PROLOGUE: JUST A DREAM?
I dreamed of a future me.
I grew my long black hair even longer. I had piercing green eyes. My slender body was enclosed in a pitch black warrior outfit, and I clasped a dagger in my right hand. Upon my head seemed to be something similiar to a crown, but bigger, and with a sculpted gold dragon on top. I stood with a great mountain behind me. Everyone cheered as they saw me stand before them. “All hail Queen Valia!” they screamed. “Queen of the Dragons! Queen of Dragonspy-”...
Then I awoke. I was no longer Queen. I was just regular, 15-year-old Valia Loreburn. And it was the middle of the night. And the Queen of the Dragons was nothing more than just a dream.
Little did I know, all of that was about to change.
PART ONE: AN ACADEMY OF WIZARDS
I strolled downstairs for a drink.
As I walked towards my kitchen, I saw the moonlight shine through all the windows I passed. Oh, how beautiful the night was. Such a pleasant, peaceful time. I’d give anything to forever surround the world in the amazing darkness of the night.
Then I noticed it.
Down the hall, at the very end, was a window. But unlike all the other windows in our massive mansion, this window did not have moonlight shining through. No, this window had sunlight shining through. In the middle of a pitch black night!
I couldn’t help but see what the deal was with the mystery window. Walking up closer, I realized that I couldn’t see anything outside the window. I just walked closer...
I was instantaneously blinded. The light shone straight into my eyes. It hurt like the dickens. I tried to let out a scream, a blood-curtling scream, but no sound came out. My silent scream seemed to last forever until I couldn’t scream anymore. I fell down... and fell some more... and more...
I didn’t understand. It only takes a second or two to fall to the floor, but I kept falling. And falling. And falling more! Down into what seemed like an endless hole. I was to shocked to scream. I was also scared. Still blinded, I couldn’t see a thing!
Finally I stopped falling. I hit something, and got stuck. Stuck between a rock and a hard place. Literally. I heard what sounded like an owl, making its “whooing” sounds. Soon I felt its talons latch on to my shirt.
What happened next baffled me.
The owl spoke.
“Don’t worry, young one. You are safe.”
I didn’t even know how to respond to a talking owl, so I just silently hung limp. After flying down for a couple minutes, my eyes began to open. I could see again!
But I didn’t like what I saw.
We appeared to be flying down to the bottom of a narrow tower. At the bottom, I saw a withered old man with a cane. He looked like he was dressed up for Hallowe’en to be a wizard or sorceror or something of the like.
“I’ve got the young girl here, Headmaster!” spoke the owl.
“Good, good. Bring her down.” The old man gave the owl instructions as of what to do with me. “Just set her down, yes, right there. Good. Thank you Gamma.”
“My pleasure, Headmaster! Would you like me to leave the two of you alone to talk?”
“Yes, Gamma, that would be appreciated.”
Gamma the owl flew up into the tower, and left the headmaster and I alone in the room. I sat on the floor, looking around the room. The old man stared intently at me for a long, long time before finally saying something to me.
“Do you know where you are, Valia?”
I shook my head. Of course I didn’t know where I was! I’ve never seen any place like this before. The tower was dark except for a couple candles, and a large colorful spiral in the center of the room. It just floated there, but when I tried to touch it, my fingers just slipped through it with a tingling sensation. I stood up and nosily looked around.
The headmaster spoke again. “I am Professor Merle Ambrose, headmaster of New Raven-Wood Academy. This is where you will be attending school for the next five years.”
I quickly turned around. “Five years?! What about my parents? What about my home? What about the rest of my life? What happened to me? Why am I here? I want ANSWERS!!!”
“Answers will come in due time, young one. For now this is what I’ll tell you: You are a wizard. You have magical powers. And New Raven-Wood Academy is where you’ll learn to harness those powers. You understand?”
“I... I... I’m a wizard?” I asked the question with uncertainty. How could that be true? I had always thought wizards and magic were fake. I gave Professor Ambrose a stunned look, and he continued with his story.
