Categories story

Chapter 16: The ritual I

Rohan paced back and forth like a caged beast in the cold, murky cell. His mind a whirlwind of worry and anticipation. The musty smell of damp earth and decaying wood assaulted his nostrils.The distant echoes of tormented souls lingered in the shadows.

Sylvenna slipped into the cell, her small figure nearly swallowed by the oppressive darkness. She held a tome tightly in her hands, its ancient leather cover showing signs of age with cracks and wear. The yellowed and fragile pages emitted a moldy scent, hinting at forgotten secrets. Rohan’s eyes were immediately drawn to the book.

“Sylvenna,” Rohan breathed out in both relief and urgency. “You’ve found it.”

The healer nodded, her eyes gleaming in the low light. “In the depths of the library, among the forgotten books and dusty scrolls.”

“We need to ensure no one can hear us,” he said, his voice low and urgent.

Rohan focused on erecting a shield around the confines, a protective barrier to keep prying ears at bay. But his powers were not at their peak; they flickered like dying embers in the cold night. Maintaining the shield demanded more than he had to offer in his current state. The struggle etched lines of tension into his handsome features.

Sylvenna’s eyes flickered with concern as she observed Rohan’s struggle. Each drop of sweat falling from his brow was a reminder of the toll this was taking on him. “It’s not easy for you, is it? You’re not at your full strength.”

Rohan’s jaw clenched. “No, I’m not. But we can’t risk anyone overhearing us.”

The healer nodded, her gaze softening. “I’ll do what I can to help.”

As Rohan fought to maintain the shield, Sylvenna open the old book. It seemed to hum with hidden power as she flipped through its pages, her eyes scanning the faded text. The scent of aged parchment and ancient ink wafted through the air.

“This,” she murmured, her voice barely above a whisper, “is the Star-Weaver prophecy.” Her fingers lingering over the words like a lover’s caress.

“In the sacred dance of starlight, under the enchanting veil of celestial convergence, a child of dual lineage shall emerge. The Starborn shall walk the threads of destiny, a bridge between fae and elf, between earth and sky. In her veins, the essence of the stars shall flow, weaving a tapestry of magic unseen for centuries. Under the moonlit embrace, she shall be granted visions, glimpses of the future. As the celestial energies converge within her, the Starborn shall possess the gift of healing, mending the wounds of both flesh and fate.”

Rohan’s steely gaze narrowed with intensity, his eyes reflecting the weight of his concern. “Is Aerin truly the Starborn? How can we know for certain?” He murmured urgently. The dancing torchlight highlighted every contour on his attractive face, making him seem more determined, more desperate. The burden of maintaining the shield weighed heavily on him, causing his forehead to crease from both physical and emotional exhaustion.

Sylvenna hesitated, her gaze flickering to the door. The torchlight painted shadows on her features, creating an interplay of light and darkness that mirrored the uncertainty in her eyes.”The prophecy speaks of a child born of dual lineage, a bridge between fae and elf. Aerin fits the description, but Absinthya won’t be convinced easily. She’ll subject Aerin to a ritual, a test of her celestial power.”

Rohan’s jaw tightened. “What kind of ritual?”

Sylvenna sighed, her gaze dropping to the book. “A ritual that will surface the essence of the stars within Aerin. Absinthya believes it will amplify her powers, make her unstoppable.”

Rohan’s eyes flared with concern. “But why does she need Aerin’s healing powers? What’s Absinthya’s sickness?”

Sylvenna hesitated once more, her eyes meeting Rohan’s. “Absinthya carries a darkness within her, a curse that consumes her from the inside. She believes Aerin’s celestial touch can purge it. But it’s more complicated than that.”

The strain on Rohan’s face deepened, the shield wavering. “Tell me, Sylvenna. We don’t have time for half-truths.”

“High Lord…” The healer’s voice trailed off, her eyes wide with fear. She clamped her mouth shut, as if afraid of uttering another word. She knew the queen would not hesitate to punish her, or worse, kill her son.

“Sylvenna!” The High Lord’s voice cracked with frustration, the stress of his efforts is clearly visible through the firm clench of his jaws and the crease on his forehead.

With a heavy exhale, Sylvenna lowered her gaze, her eyes fixated on the floor as she spoke. “A curse that consumes her very being. The queen believes only Aerin’s celestial magic can purge her from this endless abyss.”

Rohan’s heart thundered in his chest as he knelt before the healer, desperation seeping into every word. “What curse?” His stormy gaze bore into hers, searching for answers. He needed to know more, to understand what they were facing. “Tell me, Sylvenna. Tell me everything you know.” He pleaded, grasping her arm.

