What happens one year after The Trials? Sarah has discovered where she belongs, but what happens when the rest of her story unlocks? The wicked ways continue to unravel from Salem's notorious history....
The sound of the river’s tide washing over rocks was the woman’s only companion as she watched her newborn daughter float away in the darkness of the night to a family waiting to raise her as their own. Dooriya, still as a statue with a barely beating heart, let out the long-awaited breath she’d been holding. It could be seen against the coolness of the dark night.
“Why persist in observing my sorrow, daughter of mine?”
Sarah stepped out from the shadows of the tree lined riverbank, her soft blue dress a stark contrast to the ominous gloom of the night.
“I come to you, Dooriya, so that you are not alone in your sorrow.”
“Ah, you must remember that I will never truly be alone, daughter of my daughter. Thy gifts come with spirits and many are always there to keep me in pleasant company.”
Dooriya’s fingertips brushed over her sapphire amulet absentmindedly. It was the same amulet that graced Sarah’s neck, now only as a shadow, as this was now always the case when Sarah was walking. Even still, Sarah swore she could feel the sensation of Dooriya’s cooled fingers against her own skin. She watched as Dooriya moved those ice-cold fingertips against her lips, closing her violet eyes in a small silent prayer before blowing a kiss in the direction of where the boat, carrying her baby girl off to a new life, had still been visible just mere moments earlier.
The scene before her eyes was surreal. Sarah was still held in awe from the sensations she experienced when walking. Surroundings, sounds and all her senses were much more delicate. It was as though she was viewing these memories through a silver gleaming bubble of a lens, and at the same time this memory was created from parchment that could crumble at the slightest disturbance from her.
The alarming sound of a twig snapping broke the two women out of their trances, with Dooriya’s head whipping towards the noise. Her long onyx mane was wildly blowing around her as her back remained rigid with apprehension.
“We must go my child. Follow me now, hastily dearest.” A barefoot Dooriya hiked up her thickly woven maroon skirts and rushed away from Sarah, up the river’s edge, racing against the current.
More visible, now that a full harvest moon chose that exact moment to appear in the blanketed dark and cloudy sky, Sarah quickened her pace. Dooriya’s unprotected bare feet were much more nimble along God’s natural green floor than her chocolate laced-up ankle boots.
No more heels when walking, she grimaced to herself. But apart from Sarah’s clothing, the women could have been mistaken for twins as they ran in the light of the silver-tinged moon with their long black hair wildly whipping in the wind – no matter how many centuries apart in age they may be.
Only the slightest differences could be noted in their appearances. Sarah’s eyes were not the violet hue of Dooriya’s, but rather a vibrant sapphire that sparkled like diamonds in the twilight sky – most especially when she had a vision. Dooriya’s olive skin was also darker than Sarah’s pale porcelain skin, which reflected Dooriya’s Romani heritage much more clearly than her own – being centuries removed as it were.
Heritage, Sarah smiled as she realized she now knew something of herself, of her blood. After her adoptive family died, she’d been lost in an abyss of fear, in loneliness. But no longer and never again, she promised herself.
When Dooriya’s swift toes met the mouth of the river that opened to Cat’s Cove, she angled left and began to climb the embankment. In the distance, Sarah swore she could make out the shadow of Winter Island in the pale moonlight. As she turned to follow her ancestor, a path of stones created a makeshift staircase that led to a cabin door. Dooriya’s cabin.
It was this very cabin where she’d discovered the gypsy’s talisman. This is where her inn now stood, the building hiding the original cabin within its walls. As she climbed up the stone stairwell, that had seemingly appeared just for her benefit, Sarah crossed the small walkway to enter the doorway Dooriya disappeared through. Sarah felt that familiar sense of comfort hug around her like a warm blanket. She was home.
Finding Dooriya by the wood stove, Sarah moved to stand next to her beloved ancestor as she warmed her chilled hands. Eyeing the amulet that hung from her throat, Sarah paused as a violet haze fell over her.
“You are wondering where thy talisman originated from.” It wasn’t a question. With Dooriya, it almost never was.
“Was it meant for me to find? Did no one come sooner?”
“Fates align the moons, not I, my daughter’s daughter.”
“Where does the necklace come from?” Sarah found herself staring at the gem once more, enthralled with its beauty.
A deep sigh of sadness left Dooriya’s lips. “This talisman was forged from the combined power created from the love of two families – my parents. It was a bond never known before to be so strong in my people’s history. My parents were born into two of the longest Romani bloodlines – and the most formidable of my kind, both powerful in magicks of their own right. My mother was second-sighted and known for her gifts of visions into both present and past. But father, he was the fiercest in the Romani bloodline of all.”
Dooriya paused, clearly saddened by the wistful look showing in her violet eyes. Sarah wished so badly she could soothe her.
“I was the only child born of this bond, this love, that survived birth. With only a daughter to carry on their bloodline and name, my parents chose to break a most sacred vow of the Romani law. They chose to use blood magicks.”
