Disclaimer: I do not own the concept of the television show, Charmed, or its characters.

The Witches' Grail

By: Anna Bertrand

Prologue

The shadowy figure blended in with the hedges as he looked up at the second floor of the Halliwell manor. Up there, where the lamplight illuminated the bedroom, was the youngest of the Halliwell sisters, Phoebe. Malachi had watched, not quite believing his luck, as her other two sisters got into a Jeep and left for an evening out on the town. For weeks now, he'd come to the Halliwell manor, waiting for an opportunity, waiting for Phoebe to be alone. And now his quest was within his grasp. He looked up at the bedroom window again. Enjoy your last moments of freedom, witch.

The moon overhead was a sliver of yellow, allowing him to move in darkness. He'd worn his black overcoat to conceal himself even further, the barbed stems of the hedges grabbing at the coarse material as he edged along the path to the front door.

Malachi paused as a car crawled by on the street below. The San Francisco police. The car came almost to a stop in front of the Halliwell manor. A face leaned over and peered up at the house for a short moment before driving on.

Malachi waited and watched in case the police turned around to make another pass. But the car kept going straight, and finally the red taillights faded from view.

He was proud of his patience. It wasn't easy. Ever since Langham had spoken of the Wiccan Grail while in his death throes, he'd been obsessed. Powerful beyond all your dreams, Langham had said of the Grail as the fever caused him twist and turn on the bed. In his fevered confessions Langham had spoken of ancient temples, runes, and it was soon apparent that along his mystic journeys he'd found that the ancestors of the Charmed Ones had inherited the legendary Grail; to keep it safe from the likes of Malachi and his sort, no doubt.

Malachi smiled. The thought of stealing the relic from those do-gooders was intoxicating. Of course, it was a shame that Langham was no longer around to reap the benefits of his own efforts; even more a pity that Malachi was not a sharing demon, and the point of his dagger had ended both Langham's fever and his life.

Malachi grinned. If the Grail was indeed obtainable—and by now he was certain it was—by the end of the week it would most likely be in his possession.

He clenched his fists, trying not to become overly anxious. He forced himself to breath evenly. And with one last look around, he walked up the front steps and to the stained glass door.

The porch light was dim but he wanted total darkness, so he swept his hand up and across and the light went out.

He closed his eyes and concentrated, then he passed through the front door as if it were air. It was a silent entry. He did not want to alert the witch to his presence, to his intent. He entered the foyer and crept up the staircase, the lights blinking out as he passed. Malachi stopped in front of the door he knew to be Phoebe's. In the dark hallway the golden light spilled from the bottom of her door, illuminating his black boots.

In his hand he conjured a shimmering, watery surface; and cupping his hands together, he formed it into a sphere.

Then, he opened the door.

xXx

When the door flew open, Phoebe was sitting at the vanity brushing her hair. The hairbrush dropped from her hand as she startled, staring at the red-haired man in the doorway. He was smirking as he drew his hand from behind his back, producing the clear, watery sphere.

She stood and readied herself to place a well-aimed kick in the intruder's face.

"There's no time for that," he told her, as he threw the sphere at her.

Phoebe ducked and the sphere flew overhead, missing her by inches. But then she gasped. The sphere had stopped, turned, and now hovered over her. She was just about to somersault onto the bed and away from the strange ball when it suddenly burst, raining its clear liquid onto her head and shoulders. She put her hand up to deflect the sulfurous-smelling water and keep it away from her face, but as she did, the liquid began to arrange itself back into the sphere, surrounding her within its bubble. She kicked and punched the watery membrane but it would not give.

Breathing hard, she glared at the man she now knew was a demon, cursing him. Her voice warbled as if submerged under water. Inside the sphere, her surroundings had taken on the same dreamy, underwater effect; it was lulling her despite her best efforts to fight on.

Phoebe watched through half-closed eyes as the red-haired demon walked toward her. In rebellion, she clenched her jaws and brought her fists up to the wall of the sphere where they landed with a soft thud.

He laughed at the attempt. Then he waved his hand in front of her face and she slumped against the sphere, unconscious.

"Good night, witch," he whispered. And then the sphere began to shrink until finally it fit into the palm of his hand. He put it in the pocket of his overcoat and patted it, supremely proud of himself.

Malachi walked down the stairs and out the front door, not bothering this time to pass through it, but instead, slamming it shut with a certain amount of satisfaction.

xXx

Note: Chapter 1 will be posted on Monday as I need a few days to outline. Next week will begin a regular schedule of segments. Hope you enjoy.

-Anna