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Coven Court

A Coven Tale

By Niko BanksPublished 6 months ago Updated 6 months ago 19 min read
1

Ligatus Obligatus Augustinha! "Welcome to the Augustingha Coven, Desiree," said Victoria. Desiree couldn't believe she had just joined a coven. It felt strange to say even in her head, but even stranger was how right it felt. Desiree looked at Victoria, who stood at the head of the circle of hooded witches with her pointed hat, dark hair, and striking pale skin. The room remained dark except for the blight spotlight on Desiree.

" You are now part of the Augustingha Coven, a sisterhood of witches who will die for you. Never again will you be unprotected or alone. If so much as a hair on your head is touched, your sisters will appear, for the Augustinha Coven is always near. As a member of this coven, you will protect its members and values with your life sister. Do you accept this responsibility?" asked Victoria.

"Yes!" said Desiree enthusiastically.

"Welcome to your new life," declared Victoria. Desiree could feel her power coursing through her veins. She felt more powerful than she ever had before. The lights came on, and all 11 of her sisters removed their hoods and embraced Desiree. Desiree looked up, and Victoria had disappeared. All the coven members took Desiree to the kitchen, where they could drink some wine and celebrate her joining the coven.

" I knew you would be the one," said Claire.

" What do you mean the one," said Desiree, befuddled.

"Well, the thirteenth member of a coven is very special," said Mariah.

"How so?" asked Desiree. The coven of witches looked around at each other for a moment before there was an answer.

" Every coven needs thirteen members, but the thirteenth member of the coven holds the fate of the entire-" started Melissa before being cut off by Claire.

"Basically, what Melissa is trying to say is the coven is only as strong as the weakest member. As the last of the coven members, your strength is our strength, and your weakness is our weakness," said Claire quickly. Desiree considered this for a moment. She still wondered why Claire had chosen her for such an important task. Desiree had never displayed immense magical power. In fact, it had been Claire who saved Desiree during a botched attempt to confront a vampire stalking a woman in an alley.

Desiree was just about to ask why she had been selected when Victoria reappeared in the kitchen, looking serious. "I'm sorry to disrupt the celebration, but Desiree, your vampire, has reappeared. We don't allow any predators on our land. He must be dealt with." Victoria sent the other 11 members to town. "Desiree, you will accompany me. This is an excellent time for on-the-job training. Now that you are in the coven, your spells can be more crude. Just think of a location in town you would like to appear in and say go as you channel your magic power on going there. I will hold your hand and travel with you. "

Desiree had more questions, but now didn't seem like the time. All of Victoria's attention was on her, and she wanted to prove herself. After all, she was the thirteenth member, she thought to herself; this should be easy for her. She took Victoria's hand and did exactly as she had instructed. There was a whoosh and a cool breeze on Desiree's skin, and then they were back in the dark alley that Desiree had first encountered the vampire.

Victoria's eyes lit up purple as she scanned the dark alley. Victoria indicated the vampire was down there, and she took off running. Desiree followed, and under a street light, she could see a man take off running ahead of them down the cobblestone alley. There was a chain fence in front of him. Desiree and Victoria would never make it to him before he could hop the fence, but just then, Victoria turned the fence into a brick wall that grew too tall to climb. The man fell off the wall, and Desiree and Victoria caught up.

In a flash of black smoke, the other eleven witches appeared hooded around the man and the wall in a half circle. When the man turned around, Desiree was surprised. "That's not the vampire I saw in the alley."

"Listen to the girl! I'm no vampire. Please let me go. I have a wife and kids, said the man in a scratchy voice.

" Vampires can't reproduce, said Victoria cooly. She raised her hand, and a wooden spike appeared, sticking out from the wall above the man's head. Again, the man protested that he was not a vampire. Desiree was conflicted because this was not the man she saw in the alley. However, that didn't mean he was the only vampire. Victoria called out, and the coven created a force field around the man. Desiree looked up at Victoria, worry in her eyes for the man. Victoria met her eyes as she lifted the man off the ground with her magic.

"Please don't do this. Do you want money," begged the man.

"Do you trust me?" asked Victoria, staring into Desiree's eyes. Desiree felt like this was a test, and she swallowed her protest and nodded her head. Victoria then turned, and without touching the man, she pushed him into the wooden stake on the wall. The man hung there with the stake plunged through his heart. Desiree saw the widening of his eyes, and then, just like that, they were lifeless, and he was gone. Then he was literally gone as Victoria snapped her fingers, and the man turned into ash.

That night, Desiree slept in the coven house for the first night. She was paired with Claire in one of the four-poster beds. Desiree was surprised at how normal the room seemed. The whole house would appear like nothing more than a sorority house to someone who didn't know any better. There were no magical objects and talking pets stalking around the house. It was surprisingly normal for a house of witches.

