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It was a far cry from the academy she remembered. Oh, it still scared the crap out of her of course. Even now after all this time it still held the look of its older counter part with its dingy windows, imposing walls and that brief shimmer of violent red magic that hissed and crackled around the structure. To Terry, it looked like my hope and doom mixed together in a Gothic bundle with fading paint and an old fence. If her mother hadn't been killed, she’d have run and kept running. Magic never did do her any good. But she was here after thirteen long years. She slipped through the narrow crack leading onto a path of Garden flowers, the gates creaking nosily after her . The magicked flowers stretched their stems, craning to touch her with their petals. Shifting her vision, she noticed the faint purple hue emitted from the flowers. It confirmed her thought; there was an abundance of magic and the earth was oozing with it. Magic calls to magic she said to herself amused. This was definitely the place. The door stood in front of her dark and imposing. It hummed with magic and with a bit of concentration, the barrier lit a brilliant red, blazing with a warning. Now came the hard part; would her magic let her work the basic spell that would put her through the door? She didn’t like the answer but she had no other choice but to enter. Her life depended on it. A deep breath had her lungs full and her mind fresh and she drew from her magic reserve. It was uncomfortable at best. The chance of failure loomed over her, pressing down on her shoulders. She shook herself and ignored it. Drawing her magic up, she created a single channel from her reservoir to her open palm. Steadily, she pushed it farther and touched the red barrier briefly before moving past it. Deep in concentration, she hardly noticed when it dimmed a dingy red before going out completely. Closing her eyes, she continued pushing until the feel of wind teasing her air ceased and the gentle fragrance of roses in bloom disappeared. She cut off the channel from her hand letting it reverse directions. For a second, she thought that maybe no backlash would occur and she’d be fine. But then her muscles contracted in the override of magic and a spark of magic exploded from her hand. With a yelp, she stumbled forward onto the steps. She would have tripped if she hadn’t gripped the rail in a panicked reflex. Sinking to the ground she shook with relief. It hadn’t been that bad. No broke bones like that time in Quebec or the bleeding nose in Kitchener. Bruises at most, and a load of sore muscles, nothing she hadn’t experienced before. She was in though. Once her beating heart stopped its pounding, she looked around the room. She was in a corridor of sorts, spacious and empty, that had four doors leading in each direction. Scanning the walls her gaze rested on an array of painted portraits. Stepping closer she skimmed each figure all surprisingly women, proud women with a gleam in their eyes which only could be magic. She was about to turn away when a name popped out at her. Elizabeth Knight. Her breath caught at finding a bit of her heritage on the walls of a place she’d run from. The lady looked down at her. Definitely a Knight. That strawberry blond hair and the proud tilt of her stubborn chin was a tall-tale sign of relation. She recognized it in her mother and in her. She brought her hand up and touched the painting hesitantly, stroking the old paper and asked to the women: “who are you?” “We could ask the same thing.” *** Terry turned around quickly just as a blast of magic captured her muscles, freezing her movement. Her body shook from the magic intrusion as her magic woke ad began lacing around the green lines. “Don’t bother moving.” The brown haired boy said bored. He was leaning against the wall, absently playing with a ball in his hand. The other boy stared at her curiously assessing her in an intimate fashion. Her cheeks burned as she glared at his quick grin. “A pretty pathetic attempt for break-in.” he turned towards the other boy “what do you think Conner? Fry her now or take her to Charles?” Her fury grew at being so easily dismissed. I’ll show them pathetic. Her magic covered the green lines completely and with a burst of magic they were shredded in seconds. “S***, Quin!” “Get Charles, Conner.” He looked at her “I’ll deal with this.” Conner looked ready to argue but the look Quin gave him shut him up. He looked once more at Terry before Dashing up the stares, shouting Charles name. Terry pulled again at her magic and sent bolts at Quin. A wall of fire stopped her magic short creating a violet sparks. Already her body was burning up at the use of her magic and blood oozed from thin lines on her arms. Her breath left her body in choppy waves and abruptly, her body as a last resort to survival, released the magic’s hold. Drained she collapsed on the ground, fighting back cries of pain. Surprised at the sudden stop of power, Quin let down the wall and peered at her. She looked spent and in pain; blood spots pooling on the ground beneath her. Swearing under his breath, he rushed to her and ripped at his shirt then roughly tied it around her arm. Weakly, Terry tried to fight him off, but the blood loss was already dimming her eyesight making everything seem murky and distant. Quin said something to her, his voice sounding far away to her ears. Her eyes drifted shut as she welcomed the darkness. *** No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t open her eyes. Thrashing in panic brought pain to her arms but her eyes only stared at darkness. She