Sylvenna’s fear-filled eyes met his, and she shook her head. “I can’t tell you. I can’t risk it. The queen will go after my son. She will kill him if she finds out I betrayed her.”

Frustration boiled within Rohan, and he glared at the trembling healer.

“You don’t understand. “The healer whispered, terror in her voice.”She’s too powerful,too cruel. She won’t stop until she gets what she wants.”

Rohan tightened his grip on her arm, his eyes blazing with determination. “I know her, I know Absinthya very well. She won’t get what she wants. Not if we stop her. Not if we work together. You have to trust me, Sylvenna. You have to tell me the truth. If we stay afraid and do nothing, the queen will win. And this nightmare will never end. And your son will never be safe.”

Sylvenna took a deep breath and finally spoke. “Niamh, her daughter, was born dying,” she began, her voice trembling with apprehension. “I never knew what was wrong with her,” she confessed, her tone cold and detached. “She was desperate to save her sick daughter, so Absinthya made a deal with a powerful entity, a mysterious being known as the Aineva—an ancient sorceress who rules over life and death,” she revealed.

“The Veiled Enchantress, moved by the cry of a grieving mother, agreed to spare Niamh’s life. But nothing comes for free, and Absinthya found herself trapped in a dark pact,” Sylvenna went on. “The terms of the pact were clear: the Aineva would infuse Niamh with life, but in exchange, Absinthya’s youth would be forever hidden. The enchantress drained the vitality from Absinthya, leaving her on the edge of aging,” Sylvenna explained, her words painting a grim picture of Absinthya’s fate.

“To hide this decay, Absinthya used powerful illusions, creating a mask of eternal youth that concealed the truth under layers of false beauty,” Sylvenna said. “Her weakened powers and slow natural healing forced Absinthya to rely on elixirs and potions, drinking them daily to keep up a semblance of her former strength. The enchanted crystal she wears around her neck acts as a reservoir, storing stolen fey powers to make up for the fading magic within her,” Sylvenna finished, her voice trailing off as she ended the tale of Absinthya’s desperate attempts to defy time.

A chill ran down Rohan’s spine as Sylvenna’s words hit him like a punch to the gut. The mention of the crystal sparked a flicker of memory in his eyes,a visceral reminder of the day when Absinthya had viciously torn a piece of his essence away using that very artifact. He could still feel the searing pain and weakness that followed, as if it happened just moments ago.The crystal around Absinthya’s neck had glowed with an malevolent light as it absorbed the stolen power.

Rohan’s fists clenched at his sides, the realization sinking in like a dagger to the heart. “She intends to exploit Aerin,” he ground out, his voice thick with anger . “To bend her will to her own twisted desires.” The shield wavered momentarily. Beads of sweat gathered on his brow as he fought to keep it intact. “We can’t allow the girl to endure this,” he declared, his voice firm despite the fatigue threatening to overwhelm him.  “We need a plan, fast.”

The shield, once impenetrable, faltered again, and he gritted his teeth, pushing against the fatigue that gnawed at his strength. “We need a plan,” he declared once more.

“It’s too late,” she whispered, “The witch is already there, preparing for the ritual. The queen will initiate the ritual tonight, under the new moon. Your presence is required too.”

Rohan’s heart sank at the grim realization. Time had slipped through their fingers like sand. With a heavy sigh, he nodded, his mind already racing with possibilities.

The shield faltered again, and Rohan’s shoulders slumped as he released the hold on the magic. He felt a wave of weariness, but the firmness in his gaze remained. “We’ll wait,”  he conceded, frustration written all over his face. “But Aerin needs to know. She needs to be a part of this.”

Sylvenna nodded, her gaze never leaving Rohan’s fatigued form. “Are you alright?” she asked, concerned. “You’ve been holding that shield for a while.”

Rohan managed a tired smile, the weight of their burden pressing down upon him like a crushing wave. “I’ll manage. Just make sure Aerin knows.”

With a final nod, Sylvenna left the cell with caution. Rohan was swallowed by the shadows, his figure disappearing from sight. The shield, no longer sustained by his magic, dissipated like mist in the wind. Though he felt a lingering weakness, a determination burned within him. The battle was far from over.


[I should post it on DeviantArt later today, if nothing unexpected happens. ^^ ]

2 Comments on “Chapter 16: The ritual I”

  1. So we know, why Abb needs Aerin… very bloody countess ways she has!
    I love the details of the moods and feelings you wrote here, very realistic!

  2. Thank you very much! 🥰
    I was inspired by the Blood Countess and also by Snow White’s stepmother (the one with Charlize Theron), in this film she literally sucks the energy/youth out of girls to always remain young and beautiful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *