PART ELEVEN: THE DARK CURSE
Lady Talulla Fischer, Queen Apparent of the Witch Nation of Mialand, gathered herself up in spite of her rugged appearance and curtsied as she had been taught to do before honored guests. Oracle Tabitha had gone to the trouble of acquainting Talulla with the guests before her and so the latter felt that it was the least she could do to smile wearily before looking away in shame for her unsightly appearance.
“Lady Talulla’s family faces a formidable curse that could see the death of every member. Protector Grayson, we leave her safety and good health into your hands as the Creator willed it,” Oracle Tabitha stated, nodding in acknowledgement to Leal. Leal reverently bowed, pledging his service.
“Is there truly no way of reversing the curse, my lady?” asked Talulla.
Oracle Tabitha shook her head. “We have poured over every volume we could find on curses and have found no way we can reverse the curse once it is enacted. We have made the appropriate arrangements should the curse take effect but I shall rest easy knowing that the future Queen of Mialand is in safe custody, away from the dangers posed by the curse. Of course, similar arrangements have been made to ensure the current King and Queen stay out of danger as well but I am afraid I cannot disclose those details for fear of compromising their safety. For now, be rest assured that you are in excellent hands, Lady Talulla,”
“And Mrs. um- Lady Fischer… shall she be alright?”
“Marchioness Fischer has also made personal arrangements for her own safety. She has also done everything she can to ensure a smooth transition in her estate in her absence, which, of course, would be in your care,”
Talulla shook her head. “I really wish she left it in someone else’s care. I am not worthy of the title or the estate and least of all, of the title of Queen of Mialand! Look at me, all of you! Do I look like a Queen to you?” she suddenly snapped.
All gathered did not respond to her and as a result, she buried her face in her hands in embarrassment and began to weep, falling on her knees. “I wish all of you would simply leave me alone. I am just a nobody who is not fit to be anyone’s Queen,”
“It is your destiny to be the Queen of Mialand. All the people gathered in this room are prepared to help you achieve this goal in whatever way they can,” Oracle Tabitha said firmly.
Talulla looked up and there was Avery’s hand to help her get back on her feet.
“I wasn’t born into Royalty either but found my way there as a Royal Consort. Where we are headed, there is a Queen who will help you to learn the ropes with uncommon patience and courtesy. What her ladyship, Oracle Tabitha says is true… We are all here to lend you a helping hand. You are not alone,”
Talulla hastily wiped away her tears on her sleeves. “Thank you all for coming to my aid. I shall never forget your kindness,”
Aurora and Avery helped transport them into Talulla’s room in the house. Further, after bringing her father Lufian, up to speed, they all traveled to the Dyson Sphere after touching base with Emre as they had promised. Tabitha, who had never thought she would ever see it with her own two eyes, was astounded that such an astounding place existed even as they were formally introduced to Queen Anna and King Ember of Medula.
Talulla gasped on hearing their names and it was revealed that she was a huge History buff and seeing the characters she had only read about in history books in the flesh was surreal. She could hardly believe that she would have the pleasure of learning how to be a proper queen from THE Queen Anna herself. The days to come would be a breeze, it would seem and it was easy for Talulla to forget about the impending threat to the Fischer clan as she was not only taught by the Queen she had aspired to be from when she was just a child but as she was pampered and treated to the finest hospitalities 14th Century Medulla and the Dyson Sphere had to offer.
Oracle Tabitha would touch base with Talulla and the latter’s progress was astounding. Talulla was slowly yet surely being transformed into someone worthy of the title of Queen right before her very eyes and Tabitha felt reassured that reaching out to Leal Grayson and his family had been the best decision she had made concerning Talulla’s trajectory. Meanwhile, the plans of ensuring Mialand stayed afloat even in the event of the curse of the Red Veiled Empress being enacted continued with the King and Queen continually ensuring they properly and completely completed their royal duties. Furthermore, a state-appointed Regent was brought up to speed with the current affairs of state and was ready to take up the mantle of state leadership in the event of the King and Queen’s untimely demise.
All that remained after ensuring the smooth running of the Witch Nation was marking an international holiday within the Magical Realm known as Lammas where as was the custom of the nations of the Magical Realm, marked the beginning of the month of confronting their personal fears, concentrating on developing their abilities and above all, protecting themselves and every one of their possessions- personal and communal, using the best technologies available in their age; magical and otherwise.
During the weeks preceding the holiday; witches became especially vigilant about security matters. During August 1st which marked the official beginning of the traditions associated with Lammas, there was a distinct tension in the air and a constant feeling of trepidation as if an impending danger the Magical Realm had never encountered was looming in the near future they could not foresee. Even the increase of Security Agencies and military presence was not enough to put their fears to bed. None felt the disquietude as much as Tabitha herself whose psychic connection to the witches of Mialand was heightened and she was constantly on edge, barely able to function as the days dragged on.
Tabitha often found herself staring off into space even as her visions of what was to come constantly flooded her senses with sensory information with no foreseeable end to her torment. Dolphus and the rest of the pack had insisted upon them moving to another Magical Realm country fearing for her well-being and safety above all but Tabitha had remained adamant that she needed to be there when all hell broke loose. Whether she would live to regret that decision would be an entirely different matter altogether but Tabitha found herself unable to turn away from Mialand when they would soon fall prey to such a irrevocably iniquitous curse.
When August 2nd 2021 finally came around, the feeling of trepidation was paralyzing and everyone in Mialand in particular, were shaken to the core with dismay. There was little activity at all with multiple institutions closing down due to large number of requests from staff members for sick leaves or personal days. Tabitha was petrified, staring out the window, feeling the weight of thousands of souls’ foreboding all on her own. She knew then that the curse would be enacted that day and somehow, every witch and warlock in Mialand felt that a despicable act of evil was about to be enacted en masse.
Dolphus tried to gently massage her shoulders but Tabitha could not feel anything other than a strong sense of dread and helplessness. Dolphus’ voice was distant and barely registered in her mind even as thick, dark clouds rolled across the sky. The clouds obscured the light of the sun so much that it appeared to be early evening despite it being only noon. It remained cold and dark for the better part of the afternoon before it was suddenly nighttime and a visible waning crescent moon replaced the sun that was at first pitch black but then suddenly a ghastly blood-red color.
As soon as the crescent moon appeared, a pitch black snow began to pour from the sky succeeded by the sound of sirens blaring across the country, announcing the enactment of a mandatory emergency lock-down for all residents and institutions effective immediately. Instructions began to stream from speakers and on every available television sets for hours before a total media blackout succeeded by the sound of static from multiple screens owned by residents of Mialand.
After a long time in absolute silence, Tabitha arose from her seat by the window as if suddenly awakening from a long nap and she turned to Dolphus and the rest of the pack gathered around her, her face shrouded in unspeakable dread and misery.
“And so it begins…” she declared dreadfully, her voice shaking with the weight of the pronouncement.
TO BE CONTINUED…
What shall become of Mialand once the dark curse is enacted? Stay tuned to find out. Links to previous entries are listed below: