Rachel held her hands over her stomach as the fire came towards her. She wasn't sure how much Eli could hurt her and her baby girl. The fire ball hit her in the chest, knocking her backwards. She saw her fire strike Eli hard, tossing him outside the cabin. She closed the door quickly and turned to her mother.
"I am fine daughter, you need not worry for me. Protect that baby with all that you have. We can kill Eli but we must be smarter than he is. It isn't as much about brawn as it is brains. If we stay one step ahead of him, we can be ready for anything he tosses at us."
"Well, mother, he just tossed one hell of a fire-ball at me. How do I fight him and protect Karen at the same time?"
"With your mind, Rachel. He can not read your thoughts but... we can read his. You are the stronger in mind. Use your gift to find where he is and what he is planning."
Rachel closed her eyes and focused on Eli. She could see him brushing the flames from his body. She knew then that he could be burned. She saw him calling out to someone in the forest. He was coming back for her with friends. Five witches joined him as he neared the cabin. His hands were already filled with fire as were each of his witches hands. She listen as they spoke to him.
"It burns my hands, Eli. I can not hold this flame much longer."
"Azelda, you whine far too much. I know it burns, you idiot, it is fire!!!! None of the others complain."
"They are afraid of you."
"I guess you should have been more like them, then. You should have been afraid!"
Rachel watched him turn towards the witch. He thrust his hands forward as if he were handing off a ball. The flames that came from his hands were so hot they were blue. The fire struck Azelda in the face. She clawed at the fire, screaming, as her skin disintegrated. In an instant, Azelda's body was entirely consumed by the flames. Only ashes lay where a witch had once stood. Rachel cradled her belly and prepared for the very worst.
"I am coming for you, Sister and this time I will not be pushed outside!!!!"
"What do I do now, Mother? He is powerful."
"Absorb the elements around you, Rachel?"
"The cabin and the trees are your strength so use them. Set them on fire and use the powers of everything that is good."
As the front door opened and fire rushed inside, flames engulfed Rachel. She could see and feel herself burning but there was no pain. She saw her mother move in to the flames.
"What are you doing, Mother? Get out of here!!!!"
"Absorb me, Rachel... take what power I still have and use it, Now!!!"
Rachel breathed in the fire around her, feeling everything she saw. She watched as her mother was burned by the fire. She could feel her strength growing rapidly. "I love you, Rachel," were the last words Rachel heard from her mother.
"I love you too, Mother and thank you"
"Come on, witch, let's be done with this now!"
"Yes, Eli, let's." Rachel raised her hands in the air, opening them wide. She swirled them in circles and walked through the cabin. A fire-ball struck her in the stomach and she winced in pain. She could feel a change inside of her. "Damn you, Hell Spawn, if you harmed my baby, I will make you burn slow and painfully!!!'
The cabin was now consumed by the fire. The wood burned hot as the flames rose high into the sky. Fire-ball after fire-ball assaulted her body, each being totally received by her body. The heat caused her hair to move above her head and her body was now more fire than anything human.
"Come on, dear brother, come and get some of what I have!" Wind rose all around her as she tossed flames into the trees. "Forgive me, my loyal friends, but I have need of you today." The trees, as if they heard Rachel's words, bent in to the flames, allowing themselves to be fully devoured by them. Rachel walked towards Eli.
"You can not defeat me, Brother, for I have the powers of the cabin and trees and my mother with in me. You want what I have, Brother???? Here it is, all bundled up for you!" She felt another fire-ball strike her stomach, this one bringing with it severe pain. Rachel felt the burning inside of her. She fell to the floor, watching Eli move closer, like a hunter that had just shot a deer. The cabin was collapsing around her as she stood to face Eli. "Enough!!!!!," Rachel screamed out in pain as one last fire-ball struck her. "We are done here, Brother. I'll take your witches, if you don't mind." She pulled her hand back towards her and the witches felt themselves being pulled towards Rachel. Within seconds, they were gone, sucked inside of her being.
Rachel walked to where Eli stood. She reached out and hugged him to her. He struggled to free himself but her hold on him was more than he could fight. "This is where you die, dear brother."