called for her magic but it wouldn’t reply. It stayed safe in her body, close but untouchable. Hands steadied her, locking her body in place. Then blissful light pierced her eyes and painfully, she stared up at the ceiling with tears in her eyes. The pressure on her arms eased back and she looked down into a pair of chocolate brown eyes. The man leaned back with relief but continued to stare at her with an odd mix of worry and fear. “It’s good your awake, Terrence.” He told her quietly. “I suspect we have many things to discuss.” Despite his word, the man sat quietly, eyebrows scrunched together in deep thought. He glanced up at her once before sighing. “It’s uncanny how alike you look.” He stood rigidly against the wall looking down with all his six feet, making Terry feel small. “Have you any doubt where you are?” he asked “I’ve an idea.” Her voice sounded gravely even to her own ears and she impatiently rubbed at her throat. “I remember bits of pieces of this place. But everything is smaller to me now then it was thirteen years ago, and I defiantly don’t remember a barrier being used.” She looked at him intensely. “You’re Charles aren’t you?” “Sarah didn’t neglect to tell you that I see.” He said bitterly. She bristled at his tone. “She’s fine, thanks for asking.” She said sarcastically. “We’ve been fine on the road, you know, alone and with my magic malfunctioning and all. It’s been great, really.” She smiled. He looked at her sharply “malfunctioning?” “These weren’t because the guy was stronger then me” she lifted up her scarred arms. The cuts pulsed painfully; five long gashes covered her arms. She’d have to wear sweaters to cover them up and in June, sweaters were a death sentence. Charles picked up her arm and studied them carefully. “They have some magic residue, but how is that possible?” he murmured. She pulled away and tucked her arms under the blanket. She didn’t know when it started happening, but once her body refused her magic, it was expelled from her body, painfully. “It’s once of the reasons why I’m here.” She admitted. “And other reasons of course.” “Of course.” He smiled. The door opened and once again Terry found herself facing the blond boy named Quin. He caught her eye and shrugged. He flopped down on the chair, nodding a greeting to Charles. “Good, you’re here.” Charles told him “I need you to asses her magic, seem there’s a problem.” Quin looked at Terry’s scratched arms. “I’d say so, I certainly didn’t do that. It looked like her body was cutting at itself from the inside. I know, I know impossible.” He said at Charles skeptical expression. “But nothing touched and hats what it looked like.” Charles nodded “I saw some traces of magic; it seems her body was pushing it out.” He frowned. “Almost like it was getting rid of it.” He looked lost in thought of a minute before noticing he wasn’t alone. Clearing his throat he looked at Terry inviting her to speak. She’d been growing angry at being ignored her but when they looked at her for her o speak she was nonplussed. She blushed at the long pause and finally said: “I-I have only a theory” Quin smirked. “It speaks” She glared at him before turning to Charles. “It’s complicated and like you said, only when I use my magic. My body cuts it off from my use as an instinct for survival if I push it too hard. When it cuts off, any magic that I’m about to unleash pushes through wherever it is.” She looked away from them “but it’s only a theory.” Charles leaned back “interesting.” She stopped herself from shouting at him. Interesting my ass, its painful is what it is. She felt her magic rise at the emotion and counted to ten. At five, it went dormant again and she finally let out her breath. She looked up to see if anyone noticed her near fatal outburst and saw Quin looking at her thoughtfully. He winked at her and mimed zipping his lips. Charles continued. “You’re here, and that’s all that matters. I guess that it is a tad bit late for a welcome but it is your homecoming.” He walked to the door then looked back at her “you’ll find things have changed since you’ve left. We’re no longer just a group of people with an affinity for magic; we’re sorcerers. Your mother’s departure has left some sore points within our ranks so I’d advise you to be careful; some would focus there anger on you and with your magic out of kilter, you’re danger increases. For the time being, rest up and learn all you can” “Alright.” She answered a frown on her face. “Terry?” She readied herself for more bad news. But he was smiling softly. “Welcome back.”
Terry looked at Quin more closely. She hadn’t had enough time to assess him earlier and besides, she wanted to get at him for earlier.
He stared back at her with amused brown eyes. His lips quirked into a grin and he stretched out his long legs while she scrutinized him.
His skin was a golden brown from outside exposure and his strong face was framed with blonde hair that stopped an inch below his ear.
“Charles said you could help me.” She told him after she’ d finished.
He leaned forward in the chair. “It couldn’t hurt. I’m just going to assess your magic, see if there are any flaws.”
“You can do that?”
“Part of my inheritance.” He stood up “let’s get going, I bet Conner’s told everyone about you and their just anxious to meet you.”
She scrambled out of the bed, winching as her arms protested. Rubbing them, she followed him out the door running to catch up with him.
“There are others?” she asked him breathless.
“Yes.” He told her. “There are six and if you stay that’ll make it seven.” He led her to a staircase and took them two at a time. He waited patiently for her at the top.
“Why wouldn’t I stay?” she asked when she reached him.
“There are five other academies you can choose from, you’re not obliged to pick this one.
“This is the south academy. And Charles is the leader.”
She frowned. “I don’t remember that.”
“I’d be surprised if you had. A person in your situation couldn’t have heard a whiff of that information.”
He stopped in front of some doors and turned back to her. “It’s interesting though, they say you can’t hide from other sorcerers like you and your mother have. Makes one wonder why you’re back after so long and why only you’ve returned.”
He was fishing for answers she wasn’t ready to give up so she ignored his silent question and asked: “are we going in?”
“Yeah” he said after staring at her for a long time. “Bet their just waiting to meet you.”
He opened the door and stepped in. she followed more reluctantly and caught the end of a conversation.
“…big gashes on her arms, blood everywhere. I thought Quin had done it but it wasn’t his style and she was in a lot of pain.”
“Telling them the outlandish version, Conner? Let me guess, I summoned a Phoenix to pummel her Gargoyle.” Quin walked to a chair where a dark-skinned boy sat reading.
“Rowan, you still reading man? Check out our maybe new addition”
Rowan looked up a Terry. His eyes narrowed and he stared more intently at her. She stared back at him unabashed seriously annoyed with the guys she’d met so far.
Rowan broke contact first and returned to his book.
“Strong magic.” He said to Quin who’d been staring at him intensely. He nodded and sprawled over the coach.
“Where are the girls?” he asked Conner.
“Here.” A chirpy voice replied.
Terry watched as two girls walked in. the leading one was tall and willowy, gracefully walking across the room to Conner’s side. She smiled at Terry before whispering something to Conner. The other was a cross between a Goth and a pixie. She wore heavy makeup and sported a nose ring in between her nostrils.
“Who’s the new chick?” the Goth-pixie asked looking Terry up and down. “She an emo or something?” she stared at Terry’s arms with sick interest.
Terry opened her mouth to say something cutting but the willowy girl interrupted.
“Ari, this is Terrence Knight our latest maybe addition.” She walked towards Terry her hand extended. “I’m Elise Gardiner.” She motioned for the rest to introduce themselves.
“Ari Novak.” The Goth chick said.
Quin grinned when it came to his turn. “Don’t tell me you’ve forgot me already, darling.” He drawled. “You’re breaking my heart.” He held his chest in pain.
Ariel rolled her eyes. “Your heart needs breaking, cowboy.” She turned to Terry “You’re Sarah Knight’s daughter, aren’t you?”
She nodded slowly watching her expression. Ari’s face grew bright and in response Terry relaxed.
“You should have stayed hidden. I hear people are still angry about your mothers disappearing act. Really angry.” Her eyes gleamed with magic.
“Stop that Ari, you’re scaring her.” Elise chastised her.
“I’m not, am I Terry?”
Terry smiled at her. “Not in the least, I’ve heard hamsters sound scarier.”
Ari looked at her surprised then grinned. “Girls got backbone; you’ll probably need it once the rest of the societies here about you. They’ll be gunning for you.”
Quin looked up sharply. “You got any other good news?” he asked. “Your boyfriend finally found out that you’re a slob and broke up with you, maybe?”
She shot him the bird and slumped onto a chair. “You should relax for a while, supper isn’t served until seven.” She told Terry.
“There a bathroom? All this ego is making me want to pee.”
Quin laughed “Third door to your left.”
She walked out the room, the others stares burrowing into her back. She was on auto-pilot as she walked to towards the bathroom.
, she peered at herself in the mirror. Her face was drawn and pale, but aside from that she looked fine.
She leaned over the sink, and took a deep breathe. Finally, she was in. all she needed to do was look for the Grimoire and find that spell.
She turned on the sink and splashed cold water on her face. Using the academy left a bad taste in her mouth but nothing mattered more then finding her mother. She couldn’t do that with her magic on the fritz so she would do whatever she needed to do. Even use the other sorcerers.
Of course with the older ones resentful towards her mother, they’d be watching her more closely and probably with distrust.
She gave her cheeks a pat before walking out to face the others.
She was hunched over a book, mouthing out spells. When nothing happened, she threw the book across the room in frustration and smiled when it crashed into the wall.
“Mistress Rowan, the phone for you.”
She ignored the manservant and walked towards the bookshelf to pick out another book, opened it and began reading.
“What?” she slammed the book closed.
“Mr. Riley would like a word.” He held the phone out to her.
She snatched it from his hand “hello Bronson.” She purred.
“Don’t abuse Judah; he was my gift to you.”
“I’ll try not to. Why did you call?”
“A Knight has been found. I’d like her brought to me.”
Moriah stiffened. “Understood. Where is she?”