The Blood Oath
The Blood Oath
A Whateley vignette by Branwen
Nikki held her breath as Mrs. Horton’s delicate footsteps passed her door, the freshman’s slender right hand halfway through turning the doorknob with the pointed tip of her ear pressed against the cold wood. A particularly long and loud snore from her roommate made Nikki wince, every object in the room trembling for a moment before she exhaled a discordant whistle that nearly blew her own socks off.
The elf silently cursed her teammate as Mrs. Horton paused, the sound of her footsteps ending in mid-creak. Nikki’s lungs cried out for breath, desperate for oxygen, but she dared not give the game away so soon this night. It might be a month before she gathered up her courage anew to make another attempt. After a moment, Mrs. Horton tisked before striding away, muttering about unladylike behavior under her breath.
Allowing herself to breathe calmly and slowly again, Nikki turned the doorknob all the way as slowly as she could before slipping out into the hallway and easing the door closed silently behind her. Sidhe senses, dexterity and lightness of foot, not to mention harsh training under her mentors, allowed her to glide quietly across the carpet even in the thick socks and woolen pajamas that the onset of the New Hampshire winter had forced upon everyone in the school.
Of course, her invisibility spell took care of anyone who might accidentally see her, her primary concern was remaining unheard. Even so, every footstep, every light squeak of a floorboard made her flinch. If she got caught…
Truth be told, she thought to herself, if I get caught I’ll feel nothing but a great wave of relief. Shaking her head, Nikki reminded herself of what was at stake and pressed on, creeping down the stairs into the basement of Poe Cottege and further down into the tunnels that interconnected every building on campus. On the way past, she spared the barest glance to the empty space on the wall where a door had once opened into a room. That room had been moved, or maybe moved itself according to its own agenda.
In truth, the underbelly of Whateley was a rabbit warren of tunnels, sewers, basements, combat arenas, secret lairs and other even less reputable workspaces. The tunnels were so extensive that even the resident experts in the Janitorial Squad, Stan and Morrie, couldn’t claim to know every nook or passageway. Nor did they really want to; there were things under Whateley that were best left undisturbed as Nikki well knew. Fortunately for the resident students, the tunnels under Poe never had been linked to the greater network, mainly to prevent nosy students from prying into things best left untold. Like the true nature of Poe Cottage. The tunnels at night were wet and slippery, condensation from the ancient ventilation system beading on every available surface from the sheer cold of the earth above.
Arriving at the appointed place, a section of corridor that looked much like every other section of underground corridor anywhere on campus, she carefully tapped out the proper signal on the wall and waited. She didn’t have to wait long.
The wall shuddered and distorted for a moment, forcing Nikki to squint against the stomach-churning sight of reality re-shaping itself into a new form. With a shuddering shift, the concrete wall peeled away and dissolved into a plain wooden door, unremarkable except for the small black and white portrait of a man with sharp, angular, features and a stern, yet haunted, expression. Nikki took a deep breath before entering the Lovecraft room, not really sure what to expect.
The sight that greeted her was almost too normal. Almost except for two things. The room appeared to be a regular dorm room, much like Nikki’s own but for the wards scrawled in black ink across every square inch of wall space. The exceptions were, firstly, the arcane circle that took up most of the free floor space, a triangle inscribed in the center of the circle with silver powder. The other anomaly was the girl who occupied the bed, lounging like a cat on top of the covers, a single lock of red hair fallen down over her pale face.
“Right on time,” Sara purred, her smile revealing slender fangs.
Closing the door behind her, Nikki basked gratefully in the toasty warm air of the room, undoing several buttons near her neck to let the humid air out from under her thick shirt. “Heh, I… uh… thought I was late.”
“Technically, yes,” Sara grinned as she slid off the bed, the black gauze of her silk nightgown gliding across the floor over her bare feet, “but I allowed you some time to sneak over here and procrastinate a bit.”
Nikki tried to chuckle but her heart wasn’t really in it. It wasn’t until Sara’s grin faltered that she realized that the other girl was just as nervous. Turning away to hide it, Sara looked at the magic circle. “So… um…”
“Yeah,” Nikki agreed without really knowing why.
The awkward silence stretched for a moment as both of them decided what was appropriate to say.
Nikki managed to murmur first. “If, uh, you don’t want to do this…”
“Oh, no,” Sara interrupted, “I do, believe me I do. I just don’t want to force this on you if you don’t want it. I mean, it’s a big step.”
That provoked a nervous laugh from both of them. “Yeah,” Nikki snickered, “only a bit of an understatement there.”
Wincing, more at herself than at any perceived barb in her companion’s words, Sara sighed. “Let’s face it, neither of us has any idea what’s going to happen. All I know is that if we don’t do this now, we’re going to pay for our timidity later.”
“I know,” Nikki agreed, “I do want to do this. Believe me. Come on, before we lose our nerve.”
Nodding in agreement, Sara stepped into the circle with Nikki, both girls careful not to disturb the circle or the triangle with their feet. Frowning, fey paused to cast aside the thick woolen socks and set her bare feet to the warm floor with a sigh of relief. “That’s better… do you have the Athame?”
“Yes,” Sara said, reaching out to a nearby table to pick up the moonsilver-edged blade she’d specially prepared for the ceremony. “Left or right hand?”
Nikki considered the wickedly curved and razor-sharp blade for a moment, butterflies fluttering inside her stomach. “Right hand,” she decided, “I’ll cut index to wrist, you cut thumb to pinky.”
Silently agreeing, Sara placed the tip of the blade against the base of her thumb and sliced, quickly and cleanly, a deep gash across her palm. The magic of the circle began to rise as purple blood splattered against the floor, small droplets soaking into the silver powder. “You want me to?”
Nikki shook her head. “I’ll do it myself.” Taking the dagger, the blossoming elfin queen steeled herself against the pain as the blade sank into the tender flesh of her palm. Ever so careful not to go too deep-she simply didn’t have the regenerative power of the demon princess-silver blood welled up out of the gash and spilled into the circle. Both girls felt the hum of magic as the circle’s power was fully activated, highly attuned sixth senses alerting them that the first stage of the ritual was a success.
Smiling, Sara offered Nikki her right hand. “Good luck.”
Nikki smiled back. “Likewise.”
Then she took Sara’s bloodied hand in her own.
As their palms touched, blood mingled and, for a moment, it seemed as if the world were holding its breath in anticipation. Then the path of their wounds aligned, a crescent of darkness meeting a sliver of silver. The circle’s power roared with power as if two moons had collided in the heavens to rain fire down on the planet below. Except that, rather than shattering, the moons merged, flowing together and becoming one greater whole.
So it was with Nikki and Sara. Both girls felt their wounds heal, not separately but merging their bodies together until they were of the one flesh, joined by the skin of their right hands. Blood rushed back and fourth as both girls wilted together, holding each other up in mutual support as their hearts played a macabre tug-of-war with their veins. Silver blood surged, burning with magic, through Sara’s body one second only to be sucked back into Nikki, with interest.
For a moment, both their hearts stopped beating. Light and darkness became meaningless; the wheel of life and death halted its eternal cycle before breaking under the strain of their combined magic. Their next heartbeat was made as one.
Blood surged and mixed, mingling within their own bodies as the magic of the ritual remade them both.
Nikki hugged Sara close to her as the Demon Princess cried out in pain and terror, her body boiling and bubbling beneath her skin. Sara’s limbs popped and crackled, distorting and reforming into new shapes as her cells attempted to adjust or futilely rebel against the change. Finally, she hung limp against Nikki, her bones melting into liquid and unable to support her any longer.
The elfin queen was having her own problems, however sympathetic she was to Sara’s plight. Visions danced behind her eyes, alien vistas opening before her where strange beings cavorted; raping, birthing and consuming each other in an endless orgy of sex and violence free of morals or conscience. Those things stared back at her, as curious of her as she was of them, and they whispered to her. Whispers of mad, barely comprehensible, secrets that Aunghadhail herself had merely glimpsed during their ancient war. In a moment she saw the birth, death and undeath of the universe and shared in the unspeakable secret of the Great Old Ones.
The magic of the ritual liquefied the circle’s moonsilver powder, pooling under the girls as they both sank to the ground, sharing in each other’s horror and wonderment. Fey looked down on Sara as the demon’s body filled back out, solidifying once more, whispering, “don’t… don’t fight it.” Sara reached out to caress Nikki’s cheek, looking into the elf’s cat-like eyes and whispered, “don’t look too deep.”
Sara felt herself growing. Her body filled out in more ways than one, hips and breasts expanding even as her legs stretched out, taking on a more curvaceous figure than she’d already possessed. Her face thinned as her eyes slanted, taking on a true elfin cast even as her ears extended into long, graceful, points. Her hair shifted hue, midnight black giving way to dark yet vibrant blood red several shades down from Fey’s flame-colored locks. Despite the improvements, her skin remained that perfect pale white with black around her eyes and lips as well as the claws that tipped her fingers and toes.
