her back lit up, the electricity coursing through her as Tharma hit her. Once. Twice. Three times.
Darkar walked over to the group. “Mistresses, it seems she’s not going to be any help… At least… Not yet. May I?” He offered. Lysslis cackled.
“Go for it.”
Griffin braced herself. Sparring with Darkar was one thing… But she didn’t have her powers here and he… He had become corrupted with the blood of the Ancestral Witches.
Creatures came up from the shadows, biting into her tugging at her limbs. Smoke began to fill her lungs, surrounding her.
She struggled, trying to find a way to fight back. Darkar pulled back his forces, making Griffin fall to her knees.
She coughed up a bit of blood, her head spinning and the feeling of nausea hitting her. “That’s the best you’ve got?” She taunted.
That caused Fiona to jump up, grabbing her and lighting her on fire. She fought back against screaming out, instead managing to shove Fiona away. Her arms were burned, badly. But she was alive.
Lysslis walked over, cupping Grififn’s face in her hands. “Dear Heart… Why don’t you tell me what’s going on? Listen to my voice… And tell me… What’s on your mind?” She scratched Griffin, a way of allowing her magic to fill her.
Griffin struggled, knowing it was a truth spell… ‘Truth… Truth… I can… ‘ “You want to know what’s on my mind? If the three of you are so powerful, why do you need to bind yourselves in blood to others just so you can ‘share’ your powers? Why did you have to use the crystals from Wisperia to keep Valtor in line as a child if you were already so much stronger?”
“Why is it that you even need a Coven if the three of you can do whatever you want?” Griffin snarled. “You want to know the truth? I think the three of you are weak. You feed off the powers of others because you know that your powers alone are weak. You’re like… Parasites.” Lightning crackled again.
Griffin couldn’t help but scream out as the lightning whip hit her again and again. Daggers began to cut into her, the cold of the ice on them sinking in… Her world became dark…
The sounds of beeping had her stirring awake, raising up. “No. No… Wait… Stay down.” Ophelia chided.
Everything began coming into focus. The infirmary. And Ophelia was sprinkling fairy dust and… Something else…
She felt light-headed… Sore. “W-what happened?” She asked, finding her voice.
“I’ll tell you what happened! You nearly died on us!” Faragonda fumed from her seat in the room. “In fact, if it wasn’t for… If it wasn’t for Valtor still having a thing for you… You’d be dead.” Griffin shook her head.
“But he… He wasn’t there… I…”
“He showed up and got you out of an Obsidian cell. Though he reminded us that that was a one-time deal… He… He apparently has this code of he’d rather kill you in a fair fight than a gang up….” Faragonda shrugged. “Point is… You’re alive because of him.”
Griffin groaned. “Great.” She looked at Ophelia. “Is… Valkyrie… Is she okay?”
“Last I checked, she’s with your brother and mother in the dining hall.” Ophelia bit her lip. “And you may wanna be prepared because they’re both going to lecture you…”
“Oh… I’m still going to be lecturing you too… I mean…. Of all the self-sacrificing, impulsive things to do…” Faragonda shook her head. “It’s like you traded places with Salvador.” Griffin gave a smile.
“Don’t make me laugh Fara… I’m sore.”
“Yeah. You should be. Because you nearly died. Did I mention you nearly died? Because you did.” Faragonda harped.
“Can… Can I just see my baby now? Please? No lectures?” Faragonda crossed her arms.
“Fine. But only because you managed to survive.” She turned to leave. Griffin sighed. Great….
Griffin laid in her bed, cuddling Valkyrie. “So… Mommy is grounded because she did something stupid… Even though it ended up getting back stolen goods, I nearly ended up dead.” She nuzzled her daughter. “And if you ever try to do anything like I did… You’ll be grounded too.”
“I mean… I never considered myself a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ parent, but in this case, I will be.” Valkyrie made a few noises. “I mean it, Valkyrie… You will not be doing suicide missions.”
Chapter 17: Chapter Seventeen: Back in the Game
- Back in the Game
Griffin held Valkyrie close, sitting on the balcony of the Fortress. “See, Valkyrie? Those stars on the left make the elemental sign… Those are your stars because you’re an Elemental. Zodiac wise anyway.” She chuckled.
“And those over there form the dragon sign. And those are the dryad.” Griffin pointed out each cluster. “It’s interesting, isn’t it? The differences a change in stars can make.” Valkyrie laughed, reaching toward the sky.
“I bet you’ll fly high and touch them one day.” Griffin grinned. “But that’s another time. Right now, I don’t think I’d handle you being out of my sight for too long.” Valkyrie held to her mother, hands tracing over one of her scars.
Griffin felt tears in her eyes, just thinking of how she’d received them. “I don’t know if I’ll tell you about those or not… Maybe when you’re older.” She kissed the top of her head. “Come on… It’s getting cold and we should be heading inside.”
She stood, making her way back inside, carrying the squirming girl. “I know you want to go back out there, but it’s getting too cold.” She chuckled. “You know, that means it’s getting close to Yule? I think you’ll like it. Though we may have to spend it here…”
Footsteps ran up to her, Faragonda, out of breath. “Griffin… Glad I found you.” She gave a slight smile. “Hi, Valkyrie…” She looked to back to Griffin. “Okay… So remember how we benched you for a while because of what happened on Obsidian?”
Griffin sighed. “Yes…. Why?”
“Consider that lifted. Alyssa and Rhodos are having issues on Linphea. We already sent a few people… But… They may need a witch’s touch.”
Griffin took a breath. “Okay… Are you going too, or no?” Faragonda shook her head.
“No… They say Marion is close to delivering and I promised her I’d be there to help…” Griffin nodded, taking a deep breath.
“Fara… I’m going to need to cash on in you being Valkyrie’s fairy god mother. You shouldn’t have any trouble because it’s bedtime. A little rocking, a bit of a bottle, and she should be out like a light.” She handed Valkyrie to the fairy, the baby having none of it.
The baby stretched for her mother, getting frustrated when she couldn’t. Faragonda cooed. “Aww… She’s a mommy’s girl.” Griffin sighed.
“I’m sorry, Valkyrie, but you can’t come with me this time. It’s too dangerous and I’d probably do something drastic if anything happened to you.” She looked to Faragonda. “And I highly doubt any of you could stop me.”
“Oh, trust me, I fully believe in the power of Momma Bears. I’ve seen Luna and Samara in action when they thought their children were being threatened. And you being you? That’d be terrifying.” She looked to Valkyrie, nuzzling the little witch. “But you don’t need to worry. Little V and I will have a fun time.”
