A Council of Witches

(This immediately follows my most recent WCPS video, “The Weatherby Witches.” tl;dr: while interviewing Sadie Weatherby at Weatherby Hall, Lacey Turner and Sadie were surprised by the Sage of Mischief and his summons for Sadie to visit the Realm.)

Samantha Weatherby’s rose-tinted spirit slipped through Weatherby Hall’s outer wall and half the kitchen before hovering at her great-great-great niece’s side. “She’s gone, finally. Your friend is loyal, Sadie dear. That isn’t a bad thing. And there’s no sign of the spellcaster.”

Other spirits, embodied and not, surrounded Sadie at the worn kitchen table. “Drink, drink,” Aunt Esmerelda said. A cup of steaming tea immediately materialized beside Sadie’s clasped hands.

Sadie wrapped both hands around the warm earthenware mug, but made no move to drink. “Auntie, I don’t need to sleep right now.”

A tiny gust of chilled air slipped along Sadie’s face, the Esmerelda-equivalent of a cheek pinch. “It’s not the go-to-sleep blend. It’s the blend that’ll help you cope with that spellcaster trespasser. And your spirit-seeking friends, now that Lacey’s seen the trespasser as well.”

Dishes rattled on the kitchen shelves along with the spirits’ anger. “Trespassing. A sage hasn’t tried that nonsense in an age,” said Great-Aunt Laureline. “We’ll hex him so hard he can’t use a doorknob.” Her purple-tinged spirit quivered in indignation.

“And have all of the Realm casting their foolishness at us? No thank you.” Great-Grandmother Isabella chose to manifest in her physical form, still swathed in her heavy widow’s weeds of a century before. “Sadie, you will find out what the fool wants, and we’ll get the other sages to calm him. That’s their function, is it not?” An irritated snort followed the words.

“It is,” Samantha said, as Samantha always said when Isabella made a proclamation. “You’ll do exactly that, and it’ll all be fine.” Another rush of cool air, Samantha’s reassuring hand, passed through Sadie’s left shoulder.

“I have to work first.” Sadie said. She sipped her tea in silence as the rest of the room’s occupants exploded into loud opinions. She let the hubbub fade before adding, “It’s all planned. We’re investigating that old summer camp. I’ll leave tomorrow. When it’s done, I’ll go to the Realm and do as you say.”

“So cheeky,” Great-Aunt Laureline said. “I’m disappointed, child. Disappointed.”

“You’re always disappointed,” Esmerelda snapped. “Sadie, promise you’ll finish the work as soon as you can? The spellcaster might return.”

“And you can’t fight him off?” Sadie raised one eyebrow as she regarded her formidable kinswoman.

“I can.” Esmerelda’s toothy smile grew as her spirit gained a reddish hue. “But I’d prefer to not start a war. And I would.”

“Sadie, drink your tea,” Isabella said after casting Esmerelda a quelling glare. “And — ladies, let’s set up a perimeter, yes? Let’s not have any other strange appearances tonight. Or wars.”

Esmerelda let out a dramatic sigh. “If you insist.” The spirits of the Weatherby witches slowly disappeared, most with a final reassuring cold pat to Sadie’s arm or head. Sadie remained at the table and sipped her tea. The cup trembled in her shaky grasp.