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The lodge - Ch 3

by ang 

Posted: 21 August 2005
Word Count: 2132
Summary: Connie gets seduced by the coven.

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Chapter 3

It was Saturday and I was walking with Lucy and Jenny to the coven. We arrived at an imposing grey building with large forbidding tarnished brass doors about ten foot high, which looked more like armour than an entrance. A number of crows were perching on different parts of the building. They traced our steps towards the doors cocking their heads to one side to get a proper view of us. They looked sinister and made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Above the door were figures carved into the stone, I couldn't quite make out what they were. They looked human, but not quite. In the middle of the figures was some writing; ‘Una forma multorum nominum’.
Jenny saw me looking up.
"Apparently it says 'One shape of many names'. No one really knows what it means. Some think that perhaps the true meaning was lost in translation."
She pressed the buzzer by the side of the door and gave her name through the intercom. The crows started to squawk jumping from one foot to another. There was a buzz and Jenny pulled the door open, it moved surprisingly easily considering how heavy it looked.
Inside the floors were made of granite and the walls were panelled in a dark mahogany-type wood. I felt as though I'd just stepped back in time. The whole building felt as though it was vibrating with an ancient power. I imagined that I was moving slower as the atmosphere seemed to weigh down on me. Lucy glanced over to me; she looked worried, perhaps she sensed something too.
Jenny led us along the corridor into a large hall where groups of people were milling around chatting. There was an air of expectancy in the room.
Jenny glanced at us checking that we were okay.
"The coven ritual is going to start soon, they are performing the Dark Moon Rite."
As if on cue a bell rang three times and the room hushed. Some of the crowd moved towards the front of the room. Four people positioned themselves into a square and I noticed that there was a circle drawn onto the floor between them with a table in the centre.
A man and a woman entered the circle.
Jenny lent towards us and whispered, "That's the coven's priest and priestess."
The priestess then held up her hands.
"May I welcome you all in peace and love. Let the quarters be saluted and the gods invited."
One of the people forming the square lit a candle and held a knife up and drew a pentagram in the air.
"All hail to the element of air, Watchtower of the East."
The person at the next corner then lit their candle and again drew a pentagram in the air.
"All hail to the element of fire; Watchtower of the south".

