Beauty Effulgent

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The Lady of Glenhills

23 June 1883

Dearest Mother and Father,

My days of expectation are near an end.  Paedrus and I are joyously awaiting the birth of our first child.  How I look forward to the day  I will become a mother.
The Scottish weather is unfavorable the majority of the time, but I try not to dwell on such things.  My days are spent in solitude knitting pint-sized clothing for baby Malcolm. 

I promise to send news when the time has arrived.

All my wishes,

Cecily Macrath, Lady of Glenhills

Cecily reread what she had written to her parents, making sure she had included all the information she dared.  She got up from her sitting chair and felt a draft blow through the room.  After covering herself with a shawl, she walked to the wardrobe and opened the doors.  Glancing behind her, she bent down and removed the wardrobe's bottom.  She picked up a small bag that was filled some coins and a few pieces of jewelry.  She took out a pair of earrings and replaced the bag and the piece of wood that kept her secrets hidden. 

Cecily made her way to the heavy wooden door and hesitated.  She hid the letter and the earrings in a pocket and pushed the door slightly.

She held her breath as she poked her head out and looked down the corridor.  She exhaled quietly.  Without making a sound, she stepped out of her chambers, closing the door gently behind her and, as best she could in her condition, glided down the hall to where the servants' stairwell sat. Cecily listened for any noise coming from below.  Satisfied that the stairwell was empty, she descended until she arrived on the first level. 

The aroma coming from the kitchen made her stomach churn.  She had not gotten used to the types of food common in this hell in which she now lived, and now that she was pregnant, the odors were almost unbearable.  In fact, nothing had turned out the way she had expected. Cecily thought about how she had come to live in such a place as this.


A few years before, she had been very content.  She'd lived in London on her parents' estate and was courted by many of the most desirable gentleman of her stature (and even one poet who wasn't, and  who had mysteriously disappeared - she couldn't quite recall the details).  She had had no illusions that her life would continue in that manner, but had never thought it would change so drastically.

That was until she met Paedrus Macrath, Baron of Glenhills. 

Her father had arranged for her to meet the Scottish lord. He'd been very insistent that his daughter marry up and felt that this noble would certainly raise his status in society, but he insisted that his daughter at the very least meet any future husband prior to marriage.  Paedrus was twenty years her senior and had been married twice already.  Neither union had produced progeny and he was looking for a lady who would produce an heir.

Upon meeting him, Cecily at first found him odd.  She had lived a very sheltered existence and had never met anyone from outside London (or Kent, where her family summered).  She thought his use of the King's language was grotesque and that his bulging stomach left much to be desired.  Of course, she kept these thoughts to herself (except when gossiping with her friends).  She knew her father would not be happy had he found out that the man he'd chosen disgusted her.  So she kept her tongue.

Within the month she was wed and carried away from her mother's embrace.  She had seen neither her father nor her mother since.  When she and the Baron arrived at his estate, her heart had sunk.  The castle was in a state of disrepair beyond anything Cecily had ever seen.  She was escorted to her rooms by a maid who would not look her in the eyes.  Without a word the maid left, closing the heavy wooden doors behind.

Cecily looked throughout the rooms, noticing the lack of furnishings.  The only furniture was made up of a bed, a wardrobe, a table and a chair.  She wondered when her belongings would be brought up so that she could unpack.  While she waited, she opened the wardrobe which held several dressing gowns, doubtlessly left by the former ladies of the house.  Exhausted from the trip and tired of waiting, Cecily fell asleep upon the bed.

When she awoke, she saw through a small window that it had become night.  She looked around and saw that her belongings had not been brought to her.  Cecily went to the door and tried to open it.  It would not budge.  Confused as to why the lady of the house would be locked in her own quarters, she knocked on the door.  She could hear some keys enter the lock and the door opened to reveal a large, bald man with a scar down his right cheek.

"What do you need?"  came a deep voice from the scowling man.