Griffin smiled. “She had better be in one piece when I get back, or I’ll make the Ancestral Witches look like pussy cats.” She looked to Valkyrie. “Try not to give Aunt Fara a hard time… Remember, I know you, young lady.” She gave the baby a kiss on the cheek before heading toward the meeting room and the portal for Linphea.
Griffin had managed to arrive in time to blast a shadow creature away from Salvador and Electronio. “Seems I came at a good time.” She teased. Salvador chuckled.
“Glad to see you’ve been ungrounded.” Griffin rolled her eyes, stepping closer.
“Our probability of success has just increased with your arrival.” Electronio gestured to the shadow creatures. “Seems your former friend, Darkar, has decided Linphea will be his new home.”
Alyssa flew over in her enchantix, exhaustion on her delicate features. Rhodos was right behind her, creating spiked vines to protect them. “We’re going to have to banish him back to ShadowHaunt…” Alyssa landed by them. “I can’t handle much more.”
Griffin frowned. “We’re not the only ones here, right?”
“No… Griselda and Zarathustra are here somewhere…” A rustle of clothing, signaling teleportation alerted them. “And there they are.” Rhodos swore.
Griselda was in her enchantix, leaning against Zarathustra. “Those creatures just keep coming…”
“There’s no end to them…” Zarathustra took in a breath. “What are we going to do?” Griffin looked the group over.
“We’re going to banish Darkar for good.” She conjured up one of her notebook pages. “I found this spell while I was in the Coven… I figured it’d come in handy if Darkar ended up being a traitor… Oh how things change.” Griffin shook her head, not needing to reminisce.
“Of course… We’re also going to need the help of the monarchy. Alyssa, you and Queen Rachel are close, right?” Griffin asked.
Alyssa gave a smile. “Yeah. I am. I’ll let her know we need the guard to help against the shadow creatures.” She looked to Rhodos. “Accompany me?” He smiled, taking her hand.
“Of course.” Griffin nodded, turning to the others.
“That leaves us. We’re going to need to keep the creatures busy while Alyssa and Rhodos get the royal guard involved. When they get back, we’re going to need to hunt down Darkar. The banishing spell won’t work unless we already have him contained.” Griffin explained.
Salvador sighed. “Guess we’re going to practice not dying today.”
“Wonderful.” Griselda deadpanned, stretching her wings. “Let’s go.”
Shadow creatures nearly had them surrounded, until the trees seemed to come to life. Hidden wizards and fairies burst through, along with the royal guard, the Queen at the helm.
“Make sure you get them good! We don’t want any traces of their existence!” Queen Rachel commanded. She was in her own enchantix, firing blasts and creating living vines to surround and choke the shadow creatures.
Griffin gave a smile, taking her brother’s hand firing a convergence attack against one of the larger creatures, a signal to the others.
“Electronio, any sign of Darkar?” Griffin asked into the communicator he’d given them.
“Affirmative. Though it seems he’s changed… When did he become skeletal?” Griffin sighed.
“It’s the blood bond… It’s been corrupting Coven members.” She shook her head. “Zarathustra, Alyssa, Griselda, be ready to start the incantation. We’re going to banish him.”
They had Darkar cornered while the Linphean Royal Guard had his shadow creatures on the run. “You must really think you’re so clever, Griffin. You managed to escape your execution on Obsidian, and now you dare stand against me here at Linphea.”
Griffin elected to ignore him, keeping her head up. “Darkar, it’s over. Your creatures aren’t going to make it here. The Coven isn’t coming to help you. You’re done.” He growled, throwing a blast of dark energy at her.
She managed to dodge, trying to keep from smirking. He was tiring out and weakened without Mandragora around to boost him. “It’s almost sad to see you this way. Almost.” She looked to where Alyssa was flying overhead. “Now!”
Alyssa nodded, conjuring up vines to tie Darkar down. Thorny vines that dug into what skin he had left, holding him down as the girls got closer and into a circle.
Griffin started off the chant, channeling her power as a beacon for the others. Zarathustra joined in quickly, the fairies joining in once they understood the words.
A portal began to open up beneath Darkar, forcibly dragging him down. He screeched at them, unholy screeching. But it was done. The ground closed back up, the sky lightening up as the shadow creatures began to dissipate.
“We did it. We did it.” Salvador cheered, coming over to them. His clothes were torn, hair mussed. “Guess Darkar wore himself down?”
“Actually… I feel it has to do with him not having Mandragora around anymore. He’s been erratic since she was apprehended.” Electronio reminded them.
“He was always dependent on her.” Salvador explained. Griselda stretched, powering down along with Alyssa.
“I don’t care how dependent he was. I’m tired and ready head back.” Griselda groaned.
“I’m with her.” Zarathustra pulled a few leaves out of her green hair. “Can we go now?” Electronio gave a chuckle.
“Of course…” He opened up a portal. “Everyone to the Fortress.”
Griffin couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight. Faragonda and Valkyrie were curled together asleep. “How long have they been out?” She whispered.
“Long enough. Valkyrie didn’t want to go down at first… But Faragonda managed to talk her into it.” Hagen chuckled. “She may have a bit of a motherly touch.”
“Lucky you.” She teased.
Chapter 18: Chapter Eighteen: Princess Bloom
- Princess Bloom
Griffin chuckled as her mother slipped a festive Yule themed hat onto Valkyrie’s head, the baby shaking her head until it fell. “I don’t think she’s going to stand for a hat, Mother.”
Theodora snorted. “I don’t know why. You and Salvador loved it.”
Since Yule was around the corner, Theodora had been allowed to celebrate with her children and granddaughter at the Fortress. Though they mostly stuck to their rooms or the common room. Salvador laughed. “She’s not us, Mom.” He reminded.
Palladium gave a smile. “You wouldn’t happen to have pictures of them in that hat, would you? Because I need more ammunition to keep Salvador in line.” The purple haired wizard gasped, clutching imaginary pearls.
“You don’t have to keep me in line. I’m a delight.” The elf snickered.
“If you say so.” He kissed Salvador’s cheek. Theodora shook her head, laughing a bit.
“I’m trying to give my granddaughter a great first Yule, and my potential future son-in-law is trying to get blackmail on my son.”
Griffin snickered, picking up Valkyrie. “Oh Mother, it’s a normal occurrence.” She nuzzled her daughter. “Isn’t that right, Valkyrie?”
Salvador snorted. “Thanks, Griffin.” Palladium leaned against his boyfriend.
“Oh relax. A little blackmail never hurt. And you’ve seen some of my baby pictures.” The elf pulled his brown hair back. “And you still try to use those against me.”
“That’s different, Palla…” Theodora rolled her eyes.
“It gets worse every year.”
The protection spells for the year had been done, the sigils created and the runes drawn. Griffin whispered an extra one around Valkyrie and her Yule gifts, wanting her daughter to be completely protected.
