I laid the last pair of jeans on the top of my pile and closed my suitcase. I was happy to leave my current school of mages and go to the academy.
Happy about something, for once.
The dog, Mush, was lying on my bed. I was excited to go to the academy, I didn’t care about leaving my parents, or my school, or even my home. There, in fact, were only two things I would miss: The green hills of my colony, and Mush. A single tear slipped down my cheek at the thought of leaving Mush behind in my beautiful colony with my argumentative parents. Mush, as though he sensed my sadness, opened his eyes and marched across the bed playfully. He blinked and licked my face. I wiped my eyes and laughed. This was a school for the mages and mages were tough. I was going to be just as tough as everyone else.
“Oh, Mush, I’m sorry.” I murmured. He lapped at my hand and nudged it with his nose. I lifted my hand and scratched his head gently.
“Annella! It’s time to go. Now!” My mother called to me. I pulled my travel bag over my shoulder and extended the handle from my suitcase.
“Bye, Mush. I love you.” I whispered. He barked at me once and then jumped from my bed. He followed me out of my room, right at my heels.
It was time to leave.
The train ride was long and tedious. I couldn’t bear the man next to me, who smelled of aged, moldy fish and constantly felt the need to make pointless small talk.
“The weather’s beautiful today.” He commented.
“Yes, I would agree.” I replied, politely.
“Are you from the Edin Colony?” He pried. The Edin Colony was the mage colony that used to be known as, “Scotland.”
“Your accent shows it.”
“What’s your name?” He blinked at me expectantly.
“Not to be disrespectful, but I fail to see where that is any of your business.”
“Sorry, miss,” He apologized and stopped speaking to me. Finally.
We finally arrived to the academy after the unbearable train ride, a slightly less awful plane ride, and a bus ride from there. When my group finally filed off the bus, I stood with the teacher and only one other student. I watched as other children arrived with their groups, getting off each bus. The academy was magnificent and grand, the building larger than anything I had ever seen in my life. It was lovely. As I observed the other students, two of them specifically stuck out to me. A girl with inky jet black hair and a boy with blonde hair. They seemed to be squabbling and the boy looked rather disinterested. The girl looked extremely frustrated, and her arms flew in every direction, arching in giant hand gestures. I watched, amused, until I felt a tap on my shoulder. Another girl with dark hair and stunning green eyes stood, smiling a perfect smile at me.
“I’m so excited to be here! Isn’t it such a privilege? Some of the greatest mages studied and graduated here. Did you know that?” The girl paused to breathe.
“I’m sorry, but...Who are you?” I glanced at her quizzically.
“Oh, sorry, I’m Freya!”
“Um,” I smiled slightly, “Hi.”
“Aren’t you so excited to study magic? What are your elements?”
“Uh, I- I have to go.” I couldn’t tell a complete stranger.
“Where are you going? You have to stay with your group.” The girl -Freya- frowned at me, her perfect eyebrows knit together.
“Well, I need to speak with… A friend.”
“Oh. Okay, I guess.” Freya quickly replaced her smile and wandered off to another poor soul.
“Hi! I’m so glad to be here. Aren’t you? Some of the best mages have studied here. Did you know that?” The other boy she was speaking to smiled and spoke animatedly with her. I wonder if she practiced a script…
I began to wonder about the girl with jet black hair, but when I turned back around, she was gone. And the boy with blonde hair was, too.
“Okay, okay, settle down,” Our professor said, calmly, “Everyone, go around and give us your name, age, where you’re from and elemental powers.”
No one spoke. The other groups around us weren’t doing this procedure, so I assumed they had all done it on the bus. The professor looked around and she smiled warmly at us.
“Okay, I can begin I suppose. You may call me Professor Thatcher and my magic types are wind and plants. I am from the Mosanna Colony, which was formerly known as Russia. ”
“You forgot your age, Professor.” A student called out, his brown hair blowing across his face in the slight breeze.
“Ah… That’s a rather… Tedious detail. One you have no requirement of learning. You may start, Mr. Nole.”
