The Council – Part 4
This is Part 4 of our collaborative story. If you haven’t read Part 1 of “The Council”, you can find it here.
The next day, we wait with our covens in the town square for the Council to arrive. My heart is beating rapidly. It takes all my self-control not to seek reassurance from the other members of the Resistance in the square, or to scan my surroundings for evidence of the other hidden witches. I just have to take comfort in our thorough planning and trust we are ready.
A black swirling portal appears in the center of the square, and the Council emerges. Somehow, they seem even more intimidating than usual. I know we have a small window to strike, before the High Sorceresses hand over the wooden boxes, and the Council realizes they are fake.
We have to time this perfectly.
The moment a member of the Council first lays their hand on a wooden box, I begin reciting the incantation. I recite the words at a rhythmic pace, knowing every member of the Resistance is whispering along with me from the shadows. I pull power from the crystal tucked within my robes, as even our combined power alone would not be enough for this spell without risking death. As the Council cracks the lid on their boxes, we finish the incantation.
Bones crack followed by an ear-piercing wail of agony. The center-most Council member begins to contort inhumanly, back bending too far backwards, joints popping sickeningly. The rest of the Council is frozen for a moment in disbelief, they can’t comprehend what is happening, that someone is defying them, let alone making a move against them.
Craaack followed by another blood-curdling scream.
The Council scrambles and begins to recite incantations to try and stop what is unfolding, but it is too late. Blood begins to spurt from the Council member’s mouth, eyes bulging from their sockets and blood pouring from their ears and nostrils. They fall to the ground, body folding into itself, until their final raspy breath leaks from their mouth. Blood slowly continues to bubble from every visible orifice.
It was horrifying to witness, but I can’t help but grin. We did it, we killed one of the Council members. My chest swells with pride, but that feeling doesn’t last long.
“Serifini, watch the right flank!” One Council member takes charge and starts to yell instructions. “Levinia watch the left flank! Elsbethe and Ursyndra stay close with me!” The Council members and High Sorceresses start to move into their positions, every possible angle of attack covered.
I feel a slight vibration all over my body, and I know then the witches in hiding are starting to cast their protective shields on those of us fighting in the open.
Levinia throws her head back causing her hood to fly off of her head, revealing her face. It is twisted in anger and hatred as she mumbles an incantation and flings her hands forward. A thin onyx energy erupts forth and flies impossibly fast towards one of our witches, slicing through her torso like a hot blade. Her mouth is wide in horror as the top half of her body slips from her hips and legs, toppling on the ground followed by her limp legs thudding onto the earth. There is no blood, as if the magic has cauterized the wounds. Chills run up my spine, and hot tears sting at my eyes. I let the fury course through my body, and use it to launch my own attack at Levinia. Clutching the crystal in one fist I let out my spell and watch the inky cloud fly into Levinia’s eyes, she lets out a screech as her hands fling up instinctively to her face. That would occupy her for a few moments at least, hopefully deterring more deaths on our end.
I dare a glance at Dametria. She is still for the time being, a Council member has her back towards her, and I can practically see her train of thought as she takes in a breath and reaches forward to the unsuspecting Council member’s shoulder. The moment her hand makes contact with their shoulder it explodes with a loud squelching sound and the severed arm plops onto the ground below. Dametria takes that moment to sprint by our sides, and I nod at her in thanks, grateful she is with us.
I glance at my surroundings. Many witches are frozen in fear, not sure what is playing out before them. Only The Resistance is daring to fight.
I hear a scream that tears my gaze. Serafini has unleashed a spell against Thelewen, throwing her back about fifteen feet. She lands hard on the ground, but is seemingly unharmed. Serafini stiffens for a moment, but then moves on. I steady myself knowing Thelewen is okay, for now. I glance at Dierick, seeing a thin veil of darkness envelop him, he now has a shield around him.
“There are witches in the shadows! Draw them out!” I hear Ursyndra alerting the rest of the Council.
“Shit,” I say under my breath. Dierick must have heard me; he glances over at me and our eyes meet for a moment. He nods at me and whispers an incantation, igniting his fist in an ebony glow that holds the onyx jewel. My eyes go wide, that is a melee spell.
“No!” I yell at him, but he is already sprinting towards Levinia. The spell I had afflicted her with is waning.