The ritual was mesmerising. I glanced around at the others in the room and all of them were intent on the ritual. Suddenly the priestess was addressing us all again.
"Eat and drink. Be happy. Share and give thanks. So mote it be."
I wondered to myself where the phrase ‘so mote it be’ originated from, but didn’t ask because I didn’t want to look stupid. I hated it when you got that look of surprise, then they indulged you by explaining something that you obviously should already know.
Gold coloured goblets of wine and trays of cakes were passed around. It sure looked like this coven had a lot of money. The goblets alone looked as though they would fetch a small fortune at an antique auction, let alone how much this building cost to run. At the entrance hall there were at least three corridors we could have taken and when we were shown to this hall I could have easily got lost on our short journey, as there were so many choices of passageways.
The goblets started to come our way and Jenny encouraged us to take the wine and cakes.
"The wine is made from honey, it is a traditional coven drink. It’s quite sweet but goes well with the cakes."
I grabbed one; I didn't need to be told twice. I loved sweet wines, I know, I know it isn't good etiquette, but give me that any day over Champagne! I sipped at the wine, it was really rich, and with the cakes it tasted glorious. Unfortunately it was also going straight to my head, I hoped I wouldn’t embarrass myself, I really wanted to come again.
"I'd just like to introduce you to some of the newer members."
Jenny began to walk towards a small group of people. She introduced us one by one; there were three girls and one man in the group, men seemed to be few and far between here.
"Richard this is Connie and Lucy."
He shook both of our hands quite formally, but I felt he held my hand a fraction longer than necessary and I found myself looking into his eyes a bit longer than the introduction actually needed. Well Lucy wasn't the only one that was interested in men and for someone who was rather scruffily dressed he was quite attractive. He was about six foot with blue eyes and blond hair that was obviously due for a cut as he kept on having to push it back off his face. A mannerism that I must say was very endearing.
I saw Lucy staring at me through narrowed eyes when I glanced over at her.
"I've just got to talk to the priest and priestess, why don't you lot get acquainted while I'm gone," Jenny said and we watched her zigzag her way through all the people to cross the room.
"So how did you end up here on a Saturday night?" Richard asked looking at both of us questioningly. We were quite a bit younger than most of the women here, the three other new comers were about ten years older than us and were busy chatting between themselves.
Lucy chimed in then.
"Connie here has just started practising spells and we both work at the hospital where Jenny works so she invited us along."
"Oh so you are all nurses."
"No. Lucy is but I work in pathology," I said used to explaining the difference in our jobs.
"Oh you work in the morgue do you? Very fitting for a witch." He smiled.
"Wrong pathology, I test blood in the biochemistry department."
"Oh right."
That was always a conversation stopper. If I said I worked in pathology they assumed I worked in the morgue and if I said I was a biochemist most people's eyes lit up and asked me if I could synthesise them designer drugs. They were quite disappointed when they found out what my job really entails.
“What did you think of the evening? Not exactly Macbeth is it?” he laughed at his own joke, but was greeted with blank faces from Lucy and me.
He went bright red. “You know… the three witches of Macbeth?”
I glanced over towards Lucy and was relieved to see that she was just as puzzled as I was. I’m afraid as soon as we got outside the subject of medicine we falter.
“Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble?” Richard added in a last ditch attempt to recoup the situation.
Finally that brought up a distant scene of witches dancing around a smoking pot.
“Oh yes. I think I remember the play,” I smiled. “Yes it’s quite different. A lot more relaxed.”
I could see the relief flood into his face that his comment hadn’t fallen completely flat on it’s face, but I noticed that he still changed the subject very quickly and the blush on his face stayed.
"So are you two thinking of joining the coven then?"
He looked quite hopeful that some more people of his age group would be joining.
"Well I've never done any witchcraft personally. Are you going to join?" Lucy looked over at me.
"I hadn't thought about it really. I would love to come to some more meetings though."
Jenny returned at that point with a man and woman both in their late forties and a younger man in his mid thirties. Both Lucy's and my jaws dropped, this man was absolutely gorgeous! He stood a clear foot over most of the people in the room, he must have been about six foot three and he had dark wavy hair that had blond streaks where the sun had caught it. He was very tanned and obviously spent most of his time outdoors, but it was his eyes that were the most amazing. They were bright green almost like cats’ eyes. Now I had green eyes myself, but they were more turquoise and most people mistook them for blue until they looked closer or they saw them in bright sunlight. You would never mistake his eyes for any other colour though; it almost made me wonder whether he was wearing those coloured contacts that you could buy.
I heard Richard sigh as they approached, I could almost hear his thoughts... beaten again.
"Hi Lucy, Connie these are our coven leaders Diana and Scott and this is Dominic who is a member of another coven that meets within these walls."
I'm sure Jenny giggled slightly; she seemed quite a serious person from the little I knew of her, but obviously even her guard fell when Dominic was around.
Lucy jumped forward, now it was my turn to look at her through narrowed eyes, she was never one to miss a trick. She put her hand out to shake his first completely ignoring Diana and Scott, surprisingly enough they seemed used to this reaction.
"Hi, I'm Lucy. This is just an amazing building that you use."
Dominic extended his hand and I noticed he wore a large gold ring with an unusual motif. It was in the shape of a signet ring but on the top of it was a face with rays of the sun radiating out.
"Yes I believe this building has belonged to our coven for hundreds of years."
He then turned to me.
"I understand that you have been studying the craft by yourself?"
"Yes. I must say it’s a pleasure to meet people who are also interested."
I glanced at Richard feeling a little guilty that he was being left out. His expression lifted as soon as our eyes met, but Dominic quickly shifted the attention back to himself.
"We were all talking about you and wondered if you would like to be initiated into the coven."
I was taken aback, that seemed a bit soon. Diana must have seen my expression.
"We do this for all newcomers. We initiate you into the coven so you may visit when you like and join our teaching groups, but you have a year and one day to decide whether you want to become a fully fledged member. There is no commitment with the first initiation."
I looked at all their faces. I hadn't expected anything like this to happen tonight. Dominic sensed my indecision.
"How about we have dinner tomorrow and I will tell you the benefits of the coven."
Now I was really taken back, the only time I usually get asked out by a man is in a nightclub when to put it politely they had had liberal amounts of Dutch courage. Well what was a girl to do?
"Okay," I replied and that was that. Diana and Scott said that they hoped to see us again soon and I turned around to say goodbye to Richard, but he had disappeared. Lucy and Jenny weren't looking much happier. Oh dear, how to win friends and influence people by Connie Black.
Jenny didn't leave with us, as she had to help clear up, we offered but she declined.
"Thanks, but it’s a coven ritual. Initiated only."
I suspected she was lying; her attitude towards me was becoming downright arctic since Dominic had asked me out. Lucy and I followed some others as they were walking out so we didn't get lost and a man waiting in the lobby pushed a button so we could leave the building.
"Are you sure you didn't reverse that love spell onto yourself? You seemed to be getting an awful lot of attention tonight."
"Well it’s not as if I normally get attention, perhaps they are just short of members and that's the way they drum up trade."
"Well they definitely chose the right man for the job."
We travelled the rest of the way in silence, which was very unlike Lucy, and I was quite relieved to say goodbye.

