Midsummer 3, 6107 RTR (Jul 01, 2006) The witches perform a ritual to transfer part of Liliana's spirit to Miranda.
(The Legend of Buffy) (Miranda) (Morgan) (Madame Natasha) (Stonebarrow) (Sylvania)

    Ritual Chamber
    This hemispheric room is somewhere within Witch's Rock, since the walls are of raw stone. The air is thick with incense smoke, which doesn't seem to have a means of escape. Even the light from the innumerable candles is somewhat muddy as a result, but still manages to illuminate the various and colorful symbols painted on the floors and walls. A small cauldron rests in the center of the chamber, kept hot by a clay pot full of glowing coals beneath it. There is also something not quite right about the acoustics.

The participants and observer are led into the chamber blindfolded, after making a confusing number of twists and turns – enough to even confuse an Eeee's echo-location sense. The thick air seems to soak up sound, so that anything beyond arm's reach tends to fade away rapidly into the background. Morgan is required to make two trips: first to escort Liliana and then to bring along Natasha, who Isolde invited to watch. Isolde herself brought in Miranda, and set her down on a chair cushion on one side of the cauldron, opposite Lili. A series of bowls filled with various powders rests alongside the cauldron, along with an empty bowl with a small, sharp knife in it.

Natasha has settled herself down on a stool off to the side. She's draped in black robes which flow around her and pool at her feet. The hood is pulled up so that only her eyes can be seen within. "My presence vill not cause concern with the local spirits, correct?" the Khatta asks, just to be certain. "From what Liliana told me, I believe I understand vhat vou vill be attempting. A most unusual vay to do it … from my perspective at least."

"So long as you do not interfere with the ritual, the spirits will not interfere with you," Isolde notes to the spirit mage, as she begins her preparations. "Lili, Miranda, please hold hands over the cauldron."

Liliana seems unconcerned where she's currently sitting. At least, unconcerned about having blood drawn. "So, ready to even be more like me?" the Eee asks Miranda and smiles. She extends her clawed hands over the cauldron.

Morgan's in full witch regalia today. A modest purple dress, gloves, solid black stockings, belted shoes, and, of course, his witch's hat. He stands a few steps away from the cauldron, partially obscured by the fog of smoke and incense. "Your presence is known to the spirits; be at peace with them, and they will pay you no mind," Morgan explains, echoing his mother.

"Of course no'," Natasha says with a small nod. "I have no reason to interfere wit' de ritual. I already know vou intend no harm towards my Eeee."

"Ath ready ath I'll ever be I think Lili, I feel a little more prepared now," Miranda replies to the Eee and smiles as she to reaches over the cauldron to take Liliana's hands. "And thank you for latht night Lili," the Lapi adds after a moment of thought, "It really helped me be more relaxed for now I think.""

Liliana quirks a small grin. "Oh, it vas as much fun for me as I sure it vas for you," the Eeee says playfully.

Morgan reaches in to the mists, drawing back a staff with several bells attached to the top via a long 'handle.' Due to the heavy fog, it seems like he pulls it out of thin air. After looking the staff up and down and frowning at the bells in concentration, Morgan nods, then he pulls a stone hammer from his belt and stands ready.

Isolde kneels down at the side of the cauldron with the various bowls. "Now, please remain relaxed," the witch informs the Lapi and Eeee. Then she picks up the knife, and circles it over their joined hands, point facing upwards. "Spirits of the Air, Heed our Call," she intones, and then nods imperceptibly to Morgan.

"I be the epitome of relaxed," the Eeee tells Isolde and grins. Her glowing red eyes twinkle in the smoke.

Miranda gives the older witch a small smile, turning that smile to Liliana as well as she tries to stay relaxed and not fidget with either hers, or the Eeee's hands.

With ceremonial precision, Morgan lifts the hand wielding the small stone hammer and taps the smallest of the three bells. The ringing cuts through the murk like lightning in a midnight sky. In this case 'clear as a bell' is perfectly accurate, for the sound carries when so many other sounds here are simply swallowed.

Picking up the first bowl, Isolde pours the contents into the cauldron between Lili and Miranda's hands. She takes the knife and circles it again, point down this time. "Spirits of the Earth, Heed our Call," she intones, a bit louder and deeper than she did for the spirits of the air.

