Part 1: Chapter 9
I was outside, in the courtyard near the forest. In magic class I’d found a map of the grounds, and now I wanted solace while I learned more about myself from the white journal.
Earlier in magic class, I failed to blend in. Trayen tried to help me when the teacher wasn’t looking, but nothing worked for me. Isla was called out of class to fill in for someone who was ill at one of the Shrines. Dayona Nightfall dismissed me from class, once I told her I had a headache from trying so hard. She must’ve been forewarned from the Headmistress about the slight altercation to my mind, for she let me leave without a barrage of questions. I practically leapt out of the room, anxious to be left alone. Trayen wanted to come with me, but I shook my head. I’d see him later anyway.
Now I sat on a stone bench, in the small park. There were tall hedges that blocked the view of the academy. A small fountain trickled quietly, as the water poured out of a panther’s mouth. Blue flowers bloomed nearby, but I didn’t pay attention to them. I opened my journal, familiarizing myself with my classes.
I was completely engrossed in the book that I failed to notice the approaching footsteps to my right. A quiet chuckle woke me from my reverie. I snapped my head up, catching the outline of a figure, staring at me from the nearest tree.
He leaned against it, under the bough, hidden in the shadows.
I stared at him. I couldn’t make out a face from this distance. Closing the book, I lay it on the bench and stood up. I walked closer to the person, closing the distance between us.
His features became clearer, as I stepped nearer to him. I froze when I realized exactly who I was staring at.
Caiden, of the Day class, stared at me from under the tree.
My breath caught. What was he doing here? Wasn’t he supposed to be sleeping at this hour?
His eyes peeked at me from under his tousled black hair that covered his head. I had to admit that those brown eyes were gorgeous. We stayed quiet, staring at each other for several minutes.
“What are you doing here?” I asked. Curiosity burned like fire in me.
“I was taking a stroll when I happened upon you. Your manner intrigued me so I stayed to watch.”
His voice wasn’t deep like the guys in the Night class, but it wasn’t boyish either. It fell somewhere in-between, settling into my ears like gossamer. I became embarrassed, when I realized he was watching me read. I could have been picking my nose or scratching my butt. Luckily, I wasn’t doing anything to embarrass myself further. “How was I intriguing you?”
“You’re reading.” He stated this with awe.
Apparently, in my former life, I didn’t read often. Then again, how did he know that? “It’s a book the Headmistress gave me,” I answered, trying to explain my actions.
“About you.” He smiled.
Good grief, his smile was dazzling. It was perfectly formed, and it took my breath away. So far his features alone were leaving me breathless; it was hard to find any sense of control or rational mind set. I realized what he said again, and drew my attention elsewhere to gain control of myself. “How do you know that?” I asked, incredulous that he would even know something so personal. Isla couldn’t read that book, so how did he know, unless he had read it. And if he had already read it, where did he read it?
“White journals are designed for the author of the book to read only. It is an ancient language. Very few people can read them,” he explained.
So that was how he knew it was about me. He knew a piece of knowledge; he hadn’t been reading it. I don’t know why I cared so much. He wasn’t mentioned anywhere in that book. It was all about me. Why would he want to read about me? I wasn’t anything like him. But he had to have gotten his information somewhere. “How do you know about them?”
“We’re taught about artifacts and the languages of the Ancients in our magic classes. But I learned the languages at an early age. You’ll eventually come to learn them yourself in class. You’re only in level two I believe, and not very good at it either.”
I grimaced. He was right; I didn’t care how he knew it either. I was tired of rationalizing to myself why people knew more about me when I didn’t. But that was the problem. I didn’t and they did, no matter which class they originated from. “Why aren’t you asleep like the rest of your classmates?”
“I’ve been thinking about things.” He nodded towards the journal. “Learned anything interesting?”
I shook my head. “Just facts so far.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Nothing else?”
His face returned to normal as he stared at the ground. “No memories yet?” His eyes flickered back, locking onto mine.
“No,” I breathed. I was having trouble concentrating on my thoughts again. I certainly was at a disadvantage. Everything about his character wanted me to give in to the irrational side of my feelings that were pouring from my heart and soul. Only my mind remained unhindered, but it was slowly being engulfed by the overwhelming emotions building up within me.
He pouted as he shifted his stance. I saw him move in slow motion, though his body came quickly towards me. In one second, he was inches from my face. He stared into my eyes, and then gazed down my neck. His eyes swept up and down my body, as he walked around me. He stopped just behind my back, as I heard his footsteps halt on the ground. His body pressed against mine as he leaned into me. I felt his breath on my neck, and I froze.
“That’s a shame,” he whispered in my ear.
It took me a while to notice that he was gone. My heart was beating rapidly, and I felt weak, but strong at the same time. What had just happened between us, and why?
