Everyone but Hilly seemed to have something to say about their current predicament. Even Maddie chimed in with a fair opinion. Perhaps they should focus their attention on sniffing out the who before they had came to rue the why.
But with this many people talking, Caitlin didn't see a need to interject. She couldn't offer anything that neither of her covenmates had already brought up, and if not Hilly than at least second-in-command Anne was there to lead the discussion. The sorceress readjusted her crossed leg and turned her head to look at Wilkes. How was she going to proceed?
Anne meets Maddie's question with a head on stare, giving the young Halfling the full measure of her attention. The poor thing, it looked like it takes all the girl's courage to interject an opinion contrary to the pre-established discussion. Anne makes a note to get to know her a bit better later. At the moment they had to tend to the task at hand.
"Believe me Maddie, we will be getting to that. But I still think the why is important, if only so we know the full measure of our problem." Yes, Hilly had survived the attack, and she was doing particularly well. However, Anne needs to know exactly how fucked the circle was in without the amulet. Everyone assembled was important and powerful in their own way, but the loss of the amulet makes them vulnerable while also potentially turning a threat into something much harder to deal with.
"The amulet is called the Knot of Isis, its origins are not important right now, but it is an ancient and powerful artefact. The bearer of it becomes fully immune to the powers of all living creatures... good or evil We're talking witches, demons, magical creatures... the whole lot. Not only that, it gives the bearer a powerful gift for healing others, similar to a Whitelighter but capable of bridging the same gap between good and evil." she lets this sink in. The immunity alone is quite worrisome, but the possibility that someone could heal their evil allies, a comfort not usually offered to the forces of darkness, that is troubling as well.
"There is some luck though, the amulet, after leaving Hilly's possession, should have deactivated... and we still have that."
Jude listens as Anne gives the Cliff Notes history of the stolen amulet and a knot forms in her stomach with every word. The amount of power it seems to possess is concern enough; that’s it’s been stolen and in the hands of who-knows-who is worse.
What has she been dragged into?
"There is some luck though, the amulet, after leaving Hilly's possession, should have deactivated... and we still have that.”
“Why?” Jude pipes up. “I mean, why should it have deactivated? Is there some kind of ritual required to attune the amulet to its’ bearer? Or is it specially linked to Hilly and her family?"
If that was the case, then that was a stroke of luck, but Anne didn't seem overly confident that it would have deactivated.
Maddie smiles and steps back, glad that her concerns were met with polite acknowledgement, it helps her to feel validated. As such she simply refocuses her attention on the info that Anne is dishing out, and it starts to nag at her. Apparently that necklace is some pretty top-notch protection for Hilly, and it makes her invaluable in problem situations... like if one of them ever is hurt. Though Maddie has known nothing about the Knot's existence until now, she does somehow feel more vulnerable.
The young dryad Halfling listens on as Jude searches for details. At the moment the line of questioning doesn't seem as relevant to Maddie. The part-fae has never been much of a direct person, but she does feel that maybe they should turn their attentions towards actually doing something. So far they've just been focused on exchanging bits and pieces of information. She casts a glance a Jude and throws her two cents into the conversation, "If the amulet has deactivated, that gives us some time right? Unless we think the bad guy has already managed to activate it..." she pauses for a moment. A worry line appears on her furrowed brow as she thinks. "Do you think it might be possible to scry or summon it? I mean, if it's deactivated it might not be anything more than a piece of jewelry... right?"
While the circumstances under which they've been brought here are still scary, Caitlin likes the direction this meeting is taking. Although the shaken resolve of their leader, Hilly, is a bit disheartening, she's reassured this coven is a good place to be by the contributions of her friends and sisters. She's especially surprised at how well the new(est)comer Maddie is doing.
"That's a good point," she all but whispers following the halfling. "I mean, there's no harm in trying to call it back and seeing what happens. Then it would be ours again."
And whoever took it from you would come back looking for it, idiot.
Kai's gruff voice rings in her head and Caitlin winces in pain. The quicker they dealt with the Knot crisis also meant the quicker they could return to solving her problem, and Caitlin was looking forward to that. Kai did highlight something perhaps neither Devlin or Darlington had thought of, though. "If we do call it back, we should be prepared for retaliation."
Hilly could hear her girls in the midst of conversation from the second level as she nears the ascend of the staircase. A rush of pride flushes through her body and she admires the initiative taken by her coven. However, she also feels uneasy about her role in her demonic assault and the theft of the coven's amulet.
(I should have been more guarded.)