“You know… Maybe next year Palladium and I’ll have a little one to protect.” Griffin chuckled.
As the clock began to chime, Valkyrie sat up, still and rigid. A soft swirl of dark energy came around her, taking the form of a dragon. She giggled a bit, touching the energy and bringing it into her.
The adults watched, not sure what they should do in such a position. “Is…. That’s not normal, is it Mom?” Salvador asked.
“No… I’ve never… I’ve never seen something like that. Normally powers don’t come in until the child is five…”
“I don’t think that’s what that was.” Griffin sat down by her daughter, watching as the energy continued to swirl around the purple-haired baby.
Her blue eyes glistened in the light, taking it all in, laughing at the sight. The power wasn’t hurting anyone or anything, just presenting itself.
And then it was gone, just as quickly as it started. Griffin frowned, picking Valkyrie up and holding her close. “Wanna tell me what that was about?” She asked. Valkyrie giggled, reaching for her mother’s glasses.
Griffin pulled them away from her. “You can’t have my glasses, Valkyrie… I’m sorry.” She held her daughter close. “I don’t know what that was…”
They could hear excited scurrying outside of the common room, laughing and giggling from the others in the Fortress’ walls.
Amelia poked her head in, smiling ear to ear. “Guys… I don’t mean to interrupt Yule… But it’s happened! Marion had her baby. A little girl named Bloom. Faragonda and Oritel just delivered the news to Magnethia.” Griffin’s eyes widened in realization, looking to Valkyrie.
“You knew…? Didn’t you…? You have your counterpart.” Griffin whispered to her daughter.
Theodora hummed. “It is possible, especially given how connected the Dragons were… At least… According to the lore…”
Amelia frowned. “Did something happen?” Griffin held Valkyrie.
“It seems that it doesn’t matter if they’ve met or not, Valkyrie knows who Bloom is… Or at least… She knows her dragon.” Amelia whistled.
“That’s a strong connection.”
“Yeah… Well, it’s not like they’re going to be normal, average women one day. Both have a destiny. Bloom will be the Dragon Fire Heir. And Valkyrie is the Heir to the Dark Dragon. A matched set. Same coin, separate sides. A perfect balance.” Salvador said. Griffin and Theodora both looked at him, amazed.
“What?! I pay attention!” He defended.
“So… Is Marion going to bring the little Princess over for us to meet? Or will that take some time?” Palladium asked, changing the subject.
Amelia grinned. “I think they’ll wait a week or two before they start taking her places. Especially with everything going on, but according to Faragonda, she’s a red head like her mother.”
Griffin chuckled. “I bet she’ll be as feisty as her mother too.”
“Let’s just hope she’s as reasonable as her mother… Oritel tends to be… Stubborn.” Salvador added.
Amelia laughed. “I think that’s a wizard thing.” Palladium smirked.
“It definitely is. Sal, over here, will argue about everything and anything. But I think that’s how he shows affection.” Palladium teased.
“Edgar was always hard-headed too. And relentless in his research. There would be times he’d hole up in his study for weeks on end.” Theodora mentioned.
“Saladin is… Well we’ve all met Saladin.” Amelia laughed. She waved at Valkyrie. “Speaking of Saladin… I’m going to head back out. I just… I thought you guys should know.”
“You just solved the mystery of my daughter’s little power show. Thank you.” Griffin chuckled, holding Valkyrie up so she could wave back at Amelia.
Chapter 19: Chapter Nineteen: Long Time, No See
So I'm going to be gone for the weekend. It's Mother Day weekend and I'm going to be visiting with her and my grandmother. But I won't be gone long.
- Long Time, No See
Palladium took a breath. “Are you sure we can do this? I mean… If they’ve already brought back the Army of Darkness…”
“It just means we have to fight smarter, not harder.” Griffin reminded them. “And we’ll have to fight without help from Domino and Solaria. I’ve sent Luna and Radius to summon the monarchs from the other realms for a meeting later… And everyone knows that Marion, Oritel, and Daphne are reveling in the birth of Princess Bloom.”
“So… What’s your plan then, Griffin?” Hagen asked. “I mean… Some of our heavier hitters are absent.” Griffin shook her head.
“Like I said, we just have to fight smarter. We know that the Army has to be controlled using the dragon fire, which means Valtor will be nearby. We weaken him enough, and they’ll return to Oblivion.”
“Which is well and good, but we can’t ignore the actual creatures… Or the other Coven members that will be there.” Rhodos reminded them.
“And we won’t.” She looked them over. “I’m splitting you into teams. Each team will take care of a section of the Ice Kingdom. Wipe out as many army and Coven members as you can.” She bit her lip. “And try to stay alive.”
“Great. Who’s going where?” Saladin asked.
Griffin looked them over. “Team A will be Magnethia, Faragonda, Rhodos, Ho-Boe, and Ediltrude. You’ll take this section.” She handed them a map.
“Team B is Zarathustra, Codatorta, Amelia, DuFour, Wizgiz, and Salvador.” She handed them their map. “Be careful. Your site is where avalanches occur. Use it to your advantage if you can.”
“Team C is Griselda, Alyssa, Matlin, Saladin, Electronio, and Hagen.” She handed their map to them. She turned to Matlin specifically. “If you start feeling queasy, teleport back. You need to be easy considering…” Matlin gave a slight smile.
“I know. Don’t worry about me, Griffin… I’m fine.” Griffin nodded, looking back to the remaining members.
“Samara, Bittersmoke, and Erendor, you’re team D, and you’re with me. I know that’s probably not what you wanted, but we have to make do.” Griffin took a breath. “Okay everyone, let’s keep the Ice Kingdom safe.” A portal opened and they began to step through, taking off for their respective sections.
Griffin kept firing at the squadron of monsters. They reformed each time they were cut down, becoming more and more demonic.
Erendor growled when we was slammed down, struggling to get back to his feet. “How the hell do they keep doing that?”
Samara glowered, her fairy magic pushing its limits with a full on enchantix blast of dragon energy. “I don’t know… But it’s getting old.”
“It’s like I’m not even making a dent in them.” Bittersmoke grumbled, forming a shield as one of the monsters tried to slice him into two.
Griffin closed her eyes, linking with telepathically with the others using a spell. ‘Any sightings yet?’
‘Not yet… But we’re getting tired and these things don’t seem to stop.’ Saladin groaned out.
‘Same over here… And I think Edi’s broken her leg.’ Faragonda sounded worse for wear.
‘What if he’s not even here?’ Salvador swore. ‘He could have just sent them in through a portal or something.’ Griffin shook her head.