“Yes, you are a wizard. Let me try to explain... yes, you see, New Raven-Wood Academy, or NRWA, was originally founded by Merlin the wizard. He called it Ravenwood School of Magical Arts. I later became headmaster, and within the past few years, we’ve made many changes to the school. Including a slight name change. We’ve also hired a couple new teachers, fixed the School of Death, and added a School of Balance. But we’ll get to that later. All you need to know for now is that you are a wizard. Let me consult the Book of Secrets to see what type of wizard you shall be...”
Professor Ambrose walked across the room to a table in which one large book stood. He slowly lifted the book and peeled open its dusty pages. He began to mutter to himself, slowly getting louder.
He eventually stopped. “Yes,” he said, “you are indeed a strong wizard. A wizard of Death Magic, it says. Aha. Yes, you seem to be brave. You like the nighttime. You are strong. Well then, let’s get you enrolled! Follow me through this door.”
Professor Ambrose led me through one of the two doors in the tower room. We entered an even bigger room, which appeared very messy. There was a desk, a couple bookshelves, and papers everywhere. The headmaster was not a very organized person.
“So, now what happens to me?” I asked.
“Well, as a requirement of all first-year students, they must do a pre-enrollment task. As soon as your Orientator shows up, you’ll be escorted to the Academy and meet all seven of the instructors and each of their assistants. Every instructor has their own assistant. Ah, here he is. Meet your Orientator, third-year Castor Vye of Myth.”
“Hello, Castor,” I said. “I’m Valia Loreburn. Pleased to meet you.”
“Yes, I’m sure you are. Hurry up, let’s get this thing done. By the way, call me ‘Vye’.” He turned to the headmaster. “See ya later, Professor Ambrose.”
“Yes, Castor. Take care.”
I followed Vye out another set of doors, and into a large neighbourhood.
“This is the Commons,” he told me. “Most of the important buildings in Wizard City are here, such as Wizard City Hospital, Professor Ambrose’s house, and the Fairegrounds. Follow me to Raven-Wood Court.”
We turned left and headed straight for a tunnel that led upwards. “So you’ve been here three years?” I asked, trying to make conversation.
“Please don’t talk to me. I don’t really want to be here. Just listen to the orientation, and be done with it. Got it?” His dark black hair looked menacing as he scolded me. It was also very intimidating that he was so tall.
“Uh, yeah, I suppose.” Wow. Someone was sure a grump.
When we reached the end of the upward tunnel, there was a large courtyard waiting for us. A massive tree, bigger than any tree I’d ever seen, sat right in the middle. It had two eyes and a mouth. I assume it spoke as well.
To the left, there was a large round tower that Vye explained was the Girls’ Dormitory. Going clockwise around the circular courtyard, we began the orientation.
First was a skinny and tall tree, named Blossom. Vye told me that each School had a tree to represent its magic. I waved to Blossom and she smiled back at me. Yes, she smiled. All of the magic trees had faces just like the gigantic tree I first saw.
“Here on the right is the Life Tower, and on the left is the School of Life. There are two floors to each School. The main floor is where the classes are held, and the second floor is where the appertaining instructor lives. Now, let’s go and meet the Life instructor.” Vye clarified all of this as we approached the stone building with a green wallpaper strip going around the top. We entered the room.
Twelve large desks were neatly arranged around the bright green and brown room. Banners that said “LIFE” on them were hung up around the room, and one with a green leaf on it. At the front of the classroom was a book pedestal on the left and what looked like a giant stone chalice of sparkling green water on the right. Up a couple stairs was a teacher’s desk, and behind that was a miniature library-closet, in which a short skinny old woman stood.
“This,” said Vye, “is the Life instructor. Meet Professor Gloria Krendell of Olde Town. Our last teacher, Professor Moolinda Wu, had to return to the land of MooShu a couple years ago. She became Empress of MooShu after the last Emperor died.”
Professor Krendell turned around and hobbled over to us. “Hello there! I always love to see new faces around here. What can I do for you?”
Finally someone who actually wanted to talk to me! “I’m just on my orientation with Castor Vye here. I’ve been assigned to meet all of the teachers.”
“Well, isn’t that lovely. I would introduce you to my assistant, Sabrina Greenstar, but she’s on an errand right now. Maybe another time!”
“Yes, that would be great,” I replied.
“We better get going now,” spoke Vye. “We’ve got appointments with the other instructors, and we don’t want to be late! Talk to you later, Professor Krendell.”
“Yes, you too Castor. And good luck with your studies here in Raven-Wood, er, what’s your name, child?”
“I’m Valia Loreburn.”
“Okay. Good luck then Miss Loreburn.”
“Thank you Professor.”
Vye and I turned around and strided out of the School of Life. Next, we passed Ivan, the Tree of Myth, before we entered the School of Myth.
My Orientator began his story again. “The Myth instructor is a new one this year. She’s my main teacher. Our previous teacher, Professor Cyrus Drake, left at the end of last year to be headmaster of a magic school far away in a place called Dragonspyre Academy. That academy just re-opened this year. So our new Myth instructor is Professor Saffron Pixierider.”
We entered the School of Myth. It was exactly the same as the School of Life, except that instead of green things, they were yellow. The banners all said “MYTH”. At the front of the classroom, sitting behind a desk, sat Professor Pixierider.
Saffron Pixierider was rather skinny. She looked to be about 50 years old. Her auburn hair was pulled back into a tight bun, and grey hairs stuck out here and there. She glanced up at us, looking over the top of her small glasses. Her thin lips pulled tight together as her beady little eyes glared directly at Vye and I.
She spoke in a firm voice. “What, Castor Vye, have you brought into my School? You know I am hard at work trying to find an assistant of Myth!”
“Sorry ma’am, headmaster’s orders. Valia Loreburn has to go around meeting all of the instructors under my guidance.”
I piped up. “Hello, Professor Pixierider. Pleased to meet you.”
“Okay, hunny, I get it. You had to meet me. Well you’ve met me. Now please go! I have work to do!”
Vye also said goodbye as Professor Pixierider dismissed us from her School. I wasn’t supposed to talk at all, but I did anyway.
“Is she always grumpy like that?”
“Do not question things that you know nothing about!” snapped Vye. Now that didn’t really make sense to me, since nobody would know anything if they didn’t ask questions.
“Next is your school, the School of Death. Here on the left is Mortis, the Death Tree. He never grows leaves. He’s dead. But still very much alive. If you see what I mean.”
“Yes I think I-”
Vye cut me off. “No talking to me please! Now, the School of Death is under the guidance of a fairly new teacher, Professor Duncan Grimwater. The last instructor, Professor Malistaire Drake, well let’s save his story for another time. He was powerful, but he went evil.”
We went into the School, and everything went dark. There was only a couple dim candles, but I could barely see across the room.
“Come closer,” spoke what I assumed to be Professor Grimwater’s voice. I carefully walked up to the desk where he sat, leaving Vye behind me.
Professor Grimwater suddenly lit another brighter candle, and I could make out his face. Barely. He stared straight into my eyes.
“You are my new student... Valia?”
“Good. Professor Ambrose tells me you are powerful. Yes, good indeed. I am very excited to have you in my class.” He said he was excited, but he didn’t even crack a smile.
“My pleasure. My assistant is behind me, though you cannot see him. Speak, Casper.”
Then I heard a raspy, wheezy voice. “ Hello, Valia. I am Professor Casper Follygrind, the Death assistant. Yes, you have a powerful aura.”
“Thank you, Professor Follygrind.”
“Goodbye, Valia,” said Professors Grimwater and Follygrind at the same time. I whispered a goodbye back to them as I trotted back to Vye and out the door. I was curious as to why Vye didn’t say anything to either of the Professors, but I knew not to ask.
He started his orientation again. “Next is the recently-built School of Balance.” As we passed the Balance Tree, Vye pointed out that his name was Equis. We then walked over and in to the School. Inside, everything was the same as the last schools except it was a light brown. At the teacher’s desk stood two... dogs! Skinny dogs standing on two legs. And dressed like people. This couldn’t get any weirder.
