The 13th Witch
by Beyond Blonde
Drake and Kassie spent as much time as possible at Mystic Acres after her coronation. Although they usually dozed until after midday, Kassie spent late afternoons and evenings strolling through the gardens surrounding the castle. Her immortal lover wanted her to know every square inch this domain and often accompanied her on those strolls. When he did not accompany her, even if she did not recognize them in their altered forms that blended into the landscape, there were always at least three members of the Royal Guard discreetly near her. As well as a multitude of other creatures quietly watching over her. Drake was proud of the way Kassie was graciously handling the protective barrier around her. He knew having it constantly in place sometimes chaffed her independent spirit and at times aggravated her reclusive nature. Those guarding her so well also understood how constraining that barrier must feel at times and did their best to give her as much heavily guarded privacy and freedom as possible when she strolled the grounds.
Drake had encouraged her to practice her shape shifting and teleporting skills on all her strolls. She found blueprints and maps of the castle and the surrounding grounds in the library and had studied them carefully. She sometimes led him and the others protecting her a merry chase around those vast grounds as she honed those skills to perfection. As maddening as those chases could be sometimes, Drake took great pride in her ability to lead them on such merry chases. She would vanish in less than the blink of an eye and reappear throughout the grounds as various creatures. And she had taught the Royal Guard a lesson or two in the art of blending into the natural scenery as some innocent looking little creature. She often flitted around the grounds as a butterfly, honey bee, dragonfly, sparrow or hummingbird. He had chuckled with pride when one member of the Royal Guard had grumbled they needed butterfly nets, and bug spray to deal with her. Drake did not begrudge Kassie her light hearted fun as she tested her teleporting and shape shifting skill, as well as the abilities and detection skills of those protecting her. He knew she understood the seriousness behind these games.
She had quickly learned appearing in the midst of a large group of creatures and blending in as one of them made detecting her more difficult. She had made a point after that to know where the favorite garden spots were for certain creatures. She had an uncanny ability to appear in the midsts of certain creatures without alarming them and quickly blend in with them. Because of his blood ties to her Drake never lost track of her for more than a second no matter what she did. But, if she could keep herself hidden for a few seconds or even a moment or two from her own protectors, then if necessary, she could keep herself hidden from enemies at least as long. Buying Drake the time he needed to be by her side. Drake had no doubt in his ability to protect her once he was by her side. Partly because of his powers. And partly because he knew that together, their powers were even stronger. The Royal Guard knew of many of her powers. But, they did not know all of them. Anymore than they knew all his. Drake watched with dark glee as Kassie's powers steadily grew and evolved at an astounding speed.
Kassie also enjoyed spending time in the towers. Drake accompanied her when she took a trip to one of the towers shortly after her coronation. He had felt his dark soul smile as he had watched her discovering the various herbs hung to dry in the tower they were in. Along with the various herbs, there were now dark spice bottles that were carefully labeled with the names of the herbs hanging to dry. All the herbs in this and the other towers were gathered the night of her coronation. When all the herbs were well dried and ground, they would be carefully bottled and blessed, then put away in the hidden shelves in the lavender loft that had been built for them. She would have ample herbs to use in any ritual or spell she wished to perform. In the wintertime, the sunny heated towers would act as greenhouses that would allow her to grow small quantities of a wide variety of herbs.
In other hidden shelves in the lavender loft there were a variety of candles, crystals, tarot cards and other magickal tools. A crystal ball sat on a small table that was draped in purple velvet. There were couches and comfortable chairs scattered throughout the room. An arched doorway led into a small library that was filled with books. In the center of the library, there was a desk with a brand-new iMac on it. Within the castle walls and the grounds surrounding the castle, Drake truly had provided her with everything Magickal she could ever need or want. The powers he was giving her through his blood were stronger than any Magick surrounding her right now. But, these things he had surrounded her with helped her to adapt to those powers and use them more effectively. Kassie fully appreciated all he was giving her. She was doing her best to take full advantage of his gift of Mystic Acres. He had brought her here two nights before her coronation and given her a brief tour of the castle and the surrounding grounds. Then he had presented her with the deed to the castle and surrounding grounds. He gave her a dark sardonic smile when he handed her the parchment paper and had softly said, "Tis signed in my own blood. And deeded to you for all eternity."
Kassie had not bothered looking at the parchment paper. She knew it would be exactly as he said. She was coming to appreciate the true value of that parchment paper more and more with each hour that passed within the boundaries of the priceless gift that he had given her. He encouraged her to make any changes in castle decor and current landscaping that she wished to. Kassie could see no room for improvement though, and did not wish to change anything. Every time she strolled through grounds surrounding the perfectly laid out castle, she was newly amazed at Drake's careful planning. The beauty of the gardens near the castle took her breath away at times. When she had complimented him on that beauty he had merely grinned at her and replied, "I can't take credit for that beauty my love. I put the faeries, pixies, and elves that live here on the grounds in charge of landscaping."
Kassie had laughed at his grinning reply then nodded her head and said, "You would do that."
Drake had merely kissed her then replied, "And why not? The wee folk make excellent landscapers and enjoy doing it. They're happy, I'm happy, and the landscaping looks great. It's all about efficiently delegating responsibility dear." Kassie was more than happy with the status quo concerning the landscaping and quite content to enjoy the beauty and Magick around her. Drake had insisted that she practice her long distance teleportation skills by learning to come and go freely between this place and the castle he called his home base. By the end of the first week, she was easily going to and from the two castles. By the end of the second week, the boundaries of time and space ceased to exist between the two castles for Kassie. Once that happened, Drake urged her to make Mystic Acres her home base.
She left Wind Dancer at Drake's castle, but had him help her move Precious here. Between them, they had held him, and all three had arrived safely at their destination. Precious had been badly disorientated at first, but had quickly recovered his wits and settled comfortably in his new home. He discovered the unicorns his second day in his new home. When he first came upon them, he had frozen in place and simply stared at them. The unicorns saw him, whirled, and took flight. He did not give chase. He did stealthy track them into another one of their favorite meadows. He found a hill that gave him a good vantage point and spent some time watching the golden horned beasts. He became fascinated by the unicorns and in a very short time became their guardian. At first, the unicorns were extremely leery of their self appointed guardian. In time, their fear of him was replaced with trust. Unicorns are very playful creatures, and often indulged in prancing games of tag or hide and go seek. As trust replaced fear, they allowed Precious to join in the unicorn games. When Drake was taking a stroll with Kassie one evening and saw them playing tag in one of the meadows, he shook his head as he laughed and said, "Trust you to have a wolf that dances with unicorns."
Kassie had smiled that smile of hers that always melted his stone cold heart and after gently kissing his cheek had replied, "And trust you to have the unicorns for him to dance with."
Drake was thoroughly enjoying seeing Kassie's powers flourish and grow from the Magick surrounding her at Mystic Acres. Though he still used his main tourist attraction castle as home base, and Mystic Acres was now deeded to Kassie for all eternity, Drake had begun to think of Mystic Acres more and more as their home. It had been created to be the home to the 13th witch that was his destiny. Finished long before Kassie was born into this lifetime, it was still hers because he had made sure it would be everything that a true witch could need or want. He had hoped when he had created it that would somehow help draw his destiny to him.
Before Kassie, coming here had always been painful to him because it was but a beautiful bittersweet reminder of what he didn't have. Now he found himself happier at Mystic Acres than anywhere else. He felt a strange contentment here with Kassie that he had never experienced before. He was able to experience pleasure in the smallest and simplest of things here with her. Through Kassie's eyes he saw the true beauty of things like flowers and butterflies. And felt deep within his soul the Magick all around him. He enjoyed all that he saw and felt here with her. Wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of eternity strolling through the grounds and doing a thousand other things here with her. And though many of his bloodthirsty children would be appalled what was happening to her here in this place he had created to honor her and the Magick that created him, he was pleased to see the blood gift he was giving her was reacting in a different way than he had ever seen it react upon mortal or true witch before. From the very beginning she had shown more control over the darker side of that gift than he had ever seen. But here in what was her element, she was gaining even more control. He had even begun to suspect that daily feedings weren't really necessary to keep her powers at full strength. He continued to insist on those daily infusions of his blood though just to be certain that she would always have any powers she might need to protect herself.
