Willow could feel everything around her, she was especially aware of the fingers. They were not physical fingers, but yet she could feel them. They dug in her mind, like a dog searching for a bone, sniffing and digging all at once.
As the woman dug through Willow 's mind, memories began to clang to life in her eyes. This young girl's magical energy sprang through their connection, making the search that much more difficult. Kara liked the weak witches and wizards more, the ones who didn't matter. It was always the powerful ones that made her stand for hours searching and searching, sometimes she imagined lying. Telling the families that their children had almost no power, it would be so fitting. The people who enslaved her at birth, having their off spring be deemed unmagical, they may have power, but she could make their children outcasts. She never did though.
Willow was so excited, but she was trying to remain calm. She decided to listen to what was around her, to focus on the sounds of the world. She could hear the hum of car engines, and the tromping of the horse drawn carriages outside the walls of the castle. She remembered watching her cousin last year, but her cousin's results had come back almost instantaneously. Now Willow could hear her mother's foot tapping, Willow had been sitting on the stool for almost four hours now. Soon she would beat the record of longest Magical Energy Test, she hoped she would, her brother told her that the longer it took, the more powerful she was.
It had now been almost ten hours since the ceremony had begun, Willow, the seer and Willow's mother were the only three people out of the hundreds of people in the room still awake. Each number measuring the amount of magical energy inside of Willow could take hours to calculate, Willow knew the woman would soon stop searching, but every second she sat there waiting was a second she was more powerful than anyone else in the room.
It was starting to get light outside, Willow had lost count of the hours, and her mother had now fallen asleep along with the others, and she had started wanting it to stop, when finally she felt the grasp of the seer start to release.
"Willow, you may step down now." The woman whispered into the young girl's ear angrily.
"How high? How high is my level?" The five year old asked impatiently.
"Far too many." The woman glared at Willow as she said these words. "Everyone!" Dawn was seeping through the stain glass windows now.
"EVERYONE WAKE UP!" The people, even the seer, in the room jumped as Willow screamed at the crowd she could not wait any longer to know how powerful she was.
"I have finally determined the magical energy level of Willow Victoria Arra, heir to the Arra family, daughter of Valorie Arra, Enforcer of Dark Magic laws. I am proud to announce the witch with the highest level ever with a number of twenty-nine." A gasp filled the room.
Tara Jones, that was her name, it had been her name for 8 years and would continue to be her name for the rest of her life. She longed to change it, to be a Jenkins or an Arra, but she wasn't she was a Jones. She was a Jones who protects the high born families of the magical families, and a Jones that enforced the laws restricting the two magical families.
"Tara! This is the last time I will train you, so I want you to recite The Laws of All Three Magical Families, Their Members, and Their Allies, then The Arra Family Laws, The Jones Family Laws, and finally The Jenkins Family Laws." Tara's teacher had instructed her since she was five, since she discovered her magical energy level was nine.
"Law one; at no point in time shall any member of any family openly display use of magic in public. Law two; disputes between houses are settled through magical combat in The Arena of Witches (only women are able to fight in the arena). Law three; every female member of the Jones family will be chosen at age 8 to serve a member of one of the two families (at The Festival of Servants) and be indentured to that member until the day they die. Law four; At the age of five each member of both magical families shall attend The Festival of Servants in order to be assigned a member of the Jones family as their servant. Law five; all practitioners of magic shall declare themselves either aligned with the Arras or the Jenkins, excluding those who are members of The Caravan. Law six; never may a member or alliance to any house be permitted to attack or in any way harass any member of The Caravan. Law seven; all families are required to handle disputes amongst their allies or themselves without the interference of the Jones family."
"Good, now the Arra Family Law?"
"Arra's law; the Arra family is required to control and maintain peace throughout the community of dark magic practitioners. And the Jenkins' law is the Jenkins family is required to control and maintain peace throughout the community of light magic practitioners."
"And the Jones Family Laws?"
"Jones' law one; at no point in time shall a female member of The Jones family have any sexual or romantic relations with any member of either of the two families. Jones' law two; if a dispute ever occurs between The Arra family and The Jenkins family the Jones' family head will mediate the battle in The Arena of Witches. Jones' law three; if a dispute occurs in the presence of a member of the Jones family they are to immediately notify the current head of their family. Jones' law four; the head of the Jones family shall be passed from father to first born son, never to a woman."
