Grace Greenteeth stood at attention in the center of the circle of stones. “Be it the hour?” she intoned in a voice like a rusty latch opening slowly.
“Nope,” said Maud Lynne Douce, glancing at her pocket watch. “The Badb still has--another twenty minutes.”
The shorter, smaller witch stared at the taller one, as Maud Lyne continued to stare at her watch. “Ooooh!” Grace yelped, starting to hop up and down in frustration. “Can’t you ever let me have one moment, Maud? One moment?” Grace’s voice had shifted into tones that were infinitely more pleasant, and also natural.
Maud Lynne gave a slight nod, and shut her watch. “I just did. Exactly one moment.” She smiled at Grace. “Exactly.”
Grace pouted, and stared at the watch. “I hate that thing,” she stated. “It is bad, and wrong, and no self-respecting witch should be carrying one.” She pointed an accusing finger at Maud Lyne. “A proper witch can tell time by the moon, and the stars, and the sun, and the shadows.”
“What time is it, then?” asked Maud Lynne.
Grace looked away. “Why are you asking me? You were just looking at your watch. Your amazingly precise watch. Your precious, stupid, precious watch.” She shot another hateful glance at the device, as if half-expecting it to fall to pieces, with the other half expecting it to make a lunge at her and try to bite off a finger or two.
“Well, why are you asking if it be the hour if you can tell time by the moon and the stars, and… so on and so forth?” replied Maud Lynne.
“That’s traditional,” answered Grace, by now in a proper sulk. “You’re supposed to say that at a Grand Coven.”
Maud Lynne yawned. “It’s not a Grand Coven yet.”
Grace crossed her arms and turned away. “It is TOO!”
“No, it’s not a Grand Coven until the Babd, or the Nemain show up,” said Maud Lyn. She turned to the older woman sitting on a barrel next to a very large stone. “Back me up on this, Meg.”
Meg Mowton gave a single nod. “She’s right, Mistress Greenteeth. Up till then, it’s just a… gathering, I suppose.”
Grace attempted a growl--however, not being suited for such sounds, it sounded rather like the sound produced by a mildly cross kitten. “Doesn’t anybody care about tradition anymore?”
There was a sudden sound of stone grinding on stone, and a series of sparks shown in the shadow of a particularly tall Dolmen. “Depends on the tradition,” came a cold voice from that direction.
Grace gulped and turned towards the figure in the shadows. “Mother Flint,” she said in the quiet, hopeful tones one uses when addressing a person holding a very large, very dangerous object. “I… wasn’t sure you were going to make it. After… the last time…”
Mother Flint smiled, her teeth glinting in the darkness as the moonlight struck them. “Mmm… Didn’t have much to do tonight. So I thought--why not?”
Grace nodded several times in nervous agreement.
“Hey all!” said Whistling Pell, walking into the circle with Seleme of the Shout. “Sorry we’re late,” she explained, “But Sely couldn’t figure out what she shoul…” The witch paused as she saw the figure standing in the shadows.
“Mother Flint’s decided to grace us with her presence tonight,” said Maud Lynne. She checked her watch again. “Also, you’re not late. You’re actually early.”
Seleme of the Shout coughed slightly. “Oh,” she said softly. “That’s… nice.”