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Authors: C. G. Powell

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BOOK: Spell Checked
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Chapter 3

 

 

Yesterday had been one big surreal blur and Mae nervously regretted being in Beck’s apartment without Gemma.  She climbed out of bed to practice clearing her channels of energy.  When she looked down, she noticed she was wearing a pair of plaid, fleece pajama bottom and a t-shirt.  They were baggy on her, so she assumed they belonged to Beck, but Mae was happy to be wearing them instead of Gemma's dress.  She walked down to the kitchen when all of a sudden the front door burst open.  Gemma and Aidan had arrived with a pile of luggage.  Mae went to greet them and Gemma dropped the bags she was holding in the doorway to give her a big hug.

“Aidan told me everything Mae, although it took a little convincing for me to believe him.  How are you doing?” Gemma asked as they sat on the couch.

Mae knew Gemma would accept whatever she told her; she had always believed in witches and once even studied Wicca.  “Better than I thought, it all just seems to fit.”  It was beyond the logical reasoning Mae normally lived in, but something deep inside of her was familiar with all of it.  “I don’t know what he told you last night, but I have a few details you might want to know.  I will tell you later in private,” Mae said, relieved to have her there.

“Aidan, put Gemma’s luggage in the blue room,” Beck ordered.

“But that’s my room!  Can’t she stay in one of the other two empty rooms?”  Aidan protested as he stood at the door surrounded by their bags.

“No, Mae is using one and Meredith has the other.  Besides, you can either sleep on the couch or go to your own apartment…You do realize you do not live here…Right?  This is just for tonight anyway.  We will have more room at Lough Currane.”  Beck walked over to help Aidan with suitcases.

“Well I call dibs on the cottage.  God knows I don’t want to be stuck in a house full of women, those two in particular,” Aidan confessed.

“Sounds like someone is having a problem lying in the bed they made for themselves.  Okay, done, but I’m not sending the staff out there.  You are going to have to dine with us in the main house and take care of your own mess,” Beck insisted.  He had no intention on running his staff ragged for Aidan’s sake.

Beck walked to the kitchen and sat down next to Meredith at the kitchen table.  “Mere, I’m begging you not to tell the Witches Council anything until we figure this mess out,” he pleaded.

“I have to agree with you Beck, something about this situation is not right.  I should have been able to see that Mae was a witch but couldn’t.  The love spell I had her cast on Aidan was a test.  It takes a novice months to do that spell well, but she did it like it was second nature.  Not that I wouldn’t have done the spell myself if it hadn’t worked,” Meredith joked.

“I would like for you to stay with us and train her.  As powerful as Aidan is, this is not something in which I trust him,” Beck said, waiting for Meredith’s answer.

“It would be a pleasure, I’ll stay as long as she needs me, but we are going to need more room,” Meredith concurred.

“I was thinking the same thing.  My estate at Lough Currane is secluded and has plenty of space for all of us, including a cottage to keep Aidan out of your hair.  We can move there tomorrow if everyone agrees.”

Gemma got up to help Aidan with the luggage.  Moments later, Beck took her place on the couch next to Mae.  “I wanted to apologize for last night.  I feel horrible about my actions.  I do not know what came over me and I promise never to do that again.  Please forgive me,” Beck apologized nervously.

“I forgive you, Beck, only if you forgive me.  I’m not sure many men would have showed such restraint in the same situation.”  Mae thought back to last night and the passion she felt for him under the spell.  “If that was what real love was like, I wanted to feel it again and without restraints,” she thought to herself.

“I would like the chance to start over and get to know you Mae.  I want you to get to know me too.”  Becks’ words were honest but not completely.  He wanted her to love him, he wanted Helen back, and he would have to tell her who and what he was.

She grabbed his hand and held it, “I would like that.”  The events of the last two days made Mae realize there was more to him than the cold, contrived man she first met.

“There is something else I need to tell you and there is no way to sugarcoat it.  I don’t want to start things off with secrets,” Beck paused before letting out a deep breath.  “I am not a witch like Aidan and Meredith…I am a vampire.”  Beck waited for what he was sure would be a gut wrenching-reaction, but Mae just sat completely resigned, looking at him as if he just told her he loved puppies.

Mae tried to contemplate what Beck said and for a brief moment, it was as if she had known all along.  “Logic would lead me to believe that if there are witches, there could be vampires.”  She seemed indifferent or at least that is what her inner geek could compartmentalize.

Beck appeared relieved by her words as he thought to himself.  “Since when had Witches become logical? Their nature was passion not logic.  Mae was certainly turning out to be far more intriguing than I had imagined.”  Beck questioned her easy acceptance, wondering if she understood what he just told her.  “And you are okay with that?”

“Yes, I suppose I am.”  A thousand questions ran through her head but those would have to wait.  Everyone gathered in the living room for what was sure to be her first real lesson in witchcraft.

 Meredith stood and started to speak.  “Today we are going to keep things simple.  Instead of spells, you are going to learn the history of witches and vampires.  Beck will go first since vampires existed on Earth long before witches.  And feel free to stop us at any time if you have a question.”  Meredith sat and Beck took her place in front of them.

“I guess I should start at the beginning.  About two hundred thousand years ago, a race of beings called Veshtu arrived on this planet looking for a new source of food, which they found in Neanderthals.  Veshtu are wraith-like and feed on humanoid beings.  They drain them of their blood and life force completely.”

Mae stopped Beck before he went any further.  “Are you trying to tell me there are aliens too?  Because if you are.  I’m jumping off this crazy train right now!”  Mae had already acknowledged the existence of witches and vampires, but coming to terms with aliens was a completely different matter.  Her expression was one of utter disbelief as she raised her eyebrows at Beck.

Meredith could see Mae’s disbelief and intervened before Mae spent too much time thinking about it.  “Mae I understand your reservations.  This is just our history as we witches and vampires were taught.  You don’t have to accept it, but you do need to hear it, because it is what made us witches and vampires.”

Mae listened with much reservation as Beck continued.  “Back to Neanderthals.  The Veshtu felt Neanderthals were too stupid to ensure their survival, so they used them more or less as a source for their feeding requirements.  Later, the Veshtu started experimenting with the genes of Neanderthals combined with genes of other species that were thriving under the conditions on earth.

After about one hundred thousand years, the Veshtu returned to find Homo sapiens had evolved.  To ensure that they would not homogenize their genes with Neanderthals, the Veshtu flooded the earth about thirty thousand years ago, completely erasing Neanderthals from existence.  It would take decades or centuries for humanity to propagate in sufficient numbers, so the Veshtu departed leaving their scientists, and guards known as the Nephilim, behind.

After several thousand years, the Nephilim gave humans the ability to reason, which caused the scientists to become a little too involved with their experiment, leading to interbreeding with humans.  Vampires are the result of their mating.  We are half Veshtu, half human.  Unlike the Veshtu, we do not kill the hosts from which we drink.  We can consume food like humans, but still need to drink on occasion to keep from becoming something similar to vitamin deficient in humans.  If we drink from a human, it will not turn them into a vampire, but they will experience something very orgasmic.  Vampires live indefinitely and are difficult to destroy because of our strength, speed and ability to self-heal.  However, we are completely sterile and unable to reproduce sexually or otherwise.

We are incredibly good at creating technology and do so with reckless abandon despite the consequences.  Vampires are solitary beings, competitive, and logical to a fault.  Things got complicated for us with the arrival of the Nauss around ten thousand years ago.  I believe Meredith might want to tell you about the Nauss.”  Beck sat down.

“Beck, how old are you?  Do the Veshtu still live here?” Mae asked, obviously not buying the entire alien story.

“I am not entirely sure how old I am.  However, I do recall the arrival of the Nauss.  The Veshtu never really lived here.  They have come and gone for extended periods of time in the past, but pretty much abandoned earth completely about two thousand years ago.”

“Then you are over ten thousand years old?  I can’t believe that in ten thousand years you never had children.  What about adoption?”

