The first thing I did that morning was eat dirt.
Not that it was intentional- or that I’m naturally clumsy. It’s that my stupid cat was lying right on the doorstep, waiting to be let in, and I tripped over him.
He yowled, clawing at me and opening a cut on my ankle. I kicked at him, and he streaked past me into the house.
“I hate you!” I yelled after him. Already, this day was starting off wonderfully.
I was already in a terrible mood, though that isn’t saying much. It doesn’t take much to make me irritated. Especially when I’m being shipped off.
Oh, I’m sorry, do I sound bitter? Well, I am. My family is sending me away to some sort of academy a million miles away just so I can learn to control my weird freakish ‘powers’.
I had protested at first. I was convinced that I didn’t need teaching of any sort. Besides, there would be other people there, and I already knew they’d all hate me once they figured out my powers. It wasn’t my fault that I had ended up having a talent for controlling darkness. That was the element that ‘called’ me. But people are like that- they instantly stereotype people based on what they control. It’s totally unfair, but I’ve always been told that we have to suffer through it for the greater good.
The greater good. As if my power could do anything that’s considered good.
For my parents’ sake, I tried not to be too angry. We all loaded into a small car that should have shut down years ago, and took off towards the airport. The only thing that kept the car going was a combination of earth and metal magic, and it was loud and annoying, belching smoke every once in awhile. Fortunately, we made it to the airport without breaking down, which improved my mood slightly.
The airport was huge and beautiful, filled with curving, twisting decorations that must have been made by metalmages. The airplanes were powered by a combination of machinery and wind magic. I’d heard piloting one was exhausting, and a hard job. I’m glad I wouldn’t have to be stuck with that.
Of course, that was assuming I ever got a job. Nobody wanted dark mages around. It was assumed that they were all twisted and corrupted.
When the airplane arrived, I was sent onto it with a lot of tears from my parents, along with promises to write as often as I could, and to enjoy myself. And of course, learn control, and be nice to the other students.
As if they’ll be nice to me.
The plane ride was long. I dozed on and off throughout the entire thing. When I was awake, I tried to imagine what this place would be like. I doubted I would like it. I never liked any public place. Each person there would be just another person that could judge me because of my magic talent.
Finally, the plane touched down. I got off. This airport was even more grand than the one back home. I had been told there would be an instructor from the academy here, and true to that, a moment later I saw one of them waving me over. Already, a small group of other kids were grouped around her. I sighed, joining the group.
“You’re Kallisto, yes?” The teacher asked, giving me a smile.
“Yep,” I muttered.
The teacher scanned the list, which would have our names, powers, and where we were from. Her face fell slightly, and I knew she’d seen the word darkness next to my name.
“Ah… alright then. Stay here with the group. We still have a few more people that need to arrive.”
I sighed, looking around at the group. They huddled together, friends sticking together. The only other outsider was a blond boy, whose eyes were focused somewhere in the distance, ignoring the group.
More and more kids kept arriving, laughing and talking, looking around excitedly. No one spoke to me. That was alright. I didn’t care. I kept my eyes in the distance.
Finally, everybody arrived, and the teacher led us through the airport to a bus. We all got on, people pushing and shoving to get preferential seats. There wasn’t enough room on the bus for anybody to sit alone, so I was forced to sit with somebody. I ended up sitting with the blond boy I’d seen earlier.
“Alright!” The teacher said cheerfully. “We’re all going to get to know each other now, okay? Tell everybody your name, age, powers, and where you’re from!”
Everybody went around. I tried to remember some of the names, but they just blurred together. The only one that stayed in my head for more than two seconds was the name of the boy next to me.
“Finn, 15,” he said quietly. “My powers are water and illusions.”
“Where are you from?” The teacher asked.
Finn just shook his head slightly. The air hummed for a moment, and the teacher nodded, suddenly satisfied. “Alright.” She looked at me.
“Kallisto, 16,” I sighed. “I’m from Sparia.” The colony was located in a country that used to be called ‘Spain’. I’d learned this in school, before I was sent to the academy.
“Your powers?” The teacher prompted.
“Metal and Darkness,” I replied.
Whispers broke out amongst the other kids. I sighed, glancing over at Finn to judge his reaction. To my surprise, he didn’t look bothered.
