Extract from The Witches’ Law, 1463
“The Witches’ Law declares that any young maiden of magical lineage, should be promised to a man of valor, born on the same day and hour as she…”
“The Witches’ Law declares that their union shall be effective on the night the maiden’s powers are revealed. Not before and not after. A child of female gender shall be born of the magical union, or the witch shall die. Thus the magical lineage shall remain pure and without interference.”
“The Witches’ Law declares that it is the custom that any witch who arranges a marriage for her heiress without the Council’s permission is subject to the confiscation of all her land, riches and magical powers by the Council.”
A grey witch came into power at around 14 in the middle ages, now at 15. The grey witch is betrothed, but the wedding usually takes place later, as modern society doesn’t approve of teen marriages…
This is six generations of the Grey Witches’ family tree, starting with Grace Addington-Hallewell. She married Barret Hallewell III, who died in France during the Great War. Grace died at 18, giving birth to her daughter Ailey.
Ailey’s husband also died in Europe in a war. His plane crashed over the English Channel in 1944. Like her mother, she gave birth to a daughter, Glinda, at 18.
Glinda is Granny’s and Missy’s mother. Tara, or Granny as we know her, was born in 1946 when Glinda was 18. She never even saw her second daughter as she died in childbirth when Granny was only 13. For a long time Granny blamed her baby sister Missy for killing their mother…
Their father, Athan Grey, dived into work and pretty much left his daughters to be brought up in the family mansion in Moonlight Falls, following the strict rules of their very stern grandmother, Ailey.
Following traditions, Granny was engaged to Earthan Murik, Jr. when she was 14. She had only met him once, and she didn’t particularly want to get married to someone she hardly knew. But that was the custom and who was she to rise against generations of well intentioned “breeding”? Well, she did all she could to sabotage the future wedding, from spilling tea on her future mother in law’s expensive couture suit and trying to run away.
All her efforts were vain, though, and she only succeeded in advancing the marriage. She was 16 when her grandmother Ailey took her and her sister on a trip to Hidden Springs. A trip she didn’t know would end on the 24th of June by her standing at the altar facing 18 year-old Earthan, who didn’t seem to fancy her either and almost passed out when the time came for the vows. But married they were, and that night young Tara cried and cursed, lying in her beautiful white dress on the large bed, waiting for Earthan to join her. He never did. She found his body in the bathroom, poetically bleeding to death in the bathtub…
Now she was a widow, a virgin widow. But her grandmother let her be as she feigned extreme sorrow, on the borderline of madness…
She lost her virginity to Magnus Darkling, as did her sister, and later her daughter Shasta… She met Rune Blackwood at a supernatural conference in Roaring Heights a couple of years after her encounter with the handsome vampire, and she soon got pregnant, giving birth to Shasta at the age of 35. Rune Blackwood payed a generous allowance, but remained in the background until his death in 1991.
Shasta and Magnus Darkling had a daughter, Taïga. A daughter Magnus didn’t even know about, and who is the main character of this story.
Shasta married a wealthy Italian Count and Warlock, Leonardo di Grisogno, in a pagan ceremony that resulted in her almost losing her life bringing forward a boy, Rowan.
But Leonardo’s father had made a pact with a demon, and now the demon came to get his due. Shasta got pregnant again with the twins, Frost and Willow. Frost who was duly claimed by the demon at his birth, leaving no choice to Leonardo but to leave his wife to bleed to death. She eventually did, but gave birth to Willow, now in the care of Tuatha De Danaan, the fairies…
The Council and the Rules:
The Council is international, with one or two local representatives in each country. They make the rules, and make sure nobody breaks them. There haven’t been any new rules since the 16th century anyway, as witches are very conservative, only experimenting with potions and -in some extent- magic formulas. Granny was one of the first who rebelled openly against the wedding rule, but was forced into marriage anyway. I guess in the beginning it had some meaning, controlling witches’ powers and land (if they didn’t have any, the marriage often ensured that the witch had roof over her head and someone “normal” to protect her).
Anyway, the rules only apply to the firstborn, female witch, who is the one to transfer her magical powers. There aren’t supposed to be more than one child anyway, and witches were the first to practice birth control, so if she got pregnant again it was because she wanted it. But the witch also played with her life – a male child usually implied death in childbirth (hence the rarity of warlocks in my story), and for each child born, the witch lost both some of her magical powers and health, so the magic she transferred to each child was less and less powerful. And most important, as I mentioned above, only the firstborn child can transfer her powers to the next generation.
That’s why Missy can do practically what she wants, even if she had a daughter, her daughter wouldn’t become a witch anyway. And why is Rowan, Shasta’s second born child a warlock? Leonardo ensured that by the pagan wedding rites, hoping for a successor. Shasta almost died in childbirth, but with the help of new, modern medicine, she recovered. And she was drugged and didn’t remember a thing about the first rite, when she was offered to the demon and got pregnant with his child (Frost). Willow is Leonardo’s, and a kind of bonus in the whole pagan-drug-fertility circus.
Shasta was supposed to get married, and she ran away, or got “kicked” out by Granny, just in time. Granny threw a cloaking spell on her, to hide her from the Council, but she never stayed for long in one place, never using her magic. She hadn’t had time to start her novice training anyway, so she had the capacities but not the knowledge.
She met Magnus Darkling, who immediately recognized her. Another Grey witch throwing herself at his feet – or at him… The Council doesn’t know who Taïga’s father is, he didn’t know it himself until Granny and Missy revealed it to him.
The Council found out about Shasta when she married Leonardo, but he is rather powerful and with connections in the Council, so they couldn’t get to her.
In fact there are loopholes in the rules, as the witch is supposed to marry someone chosen by the Council. Granny should have had to remarry to procreate, but she feigned deep depression – not hard after discovering your husband bleeding to death on the wedding night! Rune Blackwood was approved by the Council, even though they never got married. So Granny transferred her magical powers to a firstborn daughter, her contract is not broken. She can marry whoever she wants now, especially as there won’t be any more children. Shasta also had her firstborn daughter, Taïga, born out of wedlock, but things like that happen…