Rachel held to Jacob tight as the horse ran through the forest. The horse seem tyo know exactly where he was going. Eyes shined from with in the trees, watching their every movement. She wondered how long Jacob had lived in the forest. She only wondered for a moment for her thoughts were interrupted by the sudden impact of something striking her from the side. Rachel was tossed from the horse and before she touched the ground, she felt something slimy grab her by the arm and pull her in to a tree. Screaming, she watched as Jacob pulled hard back on the reins, stopping his horses run, and saw him leap from the horse and run towards her.
"I am coming for you, Rachel. That filthy creature will not take you from me before we have reached our destiny!"
"Hurry please, he is cutting in to my skin!" Rachel fought with everything she had inside of her. "You will not stop me this night, Imp! I am strong again!" Rachel held her hands together and closed her eyes. She whispered the words her mother had taught her and watched the electricity flow from palm to palm. The Imp cried out in pain as the shock carried from Rachel's palms to it's grotesque feet. The smell of hair burning was followed by the odor of skin that had been set afire. Rachel held her breath as the creature loosened it's grip on her. She fell towards the ground, waiting for the impact of hitting the forest floor. She was elated to instead feel the strong arms of Jacob cradle her body in his.
"I told you I was coming, Rachel. I fear that your powers have been seen by the entire forest." Whistling loudly, Jacob turned to look for his horse. The sound of it's hooves striking the earth echoed through the forest. "We will not be stopped again by these foul abominations. Mounting his horse, Rachel still in his arms, he set her in front of him, high on the horses wither. "They will need to go through me to reach you now!" Opening his arms wide for a moment, Rachel was blinded by a bright light coming from Jacob's hands. The light made it appear as daylight in the forest. She could see Imps of all sizes disappearing in to holes in trees and in the ground. They shielded their eyes from the burning light, their hair smoking as they ran for safety.
"What the hell was that!?!?"
"You don't think you are the only one with powers, do you? We are nearing the cabin now. The trees their are friendly and will give us safe passage."
The forest, though still extremely dense with tall Pine and Birch trees, took on a new appearance. The full moon shined through the tree tops, lighting the way to the cabin for Jacob. Trees bowed their huge branches to the ground, giving reverance to the visitors.
"Why do they touch the ground with their branches, Jacob?"
"They are giving reverence to their queen."
Rachel stared back at Jacob, his face so handsome, she felt herself breathe in quickly. His eyes were now as dark as an Onyx stone, their shine, like a mirror she could look in to and that looked back at her. She felt her heart race as she stared at him. "I do not understand, Jacob. Is there a queen in the cabin?"
Jacob's laughter was bold and echoed through the forest. "You sweet young child."
"I am Not a child, Jacob! I am a woman and if you gazed as long as I think you did, while I laid exposed to your eyes, you would know that!!!"
"I did not mean to offend you, Rachel. Forgive me. It suprised me that you did not know."
"Know what, Jacob? Do not toy with me as I have a very low tolerance for games right now."
"My dear, beautiful lady... they bow in reverence to you. You will be their queen one day. A queen powerful enough to chase the Imps to a far land and one day, call this forest your home. But that is all for another day, one more forever in time."
They rode in silence until they reached the cabin. Smoke bellowed out of it's chimney filling the air with the smell of fresh burned pine. A single candle flickered in the window as Rachel pushed the door open. She was startled by a voice summoning her inside.
"Please come in Rachel... we have been waiting for you."
Rachel looked at the woman speaking to her. She was as beautiful as her mother was, with her dark hair and eyes, twinkling colors that went from green to blue and back to green.
"Does everyone in this forest know me? Why do you know me and how did you know I was coming?"
"The forest holds many secrets and powers, dear Rachel. Your mother told us of your coming." Rachel could see two other women standing near the fireplace, each so resembling the other that Rachel was sure they were twins. "We must get you warm and fill you with strength. You will need it before days end tomorrow if we are to save your father."
"How..." Rachel began to ask a question and decided there would be no new answer. "I was hoping you could help me. I didn't know where else to go."
"You are right in where you have come but the night is fading and we must prepare you for battle."
"Battle??? I did not come here to fight with any one. I came here to save my father."
"And save him we will, dear, but... tonight someone will die. We must be sure that it is Not you. Jacob, please take your horse to the shed and hide him. Peering eyes will be watching the cabin."
"Who will die??? You said someone will die tonight! We have to save my father, please."
"It is not your father that will die this night but if you are not ready to fight the evil that comes this evening, then you, dear lady, will die tonight."
Rachel wondered what the woman's words meant. What was so evil outside that it could want her dead? She was only trying to save her father's life, not take over the world. There had to be something she was missing in the equation.
"You ask questions of yourself that must be answered, Rachel. Before you can save your father, you need to save yourself."
"Save myself from what? That is the only thing I want answered."
A glow came from the fireplace, unlike any Rachel had ever seen. The flames seem to leap out of the fire and touch her cheek, burning and yet not hurting her. She stepped away from the fire but they stretched out further to reach her.
"What the hell is going on?!?!?! Jacob, tell me what the ladies won't, please." She wrapped her arms around him and without thinking or knowing why, Rachel kissed his inviting lips. She held the kiss and felt him respond to her. He cupped his hand under her chin and kissed her once more. "Please Jacob, you will tell me, won't you?"
