Sisters of the Black Circle

R.B. Winters
R.B. Winters
Chapter 1, R.B. Winters, The Anomaly Leave a Comment

Sisters of the Black Circle

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Candles flickered dimly about the stale room, clinging to the ancient black holders that curled out from the roughly forged walls. Several poorly formed pillars of gray stone supported the ceiling that stretched beyond the glow of the orange candlelight. The center of the room was occupied by five cloaked figures. They moved in a synchronized fashion around an enormous mound of gray; lowly chanting a haunting spell.

“The universe unwind, planets collide, threads combine. Linear time, demon design, threat to rewind. Form of gray, light of day, hidden away,” speaking in perfect harmony through their exhaustion.

Unwavering in their form, the figures followed one another in hypnotic fashion. Their robes billowed behind, sweeping along the silent floor, trying to keep up. The Sisters’ steps shuffling along with the chant, their small bare feet leaving prints on the damp floor; a ruckus coming from somewhere beyond the walls. 

The low humming continued as the doors began to shake. Violent pounding came from the other side; forcefully rattling the worn black bolts that cemented the twin doors to their feigning frame. The Sisters did not break from the pattern of their ritual, moving a bit more quickly around the dripping mass at their center.

“The universe unwind, planets collide, threads combine. Linear time, demon design, threat to rewind. Form of gray, light of day, hidden away.”

A silver spark appeared as a singular drip from the unpleasantness that was the gray, hitting the terracotta colored floor that was made momentarily visible beneath it. Like a dragon licking ice with its fire-drenched tongue, the spark sizzled into nonexistence. Another followed, the Sisters hastening their steps.

“The universe unwind, planets collide, threads combine. Linear time, demon design, threat to rewind. Form of gray, light of day, hidden away.”

The door throbbed, holding back those that were furiously attacking the outer façade. Chanting through the cries of compliance to ‘open the door’, the Sisters did not give into the temptation their attackers were so tastelessly offering. The pulsating gray in the midst of the cloaked witches dripped, shrinking at a steady pace, a shower of sparks dancing about the floor below. The faces of the witches were illuminated beneath their tattered black hoods. Their pale flesh stood without a glint of emotion. Black hair framing all five faces from smooth forehead to sunken chin, pink lips of each moving at the same steady, disturbing pace,

“The universe unwind, planets collide, threads combine. Linear time, demon design, threat to rewind. Form of gray, light of day, hidden away.”

Their eyes were nothing more than hollow pits that reflected the darkness of the room as if to mirror it. The Sisters stopped, the pounding on the door continuing to echo within the room, nearly drown out by the sound of the silver and white sparks that drummed upon the now charring floor. The Sisters’ heads turned in unison to face the sparking mess. They threw their hands into the air, the sleeves of their cloaks pulling back to reveal ten ghastly pale and bony arms. Dimly though the room was lit, the darkened veins that decorated the arms of their decaying bodies were a hideous site; topped off by nails that were yellow and flaking. Time had not been a friend, fueled by the deplorable state in which the Sisters of the Black Circle had been forced to live, cut off from the magical community by order of the Council.

“The universe unwind, planets collide, threads combine. Linear time, demon design, threat to rewind. Form of gray, light of day, hidden away,” their chant becoming louder, nearly hysterical.

Rising into the air, the lump continued spewing fantastic sparks. The oversized, poorly crafted door exploded from its frame; having given way to the persistence that came from the orbs being thrown at the grainy wood, scattering in splinters upon the floor. A group of wizards stood on the other side of the exposed exit with palms outstretched before them, orbs of red pulsating, ready to attack. It was unnecessary for any of the Sisters to pay mind to those entering the doorway. They had more than anticipated the arrival of Anneliese and her Council of forced followers.

The Council had spent a considerable amount of time trying to locate the legendary Primary, informed it was hidden within the Sisters’ Castle. Though there was no proof to support or deny this theory, Anneliese had found every infraction of wizard law that would allow her to raid the castle. Dragging the entire Council to the castle upon rumor of ill-obtained charms that turned out to be nothing more than mortal necklaces, properly purchased and imported with the permission of the Department of Mortal Relics.

Alex recalled the second time Anneliese had drug he and three other casters of the Council to the castle. A rumor of ritual sacrifice that turned out, as Alex and presumed, to be perfectly legal. The Sisters were sacrificing Watts. Terrible little creatures with razor sharp wings, sticky legs, and plump round bodies; coming from the depths of the Terra-Accadia Forest. If anything, it was a blessing to rid the magical world of a few.

Flares of green burst from the illuminated lump, lashing out like whips. The Sisters continued in a fearless fashion, not to be deterred in their task. The unwanted wizards rushed in, orbs pummeling the nonreactive Sisters; all except one collapsing upon the dank floor. The single witch continued,

“The universe unwind, planets collide, threads combine. Linear time, demon design, threat to rewind. Form of gray, light of day, hidden away.”

“Alexander, stop her!” roared Anneliese, firing off another round of crimson orbs.

It was Anneliese that had forced the Council members here tonight on another ‘tip’. It seemed her sole purpose (of the time) to bring about the downfall of the Sisters of the Black Circle. Not even Alex could understand the reason she felt them to be such a threat, but there was no option other than to obey; no matter how he detested the orders.

Coming within a foot of the hollering Sister that appeared undisturbed by the attack, she turned her empty eyes to Alex. In a split second her hand fell from the air, grabbing hold of Alex by the wrist. The two connected, Alex able to feel the power that was coursing through the witch and the furious monster at her helm.

“Keep it safe. Keep it secret. Keep it hidden,” spoke the Sister.

Alex hearing the words somewhere inside his head as she vocalized,

“The universe unwind, planets collide, threads combine. Linear time, demon design, threat to rewind. Form of gray, light of day, hidden away.”

Whips of green continued to beat out into the dark corners of the room, combining they spun around the now radiant orb. Unannounced winds circled the room, attacking the lingering sources of light, the flames hissing as they were vanquished. The vicious swirl of green retreated furiously into the terrifying mass; something like water down a drain, allowing the room to fall back into dark silence. Extinguished candles still neatly in their iron holders, hung wearily as amber dots, gray tails rising from them.

A rush of heat and blinding white exploded from the hovering point of fixation, leaving everyone on the floor in its wake. The Sister’s hand continued holding tightly to Alex, his watering eyes glazing over. Alex couldn’t hold a proper thought, his mind spinning feverishly, and the grip on his arm unexpectedly releasing.

Opening his eyes, Alex sat in darkness. Running his hands over the smooth surface of the chilled floor, bumping something just as solid. Carefully examining the object through touch, he climbed to his feet. A bit dazed and unclear on what had happened, Alex glanced around. It was impossible to see, but he knew he was in the Council Hall. With memorized steps he walked the distance around the large judge-like stand that stood silently in the darkness.

Without touch the door to Alex’s personal chamber opened. Alex had recently inherited this particular chamber. It had belonged to Anneliese until she recently felt the Council was in need of a new home. With the completion of her current Council Palace, as Alex referred to it, there was plenty of empty space left behind. Though the immense hall just beyond the door of his chamber was left to collect dust, it would eventually be home to a Council of Alex’s control.

Alex’s chamber was a brilliant white that was impossible to look upon without squinting. Visitors often had watering eyes as they spoke with Alex in this place of oppressive light, a sight that gave him an inappropriate rush of pleasure and power. Silvery-gray doors of a newly made cabinet that stood against the adjacent wall were slightly open as if closed in such a rush that no one had checked to make sure they were properly secured.

 As if in a dream, Alex moved through the light that hung in the room like a fog. Arriving at the cabinet that stretched several heads above him, there was something to be seen. The doors silently swung outward, pulled by an unseen hand, allowing Alex’s brown eyes to peer inside. A large glass orb sat upon a shelf, a gray haze swirling around inside like a summer thunderstorm.

Pressure was again being put on Alex’s forearm, looking down, the Sister was again there. Her face distant, eyelids beginning to droop over the vacant holes she had for eyes, and her flesh nearly translucent now. The fog was sucked from the room, replaced by a heavy darkness that collapsed upon Alex with such force that he was unable to keep his knees from buckling. He laid on the ground, the Sister at his side, a storm of noise rushing at his ears.