The mood of the house was somber that night. The coven didn't seem very enthusiastic about the kill, which only made Desiree more confused. She didn't want to think that she had just watched an innocent man die, but she couldn't stop thinking about it. Claire interrupted Desiree's thoughts as she left the bathroom and climbed into bed. Claire wasn't as chipper as earlier. She turned to the wall away from Desiree and seemed defeated.

" Claire, do you think that man was a vampire?" asked Desiree tentatively. Claire began to speak, but then she suddenly stopped. There was a lump in her throat. Claire began to speak again, this time in a more measured tone.

"It doesn't matter what I think. What do you think?"

Desiree thought that was an evasive way of answering the question. Was there a possibility they killed an innocent man? Or was this another test? Desiree decided to switch the line of questioning. "Why did you pick me to be the 13th member?" asked Desiree. Claire whipped around.

" I chose you because I saw you take on a vampire to save the life of someone you didn't even know, even though you were outmatched. I saw someone who puts others ahead of herself. I saw someone with strength of character. That's the kind of person we need as our 13th member."

"Thank you. You all are so strong and impressive. Just knowing why I'm here helps me to feel like I belong, you know?"

Claire half smiled before getting serious again. "I'm glad you feel like you belong, but remember, we wanted you because of who you are. Don't forget that, " implored Claire. As they turned to go to bed, Desiree thought about how strangely uplifting but cryptic Claire had been. Desiree felt like there was a part of the conversation she was missing.

The coven awoke the next day on Halloween. Ronda came over to Desiree to check in on her after yesterday's fight with the vampire.

" Are you alright? I know that was an intense first day."

"Yeah, I'm alright, I guess. Do you do things like that often? " asked Desiree.

"Well, not a ton, but we ensure this is a creature-free zone. We control this town and don't allow other supernaturals in our territory. Last night was actually kind of odd," said Ronda. Desiree could see Ronda thinking, her eyebrow furrowed and her arms crossed. Desiree's doubts about that man being a vampire bubbled in her stomach.

"Why was it odd?" gulped Desiree.

"It was odd because nobody usually comes to our territory. It is a well-known fact that our coven controls this area. It's been established for years before I even joined the coven," explained Ronda.

" Why don't we allow other supernatural in town. We are supernaturals. Why not allow other supernaturals to live here. There are humans here."

Ronda flashed a smile and looked around, but nobody was paying attention. " Well, this coven believes in separation. We put witches at the top of the hierarchy, and to stay there and protect ourselves, we control our borders and keep any other supernaturals out. If humans were to ever be a problem for us, we would easily dispose of them. If any supernatural steps on our turf, we deal with them because they know how we treat intruders. It just makes everything easier. "

Desiree wanted to follow up on that, but Victoria interrupted the conversation. She walked into the kitchen and stood on the floor line separating the kitchen and the living room, and every witch turned to her, giving her their undivided attention.

"You know what tonight is, ladies, but before we can get to the ceremony, we have to hunt down the vampire that attacked our sister. I've locked down the town. He can't leave, and it's daytime, so he must be held up somewhere. Find him and bring him to me!"

The coven disappeared in a puff of black smoke. All except Victoria and Desiree. Victoria grabbed Desiree's arm. " They don't need you for this. They are more experienced than you. Instead, I'll give you a little lesson," smiled Victoria. They disappeared and reappeared in Victoria's study. A large room covered in burgundy walls, carpet, and decor. The space had been cleared out in anticipation of this session.

"What are we gonna do, "asks Desiree.

"I'm going to teach you how to fight. " Now you remember how I taught you transport. It's the same for fighting. You just need to do it a lot faster. The only limit to your powers is your mind. If you can imagine it and focus on it, then you can create it. Trust your instincts and remember that the larger and more complex the magic, the more it will tire you out, so be efficient.

"Wait I'm not read-"

" Maledictus Cattus Aparere! "

A pentagram appeared on the ground five feet in front of Desiree and lit up red. A black cat appeared inside the pentagram, and the pentagram disappeared. Suddenly, Victoria disappeared, and it was just Desiree and the cat in the room. The cat hissed in her direction and started stalking toward her. Desiree backed up, but she didn't attack. She did the first thing she thought of. She threw her hands up, and a bowl of milk appeared in front of the black cat.

