tagSci-Fi & FantasyThe Witches of Ravenrook 01

The Witches of Ravenrook 01

byFinalStand©

(For Talenwolf; the editor who shows that anger builds as well as destroys and has been an insane level of support with this story - and a few others)

(Note: the start of this story is gory, involving a tale of torture and genocide. It is not too graphic but it is rough)

(There is a great deal of violence in this tale but I promise it will make sense before we are done. The 'hero' is no Conan the Barbarian – normally. Slapping girls and woman is very abnormal but I hope understanding will come)

(This is a VERY sex lite story. Other chapters will have more but this one is about introductions and conflict)


Why Am I Not Dead

To understand what happened with the Witches of Ravenrook I need to go back before the beginning; back to the Winter of 1778/9 when the American Revolution was raging in full force. Back then my family lived in the far western edge of the Crown Colony of New York, or for what had been the past two years, the Sovereign State of New York.

It was rebellion against the British Crown and a civil war that pitted frontiersmen vs. frontiersman and Iroquois vs. Iroquois. In late 1776, my ancestor with a party of his fellow farmers met with a group of Iroquois leaders and pledged an Oath. We agreed that no matter what our Great Leaders declared those in that one valley would not spill the blood of our neighbors. We swore on our oldest Bible, the souls of our children and by the sacred fires of our homes and lodges.

Until the spring of 1778, the pact held and both sides felt safe. In that spring the British and Colonials both sent out runners calling for men to fight. My ancestor called up a small militia and captained it; those who wouldn't fight for the Colonial cause stayed home to protect all the families, thus keeping the bonds of friendship with their fellows but also keeping their oaths to the Crown.

My ancestor met with the Iroquois chiefs. They would go north to fight along Lake Eerie beside their British allies while he would march east to fight with General Gates and his Colonials. That fall, the British lost in the North and General Burgoyne surrendered his British/loyalist forces to General Gate's Continental bluecoats in the East. As was the way of things; news traveled faster than the feet of soldiers.

When the loyalist and Iroquois learned of their twin defeats they became fearful of what my ancestor and his men would do upon their return. Fear led to betrayal as a small band of loyalists convinced the local indigenous people to rise up against the patriot families but, they were stymied by the Oath. A clever loyalist found a way around it. He and his companions went to the patriot households cloaked in friendship and seized the weapons then letting the Indians take the patriot families away.

They rounded up everyone in the settlement and herded them to a high cliff a few miles away. Until the first rush of Iroquois came at them, the patriot families had no idea they were all going to die. They were pushed off the cliff and fell to their deaths thus the Iroquois were able to stay true to the word of the Oath, if not the spirit, by not spilling patriot blood. Then they fired the village and farms as they left.

Their thinking seemed to have been that the patriots would bury their dead and, having nothing left, my ancestor and his men would return east to the Hudson River Valley and never come back. Nothing was left for patriots in the settlements and the Iroquois had kept to the Oath after all; only madmen would break it. None the less, few loyalists risked remaining; they moved their families to Canada in what they thought would be a temporary stay. When the British Crown finally prevailed they would return. Those were the ones escaped the hell that was to come.

When my ancestor's troops came home they were indeed gripped with a terrible fatalism but it wasn't one of surrender; it was a deathless rage. A small few who chose to grieve over, and bury the dead, turned away from vengeance. They stayed to bury all their dead including their leader's wife and infant son. What followed for the rest was not war and was barely vengeance – it was pure evil.

His men fell on the first few Seneca villages late at night, using only knives and tomahawks to avoid raising the alarm until it was too late. The Seneca warned them of the price of breaking the Oath then they pleaded for slavery (it meant something different to the tribes back then) and finally they pleaded for their families' lives. My ancestor killed the men by hacking them apart or tying them to poles and burning them alive.

They were the lucky ones; my ancestor became demonically creative with the women and children but his favorite thing was tying children to their mother and then tying heavy stones to their children's legs. Finally he forced the mothers to swim across rivers. They could save themselves if they untied themselves from their children. In the lore of the Seneca and Fox (the other tribe he waged his campaign on) no woman severed her bonds – they all were sucked under the icy flows, dragged down by the one's they truly loved more than life itself.

