Ten days had passed since the coven had cast the spell that set the first layer of protection over the new town.
Cheyenne, with help from Pavanna and Veronica, had set up the basic frames for several houses around the central square. The houses would be forty feet wide, sitting on lots slightly more than sixty feet across, the differences would be due to what people desired.
For the most part, the houses were quite similar at this point, with this one being a bit longer, that one slightly wider at the back because the owner, Appolonia, wanted a small private room attached there for her gun collection, which rivalled that of some big game hunters.
Pavanne and Veronica had brought back quite a few truckloads of various types of trees, all having been cut into ten foot lengths. The two women had then set up a set of braces that could be clamped around the logs, then proceeded to saw each log in half lengthwise.
When they had a fair supply ready, the three women working together would lift each log into place on strong brackets bolted into the studs.The logs were set so that each one would fit into place with only the slightest of gaps showing which could be easily sealed.
They carried, placed and cut new half logs when needed, stopping occasionally for breaks or to grab a drink from a canteen. Cheyenne's watch showed the time to be 11:19 AM; they had, in the three hours they had been working today, covered most of one side wall of a house.
If they could maintain the pace, all seven houses that were being built, plus the combined clinic/office, would be ready in a few weeks.
Cheyenne nodded, smiling as she waved to Pavanna and Veronica, then returned to the work that needed to be done.
Pavanna had received over five dozen responses to her requests for emergency workers, primarily police, fire and medical. She had spent most of her evenings wading through new messages, talking to people she knew in various areas of the country who knew someone who knew someone else that knew the person that she was inquiring about. In most cases, the information that she heard was very positive.
Over 90% of those who had contacted her had said they could start within two weeks, or perhaps a month.
What interested Pavanna quite a bit was that some of these people had access to magic in one way or another.
Three of them, all living in the the borough of Queens in New York City, had formed a small coven of their own, one with true magic.
Pavanna had sent replies to most of the people who had contacted her, saying she and the others would see them when they arrived.
What interested Pavanna even more were the messages from people with strong magical ability. Some of these messages were along the line of 'I felt a call of sorts on the night of the last full moon, I am ready to come to where you are, just give me the word'. She did.
In the early afternoon of the eleventh day after the first layer protection spell had been laid, the first newcomer arrived.
All seven women could feel the raw ability of the newcomer. What surprised them was that he was male, not female as they had expected.
He walked to one of the gates at the outer edge of the town, looked inside along the passage and noticed the plants with a soft chuckle.
That was when Tanisha and Cassandra came walking down that same path and faced him from the other side of the gate.
The man, rugged looking and well built, appeared to be in his mid-forties, but with that level of power, age could be slowed fairly easily.
He raised large, long fingered hands and quietly stated, "You have no reason to fear me, I've come to help you if you are agreeable."
Cass looked behind her briefly, noticing Jeanette approaching along the same path. Jeanette was smiling broadly.
Jeanette was soon beside the two other women and softly whispered in Cass' ear, "He is a good man, very protective of women without being invasive." Cass nodded as Jeanette stepped back, then shrugged, opened the gate and bade him to enter.
He nodded and followed them along that passage, then another and yet another, slowly heading for the center of the town.
Cass led them into the central area of the park, just a short distance from the nexus itself.
The man stopped in shock just behind the women, the sheer power of the nexus in front of him was well beyond amazing.
"By the Goddess," he whispered, "I've discovered three new nexuses in the last seven years, but they are like trickles compared to a flood!"
Perhaps Selena was listening. The seven women had felt her presence flitting around the town from time to time. A very brief moment had passed from his uttering those words when she appeared before them, looking right at him as she said, "I felt your call, O shaman."
He looked up at her, startled beyond belief. That had been a barely whispered prayer, and she had heard it?
Her physical appearance reminded him of First Nations women who spent a lot of time out under the sun. "I was not calling anyone. If anything, that was a brief prayer uttered in shock when I saw the size of this nexus. You called me shaman. I admit that I am one."
Selena smiled at the small group. "By your own powers, Tanisha, you know he means this place no harm, or he would not have stepped more than a few feet inside that gate without being attacked by the plants you created. He is a shaman as I said, and a rather good one."
He put his hands up in front of him again, showing they were empty. "My name is Ross Hymmel. Friends call me Red Wing."
Cass nodded, Selena had chastised them all without being cruel about it, and spread her hands to either side. "Be welcome here, Red Wing."