Immediately, her thoughts drift to her predecessor and mentor Cordelia Paulson. A powerful Wiccan who managed to safeguard the Knot of Isis for decades without incident. Hand gripping the banister, Hilly regrets her inability to live up to her forebear's legacy.
(I have to make up for my failure.)
With a deep breath to recollect herself, Hilly rounds the corner at the staircase's edge and makes her descent. When she nears the bottom steps, she finds herself standing directly behind Anne and facing the parlor as well as its occupants.
"Girls," she says with a firm, but soft voice. "I see you've been busy." Her eyes tick from face to face and their presence here helps her realize how much these magical wonders are willing to put on the line for the coven and each other. Hilly feels an obligation to be better and do better for these young women.
"Summoning the amulet is a good idea and to pull it off we'll definitely need to pool our powers. I doubt the demon figured out how to use the amulet to grant himself the same powers I have. The Knot needs to be activated by a ritual spell for anyone to be granted Isis' divine magic."
The high priestess crosses her arms and continues. "If he truly targeted me to use the Knot of Isis for himself and not just to prevent us from passing it onto future generations then he'll come after it again."
With a stark smile, Hilly adds, "This gives us the perfect opportunity to lay a trap and vanquish his sorry ass."
Anne nods as Maddie the girls start putting forth valid ideas and options. They all make good points that Anne takes into consideration. She can't help but agree with Caitlin, the new sorceress. She's cautious, but still wiling to try and move aggressively. Anne is about to address Jude, first, however, when the sound of movement draws her senses away from the conversation. She turns her head to see Hilly silently making her way down the stairs.
Anne moves to make room, and within moments it's clear that Hilly has been listening to everything that's been said. It's a bit of a relief to have the HBIC back in charge of things, she's more knowledgeable than Anne could ever hope to be. It always feels like, in these situations where Anne is left in charge, she's chasing after answers for everyone. Hilly seems to have answers ready for questions that haven't even been asked yet.
She also has to admire the High Priestess for how she's held up. Anne, personally, has tried to block out her own ordeal from the other night. She almost lost that security guard and had a mental breakdown to boot. Both of those things were unacceptable to her. Hilly moves straight forward with confidence, taking the plan to summon the amulet and morphing it into an offense. She's not just trying to get the Knot back, she's going to kill the asshole who stole it in the first place. It's a grim grin that Anne has when she replies to the High Priestess, "I'm down with that..." she turns back to the group at large, "So, a plan of action... we need to be ready with spells, potions, and offensive strategies. Any suggestions?"
Sitting in this room, Jude feels like everything she’s tried to avoid is staring at her in the face, daring her to walk out and abandon the group. The last thing she wants to be involved in is a coven; hell, she’s spent the better part of the last few years running away from her family and who she is, and now she just gets sucked back in again out of concern for a friend.
So she’s the skeptic of the group and firmly intends to remain there.
Maddie and Caitlin share their thoughts, and all of them are good points, including Caitlin’s reminder about retaliation.
Oh, goody, she thinks to herself.
Hilly’s arrival comes with its own set of information, answering her questions, somewhat, but ultimately leaves her feeling like they’re putting themselves in the firing line.
She keeps her mouth shut for now.
"I'm down with that..." she turns back to the group at larger, "So, a plan of action... we need to be ready with spells, potions, and offensive strategies. Any suggestions?”
“Defensive strategies, too,” Jude pipes up. “Caitlin and Hilly are right in that whoever took it’s going to come back to get it. Can we create some kind of protection for the Knot itself to buy additional time?” Make it an extra challenge for the offending party.
As Hilly comes down the stairs, Maddie gives a shy smile. She's back by the window, trying to stay out of the spotlight once more. Now that Hilly is here she is sure that this open forum kind of thing that they have going on, will streamline down. The High Priestess seems like the kind of woman that has a plan.
And sure enough that plan is to kick some ass.
Well, that's not something the Halfling is comfortable with. Once she found out about her heritage, certain things in her life began to make sense. Everything she learned about Dryads said that nine out of every ten of them were pacifist. They were nurturers and caretakers, they weren't warriors (or most of them weren't).
So it's kind of alarming when between Hilly and Anne, they take her idea and run with it into some sort of combat thing. It makes her nervous. Especially since Caitlin and Jude are right, there's not only the potential of retaliation, but that the coven is now counting on it.