"Good job Tara. Never forget these laws, for if you ever break even just one you may be put to death." The man patted the girl on the head. "Tomorrow is The Festival of Servants, you will probably be chosen by a Jenkins since you are a light witch, and a high ranking one at that meaning you will more than likely be chosen to serve Isabel Jenkins the future head of the Jenkins family."
Tara arrived at The Arena of Witches along with her father (the head of the Jones family) and all of the other male members and the other eight year old girls in the family, there were ten in all. This year there were only going to be three Jones who practiced dark magic. However there were four Arras who were going to be read in order to find out which Jones is suited for them, and five Jenkins who were also going to be read in order to find out which Jones is suited for them.
All ten of the children were placed behind ropes; three were behind a black rope, and seven behind a white one. Tara was behind the white one, this indicated what sort of magic they use, dark or light. And on each chest of the children there was a number pinned to them, Tara's was the highest she was nine.
The arena was empty, the seats baron, but across the battlefield was another two groups of children. Tara searched their faces wondering which one was going to be her master. They too were separated behind ropes that were black and white, these ropes indicated which family they were from there were five behind the white one and four behind the black one. Of these nine there were only three boys one a Jenkins and two Arra's. As she looked at the number placed upon the other children's chests, she only saw two more powerful than her, she could not see the number exactly because they were too far away, she could only tell that they had two digits on their pins, these two would be the first to go, each member of each family were chosen in reverse numerical number.
"Welcome all to The Festival of Servants! This year we will be starting with none other than Willow Arra a level 29!" The whole arena began whispering and some cheered as the little girl walked on to the stage, she was small with brown hair and blue eyes, she smiled up at the announcer as she walked over to the seer, the same one who had stood for hours as she read the girl's level. Kara knew this time she would only enter the girl's mind for a split second before she would know which Jones was to be her new servant.
The woman melded once again with the little girl, a buzz expelled from the seer's mouth piercing the air causing everyone to cover their ears, the contact lasted for a split second until the seer jumped back in pain. "Tara, Tara Jones…" the woman whispered at first.
"What was that?" The announcer asked.
"Tara!" The crowd gasped a second time. It was not rare for an Arra to have a light witch as a servant, but these were always lower ranking Arras that this happened to, never the heir to the Arra family and the daughter of the head of the Jones family. The little girl on stage smiled, not understanding why everyone was so surprised.
"Tara come on up!" The announcer pointed to Tara, as she made her way to the stage.
"Tara is a level nine light witch. She specializes in potions and charms." The man told the crowd about her powers as she walked toward the young girl, and once she reached the little girl she reached out her hand and Tara warily shook it.
'How can this be, an Arra?' Tara thought to herself, she did not want an Arra, she did not want to be a slave at least with a Jenkins she would be viewed as a friend or a good companion, because Jenkins had always viewed the members of the Jones family to be important, needed and they respected them knowing that these people would willingly give their lives to save that of their master's, and that they were there to uphold the law. But Arra's they always saw the members of the Jones family to be bothersome, tattle tales that were only there to monitor. And when a light witch was assigned to a member of the Arra family, she was especially treated horribly and with distrust.
"Hello Tara, it's nice to meet you, I hope we can be friends." Willow smiled sweetly at the older girl and despite herself Tara smiled back.
After the ceremony Tara followed Willow back to her family's carriage the dark interior and exterior were frightening and Tara found herself holding her breath hoping no one else would be inside, that her and Willow could travel alone with only each other. However, when they got inside the carriage there were two other children waiting for them. Jon Arra, Willow's older brother, Tara had heard rumors about this boy and how cruel he could be, a few people even said that he had raped one of his maids. And her own cousin Ray Jones, Tara had met her cousin at a dinner party once she was not all that bad back then, but that had been almost three years ago, and she had just as many foul rumors as Jon did.
"So Tara, I heard you are a most excellent shot with an arrow." The boy smiled, but it was a frightening smile, a smile that made you feel as though he was thinking of the most horrible ways to kill you, nothing at all like Willow's smile. He was no more than twelve, but the way he looked seemed to say he was much older.
"Yes sir, my father taught me himself." Tara tried not to look the dark haired boy in the eye as the carriage began to move.
