Annabelle (part 33)

A/N: This is part of a F/f spanking discipline story. All characters are adults and the story was written for an adult audience.

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Previously….

“The O’Neill family?”

“Yes.”

“Come right this way. We’ve arranged a private room for you.”

They followed the waitress through the dining hall. She waitress held a door open for them.

“Your mother is already waiting for you.”

“Our mother?”
….

Annabelle and Lydia looked at each other with a puzzled expression. They entered the room and saw a redheaded woman sitting by the table, waiting for them. She turned around, and Annabelle’s mouth dropped. Leda got up from the table and held her arms open.

“Darlings!”

“Led… eh… mother!” Annabelle said, playing along whilst the waitress was still in the room. “What are you doing here?”

“Oh, my babies! I wanted to surprise you!” Leda sounded completely different from what she usually sounded like. She was a good actress. She grabbed both Annabelle and Leda and hugged them tightly and kissed their faces. “Honestly darlings, you’d think you two could send your mumsy a letter once in a while! Your father and I have missed you so much!”

The waitress left the room and closed the door.

“Oh good!” Leda rolled her eyes. “So typical of Lucas to get me to play the most annoying person in the world. His idea, not mine.” She smiled at Annabelle. “It’s so good to see you. Good job getting so far.”

Annabelle looked sad. “But Eylion is still at school…”

Leda stroked her cheek. “I know. It’s been hard.” Her eyes looked glazed. “It was awful how they just came and took you, and we only allowed a short goodbye.”

She gestured them to sit down by the table where food had been laid out.

“Eylion has her own part to play, Annabelle. It’s hard for me as her mentor, I wish she was here with us now. But I know my Eylion will be able to do an important job from the inside. It won’t be long and she’ll be out too. I’m sure of it.”

“Did you come here alone? Does Gwen and Aisling know I’m here?”

Leda bit her lip a little nervously. “Do you want the honest truth?”

“Yes, please,” Annabelle replied, wanting nothing but the truth. There had been too many secrets.

“Alexis and I… well, we… ” Leda looked like she was a naughty apprentice in trouble. “We sort of haven’t told them you escaped yet.”

“What?! Leda!”

“I know!” Leda winced. “I know it’s terrible! It was all Alexis’ doing. She made me not tell. We’ve been paying attention to your movements on the map in secret. When we saw you approaching Dragonsdale Alexis arranged for me to come here and look for you at the inn. I just met Lucas and he told me of your plan, and he invited me to play the overbearing mother.” She rolled her eyes. “Honestly, that man is impossible.”

“I thought you were a couple,” Lydia commented.

Leda who hadn’t taken much notice of Leda other than hugging her for show, raised her eyebrow at Lydia. Lydia shrunk in her seat.

“Oh, sorry…”

Just at that minutes Lucas Storm entered the room.

“My girls, how lovely. All waiting for daddy, hmm?”

All three women winced at the awkward comment.

“Lucas, let’s not pretend to be a happy redheaded family when we’re alone. It’s so embarrassing,” Leda said, waving her hand over the stew on the table. A ladle floated in the air and started serving them.

“You don’t like being my wife?” He asked, sitting down next to her. “Oh wait… you are my wife!” He smirked at her.

“What?!” Annabelle almost choked on her water as she took a sip. “You two are married?”

Leda glared at the man who claimed to be her husband.

“Technicalities,” she said, disapprovingly. “We’re not together.”

“We could be,” Lucas said, winking at her.

“No, not really, ” Leda replied. “We could have been together if you hadn’t…” she stopped.

“Botched it?” he asked.

“Never mind.”

“Leda, you know I never wanted to hurt you. Maybe you could give me another…”

“Let us not air our dirty laundry in front of Annabelle and Lydia,” Leda said, cutting him off.

There was an awkward silence, broken by the clatter of spoons against their bowls. Leda took a deep breath.

“Did you two meet any trouble on the way?” she asked Annabelle and Lydia.

“Not really,” Annabelle replied. “We hid from some mortals by the blue lake, but only because we didn’t know if they were friends or foes. Most likely they were just travellers themselves.”

“That’s good,” Leda said smiling. She looked at Lydia. “And you… you decided to leave your post at the school, I see?”

Lydia nodded seriously, and she blushed a little. “I understand if you don’t trust me, Leda,” she said, looking serious. “My family ties and my role at the school does make me suspicious.”

“It does,” Leda agreed.

“But I can assure you, I am not my family. I have never had cruel intentions towards any of the students. The order was going to get rid of me, I don’t know what plans they had, but they wouldn’t have let me just go.”

“No, I suppose they think you might know things you shouldn’t?” Leda asked.

“Probably, but I know more than they suspect,” Lydia replied seriously. “I’ve been wanting out for a while, but it’s dangerous without contacts. Annabelle leaving was my ticket, and… well… I figured she could use my protection on her journey.”

“That I agree with, and she probably could use some discipline too,” Leda said, winking at Annabelle.

“Hey!” Annabelle was about to argue, but Lydia cut her off.

“Oh, she does,” Lydia chuckled.

Annabelle blushed.

“That is nothing to be embarrassed about, Annabelle,” Lucas said, winking at her. “We have all been through what you are going through as an apprentice. You magic is starting to develop, you crave independence and you rebel, but at the same time you need someone to hold you back and teach you to be safe. It is part of growing into your magic. Magic can be dangerous, and it doesn’t mix well with stupid decisions.”

“Old people can be really stupid too,” Annabelle argued.

Lucas, chuckled. “I agree a hundred percent! But older people have more control over their magic, and they are less likely to injure themselves with magic. Magic is also a great responsibility, those of us who have this gift should use it for good, and so we are perhaps sometimes harder on magicians than we would be on mortals.”

“But… the order, they don’t use their magic for good.”

“No, even the old and skilled can be corrupt, and that is a problem. This conflict has been going on for a long time, Annabelle, much longer than you have been alive.”

“But…” Annabelle looked to Leda. “But I thought Alexis was a member of the order, if this conflict has been going on for a long time…”

“It has, Annabelle, but the order was never supposed to be about power and control. Alexis helped form the order two-hundred-years ago, it was meant to be an order for all witches and wizards with different political opinions. It was a place to unite and come to agreements that would benefit all of us. There were systems put in place to make sure no group within the order got too much power, that they could always limit each other. They were supposed to compromise and make decisions together. However, little by little things have changed, and the power balanced has been corrupted. The order is not what it once was, and it does not work the way it was intended to work. The conflict within has existed for a long time, but only now have the balance been destroyed. Alexis could no longer be in it, if she had tried to stay, it would put her in danger.”

“She has formed a new group, hasn’t she?” Annabelle asked, looking to Leda and Lucas. They both stayed silent.

“Hasn’t she?” Annabelle repeated. “And you’re in it? And Gwen and Aisling?”

There was an uncomfortable silence as Leda and Lucas tried to come up with a way to not answer Annabelle’s question, but they were saved by a knock at the door as a waitress came in to ask them what they wanted for dessert. When she left, Leda took a deep breath.

“Okay… that is enough secret talk. Let’s just enjoy our meal, and then Annabelle and I will talk in private later.”

Annabelle wanted to argue, but she knew it would be no use if Leda had decided to change the topic. For the rest of the meal they talked about their trip, what they had seen, and what problems they had come across. Leda asked Annabelle about what new spells she had learned. Lucas promised to teach her some fun spells, but he didn’t want to say what they were in front of Leda.

*

After supper, Leda and Annabelle left Lucas and Lydia downstairs and made their way up to the Annabelle and Lydia’s room. When they got inside, Leda checked Lydia’s protective charms, before she and Annabelle sat down to talk.

“Leda, we overheard Kendra Onbush saying that you guys had disappeared. She said Gwen and Aisling’s house was empty, that you had disappeared. Where is everyone?”

“Oh, that… well… we were warned that our houses were under surveillance.” She shrugged. “It didn’t really come as a surprise. They could ,of course, not overhear anything on the inside, but they had people outside, watching us. It didn’t feel safe. We decided to move to a safe house. We’re all together, we’re all safe.”

“But why?” Annabelle asked. “Because Alexis is leading the opposition to the order? That is her new group, isn’t it?”

Leda raised an eyebrow. “You are being very nosy.”

“I deserve to know things,” Annabelle argued. “Are you staying with Andromeda?”

“No.”

“Well, would you mind telling me why I should go to Andromeda’s house?”

“Because it is the safest place for you.”

“But you guys have a safe house? Why can we not go there?” Annabelle asked. She wanted to be reunited with her mentors.

“Annabelle, things are rather complicated right now.” She took a deep breath. “Alright, Alexis has a new group, and the three of us are working against the order. But that does not mean that you are invited to join, in fact, you should stay away. This is politics that you do not understand, and these are people who can seriously harm you. You would be much safer with Andromeda. She left the order years ago because of the corruption.”

“But… but I want to be with you guys. I can help.”

“No you cannot, Annabelle. You are a witchling, and the witches and wizards in the order can be very dangerous.”

“But…”

“Annabelle,” Leda cut her off, raising an eyebrow. “No. You cannot come with me. I understand that you want to, but you can’t. Tomorrow, you will continue your journey to Andromeda, and Lucas and I will take you there. We will continue presenting ourselves as a family while traveling, it will look less suspicious as the order are looking for two young women traveling alone. Once you have reached Andromeda, I will let Gwen and Aisling know that you escaped and that you are safe. It is much less likely that they will kill me if I can assure them that you are in safe hands.”

Annabelle frowned. She knew there was no way Leda would take her back with her.

“Okay… but tell me this…”

“What?”

“Who am I?”

Spanko Art!

Hello! As some of your know, I have been wanting to create my own spanko art for a long time.  I’ve only made one image so far, but I have uploaded it to my Spanko Art page, which you can see above in the pages bar. There I will upload my spanko art so everyone will be able to find it and enjoy. I didn’t go to art school, so be kind! 😛
If you should want to use any of my images, please give me credit as the creator and link to my blog when you do.

This is my first image of Annabelle.

Annabelle 1

 

 

Annabelle (Part 32)

A/N: This episodes contain F/F lesbian spanking between adults.
This is part of a longer series. Link to all episodes and other stories can be found here.

Over the next couple of days, Annabelle and Lydia’s journey took them further and further away from the castle, and they both felt a lot calmer. In the beginning, they had been very on edge, and they felt like they could meet the enemy every time they heard the voices of someone else. For the first three days, they had been walking in the forest, and for the most part, they were alone. If they heard someone, they would hide quickly and wait until they passed. On the fourth day, they came out of the forest, and they were approaching Dragonsdale.

Lydia had cleverly used transfiguration spells to disguise them a little. Annabelle had agreed to let Lydia make her hair blonde, agreeing that it went well with her blue eye-colour. Looking at herself in the mirror, she had reminded herself of Aisling. It felt like ages since she had looked into those piercing blue eyes. Lydia had changed her hair-colour to a beautiful copper, which reminded Annabelle of Leda. She knew that it was because she missed them so much that these things bothered her, but it made her annoyed with their disguise. The plan was to act like two mortal women, hoping that the presence of other witches and wizards would cover up their magical presence.

“Good, we made it out of the forest before full-moon,” Lydia said as they rechecked the map.

They sat on a fallen tree at the edge of the forest. Dragonsdale was visible in the distance.

“Why? What happens at full-moon?” Annabelle took a canteen with water out of the bag and took a sip.

“Werewolves usually head for the forest at full-moon,” Lydia said nonchalantly.

“Werewolves?! You kept that quiet.” Annabelle dropped the canteen to the ground. It spilt some of the water. “Oh, shoot,” Annabelle said, picking it up. Water had not been difficult to find, but she didn’t want to waste the clean water they did have.

“I didn’t want to worry you, honey.” Lydia put an arm around Annabelle and kissed her on the cheek. “Besides, it is not like they’re a match for us witches. It’s just that they completely lose their minds at full-moon, and they were so aggressive and persistent. If we met one, it would slow us down.”

“We didn’t meet any vampires though,” Annabelle added, handing over the canteen to Lydia who took it gratefully and drank.

“Well, if there were any, they would know better than to approach us with anything but good intentions. Werewolves are not so smart.”

“Is that why the order mainly tell us to hate vampires?”

“Well, they are intolerant to other species in general, but especially those with power. Vampires cannot match our magic, but they do have power.”

“They say that they’re animals,” Annabelle said, frowning.

“Yes.” Lydia nodded seriously. “I used to believe that for a very long time.”

“You did?” Annabelle looked at her, shocked.

“Yes, of course,” Lydia said, smiling slightly. “That is what I was told growing up. My family lied to me all my life, and it wasn’t until I was in my late teens when I actually met a vampire I realised that there was something wrong with what I was told. It is very common for people to believe things, even outright lies, if the information comes from their own community. ”

“Oh,” Annabelle said, before contemplating her own attitudes towards vampires. “I suppose I used to think badly of vampires too. When I met Christophe, he was really hungry and tempted to have a little snack.”

“What?!” Lydia gasped.

“He’s not a bad person, but he nearly lost control. He ran off when he heard Aisling calling for me.”

“Why would you be out in the dark all by yourself? Your magical abilities aren’t the best.”

“Thanks…” Annabelle muttered.

“You know what I mean,” Lydia said, pulling her close and kissing her lightly.

“Oh, alright. I will forgive your totally unfair comment,” Annabelle teased. “It was right after I met my mentors, and I was told to be back before dark, but I was late home.”

“Bet your mentors were pleased,” Lydia said sarcastically.

“Not exactly,” Annabelle said pouting slightly. “Aisling spanked me!”

“I would too,” Lydia agreed.

“Hey!” Annabelle protested.

“Well, I would.”

“I only got some swats on the outside of my shorts.”

“Oh?” Lydia smirked. “You see that is where Aisling and I are different because I would have pulled down your shorts.”

“In the forest?”

“Sure… I might even have gotten a nice and bendy switch to spank you with.” She gave Annabelle an evil grin.

Annabelle narrowed her eyes at her teasing girlfriend.

“Anyway… Gwen and Aisling forgot to tell me that Christophe wasn’t usually like that and that they weren’t all bad, so Eylion and I… well… we tried to get revenge.”

“Uh oh. What did you do?”

Annabelle giggled.

“We snuck out in the middle of the night and hid garlic all over the forest where his clan was living,” she said with a smirk. “We even smeared garlic paste on our bodies so no vampire would want to bite us.”

“Of course you did,” Lydia snorted. “Were you caught?”

Annabelle nodded, looking down embarrassed.

“We got caught by the vampires, and Eylion used a communication spell to summon Leda and ask for help. Let’s just say our mentors were not pleased.”

“I’m sure.” Lydia raised an eyebrow. “And I’m sure your shorts did not stay on that time.”

Annabelle shook her head, blushing. “No… That was a painful lesson!”

“I bet.” Lydia patted her bottom. “I’m sure you were pretty red and sore after that.”

“Yeah… and sorry.” Annabelle batted her eyelashes. “It is so upsetting to think about… I think I need someone to console me.” Annabelle pulled her lover closer and kissed her neck.

“Whoa there, missy. We’re out of the forest now. Your canoodling session will have to wait until we make it to the inn in Dragonsdale.”

“Awe. Spoilsports.”

*

Approaching Dragonsdale, Annabelle could immediately tell why she had heard so much about it. It was a harbour city by the ocean, much bigger than the village she was used to. Dragonsdale was a place of trade, and from what she had heard of it, there were many more wizards living there. The city was built around a hillside around a big official-looking building. Down by the harbour, there were massive ships with big sails. And from the harbour, canals were going into the lower part of the city, with beautiful small, wooden bridges over them. Annabelle was amazed. She had never seen anything like it before.

“This is amazing!” She didn’t know where to look; there were so many things to look at at the same time. “This place is so cool!! I want to explore!”

Lydia smiled at her. “That might be possible, but right now we should find the inn we’re staying at.”

“What was it called again?”

“The map said it was called The Purple Seahorse.”

“Oh yes, how could I forget a name like that,” Annabelle muttered.

“It’s by the harbour somewhere.”

“Do you think it’s nice?”

“Honestly? No, I don’t. I don’t think it’s unsafe, but I think Alexis chose it because nobody will think to look for us there.”

Lydia stopped at pointed to a shop. “Let’s go in here and ask for directions. I’ll ask the shopkeeper.”

Annabelle shrugged and followed her inside. It was a small shop with all kinds of products, everything from furniture to pottery. Annabelle decided to stand by the side and not move, so she didn’t bump into anything. Lydia went to find the proprietor to ask for directions.

The moment Lydia disappeared out of sight, a group of boys entered the shop with mischievous-looking grins.

“Go one then, John, I dare ya,” said a grubby looking teenager. “Take it.”

The boy named John looked nervous. “Lads, we don’t even need this stuff.”

“That’s not the point, man,” said another, redheaded boy. “You want in the gang, you has gots to prove yerself.” He pointe to a vase. “Take it, Johnny.”

They didn’t even try to hide their theft from Annabelle, who stood watching the entire thing. John, his hands shaking, reached out for the vase when they heard someone approaching from the back of the shop.

“I don’t know where it is, lady. Maybe if you tried the pub down the street.”

Hearing the shop owner approaching, the boy pulled back his hand quickly, accidentally knocking over the vase. It crashed to the floor, breaking. The boys disappeared out the door before the shop owner, and Lydia appeared.

“What do you think you’re doing?” He asked Annabelle furiously. “Be careful.”

“It wasn’t me,” Annabelle argued.

“Who else would it be? A ghost?” The shopkeeper growled. “Well, witch, fix the vase you broke.”

“I’m not a witch,” said Annabelle quickly. “I’m not.”

“Of course you are, you could fix this no problem.”

“No, she can’t,” Lydia cut in. “Sir, we not witches.”

“What is going on here?” A man came out from the back of the shop and approached them. He was tall with dark brown hair, the same shade Annabelle’s would have been if she had not been in disguise.

“Master Storm, these women are most unhelpful, and that one,” he pointed at Annabelle, “made a mess.”

“No, I didn’t. It was someone else,” Annabelle repeated, she was getting frustrated now. Her satchel fell off her shoulder and landed on the floor.

“And they’re refusing to use their magic to clear up.”

“We’re not witches,” Lydia repeated crossly.

The man called Master Storm quickly picked up Annabelle’s satchel and held it out to her. Without thinking, she took it, and their skin briefly touched. She knew immediately she had made a mistake, as she felt his magic. He was clearly a wizard, she could feel it, and he would no doubt feel her magic.

“These women are not witches, trust me, I would know,” Master Storm said. He waved his hand and fixed the broken parts.

“Let’s go,” Lydia said, beckoning Annabelle. Annabelle hurried with her out of the store.

*

Outside, Lydia quickly grabbed Annabelle’s arm and started walking down the street.

“What happened?” she asked her crossly. “I told you to stand still and wait for me.”

“I did! It wasn’t me!” Annabelle retorted. “It was a group of teenagers. They were going to steal the vase. Just for the fun of it, and then they ran off when you guys came back. Don’t you believe me?”

Lydia took a deep breath but kept walking. “Yes, of course, I do. I’m sorry, Annabelle, I shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions.” They turned a corner. “I was just reminded inside the store that we never came up with names we could call each other here in Dragonsdale. I mean… we can’t call each other Annabelle and Lydia, can we?”

“Good point! Well, how about….” Annabelle stopped abruptly. Right in front of them stood the wizard that helped them in the shop.

“Ladies,” he said winking.

Annabelle stood still, not knowing what to say. Goddess knows how he managed to get past them so quickly. It was Lydia who broke the silence.

“Thank you for helping us in there, sir. We didn’t mean to be rude, but we really needed to get going. Please forgive us.” She tugged at Annabelle’s arm, signalling her to move.

“Wait, hold on a moment.” He said, stopping them.

“Don’t I know you from somewhere?” the man asked Annabelle.

“No,” Annabelle said truthfully. She had never met this man. She looked nervously at Lydia.

“Are you sure? You seem so familiar?” He smiled at her. Studying her face. “Your eyes… it’s so weird. They remind me of…” He shook his head. “No, no, you’re right. You can’t be related to her.”

Annabelle wanted to ask who he was talking about. She was curious about why he thought he knew her. Did this man think he knew someone who was related to Annabelle? But she couldn’t ask now. How could she explain to Lydia?

“But I think we know each other, don’t we?” The man said to Lydia. Lydia’s looked really uncomfortable, it was obvious that she knew who he was, and she had counted on her disguise.

“I don’t think so,” she tried looking away.

“I’m Lucas,” he said, “Lucas Storm.”

“Doesn’t ring a bell.”

“But… aren’t you Lydia Evergr…”

“No.” Lydia cut him off, giving him a stern look. “That’s not me.”

Lucas smiled at her, his eyes crinkled a little at the corners.

“Ah, I see. Given old Granny the slip, have we, young lady?” He gave her a big grin and laughed. “You don’t fool me, kid. I can see you have gone through some trouble to disguise yourself, but I am good with faces, and I’ve been around your family when you were a kid. Remember? I gave you a book once. You asked your aunt for a potion book, but she refused. The next time I visited, I secretly gave you a book about plants and elementary potion-making. You must’ve been around eight; very young, but you were very eager to learn new things.”

Lydia looked down, but her body language gave her away. She obviously knew this man, but she was conflicted, she didn’t know if she could trust him. Lucas reached out and put Lydia’s hand in his.

“I give you my word. I will not betray you. You don’t have to tell me what you are doing here, as far as I am concerned, you never were. I don’t have much to do with the order these days anyway. If it makes you feel better, I will swear an oath.”

Lydia looked at Annabelle who shrugged. Lydia held out her hand to Lucas, and he took it.

“Will you swear to never speak to anyone in the order about meeting us here?”

“On my magic, I swear.”

Sparks of raw magic appeared around their hands.

“Very well,” Lydia said. “I have given “granny” the slip. And it is of utmost importance that she does not find out where I am.” She gave him a serious look. “It would be dangerous if she were to find us.”

“So you’ve realised that your family is not… well…”

“Good people?”

“Yeah,” she said, smiling weakly. “My mentor used to be involved in the order, and that is how I got involved,” he explained. “I’m not interested in working with them anymore. I haven’t for a while.”

“Do you know where The Purple Seahorse is?”

“The inn?”

“Yes, we’re staying there. Apparently, we have a reservation.”

“Ah… Alexis putting you up?”

“How do you…”

“The Purple Seahorse is where Alexis arranges meetings when she doesn’t want the order to know. I’ve met her there myself.” He smiled at them. “I’ll take you there. If you want, I’ll disguise myself and get a room there, and we can pretend to be travelling together.”

*

The Purple Seahorse wasn’t too shabby. It was just shabby enough for rich people not to stay there, but just fancy enough not to draw riff-raff. The inn was located down by one of the canals that led to the ocean. When they arrived, they had changed both Lucas and Annabelle’s hair to match Lydia’s disguise. Now they were all redheads. And Lucas, who was a master warlock, had stepped into a back alley, changing into more casual clothing that didn’t give away his status. He had also grown a small beard rather quickly, with the help of magic. They decided to present themselves as a family. Lucas would be their father meeting with his two daughters who studied in the city. When they arrived, the name “O’Neill” showed up on the map next to the building, and when they went to the front desk and asked for a reservation under that name, they already had a room ready for them. Lucas got an extra room for himself, even though he lived in the city.  When Annabelle and Lydia got into their room, Lydia cast protective charms all over, making sure nobody could come in without her permission, and nobody could hear any conversations held within the room.

“Why did Lucas Storm think he knew you? Have you met?” Lydia asked her once she was done.

“No, never,” Annabelle replied. “I haven’t met a lot of people since I arrived.”

“Since you arrived?” Lydia asked, confused.

“Well… I mean, since… since I moved to the area,” Annabelle said, catching herself.

“Where did you live before?”

“Eh… I… oh many places. I never really settled.”

“Annabelle, I want the truth. Back at the castle, in the passages, you told me a little about your past. You said that after your father died, you lived with your stepmother, and then you hinted that you weren’t who you said you were. People believe your name is Annabelle Brown, and that you are related to Alexis, but you’re not related to her, are you?”

She shook her head. “No…”

“Who are you? Is your name even Annabelle Brown?” Lydia looked a little disappointed. “Annabelle… don’t you think I deserve to know the truth? I mean… I’m your lover. We’re in this together.”

“You’re right.” Annabelle took a deep breath. “My name is Annabelle. That is true. But my family name is not Brown. I’m not even sure if Alexis has anyone in the family called Brown.” She forced herself to look into Lydia’s eyes, knowing it was time to tell her. She would have to tell her everything. “I’m not related to Alexis, not by blood. I met her months ago after she had been kicked out of the order. I was living with Gwen and Aisling at the time.”

“Why did you lie about being her relative?” Lydia ask. She took Annabelle’s hands into her own.

“Because Alexis didn’t think it was wise to tell people the truth.”

“What is the truth?”

“I wasn’t born here… as in…” She thought for a while. How would she explain? “You know of portals? Portals that go to other places where only non-magical people live?”

“Yes.” Lydia nodded.

“I lived there,” Annabelle said. “I lived on the other side of a portal, with non-magical people.”

“Explain.”

“I grew up with my father, my mother had died in childbirth, or so I thought. We were wealthy, and I had a pretty good life until my father married. My stepmother never cared for me, but she pretended to for my father. But when he died, that all changed. She squandered his wealth, fired the help, and I became a servant for her and my step-sisters. They were all horrible to me. I had no one. I couldn’t do magic, and I didn’t know I was a witch. Witches and wizards, vampires and werewolves, those things only existed in stories. But then one day I found out that my stepmother was going to make me marry a man in exchange for his financial help, so I ran away. He was a terrible person, and I could never marry anyone like that. I took Albert, my horse, and we galloped into a forest and up a hill, and there I found a cave or something. I was only going to hide there, but it was deep, so I decided to see how deep, but it kept going. It was a tunnel, and eventually, I ended up somewhere entirely different, and Aisling found me and took me home with her. She and Gwen taught me to use my magic.”

“That’s… eh…” Leda hesitated. “That all sounds crazy.”

“But it is the truth,” Annabelle said, looking worried. Did Lydia not believe her?

“And Alexis told you to hide this information?”

“Yes, they all did. Gwen, Aisling and Leda too, they didn’t think it wise to mention where I came from.”

“Did they say why?”

“No, but Gwen told me once that she didn’t think my father was my real father. She said that something is not right about the story.”

“Yeah, I think it sounds weird too. A witch living on the other side, and nobody even knows about the child? There is a registry, you know. To keep track of witches and wizards who have gone through the portals.”

“And Alexis recognised me when we first met. I mean… we had never met before, but it felt like she thought she had seen me. Just like Lucas, he believes he has seen me, but he hasn’t. I was wondering if maybe he knew some of my real relatives. ”

“So you think they know something about you or your family?”

“I don’t know. It’s all so frustrating,” Annabelle said. She held up her locked to Lydia. “This locket. Leda, Gwen and Aisling gave it to me. They said it was normal to give a witch a gift when she gets her powers, but the locket is old. They knew it was special when the order came to get us they told me to keep it safe. If it is so special, why would they give it to me? And then Eylion and I found out that the locket was the key to the passages at the school.” Annabelle handed Lydia the locket and let her exam it. “They gave me the locket before we even knew that we’d have to go to this school, even before I had met Alexis. Why did they give it to me? Where does it come from? And did they even know what it could do?”

“This is highly suspicious. They must have thought you ought to have it.”

“Yeah. But was it because they thought it belonged to me? Or because they suspected, even before it became public knowledge, that the order would send us to this castle? Either way, it seems far fetched.” Annabelle sighed and frowned. “I’m mad at them.”

“Why?” Lydia asked, brushing some of Annabelle’s hair behind her ear.

“Because… they kept secrets from me. I don’t know what the truth is, but I know that they know something, something that I should know, and they are keeping the truth from me.”

“Maybe they don’t know the whole truth themselves yet.”

“But even if that were true, they still must have theories, and they should have shared them with me. They made Eylion, and I leave the room when they wanted to talk about the order, they even made us leave the house.”

“Well, if they talked about you and things about your past, I agree they should have included you in the conversation.”

“Yeah, they should have,” Annabelle said as Lydia pulled her into a hug. “I’m sorry I haven’t been completely honest with you, Lydia.”

Lydia kissed Annabelle lightly on the lips. “Thank you for telling me the truth, honey. It means a lot that you trust me.”

“Of course, I trust you. You’re special to me.” Annabelle stroke her hands down on Lydia’s body. She gave Lydia a hungry look. “Anyway… let’s not worry about that now… I believe you said there could be some canoodling once we got to the inn.”

“Did I?”

“Uh-huh, you did. And we’re not meeting Lucas until supper. We’ve got some hours to kill.”

“Well, we have had a long journey,” Lydia teased. “I think maybe what we need is some sleep.”

“But darling,” Annabelle said, biting lightly on Lydia’s earlobe. “I sleep so much better after you’ve fucked me.”

Lydia gave her a sharp smack to her bottom. “Naughty girl! I think I will have to spank you for that!”

Annabelle took Lydia’s hand and led her over to the bed. She pushed her lover onto the mattress and climbed on top of her. She pulled off Lydia’s shirt and bared her chest. Lydia smacked Annabelle’s backside hard.

“No, no, naughty girl, I get to be on top, and I believe I said I would spank you.”

Lydia got up, grabbing Annabelle’s backside. She lifted the younger woman up and placed her on the floor before her. Lydia, still only topless, started undressing Annabelle until she was completely naked. Annabelle let it happen, not saying a word. And when Lydia tugged her arm, she obediently placed herself naked over her lap.

Lydia rubbed Annabelle’s naked skin gently.

“I’ve been wanting you all day.” She smacked Annabelle’s backside. It was hard and stingy, but not too painful.

“Ow! Then why… am I getting spanked?” Annabelle asked. “Or is this a good girl spanking? Because I’ve been such a good girl.”

Lydia chuckled. “Oh, I don’t think so… I’m pretty sure you’re my naughty girl.” She gave Annabelle another smack. “And naughty girls need a little spanking, don’t they?”

Lydia started spanking Annabelle more briskly. She gave her sharp spanks that left Annabelle’s skin pink, and occasionally she would stop and rub her bottom gently with her hand, letting it slide very close to Annabelle’s sex. Over the last couple of days, experimenting with Lydia, Annabelle had learned that spanking could be both painful and pleasurable at the same time. Together, the lovers had explored their bodies and their tolerance together. Annabelle let Lydia take the leave, but the older woman was happy to let her explore her body as well.

“Now, little girl, are you going to be naughty from now on?” Lydia teased, stroking her long fingers over Annabelle’s pink skin. Her hand moved downward toward between Annabelle’s legs, and her fingers gently tickled her sex. Annabelle moaned and spread her legs a little.

“We still have naughty thoughts, I see,” Lydia said, slapping her lover’s pink backside sharply a dozen more times.

Annabelle squirmed over her lap in pleasure.

“Please, Lydia…”

“Please what?” her lover asked eagerly.

“Please fuck me. I’ll be good, I’ll show you how good I can be.”

Lydia helped Annabelle up so she stood in front of her. She sat on the edge of the bed looking up at her younger lover, as she stroked her hands over her thighs.

“Very well, darling. If you are ready to let me take charge…. I might be nice to you.” She pointed to the bed. “Get on the bed on all fours.”

*

After their break in the bedroom, Annabelle and Lydia made their way downstairs to meet Lucas for supper. When they entered the dining room of the inn, they looked around for him, but they could’t see him anywhere.

“Umh… excuse me, ma’am,” Lydia asked a waitress.

“The O’Neill family?”

“Yes.”

“Come right this way. We’ve arranged a private room for you,” the waitress said.

They followed the waitress through the dining hall. She waitress held a door open for them.

“Your mother is already waiting for you.”

“Our mother?”

To be continues…

 

Leda and Eylion – part 3

A/N: This story contains F/F discipline spanking of an adult person. It is completely fictional, it does not reflect real life. 

This is the third part of a three-part story. If you haven’t read the first two parts, or if you want to reread the whole story, links to those parts are below. I have properly edited them now.

Part 1

Part 2

Previously:

She placed the book on a desk, keeping it away from the bucket to make sure she didn’t accidentally burn it. She was responsible. She then threw paper into the bucket and stood a distance away from it, but making sure the bucket was at a lower level so that she could see into it. Seeing the target of a spell was always useful. She held up her hands, focusing her magic.

“Dreiki logi eða viðr logi,” she said, quite loud, thinking she had a better chance of making something happen if she used more power in her voice. What happened next was quite unexpected…

….

Huge flames shot from her hands and missed the bucket by a long shot. They hit the four-poster-bed which burst into flames, eating up the drapes and blackening the detailed wood-carved frame. The flames seemed even more vicious than what was normal, which probably made sense as they were magic flames. Eylion’s eyes widened, and she felt her stomach drop. Leda was going to kill her. This was a little more than a tiny magical accident; this was a disaster.

“No! No, no, no, no. Eh… what the hell do I do now?” She thought hard, feeling herself panicking.  “Focus, Eylion, you idiot.” She smacked her palm against her forehead, thinking. “Fire stop!” she yelled, holding up her hands towards the flames, which unsurprisingly did nothing. “Cease fire! Argh… crap, crap.”

She ran over to the spellbook and looked for the water page, but she couldn’t find it. She heard running outside in hallway just as the posts of the bed came crumbling down, the flames hungrily incinerating the expensive wood. She wondered how long a servant would have to work to afford such a luxurious bed; there was no saving that now. All she could do was to prevent the flames from spreading, destroying more of Leda’s valuable belongings. She flipped through the pages, frantically, trying to find a spell that would help her get rid of the fire. She heard another crackling sound from the flames, and she only had time to look up from the book when Leda came rushing through the door followed by Gwen and Aisling. The redhead raised one hand, palm open, and closed it, snuffing out the fire. It took her less than two seconds. When she turned to look at Eylion, the younger woman was still gaping in shock. The panicky feeling in her stomach that came when the spell went wrong hadn’t had time to leave her yet.

“I… eh…. fire,” she muttered, speechless, pointing at the incinerated pile of wood that was once a beautiful, hand-carved four-poster.

“Would you care to explain?” Leda asked, but her stern tone said that was wasn’t asking, she was demanding an explanation.

“I’m eh… you… you can put the bed on my tab,” was all Eylion managed to say. She felt really guilty having ruined Leda’s property.

“I don’t care about the bed,” Leda replied angrily.

“Are you sure? Because it looked kinda expensive,” Eylion pointed out.

Leda’s face was reddening, which, admittedly, scared Eylion. She was skating on very thin ice.

“I told you not to try the spells by yourself,” Leda scolded. “I warned you that it could be dangerous.”

Eylion frowned, knowing that Leda was right. She looked from Leda’s reddish face to the other two, who both looked at her with a disappointed look. She had been caught red-handed. She knew she had disobeyed, and there really wasn’t a good excuse.

“I’m sorry,” she muttered. “I didn’t mean to, ya know, burn the house down.”

“You could have hurt yourself.” Leda’s expression softened. “Fire magic is not something an untrained witch should experiment with alone.”

“But… the one with the fire symbol worked pretty well,” Eylion argued, looking up from her shoes, her blue eyes looking innocent. “I thought since I mastered that spell, the other one would work just as well, but then the flames were so big, and they completely missed my target.” She pointed to the metal bucket.

“What spell?” Leda asked, picking up the book, finding the chapter on fire.

“Here,” Eylion said, pointing to the one at the bottom of the page.

Looking at the page, Leda sighed. “Eylion, do you understand this language?”

Eylion shook her head. “No, ma’am.”

“So you used a spell without understanding the meaning of the words?”

Eylion was starting to feel stupid. “Uh-huh.”

“When trying to light a bucket of paper,” Leda said, trying to control her anger. “It might not be a good idea to summon dragon fire.”

“Dragon?” Eylion’s eyes widened.

“Also known as forest fire,” Leda continued. “That is what the spell says it is, which is probably why the spell was at the bottom of the last page about fire spells; because, it was the most powerful of them all.”

“It would seem,” said Gwen, “That the girl was lucky she only managed to set fire to the bed.”

“Indeed,” Leda agreed, still keeping her gaze on Eylion, her arms folded.

Aisling stepped forward. “Now, hold on.” She turned to Leda. “The girl might have acted foolishly, but she is a twenty-year-old witchling without any training. You were the one giving her a spellbook that teaches how to make dragon fire.”

“Yeah!” Eylion started. “She di…”

“Quiet,” Aisling cut her off. “Don’t think you’re out of the woods yet, young lady. You disobeyed and used a spell without even understanding the meaning behind the language. You have behaved very irresponsibly.” She turned once more to Leda. “You shouldn’t have left her alone with a spellbook. What do you think Andromeda would have said if she knew?”

Leda winced slightly. Her former mentor would have had something to say, alright, and most of that would have been said with Leda over her knee! Leda might be nearing one-hundred, but her former mentor would not hesitate to correct her if she saw the need. Witch-relationships were complicated that way; you could always count on your mentor to take you to task for things, even at Leda’s age. She would never, of course, admit that Andromeda still had that kind of authority in her life.

“You’re right, Aisling, of course, you are.” She closed the book and picked it up. She looked at Eylion and said, “You have betrayed my trust, Eylion. I’m not even sure what to do with you. You have lost your reading privileges, missy! I am taking this book, and you will not get to read any spellbooks for at least a week. You can spend your time learning about plants.” She walked over to the door and held it open. “Now kindly take your things and move them into the guest room down the hall, and try not to set the bed on fire.”

Shocked that her lecture was over, Eylion didn’t even think to argue. She had been convinced that she was finished in Leda’s house, that she would be kicked out. Without saying a word, she quickly picked up the few things she had and carried them down the hall to her new bedroom. This one was slightly smaller, and it didn’t have an en-suite bathroom, but who was she to complain, it was more than she had ever had in her entire life.

After she had placed all of her things on her new bed, she looked around to see Leda’s back. She had followed her into her new room but was now leaving her. She was probably going to the library to put away the book. Eylion wondered if she locked the library door when she wasn’t using it. Maybe she could sneak in at night. She felt slightly guilty for thinking of breaking her reading ban so soon, but even if she had made a mistake, she had never felt this powerful. She exited the room and joined Gwen and Aisling, who were both staring at Leda at the end of the long corridor. They also seemed a bit puzzled by her behaviour; maybe they thought Eylion should be kicked out.

“Umh… so… are we still going to the forest tomorrow?” she asked, her head down like a naughty puppy. She still felt bad about disobeying, and she felt embarrassed that she had made such a colossal mistake as using a spell without understanding what it meant first.

“Sure, hon,” Gwen said, surprising Eylion with the gentle kindness of her voice, “if Leda still wants to go.” Her gaze followed Leda. “I should follow her. Excuse me.” She hurried down the corridor, her brown curls bouncing off her back.

“You don’t really deserve to go,” Aisling told her, her arms still firmly folded as she gave Eylion a stern look.

“I know,” Eylion agreed, looking ashamed. “I honestly feel really bad,” she said truthfully. Her stomach still ached. It was probably the aftermath of the terrible shock as she thought she would be kicked out on her butt, and she also felt terrible guilt, remembering the disappointed look on Leda’s face when she said that she had betrayed her trust.

“You should.” Aisling pointed to the bedroom. “Now, go to your room and stay there for the rest of the evening. I will tell Leda to send you some food later this evening, but you will not leave, do you understand?”

“But… this room doesn’t have a bathroom.”

“You may use the bathroom, but otherwise you will stay in your room. You are on punishment.”

“But…” Eylion wanted to argue. She hardly knew Aisling, and this wasn’t even her house. Who was she to tell her she was being punished? But seeing the look on Aisling’s face, she said, “Yes, ma’am.”

She returned to her room with mixed feelings. She had thought Leda would kick out her, for sure. So far, she had been nothing but trouble, but Leda hadn’t told her to leave. Why? Maybe she was just too shocked right now, and maybe once she had calmed down, she would realise how much trouble Eylion was, and tell her to pack her stuff. Her recent behaviour, after she saved her from the fire, was odd. Why did she just leave all of a sudden, and why would Aisling, a person she only just met, and who didn’t even live with Leda, tell her that she was on punishment? She felt like arguing, not because she didn’t deserve a punishment, but because it shouldn’t come from Aisling. She had no connection to Aisling; it wasn’t Aisling that she had disobeyed. She knew, however, that if Leda wanted to punish her, she would have to take it. She owed her too much; she respected her too much. Leda was going to help her with her magic, and that could change her life. Once Leda had taught her the basics, then maybe, just maybe, someone might want to apprentice her. If she got lucky.

*

“What was all that about?”

Leda turned to see Gwen come into the library.

“What do you mean?”

“An irresponsible brat almost burned down your house, and all you do is tell her that she can’t read your books for a week? She has never had access to any books like that her entire life, she can wait.” Gwen raised a perfectly shaped eyebrow at her. “What has gotten into you? Why didn’t you give her a proper punishment?”

Aisling came into the room. She stood upright, folding her arms in front of her.

“I told the little urchin that she was to stay in her room for the rest of the day. Don’t forget to feed her,” she said, winking at Leda. “Also, what the heck? Why didn’t you wallop her behind?”

Leda rolled her eyes at them. “I have already told you, I am not apprenticing her. I don’t have that kind of authority over her. I don’t really know what kind of relationship we have, or what is appropriate.”

Aisling approached her friend, putting a supporting hand on her shoulder. “She is a young person living under your roof. She has to follow your rules, or there will be consequences.”

“I know that,” Leda said, “but I haven’t made up my mind about what those might be yet.”

“Spank her,” both of her friends said.

“She did something really dangerous,” Gwen pointed out. “And next time she might end up really injuring herself. I cannot believe that you of all people are hesitating on this. It’s like you are this whole new person. You are different now. Insecure. This girl has changed you.”

“I’m not insecure, I just want to do the right thing,” Leda argued.

“Most witchlings that age get spanked, we all sure did,” Aisling said. “Gwen definitely did! She still does!”

“Hey!” Gwen pouted, but she also smirked a little.

“I know it is common for mentors to spank their apprentice if they disobey. I would if she were my apprentice because there would be an understanding. She would have to accept my authority as her mentor and thereby accept my discipline.” She rubbed her temple. All of this gave her a headache. “I only meant that seeing as she is not my apprentice, I don’t feel like I have the authority to spank her.”

“I think you should apprentice her,” Gwen reassured her. “You know you want to. If you didn’t, why are you doing all of this?”

“Because, Gwendolyn, she doesn’t know how to control her magic. She doesn’t have anyone to teach her, and she can’t afford to pay for school.”

Gwen rolled her eyes. “Come on, Leda! You know you could pay that girl’s tuition and not notice a thing. It doesn’t have to be you who teach her. You would have saved so much time by just paying someone else to do it, but you chose not to. You have invited her into your house, you have bought her clothes and actually spent time with her, getting to know her. How can you have done all this, and not even considered the possibility that you could mentor her?”

“What about you, Leda?” Aisling said with a look of concern.

“What about me?”

“You’re lonely.”

“I am not lonely,” Leda argued, frowning.

“Yes, you are,” Gwen shot in. “Your lover left you…”

“Do not talk to me about that man. My life is richer without him; thank you very much.”

“Then, Andromeda moved away.”

“Well, she has a life of her own. She had things to do. I’m a hundred-years-old, Gwen. Andromeda cannot spend her life looking after me.”

“But she was the most important person in your life, and you miss her.”

“I do miss her,” Leda agreed, looking sad. “She’s my mentor; it is a special bond.”

“It is, but I can tell that the girl makes you happy.” Gwen put her hand on Leda’s shoulder, gently. “I mean… she’s not a lover…”

“Of course not! She is twenty-years-old!”

“Right. She is not a mentor, nor is she a lover; she is something new. A new experience for you. The next step, perhaps? You are fond of her, I can tell.”

Leda looked like she was about to say something, but she didn’t find the right words. “I… I have to think about this,” she said, looking at the two women, now smiling at her. “I’m confused.”

“Thinking is a good place to start,” Aisling said, patting her on the back.

“I think I’m going to go for a walk.” She looked up at the other two. “Can you… eh…”

“We will babysit the brat for you. We’ll keep her away from flammable objects and such.”

“Thanks,” Leda replied gratefully. “That girl is a danger to herself sometimes.”

*

Leda put on a black cloak and went outside for some fresh air. Being the heir to one of the more wealthy families in the village, Leda’s home was situated on a massive piece of land, with an idyllic, beautifully kept garden ready for her when she needed a walk and a think, and Leda needed to think. She decided to walk towards the goldfish pond, as she always kept some snacks in her pocket for them. The fish amused her as they bopped their heads up to get her treats, tickling her fingers. As she reached the pond, she sat down, pulling out a box from her pocket.

Gwen was right, she thought, as she opened the lid of her little container of fish food, and drizzled in over the water where the hungry wish were waiting. She was absolutely right in that Leda could have just paid someone else to help Eylion. If it was all about education, then Leda could have her on her way to the academy right now. Even if they usually didn’t just take people in mid-term, Leda could pull some strings and make it happen. There were plenty of people who owed her favours. But she had chosen to help Eylion herself, she had taken her into her house, and she had spent time with her. Why?

“Well, I suppose I enjoy her company a little,” Leda thought to herself. “The girl is trouble, that is for sure, but I feel more excited now. It feels nice having a purpose.” She took in a deep breath, thinking hard. “The girl is strong too. She is not lazy; she is eager to learn, and she never gives up. She will fight for what she wants.” She smiled, thinking of the determined look on Eylion’s face as she took on the more experienced witchlings. She had no chance of winning that fight, but she was not going down without one. And the passion in her eyes when she asked if she could read her spellbooks, the girl truly wanted to learn. Leda knew she would do anything to make sure that Eylion had a fair chance at becoming a sorceress, just like the other girls. Life had not been fair to her, and she deserved a chance.

“Mistress Clagarian?”

Leda turned and saw a blonde woman approach her. She looked familiar. Leda knew who she was, but she especially took notice of her blue eyes. She had seen eyes like hers before.

“You’re from the Oswald family.” It was a statement, not a question.

“I’m Marietta Gresham,” the woman replied, “but yes, I was born into the Oswald family.” She smiled weakly, but she also blushed slightly. “I… I came because I heard rumours that my cousin was involved in something the other day. Clarissa?”

Leda raised an eyebrow. “If you consider seriously injuring another witch, knowing she wasn’t able to retaliate, as being ‘involved’? Then yes, she was.”

“Yes, well… Clarissa claimed she was attacked, but I know that was not the case.”

“You do?”

“Yes, I do,” Marietta replied. “I know that Eylion, the other girl that is, she… her magic is not very well developed.”

“And how do you know this?” Leda inquired, suspicious of this woman. Why would Clarissa Oswald’s cousin come to speak to her about this incident, knowing it was not Eylion’s fault?

Marietta looked down on the ground. She seemed almost ashamed. “I just know, that’s all. I came to see if there was anything I could do for her. I know her father is missing. She probably needs money, and…”

“Why do you want to give Eylion money?” Leda asked sceptically, but she noticed tears forming in Marietta’s eyes. Suddenly understanding hit her. This person knew Eylion’s name, she knew about her powers, she seemed concerned for her, and she wanted to give her money. “Are you… you’re not her…” she tried to form the question, and Marietta’s fearful eyes gave her away.

“Are you her mother?”

“No!” Marietta shook her head. “It’s not me, I swear.”

“But you know who her mother is? Is she alive?”

Marietta nodded sadly. Leda noticed a symbol embroidered into her cloak; it was a rose. It looked just like Eylion’s brooch.

“Eylion has a brooch that looks just like the rose on your cloak. It belonged to her mother.”

“It… it was my sister’s brooch. I’m… I’m her aunt.” Tears ran down her cheek. “But she cannot know, I don’t want her to know.” She wiped her face with her sleeve. “Please,” she pleaded. “She is far better off not knowing.”

“Not knowing her mother is alive and that her family doesn’t care?”

“I feel terrible for what my family did. My sister was finishing her apprenticeship, and she was engaged to her husband, the pregnancy would have ruined everything. Only a handful of people within our family even knew they didn’t even tell me, but I eavesdropped. I was only sixteen at the time, and I couldn’t really stop them from doing it.” She looked at Leda with pleading eyes. “Once in a while I would go to the Shambles, in disguise, and I gave her father money. I made sure she had enough.”

“He spent most of it on alcohol,” Leda retorted.

Marietta nodded. “I know, but I always made sure to buy food, and I hoped he would save some of it to buy her something.”

“And now what? Have your family decided to take her back?” Leda hated the idea. It would devastate the poor girl to know that she was born to a woman of the Oswald family and that everything that Clarissa had was also rightfully hers.

“No, I don’t think they would do that. Even if the story came out, they would deny it. I’m here because I want to ask you well… I know you said you wouldn’t apprentice anyone from our family, I understand, but please consider helping Eylion. I just want to do right by her in some way. I have the money. I can make it worth it. Just name your price, I’ll pay.”

“I don’t need money,” Leda said coldly. She had mixed feelings. On the one hand, she understood that this woman could do little when she was sixteen, and she knew that the help she had given Eylion all her life was more than any other person in her family had given her, but she was also disgusted with the information she had just been given. A mother giving up her baby like that, for what? A family reputation? If she regretted her actions, it was still she who made a mistake, not Eylion. It would seem that Eylion was being blamed and punished for her own birth. Thinking of Eylion, it made her sick to her stomach to think that her mother didn’t even want to know her.

“I will apprentice her,” Leda said, making the woman look up, eyes full of tears. “But I’m doing it because I genuinely care about Eylion, and I want her to succeed in life.  I do not need money, nor do I want it. If you want to help Eylion, you will set aside money for her in a trust that she can access when she is done with her apprenticeship.” She got up, and feeling sorry for the Marietta she gently wiped some of her tears away with her thumb. “I’ll teach her everything she needs to know, and I will provide for her until she has finished her apprenticeship.”

“Thank you!” Marietta let out a sigh of relief. “I cannot explain how much this means to me. I have lived with this incredible guilt since I was sixteen.”

“But you did not help her once you were old enough,” Leda pointed out.

“No, I… I guess I’m no better than the rest of my family,” said sadly. “I’m a coward too. I know that.”

“You did something, which is more than what can be said for her mother,” Leda said, comforting the younger woman. “Will you set aside money for her future?”

Marietta nodded. “My husband has many contacts at the bank; he can arrange a trust for her tomorrow. If you agree to apprentice her, she’ll have a large sum waiting for her by the time she is done with her apprenticeship.”

“It is a very big secret that you have shared with me,” Leda said, worried. ” A mentor shouldn’t really keep something as big as this from her apprentice.”

“But think about the damage it will do to her? She is much better off not knowing. She has her mother’s brooch, I stole it and gave it to her when she was just a toddler, and she can look at that and think that her mother loved her. Isn’t that much better than to be told that her mother is alive and has never tried to see her? My sister is married; she has other children, she has never been anywhere near the Shambles since her little rebellious streak when she got pregnant. She never talks about her, and she has never tried to contact her in any way.”

“I’m not my sister, but I’m not…” she started crying again. “I didn’t do much for her either. I’m not brave enough. If I were, I would have tried to find a way to be in her life and look after her. When I was a teenager, I would sometimes disguise myself and walk through the Shambles. I’d see her with her father or the old woman next-door, and when she got a bit older, she would play with the other children in the street. But when I was around twenty, and I was about to become an apprentice, I was seen. My family thought it was just a one-time thing and told me never to do it again. They said that if people found me in that part of town, it could ruin my opportunities. So I stopped. Her father would meet me somewhere else to pick up the money I had for him.”

“I will keep the secret, for now. I cannot know what the future will bring, you understand? I agree with you that Eylion would be devastated knowing her origins, and she had come to terms with her mother’s death, but if there comes a time where she questions the story she has been told, I cannot promise that I will not tell her the truth. These kinds of secrets are hard to hide, surely your family knows this? The truth usually finds the light of day, some way or another.”

“I understand,” Marietta agreed. “But right now, she is worried for her father, not her mother. And if she has already accepted that she will never have a mother, perhaps it is better to leave it.” She frowned. “Please don’t think that I am trying to protect my sister. I’m not. I just really do not think that the truth will make Eylion happy. There are people in my family who would do anything to keep it a secret. They would deny it, maybe even try to ruin Eylion’s reputation, which will make life hard for her. Eylion would not be happy knowing she is related to them. Trust me on this.”

“I do,” Leda replied, and she meant it.

*

Determined to tell Eylion as soon as possible, Leda went inside. She went in the kitchen door where she came from, but when she entered the kitchen, it was empty. Feeling like something was off, she made her way up the old servant stairs to the upper floors.

“Gwen? Aisling? Where are you?”

By intuition, she made her way towards the room Eylion was supposed to be staying in. It was empty. It made her feel uneasy. Where was the girl? She went back into the corridor and saw Gwen hurrying towards her.

“I can’t find her,” they both said at the same time.

“What do you mean you can’t find her,” Leda asked. “You were supposed to look after her.”

“Yes, and we went to her room to check on her, but she was gone. Aisling went to check the library.”

“She’s not in the library,” Leda said, shaking her head. “I put extra protection on that room to keep her out. She wouldn’t even be able to get through the door.” She bit her lip nervously, something she rarely did. “Do you think she ran away? Maybe she didn’t want to stay here.”  It broke Leda’s heart even to think the thought. Was this it? Would she never see her again?

“Don’t be silly. She was happy staying here. She asked if we could go to the forest as planned,” Gwen said, comforting.

“She is not in the house,” Leda said, reaching into the wards with her hands. “I can’t sense her magical energy in the house.”

“Do you use your wards to spy on your guests,” Gwen asked, suspiciously.

“No, I most certainly do not,” Leda said, offended that Gwen would even ask such a thing. “But it is a big house with a lot of valuables, as the mistress of the house, I need to be in control of who is here. I have had intruders before. Anyway, that is not important, what if Eylion really has run away? She will never know that I wanted to mentor her.”

“You want to mentor her?”

“Yes! Of course, I do.”

“But you said…”

“Never mind what I said, Gwen. I say a lot of things. We need to find Eylion.”

She took a moment to think. Where could Eylion be? She couldn’t have gotten far, but she was probably not right outside.

“Brooms!” She exclaimed. “We need brooms. Eylion can’t fly yet.”

“She could have taken a broom.”

“I will kill her if that is true,” Leda threatened. “No, she wouldn’t be that stupid, surely. But we’ll be able to find her easily from the air.”

Gwen and Leda ran downstairs to the entrance hall where Leda had a cupboard where guests could put their broomstick when they came to visit. They both grabbed their broom and ran out of the house, not sure where Aisling was. No sooner were they outside, they kicked off the ground and gained height. They soared a hundred feet up in the air when Gwen shouted:

“There! I see her. She is with three others.”

Leda looked in the direction Gwen was pointing, and sure enough, that was Eylion, facing Clarissa and her gang.

“No, not again,” she muttered, knowing Eylion must have looked for them to get back at them. “Come on. We must stop them before they kill each other.”

From the air, they could see as the spells started firing. Clarissa cast some ugly hexes that Eylion managed to duck, but Leda knew that she would never win this fight if she did not intervene.

“Is that Aisling?” She called to Gwen as she saw a woman running on the ground below them.

“Yeah, it is.” She answered back. “She must have gone out to look for her on foot, but she’ll never make it there in time to stop them from doing real damage.”

They flew as fast as the brooms would take them towards the group of girls, and Leda winced several times as she saw some really bad curses being cast towards her future apprentice. Then a spell hit her, and she fell to the ground.

“STOP!” Leda roared as she came close enough for them to hear her. This distracted Clarissa and her gang, because they stopped hurling hexes just long enough for Eylion to get up from the ground, run towards Clarissa and deliver her a solid knuckle sandwich.

“My nose!” Clarissa cried, holding her nose, blood coming out.

“Oh my,” Gwen said, shocked, just as Aisling joined them, panting.

“You’re welcome!” Eylion said, smirking mischievously. “It looks much better now.”

“You!” Clarissa raged. She readied another curse, a pretty bad one, but Leda cast a protective shield between them, and Clarissa’s curse fizzled out into nothingness.

“Enough!” She glared at all four of the girls. “This has got to stop. You are going against the code. Witches never use magic against other witches unless it is to protect themselves or others from harm.”

“She started it,” Clarissa argued, holding her hand over a bleeding nose. “That little runt. She came to find us; she wanted the fight.”

“You had it coming, you filthy cow!” Eylion yelled, not even denying she was the instigator. Her rage was real, and her magic caused sparks around her. “If you think that I will let you get away with… Hey!” She was interrupted by Aisling lifting her off her feet and hauled her over her shoulder.

“Let me go! Aisling!”

Aisling gave Eylion’s bottom a solid SMACK. “Enough, brat. Not another word.” She looked at Leda. “I should remove this one from the situation, Leda.”

“Just a minute, Aisling, we’ll all go. I don’t intend to be here long.”

“My family will hear about this!” Clarissa said, angrily. “They will want to take action.”

“Fine,” Leda said, crossly. “Then tell them to contact me when they want to chat.”

“You? Why would they contact you.”

“If they have a problem with my apprentice, they can talk to my lawyer and me. They know where to find me.” She turned around and started walking. Then she stopped. “Oh, and one more thing, Miss Oswald, keep in mind that I know which curses and hexes you cast at my apprentice. I am sure those will be considered a lot worse than a punch to the nose, wouldn’t you agree?”

Then, Leda, Gwen and Aisling walked back, with Eylion hanging very limp and unusually silent over Aisling’s shoulder, not saying a word.

*

When they got back, they all stopped outside the front door of Leda’s house. Eylion was still silent when Aisling placed her down on the ground. Had she heard Leda right? What did she mean “her apprentice”? Her bottom still stung a bit from the slap Aisling had given her. Her palm was hard! She looked up at the three taller witches all looking at her with serious expressions, and for the first time, Eylion truly felt like she was in a lot of trouble.

“Get inside,” Leda said with a steely glare.

Eylion did not argue; she just nodded and hurried inside. The three older witches followed her. When they came into the sitting room, Leda pointed at a chair.

“Sit.”

Eylion sat down. She still had not uttered a word. She felt confused, a little excited, and like she was in a world of trouble.

“Well, Eylion, are you happy?” Leda said as they had all taken their seats. “You have now physically injured a witch belonging to one of the most powerful families in the village.”

Eylion lowered her gaze to the floor.

“Answer me.”

“Would you like an honest reply?” Eylion muttered.

“Yes, please.”

“Well… ” Eylion took a deep breath. “Honestly… I feel really happy about giving her a good knuckle sandwich. She needed that.”

There was a loud snort, as Gwen tried and failed to conceal a laugh.

“Gwen!” Leda, admonished. “Do not encourage the girl!”

“Sorry,” Gwen giggled, holding her hands over her mouth.

Eylion smirked a little.

“Do you think this is funny, young lady?” Leda asked, seriously. “What will you do if her family comes after you?”

“But… will they? I mean you lied for me and said you were my mentor, right? So… they wouldn’t dare, would they? If they think I have your protection?”

“You think I lied?” Leda asked, her voice sounding softer.

“Well… yeah… I guess.” Eylion suddenly felt emotional, and she wanted to run out of the room, she wanted to hide. “You know what they say about me. I’m bad news, that’s what they say. They say my father is a drunk, and I’m just a lot of trouble. You’d be crazy to apprentice me.”

“Well, you are wrong, young lady, because I’m going to apprentice you,” Leda said, seriously. It sounded almost commanding and out of place. Eylion’s raised her eyes to meet with Leda’s.

“What?”

“You heard me. I will be your mentor, and you will be my apprentice. You will stay here, and I will teach you everything you need to know about magic.”

“But… the work?”

“Oh, come on, Eylion. I was never going to make you repay me for buying you clothes.” At this, Leda actually rolled her eyes, and before she could stop herself, she was sharing her feelings with the younger woman, and her friends. Feelings that she had bottled up inside, and they needed to come out.  “I was never going to make you pay me back for the rent either. I told myself I just wanted you to stay so could teach you to control your powers, and I do, but the truth is that I’ve been feeling lonely and I like having you around.” She stopped to take in a slow breath. “I thought… well… I thought I would never apprentice anyone, I had convinced myself I would never want that, and then you came along, and you changed my mind. You have made a difference in my life, and showed me something I was missing. I just needed time to process how I was feeling, and… well… I am done processing now. I have come to my senses. So there.”

Gwen chuckled. “You are so predictable.”  Aisling, who always seemed like such a tough person, wiped a tear from the corner of her eye.

Eylion couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

“So… so… I’m going to be an apprentice?”

“Yes,” Leda said, smiling at her.

“For real? I can be a real sorceress?”

“The best in the village. After me, of course.” Then she thought for a moment. She had always assumed that the mentor chose the apprentice, but Eylion had never asked her for an apprenticeship, and she was a free person. She did not have to accept.  “If that is what you want. Do you?”

“Are you begging?” Eylion wiggled her eyebrows, suddenly a lot more cheerful.

“Don’t push.”

“Of course I want to be your apprentice! I would be an idiot not to.”

“So…” Aisling interrupted, “I’m guessing then that you will have no qualms about discipline in the future?”

“Oh no, not at all,” Leda said, turning to Eylion. “If you accept this apprenticeship, that means submitting to my authority. You will follow my rules, and you will obey me or suffer the consequences.” She folded her arms.

“Fine,” Eylion sighed, knowing what was coming next.

“Good,” Leda smiled. “Now, brat, you can get ready for bed.”

“What? But it’s not late,” Eylion protested.

“It is if you have been a naughty, misbehaving witchling. Go get ready, I will be up in a bit, and then we will deal with your misbehaviour before bed.”

“But… but… what do you mean?”

“You disobeyed me.”

“Yes, but…”

“Not once, but three times….”

“What do you mean three times? I only tried the spells, and yeah, okay… I suppose sneaking out and punching Clarissa in the face was wrong, but that was it. Two things.”

Leda gave her a look of pity. “Young lady, do you seriously think that I do not have sensory charms protecting my library? You tried to sneak out some of my spellbooks when I was out for a walk after you almost burned down my house by trying to do magic on your own, I might add.”

“Oh… ” Eylion winced. “Uh oh.”

“Yes, uh oh, indeed.” Leda pointed to the door. “Now you get your butt upstairs, get ready for bed, and I’ll be up in a minute to deal with you.”

“But… when you say deal with me, what… ehm… what do you…”

“It means I’m going to spank you.”

“What? No, it doesn’t.”

“Your disobedience put you in danger, and now I’m going to put you across my knee.”

“You cannot be serious. You can’t spank me.”

“I am dead serious, girl.”

“But I have never been spanked before.”

“It’s about time,” Gwen mumbled, across the room, and Aisling snorted.

“Young lady, this is the witch way. Disobedient witchlings get spanked, so you better get used to it. Get upstairs and get ready.”

Eylion looked like she was about to argue.

“Now.” Leda gave her “the look”, it was a look she had stolen from her mentor and practised in case she needed it herself one day. It was the look that told the receiver they were in big trouble. It was the look she, herself, had been on the receiving end of many times, and usually right before she was about to get her bottom soundly spanked.

Eylion swallowed nervously. “Okay… I’m going. I’m going.” She hurried out of the room and could be heard as she ran up the stairs.

Leda turned to her friends, who both looked at her with approval.

“I’m proud of you,” said Aisling.

“I knew you would finally come around,” Gwen said, grinning. “I never understood your reluctance to apprentice someone.”

“You would if you had had my experiences with a bratty witchling,” Leda said, narrowing her eyes at Gwen.

“Are you talking about me?”

“Yes,” Leda said dryly.

“Leda, how many times do I have to apologise? I am sorry I turned you into a donkey. It was over seventy years ago. When are you going to let that one go?”

“Never.”

“What made you change your mind?” Aisling asked.

“Well… I just met someone, and we had a talk.” Leda didn’t really feel like sharing the information of Eylion’s parentage just now. She might share it with her friends in the future, but right now, it was fresh, and she wasn’t sure what to do with this new information. “Besides, I don’t think I needed to “change my mind”, I probably would have ended up apprenticing her anyway, I just needed to gather my thoughts.” She chewed her lip pensively. “I know this is the right thing for me. For us.”

“She will be a handful though,” muttered Gwen.

“Urgh… don’t remind me.” Leda dramatically held her hand against her forehead. “But I suppose she won’t be as difficult as you were that age, so I think I can manage.”

*

As Leda walked down the corridor towards the room Eylion was staying in she knew what she had to do. She was ready to be strict and firm as she delivered the punishment, and she was ready to take the younger woman into her arms and comfort her when it was all over. That was, after all, what Andromeda used to do whenever she had been punished; though Leda thought smugly, she, herself, would never have cast dragon fire by accident. Andromeda probably would have killed her. And she shuddered to think what Andromeda would have done if she had punched another witchling on the nose. She wondered what would happen if Eylion and Andromeda met. It would probably happen one day, but for now, Andromeda was far away, and there was no use worrying over something that could be years away. She would have to deal with it when it happened.

When she entered the room, she saw that Eylion had already gotten into bed, pretending to be asleep.

“Get up. I know you’re awake.”

“Oh, but I’m so comfy here,” Eylion sighed.

“Well, you are not going to be “comfy” over my knee, that is for sure.” Leda pulled the comforter off Eylion and found the brat in her pyjamas. She grabbed her upper arm and pulled her out of bed. Then she sat down on the edge of the bed, and she was about to pull Eylion over her lap when the younger woman winced in pain. Leda let go of her immediately.

“Are you okay? What was that?”

“My side hurts a lot from one of Clarissa’s spells. Can you please heal it before you make me hurt again?”

“I… of course, why didn’t you say anything?” Leda pulled her gently closer and pulled up her pyjama top. “And I’m giving you a spanking; I’m not going to injure you, just so you know.”

“I know, I’m just playing. Owwww!” She winced again as Leda felt her rib with her fingers.

“That is a fractured rib. Again. I just healed you from a similar injury. That Clarissa likes to break bones, doesn’t she?” She placed her hand over Eylion’s side and muttered a spell, numbing the area. “And I bet that trip over Aisling’s shoulder hurt too.”

“Yeah, it did, but I was quickly distracted when she slapped my butt! Hard.” Eylion pouted.

“She did? I didn’t see that” Leda commented, smirking a bit. “Bet that stung, didn’t it, missy? I happen to know she has a solid palm.”

“I think I have a red mark!”

“Well, we’ll soon find out if you do,” Leda said, casting the healing charm to fix the younger woman’s rib. “There we go, that should take care of that. Does it feel better? Do you have any other injuries?”

“My bottom stings a bit…” Eylion said pouting.

“Well, it’s going to sting even more. Tonight you are going to bed with a red and sore bottom,” Leda said, lifting Eylion’s chin with her index finger, so she looked directly into the brat’s blue eyes.

“But… what if I say that I am really, really sorry?” Eylion asked, giving Leda an innocent look.

“You will be really, really sorry,” Leda said, raising her eyebrow. “You can’t just say sorry to get out of punishment.”

“But I’m new to all of this. I’m not used to all these rules. Maybe we can start again, and then I’ll be better.”

“You will take your punishment, you will learn your lesson, and then we can start again, and yes, you will do better.”

“Come here,” she said, pulling the younger woman into her arms into a hug. She held her tight and let Eylion relax, leaning into her shoulder. “I care about you. You know that, right?”

“Do I?”

“Yes, you do. You are important to me. I never thought I would ask someone to be my apprentice, but I chose you. That is not something I would do lightly; it means something. It means that you are special to me.” She rubbed the younger woman’s back lightly. “And know that I’m not going to cuddle you like this every time you get in trouble, brat. You’ll find that the hugs usually comes after a punishment, but I realise that this is a first for you, and you are worried that I won’t like you when you misbehave.”

“Uh-huh.” Eylion nodded.

“I will not like the misbehaviour, but that doesn’t mean that I do not like you. Every mentor knows that witchlings mess up from time to time; it is just what they do. Taking on an apprentice witchling, teaching her, it takes a commitment. Part of my commitment to you is discipline.”

“I’m okay if you want to overlook that part,” Eylion mumbled into Leda’s shoulder, still hugging her.

“Most witchlings are,” Leda chuckled. “But unfortunately there must be consequences for bad behaviour. Magic is dangerous, very dangerous. I will teach you dangerous things, but I cannot do that if I do not have control over you. I am responsible for you and for what you do with what I teach you. A lot of young witches complain that they have more rules and restrictions than others, that we mentors are harder on them, but they do not realise the dangers of witches out of control.”

Leda pushed Eylion gently back up so they had eye contact.

“I am the mentor, you answer to me, do you understand?”

“Yes,” Eylion nodded.

“What you did today, practising unknown magic alone, using a spell you didn’t understand, it was extremely dangerous. You could have really hurt yourself, and we were lucky it was only the bed.”

“It was a really expensive bed,” muttered Eylion.

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Yes, it does,” Eylion said, looking sad.

“Not to me, I won’t notice the expense.”

“But that bed probably costs more than…”

“Look at me,” Leda said, forcing Eylion to look deep into her eyes. “It doesn’t matter. You are much more valuable than any four-poster-bed. Much more valuable. And, to be honest, you’ll probably destroy more things while practising magic, but it’s just things, things can be replaced. I cannot replace you if you accidentally kill yourself by using magic in an unsafe way.”

Eylion nodded.

“So… can you please tell me why you are getting punished?”

“But we just…”

“We discussed one thing, yes, but let’s make a list. How many things have you done today that is cause for discipline?”

“Well… the fire spell and destruction of your property, that is one thing, I guess.”

“Correct.”

“And sneaking out of the house to deliver Clarissa a knuckle sandwich. That makes two.”

“And?”

“And what???”

“The library?”

“Oh, yeah… alright.” Eylion put her hands in her pyjama pockets and shrugged with her shoulders. “I might have tried to break into your library once you told me I wasn’t allowed to read any spellbooks for a week.”

“So that is three? Anything else I should know about?”

Eylion looked at Leda with glazed eyes.

“Come on… tell me.”

“Umh… last night… I snuck into the kitchen and stole food to store in my room. I’m sorry.”

“What? Why?” Leda frowned at this last piece of information.

“Cuz… there was so much of it, and sometimes I don’t have any. I just… I like to know I have some around, but… I shouldn’t have… well… ya know… stolen it.”

“Honey, you can take food from the kitchen whenever you want. It’s not stealing if you live here. A girl has got to eat.” Leda got up and put her arms around Eylion. “You don’t have to worry about food ever again, okay? You will never have to go hungry. I promise to feed you. Okay?”

“Okay. I’m sorry I was sneaky about it. I should have just said something.”

” Don’t be sorry about that. I understand. But if you need to store some in your room, at least tell me so I can put a spell on it, so it keeps fresh.”

Leda made a mental note to never even threaten to send Eylion off to bed without supper. She would never have actually used that as an actual punishment,  but sometimes people would make jokes about this. There had been times where Andromeda, jokingly, had said “Watch it, my girl, or I will make you go to bed without supper!” but she never meant it, and for a wealthy girl like Leda, it was never a threat. But for a girl like Eylion, who had experienced having to go hungry because there wasn’t any money for food, it was not a funny joke.

“Okay, I think we better just get on with it, hmmm?” She gently guided Eylion around to her right side and instructed her to get over her lap. The brat did as she was told without making a fuss. Seeing the brat lying there over her lap, bottom in the air, tore a little at Leda’s heartstrings. She knew discipline was important, but after hearing that Eylion had hidden food because she was afraid of starving, just made her want to hold her close and cuddle her. But nobody ever said delivering a spanking was easy for the mentor. With her left hand securely on Eylion’s waist and her left hand resting on her bottom, Leda said,

“Are you ready?”

“Umh… ya, I think so,” Eylion said, sounding a little nervous. “I just want this over with.”

“I will spank you on top of your pyjama bottoms first, but then I will pull them down and spank you on your bare bottom.”

“Must you? That’s embarrassing! And I am already embarrassed as it is.”

“You don’t have anything I haven’t seen before,” Leda reminded her. “And yes, I must. A proper spanking is given on a bare bottom. Embarrassment is part of the punishment, I’m afraid.” She patted the girl lightly on the bottom with her hand. “I also think you have earned some swats with a paddle, missy.”

“I’m not going to survive this, am I?” Eylion sighed.

“Oh, hush. I would never give you a punishment you couldn’t handle. This is meant as a correction; I’m not going to damage you.” She rubbed Eylion’s bottom with her hand. “Right then, my girl, I think it’s time we deal with you.”

And with that, she raised her arm and brought it down, swatting the younger woman’s backside. She started somewhat slow and not too hard, making sure that Eylion could feel it, but that she didn’t overwhelm her with pain from the very start. She intended to give the girl a proper lesson, but she would need to give her a warm-up. She slapped Eylion’s bottom, changing between right and left buttock. She gradually increased the force, feeling the younger woman squirmed a little over her lap. So far, she took her spanking well, but she knew there would be more squirming and protests once she bared her bottom.

She had some experience spanking people. She had spanked Gwen a couple of times. And she had some experience spanking her lovers in the past, but that was not for discipline. Not real discipline anyway. She once had a female lover who wanted to role play discipline, but that was different. She didn’t feel upset about spanking a lover, because they wanted that. With Eylion, it was different. Leda had to teach her discipline, so she didn’t use magic to cause havoc. Witches and wizard had immense power compared to the mortals around them. It was only too easy for a person to cause serious damage to others, or even to themselves. But Leda had been on the receiving end of discipline too! She had plenty of experience being spanked by Andromeda over the years. She had never been as naughty as Gwen, but that did not mean Andromeda never had to take her in hand. And whereas Gwen got minor punishments more often, when Leda messed up, she usually had done something to really displease her mentor. Andromeda had been a strict mentor, she was firm, but she could also be very loving.

After having given the girl a proper warm-up, Leda stopped. She put her thumbs in the waistline of her pyjama bottoms and tugged.

“No…” Eylion protested, bringing her hand back to stop her.

Leda grabbed her hand. “Stop. We talked about this. A proper spanking is given on a bare bottom, so you might as well get used to it.” She pushed the brat’s hand away and continued to tug down her pyjama bottoms to her knees. She could see pink skin under her white cotton panties before she lowered them too. She allowed the brat a little break and rubbed her hand over her bottom. It was only slightly pink, but she would make sure the colour was a lot darker before she was finished. She also rubbed the brats back for a while. She might be coddling her too much, but this was her first spanking, and Leda didn’t want to scare the girl.

When she could feel that the brat was calm again, she slowly started spanking her on her bare bottom. Her spanks her a little sharper now. Eylion yelped at the first one. It caught her by surprise.

“Ow. That hurt.” And then at another one. “Oh!”

Leda continued delivering stinging swats to the brats backside. “Nobody said punishment was a walk in the park. And you have earned this spanking!”

Her hand rained down swats to the young woman’s bottom with more force and speed now, and Eylion was finding it harder to lie still. Leda gripped more tightly around her waist as she held her tight and used her right hand to slap her reddening bottom.

“Oww! I’m sorry, I’ll be good,” the brat pleaded. “It stings!”

“It–is–supposed–to–sting,” Leda said, following each word with a sharp SMACK. She peppered the younger women’s entire backside, giving extra attention to the place where the bottom meets the thigh. It would sting when she sat down.

Then Leda stopped, and she rubbed the poor girl’s bottom softly. And again, rubbing her back, allowing her to calm down.

“I’m going to let you up now,” she said gently. “But… I still think you deserve some swats with a paddle. To really bring the message home.”

“Nooo… please. I have learnt my lesson!” Eylion whined as Leda helped her up.

Eylion stood before her, rubbing her backside furiously while Leda still sat on the bed. The brat had completely forgotten about how embarrassed she was about being naked from the waist down because she seemed not to notice her pyjama bottoms and panties had fallen off and were lying on the floor.

“Come here,” Leda said, grabbing Eylion’s arm and gently guiding her towards a corner in the room. “You will stand here, facing the corner while I go get something. Do not move, understood?”

Eylion opened her mouth to speak, pointing to the lower part of her pyjamas lying on the floor.

“You will not need those right now,” Leda said sternly. “Get in the corner, place your hands behind your back, and do not move until I say you can come out.” She gave Eylion a look that said she better not disobey.

The brat nodded and allowed herself to be guided into the corner.

Leda left her there, and once in the hallway, she looked back inside to make sure the brat stayed put. The girl stood obediently facing the corner, her red, spanked bottom on display.

Leda made her way back to Eylion’s first bedroom, where the remains of the four-poster-bed lay on the floor. Looking through the remains of what had been a really expensive bed (but she would never tell Eylion its cost), she managed to find a piece of wood that wasn’t completely burnt. She held the dark wood in front of her and levitated it, so it floated in the air in front of her. Then she used her magic to cut the wood in the shake of a paddle. She shaped the handle, so it perfectly fit her hand, and the board of the paddle was long enough to cover Eylion’s entire backside. The paddle was not very thick, but it was solid. The bed Eylion and ruined was good quality wood. She knew she was creating a very stingy implement that she would have to use carefully, and she would not use this paddle all the time. However, there was something symbolic about creating an implement of discipline out of the debris of Eylion’s mistake.

After using her magic to polish the wood smooth, she tested it on her thigh. It carried a sting, alright. She would have to be careful with this, but she had to admit, she did a good job. She brought the paddle with her back to the room where Eylion stood waiting for her. She was pleased to find a red backside facing her when she came back into the room. The brat had obeyed.

“Eylion,” she said, approaching the younger woman.

Eylion turned around to see the paddle.

“That?! You are going to hit me with that????”  She gaped in shock, and her hand instinctively covered her backside. “Where did you even get such a thing?”

“I just made it,” Leda said, examining her craftsmanship proudly. “I made it from some of the undamaged wood of the bed you burnt.”

“So… you made a paddle from the bed I ruined? And now you plan to spank me with it?”

“Yep.”

“This is a very odd punishment.” Eylion pouted.

“Eylion,” Leda said, looking seriously at the girl. “Do you trust me?”

“What?”

“Do you feel safe with me?”

Eylion though for a while.

“Well… yeah.”

“Do you think that I would harm you.”

“You spanked me, and you want to spank me with that paddle.”

“Yes, but you didn’t answer the question. Do you think that I would harm you? Do you feel like I have harmed you by disciplining you?”

“No… I mean… my backside hurts.”

“I bet it does. But do you feel unsafe?”

Eylion shook her head. “I feel very safe with you. I don’t think you will harm me.”

“Good… now that we have that settled.” Leda put the paddle down on the bed. “Look… any implement in the wrong hands can do a lot of damage. Yes, this paddle can harm someone. So can a hairbrush, or a belt. I could harm someone with my hand. And I especially could harm someone with my magic. The question is: Would I do that to you?”

Eylion shook her head. “No… no, you wouldn’t.”

“This paddle can deliver a sting, but it will not be used excessively, you have my word. It is meant for discipline, responsible discipline. It will not be used all the time, and when I do use it, I will not use it in any way that will harm you.” She gently brushed some of Eylion’s hair behind her ear. “Tonight you will receive six swats with this paddle, and then your punishment will be over.”

“Okay.”

“And in the future… you will never attack someone with your magic. Do you hear me?”

“But…”

“You can protect yourself or others, but you will never use your magic to attack another person first.”

“Yeah… okay…”

“And that goes for hitting someone as well!” Leda said sternly. “No punching people in the face. No apprentice of mine will shame herself or me by being the instigator of violence!”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Good.” Leda grabbed the paddle. “Then you, my dear, can bend over the bed. Your punishment is almost over. I will give you six swats with this paddle. They will hurt, but you have my word that I will never use it in malice.”

Putting her hand gently on the small of Eylion’s back, Leda gently guided her towards the bed and had her bend over.

Leda placed herself on the left side of Eylion, placing her hand on the small of her back. She held the paddle up, touching Eylion’s bottom lightly with it. The brat winced as she felt the cold wood against her already stinging backside. Then Leda lifted her arm.

SMACK! The first blow landed firmly, and Eylion winced. It hurt, but Leda had been careful not to use too much force.

SMACK!

“Ow! Owwie.” Eylion moved her legs, trying to shake out the sting in her bottom.

SMACK!

“Owww….”

“Only three more to go now,” Leda said taking a break. She inspected Eylion’s bottom for bruises, gently rubbing her hand over the red skin. “Good girl. Almost done.”

She picked up the paddle and delivered the last three swats. SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! After each swat, Eylion winced and let out a little squeal. After it was over, Leda threw the paddle on the bed and took Eylion into her arms. “Good girl, it’s all over now.”  There were a few tears running down the girl’s face, but from Leda’s own experience that was often because a punishment spanking could be an emotional experience. It wasn’t always the pain that caused the tears.

Leda brought back the covers on Eylion’s bed, and they both got in. Leda holding Eylion close, cuddling her and letting her cry a little.

“Did I beat you that hard?” She joked while wiping away her tears.

“No… I’m not crying because of the pain. It’s something else…” Eylion said. “Though my ass hurts a lot!”

Leda smiled at her. She kissed the brat on the forehead.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Eylion sniffed.

“Well… I suppose… this is going to sound really stupid…”

“Try me.” Leda winked at her. “I have heard my fair share of stupid. I have known Gwen for a long time.”

Eylion giggled.

“Well… I got emotional because well… I suppose when you disciplined me, I finally realised that I’m going to be your apprentice. And I felt like I have someone now. I’m not alone.”

“Honey, you will never be alone again.”

“And I feel like with you on my side I have a future. I’ve never felt like I had much of a future. I never had anyone who took the time to discipline me because they want me to be the best that I can be. Life in the Shambles can be rough. We grew up thinking we were nothing and that we would always just be… well… nothing.”

“You are not nothing. You never were, Eylion. You are a very special person.”

“Really?”

“Absolutely.” Leda got up and tucked the covers around her new apprentice. “I have a very special feeling about this. You will be a great witch one day. You are not a nobody, you are important! Not just to me, you will be important to others as well. You and I will train, you will be a great witch, and you will show everyone who ever doubted you that they were wrong. I know this.”

“I’m going to be much better than that Clarissa idiot. I don’t care who her family is; she’s not better than me!”

“No, she’s not. She is an idiot from an idiot family!” Leda suddenly looked angry.

“Whoa! What was that all about?” Eylion looked surprised at Leda. She never thought she would hear anything like that from her.

“Nothing… I just… I don’t like that family. They hurt someone I love.”

The End.

 

 

 

To those who want me to get spanked…

I know a lot of you are patiently waiting for an update from me. I promise it won’t be long until updates will be my priority! In the meantime, Emma has written a story called Ash Getting Me Into Trouble (sigh). The real title is actually Emma Gets Distracted From Her Chores And Blames Ash, but… she won’t admit that.

Anyway… it turns out that Emma and I went to the same university at the same time, and that we even knew some of the same people! So Emma wrote a story where we are both characters renting from the same landlady. It’s a really good story and you should definitely check it out.

I am super busy this month, but in June I should be back in action. I hope you’ll still be around and that you are excited for the last part of my Leda and Eylion story, and an update on Annabelle.

Thanks for being patient with me.

xoxo Ash

 

A little update…

Dear Reader,

I am aware that that some of you are waiting for an update on my stories, especially the Annabelle series. I read your comments and your emails, and trust me, I hear you! I also know that some were excited about my addition to the Christmas exchange, and I am really sorry that I did not post anything. I was almost finished. I have also not read and commented all of your stories that you gifted. I don’t know if anyone noticed that, but I’m sorry for that too. I like to show appreciation for people who participate in the exchange. I feel bad, peeps. I really do. But I have my reasons, and I don’t really want to go into serious detail about this, but I’ll try to explain.

Part of what distracted me before Christmas was that my father was ill, and because of that I tried to work from home. I wanted to help him with stuff he normally does around the house when my mother is at work, and I walked the dog for him as he couldn’t walk much. I also didn’t want him to be alone in case something happened. I was really worried, and I had difficulties focusing. He had some blood work done, and one of the values was a bit off. He needed a CT scan. I don’t really want to go into detail around that, but let’s just say that I was mentally preparing to hear that my father was dying, and I was not ready for that. He just retired. Luckily, it wasn’t as bad as we thought, and he is now on the mend. He is much better now. I just wanted to explain what happened to make me miss my Christmas deadline.

I still had plans to post my story, though. I thought I might make it by new year. I know I said I was almost finished, and that was totally true! It is almost finished. However, my number one reason that I am not as visible now is that I am working towards a very important deadline. I have a lot going on right now, and I have many smaller deadlines until the big one. This means that I will be pretty busy until the summer. This does not mean that you won’t see any updates, but I cannot give any guarantees. I don’t want to promise you anything.  I will try to post the third part of my Leda and Eylion series that I promised for Christmas soon, but it will definitely not be next week.

I have been under a lot of stress lately and so my stories have not been much on my mind. Please don’t think that I have given up on them, because I haven’t. I am just in a place right now where there are other, more important, things that need my attention. So please be patient with me.

Ash

Leda and Eylion – part 2

Link to part 1

The morning after Eylion’s attack, Leda found herself in the kitchen, making them both breakfast. Eylion had tried to help, but she had gotten firm instructions to sit down and rest. Then younger witch swore that she was fine, and she probably was, since she had slept for fifteen hours straight; however, Leda didn’t want to take any chances. The girl had been severely fatigued when she helped her to bed the previous day, but she did seem to be in much better shape this morning.
As promised, Leda intended to pay Eylion’s landlord a visit after breakfast and give him the money for her rent. She had initially planned to make Eylion stay behind, but the younger woman would not have it.

“No way! If you show up in that part of town, dressed in those clothes, he’ll try to make you pay more. You need me.”

“I can take care of myself, young lady.” Leda huffed.

“Trust me on this one. You’re not street smart, I can tell.” Eylion gave her a knowing look.

Leda sighed, but then she thought about it, and she knew the girl was right. She was brilliant at magic, but she was entering unfamiliar territory. “Are you feeling up to it?”

“Yes, I feel fine.”

“Oh, alright, then. I suppose you do know that part of town better than I do. I haven’t really spent any time there.” She gave the younger woman a smile. “But make sure to eat well before we leave.” She said, unnecessarily as Eylion was eating with gusto.

“Oh, I will! This is great!”

Eylion was used to not having a lot to eat, and even when she ate well, it was nothing like the food Leda served her. It was heavenly. She was so glad she’d be staying there for a while, being fed several times a day. Leda had told her she needed her to stay at the manor while she worked for her. At first, she felt it was a bit of a waste to pay rent for her house if she wasn’t going to live there, but at the same time, she needed a roof over her head once she was done. It would give her more time to figure out what to do if her father didn’t come back. But he might come back, and then he’d need a roof over his head too. She still hadn’t given up hope.

*

After the breakfast, they set off towards the village. Through much debate, Eylion had gotten Leda to change into something less expensive. “We’ll be a lot safer if you don’t look so wealthy,” she said. “You’ll draw attention to yourself wearing that.”Leda wanted to argue that going into a mainly mortal part of town, safety wasn’t really an issue, seeing as she was a rather powerful witch. However, she didn’t think it a good idea to get herself into a situation where she had to use magic on someone who couldn’t use it back.

“So where exactly is your house?”

“It’s in the Pigpen Shambles,” Eylion replied, and when seeing the confusion on Leda’s face, she added, “It’s what the locals call it.”

“Why?” Leda asked, puzzled by this interesting name.

“Well, there used to be a big pigpen there, many years ago, right behind the pub. And we call it the “Shambles” because of all the mismatching and oddly shaped houses. It makes the street look disorderly.” She grinned. “But it’s not just the street that is disorderly.”

“I can imagine,” Leda said, catching herself sounding like a snob, however, Eylion only laughed.

When they finally got to the “Pigpen Shambles”, Eylion took Leda down the street, to her landlord’s house. Leda now understood why it was thought disorderly. The entire street looked completely random, yet it somehow had a charm to it. It was nice, she thought, taking the oddity of it and embracing it by giving it a nickname.
Eylion stopped outside a big red house that was placed bang in the middle of a green and a yellow house, that both were much smaller in size. It stuck out like a big red thumb. She knocked on the door, and they waited. After a while, she tried again.

“Maybe he’s asleep?” Leda said, thinking maybe they could go away and come back later.

“No, I don’t think so,” Eylion said, looking suspicious. Something felt off. “Hello?” she called and knocked again, hard.  “Is anyone home? Hello?”

A windrow creaked open from the house across the street.

“Ee, ain’t there, kid,” a shabby-looking man with a stubbled face.

“Where is he?”

“Dunno. Packed up and left.” The man scratched his chin. “Heard there was a fight down at the pub last night. Think summat bad happened, and next thing you know, ee’s packing up wife and kids and leaving in the middle of the night.”

Eylion just stood there, mouth open. It was a lot for her to take in.

“What about the houses he rented out?” Leda asked, politely. The man looked her over, realised she was of worth, and immediately started speaking more politely.

“Oh, I reckon they’ve been burgled, mistress. If the kid wants her things, she better hurry. There might be some stuff left.”

“Thank you, sir,” Leda said. The man closed the window, probably to go back to sleep.

Leda approached Eylion and put a hand on her shoulder. The poor girl looked completely defeated.

“Eylion?” she tried. ” Honey?” But Eylion just looked at her shock. She felt tears pressing, but she would not let release them. Leda put her arm around Eylion’s shoulder and gently guided her down the street. “Let’s find your house and see what state it is. We can’t be sure anything is taken,” she said, trying to think positive.
Eylion came back to it, looking sceptically at Leda.
“Oh, please. Like Big John wasn’t part of it.” She closed her hand in an angry fist. “He might not know where Mr Bigs went, but I’ll bet anything he was part of the gang that looted the houses he owned. Bloody scavenger.”

“Well, let’s go and check it out anyway.”

They did, and it was as Eylion had suspected.  The front door was ripped off its hinges and placed up against the brown house wall, and the house was completely trashed inside. Anything of value was gone. Well, anything that had been visible to the looters. Eylion waded through ripped wallpaper on the floor and went into the kitchen. She crouched down and opened a loose floorboard and pulled out a small, wooden box. She opened it up to check its content. Inside she found a little bit of money (but not enough to pay the rent), her grandfather’s war medal and her mother’s brooch, the only two objects her father would never even consider selling to pay for his bad habit. Her tears started falling before she could stop them—big, fat drops of warm, salty water.

“Now, now,” Leda said, pulling her into an embrace. She felt completely out of place, standing in this filthy dump, that Eylion had called her house, but she pushed those feelings aside and tried to comfort the younger woman as she sobbed into her shoulder. “Don’t worry. It’ll work out.”

“How?” Eylion cried. “My house is trashed, my belongings are gone, and my dad is gone. I’ve got nothing, and I am nothing.” Her crying was heartbreaking to Leda. It was the sound of a person who had completely given up on herself.

“Let’s go back to my place. We’ll figure things out.”  She gently pushed Eylion off her shoulder and wiped her tears away with her thumb. “There, that’s better.”  She smiled at the girl, and stroke her hand gently on her cheek. “Bring your box. Is there anything else you need?”

“There’s nothing else,” Eylion said, miserably. As they got outside, she stopped for a moment. “But what about my dad? What if he comes back here and he can’t find me?”

“Ee ain’t coming back,” said an old lady, next-door. She was sitting on a porch, smoking a pipe. “When are yer going to realise it, girlie? You know ee ain’t coming back.”

Leda straightened her back, thinking the woman very rude, and she was just about to say something to the lady, but Eylion cut her off.

“If he does, you’ll tell him I’m around, won’t ya, Grammy-Sue?”

“Course, I will, baby. You know Grammy-Sue is looking out for yer. Yer like one of me own grandbabies.” She took her pipe out and winked. “Say, you don’t have a coin or two for an ole lady, do yer?”

“Is it for your health,” Eylion asked, checking her pocket for Grammy-Sue, knowing the lady was not long for this world.

“Nah, hun. I’m almost out of tobacco.”

Eylion fished a couple of copper coins out her pocket and went over to the porch. She handed the old lady the coins and kissed her on the cheek for the last time.

“Bye, Grammy.”

*

On the way back, Leda guided Eylion towards the nicer part of town; in other words, the wealthier part of town.

“Where are we going?” Eylion asked, wondering why Leda was even taking her home now that she didn’t need to help her pay the rent. Eylion didn’t need the rent money, and so Leda didn’t have to feel like she had to give her work.

“We’re going to see my tailor.”

“You need another outfit?” Eylion stopped, rolling her eyes.

“No, not for a while,” Leda said. She gave Eylion’s backside a swat, to keep her walking. “We need to get you some clothes now that you’ve been burgled.”

“Me? But… I can’t afford new clothes! Especially not from your tailor.”

“I’ll front you the money for the work you promised to do for me,” Leda said, thinking that should give Eylion a reason to stick around long enough for her to teach her to use magic responsibly.

“But we can buy much cheaper clothes,” Eylion argued. Yes, they would be much simpler, but Leda’s clothes were pricy. It would take a while to pay off that kind of loan. “I know a second-hand shop.”

Now Leda was the one stopping. She turned to Eylion and gave her a serious look. “Eylion, honey, do you want the world to see you as a respectable witch?”

“Yes, I guess.” Eylion frowned, half knowing what she was about to say.

“Well, I’m sorry to tell you, but then you’ll need some proper clothing.” She gave the girl a sympathetic look. “First impressions matter. Before you show people what you can do, before you even open your mouth, you will be judged. People will make up their mind about you based on how you are dressed, and once they have made up their mind, it is hard to change their mind.”

“Are you saying that if I dress like you, people won’t treat me like I’m garbage?”

“In essence, yes.” Leda gave her a weak smile. “Well, not like me. We’re not the same, you and I. I’m a fully qualified witch, and I’m a lot older. We’ll get you a couple of outfits that witchlings your age wear.”

Eylion sighed. “Okay, let’s get these expensive clothes then. I’ll just be your slave for all eternity to pay them off.”

*

Leda’s tailor, Monsieur Henri, measured Eylion up and down. He was a wizard, and therefore he could have the clothes finished while they were waiting for them.

“Oh shee as a very guud figure, Mistress Clagarian,” the man said with an accent. “A little thin, but very guud shapes.”

“Hmmm… yes, perhaps make the clothes a little bigger than her current shape. She’ll probably gain a little weight now that I cook her meals.” She winked at Eylion, who blushed slightly.

“Tzat will be no problem,” he said grinning. “I will also make it a little longer, shall I? Unlike mortal women, witches also grow a little in their twenties.”

“That would be good.”

“D’accord. I make it so that it fits her now, and when she needs it to be bigger, you only need to let it down a little.”

Monsieur Henri waved his hand and rolls off fabric came out from high cupboard in his work studio. Eylion let Leda choose which materials would be best as she had no preference. She only nodded when asked about the colours. She had planned to step away when it was time to pay, so she didn’t have to hear the price, but Monsieur Henri just said, “Shall I put it on tze tab?” She had no idea what the outfits would cost her, but she preferred to remain oblivious.

As they walked home together, the clothing neatly wrapped inside boxes, floating behind them. Eylion thought about asking what the clothes would cost, but she decided against it. Working for Leda for a while would at least secure her a roof over her head, and some food. It might not be so bad. She grinned thinking about the meals, and she playfully thought that if this was what it was going to be like, perhaps she should offer to work as an indentured servant. She’d have the food, the shelter, and the clothes, all on the fancy side of town.

“What are you grinning about?” Leda asked, smiling.

“Oh, nothing,” Eylion replied, smirking to herself.

“Nothing, huh? Well, I’m glad you’re in a better mood.”

“Yeah, well, I was thinking about food so…”

Leda laughed. “Well, I suppose we’ll have to eat something when we get back.”

“Nice!”

“Yes, and then work.”

“Oh. Yes, of course.” Eylion’s heart sank a little, wondering what kind of jobs Leda would have her do. She wasn’t great at cooking or cleaning, but she supposed these were skills any person could learn if they had to. “What do you want me to do?”

“Well, first, I think I should teach you a little bit about controlling your powers. You can’t keep having little accidents when you lose your temper. Then I should probably teach you about potion-making. We could try a simple recipe.”

“You’re going to teach me? I thought you said work?” Eylion felt a feeling of excitement in her tummy. Would she finally be able to learn how to use her magic?

“Well, I might need you to make some potions for me. You need to know the basics of potion-making.” She stopped at a sudden thought. “Do you know how to read?”

Eylion gave her an annoyed look. “Of course, I know how to read.”

Leda blushed. “Sorry, but I didn’t want to assume, seeing as your education is eh… well… lacking.”  She coughed. “I have some books for you to study. You can’t make potions by yourself until you’ve become familiar with the ingredients and their uses. Today I will make it with you and explain.”

“Do you have other books I can read? Maybe about spells? I’ll be very careful with them.” She looked up at the older woman with eager, pleading eyes. Leda smiled at her eagerness to learn.

“I do have some spellbooks you can read. I’ll just have to go through my library and find some that are appropriate for you.” She gave her a mock-stern look. “We wouldn’t want you to try spells that are too advanced or dangerous for your level, do we?”

Eylion shook her head in agreement. Finally, she’d be able to read a proper book about magic. She would never have been able to afford one herself, and you couldn’t borrow them at the local library. Spellbooks were for witches exclusively, and they weren’t cheap.

*

When they got back, Leda brought the clothes with her to the room Eylion slept in the previous night. She informed Eylion that that would be her room, causing Eylion to feel even more excited as she had never had a room like this. It was quite spacious, with a big four-poster bed, and an en-suite bathroom. Back home, she’d always slept in a tiny room, decorated with nothing more than a small, old bed that was slightly uncomfortable, and a tiny dresser for the few belongings she had. Even then, she’d been appreciative, because she knew she was better off than a lot of people in the Pigpen Shambles. Leda drew Eylion a bath and left to make lunch, while Eylion soaked in the warm bubbly water. When she was squeaky clean, she dried herself off with the biggest and softest towel she’d ever seen and then put on a brand new outfit. She looked at herself in a big, framed mirror and hardly recognised herself. She looked very presentable, and this was just her casual outfit. Leda had also purchased an outfit for more formal occasions. She wore a sea-green tunic decorated with beads, and a belt around her waist, and brown leather trousers, and brand new boots. She looked like an apprentice. She pulled her dark blonde hair into a bun at the back of her head, letting strands of hair stick out, before she went downstairs to the kitchen to find Leda, and the food.

As she came into the kitchen in her brand new clothes, Leda turned and smiled.

“Have we met before?”

“No, I just broke in to get to the food I smelled,” Eylion said, sniffing the air. Lunch smelled amazing. Leda had something in the oven, and she was lightly toasting some bread with garlic and oil on the pan. “Is all of that for just the two of us?”

“Ah, about that,” Leda said, just remembering something. “I won’t be able to teach you this afternoon.”

“Oh,” Eylion said, unable to hide her disappointment.

“I’m really sorry, but with everything that happened yesterday and this morning, I completely forgot that my friends, Gwen and Aisling, are coming over. They’ll be here any minute.”

“Right.” Eylion scratched her neck awkwardly. “Well, I suppose I should make myself scarce.”  Her tummy rumbled hungrily.

“Don’t be silly,” Leda reprimanded. “We’ll all eat together.” She brushed a stray hair from Eylion’s face behind her ear. “But then after lunch, I have to talk to them in private. We have some things to discuss.”

“Okay.” Eylion nodded. “Then what should I do?”

“Whatever you want.”

“You don’t want me to work?”

“Do you want to work?” Leda raised an eyebrow, looking amused. “I suppose I could find a boring chore if you want…”

“I want to read a magic book,” Eylion said, looking determined. “Please,” she added, more politely.

Leda studied her closely. “Wait here,” she said, taking the now finished garlic bread off the stove.

Eylion stood still, waiting. She was a little disappointed that Leda cancelled her plans to teach her magic, but she understood that she had plans with her friends first. And she supposed that she also understood that Leda wanted to be alone with her friends, without her. This was her house, after all. It was Leda’s life, and Eylion had just randomly come into it by coincident. She was showing her great kindness by letting her stay, and she didn’t have to. She could have let Eylion fend for herself, but instead, she was determined to make sure she at least knew how to control her powers before she sent her on her way. Maybe in the future, someone would even take her on as an apprentice now. “Oh get a grip, Eylion,” she thought and rolled her eyes. “You are so far from being apprentice material. You can paint a donkey, but she’ll never be a zebra.” She looked down at her new clothes feeling sad all of a sudden. She knew what she was and what she wasn’t, and she would never be like those girls she met yesterday. They were from good families. They were brought up in a completely different environment, and they were primed to be great witches from birth. What was special about her? Nothing. And new clothes wouldn’t change that. She would always be that girl from the wrong side of town; raised by a drunk in the Pigpen Shambles.

She heard a knock on the kitchen door before it opened. A tall, brunette walked in, followed by an even taller blonde. “Hi, we went in the ba….”  The two looked at her, surprised. “You’re not Leda,” said the brunette, looking like one giant question mark.

“Good observation.” Eylion couldn’t help but give a little cheek. She didn’t look anything like Leda. The older witch was a beautiful, tall, red-head, with green eyes and a slightly tan skin that had a bronze-like glow.  Eylion was just… well… Eylion. Blue eyes, and boring dark blonde hair. Her five-feet-eight made her tall compared to a mortal, but apparently, as she had learned from Monsieur Henri earlier that day, witches grew even in their twenties. And Eylion was only just twenty. This would explain why she suddenly found herself the shortest woman around, which was a completely new experience.

Deciding to be nice to Leda’s friends, even though they were the reason she wouldn’t have a private magic lesson with one of the most powerful witches in town, she smiled and reacher out her hand.
“I’m Eylion,” she said, shaking their hand in turn.

The two women, still not sure what she was doing there, introduced themselves as Gwen and Aisling. They both looked like they were about to open their mouth and ask who she was, when Leda came back into the kitchen, holding a book.

“Oh, you’re here. I didn’t hear the bell.”

“Sorry, Leda.” Aisling gave her a hug. “We came through the back door today. Gwen nicked some of your herbs.”

Leda gave the brunette a stern look.

“Hey! I let you borrow my…”

“Yes, but I asked,” Leda informed her, cutting her off before she could come up with her excuse. Gwen had always “borrowed” things without asking, ever since they were both apprentices.

“Thanks for throwing me under the bus, hun.” Gwen scowled at her partner.

Leda sighed and put the book on the table. “Well, I suppose I can’t expect anything else from you, can I, Gwendolyn?” She gave the brunette a hug and kissed her on the cheek. “You’ve been taking my stuff for the past seven decades or so. I should be used to it.”

“Seven decades??? Are you, like…a hundred?” Eylion had a look or pure amazement, her eyes wide.

There came a snort from both Gwen and Aisling, as Leda went red-faced.

“I am ninety-eight, thank you very much,” she corrected.

Eylion whistled. “You look good for your age. Ya know, Grammy-Sue, the wrinkly old lady that we saw earlier? She’s much younger than you!” She grinned.

Gwen and Aisling burst out laughing.

“She’s younger than you guys too,” Leda argued.

Aisling patted her gently on her shoulder. “I take it you have befriended a mortal, Leda, hmm?”

“Oh, Eylion is no mortal, she is…eh…” she trailed off as she looked at the worried look on the younger witch’s face. “She’s not from around these parts.”

There was a look on the new guests’ faces that said that they didn’t quite buy this explanation, but they didn’t go on about it. Instead, they all sat down by the kitchen table and had lunch together. Usually Leda would entertain guests in her dining room, but Gwen and Aisling were like family, and the kitchen table was that kind of table, for familial conversation. They often sat there, depending on what day it was.

Eylion was not shy, and so she got to know Gwen and Aisling a little better. She had already guessed that they were a couple, but apparently, they had been together for sixty years, which to Eylion seemed unbelievable. She learned that Gwen specialised in potions and Aisling was more of an outdoorsy witch. They asked her some questions, but Eylion dodged those with ease. She was very good at answering questions satisfactorily without giving up too much information. To the question “So, you’re not from around these parts?” Eylion replied, “No, but I am just in awe of this area, it is so beautiful,” and somehow she managed to get them talking about the forest and all the useful plants in the area. Gwen even offered to take Eylion with her to harvest the next day.”

“Thanks,” Eylion said gratefully. “I’m going to have to check my schedule, but I am definitely interested.” She looked at Leda, knowing that she was the one in control of her schedule. There was also the tiny little problem of Eylion not knowing anything about potion’s ingredients.

“Oh, I think you have time,” Leda said, winking at her. “I’ll come with. We could all go.”

“Sounds good to me,” Aisling agreed. “We’ll pack some delicious food and make a day out of it.”

“It will be hard to beat this delicious food,” Eylion said, praising her Leda. “Thanks for the meal, chef. It was lovely.”

“You’re welcome.”

Eylion stood up and started clearing the table. Gwen and Aisling looked her confused and Leda with sympathy.

“Oh, don’t worry about that, hun.” Leda patted her gently on her arm. “I’ll take care of it. Why don’ you bring the book I found you to your room? You should get studying.” She smiled encouragingly.

“Eh… yeah, okay,” Eylion said, reminded that she was supposed to leave Leda alone with her friends after the meal. She took the book left the room, feeling a little disappointed that she had been dismissed.

“Eylion?” Leda caught up with her in the hallway. She spoke quietly so that the others wouldn’t hear. “The book is for you to read, and only read, do you understand?”

“I’m not sure,” Eylion said, confused. “You mean… I can’t try the spells?”

“Not without me being there, no, you can’t.”

“But… Leda, come on, I need to try them,” Eylion argued.

“And you will, but I don’t want you casting spells that you might not be able to control. It could be dangerous.” She gave her a sympathetic look. “I know you are eager, but familiarise yourself with the material first.”

“Okay,” Eylion sighed in disappointment. This was not what she had expected. She had expected to be able to read and practice casting spells, and now she was told only to read until Leda had time to supervise. That sucked.

*

“So what’s going on?” Gwen asked, as Leda came back into the kitchen and closed the door. Their plates had placed themselves in the sink, and a dishwashing brush was now cleaning them with soapy water. “Who’s the girl?”

“She’s very good at dodging questions,” Aisling said amazed. “It took me ages to realise she hadn’t properly answered one single question I asked her.”

Leda sat down, a glass teapot with amber coloured tea floated in the air behind her, and as teacups touched gently down on the wooden table in front of them, it started pouring the hot tea.

“Well, I suppose I can’t keep this from you, though I know she wants me to keep quiet.” She picked up her teacup and blew on it. “When I said she wasn’t from these parts, I meant… well… she’s from the other side of town. She lived in some shamble part. I forget.”

“The Pigpen Shambles?” Gwen asked.

“You know of this place?” Leda asked, surprised.

“Yeah, I used to go there all the time as a kid when my mother left home. I don’t know about now, but back then, even a kid would be able to get a stronger drink.” She winced a bit at the stern look her partner gave her.

“You were a drunk as a child?” she asked, sceptically.

“Not a drunk,” Gwen corrected. “I just… well, I liked to do the things a kid wasn’t supposed to do.” She smiled, remembering her childhood. “I was so much alone; it was the only thing that made me happy, I suppose.”

“That’s just sad.” Leda shook her head. “But at the same time, not that hard to believe.” She raised her eyebrow and took a sip of her tea. “Well, Eylion grew up there. Her mother was a witch, but she never really knew her, and her father was a drunk who never could afford the education she needed when she first started developing powers, which is why she can’t do much magic. Also, growing up in that area, I think she tried to hide them from people. She can’t even control her powers. Yesterday, she got in an argument with a girl from the Oswald family, her and two other idiots, and Eylion’s magic burst out, triggering quite a brutal attack.”

“Oh my, what happened?” Gwen asked, looking concerned.

“They were quite ruthless, I’ll tell you. I intervened quite early, but by then they had bruised her pretty badly, broken a rib and her ankle. I don’t even want to think about what could have happened if I didn’t stop the last curse from hitting her.”

“That is completely out of order!” Aisling blurted out angrily. “Did you report them?”

“What do you think?” Leda asked, looking stern. “Her grandfather is a magistrate; we know what would have happened. The case would have been dismissed before it even got started, and they would have claimed Eylion started it. She did hit them first, and it would have been hard to argue the point that she lost control of her powers, especially at her age.”

She took another sip of tea and helped herself to a biscuit. The other two sat in silence, waiting for her to continue.

“I’m going to teach her how to control her powers,” she said, dunking her biscuit into her tea. “This can’t go on.”

“Are you finally taking on an apprentice?” Gwen asked, amazed by the prospect. She never thought that would happen.

“No, that’s not what I said. I said I would teach her the basics. She needs to know, and hopefully, once I have trained her a bit, I’ll be able to find her a suitable mentor.”

“But aren’t you a suitable…” Aisling started.

“No,” Leda cut her off. “I’m really not.” She looked to Gwen. “You remember, don’t you, Gwen? All those years ago at the Winter Festival, we both swore we’d never have an apprentice.”

“Yes, but that was decades ago, Leda,” Gwen argued. “We were so young, and you had just “babysat” me.” She rolled her eyes. She would still blush at times, remembering how Leda was left in charge while their mentors left town. Gwen was twenty-one at the time, and she had gotten quite upset that she wasn’t allowed to be home alone for a couple of days.  “That was a completely different experience. I seriously doubt that this girl can be any trouble at all compared to what you went through that time.” She giggled, remembering. “You were trying to prove to Andromeda that you were ready to graduate from apprentice to a fully qualified witch, and I tried to sabotage you.”

“Yeah, you did,” Leda reminisced. “But then I did say those horrible things to you.”

“And then I turned you into a donkey.” Gwen closed her eyes, savouring the moment of nostalgia.

Aisling snorted as she tried to hide a laugh, while Leda went red-faced again.

“Which was the most irresponsible thing you have ever done”, she said, dunking a biscuit into her tea with such force that she dropped it and warm water spilt onto the kitchen table. She looked at the other two, glowering. “You two just stop. It wasn’t funny.”

“It totally was,” Gwen whispered to her wife. “She made donkey noises for hours.”

*

Eylion was lying on her tummy on the four-poster bed, studying the spellbook that Leda had borrowed her. It was wonderful to finally have a text in front of her that explained spell work, and how she could cast spells herself. She already felt confident that she was getting better. This book told her everything she needed to know about controlling the elements, which was very basic magic. It told her how to control water, for example. She could shape it, levitate it, freeze it, and even steam it. But being a magic book for those at a very elementary level, it also had very clear caution notes. An unskilled witch should never, for example, attempt to dry herself by evaporating water, that could lead to nasty burns. She could see how some of these spells should be practised with an older, more skilled witch around; however, some of them seemed very simple.

“If I draw a magical symbol where I want a flame to occur, I should be able to control where it appears,” she muttered. “That makes sense. Conjuring a flame without it might make it harder to place it exactly where I want, so I’m guessing the symbol will function as an aid.”

Eylion opened the door to the hallway and stopped to listen for a moment. It didn’t sound like anyone was upstairs. She then crossed the hall and opened a cupboard door in the wall. In the cupboard, she picked up a metal bucket, which she brought back to her room. Carefully closing the door, she placed the bucked on a chair in front of her, and she proceeded to pick up a piece of paper. Holding the paper over the bucket, she drew a triangular symbol on it with her finger, focusing her powers. As she drew the symbol, tracing her finger on the paper, she felt a tingling sensation in the tip of her right index finger. Once she had finished the symbol, she removed her finger and watched as the paper started smoking, and before she knew it flames were eating up the paper in her hand. She dropped it into the bin, feeling excited. She had done it!

Feeling proud she went back to the book she had left open on the bed, looking for something else she could do on her own. At the bottom of the page about fire, she saw a spell that would allow a person to cast fire. She looked at the bucket. If she filled it with a little bit of paper and stood a couple of feet away from it, she should be able to light it using this spell. Of course, at this point, an alarm bell would have rung for most people, reminding them not to get carried away if they wanted their misdeeds to remain undiscovered; but unfortunately, Eylion’s confidence boost meant that her head was flying higher than her broom, and she decided to ignore all warnings.

She placed the book on a desk, keeping it away from the bucket to make sure she didn’t accidentally burn it. She was responsible. She then threw paper into the bucket and stood a distance away from it, but making sure the bucket was at a lower level so that she could see into it. Seeing the target of a spell was always useful. She held up her hands, focusing her magic.

“Dreiki logi eða viðr logi,” she said, quite loud, thinking she had a better chance of making something happen if she used more power in her voice. What happened next was quite unexpected…

To be continued…

 

Leda and Eylion – part 1

Leda Clagarian sighed heavily as she looked at another stack of letters with fancy wax seals with family crests on them.”They never give up,” she muttered as she opened the first one. “Let me guess. They want me to apprentice their daughter.”  She looked down at the letter, completely unimpressed by the expensive stationery.

Dear Mistress Clagarian 

The Oswald family would be honoured if you would consider taking on my grand-daughter, Clarissa Marion Oswald, as your apprentice witch. Clarissa is a good student, and she received good marks at Heiderbridge Academy in Dragonsdale. The Oswald family only chooses the best to apprentice our young magicians, and you are our number one choice. Gold is not an issue, and we would be happy to compensate you for your time.

Yours truly, 

Sir Arthur Oswald.
Magistrate 

“Oh, I’m the number one choice?” Leda shook her head in annoyance. “When are these people going to realise that it is the mentor who chooses, and you can’t buy a proper apprenticeship!”

She crumbled the letter and lit it on fire by snapping her finger. She wished people would stop asking her to apprentice their little brats. She was not so ignorant that she didn’t know why. In her lifetime, she had managed to become one of the most powerful witches and best healers, and this was widely known among the magical community. She also came from a high-status family and a long line of powerful magicians. Most young witches would give an arm and a leg to train under a witch like Leda, but she always said no. She had, on several occasions, been advised to apprentice someone, especially since her old mentor moved out of town. “You will get lonely in that big hours all by yourself,” her friend, Gwen, had told her. Gwen didn’t have an apprentice either, but she had her partner Aisling. And Leda did feel lonely at times, but she didn’t think taking on just anyone would make things better. An apprenticeship was a big commitment.

“It will work out in the end,” she told herself, and she burned the rest of the letters without even reading them properly. She simply opened them and glanced at the paper to make sure it really was an apprentice proposal, and then she turned them into ashes.

Of course, the problem didn’t go away merely by burning letters, oh no, it followed her wherever she went. Only a week had passed since she burned the letters when she was approached while walking in the village with Gwen. This time an elderly woman, the matriarch of her family, approached her, demanding she’d take on her great-granddaughter as an apprentice. When Leda refused her, the woman said, “Don’t you know who I am? You have everything to gain from training her.” But Leda stood her ground and repeated a firm “NO.”

“You know, this problem would go away if you took someone on as an apprentice,” Gwen said, amused, as Leda looked grouchy. “Then they would see you as taken, and they’ll back off.”

“You don’t apprentice anyone,” Leda pointed out, scowling. Entitled people really ticked her off. All they cared about was status, not chemistry. She felt sorry for the young witch who had to grow up in such a family. She had once been in her shoes.

“I haven’t even been asked by anyone,” Gwen said, grinning. “I don’t come from a good family, remember?”

“Status isn’t everything,” Leda commented, knowing it wasn’t quite the truth. She was sure many of the wealthy families in the village would never approach Gwen, no matter how talented she was; and Gwen was an excellent potion maker.

“Uh-huh,” Gwen raised an eyebrow in disbelief. “I was also a lot of trouble when I was younger. Those wealthy matriarchs have long memories.”

“Oh, for heaven’s sake, it’s been eighty years. They need to let that go.” She gave Gwen a sympathetic look. “You’re not much trouble now, are you. Not since you married Aisling.” She gave her a wink. “She stills warms your behind for you once in a while, doesn’t she?”

“Leda!” Gwen blushed and looked around.

“Well, your arrangement really worked out for you, didn’t it? Last time you were in serious trouble was when you tried to experiments with your potion making six months ago.”

“Yes, well Aisling has been eh… giving me maintenance attention.”

“Ah, so that is how you stay out of trouble. She nips it in the bud, or should I say butt, before you manage to get yourself into trouble. Very clever.” Leda smirked. “I suppose she’ll have to give you another one before her trip. How long will she be gone?”

“Three weeks,” Gwen said, looking unhappy. The couple were rarely away from each other for more than a couple of days.  “I’ll miss her so much.”

“Will you be able to stay out of trouble?”

“Leda, I am not a young witchling anymore, I can stay out of trouble.”

“Hmm… I should probably talk to her and offer to pay you a visit if you start slipping up.”

Gwen rolled her eyes. “Goddess, you do need an apprentice to boss around, if only to get you off my back!”

*

Eylion was in a foul mood. Her father had disappeared; she hadn’t seen him for almost two weeks. She was running out of things to sell to keep herself fed, and getting money was becoming a real problem as nobody would hire her. Her father had completely trashed her reputation in the village, and she was getting desperate. Maybe it was for the best that he was gone. He probably wouldn’t have improved the situation if he was there, he’d probably make it worse, but at least she wouldn’t be alone.

There was a knock on the door.

“Yes?”

“Open up, kid. I’m here for the rent.”

Shit! The rent. She had nowhere near that kind of money. She was struggling just to feed herself. The house they rented was small and humble, and on the poor side of town, but it was a roof over their head, and Eylion had her own room, which was a lot more than some of her neighbours had. Just down the street lived a family of eight, all sleeping in one room. She calmed herself down and opened the door. Outside stood a big, ominous-looking man that looked like he was chronically grumpy.

“Hello, Mr Bigs. I’m really sorry, but my father is not in. I promise to tell him the minute he comes back.” Eylion only held the door open wide enough for him to see her face. She didn’t want him to come inside, not when she was alone. The landlord had never done anything to hurt her, but she didn’t trust him.

“I hear rumours that your old man has left town, kid,” he said, with a grumpy look.

“Only rumours, sir. He is out of town, but he’ll be back any day now.”

She felt sparks coming out of her fingers, and she hid them behind her back. She was freaking out on the inside, and her magic was out of control again. She hadn’t learned to control it. What if Mr Bigs kicked her out?

“Can you guarantee that he will be back before the weekend?” The tall man looked around the room over her head.

“Oh, yes, sir! He’ll be back anytime now.”

“Alright kid. I’m going to take your word for it, but only because I don’t feel like looking for someone else to rent to. You have until Sunday to get the rent money, or you and your old man are out, you hear me?”

“Yes, Mr Bigs,” Eylion replied seriously. “We’ll get you the money before next week.”

Mr Bigs grunted and turned on his heels. Eylion quietly closed the door, breathing out.

“Okay, Eylion, don’t panic. You only have to try extra hard to get a job,” she told herself.

Only get a job? Nobody would hire her, and even if they did, she wouldn’t even be able to make a quarter of the rent money by Sunday. Her dad might be a filthy drunk, but he always found ways to get money.  She didn’t want to know where the money came from; the most important part was that he got it. Even if he spent most of it on alcohol, he always made sure to give Eylion money for rent and other expenses first. There had been a couple of  incidents in the past where he had spent all of it and not had enough to feed his daughter. He had learned from those mistakes. He was not so selfish that he didn’t want to take care of her. Of course, Eylion was a grown woman now, she did try to help out, but every time she had tried to get a job, her father’s reputation had gotten in the way. But now he was gone, and there were all sorts of rumours around town about what could have happened. People would loudly speculate even when Eylion was around, not caring that his daughter heard their conversations. It was really unfair, and nobody would even give her a chance to prove that she was different.

Walking through the village, she might hear, “I heard he made some enemies and ran out of town. Didn’t even have time to bring his daughter;” or, “I heard from someone in Dragonsdale that he bought some mushrooms from a shady guy over there, and died. They buried him before the authorities found him, didn’t want his body on their record.” Nobody seemed to even spare a thought for the person waiting at home for any sign of life, and little by little, Eylion lost hope that he would come back. It was not like her father to disappear for weeks on end. A couple of days, yes, two weeks? No.

Whatever the truth was, the reality was that Eylion now had no one. Her mother died when she was still a toddler, her grandmother who had raised her died when she was ten, and now her father, her only remaining relative, had disappeared. And she was about to be kicked out on the street. On top of that, she was struggling to control her magic. A witch like her should have had some training by now, but they had never been able to afford tuition to the academy that taught young witches and wizards that were just starting to develop their powers. It would have been fine if she had someone in the family to teach her, but Eylion had gotten her powers from her mother, and her father never realised how powerful she was. She always hid it from him, so he wouldn’t feel guilty about not getting her a magical education. She had also always assumed she’d have no takers for a mentor, and she had accepted the fact that she would never be a great sorceress, even if that is what she wanted to be. Who would want to apprentice her? They’d probably pick a witchling from a good family. No mentor would take in a penniless nobody and the daughter of the town drunk, would they? She would just have to practice controlling her powers so they didn’t get out of control.

*

“Gwen, have you finished the potion that I asked for?” Leda was talking to Gwen through a communication spell. She could just see a grey outline of her friend in a glowing ball of smoke in the air in front of her.

“No, not yet, Leda, I’m sorry,” Gwen said from the other end. Her voice, through the spell, sounded different, like an echo from far away.

“Really, Gwen, I was supposed to have it yesterday. What has gotten you so busy?”

“Uh…” Gwen hesitated.

“She’s been busy getting her bottom spanked!” Aisling joined the conversation.

“Honey! Don’t spank and tell!”

Leda giggled and rolled her eyes. Those two!

“Punishment or pleasure?” she asked, teasing Gwen.

“Oh, it started as punishment, didn’t it, honey?” Aisling said. “She gave me some real cheek, Leda. You should have heard! I think she needed some attention before my trip.”

“Uh-huh.” She knew it. Gwen would, of course, act out before Aisling left. Anyone could predict that.

“But then…” Aisling trailed off. “Well… I’m leaving for a while, you know,” she said, hinting at some other activity they had been doing together.

“Honey, Leda doesn’t need to know about that.”

“That’s true, Aisling,” Leda agreed. “I don’t want too many details on that front!” She smiled at the thought of their relationship. She was happy Gwen had found true love, even if it wasn’t in the cards for her. “Though since we’ve known each other for so long, I know Gwendolyn is capable of getting into a world of trouble, even at her age! So just know that I am willing to rein her in if she gets in trouble while you’re away. She knows I can make good on that promise.”

“I’m not… Leda!” Gwen sputtered in protest, unable to form a complete sentence. “I don’t need… you just. Argh!”

Laughing, Aisling thanked her for the offer, and they ended their conversation before Gwen said something that would get her into trouble again. Shaking her head, Leda got up from her comfy chair. She heard some disturbance outside. She went to her window, and outside, down the hillside, she could see four young witches. One of them stood alone, facing a group of three, and it did not look like they were having a friendly chat.

“Uh oh, what is this now?” Leda mumbled to herself, deciding to pay attention in case things got ugly. They looked old enough to know about the code of conduct for witches, set in place to make sure that any witch did not abuse her power, but she wouldn’t put it passed a young witchling to overlook the code. She would intervene if it were necessary, but she did not see it as her responsibility to teach them right from wrong. If she knew their mentor, she would send them a letter and inform them of any misdeeds.

*

“You shut your face!” Eylion was facing a group of three girls. She had been on her way to the forest in the hope of getting work, when the gang leader, Clarissa, had loudly insulted her father, repeating the rumours from the village. Eylion was red-faced and fuming as three girls were laughing at her. It was clear that they intended to make fun of her for their own entertainment.

“Or what?” Clarissa laughed. The platinum blonde looked haughty, and she wore the latest of fashion in the best quality fabric. Eylion felt dressed as a peasant in comparison. She had always had very simple clothing, and her shoes had holes in them. It was clear that they came from different parts of town.

“I will curse you!” Eylion’s skin tingled as she felt herself lose control. She knew this was an empty threat. She didn’t technically know any curses, and she had very little control over her magic. She would just occasionally release raw magic, sometimes without meaning to. She did have some control; she could levitate simple things and set things on fire. She tried to use magic to do simple things in her everyday life as she felt like she had more control over her powers the more she used them. On days when she hadn’t used magic for a while, emotional instability could cause an accident. Her magic was like energy, building up, and if not spent, it would spill over. A witch not practising magic was not an option; the magic would find a way out.

“You couldn’t curse toadstool let alone a human. We know all about you and where you come from, trash.”

Clarissa’s gang laughed with her. Clearly, they were her minions, social climbers who only cared about her status and how it looked to others if they were friends.

“You’ve never had any formal training, and you never will. Nobody trains people like you. You have nothing to offer. You are nothing.”

Eylion felt a searing rage inside. Hearing a person telling her to her face that she was nothing, confirming how she felt about herself sometimes, raw magic spilt from her. She couldn’t stop it. It went for the girls in the shape of an electric shock.

“Ouch!” The group shrieked out as they felt the pain of the shock. They were all were taken by surprise, and one of the girls even fell to the ground.

“You will pay for that, you peasant,” Clarissa shouted.

Oh, shit, Eylion thought. Now she was done for. She didn’t know any protective spells; she had never had any training. She threw herself to the side as a curse flew towards her. It narrowly missed, and as her body hit the ground, she willed her magic to go towards the others. A stream of flames went towards them, but the blonde girl easily waved it away with a shielding spell. A big, glowing circle took shape in front of her. It was red with magical symbols, and it caused the flames to bounce off. It was seriously cool, and Eylion felt jealous she would never be able to do the same.

Focusing on Clarissa, Eylion suddenly felt excruciating pain, as a spell hit her. She had completely forgotten the minions, and it seemed they had more skills than only laughing at their head bitch’s stupid jokes. She only had time to feel blood trickling from the corner of her mouth when another spell hit her. The blast caused her to fly backwards, hitting the ground hard, knocking the air out of her. It was hard to locate all of the injuries, her entire body hurt, but she definitely knew her ankle was injured. She could see the group leader, readying a spell. Any spell that took time to form would be a bad one, and  Eylion, struggling to get up, crawled towards a tree, hoping she had time to take shelter behind its trunk. However, the girl sent the spell flying, and Eylion, who had no energy left to cast a spell, closed her eyes and waited for it to hit her. However, the spell never hit. All she could hear was a thundering sound and a flash of light.

“That is enough!”

Eylion opened her eyes to see a tall, red-headed witch stand in between them. She had conjured a glowing, green shield between them, protecting Eylion from their spells which now bounced off and fizzled out.

“Looking away from the fact that you girls used magic to harm other witches, which is against the code unless in life-threatening situations, would anyone explain this cowardice? Three against one?”

“She started it, Mistress Clagarian,” the blonde one started.

“No, I didn’t, ” Eylion argued.

“Quiet!” Leda gave them all a stern look that had them all cower.

“I’ve been watching from the window, young ladies. I saw what happened. You three clearly instigated the argument, and you also used brutal magic against a witch you knew to be much weaker than you.”

“Hey! I am not…”

“Shush!” Leda gave Eylion a look that kept her quiet. She turned back to the mean girls. “I will be writing to your families explaining what you have been up to.”

“But…”

“I would have considered reporting it to the authorities, but seeing as your grandfather is a magistrate, Clarissa, I am not so naive that I think we’d see any justice. If you had been fully qualified witches, this kind of behaviour could be more than enough to have you arrested. It is a very serious thing that you have done.”

“But…”

“I do not want to hear anymore. You will leave now.”

The girls turned to leave.

“Wait a minute,” Leda said, holding her hand up. “Please relay a message from me to your head of house. Tell them I will not be taking any of you on as my apprentice.” She gave them all a cold smile.

Glowering, the blonde one turned around, her nose facing upwards. “Let’s go, girls. I mean, it’s not like we wanted to be her apprentice anyway.”

As they left, Leda stood looking at them with an amusing look. Eylion tried to get up, but failed miserably and fell back down.

“Ow, oww!” She winced.

“Let me help you, dear.” Leda approached Eylion, who was lying on the ground staring at her leg as if it had betrayed her.

“I’m fine,” Eylion said sharply. “I just need to catch my breath.”

“I don’t think it’s your breathing that causes you problems, young lady,” Leda said seriously. “You need medical attention.”

“No, that’s okay. Most things heal with time.” Eylion wiped the blood from her mouth with the back of her hand and tried to get up again. When she once again struggled, Leda took matters into her own hands.

“That’s enough, dear. It’s okay to be proud, but let’s not be foolish.” She waved her hand, and Eylion felt her body levitate from the ground. She stopped struggling as Leda took her inside and into the kitchen. She carefully placed Eylion down on the kitchen table and started unbuttoning her shirt.

“Whoa there!” Eylion protested, grabbing Leda’s wrist.

“Oh, relax,” Leda said, raising her eyebrow. “I’m just examining your body.” She took off Eylion’s shirt, revealing big bruises on her torso. She placed a warm hand gently on Eylions rib cage, closing her eyes as she concentrated. “Oh, dear. You have a broken rib. No wonder you’re in pain.” She shook her head as she removed her trousers too. Eylion resisted a little, but she quickly realised that Leda would do what needed to be done.

“Ow!” Eylion gave a little shriek as Leda touched her ankle. “Please don’t touch.” She whimpered, and her lower lip quivered.

“It’s alright,” Leda said in a soft voice. “I’m going to fix it.”

“Nooo… you’ll hurt me.”

“Why would I hurt you? I just said I’ll fix it.”

“But it’ll hurt.”

“No, it won’t. Don’t you know who I am?”

“No,” Eylion said, truthfully, shaking her head.

“Really?” Leda looked up at her a little shocked, but she saw in Eylion’s eyes that she was telling the truth. “You honestly have no idea who I am?”

“Sorry,” Eylion muttered. “I don’t usually hang in the fancy part of town.”

“Don’t be sorry; it’s actually a little nice not to be recognised for a change. I get to start with a clean slate.”

“Well, then you don’t want to start with hurting me.”

“I’m not going to hurt you, girl.” Leda gave Eylion a little smile and patted her thigh. “I am Leda Clagarian, and for your information, I am probably the best healer around here and the best at charms. You’re in very good hands.”

“Oh yeah? Well, I’ll be the judge of that, Miss Leda Clagarian.” Eylion gave her a sceptical look. “I know all about people who claim the be the best. Usually, they’re just after your money.”

“Does it look like I need money?” Leda asked, tempted to point out that they were in a mansion that she had inherited.

“No, you look a bit wealthier than the people I usually talk to,” Eylion admitted. “And I have heard of you; I just didn’t know that you were, well, you.”

Leda chuckled as she turned her attention to Eylion’s ankle again. “Okay, young lady, this is what’s going to happen: I will first cast a spell around your ankle, numbing this one area so you won’t feel anything. Then I will cast a spell that will mend your bone.” She smiled. “Does that sound okay?”

“You promise I won’t feel anything?”

“Yes, I promise. Mending bones can be painful, but that is why the first spell will numb your ankle, keeping you from feeling anything. If you want, we can test before I cast the second spell. I will do the same to your broken rib.”

“Okay,” Eylion agreed. “Let’s do it.”

Leda cast the first spell. A web of green light, formed around Eylion’ ankle.

“Can you feel this?” Leda asked, tapping her knuckle lightly against her ankle.

“No, nothing.”

“Good. See? It’s working. Now let’s fix that fracture.”

“Mkay,” Eylion said nervously, closing her eyes.

Leda cast the second spell, mending the fracture in Eylion’s ankle. Then she repeated the same spells, fixing her rib. When she was done, she took a wet cloth and gently washed away the blood from her face and checked her teeth for any damage. Then she cleaned a deep cut on her arm. While she did this, a tiny glass bottle flew out of a drawer and soared towards Leda, who caught it. She uncorked it and poured some of the liquid inside on a cloth, which she used to dab over the cut on Eylion’s arm.

“Ahhh! That hurts!” But then, as she was watching, her skin regrew over the cut, leaving her with only a pink stripe where there had only recently been a deep wound.

“You know, you really should know better than to use your powers against others,” Leda said, sternly as she turned to get something else from a cupboard.

“In case you didn’t notice,” Eylion said crossly, “they left without so much as a bruise. I’m the one with broken bones.”

“I am not defending them,” Leda said, returning with another, slightly bigger glass bottle. “Fighting three against one is really low, but you used magic against them first. I saw it from my window.” She looked into Eylion’s deep blue eyes. The younger witch looked annoyed.

“I didn’t do it on purpose. It just… it just happened.” She looked back into Leda’s green eyes, noticing confusion.

“Just happened? Explain.”

“I was mad, really mad. You’re a witch; you know how it is.” She shrugged. “Sometimes it just gets too much, and you can’t really help it.” She looked down, embarrassed. “It just came out, ya know. That girl, Clarissa or whatever her name is, she is so mean, she said horrible things.”

