Monday, January 24, 2011


Not many people commented on my story last time...

What? Did you even like it? Or could you not think of anything wrong with it? Or...or..?


(This is the part where I fly into an emotional rage.)

Haha, kidding. You know me better than that. Or do you? Maybe not. Just in case you don't, only Samuel, occasionally Savannah, do those kinds of things. Ok, maybe I do on occasion, when I get really into something...

Well, at least I many...two awesomefuls? I'll have to go check.

Anywho, yeah, I'd appreciate any comments, especially on my stories, in the near future. I mean, how am I supposed to know whether you like it or whether it's a total fail otherwise?  If you're feeling lazy, I understand. That's what the reaction thingy is for. (But I like comments more.)

And don't tell me you didn't see it yet. ODAD got 18 views since I posted it last week.

Sarah Spiritheart
Hmm...I need a sign-off, something I always say when I end a post. Any suggestions?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Of Dragons and Drakes Part 1

Ok, here it is. As promised. The first part of my new series. PLEASE feel free to comment and tell me what you think. And if you could point out any errors, that would be wonderful; you know how I feel about proofreading...

Ok, enough with the intros. Enjoy!

“Well, there is something,” I said, a little apologetically. “When Malistaire was chasing us through the Spiral Door, right before we escaped from his castle, he said something about Professor Drake. He said that he, well, killed his wife,” I said in a very small voice.
Ambrose looked at me gravely.
I covered my mouth with my hands. “Oh my gosh,” I said. “So it is true!”
“As much as I would hate to say so, yes,” said Ambrose.
Dozens of questions were flooding through my mind at once, but the one that came out first was, “Why?”
“Why what?” asked Ambrose.
What I really longed to ask was, “Why are you still letting him teach here?” But I didn’t think that would be polite. So instead I asked, “Why did he do it?”
So Ambrose told the story…

