2.9 Eve of Ascension

Cordelia stared at the woodworking bench in front of her. It had been so long. She lifted the timber up from the floor and then placed it back again, shaking her head. There was nothing she could think of making.

Almost everything she’d ever made was functional, had a purpose. To put a roof over her head. To give her something to sit on. Even the wooden toys she used to make when she first got into woodworking were made in an effort to make other children like her, for a purpose. She wasn’t artistic. She wasn’t like Micah.

Speaking of Micah, she realised it had gotten dark outside. Which meant he’d be getting up soon. She left the shed in a haste, before he spotted her there. She couldn’t give him the satisfaction of knowing she had been considering using the shed. Satisfaction? That wasn’t quite right. What was she even doing? She shook her head, heading back to the house.

Sure enough, Micah came downstairs shortly after. He looked at her cautiously, almost as if he expected her to throw something at him. But there was no time for awkward exchanges tonight. They had a visitor.

“Hawthorne!” Cordelia exclaimed, rushing to hug her daughter. “What… what are you doing here? Is everything ok? Did you run out of plasma juice?” She glanced towards Micah, suddenly irritated.

“Everything’s fine,” Hawthorne reassured her hastily. “More than fine, actually. I have good news.”

“Oh?” Good news that warranted coming home? Britechester wasn’t that far, but still…

“I’m going to become a spellcaster.” Hawthorne announced. “So I’ll be moving back to Glimmerbrook to study with Morgyn.”

Cordelia froze. She heard the words, but it was as if their meaning couldn’t quite reach her consciousness.

“What?” Micah jumped in. “When… how did that come about?”

“Uni’s been a great experience and all, but it’s helped me realise that what I really want to do is study magic. I mean, how could I not, right?”

It felt surreal. Why did this keep happening, Cordelia wondered. She had thought there couldn’t be a more painful place for Hawthorne to go when her daughter announced she was moving to Britechester. She had been wrong. It felt like her insides were breaking into a million tiny pieces.

“Did Morgyn put you up to this?” She asked quietly.

“No, it was my idea,” Hawthorne replied. Far too adamantly. She was covering for them, wasn’t she?

“It does sound like it came out of nowhere,” Micah pointed out gently. “Britechester-“

“I am sick of Britechester, ok?” Hawthorne’s voice flew up. “What’s the big deal? Studying with Morgyn was always sort of on the table. I’m just… I don’t want to waste time.”

“Hawthorne, you’ll have all the time in the world to study with Morgyn.” Micah started. “Why not at least-“

“Absolutely not.” Cordelia interjected, finally catching up. “Studying with Morgyn was not, is not and won’t be on the table. You’re not allowed to do that.”

“What?” Hawthorne looked at her as if she said a joke with a particularly flat punchline. “What are you talking about? You guys have always said I can do anything I want with my life…”

“Well, not that.” Cordelia stood her ground. “I forbid it.”

“Forbid it?” Hawthorne repeated incredulously. She turned to Micah instead. “What the hell… Dad?”

Micah failed to reply right away, prompting an immediate reaction from Hawthorne.

“Ugh,” Hawthorne rolled her eyes. “This is ridiculous! You can’t just forbid it. I’m eighteen! I didn’t come to ask for permission. I just came to invite you to my ascension ceremony. If you don’t want to come, fine. But I’m doing this either way.”

“Then get out.” The words poured out of Cordelia before she even realised what she was saying. She could feel Micah’s shocked gaze on her.

“What?” Hawthorne’s face turned from annoyed to incredulous to hurt within seconds.

It was a look Cordelia had never seen in her daughter’s eyes, but it wasn’t an unfamiliar look. She reminded her so much of her father in that moment, and Cordelia couldn’t take it.

“You’ve heard me.” She said. “Go. Do what you want. Go to your Morgyn. But if you go, you’re not welcome in my house. So get the hell out.”

Hawthorne stared at her for a moment, speechless, before turning around abruptly and heading for the door.

***

Hawthorne could not believe what was happening. She took a deep breath of the fresh air, trying to process what just went on.

Her father appeared behind her.

“I’m sorry, Hawthorne. We… might not be able to make it to your ceremony.” He said lamely.

She almost burst out laughing from the sheer absurdity of it all. “No shit!” She shook her head, still in disbelief. “She fucking lost it.”

“It wasn’t you she was yelling at, Hawthorne.” Her father said quietly.

“Sure. It was just decided to kick me out of the house.”

“She didn’t mean that. Trust me. I-“

“I don’t fucking get it. She didn’t want me going to uni in Britechester, and now she doesn’t want me studying magic. Why am I not allowed to do anything with my life? I’m not gonna be a damn kid forever!” Hawthorne burst out.

