Rolling out of bed I padded downstairs to the kitchen. Bless the convenience of elemental superpowers, which I had used to turn the coffee machine on when my brain was awake enough to register daylight. A beautiful brass vintage Bezzera my Grandparents had sent me as a housewarming. My Aunt’s parents had welcomed me with open arms and my Abuela probably coddled me more than the rest of my family combined. I guess to her 800years I was barely past infancy, although at 33 chronological years I was financially stable I was still sent a stipend from the family’s trust as I was the first to have a human-style career and earn money independently. With their blessing I sent that money on to a children’s home in the Scottish village near Loch Morar where I was found. But I still got monthly care packages which ranged from books to bicycles. Said bicycle was just inside the front entrance, redpaint polished and gleaming, complete with straw basket. My Nonno had sent it the week before. Like I said spoilt.

I use Manuka Brother beans, imported from New Zealand. Damn son those Kiwis know how to roast beans to delicately proportioned perfection.  I pulled a triple shot of espresso and skulled it while I steamed milk and ground beans for a latte. Filling up my matching copper keep cup, which had also been a gift and had been spelled to keep the coffee at the perfect temperature indefinitely. Feeling the caffeine kick in I grinned as I headed to the solarium with a peppy-er step.

My solarium is one of my favourite places in the world. A large, deep oval pool was carved from a huge chunk of lapis lazuli. The intensely coloured stone is streaked through with intense blues and purples and rests partially sunk into the ground from the very centre of the room. The pool takes up just over a third of the chamber curves up to form a natural sky shower. The closest edge starts at my hips with driftwood stairs leading up and a large driftwood step inside the tub. The step doubles as a bench when I feel like it. I can float in the middle of the tub with my limbs stretched out as long as I can make them without touching sides. I’m 5’9”. To give you an idea of the size I can dive in and do half laps if I felt so inclined.

The water for my bathing chamber is drawn directly from the lake with a special heating and filtration system I designed and installed. I hadn’t wanted anyone else involved in the construction of my home. The cottage had stood empty for almost a century and had barely been a standing structure when I had purchased the land several months ago. I had done all the renovations by myself. Well with the help of both science and a fair amount of elemental magic. No other human or supernatural imprints marred my territory. Oh yeah, apparently I am an alpha female Lykae and ever so slightly territorial. A fun fact I learnt a few years back (a story for another time).

The pool was always full as the water flowed from the lake flowing through the waterfall-like sky showerhead and cycled through the cottage’s plumbing with a portion going to water the plants on a timed sprinkler system in the dry season (we are part way through spring so it wasn’t required yet). The rest of the water is cleaned and returned to the lake using a natural charcoal and slightly magically enhanced filtering system which used the lake tides to power itself.

I stripped and dove into the clear water. As I rose back up to the surface I reached out with all of my sense connecting with each of the living things around me. To the brambles bathing my home in perfume, beauty and unassuming security. Day and night, they guard my home; a barrier of thorns and quiet strength. Several vines grew all the way down the winding drive to my front gate. To the earth and flora surrounding my sanctuary on three sides and the lake and it’s bottom on the fourth. Sensing no breaches, and no one else in my territory I momentarily allow the delight of being bathed in the morning sunlight and slight breeze to drift down the connections. Satisfied that all was well I began the feminine ritual of washing my hair and scrubbing every inch of my body until I felt like a shiny new refreshed woman.

I moved here 3 months ago and spent that time renovating the cottage. I had received a few job offers through the medical temp agency and had gone on a few interviews. I had been to one small local practice and had felt an instant connection. The owners were an older couple who were wanting to semi-retire in order to help their daughter and her husband who were about to have their first children. Twin girls who were due to be born this week. So I would pick up half of each of their work loads, and had bought half of the practice.  I had spent the last decade of my life working 6 – 7 days a week and had saved up enough to slow down a little. Today was my first day at work.

I had laid out an outfit last night, white cotton summer dress, original canvas chucks to cycle there in and a denim jacket. I had packed 2 pairs of heels to leave at the office, a beige pair and a red pair, with three new crisp white lab coats for work.

­­Each had a unique trio of matching buttons with pressed flowers: alyssum from Aunt Enid (the eldest), forget-me-not from Aunt Beatrix (the middle) and heather from Aunt Charlotte/Loulou (the youngest). Each was spelled to enhance their innate qualities, my Aunt’s were all primarily Earth and Spirit witches, but each were also gifted with one of the other elements, fire, water and air respectively. Born in the late 1800s in Spain they were still considered barely past their teenage years by the rest of our coven. It had been a bit of scandal when they had brought me home with them, however the maternal instinct runs strong in most Earth witches, so I was soon accepted as the newest family member. To be honest I was spoilt rotten and showered with so much love I never felt out of place. They had sensed a low hum of magic coming from me as a babe, which is why they had not handed me over to a human orphanage.  By the time I was one I could call things to me a 50-year-old witch would still be learning. There is a solid streak of white through Aunt Enid’s hair that is lovingly attributed to my terrible twos. Nothing they tried could bind my magic to hold off the need to train me until I at least understood mine vs not mine, so they began my magic lessons a few weeks after I started walking.

I made two cups of coffee, one for my bath and one in a travel mug for the cycle into town. I grabbed the first and headed into the solarium and the glorious steaming heat that awaited me. I wake up an hour early every day to allow time for a full soak. My new family realised soon after discovering me on the banks of that loch that I needed an average of 1.5 hours immersed in water every day or else I become pretty grumpy. I do an hour in the morning and an hour at night before bed to build up a reserve of water-time in case something happens and I don’t have access to enough water to immerse myself in. I stripped and stepped up to the edge of my bathing pool. I placed my coffee on the edge and dove in. That feeling of being surrounded by water is one of the most comforting feelings in the world. It’s like a hug from someone who loves you unconditionally.

One of the benefits of being a doctor of different origin was the ability to identify and deal with non-human issues which required a combination of human and non-human medical knowledge. As different as all supernatural beings are, at the core we are still descendants of humans. To be precise we are technically Nephilim, the result of human and angelic pairings. Different abilities coming from the type and rank of angle that sired the line. Witches are technically the healers of the supernatural world, but as they do with humans, politics have interfered with this and trust in witches and their doctoring has been degrading over the last 1000 years. As I am not specifically wiccan but have learnt under them, I have treated many whose fear or ignorance had stopped them from seeking their help.

Fiume Blu had a large supernatural population given its size, based on the signatures I identified on my frequent trips into town, I estimated well over 50% were Lykae, with absolutely no other kind of supe around. Which makes sense as Lykae are fairly territorial, one of the reasons I had bought so far out of town. Oh and they tend to hate witches. I had had a few run ins with pack members who weren’t rank when they demanded to know WHAT I was but I was strong enough to make them slink off without messing up my hair. It will be interesting to see how the ranked members of the pack react to my regular presence in town. Each different type of supe has an underlying signature, with individuality layered on top. You can identify a supe by that underlying signature and their strength or ranking by what layers above it. I know my own is completely chaotic and contains so many underlying signatures it is impossible to pick out individual ones from each other.