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Author Topic: Serena: a not so short story  (Read 6949 times)

Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #60 on: 01. September 2022, 22:47:57 PM »
Chapter 71: The Coven of the Unseen Moon call back


We need to rewind a bit here.

If you remember, first day back at school, Serena had met Nitesh, and gone home with him, and met his mum (not actually a witch). They had moved from another area, several miles away, and they had been members of a different coven. Serena had said that she would like to meet Nitesh's dad, and could he give her a call.

He actually called her later that evening. Serena went around and met Nitesh's dad, and told him who she was, and strongly invited him to come along and meet people at the coven.

"So, as I explained, my first 'task' is to unite the covens.... I don't suppose you could give me a contact for the elders in your old coven could you? Seems like an obvious 'next coven' to get in touch with."

"I'm happy to do that, but I'm not sure what sort of response you'll get from them. They keep themsleves to themselves..."

"Ok, thanks for the heads up."


Serena made the phone call when she got back home. The coven was called 'The Coven of the Unseen Moon'.

"Good evening, Mr Simpkin, my name is Serena Muffin, I'm from the Coven of the Light, Mr Jones passed on your number, his son has just started at my school. I was hoping you could spare me a couple of minutes..."

"Good evening, Miss Muffin, what can I do for you?"

"What I'm about to say will probably sound a bit strange, but please bear with me." Mr Jones (Nitesh's dad) had explained in a bit more detail how this coven was not only strict, but they were very slow to change their ways... so Serena could not expect them to be over-willing to join with other covens. "I strongly suspect that your coven has, somewhere, a very old prophecy: I'm rather hoping that you're aware of it..."

"Yes, I believe that we do have a prophecy, what about it?"

"Well, if it's anything like the 3 other prophecies I've seen recently, it will tell of several events, which match events over the last few years, then it will tell of a girl: an only child, who pledged neither to the dark nor the light, but somewhere between, but more to the light. She will have a mouth of metal, and a heart of gold, and substantial magical abilities. The prophecy will go on to explain what she needs to do...". Specifically, Serena said nothing about re-uniting the covens, she felt it better for him to discover that for himself.

"And that is important because?"

"Because many people, myself included, believe that I am actually that girl. Look, all I ask is that you find your prophecy, and read it. And if it does say what I just said, maybe you'd be willing to let me come and meet you, and talk with you about what the prophecy is asking me to do. That's all I'm asking at the moment." There was a bit of a pause.

"Yes, I think I can do that."

"Thank you, Mr Simpkin. Please try and keep an open mind: it IS rather strange to think that a 500-plus year old prophecy might be coming true in our lifetime, but we really think it IS the case." Before ending the call, Serena made sure he had her phone number.

----

So, several weeks on now, Serena had finally received a call back from Mr Simpkin, the elder of the the Coven of the Unseen Moon that she'd spoken to several weeks before.

"Good evening, Miss Muffin, this is Mr Simpkin, we spoke a few weeks ago."

"Good evening Mr Simpkin, and thanks for calling back". Serena had considered calling Mr Simpkin again, but decided not to: Nitesh's dad had said they were a very isolated coven. "I'm guessing that you've had a chance to read your version of the prophecy?"

"Yes, indeed, we have! I apologise for the rather long delay in getting back to you, but there has been rather a lot of heated discussion amongst not just the elders, but also the coven, about what the prophesy was about, whether it is actually pointing to the current time, and whether you are even the one described in the prophecy. There was also a lot of talk about what you - assuming it is you - have been called to do"

"I'm guessing you're talking about the uniting of the covens?"

"Yes, it is something that worries us a little."

"I completely understand that: Mr Jones explained that your coven is a very traditional one. Look, would you let me come and visit you, and talk to you all? If that's ok, I'd like to bring 2 other people with me that I'd like you to meet."

"Indeed, we would very much like to have a chance to meet you and talk with you, and yes, by all means bring a couple of others, if you feel it will help. When would you like to visit?"

"Maybe tomorrow evening, or any evening after that?"

"Tomorrow will be fine. 8 o'clock perhaps?"

"Yes, that sounds good, let me just confirm with the others, and I'll get back to you, hopefully within the hour."

Serena had decided that she needed to 'sell' the idea of the many covens working together, so had decided to take Harper and Samantha with her: both 'named' in the prophecy, and from different covens. First of all she went into the spare room, where Harper was working.

"Hey Harper... remember I said something about the 'The Coven of the Unseen Moon'?"

"They're the ones that isolate themselves, right?"

"Yeah, that's right. You ok coming along with me to see them tomorrow evening?". She explained that they needed to almost 'sell' the prophecy: for some reason she just felt that it was so important to get covens like that one to be part of the 'union'.

Next, Serena called Samantha, who was also very willing to help out.

"Great, see you tomorrow!"

Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #61 on: 02. September 2022, 18:25:28 PM »
Chapter 72: Visiting the Coven of the Unseen Moon


Serena had dressed quite smartly, yet still in her own style. She wanted to come over as reasonably credible, yet still 'challenge' the coven's beliefs.

"Ready?" Serena asked Harper, taking a look at Harper's braces: they did so suit her! Since getting them 'enhanced' by Elida, Harper had decided that the tongue crib really was very annoying, so had wished for Elida to remove it, but she kept the two expanders. So, she still had a lisp, but nowhere near as bad.

"Yeah... you know, I thtill think it'th tho cool how you are able to teleport over such dithtanceth."

"It's the dark magic that helps, to be honest." She took off her normal nose piercing, putting it into a small pocket, then took the ring from her finger, split the 3 piercings (she was very much in the habit of leaving the frenum ring in place) and put them on. Taking Harper's hand, she said the needed words to both probe and to teleport: moments later they were standing in the living room at Samantha's house.

"Good evening Mr and Mrs Parsons, so good to see you! By the way, this is Harper.". Without thinking, Samantha put her hands onto Serena to refresh her: whilst Serena's dark magic made the longer-distance teleporting a lot easier, she still knew that it slightly affected Serena... plus she was about to do an even longer one with all three of them.

"Hello Harper! Nice to meet you, Samantha explained about you. So, Serena, good luck with this evening, Samantha's been explaining what you're up to." said Mrs Parsons. "And I do like the way you look, still very much you, but it all looks very positive..."