"Can you teach me?" Willow asked excitedly. "The Arra's don't have any good archer teachers." This made Tara smile, she could already tell Willow was different from the other Arras she had met before.
"Miss Willow, Arras rely only on their magic, you will never be taught any other form of fighting to do so would be a mockery of your family." Ray spoke this time scolding the young girl. The rest of the ride passed with an awkward silence.
When they arrived at The Arra Castle Tara's luggage was unloaded and they entered the castle and were told to wait in a room that was just to the right of the entry. Tara couldn't help but notice how almost all the rooms were filled with black and maroon furniture it was a very dark place. They all waited for a few minutes when the doors to the room burst open and Willow's mother herself came into the room followed by Tara's aunt.
"What trickery is this?" The woman screamed "Lies! That seer was lying! I won't have it! A white witch assigned to the future head of The Arra family, the most powerful witch there has ever been. They want us monitored more so than usual. Well I won't have it! Send her back." The woman's shrill voice was causing Tara a headache, though she had been expecting something like this to happen.
"Miss Arra, if you would please calm down." Leslie Jones her Jones spoke. "There is no way the seer lied, and even if she did, we are stuck with her." Tara's aunt glared at Tara like she was a cockroach.
"That is true, oh very well then. Willow what is your witch's name again?"
"Tara, her name is Tara." Willow smiled at Tara.
"Ah yes Tara. So Tara what rank are you?" Willow's mother asked.
"I am a level nine."
"Well that is better than the six we would have gotten if they had chosen the best black witch." The woman looked around the room her dark brown eyes sweeping over every face. "It is late and I would like to see exactly how powerful our new pet is, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. Ray, show Tara where she will sleep."
Tara followed the tall blond to her new room. It was a long room, more like a barracks with bunk beds all along the walls each one had a dresser on either side and a book case that was as tall as the beds at the foot. You could tell which ones were already occupied because they had someone already sleeping in them and the farther back the room went the more empty it became.
"This is the Jones barracks, we all share this room. You can choose any bed you want, and since there are so few of us we generally get a whole bunk to ourselves along with the two dressers and the book case. Your luggage is over there if you don't want that bunk you can choose another. Miss Arra wants to meet you in the courtyard at 6:00 a.m." Tara decided it was too much of a hassle to move her luggage so she began unpacking. She almost completely filled up the book shelf. She had noticed that everyone else's had only black magic books and a few novels.
When Tara finally laid down to go to sleep she finally let it all hit her, her life, her family, and everything about them. She had been raised to follow her master's every command even if that command was to take her own life, but how could she follow the orders of an Arra the people who she had been taught to hate? She realized just how little she had mattered to her real family and she realized how she is just a glorified slave. She knew she could not do anything, sure she was a level nine a high level, but she was not experienced and she knew that if she tried to escape she would soon be captured and then the Arras would have an excuse to kill her so that Willow could get a new Jones. She silently cried herself to sleep that night.
The next morning Tara got up and went down to the courtyard. She had been expecting only Miss Arra, though she had noticed that the barracks were empty when she woke up, she had just assumed that all the other Jones were probably out sparring or with their masters. But when she got to the courtyard she realized that almost every person who lived in the castle was out in the yard waiting for her.
"Tara Jones, we at Arra Castle would like to welcome you." Miss Arra sounded kind, but really her face said another story. "Since you specialize in fighting dark witches we decided to have my son's Jones, your cousin Ray, fight you. Let's see how good you really are." A smile played across John Arra's face as his servant stepped into the light in full body armor. Tara had heard stories about her cousin's fighting ability, she was good, but nowhere near as good as some of the people she had sparred with growing up.
Willow was scared, she knew her brother's servant had a habit of playing dirty, she hoped Tara knew that, and she hoped she would win and show her mother just how powerful a white witch can be. Willow liked Tara, she had such kind blue eyes.
Tara bowed toward the older witch then took a fighting pose. She wasn't wearing any armor what so ever, she knew if any hit landed on her she would most definitely be badly injured, so she would just have to be quick enough to dodge or put a shield up. The other girl bowed and then immediately sent a fire ball at Tara, but Tara quickly jumped and dodged the magic.
Ray had not expected this, she didn't even see the other girl move and she was waiting for the smoke from the spell to disappear when she felt Tara's hand grab the back of her neck shooting a slight shocking through her spinal cord causing the older girl to momentarily not be able to move. This move caused the crowd to gasp; they hadn't seen her move either. 'Where had she come from?' Was all Ray thought.
"Do you surrender?" Tara whispered in her ear. The girl was paralyzed so she couldn't respond. "Oh sorry about that." Tara released her hold and asked again. "Do you surrender?" Instead of replying the witch switched her stance and tried to punch Tara in the gut, but her fist stopped inches away from contact.
"What?" The other girl was confused how could she have put up a shield so quickly, most white witches take a few minutes to put up a shield and she just did it in seconds. As Ray retracted her fist Tara whispered something and immediately the other girl fell to the ground stuck unable to move. "Do you surrender?" She asked a third time.
"I surrender." Ray yelled and then whatever was holding her down released. Tara looked up to see the whole audience stunned.
"Well, well, you are powerful young Tara." Leslie was the one to speak first. "First a speed spell, then a paralysis grip, followed by a shield put up faster than any white witch I've ever seen, and you finish it off with a gravity spell. I have never seen anyone younger than twenty able to use a gravity spell." The woman applauded. "My brother taught you well, you have his skill and talent."
Tara bowed "Thank you aunt."
Willow was simply speechless she had never seen anyone that powerful except her mother. 'I wonder if I'll ever be that good.' She thought to herself.
"That was quite a show! You will be perfect for my daughter." Miss Arra clapped uncontrollably. "Now that we've worked up an appetite let's go eat breakfast."
At breakfast Tara sat next to Willow as the family spoke. Willow didn't pay attention to the conversation, however Tara did. She couldn't help but feel slightly happy with her new master.
"The werewolf insurrection has to be handled soon my mistress. Else we look week to the other houses." Tara's aunt spoke to the dark haired woman sitting at the head of the table.
"All in due time, perhaps we should let it go on a little longer. I hear they are in Jenkins' territory as of late. Hopefully they will take care of the problem for us." No one could tell if they referred to the werewolves or the Jenkins.
10 Years later…
"Willow wake up!" The blonde whispered into the ear of the girl sleeping next to her. Tara had only slept in the barracks for a year before Willow requested she sleep in her room. The two witches had formed a strong relationship. Sometimes Willow even felt more than friendship toward Tara, as did Tara toward Willow. "Seriously Willow your mom's going to get mad if you don't get to your lesson on time, remember what happened last time?"
"I'm awake!" The girl shot up instantly at the mention of the punishment Tara had received for Willow's tardiness. Willow had grown up quite a lot she was now 15 and skinny with hardly any shape, just bones. Tara however had grown into a shapely woman with hips and breasts that stopped most men in the streets.
As the two girls made their way down the stairs Willow noticed a trail of a red substance that led into the dining room. "What happened here?"
"What was that mistress?" Anytime the two were not completely alone Tara called Willow, Willow, however anytime they were not absolutely sure they were alone Tara referred to Willow as mistress.
"Look there is a trail of blood!" The two followed the trail into the dining room seeing Jon leaning against a table half his leg gone while Ray looked over the wound and Valorie sitting at the head of the table glaring at her son.
"You let a werewolf defeat you! So weak!" She screamed at the twenty-two year old. "Oh thank the gods you two finally woke up! With all the screaming I assumed you would have been up hours ago. My son knows not how to deal with pain."
Tara walked forward and placed her hand on the boys wound. "If you had come and gotten me a few hours ago I could have restored his leg. All I can do now is heal the gash he will have to get a prosthetic." As she finished speaking she whispered and instantly the wound was gone replaced with a stump.
"You dare speak to your mistress that way!" Ray slapped Tara, the older girl was visibly crying.
"You cannot slap her! She is my Jones, making her your superior!" Willow screamed at the girl and placed her hand to the other girl's cheek.
"Both my children are cowards and weaklings." The woman breathed deeply. "Tara why have you never told me about these abilities?"
"Because you never asked her mother!" The youngest yelled.
"I only handle your insolence for so long, am I going to have to whip your servant again? I do not ask anyone anything; it is her job to tell me."
"No mother it is her job to tell me her powers not you, she is mine after all."
