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Let Her Taste The Fires Of Hell

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~⁂Prologue⁂~

 

A year has passed since Zelda Spellman and Faustus Blackwood welcomed their daughter, Ceridwen into the world.
Much can change in a year.

Faustus had been given the role of the Anti-Pope after the last one had passed on. His duties took him to work in the Vatican, but he made sure to continue to run the church of night in Greendale as he refused to give up his work there.
Often, he took Zelda and Ceridwen with him on business, while the twins stayed with Hilda, Cerberus, and their daughter Rhiannon.

Ambrose was traveling the world, checking in every now and then to see how his family was doing, but mostly keeping to himself.
None of the Spellman's or Blackwood's had spoken with Sabrina since it was announced that Zelda was expecting nearly two years prior.
Hilda and Zelda had used every spell they could think of to locate their niece when months had passed without any word from the girl, Faustus had even requested that if any covens across the nation came upon the young Spellman witch, to inform him immediately as a way to calm his wife's concern.

But none had seen or heard from the witch, months came and went and then her birthday passed by, even her mortal friends did not know where their friend had gone after she left the town shortly after her aunt had returned from her honeymoon Father Blackwood.
Whispers would reach the academy in the small town every now and again, rumors of what may have become of the blonde witch, but all were nothing more than what they seemed: factless gossip.

It troubled the family, Hilda had tried to look for Sabrina's familiar, Salem, but he could not be found either, the two sisters had begun to fear the worst when one afternoon, yet another spell had failed to locate their niece.
Zelda was nearing her thirteenth month of pregnancy at the time, and a horrible feeling had set into her bones, she worried that Sabrina had died without either her aunts knowing.

Hilda had casted a spell that she had used when their brother had died: it required the heart of a rabbit and a map of the world; the rabbit heart would turn to ash if the one they sought was deceased, and burn bright red if the person still lived. The blood from the heart was supposed to fall onto the map, landing where the person was.

The spell had worked, the heart glowed red, but the blood had spilled off the map and under it, seeping into the grains of the wooden table beneath it.
The sisters tried the spell many times, each time it was the same, and each time it only puzzled them even more.

They hadn't tried any more spells after that, knowing that their niece was alive was a relief, and they wished to contact her, but the possibility that Sabrina was using some sort of cloaking spell was very high; maybe the young witch wanted to be left alone for the time: Sabrina had been talking about how hard it was to deal with all the pressure she felt.
At least that is what the sisters told themselves in an attempt to soothe their worries, and they moved on with their lives; neither mentioning the very real chance that their niece was upset by the last time she had spoken with them, and convincing themselves she was fine and just needed time to figure out who she was, who she wanted to be.

Sabrina was safe and living her best life, and one day, when she was ready, she would let them be apart of it once more.

Perhaps it was easier for the sisters to think this. To pretend that everything was fine so they didn't feel bad for not bothering to look for their niece anymore after they each began a family of their own. Still, Sabrina was never far from their minds, both sisters uttering her name in their prayers to the Dark Lord, hoping that their niece was safe at the very least.

It was mid October when Faustus summoned the church of night for a gathering, instructing all the members to bring whatever they could fit of their things in a bag.
In a rare occurrence, Hilda's husband, Cerberus, was permitted entry and allowed to attend the unholy gathering in the church. They brought their young daughter, Rhiannon along with them as was directed, the trio all had small bags with belongings in them, enchanted to hold whatever they pleased.

Faustus had packed himself a bag and then one for each of their children, telling Zelda to do the same for herself. When she asked why as she watched him gather a few books from the library in the Manor, his only reply had been that he had received word from the Dark Lord, and the coven was to prepare to take a journey.
He did not say where, Zelda suspected not even he was sure where the Dark Lord was having them taken. All the same, she did pack a bag with her things, and she had carried Ceridwen and held Leticia's hand as she and Faustus walked with their three children to the church.
Judas carried his sister's bags along with his own, insisting that he had no problem doing it with a look of determination.

When they arrived at the church it was crowded with the whole coven in attendance, Zelda sat the children in the front where their seats were waiting for them, she put a babbling Ceridwen between the twins, who happily took it upon themselves to keep their baby sister entertained throughout the gathering.
Zelda stood to the side as Faustus took to speaking to the coven, she could see her sister and brother-in-law a few rows back, Rhiannon was sat on her father's lap, glancing all around as she did not seem to care for a word that her uncle spoke.

