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Ember Paw: Uninvited Guests [Vignette]

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Sirius lay quietly on his bed, His left hand quietly outlining the Foxfire tattoo on his bare chest. His right hand glowing red, as fire danced across his skin. Frowning Sirius hurled the fire into the roof, causing a small bit of plaster to fall away, leaving a scorch mark on the roof.

He brought his hand down hard onto the bed in frustration. No matter how hard he tried he tried, his Magic just wasn’t getting stronger. He Knew the Fox fire was as the hart of his magical ability, but even in fox form, he could only ever access the smallest drop of the immense ocean of power he knew resided within the Foxfire spirit.

Grabbing the Foxfire journal, Sirius flicked through its pagers. He’d read all he could read at least a dozen times. Unfortunately all he could read only dated back only a few generations. Everything before that was written in some ancient form of Gaelic, which even the so-called specialist’s couldn’t decipher.

What information he did have was limited. Most of his ancestor’s had said they had limited control over the Foxfire. Some couldn’t even create the magic blast. The most interesting entry in the journal was the earliest entry Sirius could read. It was of a young woman who had inherited the Foxfire after the death of her father. She right’s that her father had been able to do some amazing feats of Magic with the Foxfire, but unfortunately she never win into specifics.

Buy the end of her section of the journal he had grown depressed and angry. Complaining how the Foxfire spirit must be broken or all used up. Page after page was filled with rants of her complaining on how she couldn’t achieve the things her father could. She had also grown bitter at her father, apparently she couldn’t read the rest of the journal either. It was apparently something that was meant to be passed down form parent to child, but due to her father’s sudden untimely death, he had never gotten around to it.

Sirius sighed, and threw the book against the wall. All of this started because one person didn’t honor the tradition of teaching his child how to read the journal.

Looking to the book laying on the floor, he sighed. Maybe, just maybe this Jos fella might be able to decrypt the journal.

A knock at the door drew Sirius’s attention from the journal. Picking it up as he went to the door. He stuffed it in his back pocket before opening the door.

Standing in front of him was an elderly lady in her sixties. Long grayish sliver hair fell down to the small of her back. Her clothing was simple, but expensive. A pair of half moon spectacles sat on her nose. Green eyes shone back at Sirius.

Sirius stared in disbelief at the elderly woman, his jaw hanging open at the sight of her. A single word managed to escape his lip… “Ma!â€Â

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The elderly lady pushed passed the stunned Sirius, waving a hand dismissively as she entered, “Close your mouth, and put a shirt on.†She said, He face showing disdain as she looked around at the decaying room Sirius had been calling home for the past few months.

Snapping out of shock, Sirius went to close the door but before he could two more men entered. Both wore suits, and both ware a small broach on their color.

Sirius stared at the breach, it taking a moment before the symbol became clear. Both broachers had the Foxfire symbol etched into them.

Turning Sirius quickly hurried after his mother, who now standing on the balcony looking out at the street with even more distain than she had his apartment. Grabbing a shirt as he passed his it. Ember went to his mother’s side.

“What on earth are you doing here mother? And who are those goons?†Sirius asked.

Without answering His mother waved a hand at the two men. “Leave everything, there’s nothing here worth keeping.†Sirius’s mother said, ignoring her son.

The two men nodded, and than moved to the corridor outside the apartment. Closing the door as the went. Once done Sirius’s mother turned and faced her son. “I should whip you for what you’ve done.†Sirius’s mother said, disappointed filling her voice. "Running of the America’s, abandoning your family so soon after your father’s death.†Sirius’s mother suddenly slapped her son. “If you were any other person I would have you whipped to within an inch of your life!†The elderly woman snapped, the loving affection of a parent long gone. “But as it were, you are the hair to the Fox fire.†Sirius’s mother said, the ice in her breath melting back to her usual motherly demeanor.

Sirius looked at his mother in shock “You know about the Fox fire?†Sirius spluttered. His mother’s eyes became hard again. “Of cores I did, you didn’t honestly believe that you were the only one who knew about the family’s blood lines.†Sirius’s mother moved away again, looking around the small apartment before stopping and facing her son again.

“Pack what little thing’s you hold of value. Before I speak anymore we shall go someplace more private.†Sirius’s mother said.

As if on cure, the door to his apartment opened again and the two men entered again.

‘We will be down in car, be quick about it.†Sirius’s mother added before turning and walking out. The two men gave Sirius a quick glance before following the elderly woman.

Sirius stood in the empty room speechless. What was going on? Who was that woman who wore his mother’s skin? Who were the two men that accompanied her?

Holding his hands to his for head as his head throbbed with question’s Sirius sighed and went to find a bad to place his belonging’s in. If there was one thing he had learnt as a child… Never disobey your mother.

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Stepping from the elevator on the ground floor Sirius sighed as he slung the backpack over his shoulder. He loved his mother, but this was one of the reason’s he ran away in the first place. His mother had always been controlling of him.

Raising a hand to block out the sun as he left the building, he was shocked to see a black Lincoln out front. One of the goons that had been with his mother waited next to the open rear door, a dull expression of boredom showed on his face as he waited for Sirius to enter the vehicle.

Hoping into the back next to his mother, the goon closing the door behind Sirius. Looking over to his mother, Sirius suppressed a sigh; She had that look on her face again, the look of disapproval and punishment. “What was I supposed to do Ma?†Sirius asked, “I mean Dad was dead, suddenly I had all these wired abilities and this book, and you were never home!†Sirius added, hid voice think with the pain of old memories. “I tried to talk to you, but when ever I did you would just wave it away, and go out.â€Â

Sirius’s mother sat there quietly while her son talked, the car leaching forwarded as it began its trip. Once they were well on her way she turned to face her son. “And you never listened when I tried to talk to you.†She replied. “After your father’s death I was distraught and grieving, but I also had a job to do, one that could not include you until it was ready.†She paused to look at her son deeply before continuing, “But by the time everything was ready for you, you had ran of here to the America.†Shaking her head she turned away.

“You may not understand your destiny yet my son, but you will.†Looking at her son again she smiled, a hint of a softer woman surfacing again, “You will gain what you seek my son, after all you do not know the power you have.†A sinister snare appeared on her lips. “Besides I have you to thank for our new home, If you hadn’t called me, the enchantment wouldn’t of been broken and we would not of been able to find you.â€Â

Looking somewhat confused Sirius hesitated to ask but the curiosity finally overcame him, “What enchantment? What are you talking about mother?†Sirius asked, but his mother would not answer him.

“Ah good were here.†His mother suddenly said. Suddenly noticing that the car had come to a stop, the first thing that hit Sirius was the strangeness of the place. When they had left it was a sunny, but now it the sky was dark with storm clouds.

As Sirius stepped out of the car He could have sworn he was back in Ireland, but even than this area had a strange feel to it, it was almost as if he wasn’t on earth anymore. He than noticed the massive mansion in front of him, Made of stone and featuring several different cultural building stiles.

He also noticed the druidic circle’s around the gardens, But the thing that haunted him the most, was the thick fog that hovered just beyond the gate’s of the massive estate…

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“Come now don’t gawk, there will be plenty of time for you to look around your new home later.†Sirius’s mother said without looking at her son. Sirius gave his mother a sideway glance, His mother Gwendolyn was always bossing people around, her son had never been the exception.

“Ma, are you telling me that we own this place?†Sirius asked disbelief in his voice, as he looked at the massive mansion. His mother looked over to him, her eyes looking him up and down before turning and heading for the massive front doors. “Yes, we own it. This property has been handed down to every partner of the Fox fire legacy since it began.†Waving her hands in dismissal, “We shall continue this discussion later, I have more important thing’s to do at this very moment.â€Â

In quickly as she had came, Gwen disappeared into the mansion leaving Sirius standing out front with the two goons that had picked him up.