The black cat knocked it out of the way with a strength it should not have possessed. Desiree could hear the cat hissing and Victoria laughing from somewhere in the distance, but she still couldn't see her. Desiree lifted her hands in the air again to cast a spell. This time, water was dumped on the advancing cat, and this time, the cat's fur stood on the edge, and it grew to jaguar size, and its claws and teeth grew deadly sharp. The cat launched at Desiree, and she threw up her hands, and the cat's neck twisted upside down in the air, and it fell at Desiree's feet.

"Very well done, Desiree. I knew you were special," said Victoria as she emerged from the shadows.

" I.. I..I don't even know what I did; I just acted," said Desiree frantically.

"You trusted your instincts. And took down a Cursed Cat by yourself," said Victoria cooly.

" I guess I did."

" Do you know why you are here? Why we needed you?"

"Because I am the thirteenth member?"

"Yes and no, you are special, Desiree. You aren't just the thirteenth member of the coven. All witches draw power from the moon. It is the origin of witches' power. However, the bloodline of the original thirteen witches is stronger than everyone else's. I have lived for 100's of years, and even I am not a Moon Child. But you are Desiree. You are a moon child, and you possess immense power. That's what we needed. The ceremony tonight is only possible with a Moon Child. We have been searching for you for a long time. "

Desiree tried to take all this in. She was just discovering her powers, and now she finds out she is basically a witch royalty. It was hard to believe, but Desiree hadn't known her birth mother. It's why she had just had access to her witch gifts. With her father out of the picture and her mother dying in childbirth, Desiree had spent her whole life feeling unwanted, but not only was she wanted here, but she was special.

" Why do you need me for the ceremony tonight," said Desiree curiously. She was skeptical, but she enjoyed hearing more about her part in all this.

"Every Halloween, the veil between the world is at its thinniest. Witches have the opportunity to leave this plane and return to the Lunar land witches originate from. A magical world just for us beyond your wildest dreams where witches and wizards can live in peace and harmony. However, we need someone from the original bloodline to help us to return. You are the gateway. You are the only one who can guide us to the promised land. "

Desiree couldn't believe this. She was gobsmacked into silence. It sounded so crazy, but as the words left Victoria's lips, she could feel they were right. This was her fate. She was the chosen one, and she could feel it in her bones. Before Desiree could say anything, they were yanked from the room. They disappeared in a puff of smoke and reappeared in a cellar.

"We found the vampire, but he isn't going down easy," said Emily.

Desiree could hear the yells of her sisters as they battled the vampire, but she couldn't see anything. There was a bang against a wall.

"He's faster than any other vampire I have seen," said Claire weakly.

"Finish this," whispered Victoria. Desiree felt a fire burning in her. She was no longer the girl who had been saved by Claire. Desiree was no longer the girl who joined the coven to be a part of something bigger and find a home. She belonged. She was a Moon Child, a chosen one, and she had power, and she was ready to show Victoria what she could do. Desiree's eyes lit up green, and suddenly, she could see everything. This vampire was dodging spells and bouncing off walls and knocking back member after member of the coven without ever stopping his motion. Desiree waited, and then she burst into action, tackling the vampire and knocking him into the wall.

The vampire bounced off of the wall, and there was a crunch on his back. Still, Desiree wasn't finished. With her whole coven watching her, she launched a rope of onions that slithered from her hand like an anaconda and wrapped around the vampire. As the vampire screamed, Desiree stepped aside and blew off a portion of the wall and ceiling, and light poured in, burning the vampire to ash. Victoria clapped, and the other witches slowly followed along, but Desiree couldn't see their faces under their cloaks. They all disappeared from the cellar.

That night, the witches all gathered for the ceremony. Desiree noticed that they all looked very nervous. "What's going on? Why are you so nervous. This is an exciting night, right?

"Let's just focus on the ceremony," said Elizabeth unenthusiastically. Desiree was confused. Why did the coven seem so sad? Maybe they didn't know. Perhaps they didn't realize Desiree was a Moon Child, she thought. Desiree looked at Claire, who had been the most kind and patient with her, and Claire was terrified. Desiree felt she was definitely missing something.

They sat in the circle in their robes, but this time. Desiree was in the circle in a cloak and not in the middle of it. Victoria was the only one in a sharp, pointy hat and no hood. Victoria led the group in a spell.

"Revelare aperta, Revelare aperta, Revelare aperta," they chanted. Then, a large orange pentagram appeared in the middle of the group. It spun around, and then Claire was covered in orange light and thrown into the center of the pentagram, and the circle spun more slowly.

"Something has gone wrong. What have you done, Claire." boomed Victoria.

"Nothing, I've done nothing, I swear," Claire cried.