"You think I don't know about you two? How she secretly teaches you light magic at night? You think I haven't read the letters that not even she has? You think I don't know how you feel about her? I do not care daughter, however I expect you to keep it a secret, and to do that you cannot be so obvious." The woman was now standing and gripping the table so hard her veins were popping out. "I think it is time for you to learn about your future rolls as head. I think it is time you lead a battle. You will go and squash all of the werewolves so that you can see what you are truly meant for."
Willow walked into the camp Tara following behind her holding her bow in her left hand watching the men and women standing around. "Where is my cousin?" Willow asked one of the solders sweetly.
"He is waiting your arrival ma'am in the tent of the commander, your tent." As the two women walked off the man turned to the one standing next to him. "I guess the rumors are true then." He laughed.
"Which one? The one about the heir to the Arra's being too soft? Or the one about her and her Jones being lovers?"
"The first one of course." The man laughed. "I wonder if she is as good as they say. If she is these wolfs will be dead by nightfall."
"Cousin Earl!" Willow hugged her favorite relative. "And Jenifer, always a pleasure."
The four greeted each other, Jenifer was the only other light witch associated with any Arra.
"I heard about your brother! How is he?" The twenty year old asked.
Willow and Tara shared a glance which looked slightly like smiles. "Oh he is doing just fine, still whines anytime he gets out of bed. Between you and me it could have been a lot better had Tara wanted to heal it, but she doesn't like my mother to know all of her abilities."
"Well down to business." Earl smiled at his cousin. "The werewolves are currently keeping hold over this cave." The man pointed to a circle on a map that was sitting on the table.
"Yes and here is the plan. I know that that cave has an underground spring that feeds this river, and when it rains the cave floods. I think it would be best if we created a damn that will fill the cave with water and our men will stand at the entrance killing any wolfs that flee. I expect the preparations to be complete by the fortnight we cannot allow these beasts to feed off of innocent people any longer."
The four friends talked and caught up on everything for the next few hours, until all four began nodding off. At this Earl and Jenifer left the tent bidding the two young girls goodnight and leaving the two alone.
"What letters was your mother referring?" Tara asked.
"Just some stupid letters I had written to you." The girl looked to the ground.
"And what exactly was in them?" The blond walked to the younger girl and lifted her head.
"I was just telling you how I felt!"
"Felt about what?" The older girl's eyes softened and the burnet looked down at her friends rather large lips and imagined how it would feel to kiss those lips.
"About you. I love you." As she spoke these words she leaned forward and captured the lips she had so often imagined kissing.
Tara stepped back from the kiss. "All of my life I have been taught to follow the laws of our world, and all of my life I have never known love, not from my family and not from anyone of my friends, not until I met you. I have known for a long time that I love you, and for such a long time I tried to stop myself. The laws plainly state that I cannot have a romantic relationship with you. But these same laws are the ones that enslaved me, so I say damn them." The older woman leaned back down and kissed her lover's lips.
"No matter what my heart belongs to you."
The four sat on their horses watching as the destruction played out in front of them. Willow had been prepared for the all of the death and destruction, but she had not prepared herself for the sound of the screams of the werewolves, they had purposefully made the surprise attack correspond with the faces of the moon, for a werewolf cannot change out of its human form on a full moon. Willow wept as the slaughter continued on. A messenger came running out of the trees.
"Miss Willow, your mother requests that you kill a beast yourself she wants you to experience your first kill. She would also like you Jones to do the same."
By now Willow and Tara had learned how to speak to each other without others hearing. 'Willow, my love It will be easy do not fret I am here with you.'
The two women rode their horses down into the battle, and Willow could barely stand to watch as men and women's guts fell out of wounds that just suddenly appeared out of nowhere, one moment they would be running and suddenly their organs were gushing out of their body. 'You don't have to kill them that way.'
"I refuse to kill anyone."
"Then as your servant I will do the killing for you." A tear fell from Tara's eyes, she was glad she could spare Willow the pain of killing.
"I order you not to kill anyone as well."
The doors to the tent flew open. "You dare disobey my orders!" Willow's mother walked into the room. The two girls stood from the table where only moments before they had been eating super. "For this insolence you will be punished."
"I will take any punishment you give to me."