None of the members of the coven noticed as a ripple appeared in the air by the doors in behind Faustus. Nor did anyone see as a striking young woman with sharp cheekbones, dressed in plack jeans and a dark red hooded jacket solidified, and leaned against the wall on the opposite side of Zelda, a few feet behind Faustus.
Her silver eyes looked almost glowing in the dim light as they watched Faustus speak, she folded her arms over her chest as she listened to the warlock.

"The Dark Lord has informed me that The Coven Of Night has been bestowed upon the highest honor," Faustus' voice rang out in a tone full of authority and confidence. Not a word was spoken as all the witches and warlocks waited with bated breath. "We will be escorted to his kingdom in Hell," he continued and then the church burst into a thrum of chatter as the coven members all spoke over one another.

Faustus cleared his throat loudly, bringing all the noise to an end as all eyes were focused on him as he spoke once more, "we will be leaving immediately, hence why you all were told to bring things with you. All we await now is the arrival of the one the Dark Lord has charged with seeing us safely to his realm."

The young woman who had yet to be noticed from her place next to Zelda, spoke before anyone else could; “You needn’t wait any longer, warlock.”
Her deep, cool voice started all around her as Faustus spun to face the stranger with piercing eyes. “Who are you?” He demanded, eyes ablaze and nostrils flaring.

The woman stared at him with raised eyebrows, unimpressed at the warlock’s attempt to be frightening. She pushed off the wall where a very still Zelda watched her every move.
The woman walked passed Faustus, lazilily, she ran a hand over one armrest on the throne of skulls, the many metal rings on her fingers gleamed in the torchlight.
“You don’t need to know my name, only that I have come to collect your coven to bring to the underworld.” Her tone was bored as she did not look up from where she had bent her neck to examine one of the skulls.
Faustus walked to stand behind her, the woman could sense his power and looked over her shoulder at him. With a sigh, she moved so she was no longer leaning over and turned her body to face him. Her silver eyes were fixed on him unflinchingly as she crossed her arms over her chest. She whispered a few words to him with unmoving lips so none but Faustus could tell what she was saying, but whatever she said, it seemed to make Faustus come to understand that she was there on behalf of the Dark Lord and was not to be trifled with.
Faustus’s left eye twitched slightly as he turned to the members of the coven.Holding his chin up, he cleared his throat and addressed the coven: “Brothers and sisters, the time has come for us to depart. Please, follow me as we make the journey to the Dark Lord’s realm.”

It took a few minutes for everyone to get outside, but once they had, the woman instructed them to walk behind her and not dare to venture off the path she took them on, “if any of you decide not to go, then just know that you will likely die before you can get far. You’ll find I can be quite fast.” she had said the coven formed a loose line behind Faustus and Zelda.

They walked through the woods behind the church, the Greendale woods were quiet, not even the crushing of the dead leaves underfoot could be heard. It was as if someone had muted the air around them, no one dared to break the silence, too uncomfortable as their thoughts played tricks on them.

The Blackwood twins walked on either side of their cousin, Rhiannon, Hilda walked behind her sister and brother-in-law, Cerberus at her side as they had the children in front of them so as to keep an eye on their whereabouts. Ceridwen was held in Hilda’s arms securely, sleeping soundly against her aunt’s bosom.
They neared the mines that the Kinkle family owned, and confusion set into the coven, but no one voiced their questions.

While the adults wondered where they were being led, Letica had a very different question on her mind, as such, she spoke before anyone could stop her. “What’s your name?” She was peering around Zelda so she could get a glance at the strange woman.
As soon as the words left her mouth, Zelda turned her head without taking her eyes off the woman in front, “now is not the time for questions, you must be quiet right now, Letty.” She scolded gently, risking a glance down at the young child, she pressed her lips as a pang of guilt crashed over her upon seeing that Letica had shrunk back with her mouth squeezed shut and her eyes downcast.
Rhiannon grasped her cousin’s hand and smiled in silent comfort, earning a small smile from Letica in return.

The woman at the front had not yet spoken, but she heard the exchange after the child’s inquiry and a small smile tugged at the corners of her mouth, unseen in the darkness. “Now, now, Mrs. Blackwood, the girl did nothing wrong, it was a fair question.” She she kidded the red headed witch, not looking back.
Zelda pressed her lips and narrowed her eyes at the back of the woman’s head, but did not speak.
The woman ducked beneath a drooping pine tree branch along the path. “To answer your question, Letica, my name is Eluned.”
She made an unexpected turn to the right, and the coven had to quicken their pace to keep up with her.
“And now that you’ve had your question answered, I think it’s only fair that your brother Judas and cousin Rhiannon each get to ask me one of theirs.” Eluned continued with a humorous smirk on her lips as Letica smiled.
Zelda and Faustus exchanged quick worried glances, both unnerved by whatever this strange woman was doing, she was near impossible to read, and that made her all the more dangerous.
Hilda's eyes flickered over to Cerberus', she shifted Ceridwen in her arms as the baby shifted in her sleep.