The witches moved close to them. They stared at Jacob with fear in their eyes. "You must be careful, Jacob, or you might be banished from the forest."
"Quiet, Lizabeth, I know what might happen but this young lady is walking blindly in to something that could kill her. Do you think that my being banished is worse than history being changed? I will tell her and I will chance losing the forest. She deserves to know and can not fight the evil if she doesn't understand what and why she is fighting it. Now hush and keep watch for intruders."
The witches moved back to the fire as Jacob sat Rachel near the window where the candle burned. He stared out the window as if he were looking for something. Apparently satisfied, he turned his attention towards Rachel. Taking her hand in his, he began to speak.
"You asked why the tree's bowed to you and I told you it was because you were a Queen. I wasn't sure how to answer you then and so I told you the first thing that came to my mind."
"So you lied to me to shut me up, is that it, Jacob?"
"If I am not allowed to finish this story, then I will not even start it. You must listen to me because your life and many other lives depend on what you do tonight and tomorrow."
Rachel sat back in her chair, pulling her hand from Jacob's. She would sit and listen but she would also be angry while she did.
"You are a princess in the world of witches. Your mother was our last Queen but you do not simply take her place. There is much more to the ritual than that. Before your mother was killed, she left..."
"Wait!!!! What do mean "Killed." My mother died while trying to give birth to a baby boy. They both died in the room she was giving birth in. I saw them carry the baby boy out side, saw his grave and my mother's. My father was away at the time so I took care of the arrangements. The mid-wife did everything she could to save my mother but she couldn't."
"Rachel, please listen to me. Those people that were at your house that day were not mid-wives. They were witches from a dark sect that needed your mom dead to move up in the ranks. The little baby boy was not dead. You buried an empty box. The witches took the boy and raised him up them-selves."
Rachel stood and began screaming. She pointed her finger at Jacob and suddenly a burst of energy came from her hand. The burst knocked Jacob in to the wall behind him. He fell to the ground, his shirt smoldering where the power had struck him.
"Oh my God, oh my God, Jacob... I am so sorry! I didn't know I could do that, I swear. you are just telling me things that can not be true!"
Jacob stood up as the witches surrounded him. They touched their hands to him and made the burn mark disappear. "I told you she was reckless and would harm someone!"
Jacob pushed Lizabeth's hand away and moved his face so near hers, her hair blew when he spoke. "Witch, I told you she would learn to control her powers but not unless she knew the truth. She is the only one that can insure us that her daughter will one day be Queen. Without her daughter, we will all perish. Sit down and loet me finish before it is too late!"
Without another word, Lizabeth and the other two witches sat down. Jacob hugged Rachel to him. "You did not hurt me, Rachel, but you could have. That burst outside of this cabin would have cooked a hole through my chest. Let us not point those hands at any of us, alright."
Rachel hugged him tight to her as she cried on his shoulder. She moved her mouth to his ear and whispered in to it. "Are you going to be the father of my baby girl? I hope that you are." She smiled as she pulled back to look at his face.
"Rachel, I will tell you all of it when we are finished with the battle. Right now, you need to know who you are. The baby boy is not a baby anymore. He is old enough and strong enough to fight any witches except you. He could single handed kill each of us. We need you to make sure that does not happen. What we do in the next two days will determine if any of us exist after that. Your brother, Eli, is coming here now. The Imps told him of your arrival in the forest. Your mother tried to shield you from their eyes but her powers are much less now that she has gone to another plaine. We will fight him together and hopefully, we will win. If he wins, history will be changed and the witches of your daughters generation will not exist. Your daughter, Karen, will save us all from another witch that wants to rule all covens. She would plunge the witches in to darkness and turn the world upside down."
Suddenly, a foul odor filled Rachel's nostrils. She covered her nose and looked around the room.
"What is it, Rachel?"
"Don't you smell it?!?!? It is like rancid meat or something. I can smell something burning too. It is making my stomach turn."
Jacob looked at the three witches and shook his head. "Stoke that fire high, witches. He can not be allowed to enter here before we have finished. The fire will hold him off for a time but we must do the incantations now."
"What, what are you talking about, Jacob? Who is here, Eli!?!?!?"
"Yes, Eli is what you smell. You smell the evil that is his to command. He can not hurt us while we are inside here. He will try but for now, let's get you ready to fight."
Just as Jacob moved towards the fire, the front door opened. A wind burst through the doorway and smothered the fire in the fireplace. A voice, evil, sounding older than time itself echoed inside the cabin.
"Hello, sister... it has been forever since I saw you. I can not decide whether to spend some time catching up on old times,"...
Rachel felt her breath being sucked out of her chest. She could feel the icy chill of her brother's touch. As if something hidden inside of her came to life, she lifted her palms to the doorway. Opening her arms wide, she shouted words she did not remember ever learning. "Let my passion for life act as a lever... take away this evil, give me One more forever!'
The door slammed shut and the flames in the fireplace re-ignited. She felt her breath return and warmth cover her body.
"Alrighty then," came a voice from outside, you are more powerful then I expected. I won't make that mistake again. I will be back, dear sister, and then... you can do me a favor and die."
Wednesday, February 22, 2012