Chapter 18: Epilogue

Sitting in a bower that exists everywhere but nowhere and in no time but in all time is a young woman with her raven hair done up in a high ponytail. Her eyes are dark chocolate and her skin tone is Mediterranean olive. She is dressed in a black leather dress and a lacy silken white blouse over which she is wearing a sleeveless black bolero. Leaning against the tree beside her is her staff that looks to be made of diamond with a large blue ice diamond sphere affixed to the top. On her lap sits a blue and white bunny showing no fear of her and in the tall grass not too far from her sleeps a purple duck with its head tucked under its wing. Her companion is a Werecat: humanoid with the body of a healthy, muscular young man but with the tail and face of a tiger. His body is entirely covered in thick, white fur with black stripes and from his back stretch two white feathered wings.

"But I don't understand," says Ishandra in her southern dialect of Italian. "How can this be?"

"It is," replies the Werecat in the same dialect of Italian, "because all that needed to transpire has transpired and the meld could proceed."

"So, I'm no longer the Witch who called herself Icy or the Faerie who called herself Muta?" queries Ishandra.

"No you are neither one of them but still both of them – a new creature born of the essence of the two but melded so completely as to be one creature," explains the Werecat.

"But I still consider myself to be a Witch and my name to be Ishandra – so this is what I will call myself until I can figure a new name for what I am now," she says.

"Calling yourself a Witch is not bad," he replies. "In an old form of your father's language, 'Witch' or 'Wicce', which sound exactly alike, means 'she who is wise'. These women were healers, such as yourself, wise in the ways of Nature and her moods, keepers of the tribe's oral traditions, advisors and many other such things. They were respected members of the community and did much good as you and your retinue of six Faeries are doing."

"That is ironic," says Ishandra, "because my name, Ishandra, also means 'she who is wise' in another language.

"What is going to happen to Darcy and Stormy now that our Trix has broken up and I live in my own ice palace?"

"Stormy, as Layla has said, is no more. She died that night in the arboretum," says the Werecat. "I'm sorry, Ishandra. All you rescued was a breathing corpse."

"It's Matchka's fault then that she's dead!" says Ishandra, her temper rising.

"No, Ishandra. It was meant to be whether or not Matchka helped or hindered," says the Werecat gently. "When I got to Stormy, there was nothing left of her but a few childhood memories. I cleaned those up, and for Darcy's sake, I gave them back to her. That's what Vulpa detected as an infant and Flora believes is Stormy. She is now Levina or Leffi as she prefers to call herself. Ælfscine will accelerate her education so it will match that of a young woman of her apparent physical age. I gave her the neural net when I saw that her storm powers had also re-emerged and needed to be controlled quickly. For even though Stormy may be gone, Leffi will forever be a Storm-Witch but a new kind of Storm-Witch and will always retain much of the woman-child. She will spend time on the Faerie world of Binos where Tecna will train her to use her cybernetic powers. She will drive Tecna and everyone else on Binos crazy for a time," he says with a catlike smile and a purr in his voice, "until they come to realize that she will never be ruled by order and logic. Her childlike nature and clairvoyance will allow her to be inventive with her new cybernetic abilities in ways that the natives of Binos cannot approach. She will live on her own, go her own way, and prosper.

Matchka was taken to her home world and adjusted. She no longer remembers having a sister or you and the Trix. She has since taken a mate and given birth to her first litter. One of this litter named M'Iress is the reincarnation of her sister who was lost during the Alfea Wars but neither will know that but will find themselves bonded much more strongly to each other than is usual for even a mother and her daughter. And she'll be back into your life someday soon and you will be friends with both her and her daughter.

Vulpa will die within the next few years – burnt out and exhausted. Her passing will be swift and merciful for she will have done much good with her extraordinary gift and she will be greatly mourned."

"What about Darcy?" asks Ishandra.

"Darcy," says the Werecat with much sadness in his voice, "will become powerful because of an evil snake that dwells within her heart and gives her her powers of delusion and deception. She with a Terran Witch named Mitzi and an Alfean Witch named Morgana will form a new Trix and she and they will be cause of a very costly war between Witches and Faeries in terms of lives lost, and untold strife and destruction. You and your Faeries will be among the many who will fight against her. In the end, Darcy and her Trix will be defeated and then your healing powers and also Bloom's will face their greatest challenge in driving from Darcy's body that snake that dwells within her and seeing to its final destruction."

"You mentioned giving Stormy – or should I say Leffi – her neural net. It was you then who was giving me the other gifts, wasn't it?" asks Ishandra.

