How Hazel Became Oak – Epilogue

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Authors Note:

This is not a stand-alone story, it is an extended epilogue to another story of mine, ‘How Hazel Became Oak.’ Which you can also find on Literotica. Don’t read this without reading the other story first, this will make no sense on its own.

I wrote this in response to a reader comment, with which, having thought about it, I agreed. It replaces the epilogue in the first story, and so the first few paragraphs are repeated here.

*****

The next morning we lay in each other’s arms in Beth’s, no, our enormous white bed, unwilling or unable to let go of each other.

I voiced what I had been thinking, almost since the night we made love, but without daring to hope.

“I am going to change my craft name,” I suddenly blurted out.

“Whatever for?” Beth looked surprised at my sudden outburst.

“Because I’m fed up of being the only person in our coven whose real name is the same as their craft name and because when you say “Hazel” I’ll never know whether its my High Priestess talking to her Lore mistress, or my Beth talking to her Hazel. It’s my mother’s fault, may her soul rest. It was the same for her, except that in her coven, the craft names were after flowers.”

“What was she called?”

“Cow Parsley.”

“She wasn’t!” Beth looked shocked.

“No, she was called Rose, but it’s the same…” I failed to complete my sentence as Beth hit me with the pillow.

After the brief, totally one-sided fight was over, and I had Beth pinned beneath my body kissing her mercilessly into submission. I gave her chance to speak.

“You win,” she panted, “we can perform the naming ceremony today as part of the thanksgiving. But what name?” She thought for a moment. “Oak.” She said, it’s a fitting name. You showed yourself worthy of such a strong and steadfast name last night. You will be my Oak.

“I love it, it’s perfect,” I said. And I kissed her. Of course, one thing led to another and it wasn’t until very late in the morning, when we were sitting in Beth’s cosy kitchen drinking a welcome cup of coffee, that the phone rang. Beth answered. She spoke briefly and said finally, “tell her we’ll be there soon,” before hanging up the instrument.

“That was Ash,” she said, with a look of concern on her face, “She says Eve is not herself this morning and she wants us to go over as soon as we can. Ash sounds a bit worried about her.

I can’t say I was surprised; the Great Rite had been an extraordinarily emotionally and physically draining experience for all of us and we had decided that rest was the most important thing in the immediate aftermath. Eve, in particular, had been exhausted and was in no state to talk, but she was owed an explanation. We were not even sure whether she was fully aware of what had happened. She had given no indication of having even seen either the dark spirit, or Sarah’s soul as they left her body at the climax of the rite. I shivered at the memory of the dark shadow that had hovered over Eve’s naked form and how she had fought to escape the charmed bonds that held her, even though it was those that ultimately protected her.

In any case, we needed to find out from Eve how she had exposed herself to such possession. It does not happen accidentally, Beth was worried that Eve might have indulged in ill-advised occult practices which had laid her open to forces about which she had no knowledge or protection. It was obvious to us that Eve was susceptible to such things, we had to make her understand, for her own safety.

We finished our coffee and drove to the small house where Ash lived, calling at my house on the way just so that I could get into some clean clothes. I had, of course, nothing at Beth’s and she was two sizes smaller than me. I threw my old clothes off and put new clothes on in the space of two minutes and felt better able to face Eve. I did not know what to expect. I think in her shoes I would have been very angry with us. We let her to go into the rite without telling her what we thought. But Beth had been adamant that she must not know, and I had to trust her judgement in these matters, in which I was a novice.

Ash must have seen us pull up outside her pretty, white painted, house because she opened the door to us as we walked up the path. She stepped out to greet us, pulling the door closed, presumably so that Eve could not overhear.

“I’m so glad you’re here,” she said, “Eve seemed to sleep well but it’s as though she’s in a trance, she’s not really talking, just sitting. I don’t know what to do, I’m really worried that she’s been harmed.” Ash seemed on the verge of tears. Beth put her hands-on Ash’s shoulders as though to steady her and she gained strength from the touch.

“Let’s go and talk to her, “Beth said, and we followed Ash into the bright sitting room where Eve sat upright on the sofa, apparently in a daydream. I was shocked by her appearance. She wore only a thick white dressing gown and her skin was deathly pale apart from livid red wheals around the delicate wrists and ankles that illegal bahis protruded from the gown. What had we done to her? Ash and I looked at each other and I could see that she was thinking the same thing. Had we transgressed the most fundamental tenet of our code; to do no harm, to hurt no one? My heart was heavy with shame.

