Chapter One

Fiona Venus slammed her palm down on the clock radio as hard as she could, trying to escape the mindless voice at the other end. Once the room was silent again, she let her head drop back onto her pillow, scrunching her legs up to her stomach, and pulling the covers over her head-covers, which in the night had detached themselves from her mattress and now exposed her bare feet. She sighed, but at least her head was covered.

Shutting her eyes tightly she tried to bring herself back into a dream. A comforting dream of being a normal girl. Almost every night she traveled to that reality, giving herself up to the hopes and dreams of a normal sixteen-year-old girl, rather then her unusual existence. "Fi." came a scream down the hall, Damn, Fiona thought, as her sister's shrill voice called her name out again, this time louder.

With her hands over her ears and her eyes shut even tighter, Fiona's sister Kyna twisted the door open, giving off a loud creak which startled Fiona out of whatever dream she hoped to escape in to. "Fi I mean it." Kyna stated, Fiona's back was turned to the twelve-year-old but instinctively she could tell that the girl, who looked nothing like Fiona had her usual striking blond curls bouncing around her face.

No doubt her sister looked like she was much older. "Mom lets you wear whatever you want," she hissed under her breath.

"Fi!"

"Go away."

Kyna indeed did look older than her years, with her pink tank top revealing her still baby flesh and blue jeans that were two sizes to small and hugged her legs as though they were skin. Frustrated, Kyna closed her eyes and with her minds eye mapped out her sisters room. Once clearly envisioned, she lifted her small arms slowly, though her eye's were still closed she envisioned Fiona's body rise from the bed. Indeed Fiona's body did rise, still in the crouched position that she had taken when the alarm clock went off, still with her blankets over her, Fiona's body raised into the air.

At first Fiona didn't realize that she was levitating, like most people who are, you don't know your floating until you look down, and Fiona was too busy trying to reenter another dream that she hadn't noticed. "Kyna, is your sister up?" Came another voice from down the hall. A voice all to familiar to Fiona, it was her mother Irena Venus.

Irena entered her oldest daughter's room, with grace, her tall form traveling with ease and refinement. Her slightly muscular arms exposed by a black tank top and like her daughter she wore jeans that were so tight they seemed like extensions of skin rather than clothing. "Kyna, put your sister down." Irena commanded sarcastically brushing her straight brown hair away from her shoulders and vacating the room with the same grace that she had entered with.

Fiona's eyes immediately snapped open, and upon seeing her body several feet above her bed she let out a scream and fell back onto it with a thud. "Kyna." She hollered, as the girl ran out of her room in fear. Fiona picked up one of her pillows and threw it as hard as she could, hitting the wall across the hall, barely missing her running sister. Well if she wasn't up before she was up now. Fiona sighed again, squinting her eyes from the exotic rays of sun that punctured through her window curtains and into her bedroom.

Dragging her feet to the bathroom Fiona entered, leaning her torso up on the counter she looked at herself in the mirror. Examining the lines of red designs that went down her arm from last night's ritual. Fiona remembered the extensive ritual that she and her cousin Alla Venus-the good witch- had to perform last night. The ritual that Fiona had failed due to her being unable to concentrate until the end of the spell. Fiona dragged herself back to reality; they probably wont come off, she thought grimly.

With the flip of her right index finger the shower which was across from the small room turned on, the trickling sound of the water soothed her, and made her forget about the lecture that she would no doubt receive from her mother and Aunt Amrita when she went down stairs.

Slowly she pulled her cloths off and entered the shower, letting the warm water fall over her bare skin. Grabbing the soap Fiona scrubbed for what seemed like hours to get the red marks off her arms. The red marks covered her body trailing a line down her stomach, legs, and back. Fiona scrubbed everywhere, except at the small of her back where her family's crescent moon shaped tattoo colored her skin. Fiona smiled at the memory, getting that tattoo at the age of six, which all Venus women must have done, was the only thing that she ever wanted to do that related to her family. To her, tattoo's were exotic and exciting, and it made her feel special to have it, even though her Nana, Mother, Aunt, Sister, and Cousins Alla and Gale all had the same one in the same place.

The trail of designs on her arms told the tale of the first night, when Animal and Man came face to face. The tale told of two men, and two bears hunting on the same night, and how one human was killed and one bear was killed. This action put the world at balance, and allowed human and animal to take what they need from each other to survive. Fiona cursed at the paintings when she tried to scrub them off for the third time and still they outlined her skin.