Somewhat intimidated, Cecily was unable to enunciate her needs.  Finally she asked quietly, "I was wondering when my belongings would be brought to me?"

The man grinned, a grin that made her shudder.  "All you will need is already within your chambers."

He began to close the door, but Cecily gathered her courage and continued.  "But what am I to wear?  And why are my chambers locked?  And what if I get hungry? And where is my husband?"  The questions poured from her lips without warning.  With each one, she gained more courage.  "I'd like to see Paedrus immediately!"

"You will see the lord when he is ready to see you.  For now, you should get comfortable, for you will not be leaving anytime soon."  The guard pushed the door closed and Cecily could hear the lock latch.

She tried to come up with a reasonable explanation as to why she was being treated in such a manner, but couldn't.  She lay back on the bed and forced herself to hide back tears that she could feel welling within her.  ("A lady never shows emotion," her mother's voice reminded her). 

A few moments later she again heard the keys in the lock.  The maid who had brought her to her room entered and placed a tray on the table.  She backed away without a word and the door was locked again.

Famished, Cecily opened the lid and examined the contents.  She didn't recognize any of the food offered to her, save the bread, which she bit into.  She discovered a piece of paper within.  She opened the paper and read, "Stay strong."  She wondered who had written it and placed it in her food.  An ally, it had to be.  Someone in this strange place was trying to warn her of things to come and that she needed to be prepared.  At least that was what Cecily imaginings told her. 

She continued eating the bread, which was rather good, and decided to give the rest of the food a try.  Cecily bit into the haggis, the "eye of newt and toad of frog"  from Shakespeare's Macbeth, and, almost gagging, forced herself to keep it down.  She swallowed some water from the cup and covered the tray.

An hour later, or at least that was Cecily's estimate since she had no timepiece, the silent maid reentered, took the tray and left.  Not long afterward, the door opened and in walked her husband.  She had not seen him since the morning and was furious.  All the etiquette she had learned at home and from schooling went away and she immediately started yelling at him.

Paedrus, who had stood there letting her vent without sign of emotion, hit Cecily squarely on the cheek knocking her to the floor.

"You will not speak to your master that way,"  he said, his voice calm and quiet.  "You must learn to respect your lord and I shall be your tutor."  Paedrus picked Cecily up and set her on the bed.  He continued, "Once you learn respect for me, you will be granted liberty to leave your rooms and I shall allow you to have those belongings I feel you deserve. Above all else, you will no longer be able to communicate with your family.  I am your family now and your master."

Cecily lowered her head. Trembling, she was able to ask, "My lord, have I not shown you respect?  To what do you refer when you say I don't?"

"You," he said disdainfully, "like all women, lack the respect of man from birth.  I do not blame you.  It is your nature, but I will have none of it in my house."

"My lord," was all Cecily could think of to say.

That night and every night since, Paedrus consummated his marriage with Cecily, without a word, without tenderness, without love.

Cecily felt that she had no choice but to do as the baron said.  She held her tongue and deferred to her husband's will.  He made good on his promise and after a week, many of her belongings were sent to her.  She began to feel better.  More normal.  She spent days at a time on her cross-stitch until she ran out of thread.  She began to keep a journal that she hid in the wardrobe wherein she'd discovered that the floor could be removed.

Cecily also began to get more and more lengthy correspondence in her food.   Her unknown friend, whose penmanship was nearly illegible, not to mention her grammar, explained how the master (always the master) had become the way he was.  How he had loved his first wife beyond anything and doted on her in every way.  She went on to explain that the master's first wife had died in childbirth and the child had died a few days later.  The master had become reclusive and bitter and had dismissed half of his staff.  His anger had intensified and his bitterness had consumed him.  His younger brother, Ronan, had tried to console him to no avail.  He lost all his friendships and would spend his days hidden away in his rooms. 

