The Lost

WHERE was I? WHAT was my purpose here? WHEN did this happen? WHY did this happen? I couldn't remember anything- my life was a strange blur. I was alone in a strange land with no idea what was going on. Alone, at least, until a strange man with a staff threw me into a war I couldn't even start to understand.

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2. Chapter 2- The Coven

Chapter 2- The Coven

The room itself was large and spacious. The walls were, like the corridor, made from solid stone blocks, and every now and then a large dusty portrait of somebody would break up the pattern of brick after brick.

In the middle of the (boardroom?) was a large, long oak table which had around it eight chairs, each of which had a name etched into the surface and an inch of thick grey dust laying on them. Cobwebs entwined around the delicate carving in the wooded back rests and a huge cobwebbed black chandelier huge, or rather hovered, over the table, small purple flames dancing above them where candles would usually sit.

This room had clearly not been used in many a months.

The man that had brought me too this place strode over to the very head of the table and sat down, signalling for me to sit to the left of him with a sharp nod. I walked around to the chair as he leant his staff against the side of his chair and put his hands in front of him on the table and looked in towards the far end of the table as though he was waiting for something. I lowered myself into the chair and mimicked the position of him, which I soon got bored and uncomfortable with and took up sitting resting my chin on my hand.

"I really feel as though I should find out something about this place. I mean, we haven't even talked yet and you practically abducted me." I tried to strike up a conversation the eliminate the awkward silence that hung over the room like a veil. I was never good with silence- I'm afraid it's rather my downfall. Unfortunately for me, the man next to me didn't come across as the most conversational man ever, and this was like getting blood from a stone. " okay, I'll start. What's your name?" I tried again, ignoring the piercing glare that had fallen upon his face.

"Amdis. Alec Amdis." He grumbled- obviously not thrilled that I was now talking to him. I nodded, pleased that we were finally getting somewhere.

"My name's Evanna Duke. I'm 15, I live in England, and I have absolutely no idea whatsoever where I am. So if you'd be so kind just to-"

"Lived." He interrupted me mid rant.

"Excuse me?" I looked at him in confusion, wondering what on earth he was going on about.

"You lived in England- past tense."

I opened my mouth to respond, but before I could 'Amdis' raised a finger to his lips to silence me.

At that moment the ground and ceiling started shaking, rattling the paintings on the walls and even causing a few of them to fall, smashing on he ground and freeing the portraits from their glassy framed prisons.

"What's going on?" I shouted of the loud bangs and clatters of the room being annihilated around us.

Amdis didn't respond or even move. Staying incredibly still and fixated on a certain point on the wall directly opposite, he didn't even blink for around five minutes, which I had considered an impossibility up until this point. He seemed to be waiting for something.

I personally was waiting for the world around me to stop quaking.

Suddenly, as though to answer my prayers, the room came abruptly to a stop. Everything seemed to just pause for a few seconds, even I felt stuck in some sort of strange time stop- it was all of a sudden slow motion, and I felt oddly calm. The glass that had flew from the smashed frames hovered in the air, defying gravity almost.

Then, as the world regained consciousness and awoke from it's temporary slumber, every painting, every ornament that had fallen in the madness, was sucked up from the ground by an invisible Hoover and back onto the walls and shelves that they sat on before.

Just as I found my balance and my head had stopped spinning, small purple wisps of smoke started rising from the velvet on the remaining sixteen chairs that surrounded the table. The smoke started to twist and morph, growing larger by the second and rising up into the air, still moving as it curlycues.

Slowly they started developing, each one into a different mould.

Figures started to form from each one, first a rough outline before details such as hair and noses started to appear. I watched in complete fascination the wisp on the chair next to me, as, all of a sudden, it wasn't a wisp anymore but a human being sitting beside me, observing as others were finishing developing around the table.

We were now joined by eight men, all wearing togas and each carrying a weapon of some form.

I sat silently, not wanting to draw attention to my presence- for I wasn't really in the position to anger my fellow companions at this moment in time. In fact, the only man in the room that didn't seem to pose any substantial threat was the man at the far end of the table, whose weapon of choice seemed to be a scroll- a scroll alight at both ends with purple flames.