Eli knew she had won the battle but not totally. He too had won a battle. "I will die here, sister, but I have taken from you something even more sacred than life. I have taken your Queen from you. Feel your stomach and you will know."
Rachel touched her belly and knew something had changed inside. She wasn't sure what but she knew that Karen was no longer with her. She squeezed Eli tighter and just as he was going to be absorbed, she pushed him to the ground.
"No-o-o-o-o-o, Witch, you are supposed to take me inside like the others! I will simply cease to exist if you do not! Damn you, Rachel."
"I want no part of you left, Eli. Today, I take from you your One more forever. Now go back to hell where you came from!" Rachel pushed the flames from her body and watched as Eli was incinerated. The flames died with him. Now, only Rachel stood amongst the smoldering forest.
Rachel stood staring down at what remained of Eli. She bent down to scoop the ashes in to a container she found. She smiled as she sealed the top.
"No worries, little brother, you wont go to waste.You will be my payment to a nasty demon that has my horse. You wanted one more forever and you can spend it where you belong. Share it with the foul creatures of hell."
The cabin still smoldered as Rachel walked around the forest. Trees that had once stood tall and green now lay on the ground or leaning against each other, dead or dieing. Rachel closed her eyes as she ran her fingers over a huge trunk that still burned slightly. She could feel the words coming from inside the tree.
"Do not cry for us, Rachel. In our death, new life will come forth. We will be re-born and the forest will continue to give to you and yours a hiding place from the evil that is always nearby."
"I need to go and save my father. I can use the embers from the fire and then, we will find another place to stay, away from cruel people that do not understand."
As she touched a cooled ember, she felt her mother's presence very strong. She looked around the debris and smiled as the image of her mother rose from the green branches on a live tree.
"I know you have many questions, Rachel. There was so much lost here this day. The Sun fills the forest with it's warmth and lights your way back to your father.
"I lost her, mother... I lost my baby." Rachel sobbed in to her hands as she felt the warmth of her mothers embrace.
"No, daughter, you did not lose her. The battle shifted time a bit and it was not Karen's time yet. You will have another daughter before Karen. She will be born of you and a mortal man. She and Karen will work together one day to rid the world of another dark witch. The cabin will rebuild itself and the forest will be stronger in it's rebirth. Go now to your father and make him well. I love you daughter and will always be here in the forest, should you ever need me."
Taking Jacob's horse, Rachel rode through the trees until she saw the demon. He blocked her only way out of the forest.
"So, you did live, did you, little witch?!?" He breathed in her fragrance and smiled. "You have gained in strength and I fear, a battle between you and I would only leave us both bleeding. What did you bring me to trade for your horse?"
"If I had the time, demon, I would fight you and win but, time I do not have. Here is a container with the soul of my evil brother inside. Take it and make him your slave. This will satisfy both you and I. Do with him whatever you desire... he is my gift to you."
The demon took the container from Rachel. He held it to his nostrils and breathed in. "Ahhhhhhh, so deliciously evil." He opened the container and Rachel saw the image of Eli appear. The demon grabbed him by the throat and held him to his face. "Struggle all you want, slave, it will do you no good. You are mine now, a gift from your sister. I will use you for my slave and my pleasures. Pain like I will inflict will be like none you have ever known."
"Enjoy him demon and dear brother... enjoy this forever from me." She took Lazareth and as she rode out of the forest, she could hear Eli's screams. She smiled and rode to the house.
Her father laid in the bed, exactly where she had left him. He smiled a gentle smile for her.
"I am going to lay these embers on your chest, Father. You will be well soon and then we need to go away from here. I will tell you all about the forest when you are well. Mothers says to tell you she loves you."
It had been a little over 2 years since Rachel had fought in the forest. She looked out the window of the cabin in the forest. Beauty surrounded her as she cradled her baby in her arms. Ellie was beautiful and looked like her father. She would have her mothers powers but not as strong as if she had been born to two with gifts. She thought seldom of Ellie's father, a man who thought to control Rachel's powers for his own use. Where she sent him, he would never return from.
