Thursday, May 23, 2013
"Bride of Belthazor" [PG-13] - 8/16
"BRIDE OF BELTHAZOR"
Both Olivia and Cole stared at the tall and slender, robed figure that stood before them. "Is that it?" the red-haired witch asked. "I mean . . . I guess I had been expecting something a little more . . ."
"Bloody?" The Gimle priest broke into a teasing grin. "Not all daemonic bonding ceremonies require blood, Miss McNeill." The priest, whose name happened to be Riesen. Ridges around his forehead and nose gave him a reptilian appearance.
Cole added, "The wine represents the blood. Like it does in many mortal religious ceremonies." His blue eyes gleamed wickedly. "Of course, we can still use real blood, if that will make you feel better."
Elise McNeill and an elderly, yet affable-looking man of medium height looked on with interest. Olivia's grandmother commented, "Wine is also used in Wiccan rituals, as well. It's too bad that many people are unable to see the similarities in many religions. Right Arthur?"
The affable-looking man turned out to be a Wiccan high priest named Arthur McMannus. He replied, "Apparently, the similarities go beyond mortal religions."
"I suppose so," Riesen commented. "And there is no need to worry, Miss McNeill," he said to Olivia. "I assure you that no blood will be part of the bonding ceremony." He gave Cole a slight, reproving look. "Right, Belthazor?" Cole merely sighed and rolled his eyes.
Olivia glanced at the drawing-room's door. Paige had arrived, along with two surprising visitors. "Is that Paige with Phoebe and Uncle Brion?" she asked.
Cole's eyes followed Olivia's gaze. He frowned. "This doesn't look good," he murmured.
"Excuse me." Olivia flashed a brief smile at Mr. McMannus and Riesen. Then she, Cole and her grandmother joined the new arrivals. "Paige! I see that you've finally arrived."
Warily, Paige nodded. "Yeah, I know I'm late. Uh . . ." She glanced uneasily at Brion. "We were . . . delayed. By someone in particular."
Cole nodded at his ex-wife. "Phoebe. What are you doing here?"
Her cheeks turning pink, Phoebe answered, "Um, we . . . I mean, I have something to tell you. Both of you." She took a deep breath.
"You had a premonition last night," Cole said, taking the two sisters and Brion by surprise. He chuckled lightly. "Yeah, I had figured as much."
Brion added in a slight supercilious tone, "She had one of you . . . marrying some woman other than Olivia. Possibly a daemon."
Paige glared at the Welshman. "Dude! Couldn't you have been subtle? Or at least allow Phoebe to say something?"
Olivia allowed herself an inward chuckle. She had never heard a fifty-two year-old British male be referred to as 'Dude'. Taking a deep breath, she asked her uncle, "Excuse me Brion, but how did you get involved in all of this?"
"I was there when Miss Halliwell had her premonition. On the terrace." Brion's green eyes glimmered with suspicion and hostility, as he stared at Cole. "And I had asked her about it . . . this morning." Then he rounded on his niece. "I must say, Olivia that you don't seem particularly upset that Cole might have some other female acquaintance that he apparently has not revealed."
An equally chilly Cole retorted, "Perhaps the reason why she isn't upset is that she knows about Idril."
A long silent pause followed, before Brion frowned at Olivia. "You know about this woman?"
"Yes, I do," Olivia replied wearily.
"Why did you not say anything?"
Cole shot back, "Because it was none of your damn business!"
Brion's face turned red with anger. "Now look here . . ." the Welshman began angrily.
"Look here . . . what?" Cole continued. "I have no intention of telling you a damn thing! Unlike everyone else here, I don't know you!"
Realizing that some semblance of peace was needed before sparks of any kind began to fly, Olivia spoke up. "Brion, Cole had told me about Idril not long ago. Their relationship wasn't that serious. At least from Cole's point of view." The half-daemon shot a quick glance at her. "And if you must know, Cecile had a similar premonition about Cole and Idril."
"She did?" Phoebe demanded sharply. "When?"
Olivia replied, "About two days ago."
Brion angrily rounded on his niece. "I cannot believe that you had remained silent about such an important matter! Miss Halliwell has a premonition of him marrying another woman . . ."
Cole rudely interrupted, "Spoiled the impact of your little revelation, didn't it?"
Olivia shot an exasperated look at her fiancé. "Cole? Please!" When he looked away, she continued, "Cecile had figured from her vision that . . ."