"Well first I will of course have your toy whipped and beaten while you watch this time. And after that you are to return home." The woman left the tent quickly as Tara's masculine Aunt entered grabbing Tara by the arm, the young woman did nothing to try and escape she happily took the punishment as she would happily take any beating so long as it kept her love from harm.
Willow stood and watched as her mother's servant whipped the naked and bloody body of her lover, she watched along with the rest of the camp, tears fell from her eyes as she felt the whips pierce her ears.
Once Tara's cries of pain stopped and her body became limp the whipping had stopped and Willow breathed a sigh, not because she didn't have to watch anymore but because she knew that her lover was no longer being punished for her actions.
"That is all! Willow I expect you home by tomorrow, I have a surprise for you when you return."
Back in the Commander's tent Willow cleaned the wounds of Tara. "I am so sorry."
"I am fine." The woman sat up and suddenly all of the wounds were gone "It hurt, but not nearly as much as knowing you had to watch them. Now make love to me. Your mother's spies will be everywhere once we return to the castle. Tonight I want to feel you inside me." And at that they made love all night.
The next evening the two were sitting silently at the dining room table which had been filled a celebration was being held for Willow's victory against the werewolves, even the other heads were there, including Tara's father. Whispers of Willow's disobedience had been spreading throughout the evening, along with rumors of the relationship between Willow and Tara. And as the meal was finishing the large party was moved into the banquet hall. Willow and Tara disappeared into a closet so they could make out.
Willow was moving her hand down to unbutton Tara's red dress and as it lowered to the ground Tara pressed Willow against the wall just as Willow's dress too had fallen to the ground the door to the closet flew open. Standing in the door was none other than Isabel Jenkins. She screamed at the sight of Tara's hand in the panties of Willow, causing the rest of the guests to come running to the hallway. The first to reach the scene was none other than Tara's father.
"What is this girl?" He yelled at his daughter.
"Father it is not what it looks like." Tears fell from the eighteen year olds face, causing Willow to remember something. She remembered that it was punishable by death for a Jones to become romantically involved with their master.
"Mr. Jones…" Willow could not give an explanation because she was interrupted by her mother who came running into the hallway.
"What is all this commotion?" Her mother's smile faded once she saw what everyone was staring at. "Willow! You already shamed me enough! But now to allow your emotions to get the better of you! To become romantic with a Jones of all people?"
"Let's clear the hall mistress before you say something you will regret."
"Everyone out!" The woman screamed.
"Excuse me!" Tara's father interrupted. "I cannot just leave, this is an offense punishable by death! My daughter has disgraced my family just as much as yours has disgraced your family. I demand to be involved in the decision of what must be done with her."
"Believe me sir we will make sure to handle the situation. Ray! Where is Ray? And Jon? I must speak with them."
"I am here mother! And so is Ray! What is it you need?" The woman leaned into the boy's ear and whispered something.
"Ray take these two to the dungeon and hold them there until my son returns with what is needed."
"Oh Tara! I am so sorry. I wont let them kill you, I'll kill them if they try." The young girl knelt next to her lover wrapping her arms around the older one.
"Don't you worry Mistress Willow, you are going to have a choice." Ray walked into the dank room carrying a young boy who was asleep and was followed by Jon who limped into the room.
"Either you kill the boy or we kill your pet." The boy laughed and as he did ropes appeared from the wall and pulled both girls to the stony ground making it to where they can't move. "But before you decide I am going to have myself a little fun." As he spoke the ropes changed and pulled Tara's hands up above her head and pulled her legs apart. Then he leaned down and ripped off the girl's underwear. "And sister do try to watch! Watch as a real man fucks your girlfriend. Tara screamed, and screamed as she could do nothing but lay there as the boy shoved his penis in and out of her. Once he was done Tara just layed there silently crying as he began to rip her dress off and feel her large breasts. Then he began beating her over and over again, and when that did not get a response out of the girl he began raping her once again this time using a spell to cut into the girl's body over and over again.
He finally stopped when Tara seemed unable to move her body. "Now sister make a choice." He flicked his fingers and the binding fell from Willow's body. The second he released her she ran to Tara.
"You will regret this brother!" She screamed as her eyes turned gold and the room filled with white light, when the light dimed Jon and Ray's body both fell to the floor and Willow and Tara were nowhere to be seen.