Red Wing, as they chose to call him, threw himself into the work beside Cheyenne, Pavanna and Veronica. By late afternoon on the thirteenth day after the full moon, they were finishing the roof on the first house, lines of overlapping sandstone tile running down all four sides.
As the second to last tile was being placed, all eight people inside the town felt the approach of a person, perhaps more than one.
Redwing followed the three women, who were joined by the others as they approached a gate on the eastern side of the town.
A man, perhaps thirty to thirty-five years old, short pale blond hair, ice blue eyes, not quite six feet tall, stood next to a rather beautiful woman. The woman was a few inches shorter, with golden blonde hair falling to mid-back and grey eyes. The last person in the small group was a young girl, perhaps twelve years of age, looking like a smaller version of her mother with her father's pale hair and eyes.
As soon as the group had stepped out through the gate, he smiled and spoke, "I'm Vance Paulson, this is my wife Sandy and my daughter Joy." He showed that he was holding a folder, which he passed over to Pavanna as he continued speaking, "I'm a firefighter from a town outside of Detroit, they were looking to downsize, so I gave them notice and quit. Sandy is a licensed EMT with a second degree in nursing."
Sandy had had one arm wrapped behind his back as he spoke, now she let go and stepped away slightly. "That's not the whole of it, though; I have some ability in the use of magic, although I am not very powerful. Joy actually has better control of magic than I do."
The coven members all nodded, each of them could feel the power coming from the woman and the girl.
Sandy continued speaking a moment later, "I felt the call on the full moon, so did Joy here. Like my husband, I handed in notice that I was leaving the day after that amazing display of power. We packed up everything, all that we have is in that big truck behind my car."
The seven coven members withdrew from the others for a moment, discussing it. From what each of them could sense, some better than others, these people were exactly what they claimed to be, thus there was no reason to deny them a place in the new town.
The women returned a few minutes later, with Cass waving to the new people to enter the town. "I bid you welcome to our Haven."
After that, new people would arrive two or three times a day. Each time, they would be greeted by the original seven women, sometimes with Red Wing standing back to watch them. A quick chat would be held near a gate, then the new folks would be welcomed into the town.
As more and more people arrived, work on the first houses progressed much faster thanks to having more people available for the work.
At the sunset of the twenty-second day after the full moon, the seven original houses had been completed except for electrical work and plumbing, which would be done as soon as someone with those skills arrived. The clinic/office was nearly halfway to being finished.
Once again, the women felt one or more people approaching a gate, this one near the north-west corner of the town.
They arrived by the gate barely five minutes later, just in time to see what looked like a girl come running through the open gate. Cassandra, Appolonia and Tanisha all swore afterward that the gate had been shut until just before the girl reached it, then ran inside.
That was when things turned ugly. A man ran in just behind her, then several feet up the path, before the plants closed in over him.
One of the plants actually nipped him, taking a small chunk from his right upper arm, before Tanisha said something to calm them.
The man stood there terrified of the plants, all of them looking down at him intently as if pondering if he should be their dinner.
The girl ran right up to Cass, then lunged at her, which immediately caused Cass to wrap her in a hug. The girl started crying.
It took several minutes to calm the girl down. From time to time, she would turn around and glare at the male standing under the plants.
Finally, she was calm enough to speak, stuttering now and then, "He... he... was going to kill me... be... because I want to be a girl!"
Well, you can bet that raised a ruckus. Several men who had recently arrived were quite ready to rip the guy to shreds then and there.
Somehow, the plants sensed the anger of the people over one they thought belonged here and they bent down closer to him, mouths open.
The girl continued speaking, "He was going to take me up to the quarry... up there..." she pointed to the north, "And throw me into it."
Cass turned, facing the man, then spoke quietly enough that only the people close by could hear her, "He intended to kill you?"
The girl nodded, saying, "Yes, ma'am. I managed to use my small ability in magic to make him take a wrong turn that brought us here."
The answer from the girl caused a glow of power to rise from the six other members of the coven, they wanted his blood!
A few minutes passed before they managed to calm down again and release the power to flow back to the nexus.
At that point, Tanisha shook her head and strode forward, coming to a stop just in front of the terrified man cowering under the plants, all of which seemed to be ready to snap down on him. "You came into this place intending harm to one who only wished to be her true self. You have felt the bite of my plants, they've had a taste of you. Leave now and never return, for if you do, they will eat you until only bones remain."
He looked at her, saw the slight glow in her eyes that could also be seen in faint flickers around her hands and shuddered with fear. He slowly backed away, watching the plants as he retreated step by step, then passed through the gate and sped off toward his parked car.
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