The House of the Silver Rose Opal
Title: The House of the Silver Rose Opal
Show: Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
Disclaimer: I don't own the show.
Chapter 2: Wolves
Tommy spun around, knocking his chair over as he sprang to his feet. The others stood more slowly, Jason picking up the abused chair as all eyes locked on the two women in the doorway of the Juice Bar. The tall, dark-skinned girl they didn't recognize, but the frightened little brunette was a different matter. Kimberly stood in the doorway, shaking slightly, cringing from the stares of her friends. She hadn't changed much in four years. She was still short and petite, though her body curves were more defined and she had sleeker, more powerful muscles from years of gymnastics, and longer hair. As always, the red tint in her hair shone in the light, her brown eyes locked with a pair of mahogany eyes across the room. "Kimberly," Tommy breathed, taking a slow step forward as he regained his wits. "You came back."
"I came home," she whispered, frozen as the tall man covered the distance between them, reaching out to touch her cheek. "I wasn't sure if you would welcome me."
"You're always welcome here, Kimberly." Then he smiled, that special smile he always saved for her, the one he had never given to Kat, and the gymnast relaxed. "Welcome home, Beautiful."
"Welcome back, Kimberly!" As the rest of her friends tackled her, the brunette began to laugh, hugging each of them in turn, pausing when she reached Kat. The blonde Aussie smiled and embraced the smaller woman.
"I really missed you, Kimberly. None of us were the same after you left. I never got a chance to thank you for befriending me so long ago. If it wasn't for you, I would never have met my fiancé."
"Fiancé," Kimberly repeated, eyes flying automatically to Tommy's calm face.
"Yeah. Jason." She held out her hand to reveal a sparkling diamond that she had already exhibited to all of Angle Grove and half of Australia. "We're getting married in the spring. And it's all thanks to you."
Kimberly smiled as Jason wrapped his arm around the blonde, glancing at Tommy as he stepped forward. "We were just going to come find you to see how you're doing after the funeral. Are you okay, Kim?"
"I'm fine, Tommy. That's actually why I came. I ended up with the house, and I needed to come back and see if there was any clue to the point of the heirloom my father left me." She reached under her shirt and liberated the pink opal teardrop on the silver chain, showing it to her friends. "I think it has something to do with my mother, and I want to know what it is."
"We'll help you figure it out," Aisha promised. "Somehow."
"There are a lot of pictures of you and your siblings, but almost none with your father in them and I can't seem to find your mother. Why wouldn't he have had pictures of her?"
"I don't know, Jason. Whenever I asked Daddy what she looked like, he told me to look in the mirror. I guess she looked like me, but I wish I could remember her." Kimberly sighed as she sorted through her father's old papers, knowing that she had hit a dead end. She pulled out another set of papers, far older than any of the others, and froze as she read her mother's name at the top of the first one. "Tara Hart," she whispered. "What are all these other names for? I don't know any of these people."
Billy reached over and took the paper, scanning through the names. "I recognize three. This man died in a car accident when we were ten. My mother was a good friend of his and we attended his funeral. If I remember correctly, his wife and two sons died with him. This woman, here, was the daughter of one of Aunt Cecilia's friends, a strange young woman who loved cats, candles, and crystals. She died when her 'magic' store in downtown Angel Grove burned to the ground mysteriously. This woman, here, was very old, but very young in spirit, and she taught me a lot about plants and herbs. She was very well-schooled in the properties of plants, though she had no degree or anything. She was found dead one day, poisoned, all of her plants burned. It was very strange."
Trini and Zack moved closer to the gymnast, reading the list of names over the genius's shoulder. "Hey, I know her," Trini whispered. "She was a famous chef in Misty Pines up in the mountains. She visited here frequently. I think I remember Mother coming home from Misty Pines one day and telling me that the famous chef had died."