Night-fall came and Rachel stoked the fire. Though the forest protected her, the chill in the late Autumn air still made her shiver. As she watched the flames grow, Rachel saw the image of something inside the flames. Tears filled her eyes as she watched the hand reach out to her.
"You are as beautiful as always, my darling. The little one looks like you."
"I thought you were gone forever, Jacob. How can you be here?"
"A gift from the forest and flames for what I gave that day. I can only be here for a short time."
"Then we are wasting precious time talking. We could be..." Rachel smiled an inviting smile, "making a Queen, my Love."
Pulling her in to the flames, her clothes burned away by the fire, Jacob smiled. He kissed her lips full and laid her down. "Then let us make One more Forever, now..."
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Rachel held her hands over her stomach as the fire came towards her. She wasn't sure how much Eli could hurt her and her baby girl. The fire ball hit her in the chest, knocking her backwards. She saw her fire strike Eli hard, tossing him outside the cabin. She closed the door quickly and turned to her mother.
Silence filled the cabin as the last wind slowed. Jacob took Rachel's hand and led her to the fire that was once again burning hot. The flames danced around, like a ballerina performing for a huge audience, spinning and rising high in to the air, then falling quickly back in to the fireplace. Only once did the flames reach out and touch Rachel's face, the sting causing her to pull away from the heat that now branded her cheek. Jacob touched her cheek and she felt a cooling sensation exactly where her face had been burning seconds ago.
"We have no more time, Rachel. Eli knows you will get stronger with time. He can not wait or he risks losing the battle."
"Where did he go?"
Lizabeth spoke out. "He went to gather his witches to increase his powers. When he returns, the battle will be fierce."
"She is right, Rachel. We must perform the ritual now. You need to trust in us that we will not harm you. There may be pain for a short time but the pain will only make you stronger."
"Then let us get on with it. The sun will rise soon and my father will be visible. I only had the power to shield him while it was dark."
"You can cloak him fully when the rites are finished. Before your mother died, she left instructions on how to give you full strength. Make the fire hotter, witches and bring the green branches to push in to the flames. Do not do that until I tell you or Rachel could be harmed."
"I don't understand this. If I have a child, this Karen you called her, then don't we know that I win and go on to give birth? Why don't you and I just get together and make this happen?"
Jacob looked at her, his eyes filled with both love and fear. He kissed Rachel deep and purposefully. "My darling Rachel, how I wish with all of my heart that we could do just that. In order for us to be one, we must first defeat Eli. I am going to ask you to step in to the flames."
"What!!!!! Are you crazy? I am not stepping in to a fireplace that burns so hot I moved away from it's heat."
"Rachel, you will not die. This is the way we coat our body and soul in flames. Your body will absorb the flames and you will no longer be able to be hurt by flames. This is a rite of passage that only queens and princesses can do. Any one else would die a very slow, painful death. Please, Rachel, time is running out."
"Do not let me die, Jacob, I will come back to haunt you." Rachel stepped in to the raging fire, her feet burning as she pulled herself inside. Jacob and the witches watched as her body was completely sealed inside the flames. She cried out as the flames bit at her and coated her body with what felt like a hard shell. "It burns, damn you, it burns like the fires of hades, Jacob. I trusted you and now my whole body is engulfed in this fire."
"Rachel, think about it. You are smothered in flames yet you still talk and move. They flames are simply melding in to you so that you can use them for your battle. Please do not leave the fire or all will be lost to us. Think of your baby daughter, waiting to be born and be a Queen."
Suddenly, Jacob heard screams from the witches. He watched with unbelieving eyes at what he was witnessing. One by one, the flames struck out from the fire, grabbing each witch and pulling her in to the fire. He could see their body's melting, the skin from their faces, sliding away and falling to the flames below their feet. The rancid smell of burning hair made Jacob cover his nostrils. Rachel screamed out as she felt the witches burning flesh be absorbed through her feet. She could feel her body getting stronger with each witch.