Then one day without warning, the master had called all the servants together and told them that he would be marrying again.  He ordered rooms to be made ready for her.  The servants, thinking that he was back to his own self, perked up and the master had left the castle to find a wife.  A month later, a letter was sent to inform the servants of his return. When he brought the Lady Elizabeth, to the castle, things seemed to return to normal for a while.  The master had seemed happy, but Elizabeth was melancholic from the day she arrived. 

The Lady Elizabeth would spend her days holed up in her rooms.  She didn't speak to the servants and only occasionally spent time with the master.  The master would nightly enter her quarters and be rebuffed moments later.  Gradually the master's anger had grown again his entries into the lady's quarters would be followed with tirades which echoed throughout the castle.  One day, the upstairs maid entered her quarters and found the Lady Elizabeth hanged from the ceiling.  The master did not attend his second wife's funeral and ordered her rooms to be sealed up.

The master had dismissed all the female staff save the upstairs maid and the cook, muttering about females and their lack of respect for the needs of men.  The cook, who Cecily had inferred to be the author of these notes,  had kept her job because she had been his nurse when he was an infant.  The maid was kept to bed the master.

Cecily read each sliver of information she received and kept them hidden in the wardrobe.  She tried to keep herself very detached from the story, imagining it was fiction and not the story of her husband.

According to the cook, all the servants were shocked when the master, during one of his trips to London, sent word that he had married a third time.  He had spelled out in his post the arrangements that had to be made and the rules that would apply to the new lady. 

The cook finally revealed herself in a letter that gave instructions for how Cecily could come make her way to the kitchen without being detected.  She suggested that if the Lady Cecily were to write a letter to her parents, the cook would be able to get it sent. She had also indicated what a risk she was taking and suggested that she be compensated. This was around the time that Cecily had discovered that she was with child and she had yearned to tell someone. She also knew that her husband's wrath would be upon her were he to find out. 

By that point in time, due to the complete submission of his wife, Paedrus had allowed Cecily's door to remain unlocked and had recalled the guard to his original post.   Cecily  hastily wrote the letter, which basically told them her condition, but did not go into any detail about her marriage and the limitations imposed upon her ("a lady never complains about her husband").  Letter in hand and one of her mother's broaches in her pocket, Cecily had made her way to the kitchen and met the cook for the first time.  Her name was Una and when she saw her lady for the first time, she embraced her tight.  Cecily felt safe, despite the risk, for the first time since she had arrived.


Now she had returned to the kitchen for the second time, eager to let her parents know that she was due.  She peered into the kitchen and whistled quietly.  She saw Una turn at the sound and come running to her, still carrying the trout she had been about to fillet. 

"My Lady,"  she whispered, "you should not be out.  Especially in your condition."

"I need you to send another letter to my parents," Cecily said without preamble.  "They need to know that their grandchild will soon be here."

Una took the letter, along with the earrings, and stuffed it into her apron pocket.  "I will try to get it to post tomorrow," she said, kissing Cecily lightly on the cheeks. 

A noise at the back door startled both of them and she could hear her husband's voice.  She began back to the stairs, but stopped to say thank you. ("Courtesy is always important, especially when dealing with servants.")

Cecily hurried up the stairs and back toward her rooms.  She closed the door and let herself breathe.

Within the week, Malcolm was born.  Cecily had been looking forward to being a mother, dreaming that, at the very least, she would have a companion with whom to fill her days.  She had hoped that with the birth of a son, Paedrus would actually start respecting her.  Regrettably, as soon as the baby was born and doctor had left, Paedrus took the newborn from Cecily's arms and handed him over to the maid.

"Meig will care for the child," he told her matter-of-factly, leading the maid to the door by the shoulder, leaving Cecily as nothing more than an afterthought.

Cecily, though weak from childbirth, began screaming, "What?  No, my lord!  Please let me care for Malcolm!  He's all I have!  Please don't take him from me!"

Paedrus turned and walked back to the bed where his wife lay crying.  "Enough!"  he yelled and began hitting her until she was unconscious.