No good deed or great evil goes unpunished and eventually a small contingent of British irregulars, loyalists and Iroquois tribesmen ran my ancestor and his men to ground. To his credit, that man was not a coward. If anything he was insanely brave. Buying time for of few of his fittest men to escape – which is how I know this tale for one escaped then doubled back – he rushed his pursuers and killed so many that in the end what followed was inevitable.

They hated him; they hated him so much they attempted to repay him tenfold for the misery he had caused, for the Oath he had broken and for all their dead that would never find peace because of the way he knowingly killed them.. They fed him pieces of his own men, forcing the flesh down his throat with scalding water. They skinned him alive but his hate refused to let him pass out from the pain, which must have been beyond imagining.

In the end they shattered every bone in his body, starting with his toes and they uttered horrific curses upon his spirit that they would never cast upon a living man for they did not believe any descendant was still alive. When they crushed his skull, they knew they were damned forever but they also knew that the curses would die with them because the line of my ancestor died with the Bastard.

The problem was they did not know his wife, the ancestor of all the Vandemeyer that where to come. She knew she was going to die and she knew that even if she shielded her son from the fall with her body they would smother her infant when they heard his cries of cold and hunger. She tore open her blouse and shoved her tit into that little boy's mouth and when the press of bodies pushed her off the cliff (suicide was a terrible sin so she could not jump), she pressed the infant tight.

When the loyalists searched the bodies at the base of the cliff the child remained silent because he still fed from her corpse milk. The bodies the loyalist rolled onto him by accident kept him warm enough that he was found alive by the small band of patriots that had come down the cliff to bury their dead. They assumed initially that the others would return, their vengeance quenched but it was late winter before a pitiful few staggered back home. The one patriot who had stolen back and witnessed the infant's father's death told the others of the madness, savagery and final eradication.

That man took the boy to his Great Uncle who was childless and chose to raise the boy as his own. The boy grew up rich and strong and had a family of his own but he ended up brutally perishing to brigands in Ohio at the age of 43. His son died at 40 in the Civil War when a cannon ball tore off his leg. His last sights were of so many men of his regiment dead or dying around him. Even as he was dying, he ordered his men to take him, place him on a litter and together they took a place called the Bloody Angle at the Battle of Antietam.

The sons died and they died and they died; all between the ages of 39 and 45, all in violence and usually in anguish. It was the family curse. If there was an upside, the Vandemeyer's lived fully and richly in the short time allotted, they did notable things, gathered wealth, engaged in dangerous dalliances, feuds and were often heroic in their own way. Nothing – no act of contrition – would save them so they made the most of what they had.

I was told this story and the litany of my many mangled ancestors on my tenth birthday. We didn't believe in mystic curses, but like the first one to bear that foul taint, we grew fatalistic about the seemingly random chances that haunted us all and that gave me a fearlessness that my father carried and he told me his father carried as well in his time. There was going to be no Happy Endings for me, only a painful one; so why not live freely while I could?

What I didn't know was that a hundred dead Vandemeyer and several hundred dead Seneca and Fox Indians were all sitting around me, waiting for me to die without an heir because, I was the last of my line and none of them could cross over to whatever waited in the afterlife while I drew breath. Oh, those Indians were regretting curing the Bastard now because their curse had followed their sons as well. Even the Bastard was getting awful tired of waiting for Hell's flames. The edge of Oblivion, were all lost souls gather, had long lost its appeal.

The moral that came to me at the end was if you're going to put a Death Curse on somebody make damn sure every last one of the sons-of-bitches' relatives are dead. Your children will not forgive your sloppiness; believe me, I know. And the biggest bitch of a Death Curse; the dead can't do anything directly or indirectly, to end the curse.

