Sunday rolled around, and the 8 students found themselves is a small classroom with Professor Mort overseeing it.
Ali was face down on his desk. Sor was working with a small potted plant. Garrett was playing around with a tennis ball without much push back from Mort, being that he was a fellow Grim.
Rena had her elbow on the desk while resting her cheek on her fist, a look of boredom on her face . Kaiden was leaning back in his chair with his arms crossed and for the first time since the group had been around him was actually looking upset.
Hope was scribbling notes furiously from a textbook. Bart had a line of small paper balls lined up on his desk. Trevor was sitting in front of him, he was passed out with his head laying back half way onto Bart’s desk. His mouth was wide open.
Professor Mort turned away and Bart quickly grabbed a small paper ball from his line and tossed it up like a basketball. The ball went straight into the air and then fell into Trevor’s mouth. Trevor didn’t even stir. Bart struggled to hold his laugh in as he wrote a 6th tally mark on his desk with his pencil.
Bart tossed another paper up when Mort looked away. Once again, it sailed straight unto Trevor’s open mouth. This time is went straight to the back of his throat. Trevor made a short choking cough and 7 paper balls shot out like a fountain as he sat up quickly. Bart quickly swiped his line of paper balls off his desk while he struggled to keep his laugh in.
“Hey!” Hope exclaimed when the paper balls landed on her desk.
Trevor was recovering from his cough when Professor Mort was standing over them, as if he had appeared there.
“Do we have a problem over here?” He snarled.
Trevor looked completely lost. “Um.. no sir. No problem.”
Professor Mort glared at them for a few more seconds before turning away. Hope’s hand went into the air.
“Actually sir, I have a question about our class.”
Professor Mort turned around. “I do not allow talking in my detentions Ms. Johnson.”
“But Sir,” Bart interjected. “If we’re in here with you, you could at least shed some light on some of your vast knowledge.” Professor Mort pauses for a moment. His mouth twitched as if he was trying to figure out if it was mockery, flattery, or just simple recognition of his brilliance.
“Very well.” He said slowly. “Since it is for class.”
A smile formed on Hope’s face. “Well you see, sir. I’ve read our textbook cover to cover, and while supposed to be the History of our world, there seems to be no mention of our actual origin. The farthest back It seems to talk about is a few thousand years ago and even then, it seems that magic had been around long before that time. So I was wondering if you knew anything about that.” Ali lifted his head up in interest. Rena sat up straight off her elbow waiting for a response
Professor Mort thought for a moment. “Well you are correct Ms. Johnson.” His voice was still cold, but he continued on. “Magic has been around far longer than any of your textbooks would suggest. The meeting between humans and magic all start with one man. He was the first person to learn the ways of it all. He was a master of all forms, and once he mastered it he decided to share his knowledge. He opened this.” He motioned to the building around them. “He founded Ethelwine. It’s said that it was small at first, only 5 students he taught them everything he knew. You can probably guess who they were.”
Bart wasn’t following but Hope offered an answer. “The first of the 5 classes.”
Professor Mort nodded. “One student preferred pure magic as his weapon. He learned everything he could. The second student sought to perfect the balance between magic and the physical. The third wanted to intertwine his magic into his inventions and technology. The 4th used magic for his strength. But the 5th was the teacher’s favorite. The 5th used the darker side of it all. He wanted to see how far he could push his boundaries not only physically but morally”
“Grims.” Garrett said calmly.
“And so these 5 students became the first headmasters of Ethelwine. The school got bigger, more students came and learned. As time went on, the teacher became more powerful. He started diving deeper into dark magic, pushing even a person of his power’s limits. He started questioning his decision to keep Ethelwine a secret. Why shouldn’t he rule instead? The 5 headmasters noticed the difference in his behavior and decided together to confront him about it and stop him if need be. When they confronted him though, they realized that they were betrayed by one of their own. The teacher’s favorite student has stayed loyal to him and warned him what the others planned to do. And so, the war broke out.”
“He felt betrayed. He had given them everything. Everything they were was because of him. He decided that if they weren’t to be loyal to him, that he would create something that would be and would always be. This is where our monsters come from. Werewolves, goblins, giants, vampires, trolls, but there was one creation of his that he favored over all others. I believe Mr. Winchester knows what I’m talking about.” His words were like venom again.
