Long chapter. Raina summons Ipos who gives her an ultimatum to kill another witch in exchange for favors.
If you need to catch up, the first 2 books and read the latest one, a series collection of all is out on Amazon.
Pramlee, Ridge, Kieren, and Relic were still in Salem searching for any clues to find Meridian. Just as Talon had spotted the tattoo shop across the street, they all stood and watched the artist tattooing one of his clients. “Think about it. A mark, the demon said something about a mark.” Talon said as he pointed in the window.
Relic stood and stared. “No, no, what about the riddle from Pyro? The night at Tallulah’s house when Raina summoned, Pyro through the Ouija board? Is that his name? Really? So, does he play with fire down there in hell? That doesn’t seem to be a prerequisite, or really, if that is that demon’s only talent, then he isn’t working to his full potential.” Relic was snickering to himself as Pramlee stood glaring at him.
“Relic, don’t be such an idiot!” Pramlee stood giving Relic a go to hell look as she tapped her tiny feet on the sidewalk. With a small giggle she shrugged her shoulders and stood next to Talon who was still watching the tattoo artist. “So, Talon, I know a few things about demons. So, Pyro is a high demon of course and he is the Prince of falsehoods. Think about it, if Pyro comes out over the Ouija board and whips out some riddle, then of course there will be a catch in it. Something isn’t right. Selena said Meridian’s twin soul would have to be something from the realm she is in. We have to remember; the Universe is the only thing that knows the answer and Meridian is the one who has to find it. So, we have to blow off Pyro, but, we will have to answer that riddle.”
Relic jumped in. “Wait a minute, he said nothing of that riddle. He gave out another riddle, that is the one we answer, right? Wait, wait, wait. What if her twin soul is not in this life? What if it is one of us, but not at this time?”
Kieren appeared from around the corner. “Hey everyone, I agree with Pramlee, as much as I have struggled with this whole twin soul thing. The one phrase Pyro said stood out. Not easily tamed. It has haunted me for a while. As much as we were wild as humans, we are guides now. Being tamed isn’t something that would enter in the equation. We exist to serve humans. Or before they banned us from it we were.” Kieren’s attention was interrupted when the mortal left the tattoo shop. “I do believe that Talon is onto something with the mark.”
Relic scratched his head. “They both have tattoos, the mortal ones. Meridian went and got inked a couple of times. We need to find out if there is something to this mark reference from the riddle. In the meantime, I have no idea how to answer Pyro’s riddle. I don’t think there is an answer. I believe it is a trick.”
Raina’s home was near to her own bar she used to call home before Meridian came into her life. It was late in the evening and the air was cool and crisp with the spring on the way. Many Salem patrons were leaving the main shopping streets. They passed an herbal shop called ‘Sue’s’ whose doors were still open despite the shop owner quickly doing her rounds to close.
“Did you hear that? The voice coming from within that store?” Relic pointed toward a shop they passed by. He turned back and walked in and there Meridian and Raina were shopping.
“Meridian, I am here, it is me Relic.” Meridian stood and maintained her course as she continued to pull herbs down and examine them as she visited with Raina. Relic shrugged his shoulders. “What has happened? She acts as though we aren’t here.”
Ridge, just like Relic, was confused. “Meridian please answer us, we are here to help you.” Meridian never batted an eye but maintained shopping and she had made her final selection hurrying to pay so that owner could close up shop.
“This is worse than what we thought. She either has closed her mind or something is closing it for her.” Ridge scratched his head while he stood next to Talon with his arms crossed. “Raina has to be using her stuff on Meridian again.”
Talon watched Meridian paying for her items as Raina continued to visit with the shop owner. After a short while, as Raina and Meridian were exiting the store, Talon turned and walked beside them. He motioned for the others to follow him. “This is dark magic. Meridian has to be under a spell. Remember, at Esmra’s when the nymphs performed their ritual? It was then that Meridian could see us, now she can’t. This is a work of dark spirits.
They continued to follow Raina and Meridian and they jumped in Raina’s car and headed back to her home. The girls dashed inside the house, and it went unnoticed to Meridian they never made it over to Esmra’s house. They got ready for bed and Raina was certain to get the time in to take care of Meridian as she promised earlier in the day.
The next day, time was drawing near to open the bar. Raina and Meridian emerged from the house with an invisible audience as the guides never left. The girls walked over to Raina’s bar and two Raina’s workers were already there setting up for the day. Raina and Meridian went back into Raina’s office.
Raina left to make a plate of a quick breakfast and the guides spotted her sneaking out a bottle from her purse and put it in her pocket after having poured some contents into Meridian’s water. She handed her the plate and the drink and they both ate and resumed visiting.
“I knew it!” Kieren shouted, “This is crazy, she is drugging her or something.” Kieren paced around the table. His sandy blonde hair swayed with every step he took in frustration, his blue eyes remained sharp, squinting in frustration as he licked his lips quickly.
“No, Kieren, drugs alone wouldn’t do this. She is under dark magic. Raina cannot pull something of this magnitude off alone. She has a supplier. A supporter of some kind,” Ridge peered inside Raina’s purse.
Pramlee stood and watched Meridian as she went on about her business without a sense of them being near her. She studied Meridian’s mark on her wrist that remained like a regular tattoo with the infinity mark. She came closer and knelt down beside Meridian searching for any other marks or tattoos.
Nothing was visible until Meridian reached across the table for a napkin passing her arm over her cell phone. Her cropped shirt raised and Pramlee glimpsed a new tattoo she had not seen on Meridian before. “Look! Hurry! Watch when Meridian moves, her shirt lifts, revealing a new mark that I had not known her to have before. This may be what the demon was talking about. Talon! You are onto something!” Pramlee jumped up and gave Talon one of her awkward hugs again as Talon stood stiff and uncomfortable with the attention.
