There’s a sense of dread that hangs over the sky at the wee hours of 4 am. It’s not quite morning, not quite day, and anyone who’s up at that time can usually tell you that they should have gone to sleep two hours ago. 4 am is a time commitment, it’s a surrender to ruin at the hands of your own hubris. And it’s the time that Allison loves best because of its specific magical properties. At least, that’s what she tells herself to justify her bad habits.
4 am, to her is a time of peace, of solitude. And freedom from the individuals in her past. No one is up at 4 am. No one in their right mind is up this late, and therein lies it’s inherent magic. Allison took a knife in her hands and carressed the blade, remarking on it’s sharpness and the wicked curve. Her Athame. Her sacred blade. Nothing could be more holy to her. She stabbed it into a tiny wheel of cheese. Careful hands pulled off a tiny cube from the wheel and she pulled it to her mouth, biting it straight off the knife.
Okay. So maybe the knife isn’t that holy. Maybe it’s just a knife that a friend bought at an anime convention and sent to her in the mail. Maybe it’s just her favorite knife that reminds her of how much she’s loved by her friends and actually it’s just really important to her. Maybe it’s shaped like a sword from a hit video game she played when she was ten that is perfect in every way. Sometimes it just hits different.
Allison took the rest of the cheese and grabbed a box of crackers. If you didn’t have a home altar, cracker and cheese made was fine. Allison liked to call herself a witch. Allison liked to believe that she was a witch with all her heart, and because she believed, that made it more real. So she was a witch and the gods she prayed and worshipped were real to her. And that’s all that mattered.
She headed back to her room and shut the door quietly, careful to not wake anybody up. Once there she pulled out the box of crackers and arranged them into a circle with an x in it, carefully aligning tiny bits of cubed cheese cut off from her knife and placed on top of the crackers. To anyone else it might look like she was arranging a charcuterie board.
She picked up a scrunchie and pulled her long brown hair back into a ponytail and popped a spare cracked in her mouth. She adjusted her glasses as the light of the still moon glinted off the window and into her bright blue eyes. With a deep breath she closed her eyes and leaned back in the bed, and held out a hand. Some might call her crazy, others would call her insane. Both of those are very possible. But that wasn’t the truth. Allison believed there were forces in this world that most people weren’t aware of. Forces she’d seen growing up in her favorite stories, movies and video games.
Her deity of choice was a Lunar Messenger that answered to whoever resided over the moon. Artemis probably. Allison wasn’t quite sure what the specifics were, but a few years back, when she had been at one of the lowest points of her life, she saw something when she cried out for help. Her eyes were sunken and hollow and bright green. She had long black hair that was messy and knotted and a withered and tattered black dress with flecks of green. Maybe it was a delusion, maybe it was a hallucination, but she had never had one in her life. All she knew was that somehow, there was a warmth to her, a smile that let her keep going.
Allison had never told another soul. How could you? Instead she moved forward. The Messenger said her name was Lumina. And she had answers for Allison. She had answers to questions that Allison could not have possibly ever made up. People kept calling her psychic. She didn’t like that. She just had a magical guide that told her what to do and how to perform spells. And Lumina was currently helping her do just that.
“So what is going on with Lana. I don’t understand. I know you mentioned before she has stolen power, but what does that mean? Is she in danger?” Allison picked up one of the crackers and bit into it. No cheese. The voice spoke into her head.
“Power that is stolen can be stolen by one before. The consequences of ones birthing often has lasting consequences. Powerful eyes watch over this child. I am not able to pierce the veil”
“What the fuck does that mean?”
There was no response. She could sense Lumina’s presence but she didn’t seem to have an answer for her. Perhaps that was the answer? Powerful eyes… Powerful eyes… Lana lived alone in an old house in the middle of oregon. What sort of powerful eyes even existed there? Allison hardly knew anything about the forces that even existed in the world around her, much less the one across the united states. But Lana had mentioned Fey.
“Lumina what can you tell me about Fey?” She reached down and picked up another cracker, this time filled with cheese.
“The tricksters of the night ride with the moon but are not of it. Fickle creatures of the day, night, and midnight hours linger across this land, but the Fey Wardens guard this plane from threats of above. Be cautious of silver when speaking to their kind. A burning sensation will come across all who let their flesh graze past it. Anger them not else curses will be placed upon your family. Consorting with devils may persuade them to leave.”
That felt a little more direct to Allison. Curses. That’s what Lana had kept saying. That she was cursed. By a fey? Maybe.
“But consorting with devils? I… dunno that seems dangerous.”
“The devils and the fae are natural enemies of each others. Fae are naturally put off by their presence.”
“I think that is enough for today Lumina. Thank you.” Allison began the ritual to close communications.
“One more thing.”
“There is a storm brewing, but not one of rain and thunder. The Chariot will discover the crimes of her naming. The one whose eyes see through time will find her roots aflame. And the Fool will find her sun eclipsed by Sun and Thunder. Seek shelter and walk the path of the Lunar Eclipse. Only then can you guide them safely home.”
With those final words, Allison felt Lumina’s presence leave. She picked up a slice of cheese and cracker and sat there with a confused look on her face.
“What the FUCK did that mean.”
Far up above Lana’s current living quarters, a storm of rain and thunder was brewing. It was a meager house that costed far too much for what she was paying in rent, but that was just life in these United States. The air in Oregon helped her. Previously she had been living in one of the smoggiest states due to a copper mine, and it got to the point where she could hardly breathe at all anymore without significant aid.
Tonight was a night just like any other. The air was clear and damp as rain clouds began to pour their contents down across the heavily wooded area around her humble living space. Off in the distance, thunder struck the ground and shook the surrounding area. Nearby a girl with bright red skin and curled ram horns desperately tried to keep the storm under control with magic and arcane hand gestures that to the untrained eyes looked something like a dance on a particularity popular video app. The horned girl however knew better, in that these moves and gestures contained power in them and if she could just channel the right… yes there we go. The storm began to swirl around a spot just within the her vision and she smacked her palm on her hand.
As the impact of her fist hitting flesh echoed softly through the woods, a bolt of lightning struck the ground in unison, lighting up the area around her briefly. She grinned and ran off in the distance where she had seen the light reflect off and then readied her fist again.
“Come on, it has to be around here somewhere.”
As she slammed her fist into her hand lightning struck ground again and the rumbling grew louder.
“Ooo was that it?”
The horned girl ran deeper into the woods after the rumbling and pulled out a flashlight and clicked it on. The area lit up around her and she looked down at where the lightning had struck. With a balled fist she knelt down and knocked softly on the ground. The sound of metal echoed back around her.
She pulled out a folded up shovel from her bag and began digging up dirt around her to reveal a small silver box. The rain plunked off of it as she carefully opened it and looked to confirm it’s contents.
The horned girls skin began to brighten as her fingers shook with rage. She slammed a fist on the ground and another bolt of lightning struck the ground, illuminating the area around her once more. She stood up and threw the silver box to the ground.
This was fine.
Everything was going to be fine.
She’d just have to find the person that stole the Book of True Names herself.