If Beth shared our concerns she did not show it. She wasted no time but knelt on the floor on front of Eve and looked carefully into her eyes. She picked up each of Eve’s hands in turn and examined her wrists, then did the same with her feet, running her hands gently over her ankles.

She looked at Ash, “Have you any witchhazel?” She asked.

“Of course, I’ll get it,” she said and disappeared upstairs.

“Hazel, bring me a glass from that cupboard please,” she ordered and I complied without question, retrieving a small crystal glass from the glass-fronted sideboard. “Sit here”, Beth said, as I placed the glass into her outstretched hand. She fished a small bottle of amber liquid from her pocket and poured some into the glass. She asked the Goddess to bless the drink and wrapping Eve’s cold fingers round the glass helped her raise it to her lips. Almost involuntarily she took a sip, and immediately started to cough and choke.

“What was that?” I asked as Eve spluttered and Beth patted her on the back.

“Fifty year old Brandy,” Beth smiled, “I told you yesterday it’s what you need after driving out Daemons.”

To this day I don’t know what was in the bottle, Beth insists it was just Brandy and I suppose everyone is entitled to their secrets but whatever it was it had worked its magic by the time Ash had returned with the witchhazel. The relief on her face when she saw the change in Eve was so comical that I burst out laughing. And, as so often, mirth provided the spiritual balm that is the souls ease.

Beth became business-like. “Eve, before we talk I need to look you over, you’ll need to take your gown off for me, would you like the others to go?”

Eve smiled, “No need,” she said, “there is not much of me that my sisters are not already familiar with.”

“Can you stand?” Beth asked.

“Yes, of course,” Eve replied and Beth helped her to her feet. She untied the belt of the gown and slipped out of it. Ash took it from her and Eve stood naked before us, beautiful, pale skinned Eve, still with the arcane signs of the ritual curling round her breasts and flowing across the softness of her belly to the tip of her labia.

Beth examined Eve carefully from head to toe, paying close attention to the henna tattoo with which she had been adorned. “Pop a foot on the sofa for me,” Beth said, and Eve did as asked without demur. Beth ran her hands over Eve’s thighs and examined her vulva carefully. “Are you in pain?” She asked.

“A little tender there, “Eve said, “and my wrists and ankles are quite sore.

Beth smiled, “I’m a little tender down there myself, if it makes you feel any better”.

I blushed bright pink. I could feel the colour in my cheeks and I saw Ash looking at me, speculation written all over her face. I’d tell her about Beth and me as soon as I decently could. I knew she would be delighted.

“You’ll soon mend,” Beth said to Eve, “get dressed, we have a lot to talk about.”

Ash passed the gown back to Eve and she put it on. Wrapping herself in its warm folds.

“I’m sorry to have to put you through that Eve,” Beth said as we sat down. “I needed to make sure you were not hurt and to check that the signs were still intact. They are, and I am glad. If they had been disturbed I would have been worried for reasons that will become clear as we talk.”

“We could do with some tea, ” Ash said and headed off to the kitchen. She was right, tea was exactly what we needed. Beth sat next to Eve on the sofa.

“Give me your hands,” she said. “This might sting a bit at first but it will help the healing,” and she began to rub the witchhazel cream into Eve’s sore wrists. “You do her ankles Hazel,” Beth passed the cream to me and I knelt in front of Eve, lifting her feet onto my thighs. I rubbed the soothing ointment into the sore bands round her ankles and for good measure into her feet. It could only do her good. She sighed a little and closed her eyes, as our hands worked their healing magic.

Ash returned from the kitchen with four steaming mugs of tea and we sipped it gratefully, the gentle fragrance of bergamot reassuring and calming. Beth opened the conversation.

“Eve”, she said, “a lot has happened over the last twenty four hours and I will explain it to the best of my understanding but first I need you to tell me your story. Please start by telling us what you saw, heard and felt last night.”