"Yes, tonight is probably the hardest meeting I'll have done with any other coven. Ok, ladies, are we ready?". They all held hands, and a few moments later they were in front of a rather old, yet nice house. Serena, removed the two lip rings, putting them back onto her finger. Yes, maybe she should have left off the extra (non-magical) lip rings, but that was her image... so why SHOULD she? Before going in, Samantha once again cast a quick 'recovery' spell on Serena.

Serena knocked on the front door, which was opened moments later. "Good evening, Mr Simpkin, I'm guessing? I'm Serena: this is Harper, and this is Samantha. All three of us come to visit you in peace." It was clear that Mr Simpkin was slightly taken aback by Serena's appearance, but that didn't worry Serena at all.

"Good evening, Serena. Please, do come in!". He led them through to a large lounge, where there were four other older adults. "Can I introduce my wife, Mrs Simpkin, Mr and Mrs Cleaver, and finally Miss Lovett: we are the elders of the Coven of the Unseen Moon."

"Good evening everyone, it's good to meet you all. My name is Serena, I am from the Coven of the Light, this is Harper, from the Lakes Coven, and finally, this is Samantha, she is from the Coven of Love and Tranquillity.". They all politely shook hands.

Serena knew that the Coven of the Unseen Moon were very formal, and that is why she had specifically introduced the three of them by first names, to make it clear that their covens did not have the same level of formality.

"Ladies, please take a seat: would you like a drink - I'm thinking tea or coffee?". They all agreed that tea would be nice.

With tea poured, and initial pleasantries exchanged, the formal business of the evening started.

"So, Mr Simpkin, when we spoke, we talked about your prophecy. I've brought along copies of the prophecies from our three covens as well as four others: they are, I am sure, very similar to yours, albeit with slight differences. We believe they all come from one single original prophecy, but when the covens split, many hundreds of years ago, the prophecy was known mainly verbally, thus the prophecies vary, depending on how well the details were remembered." explained Serena, as she handed the copies to Mr Simpkin.

Serena, Harper, and Samantha sat quietly as the four elders scanned through the many prophecies.

"Yes, indeed, there is a lot in common between them, isn't there. Perhaps you should see our prophecy." Serena took several minutes to read this new prophecy, which seemed to detail one thing much more than the other three: 'There will come a great plague, which will affect the whole world, known as the plague of the mask. This plague will not die quickly, but will continue for several years in different forms.'

"Well, that bit about the plague, it's rather specific isn't it, and I would suggest it describes Covid-19 rather well," suggested Serena.

"Yes, that's what many of us felt too."

"So, maybe I need to tell you a bit more about myself, which might explain why many of us believe I am the girl named on the prophecies. I am just over 18 years old: when I became 16, I was able to do magic, but I quickly discovered that I found magic to actually be VERY easy to do - I've spoken to several other young witches, and it is clear my abilites far exceeded theirs. At the age of 18, I was called to make my pledge, and whilst everyone else I've ever heard about simply pledged to the light, for some reason I didn't understand, I was unable to do that. I rejected pledging to the darkness out of hand, but was not able to make the normal pledge, instead pledging to 'the light grey': it just seemed to be the right thing to do."

"From just before I was 16, I've had braces: they were fitted by Peter Puller, a witch in the Pine Tree Coven: It seems the braces I was fitted with back then were a bit special, made from some metal taken from the un-holy chain..."

"Did you just say... un-holy chain? You know the stories of the un-holy chain?"

"I know some stories and history about it, my wand has told me. Ah yes, I guess I should maybe introduce my wand, Wanda, before I continue my story: Wanda, please show yourself to everyone. I teamed up with Wanda soon after I pledged: she is also apparently made from a part of the un-holy chain, albeit a different part." While she was speaking, Wanda had appeared in her hand.

"Please send my greetings to these fine people," said Wanda.

"Wanda extends her greetings to you all! So, yes, around the time I made my rather strange pledge, I was getting some very strange feelings from my braces, some good, some apprehensive, so I went and spoke with Peter shorthly after I pledged, and he explained about the metal, and that he felt that - if I was indeed 'the one' - then I would need much more of the metal, to help protect me from the dark magic I would need to use... and Wanda confirmed that. And that is why I have a rather extreme mouthful of braces, made from part of the un-holy chain." Serena smiled, letting them see the metal covering her teeth, thye herbsts, and of course the lip bumpers made of a thick zig-zagging wire. "I have a lot more metal inside my mouth too" continued Serena.

"Yet I'm surprised that you don't have any problems with your speech."

Serena spoke to her braces quickly. "Yeth, you are compwetely cowwect, but not only do my bratheth pwotect me fwom the dark magic, they advithe me, and in addithion, they are able to compwetewy wemove my lithp: they thay that it ith not my fault that I need tho much metal in my mouth, tho they feel they need to let me thpeak normally. OK, guyth, you can thtop my lithp now...."

"Since then, I have also had some special jewellery made: this comes from a darker part of the un-holy chain, a piece held by our coven. It helps me do dark magic a lot easier. It was how we were able to all teleport here this evening."

"You teleported here? That must be what, 30 miles?"

"Yes, something like that. From what I understand, most witches can teleport maybe a few hundred metres using light magic. I can teleport to Samantha's house using light magic, which is about 15 miles away, but it still leaves me rather exhausted. Using dark magic makes a a LOT easier to do, and far less tiring. So, yes, my magic abilities are pretty strong." continued Serena.

"And she's pretty good at summoning too!" said Samantha. "A week or so ago, I was called by Sarah. It seems that, with a bit of help, Serena had not only summoned her sword and dagger from hiding, she also summoned a storm: she was 'playing' with it, sending lightning up to it. Serena, you should show them your sword...".

"I can do that, as long as our hosts are ok with it, I suspect they might like to take a look at it.". The elders nodded their approval.

Serena removed her ring, and let it transform into the 2 pieces of dark jewellery (the frenum ring was still in her mouth, and nose ring in her nose), which she then fitted. "So I have 4 pieces of 'dark jewellery': I keep the one in my mouth pretty much at all times - my braces protect me from it. I normally remove my nose and lip rings when I'm not using them, they transform into that small ring, letting me keep it nearby at all times. Ok, let's get my sword shall we?". Serena took a couple of breaths, held out her two hands in front of her, then said the magic words, followed by her instructions: "I summon my sword to be with me, but come in peace, and lay yourself gently on my hands!" she said very assertively.