When Cecily woke up, her entire body was sore.  She wondered how long she had been asleep.  It felt like days, yet not like enough days.  She noticed that her linens and her gown had been changed and wondered if it had been Meig, who now had her baby.  She started to cry, and not even her mother's admonitions could stop her.  Then she got angry.  Very angry.

Cecily, who had never been very religious, began to pray.  She prayed that God's vengeance would be carried out on her husband and his mistress.  She prayed that she would get her child back and be able to raise him herself.  She prayed that the castle would be burst open in a torrent of flame.

But her prayers weren't answered.  Not immediately.  And not by the God she thought to whom she had prayed.


D'Hoffryn watched all of this play out from Arashmahar and savored every bit of it.

"Anyanka, I beseech thee," he said by rote, "In the name of all women scorned, come before me."

Anyanka appeared and bowed before D'Hoffryn.  "My lord," she said, lowering her head.

"You have done great work for me these thousand years.  You have, by far, become the greatest of my vengeance demons."

"Thank you," Anyanka replied, standing and facing her mentor. 

"How's the workload?" he asked, changing his tone of formality to the familiar timbre he tended to use around Anyanka.  "Are you feeling overwhelmed?"

"You know I'd never complain, D'Hoffryn," Anyanka said, "but the more populated the Earth becomes, the harder it is for me to fulfill by quota."

"How true," he said with a smile. He paused pensively and then said, "I may have a solution."

D'Hoffryn then showed Anyanka Cecily's story.  The anger and lust for vengeance at the end gave Anyanka extreme enjoyment. 

"Shall I go and 'answer her prayers'?"  She asked.

"No," D'Hoffryn said, "what I'd like you to do is observe her and guide her.  I sense her need for vengeance is very powerful and with some instruction, she may become one of my most powerful demons."

"Her?" Anyanka asked incredulously, "But she's so... well... English."

"True, but if what I sense is true, I may indeed disregard the English clause."


With the birth of his first-born son, the Baron of Glenhills decided it was time for celebration and had his staff begin preparations.  The few servants who remained began working immediately, but found themselves unable to prepare the house for such an occasion. 

With Meig taking care of Malcolm, Paedrus asked the cook to do additional cleaning, but it soon became obvious that the kitchen was indeed where her talents lay.  Paedrus had one of his men go to town and send notice that the Baron of Glenhills was in need of a new maid. 

Anyanka, who had temporarily taken the pseudonym Anna in an effort to blend in, heard a man in the tavern tell of the baron's need.  <i>The Pestilent Gods must be smiling upon me this day</i>, she thought.  

As she made her way up the hill toward the gray structure that eclipsed the town below her feet began to ache, but she knew her mission and was always a professional.  If she did gain employment, she knew that her whole body would ache before long.  D'Hoffryn had not given her a time limit, but she knew that this would be one of her longest assignments due to all the obstacles set before her. 

Anyanka met Una, who was hanging recently washed laundry to dry.  She introduced herself and told the cook her the cover story she had invented in preparation for this assignment.  She explained how she had been traveling through these parts to meet her sister, when word arrived that her sister and her brother-in-law had been killed in a carriage accident.  She continued by explaining that she was now stranded until she could earn enough money to pay her rent and get passage back to Edinburgh. 

Una, who was busily finishing the laundry while mentally making lists of all the chores to be done, barely paid any attention.  Anyanka noticed that the cook seemed distracted and decided her best bet may have been to help out and show the head servant that she knew what she was doing.  She reached down in the basket and pulled out a sheet.  Then she haphazardly threw the sheet over the line (very proud of herself) and didn't notice as the ends of the sheet fell into the mud below. 

Una let out an exasperated sigh, mentally adding the time it would take her to rewash the dirtied linens to her already full schedule.

"You may begin at once, by rewashing these sheets," she told Anyanka, who was overjoyed by how easy living on the mortal realm could be, but confused as to why she'd have to perform a chore that had clearly already been done once.