The drums from the circle grew louder and louder as Buffy and Toni made their way around the large group. There were different groups in the circle; there were the witches, the humans, and the demons. Every now and then a cheer would erupt from a certain group.
Buffy and Toni still didn't know their place or where they belonged. Not only were they Americans in a group of Europeans they were also new members to The Caravan. Buffy wasn't even sure if she was still human. They had been traveling with the group for a few days and were now getting familiar with the strange people. They had tried to fit in, but it still didn't change the fact that they had grown accustomed to traveling with only each other for company.
The many different cliques still confused the two friends as well, especially the witches. Most witches in America are low families, but here the different families all tried not to associate with each other. Even some of the demons were aligned with one of the three families. Buffy and Toni still weren't very good at recognizing which family was which.
Buffy was neither human nor demon nor witch she had inherited some strange powers from an ancient scroll her parents had been translating before they were murdered when she was 10. She had met Toni shortly after that.
The two spotted a log that was free right on the edge of the fire so they made their way over. Once they sat down they realized why it was not in use, the fire was so close and so hot that it made their skin itch. They decided to stay anyway.
The drums began to beat louder and louder as a group of humans got up and began dancing around the fire. A small witch stood up and began to dance with them and a demon joined in after her until the whole camp except Buffy and Toni were dancing. When suddenly a bright green light filled the sky and a loud pop caused everyone to stop and look around.
"HELP! Someone help me!" A woman was screaming. Buffy stood and looked around the circle trying to see where it was coming from. It was coming from a young girl who was standing at the edge of the circle carrying a bloody body in her arms. "Someone help! Please she's heart!" The young girl screamed again. Toni was the first to reach her and lift the limp body out of her arms.
Jerimiah Jenkins was the second to get there a man the two had met their first day in the camp he was the elder for the witches. "Toni you take her to the Old Hag's tent. You come with me." He pointed to the young burnet that was barely standing.
"I am not leaving her!" She yelled at the man.
"Excuse me?" He asked the girl. "You come in here, breaking our defenses leaving us completely vulnerable and then won't even explain who you are." By the time the man was done Toni had already ran the limp girl to the Old Hag's tent leaving the large group completely stunned.
"Don't worry about your defenses I already put new ones up." The girl started to follow after Toni.
"That still doesn't explain who you are and why your friend is almost dead."
"Who I am doesn't matter right now. All that matters is that my friend is okay. Please, I will explain everything later." There was another loud pop and a bright light and the girl was gone.
"Where'd she go?" Buffy was stunned by how quickly the girl was gone.
"She probably used a transportation spell to take her to The Old Hag's tent." Jerimiah told her. "There are very few witches able to use a transportation spell that powerful much less create new barriers without the help of another witch then to go and use another powerful transportation spell that soon after the first two, I feel trouble coming, trouble the likes of which we haven't seen in a very long time."
By the time Jerimiah and Buffy had reached the tent the old woman who was the camp's healer had already began healing the unconscious blond girl and was in deep concentration when they entered. The witch who had transported herself there was standing over the old woman's shoulder holding her hand out and was casting a healing spell as well.
"I need to know who you are, and what happened so that we can prepare if we are to be invaded." The middle aged man asked politely.
"You needn't worry."
"Isabel stop casting. After all of the magic you have used you won't be able to heal that girl by yourself so tell me who you are and I will help you and Isabel will begin again as well." The old woman stopped what she was doing.
"Believe me when I say I don't need help."
"Then I will be forced to use violence." The man squeaked out.
"The only person in this room who could even possibly harm me at all who isn't unconscious is your American friend over there. And she doesn't even know her own strength yet. I wouldn't even have to stop casting to take care of you. You're only what? A level six at most? And the old lady no more than a five."
"So it is you isn't it? Willow Arra, and this must be Tara Jones." As he said their names the old woman gasped. "You dare come here?" Willow turned to look at the man and once her eyes met his the woman lying on the table gasped and opened her eyes.
"No Willow!" The woman screamed as she leached forward.
"Shh I'm right here. Don't worry I've got you, your safe." Willow wrapped her arms around the older girl as she sat up on the table and she wept into Willow's arms. "Tara he can't hurt you I've got you. I've always got you."
"Willow where are we? What happened?" Tara asked.
"I transported us to The Caravan. You were passed out."
