Watchers Council – Jocasta’s Office – Moments Later
Jocasta now sat in her office alone and looked at the journal in her hand. She hadn’t begun to read it yet. Her fingers trailed over the rough material of the cover as if in indecision. A knock at her door turned her attention upward, and she watched as Antonia walked inside.
“How’s life?” Antonia asked. Jocasta shrugged and put the journal down. “Boy, where’d you get those outdated things? I didn’t think the Council kept paper anymore,” she went on picking up one of the journals.
“They don’t,” Jocasta answered. “These belong to Giles…well, actually, to my mother,” she amended. “He asked me to read them but…”
“But what?” Antonia asked.
“I’m not sure I’m ready. I mean I’ve heard bits and pieces about her life from your mom a-and Giles too, but this…this is her personal stuff, this is everything…All the years she spent at the Council up until she died – even to the last few hours, from what Giles told me.”
Antonia gave her a sympathetic expression. “What are you afraid of?”
“My reaction mostly,” Jocasta answered. “Giles said he’s been waiting to give these to me, waiting until he thought I was ready.”
“Then trust Giles. He’s usually on the money.”
Jocasta gave a shadow of a grin and a slight nod. “I probably will. I just need to get my courage up some more. Anyway,” Jocasta said, trying to change the subject, “what are you doing up here?”
“That seems to be the popular question today,” she said with a smile. “I got booted for two weeks for trying to save my cousin and her girlfriend.”
“Ex-girlfriend,” Jocasta corrected before giving a sincere, “I’m sorry. Don’t they realize you saved our lives?”
“No, it’s more important to fill out paperwork first before you play the hero, apparently,” she replied smiling. Slowly, her smile slipped away. “So…have you talked to her?” Jocasta looked away for a moment. “I’ll take that as a no.” Antonia began to shake her head. “I still say the Rosenbergs are far more stubborn than the Allisters.” Jocasta just gave her a snarl, which made Antonia chuckle. “Why don’t you call her up?”
“And say what? Any more lies you’d like to tell me?”
“Oh, come on, Jo. What could Katie do? I mean, really? She’s got a point.”
“Taking her side now?” Jocasta asked with a tinge of hostility.
“No, I’m on your side, and by being on your side, I want to see you happy. Doesn’t Katie make you happy?”
Jocasta looked out the window of her office. “She did. Happier than I’ve ever been. But I don’t think I’ll be able to trust her again.”
“Step into her shoes for a moment. She meets the girl of her dreams, but there’s a guy she’s involved with, and he’s a gazillion miles away.”
“Gazillion is not a real number.”
Antonia ignored the distracting remark and went on. “Instead of sending him a Dear John letter, she wanted to meet him face to face because she respected him enough to tell him she wanted to share her life with someone else. Doesn’t that show she’s got some sense of character?”
“But she could have told me the truth,” Jocasta countered.
“And if she had, then what? You would have dropped her cold, and she never would have had the chance to get to know you.”
“That’s not true,” Jocasta argued. Antonia folded her hands across her chest. “Okay, maybe it’s a little true.” Antonia then cleared her throat. “All right, it’s a lot true. What’s your point again?”
“You found a good woman that adores you and makes you happy. She was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Cut her some slack. That’s my point.”
Jocasta released a heavy sigh. “I’ll consider it.”
“Well, since that’s coming from the Grand Master of Grudge-Holders, I’ll take that as a good sign,” Antonia told her with a slight grin. “But seriously, if you need moral support with her or these,” she said holding up a journal. “Just give me a ring. I’m heading home.”
“Two weeks, huh?” Jocasta said with a grin. “How are you going to fill that time?”
“Well, first I thought I’d start with a bubble bath, and if my boyfriend stops playing tinker toys with James long enough, a bath for two.” She waggled her eyebrows. “I highly recommend it by the way,” she added before handing Jocasta the journal in her grasp. “I’ll call you in the morning.”
Jocasta gave her a nod and watched as Antonia left the room. Once she was gone, Jocasta turned her attention to the book. After taking a deep breath she opened it and began to read.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Day
22 years earlier
Constance Rosenberg walked through the security checkpoint and waved to the guard with a smile. He did the same in return.
“Good morning, Ms. Rosen, uh, I mean Constance,” he said with a polite nod.
“Good morning to you too, Fredrick. Have the other members come through?”
“I believe so, ma’am,” he told her.
“Good, maybe today won’t be so bad after all,” she replied with a smile.
Watcher Council – Coven Room – Moments Later
As Constance entered the elaborately decorated coven room, nine witches rose to meet her.
“Everyone’s on time today,” she said happily.
“Except you,” Tess, one of the witches, teased.
Constance looked at her watch. “I have three minutes left, which means I even have time to get a cup of tea,” she answered, waving her finger with a smile.
“Are you worried about the meeting today?” Tess asked.
“No, not in particular,” Constance answered.
“We’ve been hearing rumors,” she went on.
“Such as?” Constance asked.
“The Watchers division is considering drastic changes that might affect us,” she replied.
“If I had a dime for every time in the past fifteen years that the Council has suggested ‘drastic’ changes that amounted to very little, I could buy an island in the Pacific and retire. Just relax. I’m sure everything will be fine.”
