Grave Walker

To the untrained eye, Victoria Beauregard is a normal sixteen year old girl. That is until she's whisked away to the Verexium, an ancient school created to train Verum, a coalition of people with magic coursing through their veins. Outbreaks of war with the Evelore, the Verum's sworn enemy, threatens their way of life and their very existence, and their fate rests in the hands of a girl raised outside of the society.

Victoria is their Sentinel, their Protector, maybe even the one destined to destroy the Evelore's bloodthirsty leaders, Evelyn LaReizo and the mysterious Grave Walker, once and for all. But no road to victory comes tragedy and deceit. It's up to Victoria to save the Verum from their eminent demise or to lead them down a path from which even they cannot return.

**Credit for cover @ beginning of Ch. 1**


1. I -- The Shattering Stone

A special thanks to the creator of my fantastic cover, @magic_has_prices (Wattpad username, I don't believe that she had a Movella account, but I still needed to give her credit!)

"Goodnight, Victoria Beauregard," a sharp, raspy voice hissed, "I'll see you soon!" The hair on the back of my neck stood up, and a chill ran down my spine. Someone was following me, that I was sure of, yet my mom kept hiding what it was that she knew. When I told her about the strange things that had been happening to me recently, she'd freaked out and closed up. A snake with black orbs for eyes almost bit me - not once or twice, but three times - and a strange recurring vision haunted my dreams. A red-cloaked figure snaked its way through dense forest, luring me along after it, but I could never get close enough to see behind the eerie blood-colored hood. The dream always ended the same way, with me tumbling into a black pit of nothingness, screaming until I lost my voice while a man above cackled. The insanity couldn't all be coincidence. Ever since it'd started, I jumped at every sound, every voice, as if I was in grave danger. My new stalker was the icing on the cake of a very bad few weeks.

My footfalls carried through the otherwise silent night as I walked quickly toward down my street. I was only a few houses away when a frosty finger brushed across my cheek, chilling me to the core and filling me with dread. I spun toward it, only to catch an evanescent shimmer from the corner of my eye. My voice caught in my throat, keeping me from saying a word.

Stay calm, Victoria, I pleaded myself as my hands shook in dread, It's late. Just go home. You'll be safe there. I pulled the collar of my coat up just below my chin, shuddering as the cool breeze wrapped around me, and continued on my way, arriving home without another scare.

"Victoria!" my mother shrieked as I brushed past her into the kitchen, "Stop doing that! You're going to give me a heart attack one day!"

"What do you want me to stop doing?" I said, inattentive as I sat precariously balanced on the edge of the kitchen counter. Finding my mom awake that late at night surprised me quite a bit. She'd never been a night owl like me.

"Don't act that way with me. We've talked about this before. I'm sick and tired of you sneaking up on me!" she puffed, before blowing me of per our usual routine, "We can deal with this later. Go to bed, Victoria. I'm having company." I glared at her, a fierce hatred lingering in my stare. She treated me like a little kid that she could easily boss around, but I was far from a baby. Two years and I'd be a legal adult, not that a fact like that mattered to my mom.

"No," I stood tall, refusing to budge an inch, "I'm not going anywhere until you tell me what's going on, Mom. I swear that someone was following me today. It's freaking me out!"

She sighed, scratching her head as if she were clueless in the matter, "I don't know what you're talking about. You sound crazy, Victoria. I don't know anything about what's going on with you!"

"Liar," I growled.

"Please, Victoria. Show me some respect!"

"Maybe I would if you cared about me at all!" I snapped, storming out of the kitchen and slamming my bedroom door closed with a blatant bang.

"Everything I do is because I love you!" That sad attempt at justification did nothing to help her case. I listened in frustration as my mom paced outside my door, trying to decide if she should come inside and talk to me, but the sound stopped almost as soon as it started. Of course she had better things to do than deal with her rebellious teenage daughter.When did she not? Part of me wanted to curl up into a ball and sob until I was incoherent, but the stronger part prevailed, the part that craved to be treat with respect and dignity.

I sat down at my vanity, wondering how a mother and daughter could be so different, then slipped into a daze as I spotted a small gold stone glittering on the edge of my dresser. The glow was mesmerizing. I had to touch it. As I picked the stone up, flashes of the most trying times in my life took over my mind. Rage and sadness filled the pit in my stomach, and without thinking, I threw the stone at my mirror, fueled by the fury it evoked, and watched my bedroom crack to pieces in the likeness of the reflection. Slipping out of my trance, I looked for the stone, expecting it to have bounced off somewhere. Oddly, I discovered that it had shattered too. Before my eyes, the gold splinters dissipated, vanished into thin air. As if my day hadn't been weird enough . . . I tried my best to clear my mind when I noticed voices coming from the other room.

"Is that really what you recommend, Vladimir? Just giving the girl up to him? That would destroy all we are, all we have trained so desperately to become!" a woman's voice growled, yet was so magical that though I didn't have a clue what they were arguing about, I was on her side.

"Alice, calm down," my mom said, sounding as if she were in a trance-like stupor, "Vladimir has a point. It's logical to end the war by giving her to the monster."