They originally entered it willingly, by their actions, or by the crushing evil that led them to that end; so they actually had to help me stay alive. See, Lost Souls have power and while they would happily let me meet my preordained fate, they had to keep me alive until then. How wrong is that? In retrospect, Death Curses are stupid; just kill your enemy and walk away.

The Story Itself

My name is Richard Vandemeyer – a twenty year old not-quite-a-man who probably is the victim of too much snobbery inspired inbreeding and a Blue Blood's sense of social and civic responsibility. I base much of my actions and plans on what I think I'm obligated to do as opposed to what is in my own self-interest or something akin to common sense.

In other words, I don't keep my head down and I don't run away from trouble. My cultured veneer encased a rather savage primal core it seemed.

Ravenrook is an exclusive college situated on an isolated island off the coast of Maine. It was founded in 1890 as a school for concentrated study for Masters Programs for the leading universities at the time. The island was large, scenic, rocky, and tree covered but only had one small cove for egress and exit.

The rest surrounded by majestic cliffs. The ferry ride to the closest town took over two hours depending on the waves and the tides. In bad weather, we are alone and when you talk about the North Bank in the fall; you think of bad weather. If you don't believe me, they made a movie about it titled The Perfect Storm.

During my freshman year I had a ball, made great grades and a good many friends. Halfway through my sophomore year I scored a coveted internship with the School of Economics in England. When I returned for the start of my junior year I had high hopes of picking up where I left off. I was considered smarter than most, clouded with thoughts of bravery and honor, and had ego enough to consider myself handsome, tall and in good physical shape.

What matters to the story is that in that fall I returned to Ravenrook to start my junior year and how I met the witches, and the struggle, passion and betrayals that followed. I screwed up. It was revealed to me that my polite exterior was a sham; that I was as brutal, savage and ruthless as any of the monsters we faced. In some ways I was worse.

Arrival

I spent an extra day with some friends in New York then missed my flight to Bangor Maine so I was on the last ferry to the island before the first day of classes. I shared the voyage with three freshmen who were in a similar predicament. I regaled them with tales of my first year, clarified the maps of campus in their heads. I also enlightened them that there was no cell service on the island and that all internet service went through the campus servers.

We were generally subdued in our conversation as our luggage was loaded on the bus and during the ride from the small cove where the ferry docked on the north side of the island to Ravenrook which sat on the southern portion. Even though it was pictured in the brochures and on-line videography, the first time you gaze upon Ravenrook it really takes your breath away.

It had a Victorian-Gothic appeal to it, with the main structure rising up five stories and several of the towers rising up over eight stories and the spires higher than that. The windows were tall, tinted blue and narrow; the stone was black basalt with stonework ravens taking the place of gargoyles. It was frighteningly imposing but it was also a quiet, safe haven from the harried pace of the outside world.

The bus driver helped Bernadette, Jacob, Wallace and I unload our baggage on the gates to the central hall before making his clunky way back to the village. Being rich, pampered idiots we all had more luggage than we could carry to our rooms in one trip. There were other students close by but oddly none come to help us unlike the assistance I had received every other time I had arrived.

My Father didn't raise a bashful son so I immediately corralled three students I knew to be sophomores and one I assumed was a freshman and dragooned them to help me and my companions carry our stuff and directed them to our rooms. The reaction I was getting left me a bit peeved and confused by the fearful/resentful attitude I was getting. Unfortunately, I had to take the freshman with me because my group of freshmen needed the sophomores to guide them.

My freshmen did have one tidbit of knowledge to share. According to him, all incoming freshmen had to report to the main library before being escorted to their rooms. I thought it was an idiotic policy; it wasn't like strangers could sneak into a student body that barely numbered 400.

My roommate from last year, Daniel Taggert had already moved in but wasn't around to enlighten me. Daniel and I had shared a room since the beginning and I was sure I could rely on him for some information when the time came. I unpacked my stuff, checked my secret hiding place in the wall, storing some contraband (my radio and bottle of Jack Daniels) there and checked my other hidey hole in the ceiling (for my satellite phone).