"So, this is my sword: from the little I've played with it, it seems to be very powerful when it is in my hands, but a fairly normal sword when others hold it", and she immediately handed it over to Mr Simpkin, then removed her lip rings once more.

"I can feel that this is indeed a mighty sword, it's the sort of weapon who is very choosy about who it will allow to wield its power. Seeing this, I am now very ready to accept that you are the person described in the prophecy." said Mr Simpkin, passing the sword to Mr Cleaver.

"Do you know where this sword actually came from?"

"Yes, I do. I was told that the PineTree Coven are the protectors of a rather large amount of weapons - of which I know nothing yet - and Peter from that coven assures me that this sword comes from their hidden armoury, along with my dagger." Serena paused as they all looked at her sword.

"So, maybe I now need to explain why I have brought Samantha and Harper with me tonight. First of all, you will see that one of the prophecies describes that I will fight with two others, and a third one will use her powers to care for everyone else. My teacher, my mentor, Sarah - of my coven - is one of those who will fight with me. Harper here, from the Lakes Coven is the second one I will fight alongside, and Samantha here, from yet another coven, will be the one who cares for us. I would not have found them but for the prophecy telling me that it is essential that the covens all be reunited"

The three girls continued to talk with the elders for a while longer.

"Excuse me" said Serena, "can I use your loo please?".

"Of course, let me show you where it is" said Mrs Simpkin.

Serena was on the way back from the loo, walking across the hall, when Wanda popped up. "Serena, stop a moment." Serena stopped.

"What is it, Wanda?" she asked.

"I sense something in this house, something somehow calling for you. Close your eyes and listen with all your seven senses". Serena closed her eyes, and opened herself up... and yes, she could feel something calling her. "Hello, I am Serena, who is calling me?" she thought. The calling got a bit louder, but was still rather indistinct, but it sounded like it was something she could not ignore. Opening her eyes, she returned to the lounge.

"Excuse me, Mr Simpkin, but a moment ago, I started getting a very strange feeling, a feeling that there is something in your house calling out to me."

"Do you know what it is?" he asked her.

"I have no idea, but I get the feeling it's something I shouldn't be ignoring. Let me sit down, and listen for it again.". Serena sat dowm, and once again opened herself up. Once more, she could hear something calling her, this time from a different direction. She opened her eyes. "It feels like it's coming from over there" she said pointing towards the back of the house. "Is there something in the room through there perhaps?"

"That room is the old study, there are a few old artefacts in there."

"Would you mind if we took a look?"

"Certainly, come with me.". Both Mr and Mrs Simpkin led her back to the hall, along the hall, and then into another much smaller room. As she walked in, without even trying, Serena felt something.

"Yes, it's in here" she told them. Once more she concentrated: "I think it's coming from the far corner". On the far side of the room was an old desk, probably a couple of hundred years old. To the side of the desk, and around the room there was a large assortment of furniture, including bookshelves with books, and other shelves, full of all sorts of stuff gathered over a very long time. "May I go over and look?" asked Serena politely, very aware that she was a guest in a house belonging to someone she hardly knew.

"Please, do....". As she walked further into the room, she could feel something amongst the many items on the shelves to the right of the desk. As she got closer, she felt it was at chest height... she ran her fingers over the various items: when they got to a medium sized wooden box, she knew that THIS was what was calling her.

"What's this box?" she asked.

"That box? Well, to be honest, it's a bit of a conundrum." said Mrs Simpkin.

"In what way?" asked Serena.

"Let me get it down, and I'll show you..." Mrs Simpkin took a few items from on top of the box, finding somewhere else to put them, then grabbed the box, and put it down on the desk.

"I've always just called it 'The Queen's Box', because of the carving on the front." she explained. The box was about 15 inches or so long, 10 to 12 inches deep, and 5 or 6 inches tall. Made of wood, it looked to be quite old, maybe 200 or 300 years old. As Mrs Simpkin had described, inscribed in the front was the image of a lady, wearing a simple old-fashoned crown. The strangest thing about the box was that there was no obvious join or opening to the box. "As you can see, there seems to be no way to get in. I know many people have tried. My father and some of his friends tried all sorts of magic on it, but to no avail. So have we. From the couple of dents on it, several people have also tried more forceful means, but it seems to be an amazingly strong box, no doubt protected by magic".

Serena walked to the desk, to see the box more closely. Yes, that was definitely where the calling was coming from. "May I?" she asked, indicating she'd like to touch and feel the box.

"By all means!".

As Serena placed her hand on the box to feel it, not only could she sense that same calling coming from the box, but she heard a quiet 'click'. As she removed her hand, she could see that the box was now open: the craftmanship was so good that the now obvious opening had previously been invisible. Mr and Mrs Simpkin were both completely stunned as she opened the box, revealing a large book.

"How DID you manage to open it?" asked Mr Simpkin.

"I'm not really sure, I just touched it.". She put her hand onto the book, and felt something very magical. She carefully opened the book: like the box, it looked and felt like it was well over 200 years old. The front page was blank, but as she touched the page, writing appeared:

"We are but a small group of witches, both light and dark, and we are humbled to think that you, the future Queen Serena from the prophecies, may one day read these words. This book is but the second book of two, containing a special combination of light and dark magic that we sincerely hope will help you in your quest to defeat the dark powers. You will need to find the other book of the pair, which we will give to another coven to protect it. Then you must combine the two of them - only then will the magic you need be revealed. We all remain your most humble servants", and there was a set of 8 signatures, and the date: May MDCCXXXVIII.

As Serena stood there rather stunned at what she had just read, both Mr and Mrs Simpkin came over and looked at it too. "Wanda, I think you need to read this....". Wanda appeared in Serena's hand.

"It was just blank, until I touched it..." said Serena.

"Yes Serena?" said Wanda. She looked at the book, then said "Your Majesty!": this time Serena didn't tell her off. "Wow" added Wanda. For the first time Serena could remember, Wanda was actually speechless.

Serena looked carefully at the date. "Isn't that seventeen.... thirty.... eight?"