Well actually it could. Because, these dogs had British accents.
The taller of the two dogs stepped forward and introduced himself. “Why, ‘ello there my fine young woman. Lovely day isn’t it? I am Professor Reginald Smith of Marleybone, and this is my assistant, Professor Arthur Wethersfield of Marleybone. We both specialize in Balance Magic.”
Professor Wethersfield gave a bow. “How do you do?”
I liked these dogs. “Not too bad, yourself? Pleased to meet the two of you.”
“Hear that, Arthur? This girl’s got manners! Unlike young Castor Vye over here,” Professor Smith said as he winked and gave a British chuckle. “Well, we’ve got a bit of work to do, so you two better be on your way. Thanks for stopping in! Bye, young Miss Valia. G’bye, Castor Vye. Have a good day.”
I said my goodbyes as Vye muttered something and left. I waved back at the two Professors.
Four schools down, three to go.
Vye spoke again. “As I’m sure you’ve noticed, each of the Schools has a tower. The instructors don’t like it much when we tour in those though. Next is the School of Fire! My Secondary Study. Yours too, I believe. This is Bernie, the Tree of Fire.
Bernie was a strange tree. His eyes glowed orange. Instead of leaves on the top, he just had fire! He was glowing with happiness.
“The Fire teacher has been the same since New Raven-Wood Academy was founded. She is none other than Professor Dalia Falmea. She’s got a wild spark about her, if you know what I mean.”
The School of Fire was red and orange on the inside. Professor Falmea stood at the front of the room, writing on one of the chalkboards. She appeared to be preparing for the next day’s lessons. Her assistant wasn’t around.
“Hello, Professor Falmea. This is Valia Loreburn. I am her Orientator.”
Falmea turned. “Ah, yes. The new gal. You are in my Secondary Class, no?”
“I sure am.”
“Great. You definitely have a strong core. A wild flame. Remember, if the mind is like a candle, then the heart is like the Sun.”
Vye obviously liked Professor Falmea a lot. “Wise words, Professor. Wise words.”
“Thank you, Castor. Now, Valia, my assistant is not here right now. He is on an errand with the Life assistant Sabrina Greenstar. But his name is Justin Ashblood. He will be happy to meet you tomorrow. Good day.”
Professor Falmea turned around, her orange-red hair flowing behind her. “One more thing Valia. You cannot forget that Fire is the most powerful magic.” The flames on her dress seemed to dance around. I was in awe.
“C’mon, Valia!” Vye spat at me. He was really getting annoyed. We thankfully only had two Schools left to visit.
“Next, Valia,” Vye said with utter distaste in my name, “is the School of Ice. To the left is Kelvin, the Ice Tree. The Ice instructor has also been the same since the beginning of NRWA. Her name is Professor Lydia Greyrose. Her assistant is Professor Eliza Smith, who is Reginald Smith’s older sister. You can count on her not being there. She hardly ever stays around Professor Greyrose. Smith has an anger against her. She wants to be the instructor of Ice Magic, but Greyrose has been here far longer and is not ready to step down. Anyway, let’s meet the Ice teacher.”
The interior of the Ice School was light blue. When I looked around the room for Professor Greyrose, I couldn’t see her.
Wait, what was that?
I saw a fairy.
A chubby old fairy dressed in light blue flew around the room. She had her little spectacles on. I stared at her in utter disbelief.
She had a high-pitched voice. “Hello, my dears! Have you come to meet old Lydia Greyrose? Yes, that is me. I am the Ice instructor. Little old me, I get to teach about the most powerful magic!”
“Hello, Professor Greyrose. I would like to stay and chat, but it’s getting dark. I have to finish my orientation with Castor Vye.”
“Oh I understand. Maybe next time you can meet my assistant, Professor Eliza Smith! Oh well. See you again soon!”
“See you!” I said back to her. Vye appeared annoyed, so I quickly left with him.
