Hugh nodded as he reached under the table, lifting the roughly woven bag, and set it down in front of her. He watched as she opened it and removed the beautifully handcrafted wooden box to inspect it and wondered once again about the symbols that covered each side of it. She’d drawn them for him weeks ago and sent it along with the list of items she required to perform this ritual and she’d been very adamant about the specifics on the size of each symbol and the placement of each along the sides and the top. Upon the lid was a bird of some kind, it’s wings spread wide with the ruby stone from his father’s ring embedded in its chest where the heart should be. He’d never seen anything like it before, though there was something oddly familiar about them. However, he felt it was best to hold his tongue instead of questioning her since she agreed to do all that was in her power to protect his clan, even after what he’d done to her. It was best for him to know as little as possible in case he was targeted next that way he couldn’t give away any information if they tortured him before killing him.
“Now we shall begin and make no mistake, this is the only way to save them, my laird,” she said as she slowly stood and gently closed the lid after examining the contents that lay inside. “I can feel the darkness creeping closer with each passing moment and if we wait any longer it could be disastrous for all including you according to the prophecy.”
Knowing there was no turning back from this, he sat back in his chair and nodded his ascent for her to proceed. Seeing this, Leona closed her eyes, tilted her white head back as she raised her hands towards the ceiling, and began to softly chant as she wove her magic around the box with its inner valuables and the sleeping infant lying in the basket upon the table. He closed his eyes for a brief moment during this as he sent up a silent prayer for the souls of the people that were mourning and the ones they’d recently lost for their safe return whether to their loved ones or to their rightful place in Heaven and most of all for their forgiveness. When he finally opened his eyes, Leona was still standing in front of him chanting, but he noticed beside her stood a ghostly shadow of a young woman so beautiful that it physically hurt to look upon her, almost like how it felt to stare straight at the sun. Before he was able to react a flash of bright white light filled the room blinding him as it weighted his body down to the chair where he was unable to move a muscle. Once he could see again his attention was drawn to the widely open window where he saw the ghostly figure standing with the infant in her hands lifting it up to the moon as if it were an offering.
He struggled to stand, let alone run over to save the child, but he couldn’t move, or even speak come to think of it. What had he done? Why was Leona watching this happen after claiming she was there to help them?
As he watched in horror the moon seemed to gravitate closer, becoming larger and brighter than he’d ever witnessed. That’s when he noticed thin wisps of the moon’s silvery light floating through the air around the infant as others trailed through the window, across he floor, and up the legs of the table in Leona’s direction, but stopped short as they reached the box where they encircled it. Leona herself didn’t seem to notice this as she kept chanting. Behind him he heard the faint sound of another voice, though somewhat softer and a bit raspy, begin to join the chant. He turned his eyes just in time to see the shadow at the window release the infant from her grasp. Bile rose up in his throat from the terror until he realized the infant had not fallen to its death, but instead was floating in midair wrapped and held by the moonlight as the wooden box on the table was at that very moment. He could barely comprehend what was happening before his very eyes as the swirling light danced around them, just as the women’s words were doing to him. After what seemed like hours, the light seemed to shrink until it bound itself tightly around them while the peculiar symbols around the box began to glow an eerie brimstone red, then quickly disappeared.