Of Dragons and Drakes
A prelude to The Tale of Sarah Spiritheart
Part 1

A wraith rose from the ground, spinning its scythe like a baton. Blades broke around Cyrus’s head, and shields broke around his brother’s midriff.
How many? Oh, about seven.
Malistaire scowled. “I promise you, Cyrus, this is the last time you will ever beat…AAAAAAAAAAAAAA—”
Several students watching winced.
The death teacher, Professor Drywrath, made a bored scribble on his clipboard. “Cyrus beats Malistaire again…”
But he couldn’t hide the smug little smirk on his face. Everyone knew that Cyrus was his favorite student. And he absolutely hated Malistaire, ever since the first day at school when Malistaire somehow found out that Professor Drywrath’s first name was actually Milford.
As Professor Drywrath wrote some more, Malistaire stopped yelling in anguish, got up from the ground with something of a swagger, and put on a brave sort of grimace. But Cyrus knew why he went to that trouble: because Malistaire knew that it practically made girls faint when he simultaneously looked at them and swept his bangs out of his eyes.
“Homework,” droned Professor Drywrath, causing several girls to come back down to earth. “I want a twelve-page essay on wraiths and the proper way to summon them.” He glared at Bryan Soulward, who had somehow caused his wraith to turn up, not in front of him, but in the middle of the life school earlier today. The life students had been in hysterics (Some death wizards had been rolling on the floor laughing at this.) until Sylvia Liferiver had stopped it with a well-cast centaur spell card.
“When are we supposed to hand it in?” asked Cyrus.
“Tomorrow morning, no later than nine o’ clock,” said Professor Drywrath. Several students groaned, Malistaire included.
“I heard that, Drake.” Malistaire always seemed to be the only one he ever heard. “Detention. Saturday night; eight o’ clock sharp. If you’re not there, you will be very sorry. Are we clear?”
“Fine,” said Malistaire, forever unruffled. First making sure that Professor Drywrath wasn’t looking, he rolled his eyes.
The medieval-looking clock on the wall struck three. There was a sudden rush as everyone raced to collect their book bags.
“Remember,” shouted the Professor over the commotion, “graduation is in only one week. You are expected to wear your best dress robes. Attendance is mandatory…that is…for anyone who wants to graduate.” He smirked slightly at Malistaire. “Cyrus, have you been practicing your valedictorian speech?”
“Yes, sir,” said Cyrus.
Malistaire, from behind him, whispered something to his friend, and they both laughed. But Cyrus had learned long ago not to be offended by this. He knew Malistaire sometimes even better than Malistaire knew himself, and this meant that he was only jealous.
As the students hurried out the door, Cyrus approached Malistaire and tapped him on the shoulder.
“How about heading to the library?”
“Thanks, but no,” said Malistaire. I just whispered to Sylvia, and she said that she’d meet me in the arena.”
There was a pause in which the last remaining necromancer girls promptly marched out of the class, looking scandalized.
“Um, Malistaire?” asked Cyrus, “We kind of have a twelve page essay…”
The two brothers looked at each other for a moment. Then they burst out laughing.
“Yeah, sure, Cyrus,” chuckled Malistaire. “See you later.”
“Bye,” said Cyrus, heading down the all-too-familiar path to the library.
Harold Argleston, was, of course, well used to seeing Cyrus walk through those front doors.
“Can I help you, Mister Drake?” he asked politely. A few small apprentices stared, having never seen him act this kindly to a student before.
“Yes, Sir,” said Cyrus as the students turned away. He could practically read their thoughts: Just another teacher’s pet…
“Another paper, I presume?” Professor Argleston asked.
“Unfortunately, yes,” said Cyrus, causing the Scottie to smile wryly up at him. “Do you have any books on wraiths?”
“Hmm…let me see what I have…” muttered Professor Argleston. Simultaneously, three incredibly heavy, ancient-looking books drifted off the shelf into Cyrus’s arms. He staggered slightly from the weight. “Does that help?”
“Plenty,” said Cyrus. “Thanks a million.”
“Oh, don’t mention it,” said Professor Argleston, his eyes twinkling. “And Mister Skythief,” he suddenly snapped at a mischievous-looking conjurer with white-blonde hair, “if I ever see you do that to a book again, I will put you in an eight-hour detention doing nothing but flattening out dog-eared pages. Got it?”
Chuckling softly to himself, Cyrus seated himself at the first available table, gently placing the books down so Professor Argleston wouldn’t yell at him.
Ignoring the librarian’s mutterings of, “And why do they even call them ‘dog-eared pages’ anyway..?” Cyrus picked up the first book, entitled, Wraiths: The Complete Guide.
After a few minutes of reading, Cyrus opened his notebook to the next blank page and took his sunbird feather quill out of his bag. He stared at it for a little while, appreciating the beauty of its magnificent red-orange hue. It had been a gift from Sylvia.
Out of all of his brother’s past girlfriends, Sylvia Liferiver was his favorite. It didn’t even matter that she was from the life school. She was a sweet girl; always kind to others. She was also very intelligent and gave great advice whenever anyone needed it. She was friends with practically everyone in Ravenwood, and to her, it didn’t matter what school you were from, how old you were, or what you looked like. She would always show kindness and compassion to everyone. At times, Cyrus and Malistaire didn’t quite understand her, but it was impossible to not like Sylvia, and now Malistaire was head over heels in love.
Momentarily forgetting what he was supposed to be writing down, Cyrus checked back in the enormous volume.
Cyrus continued this for most of the afternoon. Before long, he had successfully skimmed through the first two books that Professor Argleston had given him and had written down anything that would help him on the essay. Finally, he picked up the last volume, titled The History of Necromancy.
Few students were in the library now. Cyrus glanced outside and saw that it was dark out. But this didn’t bother him in the slightest. Late-night study sessions were his favorite pastime. Smiling slightly, he looked back at the book.
And he nearly dropped it
He just stared at it. He stared and stared until he thought his eyes would fall out.
When professor Argleston had first handed him the book, it had looked just like an ordinary book straight out of the nonfiction section. And if someone else had even looked at its cover, it probably still would’ve looked like an ordinary book to them.
But not to Cyrus. Where someone else would’ve seen just a faded picture, he saw confusion, memories, and untold mysteries.
The picture on the book was that of a staff. It had a dark, wooden rod with a shiny glass ball forever balanced on the top. A dragon curled around the ball as if it was asleep. The picture was a little sketchy and faded, as if someone had simply drawn it on the leather over a thousand years ago.
Maybe it was an ordinary picture. But what had shaken Cyrus most was that he had seen it before.
In a dream.
In several occurring dreams, actually. Each one the night after the next.
He had never seen the staff before the dreams took place.
Then the picture began to move. Cyrus watched, transfixed, as the dragon that was curled around the glass ball very subtly opened its stone eyes. It blinked at him, and then it opened its mouth in a huge yawn.
Then the book cover started to glitter, as if a pixie had sprinkled magic dust all over it. And as if that weren’t enough, then came the whispers, as if reoccurring from his dreams.
Words like these floated around in his brain until slowly, but surely, they faded away into silence.
Cyrus stared at the book for a long time. He was subconsciously aware that none of the few remaining students had noticed a thing—perhaps he was seeing things?—but that wasn’t his main focus right now.
“What does this mean?” he whispered, causing a few late-night studiers to look his way.
What’s happening to me?