A storm now raged outside the cabin. Lightning struck the ground and trees. The forest seemed to close in around the cabin, keeping the lightning from striking to near the cabin. Burning bark could be smelled and trees were a lit with fire as they sacrificed themselves to save their princess. The wind began to push against the cabin door, trying it seemed, to push it open again. Rachel held her hands out and flames went from her palm to the door, spreading over the door, holding it closed. Lightning lit the sky so fiercely and constantly that the cabin appeared to have flood lights inside. Jacob shielded his eyes from a strike that touched the cabin wall, causing a huge spark to ignite near the base of the cabin wall.
Rachel screamed out again, this time the sound was pure pain. Jacob tried to reach inside the fire but was pushed back against a wall. He fell to his knees as Rachel's pleading pierced his ears.
"You promised me, Jacob-b-b-b-b-b-b. You swore I would not die but I feel my body dieing now. I trusted you and you let me down."
Jacob searched his memory for something he might have missed from Rachel's mom. He could hear her voice talking to him, telling him how to save her daughter from death. Then... it all came back to him. He grabbed the green branches he had gathered from the trees. He began pushing them in to the flames, feeling the heat from the fire intensifying as the flames ate away at the branches. Like a starving animal, the fire tore at the branches engulfing them and leaving nothing but ashes in it's wake. As Jacob watched, his mouth opened wide and his eyes unsure what he was seeing, Rachel body melted in to the flames. He searched the flames and found... nothing. The flames had devoured her body. Jacob fell to the floor, tears pouring from his eyes.
"I did what you told me to do, damn you!!!!! What the hell did I do wrong????"
Jacob slowly stood and faced the fire. The flames had died down and the only light in the cabin was given by the lightning that ripped through the sky. Trees were leaned over so far by the winds that their branches touched the forest floor. The smoke from the chimney swirled high in to the air, twisting and turning until it formed a face. Jacob watched as the image of Rachel's mother appeared. Her form complete, she descended to the ground and floated more than walked towards the cabin. Jacob reached to open the door but Alexis, passing through the door, was inside before he could open it. He stared at her, wondering how se had found the power to return.
"Jacob, you did nothing wrong." Her touched was a strange mix of icy cold and warmth. She brushed his cheek and smiled at him. "Wait for a moment and you will see."
"I don't know if we have a moment, Alexis. Eli will not grace us with time. He wants Rachel dead before Karen can be born."
"I have seen Eli and he is still trying to gather his people. You must now do your part, Jacob."
"What is my part? I thought that I had done all you asked of me."
"You must now enter the fire yourself. Rachel waits for you inside. You need to go to her and create."
"Create???? You think that I can simply go inside the fire and Rachel will open her arms to me as if we had been together forever?"
"Rachel has matured and changed inside. She knows what she must do to bring Karen to life. My grand-daughter will one day fight for what is rightfully hers. What you do today will give to you one more forever though your daughter."
"I am not coming back, am I Alexis?"
"Jacob, you knew when you went to her in the forest that it was a one way trip. You can step away if you want and no one will ever know the difference. Time will..."
"Yes, I know, time will go on ad all will be as it is except that Karen will never be born and the dark witches will win. I cannot allow that to happen, can I?"
Jacob turned away from Alexis as the fire suddenly burst into huge, powerful flames, flames that reached out and began to pull Jacob into thier heated embrace. Jacob could see Rachel standing inside the flames, her arms open, waiting for his touch. Her auburn hair looked like the fire itself and her emerald eyes sparkled with new life. He could see the strength within her and knew that what he was about to share would be more than perfect compensation for his life. He stopped just before entering the flames and looked back at Alexis.
"Does she know???"
"No, Jacob, She thinks this is the start of she and you sharing forever. She must'nt know."
Jacob turned back to the fire and walked inside the flames. Rachel stood before him, her body as he had seen it in the brook, perfect in every way. He took her in his arms and laid her down. Kissing her lips, Jacob felt the fullness of her being.
"I prayed you would come to me. As soon as I was consumed in the fire, I knew you would come to me. We will make our daughter today and she will be a Queen one day. This is for our life-time, Jacob. Make love to me so that we can be one."
"I do not need a life-time, Rachel, I just need one more forever. Today, I will have that."