‘Doubt it.’ She looked to her group. “We’re going to need to try a convergence spell. Otherwise they’ll eat us alive.” Griffin commanded. The group nodded, joining hands.
She felt the power course through her. Her dark energy bubbled to the surface along with Bittersmoke’s. Erendor and Samara’s draconic energy from Eraklyon mingled, and a flash of light and power came to life, forcing the monsters back.
“That’ll show ‘em!” Erendor cheered. Griffin chuckled.
“Maybe for now.”
“You’d hope… Wouldn’t you?” A familiar voice called. “Glad to see you’re still standing, Griffin… Last time I saw you, you were facing execution by the Coven.” Griffin glowered, power already swirling around her hands.
“You’re going to call off these beasts and surrender. Or we’ll make you.” Griffin threatened. Valtor laughed.
“No. I don’t think so.” He cast a spell, bringing her to him and disappearing in a flash of shadows, Erendor yelling and rushing over to help her…
Griffin pulled away from him after they’d teleported, powers swirling again. “Decided to get me alone and kill me yourself?” She growled. Valtor sighed.
“Griffin…. What has become of you…? Why do you want them to win?” He gestured to the fighting down below.
“Because they’re good. Because I’m not going to be the pawn of the Ancestral Witches. And I’m not going to stand by and let light magic users be eradicated.” She sent a blast of energy toward him.
He stepped aside, dodging. “They don’t respect you like we do.” Griffin huffed.
“The Coven doesn’t respect me either. In case you’ve forgotten, they tried to kill me!” She sent another blast of power his way. This time it hit, but it didn’t seem to do much damage.
“If you’d just come home and repent…” Griffin glowered.
“I’ve repented enough.” She stepped back. “Now… Either shut the hell up and fight me, or take your monsters and leave. Either way, we’re not backing down.”
“We?” He chuckled. “And just who is we?” Griffin smirked, pulling out a device.
“Now.” She said, calm as ever.
Faragonda, Saladin, and Salvador appeared at the cliff’s side, ready for a fight. Valtor glowered. “The hell is this?”
“This? This is your reckoning.” Salvador grinned. “Though I do appreciate you saving my sister a few months ago. You’re still homicidal though. And we can’t have you just running around.”
“It’s over, Valtor.” Faragonda let her power swirl, summoning her enchantix powers and sending Valtor flying close to the edge.
Saladin and Salvador combined their attacks into a draconic energy beam. Valtor tried to shield himself from it, but he was pushed back.
Griffin teleported behind him, blasting him into the snow. “It’s working!” Faragonda cheered, gesturing to the fighting below.
The monsters were disappearing, fading out.
“Keep it up!” Salvador called. Valtor glowered, fighting back at them. Blast for blast. The group tried to dodge as best they could. Salvador ended up getting hit and falling into Faragonda.
Griffin felt out the negative energy, turning it against Valtor. It him in the chest, pushing him off the cliff.
Saladin swore. “Think that was it?”
“I doubt it… But it was enough for the monsters to leave.” Faragonda gestured below them. “See?” Salvador helped her up, looking around.
“Come on… We need to get down there and see where Valtor went…”
There was no trace of Valtor at the bottom of the cliff. “Dammit!” Griffin swore. “He got away…”
“But at least we all survived…” Salvador placed a hand on her shoulder. “Come on… We need to go back to the Fortress, let Ophelia tend to our wounds…”
“And you need to prepare for your meeting with the Monarchs.” Faragonda reminded Griffin.
“That’s right. I mean… Assuming you still want to try and convince them to help out against the Coven.” Saladin crossed his arms. “Which… I think we’re going to need all the help we can get.”
“No kidding.” Griffin sighed. “At least we know how to stop the Army of Darkness… Now we just need a plan to stop this all once and for all…” She paused, a smile coming to her face. “I may have an idea… But we’ll need the monarchs. Especially if my hunch is right.”
She opened up a portal. “Come on… We have no time to waste.” Griffin rushed through. Saladin sighed.
“She always like this?” He asked Salvador, walking through the portal.
“Oh yeah. She is.”
Chapter 20: Chapter Twenty: The Time Is Now
- The Time Is Now
She held Valkyrie close, kissing her daughter’s cheek. “You know you don’t have to do this…” Griffin told her mother. “I mean… I know you don’t like leaving Rancor more than you need to.” Theodora gave a smile, taking her granddaughter in her arms.
“Griffin… The Company of Light needs you to guide them and show them how to defeat the abomination that is the Ancestral Coven. I can watch my granddaughter for that long.” She chuckled. “Besides, it’s safer here in the Fortress than it is on our realm. There are… Supporters.” Griffin swore.
“I know. I know.” She took a breath, pulling her hair up into a bun. “Wish me luck, Mom.” Theodora smiled.
“You don’t need luck, my child. Only belief.” She glanced down to the sleeping baby in her arms. “And to remember who needs you to come home in one piece.” Griffin smiled.
“Take care of her.”
“I will. Now go. Get those monarchs on board with your plan.” Her mother shooed her out. Griffin took another breath, placing a hand on her ankh necklace.
She knew it wasn’t wise… Keeping anything from her time there… Her time with him… But it helped having something to fidget with… (And she’d blessed it, dispersing any truly evil energy around it away.)
Now… Now she had to face the magical dimension.
The meeting room had expanded greatly to occupy the many monarchs and rulers of the known magical dimensions. (Aside from those who had allied themselves with the Ancestral Witches.)
Erendor and Samara, Marion and Oritel, Teredor and Niobe, Ligea and Neptune, Radius and Luna. All nobles/monarchs who had already been assisting the Company of Light, all there to help sway the others.
Queen Rachel from Lynphea was there, and King Cryos from Zenith. King Hyane from Melody (and Ho-Boe’s oldest cousin) was there with his new bride, Queen Lilia. King Yndue and Queen Baile from Callisto (the uncle to Saladin) were front and center.
King Enervus and Queen Foeda from Downland had taken their place amongst the ranks. Emperor Zatiea from Isis arrived, along with the President Dante from Cybill. Lord Lucius and Lady Minerva were in their place.
The room filled up, along with the rest of the Company of Light members and the Council with the three headmasters of the schools.
Oritel took to the center. “Friends, fellow rulers of the magical dimension, we are all in grave danger. I know you’ve noticed the aggression of the Ancestral Witches and their Coven, there is no way you haven’t. They’re everywhere and their attacks are only getting stronger and more devastating.” He took a breath.
“We have been doing our best to keep them back, fighting them and have even managed to apprehend some of their members, in no small part thanks to Griffin.” He gestured to where Griffin stood by him.
