In this chapter, I detail the difficulties of Michael's wife, Lena. She is a battered and abused woman but, like most of her ilk she does not realize just how much her "love" enables her abuser's ability to hurt her. She does finally snap and seek help, not only for herself but, also for Rosaleen. It is noble of her.
Lena looked up at the white marble steps that led into the massive building that the Blessed had confiscated for their home. This had oncebeen the home of a major religion; they had worshipped the dead God. One of the tenants of the religion was that the God lived in his followers and was hence raised from the dead. Lena wasn’t a religious person but she tried to connect to the dead God. It had been her mother’s religion but mom hadn’t been pious.Consequently Lena wasn’t convinced in the power of the God but she did know that some God must be looking after mankind. She couldn’t imagine that Humans would have survived so long without the grace of someone and the dead God was as good a candidate as any of the others.
The building was impressive. It was a true monument to the architectural prowess of ancient Earth. It had survived for thousands of yearstaking all that Mother Earth could throw at it and for the most part had comethrough it all with very little damage. But it was huge and that was part ofwhat was daunting to Lena. She needed to find two people in all of that spaceand she was probably not going to get a lot of cooperation from the magical residents. Regardless she needed to find them so she entered the building.
Initially she was ignored. But the Blessed eventually noticed her and she was soon being escorted to the women that she needed tosee. Their assistance surprised her.
Despite the fact that she was married to a Witch she had never stepped foot inside these walls.
The hallways were long and they must have been designed as amaze because she was lost within minutes. Finally after what seemed like a mileof walking they came to a heavy double door that had been carved with a sceneof four men eating together. The carving had been worn down near the center ofthe doors, blurring the carving. Even so it was still exquisite work.
Her guide knocked lightly on the door and waited. A few moments later the door cracked open and a woman who was dressed in servantlivery peeked out. A few quiet words were exchanged between the two and thedoor shut again. Lena was getting impatient but it would do her no good at all to lose her patience. It had taken her no small amount of sweet talking to gether to this door if she were to lose her patience now she would probably never see this door again. She resigned herself to examining the other artwork andcarvings that were in the area.
She and her guide were standing in what could only be described as a waiting area outside of what had probably once been the officeof some high church official. The area was an enlarging of the hallway thatleft the doors on each side of the circular enlargement recessed about ten feetaway from the center of the hallway. It was shaped like someone had taken avery large spoon and just scooped out an area of the hallway and then built the walls around the new edges.
Lining the circular area were custom made marble benches that were so well made they almost seemed to be part of the walls. On thebenches were thick red pillows that were trimmed in gold. Lena was considering taking a seat when the door before them opened again. Her guide stepped back and beckoned her to enter before him. Once she was through the doorway it closed behind her leaving her guide in the hallway.
The room in which she now stood was dominated by fourthings, on her right was a large desk and chair that sat beneath a wall sizedwindow, on her left was a massive fireplace that she could have stood in, anddown the center was a rectangular table. There were no chairs around the middle table and only an ornate flower arrangement in the center of it. But the thing that really stood out to Lena was the smell of the room. It smelled of last night’s wood smoke and orange oil, it made her feel warm and safe.
The servant that had opened the first door was now standing at the door opposite and obviously waiting for her. She quickly stepped aroundthe table and approached the doors. These doors had a carved representation ofthe dead God on one side and a group of men and women watching him die on theother. It was a gruesome scene. These people must be representations of his murderers, but then why does it look like the women are weeping? The more Lena looked at this God, the more that she was confused.
Lena stepped through the door into a massive room. It wasthe size of a large one room apartment complete with a wardrobe, a full bathroom and a small kitchen but it was the desk that truly caught her eye. It was ancient, even more so than the one in the previous room and ornately carved and huge.
Behind the desk sat a woman with golden wavy hair and a calm lovely face. Beside her stood a woman with auburn hair and a face that said, no nonsense. Both women were older than Lena but not by much, late twentiesperhaps. They were older than most Witches. They were dressed in baggy pantsand long shirts with capes draped around their shoulders. It was the style thathad been growing in popularity amongst the magic community. Michael had told her that it was in honor of some ancient manner of dress that Witches once wore when they met in groups. He didn’t like the modified version so he wore actual robes. He also didn’t like that the color of the clothing was a matter of choice… and some people just had no taste whatsoever. Lena did not agree withher husband on this matter or many others as it turned out. The two women before her were each wearing patterns of blue and green with a dark green cloakstyle cape that had been trimmed in white. They looked rather striking and quite stylish.
“You came a long way to stand there and gawk, Mrs. Seanain.”The standing woman said.
The woman’s words shocked Lena from her wool gathering. “Oh,I’m sorry… I was just thinking of… It doesn’t matter.” She took a breath to give herself a moment to gather her thoughts. “I have a problem… actually wehave a problem. I came here to ask for your help.” Her voice was quavering and the carefully thought out speech that she had rehearsed was forgotten.