Leda looked at her with sympathy. She knew what it was like to lose control of her powers, but she had learned to control that when she was much younger than Eylion. Usually, young witches were given a basic education in magic and how to control it when they first start showing signs of it. Most had a parent to teach them, and for those who could afford it, there was the academy in Dragonsdale. The families who wanted their children to have the best of education, preparing them for their apprenticeship later in life, would send a magician to school, or they would hire a private tutor. But Leda didn’t want to make the girl feel bad about being behind when it came to controlling her powers, so instead, she said,

“Don’t you have anyone to teach you how to control your powers?”

Eylion shook her head. “No, I don’t. I got my powers from my mother, but I never knew her. My dad is a regular mortal, so he was no good in teaching me. But I’ve got it under control, or… I will.”

Leda picked up a spoon and poured a healthy dose of a liquid on to it. She decided to drop the topic of magical control for now, but she kept the thought at the back of her mind for a later discussion. They were not done talking about this. The girl would have to learn to control her powers.

“Okay, young lady. Time for your medicine.”

“But you just healed me,” Eylion said, wrinkling her nose.

“I healed your bones. Your body is still seriously fatigued. Now, be a good girl and swallow this.”

“But…”

“No use arguing, I will get you to take it one way or another.” She raised an eyebrow, showing Eylion that she meant business. “Now open up.”

Eylion reluctantly opened her mouth and let Leda spoon-feed her the medicine. It tasted horrible!

“Ewww… yuck! What the hell is that?”

“That is a secret.” Leda winked at her. “But it will make you feel a lot better in a bit.”

“Thanks.” Eylion jumped off the table and landed in front of Leda. “I should get going. Thanks for patching me up.”

“I don’t think you should leave just yet. Your body is seriously low on energy. It needs time to recuperate.”

“I’ll be fine,” Eylion said, dismissing her worries. “I have to go.”

“Hmm… I don’t know.” Leda was concerned. She knew she couldn’t force the girl to stay, but she didn’t think she should let her go. “Is there anyone I can get for you?”

“No.”

“Nobody?”

“I haven’t got nobody.”

“You mean you haven’t got anyone.”

“That’s what I said.”

“But…” Leda looked at her sceptically. “Everyone’s got someone.”

Eylion gave her a look as if she felt sorry for her, and she shook her head. “That is a very naive thought,” she said, smiling weakly. She gave a big yawn and rubbed her eyes. She felt dizzy.

“Okay, you know what. You’re staying, you have to rest,” Leda said, concerned.

“I can rest when I’m dead. I need to get to the forest. I already lost a lot of time.”

“Why? What are you doing there?”

“Someone told me they need workers hauling trees. I can use my magic.”

“Didn’t you just hear me? Your energy is seriously low. Your magic will not be any good. You just suffered an injury; you can’t haul anything.”

“But I must. I need that job. Nobody in the village will hire me. I know they’ll find me useful once they see that I can utilise my magic.”

“But you can’t control your magic,” Leda argued, and she almost winced at the look the younger woman gave her. She knew she had struck a nerve. She sighed. “Why? Why would a young witch like you be so desperate to haul trees in the woods?”

“It… it’s personal.”

“Is it about money?”

“Why would you just jump to that conclusion?” she said, defensively. She frowned, lines forming on her forehead. She looked proud and unyielding like a rock.

“Well, I can only assume that it is. Why else would someone be so eager to haul tree in the forest? And you are in no fit state to do that kind of work.”

Eylion looked down at her feet, and her eyes started to glaze over. Leda looked down at the girl, with a pained expression.

“Why do you need to go today? Why can it not wait?”

“I… I need to make some money to pay our landlord.”

“Our?”

“I live with my dad. But he’s disappeared, and the landlord gave me until Sunday to come up with the rent.” Her voice cracked a bit as she said this, and she could feel tears running down her face. She hated crying in front of others, and she tried frantically to wipe the tears away.

“Where was your father going?” Leda asked, with a concerned look.

“I don’t know. He usually comes and goes. It is not unusual for him to be gone for days, but he’s been gone for two weeks. He usually gives me the money we need for rent and food before he leaves. The rest he usually spends on alcohol. I think that is why he leaves because he doesn’t want me to see him like that.” She yawned. She was so tired. “People in the village says he probably took off, leaving me, but I don’t believe that. They don’t know him as I do. ”

Leda thought for a moment.

“Tell you what, you can work for me. I’ll front the money, and I’ll pay your landlord tomorrow morning.”

“Really?” Eylion eyes went wide. “But… what can I do for you?”

“Oh, I’m sure I’ll find a use for you. This is a rather big house, you know. There are plenty of chores you can do for me.” She pushed the younger woman’s chin up with her index finger so that she looked straight into her eyes. “But be warned, I have rules, and you will obey me in this house. Understood?”

Eylion nodded. “Yes, ma’am.”

The truth was that Leda really didn’t need any help. Any chore she would be able to do with magic, but she knew the girl would never accept the money as a gift, no matter how insignificant the sum was to a wealthy person like Leda. At least this way, the girl would stay put, so that Leda could make sure she healed properly, and she would be able to teach her how to control her powers. Leda would make sure that when Eylion left her house, she would know how to use her powers responsibly, and she would have useful skills any witch should have. It would probably take a couple of weeks, but she felt determined. Leda was up for the challenge.

To be continued…

 

Gwen and Aisling – When Lovers Match

Alexis rummaged through her potion cabinet looking for the ingredients she needed. What was usually a well-organised cabinet looked like a mess. She made an annoyed noise as she took out a bag of dried chickweed placed next to some pumpkin seeds. “What is this doing in the seed shelf?” she grunted, as she replaced it in the right section. This was extremely annoying, and she knew who to blame. Gwen knew perfectly well that each ingredient should be shelved according to category, and that they should be placed in alphabetical order. It was not that difficult!
“Oh, frog spawn!! Where’s the fireweed?” She continued going through her potion ingredients, reorganising, until she came up with a list of missing ingredients. She then went outside where she found her apprentice working in the garden.

“Gwen, you’re in big trouble!” She raised her voice as she approached the younger woman. She came to a holt in front of her, folding her arms.

“Huh?”

Gwen was sitting on her knees in the herb garden, wearing a wide brimmed sun hat. She turned around and looked up at her mentor. She squinted her eyes as her hat fell off, holding up her arm to cover her eyes from the sun. “What do you mean? I’m doing my chores like you told me.”

“You know you’re supposed to let me know if you notice we’re running short on ingredients.”

“Oh… yes.” Gwen scratched her nose nervously, smudging her nose with dirt. “I forgot to tell you. We’re out of bindweed, hemlock, mandrake and chicory.”

“Yes! And fireweed, and curly dock! We’re missing a lot of ingredients, and you know mandrakes have to be picked at full moon.”

“I know, I’m sorry,” Gwen excused herself. “But it’s full moon tonight, we can get the mandrake then.”

“Well, I can’t tonight,” Alexis said, annoyed. “The order is having an important council meeting. The conflict with some of the vampire clans have become critical, and Kendra Onbush is not being helpful! I’m starting to think she doesn’t want peace.” She shook her head disapprovingly, thinking about her fellow order member. “I’ll just have to borrow some ingredients from Andromeda, which means I have to go earlier than I had originally planned.”

Gwen got up, brushed her hands off on her shorts and gave her mentor a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry, Alexis, I can collect some tonight. I know where to…”

“Absolutely not!” Alexis cut her off, and her worried expression suddenly looked really stern. “You will do no such thing. Not by yourself at full moon.”

“But… come on, I’ll be perfectly safe,” Gwen argued, a bit taken aback by her mentors reaction.

“I said no, Gwen. Did you not just hear what I said? The situation with the vampires has become critical, and you know werewolves head for the forest during full moon.”

Gwen sighed. She hated when Alexis babied her like this. She was thirty-one-years-old, and Alexis had promised her that she was almost done with her apprenticeship. She should loosen up on the restrictions.

“I can ask Leda if she can go with me,” she suggested, knowing that her Alexis would feel better about it if she knew Leda was there to protect her.

“She’s busy tonight. She has a guest from the North.”

“From the North? As in THE North?”

“Yes, you’ll get to meet her one of these days, but she just arrived this morning, and so Leda will not be able to go with you. It’ll just have to wait.”

“But…”

“Gwen…” Alexis’s tone was dangerously low. “I will not repeat myself…”

Gwen sighed.  “Fine.”

*

Later that evening, Alexis stood in the entrance hall all dressed up for a formal meeting. She wore her black cloak, her new, pointy hat, and leather boots she had made Gwen polish for her as punishment. She was looking very smart, indeed. She straightened her hat in front of the mirror and grabbed her trusty old broom that was leaning up against the wall.

“Alright, I think I am ready to go. Finish your chores, and don’t stay up too late. I don’t know when I will be back. I might spend the night somewhere else.”

“Spending the night where?”

“Just… just somewhere,” Alexis said, blushing. Actually blushing! “You know, just in case it gets really late and I need a bed for the night.”

“Would this bed come with a wizard?”

“Gwen!” Alexis gave her apprentice a quick smack to the backside.

“Ow! Okay, okay, I won’t pry,” Gwen said, grinning as she rubbed the sting out of her bottom.

“I will be off now.” Alexis pulled Gwen close and gave her a kiss on the forehead. “Be good, and don’t go anywhere. It’ll get dark soon, and you’re not going out on your own.”

“No, of course not, because I’m just a child,” Gwen said sarcastically.

“It has nothing to do with being a child, missy. I know you are getting older, and you’re almost done with your apprenticeship, but these are scary times. I want you to be safe.”

Being over 200-years-old, Alexis might be a little overprotective towards her 31-year-old apprentice. It wasn’t that she didn’t think Gwen capable, it was just that she was so young. She was a skilled witch, but she was a bit brash, and she lacked the wisdom that came with age and experience. Gwen had always been very spontaneous, and it had been hard work teaching her that not everything can be done on a whim. Sometimes, the younger woman needed to be protected from herself! She pulled Gwen into a long hug.

“Promise to be safe, Gwen.”

“I promise,” Gwen promised. She freed herself from her mentors embrace. “Now, you get going so I can get started on all my mischief.”

“Very funny, missy.”

Alexis blew her a kiss before she opened the front-door and stepped outside. Gwen followed her and watched as her mentor mounted her broom and kicked off from the ground. She watched her for a while as she gradually became a small, black dot in the distance. Then she went back inside and stood in the hallway, not sure what to do now that she was all on her own.

“Now what?” she mumbled to herself. Her eyes landed on her on her own broom in the corner of the room, and her herb-picking basket. She looked out the window and saw that it was still light out, if only for a short while.

She had promised Alexis to stay safe, and she intended to keep that promise, but Alexis had said she was worried about vampires and werewolves, and they only came out when it was dark. It was still light out. She could gather some of the ingredients that did not have to be picked at a certain time. It was only the mandrake that needed to be picked under the light of the full moon.

“Gwen, what are you doing?” she reprimanded herself, as her hand was moving towards her broomstick. “She said not to leave the house.” She pulled her hand back, trying to resist, but eventually she lost her inner battle and grabbed it anyway.
“She said to be safe,” she reminded herself. “And I will be perfectly safe as long as I leave the forest before dark,” she concluded. “Even if I don’t I will be able to defend myself.”

She got her broom and hurried out the door before she could change her mind. She kicked off the ground, and flew towards the forest, waving at their neighbour as she passed her in the air. Damn, she thought. I hope she doesn’t mention seeing me to Alexis.

*

Fifteen minutes later, Gwen landed gently on the forest floor. The last light of the day came through the branches, making the leaves look golden. In the distance, she saw two men. One of them was a tall and muscular man with dark hair cut short on the sides.  The other was slight and delicate. His features were more feminine, and his golden blond hair, was braided on one side of his head and pulled back in a ponytail. From their lack of magical energy, she immediately knew that they were mortals, and as she got closer to them, she recognised the taller of the two.

“Christophe, what are you doing in the forest this late?”

“Looking for a woman who wants to have a good time,” Christophe said, winking at Gwen.

“Sure, you were,” she said, knowing full well that Christophe was far from interested in the ladies. She raised her eyebrow, looking up at the tall, handsome youth, who in return grinned, looking down at her. Why was it so hard to boss taller people around? Alexis would have no problem. Had she been there, no doubt she could have grabbed Christophe’s ear and dragged him out of the forest, and he would have listened to her. He didn’t even take Gwen seriously, and she was older than him. She was older, and she had more power. His physique was nothing against her magic, and if she wasn’t safe in the forest at night, Christophe certainly was not. She looked to his partner, who responded with stepping a little behind Christophe’s tall frame. He, she was sure, would be easier to boss around.

“Look… I’m not going to comment on what you guys are up to in here, what you do is up to you, but it is not safe for mortals to be in the forest this late. Trust me.”

Christophe put his big arms around his partner and winked at her.

“Oh don’t worry, Gwennie, Eric will be perfectly safe with me, I’ll protect him from any monsters,” he said confidently. He was obviously not taking her seriously, nor was Eric, who laughed.

“Christophe, if you think you can protect him, or yourself, from a vampire or a werewolf, you’re even stupider than I thought.” She pointed to the village. “Get yourself out of here, before the vampires wake up tonight. They’re out of control lately. And it is full moon, you might meet a werewolf, and I am too busy to protect you.”

“Maybe we should listen to her,” Eric agreed, his voice small and frightened.

“Oh… alright.” Christophe kissed him deeply. He looked up at Gwen. “We’ll get out of here soon, witch girl, but we still have a little time left before it gets dark, and you can’t be here. I don’t perform well under a woman’s scrutiny.”

“Urgh…” Gwen grunted, disgusted. “Fine, but get out of here before it gets dark.”  She got on her broom and flew towards another part of the forest, where she knew she’d be able to find hemlock, and where she was not at risk of overhearing the male lovers.

*

As the darkness was setting, Gwen’s basket was getting full. She was quite happy with her findings, but she wasn’t sure how she would explain it to Alexis. Showing Alexis her harvested plants, would be admitting to leaving the house when she was told not to. She could hide them, she supposed, until she had prepared them for potion use. She would need to dry some of the plants. Then once they were ready for use she could say something like, “How strange! Alexis, look what I found hidden in the back of the cupboard!” That could work as long as she didn’t suddenly “find” all the missing ingredients she wasn’t supposed to have harvested by herself.
But there was another problem, their neighbour, Mrs. Finch  had flown by Gwen in the air as she was heading towards the forest. She couldn’t do anything but greet her like she normally would, she just hoped that Mrs. Finch didn’t mention it to Alexis. But then again, why would she? They met each other often enough, it wouldn’t be that out of the ordinary.

Gwen looked up at the sky above her where the full moon shimmered in the darkness. If she didn’t pick mandrake tonight, she would have to wait a whole month for another chance. “I’m not too far from the cliff,” she muttered to herself. “I could just pick them really quickly and then get on my broom and be on my way.”

*

“Hello?”

Alexis came inside, and placed her broom up against the wall. She really should have put it in the broom shed outside, but she always forgot. She shut the door rather forcefully.

“Gwen? Hello?”

She called for her apprentice again, annoyed. She told herself not to take her mood out on Gwen, it wasn’t her fault she was annoyed. She was annoyed with the order, more specifically with Kendra Onbush. The idiotic woman had cancelled the meeting, and somehow managed to tell everyone but Alexis. Part of her suspected it was on purpose. Alexis had showed up to an empty hall. Only the caretaker was there to inform her the meeting had been cancelled days ago. Days ago! How could she not have been informed?

“Gwen? I’m back, the meeting was cancelled. That featherbrain, Kendra, notified everyone except me.”

She frowned and stood still for a while, listening for Gwen. The house was completely silent. That was odd. There was no way Gwen would have gone to bed this early.

“Gwen?”

Alexis reached out with both of her hands and searched the house for the magical presence of another witch, but she didn’t feel anything. Gwen was definitely not in the house. She suddenly felt a panic in her stomach, mixed with anger.

“That little…”

She felt herself breathing a little too quickly, and took a deep breath, trying to prevent herself from having a panic attack. She tried to cast a communication spell, but it failed. That meant that Gwen was too far away for her to get in touch with her magically. Had she been with Leda, she would have been able to reach her. Her suspicions seemed very likely at this point, and if Gwen had done what she thought she had done, she could be in a lot of danger.

Alexis grabbed her broom and ran out of the house. She was about to kick off from the ground when she spotted her neighbour, Mrs. Finch.

“Alice, have you seen Gwen? I can’t find her, ” she asked, hoping for good news.

“We flew by each other a little over an hour ago. She was heading towards the forest.”

Alexis swore.

“Is something wrong?”

“She wanted to harvest some herbs, but I told her to stay put. The order has had some trouble with the vampire clans lately,” she explained. “And it is full moon, so the werewolves will be out.”

“Oh dear, I didn’t know about that,” Mrs. Finch, replied looking worried. “And she was all by herself.”

“I’ll summon some help and go look for her. Will you keep an eye out for her here, in case she comes back?”

“Of course.”

“Thank you, Alice.”

She closed her eyes, and tried to focus as she cast another communication spell. This time her target was Leda. A glowing ball of smoke formed in front of her and Leda’s outline appeared in the middle.

“Leda?”

“Alexis?”

“Gwen is not home. I need help finding her.”

“What?!” Leda sounded shocked.

“Mrs. Finch said she saw her flying towards the forest.”

“Is she mad? What about the vampires? And werewolves! It’s full moon!”

“That is exactly why I told her she was not allowed to go out. She’s probably going to the cliff to pick mandrakes under the full moon. You’re closer to the forest than me, will you and Aisling please hurry to the cliff and look for her?”

“Yes, of course, right away.”

“Thank you.” Alexis felt her voice break. “I’ll be there as soon as I can. I just hope… I mean… the forest is not safe right now…”

“Alexis, we’ll find her. I’m leaving now.”

“Yes, go.”

She cancelled her spell, mounted her broom, and kicked off the ground. Flying as fast as her broom would allow, she whispered, “Please, Gwen, please be alright.”

*

Meanwhile, near the cliff, Gwen had found plenty of mandrakes. The conditions for harvesting were perfect, and they would be optimal for potion brewing. She was really glad she decided to risk getting them. Content with her findings, she was on all four, carefully cutting the mandrakes so she got as much of the stem as possible. She didn’t really notice the shadow of a person on the ground before her, until she heard the crack of a twig behind her. She turned her head and saw two feet on the ground nearby, and she felt a chill running down her spine.
Looking up she saw a male vampire, teeth fully extended. His glowing red eyes told her that he killed his victims.

“Eh… hi…” she said, nervously. She hoped he had fed enough, but his hungry look gave her a weird feeling. “How are you doing?”

“Thuuuper,” he said, lisping around his teeth. “I’m vewy thiwsty.”

How very undignified. What self-respecting vampire would have a fang-lisp? His maker clearly hadn’t taught him vampire etiquette.

Gwen quickly got up and faced the vampire, glaring.

“If you’re thirsty, you’ve come to the wrong place,” she said, sharply. “I’m not letting you drink from me.”

“I wasn’t athking permithion, girly.”

Before she could react he leapt towards her, his right hand gripping her upper arm, tight, while his left hand pulled her hair, so her neck bent, exposing it to him. Gwen, panicking, tried to cast a spell, but it fizzled out almost at once. Realising she might not be able to use her magic against him, she screamed and tried to shove him away. It felt like pushing a big rock. It was true that witches were, theoretically, much more powerful than any vampire, but that was only true if she used her powers against him. Physically, a vampire was a lot stronger and faster, and Gwen’s magic seemed to fail her in this panicked state.

“Let go!” she yelled, which was probably the least productive thing she had thought of so far. At this point, hoping that the vampire had any qualms about feeding from an unwilling victim was silly. Even if this creature had any sense of right and wrong, being this close, and having taken in her scent, he would probably be acting on instinct by now.

She screamed again as she kneed him in the crotch. The vampire shrieked and burst into flames. Standing back, Gwen looked at him in shock. How the hell did she do that?

“Are you okay?”

Gwen turned around and saw a witch standing near by, holding a broom stick. She was very tall, with blue eyes and long blond hair.

“Did you do that?”

“Yes,” she said, giving Gwen a smile. “Unfortunately, a kick to the balls is not going to cause a vampire to burst into flames.”

Gwen blushed.

“I know… I just… I didn’t see you before.”

The blonde came closer to her, her eyes scanning Gwen, looking for injuries.

“Are you sure you are alright? Did he manage to bite you at all?”

“No, but it was a close one.” Gwen’s hand rubbed over her neck, the knowledge of what could have happened sinking in. “Thanks… eh… I’m sorry I didn’t catch your name.”

“Aisling.”

“Aisling,” Gwen repeated, smiling a little. She found herself lost in her beautiful blue eyes.

“And you’re Gwen, right?”

“What?” Gwen asked, freeing herself from the beautiful woman’s spell. “I mean… How do you know my name?”

“Alexis, you mentor, asked Leda and I to help looking for you.”

“Alexis sent you? But… but I thought she was at a meeting.”

“It got cancelled.”

“So she knows I left the house?”

“I’m afraid so.”

“Oh no…”Gwen said, horrified. “She’ll kill me.”

Aisling raised her eyebrow sternly. “At this point, I think you should be glad the vampire didn’t kill you! Alexis won’t kill you, but sitting might be uncomfortable in near future. What were you thinking doing something so irresponsible as this?”

Gwen looked down ashamed.

“I… I thought….” she fiddled with her hands. “I didn’t think any creature would dare attack a witch.”

“Well, that was foolish of you, and naive too!” Aisling shook her head. “A witch’s arrogance can be her downfall.”

“I really messed up,” Gwen mumbled, feeling very sorry for herself.

“Yes, you did.”

“And now, Alexis will be mad at me.”

“Can you blame her?” Aisling asked.

Gwen shook her head, looking depressed, and taking pity on her, Aisling reached for her hand.

“Come on, let’s get your out of here.”

At her touch, Gwen felt a peculiar sensation running through her fingers. It went up her arm and spread to the rest of her body . It was like a shock, but it wasn’t unpleasant. It was a warm energy that went through her. She looked up at Aisling surprised, and she could tell from the other woman’s expression that she had felt something too. Looking puzzled, she was about to say something, but just in that moment they heard someone shouting something above them. They looked up at the night sky and saw two glowing lights coming nearer. Alexis and Leda, both flying on a broom each came soaring towards them.

“Uh oh…”

Alexis almost crash-landed to the ground, dropped her broom, and hurried over to Gwen and put her arms around her.