Looking to them, one of them shrugged and walked off, the other giving the other good a dirty look before turning to face Sirius.

“Well, Look’s like your stuck with me eh?†The man said in a gruff voice. “Name’s Will.†He said holding out a hand. Sirius took it still looking around at the place, “Thanks… er I’m…†Sirius began but was cut of by Will. “Yeah I know who ye are, Sirius Vulpes, son of Lady Gwendolyn, heir to the Fox fire legacy.†Will said in an almost monotone.

Sirius looked at Will, his face getting redder by the second. “Don’t worry about it lad, we all have parent’s who expect the world from us.†Will said, slapping Sirius on the back, before moving away.

Looking back briefly Will indicated for Sirius to follow. “Come on lad, I’ll take ye to ye room. The lady Gwendolyn has ordered you to stay in ye room until she is ready for ye.†Will explained as he led Sirius into the massive entrance hall. “She shouldn’t be more than a few hours lad.â€Â

Leading Sirius Will took him up several flights of stares and down half a dozen corridors until finally he arrived at a large wooden door. “This be ye room lad, Reserved for the holder of the Fox fire.†Digging into his pocket he pulled out a small key and unlocked the door.

“Welcome to ye knew home lad.†Will say’s as he stand’s aside to let Sirius in. “Oh and er sorry bout this, ye mother’s orders.†Will suddenly says closing the door.

Sirius could hear the click of the door lock and sighed, “Thanks for the vote of confidence ma.†Sirius say’s tartly…

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Sirius awoke amongst several layers of satin sheets. Looking around he notes the large window to his new bedroom. The weather outside remained stormy and overcastted. The crackle of a flame brought Sirius’s attention to the far side of the chamber; a large ornate fireplace sat silently housing a magical green flame.

“So much for only being a few hours.†Sirius thought to himself as he got up. A small un-obtrusive door led out to the right of the room into a luxurious bathroom, Complete with shower, Toilet and even a hot tub.

Once he had showered and dressed, Sirius entered his bedchamber again and went to the larger double door’s on the left side. Opening the door’s Sirius walked out into a large Hall like room. It’s roof at least two story’s high. Bookshelves lined most of the Room. On his far right a large arched window stood, giving Sirius a view of the courtyard below.

A large desk sat in front of the window, with a large throne like chair sitting on the window side. Two smaller chairs sat on the opposite side.

To his left was the room’s main door, were several comfortable seat’s sat, as well a table and chairs. A large fireplace with green flame’s sat nearby offering warmth to the large room.

As Sirius wandered about the room, His stomach beginning it’s morning protest about food, a slight knock at the door sounded. “Come in.†Sirius said absently before quickly adding, “it’s locked though.â€Â

A faint clicking sound could be herd and the door opened. A woman stood in the doorway for several seconds before entering. She had long brown hair, pointed but graceful features and a commanding presents. The woman took a small bow, a slight smile on her face.

“Lord Vulpes.†She said, before directing Sirius’s attention to the attendants that had entered with her. “You breakfast is ready.†The woman said as the attendants suddenly surged forward with several trays. “Once you have finished, you are to go to the main library.†And with that the woman turned and left, leaving Sirius speechless.

The attendants laid out a feast of food on the main table of the room. Eggs, bacon, hash browns and fresh fruit, and a cup of orange juice, and according to one of the attendant’s the fruit as well as the juice were all grown right here on the property.

Sirius couldn’t help but smirk, even after so long his mother still knew how to play her son.

After a long slow breakfast Sirius finally stood to leave. Opening the door he was shocked to see one of the attendants standing there. “This way my lord.†She said with a slight curtsy, “Don’t worry about the plait’s attendant’s will clean it up in a moment.†She added, “This way to the master library.†And with that she twirled around and headed off down the corridor.

Sirius did his beast to keep up, but the lass darted through the corridors like well a fox, Sirius smiled at the Irony. Finally they reached to large double doors. The attended smiled and curtsied again, before running of again down the labyrinth of room’s and corridors.

Sighing Sirius reached out to the doors, maybe now he might get some answers…

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Sirius entered the large library, thousand’s if not million’s of books sat on bookshelf after bookshelf. As Sirius walked, eye’s wide absorbing his surrounding’s he was a little shocked to suddenly see a book fly past, and than slot it self into an opening between two other books.

Blinking Sirius looked up, there above the bookshelves hundreds of books went this way and that, all racing off on some invisible highway. Sure Sirius knew about magic but he had never seen anything like it before.

After several minuets of walking Sirius finally made his way to the center of the room. It was only than did he realize that the room was actual a massive round room, with all the book sheave’s pointing towards the center of the room.

In the very center sat a large round desk, Sirius had to strain his neck to see the top of the massive desk. Many of the books in the air were flying either to or away for above the desk.

Suddenly a book whacked him in the back of the head as it quickly ascended and landed on top of the desk. “Ow.†Sirius complained as he rubbed the back of his head.

“Huh…who’s there.†An elderly male voice sounded. Suddenly a hooked nose old man poked his nose over the counter. “Ah lord Vulpes. Your mother and the Elder’s are in the main reading room. Turn the doorknob to one, than push.†The old librarian said before returning to his work.

Sirius looked around confused, what door? There wasn’t a door any ware near here. It wasn’t until then did Sirius notice the strange doorknob sitting at the base of the large table.

Walking close to it, Sirius could see it had an extra piece. Around the base of the doorknob was a small screen, were ever Sirius turned the knob the number would change. Flicking through it several times, Sirius finally stopped when he returned to one and pushed.

Sirius suddenly found himself facing a large open reading room. Comfortable chairs were littered around the place in groups. Floating globs of light illuminated every corner of the room as well as ebbed a faint heat, keeping the room at a comfortable temperature.

Looking behind himself, Sirius found a doorknob just like the one he had just pushed sitting on the wall. Shrugging he turned back to the room at hand, finally noticing the four figures sitting in the center of the room.

Walking up to them, Sirius noticed that those present were his mother, Will, the other guy form yesterday, and the woman who told him to come here.

The four of them stopped their conversation as Sirius approached, His mother beckoning him to take a seat.

“Well now, Let me introduce you to everyone.†Gwen said, in her usual manner. “This is William, as you know from yesterday.†She says indicating to Will. Will nodded at Sirius but didn’t interrupt his mother. “And this is Torrance, also from yesterday.†She said, indicating to the other goon that had picked him up yesterday. “And lastly this is Alexia, Who I believe you met this morning.†Gwen finished.

“Together, and including myself we make up the Elder’s of the Fox grove circle.†Gwen said “The grove was created at the time of the forging of the Fox spirit to our your bloodline.†Gwen continued. “As the current host to the Fox spirit you are the right hand of the Fox grove.†Gwen said, reaching for a cup of tea.

“What?†Sirius said, his head still trying to come to term’s with everything that has happened. “You mean, you’ve been apart of all this since…since before I was born? Why wasn’t I told of any of this sooner?†Sirius barked shock being replaced with anger and hurt.

“Stop your complaining.†Gwen said fiercely after taking a sip of tea. “If you were not the inheritor of the Fox spirit you would have been initiated into all this on your tenth birthday. But because you were the inheritor that was impossible.†Gwen said, calmly. “It is ancient decree, all those who will poses the Fox spirit are bared from these land’s until such a time as they take on the mantle of the Fox spirit.†Gwen passed for a few second’s before whispering, “Even I could not brake that commandment.â€Â

Sirius strained his hearing as his mother’s words, not sure weather he had heard that last part or not. Sighing Sirius waved his hand for her to continue.

“Very well, The Fox grove is separated into three groups. The Alchemist’s, The Knights, and the Storm Maidens. William here is in charge of the Alchemists, Torrance the Knights and Alexia the Storm Maidens.†Gwen explained

“Yeah alright, so were do you and I fit in?†Sirius asked.

Gwen Sighed a sigh of old age, “I my dear am the circle’s leader, I do not fall into any of the group’s, for I must be unbiased of internal affairs to lead the grove into the future.†Gwen looked at her son, for a brief moment he could almost see compassion in her eyes. “And you my son… you are the Spirit of the circle made flesh.â€Â

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Sirius looked at his mother, his jaw open in shock. “And what the heck does that mean?†Sirius eventually managed to say. His mother looked at him, a slight frown on her face at his behavior. “It means my son, that you are our right hand. Your job is to protect the grove, and it’s interests.†Gwen explained to the confused Sirius.

“So hold on a minuet, your saying that the Fox fire is some spirit agent that protects the grove?†Sirius said, still trying to work his mind around it. “I didn’t think druid’s had spirit guides and what not?†Sirius asked, thinking back to what he knew about Druid’s.

“For the most part, that is correct.†Gwen’s said, “Most of what is known of the old way’s have been lost since the destruction of the main grove by the Romans. But some of the grove’s managed to survive the culling; some of them have spirit animals such as ours. Others have latched onto other spirit’s like the great Oak grove.†Gwen explained. “However we are the only grove to have a Spirit Avatar.†Gwen added.

“Spirit what-now?†Sirius asked as Gwen frowned at him. “Spirit Avatar, the Fox Spirit made flesh… you.†Alexia said, ignoring the chilling glance of Gwen.

“Alright, alright, so I’m some Spirit avatar thingy. What else?†Sirius said waving his hand’s in the air in for them to continue.

“Well ye see lad, The grove is separated into three groups, as Lady Gwendolyn has already pointed out to ye, I’m the head of the Alchemist’s sect, We here make all these magical trinket’s ye see around the place and a few ye don’t.†Will explained with a wink.

“Yeah, yeah show some humility Will. As the Lady Gwendolyn said I’m Torrance and I’m in charge of the Knight’s sect. Were an all male sect that focuses on physical combat. We utilize some of the Alchemist sect’s finest craftsmanship for our weapon’s and armor.†Torrance explained, eyeing Will tiredly as Will puffed up at the Alchemist’s role in the sect.

“And I am in charge of the Storm maidens.†Alexia said, her voice calm and soothing. “The Storm Maiden’s as the name suggests is an all woman group who specialize in elemental magic. While we do not rely as heavily as the Alchemist’s as the Knight’s do, they still provide our sect with the appropriate trinkets from time to time.†Alexia said giving Will and Torrance a teasing smile.

“Ok cool, I get that.†Sirius said once it was clear they had finished. “Why the separation of men and women in the Knight’s and the Maidens? Isn’t that kind of sexist?†Sirius asked

“From a certain point of view. To join the Alchemist’s any student may apply, male or female, but we found that with the Knight’s and the Maiden’s it’s best to segregate the sexes.†Alexia explained. “You see men, being more brutish, are simply better at clobbering thing’s over the head when they get mad. Not to mention there physically stronger than women.†Alexia explained, ignoring the scolding look Torrance was giving her.

“Women on the other hand, While lacking in physical strength, more than make up with our ability to remain focused on the big picture and controlling our emotions, when on the battle field. It is also why the grove is always controlled by a female leader.†Alexia said smugly, despite the pout’s she was now receiving from both Torrance and William.

“Right.†Gwen suddenly spoke up. “It’s time to get this over and done with.†Looking to Sirius. “Sirius my boy, it’s time we properly bind you to the book and to the grove.†Gwen said, as the other elder’s stood.