He gave her one of those frustrating ‘you just wouldn’t understand looks,’ probably readying himself to serve up yet another excuse. Not that Hawthorne was planning to hang around for that.

“Whatever. I’m out of here.”

She turned around, bolting for the portal to the magic realm as quickly as she could without actually running. She could hear him calling her, but she refused to turn around.

***

It was Hawthorne’s first time back in the realm since the day she fled Britechester. She could not quite make up her mind if she felt better or worse tonight. Everything definitely still felt fucked up. The eve of her ascension.

Morgyn didn’t look surprised when she told them her parents would not be coming to the ceremony, or when she asked to sleep over in the realm that night. To be honest, the sage seemed so distracted she wasn’t sure they even heard her until they led her to a small dusty room below one of the balconies.

“This is where I used to live, as an apprentice. It’s… modest. I didn’t quite anticipate you needing quarters in HQ.” They trailed off. “I will arrange something more adequate, but for tonight, I can just spruce it up a little…”

“No, wait!” Hawthorne stopped them as they were about to cast a spell on their surroundings. Seemed like a good way to distract herself from everything. She was intrigued by this pre-sage Morgyn who once occupied the room. And the room had to be filled with all sorts of traces of them. “I like it this way.”

Morgyn seemed puzzled, but didn’t object. Hawthorne sat down, looking around her.

“Morgyn… what did you feel like the night before your ascension?” Hawthorne asked. She was supposed to be on top of the world, but everything was… grey. A bit like the room.

“I mean, I know you didn’t have this kind of ascension, but becoming a sage would have probably been a bit like this, right? Were you…” She wasn’t quite sure how to finish the sentence. Happy? Less empty than she was? Not at odds with everyone? “..nervous?” She settled.

The sage didn’t answer straight away. “I didn’t know it was the eve of my ascension back then.”

“That doesn’t really answer the question.” Hawthorne pointed out. “Besides, how could you not know?”

“I was granted the sage title after a duel with my teacher.” They replied evasively.

“Sounds like the fucking musketeers,” Hawthorne smirked. “Will we be duelling once I’m a spellcaster?”

“Not like that, no.” Morgyn did not elaborate. They opted to change the subject altogether instead. “Hawthorne… are you sure you want to be a spellcaster?”

What sort of a question was that? Had everybody lost their minds tonight? “I was just kidding about the duels. I mean, how could I not want to be a spellcaster? It makes anything possible.”

“Everything is possible… but never without a cost.” Morgyn told her. “You won’t have the same kind of freedom as you do now.”

“It’s not like I can do whatever I want now either,” she shrugged. Clearly. Seemed like nothing was going her way these days.

“And perhaps it won’t feel all too different, at first.” Morgyn mused. “But you should know that the more power you’ll have the more you’ll need to restrain yourself.”

You are talking about restraint?” Hawthorne raised an eyebrow. “You sound like dad…”

For the briefest moment, Morgyn’s mouth twitched into a crooked smile. “Not quite.”

“I’ve sat through enough of his talks about restraint that I’m pretty sure I’m an expert now. Honestly, the way he goes on you’d think he expects me to be feeding on half of Glimmerbrook.”

“Perhaps just settle for a quarter,” Morgyn joked. “As long as it’s not the Charm boy again. That might get me in trouble.”

Hawthorne laughed. The idea of Morgyn in trouble was absurd. Morgyn was a sage. They could always do whatever they wanted.

“Consider Ollie’s throat safe,” she smirked. “Seriously though… what’s with all this restraint talk tonight? You’ve always been about the exact opposite! I still remember when you told me I’ll have enough power to set the world on fire when I was little.” Talk about extremes, she thought.

“That’s precisely the point.” Morgyn grew more serious. “The more power you have, the more difficult it is to contain it. I’m not saying that you’ll go burning down worlds tomorrow, of course. I just need you to understand that it might not be easy.”

The whole exchange seemed absurd. Tonight was absurd. There was no way Hawthorne was going to back out now, especially after her mother’s reaction earlier.

“So what, you’re saying that if you were born without magic, you would not have wanted to become a spellcaster?” She asked.

The question seemed to throw Morgyn off a little. They hesitated. “That’s not relevant. I didn’t have a choice. But you do. I’ve always wanted you to be able to have everything. Anything at my disposal, but the things I lacked too.”

“Like what?” Hawthorne wondered out loud. Nothing came to her mind, that was for sure. They literally could do anything in the world. Wasn’t that the point of untamed magic?