Bart clenched his jaw. He knew. “Dragons.”
“Indeed. Dragons were his favorite, and they wreaked havoc. The war lasted years. The teacher started becoming more erratic with his decisions, to the point where even his most loyal student started to question him.”
Ali had picked his head up at this point and was intently listening to the stories from the slimy Professor.
“The Grim had another change of heart. He crawled back to his former allies and asked them for forgiveness and begged them to let him help. And if it wasn’t for their understanding, perhaps stupid grace, we might not have a 5th class here today. The Grim helped his four friends eventually take control of the war and before they knew it, they were confronting their teacher once more. It took all 5 classes to imprison their master. Not one of them could have done it without the other. And so, the war was won. And the headmasters continued their teachings at Ethelwine. And now, after generations and generations, their teachings are still taught here today.”
Rena rose an eyebrow in confusion “But why hasn’t this been taught here at the school? This is the first time I’ve heard anything about a war in Ethelwine.”
“Do you think that parents would want their students to go here if the dark history of this school was flaunted about, girl?”
“But, you said the teacher learned magic. How could he learn magic if you said he was the first one to teach it?” Hope asked. She was so intrigued in this story.
“I said he was the first HUMAN to learn magic Ms. Johnson. You should learn to listen. There are various stories and myths to how he came about this knowledge. Some say he was born with it, some say he learned it from the Sidhe.”
“Fairies. One of the oldest species of the world.”
Bart let out a laugh. “So you telling me that he learned magic from fairies?”
Professor Mort glared at Bart. “Fairy is the term that humans use to describe them. The Sidhe are older than any other species on this planet so it be obvious that they would know more than any other. But the fact is that this is a story, nobody has seen any of the Sidhe in thousands of years.”
The class went silent again. “So did this teacher have a name?” Trevor asked.
“His birth name has been lost through history. But, after finding Ethelwine he called himself Erebus.” Hope raised her hand again.
Professor mOrts Patience was running then. “You said they imprisoned Erebus. Does that mean he died in his prison.”
Mort looked at her unblinking. “They didn’t imprison him because they thought it was the right thing to do. They imprisoned him because they couldn’t kill him. He made himself undying.”
The clock hit 11:00 with a small chime breaking the silence of the classroom. “You May leave now.” Professor Mort said with a distaste.
The group gathered their things and left together.
“That was a creepy story.” Bart said when they walked out.”
Hope nodded her head. “It was interesting though. I want to do more research on it.”
“You don’t think it was true do you?” Trevor said. “I mean he was probably just trying to scare us with an old legend.”
“I don’t know. That’s a pretty extensive legend to have memorized just for scaring teenagers.” Rena said. “Has your dad ever told you anything like that Ali?”
“Bits and pieces, aye. He always chucked it up to wives tales. I’m with Trev on this one.” Ali kicked rocks along their path.
They had missed not only the matches, but most of the post game festivities that come with Sunday Stronghold. “Who d’you reckon won today?”
“Not sure.” Bart said. “We can check the rankings on our way out.”
“Guess I’ll go and catch up with the rest of the team and see what the damage is.” Kaiden says with a nervous chuckle putting his hands in jean pockets “See ya later guys, bye Sor.”
“Bye Kaiden! Sorry you got stuck in detention with us!” Rena said giving him a small wave.
“Oh it’s not a big deal, it was definitely worth it.” He grinned brightly at Rena before glancing at Sor; she could have sworn he winked at her. With that he turned and walked the opposite direction.
Ali stared at Rena with pure disgust. “‘Sorryyy you got stuck in detention with us, Kaiiiiden.’ Its his damn fault!”
Rena put her hands on her hips “It was not his fault. It’s not like he went into the forbidden room on purpose.”
“And he did try to take the blame for it all when Professor Mort found us.” Hope points out in Kaiden’s defense.
“Well Ali that’s technically not true.” Bart said. Ali gave him a look of confusion mixed with betrayal. “See, you and weren’t going to have Kaiden along with us remember? If he hadn’t come along, he wouldn’t have gotten cut off from us and stumbled into the forbidden floor, and then we wouldn’t have had to go get him. So the real question is, who was it that made us let him come with us? Cause it’s probably their fault.” Bart looked at Rena with a mischievous smile. “Do you remember who that was Rena?”