With another flip of her right index finger the shower turned off. Disappointedly Fiona stepped out of the shower with visible red marks on her skin. "Why me?" She questioned pulling her hairbrush through naturally straight hair, hair that she inherited from her mother, or perhaps her father, Fiona would never know because she didn't know her father. Witches were bred rather then being born, a witch must have children with a warlock or their source of power disappears and the line dies. Daughters are raised by their mothers to become witches and sons are reared by their warlock fathers to also become warlocks. Who is he? Fiona thought. Fiona had often questioned weather her mother even knew who he was, but she had to, she was head of the Venus order, it was her decision who she slept with and who the rest of us would with one day.

The only thing that Fiona did know about him was information she stole from her mother, when an off worlder poisoned her years ago, she lay in a delusion-like state for almost a week before she recovered. In her delirium she had whispered the name Stone, which Fiona took to be the Stone Warlocks in England. For days she tossed and turned through uneasy sleep saying the name Lennox over and over. Who is Lennox? Is he my father? Fiona desperately wanted to know, but every time she confronted her mother she always gave the, "your a witch, none of us know who are fathers are, we aren't meant to know" speech, and always after she'd leave the room, leaving Fiona to ponder why she wanted to know so much, and why she needed to know at all. She never heard anyone in her family ever ask such a question or even get the hint that they wanted to know who their fathers were.

Before leaving the bathroom, Fiona stopped, her eyes on the wall next to the door, where seven silver hooks hung, each member of her family had a hook, her Nana, her mother, her aunt, her sister Kyna, and cousins Alla, and Gale. On these hooks the Venus family hung their Crescent shaped medallions when they slept. Each Medallion was gone except for Fiona's, that hung lonely against the bathroom wall. Gently her fingers brushed against the designs on the front, old mythic letters spelled out Venus in the old language. Fiona knew the language well, having learned years ago. "Bienhereux Adeille." She whispered in the old tongue meaning blessed be.

Removing her fingers from the designs she lifted the braided strings off the hook and over her head. "Fiona." She heard as she opened the bathroom door, leaving the steamed bathroom she felt a chill as she reentered the hall way.

"I'm coming."

Fiona reentered her room to see her curtains opened, stepping closer she looked through the glass out at the great Atlantic just beyond the cliff that her house rested on. The waters deep blue, with pale surf crashing foam on to the jagged black rocks below. The Beach was quiet and empty at this time in the morning, and the sand swept in by the tides during the night was untouched and natural. "Fiona!" She heard again, another shrill command only this time from her cousin Alla.

Fiona reached into her closet, grabbing whatever she could find and pulling it on, baggy blue jeans and a gray T-Shirt. After shoving on her old sneakers, she curled her hair behind her ears and grabbed her black backpack. Then slamming her bedroom door shut she stocked down the hall, yawning as she passed the rooms of her sister and cousins, then the stairway that led up to her mother, aunt, and Nana's room. From the bottom of the stairway she could see the next set of stairs that led to the attack where Lukasz slept. It was quiet up there today. Usually, especially yesterday, his overpowering music made even the walls of her bedroom shake. Lukasz in all his glory was immortal; his soul trapped forever in a body that stopped aging at 21 over a thousand years ago. Suffering lifetimes of torture, and watching ever woman in the Venus family die while still he remained the same age. He'd still be a renaissance-like beauty when her granddaughter's went to their graves as old women.

Fiona had been touched by his story when it was told to her as a child, born in Romania years before writing had been invented, he broke the odds and survived his childhood, watching his many brothers and sisters waste away from disease and starvation. As a teenager he married a women named Elanah, and the pair had children, a daughter named Raaheel and a son named Faa'iq. All three were taken by plagues but Lukasz, however much he tried was, unaffected. After traveling the world for one hundred years, still young, he found our family in Denmark. Not even the Venus family with all it's magic's knew why he didn't age. But some force guided him to our family, and ever since that day he has been our responsibility. Lukasz wasn't alone in his immortality, as far as Fiona knew there were ten immortals, most of them lived with other witch and warlock families.

"Fiona." Alla yelled again, taking Fiona out of her thoughts so she could continue down the hallway. At the top of the stairs she looked at herself in the mirror before going down, her hair was still wet, and sleep still burned in her eyes but other then that she looked fine. Her skin was somewhat pale, but she didn't wear makeup, which Alla said only made her look dull, but Fiona always retorted that makeup kills your skin, and indeed it did, by closing off pores.