"Yes, it was I," purrs the Werecat, "who gave you all those things as well as seeing to your new accommodations and giving you the dragon gorget which once belonged to Ardala."

"Then someday I will become a Guardian of the Dragon Fire?" asks Ishandra hopefully.

"You continue to call yourself a Witch, Ishandra, therefore you are already the Witch Guardian of the Dragon Fire," he smiles.

"What?!" exclaims Ishandra, shocked into to sitting bolt upright. "But how...?"

"Think on it," encourages the Werecat. "What did Alysoun tell you about the slivers of the Dragon Fire that were given to the Witches, Faeries, and Humans?"

"She said that they were unique to each group," responds Ishandra.

"Correct," says the Werecat, "and what do we know of the Great Dragon."

"We know that by order of the Goddess She created the universe with Her breath and that She is the mother of all dragons," responds Ishandra.

"Again, correct," says the Werecat. "Now name the powers of the four kinds of dragons and all the meanings and symbols of the word 'fire' in Ancient Witchspeak."

"There are earth dragons, air dragons, fire or sometimes called red, hot, or burning fire dragons, and, finally, there are water dragons which are sometimes called vapour dragons, and, ice, and snow dragons too depending upon which state of the element of water they are in," replies Ishandra. "And the meanings for 'fire' in Ancient Witchspeak... let me see... it can mean 'red, hot, or burning fire' which is its general meaning, it can mean the 'quintessential element of something', in some cases, it can mean 'spirit' and 'white fire' is poetic in Ancient Witchspeak for 'driving ice and snow'."

"Now, put that all together and what can you conclude?" asks the Werecat. "I will start you off. The Great Dragon kept the element or fire of the air dragons for herself. The Humans received the element or fire of the earth dragons and the Faeries... What does Bloom possess?"

"Bloom or the Faeries must have the red or burning fire of the fire dragons and the Witches got...," and then her eyes open wide in disbelief. "The Witches received the fire of the ice dragons or the 'white fire'!" exclaims Ishandra.

"Now you see it," confirms the Werecat. "Your powers over ice and snow do not come from dead planets as you believed but from the Witches' sliver of the Dragon Fire which the Great Dragon gave you Herself."

"I have been such a fool!" cries Ishandra, burying her face in her hands and her shoulders shaking with her sobs. "O Bloom! O Alfea! O Mother Goddess! What have I done! How can you ever forgive me?!"

"But you have already been forgiven, Ishandra. The Goddess Herself has forgiven you. She is the ultimate power and even the Great Dragon and everyone else obeys Her."

"But why would She forgive me?" sobs Ishandra. "I have caused so much pain, havoc, destruction and even death in my foolish quest to steal Bloom's Dragon Fire. How can that be forgiven?"

"But look what good you have achieved in the last little while," points out the Werecat. "You have forgiven those who killed your mother and follow her path as a wise woman and healer, you have forgiven the Winx for the harm they did you during the fighting, you have expressed your regret and have repented for having hurt Bloom and for trying to steal her Dragon Fire. You have trained Bloom on how to use her gift of the Red Dragon Fire so she is now a healer and a great many other good things that she would never have become otherwise. You also prevented a looming disaster and have become to Bloom like an older sister. The Winx Club Faeries under your leadership are more united that ever with a clear sense of purpose and direction. They are even stronger now than ever before. You still care for and watch over Leffi. And, thanks to your teaching as a professor at Cloud Tower, you have imbued a whole generation of young Witches with the spirit that witchcraft should never be used to do harm but rather to do good and to help all. Because of them and your teachings, the old evil order of Witches will topple and new and benevolent order shall arise. In short, you have turned yourself around from being one who treads upon the path of darkness to one who walks the path of The Light. Anyone who achieves this is worthy of the Goddess' forgiveness. And lastly, and as Layla would have pointed out to you, you are a new creature. The old and wicked Witch named Icy is dead and gone so how can you, a new creature, be held accountable for all the evil she did?"

"Thank you for enlightening me," sobs Ishandra, the tears still trickling down her cheeks.

"Now dry your tears and make ready for I must take you back to your time and place on Alfea," says the Werecat, taking Ishandra's chin gently into his hand-paw.

"May I not stay just a little longer?" asks Ishandra while drying her eyes.

"Just a little while longer," he replies to her.

"Huggies?" she asks, almost childlike with her arms held open and a soft light in her eyes.

"For sure!" purrs the Werecat taking Ishandra into his arms and then covering her protectively with his wings. "Anything for my beloved and precious Little One," he purr-whispers softly into her ear.

*** THE END ***