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Chapter 6

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My butt dragging, I dashed down the halls, running on only a few hours of sleep. It was taken its toll, but luckily, I knew a fabulous spell for getting rid of pesky shadows and under eye bags. In the distance, I could hear the music of old Celtic traditions. It was the kind of melodies that could be heard in the splashing waters of Wales, in the high cliffs of Cornwell, and in the rainbows of Ireland. The sound was alluring and beautiful.

I composed myself, ironing the wrinkles from my dress and took a deep breath. On the other side of this door, I knew what waited for me. A kingdom of witches, waiting to watch the torch being passed to the high priestess heir—a new generation of ruling. Beyond the soothing music, I heard and felt the excited chatter.

Here goes nothing.

Or everything.

I walked through the double doors into the great courtyard. Flowers of every color and scent bordered the circle pavilion. Trailing vines climbed the stone walls. The courtyard was old, and the enchantments of Mother Nature touched every rock, every droplet of water, and every plant. It was a place of pure, white magick.

I held my head high, and touched the amulet at my neck, feeling steadier.

This was my destiny.

My heart sunk when I saw my mother, my confidence wavering. She was so weak she couldn't stand, and I knew as I looked into her eyes, she wouldn't live to see another sunrise. Tears stung the corners of my eyes. I took my place next to her. Behind her stood my father, tall and proud with distinguished white hair and a twinkle in his blue eyes. Seeing him gave me courage and strength, even though inside I was a hot mess. Between the sorrow for my mother and the chaos vibes I was positive were coming from Devlin, I was going to need my power and the goddess to get me through the ceremony.

My father lightly squeezed his wife's shoulder. Watching them, I anyone could see that my parent's love ran deep, but it hadn't been without trials and tribulations. Somehow, they'd made it seem easy—effortless. The path laid out in front of me would be anything but simple as apple pie. It would be a long, difficult road, but believing that somehow Devlin and I would make this work, gave me hope.

Once the ceremony was complete, I needed to tell them both, if they didn't already know. It was nearly impossible to hide anything from Mom. Perks of the job, she was scarily good at perception.

Leaning down, I kissed both of her colorless cheeks. "Blessed be, Mother."

"Blessed be, daughter." Her voice was a scratchy whisper, but still lovely to me.

I squeezed her hand, letting her draw on some of my power for strength, but she was prideful.

"You know what to do," she encouraged, sensing my apprehension, but it was misplaced. My anxiousness wasn't for me, but for Devlin. A seed of unease had taken root inside me, growing with each passing minute. "The Goddess awaits you and so does your future," she said, looking behind me.

Nodding, I turned and walked to the altar, the swishing of flowing fabric against my legs I held my arms to the stars that were disappearing, unveiling the first break of the sun and began the words. "I ask thee, Goddess of Hermera, bless this place of love, joy, and truth, a shield against all wickedness and evil; a boundary between us and the realms of Mighty Ones. I ask thee to grant me the gift to honor thee name, to lead this coven in honesty, integrity, and faith in you, as my mother has before me."

Tracing the five-point star with opal dust, I prayed homage to my goddess and to the elements: water, fire, earth, wind, and spirit. A shock of power jolted through my fingers, automatically calling forth the magick in me.

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