The sorceresses in the realm of the Silver Phoenix Order were abuzz with nervous excitement. (*) A couple of their most powerful telepaths had picked up on something that was nothing short of a nightmare.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Showcase: Jade and Obsidian: I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Chapter 1: The Ancient Book.]
It wasn’t really anything the two telepaths, Hannah and Celeste, could fully understand and interpret, at least not yet; it was akin to a small, flickering light shining in the darkness, a small sense that something just wasn’t right.
But it upset them enough that they thought they should spread the word of their suspicion among the others, hoping they wouldn’t be thought of as insane or just making a mountain out of what at best might be a molehill.
Approaching their queen, Althea, they curtsied out of respect and let her know what had occurred to them.
“My queen, dear great-grandmother…” Celeste said pensively to the woman who was actually her ancestor over a great many generations. “Hannah and I have sensed something which might be quite horrible, if it’s true.”
“Yes,” added Hannah. “I wish I could say for sure it was a nightmare, that we were just stressed out or tired, or…?”
Althea then interrupted the younger women. “You have come to tell us something. We have all had trying experiences in our lives, so surely whatever you’ve felt couldn’t be any worse than at least some of those. You know we’re all family here. Please tell us what bothers you so.”
Celeste and Hannah looked at each other with strong, sad expressions growing over their faces. Celeste telepathically spoke to Hannah, “Do you want to tell her, or should I?”
Hannah shook her head. “This isn’t going to be easy, no matter which of us says it or how. But I’ll do it.”
“Thank you sister,” replied Celeste, a small but warm smile slightly cheering up her downcast face.
The two faced Althea. “I fear we have had a traitor in our midst,” continued Hannah, “someone who we thought was family but turned out not to be.”
Althea looked at her descendants with a stunned expression. “Who? Who could it be? Was your vision clear enough to tell you?”
“Yes it was,” Hannah said, nodding. “I’m pretty sure it was Frances. The poor thing we thought needed us so badly likely turned out to be nothing but trouble. I’m not even sure if she was human!” Hannah then broke down crying, and placed her face in her hands. As some of the other sorceresses came to comfort her, Celeste picked up where she left off.
“Yes, we saw darkness surrounding a female figure, and then an angry flame burst around her,” said Celeste. “At first we couldn’t make out who it was, but then, just before the vision faded, we got a pretty good view of her face, and it was Frances Kane, but not the good girl we knew. Her face was twisted with evil and anger.” As Celeste spoke, her face showed some mild anger of her own at the apparent betrayal of trust.
Althea sighed. Rose Canton, who was also in her presence, began to weep loudly as she ran out of her ancestor’s crystal palace. A couple of the others ran out after her.
“How many times in her life has Rose been betrayed by evil?” waxed Phoebe in a sadly nostalgic fashion. “How many more times must she be?”
“Please, tell me, Celeste,” Althea asked, “is there any way this vision could have been false? You did say it was somewhat vague.”
“I wish I could say that; I really do,” Celeste replied. “But it felt so real, almost like it was.”
Althea hung her head, then shook her head side to side. “I fear the only way we might be able to confirm such a thing is to ask our family on the other side. I wish I could send for Todd and Jennie-Lynn, to ask them. But I have no way to know for sure what may happen, and if there’s even a very small possibility your vision could be inaccurate, it might not be worth bothering them.”
“So we’ll just let them be?” Celeste replied, unable to hide a slight feeling of concern and disappointment.
“Yes, for now,” said Althea. “And if this nightmare does prove to be true, I hope they’ll know they can come to us to help them get through their pain.”
Indeed, it seemed as if some dark, difficult days were nearly upon a place normally full of light and happiness.