Jacob slowly covered her body with kisses. He tasted the sweetness of her skin and felt her moving beneath him. Her hands urged him down until reached the very essence of her loving. From streams somewhere in their private world to mountain peaks, Rachel climbed higher and higher until she could take no more. Her sounds pushed Jacob to places he had never before been too with any one. Her fingertips were like fire and ice, burning his skin before cooling it and then cooling it again, like ice being poured over hot embers. Together, the found their own heaven on earth. The blood she drew from his back took Jacob to the very top of pleasures. He moved his body until he was looking into her eyes. His weight fully against her, he pressed his face to her ear. As he felt her body tense, he felt as if he were drunk from her touch. Fully intoxicated by her letting go, Jacob to melded one with her. Moving her beautiful hair from her ear, he whispered... "I love you, my Rachel, and I shall love you even after I am gone away. Such completeness I have never known. I will be watching you from the forest and will be only a call away."
Quietly, against Jacob's shoulder, Rachel cried. She realized what Jacob was saying to her. She clung tightly to his body, holding him with her legs. "Please, tell me there is another way. Tell me we can find a way for you stay with me, Jacob. I need you and I love you. Please, please, do not leave me alone. I am begging you."
Kissing her tenderly, brushing her cheek with his fingertips, he leaned forward and gently kissed her eyes. "I am not leaving you alone, my love. You will have a daughter now and she will be at your side. In her, you shall have me and through her... I have one more forever. I love you, Rachel, now and forever."
Rachel felt the weight of his body suddenly leave her body. She watched as Jacob faded out of sight. She reached out to try and hold him once more. Her hand passed through him and she sobbed. A voice echoed in the fire, a voice she knew brought with it death. She stood and placed her hand on he stomach.
"I will not let him harm you, my precious gift. We will destroy the evil abomination and then, you my little baby girl, will be a queen."
"Where is she, witch. I intend to kill her and all of her kin!!!"
Eli's hand,tight around Alexis' throat, she smiled at Eli. "You, my son, will be the one to die here. Rachel is already gathering her strength. It is more than enough to kill the likes of you."
"Oh Mother, how can you wish for something so horrible for your own son."
"You are Not my son. I only gave birth to you. I will see you die before you harm my daughter or my grand-daughter."
"Not from where I send you, Mother."
The flames flared in the fireplace. The heat was so intense, the hair on Eli's arms were seared off. Out of the fire, Rachel appeared. Her body glowed and the heat that was the fires, was now hers to command.
"Hello, Brother... did you come to leave threats or die? I am prepared to end your miserable existence today."
"Then let us not delay, dear Sister."
Both their bodies began to glow brighter. Fire-balls filled both of their palms. The cabin was engulfed in flames, forcing them to go out into the raging storm. Lightning lit the morning sky as the fire-balls flew from their hands towards each other.
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."
The night would be upon her soon. Rachel knew she had to make it to the cabin before morning. She rode Lazareth harder than she should have but he was strong and would carry her until he collapsed, this she was sure of. She and Lazareth had been together since the day her father had told her he was dead. Refusing to believe it was so, Rachel had gone in to the stables where he lay. Closing her eyes, she had whispered words that her mother had taught her. Her eyes had filled with tears, thinking of her mother, gone for three years. Rachel had spoken the same words over her mother as she whispered in Lazareth's ear. They were strange words, spoken only in times long ago forgotten that her mother shared with her when Rachel was very young.
"You won't die, Lazareth. Papa only thinks you dead but I can feel your heart beat as if it were my own. Listen while I whisper words of life in your ear. Take them and feed your tired body."
She remembered the smell as if it were only a day gone by. The sweetness of the grass bales that laid near the stall was breathed in by her and Lazareth. The fragrance was like sweet clover after a gentle rain. The smoke rose from the grass and circled her head, pushing it's way into her brain through her nostrils. She leaned forward and breathed the smoke in to Lazareth's nostrils. With a few more words whispered to the horse, Rachel stood and watched. She saw his back legs kick out and caught the fluttering of his eye lids. Rachel reached out and while touching the huge horses mane she said aloud, "One more forever for you my friend." With those words spoken, Lazareth stood and shaking his head, he neighed loudly as if to say "thank you, I am alive." Yes, he would carry her tonight, taking her to the cabin, or Lazareth would die trying.