My mind drew up an image of the Dating chapter from the journal. I picked it up and held it, remembering what it specifically said about the topic. It was forbidden for a Shaper and a Guardian to date one another. I sat back on the bench pondering my thoughts, mostly because they were jumbled. My heart wanted very much to kiss him, and begin a forbidden love with him. My brain screamed no at me, and since I had lost my memories recently, I blocked out the feelings in my heart, and listened to my head. There was no way I could keep a secret that big anyhow. I shoved the idea out of my mind.
My thoughts returned to him anyway. Caiden was his name. I remembered the encounter at the Arena. He sat next to Mirabella of the Day class, yesterday. She was very beautiful. Assuming they were dating, or close to it, I pushed them both out of my head, happy for them, and reread the Shapers chapter again, hoping to gain some insight into what exactly happened between the two of us.
Again, as I reread it, I found that chapter oddly mesmerizing, mostly because it was twice as long as the Guardian chapter. I held the key to understanding Shapers, to learn more about how they operated.
“Ahem.” I focused my gaze up to meet the intruder hoping that it might be him returning. My eyes found Trayen and Isla staring down at me. I had not heard their approach either.
“Hi,” I welcomed them, shutting my journal.
“We wondered where you were,” Isla exasperated. She looked flustered. “It took us forever to find you. That guy was of no help.”
Did I miss something? “What guy?” I wanted to know who else was around. Had someone seen what happened between me and Caiden? Even if nothing visible happened, I just wanted to make sure. I didn’t need to be in trouble.
“A Day student was wandering through the grove. We thought you might be hidden there and we met him instead,” Trayen responded casually, though he looked worried.
“Is class over already?” I asked.
“Dayona thought I might be able to help you. She’s excused me from my second class with her this morning.”
“Mallie, this is not good,” Isla breathed. “You need help in your studies, especially because you can’t remember basic things. You should’ve let Trayen come with you out here. A Day class student was wandering in the grove. What if he was here? It’s practically forbidden to be alone with them.”
“I thought I was safe.” In fact, I knew I was safe.
“Well, I don’t trust them. He’s scary looking. His presence is shy and sweet, but his eyes say otherwise. They all do, in fact. He was sitting next to that Mira person. She radiates authority. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was Marked soon. She was quick in the Arena. Too quick.”
“So, what did Caiden say?” I made the mistake of calling him by his first name.
“How do you know his name?” Isla sounded scared and incredulous at the same time.
Trayen came to my rescue, unknowingly. “He was at the Arena too, Isla. He sat next to Mirabella, but he was also the one who called Mallie to the stage. He was happier then. Today he seemed sad.”
My heart leapt at the sound of his sadness. I knew it was because of me, but only from my reactions. I wanted to run and find him and figure out what I could do to make him happy again. I blinked realizing what my heart was making me feel. I thought I had resolved to not think along that route. I pushed it aside again and turned my attention towards my friends. Hopefully they didn’t notice me bickering inside my own mind, since I learned my face was easy to read. Fortunately for me, they hadn’t noticed.
“Yeah, well, I didn’t like the way he looked at Mallie then. He was itching for a fight that night.”
“But what did he say?” I intruded in on their discussion, bringing their focus back.
“He said nothing at first. He just stared at us. I was shocked to see him in the Twilight Grove. It’s on Night class property. They have their own grove, the Aurora Grove.” Isla rushed out her sentences. I was getting used to understanding her babble; at first, it sounded like gibberish.
Trayen rolled his eyes. “We asked why he was in the Twilight Grove and he stated he was just out for a walk. He said he’d wandered too far away from the Day grounds. So we asked if he’d seen you and he stated you were on the boundaries of the forest. Only when we found you sitting here, you obviously weren’t where he said you were.”
But I was in the forest several minutes ago. I didn’t mention this. “Oh. Well, this garden is close to the forest.”
“I suppose it is,” Trayen agreed with me.
A bell chimed near campus, signaling midnight.
Isla jumped. “Oh, I’ve got to get to class.” She ran off towards campus. “See you at dinner!” she yelled from behind the hedgerows.
“We spent all of our free time searching for you,” Trayen stated.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I apologized.
“Not your fault. We were worried. Magic has never been your strong point, but you could perform the basics before your memory went away.”
“I’ve heard a lot of that. Fencing’s not my forte. Neither is magic. How am I supposed to be a Guardian if I have trouble in those areas? I can’t.” I put my head in my hands.
“They won’t let you go through the Initiation if you’re unsure of yourself. They want you to succeed, to be your best.”
“And what if I don’t get better?” I was scared now. There weren’t many qualities of Guardians that I had.
“You will. You need practice. Besides, I think the new you will be better at magic. We just need to retrain you.”
“Is that why Dayona let you come find me?”
Trayen scratched his head. “Partially. I didn’t want you to be alone out here.”