“Simple things. A warm home to grow up in. A nice childhood. Parents who were good people and… loved each other.” Morgyn let out a strange laugh Hawthorne didn’t quite understand.

But in a way, it was all too funny. Warm home? Apparently she was not welcome there anymore. Parents who loved each other? Good one…

“Well, that one didn’t work out too well,” she smirked.

“No, it did not.” Morgyn muttered under their breath, as if it wasn’t even for her benefit. They cleared their throat. “You should get some rest. Big day tomorrow.”

12 thoughts on “2.9 Eve of Ascension

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  1. Wow, Cordelia really just kicked Hawthorne out like that, huh. I’m not too surprised, she’s not in a mental state to think rationally now. Sucks that she won’t explain to Hawthorne her reasons, you know, like an adult-to-adult conversation, but I guess that’s just how parents are. Pretty realistic, actually. It’s like me and my parents, just not with such high stakes 😂 Micah is still being lovely but he’s not up to being a mediator between Cordelia and Hawthorne, so there’s a mess of a family right there.

    Morgyn talking about loving parents just makes me think of continuing the cycle of abuse, just in a very non-traditional way :/

    Hawthorne is trying to become a spellcaster to escape her guilt in Britechester, so I sincerely doubt she’ll do much better in the magic realm, where she is generally not welcome. This should be fun (read: horrible) to watch. Throw in the stuff with vampires and there’s bound too be chaos. Imma get the popcorn…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oof, I do hope your dynamic with your parents is not quite this intense 😅 Cordelia is a rather all-or-nothing person, as we’ve seen through the years, and some subjects do make her shut down entirely. Unfortunately Hawthorne is not exempt to that; if anything, the pedestal of sorts that Cordelia’s placed her on does mean the potential fall is quite drastic.

      Yeah, not sure how successful Micah could be at mediating given how shaky things are between him and Cordelia. It’s all rather messy indeed.

      Oh you’re so right; at its core BC is a story about cycles, or at least that’s definitely one of the main themes, if season one is anything to go by.

      Haha loving the doom enthusiasm! Hawthorne’s coping strategy does not exactly scream longetivity, for sure. But who knows, maybe the realm will be great for her 😅

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cordelia! I’m in shock! How bitter and vicious will you allow yourself to become!?
    There is no failure or abuse that excuses you from pushing your own daughter away from you! 😱

    Maybe I get hate messages from half the community now but I’m simply shocked at Cordelia’s self-hatred and her lack of self-respect.
    Is there any excuse that justifies the victim developing into an executioner?
    Hatred is a poison that affects everyone in the environment. It has already infected Hawthorne and it now causes her to reject her father before she hears what he wants to say.
    That may be understandable … she’s still very young and inexperienced.

    It surprises me that Morgyn asks Hawthorne if she’s sure she wants to be a spellcaster.
    It is as if the fundamental upheavals of the last days in the magic realm have shaken Morgyn more than they have imagined.
    I have never perceived Morgyn as unintelligent but more as overly self-willed power-perfect and with a superficial attitude as a bulwark against the interference of the outside world.
    Their lecture on power and self-restrain goes completely over the head of Hawthorne. She’s still too young.
    But beneath her youthful insecurities, Hawthorn has a sense of self-righteousness and power-perfection in common with Morgyn. She can become extremely dangerous if she does not learn to control her abilities.

    Micah should really stand by his daughter’s side now regardless of her rejections, regardless of his empathic understanding of Cordelia’s wounded soul and regardless of his opposition to Morgyn.
    I really hope he shows up for Hawthorne’s ascension.

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    1. I’m sure you won’t get hate! This was definitely not Cordelia’s finest moment, that’s for sure. Yes, it’s not really a justification, though it’s definitely not uncommon for a victim to become the executioner as you’ve put it – definitely something we’ve seen in BC a fair bit at least.

      Hawthorne was partly in shock, not to mention she’s ordinarily pretty used to things going her way, and lately everything in her life has been the exact opposite, from trivial matters to devastating ones. Her father may have been well intentioned but she’s had enough to take in for one night at this point.

      Morgyn definitely does spend a lot of their mental capacity on unhelpful inner rhetorics, so it’s hard to say how intelligent or not they are – and whether it matters when so often they end up focusing on the wrong thing. Though they are trying here, at least. You’re right that they’re not quote as superficial as they might have people around them believe.