“Bind? What do you mean? I thought I already was bound to the book?†Sirius questioned. “You are, but only so much as a person is bound water when they swim. This first ritual will merge with the Fox spirit. Granting you better control and more power over your abilities.†Gwen explained

“More power? Cool.†Sirius said a child like smirk on his face. “Lead the way.â€Â

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Sirius was led out of the library and through the mansion. As they descended to the cellar Sirius became aware of the group of robed men and women following them. The Adept’s followed along chanting some form of Irish that Sirius couldn’t understand, he knew it was Irish, but he could still only understand small snippet’s of words.

Finally he was led into a large subterranean room. A moat of water surrounded the gray brick walls. Four footbridge’s led into the center island. The walls of the chamber had scenes of woodland and animal’s etched into them.

It was than that Sirius noticed that the three Elder’s were gone, and it was just his mother and him self, not to mention the trail of green robed Druid’s behind them.

His mother stepped out onto the bridge, as he did he saw three other’s at the other bridge’s step out.

He saw William dressed in a red robe; more druids’ also in red followed him. Opposite William, Torrance stepped out; He was now dressed in a yellow robe. More druids’ also in yellow followed.

Finally opposite Sirius’s mother, Alexia stepped out; she wore white robes, as did the druids’ that followed her.

As Gwen made her way over the bridge she took her place on a small circle etching of a Tree. William took his place on an etching of a vile. Torrance took his place on an etching of a shield and sward and Alexia took her place on an etching of a lightning bolt.

Sirius looked at his mother briefly in confusion, before she pointed to the center circle. In the very center of the room an etching of the Foxfire symbol burned with it’s own light.

Understanding Sirius entered the circle. As the robed member’s of the sect took there placer’s behind there respective leaders. Sirius noted that all those that stood behind his mother were young, some looked to be no older than ten, while other’s looked to be in there late teens, possible early twenties. Sirius made a mental note to ask his mother later.

“Give me the book.†Gwen ordered Sirius, as the others began there chanting again. Doing as he was told, Sirius reached into his pocket and handed the book over to his mother. Gwen took the book and began to read from its pages…

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As Sirius stood in the center of the circle he began to feel giddy. The world seem to twist and warp around him, the words that were being said seemed like an echo on the wind. Than all of a sudden there was dead silence.

Looking around Sirius found himself in a green grove, the Druids, including his mother, were gone. A lone Fox suddenly emerged from the bushes, slowly approaching Sirius.

The Dog tilted it’s head to look at the oddity in it’s home. Suddenly it spoke…

“You are the one that I hear in my dreams?†The fox asked its voice haunting and echoing within Sirius’s skull. “We are to be bonded.†It said. “Yes… I think.†Sirius replied his hesitation seeming to shock the fox.

“You do not wish to be bonded to me?†The fox asked its teeth showing from beneath it’s gum, “You would say NO to my POWER!†It roared it’s voice turning dark and powerful as flames leaped about it’s fur.

“You would deny me freedom!†It howled as the flames consumed it’s body, Suddenly Sirius had to take a step back as the body of the fox grew larger in the flames, as it grew it’s tail split until there were nine identical tails. Finally when it stopped growing it was almost the size of a small car. “You would deny ALL THIS!†It roared as the flames dimmed revealing the true form of the fox spirit.

Sirius fell to his knees, “Please forgive me my lord, I mean no disrespect. I am new to this, I gladly accept your offer, I am willing and pleasing to grant you your freedom!†Sirius begged, knowing that in one swift action the Fox could easily sever his head.

His humility seemed to please the fox, for it took a step back. “Good…. good, you are a worthy host. I accept your sacrifice.†The Fox spoke, as it’s form shrank back to it’s original size, the eight of it’s tail’s going up in flame’s and vanishing as it shrunk.

“Sirius of the Vulpes, you are found worthy.†And with that the fox dashed forwarded leaping towards Sirius. As Sirius moved to protect himself the fox harmlessly passed through Sirius body.