The sight was not what Alex remembered. Two head-sized orbs hung above, emitting a dim glow that was just enough to outline the room and its many occupiers. The gray lump the Sisters had been chanting around was gone; the terracotta floor scorched where sparks had danced down.

“ALEXANDER!” cried Anneliese.

Alex slowly turned his head to face the witch that had shouted his name with such rage. Her pinched, pale, and pointed face was furious even through the darkness. Her tightly twisted blonde hair glimmered somehow in this unremarkable lighting. Anneliese was never a fan of Alex. Had it not been for his remarkable talents, she would have never allowed him anywhere near her Council. Though, the way things were moving with Trejun’s death and Amen’s continued resistance of Council law, it seemed a good idea to keep him at hand.

“Grab her!”

Alex turned his head back to the Sister in the same slow, almost sinister, fashion. Her lips didn’t move, but her voice was clear,

“Keep it safe. Keep it secret. Keep it hidden.” Something like a mirage in the desert at midnight, the Sister vanished as dust on the wind.

Alex’s attention was refocused with the forceful, cold slap of Anneliese’s hand against his cheek.

“You let her escape?”

“How would you have liked me to stop her?” snapped Alex, his cheek turning red, heightened by his anger.

“I didn’t lead my best casters down here to have my time wasted. I want these witches brought to justice.” Anneliese turned to leave, her casters following, their black robes scaling across the stones of the floor.

“What justice is there in persecuting the innocent?”

Anneliese stopped with a jolt. She was well known for maintaining a dignified appearance at all times, even on news that innocent wizards and mortals were being slaughtered. With no one around other than Council members, sworn to secrecy, her rage was evident. The pale cheeks she wore with such a high-and-mighty snarl had fallen to a furious shade of pink.

“You are on thin ice, Alexander,” her voice heavy. “Your job is to do as I say.”

“Unlike the rest of this Council, I will not follow you blindly.”

“Perhaps you should not be a part of my Council,” hissed Anneliese, leaning close enough for Alex to feel the warmth of her snake like breath.

This seemed enough for Alex to bite his tongue, though it nearly crippled him to do so. Anneliese stormed off, the dwindling casters following at her heel.

Alex remained in the room that was full even when no one was there. It grew dark as the abandoned attack orbs conjured by the other casters diluted into the air. Alex ignited the smoldering candles overhead with a flick of his wrist. The room was as tall as it was long, even with some light in the space there was no way to see the ceiling. Crates covered nearly every inch of the outlining walls, some opened in such a way that the tan boards were left in shreds upon the ground.

Alex had been here several times before Anneliese started her witch-hunt. There was a time when the Sisters had been trusted allies of the Council. They had served under Trejun, with his unexpected death and Amen’s uprising, Anneliese saw the Sisters as a threat. To date, the Sisters of the Black Circle had done nothing to show allegiance with Amen; though they had not made a point of proving to Anneliese that their interests were in her favor.

Anneliese was more inclined to believe the Sisters were conspiring against her when they refused to vacate Trejun’s castle, claiming it as their own. Of course, Anneliese was the only one that felt they needed to leave. Members of the Council, other than Alex, would never speak up, but they all felt the Sisters to be entitled to the castle in mark of their faithful servitude to Trejun. The Sisters were aware that their actions would lead to banishment, if not worse.

Alex’s last visit, outside the ongoing raids, to this room was when he was presented with a life altering decision. It was almost possible to see the characters of his past standing in front of him.

The room was filled with a burning sunset that draped over every corner and façade of the castle. Alex and Meg stood at a balcony that overlooked an incredible landscape. Beyond the carved limestone railing was a hundred foot drop into a valley of green. Trees as tall as skyscrapers, animals of unknown origin and flowers blooming in a multitude of vibrant colors.

“I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.”

A man appeared in the room looking the way Alex would always remember him. Trejun was wrinkled in the face with the glow of a grandfather. His hair was long and white, as it was with many of the more traditional and elderly wizards. His purple robe was made of a fine silk that looked dangerous to touch, as if perhaps a hand would shred the finely woven threads.