“I- how did you- okay. I’m Zach, um, Zachary Nole. I’m from the Delia Colony. It used to be known as India before the division of the colonies. My powers are fire and metal. ”
“Okay, thank you, Zachary.” The professor observed all of us, “You. You can go next.”
She pointed at me.
“Oh, I, um… Okay. I’m Annella Stewart.” I stopped speaking.
“Your powers?” The Professor prompted. The paper clearly said that my powers were unknown, but my parents sent me anyways. They insisted that I couldn’t be a halfborn. Well, my mother did. Professor Thatcher would know I was lying, and then where would I be?
“Oh. Yeah. Um, about that, we- I mean, sorry, light and… plants.” I lied.
“Thank you,” My head was spinning. I could only hope that I was right about my powers, but of course, with my luck I wouldn’t even have the two correct ones. The other students gave their names and powers, but I was hardly listening. I scanned the crowd for the girl with inky black hair - but she was gone.
“Annella, this will be your dorm. Your roommate is already inside, evidently.”
“Thank you, Professor Thatcher.” I murmured. She smiled and wandered blissfully down the hall. I knocked on the door and it swung open. In front of me stood the girl with the dark, dark hair. Her gold eyes looked like fire and I smiled gently.
“I’m Annella Stewart and it looks like I’ll be your roommate for our time at the academy. I promise that I won’t get in your way, really, I won’t.” I babbled on and I never babbled. How annoying I must seem.
A slight smile crossed her face. “You’re my roommate, hm?” The smile vanished from her face. “I’m sorry for you.” She collapsed onto one of the beds, staring at the ceiling with a frustrated expression.
“I usually don’t talk this much,” I frowned. So, why am I now? I thought, “Really, I don’t need your pity.” My natural defensive mechanism kicking in. I sounded passive.
The girl raised her eyebrows, sitting up. “You don’t think I’m going to try and kill you?” She said, with a trace of sarcasm in her voice.
“Why on earth would I think that?” I said, my voice rising to a normal level instead of it’s soft, gentle tone.
“Word travels slower than I thought,” she remarked. “Okay, fine I’ll introduce myself properly. My name is Kallisto, but don’t call me that. I prefer Kal or Kalla, if you’re set on talking to me. And I’m a darkmage.” She crossed her arms, waiting for my reaction.
“I don’t fear darkmages. There are plenty of darkmages who have grown to be perfectly fine people, in fact I know some lovely darkmages, you don’t have to use dark magic for dark reasons.”
For once she actually smiled for real, which lit up her whole face. “So you’re not like everybody else. I’ve only seen two people here so far that haven’t freaked out about that.”
“Obviously?” I muttered, setting my bags on the bed she wasn’t flopped over on.
“Why would people be like that anyways?” I ask, louder than before.
“Stereotypes,” she muttered. “Speaking of which you haven’t told me your powers yet.”
“Oh, um, yeah. Light and… and plants.” I told the lie for the second time that day, it rolled off my tongue easier that time, but still was difficult to tell. No matter how hard I prayed and wished, my real powers never showed themselves.
The smile on her face was gone in an instant and she tensed like she was expecting a fight. “Is this some kind of a sick joke?!” She snarled abruptly.
“I-I’m sorry,” I whispered. Why- oh, why had I said light? I wondered if I should tell her the truth… But, she was a stranger, someone I didn’t know. She could tell anyone I was a halfborn at anytime. Still, I could just be a late bloomer, but that was unlikely. I was probably a halfborn, a Cursed one.
“It’s not your fault,” she replied, her tone still vicious. “You can’t help what powers you were born with any more than I can. It’s their fault for putting us together.”
I didn’t want her to hate me - my parents hated me enough for the whole world - but, what could I do? Tell her I was probably a Cursed? A halfborn? I couldn’t- could I? I had to make a decision.
“Kalla, can you keep a secret?” I spoke in my softest voice and looked her straight in her golden-red fiery eyes.
“Yes,” she replied without hesitation.