Sister Isabelle lit the candles in the church, going one by one where new candles had been replaced to the melted ones. As it was the time of night, the church looked dark except for the ones that were close to the lit candles. Thunderstruck down the lands like any other day in Bonelake, growls of the thunder, whisper of the winds which gushed and rushes across the lands through the trees and houses.
A man who came from the side door with an umbrella in his hand, he jittered his hand, folding the umbrella as he let it lean on the wall where water had come to start to collect at the tip of it.
"You have returned! How was your visit to Carmichael's mansion, Sister Isabelle?" he asked walking towards her.
"One of his guests fell sick and he needed assistance over it," she smiled looking at him, "You seem to have been fortunate to have taken the umbrella along with you this time," the man had the habit of not taking the umbrella with him which often led to him coming back to the church drenched in the rain from head to his shoes.
He ruffled his chestnut hair with his hand, sprinkling a little water that had managed to get on his head when he had previously tried opening the umbrella, "Ah, yes. I have learnt to take one now. The rain in the Bonelake is a never-ending routine. I sometimes wonder how the land thrives for crops and other food stock with this amount of rain that keeps pouring in. Surprising, isn't it?" he looked in awe at the large window which was coloured in paints on the glass that touched the ceiling.
"The lands have got used to it along with the people who live here," murmured the woman, her green eyes having a different shade of colour due to the luminance that the candle reflected on her face.
"That sure is true. If I weren't from here I would have died out of he utter gloominess this land holds within itself. Have you gotten used to it, Sister Isabelle? Let me take care of the rest," he took the candle from her and began to light the other end of the dais.
"It's been more than thirty years. I think this weather suits me much better than the one I came from," she smiled, her eyes shining with the way she said it making the man nod his head in agreement to what she said, "How did the exorcism go in the village? I hope it well."
"It very much did. I had to chase a black witch who had taken home in the corner house of the village which isn't far from the river that flows by to connect to the lake of Bones," he grimaced at the memory of encountering the black witch before the time of Dusk, "How do you handle them? Their scaley skin makes my skin crawl," this brought in a bubble of laughter from the woman who had gone and sat at the front of the bench.
Sister Isabelle responded back, "I think it would be easy to know if you were a white or a black witch, Connor by the mere mention of scales and hairs of other people," white witches were not far apart from the humans except for the exception of holding and honing skills of magic that their ancestors had passed down to them. But when it came to the black witches, they were as cunning as the vampires, maybe far worse than them.
They used the humans by words and deception of looks to get their work done before the same humans would be used in their experiments of potion making.
Black witches true appearance was hideous, with horns and uneven caked skin which looked like a dried land which had not been watered for weeks and months. They had a serpent-like tongue and voice which was hoarse but that's not what they appeared to look like in the public. They relied on potions to make themselves beautiful and then trap men to do their bidding with their sweetened words.
"True words, Sister."
"What was the issue? Did you find why she was hiding in there? I thought the council and we made a check on it if they resided in any of the houses," she questioned as she remembered making rounds in the nearby villages for inspection. Though the white witches couldn't be considered to be in the favours of the council, the church was part of the council's work. Due to this, the white witches could do nothing but comply with the orders of the council.
"She must have sneaked in after all when I first went there there was her with the normal human self but when I started the incantation along with the holy water, she started to turn to her original self-"
"Wait, did you say chase back?" Father Connor laughed nervously to receive a sullen look from Sister Isabelle, "You didn't catch her?"
"We tried our best but she got away. The guardsmen never listen to what I say and like to do things differently," he scratched the back of his neck and then sighed, "I asked them to stay guard behind and front the house I was getting into but instead they got inside the house, talking to the members and I couldn't capture her."
Sister Isabelle looked outside the window when the lightning struck, to reflect the white light inside the church, "You need to learn to leave the guards out of your plan when you go in the village, Connor. Relying on others would do you no good. Depend on no one but yourself."
"Yes, Sister Isabelle," the man answered, blowing the candle he had been holding, he came to sit a few spaces away from her but on the same bench, "You seem to look a little tensed. I will make sure we capture all the witches that lurk here."
"That sounds consoling," it was good for now that the witch had been driven away from the village. By father Connor's words, she concluded that no human was abducted in the midst of her escape. Knowing about their nature, she was sure there wouldn't be any black witch entering the perimeter around the village as they would feel the guards would be on alert along with a word being sent to the council.
That wasn't the concerning matter though. It was the young girl whom she had visited a few hours ago at the Carmichael's mansion, "Do you remember the time when Mrs Carmichael came to visit with her sisters here. There was a child that brought along."
"The one that turned to a human," father Connor nodded his head in realization, "I went to visit her today." Sister Isabelle usually didn't share matters like these that had sensitive information but Connor was a reliable man. Brought up by the previous reverend, he had served his entire life in the church.
"She was the guest?"
"Yes. Apparently, the duke tried to turn her but her body rejected the venom and she still is a human. I think I need to look into it as I failed to warn the boy before," she said looking far into space. Connor who had been looking at the candles flicker snapped his head at what Sister Isabelle said.
"I thought you didn't want to do anything with the vampires or the council," he commented with a concerned look on his face.
"I didn't before but I need to step into this one."
A little regret lingered in her mind for not warning the late lady Carmichael of what she had felt when she had last visited the church. When she had gone to bless the vampiress, she had felt something dark linger around her as if something ominous was working its way in which she couldn't put her finger on. She often found the ominous presence but it passed away as the weather. But then that wasn't the only reason why she had let it pass. Even if she foresaw the death coming, she had no right to deviate what was to happen by changing the course of action. Meddling in would only cause further imbalance and it wouldn't affect just one person but a whole lot more than one could have a count on.
Father Connor asked curiously, "How have you planned to help her?"
"She will need help in honing her skills for who she really is," the man looked a little lost as he heard her speak. He didn't know what more was there when it came to being a vampire. All the vampire had to do was sink their fangs and drink the blood from their victim.
The night continued to rain heavily, water picking up the loose soil and dirt down the hills and slopes to join the river and swamps. The white witch didn't sleep, instead, she went to the cellar room where multiple herbs and potions were placed to serve as medicines for the local villagers. Her long straight midnight black hair was let loose where it reached below her waist.
A book was in her hand, opening a certain page which held the little portrait of a woman and boy in between the pages. She stared at the picture for a long time, remembering how she had got the picture and the necklace with the cross that had a ruby stone that was worn in that picture by the female in it.
Unconsciously, she touched her neck which trailed to the front of her chest as if missing the piece she once used to wear around her neck.