"I recognize those two," Zack continued, pointing to a pair of names near the bottom of the list. "They were twins, teenage boys when I was a kid, and they helped me start to learn martial arts. One day, they didn't show up to classes and I was very sad, but the teacher just assumed that they had moved away. Oh, this girl is their cousin."
Tommy gently took the list. "Oh, I dated her before I moved here. Her family got transferred to Angel Grove about three years before I first walked into Angel Grove High School. I never saw her again."
"Look here at the bottom of the list," Aisha whispered. "Kimberly, Kenneth, Kaelyn, Rhiannon, Ronan, Ailan, and Arthur, children of the Silver Rose Opal. What does that mean? Could they be referring to your necklace, Kim?"
"I don't know. Billy, can you hack into the computers at Human Services and see if any of these people still live here? I need to know what this means."
Cora Beth, scanning financial papers in the corner looked up, eyes shining red for a moment before she shook her head and returned to her reading.
"Hmmm?" Kimberly looked up from the photos she was carefully scanning, wondering if any of the strange women in the box of pictures she had found hidden in the basement were her mother. Billy's sudden words confused her as the other former Rangers also looked up. "What?"
"Not what, who. Gwendolyn Falcon is the only person on this list besides you and your siblings who is still alive. The rest died tragically or suddenly disappeared and were never heard from again. Your mother's death certificate indicates that she died in an unexplained house fire, which I find very strange. It took hours of searching to find that much, and there is no more. But Gwendolyn lives in Terrace Knoll near Misty Pines and we should be able to visit her. She owns a flower shop."
"Well, then I think I will have to go meet her. I would appreciate it if some of you would come along, but I can go by myself."
"I'm with you, of course," Cora called out, smiling sweetly over her cup of coffee. "You know I'll always be there for you."
"The dojo is closed tomorrow, so I can come," Tommy offered.
"I second that," Jason and Rocky called in unison, grinning at each other.
Trini, Aisha, and Kat decided to head back to the house with Zack to see if there were any more secrets in that old mansion. Adam volunteered to head to Kimberly's Aunt Meredith's house on the southern end of town to entertain her brothers and sisters while their aunt and big sister were busy. Billy still had information to dig up from the names in Kimberly's father's files, so he opted out of the trip. Smiling, Kimberly looked around at her friends from Angel Grove and her friend from Florida, suddenly very glad that she had come home at last.
It was an average day, sales at the flower shop high because Valentine's Day was fast approaching. Gwendolyn Pierce hummed as she carefully pruned and watered the flowers growing in her shop, whispering words in a foreign tongue to make them strong and beautiful. She stood up, smiling, as the door chime announced a customer, watering can in her hand. "Just a moment and I will be with you," she called, brushing her graying brown hair over her shoulder and taking off her gloves. Placing watering can and shears on the counter, she smiled as she returned to the front of the store, mentally counting and calculating. The two men in red seemed rather out of place, staring at the flowers around them, amazed by the scent. The less stocky of the two seemed to enjoy the colors—he obviously had a girlfriend to impress. The tall, dark-skinned woman seemed very out of place, a faintly sour aura dampening her calm complexion, and Gwendolyn wondered if she was in the midst of some heartbreak. The tallest man, obviously Native American by birth, seemed the most at home, as if he had bought many flowers for many women in the past. His aura, like that of the other two men, was bright and strong, filled with power and justice, rarely seen in one so young. But he seemed to be on edge, as if encountering memories from the past that he did not know whether to rekindle or not.
Then the fifth member of the group stepped from behind the Native American, and Gwendolyn's heart nearly stopped. The petite, delicate brunette with curious brown eyes could have been her mother's twin, save that the red in her hair had been forcibly hidden by brown early in her life. "Tara's daughter," Gwen whispered in absolute awe, stopping in front of the shocked woman. "By the Goddess you have to be! It is a sweet day indeed if the daughter of Tara Argidaghey-Ruissagh-Cliejeen has survived these long years! Tell me your name, child."