“It is not possible for me to have them.  I guess that is why I have never desired them.  Not even adopted ones.”  The thought of out-living any child he would raise or love always kept him from desiring them, even when Helen begged him to adopt, his answer was always no.

Mae always dreamed of one day settling down and having a large family, mostly because she grew up an only child with adoptive parents.  It had never occurred to her that there were people who did not want children.  “Are there very many vampires still around?”  Mae’s curiosity was getting the best of her as she continued to press for answers.

Beck started to relax as he answered Mae’s questions.   “No, it has become increasingly hard for us to maintain our numbers.”

“If you can’t reproduce sexually, and sucking your victim’s blood doesn’t convert them, then how are more vampires created?”  Gemma asked.

"It is possible to change a human by the mixing of our blood.  However, it creates an inseparable bond between the two, which is why we rarely do it.  Imagine spending an eternity with someone you do not like.  Not only that, but they have to be one hundred percent human.  No Nauss blood at all or they can't be turned," Beck explained.

"I suppose that would make for a miserable existence.  So…Have you ever turned someone?"  Mae asked, curious as to what type of person Beck would choose to bond with.

"Only once and he was killed shortly afterward."   At Helen's request he had turned her brother.  Two years later, he was dead from a Spartan spear through his heart, leaving both him and Helen utterly devastated.

"Who are the Nauss?" Mae asked.

Meredith stood, "The Nauss are the alien sources of witches.  They are a nomadic species, moving from planet to planet.  Arriving at the very onset of human civilization, they brought culture, language, art and music to humanity.  The Nauss are so similar to humans that it has been theorized that it was Nauss genes that the Veshtu used to evolve Neanderthals.  So, it is ironic that when the Nauss bred with humans, their offspring turned out to be poisonous to both Veshtu and vampires, a problem that increased with each generation.

The Veshtu were none too happy to find their food supply polluted.  At first the Veshtu and Nauss battled each other.  Humans watched as their gods destroyed the world around them.  Later, after the Veshtu abandoned this world, vampires took their place.  Now the majority of humans have some Nauss blood, but are not classified as witches unless their genetic makeup is more than fifty percent Nauss.  The higher the percentage, the more powers we manifest and the longer we live.  We suffer from the same problem as the vampires...namely infertility.  Most witches are born of parents that have little or no power.  Witches can sense each other, so when one is born, the Witches Council promptly steps in and removes the child at birth.  The Witches Council places the child in an adoptive home to ensure that they are raised by witches."

"Is that why I was adopted?"  It was a prospect that left Mae a bit unnerved.

"Mae, in your case it was just chance that you were adopted.  As of now the Council knows nothing of you, excluding myself.  You are unlike any witch I have known," Meredith confessed.  "There are a few traits we witches have.  We are at one with nature and tend to protect it.  We like peace and harmony in all things, at least most of us do.  I can't speak for Aidan on that; he marches to the beat of his own drum."  She turned and looked at him, waiting for him to make a snide remark in response.

"Mere, we can't all be perfect, what's the fun in that?  You know peace has never been in my nature," he reminded her.

"Almost two thousand years later and Loki is still rearing his ugly head," Meredith said as if to insult Aidan.

Thinking back to the time when he had been the Norse god of mischief.  "Once a trickster, always a trickster," Aidan laughed.

"Since you enjoy strife so much, you can tell Mae and Gemma about the infamous Vampire-Witch Wars," Meredith smiled, as she sat down.

Aidan didn’t even bother to stand as he explained their violent past.  "The vampires knew that if they did not keep the witch population in check, their kind would cease to exist.  Over the millennia, they have done many things to ensure their own survival.  As the gods of Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, and Syria, they commanded the people to conquer other civilizations.  Sometimes they would send plagues, but eventually they used religion.  The Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition existed purely to cull the witch population.  Their last attempt was in Salem during the settling of the new world.  Vampires wanted to create a witch free country.  That plan failed especially after they realized that the indigenous population was more Nauss than the people that came over from Europe.  After that, I think they just gave up.  Does that sound right, Beck?"  Aidan looked for Beck’s approval.

BOOK: Spell Checked
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