Sylvia Liferiver was copying notes from the chalkboard when she first heard the scream.
It came from the back of the classroom; she whirled around to see what was wrong.
Samantha Hawkthorn, one of her fellow Master Theurgists, was standing on top of her desk screaming. Beside her, rising spontaneously from the ground, was a wraith.
A wraith!
“Ugh! Not again, Bryan!” she moaned to herself.
By now, the whole class had seen it too, and nearly all of them were either yelling, getting as far to the front of the classroom as possible, or mimicking Samantha and climbing on top of their desks.
“Class!” Lorraine Serevina was normally very quiet, but somehow she could make herself heard even above the din. “Everyone be calm! We know how to deal with creatures like these. Don’t we, Sylvia?”
Professor Serevina gave Sylvia a knowing smile, and Sylvia hesitantly nodded.
“Then go for it.”
Sylvia took a tentative step toward the wraith, which was now using its scythe to split one of the desks into splinters.
Some necromancers had appeared at the windows to watch, and a few of them were laughing. The life wizards scowled at them.
Sylvia raised her staff and traced a leaf pattern into the air. A life blade started circling around her head. The wraith ignored her, now shooting magical energy at the book pedestal in the corner. It burst into flames.
Then her friend, Luke Summerstone, stepped up beside her and cast life trap, which he had learned earlier from Mildred Farseer in Colossus Boulevard.  
Then Sylvia pulled a Centaur card out of her pouch. The wraith still hadn’t noticed. She waved her staff a second time. And that’s when it saw her. Giving an angry hiss, it lunged at her, scythe ready.
With a shriek of terror, Sylvia activated the life symbol.
A centaur appeared out of nowhere. It gave a war cry and loaded its bow with a fresh arrow. The wraith swung its weapon, which Sylvia just barely dodged.
Just then, an arrow came flying at top speed and buried itself into the wraith’s cloak. It vanished with a horrible wail.
The centaur gave Sylvia a deep bow. Then it faded into nothing.
Around the perimeter of the life school, the necromancers groaned and walked back to class. But Malistaire and his twin brother Cyrus both gave her a thumbs-up before they walked away.
Professor Serevina had already started repairing the classroom, the students helping her, walking back to their seats, or else patting Sylvia on the back.
Luke was just now getting up from the ground. Sylvia realized with horror that the wraith must have knocked him over.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
Luke nodded. “Just a cut, but I’m all right.”
Sylvia traced the red line running across his cheek with her finger. “Just a cut? Luke, this looks really bad.”
“May I?” asked Professor Serevina, striding across the room and taking a look at Luke’s face. Then she looked at Luke, puzzled. “Did you say there was a cut here?”
“I—wha—?” Luke then ran his own finger across his face in wonderment.
The cut, somehow, had disappeared.
“Hmm…” Was it just Sylvia’s imagination, or did Professor Serevina give her an odd look, maybe just for a fraction of a second? But when she looked at her again, her expression was back to normal.
“Now,” said Professor Serevina, brushing her short, dark brown hair away from her face, “everyone back to their desks. Quickly, please. Alright, you can finish copying from the board now, and when all of you are done, we can move on. Sound okay?” She smiled, and the entire class nodded and got to work.
When everyone had set their quills down, Professor Serevina smoothed out her floral-patterned skirt, sat down at her desk, and said, “I thought we might have a little review, with graduation coming up. Nothing to worry about, just to help me see where you all are at this stage of schooling. So take out your wands, please.”
Sylvia picked up her wand, which she had gotten on a vacation to Mooshu just a few days ago.
“Now everyone get into groups of four.” There was a flurry of movement as everyone rushed over to be with their friends. “We will be doing two on two duels today, so you can practice healing your partner as well as yourself. I will be coming around occasionally to check your progress. Just let me clear a space…” She rolled back her sleeves and waved her hands in the air, and all the desks and the other furniture disappeared, leaving plenty of room. “…and you can get started.”
Sylvia and Luke set up a dueling circle in one of the corners, and two of their other friends stepped into the spaces on the other side.
“Ready?” asked Jeffery Greenchant, while Bailey Owlstrider hopped into the space beside him. “Because we’re definitely going to win this time.”
“Not necessarily,” said Sylvia, grinning.
“Oh really?”
“Yeah, want to bet?” said Luke in an undertone, because Professor Serevina was near.
“I’m out,” said Sylvia automatically.
“Me too,” said Bailey.
“Chickens,” Luke scoffed, although he looked amused. “Alright, Jeff, let’s say…three hundred coins?”
“Let’s make it nine hundred.”
“Okay, you’re on.”
Several shields, traps, blades, and power pips later, Professor Serevina finally came over to their circle as a centaur cast by Bailey rose up from the ground.
“Hold on,” she said, stepping right in its path. The centaur froze in mid-gallop, looking at her as if saying, Now what?
“Crooked arrow,” she said matter-of-factly, straightening it with a single touch. “You have been practicing, right Bailey?”
Another nice thing about Professor Serevina was that she was the only teacher at Ravenwood who called students by their first name. The rest of them preferred to address them by the person’s last name, preceded by “Mister,” “Miss,” or else nothing at all.
“I tried,” confessed Bailey, looking sheepish.
Professor Serevina gave Bailey a wry smile.
“Oh, and boys, we aren’t gambling, I hope?” she added.
Jeffery and Luke said, “No, ma’am,” at the same time.”
 Professor Serevina gave a small sigh and exchanged an amused look with Sylvia, indicating that she didn’t believe them one bit. Then she stepped out of the circle and said to the centaur, “Go ahead.”
Sylvia could’ve sworn that she heard the centaur give a sigh of exasperation before he shot the arrow, which hit Luke right between the eyes.
Ouch, Sylvia winced, as Luke’s health was deducted by approximately 1,800 from all the extra shields and blades. That had to hurt.
Luke looked at her. “Dryad?”
“You know it,” said Sylvia, drawing a Dryad card from her deck.
Hey, Sylvia.
Sylvia groaned. Mal, I’m kind of in the middle of something…
He ignored her, of course. Do you want to meet up somewhere after class?
Don’t you have homework? Sylvia questioned. Professor Drywrath normally gives a lot…
Not tonight.
She knew he was lying. But what could she do about it? Sighing, she asked, Okay, say I believe you. Where?
Malistaire chuckled. How about the arena?
Sylvia rolled her eyes, although, of course, he couldn’t see it. Okay.
Both Jeffery and Bailey had passed, and now it was Luke’s turn. He waved his wand in the familiar pattern and cast the spell sanctuary, which would add fifty percent to all healing spells.
“Ready?” Luke asked. Sylvia nodded.
It happened just as she was about to cast the spell. It started out as a sort of tingling feeling in her feet, but soon her whole body began to vibrate with magical energy.  
Whoa! What was this? Even now, a golden haze had begun to obscure her vision, and she had not just begun to vibrate, but shake uncontrollably.
Luke had noticed. “Um, Sylvia, what’s going on?”
“I don’t—”
Just then, the clock on the wall struck three. The dueling circles disappeared, as did all the effects from the spells.
“Ugh!” groaned Jeffery. “I didn’t even get to cast Earthwalker yet!”
“The bet’s still on,” reminded Luke.
“Oh yeah,” said Jeffery. “Race you to the arena?”
“Hang on,” said Luke. “I’ll meet you there.
Then he said to Sylvia, “Uh, you didn’t cast Dryad at all, did you?”
Sylvia frowned. “No.”
“Okay, then, never mind,” said Luke hastily. But Sylvia hadn’t missed it: Luke was back up to full health.
Confused and somewhat self-conscious, Sylvia left the room, aware of Lorraine Serevina’s eyes on her back the whole way out.

