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This article contains plot details.
Depriving a witch of the gifts bestowed by the Devil upon them at their Initiation
|“|| I now declare that contract null and void. |
Here, now, and forever. And now I take from you every power I gave.
— The Devil to Mary
The Reckoning is a ritual officiated as the ultimate punishment to the detriment of a witch who is guilty of having betrayed their Lord and Master, the Devil. The punishment is to be deprived of all gifts bestowed by the Devil upon the witch at their Initiation, when the deal between Witch and Devil is sealed.
Rescind the contract between the Devil and the witch first requires the immolation of the Familiar, piercing it with a nowl (or coffin nail) through the left hand of the witch. Thereafter, the control over the four elements is ripped off from the witch. The earth is uprooted from the witch's body in a cloud of dust and debris, the air and the very witch's breath is taken away from their body by a strong whirlwind; exhausted and weak, immediately after the witch loses control over the water spewing a jet of water from their mouth, and finally the most precious gift is snatched, namely the fire that fuels their anger. The witch is burned from the inside by a large blaze. The ritual ends with the cancellation of all the power given by the Devil, leaving nothing but a powerless human being.
|“||You are still reeling from the loss of your powers.||”|
— The Sentinel to Mary
Exactly like after the Initiation a witch feels physical changes induced by magic, as if they were able to sense the body from within like a fever in the blood, the result of the Reckoning is a painful exhaustion, causing anguish in the body and mind to the point of inducing hallucinations, fever and weakness in the limbs that require the movement in a wheelchair. This can be interpreted as the body trying to recover from the loss of power that sustained it and the energy that flowed in the veins of the witch as heat, adjusting to the new psycho-physical state. In fact, the power taken away via the dreaded ritual could be just what Mary described to Anne Hale like a fever in the blood, that allowed them to work wonders.
Throughout the Salem SeriesEdit
When Mary Sibley failed her assassination attempt against the Dark Lord, she was tortured by The Sentinel and conducted in the middle of the night forest where the powers bestowed upon her by the Devil were violently torn from her body, by revoking the contract that has made a witch, starting with the immolation of her familiar toad. To attend the ceremony were the devil acting as executor, The Sentinel and Anne Hale as witnesses. (The Reckoning)
- The Sentinel: "We will take something more precious to you than your life. Something you have entirely forgotten how to live without. Something you came to think of as your own nay was you. But it was never yours. Only lent to you by your betters."
- --The Reckoning
- Mary: "Take what you will. I want nothing of you or yours."
- The Devil: "I see you don't even remember who you were. What you were when I first came to you. In the depth of your need, you called upon me, and I gave you power."
- The Sentinel: "The power to survive this world of shit God gave you."
- Mary: "You cannot. I gave you my soul. We have a contract."
- The Devil: "Had a contract. I now declare that contract null and void. Here, now, and forever. And now I take from you every power I gave."
- --The Reckoning
- The Devil: "I take from you the power of Earth. And now I retract all power over air.
- Mary: No, you little bastard. Leave me my breath!"
- The Devil: "Now give up your waters, woman. Earth, air, water... That leaves but one precious elemental power."
- Mary: "No. That is mine. That fire is mine, and it was there long before..."
- The Devil: "I have killed the elemental powers within you. I have killed the witch in you and left nothing."
- The Sentinel: "Nothing but a woman. Weep, woman. Weep. The tears are all we have left you."
- -- The Reckoning
- The immolation of the familiar with a large nail in the specific case of Mary recalls the ancient practice found in different witchcraft traditions mostly known as "The Toad Bone Rite". The rite has many variations among traditional groups, but it often involved either the finding and/or crucifixion of a toad.