I’m very happy to offer the ninth instalment of Demon Interrupted, a new story from the Elemental Coven that will be unfolding in its entirety right here on A Hopeful Romantic over the next few months with the final episode on October 31 along with a special celebration and lots more Lakeland Witches fun.
The Lakeland Witches Trilogy left so many stories untold and so many fun places in the lives of the Elemental Coven yet to be explored, that a serial seemed like the ideal way to share more of the coven’s adventure. With a coven that specialises in sex magic, it’s not only exciting to revisit my witches at Elemental Cottage, but it’s sizzling hot.
Here are the links to the previous episodes in case you missed them:
Chapter 6 Beneath the Weight of Shadow
Chapter 7 Possessions
Chapter 8 Necessities and Inconveniences
Enjoy Chapter Nine, and thanks for joining the fun with this Work in Progress. If you want to know more about the Elemental Coven’s sexy adventures, check out the Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy: Body Temperature and Rising, Riding the Ether and Elemental Fire. Enjoy!
A small rivulet of perspiration trickled down Marie’s back as she looked down into the scrying mirror that had belonged to Serina Ravenmoor, the scrying mirror that contained the ethereal prison that had held Deacon. None of the memories involving the infernal thing were pleasant ones.
‘The arrangement is not to my liking either.’ Anderson spoke next to her. ‘But it is important that we have a way to keep the coven safe from Ferris and Ferris safe from himself.’ He took her hand and squeezed it gently.
‘They’ve been in there too long,’ Marie whispered.
‘Do not worry, Marie. Cassandra knows what it is she does, and she has only to will herself to return, and you have only to will the prison door closed behind her, though I do not think that it shall be necessary at this point.’
‘We’re all right,’ Cassandra called up from inside the mirror as though she had heard their concern. Ferris figured she well might have, since he had no problem hearing them. Voices from outside the mirror prison seemed to carry down to its occupants almost as though they were amplified. Though he assumed when the prison was shut and locked all sounds from above, all contact with the outside world would cease. He shivered at the thought.
‘The space inside is secure, as it’s ever been.’ Ferris spoke softly. He wondered if those above could so easily hear his voice. ‘Once Marie shuts the door, so to speak, I won’t be going anywhere.’ And now that he was no longer focused on the couple above, he heard the soft chatters of Anderson and Marie as though he were listening to them from inside a deep well and, indeed, the scrying mirror prison was much like a deep well, a deep well filled with a tiny slice of the Ether. It had been created as a prison for demons. For creatures such as himself, he thought bitterly. Of all that he had suspected of his past, that he might be a demon had never occurred to him. With a start, he felt Cassandra lace her fingers through his.
‘Don’t borrow, trouble, Ferris. I know your heart. We all know your heart, and all of us, every one of us, has a past we’re not fond of.’
‘Demons don’t have hearts,’ he replied, sounding far more bitter than he intended.
‘I’m not so sure about that. Spending quality time with my mother has caused me to question all things I know about demons, and the truth is, none of us knows all that much about them. Besides Lucia says you’re not exactly a demon.’ Before he could respond, she raised a hand and placed two fingers across his lips. ‘I know who you are, Ferris. I know what you sacrificed to protect me, to be there for me, and that’s not something evil would do.’
‘Perhaps I had no choice.’
She studied his face for a moment, than ran her hand along his cheek. ‘Perhaps not.’
‘And that doesn’t worry you?’
For a long time she said nothing and when he was convinced her lack of an answer was the answer he dreaded, she said, ‘Often things we’re forced to do end up being exactly the things we would have gladly done if we’d only understood at the beginning how they would affect us.’ Then she took him into her arms and held him. ‘You’ve been my family and my friend for a very long time, Ferris. When there was no one else, you were there, and me … well I wasn’t easy to get close to. It must have been lonely for you.’
‘Surely you know that it was not. Surly you know that Lucia made it very simple for me to live from day to day with little forethought and little reflection.’
‘Perhaps that’s true,’ Cassandra said, pulling away to look into his eyes, ‘but time and situations bring about changes we never anticipated, not even a demon like Lucia. And no one else could have been to me what you were in all those empty years.’
This time he pulled her into his arms and held her close. ‘I must ask you a favour Cassandra.’
‘Of course. Anything.’
‘There is a question no one has asked, and yet one that must be answered if, perchance, the worst happens.’
She stepped back, a look of suspicion settling lightly on her face.
‘Find out from Lucia if there is a way to …’ He turned away and paced in the emptiness, unable to meet her gaze. ‘You need to know. The coven needs to know if there’s a way to … end my existence, should things become too difficult, should I lose myself completely in the hallucinations.’ Before she could protest, he continued, raising his hands and looking around. ‘I know that you can keep me in this space indefinitely, and that is preferable to the alternatives, but if I am unable to find my way back to myself, if I am only safe when locked away in this little slice of the Ether, then … then it’s best for everyone if I am … destroyed.’
He could see the muscles along her jaw tighten. The misting of her eyes did not hide the dilation of pupils and the lightening in colour that meant the succubus within her was angry. She swallowed hard, raked her teeth over her bottom lip and said, ‘it won’t come to that. This coven will not give up on its own. If they didn’t give up on me, then they won’t give up on you and you shouldn’t –’
‘I’m not you, Cassandra, and this coven has been through enough at the hands of demons.’
‘This coven has been restored in part at the hand of a demon,’ she snapped.
‘That may be, but I need your promise, and if you don’t give it to me, I’ll simply approach Lucia directly. I would rather not do that. I would rather trust myself to you.’
She cursed out loud. ‘All right! All right. I’ll do what you ask. But I promise you it won’t come to that.’
