An Uneasy Feeling

“He needed me, I couldn’t tell the danger he was in… but I knew that he needed me.”

I looked down at my sleeping angel as the glow of morning rose over our house. They were the most perfect being on the face of Gaia’s green earth. This last little while, with Phoenix, had been perfect. I had come to feel like myself again: happy and at peace, with love and life in my heart. The return of emotion was both foreign and welcome at once. Three thousand years was a long time to go without knowing true happiness. 

Don’t misunderstand me, raising Morgan was one of the highlights of my life. Seeing her grow into a strong capable woman made me the proudest mother ever. There was a different kind of pride that came from creating life. Bringing life into the world was something I had missed, terribly. Phoenix would be my redemption, even more than Morgan. I would do right by Phoenix, and I knew my archangel would keep me accountable to my past. 

I slid out of bed, picked up Phoenix, and walked downstairs. A forest-green and brown dress formed over my body. Before I made my way into the kitchen to start preparing breakfast, I placed Phoenix in a bassinet to let them sleep some more. There would be tea with an order of empire toast for me and formula for Phoenix. I hadn’t eaten much recently, even though I knew I needed to keep my strength up. 

As the toast came off the griddle, I felt a searing pain in my back. The pain vibrated through my back across the scars Lycaon had left me. I rushed to the bathroom and pulled down the back of my dress to look. They weren’t bleeding; the scars were pulsing white. “What?” I questioned, not as calmly as I would have liked. 

“Drakon, I need you!” I called softly, to avoid waking Phoenix. Gabriel had been away for only a couple of days. I knew he wouldn’t be done with his angelic quest yet, so Drakon would have to answer my questions. My oldest friend shimmered out of my body. and lay curled around the bassinet. “Why do the scars hurt?” I asked hurriedly as I turned everything off in the kitchen.

“You’re still connected to Lycaon, and he must be in danger.” He replied, just as soft. My eyes must have widened in fear, because before I knew it, a man stood before me and pulled me into his arms. “Shush Medea… shhh.”

“Drakon?” I asked, trying to look at him. 

“Oh child, yes. I wasn’t always the sleepless Colchian Drakon you know. I was a man once, and was cursed to guard the Golden Fleece for my greed.” His explanation tugged at my memory, but I couldn’t place it. “I can’t hold this form for long. What do you need?”

I stepped back and looked up at him. “You were one of my father’s advisors.” He nodded slowly. “I’m sorry, I can’t remember your name.” I apologized.

“It was lost in the sands of time, child, as was this body.” He said softly, stroking my hair.

“If I give you this form temporarily, will you watch over Phoenix? I cannot take them with me.” I asked suddenly. 

The drakon-man just smiled and nodded. “I shall protect them with my very life, Medea, as I have done for you all these years. Take these with you.” I felt a short searing pain in my back and looked at him. “My wings, you may have need of them on the journey.”

I kissed his cheek gently, reciting a spell Circe had taught me years ago to change man to animal and back again. I left, racing outside, and up the stairs to the portal area. I dashed through the portal leading to Lycaon’s cabin, expecting the old wolf to be around. I could smell him, hear his voice in the air, and feel his presence throughout. My senses told me he wasn’t there. I felt another moment of pain through the scars and ran my hand over them. Still no blood, but I focused on this connection, such as it was, to the man who’d held my heart for two thousand years. I knew instantly where he was. “New Orleans, Lyc, really?”

Night’s Children were in abundance there, but it was the witches who owned the city. Oddly enough, it was a place I hated to go. Once they found out who I was, everyone was so demanding, wanting this, and needing that. I started working on creating a portal to near Lycaon’s location. I wasn’t going to barge in without doing a little reconnaissance beforehand. What if I was reading the signs wrong and he was perfectly fine, or happy or… I couldn’t let that thought distract me. 

Lycaon was going to move on. I wanted him to be happy. If that meant falling in love then I hoped it took him less time to admit it than it did us to admit our feelings. Regardless, I opened the portal to an adjacent lot near a disgustingly dilapidated building. Seriously, I’d been in hovels before that had a smaller chance of being condemned. 

The first thing to hit me when I walked through the portal was the scent of blood, it was everywhere. The second thing I noticed was the imminent hurricane, but it wasn’t natural. The storm had magic written all over it. That meant witches, at least a couple of covens. Immediately after that, I felt the lack of Wards around the place. They couldn’t be that stupid. No Wards at all? I almost shouted for joy, as a plan began to form. I began to dance; frenetic and angry. My dress shifted from my regular travel gear to a Voodoo ritual dress I picked up last time I was here. Their music had caught my soul. I worked that energy into my Ward set up. Once set, the only people who could leave, were me, Lycaon, and anyone else I deemed necessary. When done, I was surprised at how little energy it had taken to set, and I smiled. I formed black leather over my body. The top vest left my arms bare. The look, one fit for fighting. I had gotten used to the faint scars left behind by the Chains of Kratos. They served as a warning to my enemies. I’d noticed a few times, when my power would build, they would shine softly with Helios’ light. 

I skirted around the building before making my way inside. I flew quietly to one of the upper floors. As I peered down into the central area my heart froze. Things were worse than I feared. Vampires, werewolves, and witches, they all worked together. In the middle of their circle, were three semi-conscious figures. The sight alone nearly shattered me. Mino, Gio, and Lycaon. 