Taking a deep breath she walked down the flight of stairs and into the living room that was cluttered from furniture from several different eras and the walls clustered with large oil paintings of long dead members of her family. Once out of the living room and dining room she entered the kitchen where all six of the other Venus women rushed about still trying to get ready for the day. Nana Sophia sat in her old metal wheelchair, her white hair braided long over her shoulder. Her skin hung like melted plastic from her face and her hands wrinkled like prunes, she was old but still had her spunk. On her lap sat the youngest member Gale who was just seven, her long reddish hair curled in Nana's hands as her shaking limbs tried to braid it.

Irena and Amrita, Sophia's daughters, were huddled over the kitchen sink, though sisters they looked nothing like each other. Irena the elder of the too had aged well, in her late forties she had avoided her mother's white hair and wrinkles. Her skin still firm with muscles pierced through. Amrita, who was much younger and mother to Alla and Gale, already had a dulling complexion, her hair having streaks of frosting-like gray showing. The women reached into the many cabinets of herbs and tonics and poured the right amounts into a large cast iron pot in the sink, arguing with themselves as to how much to use, and bickering with the other on who was right about the amount.

Alla, who was Fiona's age, and Kyna, sat at the kitchen table, their makeup strewn across the table. Each held compact mirrors up to their faces and studied their Barbie-like complexions. Alla and Kyna looked like twins, each with deep blonde curls that hung to their shoulders, each with the same violet looking eyes. It made Fiona wonder if they shared the same father. Sitting beside her sister, Fiona remained unnoticed by all of them. Relived that she wasn't being commanded to do something or being yelled at. Out of boredom she laid her head down on the table, her face resting on the skin of her arms. Letting her eye's shut for only a moment she fell asleep.

Finding herself back in her bedroom she sigh, finding herself in a black sleeveless gown that covered her small body length wise to the floor. Lifting her hands up she realized that her hair was piled on top of her head in several braids and buns. What is this? Turning her head she was suddenly blinded by a bright light beyond her windows, with her hand over her eyes she moved toward it, traveling just a few feet before she reached the window sill and looked out. As her vision lowered to the lawn below the light disappeared and being able to see she removed her hand from her eyes. Below her, at the edge of the cliff two men fought with swords in each hand; she could tell by skill that one of them was a off worlder, as he tried to slice one of his blades through his opponents skin, but missed as the other man jumped out of the way.

To her the other looked like a warlock, he handled his blades well, to well to be a mortal. Both men were tall, the off worlder with dark skin, and the warlock with light. Both men looked her age, but each fought with the skill of several years of training. Putting her hand on the glass as if trying to reach out the warlock she stepped closer to the glass. Fearfully watching as the off worlder tried to slice through the warlock once more. The warlock fought back, ducking and slicing one of his blades through the off worlder's knees deep enough that the wound bled. The man let out a howl, backing off from the warlock by a few feet.

Coming back toward the warlock the off worlder rammed his blades at him. Both men moving along the cliff again. Fiona watched as the fight got deadly close to the edge. Swords flailing at each other the warlock tried to hold the off worlder at bay but the man slipped, his body crashing to the ground. With his hands grasping at the grass he tried to get back up, but without mercy the off worlder shoved his sword into the warlocks abdomen. Fiona screamed.

With her eye's opened wide, her head flung up from the table, her mouth open wide letting out a piercing scream that shattered the busyness of the room. All eyes were on Fiona as she reached her arms out before her as if to grab the dying warlock but realizing that it was just a dream. Seeing what she was doing she stopped herself slowly putting herself back on the chair at the table, her lungs raised up and down as air chocked its way in and out. She bowed her face, avoiding the star of the others. "Are you all right?" Her mother asked with out feeling. Fiona shocked her head up and down, still choking on her breath.

Alla stood from the table, her tall boots hitting the floor with a creak. "We better go or we'll be late."

Fiona stood immediately, her head still bowed as she rushed across the kitchen trying to escape. "Fiona." She heard, the voice stopped her by its commanding tone. She turned her head back, with most of her hair covering her face she looked at her mother. "Tonight." Was all Irena said before turning back to the pot in the sink. A tear fell from her eye as she stepped out onto the porch. Her eyes traveling to the cliff side where the fight in her dream had occurred. Knowing that it was dream, but still feeling that it was so real she walked over to the cliff. Crouching down she moved her hand over the lush grass that grew there, the same grass that the warlock had grabbed out of fear as the off worlder killed him. Fiona looked closely but saw no blood, or marks of struggle. Of course, it was just a dream, get over it.