He pulls back his fist just as her vision is seemingly coming back, and puts his whole body into the swing. His fist meets her left cheek and a crunch indicates he broke her jaw. She falls to the ground, hard. The ebony energy around his fist dissipates, but he is unharmed thanks to the spell. Elsbethe is to his right, and her eyes light up in fury as she notices the chain dangling from his hand.
“THEY HAVE OUR JEWELS!” she screams, alerting every Council member and High Sorceress. “Protection formation, NOW!”
Suddenly they all withdraw from the battle, Elsbethe dragging the barely conscious Levinia, quickly backpedaling into a triangle. In one swift motion, they all clasp their hands together and in unison speak an incantation I am unfamiliar with. Erupting from all of them is an enormous cloud of swirling onyx smoke, quickly flying against every single witch that isn’t a part of the formation of the Council and High Sorceresses. I brace for impact, there isn’t time for anything else, then everything goes black.
I sit on the floor of a cold, dirty cell, head hanging. I have led us all to our deaths. The witches we recruited to the Resistance put their trust in me, put their lives in my hands. I should have known better than to try to defeat the Council after what they did to my parents, and so many others. How could I possibly have hoped to defeat witches who can see all? Our last chance to stop them was long ago, before they came to hold such enormous power. I was a fool to think it wasn’t too late.
“Don’t beat yourself up. This wasn’t your fault,” Dierck calls out from somewhere in the darkness.
I shift on the stone floor, trying and failing to get comfortable. I settle for leaning my head back against the wall. “How did you know I was beating myself up?”
“Because I know you. You’ve been blaming yourself since the day your parents died. You couldn’t have stopped that, and you couldn’t have prevented this either. We all did our best; we fought to the end,” Dierck replies.
“I’d rather die fighting, than live under their control, knowing I did nothing,” another voice calls out; Thelewen.
“You gave us hope, even if it was only for a little while,” says another witch.
“You gave me a purpose,” another voice calls out. “I’d rather live a short life full of purpose, than a long one in misery and despair.”
I’m quiet for a moment, as tears fall down my face. “I couldn’t have asked for a better coven,” I choke out. Because those covens we were assigned by the Council, those aren’t our real families. The Resistance is my true coven. And we’ll die as a family of fighters.
“Resistance to the end,” Dierck calls out, and I know he understands.
The cries echo throughout the dungeon. “Resistance to the end!”
I’m awakened by the click of a lock and movement of a heavy door, followed by footsteps on the stone floor. Lights flicker on down the dungeon corridor, bringing a member of the Council into view. I bare my teeth, but she ignores me, walking to Dametria’s cell.
Dametria stands proud before her, despite the bars between them. “Serafini,” Dametria practically spits.
Serfini just examines Dametria in silence for a moment. She looks satisfied with something she sees. “Turn and face the back wall,” she says.
Dametria just folds her arms.
“Do it, quickly. Lay down and pretend you’re sleeping.” Her voice softens, and her face seems to plead with Dametria.
Dametria’s eyes widen, but Serafini’s expression seems to convince her.
As soon as Dametria can no longer see her, Serafini pulls out a key and begins unlocking our cells. They are made with iron bars and locks, immune to any type of magic.
“How? Why?” I ask.
“I am a member of the Council, the wards on the dungeon all open for me, and I have my own key. As to why, there isn’t time for that,” Serafini answers.
She begins escorting us all out of the dungeon, all except Dametria. I stop.
“I’m not leaving Dametria.”
“I know, but the second I help her break the blood link, the Council will be alerted. And at any time while I help her escape, they could peer through her eyes and figure out where we are. I would rather the rest of you be outside the town before that happens. I’ll give you a head start, and then I’ll sneak her out. Once we reach the edge of town, I’ll break the link, and we’ll find you.”
“You can trust me. I’ve already risked my own life to let you free,” Serafini says. “Once you get out of here, head west, toward the human realm.”
My mouth drops open.
“It’s safe,” she reassures me. “Another High Sorceress is already there, with a few other witches. If we don’t make it, they’ll help you. They know you’re coming.”
I nod, knowing there isn’t more time to explain. I turn and hurry after the others. The Resistance might have a chance yet.
What do you think of the story, so far? Do you think the Resistance will make it to the human realm? Will they come back to fight the Council again? Check back in two weeks, for a continuation of the story! If you would like to provide us some writer fuel, feel free to buy us a coffee.
Thanks so much for reading!
-Clever & WTF