“Lastly is the School of Storm. The instructor here has been the same since the beginning as well. Ok, let’s go meet the teacher of Storm!”
As we entered the School, I looked behind me, noticed that Torrence the Storm Tree was growing out of what looked like a mini lake. Cool.
Purple was the color of Storm. In the front of the classroom, a girl about Vye’s age was running back and forth with papers and books.
“Are you the Storm instructor?” I asked.
“Of course she isn’t! But she will be soon,” Vye told me.
“I... am... Professor... Susie... Gryphonbane...” said what I assumed must have been the Storm assistant.
“Hello, Professor Gryphonbane.” She looked like a cool girl.
“Hey there, Susie,” said Vye. They must have been on a friend-to-friend basis.
“Sorry, Cass,” said Professor Gryphonbane. “I’m very busy. Professor Balestrom gave me an urgent assignment. Come to my house tonight. I’ll explain. Remember my address? 313, Triton Avenue. See you tonight!”
“That’s fine. See ya later. C’mon, Valia.”
We left the School of Storm, and were immediately greeted by a Fire student. He was obviously Vye’s friend. Tall, with a built body and nice brown hair. Not a bad looking guy.
“Hey!” he said. “Is this who you’re orientating for?” he laughed.
“Shut up, Silas. I’m done with her now. I just have to hand her over to Simeon so he can give her a Dormitory room.”
“Hm. Well I’ll leave you to that then! I have to orientate tomorrow. Lydia Ratford.”
“Isn’t that the young robber from Wintertusk?”
“Yeah. Don’t tell anyone, but I hear she’s Meowiarty’s daughter.”
“Really?! I hate Meowiarty. He once claimed to know who my parents really are, but he wouldn’t tell me who. I wish I knew.”
“Don’t worry. You’ll find out someday.”
“I hope so. Anyway, gotta go! See ya later.”
“See ya,” Silas said as Vye brought me over to a man in a red suit and cape.
“This is Simeon. Well that’s the end of me being your Orientator! Goodbye. And good riddance!” That was all I saw of Castor Vye for a long time.
Simeon started speaking. “Just up here is the Girls’ Dormitory. You passed it before, I think. Go up to the top floor, Room 74. I will teleport you there. Grab my arm.”
“Okay,” I said as I held onto his arm. I closed my eyes, and in an instant we were in a small room. There was a bed, a table, a bathroom, and one pair of pajamas. “Thank you, Simeon.”
“No problem!” he exclaimed as he teleported away in a flash of light and puff of smoke.
That was such a tiring day. All I could do was hop on my bed and slowly fall asleep...
I dreamed that I was in a pitch black area. I heard voices and whispers, but there was only one I could understand. It was a deep, firm, commanding voice.
“Valia, please awaken me from my slumber. Please help me... Help me... HELP ME... HELP ME!!!’”
PART TWO: THE CALLING
I woke up, a tattered mess.
What’s with the strange dreams lately? First a dream of me being Queen of the Dragons, then a dream of a voice calling me to “awaken” them. It made no sense!
The morning light shone through my window. I got up and had a hot shower, reviewing the events of the day before. First the weird dream. Then finding out I was a wizard by being taken away from my home and family. And finally, getting an orientation of the Seven Schools of Magic. This was all very unbelievable.
After getting dressed in a black-and-white wizard suit, I heard a knock on the door.
“Who is it?” I shouted.
“It’s Ramona! I’m the Girls’ Dormitory Leader, just like Simeon is the Boys’ Dormitory Leader. I have a message from Professor Ambrose.”
I opened the door. “Hi. What’s the message?”
“He wants you to meet him in his house for Orientation Class. It’s a class that only lasts a couple weeks, and helps get you to understand the whole concept of being a wizard. He’ll also set you up with a spellbook and wand. Be there in 15 minutes!” Ramona left, trotting down the hallway and into her room.
I left the Girls’ Dorm and headed down the tunnel to the Commons. Wow, the streets were so busy today! Just like a typical Monday morning back home.