"Come on Fi." Kyna demanded as she, Alla, and Gale poured out onto the porch. Fiona lifted herself up, taking a step away, but turning back again. She couldn't shake the feeling that if she just looked hard enough she would find something there, though she didn't know what, she just thought that something would have to be their.

Finely she turned away from the cliff and headed toward their car in the gravel drive. The black Jaguar belonged to all of them. "Here Kyna, you drive." Said Alla tossing the keys to her twelve-year-old cousin. Kyna driving so young was nothing knew, she needed to learn and none of them had a license.

Kyna positioned herself comfortable in the driver's seat with Gale next to her and Alla and Fiona in the back. "Doesn't it bug you, driving without a license?" Fiona directed the question to all of them, but it was Alla who answered.

"Fiona, none of us exist, remember? It's kind of hard to get a license when you don't exist." Alla took out her mirror to look at herself again as Kyna pulled the car out of the driveway and onto the cliff side road. Fiona was quiet watching her cousin check every angle of her face in the mirror. Fiona marveled at how different they were. Alla, dressed, as though she were about to win a beauty contest, in a black mini skirt and tank top with her usual leather jacket over it. And Fiona in her baggy jeans and T-shirt.

The road was endless, the ride to school was usually a time for her to sleep but she feared sleep would lead to another dream about the warlock and off worlder. Fiona tried to stay awake by staring at Gale who sat in front of her. The quiet seven-year-old was good at magic, just like her sister. She was pâté, like Alla, and wouldn't have messed up the spell that Fiona did last night.

Fiona moved her head her vision catching sight of the red marks still on her arms, Fiona looked away positioning her head so she could see out the window. What did her mother mean when she said tonight, did it mean that they would have the conversation about who she failed the spell last night during the ritual? Or was she supposed to do something tonight that she had forgotten about? Fiona searched her mind, but found nothing that would suggest that her mother wasn't going to yell at her tonight.

Kyna got to the elementary school safely, immediately she vacated the car without so much as a goodbye to Fiona or the others. Gale turned to the backseat and kissed Alla before her tiny body left the car. Alla and Fiona also got out, but each moved to the front seat without a word. Alla waited as Gale reached the door, turned, and waved to her sister in the car, Alla waved back with a smile, waiting further until Gale was in the building.

Alla started the car with force, speeding her way out of the parking lot and back onto the road. Once on the road again she rolled down all the windows and turned the radio on full blast, as was her ritual every morning.

With the wind blowing through her hair, drying it from her morning shower Fiona laid her head back on the seat, trying to convince herself that everything she saw, everything she was feeling was just a stupid dream. "So what did you see?" Asked Alla, putting a pare of black sunglasses over her eyes, shielding them from the ever present sun.

"I don't know what you mean." Fiona said dryly.

"Come on Fi, you saw something, that was painfully clear to our ear drums when you screamed at the top of your lungs and fell off your chair. You had a vision didn't you?"

Fiona was silent, she thought in her head about what she would say and how Alla would react. Oh ya I saw a warlock and a off worlder fighting in our front yard, it was pretty brutal leading to the warlocks murder, oh and not to forget I was wearing a prom dress during the whole thing. Fiona heard Alla's mocking laugh pierce her serious face. "I didn't see anything." She said out loud ending the conversation.

What if it was a vision? Fiona thought, knowing that she had had several visions in her lifetime, but that was like no vision or premonition she had ever encountered. Thinking back to all of the times when it was a vision or premonition everything was hazy, and she wasn't a part of it. She always witnessed it through they eyes of the people who were in it, never herself. No, it was just a dream she assured herself, if it was a vision I would have seen the scene through the warlocks eye's, or the off worlder's.

Fiona silenced her mind as the car pulled into the parking lot of Blue Ridge High, a place she dreaded even more then going home. Though she loved being in class and learning, and always got straight A's, she hated the kids who viewed her differently and passed judgment on her. Alla turned the car key and the radio was silenced and every window rolled up, Alla had cast a spell so that it would do that when they first got the car. A cluster of guys and a few girls waited for Alla a few feet away, and she greeted them with a smile. Sure most of them knew that she was a 'witch' but her good looks and cheery personality often reeled them in. Alla walked off arm in arm with two football players as Fiona shut the car door, dragging her feet through the doorways to hell.