He was pleased that she understood the importance of those powers in order to protect herself from the danger being with him brought to her. Though Drake was not thrilled with the fact she was also happily honing those powers to use as a supernatural crime fighter. The only true bone of contention between them was the fact she refused to completely end her supernatural crime fighter career. She had assured Drake she had gone into semi-retirement from working with The Team; but would assist them should she feel it necessary. She knew he would never allow her to go on any mission, no matter how necessary she might deem it, without his full protection.
All she did was smile and tell him he made a dashing hero when he tried to explain his distaste for crime fighting, which flattered, as much as irritated him. Something of which she was perfectly aware, and shamelessly used against him. Though she was technically in semi-retirement now, she kept up with what was going on and was not adverse to picking his brain at times to help that bunch of terminal misfits she called The Team solve a case. Drake figured it was better to answer her questions and offer what help he could, then have her decide The Team needed her personal assistance. Unfortunately, the case she was currently picking his brain about was shaping up to be one that might bring her out of semi-retirement.
Drake was doing everything he could to keep Kassie safe in the very dangerous world she lived in now, and the thought of her coming out of semi-retirement and going on a mission irritated him. As she snuggled up against him on one of the sofas in the lavender loft, she hit the end call button on her cell phone and told him the latest development in that case. Drake listened to her then frowned and said, "Yes they will need someone whose powers are as strong as Waldo's. And I already know where this is going. But I don't see why that someone has to be you. They are bound to have somebody else whose powers are as strong as his. In fact, I would wager Joseph's are. And I know Mikey's are."
Kassie looked at Drake and said, "Well I don't know about Mikey because none of us really know what the hell Mikey is exactly."
Drake merely smiled and replied, I know what Mikey is, and I know from what you have told me about Waldo what he is, Mikey can easily handle him."
Kassie raised one eyebrow, then said, "And what is exactly is Mikey?"
Drake grinned, kissed the tip of her nose and replied, "Keep working on your powers dear and you'll know as well."
Kassie gave him a mildly irritated look then said, "Oh you are insufferable at times. However, the problem isn't that there aren't others that could handle Waldo. The problem is finding him, so somebody can get close enough to handle him. He isn't a true shape shifter, but his powers as a wizard do allow him to alter his form considerably. He also stays on the move constantly. We are always one step behind him." Kassie paused for a moment, then sighed and said, "Picking up the trail of dead bodies he leaves behind him."
Drake gave an exasperated sigh and pulled Kassie close to him. He could care less how many dead bodies Waldo was leaving behind him. But, he knew that each of those deaths weighed upon Kassie's soul. This was something that should not be happening. Normally someone getting the daily infusions of his blood Kassie had been getting would have no empathy or sympathy for anyone else. His beloved little Queen was not changing in some of the ways mortals, or true witches usually changed after exposure to the blood gift. And though it would trouble some of his bloodthirsty children to know those changes were not occurring, Drake accepted this unexpected turn of events in as positive a manner as possible. He was glad in many ways to see her personality staying intact as it was. He gently kissed the top her head and said, "Let me think about it and see what I can do about finding Waldo. I will do my best to find him for you because I know if I don't, you are going wind up acting as a form of live bait. Though you've been careful not to irritate my jealous bone while picking my brain over this case, I have figured out Waldo has a bit of an obsession with you. I also know you will shamelessly use that obsession to try to lure him close enough to you so that you and your other Team members can take of him."
Kassie gave a frustrated sigh as well as she snuggled under the arm of her immortal lover. "Yes, if it would help end the trail of dead bodies Waldo is leaving behind. However his obsession with me isn't sexual dear. Waldo is way too gay to be obsessed with me that way. He's obsessed with taking my powers, not my pussy. But I would try to use the obsession he does have for my powers to trap him."