Secrets rocked Nikki’s world. She looked and she saw, she saw the universe moving around her and understood the great gears that kept it turning over. Revelations so profound that everything else, even existence, paled in comparison to their meanings; unutterable, indecipherable, secrets that required, not just a new paradigm or a new way of thinking, but a way of thinking that her old brain was simply incapable of comprehending. And so, her cells danced and cavorted with the secrets, restructuring themselves to deal with what they now knew must be true.
Then the bond broke, like an umbilical chord being severed, their wounds separated of their own accord and healed in an instant. The heavens ceased to tremble and the moonsilver, now dull and drained by the two girls who lay plastered with the metal, was absorbed into their bodies to seal away the magic forever inside themselves.
The new sisters opened their eyes at the same time and found the other staring back. They were both locked together in a tangle of limbs but neither of them minded at all, each of them basking in the bliss of sharing their soul with the other. Nikki looked down into Sara’s slitted, red, eyes and saw more now than mere flesh and blood, saw beyond the disguise the demon wore and understood her true nature. Lowering her lips, the Queen of the Sidhe summoned pure magic into her mouth and breathed it into her blood sister as if it were air.
Sara gasped as the fey magic spilled inside her, pure lover’s passion injected into her body as the two girls locked their flesh together once more. They were no longer in the Lovecraft room, on the floor where a circle of power had once been drawn. They were on a beach made of thoughts and dreams, a beach both of them had visited once before. Nikki’s kiss relented but her power did not, teasing the Demon Princess of Lust to heights of ecstasy no mortal could experience and hope to live.
“This dream,” Nikki leaned down, pinning Sara’s arms to the sand with her own as she nibbled and whispered into her sister’s ear, “I never told you I loved this dream.”
Lost in the pure, burning, pleasure of Aunghadhail’s magic, Kellith’s tentacles wormed their way from her flesh and caressed her sister’s body, licking and massaging physically even as Aunghadhail manipulated her magically, driving each to even greater heights of pleasure. Both cried out as Kellith penetrated Aunghadhail, the Demon feeling the Sidhe’s orgasm as if it were her own. Once more they were two minds sharing one body and one soul, rocking all of existence with the purity of their passion.
And love; love that transcended mortal understanding or knowledge that knew no limits or boundaries. Love that was, literally, beyond the ken of magic.
When it was over they lay together, each unwilling to give up the bond of skin-to-skin contact. Nikki looked down into the heart-shaped face that looked so much like her own, though perhaps slightly more slender and sharper in cast. “You feel all right?”
Sara almost answered reflexively then thought the better of it, taking a moment to compose her answer. “I don’t know. There’s a connection, something there that wasn’t before. It’s not a connection to you, I felt that already, it’s more… a connection to life, to the world… something I don’t know how to define.” Pausing, she looked down at herself and the torn remains of her negligee. “And I’m gonna need a whole new wardrobe. Again.”
“Yeah,” Nikki grinned, taking in Sara’s new form appreciatively.
“What about you?”
Blinking, Nikki took longer to consider her answer. “I don’t feel a lot different… it’s like my thoughts are lighter. Things I just didn’t get before are slotting into place so fast I don’t even have time for a ‘eureka’ moment. What’s much more scary, I don’t even know half the things I’m slotting into place but I know for sure I’m right… it’s…”
“Weird,” the blood sisters said at the same time.
Even with her enhanced intelligence, it took Nikki a moment to realize that there were purple streaks running down Sara’s face. It took another moment to realize they were tears. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Sara smiled, wiping the tears away. “It’s just nice not to be alone anymore.”
And for a time, the sisters allowed themselves to be lost in their mutual embrace.
Sara stepped out into the morning sunlight, heedless of the chill wind that promised more snow later in the day or the freezing snow that pooled around her bare feet as she walked across the brittle grass. The world called to her, trees in the distance whispering in her head, the Earth thrumming with power, even the grass under her feet screaming in agony as it was crushed.
She felt it all, the process of life and death, the cycle of the world moving all around her, and she held it all in awe.
Nikki couldn’t stop. The assignment had started as a simple protective circle against jinxes but every time she worked at the runes she noticed things, holes that hadn’t been there before, weaknesses that couldn’t be tolerated in her designs. And so the wards and formulae became more complex as the circle ever expanded, taking into account an infinite number of permutations and solutions. And then, just when it was perfect and the circle only took up a five foot square penciled in at a hundred-to-one scale, she began noticing patterns.
For every pattern she devised a number of shortcuts, breaking down the formulae into more elegant sets of runes, even resorting to quantum mechanics to provide adequate explanations for what she knew to be right but unable to prove in any terrestrial language.
Eyes alight, intoxicated with the power of creation, Nikki counted down the milliseconds to the beginning of her next class with Sir Westmont. In her head.