"Is someone using my name in vain?" Cecile appeared before the others. She glanced at Paige. "Oh! You're finally here. Good. Now we can do the full rehearsals for both ceremonies."
Brion turned to the Vodoun priestess. "I understand from Olivia that you had a vision of Cole marrying another woman, a few days ago."
Cecile paused, as she assumed a wary expression. "Yeah, about two days ago. Um . . . when did you find out?" She glanced at Phoebe, who shifted uncomfortably from one foot to another. "You had one?"
"About Cole and this other woman?" Phoebe nodded. "Last night. Mr. Morgan had found out about it."
"And Mr. Morgan demands to know more about this Idril woman, who will end up marrying Cole!" Brion demanded angrily.
Rolling his eyes, Cole heaved an exasperated sigh. "Idril is a daemon I had once dated back in the late 60s. She belongs to my order, the Thorn Brotherhood. And it wasn't serious . . . at least from my point of view. I broke up with her and she tried to kill me. We had a brief reunion in the late 90s that only lasted a few days. And I didn't lay eyes upon her, until the party in the Melora dimension, nearly two weeks ago." He glared at Brion. "Satisfied?"
"And Olivia knows about this . . .?"
Olivia sharply added, "Yes, Brion! I know. I've known about her since the engagement party!"
But Brion refused to brush aside the matter. "Nevertheless, until this Idril matter is dealt with, I believe you should consider postponing the wedding."
"Are you serious?" Olivia exclaimed in disbelief.
Brion continued, "Yes I am, Olivia. I realize that . . ."
Cole interrupted, his blue eyes radiating cold fire. "I don't give a damn what you think! And apparently, nor do the others. If you continue to insist upon this ludicrous idea that we need to postpone the wedding, I'll make sure that you will end up under Idril's spell and married to her!"
Confusion, anger . . . and a touch of fear illuminated Brion's green eyes. "What the bloody hell did you mean by that?"
"I mean . . . if you continue being such an annoying shit, I just might transform you into me," Cole continued in a chilly voice, "and make sure that Idril finds you!"
Olivia allowed herself a quick smile, as her uncle's face turned sheer white. Cecile surreptiously directed her gaze elsewhere. Paige smirked at Brion, while Phoebe regarded Cole with a shocked expression. Brion blinked momentarily. "I see," he finally said in a stiff voice.
Cole shot back, "And it's about damn time!"
Brion's jaw twitched momentarily, before he gave a stiff nod. "Will you all excuse me?" And he then marched away.
Silence fell between the small group. Then Paige broke the silence, as she turned to her sister. "Now that he's gone, don't you think that you should be heading for P3, Pheebs?" The older sister stared at the youngest Charmed Ones with confused eyes. "You're supposed to help Piper decorate the club for tonight. Remember?"
"Oh!" Phoebe gave her head a slight shake. "Yeah, of course. Um . . . I guess I'll see you all later." Her face slightly pink with embarrassment, she turned away from the others and left.
Cecile nudged Paige's arm. "Let's get ready for the rehearsal."
The couple drifted to an isolated spot near the fireplace. Olivia regarded her fiancé with curious eyes. "Would you have done it?" she asked. "Carry out your threat to Brion?"
Cole responded with a direct look. "Let me put it this way, he either would have ended up in Idril's clutches or I would have incinerated him on the spot."
Olivia added, "Unless Dad had beaten you to the punch and blow up Brion, instead."
A satisfied smile curved Cole's lips. "Now that would have been a pleasant sight."
With a sigh, Olivia patted Cole's arm. "Listen, I think you should know that this isn't about you. Brion's . . . hostility. It's about me." Again, she sighed. "As far as my uncle is concerned, you're just another example of me fucking up by endangering the family. Richard is another. And I don't think he still hasn't forgiven me for Dafydd."
Cole frowned. "Who?"
"One of my Welsh cousins. He, uh . . . after Richard and Aunt Rhiannon's deaths, Dafydd had came here to escort Rhiannon's body back to Wales. We were at the Orchid Hotel, when Dafydd made a disparaging remark about Richard. I, uh . . ." She broke off to ask Cole a question. "Do you remember that time when we had meditated together on your birthday, and tapped into each other's memories?"
"Sure," Cole said with a nod.
Olivia hesitated, before she continued, "And do you recall seeing some guy fall out of a hotel window?"