However, the witch and warlock were not given a chance to urge the children to keep their questions to themselves, as young Judas wasted no time in blurting out the question that had been nagging at his brain: “Are you a witch?”
Eluned glanced back briefly at the sound of the boy's voice, her silver eyes lowering to meet his own from where he stood behind his parents, “yes and no; I was born a witch, but that was long ago and since then I have changed.”

The entrance to the mines came into view and they crossed the grass to it, many of the coven members starring with bemused expressions.

Rhiannon frowned as she looked up from where she was watching her feet so she wouldn't trip- her father was always reminding her to walk where she walked, she was very clumsy and has broken many things by not looking before walking. “How can you have changed from being a witch? Does that mean you aren't one anymore?” Her face was wrinkled as she tilted her head in confusion.

Eluned stared straight ahead with a look of indifference. “I was made a immortal- a goddess I believe some call me. On the night I was stripped of my mortal body and life, I lost the powers I once held, and I was gifted new ones that better suited my role." Eluned’s reply puzzled the children, and made the coven shift nervously looking to their High Priestess in uncomfortable silence.
Eluned entered the mines, cautioning the witches and warlocks to watch their steps, for they were very much at risk of misstepping and dying as they followed her down a dark, roughly carved tunnel that wove through the bowels of the stone cave.

A wave of heat crashed over them all; the feeling intensifying to the point where it was nearly painful on their mortal flesh, white light blinded them all for only a moment and the air around them grew thick making it difficult to breath, their ears popped and it felt like the ground had vanished beneath them, causing their senses to become warped: but just as quick as the feeling had come, it dissipated, leaving the coven wobby on their feet and blinking the stars from their vision as they tried to grasp their bearings.

"It's not terribly far now; you've just travelled through the realms of the living and entered the kingdom of your Dark Lord, Lucifer Morningstar." Eluned answered the unspoken question among the group, waiting only a brief moment for them to adjust to the landscape and harsh orange light that lit up a desert landscape void of any sign of life. At least, that was what the members thought Hell looked like.

Their eyes were mortal and unable to see what lurked under the surface; or in this case, around them. For instance, they took no notice as a demon that fed off of young witchlings and mortal children slunk passed them; its head resampling that of an Ox with no eyes and its body a wild boar with wolf-like paws.
Nor did they notice as something beneath the red sand shift as it felt movement, and then a sinkhole to open not ten paces away from their group; and the Ox-Boar demon get sucked down to be eaten by whatever was under the sand, and then the hole closed up and the ground became solid once more, so the demon below would not alert any unsuspecting prey to the doom that awaited them.

They walked for at least twenty minutes mortal time, the orange light from the blood dipped sun bathing them in heat, their skin glistening with sweat, the air did little to cool them off as it felt like it was searing them, much like the meat the Dark Lord to feasted upon.

The children did not seem too affected by the heat or the bloody bright light, unknownst to them Eluned had a soft spot for the young witches and warlocks, and had taken to putting a silent protection charm on them so the Kingdom of Hell and all its weather and demons could not harm them.
The children did not notice it nor would they ever discover it; that was how Eluned preferred to work.
She had long discovered it was better to remain hidden in the shadows; blend in and make no noise, that was a lesson Eluned had learned long ago, and she has done her very best to stay true to that unspoken rule she held over herself.

Finally, after the adult coven members legs and skin ached from the strenuous trek, the Dark Lord's castle came into view on the horizon a good hundred yards ahead: heat waves dancing on the surface above the sand distorted the look of it as the air above shimmered and changed.
As they drew nearer the castle became clearer to their eyes: it was made of red stone with a moat of lava, a tall iron bridge connected the sandy terrain they walked on to the stone courtyard that rested in front of the doors that seemed to tower above anything that dared get too close.

Walking across the bridge with chain side rails, that burned as hot as the bubbling lava below, fear seemed to pierce at even the boldest and strongest of witches and warlocks; the weight of where they were and who they were to face finally seeming to set in on their minds.
Zelda kept her usual expression of strength and indifference that she wore when in the presence of the coven, it did not waiver as she and her husband led the coven through the doors and into the entrance hall.
If she reached back and taken to briefly squeezing Leticia's hand- that had taken to gripping tightly onto the back of her mother's dress in silent fear when they passed over the bridge- and smoothed her thumb over her daughter's small wrist in comfort before letting go and resuming her earlier regal stride with her hands at her sides- no one would say anything of it.