I made my way to the main library because it sat across the hall from the main entry and was the main transit point for the rest of the building. See, Ravenrook was one massive building with all of its parts going off in different directions but joined by the area around the library. So if I wanted figure out what was going on, the library was the logical place to start.

What I learned did not make me a happy camper. Right off the bat I could tell the whole mood was subdued with the only serious activity centered about the periodicals section. I recognized a few of the men and women there so I approached. I noticed that my ex-girlfriend, Sally Fabian, was among them.

"Hey Sally," I called out. We hadn't parted on bad terms. I was going to London and we didn't feel it was right for her to 'wait' for me – or so I thought. She and several others in this group of about twenty students turned and looked my way and that's when I saw them. At the core of this group were three sets of twins. I had no clue who they were so they must have arrived in my absence.

The six girls, a pair of red-heads, blondes, and black haired ladies regarded me impassively which was a sight better than the hostility I was getting from the people I thought I knew.

"Sally, do you know this person?" one of the blondes addressed her. Not asking me came across as a bit rude.

"That's Richard Vandemeyer," Sally identified me snidely. "He is a junior but missed last semester." What? No mention of our relationship?

"Oh," was all the first blonde twin remarked.

"He's nobody," Sally added with a glance full of maliciousness. That seemed to be that as their little clique closed ranks and returned to whatever discussions they were having before I intruded.

I took my dismissal for what it was and settled down alone in the 'stacks' to prep for some of my upcoming classes. At dinner time I tried to catch up with Daniel but he was even less commutative than the others. It was with that chilly reception in my mind that I laid down to sleep that night.

The Girl's Bathroom After Midnight

An annoying fact about the boy's bathroom on my floor was that the pipes made a hellish rattling noise when you flushed. Since I wasn't a fan of leaving your business in the toilet for the next guy to deal with, I had been taught the polite practice by an upper classman my freshman year which was to use the girl's washroom on the next floor down after 'lights out'.

It is after one o'clock when the urge to urinate overcomes me. Daniel was sleeping away in his bed, not that I really cared at the moment. There was no helping it so I slipped out of my room and padded quietly downstairs to the girl's bathroom. Had I given it much thought I would have worn more than my pajama bottoms but I had every reason to believe that I would be alone.

The last thing I expected to hear as I approached the door was some guy's voice growling from inside saying 'Open your mouth you little bitch' followed by sobbing and muted laughter. This pretty much dictated what I was going to do. I threw the door open; quickly take in the scene and snarl out my response.

"What the fuck is going on in here?" I was not really ready for what I was seeing but frankly my anger bit down on any of my doubts about intervening. Closest to me are the red-haired twins who also happen to be the only ones fully dressed. The one to my left is holding up a camera phone and recording the other events of the room even as she looks over her shoulder at me. Her sister did likewise though I didn't see a phone.

Against the far wall, down the row of stalls, stands the source of my concern. Close to the back stall are two male students, one I know to be a senior named Bradley something-or-other, who was a total douche and now seem about ready to graduate to rape. I can't make out the guy behind him. There is a sophomore girl who I know from swimming laps in the pool named Janet Reynolds who is on the far side of Bradley, resting with her ass against the sinks.

The thing is, the unknown guy and Janet are holding Bernadette down on her knees while Bradley prepares to ram his cock down her throat.

"Get the fuck out of here you prick," Bradley mocks me. This seals all their fates because a red haze descends over me.

The red-haired twin on my left is still turning slowly toward me when my palm slams into her chest (and her small breasts), propelling her through the door of the closest stall. My hand feels like I've stuck it in a red ant hill. She squeals. I ignore the one on my left for the moment because Bradley is coming at me, his cock still hanging out. He draws back his fist but I hit him first and harder. I later recall hearing his jaw pop out of joint and him chocking on the three teeth I must have knocked loose.

Anyway, he is flying into the second guy causing them both to stumble. I think Janet is trying to maneuver clear of Bernadette when I my right had connect with her stomach followed by a left to her cheek. Her head bounces off marble counter top and she slumps to the ground. Brad is still trying to figure out why blood is flooding his mouth when I turn back on him.

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