As I strode into Professor Ambrose’s house, I saw Gamma flying overhead. Must be on some sort of owl errand, I guessed.
Headmaster Merle Ambrose sat behind the mountain of messy papers atop his desk. On the floor sat two other kids about my age. One was dressed in blue, one in red. The girl in blue, I assumed, was the so-called robber from Wintertusk: Lydia Ratford of Ice. It was odd to see a talking cat in my class. The other student was also a girl, whom I had no idea who she was.
“Welcome,” said Professor Ambrose, “to Orientation Class. Valia, this is Lydia Ratford and Scarlet Spark. Lydia and Scarlet, this is Valia. Please sit and pay attention to me and my lesson.”
The headmaster was wearing the same old blue wizard robes that he wore the first day I met him. His eyes sparkled as he spoke to us.
“I presume you all know why you are here.” We nodded. “Yes, the three of you are indeed wizards. Lydia, you are an Ice wizard. Valia, you are a Death wizard. And Scarlet, you are a Fire wizard. Here I have each of your schedules on our 3-Day Cycle.”
Professor Ambrose handed out a small schedule to each of us, along with our spellbook and wand. My schedule looked something like this:
He went through Lydia and Scarlet’s schedules with them, and then came over to me.
|DAY 1|| DAY 2|| DAY 3|
|ORIENTATION – Ambrose|| ORIENTATION – Ambrose|| BALANCE – Smith|
|DEATH – Grimwater|| FIRE – Falmea|| DEATH - Grimwater|
|DEATH – Grimwater|| DEATH – Grimwater|| TEL. TRIP – Ambrose / Grimwater|
|FIRE – Falmea|| HISTORY – Bartleby|| TEL. TRIP – Ambrose / Grimwater|
“Orientation Class lasts for two cycles, which means you’ll have four classes of it. Then your schedule will change a little bit. You have Death Class four times on one cycle, and Fire Class twice. Also, each student is required to know a little bit of Balance Magic, taught by Professor Smith. Bartleby the World Tree will teach you about the history of everything. On Day-3s, your main teacher and I take you on a Teleportation Trip. It teaches you how to teleport, and shows you other worlds. You sometimes talk to other teachers of Death as well, such as Professor Cassandra Pixierider in Krokotopia or Professor Malorn Ashthorn in Dragonspyre.”
“Are Professor Cassandra Pixierider and Professor Saffron Pixierider related?”
“They are indeed. Sisters. There’s more of them in Krokotopia though. Professor Moira Pixierider of Life and Professor Lenora Pixierider of Ice. But anyway, let’s get back to class!” Merle turned and walked back to the front of the room, continuing with Orientation Class.
“Soon enough, the three of you will be able to get a job. There are magic jobs such as quests and regular jobs such as chores. Both earn you coins and experience. I know of a woman in Unicorn Way named Olivia Dawnwillow who’s looking for someone to rake her leaves. There’s also Professor Reginald Smith who sends willing students to Marleybone for a learning experience.”
Scarlet seemed interested in travelling to Marleybone, wherever that was. “I’ve always adored the good people of Marleybone. When can I go there?”
“As soon as you want!” said the headmaster, pleased with her interest. “Just ask Professor Smith next time you see him. But, this class is over now. Have a good day, young wizards! Scarlet, you have Fire Class next. Valia, you have Death. And Lydia, you have Ice. Goodbye!”
“Goodbye Professor Ambrose,” the three of us replied. We all left his house, headed up to Raven-Wood Court, and each went to our separate classes. I dashed towards the School of Death just to make sure I wasn’t late.
When I entered the room, there were more lights on than the time before. Banners the read “DEATH” hung around the top of the room. Professor Grimwater sat at his desk, with a bald man behind him that reminded me of Uncle Fester from The Addams Family. It was Professor Follygrind. Each of the teachers nodded at me as I took a seat.
There were only two other students there, a boy and a girl. The girl looked to be about 20 years old; the boy 19. Both wore hooded black-and-white cloaks.