The same purple flames that were at the top of Amdis' staff and that had consumed the rock that we were now inside of.

Amdis spoke first, his speech directed at the man next to me.

"Goodwill, thank you for lending me your dagger, I appreciate your help as always." With a small smile and a slight inclination of the head, he handed the knife back to the man 'Goodwill.'

He then turned his attention back to the whole group in general. Giving me a small glance out of the corner of his eye- a warning look of sorts, as though warning me to keep my mouth shut and pay attention.

Looking to the man to his left, Amdis began addressing each man by their names, working around the table one by one with a nod of respect.

"Brone, Securis, Ballista, Dolph, Pallas, Goodwill. I have called you all here today for the Eight hundredth consecutive meeting of the Eightieth order of the Craliax." He paused for just a second, his eyes flickering around the room. "Dolph, I trust you brought the documents and scrolls I requested?"

"All as you asked, Amdis. I see you got the," he sent a disapproving look my way, his lip curling in what I read as disgust, "girl."

I held his gaze for just a moment before his electric blue eyes turned back to look at the person opposite him.

"Yes." The man sat over the table from me spoke up. Brone, was it? "And what an...honour it is too. Tell me, how are your weaponry skills?" He patronised.

"Sorry, I don't quite-"

"How is your horse back riding?"

"Horse back-"

"See, Amdis. I hardly think she's suitable for someone who is supposed to carry out the tasks you believe she will."

I looked from one to the other in complete and utter confusion.

"What tasks?"

Amdis shot a look at Brone.

If looks could kill.

"This is missing the point, Augustus. This meeting was established to simply set the boundaries, to try and explain to the poor girl what's going on! How do you expect to recruit her by confusing the poor thing?" The man sat next to me cut in to the conversation, leaning over and talking in a low voice as though to stop me from hearing.

"Of course, I could simply lead us to victory. I like to believe that I'm more competent than a simple minded fifteen year old." Brone growled back, his fingers digging into the oak as he too leant over the table. The two men were now just centimetres apart, both jaws set and looking as though they could, and most likely would, rip each other's throats out.

"ORDER!"

Power radiated off of the man that now stood at the head of the table. Amdis' brown eyes just visible under his furrowed eyebrows.

"AS GOODWILL HAS KINDLY POINTED OUT, THE GIRL STILL KNOWS NOTHING OF US OR OUR WORLD!" He slammed his fist down onto the surface, causing the wood to shake and everyone to flinch backwards in their chairs.

"The 'girl' has a name." Goodwill whispered softly, taking his seat once again. "And I think it would be in our best interests to pay attention to what she has to say and answer her questions, which no doubt there are many of considering the situation." He turned me and smiled warmly. "I'm sorry about all of that. I'm Nawaz. Nawaz Bruno Goodwill if you want my full name. What's your name?" I hesitated for a moment. Still not knowing whether or not to trust this man who, judging by the events that that happened just a moment ago, obviously had some form of anger issue.

"Evanna. Evanna Duke. I want to know what's happening. Where am I? Why? Who are all of you? Is this a dream? What do you mean by 'tasks' that I'm supposed to carry out?"

Pallas, sat next to Goodwill, gave a small chuckle, shaking his mousy hair in amusement.

"Curious? Well, I don't blame you. I'm Igor, Pallas that is. Where to start?" He beamed at me, his eyes, one green, one brown, flickering in the torch light. "Where are you? You, my dear, are in Amisolem. Why? You are here because you are the Praestes of the Craliax. Who are we? We are the Craliax. Amdis is the Praetor, that is the leader, and we," he signalled to the others, "are the Six- the army of the Craliax, if you'd like. Is this a dream? No. Well, if it is then all of us are having exactly the same one. Now, your last question is slightly more complicated to answer. I'm afraid I am not the right person to tell you."

With a final smile he nodded his head in the direction of Amdis. "Perhaps our Praetor should be the one to enlighten you of such a thing."

I, along with the rest of the room, slowly turned from Pallas to face Amdis. He sighed and his face fell slightly.

"Now, is not the time. I'm afraid I cannot expect you to understand, nor do I want to lay such a burden on you when you have just arrived. Tomorrow, perhaps, I will tell you. But for now.."