Malistaire was already in a duel when Sylvia arrived at the arena. He was with one of his fellow necromancers, Jason Darktalon. Directly beside them, also engaged in a duel, were Jeffery and Luke.
“Hey, Malistaire!” Sylvia called to him, waving. He waved back.
I’ll be right up, he said in her head.
Jason waved up at her also, his amulet gleaming in the afternoon sun.
There was an interesting story behind that amulet, or so he told everyone. He had received it from his father for his eighteenth birthday last week. It had come with a note written by his father:
I was told that this belonged to one of our most powerful ancestors. I don’t know who, exactly, but this amulet has great, untapped power. If you can figure out how, use it wisely.
Ever since then, Jason had been obsessed with his parentage. Almost every day, he could be seen in the library looking up records of students or family lines. This was hard work, as everyone in Wizard City had a different last name, but he was persistent and stuck to it, even though he was nowhere near close enough to figuring it out.
“Yes! I won!” Sylvia heard Luke say from a distance. “Hand over the nine hundred coins!”
“But I don’t have nine hundred coins…”
On the other side of the arena, Jason and Malistaire were finishing up their duel too.
“But you don’t even know Stormzilla!”
“It was a treasure card,” said Malistaire smugly, brushing sparks off of his sleeves.
“Oh well,” Jason said indifferently. “The match was rigged anyway. You got to go first, and all my spells fizzled.”
“Wait, are you saying I cheated?”
But before Jason could make a retort, they were teleported out of the arena next to her in the entrance area.
“Lo siento…sorry, young wizards,” said Ricardo the duel master. “But you need to give someone else a try, no?”
“Sorry, Ricardo,” said Jason. “How’s it going, Sylvia?”
“Fine,” she said. “How about you? Did you trace back your amulet yet?”
“Not yet,” said Jason. “But I’m getting there. I just need to go a little farther back; that’s all.”
“Can I see it?” asked Sylvia.
“Sure,” said Jason, tugging it off of his neck and holding it out to her. “See the markings around the edges? They haven’t been used for about two thousand years.”
“Really?” asked Sylvia.
“Yeah,” said Jason. “It’s really that old. But I’ve only gone back a hundred years into my family, and it gets harder the farther you go back…”
“Let us know when you find out, okay?” interrupted Malistaire, grinning. Although Sylvia knew that he really thought that Jason was wasting his time.
“All right. See ya…you two.” Jason winked, and both Malistaire and Sylvia rolled their eyes.
“Yeah, sure,” said Malistaire. “Come on, Sylvia.
Something was bothering Malistaire today, Sylvia noticed as they walked through Unicorn Park. He was staring at his feet while they walked, and his face was deep in thought.
Sylvia was often told that she really knew people and understood what was going on inside them. At times like these, it was a gift she prided.
“Something the matter?”
Malistaire nodded.
Sylvia studied his face again. She knew that look.
“Is it Cyrus?”
“Well…yeah,” Malistaire admitted.
They entered the gazebo, one of their favorite hangouts. Immediately, Malistaire sprawled out on one of the benches, and Sylvia sat beside him
“So what’s the matter?” Sylvia couldn’t help but feel the least bit touched that Malistaire was going into “concerned brother mode” rather than the sarcastic, indifferent mask he hid behind during day-to-day life. It sort of made her proud that she was one of the few people who actually got to see this side of him.
Malistaire grimaced.
“Do you remember what I told you earlier?” he asked through gritted teeth.
Sylvia nodded. “Is he still having those funny dreams?”
“Shh!” Malistaire said suddenly, looking around in alarm. “Not so loud. I don’t want people to think we’re delusional freaks or anything.”
Sylvia nodded in agreement. “So what’s going on? Are they getting worse?”
“I can’t be sure,” said Malistaire. “He won’t tell me anything. But I can sort of tell. He’s muttering in his sleep now; I can hear him.”
“What’s he saying?”
“I don’t know: mostly it’s just gibberish. Sometimes he screams though. I was…uh…spying on him one night. All that time he was mumbling something I couldn’t understand, and his eyes were wide open. It was scary.”
He took a breath. “I don’t know what’s going on, Sylvia. What’s happening to him? I’m scared for him…for both of us, really. I mean…we’re twins. What if it starts happening to me too?”
“Have you told anyone about this?” Sylvia asked.
“Put it this way,” Malistaire mumbled. “There are some things that you just can’t tell anyone.”
And Sylvia immediately understood.
She looked into his eyes and saw, probably for the first time in them, true fear. But he must’ve realized this, and he turned his back to her.
Still, she wasn’t complaining. After all, he had told her one of his most important secrets. Something he probably wouldn’t have told to anyone else.
She felt…touched. And surprised. And maybe a little guilty.
Because she had a secret of her own too.
When she was sure he wasn’t looking, she took a tentative glance toward her palm. Yep, it was still there. She traced the curved, silver line with her finger. It was short now, but it was getting longer and more defined every day, as though someone was drawing an invisible picture on her palm.
Malistaire looked her way, and she hastily hid her hand behind her back. Boyfriend or not, there was simply no way she could tell him that new grass sprang up from her feet wherever she walked, or that she and whoever she was with healed instantly after a duel. There was no way she could admit to him that at the moment, she was as confused and as scared as Cyrus Drake must be feeling right now.
Like he said: there were some things you had to hide.