“But I’m afraid that their… Adoptive son, the holder of the Dark Dragon Fire,” gasps could be heard around the room, they certainly hadn’t realized Valtor’s power, “has discovered that he can raise the Army of Darkness.”
More gasps. “I know. We haven’t heard tales of the Army since the downfall of the Obsidian Monarchy. Also by the hands of those wretches.” He swallowed. “And we’ve uncovered their plot to take over the magical dimension and execute anyone who uses light magic.” More gasps. Worry filling the room.
“But we can stop them. If we all band together, join forces, merge our armies, we can defeat them, once and for all.” He looked to Griffin. “And she’s the witch who can tell us how.”
Her cue. She made it to the center, looking at the crowd before her. She conjured up a map of the magical dimension. “The Army of Darkness can only be summoned by Valtor, which means he is the only one who controls it.” Griffin started.
“This is both good and bad. Good because there is a main focal point. Defeat Valtor, you stop the army. The bad is tracking down where on the realm Valtor is and then actually fighting with him.” She began to divide the realms into sectors.
“If we divvy up our collective army, along with members of the Company of Light into these sectors… We can stop all of it.” Griffin looked to the group.
“Of course… there is one group that will be taking a more… Aggressive approach to try and draw the most fire… This group will be storming the halls of the Obsidian Palace.” The silence in that was deafening.
“My brother and I will lead that group as we know Obsidian better than anyone here. Many Coven members consider it home and there are still artifacts that the Ancestral Witches have stolen that are there. The group that storms the castle will be assisting in taking down the majority of the Coven.”
“And… If we’re lucky… That is where Valtor will be and we can stop the Army of Darkness right there. The question is, how do you wish to proceed?” Griffin asked the group.
There was collective chatter as the monarchs began signing up where they would be and where their troops would go. Oritel placed a hand on Griffin’s shoulder.
“You did well. We have our army.” He handed her a long list. “This is who will be going well… Including Obsidian.” Griffin thought for a moment.
“Seems I need to find a charm for you and Marion.” Oritel frowned.
“Charm?” Griffin sighed.
“Your powers will be extremely weakened on Obsidian, just like Valtor’s are weak on Domino. You’ll need a charm to negate the effects.” Oritel swore.
“Right. You know where it is?” Griffin nodded.
“Just give me a day to fix the potion.”
“Okay. One day. And then we strike the Obsidian Palace.” He took a breath. “It’s time to end all of this. Once and for all.”
Chapter 21: Chapter Twenty-One: Storming The Castle
- Storming the Castle
The team was assembled and ready to go. They were just going over the plans one last time, at the behest of Griffin, who wanted to make sure everyone was going to make it back alive.
“Team A, led by Faragonda, will take on the east wing and anyone there. Remember to keep your guards up and power focused.” Griffin gave a nod toward the fairy. Faragonda gave a smile.
“Don’t worry. We’ve got this. Right troops?” She gestured to Team A, a mishmash of soldiers from Domino, Andros, Tides, and Solaria. All saluted the fairy. Ready to go.
“Okay. Team B has the west wing. Your leader is Saladin. Beware of the NightMares and their riders.” Saladin chuckled.
“We can handle a horse and pony show.” Griffin snorted.
“If you’re so sure…” She went back to plans. “Hagen and Team C will take the outer fields of the castle. There will be those who try to escape and I feel you’ll best be served preventing that. Coordinate with Team D and Oritel on surrounding the fields.”
The wizards nodded. “We’ll keep them from going too far.”
“Team E, you’ll storm the back with Marion. Team F… You’re with me. We’re storming the front of the castle and taking the brunt of the battle. Any questions?” The groups shook their head.
Griffin looked to Salvador. “Your team doesn’t have a designated sector, which is why I’m assigning your team to the dungeons. Free any prisoners and take any artifacts that were stolen.” Salvador saluted her.
“I won’t let you down Sister Dear.” Griffin took a breath.
“Okay. Let’s take down some Ancestral Witches.” The portal opened. “Anyone who wishes to back out, do so now.” No one moved. “Then forward march.”
Obsidian looked more foreboding now than it had. The scars on Griffin’s body felt heated, remembering the torment it’d felt.
‘No time for that now.’ She thought, extending her hand. “Attack.” The command no more left her lips than the soldiers charged.
The Androsians made it through first, taming the moat surrounding the castle and the creatures in its depths.
Coven members forged through, blasts of magic and weapons surrounding the group. Shouts from all sides, the sound of the blasts and their explosions filling the air…
Griffin waded through the fighting, firing her energy blasts at any Coven member who managed to get too close.
But something felt off.
Way off. She glanced around, noticing a familiar blue-haired witch running into the castle. ‘What is she planning?’ Griffin wondered. She fought her way through the crowd and into the castle.
Faragonda and Marion’s teams had already made it inside, fighting in the foyer and around inside the living areas. The castle shook from the battles, like it could collapse. Faragonda flew over, breathing heavily. Tired.
“What brings you in?” She tried to joke. Griffin shook her head.
“Fiona. I saw her run in here… She has to be planning something.” Marion flew over to them, blasting back shadow creatures.
“Does something feel off to you?” She asked. Griffin frowned.
“I know. You’d think… The Army would be here.”
“Unless they’ve already left.” Griffin swore. “That would be just the thing, wouldn’t it?” She glanced back up the stairs where Fiona had fled. “But I bet I can find out where they went.”
Griffin managed to corner Fiona, casting a spell to prevent her from escaping any further. “End of the line, Wiatch.” Griffin glowered.
“That’s what you think!” She sent a fire blast into Griffin.
Griffin let out a groan as she hit the wall, the burn settling on her sides. “Great. So you know how your power works. Good for you.” Griffin snipped. “But you’re forgetting something crucial… I was taught by Valtor.” She stood, realizing the irony. ‘Of all the times to use his teachings…’
She shook her head, not going to lose her concentration. She opened her palms, drawing the dark energy around Obsidian into her and blasting Fiona as hard as she could.
Fiona tried to create a fire shield to protect herself, but it wasn’t enough. Griffin’s blast still penetrated through the shield and sent Fiona flying into the wall.
Solarian soldiers burst in, cuffing Fiona, Faragonda flying in behind them. “How’d it go?” She asked, wings drooping a bit from her exhaustion.
Griffin panted, trying to catch her breath. Her hair was knocked out of its bun, falling loosely around her. “Not well… I still haven’t figured out where they went… Yet. But…” She looked to Faragonda. “There’s a secret room in the palace… The initiation and meeting room for the Inner Circle.” She grabbed Faragonda’s wrist. “Come on.”
It felt strange, being back in the room that had once filled Griffin with such joy and belonging now felt strange and… Dreadful. “Wow… So… this is where you pledged yourself…?” Faragonda asked, looking around.
