You need to know a few things before reading, first: I took inspiration from ancient theories, meanings and symbols, but without resuming them with fidelity, the changes are intentional, they're infringements I was willing to write.
This story is not a book of alchemy and it's maybe risky to modify interpretations, but I want to surprise, to make magic something more inaccessible.
For example, some sites will tell you that the black bile of the theory of humors (the fic revolves around that, by the way) is associated with Autumn, in my story, I associated it with Winter: it's not a mistake, it's another association for the story.
Then, I'm French. I always write in french first, then translate it. It took me time, I'm alone on it so there are probably mistake and some sentences surely sound odd. You can help me if you want, but I refuse to change my writing style, on top of that, this is just a short prologue, I always write long stories, so it's something you must know before.
So sorry about the mistakes and if I take my time for translating, I'll try my best to keep the pace between the french and english versions.
If you accept these small liberties taken and my clumsy English, in this case, I wish you'll enjoy this short prologue~
"I've succeeded where Orpheus has failed."
When the night pulsed, their powers became immense. They grew up, just like the shadows that shallow the world, they devoured the body and spirit of these damned, and gave them a strength superior to that of heroes.
An extraordinary ritual, as extraordinary as the ones of old legends, had been practiced. The long night had witnessed the feat. Cordelia had succeeded where Orpheus, a demi-god, had failed; the Supreme had brought Misty Day back from hell.
On the floor of the salon, puddles of black wax were still warm, frozen with languor. From the tips of their wick, ghosts of fire were still spinning, spreading an odor as heavy as velvet. The wood of the floor and the furniture scented the wide pieces, but an attentive nose would have smelt the sulfur which had poisoned the air.
The lamps were now off, caressed by the first rays of the sun, which threw its burning dust throughout the Miss Robichaux's Academy.
Candies and bones were still scattered in a few corners; baits left to deconcentrate the minor demons and other poltergeists. Anyway, it was not the time for tidying up, rather for a well-deserved sleep. Yet, instead of slipping into their beds, the young witches, although exhausted, had lined up in a corridor. At the end was the room where the Supreme was thinking.
Sitting on the edge of the bed, Cordelia Goode kept her hands clasped between her knees.
The success was not complete and the witch, disappointed, stared at Misty's body, lying in the middle of the sheet.
The chest was raising and lowering at a steady pace, and the hand that Cordelia was holding was warm, but when her thumb pressed against the wrist, the Supreme did not feel any pulse.
Still, Misty Day's body was not lifeless, Cordelia did not doubt it: it was just colorless.
Her fair hair had turned white like silver, her skin was as dull and pale as metal. Even the shadows were gone, making her as blurry as a misty day. The silhouette, like an old photograph, was without pigments.
Cordelia was ready to bend over to kiss the lunar forehead, but steps were coming closer: Zoe, a thick book under her arm, came to stand on the end of the carpet. The book was as long as her forearm and it seemed heavy.
Before the ritual, all the problems had been considered, as the demons are vigilant and always drive a hard bargain, especially for the pure souls. Luckily, this one too had a solution.
With a nod, Cordelia indicated to her pupil she was allowed to move forward. Zoe then placed the book on the mattress, and opened it on a page marked by a dried poppy.
There was so much knowledge, so much wisdom denigrated today, but witches had the gift to adapt them to their time. Maybe because they were the only ones who could control them.
The ancients of Antiquity and Middle Ages had established the theory of the four temperaments, grouping together what made the essence of an individual. Zoe enunciated the four humors that create the soul, beginning with black bile, produced by the spleen, then yellow bile, coming from the liver, phlegm, associated with the brain, and finally, blood, transmitted between the liver and the heart.
"These humors have all symbolic: character, emotion, season, element, color— Blood, for example, evokes spring and sanguine people."
"I can't feel her pulse," Cordelia observed, making a connection between her student's research and her friend's state.
"If we cross these symbols, we can bring back these humors. Hippocrates spoke of balance: if Misty no longer possesses any of these, they must not be in excess either."
"Evacuations of fluids are easier to practice, and— look how she is; it'll take a lot before reaching the sufficient amount."
Her hand still lingered on the motionless one.
At the entrance to the room, Queenie shared the opinion of her teacher: the deficiencies were more alarming than the excesses, for the moment. It was time to prepare other rituals.
"One for every humor," Cordelia added, "we're going to gather talismans, charms, anything that can be found and close to the humor invoked."
"Do we have to wait each season?"
The end of winter was approaching and witches could try to do two rituals in a row, but the Supreme did not know if time was on their side or no. Anyway, she did not want to wait.
Misty had returned, but incomplete, and the more Cordelia thought about it, seeing her friend in these sad shades, the more she could feel her own heart disappear in anguish.
"We'll do without seasons: we're witches, we can find equivalents or bring more power to other symbols."
The rituals would be just more complex, longer, but it would always be better than waiting for the cycles.
Zoe began to scribble a list of necessary items, while the Supreme leaned toward Misty's white ear. Her nose lost against the gray curls, she murmured:
"We'll bring you back, Misty. I promise you."
The young witches began to feel sleepy in the corridor, and finally, they were allowed to go to bed. Zoe, too, was able to rest her head on her pillow, just like Queenie. Only Cordelia remained in the room, still sitting in the same place.
Her hand had not let go of the sleeping one, so now it was not clear which one gave off the most heat.
In spite of the light growing and becoming immense, the boarders of Miss Robichaux's Academy were curled up under the blankets, buried under sleeps without dreams. Some, especially the youngest ones, still moved and grimaced, persuaded to suffocate again because of the smell of sulfur. Their knees then went up to their chins, fists trembling, ready to hit if hordes of demons arrived.
Nightmares, illusions or premonitions, all the interpretations were possible, as three big black dogs had just raised their muzzle towards the dark windows, showing their fangs and growling.