Black, pitch black.
That was all Cyrus saw. He looked around. Then down. Then towards the absent sky. He couldn’t see anything. Not even his own body.
But he could hear.
There they were again: the whispers. Like always, he couldn’t tell whether they were male or female, adult or child, friend or enemy.
 He knew one thing though. He wanted them out.
He tried to shout, “Leave me alone!” But somehow his vocal cords wouldn’t work. So he attempted to make a break for it. He couldn’t.
This complete muscle malfunction was definitely starting to get on his nerves.
“The hour is near…”
These words were not disembodied, like he had been hearing before. Instead, they had come out of the mouth of a dragon—a beautiful minuscule dragon with golden scales.
  The dragon sailed overhead for a moment or two. Then it drifted downward and coiled around a glass ball.
A red glass ball that was attached to a staff.
Cyrus abruptly sat up in bed, panting and clutching his chest. It happened again: the nightmares.
Well…they weren’t exactly nightmares, he thought. They weren’t at all that scary. But he hated having them nonetheless.
For all his life, Cyrus had been in control, no questions asked. He felt like he had the answers to everything in the world. If he didn’t know about something, he would learn it in a millisecond. But when these dreams first started happening was just about the first time he started getting seriously confused. He didn’t have a clue what they meant, and he hated it. He’d stay up late into the night wondering, “What could this mean? What’s happening?”
For the first time in eighteen long years, his life was spinning out of control.
In frustration, Cyrus punched his pillow. How long exactly was this supposed to go on for? All this pretending to other people, appearing to have it all together, while really holding something like a tornado wreck inside.
As he lay back on his pillow, he happened to notice the door. Hadn’t he shut it before? He was sure he had.
Never mind, he thought sleepily, turning over on his back. He would deal with it in the morning.
It was nearly an hour before Cyrus finally dozed off.
An hour before the dreams began again.