"Yes, I think it is. So just three years after the witchcraft laws were created in England. To be honest, having seen what just happened, I no longer have any doubts about what you have told us tonight. I think we'd better take it all into the lounge, and show everyone else." said Mr Simpkin. Serena picked up the box - now very clearly 'her' box, and was about to follow Mr Simpkin, when she spotted something else in the box: four rings: she decided she could look at them in the lounge. They returned to the others in the lounge.

"Edward, remember that old box with the queen's head on, that no one has ever managed to open? When Serena touched it, it opened... take a look..."

Serena put the box on the small table in front of them all. "When I first opened the book, this page was blank" she explained as she once again opened the book: once more the page was blank, until she touched it.

"There's something else in the box" said Harper. "Yes, four rings...." replied Serena. She took them out and looked at them: they were fairly simple rings, with figures inscribed on them.

Once everyone had read the page, Serena picked up the book, and looked at it. "This book... it looks very familiar..." said Serena. "Will you all excuse me a moment?".

Serena sat down, and spent a moment feeling the book, trying to absorb it's 'character', then put it back on the table. After telling Wanda to leave, she once again fitted her dark jewellery, then leaned back in her chair, closing her eyes and concentrating. She let her mind wander to somewhere over 30 miles away. To the library in Mrs Johnson's house. She was sure that's where she had seen the book. It took Serena almost 10 minutes to find it: right up on the top shelf, second book from the left: carefully hidden in plain sight.

"I think I've found it!" she exclaimed. "Half a moment...". With her hand in front of her ready to grab the book, she said a dark summoning spell out loud. "Now get yourself here!" she shouted. The book landed perfectly in her hand. She put it on her knees, and opened the front cover: a blank page, but when she touched it, an almost identical message to that in the first book appeared.

Having once again removed her dark nose rings, she called Wanda. "So, Wanda, what do I do now?". Serena sensed a few confused people. "Ah, Wanda, better show yourself again! So what do I do?"

"Well, the words say to 'combine' the books, so I guess you just need to.... combine... them!"

"Yes, Ms clever-clogs, I worked that out, but how?"

"Put them together?". Serena picked up the original book from the table, and stacked it on the second book... so Book One to the left, Book Two to its right. As they all watched, the two books magically combined, and became something VERY different. Four very ornate books: one large one at the bottom, and three smaller ones on top. She opened the first book, to see what it said: the title page, hand written, simply said 'the Teacher'. She put it onto the table, then looked at the second book: 'The Healer'. Next the third book: 'The Jester'.

"I just realised what these are, they are for you three.... Sarah is 'The Teacher', Samantha, you are 'The Healer', and you, Harper.." said Serena starting to laugh, "I guess they didn't have gymnasts back then, so you are 'The Jester'! I wonder what my book says...?".

Serena slowly opened the cover of the fourth, larger, book, where it simply said 'Our Future Queen'. Serena quickly looked at a few of the pages, and discovered that there was helpful instructions and some very interesting spells, which she could see were a mixture of both light and dark magic - clearly something that she would need to read in detail later on.

"I'll tell you what," said Serena, "up until now, everything has been... well, fun, and a bit wishy-washy, but now everything has suddently become so much more serious. All that stuff in the prophecy... it really IS me, isn't it? I've got SO much to do.....". Samantha leaned over, touched Serena's hand, and cast a calming spell on her.

"Yes, it IS rather daunting, isn't it." commented Samantha. "You know, I think Sarah should join us..."

"Yes, you're right. Umm, excuse me, Mr Simpkin, I think you all need to meet my teacher, Sarah, the third of my companions described in the prophecies - plus she needs to see these books. Would mind if I summoned her to join us?"

"After what we've just witnessed, not in the least".

Serena phoned Sarah. "I hope you're not busy?" she said.

"No, why?"

"In that case, stand up, and prepare to be summoned!"

"What?"

"Just stand up will you, unless you want to fall in a heap on the floor, and make yourself look stupid!". Still wearing her dark jewellery, Serena said the important words.


Serena introduced Sarah to the five elders of the The Coven of the Unseen Moon, then quickly explained to Sarah what had happened. "This is for you, I think..." she said, passing the 'Teacher' book to her. She then remembered the rings, and picked them up: suddenly the inscriptions on the four rings made much more sense: a jester, a teacher, a healer, and a queen! She put her 'queen' ring on the third finger of her right hand: not only did it fit perfectly (which didn't surprise Serena in the least!), there was something about it that 'felt right'.

"Guys, these four rings that were in the box, there's one of each of us." She gave out the rings, and as each of them put the rings on, they too felt the same thing. Harper was the last to put her ring on, and as she did so, they all felt a very strange - yet pleasant - magical connection.

"That's weird!" said Harper.

"Yeah, I know what you mean" replied Sarah. "I'm starting to feel some sort of strange connection with you three. Harper: I can sense you're not 100% sure what has happened tonight!"

"I guess you guys have been actively using magic a lot more than me, so yeah..." said Harper.

"It's ok, you'll be fine!" said Samantha reaching over and touching Harper to help calm her a little.


Once again, Serena turned to the five elders. "I know that your coven has a history of 'keeping itself to itself', but I'm rather hoping that, after everything that's happened tonight, I can persuade your coven to reunite with us all?"

"You know" said Ms Lovett, who had been relatively quiet all evening, "I believe I now understand WHY we have kept ourselves so isolated from the other covens. Over the years I've spoken with many of our older members, and seen a few old documents that didn't really make a lot of sense... until now. I think the reason our coven has been 'hiding itself' has been to protect what is clearly a VERY important treasure. And to think that we had absolutely no idea what this was! But now that our purpose seems to be done, I think we must do our duty, and rejoin the other covens!"

----

"Serena, Harper, Samantha, and also Sarah... thank you all for coming this evening. I'll be quite honest, my first impressions of you when you arrived earlier, Serena, were... how shall I put this without being too rude... rather negative. But how wrong I was! You are clearly a witch of her convictions, you seem willing to take on tasks which are not of your own free choice, but have been forced upon you: for that alone, you have my deep respect! But we have seen things tonight that completely validate everything in the prophecy, and I think we five, and the members of our coven have a lot MORE to discuss, but I think you can now count on our unquestionable support for whatever you need to do."

