In retrospect, Jeremy may have been a little more nervous about the initiation than ended up actually being necessary. Honestly, in a surprising twist of fate, it actually felt like he as quite well suited for it. Unfortunately, much like one of the other initiates he'd tried to talk to, Miss Abernathy, he had barely eaten, otherwise he'd have managed the whole thing with ease. However, his reason for not eating had been firmly rooted in his panic over the rumours he'd heard. Some might have said his readiness to believe Hannah on something she clearly shouldn't know anything about was sort of stupid. These people had never had their darkest, most embarrassing secrets listed one by one to their face by that idiot faker. Trying to call her bluff was a gamble he'd learnt he'd rather avoid.
Thankfully though, she really had
been wrong this time. The wellspring had
ended up being a lake, leaving Jeremy struggling not to turn around and not so calmly trek back to the house. Or Oregon. But it quickly became clear that there would be no swimming involved, and from that point on he found that he was able to calm himself back down rather quickly. The blood part wasn't an especially big issue, as it was quite possibly the most important component of the ink he used for his runes, especially when he wasn't connected to a wellspring. Cutting his wrist to obtain it was a bit out of his experience, generally preferring the palm of his hand or fingertips, but it wasn't too much of an issue. He doubted the elders present would let any of them die, after all. He also thought he'd managed to hide his panic fairly well when he had to take the water from the lake, keeping a straight face even as the image of a hand shooting out to grab him and drag him under repeated in his mind.
And then he drank the mixture, and realised he had never truly been
until that moment.
It was as if all his life, he had been frail and unhealthy. Now though, he felt sturdy. Incredibly
sturdy, as if he could stand in the path of an avalanche and never lose his footing. His senses, which he had believed to be adequate before, were now so focused and fine-tuned that it made their previous state seem as if he had been all but completely blind, deaf and numb. Part of him knew that this was not a permanent state, that he must have unconsciously reinforced himself while under the wellsprings influence, but that just meant that the wellspring had improved the scale of his reinforcement magic by a ridiculous
amount. His enchantments must have had a similar boost to their output, although there was no real way to test that until he got a chance to experiment with them properly. He was excited, more excited than he might have ever felt. Right now, he felt like he could take on the whole world. And yet, somewhere deep down, he thought he felt a minuscule drop of what could only be described as pure fear. Where did this power come from? What was
this wellspring? And if it was able to provide such incredible power to every witch in this coven, just how powerful could it be should it's opinion of him change? Of course, there was still a good chance that the source of the lakes power wasn't even sentient, and he was being paranoid, but he just couldn't shake the feeling that he may have just sold his soul to an entity whose motives were entirely unknown.
And then it was over.
He staggered back for a moment, almost dropping, but thankfully managed to reinforce himself enough to remain on his feet. Idly he watched the others, not really trusting himself to speak until he could be sure it wouldn't come out as a hoarse mess. He wished he had made better efforts to ensure he'd remain in good condition, as it seemed that more than a few of his peers were having issues of their own that he might normally have been able to help with. Thankfully though, it looked like there were enough of them who were
ok to help the elders and keep things going smoothly. Eventually, he felt confident enough to walk back with the others, no longer needing to reinforce himself just to avoid falling on his face. He had stood by politely while the other members of the coven, of his
coven, congratulated him and the others. Sadly, his mother had needed to leave very soon after dropping him off to ensure she could make the long drive back home safely, so she wasn't there to congratulate him herself.
Not too long after this, he noticed one of the elders, Lark if he was remembering correctly, had started to gather the rest of the initiates again, and moved to join them. Despite the fairly chaotic emotional state, he found himself grinning as she explained the plan. He was actually quite a big fan of camping. Not that they were going to be living off the land or anything, but at least for the night, he felt like he'd be able to put his paranoia out of his mind and enjoy himself.
This sentiment was crushed immediately, when some of his fellow initiates decided it would be fun to tell ghost stories. This was was of course wrong, as ghosts were awful. Still, he forced himself to sit in his sleeping bag and listen along, because with enough exposure to his fears, maybe he'd be able to overcome them!
He couldn't. It was horrifying.
The second story was nicer, being a distinctly non-
ghost story, but he was beginning to realise that he had to either find a way to distract himself or pass out before someone else decided they had something scary to say. Thankfully, he found that distraction when Abernathy started cursing out some of the other initiates for apparently stealing her bracelet. He briefly questioned over whether or not he should actually be thankful for something like that, but came to the conclusion that it wasn't ghost stories, and was therefore preferable."Excuse me. I couldn't help overhearing, and I thought it might be best to step in before anyone does anything... unwise, I guess."
He said, walking up to the group. He nodded to the others, one of whom he realised was the girl whose seat he'd accidentally sat at earlier. "Personally, I do feel that you should return the bracelet if it is indeed Abernathy's, but at the same time, I don't think threatening our peers familiars is a good way to settle anything. Perhaps a calm explanation of the situation and discussion would be a better way to settle it. Preferably without taking hostages."