Drake looked into the amber eyes of the witch he loved to distraction and said, 'Well I also have an obsession with you my dear. One that centers on you fulfilling your destiny and happily spending the rest of eternity with me. I will be enjoying that fine pussy of yours as much as possible because I'm not the least bit gay. Though I understand your desire to stop Waldo, you need to remember you do have an important destiny that must be fulfilled." He paused and bowed his handsome head for a second as a look of pain crossed it, then said, "I nearly destroyed you and that destiny long ago." He raised his head then looked into her eyes once more, "Now that we both have been given another chance, I do not intend to let Waldo, or any thing else harm you, or interfere with that destiny. Yes partly because I do you love you so very much I cannot stand the thought of ever being without you. But also because I want to see you fulfill your destiny so that you can help the Magick survive and evolve as it should."
Kassie reached up and softy stroked the side of Drake's face and replied, "I know my love. But helping to stop Waldo may turn out to be a part of that destiny. Waldo is choosing his victims carefully now, and is growing stronger with each kill he makes. He is also beginning to openly flaunt those powers my dear. He cannot be allowed to continue to do that because it endangers all things Magickal. Including vampyres my love. You know full well humanity as a whole is a long way from being ready to peacefully coexist with most Magickal creatures, especially vampyres. The survival of your species, as well as many others depends upon their existence remaining a secret. You have to realize that what you call supernatural crime fighting, is about a lot more than fighting crime. It is about fighting against those whose crimes endanger all things supernatural."
Drake became very thoughtful for a moment then said, "I will have to admit I had not looked at it that way before. But, I am beginning to see the domino effect that Waldo's kind has upon all things Magickal. I am also beginning to better understand the necessity in stopping them. We have to find Waldo first though in order to stop him. To do that, we need some sort of connection with him that we can track him through. That connection may come from the very powers he is so carefully collecting and honing."
Kassie nodded her head and replied, "Yes we have been trying to establish such a connection but it is very hard because Waldo does not allow any kind of connection that he could be tracked through with even his most faithful followers. He keeps in touch with them via the internet and phone, and surprise personal visits. We have tried tracking him via the net and phone. He has countless internet providers, none of which are in his real name. He is also an expert at pirating internet and phone access When he is not pirating phone time, he uses disposable cell phones that are purchased under one of his many aliases, or by his followers. As soon as he is finished with the call he has made, he tosses the phone, often out of a moving vehicle. He then abandons the vehicle he was driving, which is usually stolen anyway, and switches to another one." Kassie paused for a moment and a look of pain and anger crossed her face. "Since he often makes at least first contact with some of his victims online we tried trapping him that way once. Waldo did not turn up for the meeting that had been arranged between him and the undercover agent. The agent and her family were brutally murdered 2 days later by him. We tried one more time to trap him that way, with the same results."
Drake kissed the top of Kassie's head then said, "If we can't track him through any of those methods. We have to find a way to connect with him through the Magick that is your greatest asset."
Kassie sighed and said, "I've tried so hard to do that. I've used my own necromancer skills on his victims to try and connect with him enough to track him. But he drains his victims so thoroughly he leaves nothing, and certainly no trace of himself for me to connect with. We have the best CSI unit in the world, but unfortunately he is an expert at cleaning up evidence. So far all we've managed to collect from his crime scenes is a small amount of his blood from where the knife he was using to stab one victim slipped, and he cut himself with it. The only reason we have that is because when he drew his hand back to stab the victim again after he cut himself, the blood splatter from that cut wound up on the top of some red curtains and the curtain rod. Lucky for us he didn't see it when he cleaned up afterwards."
Drake snapped his fingers once then handed Kassie the eternal doobie and said, "Toke on this while I think about that my love. If you have his blood, then you have a way to track him."
Kassie took the eternal doobie and before she inhaled said, "We've thought about that, and tried it, but none of us can connect with him through that small amount of blood. And since he isn't a vampyre I don't think it is possible for another vampyre to, even one as powerful as you."
