Death’s Muse – 7 – The Waters Of Annwen

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Bellham Abbey Repertory Theatre had burnt down in the Bellham Inferno that had destroyed the Minster and much of the city centre. Somehow most of Bellham University had survived the inferno with only minor damage as did much of the old town. The theatre was being rebuilt as part of the civics complex, which included The Council House, Bellham County Museum, The Howard Art Gallery and the Bellham Institute amongst others. The civics complex being arrayed around a great square and market place. The architecture of the civics complex having echoes of the classical and Gothic. The main entrance to the Council House having caryatid columns either side of it.

The theatre its self being a grand edifice, with marble, gold leaf and exotic woods being part of its interior fabric. Parts of its frontage onto the main square including granite, marble and limestone. Its auditorium having four layers of seating and many boxes. Just by the main entrance there being a small studio theatre with seating for about fifty. The Theatre company possessed a solid reputation for its main performances, but its studio was far better considered. Throughout their existence Bellham Abbey Repertory Theatre had always been higher than Bellham’s Symphony Hall.

Briony and Jacob arrived at the theatre, having come from lodgings at Morton Hall, Urddhall Lane. The production they were going to see, the first night of, was Seaton’s Night Of Despair. It being a story about the legendary wizard Seaton and how he had come to create his great curse. David Temple was lead, though very young to play Seaton, was according to the rumours very suitable being that he was suitably wild and on the edge of sanity. On the stage he out shone all the others on the stage save a young woman who died in the first act. That woman Briony and Jacob believed was one of the Waughton girls, as Briony could clearly see that a spirit of some kind had attached itself to her.

With the final scene of the play begun, David Temple looked suitably Haggard, lost and ready for a grave. Delivering the final lines of the play, “With Vengeance mine, I retire to the earth to sleep the aeon away.” Those lines delivered David descended slowly into and under the stage, after which the curtain fell. Seeing the state that his performance had reduced Temple to, both Briony and Jacob considered that he had not long left to live.

With Jacob Ackar being recognised at the stage door, as Ackar’s were well known patrons of the arts, they were both let into see the actors after the play. Heading down the corridor to the main dressing room, Briony sensed spirits, which was not unusual in Bellhamshire, but these were ancient powerful spirits. After a matter of moments she knew that they sensed her. Jacob then noticed that she was becoming anxious, “Look like we’ll have to take action. How can I help lay the ghosts?”

Gripping a vial of water tight in her hand, Briony’s face showed her resolution, “Focus on me and touch me then I can draw on your strength and endurance.”

The incandescent lights dimmed along the length of the corridor and the air felt noticeably colder. The stage hand leading the way shivered and grasped the cross that hung from a chain around his neck.

Jacob stepped into a doorway and allowed Briony to pass, who passed him her commodious handbag, “Check the stars are in there, though I doubt we’ll need them.” The stars being five pointed stars that with appropriate rites became Branwen’s Stars that were effective against numerous arcane entities.

The vial in Briony’s hand chilled her hand. The water in it may just have been water, but Briony had mystically travelled in her mind to Annwen to collect the waters from the river where Pwyll had slain the dying god. That water being a powerful artefact against spirits of the dead. Standing on a small sideboard on the left of the corridor there were a vase and a flower arrangement. The arrangement, having been placed there on instructions from Dean Ible, included greenery in the form of yew, holly, ivy and oak twigs. Passing it, Briony wound a twine of ivy round her wrist, selected twigs of ivy, holly and yew. With these in hand she stoppered the vial and put dabs of the water on each of her eye lids, behind each ear, in the middle of her forehead and between her lips and nose.

Preferring the ancient forms of the rhyme, Briony began reciting a magical formula to dismiss spirits. There started a draught down the corridor, when Briony pricked a finger on a holly leaf. Jacob ordered, “Open the door!” The stage hand who had stopped at the door to the main dressing room, opened the door and rapidly left, showing more fear than he had on the western front.

There was David Temple collapsed on a chaise longue, to the left of the room, and the three Waughton girls shrieking in the far corner of the room. On the entry of Briony, in to the room, Geniffer stopped screaming, nearly collapsed, then stood far prouder than she had ever done, “Go! Leave Us! These will be our bodies.”

Briony continued reciting the word that pre-dated Welsh and Cornish, but were a kin to them. The spirits, that had not taken possession of Geniffer, flew at Briony. Jacob placed his hand on Briony’s shoulders. One of the spirits swirled towards Jacob, only to be faced by a growling wolf spirit. The waters from Annwen began to roll and bubble. Briony touched the vial to the spirit that sought out her out, the spirit ceased to be and the Waters of Annwen began shining. The light cast by the vial drew the discorporate spirit towards it. When the spirit ceased to be having touched the vial, the spirit habiting Geniffer, cried out, “NO!”

Darkness boiled out of the shining vial in the form of a crow, that flew towards Geniffer.

Geniffer cried out and tried to push her sisters between her and the crow thing that flew towards her. A final shriek of, “NO!” and the crow thing flew through her releasing the possessing thing that was then drawn into the shining vial along with the dark crow entity.

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