Rena glared at Bart “This was not MY fault. Stop trying to put the blame on me.”
Bart started laughing. “I’m just messing with you Beasley. Geez lighten up, you’re so tense.”
“Just admit you lot are in love with him and call it a day! ′Oooh he has a pretty jawline and looks good in swim wear’. And he cost us a whole evening!”
“I’m not in love with him!” Hope exclaimed “don’t rope me into their drool fest”
“Uhhh I too, am not in love with him.” Trevor added in quietly.
“Same.” Garrett said
“I mean sure he is attractive but I don’t just go for looks! I go for a good personality..... which he also has but that’s not the point!” Hope rambled
Bart gave Trevor a “What is happening” look.
Rena chuckled “Oh please Kaiden is nice to look at and is sweetie but definitely not my type.”
She nodded her head towards Sor “Besides, he has eyes for flower child over here. He DID ask her to the dance after all!”
“Aye but she didn’t answer! Because she sees through the tricks! Right, bean?” Ali said, turning his attention towards Sor. Now that he thought of it...what was the reason for not answering? Why not just say no?
“That’s not why I didn’t answer.” Sor replies avoiding everyone’s gaze with a blush, nervously fiddling with her cardigan sleeve.
“What was the reason then?”
“The reason isn’t important.” She replies quietly “Besides, I don’t think I’m going to go with him anyways.”
"I’m glad Hope wasn’t this complicated about it." Bart thought to himself
Rena tried to hide her disappointment before offering her a small smile “Okay well, maybe someone else will ask you.”
Sor blushed and shrugged “Maybe. I’m not too worried about it.”
The group got back to the basement. “I’m telling you lad, Hunters got lucky.” Bart sighed. “Okay Ali whatever you say.” They all dropped their bags off and started to head for the couches.
“Will you get some drinks Ali?” Hope asks softly. He nodded and started for the kitchen.
“I’ll help you. Bart said. “It’s your turn to pick the movie Trev.”
“Aye and no musicals!” Ali shouted from the entrance of the basement kitchen. Bart walked into the kitchen. The sound of bottles clanging could be heard as Ali rummaged through the fridge. Bar reaches into a high cabinet and started grabbing snacks.
“So I never asked you about the forbidden floor. What did you see when you went into that room?“Ali grabbed enough drinks for the group.
“Just a ghost.” He turned to face his friend, who clearly was not buying such a story. With a sigh, he checked around the corner and near the stairs for any sign of other people. “My mother, Bart. The way I remember her.”
“You don’t talk about her.” Bart popped a German chocolate into his mouth.
“Well its a complicated thing to talk about.” He grabbed a stool at the kitchens bar and opened a bottle. “She was a normie. Brilliant and sharp tongued and so Irish. I mean, she’d make me blush aye? Pap met her after his time here at university. He spent time in the human world as a physician, practicing magical medicine in secret. They met, and fell in love...had me,” he said with a smirk. “Eventually, he introduced her to our world. Told her everything! And she loved it! Everything was magical. I was raised in a home that showed me both sides of life.” He said, starting to trail off in his mind.
Bart chewed slowly and studied Ali. “Did she pass?”
He shrugged in response. “I really don’t know.” Ali looked intently at Bart. “You’ll learn, lad, that magic types can often treat normies like lesser people. When Pap brought Ma into this world, most of his peers didn’t understand. Didn’t want to. They would belittle her or ignore her because ′she had no place here’. And over time, that takes a toll. She was done with it. She wanted to go back to Galway. Pap was teaching here by then...they were at an impasse. They split, but she couldn’t go back to the normal world knowing what she knew.” Ali finished his drink and pushed it aside. “He erased her memories of this. Of magic...of us. And I’ve not seen her since.”
“That’s rough. Maybe that’s why my dad left for the normal world. My mom was a simp too.”
Ali laughed. “A simp...I like that. Thanks for hearing me on this, lad. Not a lot of people I know that share that type of background, so will you keep it between us, aye?”
“Not my story to tell. You can put another tattoo on me if you’d like to be sure.” He raised his palm up to show the small infinity symbol with a laugh as they walked out of the kitchen together.