Eve thought for a moment before beginning. “I was excited and a little nervous to start with. Of course I knew roughly what to expect, you told me some of it yourself on the day we first met and Ash and Willow spent hours with me so I knew about the symbolism, the history and the stages of the ceremony itself illegal bahis siteleri but not the detail of what was going to happen to me.” She paused, as if wondering how much she should reveal.

“The truth is, the preparation on the day already had me in quite a state. I had been lovingly bathed by two beautiful sisters, my body covered in a heavenly oil, and then I lay naked while they painted this tattoo on my body. It was a highly erotic experience in its own right, so by the time we walked together into the chamber I was almost floating.”

Ash looked as pleased as anything but did not interrupt Eve’s flow.

“The whole experience last night was extraordinary; the chamber was incredible, and you were all so beautiful. I was surprised to be tied down, but then I was surprised by everything. I found things out about myself that I was not aware of.

“Like what?” Beth asked.

“Like how much I enjoyed you undressing me in front of all those people,” she said, “I don’t know where that urge came from, it’s not like me. I look after my body and I’m proud of it, but I don’t normally have a desire to show it to the crowd. “

“Anything else?” Beth continued to probe. Eve seemed suddenly abashed.

“Well something very strange. I had a kind of vision.”

“Tell me about it,” Beth spoke gently, encouraging Eve.

She spoke shyly, ” It started off as a horrible nightmare. I was stumbling up a steep path, I was cold to my bones so that I could hardly put one foot in front of the other. I don’t know where I was going but something drove me forward. I had no shoes and the stones hurt my feet and when I looked at them they were torn and bleeding. I could hear water ahead in the distance, but it was so dark I couldn’t see anything. I only knew that if I stopped I would die. All I knew was that I had to reach the water, so I plodded on, crying with the pain. I had no sense of time passing so I don’t know how long this went on but gradually I started to feel warmer and the darkness began to lift. I found I could walk freely, with no pain and my feet were somehow healed.

When I looked up I saw you, High Priestess. You were close by a lake at the head of a valley surrounded by mountains and alpine meadows full of flowers. It must have been early evening because the sun was low in the sky, and everything was suffused in a golden light. As you walked towards the lakeside, you were laughing and when you reached the shore you stripped off your clothes and ran into the lake, screaming at the cold as you entered the water. There was another woman with you, a tall woman with blond hair, standing on the shore laughing at you. You called her to come in, but she laughed even more and said you were mad. So you came out of the water, the golden light shimmering on your wet skin, and you chased her into the meadow, naked as you were. She let you catch her, and you almost tore the clothes from her body as you lay among the flowers and made love…”

She tailed off. I saw the tears in Beth’s eyes, but she was not overcome by grief as she had been before.

“And then I seemed to wake up, it was as though I had been dreaming but I couldn’t have fallen asleep, my whole body was alive and you were in me. I felt your tongue and lips like fire. I was consumed by it and just when I thought I couldn’t take any more I felt as though something pierced my soul and I can think of no other word for it than ecstasy.”

Eve paused, wide eyed with wonder, “Was that the Goddess?” Is that what it feels like?”

Beth sighed, “Yes it was Eve, your virginity was taken by the Goddess last night and you will never be the same. You have been blessed as few are in these days. Use that blessing wisely to heal and to bring love as the Goddess asks. You will have an opportunity to give thanks later this afternoon and we are grateful too to have seen and been part of the wonder. Eve I must ask you one more question and then I will try and explain the meaning of your vision, and also tell you what happened last night. Have you ever dabbled in the occult, holding seances, or any other similar activity?”

“Never.” Eve was emphatic. “I know of the danger of such things I would never play around with them.”

“Are you sure?” Beth asked, sounding very surprised.

“Positive, “Eve sounded certain, “why do you ask?”

Beth ignored her question. “Have you ever had a vision before, like you did last night?”

“Not like last night,” Eve replied, “the only thing that came close is that I had an ‘out-of-body’ experience once, a few years ago when I was very ill. I almost died in fact.”

“Tell me about that?” Beth asked, and listened intently as Eve told her story.

“I had viral meningitis,” she said, “it came on very suddenly. I woke up one morning with a terrible headache and within an hour had collapsed and was rushed to hospital. I don’t remember very much about it but apparently it was touch-and- go, and I was unconscious for two or three days. All I remember is having the feeling of floating canlı bahis siteleri above my body. I could see the room and the nurses and a lot of equipment with wires and tubes going into my arms. There was a tunnel with a very bright light at the end of it and I felt drawn to it, but something held me back. Then everything went black and when I woke up I felt terrible with a blinding headache, but they told me I was over the worst and would make a full recovery, and they were right. Here I am.”

