Table of Contents
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Published by Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2001
This edition published by Speak, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2007
Copyright © 2001 17th Street Productions, an Alloy company, and Gabrielle Charbonnet All rights reserved
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To N. and P.,
who have brought so much magic into my life
I was dancing in the atmosphere, surrounded by stars, seeing motes of energy whizzing past me like microscopic comets. I could see the entire universe, all at once; every particle, every smile, every fly, every grain of sand was revealed to me and was infinitely beautiful.
When I breathed in, I breathed in the very essence of life, and I breathed out white light. It was beautiful, more than beautiful, but I didn’t have the words to express it even to myself. I understood everything; I understood my place in the universe; I understood the path I had to follow.
Then I smiled and blinked and breathed out again, and I was standing in a darkened graveyard with nine high school friends, and tears were running down my face.
“Are you okay?” Robbie asked in concern, coming over to me.
At first it seemed he was speaking gibberish, but then I understood what he had said, and I nodded.
“It was so beautiful,” I said lamely, my voice breaking. I felt unbearably diminished after my vision. I reached my finger out to touch Robbie’s cheek. My finger left a warm pink line where it touched, and Robbie rubbed his cheek, looking confused.
The vases of flowers were on the altar, and I walked toward them, mesmerized by their beauty and also the overwhelming sadness of the flowers’ deaths. I touched one bud, and it opened beneath my hand, blooming in death as it hadn’t been allowed to in life. I heard Raven gasp and knew that Bree and Beth and Matt backed away from me then.
Then Cal was next to me. “Quit touching things,” he said quietly, smiling. “Lie down and ground yourself.”
He guided me to an open spot within our circle, and I lay down on my back, feeling the pulsing life of the earth centering me, easing the energy from me, making me feel more normal. My perceptions focused, and I saw the coven clearly, saw the candles, the stars, the fruit as themselves again and not as pulsing blobs of energy.
“What’s happening to me?” I whispered. Cal sat cross-legged and lifted my head onto his lap, stroking my hair strewn across his legs. Robbie knelt next to him. Ethan, Beth, and Sharon circled closer, peering over his shoulder at me as if I were a museum display. Jenna was holding Matt around his waist, as if she were afraid. Raven and Bree were the farthest back, and Bree looked wide-eyed and solemn.
“You made magick,” Cal said, gazing at me with those endless golden eyes. “You’re a blood witch.”
My eyes opened wider as his face slowly blotted out the moon above me. With his eyes looking deeply into mine, he touched my mouth with his, and with a sense of shock I realized he was kissing me. My arms felt heavy as I moved them up to encircle his neck, and then I was kissing him back, and we were joined, and the magick crackled all around us.
In that moment of sheer happiness I didn’t question what being a blood witch meant to me or my family or what Cal and I being together meant to Bree or Raven or Robbie or anyone else. It would be my first lesson in magick, and it would be hard learned: seeing the big picture, not just a part of it.
This book is given to my incandescent one, my fire
fairy, Bradhadair, on her fourteenth birthday. Welcome to Belwicket. With love from Mathair
This book is private. Keep out.
Here’s an easy spell to start my Book of Shadows. I got it from Betts Towson, except I use black candles and she uses blue.
To Get Rid of a Bad Habit
1. Light altar candles.
2. Light black candle. Say: “This holds me back. No more will I do it. No more is it part of me.”
3. Light white candle. Say: “This is my might and my courage and my victory. This battle is already won.”
4. Picture in your mind the bad habit you want to break. Picture yourself free from it. After a few minutes of imagining victory, put out the black candle, then the white candle.
5. Repeat a week later if necessary. Best done during a waning moon.
I did this last Thursday as part of my initiation. I haven’t bitten my nails since.—Bradhadair
I woke slowly on the day after Samhain. I tried to resist the light behind my eyes, but soon I was awake, and there was nothing I could do about it.
My room was barely light. It was the first day of November, and the warmth of autumn had leached away. I stretched, then was flooded with memories and sensations so strong that I sat straight up in bed.
Shivering, I saw again Cal leaning over me, kissing me. Me, kissing Cal back, my arms around his neck, his hair soft beneath my fingers. The connection we made, our magick, the electricity, the sparks, the way the universe swirled around us . . . I am a blood witch, I thought. I am a blood witch, and Cal loves me, and I love Cal. And that’s the way it is.
The night before, I’d had my first kiss, found my first love. I had also betrayed my best friend, created a rift in my new coven, and realized my parents had lied to me my whole life.
All of this happened on Samhain, October 31, the witches’ New Year. My new year, my new life.
I lay back down in bed, the coziness of my flannel sheets and comforter reassuring. Last night I had seen my dreams come true. Now I knew, with a coldness in my stomach, I would pay the price for them. I felt much older than sixteen.
Blood witch, I thought. Cal says that’s what I am, and after last night, after what I did, how can I doubt it? It must be true. I am a blood witch. In my veins flows blood that has been inherited from thousands of years of magick making, thousands of years of witches intermarrying. I’m one of them, from one of the Seven Great Clans: Rowanwand, Wyndenkell, Leapvaughn, Vikroth, Brightendale, Burnhide, and Woodbane.
But which one? Rowanwand, both teachers and hoarders of knowledge? Wyndenkell, the expert spell writers? Vikroth? The Vikroths were magickal warriors, later related to Vikings. I smiled. I didn’t feel very warrior-like.