As Kassie inhaled Drake smiled and said, "No dear I cannot connect with him through his blood, but I might can provide you with a way that you can use that small amount of blood to connect with him enough to track him."
Kassie toked quietly on the doobie while Drake sat in silent thought. Kassie sincerely hoped her immortal lover might know of some means to use that small amount of blood to help her connect with Waldo enough to track him. After a few moments Drake said, "I think a bloodstone would do it."
Kassie's amber eyes blinked once in surprise. "A bloodstone?"
Drake smiled and replied, "Yes my dear, but not the usual variety of bloodstone. I am talking about a very special type of bloodstone. A couple of drops of Waldo's blood should change the type of bloodstone I'm talking about. Once the stone has absorbed the blood and changed, I believe you will be able to use it to find Waldo."
Kassie exhaled and said, "I have heard legends about Magickal bloodstones, but never saw a real one. I know one legend says the stone pulses when it is near the person whose blood has touched the stone."
Drake nodded his handsome head and replied, "Yes, the heart of the stone does pulse when it is near the one whose blood has activated the stone. Which will be a help to us in catching Waldo." Drake paused for a moment and smiled as he read the thoughts in Kassie's mind. "Yes dear, I know we have to find him, to get near him. But bloodstones have another power that will help us do that. That power can only be used by those who have the true gift of divination." He leaned down and kissed the top of Kassie's head and said. "Which you do of course."
Kassie looked up at her immortal lover and inquired, "And what power would it be that I can use?"
Drake smiled and replied, "Well dear, handy little things that they are, when someone with the gift of divination places one over the special maps I have, it will briefly glow when directly over the longitude and latitude coordinates of the person whose blood activated the stone is at."
Excited hope began to shine in Kassie's amber eyes as she exclaimed, "Then for the first time, we have a real chance of finding him! I just hope the blood sample we have will activate the stone. We freeze dried part of the sample and can rehydrate it to use on the bloodstone. Do you think blood that old that has been freeze dried and then rehydrated will activate the stone?"
Drake thought for a moment then nodded his head and replied, "I am hoping that is will activate the bloodstone. What additional chemicals did you have to add to the blood to protect it from damage during the freezing process?"
Kassie grinned and replied, "We have perfected a method of freeze drying blood that requires a minimum of protective chemicals, and the chemical we do use is natural based, and can be easily washed from the blood cells once they are rehydrated."
Drake raised one eyebrow and said, "I'm surprised your CSI people perfected such a method for preserving blood."
"Well darling unlike normal CSI labs we do not just use blood samples, especially those from the perpetrators for DNA analysis and matching. We often try to use it to connect with and track the perpetrator through. Unfortunately we have not had a lot of success with doing that, especially in Waldo's case." Kassie paused, leaned up and kissed the lips of her immortal lover once then as she looked in his eyes said, "I know how rare and valuable the bloodstones you have must be. Thank you for allowing us to use one of them to track Waldo with."
Drake smiled and replied, "You are most welcome my love. I suggest you contact your bunch and have them get started on preparing the blood. As soon as the blood is rehydrated and ready to apply to the stone, you and I will take the blood to where the bloodstones and special maps are kept. We will apply the blood to the stone there. Once the stone has absorbed it and changed we can use it and the maps to locate Waldo. Since he moves around the way he does, we need to be able get to him as quickly as possible once we have locked onto his location through the bloodstone. Something that will be very easy for you and I to do."
Kassie nodded her head in agreement and said, "Well Joseph and Mikey can arrive as quickly as we can once we have locked onto his location and given them the coordinates."
Drake nodded once and said, "If they can do that, then I am more than willing to let them take care of the actual termination."
Kassie kissed his cheek, then reached down and grabbed the cell phone clipped to her jeans, then hit the speed dial feature on it. As the call connected she grinned and said, "Boss, I have some very good news! Drake is going to supply us with something that will allow us to locate Waldo. We will need to rehydrate that sample of his blood that the lab has." Kassie paused then laughed and said, "No, he's not going to drink it. Those legends concerning the existence of Magickal bloodstones are true. And according to Drake, those bloodstones posses qualities that will allow us to locate Waldo once his blood has been applied to one. Drake has a Magickal bloodstone, as well as some kind of special maps he is willing to use to locate Waldo."