"Now that your friend is awake you are going to tell us what happened and then I am locking you both up in our anti-magic carriage."
"I will willingly follow you, however Tara is a Jones, she has a right to join The Caravan if she so pleases so I will not allow you to lock her up. You may only take me."
"Oh really? She is aligned to you correct? Then she is technically an Arra so she is not allowed to join us. You were 13 you decided to follow the path of a dark magic witch and she chose to follow you, and you know the rules no dark magic witch can join The Caravan after their 13th birthday. And no witch aligned with the Arra house can associate with any member of The Caravan."
"We shall see. Take me to the rest of the elders." Willow demanded.
Jerimiah nodded. "I shall take you both. Buffy if you would please help me escort these two to The Tent of Elders?"
The two women followed Jerimiah out of the tent followed by Toni and Buffy.
When they finally reached the small tent the other two elders had already been assembled. "Jerimiah what is the reason for this?" An elderly man breathed out his question, Willow could smell werewolf coming from him and she had a slight feeling of fear towards him.
A human middle age woman leaned back in her chair, she was clearly drunk. "Yes Jerimiah we were having quite a fun time at the fire. So what if a witch transported herself into the camp? She needed help and that's what we do. We help."
"My fellow elders she is not just any witch. She is Willow Arra, the daughter to Valarie Arra, the most powerful dark witch that has ever lived the girl who single handedly annihilated the whole encampment of werewolves only a few days ago." The mood in the room suddenly changed to a serious one.
The female elder stood and walked up to Willow and started looking closely at her. "So your Valarie's daughter? You look nothing like her you know?" Willow only nodded her head.
The werewolf sat back in his chair. "And what is the problem Jerimiah?"
"What is the problem? You ask me that after this girl murdered your son? My best friend." Jerimiah yelled and the old man didn't change his facial features at all.
"You have heard the rumors as I have Jerimiah." He slid his fingers through his beard. "The heir to the Arra family practices white magic." Willow didn't like the fact that they were talking about her as if she wasn't there. Tara started to sway and Willow could feel her grasp her hand.
"If I may be so bold as to ask for a chair for my servant Tara?" She saw Tara flinch when she said servant. Before she could even finish her sentence Toni had already placed a chair behind Tara.
"Is it true?" The woman was still standing looking at Willow.
"Even if it is that doesn't change the fact that she murdered nearly two thousand werewolves including the little pups."
"I killed no children! And they were killing human children first, I didn't want to fight, but my mother can be very cruel sometimes."
"You may not have, but you were leading the assault."
"Willow, do not argue with them please." Tara asked Willow.
"It does not matter it is my son's own fault. He was the one who decided to attack the families he knew his actions would have consequences and she speaks the truth he was turning humans purposefully."
"She refuses to tell me what happened. If they went against the families we are required to turn them in." Jerimiah was getting frustrated.
"My dear what happened to you and your servant? Why was she so badly beaten?" The human elder asked.
"I refused to kill a human from the village. As I said my mother can be cruel, but my brother is far crueler. That doesn't really matter anymore, he's dead." A gasp filled the whole room.
"You killed him didn't you Willow?" Tara had no emotion play across her face. She knew Willow was thinking about the same thing she was and she knew why Willow was so on edge now.
Willow nodded "Him and Ray, and I would do it again."
"Willow, you have to tell us exactly what happened." The woman said. Buffy and Toni were utterly confused by now and had no idea what was such a big deal about Willow killing her brother if he was trying to make her kill a child and beating her friend.
"Well we were at the party that my mother was holding in honor of my victory. Though because I could not kill someone by myself in the battle she decided to try and harden me up. So my brother took Tara and I to the dungeons and then bound us with anti-magic rope. He told me if I didn't kill a kid from the village near our castle he would kill Willow. So I killed him and his Jones and transported us here."
"Well that's good then, if it was just a dispute with the Arras then we don't have to turn them in." The woman looked hopefully at the old werewolf.
"Yes indeed, but there is something you are not telling us." The werewolf spoke.
"People are entitled to keep secrets." Willow looked him in the eye. "Look I may be a level 29 but I do still get tired, a lot has happened and if you would please just let us go to sleep and we can talk about this tomorrow or whatever."
"Very well then." The werewolf waved his hand dismissing the couple. "You can make your own tent I believe?" The young girl nodded.