“My dear, blood magick was frowned upon for many reasons.” Dooriya quickly continued after seeing Sarah’s alarmed expression, “In this case, it means they combined their magicks into one thread. But unlike those that tried before to attempt blood magick, my parents did not intend their spell craft to create a stronger shell for themselves, but rather to ensure I could protect thyself. With their blood united, my parents lit a fire under the balsamic moon and drew every talisman symbol of their own, a total of thrice, into my bare skin, releasing their gifts into one – into me. And as their magicks transferred and fused, so did the colors of the metals into a plait.” Dooriya’s slim fingers skimmed over the braided chain of delicate gold that wrapped around the sapphire with vines. As she did so, a ruby bracelet gleamed under her sleeve and it momentarily hypnotized Sarah. “With the gift of these talismans, my parent’s gifts came to be my own. And this one,” she held up the necklace to the light of a candlestick, “has come to be yours, just as I allowed fate to decide.”
Dooriya moved away from the wood stove to the adjacent wall – the same wall where Sarah had found the amulet. “My parents used the last of their souls to gift me their magicks and with this, the last of their breaths. Unable to recover from their blood magick, the high ranking men in the clan were charged with raising me in the Romani ways. This did not last long, though, when their many wives began to discover I was more gifted than they realized. So, on the eve of my sixteen years, by the glow of a crescent moon, it was then I was to come into the full light of magick by morning. I foresaw the women’s plans for thou gifts. Greedily, they desired my blood in hopes of appropriating my abilities. These talents were the last of the sacred gifts my family left me and the jealous wives knew I could do things others had not yet ever seen before, certainly not traits of their own bloodlines. Strength in gifts was viewed as power, and even in my time, history was truth to the fact that humans would do anything for power. Even murder.”
“Oh Dooriya! I am… I am so sorry! That is no way for a young girl to live. The fear you must have felt!”
Dooriya stared at her, unsure of how to accept Sarah’s empathy. “This was customary for my time and my people,” she explained, “but I could not stand the idea of my parents sacrificing themselves not to fight for my protection, for my survival. For your survival.”
Sarah watched as her ancestor began to remove the necklace from her being as a glimmer of silver gleamed in the firelight under her long sleeves. “So, in the still of the night, you spelled the camp into slumber and fled.”
A small, knowing twinkle played on Dooriya’s lips. “Intuition is growing stronger in you, my child’s child. Yes, I fled and eventually came to find passage to the New World. I believe fate’s irony weaved my path into Salem Village and those who feared people so similar to my own nature.”
The harrowing nature of Dooriya’s tale had a vexing effect on Sarah and from habit she reached for her amulet in solace, only to find a shadow in its place. “Dooriya, if you encompassed such prevailing magick, how was I not fully awakened earlier in life? Did the talisman ignite my truth?”
Again, a knowing smile crossed Dooriya’s features as Sarah finally asked the question she’d been waiting for. “Because, my dear daughter, I spellbound the stone. Eventually I knew I would be discovered, but I promised the spirits that my bloodline – my parent’s bond of strength, love and pure magick – would live onward into a new light under a different moon.
Dooriya shifted away and pulled a familiar brick lose from the interior wall as if it was no more than a simple desk drawer. Sarah, with her feet now frozen to the cold ground, watched as her ancestor retrieved an onyx box from the space and crossed back into the firelight, placing the gleaming onyx next to the flickering lights.
In one hand, she now held a small blade with a carved wooden handle, and in the other Dooriya held the amulet with the stone tightly secured in her palm.
Silent in her awe, Sarah watched as Dooriya took the small blade and sliced an incision across the same palm as the stone, her tanned skin now reflecting ruby red around the sapphire. She listened to the words carefully spoken next,
Blood of thy blood
Blood of thy spirits
Bound thy charmed stone
Bound by curse still unknown
Unbind only by fate thyself
Unbind but bind to thy blood ever more.
Dooriya dropped in the amulet into the box of onyx, placing the lid over the blood-fused sapphire and covering her still ruby red palm over the gleam of the onyx. Barely audible, “so mote is be” was whispered.
Sarah’s gemstone eyes, now more brilliant than ever, widened in shock as vines of silver and sapphire thread into the onyx, woven into the gleam by Dooriya’s spell. Again, on instinct, Sarah reached for her amulet and felt surprised when her fingertips closed around the stone hanging from her throat on a delicate gold woven chain – the talisman of her gypsy heritage a shadow no more.
She gasped as the room shifted and like a ghost, Dooriya and her cabin faded from her vision as the room spun. At the sound of a meow that seemed like a clear scolding from Hanks, Sarah realized she felt a new warmth of love wrapped around her. Fluttering her lashes open, she realized she was once more back in the kitchen, on the floor, of The Spellbound Inn. Sarah stared up into the ocean blue eyes peering down at her.
“Hello wife,” Harry mused as he held her in his arms.
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