Griffin sighed. “Yeah… it is.” She looked around. “Faragonda… Can you illuminate the room more?” The fairy cast a spell, the room lighting up.
“Is that bett- What the hell is this…?” Faragonda looked around. There were portraits on the wall, each set telling a different story.
Griffin swore, dread and panic filling her. “It’s a prophecy…” She gestured to the first image. “The Ancestral Witches murdered the monarchy of Obsidian… The ones chosen by the Great Dark Dragon… This depicts their fall…” She gestured to another image. “And that… Shows their resurrection…”
The last image showed what appeared to be a young woman with dark purple hair and blue eyes, a black dragon with red scales around its wings and legs surrounded her. A door was opened, the three ancestral witches coming out of it.
“That… You don’t think… I mean… Valkyrie isn’t…” Griffin blasted the image, setting it aflame.
“It will never come to pass. I’ll be damned if it does.” Griffin seethed. Then she paused at the image of the Ancestral Witches’ death.
“Son of a…. Get the others… We have to go, now!” Faragonda grabbed her wrist.
“Hold it. Why?” Faragonda frowned. “What’s wrong?” Griffin gestured to the image of the trio’s death.
“That planet they’re on? That’s Domino! What’s currently only being guarded by Erendor and Daphne? Domino. We have to get Oritel and Marion and get there!” Griffin rushed off. “Now!”
“Are you sure? You’re absolutely sure that they’re headed to Domino?” Oritel asked, cuffing the last of the Coven’s resistance. Griffin nodded.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that they’re headed there. Assuming they’ve not already arrived.” Marion swore.
“Then we have to go. Bloom and Daphne are there…”
“And Erendor…” Oritel swore, turning to Hagen and Saladin. “Can the two of you and Salvador finish up here?”
Saladin gave a salute. “We’ll finish tearing Obsidian apart. Our battalion has already taken over more or less… It’s just a matter of finding stragglers and releasing their prisoners.”
“We’ve got this.” Hagen opened a portal. “Now go. Your kingdom needs you.”
Faragonda pulled Griffin aside. “Are you going to mention the-” she started to whisper.
Griffin elbowed her, giving a glare. “No. And you won’t either. Because what we saw… It won’t happen. The future is ever changing and sometimes… A timeline will never come to pass.” She hissed/whispered. “And it won’t… Valkyrie will never help them.” She reminded Faragonda.
The fairy sighed. “Fine… Let’s get going before they leave us…” She grabbed the witch’s arm, leading her through the portal to Domino…
It was time to end it all…
Chapter 22: Chapter Twenty-Two: Saving Domino
- Saving Domino
Domino was considered the most beautiful realm in the magical dimension, next to Linphea… But at the moment…
The Army of Darkness was all over the realm. Soldiers for the Company of Light were doing their best to hold them off.
The skies had turned black and red, the green of the realm turning to the snow. Ashes were falling, fires were set. Oritel swore.
“We have to find Valtor and those hags.” He looked to Marion. “You feel up to sensing him out?”
The red-haired fairy nodded, closing her eyes and allowing a small flame to appear. “Follow me.” She turned to Faragonda and Griffin. “Faragonda, summon everyone you can from the Fortress. Griffin…” She took the witch’s hand. “Find Daphne and my daughter. Keep them safe.” Griffin nodded.
“I’ll protect them.” She looked to her three companions. “Be careful. All of you.” With that, she teleported, concentrating on Daphne and Bloom, where they could be…
“Take another step and I’ll turn you to ash!” A familiar voice called. Griffin sighed in relief. Daphne was safe. Which meant Bloom was safe.
“Daphne… It’s me. Griffin. Please tell me you have Bloom.” She kept her hands in the air, showing she meant no harm.
The blonde fairy came out from behind a pillar in the throne room, donned in her enchantix, a small red-haired baby in her arms. “Griffin… Thank the Dragons.” She flew down to the witch. “They just started attacking… Erendor… He was supposed to be here but… I guess he got scared. Or… Or something.” Daphne took a breath. “We’re doing good to fight back… But I’m glad you’re here.”
There was a crash, the palace beginning to shake and crumble. Griffin swore, looking to the girls. Bloom started to cry, scared and afraid. “Don’t start Bloom…. We can’t let them find us…” Daphne tried to coo and bounced with the baby.
Griffin extended her hands, carefully taking the child. She whispered a spell, the baby drifting off. “There… That’ll last a few hours. She’ll sleep through this… If we’re lucky.” She looked to Daphne. “It’s not safe here, though… Someone is bound to come here looking for the two of you.”
Daphne smirked, flexing her arm. So much like her brother…
“Let them find me. I can give as good as I can get.” Griffin shook her head.
“No. Oritel and Marion are already looking for Valtor and the Ancestral Witches… If something happens to them… It’ll be up to you to rule over Domino. And Bloom needs you right now to keep her safe.” She turned to the side, opening a portal.
“This is a portal to the Nether. It’s an empty dimension, sort of like a pocket. It’ll keep the two of you safe and no one can find you.” She looked to Daphne. “Please. Take your niece and yourself and hide in there.”
Daphne took Bloom from her, contemplating. “Fine… But I can’t promise I’ll stay.” Griffin took a breath.
“Just promise to keep yourself safe…” The younger woman nodded, walking into the dimension with the baby.
Griffin closed the portal, and just in time. A blast of power went by her. “Well damn… My aim must be off.” A familiar voice called. Griffin froze turning to face Aurodan. He was a demon from Freyos, and all calm and collected.
The witch glowered, her power swirling at her fingertips. “I wouldn’t take another step.” She threatened. Aurodan laughed, showing his pointed teeth.
“Oh Griffin… If you were still attached to Valtor… I would’ve taken your threat more seriously… But since your time with the Company… Well… Let’s just say you’re not as terrifying as you used to be.” He took control of the throne of Domino, turning it into a monster.
It chased after Griffin, using its arms to wrap around her. She struggled, sending an energy blast into the throne, turning it into wood fragments.
She redirected an attack against the demon, moving closer and closer to him each time a blast hit.
“If I were you, Aurodan, I’d still be afraid.” She told him, telekinetically grabbing him like Lysslis had taught her to do. She began to recite a banishing spell, watching as the demon writhed in pain before disappearing.
She groaned, sinking to the ground. Banishing spells were difficult, power draining, especially on a realm like Domino that was so full of light…
A familiar twinkling noise made Griffin look up, a feeling of relief going over her. “Faragonda… Any luck?”
“We’ve managed to make the Army of Darkness shrink in size… But they’re still coming. And the realm… It’s acting like it’s trying to collapse.” Faragonda helped Griffin up. “Where are the girls?”