After the birth of Malcolm, Cecily had become more of an afterthought, if that were indeed possible. Meig had stopped coming to her room, so she hadn't eaten in a few days.  The only thing that kept her from giving up on life was the thought of vengeance on her husband and his mistress.  She tried to think of ways in which she could hurt both of them, but she knew that it was improbable she would ever get her opportunity. 

Her heart went to a dark place and she let her mind concoct various means of torture for the two lovers.  She imagined Paedrus being boiled alive.  She thought of Meig being sliced into bits by Una's cleaver.  And she dreamed of  herself escaping the wet, dreary land of Scotland and returning to her beloved London, with Malcolm in tow.

After a few days of hunger and disturbing dreams, she finally heard the keys in the lock and sat at the edge of the bed readying herself to attack whoever entered.  The door cracked slightly and Una's solemn face appeared.  A mix of emotions flooded over her:  Joy that her only friend had come to see her, anger that no one had bothered with her in many days, and frustration (and relief) that it wasn't Paedrus or Meig.  Una walked in carrying a tray for her. 

As Una set the tray down, Cecily ran from the bed and wrapped her arms around the cook.  Cecily, who had rarely even hugged her own parents, realized what she was doing and immediately broke the embrace. ("Never show the servants affection.")

Una told Cecily all she knew about the condition of Malcolm and how the master had moved Meig and his son into his rooms.  "We have been ordered to refer to that simpering twit as 'Lady'. But I can tell you she is nothing but a whore."

"And what's to become of me?" Cecily asked.

After a pause, Una said, "I don't know.  He hasn't given any orders about you.  In fact, he hasn't mentioned you at all, except to say your rooms were to remain unlocked."

Seeing Cecily eying the tray of food, Una immediately uncovered the dish and led Cecily to a chair.  Cecily ate voraciously as Una continued.

"I am so sorry that you haven't eaten in days.  I had prepared your tray for every meal and Meig had taken it every day.  I assumed she was bringing it to your chambers, but this morning  I discovered she had been feeding it to the dogs.  I decided I had to bring it myself or else you would have faded away to nothing."

Cecily muttered something indistinguishable as she continued to plow through the food that not long before she found almost inedible. 

Una went on to tell Cecily that she had hired a new maid and that she would begin corresponding to her as before.  She told her that the new maid seemed a little off-putting and inept and that she talked a too much, but she was sure that she was too dim-witted to expose, or even notice, their messages.


Anyanka moved her scarce belongings to the quarters that had been prepared for her at the Castle of Glenhills.  She began cleaning the castle for the party.  The cook would often come after her and explain what she had done wrong and Anna had to do most every chore again.

"This had better be worth it, D'Hoffryn," she'd often be heard muttering under her breath.

The first evening Anyanka worked for the Baron of Glenhills, Una told her she had to take meals to "the dear lady" in the rooms in the second floor east wing.  Anyanka knew that this was the occasion she had been waiting for. 

Anyanka went to her quarters and summoned D'Hoffryn for some last minute advice, since this was the first time she had ever tried to recruit a new demon.  D'Hoffryn had been soaking in the Warm Pits of Arandamia, when she called and he let his displeasure be known.

"Lloyd was in the middle of telling me a funny story about a vampire who had been cursed with a soul! What do you need?"

"I'm about to meet Cecily and was wondering if you had any last minute advise."

"Fine," he said, "but if I miss the punch line to Lloyd's story, the lower beings will suffer."

Anyanka had always had a strange compassion for the lower beings and decided to keep this reunion brief.

"First and foremost, do not grant her wishes.  I know this is contrary to everything you are, but she needs to perform the vengeance herself.  You know, kind of a pop quiz to evaluate how true and pure her vengeance is.  Lead her in performing spells and using the dark magic, but do not do the magic yourself.  I know you think you know all the answers, but sometimes you need to let the other students have a chance."

And, with that, D'Hoffryn disappeared, leaving Anyanka to decide what her best course of action would be.