Darkness fell faster than she wanted it too. The Forest was only a stones toss away. She could already feel her body begin to tense as the first shadows from the trees stretched out to touch her. Lazareth tried to slow his pace but Rachel urged him on with gentle squeezes to his sides. She heard the soft spoken voice of her mother as she entered the forest.
"I am here with you, Daughter. It has been so long since I have seen you."
Not needing to speak aloud, Rachel answered. "Mother, I am sorry I have been away so long. Father needed me to help with the land. I must get through to the cabin."
"Why the urgency, Rachel? Who is hurt? I know you would not travel through this forest at night with out cause."
"It is father... he is terribly ill. The people came and tried to destroy our home and father fought them. I used what powers I had left to try and help. I did little good. He was hurt and the injuries became festered. I need the powers with in the cabin to heal him."
As she waited for her mother to answer, Rachel felt the sting on her cheek. She could feel blood trickling from the wound. She did not cry out for fear she would attract more of the forests keepers. Lazareth suddenly stopped, tossing Rachel head over heels across his head. She landed hard on the ground, feeling the rocky road beneath her.
"Damn you, Lazareth, why did you stop?!?!?" Looking past his head, she saw them. There were hundreds of them. Tree dwellers, the size of a large dog, reaching down from the trees to touch her. She shuddered with fear as she watched their arms stretch in un-natural ways, their fingers elongated, filthy with tree sap and pieces of bark. Rachel pressed herself tight against the rocky road as their fingers missed her face by mere inches.
"What do you want here, young girl? Have you decided to call this your last forever?"
Rachel, now feeling her powers surge through her stood. She swiped away the fingers that reached for her. The imp screamed at her touch and moved back to the top of the tree. "I do not need to answer you to go forward. You have no powers as long as I am not afraid. Go back to the trees before I hurt you."
"Hurt us??? Not afraid? Perhaps we can help you with that. Your powers are weak and we are many."
"Please, I must get through before morning. When I am finished with my business, I will find a way to repay you for safe passage."
Rachel watched as the imps, one by one, melded together. The creature before her began to grow taller with each meld. He was grotesque and the evil oozed from his lips. He now stood directly in front of Rachel and Lazareth. His voice alone made Rachel shake with fear, fear she could not afford to show.
"I will take your horse as payment for passing. If you return and bring me something special, I will give him back. If you do not, then I will Eat him! Or you can try to pass without this deal and I will simply eat you both now."
Rachel stared in to the eyes of the best friend she had. She knew that this creature could over power her at this time. She also knew, she had no choice. Putting her arms around Lazareth's neck, she cried into his mane. Somehow she knew that he understood her. "I will be back for you, my dearest friend. I love you."
"You better hurry, little girl, I think I feel the sun rising."
Rachel knew he was lying. She didn't have a lot of time to reach the cabin, but the darkness was still heavy in the air. With a glance back at Lazareth, she ran towards the cabin.
One More Forever... Part 2
Rachel ran through the forest as fast as she could. Imps jumped in front of her to try and slow her advance. Tree branches reached out for her, their tips sharp as a razor, tearing her clothing and leaving claw marks on her back and neck. She tried to stifle her cries but some of the wounds were deep and terribly painful. Each time she screamed, the imps honed in on her sounds and tore at her a little more. She knew she needed to reach the cabin soon but her body needed healing before she could go on.
Rachel saw a tiny bridge hidden almost completely from view by shrubs and trees. The foliage encompassed the bridge as if it were protecting it from peering eyes. Rachel knew this bridge and of it's powers. Reaching the moss covered entrance, she quickly slipped underneath of it. A brook ran underneath and her feet were instantly soaked as she stepped in to the clear water. Green, the color of grass, covered the underneath of the bridge. The stones it was made of were invisable beneath the moss that for hundreds of years had kept it from the eyes of imps and demons. The light from the moon shone down in to the water, reflecting off of the rocks that covered the bed of the brook. The movement of the water made it appear as if the moon were dancing, changing with each ripple of brook. Rachel was safe as long as she stayed under the bridge.