Professor Grimwater introduced me to them. “This girl is fifth-year Penny Dreadful of the Marleybone Dreadfuls. The boy is fourth-year Brandon Shadowe, who was left on the Doorsteps of Death four years ago. I suppose you don’t know the story Valia? Four years ago, there was an unconcious orphan left on the Doorsteps of every School. Your Orientator, Castor Vye, was left on the Doorsteps of Myth. His friend Silas Haggard was left on the Doorsteps of Fire. And so on with the other Schools. We do not know why this happened. But now each School has a student from somewhere unknown. Brandon Shadowe is the Death one. These are your classmates, all two of them. More students will join as the year progresses. Please take a seat and we’ll begin our first lesson of the year. Professor Follygrind, take it from the top.”
“Yes, Duncan,” Follygrind said in his raspy voice. “Now, class, today you will learn the Dark Sprite spell. Penny Dreadful, show them how it’s done.”
Penny stood up and took out a wand much better than mine, with intricate designs and a natural beauty. She waved it around, mumbling what sounded like an enchantment, and POOF!
A little fairy, slender and pale, flew around in front of everyone. She had dark hair, black as night. She looked like Tinker Bell gone evil. But she was amazing.
I wanted to give it a go. “Can I try, Professor Follygrind?”
“Give it a shot if you’d like.”
Sweet. I cast the spell and fizzled, but after a few tries I finally got it. Learning all there is to know about the Dark Sprite spell sure proved to be fun. Time flew by faster than ever.
---A few hours later...---
“So tonight’s homework in Fire Class will be to cast another Firecat in the dueling arena. Ask Diego the Duelmaster for help if you need to. Goodbye class!” dismissed Professor Falmea.
Professor Ashblood waved a goodbye at me as well. I exited the classroom along with Castor Vye, Altruis Alstragist, and Maya Foster.
I was momentarily distracted by Bernie, when I tripped over third-year Maya Foster. After a quick apology I started to walk away. Before I could leave, she spoke to me.
“You are the new student, then? Valia Loreburn, correct?”
I turned back to her. “Oh, yes. That’s me. Valia. You’re Maya?”
“Mhm. You seem nice; would you like to go shopping sometime this week? In Shopping District, there’s great stores. My favorite is Victor’s Robe Shop. How about we meet at Elik’s Edge in three days time?”
“Sure! Sounds great. See you then!” As much as I liked Maya, I really had to get home to study. I jolted at the Girls’ Dormitory and ran straight up to my room. I pulled out my Death textbook and began reading.
Dark Sprites are fantastic creatures that derive from the Life Sprite. These are, should we say, “Sprites gone bad”. The Dark Sprite spell is the simplest spell in the School of Death. It is cast with a quick flick of the wrist and an enchantment (Comos bedos lithen kwarken). Dark Sprites are highly unlikely to fizzle, but do not do a superior amount of damage to the opponent. Although Dark Sprites are not very powerful, the wizard should still be very careful when casting this spell! Death creatures have an occasional tendancy to turn on their fellow wizards. Handle with care!
As I finished the paragraph on Dark Sprites, I tiredly fell asleep. I nodded off just as a dream – or nightmare – began.
Valia, I am growing stronger. I need your help to completely awaken me. Who am I, you ask? Just know me as the Voice. You will soon find out who I am. The time is coming. Lydia and Silas will help you in this great awakening task. Now go... go! AWAKEN ME... AWAKEN ME!!!
I awoke with a jolt. Panicking, I began to whisper to myself.
“I’ve got to get help. I’ve got to find Professor Grimwater. I’ve got to find out what these dreams mean! He’ll surely know. I need help!” I ran down and out into a moonlit Raven-Wood Court. I dashed over to the School of Death, knowing Professor Grimwater lived atop on the second floor.
I ran into the classroom. It was lit only by a single candle. I saw that the mini closet behind Professor Grimwater’s desk was no longer just shelves. It appeared that the bookshelf had slid aside to reveal a staircase leading upwards. I trotted up the staircase without a second thought.
Entering the upstairs apartment, I did not see what I expected.