I didn’t know Gio all that well, but Lycaon seemed to trust him, and that was generally good enough for me. Mino, on the other hand, was my kin in more ways than one. I would have razed the place to the ground to save him. Why were they there? 

Three men from my family were on the ground, bleeding, and barely moving. Accomplishing that required a feat of strength. I couldn’t fathom what I could do in this situation that they couldn’t? Then it hit me. I leapt from the broken floor down to the ground. I landed between my boys and the crowd of miscreant attackers. 

“Who the fuck are you?” One of the witches asked me as I stood up, my blue-black wings folding into my back. I ignored her and went around to the men. 

“Mino, hunny.” I knelt down near the great man’s head and pulled out a bottle of seawater. It hoped it would help give him some strength back, even if it were only to get himself out of there. “Drink this.” I tipped the bottle down his throat and placed a soft kiss on his nose. 

As I moved towards Gio, I stepped on his cane. I knew in a flash what would help. The connection between him and his cane was strong, even if he wasn’t in that moment. I unscrewed the top of his cane and poured the contents into his mouth before kissing his forehead. “Thank you for warning me, Gio.”

Lastly, I made my way to Lycaon and fell before him, trying not to cry. My hands went to his head, unafraid, and I pressed my forehead to his. “Come back to me Lycaon, please. I cannot lose you again.” I kissed his lips, softly and poured some of my own healing energies into him. 

I stood up and looked at the men, “when you think you’re healed, stay back, all of you. You may think you’re strong enough, and I know you all heal quickly, but you’re not. Let me handle this.” I turned my attention back to the crowd, who had gathered in front of me. 

The witch who addressed me when I landed started to speak again, “I said, who the fu-.” The rest of her sentence was cut off as my wings exploded from my back. I moved almost lightning-fast, tearing out her throat.

“You want to know who I am?” I dropped the piece of her throat to the ground. “Why don’t we play 3 guesses?” I pointed to each of the three factions. “Each faction gets a guess. A wrong guess, and I dwindle your numbers. Guess right- and well I dwindle your numbers regardless.”

I pointed at the werewolves, hackles drawn, blood dripping from their claws and teeth. “Who am I?” The wolves looked at each other and shook their heads as one. I grinned darkly, glad the boys couldn’t see it. I flew forward, drawing silver swords out of the ether. I slashed through the wolves in a straight line before curving high into the sky and landing exactly where I had been standing a moment before.

“Here, I’ll give you a clue.” I held the swords expertly, tips down and out, looking at the still stunned group. “Out of everyone in this room, I am the second oldest, only to him.” I pointed back at Lycaon, who I could see struggling to stand.

“Vampires. Nasty beasts. You next. Who am I?” Instead of answering, the vampire cohort decided to attack, coming at me from all sides. I dropped the blades and opened my palms, allowing direct sunlight to shine out from them. “Thank you, pappoús,” I muttered as they fell back. 

I could feel the witches bristling with power. I laughed a cold, dark and humourless sound. “You really think you can hurt me? I have trained with forces far stronger than you. More than half of you aren’t even protected by loa, and you think you can take me?” My face grew dark, hair shone like silver, and my eyes glowed with purple fire. I began an old chant. “Hekate, mitéra mageías, one who eats hearts. You brought me into your circle, taught me what you know. I beseech thee, guide me this day.” I watched the faces of the witches contort, trying to work out the second clue. I shook my head, wind whipping around us. 

“Alright, one last clue.” I clapped my palms together. As I spread them open, a small sun formed and grew. “Now do you understand?”

“Mère de Dieu, Medea.” One in the back whispered, but I heard it. “But you’re just a potion witch, and long since dead.” I shot forward, the sun in my hands thrust into the witch’s forehead. 

“A potion witch am I? Dead am I?” I ripped the heart out of the nearest witch and ate it. “I have been doing magic longer than anyone of you can comprehend. I have witnessed the rise and fall of civilizations. I walked this land when nothing was here except the alligators and snakes, and you still think me weak?” My wings whipped out, slicing through the nearest witches and they scattered. The wolves and vampires stood tall and proud, mostly. I walked back over to where I dropped my swords, picking them up. 

“No one is leaving here, except me and my boys. Now,” I angled the swords out, blunt end of the blades facing the threat, “shall we dance?”

Published by Natalie Bartley

I am a 33-year-old Adult Fantasy author in Oshawa, Ontario. I hope one day to open her own Pagan store with her partner. I have been writing for most of my life but have only recently (in the last year) started putting those stories out to the world. My faith as a polytheistic witch leads me to many different storylines that involve the gods around her. My first book, Love and Pain in Zion, was a labour of love and heartbreak, and it took me many years to complete it. I live with my partner and step-son in Oshawa and is also completing my clergy status with the Correllian Nativist Tradition. My husband and I are planning on opening up a New Age/Metaphysical store, where I am running the storefront and he is running the services in the back. Since he is already a licensed interfaith minister and can perform weddings in Ontario, and a Reiki master, we can start offering services soon. I am enrolled in Witch School International as a seminary school of the Correllian Nativist Tradition. I have mostly completed my First Degree clergy status, and am almost finished my Second Degree. Brian and I run a local temple (Temple of the Night) which is a part of the Correllian Nativist Tradition. We are currently the only temple with full temple status in Canada. If you want to help fuel my writing, consider donating to my Ko-fi!

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