Anyanka made her way up the stairs, carrying the tray of food the cook had prepared.  Una had also given her the keys, giving explicit instructions that she must be sure to lock the door when she left, else she receive the master's wrath.


Anyanka carefully balanced the tray as she fidgeted with the keys in the lock.  She finally got it unlocked and nearly dropped the tray as she pulled the heavy door open.

She was met with a questioning gaze on Cecily's face.

Anyanka carried the tray to the table and set it down.

"I am Anyan... Anna.  The bast... master's new maid.  The cook told me to bring you this sustenance."

Cecily moved to the table and looked at the food.  It did not look nearly as appetizing as her earlier meal. "I wish I could get a decent meal around here sometimes.  Una's a good person, but I have had enough of this..."

"Wish grant..." Anyanka stopped herself, remembering D'Hoffryn's admonition. She decided to start off easy, "Um, well, my lady, there is a way you could get whatever sustenance you wanted."

Intrigued, Cecily looked Anyanka in the eyes.

Anyanka continued, "There are various spells that could be performed to produce a feast or even a light snack.  Oooh!  Or you could do a transmogrifying spell and change this Scottish 'cuisine' to something more appetizing."

"A spell?!"  Cecily looked revolted.  "Are you a gypsy?  Or a sorceress?  Or some kind of witch?  Use of the black arts is purely reserved for the lowest of classes."

"My lady," Anyanka answered carefully measuring her words, "that is a common misconception.  Some of the greatest sorcerers have been noble."

"Really?"  Cecily asked, still not sure if she believed this stranger.

Anyanka went on to give her various examples and Cecily's curiosity piqued.

"So, how exactly could I, who am no witch or sorceress, perform these spells?"

Anyanka explained that a novice entering into the world of spells, would normally need the use of certain ingredients to be successful at casting.  It had been a long time since she herself had had any need to use ingredients, since she basically could just wish anything into existence. She took a few moments to think about exactly what a mortal would need and silently wished the ingredients into existence. 

On the table beside the tray of uneaten food appeared some chicken feet and lizard scales.  Cecily jumped away from the table and gasped.

"Anna, how did you..."

"Trust me, it would take far too long to explain," Anyanka said, a smile playing at her lips.

"Now what do I do?"

"Place the scales over the object you want to transmogrify and hold the chicken feet in each hand." 

Cecily did as she was told. Anyanka told her to think of what she would like to change the food to and gave her an incantation to repeat.  Cecily closed her eyes and repeated.  When she opened her eyes, she saw a shepherd's pie where the haggis had been.

"Very good," Anyanka complimented.  "It's very rare that a novice would get it right the first time.  Are you sure that there is no wizardry in your family?"

But Cecily was now shoveling the pie into her mouth.  "It's like I'm home again," she said between bites.

Anyanka waited patiently as Cecily ate.  When she finished Cecily asked her if this could spell could be applied to other things besides food.

Anyanka laughed.  "Of course, my lady. This spell will work on any non-living object."

Cecily was intrigued and begged Anyanka for more of the ingredients. Anyanka told her she would bring more in the morning and took the empty tray out of the room, being sure to lock the door behind her.


Anyanka continued getting the castle ready for the grand party and delivering meals to Cecily.  Each time she visited, she would teach Cecily another spell and bring the necessary ingredients, which Cecily hid in the wardrobe.

During the day, Cecily would practice the few spells she knew, honing her skills.  She would wait anxiously for Anna's visits, when she would show off her improvement.

Anyanka was indeed impressed with Cecily's skills.  D'Hoffryn had been right on the mark. 

Cecily's transmogrifying abilities had improved to the point where she no longer needed the scales and chicken feet.  She would take the tray, remove Una's note and say the incantation.  She began adding pounds to her small frame, but didn't care since Anna was the only one she ever saw.


After the party had come and gone, the master told Anyanka that he would keep her on because of the good job she was doing.  Anyanka had been using spells of her own to do the work, always making sure no one was watching.

