Chapter 5 Dear Althalos
I have taught you a lot. Skills I have acquired over a lifetime. You had not to figure out this all on your own... you had my guidance and you had my patience. I had to learn from nothing... but you... you have learned from myself, as well as all the other mentors of magic.They and I have developed and mastered the craft over the centuries,discovering new ways to do things... to speak things into being. Clara is my brightest student. She will help you study after the hours of what I have taught you. Levy and you spend a lot of time out there together I’ve noticed. But I would like you to practice with someone more advanced. Clara is the best. A challenge for you and she will help you be the best. Help you develop and gain more control over your magic. Here, I am giving you this journal to create and write down your own spells. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the unknown. It is the way of our kind. The way I and all the others have come to use magic and write our own spells. These pages are for you to fill with your experiences, your unique skills and practices of the craft. Use them wisely, this paper is enchanted. It will seal the spell within it and be blank to all other eyes but yours. Your spells, your eyes.
Most sincere and dear thoughts,
I would never hope to live such an outstanding life. Exist for so long without knowing who I am. I wouldn’t go back. Now I exist for the sake of these two young witches. I am here to guide them and try to remember myself while in the process of doing so. I must watch out for them as if they are my kin... the only kin I have left. And I will heal their wounds though I can not heal my own. I will answer their questions though I can not answer my own. For if there is a God... he is looking at me to do so. After all this is over, death will be the only way I will find peace. Funny, it seems without the threat of death there is no reason to live at all. I’ll understand when I’m dead. Each thing I show you is a piece of my death. I’m forsaken, no forgiveness for me, I am afraid... for I can’t forgive... I can’t forgive my mother and I can’t forgive my past.
Annamarie... Latonya... be of quick feet and sound decision. Make it back safely.
The gloom pulled them into darkness where Althalos’ bitter past had been waiting to greet them; and they could feel it grow with each step they took. The door to the abyss of his history of his beginning opened wide for them to enter as if there were no secrets... as if there was nothing they would find that they didn’t already know. After being ripped down and betrayed by your own flesh and blood then you will truly know what it is to be alone... even worse when there is nothing you can do about it, you will change to feeling completely insignificant and purposeless. And when you’ve reached that point; beaten down to complete humility... then nothing else anyone else does will affect you, will be able to faze you.
The scar can reopen and rip deeper, feel the pain like how I do in a dream inside a dream... a terrible dream. Open your eyes and watch the world end.
The vines dangled in front of them as they realized they were closer than they had thought to finding what they were there for. The structure was in ruins. Great pillars stood tall where everything else had crumbed and given in to the wear and tear of time and weather. The nature of the woods affected by the same gloom as these ruins, like an enchantment had been upon this place, haunted by ghosts in a less eerie way than what would be expected by a place that had faced death or desolation. It was more peaceful than unrested or unsettled. And them being there didn’t even disturb the peace that had captured this place like a spell. A divine and holy spell of heaven’s souls.
They came into a grand hall and hanging there, as if the amulet was being handed to them, there it was. The sun poured in from cracks in the high vaulted ceiling. The light streamed down to the post from where it hung, sparkling a radiant, but opaque turquoise. It wasn’t hard to find it... this place was set up to be maneuverable and logically functioned. It was apparent of all the students, apprentices that had once gathered here for the morning announcements. And far to the back, beyond the two great pillars to the entryway, there was a set of two chairs; much like a throne of a king and queen. But there was no king or queen. There were no students. There wasn’t anyone here other than them. Her and her sister. An unrelenting chill came to the
air and nipped at their ears and the tips of their nose. No one was there, but it felt like someone was calling out to them as they neared the hanging amulet. Dust riddled every surface across the large auditorium like chamber; chairs tipped on their sides and vases and sculptures broken and strung about the floor. Up above in the great dome dressed with arched beams of stone, the rays of sunlight disappeared by most likely the rolling clouds in the coming stormy sky. Latonya bumped against a chair and it sharply scraped the floor. The sound echoed in the chamber and disturbed the fowls outside.
Latonya looked upon the cracks in the dome ceiling and felt as if the world outside was speaking to her. She had this strange urge to be out there above the structure, looking down at all the trees, in all their wonder and grand mystery. What if she was to discover something
magnificent and holy out there... and not here. What if she was to find freedom and salvation from the curse stricken upon her, out there.
They drew nearer to the intricately carved post with symbols upon it that they recognized right away as the language of magic. Annamarie drew her hand out to retrieve the amulet, but something stopped her. Was it an enchantment... She put it from her mind as nothing and tried
again. Freakishly outlandish, she felt as if her arm was being pulled away from behind.