The entrance hall of the Dark Lord's castle was lit up by torches and chandeliers that lined the walls ceiling; their flames burned bright with blue Hellfire, casting the walls and weathered paintings in a dim blue light.
The bases of the chandeliers were carved from human bones, a mural telling the tale of the Dark Lord covered the ceiling: the floor and interior walls were made of cracking black stone like that of the mines in Greendale, a good few paces from the doors were stairs that led up towards a curved hall; down which a long rug the color of fresh blood led deeper into the castle.

It was this way that Eluned took the coven; following the curve of the hall, they came to a cross roads- straight ahead was another long hall that seemed unending, to the right was a curved stairwell that descended down below, and to the left was a short hall with a series of doors encased in gold and then a stairwell that head up.

It was the latter that Eluned went; up the stairs the coven followed, and the further they went up the stairs, the more Ceridwen began to stir in her aunt's arms in which she had slept during the journey; as if she too could feel the thrum that had passed through all of the witches and warlocks since they passed into the Dark Lord's kingdom: power.
It was the raw, unbound power that surged within the castle that made the Dark Lord's enemies pale and shiver when they enter his kingdom uninvited: and it was his power that seduced mortals to give themselves to him so in return he would bless with with the delicious gifts he gave only to those who warranted it.

As they went further up, the staircase they descended was joined by others that wrapped around each other like snakes, each leading to different rooms and down countless corridors.
The smooth black stone railings became gold with twisted banisters and the solid black stone below their feet swirled with gold that glittered with each flicker of light.
Above them, a staircase wove itself from a corridor above and down beside them, ahead of them, the staircase ended and split off to the left and right. There was a gap a few yards between the end of theirs and a set of stairs that led from a pair of grand black doors that looked like a pool of ink with gold poured to look like it was swirling in black liquid.

Eluned began to lead the coven up the stairs to the right, but she had barely set her foot onto the second step before the grand doors across the way opened and a young woman slipped out.

She made to go further up the stairs, but she realized that the coven behind her had stopped to watch as the woman on the opposite side had begun to walk up the stairs, it was near impossible for them to look away as they beheld the beauty that walked with the grace of a queen.

The unknown woman looked stunning in a dress made of pure gold; it fanned out behind her and caught the light, the skirt had been made to look like there were golden feathers blooming down starting at her waist; the upper half of the dress scoped low to connect at the skirt, revealing her pale white skin. She wore a circlet of gold encased leafs on her head, a sign of her status that the coven did not know the meaning of.

But as the coven gawked at the ethereal beauty, two of the coven members had become frozen from shock upon recognizing the blonde hair that had been carefully curled and styled beneath the circlet.
Zelda and Hilda had spent countless hours over the years brushing and styling and fixing that hair, and eventually teaching the woman who wore it how to take care of it herself.
"Sabrina?" The name slipped from Hilda's lips before her sister could do anything herself.
Zelda numbly felt as her sister stepped forward to stand beside her; both gazing in shock at the figure that couldn't be their niece- but was utterly their niece without a doubt.
The world seemed to drop from beneath Zelda's feet when the blonde woman stilled on the stairs, before slowly turning to look back at the assembled people across from her.

Separated only by railings and a few yards, Zelda didn't know what to do or feel when her niece briefly met her eyes before quickly focusing on Hilda and then, a groggy Ceridwen in Hilda's arms.

Sabrina showed no emotion on her face after quickly masking her shock, but her eyes lingered on Ceridwen's small face, neither Zelda nor Hilda could tell what emotion flashed in their niece's eyes before she looked towards Eluned with her chin held high.

"How is the world above? No trouble I presume?"
Sabrina's mouth moved, but her aunts couldn't recognize the voice that left her.

Eluned tilted her chin down as a sign of respect- a move which confused Sabrina's family and the coven- and answered. "The mortals are becoming unhinged and turning on each other as was predicted. The journey here was uneventful, I was just taking the Coven Of Night to their apartments, where they will await further instruction."

Sabrina nodded, her body stiff and her movements practiced as she regarded Eluned as if she were below her, and not someone around her age. "Carry on, then please come to my quarters. We have…" her eyes flicked briefly over to her family then back to Eluned, "business to discuss."

Eluned tilted her chin down again, and then Sabrina turned and left up the stairs to do whatever she had been planning on before she was halted, not giving her family another glance.

"Come along." Eluned commanded as she began back up the stairs where she was taking them, her voice held the silent threat that made Cerberus and Faustus take their wives hands and steer them up the stairs.

They would find out what Sabrina was doing there, but not in that moment, they had to make sure their coven was safe.