There was a long silence before Alice replied, "I can't believe you. You may not care that she's our Sentinel, but Lana, she's your daughter!" I was at a loss. As much as it seemed my mom disliked me, I never in a million years would have imagined she'd do that to me, betray me like that. That Vladimir character wanted to give me over to some terrible monster as a sacrifice, and my own mother agreed with him. The saddest part was that I shouldn't have been surprised. Lana Beauregard only cared about herself. Furious and white-knuckled, I focused again, catching Alice's soothing voice.

She pleaded her case to the others, "Neither of you understand! Victoria needs protection." I opened my door to sneak a peek at what was happening, but just as I began to push against it, the door creaked in opposition. I felt panic claw at my heart, greedy and dark. Please tell me no one heard that.

"Did you hear something?" Vladimir whispered.

"I'm sure it was nothing," Mom answered in monotone, but having lived with her for sixteen years, I distinctly heard the edge in her voice that only appeared when she lied, "This house is pretty old. It was probably the wind."

"So now I'm the wind? You know better than that," a new male voice laughed, "Good evening, Alice, Vlad, Mollaina. I believe I can be of assistance."

My mom huffed, "I do not go by that name anymore. It's Lana." I couldn't help but snicker. I could imagine her ruffling her hair in frustration and the scarlet glow of embarrassment claiming her face. I'd been given that look hundreds of times, but I'd never get sick of it. It reminded me that she was actually capable of experiencing human emotion.

"My apologies," he replied, "Lana." He couldn't be much older than me. His voice still had a boyish tone to it, and sass and sarcasm are signature attitudes of people our age. I peered out my barely-opened door to see bitterness fade and a confident smirk take its place on a young woman's face.

Once she spoke, I knew she was Alice, "Sebastian! Geez, little brother, I'd thought you'd never show up!" Sebastian . . . The voice and the name fit.

"Now boy," Vladimir huffed, "Go ahead, become the Watchman. The burden of the Beauregard girl will be yours alone. That is, if you still wish to accept the task."

"Why, Vlad, of course I accept this honorable and noble quest," Sebastian took a deep flourished bow. I hadn't even spoken to the boy, but he'd already made a good first impression on me!

Finally having brewed up my courage, I entered the room with my head held high, "I feel excluded. This matter does involve me, doesn't it?"

"Darling, I -"

"Enough. I've heard enough. I understand the situation . . . and all of your positions. I think I'll leave now, seeing as I'm unwanted." A tad overdramatic, I know, but she deserved it. My fists clenched as I watched Mom glanced over her shoulder at Vladimir.

Sebastian, in contrast, let out a low laugh, "You wanted to get out of here?" I nodded gratefully as he grabbed my hand and whispered in Latin something that I couldn't quite make out. My head spun as my house disappeared, and a lake with murky, black water appeared in its place.

"What the heck did you just do?" I yelled as my brain started to ache, and I tenderly pressed against my temples to ease the pain.

"What? The transportation spell, Commeatus . . . Haven't you learned anything?"

"A transformation what?" I blubbered. Was that... magic?

"Your mother hasn't exposed you to our world. You wouldn't understand!" Sebastian shook his head in utter frustration, bringing out my more defiant side. The boy had it coming, talking to me as if I were some incompetent idiot.

"Explain it, or I'll refuse to move from this spot," I crossed my arms in from of my chest and turned away from him with my chin cocked high in the air.

"Do we really have time for this?" he sneered. I glanced away and folded my arms tighter, exuding stubbornness like a bad cologne. "Really, Victoria?" I made no sign of surrender. I wouldn't be moving anytime soon if he didn't give in to my demands. "Very well," he sighed, sitting down on the shore and gesturing for me to come over. "We'll start with the creation of our kind . . . Long ago, before Vivian Vex founded the Verexium - a school based on her grandmother, the Masteress' teachings - and Dascar Fjord - the most famous and revered of all mason-men - helped to write the Incognita, there were a brother and sister.

" . . . As children, they swam in this lake, known as the Lake of Lost Souls or Amissa Lacus Animae. The Soul Lord, Phelfori, saw the light and life in the children's eyes and tried to snatch it. Instead, he lost his powers because of his greed, and each child received some of his skill. The sister, Loylit Vex, is known as the Masteress and could create and destroy matter with only the power of her mind - the earliest form of Verum magic. The brother, Kyson Vex, is known as the Master and was could create exceptional weaponry with legendary abilities - the first Verum masonry. They taught close friends and family these skills. These individuals became the Verum. We are both Verum by our ancestry, but you, Victoria, are the last living descendant of the Master and Masteress, which is why you must be protected, or the Verum's gifts will be lost forever." Sebastian raised his gaze from the dark sand below his feet to my face.

My eyes were wide, and my jaw dropped slightly, "I'm related to the Master and Masteress?" From the story, it was obvious how important the Master and Masteress were to Verum history. They were Verum royalty!

"What do you think I just spent all this time telling you?" he snapped.

"I'm just . . . shocked, that's all."

