"Are you excited?"
Cecily Mason glanced over at her mother. "Is that what this sinking feeling is?"
"Oh, sweetheart." Brenda Mason enfolded her youngest daughter in a hug. "It's exciting, admit it. Finally, you're coming into your own! Getting your own familiar is the last step before actualizing your birthright and becoming a full member of the coven!"
Cecily grinned. "Only shrinks use words like actualizing, Mom."
"Call me Doctor Mason, then." Brenda touched the silver earrings dangling from Cecily's ears. "Oh, Cess, I'm so proud. Your sisters are all very excited, too!"
"I know." It was true, they were. It was just a little different from her mother's maternal pride. Her sisters were going to be at the summoning today because they loved her, because they supported her, because ... well, because they were interested. Curious. Four daughters were already powerful witches, each one had a magnificent familiar: owl, fox, black bear and stag. Now it was Cecily's turn.
Goddess, she wanted to throw up. Wouldn't that be hilarious, puking her guts out in front of the coven leaders and all her family? The Masons had been witches in Philadelphia since they'd come over from England over two centuries ago, and their family was highly ranked within the supernatural community. Her father was an artificer, one of the few people who understood enough about magic and technology to combine them in useful, innovative ways. Her mother was second in command of a powerful Philadelphia coven of witches. Her sisters were all excellent practitioners in their own right and oversaw the safety of their neighborhoods quite successfully.
"You'll be fine," her mother murmured. "As if I'd let anything bad happen to my baby. Come on, dear, the sisters will be arriving. We need ten to summon your familiar, and that's four more than even this family has handy."
The altar room was packed with people. Cecily's father was there as well, but when he saw her he came over, kissed her forehead, and then left. Tonight was a night for the women.
The four senior witches were already preparing to enter their meditative states, and Brenda rushed over to join them. They would provide the stability for the spell. Cecily and her sisters would provide the power, with Cecily focusing as hard as she could on calling the familiar that would be with her for the rest of her life, assisting her with her casting, increasing the power of her spells, and being her companion.
None of the other familiars were in the room; it would have been ridiculously tight. Cecily's sisters came over to her, smiling, highly anticipatory. Brigit was the oldest--responsible, wise, and fierce. Her owl suited her perfectly. Danielle was smaller, witty, fast. Her hair was the same color as her fox familiar's coat. Hannah was the biggest of them all, physically powerful and imposing, the perfect bear. Then there was Katrina--slender, flighty, and as beautiful as her own familiar.
All of their ceremonies had gone perfectly, with everyone satisfied. She had so much to live up to ... what would she get? What would she possibly get? All her sisters had had dreams beforehand, something that in some way gave them a hint about what to expect. She hadn't had any strange dreams. At least, none with animals in them...
Cecily tried to reign in the blush she knew was going to be blooming on her face. Probably it was the stress, but the erotic dreams she had been having over the last week were the most intense she'd ever experienced. Like, wake yourself up out of sleep gasping and rubbing your slick thighs together intense. She felt the red rising in her cheeks. Great.
"I know, it's hot in here," Hannah said. "Too many people in a small space."
"Really hot. Do you think I left enough room for the circle?" Cecily asked anxiously, going with the excuse.
"I can't imagine you'll get something bigger than that," Katrina said in a slightly condescending tone.
Hannah frowned at her. "Don't be snarky, Katie, tonight's not for you. It's for Silly."
Cecily groaned. "Don't call me that."
"You make a good Silly," Danielle said. "It's a compliment, it says you know how to have fun!"
"Playground and squirt guns kind of fun," Katrina added. Hannah slapped the back of her head. "Ow!"
"Hey." Brigit finally broke in, her voice serious. "Calm down and get ready for the summoning. We need to focus." She took her youngest sister a little way off to the side. Cecily felt herself relax a little. Of all of her family, Brigit was the only one who treated her like an adult. "Ready?"
"I guess so ... I'm so nervous."
"What's supposed to happen will happen. Let go of fear. Focus on what's in your heart. The right thing will come to you."
"Thanks." She leaned her head close to Brigit's for a moment. "I love you."
"I love you, too."
All too soon it was time. They sat down along the outside of the circle, knees nearly touching. The five elder witches were chanting softly, hands joined, eyes focused on the elaborate markings inside the summoning circle Cecily had chalked there earlier. Cecily sat in the middle of her sisters, holding hands with Brigit and Katrina. They were mustering their power, adding it to the mix, and the spell blossomed in her mind's eye, beautiful but amorphous, a hovering fog of ever-changing colors hanging over the circle, waiting to coalesce. It was her turn to concentrate.
Cecily shut her eyes, trying not to get distracted or let her nervousness get the better of her. Visualize what you need ... visualize what you want. It will come to you.