The Boss listened carefully to Kassie's words, then after a few seconds of thought replied, "Well I can't truthfully say I am thrilled to have that bloodsucking lover of yours "helping" us again. But considering the fact I was about to call you and let you know Waldo's kill rate has just increased again, I'm not going to turn down his help on this one."
Kassie sighed and said, "Single or multiple kill?"
"Single, and perhaps one of your kind Kassie."
Kassie's face paled, and she replied, "A witch? Are you sure?"
"As sure as I can be. We'll know more perhaps after the autopsy. I am going to transfer you to the lab in a moment so they can get started on preparing that blood sample of Waldo's, and hope to hell Drake is right about this bloodstone being the means to find him."
Before Kassie could reply, Drake reached over and took the phone from her hand. "This is Drake, I wish for Kassie and I to examine that body before any autopsy is performed. Would you be so kind as to tell me when the body is scheduled to arrive?"
The Boss had no problem with Kassie and Drake examining the body, and replied, "Be here 6 hours from now, and the body should be arriving very shortly after that."
Drake replied, "Thank you, Doug. I will put Kassie back on the phone now"
Once Kassie was back on the phone The Boss asked, "You didn't even know my name, until now. Nobody here does. Do I want to know how he knows my name?"
Kassie replied, "Probably not. File that one under one of those little mysteries in life best left unsolved."
The Boss thought about if for a moment, then said, "I think you are right. Let's just hope that all knowing arrogant bastard can help us solve the mystery of where Waldo is? Meanwhile, I'll put you through to the lab so you can get them to work on the sample to use on that bloodstone of Drake's." Before Kassie could reply The Boss hit a button on his phone and transferred her call to the lab.
After she finished speaking to the lab technician, she hit the end call button on her cell phone. She clipped the phone back to her jeans then looked at her immortal lover and said, "The sample of Waldo's blood will be ready by the time the body of his latest victim arrives at the lab. And I assume you have a reason for wanting us to examine the body when it arrives at Headquarters?"
Drake nodded and replied, "Excellent. We can take it and apply it to the bloodstone after we have examined the body. And Yes I want to know if that was a garden variety new age witch, or if it was one you could have awakened the powers of a true witch in."
Kassie raised an eyebrow in surprise and said, "You think we will be able to tell that?"
Drake nodded again and replied, "Yes I do. If it was one you could have awakened the powers of a true witch in, then it is imperative we find Waldo and terminate him before he does any more damage to your future coven. And if it was one that you could have awakened the powers of a true witch in, then I will personally be handling the termination of Waldo."
Kassie inhaled on the eternal doobie and thought about that for a moment, then exhaled and said, "Okay, I agree if it was someone I could have awakened the powers of a true witch in, you will handle the termination. But, Joseph and Mikey should also be there. Not because I think you can't handle Waldo. But Joseph and Mikey have both worked as long and hard on this case as I have. Plus, they both knew the two agents of ours Waldo murdered."
Drake thought about what Kassie had said for a moment, then nodded his head once and replied, "As long as they don't get in my way, I have no problem with that."
Kassie looked up at her immortal lover and replied, "They have better sense than that."
Drake leaned down and kissed the tip of Kassie's upturned nose then smiled and said, "I know they do. As do you." Drake paused, then took the eternal doobie from Kassie's fingers and drew the smoke from it into his mouth. He flicked the eternal doobie in the air, snapped his fingers once. As the eternal doobie vanished he leaned down and gave Kassie a shotgun kiss that left her breathless and dizzy. As she was recovering her wits and breath Drake took her hand and stood up, pulling her up from the couch, then into his arms. "Let's go see the unicorns and spend some time in the gardens."
Kassie smiled up at Drake and replied, "Yes that is a wonderful idea. And you are wonderful for being wise enough to know that is exactly what I need right now."
Drake grinned and just before they vanished from the lavender loft said, "We wise all knowing types are like that."