Jahannan’s Children, Chapter 3

The title of this post almost says it all, except it’s not ch 3 in its entirety…


Chapter 3


Garrett Larkin, mage of Seattle’s Balthus Coven, stood before the great wooden door of a medieval chateau perched on a rocky outcropping. It was dark in the High Languedoc region in southern France, and the kerosene-lit iron sconces on either side of the door shed little light.

She stared at the aged wood with trepidation. Behind that door lay one of two things—salvation or damnation. The only question was which.

She shivered, then.

She banged the heavy iron knocker twice. Will he even see me? she thought. I didn’t call or anything. And the last time I saw him, I—

The old door creaked open. Garrett looked up, her eyes wide with fear and uncertainty. A cocoa-skinned man with graying hair, not much taller than her five foot four inches, stood in the doorway. His eyes widened. “Ma Déesse,” he said. “Garrett! What are you doing here?”

Garrett’s jaw worked, but no words came. “Feodor,” she finally cried, then burst into tears.

Feodor, her mage mentor when she was his young and headstrong apprentice, stepped forward and enveloped her in a warm, comforting hug. “Oh, ma cherie,” he said gently, “I understand.” He held her while Garrett sobbed on his shoulder. When her tears subsided, he released her and stepped back. “Come inside, cherie. Seattle is a long ways from here and I know you must be hungry. We’ll talk after we get you something to eat.”

Gazing into Feodor’s kind brown eyes, her hazel ones, puffy from crying, Garrett felt her first ray of hope since the awfulness of last night. “Th-thank you, Feo,” her voice hitched. “I was afraid—”

“Non,” Feodor said. “Eat first, talk later.” He picked up Garrett’s suitcase, and then stepped aside to allow her to enter. He set her suitcase down in the entrance hall and turned. “Follow me,” he said, beckoning.

Garrett smiled for the first time since she’d arrived, and followed Feodor into the chateau’s ancient kitchen. She looked around. It was just as she’d remembered it, with its massive fireplace, the stones blackened after centuries of use, and the iron cooking pots hanging on hooks nearby. From experience, she knew Feodor only used the fireplace for magickal brews that required heating with either coal or wood. Otherwise, the kitchen had most of the modern conveniences, the electricity supplied by a generator outside that ran on witch-power. 

Feodor indicated a chair at a scarred, rectangular table made of thick wooden planks. Garrett sat and watched as he put the kettle on for tea. Then he went to the refrigerator, took out a number of items, and set them on the counter. Reaching to his left, he selected a medium-sized knife from a nearby rack and got busy.

Garrett’s smile widened. Slim and spry, Feodor hadn’t changed a bit from the first time she’d met him over thirty years ago. Now she understood why speculation over Feodor’s true age was such a hot topic. Magick workers aged slowly, but they rarely lived beyond one hundred and twenty years. Feodor had left his youth far behind when Garrett had first arrived those many years ago, and from what she’d heard, by now he had to be at least two hundred years old. But whatever his age, Feodor was believed by many of their kind to be the most talented mage alive—“an entire coven unto himself,” she’d heard another witch say. Garrett considered herself lucky that he’d accepted her as his apprentice, especially since she’d been only twelve years old when her first coven in Ireland had sent her to him.

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