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|“||Eva thought that if she sacrificed a witch from each of the nine covens, it would create a new witch order in New Orleans. She would have been more powerful than an Elder, any Harvest girl...||”|
— Vincent about the Rite of Nines
The Rite of Nines is a ritual used to augment an ancestral witch's power. The rite requires the sacrifice of one witch from each of the nine covens of New Orleans - preferably a young, prodigious witch due to their untapped, "pure" magic and the fact that they're easier to subdue - who are first all linked to the witch performing the ritual using a sigil to channel the magic of each of the nine witches. Afterward, the immense amount of magical power gained by the witch performing the ritual is believed to elevate them to a level of strength unlike any other witch in any of the New Orleans covens.
The Rite of Nines is a ritual fueled by sacrificial magic that allows the witch who performs it to channel the magical power of their offering of nine witches, one from each of the nine New Orleans covens, which would make them a true force of Nature. According to Vincent Griffith, it is believed that the witch who performs this ritual would become the most powerful witch in the city, even more so than an Elder or Harvest girl, who are known to be among the most powerful New Orleans witches. It was said by Vincent that Eva only kidnapped witch prodigies, which suggests that the offerings she chose for the ritual were more powerful than the average witch; this is evidenced by Eva having chosen Davina Claire and Josephine LaRue as offerings, one of whom was a Harvest girl, and the other a witch Elder and the Regent of the nine covens, making her the manifestation of the will of the Ancestors. The offerings are then channeled by the witch performing the spell after they have carved a sacrificial symbol into the forehead of their victims. While the symbol is not the same sacrificial sigil used by Papa Tunde to channel his offerings, it did have most of the same properties; however, the sigil used in this ritual does not immediately kill the offerings, unlike the one used by Tunde, which was immediately fatal to all but Original vampires. It is also suggested that it is easier for the witch to channel the power of their offerings if they're in the same location, as Eva had all nine of her victims stored in the Warehouse District; Finn Mikaelson also kept his parents in the same location when he performed a similar channeling spell on them.
As far as it is known, the Rite of Nines ritual has only been attempted one time, and the attempt was unsuccessful. Eva Sinclair and Vincent Griffith, both of whom are witches from the Tremé Coven, began practicing magic together when they were sixteen years old, an experience which Vincent would later describe as "intense." They were both very powerful and talented witches in their own right, and though Josephine has said the magic they were performing was wild and dangerous, Vincent and Eva were happy together, so they coven allowed them to carry on as they were, and they were presumably married several years later. However, at some point in late 2010 or early 2011, Eva began to thirst for more power, which was when prodigious young witches began vanishing throughout the nine covens, beginning with Amelie Dupres, Luann Hughes, and Nicholas Asace. Despite Vincent and the rest of the coven's best attempts to track the children down, the were unable to find them using locator spells because their captor was magically cloaking them. After catching a lucky break and casting a locator spell on a missing child immediately after their abduction, Vincent eventually got the clues he needed to realize that it was his own wife Eva who had kidnapped six children.
It was then that Eva informed him about the Rite of Nines, and explained that by sacrificing a witch from each of the nine New Orleans covens, she would become so powerful that she could create a new witch order in the city and finally take back their home from the vampires who had been oppressing them for so long. However, thanks to Vincent's assistance, the Tremé Coven, led by Josephine LaRue, were able to imprison Eva in the Fauline witch asylum for witches who were broken psychologically by magic, or those who used their magic to commit heinous crimes. Unfortunately, because the children remained cloaked, their bodies were never found, and it was assumed that they were all killed by Eva for more power; in reality, they were alive, but they were in a deep sleep while their power was both channeled by and linked to Eva. She was unable to continue her plan to complete the ritual while she was imprisoned in the asylum, and it wasn't until Rebekah Mikaelson's spirit was unknowingly placed in Eva's body in December 2012 that she was able to resume her mission. While in Eva's body, Rebekah escaped the asylum with her sister Freya, giving Eva the freedom she needed to regain control over her body long enough to slowly begin to resume her plans for the ritual. Several nights later, Eva stalked a young witch in an alley of New Orleans and killed the girl's boyfriend before carving the sacrificial sigil into her forehead. Then, the next day, she cornered Davina Claire, a Harvest girl, and carved the symbol into her forehead as well.
Eva's choice for the final offering was not a teenager like the others, but an extremely experienced Elder named Josephine LaRue, whom she wanted to channel as retribution for imprisoning her in the Fauline Cottage. Unfortunately for her, Vincent intervened in her plan before she could begin to channel Josephine, and Eva was unable to finish the ritual before her spirit was killed by Rebekah. However, the eight other victims were still connected to Eva's body, which forced Rebekah to continue possessing it to ensure that the witches who were linked to her would not die along with Eva's body. Fortunately for the victims, Rebekah was able to perform an unlinking spell to reverse the Rite of Nines spell Eva had cast on them, ensuring that their lives were no longer conditional on Rebekah remaining in Eva's body, though she has chosen to stay in it regardless for the time being. However, this does not mean it is impossible that the Rite of Nines could be performed again with new offerings.
- Amelie Dupree, from the Algiers Coven
- Lou-Anne Hughes, from the Ninth Ward Coven
- Nicholas Alseis, from the Tremé Coven
- Josephine LaRue, from the Garden District Coven
- Davina Claire, from the French Quarter Coven
- Four unknown witches for the remaining four covens
- According to Vincent, the reason why Eva primarily abducted children and teenagers with prodigious magical skill for her offerings was because their magic was untapped, and therefore purer than an older, experienced witch. She also primarily chose children because they are easier to subdue than adults, though this did not stop her from taking Josephine LaRue in revenge for her role in putting her in the Fauline Asylum.
- Nine is considered to be a sacred number which represent completion and fulfillment. Is also a symbol of wisdom and good leadership. In Hinduism nine is the number of Brahma, the Creator. The Pythagoreans called the number nine the “Ennead." They thought of nine as unlucky as it is one short of ten, which they considered the perfect number.
- The mark that is carved into the foreheads of the victims is a rhombus topped by an "X." In Norse Runic script, the same symbol is called "gar," which is an adapted version of the Norse alphabet rune "gebu," the equivalent to the English latter "G." The gar rune is also associated with Odin's magical spear Gungnir in Norse mythology, a spear given to him by the trickster god, Loki that was enchanted to never miss its mark and to always return to the wielder's hand. When used for divination, the "gar" rune can mean conflicts, arguments, struggles, anger, confusion, hostility, and confrontations.
- Interestingly enough, this same rune was carved into several makeshift tombstones by Freya Mikaelson in When the Levee Breaks as a memorial for her father Mikael following his death, as the rune was also the crest of the Mikaelson clan), which Mikael carved into all of his wooden staffs. (Not to be confused with the serpentine "M" crest used by Mikael's children in recent centuries.) Whether this is simply a coincidence or an indication that there is a connection between the two remain unknown as of now.