Witches by Phil Stern Read Free Book Online

Book: Witches by Phil Stern Read Free Book Online
Authors: Phil Stern
Tags: Witches, YA series
    “I see.” Thoughtfully, Katrina lit a cigarette. “And you think I may know something about this wizard?”
    “The Coven Elders do, yes.” Tiffany paused, studying the older woman. “You don’t seem very surprised.”
    “My dear, after living in Meda for a decade, nothing surprises me anymore.” Katrina smiled, bitterly. “So why sneak up on me? Why not just ask for my assistance?”
    “I could just as easily ask why you sent those dragon bats to attack us last night.”
    “I didn’t. Those weren’t my dragon bats.”
    “And those gnomes that shot me? They weren’t yours either?”
    “They were. But don’t take things so personally, dear.” Katrina took a long draw on her cigarette, sensually exhaling a cloud of smoke. “I live alone, in a dangerous world. My caution is the only thing that’s kept me alive.”
    “And now? Am I your prisoner?”
    “No. I have a dungeon downstairs for that.” Snapping her fingers, a window magically appeared on the wall next to Katrina, through which could be seen the guard dragon on the next hill. “Now tell me everything about this wizard.”
    Tiffany briefly told of the three missing witches, along with the wizard’s letter found at the scene of Keyla’s abduction, claiming responsibility for the attacks.
    “Brazen of him,” Katrina commented, peering out at the bleak Median countryside. “And this letter was written on native Median paper?”
    “According to Eleanor it was,” Tiffany said. “It’s the only clue we have, other than the last known location of our lost sisters.”
    Katrina raised an eyebrow. “‘According to Eleanor,’” she softly repeated. “Do I detect a lack of trust in the esteemed Council Leader?”
    Drumming her fingers on the taunt bed, Tiffany looked away. “So you don’t know anything about this wizard?”
    “There have been rumors of a magical man visiting Meda. He has friends here, I suspect.” Katrina considered. “His use of Median paper was a ploy to draw the Coven to Meda, where his allies could ambush you. Haven witches have less of an advantage in an openly magical world.”
    “So why hasn’t he attacked you?”
    “My home is well defended, as you’ve already discovered.” Sighing, Katrina’s cigarette stub magically disappeared. “But this wizard grows stronger with each victory. In time, I will be assailed as well.”
    “So you’ll help me?” Tiffany asked.
    A long moment went by, Katrina lighting another cigarette. “Come,” she finally announced. “Let’s get some fresh air.” Another finger snap.
    An instant later, Tiffany found herself standing on Katrina’s roof, dressed in her Terran jeans, boots, and white shirt. Below could be seen the guard gnomes, the dark, foreboding Median landscape beyond.
    “Tell me, dear.” Walking up beside her, Katrina’s soft, grey hair was blown back by the stiff wind. “How did you become a witch?”
    For some reason she felt oddly comfortable with this intriguing, independent sorceress. And so Tiffany told of her abusive childhood, along with her rescue and recruitment into the Coven. It was an unexpectedly cathartic experience, raw emotion surging to the fore.
    “So the Coven saved my life,” Tiffany concluded. “And I would imagine yours too, at one time.”
    “That they did,” the older witch acknowledged. “In fact, I was scheduled to be burned at the stake the next day.”
    “Burned at the stake? I don’t understand.”
    “Tiffany, I was born in Salem, of the Massachusetts Colony, in 1675.”
    “But that was over three hundred years ago,” Tiffany objected. “That’s not possible!”
    “I see you have yet to be taken into Eleanor’s full confidence.” Smiling, Katrina expansively waved a hand at the world about them. “The Boundary cuts across both space and time. We can go any place, or any time, we choose.”
    Stunned, Tiffany considered the implications. “So that means...”
    “It means many things, most of which you

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