He felt the tension drain away from his shoulders. ‘Good. And there is then one more favour I must ask you, darling Cassandra.’
She folded her arms across her chest and said nothing.
‘I need to know that Elaine will be taken care of if … if the worst happens. It’ll be hard for her, and having people who can care for her, comfort her will facilitate her healing.’
‘Goddamn it, Ferris! You know we would do that anyway, whether or not the worst happens, but I’m sick of you borrowing trouble. Now, this place gives me the creeps. Let’s get the fuck out of here so Fiori and Sky can prepare the room of reflection for dream magic.’
It was evening before the circle convened. Tara and Kennet had spent a good portion of the day coaching Elaine on dream magic. That she was a witch had been clear almost immediately, but the sex magic practiced by the Elemental Coven was unique and the dream magic rooted in sex even more specific. Fortunately she seem caught on fast. Also, because of the specific nature of the task at hand, special precautions had to be taken and powerful protection spells had to be cast. Normally dream magic would have been done in the Dream Cave, but because the scrying mirror prison never left the alter, and the mirrors that surrounded the Room of Reflection added to the type of magic necessary should the coven need to imprison Ferris in the mirror, the Room of Reflection would be the place where the dream magic took place.
That Ferris didn’t dream, that he had chosen not to dream since he was released from the pact with Lucia, complicated the magic even further and also made the inclusion of Elaine in the circle essential. Elaine seemed to have touched Ferris in an emotional way no one else in the Elemental Coven had, therefore Tara felt she might well be the key to the success of the magic they were about to perform.
When, at last, the circle was cast, Ferris and Elaine lay upon the central dream pallet, surrounded by the strongest dreamers. Tara and Kennet lay on the pallet to their right and Cassandra and Tim lay on a pallet to their left. Anderson and Marie held the mirror at the ready because Anderson was the best at Ethereal magic and Marie was gifted at scrying, and she had a history and a connection with the mirror.
Alice joined Fiori and Sky as a witness. That there were three of them made their efforts magically stronger for observing Ferris’s dreams as well as encouraging him into the dream, and he feared he’d need all of the encouragement he could get. It would also be their job to guide him safely back if he were overwhelmed by the dream. Before the coven gathered in the Room of Reflection, Sky had guided Ferris in meditation and given him herbs to thin the boundaries between the Dream World and the Waking World, and he had done everything he could to be calm and prepared. Still, he felt as though something cold and dark breathed on him from just outside his field of vision, awaiting the approach of sleep so that it could reveal itself to him in all its horror. Better that than putting those he loved at risk, he reminded himself.
With a catch of his breath, and a squaring of his shoulders, he began the ritual. He eased the robe down off Elaine’s shoulders and cupped her breasts, focusing on her body and the comfort and the pleasure it gave him. She shrugged out of the robe and lay down next to him; opening her legs so that, in the dance of the candlelight, he could see the Gateway she offered him into the Dream World and, at its apex, the Key Stone that would help him focus. In his peripheral vision, not entirely in physical form, but more than just a vapour, Lucia hovered, watching over the ritual, watching over him. Her presence was strangely reassuring, and at the moment, he needed all of the reassurance he could get.
‘It’ll be all right, my darling,’ Elaine whispered against his ear, as she pulled him down to her. I have you here in my arms, and I won’t let you go. I’ll companion you, and I’ll come back to this place with you when you’ve found what you need to know.’ Her slender fingers slid between them and caressed the weight of his testicles and the length of his penis, anxiously hardening in against her touch.
Desire for her washed over him in heavy, pounding waves, she was his companion, she was his path, she was his breath, she was his life force, and he needed her. He kissed his way down the tetchy muscles of her belly, lingering to caress her navel, before descending to the Key Stone. He felt her buck against him and her body quivered at his touch as he tongued her clit and tugged at it with his lips. Below the pebbled swell of her, he fingered her open, probing and thrusting up into the silky mother of pearl wetness slickening against his touch. She was tight and her grip made him feel as though a heavy weight burgeoned between his legs. To his right, Tara wrapped her legs around Kennet’s waist and her hips undulated beneath him. Cassandra and Tim mirrored their lovemaking to the left, and far off he could feel the magic Marie and Anderson were raising like heat waves shimmering off a fire. Then the room slipped into a background haze like a mist on the high fells.
‘You’re ready.’ He heard her voice with the clarity of a black bird singing in high summer. ‘Enter the dream with me, Ferris. Let me help you find your way.’
As he thrust up into her once, and the sound of running water filled his ears, like the fast moving streams that tumbled down the mountainsides. He thrust again, deep and desperate. From far off, he heard her moan softly, calling is name, and then there was wind, drowning out her voice, drowning out everything. With the third thrust, his name on her lips became a mantra on the wind and he found himself floating high above Derwent Water, away from Keswick. He could see the traffic on the A66 like a trail of ants far below him. He could see the rising saddle of Blencathera and the dragon spine of Sharp
Edge. One final thrust and the landscape below swirled, blurred, and moved past him at dizzying speed. The roar in his ears intensified like a storm at sea and then howled like an angry beast. Then he fell from a high place. He thought the sound he heard might have been his own cry of terror as he fell and fell, endlessly fell.
And sometime, an eternity later, he landed with a bruising impact that took his breath away, that left him blinded and shivering. ‘Elaine? Elaine, where are you?’ He woke to the sound of his own voice. His teeth chattered from cold and body ached and felt raw as though he had been flayed. It was dark, except for the heavy moon shining in the window. Carefully, he sat up and looked around. He found himself in the study at Storm Croft. On the desk next to him sat the basket with what remained of the gourmet treats Fiori had packed for him and for his visit to Storm Croft. His hand still rested against his open fly and his spent cock. There was no sign of Elaine.