Watchers Council – Council Chambers – Later That Day
As Council members from the three major divisions – the Coven, the Slayers and the Watchers – began to enter the room, Constance heard Horatio Tyrell calling to her.
“Ms. Rosenberg,” Tyrell called in a tone that seemed more like an order.
“Yes, Horatio?” she said, turning around.
“Before we go in, I think there’s something we should discuss.”
“The High Commanders have a program we’d like to institute.” Constance said nothing and waited for him to continue. “The Coven will begin immediately training the slayers in magic.”
“But we already train slayers-.”
“All the slayers,” he said, emphasizing the word ‘all.’
Constance looked shocked at first, but then she closed her mouth.
“Over my dead body,” she finally answered upon finding her voice.
“That can be arranged, Ms. Rosenberg,” he said, taking a step closer. “But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.”
Constance looked dumbstruck as Tyrell turned and walked into the Council Chambers.
Trisha Hansen, head of the Slayer division, walked up when she saw Constance’s reaction. Her slayer aide, Velika Petrova, was at her side.
“What’s wrong?” Trisha asked.
“I don’t believe it,” Constance mumbled.
“Believe what?” she asked.
“Did you request that all slayers be trained in magic?” Constance asked accusingly.
Trisha quickly shook her head. “No, where did you get that idea?”
The witch let out a heavy sigh.
“Let’s go in and find out what’s going on,” Constance said as she nodded for the two women to follow her inside.
Watchers Council – Council Chambers – Moments Later
A younger Sebastian Giles glared from the back of the room where he and his fellow junior watchers sat during meetings. Tyrell and Travers stood before a podium in what appeared to be a heated debate with Constance Rosenberg.
“Whose bright idea was this?” she challenged.
“It was a High Command decision,” Tyrell answered firmly. “And I would suggest you mind your tone.”
“Then, with all due respect, Sir, your decision making process…what’s the word I’m looking for here…oh yes, it sucks.” The room was filled with both gasps and chuckles alike as she went on. “Look, for over one hundred years, only slayers who have a talent for magic have been trained. For over one hundred years, this system has worked without fail.”
“All the more reason why we want all slayers trained. Our army would be even more powerful,” he countered.
“And what happens if someone unworthy or someone unprepared is trained in the magical arts? I’ll tell you. They run the risk of being an unstoppable rogue slayer. Or worse a pack of rogue slayers with enormous power. This is not your area of expertise, Mr. Tyrell. It’s mine and my coven’s.”
“Perhaps we should vote at this time?” Travers suggested.
“And perhaps Mr. Tyrell is feeling power hungry since getting his new position as High Command Chair?” Constance shot back.
Tyrell pointed a finger at Constance. “You mind your tone, or I’ll—”
From the back of the room Sebastian looked ready to leap across the mass of people to claw out Tyrell’s eyes.
“What? Have me imprisoned for speaking my mind?” she asked defiantly.
Trisha Hansen rose from her seat in the slayer section of the assembly.
“If I may, everyone?” she said. Constance and Tyrell continued to glare at each other until he nodded in Trisha’s direction. “As chief delegate of the Slayers division, I’m against the proposition. I myself am not trained in magic, but several of my slayers are, and both the trained and the untrained do a wonderful job. The Coven never trained me, but as you can see,” she said waving at herself, “I’m in the highest slayer position, and I did it without the use of magic. If the Coven feels that magic should be taught only to those they feel are worthy or receptive, then I trust the Coven’s judgment to continue in this fashion. I second Ms. Rosenberg’s motion of allowing things to stand as they are, and I ask my slayers to vote the same.”
“Very well,” Tyrell nodded. “Anything further?”
“I ask that voting on this matter be anonymous,” Giles called out from the back.
“Objections?” Tyrell asked. When no one said anything, he nodded. “Okay then, cast your anonymous votes.”
The watcher sitting next to Giles gave him a nudge. “Looks like we’ve got an unstoppable slayer army now. This will be good,” he said with a nod of approval.
Giles didn’t answer as he rose and began to file out with other members. He glanced back at Constance and gave her a short nod that was barely noticeable.
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Moments Later
Giles rose to his feet when he saw Constance open the door of the coven room. She turned around briefly to the members behind her.
“Give us a moment,” she said softly, and they remained outside. Quietly, she slipped inside and closed the distance between them. “Looks like he thinks he’s won,” Constance said, forcing a grin. “You know, if you get caught here, they might say you’re fraternizing with the enemy.”
“Hence the anonymous vote. They can’t trace me. Besides, I enjoy fraternizing,” he told her with a soft smile before he gave her a gentle kiss on the lips. “What are you going to do?”
“Well, I’m not training slayers that aren’t magically called, that’s for sure.”
Giles and Constance both stepped away from each other and turned when they heard a knock at the door. They watched as Trisha walked inside with Velika following behind her.
“I can’t believe this,” she said as she walked over. “They can’t do that! How are they going to make you train slayers you don’t want to train anyway?”
“If we don’t, they’ve threatened to disband the Coven.”
Trisha folded her arms across her chest. “So you’re giving up?”
“No,” Constance answered confidently. “I’m giving them the fight of their lives.”
End of Act Two