“Thank, goodness, you’re alright.”

Leda stood next to Aisling, looking at her with disapproval. “Gwen, you little idiot,” she said, crossly. “When will you grow up and be responsible? Something could have happened.”

“Something did happen,” Aisling added, pointing to the smoking remains of the vampire.

“Aisling saved me,” Gwen said into Alexis’s cloak. She managed to release herself from her mentor’s, bone crushing embrace. “I’m sorry, Alexis. You were right.” She looked down, ashamed. “I wasn’t safe on my own, and I wasn’t able to protect myself when I got in danger. If Aisling hadn’t come…” She shuddered.

“Gwen…” Alexis’s voice sounded low and dangerous. “You promised me.”

“I know…”

“You promised you would be safe. You promised you wouldn’t leave the house.”

Gwen’s heart sunk at the disappointment in her voice.

“I was only going to gather some of the herbs before the sun went down completely, I hadn’t planned to come out here… not really…”

“Yet here we are!” Alexis’s scolding tone made Gwen flinch. The older woman folded her arms and gave her apprentice a look that told her she was in very big trouble. “Why do you think I told you to stay put, Gwen? I knew once you got to the forest, you would be tempted to stay on after it got dark, your arrogance and naivety would make sure of that.”

Gwen felt tears pressing. She nodded sadly.

“Honestly, girl, sometimes I suspect you think that witches are indestructible. Just because we can live for a very long time doesn’t mean that it is guaranteed. We can die Gwen, you are not immortal.”

“I know,” Gwen said,  her voice breaking. Tears started to run down her cheek. She always pretended like Alexis’s anger was what she was afraid of, but it wasn’t. Disappointing her was what she hated the most, and Alexis was very disappointed in her.

“Do you? Do you really?”

Gwen nodded. “I’m sorry.”

“Oh, you will be, my girl. You will be. ” Alexis pulled up the sleeves of her cloak. “I almost lost you today, Gwen. And for what? Some stupid potion ingredients?” She grabbed Gwen’s arm, hard. “You will learn to obey me, young lady. How can I let you finish your apprenticeship when you’re still putting yourself at risk like this?”

She dragged Gwen over to a fallen log and sat down.

“What are you doing,” Gwen asked, hoping the answer wouldn’t be what she thought.

“You are getting a spanking, young lady.”

Before Gwen could react, Alexis hauled the younger witch over her lap.

“Not here. Not now.”

“I decided when and where, missy, and right here and right now suits me fine.”

“But… but…”

“The only butt you need to worry about is your own, young lady:”

Gwen looked up, and when her eyes met with Aisling’s blue, she quickly looked down in shame. Great, Gwen thought, I just got rescued by the sexiest woman alive, and Alexis is going to spank me in front of her!
    If it had just been Leda, she would have been okay. Well, she still would have tried to get out of it, but it wouldn’t have been that humiliating. Leda had seen her get spanked before, in fact, Leda had even spanked her herself! But Aisling? Gwen had only known her for ten minutes,  but when she touched her it was like fireworks went off inside her, and she wanted to get to know her a little better. Now that would all be ruined. Talk about a bad first impression!

“Alexis,” Gwen pleaded. “Can’t we do this at home?”

Alexis responded by giving her a sharp smack to the backside.

“Ouch…. ouch…” She bit her teeth together.

Who was she kidding anyway? Why would Aisling be interested in a brat like her? Even if she wasn’t about to get her backside roasted properly in front of her, would she even have a chance? Probably not. The beautiful blonde was way out of her league.

“I am very upset with you, young lady,” Alexis said, taking a deep breath. “I’m surprised that I am calm enough to deal with you right now. I should be screaming my head off at your stupidity.”

“Why aren’t you?”

“Because I am so relieved to find you alive.”

“Oh…”

“Yes, oh.” She gave Gwen’s backside another smack, causing her to wince. “But you have crossed the line. Crossed it by miles, in fact. You broke your promise to me,  you betrayed my trust, and you put yourself in serious danger.”

“I’m sorry. I really am.”

“Yes, I know you are, but that is not enough. You really did it this time, missy. You need a lesson.”

She pulled down Gwen’s shorts, revealing her cotton panties which she pulled down to her mid-thigh before she started spanking her in earnest. She was firm from the start determined to teach her apprentice a lesson. It was important that Gwen pulled herself together. Her apprenticeship was coming to an end, and although Alexis was determined to keep an eye on her for years to come, it was almost time to loosen up on the rules. She had to, but how could she do that when Gwen was still so wilful at times? Alexis worried for her, knowing that once Gwen’s apprenticeship was over she wouldn’t be considered a witchling anymore, and she would be expected to act responsibly.

Gwen winced and whimpered with the crisp spanks from her mentor’s unforgiving hand. When Alexis had pulled her over her lap, all she could think of was what Aisling would think seeing her corrected in this way, but Alexis’s repeated swats to her rear quickly distracted her from that thought. Now she was squirming over her mentors lap and her cotton panties were sliding down her thighs. Every now and then she’d look up at Leda, but the older witch, who was almost like Gwen’s older sister, kept her arms folded, watching with a stern expression. Apparently, Alexis was not the only one disappointed with her.

“I just can’t believe you would do this,” Alexis scolded, emphasising each word with an extra hard swat.

“I just wanted to replace the ingredients,” Gwen excused herself, trying to cover her bottom with her hand. Alexis grabbed it and pinned it behind her back. “If I didn’t get the mandrakes today, we would have to wait a whole month for another chance.”

“And some stupid mandrakes are more important than your safety? I told you, Gwen, I could borrow some of Andromeda. Why would you risk your life like this?”

“I thought I would be fine. I didn’t think anyone would try to attack a witch.”

“But I told you that these are special times. There is a conflict going on, and there are vampires out there that would attack you because they knew you were a witch.”

“But I thought I could protect myself,” Gwen whined.

“Well, you couldn’t, could you? You’ve never been real danger before, Gwen, you had no way of knowing how you would react.” Alexis gave her two swats causing Gwen to whimper. “Well, now you know. Some witches, you included, completely lose their heads when they panic, and they and are unable to cast powerful spells.”

Alexis took a break and rubbed Gwen’s now red bottom for a bit.

“You’re old enough to know that when I say no, it is not because I enjoy it.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

“I worry for you. I care so much about you it hurts to even imagine the world without you. I love you, Gwendolyn.”

“Thanks,” Gwen sniffed. “So… if you love me, does that the spanking is over?”

Alexis slapped Gwen’s bottom, hard. “Not a chance. You have not yet learned your lesson.”

“My butt hurts.”

“Love hurts.”

Alexis gently tapped Gwen’s bottom.

“Get up,” she ordered.

Confused, Gwen stood up. Intentionally ignoring Aisling and Leda, whom had been watching the entire time, she rubbed her bottom while giving her mentor the puppy-dog eyes.

“Don’t give me the eyes, honey, you know I’m immune.” She put her hand into the pocket of her cloak and pulled out a silver knife she usually used for gathering herbs.

“What… what are you doing?” Gwen asked, nervously.

Alexis took hold of the blade and held out the knife to Gwen.

“You’re going to cut yourself switch. It seemed fitting seeing as we’re in the forest.”

“No… no…” Gwen shook her head, horrified. She had been switched before, but it had been a long time. “Alexis, please… not in front of…”

Not in front of Aisling, she wanted to say. Leda had seen her switched before. Andromeda, Leda’s former mentor, had taken a switch to her after Gwen had pushed Leda into a pond. It was over ten years ago, but Gwen still felt Leda had it coming. Andromeda had not been of that opinion, and she had placed one foot on a tree stump and hauled Gwen over her knee for a thorough walloping. Alexis, who, like always, had agreed with Andromeda, had sent her straight to bed when she came home that night.

“Now, Gwen.” Alexis pointed at a tree near by. She was losing her patience.

Gwen finally did as she was told, conscious of Leda and Aisling’s eyes following her. She knew that Alexis would make her get another if she didn’t get a good enough switch. She cut a long, flexible rod, and as soon as it was cut, it flew towards Alexis. She caught in her outstretched hand. Looking at Gwen, she pointed at the log she had been sitting on.

“Bend over,” she ordered.

Pouting, Gwen did as she was told. She then rested the switch on Gwen’s already stinging bottom. It was just the right length for it to cover both of Gwen’s cheeks. She raised the switch and brought it down with medium strength, starting out carefully, monitoring Gwen’s reaction to the implement. Twack!

“Owwwiee….”

Gwen, let out a little whimper and squirmed a little, but Alexis knew that she could use a little bit more force.

Twack! Twack! Twack!

“Ah…. I’m sorry…. I’m sorry,” she pleaded.

Gwen wiggled her bottom as if trying to shake out the pain. Alexis could see red welts forming where the switch had hit, but she wasn’t quite done yet.

“You should be,” Alexis lectured sternly. “‘I’ve told you time and time again that my rules are for your safety and well-being. It has nothing to do with treating you like child. I will have no more of this nonsense from you, do you hear me?”

Twack!

“Ow! Yes, I’ll be good.”

Alexis gave her apprentice another dozen licks with the switch, before she threw it on the ground. She traced her fingers over the marks on Gwen’s bottom. They were red, but they weren’t too bad.

“Have you learned your lesson, little witch?”

“Yes, I really have,” Gwen promised, still bent over, waiting for permission to get up.

“Get up,” Alexis said, giving her bottom a gentle pat. “Come here.”

She opened her arms and Gwen met her embraced.

“Never do anything like this again!” Alexis said, holding her apprentice tight.

“Never,” Gwen mumbled into her shoulder. “I promise.”

“We should get going.” Leda stepped forward. She still looked disapproving at Gwen. “It’s getting late.”

“Alexis… could we… emh…” Gwen looked at her mentor frowning.

“What, honey?”

“Could we walk home? I don’t feel like sitting on a broom.”

There was a snort from Aisling, and Gwen glared at her.

“Well… I suppose, since we’re four grown witches, that would be safe.”

“She should be made to sit on her broom home,” Leda pointed out, raising her eyebrow. “It’s her own fault for being so stupid!”

“I’m the mentor here, Leda, not you,” Alexis pointed out. “Gwen has received her punishment, but that switch still has a few licks left in it if you would like to discuss this further.” She gave the younger witch a warning look. Leda might not be an apprentice anymore, but Alexis had known her since she was just a witchling, and Leda knew very well that Alexis would follow through on her threat if she didn’t watch out.

Taken aback, Leda could only try to stutter out a reply.  “I… I… that’s…” She sighed heavily.  “No, we’ll walk,” she mumbled.

“Good.” Alexis smiled. “Let’s get going.”

*

As they walked through the forest, Leda took the lead wanting to get home as soon as possible. Alexis walked in the back looking out for any possible threats. Aisling walked next to Gwen. In the beginning they didn’t say anything. Gwen was embarrassed, and Aisling wanted to give her some time; however, after a while, she decided Gwen had had enough time to regain her pride.

“How are you doing?” she asked her, giving Gwen a smile.

Keeping her eyes locked on the ground before her, Gwen asked, “You still want to talk to me after…”

“After what…” Aisling required, with a mischievous smirk.

Gwen gave her a look. Aisling knew perfectly well what she meant.

“Oh, you mean after you got walloped?”

“I’m so embarrassed,” Gwen said, quietly.

“Don’t be.” Aisling winked at her. “I wanted to talk to you about…” she began to say, but just then they heard a blood-curling shriek from Leda.

“Come quick!” She called for them and pointed at something on the ground in front of her.

“Is that…” Gwen started, not able to finish her sentence.

“I think it’s a body,” Aisling said, horrified.

Gwen hurried over to the figure of a man, lying on the ground. Eric, the beautiful, blond youth, Christophe had brought with him to the forest, lay still on the ground, his pale lifeless face was lit up by the moon light.

“Oh no!” Gwen gasped as she got nearer. “He’s dead.” She felt sick as she saw the body on the ground before her. His abdomen was ripped open, and entrails were handing out. “I told them to get out,” she said quietly.

“You know him?” Alexis asked, placing her arm around her apprentice’s waist.

“No. Well, he’s Christophe’s boyfriend. I told them the forest wasn’t safe for mortals at night. I told them to leave before it got dark.” She suddenly felt her stomach dropped as realisation hit her. “Christophe… where…. where is he?”

She looked around for any trace of the other man, when they heard a weak noise near by. About ten meters away, behind a large tree trunk, they found him lying on the ground, bloody and injured. His eyes were wide open, and he was wheezing, not able to produce proper sound. Blood was dribbling from his mouth, and he too had an opened gut.

“Definitely the work of a werewolf,” Aisling said, quietly so the man on the ground wouldn’t hear.

“You mean, he’ll come back as a werewolf?” Gwen asked, hoping he would. If she came back as a wolf, he would at least be alive, and then they could figure out how to control him during full moon.

“Not a chance,” Leda shot in. “He’ll die, just like his friend.”

Gwen whimpered. She looked helplessly at her mentor, her eyes pleading. Alexis shook her head at her, looking serious.

“Honey, this is beyond the healing powers of a witch. We can’t save him.”

“But…”

“Had he been one of us, maybe, but he’s mortal, Gwen. His body is beyond repair.”

Gwen gave a sob, and the tears that had been pressing suddenly all came out. Alexis put her arms around her and held her tight.

“It might not be too late,” said a voice behind them.

They all turned to see who the newcomer was. A woman came out of the darkness of the forest. Her skin was white as snow, her hair was platinum blond, and her blue eyes glowed in the darkness. She was truly, the most formidable vampire Gwen had ever seen.

“Hello, Gaia,” Alexis greeted, nodding at the vampire. She did not feel threatened. Gaia was leader of one of the more peaceful clans in the area. The vampire was immensely old, and had known many conflicts. She had been through too much to be dragged into what she considered to be a trivial conflict.

“I can save him.”

“You think it is a good idea to create another child right now, with everything that is going on.”

“He could be part of the solution. I sense leadership in him,” the vampire said calmly. “I will of course not make him my son without his permission.” She approached the dying man, who fought just to breathe. “What say you, mortal, do you want to live forever?”

Everyone looked at Christophe, who could not nothing but slowly give a nod in reply.

“There you have it,” Gaia said, smiling at the others. “Now, you must leave us. The creation of a child is very private. I need to drain him and give him some of my own blood. Then I will lay him to rest in my crypt and he will rise from the dead in three days.”

Gwen shivered at the thought, glad she did not have to witness it. She took one last look at Christophe, hoping the transition would work and that the next time she saw him he wouldn’t be too different.

“Leave now,” Gaia said, pointing to the edge of the forest. “We don’t have much time.”

“Let’s go,” Alexis ordered, and together they hurried out of the forest. Once they were out, Leda and Aisling said their goodbyes and got on their brooms, and Alexis and Gwen continued on foot back to their cottage.

*

The next morning Gwen came into the kitchen and found Aisling by the kitchen table drinking tea.

“Eh… hi,” Gwen said, surprised to see her this early in the morning.

“Good morning,” Aisling said smiling. “Alexis invited us over for breakfast.

“Oh.” Gwen looked down at her bare legs. She wore only a short nightgown. “Where is she?”

“She’s showing Leda something in the yard.”

“About last night,” Gwen began.

“You mean when your mentor whooped you…”

“No!” Gwen said, sharply, cutting her off. She gave Aisling a glare, but she smiled a little, letting her know she was forgiven. “What I meant was… last night, before Leda and Alexis came. There was a moment, when you touched my hand.” Gwen held up her hand, examining her fingers. “I felt something. It was warm and it shot trough my fingers… and…”

“And spread through your entire body?” Aisling got up from the table and approached Gwen. She put her hands around her waist and pulled her closer.

“Yes,” Gwen confessed, shyly.

“I felt it too,” Aisling said, gently.

“What does it mean? I’ve never heard of anything like it.”

“I have,” Aisling whispered into her ear. “It’s really rare.”

“Tell me,” Gwen demanded.

“It’s a magical connection. It means we are meant to be together. Forever.”

“Really?”

“I’m sure you have heard of love at first sight,” Aisling said. She came closer, kissing her neck.

“Uh huh.” Gwen closed her eyes at the sensation. She could feel Aisling’s breath on her neck, and she could smell the sweet scent of tea.

“It’s sort of like that. Sometimes, when two magical beings that are a perfect match for each other touch for the first time, their magical energy reaches out for each other and fuses for a brief moment, bonding them forever.”

“You make it sound like we are married.”

Aisling kissed Gwen’s lips softly.

“We sort of are,” she said, smiling at her. “Perhaps not legally, but we are bonded for life. Your magic sort of mated with mine.”

Aisling drew back and studied Gwen closely.

“Do you mind? I don’t think I have ever heard of anyone who have been unhappy with this connection before. That’s kind of the point. It’s a perfect match.”

Gwen shook her head.

“I don’t. I… well, this is going to sound crazy,” Gwen hesitated. “But… I think… I think I love you. I know it’s a little… well… it’s a little early. I just met you last night, but I feel it.” She touched her heart. “I feel it in here, and I just know I care for you. I think I felt it before we even touched.”

“Me too” Aisling said, kissing her again.

“Good, because I really thought that Alexis ruined my chances with you.”

Aisling chuckled.

“I can’t believe she spanked me in front of you,” Gwen said, blushing. “I’m so embarrassed.”

“Don’t be,” Aisling said, giving her a smile. “You have a very cute bottom.”

“Hey!”

“Well… a woman wants to see the goods before she commits herself. Though it is true we were bonded before that happened.”

Gwen gave her a playful shove.

“She was pretty mad.”

“Yes,” Aisling said, giving her a serious look. “But even worse than that, she was really scared. Terrified even.”

“I know… I shouldn’t have broken my promise. I guess, I kind of deserved some kind of consequence.”

“You needed a consequence. You know that, don’t you?”

Gwen blushed, embarrassed. There was something about Aisling that made her want to better herself.

Aisling gently held Gwen’s chin between her thumb and her index finger, and then she pushed her chin up so her eyes met with hers.

“Something tells me that you need someone to keep you in line sometimes.”

“Maybe…”

“If I hadn’t just met you, I would tan you backside myself.”

“Really?”

“Gwen, you put yourself in serious danger. You’re much too important to do that. Don’t you know that?”

Aisling bent down and kissed Gwen softly on her lips.

“Gwen… I…” she hesitated. “I want to be that person for you,” she whispered into her ear. “I think you need someone to keep you in line once in a while, and I have always pictured myself… you know… being more dominant in a relationship.”

Gwen found this conversation oddly titillating. Why did she feel a tingling sensation down below when Aisling talked about keeping her in line?

“Have you been dominant in previous relationships?”

“I haven’t really been in relationships. Not really. I’m not going to lie and say I have never been with other women, because I have, but it wasn’t true love-making. It was just pleasure.”

“I understand,” Gwen said, smiling at her. Of course, someone as beautiful as Aisling had been with other women. Who wouldn’t want her for pleasure?!

“I have spanked quite a few women too. Sometime they needed discipline, sometimes they wanted it for pleasure.”

Gwen eyes widened.

“P—puh…pleasure?” she stammered.

“Sure.” Aisling smiled. “It’s not just bad girls who get spanked, sometimes good girls want it too,” she teased. “Sometimes really good girls want to be treated like really bad girls, and I am happy to provide. You don’t have to break the rules to get my attention.” She leaned closer and whispered into Gwen’s ear. “I’ll call you my naughty girl whenever you want.”

Gwen swallowed nervously. She saw tiny little sparks come out of her fingertips as she lost control over her excitement. Aisling noticed and took Gwen’s hands in hers, intertwining fingers. The little sparks turned into a golden glow around their hands.

“I can tell you want this from me. We’re a perfect match.  Can you honestly tell me that you don’t crave that from me?”

“Aisling, I need you. I want you.”

“Even for discipline?”

Gwen felt Aisling’s lips brush against her cheek. She nodded.

“Ye… yes.” She looked deeply into Aisling’s blue eyes.  “But… right now, given recent events, I’m not so curious about that.”

Aisling chuckled.

“I think maybe you need to teach me about spanking for pleasure.”

“Do I?” Aisling raised her eye-brow, smiling seductively.

“Yes, please.”

“Well, that is a promise, darling,” she said, giving Gwen yet another soft kiss on the lips. She patted her gently on the bottom. “But I think, perhaps, you bottom needs to cool off a little first.”

“Probably a good idea,” Gwen said, rubbing her stinging rear.

“What is a good idea?” Alexis came into the room, looking suspicious.

“Eh…. nothing!”

“Uh huh…” Alexis raised her eyebrow suspiciously. “Don’t you get any ideas, miss. You’re going to be on your best behaviour from now on. I am still very cross with you.”

“I know, I’ll be good.” Gwen hugged her. “We were just talking about something…emh… something that happened before you arrived last night.”

“What?” Alexis looked from Gwen to Aisling. “What happened?”

“Out magic connected.”

“What?”

“Aisling grabbed my hand and I felt this shock, but it was nice. Like a warm energy that went through my fingers and spread through my body.”

“I felt the same thing,” Aisling added.

“You’re… you mean… you and my little witchling matched? As in you’re a love match? Connected for life?”

“Alexis…” Gwen sighed. “Don’t make a scene.”

Aisling looked nervous. “I didn’t mean to… it just happened.”

Alexis studied the two of them for a while, keeping them in suspense.

“Are you okay?” Gwen asked her, looking worried.

“Yes, I’m just…” Alexis smiled at her. “I’m just happy.”

Aisling let out a breath of relief.

“I’ve never heard of it before,” Gwen said. “Are you two sure it means what you think it means?”

Alexis and Aisling both nodded.

“What is going on in here?” Leda came into the room, no doubt feeling lonely in the kitchen by herself. “Anybody want to let me in on the conversation?”

“Their magic bonded,” Alexis said, wiping a tear from the corner of her eye.

“Really?” Leda’s eyes widened. “That’s great,” she said, smiling at Alexis. “Now you don’t have to worry about her anymore.”

Alexis stepped forward and embraced Gwen in a bone-crushing hug. She sobbed a little into her shoulder. Gwen looked thoroughly confused.

“What is this? Why would you be worried?”

“Because,” Alexis said, blowing her nose into a handkerchief. “Now I know that when you finish your apprenticeship, you’ll have someone to look after you.”

Leda nodded.

“And keep her in line!”