The Initiation of Lucy Potter
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly
Copyright 6180 SC
‘You are a bitch,’ said Geoffrey Archer. ‘My mother. When she was young, I thought her a saint. When she was old, I knew she was a bitch. Most women are bitches. Lucy. She is a saint.’
‘You don’t know me,’ interrupted Lucy.
‘Lucy, she is a saint,’ continued Geoffrey, unperturbed. ‘But you, Veronnica Bertinelli! You are the worst bitch this side of heaven. You are fowl, smelly, unhygienic, not of poor but of dreadful fashion sense. And I am Geoffrey the Malevolent, and I know bad fashion sense. You also are clearly hopeless at magic, have the weirdest wand I have ever seen, and mentioning smell again – it’s weird. It’s something weird, like a dead rat, which follows you around.’
‘I’ve noticed that too,’ said Lucy. ‘Didn’t want to say anything,’ she said carefully to Veronnica.
‘So, all things considered, upon your abysmal application to be part of our coven,’ said Geoffrey Archer the Malevolent, drawing himself up to his full ghastly height of 6 foot when you pushed him. ‘Please, feel right at home. It is a pleasure to have you.’
‘You won’t like Helga Schmidt,’ said Veronnica. ‘I asked for a recommendation, and they said you guys were just starting, but they have a certain Helga Schmidt in mind which they want to assign to this coven. And the order of black magic usually gets what it wants from all I’ve heard of it.’
‘There is a Warlock. Damiano Lopes. He is apparently a cousin, or second cousin, of someone dear to me. He has contacted me and expressed interest in joining our group,’ said Lucy.
‘5 is a good enough start,’ said Verronica. ‘And we can get on with some serious witchery.’
‘Yes,’ sighed Lucy Potter. ‘Some serious witchery.’
It had been a frightful few weeks. She had at last taken up the invitation of the order of black magic to make herself known, and she had spoken briefly in front of the cathedral, where two witches examined her, and said they would send people to help found the coven. And then she would be formally introduced personally, and then her coven, as it was clear Lucy was the head witch. And then Lucifer had dropped by, and asked for a bit of fun, and she kissed him, but they only went to a nearby swimming hole and had pizza. And then work started, for she really needed a permanent income, and it was gotten labouring in a chemical company, mixing reagents. It was bland and boring, but it paid the bills. And now, having started to get a handle on Joniquay life, and that big bossman Archangel Phanuel ran a tight ship, Lucy was warming to the fact that it was eternity before her now, by the looks of it, and a whole host of possibilities. A whole host of exciting, and brand new possibilities. Strange days indeed.
* * * * *
The valley was broad, and full of rocks jutting out, like spires, into the sky. Strange rocks, almost unnaturally formed. Lucy sat on her horse, riding steadily, her coven riding alongside.
'I know it looks green,' said Damiano. 'But imagine it harsh and unwelcoming. It is the usual way for this part of the world. A dark lord was slain, and it turned green again. But the curse remains, unless we can lift the shard from its resting place.'
'So the Order of Black Magic hands out quests every day?' queried Lucy. 'What, are they the head of the fighting fantasy department or something?'
'Very funny,' replied Damiano. 'This area of heaven I suppose is rife will all the wild creatures of the old world. Its their place of habitation. Where the creator sends them from the respite of muggle man. Common man who does not understand things weird and wonderful.'
'Indeed,' replied Lucy, urging her horse on through the rugged terrain. They'd flown many a mile from home, till they came to land at a port of what was apparently an unending world, the continent of 'Avalynn', the world of mystery of heaven. Dragons roamed here, unicorn, basilisks. Every fantastic creature in creation, and wizard and witches unnumbered. It was the true world of mystery which Lucy knew from a young age was her eternal destiny. It was in her, this place, she knew it, for though she had never been here before, the spirit was so familiar. She'd known it always.
