Chapter 9: Ethereal✔️

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They've untied me.

I'm no threat to them without my magyk.

And now Rhovan is in my mind as an extra precaution. He would know if I ran. He would know if I had evil intent.

Nel is here, Petra beside her. It's been one day and one night, all used to discuss their plans with me, whether they should off me before we are fully bound because there is no place for pure bred fae here.

And now they are readying me for the ceremony. They say it will take all day as they lead me to a bathing pool, down and down those winding tree steps.

I'm still in the dirty clothes I arrived in. They didn't let me leave the room until now and Rhovan hasn't visited me since we spoke of the ceremony, but I can feel his nerves and anger. I can feel this pull in me that wants to be near to him.

We make it to the end, to the bottom and round a corner until the tunnel starts to widen to a large room.

In the center is a bathing pool, it's that same cerulean blue, heated by the touch of magyk, except I feel no call from this body of water so similar to the Loch of Lost Souls.

There is no one here and it makes me wonder if this is safe, if they plan to drown me and rid themselves of the evidence.

"Why..."

"This is the time to cleanse, dear, not question." The bird witch is quick to interrupt me, patting me on the hand as she leads me to the pools edge.

I look back at Petra who seems to have her eyes trained on me. "Nel. We agreed that you would not place part in the cleansing." Nel seems disappointed, but leaves me to study the depths of this water for a bit more until I'm lost in my own world of thoughts, lost in the anxiety that I am not entirely sure is all my own until Nel's voice starts to raise, breaking my concentration abruptly.

"But Vanya does not have the flare that I myself possess. She won't be able to cleanse her as well as I. Don't you think so?" Nel is still arguing with Petra.

"Nel. We all know that you have a weakness for these beautiful, ethereal creatures of the goddess. That will hinder you greatly. Now leave with Petra before you anger me. This is a special day there need be no anger." A strong woman's voice is calling out to my right. I look over to see a carbon copy of Petra, only much older and without the snarl that is usually stuck to her face.

"Child, I am Vanya, Mother of Petra and Rhovan." She swallows the distance between us in a step and engulfs me in a tight hug.

They are siblings? Why does Rhovan have slight points to his ears then? Why does Petra have rounded ears? Nothing makes sense in this new world and I can't help but to wonder if she had once lived in my world, if Rhovan's ears are the answer to that frightful question.

"We must begin soon. Quick quick, take off your garments." She starts tugging and pulling until I am completely naked and she is helping as I step into this warm water one shaky step at a time.

Ignoring my stares, she kneels on the edge of the tree bark flooring, her hands folded as she chants a prayer to the gods.

This is nothing like the blood-bonding ceremonies back home in Ellavorn.

"Raise your arms dear." I feel awkward. This woman whom I have never met in my life can see my naked flesh. "It's okay. We are both women here, raise them. We are going to chant the cleansing ritual and I want you to slowly sink down until you are fully submerged as we go. This is to ensure that your body is clean and ready to accept the new life you are taking on." I like the way she explains to me, so calm and pretty, her voice lilting in that strange accent these people have. I raise my arms and continue to sink deeply until her chants have stopped and I pull myself up, my body dripping with the warm droplets of this bathing pool.

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