"Yes, this evening ended up being VERY different from how I thought it would be. I'm looking forward to inviting you all to meet the elders of our three covens!". Serena silently sighed deeply: she felt very relieved. To be quite honest, she hadn't felt all that positive when they had first arrived, but it continued to amaze Serena how things just 'seemed to work out'. Maybe re-uniting the covens really COULD be done after all. It was the bits afterwards that worried her!


Serena re-inserted her dark jewellery, and took them all back home.


Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #62 on: 03. September 2022, 16:22:34 PM »
Chapter 73: What just happened?


"There's so much that I don't fully understand" said Harper. "I mean, let's start with the prophecy... or prophecies..."

"The best I can work out is that back in the middle ages 'witchcraft' was more of a 'normal' thing, and I guess a lot of it was a knowledge of natural things that could help people get better, combined with some discrete magic. Some people got worried, I'm guessing they believed it was at one with their religious beliefs back then, and laws were passed, forbidding witchcraft. So through the 1500s and 1600 a lot of witches got persecuted and killed, which meant that those who were left had to hide away, leading up to the break of of the united covens. Of course, back then, most people couldn't write, so knowledge was shared verbally, often in stories. And I'm guessing the prophecy was one of those stories. Once people started to write more, then the prophecies got written down - but of course, over the many generations, the story changed, which is why the many prophecies are slightly different."

"But surely witchcraft is no longer illegal?"

"I hope it is! They passed several laws in the 1500s and 1600s to make us all illegal. Finally, in the 1700's they decided that witches simply didn't exist, so passed a law that said that anyone 'pretending' to be a witch must be a fraud! That finally got repealed back in the 1950's, replaced by a law to do with 'trying to deceive and make money'. That one got replaced about 15 years ago, replaced with one covering 'unfair trading'. So as far as the law goes, our skills just don't exist"

"And the covens never re-united?"

"No, they didn't. Let's be honest, while there's still many witches around, there's not a HUGE amout of witchcraft happening around the country. Yeah, I guess there'a few wacko groups out there doing rather dark witchcraft, trying to call on Satan and that sort of thing, and they give us a bit of a bad name! But your mum and dad, what do they ever do?"

"Yeah, not much, you're right. So you found out about the prophecies when you pledged?"

"Yeah, my pledging rather upset people, that prophecy probably saved me! And the more of them we find, the more obvious it is that there really IS something in it - or rather them."

"So these books you found tonight, where do they come from? And where did you get that second book from?"

"It seems they got written in the 1700's, just after they updated the law, by a group of light and dark witches: they must have really believed the prophecy to risk eight of them working together. That second book that I summoned came from Mrs Johnson's library: she's one of our coven's elders, and over the years her husband put together quite a library of witchcraft and magic spells, and I've been given full access to her books. When I saw the first book, I had a feeling I'd seen one like it somewhere, and the obvious place was Mrs Johnson's library. It was right up on the top shelf, almost against the wall - it was hard to find though!"

"So two books combined then split again?"

"Yeah, now THAT'S what I call a good use of witchcraft! The two individual books both seemed to be quite innocuous, and everything was magically keyed to me! Noone else would have been able to combine the two volumes. I mean, sheer genius! Then leaving them with different covens, one in plain sight, the other so well hidden. I'm actually wondering if they knew that I would be a member of The Coven of the Light? Otherwise, it could have taken a LOT of hunting to find that book - if it even still existed. All I can say is 'thank you Mr Johnson'!"

"So Sarah, how long have you been teaching Serena her magic?"

"Ever since she was 16, and found out she was a witch. We used to be a 'closed coven', hiding our abilities from the younger kids, although that changed recently thanks to Serena. From the start it was clear that Serena's abilities would quickly outstrip mine... and I've been studying for over 10 years, since I was 16."

"Ok... and what about you, Samantha. You're not in Serena's coven, how did you actually meet?"

"So, when I was about 12 or 13, mum, dad and I were on a skiing holiday out in Italy, and I met Samantha, we got on really well, and discovered we actually lived not that far from each other. Since then we've met up a few times during holidays, and always kept in touch. And neither of us had any idea were were both witches. I seem to remember I was on the phone to you, wasn't I Samantha, and you heard Wanda?"

"Yeah, it was just before the big picnic... and I heard this voice mention my name and say something about a picnic - that was Wanda. Next moment she'd teleported over to my bedroom! And that's when we worked out we were both witches." explained Samantha.

"Yeah, like when you heard Wanda the other day, and it meant you were someone a bit special, the same happened with Samantha! Tell you what, when the weather gets better, next spring, I think we need to have some sort of mega-picnic."

"Things are starting to make a lot more sense to me now! So, these ring we just got, what do we know about them?"

"Not a lot... hey, Wanda, what do you know about them?"

Wanda popped up. "Ah good evening once again Scholastic Serena, my Mystical Mistress"

"Don't you ever have anything better to do other than think of new silly names for me?"

"Well, I'm not allowed to call you 'your majesty' yet, am I? So I have to call you something... besides, it keeps me occupied. Talking of which, you want to know about the rings, don't you? Not had a lot of luck yet, but have got some feelers out. But I've heard of rings like this before, they help the wearer's 'keep in touch' and 'share their feelings'. But, given where these rings have come from, I suspect they might be much more powerful than that. Oh, by the way, now that Heady Harper has joined us, and your team is finally complete, maybe it's time to get those weapons that the PineTree Coven has for you."

"Weapons?" asked Harper.

"Yes, it seems that the PineTree Coven are the custodians of an armoury of weapons, but everything is hidden somewhere, just like my sword and dagger were."

"Yeah, I WAS wondering about those, how DID you get them?"

"I was wanting to how well ecstasy could improve my magic, so decided it would be fun to summon a sword and a dagger. To be honest, I wasn't really expecting them to appear, but they did."

"Ok, so you have got anything else yet then?"

"No, I've been dissuaded from mixing magic with drugs since then, and normal summoning doesn't seem to work. Which begs the question: Wanda, how DO we get the other stuff?"

"I would suggest that you start by getting in touch with the PineTree Elders, and visit their armoury."


Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #63 on: 03. September 2022, 16:23:51 PM »
So, today you get TWO chapters.... and this is the last chapter of the story.....