'5 shards were stolen long ago, but our job is the redemption of one only. Magic was worked deep into the formative gem they came from. Not one wizard or witch, but a whole coven of covens impressed their powers into this gem of legend, and when it was stolen it was feared by who, and for what purpose they would use the shards for. For the gem had needs to be shattered, for too much power rested in it alone, for they had gone beyond sanity in what they could do, but what they shouldn't have, and a counsel decided the gem to be broken. And today, if all 5 shards were together, well. Well there is no telling the harm they could do,' said Damiano, astride his mottled horse, as they rode on.
'And you know exactly how we are to retrieve this particular shard?' queried Veronnica Bertinelli, astride her brown mustang.
'I have clear knowledge of where it lies. It could not be retrieved then, till dark power had disseminated and died down. Now it should be approachable.'
'You hope,' said Verronica, smiling at Damiano. Her attraction to him had become quite evident.
'We must of course follow the correct spells for dismantling the shard's threat,' said Helga Schmidt, ever the rule keeper.
'That we shall indeed,' said Lucy.
They rode on, and soon Damiano signalled that they should camp for the night.
'By late tomorrow evening we shall be nearing where we are to go. For now we rest, and enjoy each other's fair company,' said Damiano.
'He likes to lead,' said Geoffrey quietly to Lucy.
'He does indeed,' replied the head of the coven.
The group unmounted and Damiano took the tenting out of the coverings which had been placed on the back of the horses, and started getting to work setting up the mens and ladies tents, Geoffrey helping him.
'Not exactly feminists, are they,' said Geoffrey to Damiano, the ladies watching on, not lifting a finger.
'I'm a traditionalist,' said Verronica. 'Connect those, I don't know, thingamies.'
'They are shafts,' said Lucy.
'I'll give her the shaft,' said Damiano to Geoffey, under his breath, about Verronica.
'What was that, squire?' queried Verronica.
'Nothing. Your majesty,' replied Damiano, giving an elaborate bow.
Soon the tents were up, and Verronica, reluctantly, with Ingrid, set about to find dry twigs an things for the campfire. Damiano had collected stones and formed a circle, and the two tents were soon separated by a blazing fire, as the night descended, and the creatures of the night came out to play.
'Remember, we are witches. We are born for this,' said Lucy Proudly. A wolf howled. Verronica grabbed Damiano. 'Yes. Witches,' said Lucy softly.
They ate their meal, and gave stories of past glories, and as Lucy slept, not too bothered by whatever would come her way, she listened to the repetitive chanting of Helga, as she counted sheep, and sighed. Another brave day of adventure now come to an end.
* * * * *
The Ice Queen gazed on.
'I could turn them into frogs, you know, your majesty,' said her young tutor, Gezranelda.
The Ice Queen shook her head.
'I could have the fowlest stench, worse than the bog of a hundred diarroeah ridden druids rise up and engulf them all,' suggested Gezranelda.
Again, the Ice Queen shook her head. She just watched the 5 adventurers draw closer to the craggy rock palace.
'Surely they come for the shard. We are not secure here. We have not the numbers. Brave Algrid is a swordsman and a fighter, but that fierce man leading them looks strong and proud, and we know not the strengths of the others. If we don't attack now, perhaps it is best we retreat,' said Gezranelda.
'Do not be foolish girl. We have not waited here this past decade to let go of our prize now. Nay, we shall........negotiate. They are obviously after the shard. We shall tell them, simply, it has already been claimed, and we are but new wardens of the crag.'
'And they will listen to that?' asked Gezranelda, wonder in her eyes.
'They will. Or they will die,' said the Witch Queen, dressed in icey blue, gazing upon Lucy Potter and her coven as they neared the crag of castle darkheart, where one of the shards of a powerful gem still lay, down in the depths, unreachable still, so it seemed.
'You know, Verronica. You are pretty enough. But surely a witch should have some sort of possession of the powers of the dark. You can barely light a candle with your arts, or so I have seen so far,' said Damiano, as they approached the crag.
Lucy chuckled. The mocking by Damiano toward Verronica and vice verse had been incessant ever since they had left the port, having purchased the horses and their supplies.
'A foolish shepherd declares the hiding place of the flock to the wolves. I am not a foolish shepherd. You shall see my powers if and when the need arises,' replied Verronica.
'And I shall verily shake in trepidation till the day,' replied Damiano.
'Children,' chided Geoffrey, who seemed to have taken the role of the elder wizard in the group, something which had arisen naturally.
'Of course, the wand you have. It's made from dried and hardened sheep dung,' commented Damiano snidely.
'Tis not,' retorted Veronnica, but she had a look of doubt in her eyes.
'Oh believe me, it is. I know the brand. I mean, I suppose it's nothing to be ashamed off. Sheep dung has its own particular properties, and that is a rural based wand, with what is imbued within it. Good for natural usage. Why it was made in such a way,' said Damiano.
Veronnica took out her wand, and looked it over. 'This is sheep dung? Disgusting,' she said.
'A witch with standards. Such hypocrisy,' sneered Damiano.
'This group is full of all sorts of people with standards,' replied Veronnica, glancing at the placid Helga Schmidt.
'We are a motley bunch, believe me,' said Geoffrey. 'Did I ever tell you the time, in the old world, when I was called upon to put a hex upon a lady who had confiscated land from a rival. It was a vile curse.'
'You can keep your tale for another time,' said Lucy, looking at her crudely drawn map. 'This is the place, isn't it?' she asked Damiano.
Damiano gazed up at the crag. 'Castle Darkheart,' he replied. 'When I was younger I was here briefly. A denizen for various kinds. Uninhabited now I would imagine. There were flocks grazing and gardens here in older days.'
'So we should have no trouble finding the shard,' said Lucy. She looked at the sky. 'Obviously we will wait till morning. Damiano, if you would be so kind to set up for the evening.'
Damiano sighed and dismounted, and came over to Veronnica to offer his hand.
'Should I be so silly a maiden as to accept help from a cretin such as yourself?' she queried.
'Your ladyship,' he replied bowing. She took his hand, and she dismounted, coming suddenly against him, her heaving chest agains his. 'Quite the lady,' he said, gazing down at what had become the quite legendary assets of Veronnica Ballestrini.
'Keep your eyes up here, champion,' she said, but she looked in his eyes briefly, before gathering herself and turning away.
Geoffrey came and patted Damiano on the shoulder. 'Be careful with her. Italian's are the most passionate of souls. They invented the word vendetta after all.'
Damiano nodded, but glanced at Veronnica more than once that evening, as they set up camp, and ate their meals, the warm springish weather promising them another, hopefully, uneventful evening.
* * * * *
'Damiano, is it?'
'Yes. Bitch,' replied Damiano.
'You don't look comfortable,' stated the Ice Queen, quite honestly.
Damiano, hanging upside down, the heat from the lava below rising up to keep him quite warm was, in fact, in a state of reasonable comfort. They had secured him quite well. He was just pissed of. Very fucking pissed off.
'You know, Ice Witch. I hope you have children one day, and they grow up and, knowing the wickdness of their mother, decapitate you, defecate on your dead carcass, and sing songs of mockery to your memore, dirges, all night long. But seeing as that probably won't happen, just let me say, fuck you bitch.'
'Temper, temper,' chided the Ice Queen. 'I am sure you won't have such words soon enough. That heat is fierce. I give you, what, a day at the most. You'll be a roast duck by then, believe me.' And cackling a fowl laughter, the Ice Queen left Damiano hanging there, struggling vainly, trying to free himself, having now recovered from the spell placed upon him after it became quite apparent that the wardens of castle darkheart were not all they claimed to be.
Damiano struggled again, but to no avail, and just dangled there. And then he noticed it. Just down a little, on a ledge, jutting out. A shard. A simple, plain, shard. Of a gem.
'Fuck,' he swore softly. How ironic.
The Ice Queen entered the chamber, were Lucy Potter, Helga Schmidt and Veronnica Bertinelli were all tied up on the crude seats the crag still had, and Algrid the Barbarian, as the Ice Queen called him, watching them intently, with Geoffrey, like Damiano, tied and hanging from the ceiling, but mercifully with no lava beneath him.
Gezranelda spoke up. 'If we don't kill them, what? We can hardly let them go. They'll only pester us here.'
'What right do you have to hinder our search?' protested Lucy. 'If you can not claim the finding of the shard, leave it to someone who can. All is fair in love and witchcraft, Ice Queen.'
'True enough, but I like it when I hold all the cards,' replied the witch. 'No, I won't kill you. As I first planned, I shall tutor you.'
'She will speak vile lies,' stated Helga Schmidt. 'We know her kind. The Order of Black Magic has rules which are kept, and is allowed to dwell in mainstream citadels because of it. But one like her – she knows no rules. She knows no law and order.'
'Humph. Muggle law and order,' mocked the Ice Queen.
'I can freeze them. Very traditional,' said Gezranelda. 'And you'd like that. You are the expert, your majesty.'
'Enough,' said the Ice Queen. 'Algrid. Go fetch that lackey Meglar. I am hungry.
Algrid, a rough looking, fair headed, swordsman grunted, glaring at the captives, before disappearing.
'We won't join you. Just let us go. There is no need for this animosity,' said Lucy forcefully.
'No. I don't think so. But let me tell you, instead, a story. A story about when heaven was young, and Phanuel and other angels made judgments, and our kind were cast to Avalynn, never to see any proper place in the civilized world. And in the end, while we hate him with passion for his judgment, I think it was perhaps wise enough in the end anyway. We don't fit out there, Lucy. You know that. You must know that. We don't fit with them. We never did. It is a truth the Order of Black Magic denies time and time again. But you'll see what I mean. In time you will see what I mean, Lucy. Lucy Potter. You will see.'
'You know my surname?' queried Lucy.
'No. No I didn't. I guessed. But who else could it be? You are well known. Like your dastard of a cousin, always so in bed with muggle kind. Always so correct and polite about things. He is nothing but a betrayal of his own kind.'
'Harry knows his own mind,' defended Lucy. 'But you. Quite apparently mad.'
'Say what you will Lucy Potter. Say what you will,' replied the Ice Queen, as a servant scuttled into the room with a plate of fresh meat and vegetables and the Ice Queen sat, eating, looking occasionally at her guests.
'Now what, genius?' Lucy thought to herself. A pretty mess indeed they had gotten themselves into.
* * * * *
'You see, our kind are outcasts. All over heaven, when our kind arrives, we are inevitably thrown to Avalynn to make our fortunes. Not so much directed there or told to go there, but unless you conform to what the world has always said we must conform to, we are no good to them. And in the end I don't think I complain that much either. Life is good in Avalynn. It is our kind. Our folke are hear, and the weirde creatures roam without hindrance. Where else could you want to be?' queried the Ice Queen.
'Where people are civilized and witch and muggle live together peacefully,' interjected Helga Schmidt.
'Couldn't have said it better myself,' said Geoffrey, who was trying to scratch himself.
'It's hardly a new issue,' said Lucy. 'Indeed, I am new to heaven, and know not much of Avalynn. And I can't say I would not want to know more, for I think I do. But what can you say, Queen of Ice? You are hardly moral? Kidnapping us. Tying us up. I don't know what you have done to Damiano, but it can hardly be for the best. How are you any better than the mugglekind you hate so much?'
'Listen, foolish woman. When you have been through the struggle I have been through in this harsh and unforgiving world you would not be so quick to parade the virtues of the muggles. They killed us, in older days, without a moment's hesitation.'
'I know,' replied Lucy softly.
'Things have changed,' said Geoffrey. 'The world has moved on.'
'Things never really change,' said the Ice Queen, and sipped on a goblet of wine. 'I saw my sister, strong in the craft, scathed in front of my very eyes, her skin flayed till she was marred beyond reckoning. And all because she carried a wand and was different. Misunderstood. Not of the Christian kind. That world out there. It hasn't changed that much. And if those biblicalists get the power again, our kind is doomed.'
'I am one of those biblicalists. I am Karaite. And it is not like that anymore,' said Lucy. 'Nobody thinks like that anymore.'