She also began spying on Lady Meig and bringing Cecily reports of the health and happiness of her child.  As far as she could tell, Meig was doing a fine job with Cecily's son.  The boy seemed like any small human to Anna.  He smelled bad and basically just laid around.  But she knew if Cecily thought that the baby was in danger, Cecily would ask for more powerful smells, so she lied.

"The child appears to be abused.  He has bruises on his legs."  "Meig is never around and the child cries all the time."  "The master ignores the baby."

Cecily's concern grew more and more with each bit of concern as did her wrath. She begged Anna to teach her spells that could be done to people, but Anna refused.  She knew the longer she waited, the more Cecily's anger would grow. So she continued lying. 

When she told Cecily that Malcolm was dying, Cecily's anger erupted.  Through magic, she flung the bed across the room, breaking the frame.  She caused the mirror to break and the door began to buckle.

Anyanka knew it was time. She taught her how to make herself invisible and transport through the air (for she wasn't quite ready for immediate teleportation). After a few tries Cecily accomplished it. 

Cecily bombarded Anyanka with questions about other spells, all the wishes she had been keeping to herself.  Anyanka gave her all the information she knew, but she warned her that the best vengeance is always well thought out. So Cecily practiced from dawn until dusk, preparing herself for Paedrus's day of reckoning.


Anyanka knew that Cecily was ready, but she had one minor detail left.  While Meig was sleeping, Anyanka took the baby, as D'Hoffryn had requested, and transported to Arashmahar, where she could watch with D'Hoffryn to see how things played out. 

"Good job, Anyanka," D'Hoffryn said smiling.  "Popcorn?"

Anyanka took the bag of popcorn and watched as the scene played out.


Cecily made herself invisible and transported through the window of her room.  She used her senses to guide her to the countryside, where Paedrus was hunting.  Cecily appeared before him, causing his horse to buck him off.

Completely confused by what had just happened, Paedrus dusted himself off as he stood and faced Cecily.  He could see that she was no longer the young girl that he had met only two years before.  He could see in her eyes, the fury of one thousand warriors.  Instinctively, he stepped back.

"Do not try to retreat, my husband," she said as she began circling him.

"What has happened to you?" he asked as her eyes bore into him.

"You are nothing," she said.  As she circled, strips of skin pealed off of him.  Paedrus dropped to his knees as the pain increased, screaming in agony. 

Cecily continued to circle her husband, holding out her hand to rub against the raw flesh.  With each pass, more skin fell away and Cecily became stronger. 

Paedrus begged with his last breath for it to stop, but Cecily continued until all the flesh had been removed.  She looked down at the body of her husband and spat.


D'Hoffryn and Anyanka laughed, taking in all of Cecily's vengeance.  They could feel the increasing strength of Cecily and the pain of Paedrus and enjoyed both equally.

"So," Anyanka said, "what happens next?"

"I don't think she's quite done.  She still has the girl to contend with.  I will go down for a first hand view, but you have another assignment.  Take this thing," he said gesturing at the baby, "to London.  Its great grandson will be an important player in at least one apocalypse, though I know not for which side he will serve."

Anyanka transported the baby to the address given to her and left him by a gate that had the name Giles spelled out in iron above it.


D'Hoffryn materialized at the Castle of Glenhills just in time to feel the earth shake and the blocks holding it together coming apart.  The castle fell with a great noise as Cecily looked on.  No remorse. No fear.

He walked up beside her. "Impressive."

She looked up. "Thank you."

"Let me introduce myself.  I am D'Hoffryn.  I am a patron of vengeance demons.  I believe you know one of my children, Anyanka."

"Anyanka?  You must mean Anna." D'Hoffryn stared at her.  "I apologize, I am Cecily."

"You are Cecily no longer," D'Hoffryn said with a smile.  "You will be now known as 'Halo-frict' -  the rubbing circle.  You will perform vengeance in my name. You will avenge abused children the world over."  There was a pause as Cecily stared up at him.  "How's that sound?"


~The End~

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