The entire class cheered as the clock on the wall struck three for the last time—for them, that is.
Cyrus couldn’t believe it. School was finally over. He picked up his bag of supplies, which some people were dumping into the nearest trash can, and slung it over his shoulder. He couldn’t resist letting out a hearty cheer with the rest.
Although he was going to miss it here, he mused.
He turned his head and saw Professor Drywrath sitting there, not even attempting to hide his triumphant grin.
“Graduation tonight!” he hollered, and Cyrus chuckled, imagining the look on his face if Malistaire failed and he would have him again for another year.
Still, he felt he owed Professor Drywrath a goodbye. So he walked over to his desk and held out a hand.
“It’s been a good year Professor,” he said formally. Professor Drywrath looked up.
“Ah, Cyrus,” he said. “Just the man I wanted to see.”
Ignoring Cyrus’s hand, he walked around and put a hand on his shoulder.
“You’ve been a fine student this year, Cyrus,” he said conversationally. “Very fine indeed.”
“I…thank you very much, Professor.”
“Indeed,” he continued. “Have you considered a career choice yet? Once you’re old enough to apply, of course.”
“No,” Cyrus said. “I can’t say that I have.”
“Well, if you keep up your studies of necromancy and maybe wait a few years or so, I think you’ll become a fine death teacher, wouldn’t you agree?”
Cyrus was speechless. “Me?”
“Of course,” said Professor Drywrath, smiling…almost warmly. “Just keep up the good work; I’ll have you at the top of my list.”
He finally reached for Cyrus’s hand and shook it. But Cyrus was still sort of in shock.
Him…a death teacher. The idea was marvelous, but somehow unbelievable. The reason he had never considered it until now was that all the teachers had seemed like geniuses. He had unconsciously told himself that he would never be able to join their ranks.
Or would he?
He remembered how Professor Drywrath treated him more fondly than any other student that walked into his classroom, how Harold Argleston always bragged about the essays he wrote in history class, when Professor Belwick, the teacher of his secondary school, offered to teach him all of the spells only myth students could know when he saw that he was doing so well with the other spells.
Was it possible…could he really be a death teacher someday?
“Excuse me, sir.” A voice interrupted his thought process. It was Mr. Reagan, the school administrator.
“Good afternoon, Sir,” said Professor Drywrath, as Mr. Reagan walked, or rather flew, into the room. (Mr. Reagan happened to be a pelican. All of the school administrators had been birds; no one knew why, exactly.)
“Professor,” said the administrator, lifting up a heavy package, “I have the exam results right here.”
Exams! Cyrus had almost forgotten about those. Exams were a huge portion of their final grade. They were what determined if you were held back another year or got to move on.
“Oh, yes, exams.” Professor Drywrath reached for the package. “Cyrus, you’d better get a move on; I need to take a look at these. And keep in mind what I said!”
 “Of course, Sir,” said Cyrus, backing out the door, where Jason and Malistaire were already waiting for him.
“Now I’m really nervous,” confessed Jason. “I mean…oh, Lord…if I failed…”
“I’m sure you did fine,” said Cyrus. They walked further down the path, where teachers were already starting to prepare for that night’s graduation. Some were setting up folding chairs for the audience, and some were hanging up streamers of every color. Even Merle Ambrose pitched in; he was preparing the refreshments table.
“It’s you I’m worried about, Malistaire,” said Jason suddenly. “They only accept a C- or higher, you know. And if you failed that exam…”
As always, Malistaire appeared undaunted by this news.
“We’ll see,” he said, with a rather mysterious smile.
Together, the three of them entered the Spiral Chamber to go home and get ready for tonight’s graduation.