The Ice Queen gazed at Lucy. 'I do not think you even know what you are saying.'
'Let us go,' said Helga. 'And we will explain it to you.'
The Ice Queen looked at Helga, as if almost considering those ideas, but just sipped on her wine, and toyed with her meal. The imprisonment continued.
Damiano had worked it out. Swinging. Swinging himself on the rope, and trying to dislodge his wand from his cloak. He'd been at it 20 minutes or so, with no success so far, but he'd managed to wriggled him hand near to were his wand was, and was still swinging. And then the wand fell, and he cast the spell as soon as it was in his hand, and a flame of red light engulfed him all around but did not burn him or his clothes, yet had the effect of burning through the rope he was hanging from. He hoped he would have good timing. He was wrong. The rope snapped, and he swang into the opposing wall, crashing down, hitting a ledge. He was bruised, but soon he had his freedom, and he looked around. There was a stepping stones around the pit, which wound a crooked course downwards to hot lava further below. And then he remembered. He turned, and looked. And there it was, He stood down, reaching, and picked it up. He looked at it, and sensed its power right away. It was the shard alright. A misfortune had turned out for good. Now to see to the others, and get away from this dastardly place.
* * * * *
'My mother spent months tending to celeste's wounds,' said the Ice Queen. They healed in time, but she was scarred. To this day she has faint lines which still have not as of yet disappeared. You speak of Justice in the real world? I lived in that real world for 400 years in Europa, and then the Christians came, and their message of love came, but also came their Torah of hate. And I saw all my kind pay the price. I was a lucky one, hidden and too hard to catch. Israel never bothered us much, but the Christians didn't apply such mercies. Christ would rule, whatever would be.'
'And the time of Jesus of Nazareth came and went a long time ago. By the end of the 21st century it was a church which only believed in love any more,' said Lucy. 'All the oppressed of all kinds had found their life and strength. The world changed. Justice came. God never meant to oppress us. Just that we would know right from wrong, and choose just things. Our kind didn't always do that.'
The Ice Queen sat there, staring into space ahead of her, but she was clearly listening.
'It's not like you say it is,' said Helga Schmidt. 'It hasn't been like that for a very long time.'
Just then they heard a noise, and Damiano burst into the room, quickly casting a spell over the two witches, the Ice Queen, and Gezranelda. The warrior Algrid confronted him, but Damiano lifted his leg, and kicked him down the crude stairwell, Algrid hitting his head on the dirt, being knocked out. The lackey Meglar just cowered. The Ice Queen, who was clearly trying to fight the power of the 'Immobilus' spell, glared a Damiano.
'Not so tough now, are we,' mocked Damiano, standing in front of the Queen.
'Hey. Champion. Do you think you could, you know, untie us?' Damiano glared at Veronnica, but soon had the three witches untied.
'Now let us get the hell out of here. My spell won't hold them permanently,' said Damiano.
Lucy looked at the Ice Queen, and came and stood in front of her. 'They are not all bad,' she said. 'Believe me.' The Ice Queen tried to replied, but just mumbled. And then they were gone, out of the crag, down to the horses, mounting up, and making it away.
After they had put about a league between them and castle Darkheart, Geoffrey spoke up. 'Well, I suppose we failed that mission, but what else could we do?'
'I'm not sure we failed,' said Damiano, holding up the shard now for the others to see.
'Where did you get that?' asked Veronnica, making a grab for the shard, but Damiano kept it out of reach.
'Never you mind. But we have not failed. Far from it, right Lucy?'
But Lucy just rode on, looked at the shard, and nodded softly, her mind, however, on the Ice Queen, and her mind on Justice. If there was anything that Lucy Jane Potter, in her initiation into Avalynn life in this heaven she had recently come home to, that now mattered to Lucy, it was just that. Justice. It would be an issue for her, and her kind, from now on. But then they started cheering Damiano, who held the shard proudly up for all to see, and kicked on their horses, heading for the port where they had landed, and their way back to modern civilization.