The Annual Krisya Hunt always began on the same night as the great Raven migration, which began by nature’s design on October first and continued long through October 31st of each year.
The Annual Harvest Celebration began somewhere around the tenth and continued through to the twentieth, the only difference about this particular year was that it was the year Magdalena Badis had passed away.
The great Matriarch herself, the Queen of the Romanian Gypsy’s who travelled to Canada during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century had finally passed away, after one hundred and four grande years on this Earth.
She could of course be succeeded by her daughter or grand-daughter, but that information would not be avalible until after the spreading of the ashes and the reading of the will.
Followed by a three day period of mourning, wherein family and friends would have the chance to gather celebrate the life of the Grand Dame, while simultaniously drinking themselves stupid.
It would be the celebration to end all celebrations, finished off with the very formal and traditional Parade of Souls, wherein the body of Magdalena would be carried through the streets of New Westminster where she lived and worked for a one hour procession that would end in Queen’s Park. Appropriate and necessary, as that would be the final resting place of the great Roma Canadian Queen.
On the day of the will reading, only Siddha Lee and Isobella Badis Cavanaugh sat in the formal board room of Diggle and Associates, who was the chosen firm of the late great Magdalena Badis.
They sat on the far left end of the table, with glass on either side of them, one facing a glass wall that showed off a long open space filled with desks which sat the associates, the other facing out towards Coal Harbor.
On the television CNN showed the latest breaking news about Donald Trump’s latest and greatest scandal to date, though neither paid attention, a glass jug of water sat untouched between them on a silver platter surrounded by five perfectly matching crystal glasses.
Both women had ribbons of black curls woven into tight buns at the base of their necks, tightly woven Armani suits with skirts one half inch above the knee, and black high heels that could split a man’s Adam apple in half given a chance.
Neither wore make up, though Isobella did wear a large pair of sharp black sunglasses to hide the red rimmed lids of her pale caramel colored eyes, Siddha’s matching eyes stared straight ahead out of the wall of window glass that gazed out over Coal Harbor.
Without introduction, Harold Diggle walked into the board room and took a seat at the head of the table directly between Isobella and the girl who would be her twin even though they had more than twenty-five years apart. Siddha’s eyes flicked to the white man who wore a dark brown suit over a white shirt and a blue tie, her eyes taking him in one long glance before they flipped to the window again.
“I apologize for the wait,” he said in a soft English accent, Isobella waved a black gloved hand, “it’s fine Harold,” she whispered tightly, Siddha remained silent.
“The will is pretty straight forward, Isobella your cousin Lucias will inherit the Vancouver Island property, you will inherit the New West Manor.” That was to be expected, technically speaking Queens Park was managed by the City of New Westminster, but the land itself was firmly in the grasp of the Badis Foundation, and would remain so as long as there was a Badis to claim it, as stipulated by every Badis since the first migration into the city.
“Siddha Lee, you will be her successor,” he said quietly and quickly, watching as the younger woman’s head turned and snapped towards the older man firmly, “I will not.” She replied decisively, as Isobella sighed softly.
“It is tradition and you will,” Isobella said as if that confirmed and ended the conversation. Siddha turned to her mother quietly, “I have no interest in taking her place,” Siddha said softly, almost in a whine but not quite. Siddha herself had enjoyed the last ten years of her life travelling on her father’s dime and learning about the Tribal traditions from various members of the Roma world, but she had no interest in actually participating in them.
“I have no interest in getting married,” Siddha started as Isobella snorted, “that woman didn’t get married until she was good and ready neither will you, there’s more to being the High Priestess than marriage,” Siddha snorted, from what she could tell the only thing the tribe was concerned about was marrying as much money as they could find, and repopulating the world with as many teenage mothers as possible.
She wasn’t wrong.
“It comes with a substantial monetary reward,” Harold said quietly as Siddha turned her eyes to him flatly, “I have money, Isobella should be her successor, it’s tradition,” Isobella turned to Howard and gazed into his kind blue green eyes behind the wire rim glasses. “Is that all?”
Harold cleared his throat and nodded gently, “a handful of charitable organizations will inherit sizable sums, but yes that uh…well that pretty much sums it up as far as the two of you are concerned.” Siddha frowned deeply as her mother stood and walked out of the room without looking back.
“I don’t want her money,” Siddha said quietly turning to the older man who had for the most part been more of an uncle than a family lawyer over the years. “It’s not about want, Siddha,” he spoke softly as she ran her fingers along the maple tree table, cut at a “live” edge, to show off the beauty of the natural wood under a glossy stain.
“It’s an age old tradition, that requires someone to be at the helm of the world of which we rule, it’s an important job.” Siddha sighed and ran a hand over her hair, only to remember how tightly woven it was into the bun at the nape of her neck. “But I don’t want it,” she replied quietly gazing out the window again.
Her whole life Siddha Lee had had free reign over her own existence, with the exception of the constant Guards she had to take with her wherever she went, Siddha largely had raised herself since the age of ten years old, and she’d liked it that way.
Siddha had studied at schools in Bharan and Italy, she’d learned Majick from real living Madji Witches and traveled to Monastery’s in the highest Mongolian mountains, at nineteen she was the only one who could speak twelve of the Tribe’s thirteen major languages fluently and could write in almost three of them.
It wasn’t a surprise that her grandmother had chosen her to take over the Tribes, it just wasn’t something she was prepared to do.
“When will the announcement be made?” Siddha asked quietly as Harold took his chance to sigh, “the Guardian’s would prefer to make it as soon as possible, so…on the day of the Hunt you will begin the Blessing Ceremony, and three days after you will be officially crowned.
Siddha’s eyes tightened as she felt tears threaten, her chest became heavy and her breath shallow, she wanted so desperately to give into the need to faint but instead she merely nodded quietly. “Arraignments have already been made, although your mother inherits the New West Property, you have…well she left you a peice of land as well.” Siddha’s eyes narrowed now, “Magdalena didn’t own any other property,” Siddha said frowning curiously, “that I know of,” she corrected because the truth was she hadn’t known her grandmother at all.
“Actually she owned property in Surrey,” Siddha’s spirits heightened, “England?” she said in surprise, Harold chuckled despite himself, “um…Surrey BC…”Siddha’s heart dropped as fast as her mouth, “no,” Siddha whispered in horror, Harold swallowed his laughter as he nodded his head firmly.
“I’m afraid so, your grandmother had hopes that you would be able to…better tighten the reigns of the Tribe in Surrey. British Columbia.” He said as if to clarify his point, Siddha felt her face pale…”that’s…well that’s just…wrong,” Siddha felt a whimper escape as tears finally escaped.