“I brought you both here to make you an offer.”

Meg slipped her hand into Alex’s, giving him a gentle squeeze.

“You are both aware that of all my pupils there are none more capable. The two of you are an incredible duo with powers that will someday, I believe, change the wizarding world. What I would like to offer you is the chance to embrace your powers.”

Meg gave a short smile, her brown eyes glistening as she listened to Trejun’s hypnotic and intoxicating words. Alex’s face didn’t have the same enthused look. He remained still and unaffected.

“What are you offering?” asked Alex, not entirely prepared to know.

“This is the time to take advantage of your strengths. This is the time to make your mark on the world.”

“What are you offering?”

Alex was never patient enough to make it through Trejun’s ramblings. Though he had spent what felt like a lifetime listening to the well-respected professor. Magical training was reserved for those born of wizard cities, something Alex had always thought to be a ridiculous practice. Those that were born of the Mortal Realm were forced to wait upon trainers finding and nurturing them. Something Alex had no idea he would someday be doing.


“What?” replied Alex, Meg gripping his hand more tightly.

“I’ve convened with the Demon Council and they are interested in adding the two of you to their circle. You would be endowed with unimaginable powers beyond that of your own.” There was a hint of lustful want in Trejun’s voice. Alex was afraid his old professor and friend had become more interested in the connections he would obtain, than the well-being and growth of he or Meg.

“We would be Demon Gods?”

Trejun nodded graciously.

“So, we would be going against all of our beliefs?”

“Alexander, you know that names are not always as they sound. You would take on the title, there would be no obligation to do anything you would be unwilling to do now.”

“Alex, this is an incredible opportunity,” encouraged Meg, breaking apart their clasped hands, her voice drowning in enthusiasm.

Meg was always quick to accept whatever was presented to her, as long as it was done so in a way that clearly benefited her. Though she was perfect in appearance, this was her fatal drawback.

“How can you say that?”

Though it wasn’t immediately apparent, this was the moment that Alex disconnected from Meg. Alex would later come to regret this moment time and time again. Having spent so much of their lives together already, it was common thought that they would be together forever. Some saw Alex and Meg leading the Council and wizarding world into a new future, hand-in-hand.

“There is no need to make a decision now. Take your time to think it over.”

“I want it,” blurted Meg, mostly to defy Alex.

“I don’t,” retorted Alex. There was an immediate eruption of tension between the two. Their eyes locked in a vicious stare of combat.

Trejun looked upon his prize pupils, fearing that perhaps he had made a mistake in presenting the opportunity to them in this fashion. Meg was not the desired party here; the Demon Gods were seeking Alex. Using Meg was a ploy they had unwittingly suggested upon Trejun in hopes of making their will a reality.

“Megnificent, are you sure?” Trejun asked, hoping he could convince her otherwise.

Absolutely.” Meg’s response seemed to cut Alex, his face twitching a bit.


“No,” Alex muttered, looking properly defeated.

Trejun took Meg by the hand, the two of them walking towards the door. Alex remained on the balcony, the sunset standing behind him, watching as he and Meg settled upon the decision that would forever put them on parallel paths, only marked to cross one another when ill was to come.

Alex stared at the place where he and Meg had once stood together. The balcony was gone, the opening closed up with rigged gray bricks. Before the Black Circle had moved into the once prestigious castle, it had been home to Trejun and his trusted advisors. When Trejun removed himself from the public eye, a move many thought due to illness, his advisors vanished.

Through some coaxing, Trejun was able to move the Sisters into his Castle. He was well aware of their impressive powers, also he knew them to be the gypsies of the magical community. With no real home, the Sisters of the Black Circle were convinced to take up residence in Trejun’s castle with the promise that they would no longer be forced to seek out shelter on a regular basis.

This castle was haunted with memories that would never die. Alex had been admitted into the Council, met and lost Meg, and learned of Trejun’s death in this place. Alex’s steps erupted through the room like small cries from his past. Crossing the threshold into a dim corridor the light vanished as Alex’s shadow followed him out of the room.

Check back soon for chapter two!