      We shall see what Hawthorne’s newfound spellcasting abilities bring when she gets them. Let’s hope she’ll try to be responsible with them. And that at least one of her parents shows up at her ascension. Though maybe I shouldn’t encourage readers being hopeful in general, given how the story has been going so far 😅

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  3. Although I feel bad for Cordelia feeling like everyone is abandoning her for Morgyn, there are limits, and her throwing Hawthorne out on the streets is it. She officially gets potatoes now. Dear lord, she’s so caught up in keeping hold of what’s “hers” and clawing it away from Morgyn that she’s hurting Hawthorne in the process. Ironically, there is no better way to sever the relationship with her daughter for good than cutting her off and putting her out in the cold.

    I’m almost as angry at Micah as I am at Cordelia. He’s been flip-flopping between Cordelia and Morgyn for years and is used to playing go-between and mediator, but Micah should not take that kind of passive role with his daughter. He’s supposed to stand by her, even when (especially when) things blow up between Hawthorne and her mother. This is his child! “We might not be able to make it”, my foot! If Cordelia can’t handle it, then that’s her problem, but his grey bum better be there for his daughter’s ascension! 😡 You do not pick pleasing your unwilling, ungrateful lover and feelings of spite towards Morgyn over supporting your child during a big moment like that. No. Don’t you dare, Micah! 🤬

    Gaaaaaah why am I so angry? Breathe, Yimi. Breathe.

    This older Morgyn continues to surprise me. This is the second time in a row that they’ve tried to get to the heart of what’s bothering Hawthorne, without pushing their own agenda (even though her ascension is exactly what they want), and tried to show her all of her options. It’s so different from how Morgyn treated Cordeia and Micah. Ironically, Morgyn is doing better at parenting Hawthorne at the moment than either of her real parents are.

    Man, and to think that even her ascension is just a way to distract Hawthorne from how much of a mess her life is. The magic realm doesn’t even seem to like her all that much – not with the Charms at the head, anyway. No wonder everything seems so grey to her. The colours are an illusion, and Hawthorne instinctively knows that.

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    1. Yay, potatoes! I’m glad we’ll be fed, haha. Quite right, it was a pretty irrational reaction that’s far more likely to do harm than good when to comes to what Cordelia actually wants.

      Getting off the fence is clearly not Micah’s strong suit 😄 He does take a stand every so often, but sure takes him a while if his track record is anything to go by – took him 14 years to leave Verena’s coven and nearly 20 to admit he was in love with Cordelia 😅 In fairness, he was probably a wee bit taken aback by the news and Cordelia’s subsequent reaction to it to react a bit more swiftly, but he’ll need to get off that fence eventually, yep.

      Haha, I sure brought out the emojis this time. Even a swearing one, oh boy!

      Lmao you know the bar is low when Morgyn gets praise for parenting 😂 They obviously have a very different relationship with Hawthorne than they did with either Micah or Cordelia.

      I mean, the room Hawthorne is in is pretty grey, but you’re right, doesn’t exactly make a difference. Let’s hope there’s enough room in the magic realm for both her and the Charms.

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  4. Oh dear. Considering how desperately Cordelia once clung onto Hawthorne, she’s going to regret this decision for a long time. Or at least once her heart catches up with her head. Im trying to think of a time when Cordelia’s thoughts of her daughter wasn’t muddled by her feelings of Morgyn or Micah, but atm all that comes to mind is that those two figures always follow close behind whenever the focus is on her and Hawthorne. I think Ive stated a long time ago that Cordy had nothing but Hawthorne to cling onto for support during some of the darkest periods of her life. So this moment here of Hawthorne’s declaration to learn magic would feel like betrayal to her. I wish someone explained to explain to Hawthorne about the real reason for the dysfunction in their family. But oh well. It’ll probably take some time for anyone to recognise that Hawthorne is an adult and hence include her in adult conversations and explain this mess. Probably take some time for everyone to communicate openly with one another too. 😅

    The impulsiveness in Hawthorne’s thoughts is so apparent. So far her coping strategy works. Though its going to suck later. She’s already gearing herself up to distract her mind with Morgyn’s room and ascension etc. If Micah didn’t choose to help Hawthorne process her pain, lets hope hes helping Cordy, though that is going to be a tough nut to crack with their estranged relationship. Personally i preferred if he went after Hawthorne because it was clear in their talk outside the house that she would be receptive to him. Sads. Everyone is in a lousy place.

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    1. Definitely would have felt like a betrayal to Cordelia. In one of the late season one chapters, Hawthorne actually referenced suggesting that she visit Morgyn in the magic realm around winterfest instead of having that joint “family” dinner, and describes Cordelia as having “lost it” over the suggestion too. This is sort of a similar case, but much bigger in proportion.