Turning Sirius saw the fox now as only a ghostly image of what it was before. “Go now, rest and grow stronger… soon we shall be one being, but not now, now I must rest, and you must grow stronger. Once it is time, return to my realm and the final melding will commence…†As the fox spoke its last words the world faded from view.

Sirius awoke on the floor of the subterranean chamber. All had gone except the three elders. “Congratulation’s my son, you have completed the first ritual.†Gwen said, holding her hands out to hug her son. “And as present here is a key. Twist it three time’s and it will transport you to the grove, no matter were you are.†Gwen explained handing Sirius a small copper key on a chain.

“I made that one lad, added a few extra trinket’s for ye too, just clasp it in your hand’s and ye can communicate with the Lady Gwendolyn, no matter were she might be. It also comes with a bit of extra Irish luck lad.†Will said as Sirius place the key around his neck.

“Yes, yes very good William.†Gwen chided, “I hadn’t finished yet.†Reaching into her robe she pulled out a small book. Giving both the Foxfire journal and the small green leather bound book to Sirius.

“Now that you’ve bonded with the Foxfire some of your magic has changed. While you have more power than you did before, it must be focused. This book will help you focus the magic within you. You will also have a few extra magical abilities than you had before.†Gwen smirked.

“But come, we have spent to much time. Let us go up and have lunch.†Gwen said clapping her hands as she turned and exited the chamber.

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Sirius sat back as he rubbed his stomach; he hadn’t eaten a meal that good for a very long time. Only his mother and himself remained in the large private dining room that was reserved for the Elder’s and Fox Avatar. Will, Torrance and Alexia had excused themselves quickly after the meal, explaining they had duties to attend too.

“So Ma, What was with the green robes? I thought there were only three sects within the grove?†Sirius asked, His curiosity getting the best of him.

“Strictly speaking there are four sects, however I would hardly call the forth a sect. As you no doubt noticed, they were all children.†Gwen explained as she took a sip of tea.

“You see, in many respect’s this place is a living organism. Were not sure whether it’s sentient or instinctive, It’s also entirely possible that it’s intellect is completely alien to us.†Gwen continued.

“It some how has the ability to sense children with latent nature magical ability. That is, children who some how naturally draw magic from nature, rather than the more common pools of magic.â€Â

“Most of these children are homeless, and have no tie’s to other humans, and so the property transport’s them here, that is were I come in.†Gen said, taking another sip.

“You see this place take’s children when there ten, but they cannot chose a sect to join until they are twenty one. So that is the fourth sect.†Gwen explained

“While they are with me, I teach them the basic’s of magic, and all the other thing’s they will need as an adult. Once there fifteen they begin apprenticeships with one of the sect’s and they begin to learn the foundation of the sect’s ways. Than at twenty one they become full member’s and leave my care.†Gwen concluded.

“So I was never chosen because I was always to be the host to the Foxfire?†Sirius asked, already guessing the answer. “Correct, although you would have made a fine member of any one of the sects, it was not possible if you were to become the Fox Avatar.†Gwen explained.

“All right than, what about the fact that the past entries in the journal never mention’s this Ritual? Why has none of the Fox Avatar’s ever been strong since the ancient language died?†Sirius asked, referring to his train of thought the other morning.

“In truth, that story was a lie… at least half a lie.†Gwen said, a look of mourning coming over her. “The truth is, that entry was written at the time of the culling. The Roman Empire was marching through Ireland killing every druid they could find. Much of our history was lost.†Gwen explained, Her face sadden by he tale.

“Although this place protected many of the Fox grove druids, much history had still been lost. The Romans had killed many of the people who could translate the old writings. It took us year’s to relearn the ancient language of our ancestors, and even longer to find the book of binding.†Gwen told Sirius.