“Safe. Assuming Daphne doesn’t try to pull an Oritel and charge into the front lines.” Griffin stretched, wincing a bit as the castle quaked again. “Come on… We should rejoin the others.”
The Army of Darkness smelled of death and decay, and moved so slowly… But the way they fought…
You’d knock one down, three more would form. Some would even combine to create true monsters of decay and darkness.
Griffin was beginning to get tired, even as she, Faragonda, and Saladin drew power from one another to fight. Their magic was strong, but seemed the army was stronger.
Even the Solarian Royal Guard was having issues. And Domino’s forces were weakening… “This may be the end…” Hagen swore, panting heavily. His sword was covered in dark matter and blood black as soot.
“If it is… I’m glad we’re together…” Faragonda admitted, sending blasts after blast. “I mean… Who better to fight with in a last stand effort?”
Chapter 23: Chapter Twenty-Three: The Fall of Domino
- The Fall of Domino
A blinding light consumed the realm, causing the Army of Darkness to disintegrate. The skies began to rain ash and dust, the world becoming cold and shifting into darkness.
The realm quaked, mountains began to fall. Griffin swore. “What was that?”
“I don’t know… But we should check it out.” Faragonda took to the air. Griffin followed after her, trying to keep up.
“Wait up!” Griffin called. A loud screech got their attention. A flying shadow creature coming straight for them.
Faragonda swore, sending a blast from her enchantix spell at the creature. It slowed it down, but it didn’t stop it.
The creature attacked Faragonda, twisting around her and taking a bite. She cried out, and Griffin glowered.
“Let her go!” She sent a blast of her own magic at it, over and over until it released the fairy and fell toward the ground.
Griffin swooped in, grabbing Faragonda before she could crash. “Think you’ll be able to fly?” She asked the fairy, helping her orient herself. Faragonda groaned, letting her wings flutter a bit.
“Yeah. I think I’m good.” She looked to Griffin. “Go on ahead, I’ll catch up.” Griffin sighed.
“Fine. But hurry… I don’t know if I want to be alone for too long right now.” She coughed a bit, wincing at the blood. “I really don’t like this…”
“I’ll be okay. Hurry. Marion and Oritel may be in-” the ground quaked, knocking both girls off their feet. “Trouble.”
Griffin gave one more once over of Faragonda before leaving, saying a prayer that she wasn’t too late to help her friends.
It was easy to pick up where the fight had taken place. The entire ground was burned to a crisp, steam still rising. Trees and walls from the castle grounds were bent and crumbling.
Snow fell quickly, another quake make more of the walls fall.
And in the center, sprawled on the ground, was Valtor. Griffin took her stance, feeling the power at her fingertips, just in case…
He moved, a slight groan leaving his lips as he rose up. His clothing was disheveled and he was bloodied and bruised. He smirked at Griffin, looking around. “I guess I killed them. Long live the King and Queen of Domino.” He snarked, letting out a laugh. It made Griffin’s blood run cold.
“What. Happened. Here?” She asked, keeping her voice leveled. He managed to get to his feet, wobbling a bit.
“Isn’t it obvious? We fought. And I won. I killed them. Or at least… I pretty sure I did…” He gave a soured smile. “But that’s not the end of the story, is it Griffin? Oritel and Marion have a child here somewhere… Which reminds me… When were you going to let me know about my child?”
Griffin fought hard not to show any emotion at that, to not react. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Valtor shook his head, laughing. He’d lost his mind.
“But you do. I saw the prophecy Griffin… We have a child. And she will rule the magical dimension… Even if I don’t get to.”
“We don’t have a child. Trust me… I’d be aware if we did.” She lied. Valtor tsked.
“It’s easy to lie, isn’t it? But you can’t fool me Griffin… I know your tells. Your fingers still fidget when you lie.” He stepped forward, an awkward step. “What’s her name?”
“She’s not your concern.” Griffin admitted. Valtor grinned.
“Oh… But she is. Who knows… Maybe I could raise her. All I’d have to do is end your life.” He raised a hand to fire a blast.
Griffin reacted quickly, blasting him down hard and heavy. She felt her blood run cold as she began to speak in the ancient language, ice starting to form around Valtor’s body. He laughed. “Going to kill me, are you Griffin? And with my mother’s own spell?”
“Griffin! You need to stop!” A familiar voice called as Griffin felt her hand pulled back down, disrupting the spell. “If you kill him… You’re no better than they are.”
Griffin snarled at her. “He threatened my daughter.”
“Our daughter.” Valtor corrected, forcing himself free from the ice on his legs. “And I just meant I could show her our power truly works.”
Griffin fired again, hitting him in the chest and making him fall to the ground. “You’ll stay the hell away from her.” She growled. Faragonda got in-between them.
“I’ve got this… Help Saladin round up the-” another quake. “Help Saladin and Hagen with the prisoners. We need to get out of here before the realm collapses.”
Griffin gave another glare toward Valtor. “Fine. Make it hurt.” She made her way off, listening as Faragonda cuffed and depowered Valtor.
Griffin let out a breath of relief as she saw Valkyrie asleep in her crib. She was bandaged heavily and her body ached, but she just had to make her way to her room, she had to see her child.
Her child… Her child made it.
She sunk to her knees and couldn’t stop as the tears fell. She wept silently, anger and fear and sadness welling up around her. She couldn’t save Bloom. She couldn’t save Daphne.
She tried too… But when they’d went back… The girls were gone… All that was left was Daphne’s tiara and Bloom’s blanket and rattle.
And Marion and Oritel… No one could find their bodies… And Valtor wasn’t talking. Griffin shook, removing her glasses and wiping at her eyes. She couldn’t help but weep over the loss of Domino…
An entire realm… Gone. Just like that.
Friends were gone… Killed…
Amelia. Hayden. Richard. Henna. Linette. Emoare. Vendea. Valia. Lunall. And many more… All dead. Gone.
Marion. Oritel. Bloom. Daphne. Dead and gone.
She felt a hand on her shoulder and nearly jumped out of her skin, until she saw that it was Salvador. He looked as bad as she did, bandaged and teary-eyed. “Griffin…” She hugged him tight, sobbing softly to her brother.
He held her close, his own tears falling. “We never should have gotten involved with them… We should’ve burned that castle down the night we left.” She whispered, shaking. He rubbed her back, trying to keep them both calm.
“It wouldn’t have mattered Griffin…” He kissed the top of her head. “And the loss of life… All of this… It’s going to be okay. I don’t know how… but I have to believe it will be… We’ll get through this.”
“How can I live with myself knowing her daughter died? That his sister died?” Griffin shook. “I should have stayed with them.”