Ravenwood School had a strict process for graduation. Each year, all the Grandmasters and everyone else who wanted to watch would gather in front of Bartleby to hear the teachers read the names of the students who passed. They would go from school to school in alphabetical order. Then the valedictorian students, any boy and girl who went above and beyond, would each give a speech. Then everyone, most of who were half-dead by this time, would be allowed to get refreshments.  
Cyrus looked in the mirror one last time and once again straightened his bow tie. He couldn’t help but notice that he was feeling slightly nervous.
You passed, he told himself uneasily. But then again, there was no way to know for sure if that was true.
“You ready?” hollered Malistaire from downstairs.
“Uh, yeah…hang on.” Cyrus fingered the note cards in his pocket, and checked himself in the mirror once more. “I’ll be right down.”
“Finally,” said Malistaire when Cyrus arrived at the bottom of the stairs.
“And that,” retorted Cyrus, “is exactly what I’ll say to you when you graduate next year.
“Not the point,” Malistaire scowled, opening the front door. He was dressed up in a black satin suit with red lining that looked a little bit more modern than Cyrus’s Marleybone ensemble.
Malistaire held the door open for Cyrus, and the two brothers walked down the pathway of their house to the spiral door, which would take them to Ravenwood for the night.
“We’re early,” announced Cyrus as they exited Bartleby’s spiral chamber.
“Not that early,” said Malistaire, checking the time. “Ten minutes ‘till.”
“But hardly anyone’s here yet!”
“Cyrus,” Malistaire chuckled, “no one ever comes to these things anyway.”
“All right, fine,” Cyrus grumbled. “Let’s go; we’re supposed to go sit with our school.”
They wandered around the campus until they found a section of seats labeled, “Reserved for Graduating Necromancers.” They sat down, not surprised to find Jason already seated.
“Hey, guys,” he said, twirling in his fingers the piece of string that held his necklace…oh, sorry…amulet.
As if on cue, Malistaire piped up, “Are you still wearing that necklace, Jason?”
Jason turned red. “It’s an amulet.”
“Yeah, whatever.”
As they talked, more graduating students and teachers started to file in either through the Commons or the Spiral Chamber. Sylvia Drake, who had arrived just a minute or two after Cyrus and Malistaire, was looking as stunning as ever in a short, jade-green dress studded with emeralds. She waved at Malistaire as she walked by, and Malistaire waved back, looking slightly dazed.
And that, thought Cyrus, is a certified example of a one hundred percent love struck fool.
Last to arrive was Professor Drywrath, who, as Malistaire not-so-politely pointed out, was actually wearing a tux. When he was comfortably seated, which in itself took ten long, aggravating minutes; Merle Ambrose stepped up onto the podium.
“My fellow teachers and students of Ravenwood,” he began, “welcome to our six hundred fifty-seventh annual graduation.” He gave the audience a smile which was instantly returned.
Merle Ambrose had been teaching long before any of the other staff members, although no one knew how long, precisely. There were some rumors floating around that he had actually founded Ravenwood and had taught all six hundred fifty-seven years. Although technically impossible, Cyrus had to admit that if anyone could live that long, it would be he.
“Ravenwood, for those of you who do not know,” continued Ambrose, “is one of the most prestigious schools of magic in the Spiral, very much like the Dragonspyre Academy.” There were several boos from the crowd at the mention of their rival school, but Ambrose continued, “It is beautiful as well as historical, but its history would take me a year or more to explain. Furthermore, tonight is a celebration for our graduating class, is it not?”
With a gesture over the seated students, Ambrose then declared, “So without further ado, allow me to present Professor Celeste Delcana, who will now read out the names of the graduating students of pyromancy.”
The schools of Fire, Ice and Storm always went first. As the teachers read out the names of the students, Cyrus couldn’t help but try to count up the people who failed. There was an awkwardly tall blonde boy from Ice and a girl with neon pink hair from Fire, but that was it.
After the “elemental” classes, Lorraine Serevina stepped up onto the podium, wearing her trademark floral-patterned skirt.
“I am pleased to announce,” she spoke to the crowd, “that the following students have graduated from Life magic.”
She then read out the list of names, pausing for a second as the students came to receive their diploma and exam results. Not a single person had failed. Professor Serevina was a good teacher; she usually got everyone through their exams all right.
When Sylvia’s name was called, she stepped graciously down from the platform with her diploma and exam papers and winked at Malistaire as she passed him.
Good luck, she mouthed.
Finally, Professor Drywrath stepped forward.
“These students have graduated from necromancy at Ravenwood School,” he drawled, sounding, as always, bored and indifferent.
As he read through the names, Cyrus gave a slight shudder. The D’s weren’t too far off…
“Jason Darktalon.”
Jason beamed and stepped forward as his name was called.
“Cyrus Drake.”
“Good job, brother,” said Malistaire, patting Cyrus on the back as he stepped on the platform.
“Very well done indeed, Cyrus,” said Professor Drywrath, handing him two scrolls. “Take a look at those exam results, won’t you? You’ve done most excellent… and do remember what I said about your career…”
Cyrus walked backed to his seat. As he sat down, he peripherally saw Professor Drywrath read the next name and give a small shudder.
“Malistaire Drake.”
The jaws of every single student hit the floor, Cyrus’s included, as Malistaire stepped forward to receive his diploma. He was wearing a gloating smile, like, And y’all thought I couldn’t do it
“Let’s break into those exams, shall we?” Malistaire asked, staring with delight at Cyrus’s shocked expression.
“What? Oh, yeah…” said Cyrus. “I suppose we’d better…”
They both broke the seals on their envelopes and pulled out their exams. Cyrus stared at his paper, trying to memorize it.

Exam Results
Student: Cyrus Drake

Stapled underneath was a paper that read:

Student: Cyrus Drake
School: Death (Myth Elective)
Teacher: Milford Drywrath
Teacher’s Signature: M. Drywrath
Headmaster’s Signature: Merle Ambrose

