Chapter 1: The Nightmare Before Class
The room had an ominous feel to it. A large domed roof hung in the air above my head. There was a large hole on the opposite wall, and through the hole I saw what looked to be a giant eye. The air was hot and the smell of smoke burned my throat. A dueling circle was glowing in the center of the tile floor where two wizards were fighting each other. They were both boys. The one closest to me had shaggy, blond hair. His orange and red armor made it obvious he was a Pyromancer. He had his back turned to me so I couldn’t see his face. Although I couldn’t see the other wizard as well I instantly knew who he was, my father Malistaire. I looked to the colored circle around my dad’s feet that indicated his current health. Actually, it wasn’t much of a circle anymore. There was only a sliver of it left and it glowed bright red. I wanted to run to help him but for some reason my legs wouldn’t move. All I could do was watch while I trembled with fear. The pyromancer cast a final spell, and I watched in horror as a giant dragon appeared in the center of the dueling circle. It flapped its great, leathery wings and prepared to strike! And then...
“Ahhhh!!!” I shrieked as I awoke from the terrible nightmare. “Ahh!” I screamed as I fell off of my bed. “Ooowww,” I moaned as I hit my head against the leg of my desk.
“What was that?” I heard my uncle Cyrus Drake yell from somewhere in the distance.
“Nothing!” I shouted back with a slightly irritated tone. “Go back to bed!”
“It’s 7:45 in the morning!”
“Then don’t go back to bed!” I replied even more irritated than before.
Before I go on, I guess I should introduce myself. I’m Cassandra Drake, level 29, age twelve. And yes, Malistaire is my dad.
After my little adventure I just continued to lie on the floor, wondering how big the lump on the back of my head would be, when a thought occurred to me. Did he say 7:45? I immediately shot up off of the floor, leaving the tangled sheets sprawled on the ground. Shoot, I’m going to be late for class! I thought to myself. I yanked a red and black Marleybone outfit off of a hanger from my closet and threw it on as quickly as I could. Then, I ran to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and pulled a brush through my tangled hair a few times before rushing (and tripping) down the stairs. I grabbed my black, leather boots that were sitting at the base of the stairway and slipped them on my feet. As I was lacing them up, I glanced at a clock that was hanging over the mantelpiece. 7:57. I should just make it in time for class if I hurry, I reassured myself. When my shoes were tied, I grabbed my brown leather satchel that held my school supplies and teleported to the commons.
Instead of feeling the sun’s harsh rays when I arrived at the commons, a cool, moist breeze swept across my body. I didn’t hesitate though. I ran towards the waterfall behind Rainbow Bridge. Even so, as I ran I glanced at the sky and saw nothing but dark clouds as far as the eye can see. I could smell the humidity in the air, and I could hear distant thunder, and I knew a storm was coming. But I had other things to think about. Like getting to class on time.
I held my hand above my head with the palm facing up and made a small force field of magic that kept me dry as I walked through the waterfall. Then, I muttered a chant under my breath as I ran and my body started to shimmer, and I literally went through the heavy black doors that led to a place called Nightside (some Pyromancer had discovered it a few months back) where the Death School was hidden. I kept on chanting and then ran through the wall of the school. There was no time to use the door.
I stumbled into the school just as class began. I stood there, in the back of the classroom, for a few moments, panting as a bunch of Gothic kids, all dressed in depressingly black clothes, turned to stare and gawk.
“Ah, there you are, Cassandra,” said Dworgyn. “I was worried you would be late. At least that transparency spell is being put to good use.” Dworgyn is the death assist-...I mean teacher at Ravenwood. He’s hunched-backed and a little bit cross-eyed. He wears a dark gray cloak with a hood and his gray beard dangles and sways when he moves. He’s also a little bit on the crazy side.
Dworgyn pulled out a large book with a worn black binding and began to flip through the aged yellow pages.
“Please turn to page 120 in your text books,” said he, without looking up. Everyone began to take out their books as I walked to my desk at the back corner of the classroom.
The classes were arranged by rank instead of age, so some people in the Adept classes were in their early teens while others were still very juvenile. I was twelve years old, level 29 and about to advance to the Magus Classes.
When I reached my desk, I took out my text book, opened it to the required page, and class began.
Chapter 2: Awkward
Students were chatting among themselves. It was the end of the school day and I was just leaving my secondary classes at the Life School. They discussed homework assignments or where they should hangout or gossiped about the latest buzz going around. I walked alone towards the Myth School where I usually did my homework as my uncle graded papers. The sound of rain falling and the occasional boom of thunder were in my ears. It had begun to storm, but Bartleby’s thick branches kept most of the rain out. I was just about to reach for the door, when it suddenly swung open. There was a flash of purple and the next thing I knew I was on the ground.
