Catherine was very glad she had prepared to end up in a situation not so suited to dresses. While people were catching up and waiting for Carlisle’s, very long, awaited return she wandered through the halls with her day bag to find a bathroom or bedroom or somewhere to get changed. It shouldn’t have taken long at all with the mansion brimming with bedrooms and bathroom but Catherine kept finding herself swept up by the house’s decor. She’d never been anywhere this fancy, her mother could never afford long distance travel and most attractions in Maine were more nature locations. She’d never had a reason to be at the manor despite the training yard hence never was. She found a bathroom and changed into a denim jumpsuit over a black shirt, very much glad she came prepared for this.
She had thought she had taken forever, yet Carlisle was still yet to return from the fight that had earlier taken place. Miles and Lilith seemed to be suspiciously gone from the room also. She idles by Victor, crossing her arms casually. ”So, protector of Tanner, how you feeling?”
She asks, eying the scene around her. She could only imagine tumultuous situations left, right and centre. At least there were a handful of somewhat stable people in the room.
Victor stopped himself from looking around to check if Catherine was referring to him “Protector of Tanner? Here’s hoping,”
he replied in jest. “I am alright, maybe a bit off due to personal reasons but hey, who isn’t?” “How are you holding up? With being new to the coven and all?”
He said and then sighed, scratching his cheek. “As much as I’d like to say that what happened earlier was rare, that would be a lie. I’ll apologize for them in advance.””Seems like a common theme here,”
Catherine replies with a chuckle at Victor’s comment about being off for personal reasons. She remains facing the scene before, everyone seemingly relatively recovered from the drama despite some fuming faces around the room. When Victor asks about her adjustment Catherine shrugs, turning to him. ”I don’t know,”
she says softly, pursing her lips, ”I think I expected coming back to feel like coming home and it’s nice to see everyone again but I guess a couple of years and a handful of Summers isn’t quite enough to be home. But it’s somewhat… comforting to see some things haven’t changed since high school though,”
she gestures to the scene before them before crossing her arms once again. ”And it’s good to see you again, of course. How have you been?”“Can’t be a witch without personal issues,”
Victor joked.“Hopefully you’ve felt welcome, I remember my time trying to fully integrate into this coven. Wasn’t entirely smooth. Eventually it felt like home,”
he replied. “The same to you, it’s nice to see you again. I’ve been good. Got my bachelor’s degree and my mum stopped breathing down my neck. Er- please don’t tell her I said that.” “Speaking of; how’s your magic been coming along. I’d be glad if any of my tips have been of any help.”
Victor enquired, placing his hands into his jacket.”Nice to hear it’s normal,
Catherine muses. She didn’t really know how to feel about the group ahead of her. There were some like Aurora or Victor or Daniel who she got along with well enough but there were many she truly felt uneasy around. When Victor asked about her magic she gave a nod, ”Hm, yes, I’ve been meaning to thank you for all your help! I’ve actually come quite a long way. I’d be excited to show you sometime?”
Their conversation is soon interrupted by Carlisle returning to the dining hall and instructing everyone on where to go next.“I’ll be glad to see your progress,”
Victor nodded. “Alright- are we taking the same car?”
He figured that there was a more than decent chance something could happen considering that wards weakening didn’t symbolize anything good.
Catherine looked back at Victor with a small smile. She did like the idea of traveling together and gave a small nod, ”Only if you drive though, I think you’d know the way better than I,”
Although Catherine spent many hours in that forest in her youth it had been quite sometime since she’d been back and she rarely went all the way to the barrier.
Catherine exited the car at the site, unable to help but feel a foreboding uneasiness like a cold gentle chill rushing through her. She took a moment to close her eyes and ground herself, now wasn’t the time for more problems. She followed Carlisle’s lead to the clearing, a brilliant blue border that she had only seen a handful of times glistening ahead of them. Unlike the last time she had seen it, it appeared more defeated, lighter blue patches and scratch marks seemed to cover places of it. She sat through Carlisle’s… speech would you call it. Her brow furrowed. She had very little to do with the man in her couple years in Tanner’s High School but she remembered him to be a quiet man.
At Calisle’s instruction to find a partner, Catherine raised an eyebrow at Victor’s direction that asked if he wanted to join her. As they regrouped she asks ”Is Carlisle always like that now? Not that I knew him well but I remember him being more… well.. Docile? Quiet?”“I figured it was just jitters from being handed the leadership role in the Coven.”
Victor replied, “But you may be right, Carlisle has not been acting like himself. I’ll check in with him after this.”
Victor eyed the barrier- it did appear that something had been clawing away at the differently hued barrier. It was not a good sign, only a few supernatural beings can do that
to a magical barrier. “What do you think made that?”
He asked her, “Let’s have a closer look at the barrier.” ”They look like claw marks?”
Catherine muses, nodding at Victor’s suggestion to go closer to the barrier. As she edged closer that chill seemed to return and moments later she heard a meek Help
. She whipped her head around, trying to find the source of the voice. That's when she heard it once more Please! Please help me!
She stopped in her tracks. Although she didn't know the voice she recognised other characteristics of its speech. The echoed words, the almost ethereal sounds, the fact it seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere at once. Catherine had come a long way with her magic but she could never control the voices of the dead. She was unsure if she ever would be able to, partially because she avoided training the parts of her magic that fuelled that ability but also, despite being dead the deceased seemed to have a lot to say.
Catherine gripped her forehead with one of her hands and squeezed her eyes shut. ”Please, leave me alone,"
she tries to reason through gritted teeth.
Victor looked back at Catherine gripping her head. He made his way to her, “Are you alright?”
From what she’s told him, her magic erred more on the uncontrollable side of the magic spectrum. The irascible and forlorn nature of deceased spirits didn’t help either. “You can control it Catherine, it’s your magic, don’t let it overwhelm you.”