---------------------------------------

Chapter 74: Time to get the weapons!


The four of them teleported to the front door of Maurice's house - he's the chief elder of the PineTree Coven. If you remember, Peter is from that coven too, and he had told Serena they existed to 'provide for she who will protect the world'. Whilst they could have just teleported straight into Maurice's living room, that would have been rather rude.

The house they stood in front of was actually very old, and quite big. When I say 'very old', I mean that some parts of it would have been well over 500 years old, dating back to the time when the covens of England were still united.

Sarah rang the doorbell: very quickly the door was opened.

"Good evening, ladies, do come in!"

"Good evening Maurice, Peter," said Serena as they went into the living room. "You've both met Sarah and Samantha before, but you haven't yet met Harper: she is the fourth one mentioned by the prophecy, it seems she will be on the front-line, with me and Sarah."

"Harper, it is entirely our pleasure, nice to finally meet you!" said Peter.

"Nice to meet you too. Serena told me that one of you is her orthodontist, and gave her her braces?"

"Yes, that's me."

"Ah, good, we were wondering if there would be any advantage in me having braces made from the same metal as hers: I've been learning some simple dark magic, and we thought they might be able to help to protect me."

"A good question, to which I don't actually know the answer... leave it with me, and I'll go speak to a few people, then get back to you."

"Thank you, Peter!"

"So, you said that you'd like to finally see what weapons we have for you?" said Maurice.

"Yes please..." replied Serena.
 
"In that case, why don't you all follow me..."

Maurice led them down to the basement of the large house: it was clear that this was part of the original house.

"Welcome to the Armoury!" he said. There were shelves on the wall, a couple of very old tables, plus a large old wooden chest, but apart from that, the place was empty. Completely bare.

"It's a bit empty for an armoury!" commented Serena opening the chest, to find it was also empty. She gently lay her sword and dagger on one of the tables..

"Yes, but according to our history, this room is a safe place for the various bits and pieces when they have been summoned. I assume all the pieces have been safely hidden, and that you need to summon them."

"Yeah, I succeeded with these two, but I was high as a kite at the time! Not managed with anything else yet."

Wanda popped up. "Oh, Serena Muffin, Eternal Beauty of the lands, Mystical Mistress, Lady of the Dark and Light magic...."

"You've been getting really bored yet again, haven't you? I'm rather hoping you can help us work out how to summon our armoury from hiding, without my needing to get high on ecstasy again!"

"Well, now that you are four, I think you just need to invoke the Power of Four"

"The power of four?"

"Yes, the Power of Four - capital P, capital F by the way! Oh, come on Serena, have you NEVER watched 'Charmed'? They used the 'Power of Three'...."

"What ARE you on about, Wanda?"

"Never mind, it was a TV series about three witches. The four of you need to link your magic together."

"And how do we do that then?"

"Well, I guess it needs to start with us wands: we four wands need to unite....."

"Ok, talk us through what to do..."

"Well, if everyone gets their wands out, and just let us all touch together."

"Ok, ladies, are we ready?". All four of them stood in a circle (or maybe it's a square?), and held their wands out in front of them, then touched them together.

Nothing happened.

"Wanda?"

"Yes, we seem to have a bit of a problem here. Give it another go...". Once again the 4 wands were touched together, but still nothing happened. "Harper, can I see your wand properly, please?" asked Wanda. Harper held her wand up, close to Wanda. "There's something not right with your wand. It should be bigger, longer, more ornate, as befits one of your importance: currently it's a bit plain and small".

"Excuse me" said Maurice, "would you mind if I took a closer look, your wand looks quite familiar..." Maurice looked at it more closely. "Give me a moment, will you ....". He went off, and returned a few minutes later with an apparently identical wand. "This wand has been kept with a small number of other historical artifacts, but no one has ever known who it was for. I wonder if it could be relevant?"

When Wanda saw the wand, she started to get very excited. "It's the missing twin! It's the missing twin!!"

"What do you mean, Wanda, 'missing twin'?"

"The twins, they must be reunited!" said Wanda excitedly.

"What? Just calm down a bit, Wanda. Take a few deep breaths.... Explain..."

"These two wands are twins. Alone they each are very plain and have a very limited power, but together they will become the wand that Harper both needs and deserves to have"

"So what does Harper need to do?"

"Harper: take one wand in each hand, and just bring them gently together." explained Wanda. Harper took the second wand from Maurice, and slowly and gently brought the two wands together. Needless to say, as they touched there was lots of magical sparks and flashes and some smoke, and as the smoke cleared, Harper could see that her wand was now very different. It was longer, white, and much more ornate: clearly a PROPER wand!

"Oh my goodness, it's so good to be back together again, it's been a while!" said two voices in unison. "Oh, hello, who are you then?" they asked of Harper.

"My name is Harper"

"Hello, Harper, why are you holding us?". Harper wasn't quite sure how to reply.

"Because she is one of the four, mentioned in the old prophecy!" said Wanda.

"Wanda? It that YOU? It's been SUCH a long time!"

"Hasn't it just?! Ladies, meet Yin and Yan, the twins of the mighty white wand. Yin, Yan, my owner here is Serena, the ONE named in the prophecy who was unable to pledge to the light. She is from the Coven of the Light, as is Sarah over there. Harper is from the Lakes Coven, and she and Sarah are the two who are destined to fight alongside Serena. The last of the four here is Samantha, she is from the Coven of Love and Tranquillity: she will not fight with them, but will be there to care for them and all the others"

"You mean the prophecy is finally coming to fruition? So many things are starting to make sense. Ladies, it's a pleasure to meet you all! So, the other two are being very quiet..." said Yin and Yan in unison, referring to Sarah's and Samantha's wands.

"Yes, I don't think they know what's going on yet - I think it's maybe time to wake them up." suggested Wanda.

"Wake them up? Ok..." said Serena, "so what do we need to do?"

"Exactly what you did before! Now that Yin and Yan are here and together, things might work this time: want to give it another try?"

Once more the four stood in a circular square (or was it a squared circle?), and touched their wands together. There was, of course, colourful magic sparks, flashes, and smoke, along with a load of other special effects (which put quite a dent into the story's budget!). There was a coughing from inside the smoke.