Anger bubbled inside of me. Despite my questions being answered, I was still in the dark about what was going on. Where were my parents? Where was Amisolem? Why the hell had I turned purple?!

Before I could question further, Amdis spoke up once again.

"This meeting is adjourned. Dolph, if I could have a word?"

There was a rumbling of talking and scraping as the Six stood up to leave. I followed lead, needing a bit of time by my self to get my head around the whole situation which was, well, no less than strange really. Brushing my jeans off and putting my hood up on my jacket I hugged my arms around my torso.

Was I scared? Of course.

Now that the amazement of this new place I had found had worn off, I was left with a hollow feeling. Sure, my parents had never been around, and yes, I had shut myself away my whole life- but my longing for adventure certainly didn't compensate for the love I had for my family, even if they never really were there for me. Where were they? What would they be thinking now? Would they care, or even notice, that I was missing? Somehow I doubted so.

I followed the men out of the boulder and back out into the fresh air. My eyes prickled with tears, but at least if anyone asked I could pretend it was the wind irritating them.

Without so much as a glance back towards the way that I'd came from I headed towards the lake, and in particular the willow tree I had seen earlier. Taking up solace in the long, green branches, I looked out across the lake and into the distance; I finally let my tears flow freely. As I watched, a large bird swooped through the air, just skimming the water's edge with a long feather wing. It let out a long song as it flew, a song that made the air around me vibrate, before disappearing into the distance.

"How are you doing?"

I turned my neck harshly to see who was addressing me; perhaps too harshly, as my neck starting angrily throbbing in agony. Goodwill stood looking down at where I was sat on the ground, smirking, no, smiling, slightly as I rubbed my aching collar.

I tapped the ground next to me and he sat down, arranging his toga around him.

"Just peachy." I eventually answered him. I avoided looking into his eyes- I didn't want him to see that I'd been crying, that I was weak.

"I understand that Pallas didn't answer you exactly how you may have liked. Leaving your family behind- I know how you feel..."

"NO YOU DON'T!" Shouting, angry all of a sudden but not sure why, I leapt to my feet. "YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE! THIS IS YOUR HOME! I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHERE I AM! WHY THE HELL HAS MY HAIR AND SKIN TURNED PURPLE?! WHERE IS MY FAMILY? HOW AND WHY DID I EVEN GET HERE?" My voice finally cracked, hoarse from yelling and crying. "You have your family here with you. You know what's going on. I just want to know what's going on." Whispering the last part, my tears obscured my vision so that Goodwill's figure was blurred before me.

He looked sad.

"Firstly," his voice was calm and quiet, and I suddenly felt bad for shouting at him, "I do know what it feels like to leave behind your family. You see, I didn't grow up here, I grew up in Arzar, a small empire just outside of Amisolem. My family still lives there. When I turned eighteen, I left to join the Craliax. I got married, and have a baby boy, just a year old. They now live on Arzar with my parents and siblings. I only see them maybe once every six months." He looked sadly across the water, as though he had forgotten I was there and was simply talking to himself.

"I'm sorry." I whispered with a guilty lump growing in the back of my throat.

"Don't be." He turned back to face me, smiling sadly. "There are people here that a much worst off than me. I had a happy home life, was doted on by my parents and now have a beautiful wife and son. I have it good. I understand why you are upset, though. You want and need answers, I just wish that I could give them to you, and I am sorry that Amdis couldn't tell you at the moment."

I thought about this for a moment.

Goodwill certainly seemed sincere, and he had been the most helpful person I'd met so far.

I felt like I should explain myself.

"I just... I guess I was just annoyed that Amdis didn't tell me anything. I shouldn't have shouted at you, I'm sorry, but if Amdis had of just told me..." I sigh, running my hand through my hair from oppression.

"I know Alec. He is my best friend- has been for years. He has had an extremely hard home life; perhaps more so than anyone else in the Craliax. I won't tell you about it, because that is his own story to tell as he pleases. But I will tell you that I know him well enough to know that he would have wanted nothing more than to tell you what is going on, and that he will have his reasons for not telling you. We are all on the same side, Evanna. We all want what's best for the Craliax, and for you. Just something to think about."

And with that he stood up and left, leaving me by sitting by the lake and pondering over what he had said.

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