Catherine gives an unconvinced nod, her hand unmoving from her head. She slowed her breathing, her eyes squeezed shut. For a moment there was silence, she was almost convinced she had won until only seconds later the voice spoke again. Please, I can help you too! Please just listen
. By now this should have been under control, Catherine figured but the dead were always so persistent ”They don't listen, they don't ever listen,"
That's when she felt it, the pull to the west accompanied by the coldness of death. Catherine took a breath to steady herself and looked up at Victor. The last thing Catherine wanted to do was pursue it but what if it could help? At least she may have the chance to show Victor a trick she'd picked up. ”Come with me,"
she says gently before taking off west.“Catherine- Hey-”
Victor said. He quickly followed after her in bewilderment. It seemed that the spirit was guiding her somewhere. He steeled himself mentally, whatever this was, it likely wasn’t good. He gathered his mana, frost beginning to form on his fingers and face as his eyes glowed a slight icey blue.
Catherine wordlessly followed the pull into the forest, only occasionally glancing back to make sure Victor was still in tow. Unlike him she hadn’t prepared himself for an attack, seemingly entranced by whoever was calling to her. Eventually she stopped at a shaded spot surrounded by large trees that seemed to be bent and cracked in odd directions as if a hurricane had passed through. The scene was partially illuminated by the blue border where the sun failed to shine. Only feet in front of her lay the body of a young woman with orange hair, covered head to toe in scratches similar to those on the border. However, Catherine’s eyes were set above the body, as if someone was standing over it.
Victor stopped dead in his tracks, staring at the dead body. He grit his teeth, it took everything in him to not spill his guts out. He followed Catherine's gaze, hovering above the body. He pieced together what had happened.
She remained wordless for a moment as the voice of the woman begged for her to respond. It took Catherine a moment to snap out of her stupor but she was soon reminded of her friend who’d come with her, likely unsure of what she was seeing. Time for her next trick. ”Victor, give me your arm,”
she says simply, holding a hand out in his direction, her eyes unmoving from their post.“Huh?”
Victor asked, perplexed. He gave her a long look before giving her his arm. “Alright. Just don't curse me,”
he joked to lessen his own unease.
Catherine gave an uneasy chuckle. He didn’t truly mean that, did he? Surely not. In a place where status meant more than it should, it's a comment she was expecting to hear more than she had so far. She shook the feeling down, she could trust Victor, she knew that. ”Good thing cleansing spells are my other specialty,”
she meekly jokes before clasping her hand around his forearm.
It took a moment as Catherine closed her eyes and focused on a spell; her necromancy and illusion skills working in tandem to open the channel between her friend and the dead. Soon the image of the woman stood above her own body. It was the same orange hair and the same clothes almost torn to shreds by whatever had caused all the scratch marks all over her body. Unlike the corpse the body was translucent and surrounded with an ethereal glow, almost as if it was projected onto the scenery.Please
a voice that seemed to come from the form called out. The words seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere all at once. Each word echoed, seeming to bounce around the brain. Please, listen, you want information? I have useful information
A chill ran through his spine as he could now see what Catherine could see. This was a first for Victor. Consulting with the dead wasn’t exactly on his bucket list. The girl looked to have passed in a horrible, piteous state. The spirit’s disembodied voice- he now understood Catherine’s difficulty in drowning out the voices of the deceased.“I am listening. I am sorry for what happened to you, but can you tell us what did this to you?”
Victor finally said, giving a side eye to Catherine as he waited for what she had to say.
Catherine looked over at Victor, so openly plunging into questioning. That was the way she should be, Catherine was sure but years of hearing the voices and seeing their visions had worn her down. Not to mention that so many bodies were in so many ill states. She turned back to the visage, also awaiting its answer.
At Victor’s question the figure nodded appreciatively. I… I was training. Here. In the forest and your barrier broke? Or something? I sensed something around here and came to investigate and…
the woman trails off and takes a shaky breath, struggling to find her words. Werewolves. Well, a werewolf. I tried to fight back… I tried!”You’re a witch?”
Catherine asks somewhat incredulously. Sure, she didn’t know people too well but in her couple of years in Tanner and all the summer holiday visits she was sure she’d had an idea on who the witches are. She eyed the body curiously, perhaps all the scratches hid the identity too well?Magi
the voice corrects.
Victor's suspicions proved true. A werewolf attack, they appeared in many of the books he’s read. Their presence has expanded so much that even the mundane world has developed their own mythos regarding them. It would be their luck that the coven’s first problem are werewolves.
Victor respected the magi’s resolve to warn others of what had occurred here. Like Catherine, he didn’t recognize who this magic user was. A magi…
He thought, one who drew their magic from the markings on their body. Magi’s were no slouches, while they couldn’t have the breadth of control of magic as witches, they tended to do exceptionally well in their niches. “... Did the werewolf go for your markings?”
The woman lifts her left forearm where a mark that resembled gusts of wind lay relatively intact. Not really?
she replies quizzically. ”Do you think it targeted you directly?”
Catherine asks, looking between Victor and the woman.I don’t think so? He just seemed to be after blood. Aren’t they all?
The voice sighs“I see…”
Victor replied. This werewolf seemed atypical from what he’s read. “Was there anything else you wanted to point out?”
The visage shakes her head. ”Well, thank you. And sorry for… all this,”
she says, gesturing to the woman’s body laying on the ground. She turns to Victor and gives him a nod before releasing his arm, severing his connection to the dead. She could only dream she could do the same for herself. In the heat of the moment she hadn’t noticed how drained she had become at exerting her powers to a new limit. She took a prolonged exhale to muster up some energy before looking back at Victor.”Ta-da,”
she says meekly. ”We should go back to Carlisle, hey?”