Latonya watched and Annamarie was growing impatient with this prevention of getting her hands on the amulet. She drew forth, forcing herself upon the post and gripped it tightly. She reached up to the dangling treasure and grabbed for it! This had promised great penalty.
Whatever was keeping her from retrieving the amulet was indeed outraged! It was not just her and Latonya that had been there, but some other kind of entity. Though holy or wicked, it was not known. She went flying back, thrown off by some invisible force; apparition. But a ghost could not have done such a thing. By the ripples of impact from the attack upon Annamarie that knocked her back and sent her sliding over the floor; they knew that they were not the only ones
Suddenly the world all around grew dark. The faint sound of Annamarie calling Latonya’s name warbled and then grew silent as though she had gone deaf. Latonya did not know whether Annamarie was still there or not. The appearance of the place around her was like of a different
dimension. She saw everything in shadows and all the shapes and objects about the room bowed and bent and swelled. She was losing herself again. But this time when it had happened, she was more aware of it, rather than not knowing or feeling it happen. It felt awful… it felt like she had no influence on her own mind and then fell out of consciousness, sensing that that meant the devil had taken her over again.
Annamarie fled and hid behind one of the great stone pillars farthest off from Latonya, and tried to quiet her whimpering; her back to the cold discomfort of the stone. Latonya her sister who she much cherished and loved, a victim, welcoming the visitation of the devil, of evil and wicked and sinister things. Lantonya stood there skin covered in scales and eyes black and
soulless as the merciless devil that had now possessed her. The amulet had been disturbed as if someone had held it up and dropped it swinging back and forth on the post. Latonya rose her hand, holding out her palm and the amulet came flying to her as if being pulled magnetically. She closed her fist tightly around it and the amulet began to smoke and sizzled and then turned to ash. Latonya released the rest of the ashes to fall to the floor and then drew her hand down
to her side. She let out a gasp, as the scales covered over this time in human flesh, weakening her; she collapsed.
The darkness that had taken her over was gone. She awoke among the unruly chairs that had appeared normal again, instead of the bending and swelling blurred shapes. She pushed herself up to rest on her hands as she sat there for a second to look around.
She noticed her sister was not there. She found the pile of ashes in front of her and then looked to the entryway and the pillars all around. This place was horrid, hiding a secret that would remain unknown. How awful. She was alone. She called out her sister’s name
and waited... but there was no answer.
What a dreadful place and state of mind. She was alone to confront herself. She was alone to damn herself. To go over in her mind her own demise her own undoing.
Latonya gathered herself up off the floor and brushed over her skirt, patting at the dust clinging to it. When she thought all hope was gone and nothing good could come to her now... or nothing worse; from the broken ceiling above came a sparkling light. This sparkling light sang
a pleasant and radiant chime. So beautiful to see such beautiful light. But this light was more than beautiful, it had a magic about it. It was unreal how it sparkled as if among it as it shown down there was diamond dust floating. She moved closer to the light out of instinct and the nature of mankind, as well as her kind, of being drawn to the beautiful. The beautiful and mysterious.
Latonya raised her face up towards the light as she stood within it; closing her eyes and just enjoying the warmth, completely captivated and safe it made her feel. Why was she so trusting of a thing. This strange occurrence could be of some danger or calling for some sort of
vigilant persona. But she was captivated as if put under a spell by this and had no control over herself moving into it. Was she under a spell? Was she just too curious... or did she not care anymore...
Latonya stood there, questioning herself, doubting her sanity. Doubting whether she had total control over herself even when she wasn’t put under the curse by the devil.
Above, from the source of the light; the natural way of things was welcoming her; far beyond. She wanted to run! Turn around and run right now. This strange urge to do so came over her; just as she realized they were so close to getting her curse under control, but
had failed. Maybe her curse was her own doing. What if the devil had nothing to do with it... what if she herself was of no good, but of wicked and undiluted evil.
Is this where she thought she’d end up. No. She didn’t like herself. She wanted to be something different something better; like her sister. Something seen as rightful and strong to the world.
Latonya thought of her sister and her promise not to use magic... but Latonya was now alone... and had to do what she had to do. She ascended, drifting up within the dominant ray of sparkling light. The cracks in the domed ceiling became blindingly bright, as she passed
through them, and then the intense light lessened as she came to stand on the top of the roof.
As far as the eye could see was lush forest surrounding this unkempt structure, broken and abandoned. Quite a marvelous view from such a high place of standing. If she were to make a wrong move she would surely slide down the dome roof and parish. Her heart pounded at the
sheer thought of it. Maybe this fear of the unknown wasn’t as great as her fear of falling. If she was to fall... she would use magic. She would use magic to save herself... but why would she do that.... save a monster. This monster she had become had to be destroyed sooner or later. Why not do it right now, jump and call the whole thing over with. No. She would not let the devil have what is his, by just practically handing herself over to him. He would be waiting there on
the other side for her. Staying in this world, in this flesh was the only way she felt she could keep her soul. If she really had a say in it at all. Being here, in this mortal form was what was keeping the devil from claiming her completely.
She looked over yonder at some flickering between the trees. There was something reflecting and spinning on a branch. Was it a gem. It appeared as such a precious treasure of the like, or a light source of some kind. She stared at it, instigated to use magic, and her eyes
turned purple. Through the leaves and branches she zoomed in focus on the object. A precious stone, a diamond dangled, spinning back and forth, manipulated by the current the refreshing yet tempered wind brought.
She needed to retrieve this precious treasure she had found. She didn’t know why, or what exactly it was even. But her curious eye for beauty wanted this jewel, and she wanted it right now! She jumped down afraid to fall, but she knew she would catch herself at the bottom
with her magic. Her magic she would now abuse all she wanted it would seem; now that she grew hellbent and obsessed with this sparkling gem. Must be a treasure left behind or lost by one of the apprentices, students of magic. As soon as she hit the ground, she sped off,
tearing up the terrain, continuing to be reckless and above all else spotty. If the devil had followed her here... he would have had her by now from what attention she was drawing to herself. She didn’t like very much the way it had turned out. The old fallen world and mortal
persona are consumed and deified and then the inexplicable factor, possessed by the devil.... that was her. Summed up and as perfectly reflected in the outer heavens; did she have an inner heaven kept within her still? No. She had an inner hell; and her soul would rot there inside her, till the actual hell consumed her. If she had the intuition and secret knowledge her sister had possessed, the gift of her wisdom; would she still be acting so reckless...? Undoubtedly the
most mysterious art of ideas within the divine mind. Instinctual, wise, faithful and patient. Like her sister. To do that would be to relive the magic of times gone by in this enchanting unproductive abandonment.
The gem flickered and glistened, and there, not too far in front of her, she saw the treasure hanging from a brownish-golden thread. She slowed down and a cloud of dust settled behind her. She reached up to this precious treasure then held it up as she plucked it from the
tree; and eyed at it curiously. How transparent and beautiful. For such a thing to be lost out here in these woods was a shame. She wondered what it might have upon it. If an enchantment. She could not sense anything off about it, or that their was magic sealed upon it.
But she still did not place it around her neck. She put it in the pouch of her cloak instead, and made her way back to the structure… to find this wise and dutiful sister of hers. She turned and look back in the direction of where she came and then she faced the direction completely and dashed off through the forest and leered up the collosal towering structure of where she had come from. As she closed in to the walls and balconies she found another way to reenter. But
dare she go into this unknown cold dark tunnel, which promised to lead underground; no, she would not, she would return to the highest point of entrance; back up to the tower’s chamber.
She leapt up rebounding from off the earth to come back up to the top of the tower and land lightly so she wouldn’t instigate more cracks in the ceiling. She entered, floating down in the rays of light through the crevice in the vaulted ceiling. There was a peacefulness as she
landed. The same ghostly charm this place had before when she and her sister first came into this grand chamber. The listlessness of her absent-minded memories of it being this way surprise her as still being potent enough to bring a familiarity back to her.
From out between the far gaping doors a sound came. A pebble rolled across the hall and ricocheted out in the echoing distance. How this tormented her. Surely by all rational sense it was her sister. But, she knew better than that. She knew that the ghostly ambience of this room had more to do with it just being abandoned for centuries. This room had a presence other than hers within it; the ghost that had kept the amulet from her sister retrieving it. The ghost was still here; and it was taunting her and testing her... for what? Surely whatever this thing was, it would most likely be keeping her sister Annamarie hostage, and had no intention of letting her nor her sister go free.
Latonya gathered her bearings and started in a stride passed the chairs and out through the gaping doors. She came around the corner looking down at where the pebble had rolled off to. There wasn’t anything below that she could see. Dare she use magic now to aid her sight... no... she would carry on through this great hall and find out what was down there; for if her sister was being kept anywhere that would most likely be where she would be.
The hall floor was misshapen and protruding in areas as well as cracked. Along the edges, plants peeked in from the open fencing of the balcony; and ivy climbed up and around the pillars. Her eyes frolicked over this apparent sight and then focussed back on the distant end of the hall she was coming to now. An ordinary wooden door. Not a very large door or decorative compared to all else of this structure. It was a door that was made to be strong though all the
same. She came to it and reached her hand for the handle pulling it open. It opened more easily than she had expected in fact; she walked into a dark room with a window straight in front of her in line with the door on the other side.
