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Dear Mom,

            To be completely honest, I don’t understand why you want to continue with these letters. Grandmother taught me to scry and I could just as easily call you when Papa isn’t home. It’s easier and you wouldn’t have to wait for a letter every three weeks or so. Ah well, I’ve started this anyway. How is Quentin doing? Have they figured out what is going on with him yet?

            As for me, there really isn’t anything that I can report that you don’t already know. This summer, the element is Water. After seeing what Earth and Air could do, I actually expected water to be the weakest of the elements. Imagine my surprise when I learn just how versatile it can be. There were more uses than I thought possible and the elemental that Grandmother decided that I would study this summer is an Undine. They’re kinda like Nymphs except for that they aren’t nearly as powerful.

            Maybe it’d be more accurate to compare them to Sirens, with a much less enchanting voice. The book I read last Fall didn’t have much on them. Most people who have ever seen one hasn’t lived to tell the tale so I wasn’t sure how well this summer’s creature was going to go over. That is, until Grandmother took me out to that old lake about six miles behind her house. The lake is home to two Undines… Seriously, I’m getting a little tired of all the surprise creatures in places I used to play as a child. It is also annoying to know that you knew about this and never told me before now. You had to have known that I’d come into power, or were you hoping I’d be a normal weakling for your perfect family?

            When Grandmother first introduced me to Inna and Naida (their parents were real creative with their names—both are Russian for ‘strong water’ and ‘water nymph’ respectively), I was wary. Undines are not known for their friendly attitudes and since they are likened to Sirens and Nymphs, I had no desire to let them get too close. Of course, Grandmother told me to stay there for the afternoon and learn about them. While her methods tend to be life threatening most of the time, I cannot deny the effectiveness of these lessons. It’s so much easier to learn firsthand than just the books that I have at home. Besides, when I got to know them, they weren’t all bad. Definitely as dangerous as the stories described but I didn’t feel the need to fear them. They even sang for me and gave me the power to breath underwater for awhile so they could show me their world. It was so beautiful, dark, but beautiful.

            Water, for lack of any better word, is fluid. In the basics, I learned to use water to purify and to complete a circle of power for spells normally out of my range. But Inna showed me so much more. With the right enchantments, I could use water to control other beings, heal, fall in love, etc. Think of all the possibilities! They got me thinking about Quentin. I don’t trust the doctors; they’re just out for your money. I could help him and no one would be able to trace it. I’ll just need to finish translating this old book I found, Inna said that it contained something that might help.

            They did tell me a lot about you when you were my age. We really are different witches aren’t we? You were scared of the magic that they had to offer while I want to learn all I can. I will be the strongest witch in the history of our line; both Grandmother and the Undines think that I have the potential but we won’t know until my Rite.

            It’s almost time for me to go finish the preparations for the solstice. Grandmother is letting me do everything this year and it’ll be just perfect. I do have a question but don’t tell Grandmother, she didn’t want to hear another word about it…Is there way for a mortal with the craft to gain immortality?

Odessa

Hand trembling as she read over the letter, Sera bit her lip and reached for the phone. This was concerning. Odessa was only fifteen; she shouldn’t have such an interest in power and especially anything concerning gaining immortality.

That was extremely dark magic. The Undines that she was learning from weren’t savory characters either and if not for the agreement they had with her mother, she wasn’t sure that people would live to play in the lake. She had learned from Inna and Naida as well but neither one of them had liked her. They had called her horrible names for all the time she spent with them and anything she learned was mostly second hand. The fact they had taken so quickly to Odessa did not settle with her.

“To what do I owe the pleasure?” The voice that picked up after the first ring filled her with a lingering bitterness and a relief that her mother hadn’t totally cut her off. Unlike her husband, she wasn’t surprised at all that her mother already knew who was calling.

“I’m worried about Odessa. Her letter is…concerning.” Much of it felt toned down as well and she didn’t like the feeling that her daughter was hiding something. Odessa was far too smart for her own good and she was right, she had the potential to be the most powerful witch of their line. “She’s getting more and more ambitious and the Undine are only feeding that.”

“And? Ambition is not a crime. It is probably while they didn’t like you at all. You had no drive to learn the craft.” If not for her concern for her daughter, Sera would have hung up just to avoid the jabs. Her lack of desire to move beyond the most basic of magic had been like a stab in the back to her mother and now much of her power was gone. It caused a rift she wasn’t sure they’d ever bridge.

“Mother, she’s dabbling in dark magic.” There was a tense silence on the other side and Sera heard some shuffling. It was enough to tell her that this wasn’t new but it was surprising. “She’s talking about the magic waters that the Undine uses to control people. And she’s asking about immortality. This isn’t just a passing curiosity! I found her leafing through a book on necromancy during Christmas!”

“She promised me that she was not actually using it.”

“Odessa is a teenager, I’m sure she’s trying it just because you told her not to.” Sera sighed, leaning back in her chair to rub her forehead. “She’s talking about using the waters to help Quentin. I can’t help but feel like his condition has just become another excuse for her to delve deeper into things she shouldn’t be.”

“I will not curb her thirst for knowledge.” It was that same stubborn tone that Sera had hated as a teenager that made her glare at the phone in her hand. A thousand miles between them or not, she was sure that her mother knew exactly what she was doing.

“This is a thirst for power, mother, and you know it. If I read back through her letters, I can find it in all of them but never has it been so obvious.” Sera could not stand to see that hungry look in her baby’s eyes every time she found a book of magic or came across a more powerful spell. “Do something about this mother, before it’s too late. You have more control than I do over her.”

“I will do what I can to keep her on the path of light, but I fear I do not have the control you think I do.”

“What do you mean?” There was dread in those words and Sera’s heart stopped beating when her mother finally answered.

“I mean that Odessa’s craft has grown exponentially with all of her extra practice. She has more power than me by many times over.” Her mother paused for a breath and for what Sera thought a sip of a drink. “Neither one of us can truly stop her anymore.”

_________________

Part 3/4 of Odessa’s Letters

Still working on the catching up process. Classes are done so now I’ll have all the time I want when I’m not studying for finals to write.

Next Creature: Salamander (Elemental)

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