“When and where were you then?” Beth asked the question, the answer to which I already knew.

“It would have been about four years ago in Mount Ashmore hospital.”

I looked at Beth and she nodded.

“Would it have been around August time?” she asked.

“Why yes, how do you know that?” Eve confirmed what I already guessed. And I could see that, for Beth, the last piece of the jigsaw had just been slotted into place.

“It’s rather a long story,” said Beth. “Ash I think we’d like another pot of tea.” She took the little bottle of so-called brandy out of her pocket and held it up. “And I think there’s enough of this left to add a just a little restorative magic to all four cups.”

****

I left Beth and Eve in the sitting room, and helped Ash wash up and prepare fresh tea. I wanted to leave them alone in case there was something that they needed to say to each other that they may feel constrained to say in front of others. The moment Ash got me in the kitchen, she shut the door and quizzed me. “What’s going on between you and Beth? Something’s happened hasn’t it?”

I told her about Beth and I, and I thought she was going suffocate me, she hugged me so tight. Her face was a picture, tears of happiness ran down her face.

“Long, long overdue, what kept you?” She was hugging me one minute, scolding me the next. I hardly knew which way was up.

When I could breathe again, I said, “What do you mean, what kept us? It only really happened last night.”

“You do talk nonsense sometimes Hazel,” she was laughing. “It’s been obvious since not long after poor Sarah’s passing that you two are made for each other. All the sisters know it. I should have started a book on it like those scoundrel twins suggested.”

I was flabbergasted. “Are you trying to tell me that you lot have been gossiping about your High Priestess and your Lore Mistress behind their back for three years, without a shred of evidence? May the Goddess forgive you. You…” But I couldn’t think of any words to express the depth of my love and gratitude to my beautiful sisters, so I just burst into tears, fell into the warmth of Ash’s embrace and told her that I loved them all, over and over again. And she cried too and got my hair all wet with tears so it was a sorry looking pair that returned to the sitting room, brimming over with joy and tea.

Beth looked at us, “What on earth have you two been doing?” she smiled, as if it wasn’t obvious by the skip in our step. “Oh, never mind, pass me the tea and I’ll add a little magic,” and she shared the contents of her bottle between the four mugs.

Beth began her tale. “Some of what I am about to tell you will come as a surprise Eve, and I will answer whatever questions you have, but you must also know that some things are known only to the Goddess, we cannot know the true answer.

Four years ago, while you were close to death, my partner Sarah died of cancer in the same hospital. While her death was anticipated – she had, after all, a rapidly progressing terminal illness – she had been expected to live for several weeks longer. In fact, she was in hospital only for a short period of palliative treatment. I was not with her at the time she died and so I never had a chance to say goodbye. I know that somehow Sarah’s’ soul entered your body. Why? I can’t know, but I suspect her need to say goodbye to me, or to allow me to say goodbye to her was so great she found a way to ‘stay behind’ as it were. This has something to do with your out-of-body experience, but it is not something I can explain.”

Beth paused, wiping away a tear. She took a sip of tea and that seemed to restore her. Ash and I were simply weeping silently, as Beth re-lived her pain. I vowed that, if I could help it, it would be for the last time.

“I know it was Sarah, because of your vision. During the rite you experienced one of Sarah’s memories. It was in the Italian alps, not from Monte Bianco, we had been walking up one of the side valleys and came upon a lake, just as the sun was going down. I swam, Sarah refused to come into the water, and we made love in the alpine meadow, under the sky.” Beth paused again.

“It was the first time we made love,” she said quietly.

“What about the nightmare part of the vision?” Eve asked. What memory of Sarah’s was that?

“I was coming on to that,” Beth composed herself. “That was not Sarah. Somehow, and probably at the same time, a dark spirit also entered your body. I don’t know how it came to be within you, or its exact nature and purpose, other than to say such forces are always malign. You may, on looking back be able to discern its influence over you. However, I believe that its purpose was probably frustrated by Sarah’s presence and that its possession will have no lasting effects.”

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