Some say that life just wouldn’t be the same without surprises. They probably mean surprises like when it’s your birthday, and everyone unexpectedly jumps out behind couches in your house and yell, “Surprise!” Or even not-so-happy surprises, like your parents breaking the news to you that you’re moving from Krokotopia to Marylebone. Those surprises I could live with. Those surprises are easier to deal with. Now the surprise I experienced when one of my best friends threateningly held a wand to my neck, and death was so near that I could just taste it…that surprise I could definitely live without.
6 Months Earlier
In an unknown world that could not be found on an ordinary map of the Spiral was a man sitting in a little brown rowboat. He wore a bright yellow cloak with a hood that hid away his face. Though there was no current in the murky water, the boat was able to glide through the water on its own, needing no assistance from any wind or rowing. The man seemed to be in a hurry, constantly glimpsing down at a jar and a black locket in the shape of a heart.
As the boat continued through the fog, the mysterious man finally reached a small little island where a large and old tower stood atop. Its dark and gloomy aura kept away any unwanted explorers. Leaves and fungi wrapped around all the tower. To others, it only looked like an old and abandoned tower.
Swiftly, the man leaped out of the boat and dashed through the almost hidden door of the tower. He sprinted up the stairs to the next level, cradling the locket in one hand and clutching onto the jar in his other.
The second level of the tower was a large and almost empty room. Past a huge black cauldron that bubbled with malice was an enormous mass of ice, magically trapping in it a beautiful woman.
The woman floated in the ice block as if she were in water, her long, curly, snow-white hair flowing as she bobbed up and down. She was garbed in a radiant sapphire dress that cascaded down like a waterfall to her bare feet. Her eyes were closed as she slowly began to lose consciousness. Her pale hand weakly stroked the ice that had confined her for many years. The energy in her body was beginning to gradually fade away.
The man quickly pulled off his hood to reveal his sea-blue spiky hair. His one red eye and other grey eye flashed with worry as he knelt down before the lady and held out the jar. He began to twist the lid open, letting five unconscious sprites float up toward the woman. They drifted through the ice and into the woman. The woman began to stir, her long eyelashes starting to flitter. Her cold white eyes suddenly opened wide as she gazed down at the man bowing before her, pausing before beginning to speak with a musical and soothing voice.
“What took you so long?”
The man winced with fear as he explained. “Ambrose put students who live in Wizard City to protecting the sprites. I hear that he’ll ask Ravenwood Honor Students to keep guard once the school year starts. It’s harder to get them without getting caught, nowadays.”
Her eyes flickered, and her bright red lips pursed together. “I don’t care what the reason is. I was close to reaching death,” the woman said dangerously. Ignoring the man as he cowered, she continued. “And you did not even capture enough sprites to completely give me full energy. This energy will only sustain me for a few days. Do you not care for me enough to get rid of a few measly young wizards to get my energy?” She said this calmly, but her voice still held anger and hatred.
“Of course not, my love!” the man cried out, getting onto his feet and coming closer to the woman. He put his hand against the ice and said, “I cannot destroy the students or else Ambrose would have me hunted down and hanged! Besides, there is no need to fret. You will be free you soon.”
“Free?” the woman said, her eyebrows raised up with question. “You mean that she has come of age for Ravenwood?”
“Yes,” the man said, a gleam of excitement on his face. “The girl will be enrolling at Ravenwood High School tomorrow morning. I will just have to wait for the opportune moment to start our plan.”
The woman’s lips curved into a haunting smile. “Perfect.”
It all started on the day of enrollment at Ravenwood High School. You can probably imagine how excited I was. Valdus Dreamthorn, my older brother, had told me many stories of his school days in the Storm school. All the new spells and magic that could be learned excited me ever since I was a little girl. My parents always described them to me when they told of their thrilling adventures in the Spiral. You see, my mom and dad were legendary heroes after graduating from Ravenwood. They had defeated Malistaire and brought Wizard City to peace after years of terror and destruction. It was my biggest dream to be just as great as Jonathan Legendsword and Destiny Dreampetal. Just think! Jenna, wizard heroine of Wizard City! Of course I would have a great surname to go with my great first name by the time I was a great wizard, but everyone knew that you didn’t get your last name until enrollment, nor could you choose it yourself.
Despite my excitement, I was also very nervous for this special day. I always had a feeling inside of me that I would be different than other wizards somehow. Perhaps it was because I could barely lift a quill by using my magic while my little sister was already levitating the dog, or maybe it was because I would repeatedly have nightmares that would have me screaming in the middle of the night. Whatever the reason was, I knew that I wasn’t normal. Boy, was I right.