Okay…not much to memorize. But still…these were better than he could’ve hoped for. Cyrus peeked over at Malistaire’s papers to see how he did.
“How’d you do?”
“See for yourself,” he replied.
Cyrus was in for another huge surprise as he looked over Malistaire’s paper. Not a single exam grade was below an A-! He too had passed with flying colors!
Of course, averaged in with his abysmal term grade and his even worse conduct grade, his final grade was still only a C-, which was the lowest possible grade one needed to pass. But still…
“How,” Cyrus croaked, “in the heckhound did you get your grades up that high?”
Malistaire chuckled. “It’s called studying,” he said sarcastically. “I believe you understand the concept.”
The two checked over to see how Jason did (pretty well—mostly in the B range) while Professor Drywrath finished reading out the list. Three necromancers had failed, Cyrus noticed. Then Anton Belwick read out the names of the Myth students who had graduated—which was all of them.
By then the few students who had come to watch, mostly siblings of graduates who had been forced to come, were falling asleep in their chairs. This was not unnoticed by Professor Ambrose, who had just ascended the podium.
“I apologize, everyone,” he said. “But I’m afraid that you will have to wait a little longer to get refreshments and so forth. For now, let us welcome up our valedictorian students: Cyrus Drake and Miranda Dawneyes, who will be presenting their speeches.”
There was a collective groan from the crowd. Valedictorian speeches were normally lengthy and rather boring.
To them, at least.
“Why don’t you go first, Cyrus?” Merle suggested kindly, gesturing for Cyrus to take his place.
“Um…sure…okay,” said Cyrus. Automatically, he reached into his pocket and nervously shuffled his note cards. Still there.
There was a charm on the teachers’ podium; whoever stepped onto it would obtain a magically magnified voice to be heard in even the thickest of crowds. As Cyrus stepped up, he indeed felt a curious sensation that tickled his throat. Knowing that his voice was able to be heard also boosted his confidence somewhat, so he was able to step up with a winning smile rather than a nervous shudder.
“My fellow students,” he began. Sylvia was watching him intently, as was Malistaire (surprisingly) and all the teachers. But they were among the few who were.
“It’s been a great year,” he went on, “full of education and adventures. We learned a great deal this past year. I, for one, learned that of all the places to cast Earthquake, it is most unwise to do it inside a building.”
Some students chuckled weakly.
At this point, Cyrus noticed a strange buzzing sound vibration around in his eardrums. Thinking it was just an aftereffect of the charm, he plowed on.
“As a graduate, I have many memories of this place that go far beyond this year. As do many of you all.” The buzzing was getting louder and was seriously starting to annoy him. “Ravenwood has generally been a positive experience for me, and I hope I’ll be able to accurately reflect…reflect…”
He suddenly stopped. Amongst the crowd, right up against the entrance to the Commons, was a wraith.
He tried to shout a warning, but then a crazy thought occurred to him: maybe no one else could see it…
He stared at the wraith, and the wraith stared back. Many people were curiously following Cyrus’s eyes and then looking puzzled, as if they couldn’t see anything after all.
The wraith drew itself up to its full height and held up its scythe. Only it wasn’t scythe anymore. It was a staff. A wizard’s staff.
A staff with a red glass ball and a dragon curled around the tip.
Cyrus drew in a breath. Not again. Not here, not now.
“Is anything the matter, Cyrus?” asked Ambrose.
“I-I…” said Cyrus “…I…saw…”
And then he fainted.
Dimly, he was aware of the whole school standing up at once, students and teachers rushing over to his side. But they were growing fainter and fainter, and the buzzing was growing louder.
Suddenly, he wasn’t in Ravenwood anymore.
He was flying, flying over a dark range of mountains.
“Cyrus? Do you hear me? Are you okay?”
Thin, twisting rivers of lava, sheer cliffs of over five hundred feet, and deep gorges within the earth passed below him as he soared through the sky. Surely a dangerous journey on foot…
Someone was slapping his face. People all around him were screaming, or else saying forms of “What’s happening?”
 Approaching was an enormous mountain, thousands of feet tall. He sailed over it effortlessly, but he was still daunted by the size. As he passed, he noticed that the mountain was slightly hollow, as if the peak had caved in a long time ago.
This, he somehow felt, was his destination.
“Someone get a stretcher over here!” Almost simultaneously, he felt something that was like a thin piece of fabric being slid under him.
 He slowly descended, and then he landed on the hard, rocky ground. Then he turned around.
Behind him was a dragon.
He was lifted up into the air, supported by the stretcher. People spoke around him in shrill tones of voice.
“What’s going on?”
“Is he okay?”
“Get him to the hospital! Now!”
The dragon bowed its head. “Child of the Prophecy,” it boomed, “I am waiting.”
It shrunk down to barely three inches. Then it soared through the air as Cyrus had done earlier and curled around a red glass ball.
That was attached to a staff.
He heard a frightened scream pierce the night. Then he realized with horror that it had come from him.
He blacked out.

Hope you liked! And yes, the stories in this series will be considerably longer than the Parts in TToSS.

Sarah Spiritheart

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Can't Take This Anymore

Really, I can't. I'm sorry but this is just getting rediculous. Since KI isn't posting, AND they haven't responded to my emails, (Although I haven't heard if they've responded to Sierra's...) there's only one thing left for me to do. I'm retaliating in the only way I can.

I'm going to post Of Dragons and Drakes. Tomorrow.

After all, it's only fitting that you, the readers of this blog, get to read it before the general wizard population. And, you know, I've finished and everything.

For those new followers who are out there scratching their heads, let's back up a bit.

Of Dragons and Drakes (ODAD) is a new story I'm working on.

It is a prequel to my original story, The Tale of Sarah Spiritheart. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, now may be a good time to get up to speed. Parts one through nine are in a separate page labeled, "My story." Part 10 should be up there, but it's not because I'm a horrible procrastinator. So instead, you can find it on a self-titled post somewhere.

It is centered around the Drakes: Cyrus, Malistaire, and Sylvia. It features points of view from all three characters.

It is going to be a nine-or-more part story.

Part one takes place approximately 30 years before The Tale of Sarah Spiritheart. The last part will take place during TToSS.

I'm currently working on the beginning of part 3.

If you wish to find out more about it, then there are a few posts in which I've touched on it, so you can look there if you want.

Expect to see it up tomorrow. I think you all will enjoy it. If it is not up by tomorrow, then I can promise you my fullest apologies and the story the next day. Until then, enjoy waiting in suspense the next 24+ hours!

Sarah Spiritheart