“I hope so, I hope I am right. But we need to see all of it and the only way that may happen is when she undresses.” Talon scratched his head.
As the pair finished their plates, Meridian left the table momentarily to freshen up, and she rummaged through her purse for some lipstick. Raina seized the opportunity to take Meridian’s cell phone that buzzed with a new text message. Raina took her cell phone and opened it to read the message sent from Esmra.
“Meridian, where are you?”
Raina deleted but didn’t have the chance before Meridian turned around. Raina nervously jumped up from the table.
“So, if you can’t find your lipstick, you can borrow mine.”
Kieren and Relic were watching Raina closely. “See man, she tried to delete a message or something. I realized when her phone received a message. She is blocking Meridian from everything.”
Relic had an eyebrow raised and a half-cocked grin. “So, let me pull myself together while I swallow this late breaking update,” Relic said as he walked over to Pramlee who was staring at Raina shuffling Meridian out the office door.
Kieren remained antsy and paced the room, his eyes darted around. He uncrossed his arms and stomped over to Relic where he resumed his statue-like composure, arms crossed once more. “Look jackass, I am just trying to fix things. What is it with you? Take the day off, you don’t have to be an asshole every day!” Kieren stomped off through the wall and followed Meridian out to the bar where she was beginning a shift.
Pramlee stopped watching Raina long enough to give Relic a side glance once more as she checked her fingernails for signs of wear as she pretended to be uninterested in the feisty exchange. “So, Relic, how much more are you going to continue to make digs at Kieren? You know, he seems to really hate you sometimes.”
Relic grinned and shrugged his shoulders. “Oh, it’s fun. Why does he always have to rise to the occasion? I mean, truly, Kieren is a walking trigger. Kinda like the psycho running our realm. They get so mad so easily. So, I am always up for entertainment and Kieren is entertaining. He still hasn’t figure it out.”
Pramlee stopped examining her nails. “Figured what out?”
Ridge who had been in and out during the exchange arrived back into the office. “What is up with Kieren? I was out checking things out with Talon and he came blowing through the bar like a hurricane. He didn’t even stop, he kept going and I believe I heard him spout something off about Relic.”
Relic was now laughing. “Well, of course he did! He isn’t as dumb as he acts. At least he was muttering about something good.”
Talon rejoined the rest of the group and dropped in. “What would that be?”
Relic took in a big breath and sighed as he pointed to himself as though he was the cat’s meow. “He was talking about me, and that is always good subject matter.”
Within a second, he felt a petite hand slap him across the back of the head. Pramlee zoomed by. “Will you please put a sock in it! Look at Raina!”
Raina was alone in her office and she hung her head out the door and shouted to Meridian. “I will be out shortly; I have some paperwork to do and I will be out.”
Raina then walked back over to her desk and pulled out the brown box with the Celtic symbol on top. She opened it and placed a bottle from her pocket inside the box and shut it. She put the box back in her hiding space and walked back over to her office door and quietly locked it.
In the space above the shelf that hid her box of elixir was a cabinet with double doors. She reached up and opened the cabinet and pulled out a bigger box and reached inside to pull out a black cloth with a bright orange pentagram embroidered into the cloth. She strategically placed the top point of the star facing south and the two opposing end points pointing north. She once more reached into the box and removed a Ouija board, some black candles, and a red satchel with incense she promptly lit before lighting her black candles.
After Raina completed her setup, she pulled out a necklace with a pendant made of silver with a sigil mark engraved into the talisman. Below the engraving was the name Ipos.
“Oh, dark one, hear my call
Appear to me and let me know all.
Pyro I beckon to thee,
Bestow your wisdom upon me.”
The flames on the candles gave a soft flicker simultaneously. The smoke from the incense that lingered through the air formed together slowly creating a soft moving funnel over the Ouija board. Raina opened her eyes to the empty space above the board fill with smoke creating the funnel showing a face from within the smoke. The demon’s eyes were closed, and his face blended in with the smoke until he opened his eyes where a bonze iridescent light emerged from his face, expressionless and still. Raina bowed her head to the demon. Her head remained bowed until the demon spoke.
“Dark sister, you have summoned me.
It is my wisdom you shall receive.
From which you seek, you will know all,
What token will you return large or small?”
“Pyro, it is with much appreciation you have answered my summon and I am in dire need of your help once more. I realize that my requests are not infinite and that I have yet to return the gratitude. I have made contact to request assistance in my spells with the Elixir. It grows short, making it more difficult to maintain the effects needed to keep Meridian.”
Pyro watched intently as the dark witch spoke with her request. “Dark sister, you will have all you need to fulfill your task. Keeping Meridian with you was your task and return of favor, however an additional request of demon powers will cost you. I will require more of your help on Earth. You must kill Esmra. This is a demand. Esmra gone and Luna in the dark realm will make communications difficult for the guides. I am ordering you to kill the psychic. This is the only way I can guarantee your protection from the dark one’s descent upon the humans.”
Raina’s eyes grew large as plates as her bottom jaw dropped open. “Lord, I have never taken a life. I do not know that I can do such a task.”
“You will have demonic power as you once again submit your soul. You will be unstoppable in your task. Kill Esmra and I will return. You will have what you need to keep Meridian subdued. And if you are lucky, a union with the demon you worship, Ipos. Do this and you will please him, do it not and you will remain.”
Pyro vanished from sight leaving the smoke lingering in the empty space above the Ouija board and Raina beside herself with the demand. In all her days of summoning a demon, she had never had a request of this magnitude.
The guides swiftly left Salem and headed out to Tallulah’s sending a warning of what was on the horizon.