A dark damp mist descended onto the deep forests that surrounded Tanner. The full moon had reached its efflorescence along the blackened sky, using its reflected light to shine down through the thick mist, that somehow only made things harder to see rather than helping. Suffice to say that the majority of the town was at this point asleep, and anyone who was awake in this hour was certainly upto no good.
Hurried footsteps moved through the forests, accompanied by hurried draws of deep breath. Panic rising in the air. Moments later another sound could be heard in the woods, giving chase, faint snarls mixed in with the sounds of running. Occasionally the prey would look behind them, hearing the snarling getting closer and closer. The mist was making it hard to see where they were supposed to be going.
Suddenly, A single scream pierced the air. And then silence.
Carlisle’s peaceful sleep was punctuated by the sudden chime from his phone alarm on his bedside table. Grabbing it, he looked at the time before letting out a short sigh and dismissing the alarm: 6.15am. Rolling onto his side he would sit up running his hand through his hair. Today was the day. College was over, and everyone would be back from college. Carlisle was both excited and dreading the day ahead. It was going to be nice to see people he used to go to high school with, but at the same time, it was also quite scary. Have people changed? Would people even remember him? He had tried his best to keep in touch with people, but that wasn’t exactly easy for him.
Putting on a baggy tee and his morning shorts, Carlisle got out of bed and walked out of his room in his parents house. The Aston family lived in a nice Victroian style house in the more well to do area of Tanner. It was one of those ‘In our family for generations’ style of houses, where half of the furniture was most likely older than his parents' ages combined.
Reaching the kitchen he saw his mother sitting at the kitchen tabletop, a dark green leather bound book in her hands, clad in her half lace dressing gown. Amanda Aston was one of the premier witches in the Tanner Coven, making up one of the three council members. Normally she was always engrossed in coven matters, but at the moment she seemed to be rather relaxed.
”Enjoying your first day of retirement?” Carlisle asked. As he made his way to the toaster to put some bread in. Toast would make everything better.
”It isn’t exactly relaxing. I still have alot of Coven stuff to do, it just means I don’t have to spend every waking hour of every waking day dealing with things. That is your problem now.” THe coven would certainly not be the same without Amanda walking around every day and calling the shots. As the Coven Matriarch, it was certainly going to be an adjustment to not seeing her every day. ”Besides, most of my life at the moment is trying to find a replacement for myself.” With the toast popping out of the toaster, Carlilse grabbed it and spun back around. Deciding to try and head his mother off as he knew the point she was about to make.
”Let me guess, the other council members are still reluctant to put me in charge like you want?” Carlisle retorted, the corner of a piece of toast now hanging from his teeth. Amanda on the other hand was somewhat casual with her body language.
”They are still uneasy about a warlock being in charge of the coven, and ontop of that, they still think Celeste would be a better candidate. They have only agreed for you to be a caretaker Patriarch until the council has made its final decision. And that was a hard enough sell. Had to spend weeks essentially arguing that Celeste had been away for too long to be deemed an immediate choice. It is only a matter of time.” Carlisle had been leaning against the kitchen counter, listening to his mothers words, eating the toast, forgetting to put any topping on it in the process.
”Have you ever considered that perhaps, I don’t deserve it? I mean lets be clear, I am a warlock. I know, before you start, you don’t like it. I am the first warlock of the bloodline, and father will go on and on about how I am either a disgrace to bloodline, or omens of the future of the Aston family. But at the same time, maybe I don’t want it. I am not exactly a natural born leader.” Amanda sat up straight, finally her fuse had been set off, and the relaxed facade had finally crumbled.
”Carlisle, the Aston family have been Matriarchs of the coven seven out of the last ten times. It is within our nature to be the leaders of this town's fine witches and warlocks.
”Exactly, 7/10. That means you don’t win every time. This is just one of these times that you don’t. I guess we will just have to focus on my child… If I ever have one.” Carlisle knew what he just did. Threatening not to have children infront of his mother was the equivalent of setting off a nuclear bomb in this household. Anything that would suggest that the Aston bloodline would end with him always elicited the same response. ”Also bear in mind you said Matriarch, not Patriarch. It is no secret that magical energy runs stronger in the female side of the Aston bloodline. I am not ashamed of that.”
”Not this again. Where is your ambition Carlisle? Your family has an amazing history that most witches would die for, and you sit here like it means nothing to you. I had really hoped with your friends coming back that maybe some fire would be ignited under you. I even got this book out that discusses rituals to turn warlocks into witches.”
”Mom. No. I am not taking part in any hokey cokey ritual that could potentially kill me, all for giving you some extra family credit. End of discussion.” With that, Carlisle finished the final bite of his toast and began to walk back upto his room, ignoring the protests of his mother to come back and listen to him.
A sigh escaped Carlisle’s lips as he reentered his room. This morning had gone exactly as he imagined it so far. Nothing new there. Picking up his phone, he at least noted that it had burnt about 20 minutes of his day. Opening his messenger app he would quickly find Lilith and send her a quick text:
Morning, So I have already had the ‘talk’ with my mother. It isn’t even the start of day one proper yet. How’s your morning?”
Sending the text he put the phone back in his pocket. He was used to Lilith responding whenever she was free and able to talk. There was no guarantee that she was even up yet. Carlisle then began the process of getting dressed and ready for the day. His mother had already informed everyone to let their children know that they needed to be at the Coven household by 11am that morning. She had of course instructed Carlise to be there fashionably earlier than that. She had also taken an immense amount of pride telling every parent who would listen about how ‘her boy’ was looking after the coven after they all decided to take retirement.
Retirement wasn’t exactly a new concept. It had been around for a few generations, but normally, the elders waited until their replacements were in their mid thirties before pulling their stunt, so doing it this young was a decision that he couldn’t quite comprehend. They clearly had their reasons, but they were keeping everyone in the dark about it.
With his clothes now on: A simple white shirt and black trouser pants, a la, smart casual, Carlisle decided to set off to the Coven household. That way his mother couldn’t try and sacrifice him to some sort of eldritch horror in a vein attempt to save the family's vanity. Carlisle decided to walk through the quiet morning streets of suburban Tanner to get to the household. Mostly because he knew that everyone was most likely to bring their car and cause a massive pile up at the house. And there was no way he was going to be stuck there because someone can’t park correctly.
The Coven Household
The Coven Household was situated in the center of Tanner, and if you believe the history of the place, it was one of the first buildings that was built in Tanner and it was built by the coven for their exclusive use. It was called the Household because that was what it was. In order to avoid raising suspicions in older times, some witches and warlocks lived inside the house so that to the outside world it was just a popular residence. Nowadays most of the mortals believe it is some kind of membership only club.
Carlisle would enter the household through the front door, unlocking it with his mothers master key. Well, I suppose for now, his master key. The building had a wonderful entrance hall complete with a twin staircase that led upstairs. The home was filled with many bedrooms, drawing rooms, lounges, studies, libraries, and then there was the basement. That was something else entirely. Carlisle hadn’t exactly explored the entire house even with all the years he had been here. You never really went into a room unless you needed to. But in theory, this was his house now. So it would be rude not to take stock.
His adventurous streak was dashed however when he checked his watch. It had just turned 9am. He decided instead to go the dining room adjacent to the entrance hallway and wait to see if anyone turned up early. He had to be the responsible one.