The space-time continuum was crumbling down in the battlefield. Diane was the only one who could move, and she had just been completely powerless when the Witches had taken Stefano Luca away. She started to pull Mary Clark into safety.
“I… can move… Help the others…” Mary pronounced.
Diane looked around and saw the breaches of space and time surrounding them. They were going to be engulfed. Her eyes turned violet, and she pulled them out of the dangerous region in one sweep of her arms. She then looked at the breaches, and started to close them with great effort. The town had been saved.
She assessed the situation: they were all heavily injured, Alba Luca in particular, but they looked like they could make it. Before she could think any further, a great light rose from the South. Diane turned towards the Forbidden District. There was no time for hesitation. She sent a beam of energy with a message for Erin and John, they would take care of the injured.
Diane run towards the column of light, expecting the worst. She found legions of Witches in her way, barring the entrance to the Forbidden District. She tried to go inside, but their magic power was united in an enormous barrier.
“Let me in!” Diane shouted.
The Witch that was right in the middle of the entrance looked at her. “We cannot let you inside. You would interrupt the ritual. That can’t happen”.
John Fier arrived in that moment, running from the opposite direction. “Diane! They’ve taken Eryn too!”
“A group of them attacked us in the Library, and took Erin away with them. They’ve left me unconscious, but when I woke up, Erin wasn’t there. They’ve taken her!”
Diane’s power overflowed around her, a violet energy vibrating violently. She turned towards the Witch in the entrance, and glared. The Witch did not seem impressed.
“You’re never going to get in here” she said, with contempt.
Diane threw her hand against the Witch, who looked unsurprised when the girl’s hand hit the magic barrier, which materialized in place. She was, however, taken aback when Diane hit her the barrier with her other hand, using her full power, and shattering it in place. The Witch tried to react, but she was too slow, Diane had already attacked. A shockwave threw the Witches away, most of them unconscious.
Diane started to run towards the light, as John followed her, horrified. It took them a while to reach the altar. Diane and John saw them clearly: Stefano lying down in a bed of rock, Erin bound to a seat, awake, the High Witch between them carrying out the ritual, and ten witches around the altar supporting Isobel Paris.
Diane threw herself against the altar, but it was too late. Though she tried to stop it using her magic power, Stefano’s life came out of him and rose in the column of light. Three figures appeared around Erin, surrounding her with their arms raised. Diane was going to destroy them when a hand stopped her. Her power had been depleted, so she could not get away.
She looked back and saw a tall man she did not know. Mary Clark and Alba Luca arrived to the Forbidden District in that moment. Alba saw the lifeless body of her son in the altar, and tried to run there. It took a lot of effort, and when she arrived there, she cried. She held her son’s body with both arms, hugged it against her. When she saw him, she shook her head.
“No… No, this cannot be. No…!” she screamed.
The man nodded. Diane looked at him and read his mind. She could not fight him, but at least she could do that, and he could not resist. She was horrified by the knowledge. “You knew this? You are a monster!”
“It was part of the Plan. Only a great sacrifice will bring them here” Aren said, pointing towards the three women.
“There are other ways!” Diane shouted.
“Don’t be silly!” Aren shouted. “You couldn’t do it. The Plan is the only solution”.
Diane cried, got off him and run towards Stefano and Mamma. She cried with them. In the meantime, Mary Clark approached Aren.
“And for the sake of what?” she asked him.
“For all of humanity” he answered.
Mary Clark stayed silent for a couple of minutes, looking at the whole scene. “Not your humanity. And you’ve definitely stolen part of these children’s”.
He seemed surprised by the response, and did not say a thing. He turned back and strolled back and forth, waiting for the three women to end their work. Eventually, the three of them bowed to Erin and disappeared. The girl was freed from the chair, and she run to hug John, both of them crying.
Isobel Paris looked towards Alba and Diane. “I’m sorry for your loss” she said in an arrogant tone.
Alba did not move, but Diane stood face to face against the High Witch, defiantly. The High Witch did not seem impressed, and she wasn’t, not until Diane spoke.
“I curse you. I curse your existence to suffer from the damnation of old age, disease and mortality. I curse your existence to be a life of suffering and distress. I curse your womanhood, hoping it will be barren, and I curse your powers, shall they grow weak with time. I curse your tongue, and every word you say, so it turns into bitter ash in your mouth”.
The High Witch’s back started to bend, her hair went gray, and a couple of her teeth fell. She held her face in horror, and looked around for help. Aren and the other Witches run towards her, but nothing they did reversed the transformation.
That day, Diane, Alba Luca, Mary Clark, Erin and John left the Forbidden district, taking the corpse of Stefano Luca with them. They never went in again, and nothing was known about the Witches until over 150 years later.