"K-Kimberly," she managed. "My mother was Tara Hart . . ."
"Ah, Marcus had to change everything when she died. We heard that his half-breed children survived, but we thought the daughter dead. A Hart is a small, delicate, magical deer that must evade so many hunters after power and prestige. Kimberly, why have you come to me?"
"To find out who my mother was. Father died, and I and my siblings are the only ones left after so many years. We found a list of names, and you were the only person still alive on it." Kimberly reached in her pocket to pull out the copy Billy had made of the list, accidentally pulling out her opal, too. Gwen grabbed the opal, the older woman shuddering in joy as her eyes flashed pink.
"You still have the opal that named your line. Argidaghey-Ruissagh-Cliejeen means 'Silver Rose Opal' in Gaelic, and this is the stone that so named you. Of the Seven Tribes of Eyre, yours was the most powerful and we despaired when we thought your line had died out. That evil witch desired your mother's power and her stone and tricked her, setting a trap for her and her only powerful daughter, eventually slaughtering so many of our coven that we had to disband, protect the few children we had left. I and my daughters of Àilean-Shirrag-Priobadh Line, Green Falcon Eye, moved here, and we have had little contact with the other witches we loved so much in the past. You have finally found your power and your heritage, child. This is a wondrous day."
Gwendolyn's smile was so kind and motherly that Kimberly felt herself relax, defenses she never remembered building falling for the woman. She screamed as black and red light filled the flower shop, Gwen grabbing the child as she fainted and pulling her away from the danger. A green shimmering wall appeared before her, Cora on the other side with red glowing eyes. "The Power of the Crystal belongs to Morga! It was never meant to be wielded by weakling witches like you! Give the princess and her stone to me or I will destroy you all!"
And, as suddenly as it started, the altercation ended. Tommy stared at his fist, standing over the prone form of Cora Linden, amazed that he had punched her. She would not move for a while. "Tommy?"
"I don't know why I did that, Jason. Some part of me didn't trust her at all and I thought it was just jealousy of her time with Kimberly. Wow." The Native American stepped closer to Gwen's green shield, watching as it fell, and he gathered Kimberly into his arms. She wasn't injured, merely stunned, and her eyes fluttered open a moment later. "Good morning, Beautiful," he whispered. "Time to wake up."
"That woman," Gwen spat, the opal still clutched in her fist, "is a servant of the black witch Morga, bane of our existence. She is a pretender to the Power, stealing her magic from those she has killed, and I imagine this woman was sent to find the last daughter of the House of the Silver Rose Opal. Morga wants to possess the power of the Crystal of Eyre, and we cannot allow that. Now that your companion has seen my shop, Morga knows where I am. We must flee this place."
"Where can we go? Cora knows that Kim lived in Angel Grove."
"There is one place that is always safe, but it is not a haven many have used these past twenty years. Come with me, friends of the Opal. We must retreat for now."
The group stepped through the last row of trees into a large clearing, flowers and birds filling the area. Tommy shivered as he felt a strange power pass over him, Kimberly smiling at the sensation. It felt like she was finally home.
"Where are we, Gwen?"
"This is the Grove of Eyre, a secret place where the nymphs and faeries join the witches once a year for the Great Feast. We have not seen them since your mother died, but your father was one of their enchanted kind. Marcus was mortal and fathered your siblings, but you were born from a dance under the full moon. It was a magical night. Children of these faeries were always some of the most powerful witches in our coven. I think your mother knew that you had to be very powerful, so she agreed to bear a faerie daughter."
"Marcus wasn't my real father?"
"He was your father in spirit, Opal child." Gwendolyn walked through the clearing, stopping to touch some of the flowers she passed, smiling as they turned their faces to her. The Rangers followed more warily, Kimberly eager to remain in the clearing. She felt a strange reluctance to continue, only the three men behind her forcing her to continue forward. She could feel heat crackling around her, smell smoke, and hear screams . . . she was running . . . she stopped to pick up a pretty stone . . . her father called her name . . . and then there was an explosion . . .
Kimberly screamed and fell to her knees, tears streaming down her face as the memories shattered and vanished. She felt Tommy's arms wrap around her, and she leaned into his warmth and support, letting his soothing voice leech away her pain. Gwendolyn knelt in front of her and touched her head.
"This place ignites your memories, Opal child. I know your pain. I was there when our coven was destroyed, but Marcus must have hidden your memories. It was better for you, I suppose. Tommy, you had better stay close to her as we approach the old house."
As the group journeyed deeper into the dense forest, Gwendolyn explained how the Seven Tribes had left Ireland centuries earlier and settled in America, following the settlers ever westward until they reached the Pacific Ocean. They were running from the daughters of the Line of le Fey, the same witches that caused Arthur's downfall. The most recent daughter of that name, Morga, had destroyed the Great Coven of the Tribes, killing Kimberly's mother and chasing the remaining witches for years. Many of the people on the list had been lesser witches who pledged their lives and powers to the Great Tribes and had not been able to vanish when Morga's hunt began. She had been unable to find members of the Seven Tribes, but Morga's servants had been searching for them for years. Kimberly was the first they found, her parents' disguise falling away with Marcus's death. There was a danger that Cora would report back to Morga the location of Kimberly's half-brothers and sisters and that their lives could be in danger.
"What can I do to protect them?"
"Find your power, child. That is their only hope. I can summon a full coven, but it will take time. We are mistrustful nowadays, and I would never have come if you had called, thinking it a trap from Morga. Seeing your face and that Opal you carry, I know that you are Tara's daughter and I will help you. My sisters may be harder to convince. Also, some of them may have to travel great distances to get here, which might take days. Rhianna Li Ruadh-Teigyr-Spruithean lives in New York with her family, running a string of restaurants that sell traditional Irish food. Laura Lileeagh-Grianagh-Saimir lives in Kentucky and raises beautiful racehorses, Diana Liathghorm-Aibheis-Nàsag, an OBGYN, lives in Michigan, and Sylvia Pupaidh-Curinnein-Soillse lives in North Carolina and works as a teacher at the Veterinary College there. Vira Lynn Airh-Shellagh-Lhoobagh actually lives in Orlando, working as a veterinarian for one of the animal parks. Just getting them the message could take a while."
"Why did you stay here if the other Great Tribe witches moved away?"
"One of us had to stay and watch over Marcus's half-breed children. There was always some chance that one of your siblings would develop power. We never thought that you might still be alive, though. Everyone you saw at the funeral was part of our coven system, long ago. We all knew your mother, but none of us were willing to say anything to you children that would reveal our identity to Morga's spies. She had some at the wedding, for sure. Thankfully, Marcus had a lot of mortal friends and family, so we did not stand out in the crowd."
Kimberly nodded and watched as Gwen knelt in a patch of flowers in the second clearing they had encountered on their walk, her eyes closed. Whispering words in a language the gymnast almost understood, the woman summoned a pack of wolves, never seen outside of Angel Grove's valley. The Alphas, a silver male and a snow-white female, sat patiently and waited for the witch's instructions.
"My friends, Snowsilver and Shadow, I need your help. I have found the daughter of the Silver Rose Opal, and she is being hunted by Morga." All of the wolves growled at the name, knowing her evil nature. "I need to get a message to the others of my coven so we can assemble here and protect our princess. Please carry this message to all whom you know are witches." She placed a hand on each broad head, transferring a series of simple images that the canines could relate. Nodding, the alphas led their pack back into the underbrush, vanishing from sight.
"They will head for the top of the mountain, where their voices can be heard for miles away. Whatever animal hears their call will carry the message. It is the safest way to call our allies because Morga lacks the ability to speak to them. She cannot monitor this method of communication. We are almost to the house you were born in, Kimberly. Prepare yourself for the memories it will bring."