There was not a sound nor anything significant about this little room other than the other door to her left that she discovered as she walked in and over to the window to look out. Below was the underground entrance she had found previously, but looking down from this vantage point she noticed that there was a garden out to the right with benches and bushes, growing unkempt now, but at one point was probably a very pleasant place to study or for the students to
spend their time during their breaks from class.
She looked over to her left now, but there was nothing and then she stared straight out over the distance and through the trees. There wasn’t anything much out there; just forest and probably a sign of a hiking trail if her eyes hadn’t deceived her.
An unexpected noise distracted her attention. It was not out there within the trees or garden below of where she was looking; it was out, somewhere, from on the other side of that second door, which beckoned for her to open it.
Latonya slowly crept towards the door now opening it, and just as the first door, it was easy for her to do so. She looked down into the darkness of a now narrow hall which promised to be an unsafe path. Part of the floor was missing. She carefully made her way through the
doorway and into the hall. Doors on bother sides of the hall went all the way down. The student’s lodging it would seem. She came to a gap in the floor, and beneath was pitch-black darkness. A hole that would take her all the way down to the cellar floor if she was to fall. She
took several steps back and got a running start to jump over the hole and land on the continuing stone floor on the other side. A few broken brick shook off the foundation underneath the floor and tumbled down; bouncing off of a hard surface as it slowly faded into echos and then
nothing. From the light of the window in the room of where she had come now far behind her, the floor revealed its missing pieces. But soon she would have no such guiding light to keep her from knowing whether or not the floor existed in areas. She would have to use magic. Why hadn’t she been doing so the whole time? She thought herself mad for using magic, but now she would be mad not to.
She stretched out her hand in a fist whispering something into existence, opening her hand to release a blue light which floated on ahead of her now. She walked on after it more confidently as she noticed upon the doors of the rooms, there were numbers. She stopped for a moment, curious and opened one of the doors; number 27. Her eyes quick and her heart ready to expect the unexpected! Inside the room as the door squeaked open was a bed, a set of shelves, a chair and a table; nothing fancy. She continued down the hall after the light.
Ahead was another door. This would be the third door she opened. The light stopped hovering by the handle as she finally came to it and unhinged its latch. She pulled the door inward and light poured in from the other side of the structures balcony; identical to the other.
As she moved through it and beheld what this part of the structure had to offer her, she noticed that this side had larger classroom entrances all the way down. She walked past the first of them to find a symbol next to the door carved on a plaque with some other lettering
upon it that said: Staffs and Wands Class, another said Shielding and Healing Class; the next Combat Magic Class. They went on and on and she had realized that there was more to this place than what she thought. This was a very well organized and established school for
magic users. Why hadn’t it survived. Did her very ancestors attend this academy? She was afraid that the answer to that question would never be answered. For the only one who had been around during the time this place had taught and developed the skills of young witches,
warlocks and wizards, sorcerers and enchantresses, that she knew, was Althalos. And Althalos was in the ground all this time during the time this academy fell to ruin.
She continued down the balcony until she came to a door that was open. It was an unmarked classroom and the inside was covered in moss. She moved through the open doors and came to the center of the room. Their were books on bookshelves that hugged to the walls and all weathered and destroyed there were tables and broken chairs and an old
more primitive style of writing utensils. Vines hung through from the ceiling and wrapped around the shelves. Subtle light from a glassless window in the far left corner shone brightest on one square patch of floor. She moved to turn and look to the opposite end of the room and
bumped into a set of two pillars. There was nothing upon these pillars, but it looked like it would have been placed in the center of the room like that for the purpose to show off a particular object. An item of magic, perhaps... or two. She would have left the room not taking a second look at the two pillars if the treasure she had in her pouch did not start singing a sparkling chime, glowing through the fabric of her cloak. She removed the gem from her pouch and it faded and brightened faster and faster the closer she moved it to the pillars. What had this meant. There was something under a magic seal no doubt on the pillars, hidden by an enchantment. She placed the gem on one of the short pillar surfaces and a rippling warping field
revealed itself, covering over the shape of a large open book. She then said the magic words. The words she knew that would unseal this hiding enchantment upon this book.
There on a very visible page the gem remained. She picked it up and put it around her neck, and then taking a closer look at this book that was so special that it would have to be hidden under an enchantment, she discovered its secret. It was written magic. But not
magic she knew. She turned the book cover over closing the well preserved pages from the encasing of the enchantment and read the title. “The Book of Darkness” this was the book that Althalos spoke of. The book that had taunted and tormented him and was the reason he
was locked in a box in the ground. What was she to do with this book. She couldn’t just leave it here. Now unprotected by the enchantment. She returned the cover to lay on the pillar surface and held the gem in her hand whispering a spell causing the gem to light up. The book
was returned to its enchantment state; invisible to all, and untouchable without the key she wore around her neck. She left the room and continued her search for her sister.