A pause followed before Cole nodded again.
Taking a deep breath, Olivia added, "That was my cousin Dafydd. He, uh . . . had ended up in one of the hotel's swimming pools, after I had flung him out of the window, using my telekinesis." She paused. "Only, I didn't know about the swimming pool."
"I see." Cole let out a gust of breath. "I suppose this little incident is one of the reasons why your grandfather didn't show up for the wedding."
Olivia's mouth twisted into a smirk. "What do you think? Most of them are convinced that I might be the next Briana Morgan."
"I think . . ." Cole hesitated. "I think that Brion and some of the other Morgans need to get their heads out of their collective asses. And out of the past. I can only imagine what your uncle might do, next."
If she had to be honest with herself, Olivia realized that she would rather not.
Ignoring the sounds of activity from downstairs, Brion sat inside his guest bedroom, brooding over his niece and future nephew-in-law. He sighed. It galled him that once again, Olivia had become involved in someone with a dangerous past. Only Cole Turner aka Belthazor happened to be a more dangerous kettle of fish than the late Richard Bannen. And this extremely dangerous and powerful creature is set to marry his niece within twenty-four hours. What the hell had Olivia been thinking?
And now it seems that Cole might end up forming a dangerous union with someone other than Olivia. Both Cecile Dubois and Phoebe Halliwell had visions of the half-daemon marrying some demoness - an ex-girlfriend. Brion did not know whether to accept Cecile's claims that a spell might be the reason for Cole's possible marriage to this demoness. At first, he had viewed this theory as a desperate attempt on Miss Dubois' part to divert any suspicions from the half-daemon. Now, Brion began to suspect that the Voudon priestess might be right. Cole did seem contemptuous of his former lover. But how can he prevent this potentially dangerous union from becoming a reality? Killing Cole seemed out of the question. The half-daemon was too powerful and neither the McNeills or Nimue would forgive him.
Several minutes of pondering led Brion to realize that the solution to the problem would be to kill Cole's ex-lover. He could examine any books on demonology or the supernatural inside the McNeills' library for information on Idril. Or perhaps any of the personal Books of Shadow that each member of his sister's family possess.
Brion left his room and slipped downstairs. Avoiding the activity inside the large drawing-room, he headed straight for the library on the other side of the foyer. After searching the bookshelves for nearly ten minutes, the Welshman came across a book titledPARRISH'S ENCYCLOPEDIA ON THE COVENS, ORDERS AND SECTS OF THE SUPERNATURAL. Brion could not imagine where the McNeills had discovered this book. He noticed that it had been published in 1975.
It did not take Brion long to come across a chapter titled "The Brotherhood of the Thorn". He recalled Cole mentioning that Idril belonged to the half-daemon's former order - the Thorn Brotherhood. The chapter provided detailed information on the daemonic order's origins and its more infamous deeds. It also listed the Order's top members. Brion found entries on both Belthazor and Nimue. It also included Cole's uncle, but mentioned that the former assassin had left the Order for the morally superior Gimle Order back in the 19th century . . . and had been killed by his nephew in the late 1960s. It also struck the male witch odd that the Thorn Brotherhood's members had not been listed alphabetically. Perusing the chapter even further, Brion discovered that the Order's members had been listed chronologically, based upon the year of their births. And how this Parrish person managed to discover this seemed like a miracle to the witch.
According to the book, Marbus had been born in 1760, Nimue in 1779 and Belthazor in 1885. Brion examined a few pages, until he came upon an entry on Idril. Born in 1911, Cole's former lover had come from a race of daemons that originated in the Kenotês Dimension. Recruited into the Thorn Brotherhood by its leader in 1949, Idril's specialty became acquiring the souls of those involved in the entertainment business. As a high-level daemon in the Thorn Order, it would take a blood-based potion, or very powerful magic practitioner to vanquish Idril. Or one could also consider using a potion based upon a resin from trees and shrubs called amber. Apparently, daemons from the Kenotês Dimension seemed to be susceptible to amber - no matter how powerful they happen to be.
Brion paused. Hmmm. Amber. An excellent possibility. It should not hard for him to find any. Once he acquired the amber resin, all he had to do was make the potion, find Idril and use it against her. Finding Idril, he realized, might prove to be difficult. Brion concluded that he would have to use another spell to summon the daemon. And he would have to do it as soon as possible.
END OF CHAPTER EIGHT