That obviously wasn’t the case for the rest of the people on the bus. Whispers surrounded me, occasionally spitting out an intelligible phrase or sentence. None of them were positive.
“They let a darkmage into the academy?!”
“I’ll bet we have at a minimum a week before she snaps and tries to kill everybody.”
“I’ve heard everybody born with control over darkness turns dark. Like, their element consumes them.”
“Maybe they’ll be able to control it. Or bind it. Or something.”
I jumped, turning to look at Finn.
“Don’t call me that.”
“It’s the only name you gave us,” he replied calmly. Something about him unsettled me. I wasn’t sure if it was how he was looking at me, or how his eyes never left my face, but he was unnerving. I did my best to ignore that, raising my eyebrows slightly. I tried to look him in the eyes, but found my gaze sliding away from his each time I tried. Eventually, I gave up entirely.
“Kalla,” I said briefly, giving him a nickname that I was partial to.
“You shouldn’t listen to them,” he said evenly. “Don’t let them get into your head.”
I probably should have been grateful to him for what he was saying- at least he was trying to be kind to me- but somehow it just irritated me. He didn’t even know anything about me and he thinks that I’d let a few whispers bother me?
“Let something small like that get into my head?” I laughed scornfully. “You think I care?”
Again, that steady gaze of his unnerved me. I hesitated, shrinking back, and at the same time mentally cursing myself. What was I doing?! I had never pulled away from anybody like this before!
“Yes, I think you do,” he replied. “I’ve seen what too much hate can do to a person.”
“I don’t let what other people think bother me.”
The bus stopped, and we crowded off. Strangely, the instant Finn stepped into the crowd, they parted around him, people drawing away from that strange aura of his.
In front of us was a huge and majestic building that I assumed was the academy. Our group joined up with several others, and we all flooded through the doors.
In the chaos, I turned and found Finn nearby again. “Ready?” He asked, raising his eyebrows.
“They all know,” he said simply. “You say other’s thoughts don’t bother you. We’ll see.”
Anger clouded my judgement, and I snapped at him. “You know what, enough!” I snapped. “You think you can just start talking to me like that out of the blue?! You don’t know anything about me. Leave me alone- stop talking to me.”
He raised his eyebrows slightly, then shrugged, and walked away, disappearing into the crowds of students.
We walked through the hallways in a large pack. Eventually, we reached a hallway full of doors, at which point the teachers called for quiet.
“These are the dorms, where you’ll be spending all your free time, and sleeping each night,” one of the teacher said. “Each of the rooms have one of your names on it. Please go straight to your respective rooms until further notice. Thank you.” The group of teachers vanished in a flash of light. There were several cries of shock, then people began to search for their rooms.
I was halfway down the hallway when I tripped again. For the second time- this was not my fault. Somebody intentionally tripped me. I fell, catching myself with my hands at the last minute.
“Hey, are you okay?” A voice, dripping with false concern spoke next to me. I looked up, to find a girl looking at me. She grinned, her dark blue eyes framed by perfectly arranged white-blond hair. I instantly disliked her.
“Here, let me help you up.” She offered me her hand. I ignored it, pushing myself to my feet.
“Thanks for that,” I snarled.
“Oh, you’re welcome,” she smiled.
The hallways were nearly empty. It was just me and this girl, which I wasn’t too pleased about. I tensed, expecting a fight.
The girl laughed. “Calm down. I just wanted to talk to you.”
“I just want to make sure we can trust that you don’t, ah, cause trouble. After all, a darkmage? I just want to be sure that you’re trustworthy. You understand what I mean? We have no place for evil mages here.” She noticed my fists clenching, and laughed. “And if you attack me right now, you can bet that you’ll get thrown out of this place. Better keep it under control.”
She tossed her long hair over her shoulder with a flick of her head, and smiled sweetly at me. “See you around darkmage.” She strolled away, disappearing into one of the rooms.
I sighed, shaking my head. I turned to enter my room, and felt a strange prickling sensation on the back of my neck. I looked behind me, and saw Finn leaning against one of the doors, watching me. He smiled slightly, and disappeared into his room. I shuddered. He was honestly freaky. I opened the door to my room, and walked inside, shutting it behind me. Once I was safely inside, I collapsed onto the bed, letting my eyes sink shut.
This is going to be a long year…