The wooden door creaks open just slightly allowing the faint light of a candle to illuminate our faces. A whisper from the inside invites us to enter their sanctuary, as we make our way inside; a smell of vanilla fills our nostrils and warms our skin. The room is enlightened by the single wavering flame of a candle.
“Welcome, sisters,” the woman who receive us extends her arm and embraces us. “I am glad both of you had a safe trip but you must be cold, pray have some hot, freshly-brewed tea.” She gives us a smile before handing each of us a cup of steaming tea. Her long, silver hair is pull back from her head with a kerchief.
“Thank you, Yanira,” Astra says, looking for the empty chair that faces the rest of the witches assembled. There are five more witches in the house aside from Yanira and us, all of them the leaders of the settlements throughout the Kingdom of Anglier.
I walk and stand behind Astra and wait for her to start our meeting. We, witches, meet once every month to discuss about the whereabouts of Drey and if we are closer to our goal of finding him.
“Good evening sisters,” Astra says after a prolonged silence, “I am very happy to see you all in health and hope the same for your respective settlements. As we do every month, we are together once again to share our findings in hopes of destroying the holder of Darkness.” She remains silent for some time, a tactic to increase tension and anxiety. “A couple of days ago, Leila was able to connect with the mind of a demon for a longer time than any of us have ever attempted before. Her findings are remarkable and useful to our cause. Leila, I’ll let you proceed.”
“Thank you, Astra,” I say, stepping around the chair to stand right next to Astra. “I was able to look into the mind of a demon, probably the latest Drey created. His creations drink his blood as a stream of life to their bodies, when he is not satisfied with them he casts them out to the world. I’ve seen Drey’s face and the inside of his dwelling; he is a very secluded man who enjoys dark spaces. His window is heavily draped, his eyes are grey with glints of yellow and his hair is black. He has aged a lot; his expression and face are weary. I believe the passing of the years have weakened him and his ability to create demons, as we’ve seen, demonic activity has decreased but we still have to be careful. I also strongly believe that each demon we vanquish exhausts him. ”
The witches listen attentively to every word that escapes my mouth. A small flicker of hope glimmers in their eyes at the thought that this nightmare is going to end soon. Within the years battling evil and destroying Drey’s creations, we have lost many friends dear to us, but we vow he is going to pay.
“However, Drey knows we are after him, he is able to sense when we are invading a demon’s mind. He will be more cautious from now on so we must be careful and act fast. He lives somewhere in this town, I can assure you that.”
At my last statement murmurs rise and several gasp. We are so close from our goal and yet mystified by the location of Drey’s hiding, if he was hiding at all.
“Leila,” Yanira says, “thank you for the knowledge of such precious information towards reaching our cause. I may be too bold and out of place to say the following, but I feel I must, you are always welcomed to live in the settlement in Atala, most important town in the Kingdom of Anglier.”
I smile cordially, “thank you Yanira that was what I was hoping to hear.” And indeed it was, during our trip to Atala, Astra and I discuss the possibility of one of us moving into Atala until Drey was found and killed.
“I believe everybody is tired now,” Yanira perceives, “it has been quite a startling night and some well-deserve sleep is much appreciated. Thank you for coming from so long to attend our meeting, please rest to replenish your bodies with strength for tomorrow’s journey back home.”
The party breaks and some witches follow Yanira to their respective guest rooms. Astra and I are left in the empty, cold room with the wavering light from a dying candle.
“One week from now, I will take Atala as my home until I find Drey,” I say softly, contemplating the moon disappear behind sheets of clouds. The groans and complains of the night creates some unease in my soul.
“You don’t have to come here by yourself, child,” Astra says, placing a warm hand over mine.
“I know. But I can’t ask you to leave the settlement, they’ll need you,” I reply, soothing her restless spirit. “I won’t be alone, don’t worry. I promise I will end this and come back to you.”
“Who are you planning to take with you?”
I close my eyes and my mind travels to the thoughts that are push back far away from my consciousness. “The hunter,” I pronounce those words with a certain, peculiar exquisiteness, giving in to the endless thoughts of Adryan.