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Comments by other Members

Patsy at 15:34 on 22 August 2005  Report this post
Hi Ang,

I really liked this section as we get to take a look at the coven! I think your story is moving along great.

Some things to consider:
(Apparently) it says 'One shape of many names'. No one really knows what it means. Some think that perhaps the true meaning was lost in translation."
How about replacing Apparently with "I've been told . . ., as apparently sounds too certain for an uncertain meaning.

Try adding some more visual and sensory details. You have an eerie feel going for this place with the crows, add to that -- maybe fog/mist, or dripping water; odd smells; moving shadows in the darkness of the large building; the hum of chanting/odd music, the smell of spices or burning perfume sticks; strewn flowers on the floor underfoot, etc.
Tell us what the knife looks like -- is it jeweled? Is it Silver with magic words carved on the blade? All of these little details draw the reader in, and let them see what you saw when you created the place in your head.
Do these coven folks sense Connie's power? (Is this why Dominic has taken such an interest in her?) If so, have them show undue interest in her; gravitate toward her when she comes in, or in the presence of other's like her, you could have the candles in the room blow out on her arrival, causing all eyes to shift to her, etc. Run with it, let you inner eye run wild, and have fun with it. If you wind up with too much description, you can always cut some when you edit and save the best bits!

I really like the story. You have great characters, and an interesting plot, so keep up the good work.

Patsy :)

smudger at 23:27 on 22 August 2005  Report this post
Hi ang,

I'm new to the group and so have not commented on earlier pieces, but I have read them through.

Overall, I think you are developing a strong story that weaves in elements that are popular at the moment: the occult, medical life, single women who would rather be attached.

I am unsure if you really intend this to be a truly sinister plot, or whether you want to maintain the lighthearted aspects. The latter come mostly from your main protagonist's style of delivery, which is at times reminiscent of Bridget Jones. These are entertaining, but when they are delivered in close proximity to a sinister event, I think that they detract a little from its shiver quotient. It's important to decide when you want to amuse the reader and when you want to scare the bejesus out of her (seems to be aimed at a young female audience). It's not always clear which effect you're after.

Perhaps the lighthearted elements will gradually become less prominent as the dark side predominates? Or, perhaps you want to retain them throughout and go for a romantic comedy with sinister overtones?

Hope this is helpful.


ang at 10:34 on 23 August 2005  Report this post

Yes the comic aspect does get less as the more sinister aspect takes over.

It was my intention to keep it lighthearted at the beginning. I was aiming for chic lit but with a strong plot. Although I must admit not a lot of people seem to like the idea of this combination.
Oh well!
Thanks for your comments.

ang at 10:41 on 23 August 2005  Report this post
Hi Patsy,
Thanks for sticking around and taking a look at this chapter. I saw your comment after smudger's for some reason. Thanks for the comments some great ideas. It's good that you are so specific this time, I can really get to grips with what more I can do to add atmosphere.
I'll let you in on one of the twists... Dominic knows that she has this power and has orchestrated events to lure her into the coven. He has 'special powers' over women, which is why Connie comes accross as a bit naive at times when dealing with the coven.
Just out of interest do you think I should take out all the humour... I've had a couple of people comment on it.

Patsy at 16:24 on 23 August 2005  Report this post
No, I love the humor!
I like humor in fiction, it makes you feel good to read it.
I don't write humor myself (my husband tells me all the time my sense of humor is either too dry, or too silly!) as I'm really bad at it, but you do a great job with it.
Most books about witch craft in general are too dark and lean more toward horror (which gives me nightmares -- I know, I'm a big chicken!) I'm of the "Bewitched" school of thought on this, I guess, (old American TV show, heard of it?)
There are plenty of dark twists on witches, yours is unique in its humor -- and in this business, unique is good!
Patsy :)

ang at 17:53 on 23 August 2005  Report this post
God I'm so glad you said that. It's just what I was trying to achieve with this book!!!

smudger at 09:53 on 24 August 2005  Report this post
Hi ang,

Just to clarify my earlier comment: I think that the lighthearted approach to your subject will work equally as well as the darker path. I wasn't sure which way you intended to take it, but now that you've made it clear that you intend to keep the humour throughout, I'll bear that in mind when I comment on future chapters.

