I present to you: Chapter 2! I’m writing this sooner that I thought, because for some reason, my laptop isn’t cooperating with the wireless network L
Summary: Jessica wakes up in a place, full of wizards and magic. It’s enchanting, wondrous, a utopia built for people like her. The only problem? Jessica wants more than anything to escape its clutches.
Jessica was pacing angrily outside of Merle Ambrose’s door. She tried to organize her thoughts. Okay, so I’ve somehow ended in a world where magic is real, called the Spiral, or
, or whatever. A bunch of wizards. A weird headmaster of a magic school. Her head was going to explode. Wizard City
A cheery-looking wizard appeared in the hall, with a blinding flash of light. The boy wore an outfit of green and tan garments.
His face was split open in a wide grin.
“Hey, you must be Jessica, the new wiz?” asked the boy, waving energetically towards her.
Jessica stopped pacing and looked at him critically. He looked as if he’d never had a bad day in his life. “Yes. Who are you?” she asked cautiously.
“Brian Whisper, level 25 Theurgist. I’m your tour guide around Ravenwood,” He waved a hand at his green clothing, as if that explained what he’d just said.
Jessica nodded, acting as if she wasn’t completely lost. “What is Ravenwood, anyway?” she asked as Brian led her out the front door.
“Depends what you’re talking about. There’s a place called Ravenwood…Ah, well, you’ll see when we get there.” He pointed to an entrance with a twisted wood sign above it that read, “Ravenwood.”
Jessica, with Brian close behind, walked through the opening and to her surprise, found herself under the shadow of a gigantic tree.
It sat at the very center of the circular, woodsy area and just like Merle Ambrose, had an air of wisdom. It was clearly old, gnarled and knotted, but the most surprising thing was that the tree had a face. One electric blue eye, a knob for a nose, and a line where the mouth would be. Jessica wondered why they didn’t stick a second eye on it, or why they bothered putting a face on it in the first place.
Brian laughed, probably at the bewildered expression on her face. “That’s Bartleby,” he said, pointing to the tree with the face.
“You named the tree?” Wasn’t that just a bit over the top…?
“Well, he is a very important member of the Spiral. In fact, he’s the being that made the Spiral,” Brian said in a mater-of-fact tone. As if everything he just said wasn’t totally crazy.
“How? He—I mean---it’s just a tree.” Jessica may have believed the whole magic bit, but no way was she buying that a tree, with a face stuck on it, brewed up a whole world.
Brian looked perturbed for the first time she’d met him. “Don’t say that! He’s unbelievably powerful and ancient, and if it weren’t for him, you wouldn’t even be here. None of use would!”
Jessica smiled wryly. He had no idea that that was exactly what she wanted: to get out of this place. But just to mollify the wizard, she said quietly, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.”
“It’s fine. The newbies usually don’t get it at first.” And then as if she hadn’t said anything, he turned towards the tree, Bartleby.
For the first time, Jessica noticed the half-ring of buildings that centered on Bartleby. The strangest collection, they were all unique. One was green and bursting with blooming flowers and green grass, another was on fire (but no one seemed very worried), and one seemed frozen. A tree accompanied all the buildings. And in this place, Ravenwood, she saw maybe a hundred people swarming about, making their way into the various structures.
“Welcome to the Ravenwood School of Wizardry,” said Brian, arms spread wide. Jessica noticed his tan-green clothes matched one of the buildings, the one with all the plant growth. What did that mean…?
“They named the school after the place, right?”
“Yeah. Here, let’s go see all the schools.” Brian headed towards the first building, the one that matched his clothes.
“Wait! There’s more than one school?” Jessica was confused again, just when she thought everything had cleared up.
“Schools inside of schools. When you enroll, you choose one of these,” he pointed to the buildings. “Each has their own specialties when it comes to magic.”
He led her to the green building. “This is the Life school, where I’m from. We’re called Theurgists and our forte is healing.”
And so he introduced her to every single other school. Myth had minions and double-hit spells. Death students (which, apparently, had fallen into a crack in the ground) were masters of life-drains. Fire school excelled in damage over time. Ice school students were trained in endurance and extreme defense. Storm, on the other hand, specialized in high damage and low defenses. And the Balance school wizards’ were the damage boosters. Also, like the Death school, the Balance school was not there, only a lone suitcase.
Jessica noticed something weird.
“Brian? Where are the teachers?” Jessica asked.
“We came at a bad time,” Brian chuckled. “They’re all taking lunch breaks in the Shopping District. So…” he trailed off.
“What school will you be?”
“Life.” Jessica had no doubts. If she could somehow learn the ways of healing, then escape this place, she could heal Angela. Heck, how many things could she fix in the real world with healing abilities? World hunger, patients at the hospital…The possibilities were endless.
He smiled, “Like me. Well, we’ll go back to the Headmaster’s office and enroll you officially.”
Jessica nodded and they headed back to Merle Ambrose.
“Have you made up your mind yet, Jessica?” he asked kindly.
“Great. Now I assume you know that your choice shall be permanent. Changing your school is not possible. Are you absolutely sure of your choice?”
“Yes, I’m positive,” Jessica said, patience wearing thin.
“Then let me be off, lots of paperwork to sort out. Brian, thank you for your help,” said Ambrose, handing him a few gold coins. “And Jessica, wonderful choice. I’m sure Moolinda Woo would love to tutor you!”
With a bright smile, the old wizard walked out, leaving Gamma the own to stare at Jessica.
“What?” she snapped.
“What an interesting thing you are,” Gamma replied. “Ah, I can see your confusion. The answer may lie with Bartleby. You should pay him a visit.” And he flew off after Merle.
That was how Jessica ended up, once again, in front of the wizened tree, feeling foolish. Not sure how to start, she said lowly, “Uh, hi, Bartleby. I’m Jessica and Gamma, Ambrose’s owl, said I should see you for something?”
For a long time, Jessica stood awkwardly in front of the silent tree. Just as she was about to leave, she heard an ancient voice rumbling in her brain. Ah yes, Jessica.
“…Bartleby, sir?” Jessica said hesitantly, wondering if she looked as confused as she felt.
No need to speak out loud, just project your thoughts towards me.
Okay. Gamma the owl said I should come to see you…about something…? Jessica was still a bit doubtful that the voice in her head wasn’t just her imagination.
A laugh resonated in her head. No, I’m most definitely not your imagination. As for advice…You want more than anything to get out of the Spiral, to return to your friend, Angela, correct?
Jessica’s head snapped up. How do you know that?
He ignored her question. Follow your heart, but don’t be blinded by it. The best realizations will be lies.
But Bartleby didn’t respond. The voice left her head and she was left standing in front of the tree, mind mulling over its words.
“Just kidding,” she muttered to herself. “This is probably initiation for newbies. Hazing or something. Yeah.”