I was at the meeting of the coven, trying to learn more about the sourcing and storage of some of the more esoteric implements of the craft, when I approached by one far more advanced than I. You’d know the name if I spoke it, but I am not so foolish as to do so. An initiate like me has no place meddling in the affairs of one so advanced.
“I heard you talking,” quoth the venerable one, “about a certain artifact entrusted to your care. A bowl I believe, lined with a ribbon of gold?” I nodded weakly. “It is time to unleash it. Do us proud.” Saying no more, the elder walked away.
I was filled with anticipation, and also a measure of dread. The Crane does not respond to the weak-willed. I brought out my athame, and began the ritual. I shed my blood for Xiaguan, the mighty crane, and it rewarded me with a few feathers from the tips of its wings.
As I began to extract the essence of the plumage and imbibe it, I could tell that it was filled with a very elemental power. It was more potent than a vessel such as myself can contain, and it poured out of me in waves. If the force was out tonight with their tea sniffing dogs, I was done for. After a brief hiatus to internalize what was coursing through me, I soldiered on.
As if this initial overload were a test that I was considered to have passed, the Crane lessened its onslaught, though knowing not its own power it could never be described as gentle. There was no smoky or burnt sensation, perhaps signifying that the care I took in preparation was pleasing to it. For all that, it was undoubtedly of the Crane, whose essence is unmistakable to the initiated.
All too soon, the feathers began to degrade, being not made for the harshness of the mortal world, and would find their way into my chalice, a silent accost at the affronts of my all too human treatment. As this continued, it was clear that no magick remained in the offering. I had been vouchsafed a vision of what could be, but not for such as me, not yet. All that sat before me was a rather fine tea.
But as the afternoon wore on, this proved to be enough.