"Ostende!" yelled Victoria. Claire's robes were ripped off, and she was lifted in the air, her hair hanging in the wind, and there on her neck was a bite mark. Claire fell to the ground, and her eyes turned red, and she tried to cover them, but it was too late everyone saw. Next, blue light wrapped around Desiree, and she glided into the pentagram. And finally, it stopped spinning, and the edges went ablaze, separating Desiree and Claire from everyone else. Desiree couldn't see anyone but Claire now.

" Claire has been hiding her bite marks from us with magic, and now she is the only one who holds us back from peace. She has been corrupted. She will be a vampire. Once the clock strikes midnight, we will miss our opportunity to complete the ceremony. She betrayed us all, " stated Victoria.

Desiree didn't know what to do. Everything was happening so fast. The coven began chanting betrayal. Claire was crying, begging Desiree.

"How can it be you, of all people, who stand in the way of my destiny? It's not fair," Desiree whispered to herself. The coven just kept droning betrayal over and over again. Then, just like that, a wooden stake appeared in Desiree hand. She looked at the stake and then Claire on the ground. Claire reached out towards Desiree, and Claire's nails grew sharp, and Desiree trusted her instincts.

Desiree closed her eyes and stabbed towards Claire with the wooden stake. When Desiree opened her eyes, she was sitting at the head of the circle with the other girls, and Victoria stood in the middle of the circle laughing at Desiree. The flames were gone, and Claire was there on the floor unharmed. The chanting had stopped, and the coven was silent, and their face covered by hoods.

"I don't understand," said Desiree

"No, you don't, said Victoria cruelly before taking the stake Desiree had been holding and stabbing Claire with it. Claire screamed out before flopping to the floor with a thud lifeless. "Ostende Sursum!" shouted Victoria, and with a flick of her finger, the hoods of the coven came off, and Desiree could see tears streaming down their eyes and a chain tattoo slithering up their necks. While Desiree was distracted, Victoria dove at her, grabbing her as she transported. Victoria threw Desiree to the ground in a swamp.

Desiree crawled back against the wet, muddy ground.

"Why are you doing this," yelled Desiree.

" The question is, why did you do this deary. This was a test, and you failed just like I knew you would."

"I don't understand. I did everything you asked of me."

"Yes, you did. That was the test, and you failed every step of the way. "

Desiree got up, and Victoria tied her to a tree by her stomach without looking at or touching her. "

"If what I did was a failure, then why in the world would you kill Claire?"

"YOU killed Claire. That was the price of your failure. She bet on you. She bet that you could resist temptation. When you failed, as I knew you would, her life was forfeit."

"Why would she bet her life on me? She didn't even know me."

"It was her only option to get free of me. See, this is my coven. I control these witches, and we play a little game. Every year on Halloween, I let them pick one new member. If the new witch can resist temptation, then I will let them all go free, but if she turns out like you, then the witch who selected her dies, and the new witch will take her place in my coven."

"What about the sisterhood? How can you do this to your own kind?" asked Desiree. Victoria flew to Desiree's tree in a second and slapped her across the face.

"I AM NOT A WITCH! I am Swog! Many centuries ago, I spent my time in my swamp, drifting along and minding my business. But humans wanted my land for themselves. So when I used my shapeshifting power to trap them in the swamp waters and kill them for trespassing, they called a witch. And do you know what she did? She took away my shapeshifting power and trapped me in this human form as her slave. But she didn't fully understand Swogs," crowed Victoria mockingly.

Desiree had never heard of a Swog either. But she wasn't ready to roll over and die. She was still a moon child, and maybe Victoria didn't fully understand her, she thought because she had left her hands untied.

"Die Swog Bitch!" Desiree yelled as she put her energy into incinerating Victoria with all the fire she could conjure. But nothing came out.

"Arrogant to the end. You have no power; none of you do. Just like your witch ancestor tried to take my power, I have taken yours. She also didn't realize I could drain people. So I drained her powers little by little over time until she was vulnerable, and I killed her. "

"All that stuff you said, you made it up?" said Desiree.

"Just a story. I gave you a shot at power, and like all little witches, you took it over everything. You killed a man, a vampire, and your own friend just because I said you were special. Well, you aren't special. I've drained you just like the others. None of you have magic power. Every spell you cast was a gift from me that I allowed you to have."

"You are terrible. You are a monster," sobbed Desiree.

"Don't worry Desiree. I won't leave you all alone again. You will take Claire's place in my coven, " said Victoria sarcastically. Victoria began to sear the chain tattoo into Desiree's flesh.

"Ahhhhh, Stop Please, Please!"

"What's wrong? Isn't this what you wanted? You wanted to be a part of this coven, and now you will be forever," laughed Victoria.

"NOOOOOOOOOOO!" shrieked Desiree as Victoria branded her flesh, but Desiree's screams were swallowed by the swamp.

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