“Oh Bartleby! I’m sorry!” I looked up and saw a girl about my age stand up off the ground after our collision. She began to dust herself off as I began to shift my weight to stand up. She stuck out her hand to help me up, but I didn’t accept her friendly gesture and stood on my own. The girl pulled her hand back awkwardly.
She had curly dark blond, almost brown hair that barley went past her chin. Judging by her purple robes she was a Diviner. She looked like she was an Adept as well. A yellow and purple dragon eyed me curiously from his perch atop her left shoulder.
“Sorry about that. I was just leaving my secondary classes,” she explained. She stood awkwardly for a few moments, waiting for me to accept her apology, but I remained silent.
She broke the silence, “My name’s Saffron. Saffron MistShard; level 24,” she boasted.
“’Kay,” was my reply. She waited for my name in return; finally, she simply asked for it.
“What’s your name?” inquired she.
I was silent for a few moments before I told her. “...Cassandra.”
“Cassandra? That’s an odd name,” she blurted out. “Not that I don’t like it,” she quickly added.
You’re the one who’s named after a spice, I thought to myself.
“Forget it,” I said as I walked past her into the school.
You can probably tell I’m not a social person.
My uncle, Cyrus Drake, was seated at his desk in the front of the classroom where he was grading a stack of papers that were set before him. He barely glanced up from his work upon my entry.
“Hello Cassandra. How was your day?” he asked. By the tone he used, I knew he really didn’t care how my day was.
“I have an essay to write for Dworgyn on the different types of ghosts.”
“Mmm-mmm,” was his only reply.
I sat down at one of the desks in the front row and brought out a piece of paper, a quill, some ink, and my field guide out from my satchel. The field guide had been a gift from my father. I fill it with records and stats of different types of monsters and undead. For example: Lost Souls are most commonly found on Unicorn Way. Their maximum health is 90 and they have weak attacks, usually dealing about 60-100 points of damage. My field guide really comes in handy for projects and essays.
I had been working on my essay for about 45 minutes when I realized my field guide had no references on Grave Phantoms. Dworgyn gave us a list of ghosts he wanted included in our essay and, unfortunately, Grave Phantom was one of them. I flipped through the pages a few times, but I couldn’t find any mention of the ghost.
“I going to the library to do some research,” I told my uncle upon standing. “Is it okay if I leave my school supplies here? I shouldn’t be gone too long.”
“Alright, but I’m not going to pick them up for you,” said he.
“I’ll be back for them before the day is over.”
With that final word, I teleported to the Commons.
Chapter 3: What’s-Her-Face
Unlike Ravenwood, in the Commons there was none of Bartleby’s thick branches to shield the ground from falling rain. Huge drops of water fell freely from the sky. However, I could see no flashes of lightning and no thunder touched my ears. There was only rain.
The Commons was empty. Everyone was inside hiding from the soft rain.
I didn’t try to run away from the rain. I simply walked a steady pace towards the library. But then something caught my eye. Because of the rain I couldn’t see very well, but I could roughly make out the shape of a person. They appeared to be sitting underneath one of the many trees in the Commons though it didn’t provide much protection from the down pour. I decided to approach the person and find out what they were doing out here. When I got close enough I was able to recognize the person. It was what’s-her-face, the girl I met outside of the Myth school. What’s her name again? Saffron MistShade? No, Saffron MistShard.
“What the heck are you doing out here? You’re drenched!” Hearing a voice she looked up at me curiously.
“You’re not too dry yourself,” she said.
“That’s not the point. I was going to the library. What’s your excuse?”
“I like the rain.”
“That’s not good enough.”
“Well, that’s your problem.” In a way, she had a point.
I couldn’t think of a good comeback soon enough so there was an awkward silence for a few moments.
The silence was broken when I noticed the yellow and purple dragon she had with her at the Myth School wasn’t by her side anymore.
“Where’s your dragon? Does he have enough sense to come out of the rain?”
“I let him go fly on his own for a while. He’s probably near Triton Avenue.”
“Ohhh, so neither of you has enough sense to come out of the rain.”
“Neither do you.”
“I’m going to the library!” I snapped. “Forget it I’m wasting my time,” I said as I stormed off to the library.
Chapter 4: To Marelybone
“Do you have any reference books on ghosts?” I asked the librarian Harold Argleston.
“We do. Is there a specific ghost you’re interested in?”
“Yes. Grave Phantoms.”
He paused for a moment to think. “I’m sorry, I believe someone checked out the only reference to Grave Phantoms we have a few months ago and never returned it. However, I recall reading about them in a Marelybone newspaper. If you’re interested I have it here and I can lend it to you if you would like,” he offered.
“That would be very helpful. Thank you,” I said. He then began to rummage through his desk drawer for a few moments until he pulled out a wrinkled, yellow paper.
“Here it is,” he declared upon handing it to me.
I took the dry paper into my hands and read the headline on the front page to myself;
UNDEAD SIGHTED IN NEWGATE PRISON
Looks like I’m going to Marleybone.
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