“Verrecky,” said her younger sister Louise, “I’m not happy about this.”
“Don’t be silly,” Verrecky had already changed into the plush dark robe while Louise still wore her nightclubbing outfit, “This is what we’ve been working towards. Just this little ceremony and we’re in. You want to be part of a Circle, don’t you? Well, this is our chance.”
“But I don’t think I want to be part of this Circle,” Louise hissed. “And I don’t like this whole being Marked thing, something’s...off. If they all have them, why haven’t they shown us?”
“Because it’s a secret Mark,” retorted Verrecky, “Now get changed. We’re all waiting on you.”
Louise looked around the room, clutching her handbag to her chest and taking in the robed figures, members of the ‘in-crowd’ that Verrecky insisted was where they should seek Circle membership. Verrecky was so certain that this was the right Circle and Verrecky was always right, always taking the lead. “No,” she said firmly, “This might be right for you, but it’s not right for me. I’m leaving. I’ll get a taxi home.”
“But you can’t leave,” the young man in the robe had been hovering nearby, “The ceremony is for two. Now you’re here you have to go through with it.” He did not smile nicely and put out a hand to detain her.
“If this is the sort of Circle where I can’t say no, then I really don’t want to belong!” Louise whacked his hand out of the way with her hand bag and ran for the door.
Behind her she heard “Louise!” from Verrecky and “Stop her!” from one of the men. That was another thing that was off, the Circle was only men but for herself and her sister. And didn’t Verrecky know what that sort of Marking could mean?
She got through the front door in spite of the locking spells keeping people out and ran straight into a familiar figure. The homeless man from outside her office absorbed her impact and put his arms her. “What’s wrong?”
She looked up into a face that seemed much younger in this light. “Please just take me home?”
Back inside Verrecky was shrieking, “What do you mean you don’t want me without her!”
“We have plenty of enchanters,” the Circle leader looked her up and down, “We don’t need to Bind one to us. Now, a sorceress is something else again. Sorry, but we don’t need you,” he paused, “For anything.”
“Bind!” Verrecky looked at the two red hot irons waiting in their braziers, “You treacherous-“
“Yes?” he smiled at her, enjoying her impotent fury.
“I’ll give you Bind,” she hissed and gestured. There was a swirl of sparks and the two branding irons rose in the air, their design changing, and began to hunt down their male quarry.