Thank God for Jude, she seems sensible enough to at least mention defense in this situation. Anne and Hilly may want to go at this with guns blazing, but it seemed a little, well, saner to the Dryad to err on the side of caution. Her voice is timid, once again, as she speaks up, "I agree with Jude, whoever did this was smart enough to get a jump on.." she looks at Hilly, a little guiltily, "well, to get a jump on Hilly. Maybe we should plan out some defensive stuff too. Like maybe some wards, or enchantments? Or even some sort of illusion?" By the end of it she's picked a spot on the wall and stares at it resolutely, however she stops herself from rambling on endlessly.
The return of Hilly marks a shift in the conversation. This meeting goes from being a conversation about the status of their coven to a war strategy session. Caitlin gulps, reasonably concerned with what's about to go down. And she knows she's not alone in the concern.
Catilin knows Jude well enough to know that she probably isn't particularly happy about being involved in this. She'll stay out of a sense of loyalty, but she won't be happy about it. Maddie is too fresh for Caitlin to claim to know where she stands, but it's just that newness that makes Caitlin think she's probably a little unnerved as well.
"Would splitting into two teams be helpful? An offensive one and a defensive one." The sorceress tries to find some middle ground between Hilly & Anne and Jude & Maddie. While Hilly's word is the final say so in these matters, Caitlin does want to avoid a situation where there are two many cooks in the kitchen. She's got enough of that going around these days.
Anne takes in the suggestions since Hilly's emergence. She's not likely to rush into this too quickly. The recent events that have befallen the coven drilled an extra measure of caution into the wiccan. She's a fool if she doesn't learn the lesson.
As such, after a few moments of silence, in which she reflects and contemplates (hoping for input from Hilly that does not seem to be forthcoming) Anne can't help but side with Madeline and Caitlin. Both have pitched good ideas, and she considers it nigh close to foolishness to ignore the newest coven members.
"You know," she starts slowly, her brow furrowed as she gives it continuing thought, "Even if we weren't under these circumstances, we do need to stock up some security essentials." Her gaze drifts to Maddie, from what Hilly has told her, the girl represents a useful addition to the coven, but doesn't yet realize her own strength or worth. A list has been forming in her head of potion and ritual ingredients that they could use for defense. She immediately strikes all naturally occurring herbs and plants from the list. The dryad could provide them easily enough.
Next, she addresses the Druid in the room, "Jude, I know you're not a part of the coven, but I was wondering if you wouldn't mind accompanying Madeline and Caitlin on a little shopping trip for us." She spares a sideways glance at Hilly, "That'll give Hilly and I time alone to sort out a plan of action with The Knot."
When Jude makes the suggestion of creating some kind of protection to keep The Knot of Isis from falling into the hands of evil once it is retrieved, Hilly has already thought of a means to do so. However, it is a method outside of her wheelhouse.
(I'll need Jude's help to pull it off.)
Before she broach the idea aloud the coven begins to shift into two teams in preparation for reclaiming the coven's amulet. Hilly smiles proudly at how proactive her girls are. And although she is not an member of the coven, even Jude offers an additional sense of zeal to the group. This makes the high priestess admire her more. It's true a druid's beliefs on magic differ from those of witches, Hilly still hopes to convince Jude how much of an asset should would be if she were to officially join their coven.
When Anne directs the girls to the task of collecting items from the local magic shop, Hilly nods in agreement with the other Wiccan. "You girls can find a list of ingredients to create vanquishing potions in the kitchen to help you find all that we'll need. As for defensive strategies, I'm thinking Jude's druid powers could aide us well in warding the manor. Druids are known for their protective magics."
Until addressed, Jude’s content to let the coven members sort out their business. She’s here because, when push comes to shove, she doesn’t want to see anyone get hurt, but she’s not lining up to join a group. She’s better on her own.
Or trying to take care of her friends.
"Jude, I know you're not a part of the coven, but I was wondering if you wouldn't mind accompanying Madeline and Caitlin on a little shopping trip for us. That'll give Hilly and I time alone to sort out a plan of action with The Knot.”
It’s a reasonable request and she nods at Anne. “I assume there’s a list?”
The answer comes from Hilly. "You girls can find a list of ingredients to create vanquishing potions in the kitchen to help you find all that we'll need. As for defensive strategies, I'm thinking Jude's druid powers could aide us well in warding the manor. Druids are known for their protective magics.”
And here we go, she muses darkly, but only nods her head towards the head of this coven. “I’ll see what I can do,” she says, and means it. She won’t leave the home of her best friend unprotected, not if she can do something to help it.
She glances from Caitlin to Maddie. “Shall we, ladies?” she says, moving towards the kitchen to grab the shopping list.