Looking forward to reading some more...


ang at 17:16 on 24 August 2005  Report this post
Oh thank you! I've had a few comments from people not liking the humour I assumed you thought the same. You've made me feel a lot better now!
And thanks for spending all that time going back on all the chapters... much appreciated.
Angela ;)

Xena at 00:32 on 25 August 2005  Report this post
As usual I'm coming in too late when there's not much left to say. I love your humour too. It's such an unconventional approach to fiction about witch craft. I liked your scene with Macbeth. I think you did it nicely with the grils faltering on the subject and Richard's confusion.

ang at 09:44 on 25 August 2005  Report this post
Hi Xena,
I'm so pleased you mentioned the Macbeth scene. I added that afterwards as I thought Richard's character was a bit one dimentional. It's hard to know whether it fits in okay when you add bits in afterwards.
Angela :)

Sascha at 04:48 on 03 September 2005  Report this post
Enjoyed this, mysterious surroundings and interesting characters that I will have to go have a look at in your earlier chapters (been gone a bit).

Coupla nitpicky things since you said you don't mind - "I’m afraid as soon as we got outside the subject of medicine we falter. might be a typo or else you have a past/present tense mix here.

And "He stood a clear foot over most of the people in the room, he must have been about six foot three" must admit this made me crack up, unless maybe there is something about the coven that attracts the very short? ;)

I was a little thrown with the humour/suspense mix too as the suspense is so authentically spooky and kind of chilling that the humour made the MC seem sort of clueless or less intelligent to not sense the gravity of the surroundings/situation. Maybe she is just very ditsy? Or I thought maybe it was ditziness brought on by nerves? In anycase, this is not fair to her since i haven't read the earlier chapters yet and if you can pull off her having a truly irreverent sense of humour in all situations consistently maybe it can work. Hard to tell from this section, but you had me all "ooooooohhh" suspensyish and then pulled up short with the jokes.

Will check out earlier stuff soon, look forward to more, Sascha

ang at 13:19 on 04 September 2005  Report this post
Thanks for the comments.
She is under the spell of Dominic so I'm afraid she does come over a bit naive in the next few chapters. I've been in two mind as to whether to make the spell obvious from the start and spoil one of the twists.
I just don't know!!
The humour fades out in the last half of the book as the action takes over.

Patsy at 01:15 on 06 September 2005  Report this post
Hey Ang,

The site has started a Fantasy Group, to which I have applied. Just a heads up incase you want to join and post this story over there as well :)

ang at 18:46 on 09 September 2005  Report this post
Thanks Patsy, I'll definitely join.
Looked at the first half of your chapter, but my computer got so hot I had to turn it off then I went on hol for a few days.
Angela ;)

ang at 15:40 on 30 December 2005  Report this post
Thanks Bege for looking at this.

Cymro at 14:12 on 15 January 2006  Report this post
Hi Ang,

I enjoyed this piece - an interesting mix of modern characters getting involved in ancient rites. I haven't had time to read any of the earlier chapters, so I'm not sure what has gone before, but one thing struck me was that we didn't really get what the main character was feeling about being there - she seemed quite at ease during and after the ritual (enjoying the wine and cake for example). We don't get any hint of nervousness, or even excitement, it seems a bit day-to-day really, which I'm assuming it isn't. As suggested above you could use more description of the place they are in to create more of an atmosphere.

There were a couple of places where the punctuation could do with an edit, for example:

'Unfortunately it was also going straight to my head, I hoped I wouldn't embarrass myself, I really wanted to come again'

This would probably read better as two, or even three, separate sentences:

'Unfortunately, it was also going straight to my head. I hoped I wouldn't embarrass myself. I really wanted to come again.'

There are a couple of places where you use a comma where a full stop might be better to split the sentence up. Also, there are a few places during dialogue where an added comma might be required to help the reader with the flow of the conversation, e.g.

'No. Lucy is but I work in pathology,' I said used to explaining... would read better as:

'No. Lucy is, but I work in pathology,' I said, used to explaining...

This may seem a bit petty, but does make the reader's eye follow the sense more naturally.

As I said, I have joined the story late so am not as familiar with the characters yet, but I wondered if Lucy and Connie really would never have heard of witches of Macbeth, particularly with their own interest in witchcraft. I thought that most people would have understood Richard's comment. However, you do handle his embarrassment really well, so I liked this scene. Perhaps you need to make Richard's comment a bit more obscure, so they don't pick up on it straight away...maybe a less well known quote from Macbeth?

Despite these minor quibbles, I thought the chapter read very well and I really liked your main character.

Hope these comments are useful!


ang at 16:00 on 27 March 2006  Report this post
Hi James,
Thanks for the comments, really appreciated. There is a spell at work so that partly explains why she's at ease and also if she was really nervous about the place she would never join, which would have been very awkward for the next part of my plot!
I'll have another look at it though as it's an interesting point that no one else has mentioned.
Angela ;)

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