“Book of binding?†Sirius asked not sure whether his mother meant the journal or another book. “It is a book that explained the ritual that you just went through. We only found it several months ago.†Gwen said, her face mixed with concern

“There is one more piece of information you should be aware of.†Handing Sirius a piece of paper, Gwen looked nervously to her son. “Those word’s are word’s of power to you my son. Until you have undergone the last ritual, anyone who speaks those words has the ability to control whether you are in Fox form, or human form.†Gwen explained

“What do you mean?†Sirius asked concern creeping into his voice. “It mean’s that if anyone whishes to harm you, all they must do is speak those words and you will instantly transform from the Fox Avatar into your normal human self. You would be vulnerable to them." Gwen said the concern was easy to read on her face.

Looking down at the sheet of paper, Sirius looked at the worlds written. ‘Ego Redimio vos Vulpes Phasmatis!’ “It’s Latin†his mother explained "ruffle translated it mean’s I bind you fox spirit. Of cores it only affect’s you if it’s spoken correctly in Latin.†Gwen explained

Sirius nodded placing the peace of paper on the table. “All right so avoid Latin words.†Sirius said half-heartedly as his mother reached over and took the piece of paper. A quick flash later and the paper was nothing more than burn ash on her empty plate.

“Remember my son, do not tell anyone about that, not even member’s of the grove.†Gwen warned her son.

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Sirius walked quietly around the paths of the garden. After lunch with his mother, he was told he was free to move about the place, but to tell his mother if he wanted to go anywhere… at least for a little while, until he settled in.

While the sky was overcastted like it always was, Sirius had to admit the serenity of the gardens. The Tree’s were tall and strong, the bushes a vibrant green. Even the Druidic rune carved altars were stunning.

He had passed and met a few of the younger adapts, as well as a few full member druids of the three sects. He found he enjoyed the company of many of the Artificers, most of them seemed friendly enough.

He was a little wary of the Knights, they seemed to think that only through strength of arms would the Grove survive and flourish. The maidens’ also troubled him, although most were certainly pretty and attractive, they all possessed a Mother Nature sort of personality, probably having to do with there ability to control the elements Sirius thought.

During his talks with the other members of the grove Sirius had that the attendants that he had met that morning for breakfast were mostly green robed adepts, but the majority of the Attendant’s were actually some form of spectral servant.

Although he had yet to see one of these spectral servants, he was told it was unlikely he would. Apparently they were rather shy, and were in the habit of vanishing whenever someone came across them. That was also the reason why normal adepts brought him his food in the morning, and why he didn’t see anyone take away the dirt dishes.

Thinking back to his conversation after lunch with his mother, he recalled a few of the thing’s that disturbed him the most. The first was the fact that according to the record’s they had on the pre-roman culling none of the Fox Avatar’s had ever managed to complete the second ritual.

It wasn’t that they had done something wrong during the ritual; it was more or less simply that they never survived long enough to do the second ritual. Even then there were some speculation on what would happen should he be able to complete the second ritual.

Some speculated he would be turned into a living spirit. Other’s believed he would stay much the same as now. And yet other’s had an even stranger view. Some of the druid scholar’s believed that the Fox Spirit that the grove was attached to was that of a creature called a Kitsune.

A Kitsune being an oriental demon fox supposedly a very powerful shape shifter some even having command over space and time itself.

Sirius wasn’t sure what to believe, although if his experience during the first was anything to go by, he had a sneaking suspicion that the Kitsune theory may not be that far from the truth.

While he hadn’t had time to read up on the mythical creature called a Kitsune he remembered the large fox with nine tails from his ritual, and according to what he remembered, Kitsune of over a thousand year’s old were suppose to have nine tails.

Shaking his head clear, Sirius took a deep breath of fresh air. He remembered in a few day’s he had to help Jos move his belonging’s from the docks. Sirius wasn’t quite sure how he was going to do that, so he decided the night before the delivery he should scout out the area and find possible ambush spots.

Sirius had told his mother about the mysterious Jos Terhune, she had seemed intrigued by the man and asked that next time they meet Sirius should set up a meeting between Jos and herself. Apparently she believed he might have something to offer the Grove, and vice versa.

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