Natasha rests her chin on the backs of her hands as she watches. With the way her eyes are fixed and dilated, she may be watching as much with her mind as with her eyes.

"You be all righ'," Liliana says very quietly towards Miranda and then squeezes the Lapi's hand reassuringly.

Again, Morgan lifts his hand and rings a bell. This time he rings the medium-sized bell and, like the smaller one, the peal cuts through the room with an almost supernatural clarity.

"I'm alright Lili," Miranda says, nodding her head slightly to the Eeee. Though she does sound a little nervous, the Lapi squeezes Liliana's hand back gently, returning the reassurance with a small smile."

Isolde raises up the second bowl, and pours its contents into the cauldron. A powerful, musky odor begins to rise from the pot.

Liliana wrinkles her muzzle slightly. "Dat no smell good," she complains quietly. "Hope it no stick in de fur."

Once more, the knife is circled over the joined hands, blade held flat this time. "Spirits of Life, Heed our Call!" Isolde intones, much louder than before despite sounding just like her normal voice.

Miranda sniffs curiously at the sudden smell but doesn't make any comment on it, watching the blade idly as it is passed over her and the Eeee's hands again.

Despite the quips, the male witch's expression remains completely serious. Although not normally intimidating by any stretch, being shrouded in fog, stern, and faint illumination make the Kadie a sinister shadow to the side of the ritual. When his mother makes her third invocation, he lifts his hand again to ring the largest of the bells. Louder and deeper than the others, the peal echoes with crystal clarity.

The third bowl is poured into the cauldron, and the steam that rises up has a more cloying scent to it, similar to talc. "Both of you, lean over the cauldron and breath deeply of the vapors," Isolde instructs Miranda and Lili.

Liliana's brow goes up at that. She starts to say something, then just stops and shrugs. The Eeee leans forward over the cauldron and inhales deeply. Her wings rustle behind her, extending slightly to adjust her balance.

Miranda also leans carefully over the cauldron, whispering quietly to the Eeee, "Well, at leatht I didn't bonk yu on tha head leaning over." She takes several deep, slow breaths of the steam.

Morgan lowers the hammer to his side, now, as well as his gaze. He watches the ritual quietly, keeping his thoughts to himself.

Breathing in the vapor makes the room seem even more blurry than it already was… both to sight and sound. The sensitive ears of the Eeee and Lapi pick up faint, not-quite-heard whispers in the air around them, while feeling their bodies become lighter.

The Eeee twitches, having not expected the room to shift on her. "Funky," she murmurs. But at least she doesn't try to make a run for the door.

"You may let go of each other's hands now," Isolde says, as she brings up the empty bowl. The motion leaves afterimages in the air for those who have breathed in the vapors.

The male witch's gaze shifts from Miranda, then Liliana, and back again. He nods faintly, as if sure of something.

Liliana releases the Lapi's hands ands draws hers back to herself. She blinks repeatedly, as if trying to clear her sight.

"Mm," mutters Natasha from her vantage point. It's hard to tell who she's currently looking at.
"Thith… feelth weird… " Miranda murmurs to Liliana, seeming a bit more unsettled than the Eeee by the visual blurring of the room. The Lapi's hands twitch slightly as Lili lets go before she too sits back.

"Take the bowl," Isolde tells the Eeee, pressing it into her hands. "Your blood is needed now, but not much."

Liliana takes the bowl. "Vou vish me to do it?" the Eeee asks the witch.

Isolde nods, leaving a very peculiar trail of faces for Lili. "Bite yourself. If you need help, I will squeeze the cut over the bowl… but you must hold onto the bowl with your other hand."

Miranda closes her eyes for a moment, the afterimages being left in the air by the older Kadie witch and the blurry nature of the room making her a little dizzy. It also means she doesn't necessarily have to see Lili bite herself.

"Righ'," Liliana says and brings one hand to her mouth while holding the bowl in her other. The Eeee's muzzle opens, her white fangs glinting in the low light. Without even a flinch, the Eeee bites down on her hand firmly, then releases it. Her palm now sports two small puncture wounds going through it. The Eeee then curls her fingers into a first and holds it over the bowl. And within moments, the soft sound of liquid hitting a dry surface can be heard by those close. For those watching, a small stream of blood can be seen running from the Eeee's hand into the bowl.