“We have a problem?” The standing woman said as she glancedat the seated woman obviously disbelieving.
That look angered Lena and her anger burned through her awe.“Look…” She said with some force. Their heads snapped around in unison. “…Icame here for a reason. You two, Tessa O’Grady and Orla Coan are two of the strongest Witches alive and you are also reportedly not without political power.” She paused when she saw the looks on their faces. The seated one looked a bit surprised while the standing one looked a bit angry. She didn’t care so she plowed on. “I think that we can help each other.”
“And how can you possibly help us?” The standing woman saidwith a sneer.
“Now, now Tessa… it obviously took a bit of moxy for Mrs.Seanain to come to us. The least that we can do is hear her out.” Orla, theseated Witch said to Tessa, the standing Witch. Then she turned to Lena. “Tellus what you came to tell us and let us decide if we can be of mutual assistance.”
The Witch’s words calmed the anger in Lena and made her feel more at ease and ready to speak. “I am sure that you are aware that you aremissing a Witch, Rosaleen Longmuir?” They looked interested now and Orla had totouch Tessa’s hand to forestall what Lena was sure had been a rude demand just dying to be blurted out. “I know where she is…and I’ll tell you if you help me.”
The two women seemed to confer with one another for a moment without speaking a word and then Tessa spoke. “You are treading on very thin ice if you plan on blackmailing us.” Her words were calm but her eyes flashed dangerously.
Lena realized how her words must have sounded so she tried to be clearer. “No, I’m sorry I didn’t make myself clear. I didn’t take her,but I have seen her and she isn’t in a good place. As a matter of fact she is in a great deal of trouble and I would like you to save her but I would ask a boon of you when you do.”
The women looked at her as if she were growing horns from her head and finally Tessa spoke. Her voice and manner were menacing. “What are you telling us? That a Witch is in trouble and can’t get out of it or fightback?” The question was just this side of an accusation.
“As incredible and incredulous as that sounds… Yes.” She wanted to stop but their eyes forced her to continue. “My husband, Michael has kidnapped and enslaved her.” The women looked as if they were going to interrupt but she plowed over them before they could say a word. “I know howthat sounds. You are probably thinking that she is willing or at leastcomplicit. But she’s not. And before you interrupt me and tell me all about myhusband’s infatuation with her don’t bother… I know and I also know that she does not share his interest or his appetites.”
She took a breath and without being asked she pulled a chairover and sat down. At this point she didn’t care if they liked it or not.“Michael thinks that I’m in the hospital recovering from yet another miscarriage. But I didn’t have a miscarriage. One of the Doctors that isworking with me or rather him… ahh… this is so confusing!” She was growingfrustrated. Her mind was not working in a linear manner right now and she was confusing herself. So she tried to start from the beginning.
“Over the past year or so Michael has been trying to have meartificially inseminated with twins without my knowledge.” Lena was looking atthe floor and not at the women to whom she was speaking so she couldn’t see the shock on their faces. But if she had looked at them she might have lost her train of thought and time was a luxury right now. “But one of the Doctors thatis helping him found out about Michael beating me… he doesn’t give a damn abouthow Michael treats me except that it may be detrimentally affecting hisexperiment. So he admitted me into the hospital and told Michael that I had another miscarriage. That way I could rest for a while and allow the pregnancy to really take.” She finally looked up at the women and saw a mixture or horror,pity and confusion. “You see this is the boon that I ask of you… to protect meand my children from Michael and from the Doctors that would use me as a testtube.”
“If what you are telling us is the truth then of course youwill have our protection.” Orla said with conviction and Tessa nodded. “But nowtell us the rest of the story.”
Lena was satisfied with their declaration. Everything thatshe had ever heard about these two women led her to trust their word. Shebreathed a sigh of relief and continued.
“Recently Michael came to see me in the hospital. He was more than distraught… he was angry, as if I had somehow failed him. It waseverything I could do to not tell him that the implantation had been a success.But I couldn’t… he has been so strange lately… so violent and unpredictable and… cruel. But I felt so bad when he walked out of the room and didn’t comeback. A day went past and then another until they added up to a week and more.I couldn’t take it anymore I checked myself out and went home to tell him thathe would be a father. I would be willing to take the punishment for lying tohim. Maybe he would forgive me if he knew that I was pregnant. But when I got there I immediately knew something was horribly wrong. Our house was a wreck.No-one had cleaned one thing since I had left… and we have a housekeeper! Icalled for Michael and got no answer so I went to our bedroom to rest and waitfor him to return and that’s when I found her. Rosaleen was tied to the bed inthe guest room and gagged. She was completely naked and there wasn’t a spot on her body that didn’t have a bruise or a cut or a bite mark.