"Why, oh why, oh why, does there always have to be so much damn smoke whenever you wake me up?" said Sarah's wand.

"Oh, stop complaining will you! At your age you should be grateful to still be alive, and able to wake up!" said Samantha's wand.

"Now now, ladies! It's good to have you both with us again!"

"Wanda?"

"Yes, I'm here, so are Yin and Yan. I guess I need to introduce everyone.... So, my owner here is Serena, she is the ONE named in the prophecy who was unable to pledge to the light. Yin and Yan are with Harper. Ethel, you are with Sarah... Harper and Sarah are the two who will fight alongside Serena against the dark forces; and Madge, you are with Samantha, the one who will pour out her love and healing on the others."

The four wands started talking to each other, whilst our four witches just watched and listened. Basically, it seems they all knew each other quite well, and Wanda needed to explain what was going on to them all.

Peter and Maurice were looking on, absolutely bemused. They both knew that Wanda was able to speak to Serena, but apart from that, really had no idea what was happening. Serena noticed, and turned around, and explained about the wands, that they could all talk, and that they seemed to be catching up on what was happening.

"Ah, ok... look, I think you four... or maybe I should say eight... seem to have things under control: why don't we just leave you to it, you can always shout for us, or even summon us, if you need us." said Peter.

"Yeah, I'm ok with that..." said Serena. Serena could tell that, by now, the wands had shared the important details, and were just gossiping. "Ladies! Ladies!... Yes, you four wands...."

"I'm sorry, your majesty" said Madge, "it's just been a long time..."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah... oh, and Madge, leave off the 'majesty' bit will you...." said Serena.

"So sorry, your Royal Highness" replied Madge. Serena glared at her.

"Just call her Serena, that way you might stay friends with her!" suggested Wanda.

"Thank you, Wanda. Now, you said we need to invoke the 'power of four' to summon our weaponry: what do we need to do?"

"Ok, hold your wands in one hand, then put your other hands together."

"Ready to give it a try, ladies?". Serena, Samantha, Sarah and Harper stood together, and touched their hands together: whilst there was no smoke, they could all feel some sort of power rise inside them.

"Now what?" asked Serena

"Umm... try summoning your weapons?" suggested Wanda.

"What do I say?"

"Not sure, I guess you need to spell out who you are, and ask the weapons to come out of hiding." Serena took a big breath.

"My name is Serena, only child of John and Davina, a girl with a mouth of metal, a will of steel, and a heart of gold, who pledged neither to the light nor the dark, and therefore I believe I am the child described in the many prophecies. With me are Sarah, Harper and Samantha, also described by the many prophecies."

"I have already started to reunite the covens of the land, as required by the prophecies, but if I am to defeat the as-yet-to-be-defined dark threat, I believe I'm going to need some help. I already have a sword and a dagger, but my wand tells me there are a lot more things of both defense and offence available to me."

"My request is simple: please show me what is available to me..."

Over the next minute or two there was a lot of clanking, thudding and other expensive sound effects (yeah, there goes the budget again!) as a whole host of weapons, armour and so on appeared in the room. What started off as a rather empty room was now pretty full. More relevant for Serena, her sword and dagger were now both in rather nice ornate scabbards.

"Umm, Serena..." said Samantha.

"Yes?" replied Serena, who had been admiring the scabbards for her sword and dagger.

"Over to your left....." Serena looked over to her left, where she saw 4 people, who seemed to have arrived with all of the weapons and armour. They were dressed in some sort of lightweight traditional 'armour', and had various medieval weapons attached to them.

"Who on earth are you?" asked Serena.

"I could ask you the same thing.... and why have you brought us here?" asked one of the men in the group: his accent seemed to be Irish.

"My name is Serena, and I didn't bring you here, well, not that I'm aware of."

"Serena, as in Queen Serena, Queen of all covens in the four countries of Britain?" asked the same guy.

"Well, I'm not Queen yet, but yes, I'm that Serena... so who are you?"

Instantly the four newcomers went down on their knees, took out their swords, putting them on the ground in front of them. "We are but your humble servants, your Majesty!"

"Wanda? What IS going on?"

"Well, from what I remember you saying a few moments ago, you summoned 'things of both defence and offence available to you....', and I'm guessing these guys are part of the package!".

"Ok..." replied Serena. She turned to the newcomers. "So, please get up, and introduce yourselves, and tell us where you are from, and why you are here."

"My name is Aodh, this is Berach, Ciara and Deirbhile [*}. We four are all witches, and our prophecies called us together from four of the covens in the South of Ireland, to support Queen Serena of the covens of all England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, in her quest to defeat the dark forces that threaten our lands. We don't know why, but we felt that we had to meet together today for a very important meeting. At that meeting, we were talking, then suddenly we were teleported here - where are we actually? And I have a feeling that you might like to read these...".

[*Author's note: these are four Irish names, the first two are male, the other two are female]
 
Aodh passed over 4 large pieces of paper, copies of 4 prophecies, which Serena took and read - or should I say 'tried to read', but they used words that she didn't recognise. "Wanda, I don't suppose you can translate them for me, can you?". Serena held the prophecies up to let Wanda read them.

"Ah, they are written in the traditional language of Ireland. They are all very similar, and tell of four able warriors of both the light and the dark, who will come together from four different covens, and who will train in order to help the mighty Queen Of The Covens and her 3 loyal followers. They will pledge absolute allegience to their future Queen, and use all their skills and abilities to help her to defeat the evil threat."

"Well, I guess I need to introduce my three 'loyal followers' to you then: this is Sarah, my teacher, and this is Harper: our prophecy tells that they will fight alongside me; and this is Samantha, she is the one who will give out her love and healing to the rest of us, when we need it. Of us, I am the only one skilled at using dark magic, although the others have limited abilities. Here, I guess you might like to see some of our prophecies..." Serena summoned copies of their prophecies, and passed them over.

"And... you asked where we are - we are in the south of England. These are the cellars of an old house belonging to one of the elders of one of the local covens: they told us that they had a load of hidden weapons etc ready for us, so we came here today to summon them. It seems that you guys 'came as part of the package deal'."

The four newcomers read the prophecies that Serena had given them. "Teeth of metal?" asked Aodh.

"Yup, teeth of metal... do have a look!" replied Serina, opening her mouth to reveal her extreme braces.

"Ok, yes, I can't really argue with that!" he said with a bit of a laugh. "So how long have you been doing this then?"

"By 'this' you mean?....."

"Oh, sorry, the stuff in the prophecy, I guess."

"I had my 18th birthday about 3 months ago, that's when I pledged to the grey bit between the light and dark, and found out about the prophecy. And started to learn about dark magic. Poor Harper here only learnt of her involvement last week! As for this lot" said Serena, indicating the medieval weapons and armour, "apart from my sword and dagger, we only just summoned it... and you four seemed to arrive with it! How long have you guys been preparing for this?"

"About 3 months. Like it was for you, it was a bit of a surprise for us too!"

Serena looked around at all the rather old armour, and assorted weapons that had just arrived.

"Umm, is it just me?" said Serena, "But these weapons... and the weapons that you guys have...  well, they were probably ok maybe 3 or 400 years ago, but even if they are all magical, I'm not seeing them as being particularly 'up to the job'".

"I think I'm agreeing with you there, Serena" said Harper.

"Yup, I'm with you there, Harper" agreed Sarah.

"Wanda? Is there something we need to know about this lot?"

"Well, I guess you could try running an upgrade."

"An upgrade?"

"Yeah... like with your computer, you upgrade it every so often, don't you? What do you have now, Windows 10? That used to be Windows 8, before that it was Windows 7.... even Windows 95. This lot here is more like 'Windows 1738', it all probably needs a bit of an upgrade"

"And how do we do that then? No, let me guess: 'power of four'?"

"You're learning quickly, Serena! Yes, definitely a power of 4 thing. I think I need to tell you all a bit more about 'the power of four': by combining your powers together, you all four have access to the magic of everyone else. It actually doesn't matter which of you casts any spells, they will still work. If all four off you cast the same spell, it kinda turns the volume up on the spell. And it seems that's what those rings are for too, they help connect you, so for certain magic, you don't actually need to be together."

"Ok, and you know what magic we can do that way?"

"No, I'm afraid I don't... I guess you guys have some training to do! Maybe there's something in those books you got from the coven of the unseen moon? Anyway, do you want to run the update?"

"I guess we do...". Serena looked around at the three others, who nodded their agreement. "Hey, Harper, want to have a go with this one? With your computing skills, you must know all about doing upgrades!"

"Ok... I'll try, but don't all go blaming me when it all goes wrong!".

They found a space amongst all of the weaponry and armour, and - with the four newcomers watching on - once more invoked 'the power of four'. "Through the power of the magic of the four of us, please can you update the weapons and armour?" said Harper. Nothing happened.

"I'm thinking you need to TELL them rather than ask nicely. A bit darker, if you see what I mean. Go on, give it another try!" said Serena.

"Right! Through the joint power of us four, I COMMAND you all to get yourself updated, and NO messing around!!!". That seemed to do the job nicely: with the mandatory sparks, bangs and smoke (and another big dent in the special effects budget), something happened, and it wasn't until the smoke cleared did they realise quite the extent of what had happened. Whilst certain of the weapons (such as Serena's dagger and sword) and armour remained unchanged, the rest was now very up to date: high-tech, light-weight, carbon-fibre armour. Some very fancy looking guns and rifles. And a load of other modern tech stuff too.

And it wasn't just the recently summoned weapons that got upgraded: the four newcomers all seemed to have had their weapons and armour updated too.

Harper picked up one of the very modern looking rifles, and looked at it. Then she put it to her shoulder, aimed at the far end of the room, and pulled the the trigger: a ray of red light shot out the end, and promptly made a good sized hole in the wall. "Smeggin' hell, it's a bloomin' laser rifle - cool!"

Serena turned to the four newcomers: "Erm, I don't suppose any of you have military training, do you? We need to get ourselves trained up on this lot!"


==================================
And THAT is where this story ends!
==================================



Offline xxxforce

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #64 on: 05. September 2022, 16:59:47 PM »
ENDING when the adventure just begins?!

No No - that would be not fair to us - So jsut continue ;-)

Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #65 on: 05. September 2022, 18:32:40 PM »
ENDING when the adventure just begins?!

No No - that would be not fair to us - So just continue ;-)

Whilst I do have vague ideas about what Serena could do, the amount of relevant braces content (= other than <"Hi braces, you guys coping ok?" asked Serina>) would be close to zero. And this IS supposed to be a "Braces Forum"....

I wrote this last week:

So, Serena has met her companions, and has got all her weapons etc, plus 4 extra members of the team she wasn't expecting.

So, yes, she needs to continue reuniting the covens, but beyond that, she would be needing to prepare herself and her team to be able to fight the 'dark threat'... and I think they could do with some serious military-style training.

So, how would she go about doing that? I'm thinking in this story that witches are probably about 0.1% of the population (the city where I live is about 50,000, so a coven of 50 would seem reasonable), so there must be a few witches in the military (I just looked, there's 150,000 in UK military... so about 150 witches) . Would they actually USE their witching skills: knowing the military, if they had wind of witches (and they've had plenty of time to find out about them!) then I would almost ASSUME that there is a team of witches, like the SAS / Seals / Paratroop regiment in the military. Their mere existence would be kept highly secret.

But THEY are the people that Serena would need to find, both to GET trained, but maybe to also get THEM better trained in magic to help 'fight the dark threat'. There is no doubt that traditional weapons would be of no use, magic MUST be used.

So how WOULD Serena find this team? She knows no one within the military. My only guess would be to start at the top, with the Defence Minister, or the Major General who runs the SAS... which could be an interesting task!

Your thoughts?


I seem to be ok at writing 'people interaction' bits, but not too sure about full-on fighting (I struggled a lot with the Lilly vs Dark Angel fight). So, maybe it's time to leave Serina, you can complete her adventures in your own heads!!!


I'm looking at a few previous stories, and wondering whether to continue any of them.... "Nanite Technology" is certainly one I could continue. How would you like a story about Carol? She's the "C" of "CJDL", that girl band, that I wrote that not-so-short story about Jenny (she's the "J") and Ben. I did actually start that story, but I'm not too happy with where it was going... so whilst chapter 1 was ok, not so sure after that!!!! Or did you all get fed up of CJDL?