“Yeah? And I should have never introduced you to the Coven. But those are things we’re just going to have to live with.” He shakily gestured to the crib. “And you have too… Because that girl right there? That sweet baby you have? She needs you.”
Griffin nodded slowly. “That’s right… I need to be here for her…”
“That’s right.” He waved his hand, a box of tissues appearing. “Mom’s helping in the infirmary… But she’ll be here soon and we can go home and… And prepare for his trial…” Griffin swallowed.
“Do we have to go?”
“Yeah. We do.” He gave a weak smile. “Valkyrie can stay with Mom during it.” He took a breath. “And I overheard Hagen… He’s talking about a memorial service for the fallen.” Griffin nodded.
“Good. We should have one.” She took a breath, wiping at her face. “Thank you… For coming in.”
“Of course.” He gave a smile. “I’m a big brother right?”
Chapter 24: Chapter Twenty-Four: The Trial of Valtor Drako
- The Trial of Valtor Drako
It was strange being in the witness stands instead of being the one before the Council and monarchs.
She’d found herself between her brother and Faragonda, watching as the bailiffs led Valtor in. He was cuffed and bound, brought in the center of the room.
No lawyer for his defense, he’d waived that right.
Just as he’d waived the right for a religious leader to meet with him. Just as he decided to go ahead and plead guilty. He had no shame or remorse for his actions, in fact he acted proud.
Which unnerved the Council and those who were in the witness stand.
“This shouldn’t take long… I mean… He’s already pleading guilty… All that’s left is his sentencing and the sentence being carried out… Right?” Palladium asked, leaning against Salvador.
He had a protective hand over his stomach, having just found out about his… Condition. (“How did that happen Salvador?” “Magic, my dear sister. Magic.”)
“I think he’s going to have to say what happened on Domino…” Faragonda whispered.
“Good. Then we can find out what the hell he did to Marion and Oritel.” Hagen seethed. He had been one of the closest friends of Oritel, their loss having hit him the hardest.
“We should talk to Erendor too… When we have a chance. Daphne… Mentioned he was there.” Griffin whispered.
“I’m not sure we should open that can of worms just yet…” Saladin reminded…
The Head Councilman stood, hitting his gavel.
“We are ready to begin. Everyone… Please be silent.”
Valtor gave account of what had happened with the Coven, how they would find angry and tossed aside dark magic users to join their ranks. How they manipulated those who wanted a change into assisting in genocide.
“Though there were a few who figured things out quicker than we’d have liked… Isn’t that right, Griffin? Salvador?” Valtor turned to face them. “Both of you were pretty devoted to our cause, until it got to be more than you could handle.”
He smirked. “Griffin even joined the ranks of the Inner Circle… By binding herself to me with blood magic.” He chuckled darkly. “Isn’t that right?”
Griffin glowered. “I did. But I also counteracted the spell. Next attempt to demean me?” She snipped.
The Head Council member hit his gavel. “Order!” He looked to Valtor. “What happened on Domino? To the King and Queen?”
Valtor grinned. “That? We had a fight. Me and my mothers versus Oritel and Marion. There was a flash of light, some smoke, some fire, and poof. They were gone. My assumption? I killed them.” Valtor shrugged.
“Whoops.” Hagen had to be held back by Faragonda and Saladin to prevent him from attacking Valtor.
“Whoops? That’s all you can say you damned maggot!?” Hagen yelled out. Valtor smirked.
“It was an accident… Mostly.”
The testimony didn’t last much longer after Valtor recounted what had occurred on Domino. Which led to his sentencing… An eternity in Omega.
He was in the center of the portal as the ice snakes came to surface of the portal, freezing him solid.
And like that, he was gone. His statute sent into the frosted underworld of Omega.
“It’s over.” Griffin whispered, a feeling of a weight being lifted hit her. “He’s gone.”
“It’s not over… It’ll never be over.” Hagen stood. “Memorial’s coming up… See you then.” He quickly left the Fortress, clearly upset. Faragonda said her goodbyes, running off after him.
Salvador sighed. “He has a point… It’s not over yet…” he looked to Griffin. “Or are we ever going to address that prophecy?”
Griffin glowered at him. “No. Because it’ll never happen. I’ll make sure of it.” She stretched. “Come on… We should be getting back. I mean… Palladium has that appointment, right?”
The elf perked up a bit. “Yeah. I do.” He gave a smile and kissed Salvador’s cheek. “We should get going.”
Chapter 25: Chapter Twenty-Five: In Memorial
- In Memorial
Hagen, Radius, Erendor, and Saladin were the ones in charge of the memorial service. The Fortress of Light was decorated with photos of the fallen and food from their home realms. Family and friends alike arrived, having moments of silence and reliving old memories.
It was bittersweet for the Company of Light…
A testament to the friendships they had formed and the loyalty to each other… And a reminder of who was no longer with them. A reminder of who would no longer laugh or join in on the drinks…
These were the survivors of the Great Magic War. These were the ones who were left. The ones who made it…
Story after story was told about those who had fallen. “Remember the time Marion and Amelia fought off those shadow creatures like it was nothing?”
“Remember Oritel’s coronation?”
“Amelia was so incredible at the Alfea graduation party. Her powers really blossomed that day.”
“She was always so nice.”
“Remember how Hayden used to create those incredible dance routines?”
“Marion was always so sure of herself… It’s so rare for a royal to be that calm while still being confident.”
“Amelia loved this song.”
“Tony enjoyed Eraklyon food. It was his favorite.”
“Daphne used to be so graceful…”
“Is it wrong, to discuss the future right now?” Salvador asked their group. Faragonda, Saladin, Griffin, Salvador, and Palladium had moved away from the others, needing to breathe away from the grief.
“It’s acceptable I think… Though I’m not sure what future we have.” Saladin remarked.
Faragonda gave a slight smile. “Speak for yourself. I’ve been offered a job at Alfea. I’ll be teaching the Magic of Winx.” Griffin found herself smiling again.
“I’ll be teaching at Cloud Tower. I’m teaching the History of Dark Magic and the Balance.”
“I’ll be teaching Dragon Taming at Red Fountain.” Saladin added in. Salvador and Palladium chuckled.
“How interesting… We all have been offered jobs at the schools in Magix. I’ll be teaching Dark Magic to Red Fountain Wizards.” Salvador admitted.
“And I’ll be teaching nature and potions at Alfea.” Palladium grinned. “At least until I deliver… And then I’ll be on leave for a bit.”
“Guess we’ll still be close then.” Faragonda grinned. Saladin sighed.
“To bad… Amelia can’t be here for this… Or… Oritel and Marion.” Griffin placed a hand on his shoulder. An attempt to comfort him.
“They’ll be there in spirit.”