Closing his eyes now, Morgan lets his magical senses take over. He tries to feel the presence of the spirits, their mood, and their touch in this place.

The spirits within the Lapi and Eeee become more noticeable to the watchers now. Liliana's almost fills her, causing her blood to glow, while Miranda's flickers like a candle, centered in her chest.

"That is enough," Isolde says, before the bowl is even a tenth filled. She nods to Morgan, and whispers, "See to her hand."

Liliana pulls her hand away from the bowl. "All righ'," she says with a small nod.

"Yes mother," Morgan whispers. He draws out some bandage from a sack at his belt, then steps forward to begin winding it around Liliana's wrist. "I'll do more for this later, when we have more time," he whispers even more quietly to the Eeee.

Liliana wiggles her fingers as the bandage goes on. "Eh, s'allrigh'. Just a small bite," she whispers back to Morgan.

Isolde uses the tip of the knife to stir the blood, chanting, "Thread of Life, draw forth the Ember of Darkness from Liliana, so that it may ignite the Flame of Darkness within Miranda. Thread of Life, draw forth… " The chanting continues for some time.

Miranda blinks and opens her eyes when she hears the Eeee's voice again, squinting at the wound on Liliana's hand and giving the Eeee an apologetic look like she were saying, 'I'm sorry you had to bite yourself for me… '

"You know I worry," Morgan says, before stepping back. He returns to the fog, again partially obscuring himself.

Liliana just smiles and shrugs to Miranda as if to say it's no bother to her.

Isolde adds some yellowish liquid from another bowl to the blood (honey?) and continues to chant and mix it.

Once the mixture is 'just right', Isolde dips her forefinger into it and swirls it around until it has a good coating of the now orange goop. Chanting something under her breath that can't readily be made out, she draws a spiraling symbol with it in the fur at the base of Liliana's throat.

"Uh," Liliana says as the witch starts drawing on her neck. "Dat better no' be a bullseye," she says under her breath. The Eeee's red eyes, as best can be determined, are locked onto the witch. Her fingers fidget nervously.

"Mm," Natasha says again from where she sits. Her posture has shifted some; the Khatta sitting more upright, more alert now.

"Quite the opposite," Isolde murmurs to the Eeee, and then draws the same pattern – in reverse – at the base of Miranda's throat.

"Mm," Morgan echoes in his deeper voice. He tilts his head slightly, hand tightening around the staff he wields.

Miranda watches Isolde proceed to mark Lili's throat with a mix of curiosity and apprehension, blinking as the witch applies a symbol to her own throat as well. The Lapi tries to give Liliana a reassuring smile, but is fidgeting with her hands just as much if not more-so than the Eeee.

The senior witch takes up the knife again, and stirs the goo in the bowl. The sound of the blade scraping against the ceramic is thankfully dulled. When Isolde removes the knife, it has a good sized glob of the stuff on the tip, and she sets the bowl aside. "Relax, take deep breaths and let them out slowly," she instructs Miranda and Lili.

The Eeee looks at Isolde oddly. After a moment, though, the Eeee draws in a slow, deep, breath. She then lets it out in a long and gentle bow of air.

Taking a deep, slightly shuddering breath, Miranda finds it a bit difficult to remain calm… Slowly, the Lapi releases the air from her lungs, and after a few more tries seems to be physically more relaxed at least.

The tip of the ritual knife is brought closer and closer to the mark on Lili's throat. It's amazing just how steady Isolde's hand is. "Stay relaxed, breathe from your stomach," she keeps muttering.

That isn't quite so easy when someone is bringing a knife near your throat. The Eeee does try to keep as calm as she can, though, and breathe deeply as asked. Natasha shifts a bit where she's sitting. Still, the Khatta makes no move to interfere.

Very, very carefully, Isolde works the bead of goo at the tip of the knife into the center of the spiral mark. When most of it seems firmly attached, she begins to pull the knife back – drawing out a thin, shiny thread as she goes.

When the knife contacts the Eeee's neck, her entire body goes tense and she holds completely still. The only part of her which fidgets are her ears.

The progress of the knife across the gap between Lili and Miranda is painfully slow. Isolde turns the blade around its long axis to spin and tighten the growing thread, until she brings the tip finally to the center of the spiral mark on Miranda. There isn't much of a glop left on the blade now, and Isolde tells the Lapi, "This might pinch just a little."