"I guess that's understandable, but you'll survive," he shrugged, "Maybe I should teach you a simple protection charm in case of an Evelore attack."

"What's an Evelore?" I asked, raising my eyebrows.

He sighed once more, and the storytelling began again, "More accurately, it's who are the Evelore . . . Evelyn LaReizo was the Master's closest companion and a very talented Verum, but she and a few others who she trusted with her secret double crossed him. A terrible beast enchanted Evelyn, and she cursed the others, which is why they're called Evelore. To this very day, they are still cursing Verum, building up the fiend's army of heartless warriors. The worst part is that the monster sends them to do its bidding. Commands are to kill the Protector, the Sentinel. Don't worry though, you're in safe hands!" I scowled at him, not finding a smidge of humor in word he said. If he kept it up, he wouldn't be safe around me! Sassing my mom was fine, but sassing me was entirely different.

After decided we should move along, Sebastian walked ahead of me on the forest path, giving me ideal time to study my companion. His hair was curly and golden blonde, his eyes green like the sea. He was the kind of boy that made a girl flustered with a single smile. Without a second of warning, he turned around, narrowing his eyes at me, "What are you staring at?" How did he notice? Maybe I wasn't as nonchalant as I'd thought, or maybe he was more perceptive than I'd given him credit for.

"What? Nothing! I mean, there's nothing. I'm not looking at anything," I lied miserably, embarrassed at being caught red-handed. "Let's go." As we continued on, I pretended not to notice Sebastian's confused but curious stares. "Where are we exactly? I don't know how much more of this I can take!" I groaned after what seemed like millenniums of endless walking.

"Vermont," Sebastian replied, "Just outside the capital city." Vermont? Like maple-syrup, ice-fishing, snow-everywhere-you-look Vermont? Not sounding like a match for me . . .

"And why, may I ask, are we here?"

"You should know -" he started.

"But I don't," I kicked a pinecone along the path and grit my teeth, "Obviously you haven't noticed that I'm clueless!"

Sebastian bit his lip, "Sorry, I'm just preoccupied. We'll arrive at the school shortly." I figured he was talking about the Verexium, which he'd mentioned earlier. I opened my mouth to pry further, but thought better of it. Sebastian didn't seem to like me very much, and I really didn't want to piss off the guy who was protecting me. The school Sebastian spoke of was an enormous building with huge marble columns, surrounded by towering ten foot wrought iron gates.

"This," I said in a combination of shock and awe, "is a school?"

"The oldest one in the world," Sebastian said as he approached the enterance, "Patefio!" The gate flew open with a loud boom. Patefio - for some strange reason, I knew it meant 'open up' in Latin.

"Welcome back, Sebastian!" a girl near the inner gate cried, bouncing with excitement.

"Hey!" he chuckled as the girl barreled at him and suffocated him in a hug, "How are you? How's Roxie? It's been awhile. I missed you guys!"

"You bet it's been awhile! Roxie and I are doing great, as always," she smiled brightly at Sebastian for a moment before eyeing me as if I were some unwanted stray that had shown up at her doorstep, "Who's this?"

"Victoria Beauregard," he said casually, then whispered in the girl's ear, "She's the Protector." He looked at me and gestured at his friend, "This is Silva Temperance, Gatekeeper."

"It's so nice to meet you!" Silva squealed and shook my hand rapidly before giving me a death-grip hug too. So much for the distasteful stray treatment, I think I almost preferred it. Silva had a very earthy beauty to her, very pretty with light brown hair and coppery eyes, and she looked at Sebastian with those big brown eyes like a lovesick little puppy-dog. I must have looked sick, because Sebastian looked back at me and furrowed his eyebrows. He told Silva to go ahead of him and find Roxie. Then in a split second, he was beside me once again.

Looking into my eyes, his own filled with worry, he whispered, "Are you okay, Victoria?"

"Do I look okay?" I snapped back much too quickly, for Sebastian shook his head. Recovering from my split second lack of filter, I added, "I'm just tired. It's been a long day." Sebastian agreed and walked me to what he told me was my new school dormitory.

"Rest a bit," he said, "I'll be back later, I promise." Then he left me in the empty room, alone. I let out a heavy sigh and crawled under the covers, unsure what to make of the Verexium. What was I doing? I'd left my home, everything that I'd ever known and was accustomed to for this magic school, to be a part of a society that up until this morning I hadn't known existed! How did I know I could even trust these people? My gut feeling told me this was right, but how could I be so sure? Give yourself a break. Today has been rough enough as is. I deserved that break. I pulled the comforter up to my chin, and in a minute or two, I'd fallen asleep.


The figures I saw standing in the distance had to have been the Master and Masteress. There was nothing at first to prove it, but I just knew. The sound of perfectly tuned marching sounded in the distance. "They mustn't see us! Come on, she's dangerous now, Kyson. She no longer deserves your compassion." The speaker had to be the Masteress. She'd called the man Kyson, and the two were clearly related. I could tell by their almost identical facial features. As I moved closer for a better view, the deafening thud of an enormous oak interrupted the Masteress, and I awoke to a soft knock on my door.

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