“Oh.” I straightened up.
He sat next to me on the bench. His eyes rested on the white book, as it lay in my lap. “Isla told me you were given a book on memory restoration. I take it this is it?”
“Yeah. This would be that book.” No need to tell him what it really was.
“Can I see it?” he asked.
I handed it to him. He opened to the first page. I expected him to read the title of the book Isla read out to me the other day.
“‘For, Mallie,’” he read. He started turning to the next page as I snatched the book out of his hands. Luckily, he let it go as I grabbed it, so the page didn’t tear out.
“You can read that?” I leaned away from him, shocked. Caiden told me that those books were meant for the owners to read; they were written in an ancient language that very few people knew. Was it possible that Caiden lied to me?
“Yeah. Isn’t it just an introduction?”
Quietly, I contemplated on what he actually saw. He read the language it was written in. Isla didn’t know it was written in another language. Then again, once she saw the title, I was sure she didn’t want to browse through it after knowing she would have to read it. Trayen on the other hand would know that it was a journal written for me. He would be able to see the chapters and the detailed paragraphs written in my handwriting. Not to mention I wasn’t prepared for him to read what my former self thought about him and Isla.
To test if he could read the book, like I thought he could, I flipped the pages open to a chapter I didn’t mind him reading. I held it in front of me, for him to read. “What do you see written here?”
“‘Magic. Earthen magic is not your strong point; it is Air where you’ll succeed.’” He had reached the end of the paragraph. It was short, like so many of the other subjects throughout the book. “Should I go on?” he asked.
“No.” I closed the book again. I sighed heavily, not knowing what to do about this new revelation. I didn’t want him reading this book, because it felt like a diary of some sort.
He shifted on the bench. “Was this journal written by you?”
Trayen nodded to himself, but I saw the gesture from the corner of my eye.
I didn’t look at him; I just stared forward into the trees.
“What all is written there?”
I sighed. “It’s like a diary of some sort.”
“It mentions me and Isla, doesn’t it?”
“Everyone. It has intimate details with the strengths and weaknesses of each person in the Night class.”
Trayen nodded. “Isla can’t read it?”
I shook my head. “She sees something else.”
“I know what magic this is.” He turned to stare at me, like Caiden had at the Arena. “You wrote this book. You know the language it’s written in.”
I didn’t get a chance to ask how he knew. He answered my unspoken question rather quickly.
“I know your handwriting. You’re capable of great things. It’s hidden within you.”
I was frightened by his words. Magic? Me? Since when? Maybe I had the ability before my memory was wiped, but definitely not now.
“Mallie, let me summarize this for you, because I think you’re having a hard time coping with everything that’s been going on.”
I slowly gazed into his eyes, afraid that what he was about to say would be bad.
“Prior to yesterday, you were our closest friend. But before that it was just Isla and I. You were an excellent student; you excelled in everything that you put your mind to. You knew the history, which is why Professor Salvatore called on you in class. You knew the basics of Magical control. You were ready to move on to more advance lessons. You taught me everything that I can do now. You were sure of yourself as you seemed to be ahead of the class, even if you never performed well at Earth magic. However, you did have your weaknesses.
“You’d space out, or cut class sometimes, because you told us that it was boring. You had trouble in fencing, but not in hand-to-hand combat which was different. Hand-to-hand combat is a part of Shaper training, even if both classes use it in offensive strategies. You were the opposite of what Aralisa is for the Day class.
“I sometimes felt that the Headmistress might have misplaced both of you, and was thinking about switching you two. But Aralisa survived and was eventually Marked seeing as how she’s now within the world on assignments. You can do the same.
“This memory block is just temporary. In the meantime, you can now rise up and become a Guardian.”
I tried not to sniffle, but failed. He was trying to make me feel better about my abilities. “But I don’t know what that is. I don’t remember how to fight; I can’t remember how to use magic. How am I supposed to survive if I can’t get my memories back?”
“You’ll have to relearn it all. It’ll be tough, but I know you can do it. All children of tribal leaders have the strength and education to rise above their peers. That’s how I know you can do this. We’re all taught to read that language from an early age.”
This was almost too much for me to take in. Trayen told me my strengths and weaknesses to my face and I wouldn’t show him what my former self had written in my diary. I would have to relearn everything that I somehow already knew. I hoped that it would be easy, like learning how to walk. I was grateful that my body hadn’t forgotten that. But he mentioned several things that confused my mind even more. If what he said was true, that I was the daughter of a tribal leader, then that meant so was Caiden, and so was Trayen. I wish I could remember my family, who I was. But there were more important things on my plate at the moment. I needed to figure out what to do about my training so I could succeed in class.
“So, when shall we begin?” I asked Trayen. I might as well try to regain pieces of my former life, and hopefully by doing so I would regain my memories.