As she submerged herself in the cool waters, letting the wetness flow over her wounds, she could feel them closing as they healed. She felt her strength returning slowly. Laying on her back, the water fully covering all but her head, she thought about her Mother. Rachel was only six when her mother had taken her to the bridge the first time. She had fallen from a horse and broke her leg. It was a terrible injury and the bone from her leg had pushed through her skin, exposing it. Her mother had carried her through the forest and set her in the brook. She watched as her mother moved her hands back and forth in the water, slightly touching Rachel's knee each time. She heard her mother whispering words but could not truly hear what she was saying. As the bone began to move back under the skin, the pain subsided.
"Watch what I do daughter, for one day, you may need this water. there are things you must know before coming here alone.'
"Mother, I will never come here alone. I will have you with me and father too."
"No!" Rachel's mother's voice was suddenly sharp and she sounded as if she were afraid. "You must never use this water for anyone but yourself. Your father does not have the gifts that you and I do. My gift was passed down by my mother as I pass it on to you."
"Are we witches, Mother? Is that why we have powers?"
"We do not call our selves witches, though some may say we are. Witches are feared by people and they would kill us if they thought we were witches. We simply say we are gifted."
"Yes mother, but are we witches? I won't tell anyone."
"Many years from now, you will have family that enter in to a Coven. They will call themselves witches. One of your daughters will be the leader of the Coven. She will call upon the trees to help her and the cabin I have taken you too will be a safe haven for them."
"How do you know all of this, Mother."
"I simply do. Remember this bridge because you will come here one day, alone, and it will heal you and give you strength you need to fight the evil that hides in the forest. There is great evil here but some of the tres are your friend. Call on them if you are ever in need. Only the dark forest harbors the evil ones. The cabin will Always be protected and you may hide in it when you need to. There is also healing potions and incantations you will learn to use."
"But mother, why don't you just come with me?"
Rachel remembered the sadness in her mother's eyes. She had looked away with out answering Rachel but not before Rachel had seen her tears.
A stone splashed in to the water, bringing Rachel back to reality. She jumped a bit when it hit the water. She looked in all directions to see where the stone had come from. She could feel her body was almost healed. The scratches and deep wounds were nearly gone now. Looking above her at the bridges ramp, she saw a man staring down at her. Startled, she grabbed her torn clothing and held them to her body. Her mind raced, searching for answers to so many questions... questions she was asking herself aloud. "How is it possible for him to see me? How is it he is even here?"
The voice was bass and intoxicating. The face, smiling down at her was handsome. Cold black hair, fluffed in the front like the tail feathers of a duck, eyes as blue as the ocean, that seemed to look directly in to her soul. When he spoke, it was a gentle tone that greeted her ears.
"If those questions are for me, then I will gladly answer them. I can see you, and may I say, I was enjoying your beauty before you covered yourself, because I live in the forest. I am here because your mother sent me to you. I will guide you safely to the cabin, when you are ready to go."
Rachel looked up at him, her eyes squinted as if she were studying him. He reached his hand over the side of the bridge. Why she took his hand, she wasn't sure but his voice was calm and she knew he could be trusted. Standing, her hand clasped in his, she lost her hold on her clothing. As it fell to the water, she heard him gasp. Trying desperately to reach her clothing, she felt him pull her towards him.
"I have seen all of you when you were laying in the water. You, with your auburn hair, like the mane of a beautiful animal and your eyes, green as the emeralds that only rich men have, should be ashamed of nothing. You have the curves of the finest hourglass and the body to rival any Goddess. I am privileged to look on such perfection."
Rachel was entranced by his words. He handed her new clothing and she quickly covered herself with them. "I can not waste time talking to you. I must reach the cabin soon."
"Then let us not waste any more time. I have a horse that will take us there. Ride with me and we will battle the forest creatures together."
Without a thought, Rachel climbed on the stallion and wrapped her arms around the mans body. Leaning into him, she felt his warmth cover her body. "And what do they call you, my handsome saviour?"
"I am known by my friends and foe as Jacob. as for being your saviour, that remains to be seen. I too can be hurt by the evil that dwells with in this forest."
Without another word, he spurred his horse and they raced to beat the sunrise that was growing closer with each passing moment.