The Coven of...

The Whispering Pines Coven was founded about 20 years ago by Elspeth Stewart. Elspeth, a hereditary witch and accomplished seer, was meditating one day and had a vision of her future that clearly showed her that her calling was no longer with the Devon coven she'd devoted so much of her life to. Instead, her calling was in America. Several members of the Devon coven chose to come with Elspeth to America, and after buying the farm from some aging hippies, founded their coven.

Like their mother coven in Devon, the Whispering Pines coven, an ancient and powerful form of Wicca, are a nature-loving people. They respect the land that they work, fully aware that every thing on the planet is tied to everything else. They work to create harmony and balance within their world. Any harmony that spreads outward is simply a bonus. The coven understands that before you can change the world, you must change yourself. Accept who you are, and the world will as well.

The coven uses their knowledge of nature to create jams and jellies, of a non magical kind. They also create natural healing balms, incenses and other "magica" tools, which they sell at their store "The Other World." Whether or not the town believes these have actual magical properties doesn't stop them from buying them. The balms work and the incense smells good.

While at first they were treated with suspicion, the residents of Whispering Pines soon grew fond of their new residents. Especially since the healing knowledge of the group saved many of the lumber workers their limbs and several children who wouldn't have survived birth now live happy and healthy lives.

Elspeth and her group have always been very cautious about who is allowed to join the coven. The original coven members can trace their history 5000 years. In this day and age, when every girl with a henna tattoo thinks she's the new Sabrina the Teenage Witch, they need to be careful. The coven does not advertise who they are, besides a group of people living on and farming the land for a living. Usually people who have magical power have a way of simply "finding" the group. They are put through rigorous testing and interviewing before being allowed to joined the group. The coven does not turn travelers away, but staying for more than a night is another matter.

Along with their knowledge of healing and nature, the coven has several accomplished seers, Elspeth one of them. The abilities of the witches within the coven vary from person to person. Several members are accomplished astrologers/astronomers, as well as those with the talent of prophecy. In fact, there are even two members who have mastered the ability to shape shift at will.

Because of their love of knowledge, the coven has instituted an evening of fellowship and sharing on Friday nights. The coven gathers around a fire or some other common area and each person tells a story. While they no longer abide to the "no written history" tenant of their ancestors, they still value a good story. The stories may be true, funny or sad, sometimes they're simply made up to entertain the group. It didn't matter to the group, as long as a story is told.

Currently, one of the missions of the coven is to help discover the whereabouts of new created Slayers within the United States. The Devon coven is working with the newly reformed Council of Watchers to locate them in the UK and other parts of the world.

The Scoobies were welcomed by the coven with open arms. The Devon coven had contacted the group and informed them of Giles' imminent visit. Elspeth noted his emotional and physical exhaustion almost immediately and urged him to bring the gang up north to recover.

Hesitant at first, the Scoobies soon fell into a routine at the coven. For Buffy, it was a relief not to have the weight of the world on her shoulders and to have to be in charge. Dawn found the stability of the coven a balm on her soul and Willow found kindred souls. Xander's carpentry skills were exclaimed over, making him feel special for once. For Giles, it was a chance to be with others his own age who had like interests.

However, after a month, the constant closeness of the commune and the lack of privacy has begun to wear on the gang.  Having a private Scooby meeting, they all agreed that while they wished to stay in Whispering Pines, they needed to find a home of their own. Giles agreed to stay until they were in their own place before heading back to England. The gang agreed that he'd done more than they could've ever expected from him, and they appreciated it. They would miss him, but understood his need to return home.

The Other World is the New Age store run by the local coven. Here, you can get incense, hand-made candles, herbs, feathers, crystals, whatever you need to make your dorm room a place your parents are guaranteed to shake their heads in confusion at. Of course, if you know who to ask and the right words to say, there are other, more exotic wares to be had as well. Eye of newt, anyone?

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