She had been sleeping when I walked in and when her eyes opened at first she must have thought that I was him because she looked terrified! I ran to her and tried to free her but the bonds were tied totightly for me to loosen so I removed her gag so she could say a spell and freeherself. But she couldn’t. It was like she had no power! She said the words and nothing happened. I was nearly as frantic as her by that time so I ran to thekitchen to grab a knife… and that’s when Michael came home with one of his Doctors. I was afraid and I knew that I couldn’t help her by getting caught myself… so I ran… God help me I ran… and left her there!” Tears ran freely down her face and her eyes were blurry but she could see the anger in the Witches faces and she was ashamed.
Tessa stood and walked around the desk to stand in front ofLena. “But you came here.” She said with authority. “You did come here firstdidn’t you?” Lena nodded. Tessa patted Lena on the shoulder as she passed her and went into the other room.
“Tell me, how long ago did this happen?” Orla asked gently.
Lena thought for a moment. Her sense of time was a bitskewed what with the shock and horror that she had experienced today it was nowonder that she was a bit confused. It took her a moment to remember that she had awakened in the hospital when they brought in her breakfast just after sunrise. She looked out the windows of the room in which she now sat and fixed thesun in the sky. It was midafternoon. “It was almost lunch time by the time I was able to check myself out of the hospital so… about two hours ago. I’m sorrythat it took me so long to reach you. I was afraid that you would not believeme or throw me out or worse give me back to him. But I couldn’t leave her there… you didn’t see the look in her eyes… I had to chance it, I had to try. I wanted to believe in you and not in the rumors.”
Orla nodded her head. She looked sad and somehow determined.Behind her, Lena could hear Tessa giving orders to a servant. She couldn’tquite make out what she was saying but her voice was strong and accustomed to being obeyed. Tessa’s voice drew closer and Lena looked over her shoulder tosee if she was coming back. Tessa appeared in the doorway moments later. “Lena,do you know where you were at when they were inseminating you?”
Strange that they should ask her that… but just as she was about to say the hospital she realized that that was not the correct answer. She had not been at the hospital all of this time. She had snatches of memory that drifted about her head like dust particles in the sunlight, just when shereached to actually see one and study it the memory was gone. “I saw a huge skylight, and I smelled old treated wood, like the kind that they use forpacking crates and pallets. The floor was vinyl but it was too cold to be areal floor. I could smell concrete and I could hear the distant sounds of shipshorns and vehicle traffic but there were no windows and no doors… justcurtains.” She looked up at Orla and then at Tessa. “I’m sorry they never letme wake up… not really.”
Tessa looked to be deep in thought and she never lifted herhead to speak. “No, that is actually pretty good especially considering the circumstances. Do you know the name of the Doctor that was helping you or anyother names of those involved?”
“Yes, only the one Doctor, he is Doctor Lutrova… Misha Lutrova… I think his first name is Misha. He was the man in charge of the operation,not the one helping me. He wouldn’t tell me his name.” It was one of the fewthings that she was fairly certain of… the Doctor’s name. When she spoke it sheheard a man’s voice coming from the room behind Tessa. He said that he knew the name and the man. “He says that he works for the Kingdoms.”
Tessa conferred presumably with the owner of the voice for afew more moments and then said to Lena, “We have some work to do. I am going to leave you in the care of our personal Physician. You will be well cared for.One of us will come to you when we have things sorted out, probably tomorrowgiven the time. Until then, rest and relax, you have done all that you can. Itis our turn to do something… something that we probably should have addressed long before now.” She nodded towards Lena and motioned for Orla to follow her and then disappeared into the other room. Orla made a hasty farewell to Lena and followed in Tessa’s wake.
With Orla’s departure the servant that Lena had seen earlierand another that she did not recognize came in and in a quick flurry of activity they took her out of the room in a hover chair. Before she knew it shehad been installed in the buildings infirmary. Infirmary was probably not the best description of the place where she found herself. It was more like a mini hospital complete with a trauma ward, a maternity ward, a children’s ward, aburn center and several other wards that the servant, Anna could not rememberthe name of, but she gladly shared what little knowledge that she had withLena. The mini hospital was also fully staffed by specialists in every field of medicine. Anna assured Lena that she was in the best care possible in the world and Lena believed her.
Lena was given her own private room and after a brief checkup from her new attending Physician she was given a hearty meal. After hermeal she settled into the most comfortable hospital bed she had ever had thepleasure of sleeping in. And sleep she did, for the better part of twenty hours with only a few short trips to the rest room, Lena slept. It would be two days laterbefore she found out what happened when Tessa and Orla brought the might of the Blessed down upon her husband’s head.
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Live well and be good to each other.