Miranda watches both Liliana and Isolde carefully as the Kadie witch works with the knife… The Lapi actually begins to look more relaxed as the blade draws closer to herself instead of less, like someone watching and unstoppable series of events.

Nodding to Isolde, Miranda tilts her head back just slightly so the view of her throat is clearer.

When the knife makes contact with the symbol, there is indeed a slight pinch as it draws a tiny bead of blood. Isolde turns the tip, until the bead is joined to the the thread. Almost instantly, Miranda's blood bead hardens into an anchor for the thread, and the witch pulls the knife away. Isolde actually scoots back a few feet from the cauldron, then nods towards Morgan.

Once his mother has backed away, Morgan lifts the staff he carries and thumps it hard against the floor. The thump can be felt in the bones of the listeners, while bells echo their clear tones throughout the room.

Liliana holds herself perfectly still out of fear of breaking that tiny thread connecting the two. Natasha folds her hands together, still simply waiting.

All at once, the candles go out, followed by a bright red bolt of energy flowing along the thread from Lili to Miranda, destroying the thread in the process. Lines glow briefly through Miranda's clothing, showing her recent tattoo, although most of it can only be seen as an afterimage. In the following darkness, the only light comes from the glow of the coals, and the red glow of vampiric eyes. But the eyes are Miranda's, and Liliana's are now dark.

The red eyes in the darkness now belonging to the Lapi wink in and out several times as Miranda blinks.

Liliana brings up her hand in front of her face after seeing Miranda's eyes glowing red. Her hand is no longer lit by red light and the Eeee blinks several times. After a moment of silence, she asks, "Vha' vou do to me?"

The tip of a taper flares, as Isolde lights it from the coals and then begins to relight some of the candles. "The transfer is temporary," the witch notes. "Lili's eyes will gradually begin to glow again as Miranda's fade over the course of a full day."

"Hm," Morgan repeats, thoughtfully. He reaches out and places the staff in the murk again, releasing it to whatever supports it in the darkness. "How are you two feeling?"

The Eeee peers around as Isolde relights the candles around them. The Eeee looks … in some ways … not nearly as intimidating as she normally does; as if somehow a bit 'smaller', even if she's the same physical size. And her once blood red eyes are now just normal white with pale blue irises. "I no' a vampire anymore?" the Eeee asks quietly.

"Don't be silly, girl, of course you're a vampire," Isolde says, as she picks up the now empty bowls. "The spirit within you that makes your eyes glow has been transferred to Miranda for a while, that is all."

Miranda blinks several more times, "Well, thith ith… odd… " she notes holding up her hand almost in a mimicry of Liliana's previous movement, noticing the red cast on her hand. "I don't feel hungry anymore either… " the Lapi mumbles more to herself than anyone else.

"You shouldn't eat anyway, until it has worn off," the witch tells Miranda. "There might be other side effects, like aggression… but Amelia can deal with those."

"Vha voul' happen if she did eat? Vou she react like I do to solids … uh, throw it de heck up?" Liliana asks.

"How soon will we be able to use this to find the source of the hex?" Morgan asks, stepping out of the murk so he can kneel beside Liliana.

"Immediately," Isolde notes to Morgan. "Once Miranda is close enough, she'll know where to go. And she shouldn't eat because… the curse may awaken further. We don't want that."

Miranda perks her ears towards Liliana and suddenly moves forwards until she is leaning over the cauldron on her knees, almost nose-to nose with the Eeee asking, "How do you feel Lili?"

"And Morgan," Isolde says, "if Miranda tries to seduce you, resist. She may have gotten some of Liliana's libido in the transfer."

Liliana looks over at Morgan, then to Miranda. It's amazing how different she looks without the familiar glow. "So, how borin' I look?" she asks them, sounding half like a joke, half serious.

Morgan looks up as Miranda nears, looking her in the eyes. "Did you hear? No eating, and let us know if you feel drawn towards any place, and don't sedu-" the Kadie blinks, his review momentarily derailed by the odd warning, " … don't seduce me." He coughs, then smiles at Liliana. "You look as beautiful as ever, although I may lose you in the dark."

"Boring?" Miranda asks in response to the Eeee, looking Liliana up and down before looking back to her face, "You have thome off tha motht beautiful blue eyeth I've ever theen, Lili."

Isolde steps over to Natasha, and whispers to her, "It cannot be used to permanently transfer a curse, and a stronger curse might kill one or both of the subjects during the transfer. It will not work on your friend, I'm sorry."

"Vou jus' sayin' dat to be nice," Liliana says, "I feel … 'less'. No sure how to say it other den that." The Eee then blinks and finally seems to notice how close Miranda is and does lean back a bit.

The Lapi smiles wryly at Morgan. "Yeth yeth, no eating… and I'm not aloud to theduthe you either Morgan?" Miranda says, batting her eyes at the Kadie briefly, "Well then, I'll jutht have to try for tha beautiful Liliana herthelf inthtead," she says, looking back at the Eeee with a wry grin.

To give Liliana some space, Morgan reaches over and tries to push Miranda's head back by her nose. "Careful, Miranda. You'll have to be especially mindful of your actions, now, and-" again he's derailed, this time by the Lapi suggesting she might seduce Liliana, " … um … Oh, yes, remember that you, too, determine your fate. Willpower, Miranda. We can help you so much, but if you embrace what has awakened, well … " He shakes his head.

"I know," Natasha says quietly to Isolde. "It is similar to a transference spell I know. It has limitations and is dangerous. Necromancers like to use a variant to drain and incapacitate those who oppose them. To help my friend … I have to understand what happened to him. It may not be reversable."

"Morgan will give you all the support he can," Isolde promises Natasha. Louder, she says to the others, "Now, if you will please put your blindfolds back on, we can get some fresher air."

Liliana gives Miranda an odd look. She reaches up and pokes the Lapi's nose with a clawtip. "Dow' girl," she says with a small smile. "No time fer dat. Besid', listen to Morgan. Vou no used to vha' vou feel righ' now. Be careful or it kin consume vou."

Miranda does a small double blink and abruptly sits back as she processes what Morgan says, wrapping her arms around her knees and looking very much like she is trying, not to curl in on herself, but to force herself to curl in on herself… "I'm… thorry… it's just very… hard… You're not mad at me are you Lili?" the Lapi asks, not looking at the Eeee.

Morgan draws the blindfolds from where he tucked them away in his belt. "Here you are," he says, handing one to Liliana, then Miranda, before standing up to walk over to Natasha and hand her one, as well. "When you're ready I'll lead you each out one at a time, like before."

Liliana smiles to Miranda and shakes her head … and for once doesn't look predatory about it. "Mad? Course no'. I know vha' vou're feelin'. Odd strengh' no?" she says.

Natasha stands and smooths out her robes. Pulling back her hood beforehand, she wraps the blindfold back around her eyes.

"I can lead Natasha out, Morgan," Isolde says. "Tend to the girls."

"Yuth… it ith odd… I think you're more thuited to it than me Lili… " Miranda murmurs seriously before standing slowly and fiddling a bit with the blindfold she was handed.

"Vou only say dat cuz I grew up wit' it and learned how t' deal," Liliana points out as she wraps the blindfold around her eyes.

"Yes mother. Lily, we'll go first." Once Liliana has secured her blindfold, Morgan checks it, then he takes her hand and begins leading her out.
"Truth be told," Natasha admits quietly to Isolde, "I don't think Bravil will survive the week. I can feel him growing weaker and the fire of life in him fading. It's like … he has given up on living. I fear he's choosing to die. But, I cannot let him walk into darkness without doing everything in my power to save him."

"Maybe… But that doethn't make it lethth true… " the Lapi murmurs quietly as the Eeee is led away… Holding her hands up to her eyes Miranda stares silently, transfixed for a moment with the red glow of her eyes.

Isolde nods, and puts her hand on Natasha's shoulder to lead her out, saying, "You would have made a good witch, Natasha."

Liliana takes Morgan's arm. "Sorry if I no so … interestin' right now," the Eeee admits to the Kadie. "Never really figur' how much of 'me' vas, vell, jus' somethin' livin' in me. I … vou no too disappointed, I hope."

"You're the same Lily I know and love, dear. Besides, this is just a passing storm. We trees will bend, and life will go on," Morgan promises Liliana, patting her arm. "You'll see."


GMed by BoingDragon & Brenna

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