On the right, there was a table and two chairs, which sat beside a kitchen type area. A closet was also located near the table. On the left, there were two beds. One bed contained the student left on Death’s Doorstep: Brandon Shadowe. The other bed was unoccupied.
As I glanced straight forward, I noticed the moonlight shining through one of the two windows. Blocking the other window was a hooded figure.
“I’ve been expecting you, Valia,” spoke the figure in a deep, dark voice.
I walked a little closer, half-expecting the figure to turn around and cast a paralyzing spell on me or something of the like. “Professor Grimwater?” I asked.
The figure continued to look out the window, without even looking at me once. “No. Call me Duncan. I am your friend, Valia. In class, I am Professor Grimwater. Out of class, I am your friend Duncan.”
“Okay,” I replied. “But I’ve come to-”
“I know why you’ve come, Valia. It was meant to happen. The full moon told me so. I understand you’ve been having dreams of the Voice, correct?”
“Yes, Duncan,” he corrected.
“Valia, the Forces are calling you. The Forces of Death. Do you know what this means?”
“No. I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I responded truthfully.
“I suppose I’ll have to supply you with a brief history then. You’ve heard of the Grandmother Dragon, yes?”
“Well, unknown to most, the Grandmother Dragon had a child. This child was known as the Greater Drake. The Greater Drake grew up to be a very powerful dragon – too powerful. He was thrown into a prison far away, but not before he magically gave birth to three children.”
“Wait, I’ve heard of these dragons before. Didn’t they have the ability to turn into human form when they wanted to?” I questioned.
“Yes, indeed they did. Now these three children were known as the Three Drakes back in their day. When their father, the Greater Drake, was thrown into prison, the Three Drakes assumed human form and went into hiding. Two of them got married. And here’s something that’ll surprise you: the Three Drakes are still alive.”
“Really?! Where?” I asked, very intrigued in the story.
“The eldest is a woman. Her name is Camilla. Now as her maiden name is Drake, her married name is Vye. Camilla Vye.”
“Is she related to Castor Vye?” I questioned with a shocked tone in my voice.
“Indeed she is. Camilla Vye is Castor’s mother. Castor is not a dragon though, and he does not even know the whereabouts of his parents or who they are.”
“Well where are they? We have to tell him!”
“You cannot tell him. It would only endanger him. But Camilla is an escaped wizard, hiding somewhere in your world. Earth. She is scared. You’ll soon know why.”
“Okay, okay... Now who are the other two dragons?”
“The next eldest is unmarried. He used to teach here at New Raven-Wood Academy as the Myth teacher. He is currently the headmaster of Dragonspyre Academy. He goes by the name of Cyrus Drake. Not even Professor Ambrose knew of Cyrus’s secret.”
“How do you even know all this?”
“I have my sources. Anyway, the third dragon is the one that went evil. His wife, an old Life teacher, died from a lethal disease. It was not able to be healed. Being the Death teacher at the time, he left the NRWA and did some terrible things. He ended up getting killed. He and his wife are but ghosts now. He goes by the name of Malistaire Drake. Nobody dares speak of him around here.”
“Wow. Well what does all of this have to do with my dreams?”
“Aha, now we make the connection. You see, the Greater Drake is in a slumber, a magical slumber in his prison. He wishes to be awakened and set free. This can only be done by making five sacrifices: first, the Three Drakes must be sacrificed. This is why Camilla fled. She was scared of this happening one day. Even though Malistaire is a ghost, he can still be sacrificed. This means even his ghost will be gone forever. Second, the must be two random willing participant sacrifices.”
“Is that why the Voice said that Silas and Lydia will help me?”
“I still don’t see where I come into all this.”
“There is still one last part to the sacrifice. When the Greater Drake is released, he needs a Controller. Someone who guides him, and, well, controls him. This is part of the spell. The Controller is granted eternal life, to control the Greater Drake eternally.”
For the first time, Duncan turned around and looked directly into my eyes. Something about their dark hollowness scared me.
“Ah, Valia. He wants you to be his Controller.”
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