      I don’t think Hawthorne is entirely oblivious to her parents’ and Morgyn’s past – she’s definitely had enough snippets to get at least some idea. Not that she knows all the details, of course. Haha yeah, I mean the “adults” are not great at communicating with each other in the first place 😆

      Oh yes, Hawhtorne is bouncing from one thing to another in the hopes that something sticks enough to make everything hurtful she’s experiencing go away. I mean, Micah did go after Hawthorne, she just sort of did a runner on him and did not turn back when he was calling her – save tackling her there was probably not more going after to be done 😅 You’re right that he could have done a better job with what he actually said in front of the house, though. Oof, I see you have a lot of expectations on Micah helping people to process pain – what gives you the impression Micah of all people is particularly good at processing pain? 😂 Sads indeed. As you say, everyone is pouring from an empty cup and it’s showing.

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  5. Cordelia threw Hawthorne out to protect her fragile self; been there. At least she has somewhere to go! And Cordelia would have known that Hawthorne would go to Morgyn. She’s not dumb. Hmm, something feels sneaky here.

    What is Hawthorne going to find in that dusty, grey little room? I’m not sure I’d want to sift through Morgyn’s old belongings. I would like to sift through Morgyn’s head, though. Is all this downer they’re on purely because Micah dumped them for Dandy, sorry I mean, Cordelia? But then, they imply at the end there that they had hoped that Micah and Cordelia might be a thing? Or just better parents? Or are they thinking of their own parents?

    “A warm home to grow up in” … are you implying that she should set fire to her house, Morgyn? That would certainly solve a lot! Micah and Cordelia would be forced to separate, she can go carve, um, toys for her friends, he can move in with Dandy and force the Watcher to find more hammock poses 😉.

    Meanwhile, what is L Faba doing? Are we catching up to the reappearance of Verena’s creepy coven? My prediction is that L Faba and… oh my god, I can’t remember his name, I just keep wanting to say ‘Ville’ so I’ll go with Blobby Bloodbag. L Faba and Blobby get together and start causing trouble as a distraction while Verena lures Hawthorne for…. reasons. I wonder if Hawthorne can be drunk from? I also wonder if Morgyn is somehow in cahoots with the vampires.

    But first I wonder what will go wrong at the ascension. 😈

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ouch. Yes, at least she has somewhere to go! Two places, technically, she still also has her room in Britechester, not that she wants to go back there. Yep, Cordelia would have known she’d go to Morgyn, considering she pretty much gave Hawthorne a “it’s either me or Morgyn” ultimatum. Which is slightly ironic. In any case, Cordelia would have obviously hoped Hawthorne would choose her rather than studying with Morgyn, but clearly that did not pan out how she intended…

      I mean, pre-sage Morgyn had pretty much nothing to their name so I can’t imagine there’s that much to find in the room. But who knows! Lol, I see you’re still keen to make Mindy happen 😂 Morgyn’s downer mood, there’s definitely the Micah part, plus the whole thing with the Charms sort of taking over the magic realm, and a couple of other things… Though does not mean the rest of your thoughts don’t apply. They definitely would also be thinking of their own parents when they said that. They did also imply they wanted Cordelia and Micah to be a thing, yes. One would presume that at some point Morgyn would have wanted that – if they didn’t, why cast a love spell on the two of them, after all?

      Lmao. Yep, scrap all of the above, Morgyn just wants her to follow in their footsteps and set the house on fire 😂That’s probably it. The watcher does have plenty of romantic hammock poses, so Mindy are sorted 😆

      Hahaha Blobby Bloodbag! You’re close! “Ville” aka Damien aka Billy Bloodlust is currently on tour and blissfully unaware Verena is about to summon him. In fact, Alba’s not even managed to report back to Verena yet, since it’s only been a week or two since New Year’s Eve. But hey, this could still happen! Maybe L Faba did decide to get some gig tickets and release her angst and rage at a Blobby Bloodbag gig 😆 We will actually check in with her pretty soon!

      Anyone including vamps can be drunk from, so that would include Hawthorne. Not that all the vamps would be easy to feed on, unless they allowed it. Definitely would be quite the feat to feed on Verena without permission, for instance. She’s deceptively strong.

      All the gloom and doom, why would anything go wrong at the ascension? 😊

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  6. Cordelia!!! 😯😡

    Also I love seeing this side of Morgyn. It’s not one too often shown.

    Am I the only one hoping Micah at least sneaks into the ceremony?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not Cordelia’s finest moment 😅

      Morgyn has plenty of sides and layers, that’s for sure. Some more repressed than others, haha.

      I bet a few people have similar hopes!

      Like

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