Part 1: Chapter 2
Trayen’s head snapped around to stare at my face. Those jade green eyes bored into me, thoroughly seeking truth to what Isla had stated. He took his hands out of his pockets, and stepped closer to me.
“Mallie?” he asked me as he crossed his arms in suspicion.
“Yes?” I answered back.
He glanced at Isla, unconvinced. “She answers to her own name. How do you know she can’t remember?”
Isla sighed. “She knows our names as well as hers because we’ve addressed each other as such. You have to ask her something we know that she doesn’t.”
Trayen looked skeptical. “Is that how you came to this realization?”
She blushed and stared at the ground. “Well, no…”
“Then what did you do? Did you read her emotions?”
“Yes…” Isla answered quietly.
“Isla, you’re not supposed to use that kind of magic on your fellow classmates. That’s only for the defense of the Shrines.” Trayen crossed his arms as he stared at her.
“I had to.” She defended herself, finding the courage to stare right back at him. “You should’ve seen the way she looked at me.”
Trayen shook his head. “Wow Isla, she really has you fooled.”
The tears had dried, but I don’t know what he saw on my face. It obviously didn’t work the same for him as it did Isla.
Trayen chuckled as he addressed me again. “I’ll have to give you ten quartz for this little trick when we get out of the assembly, just for credit. This is the best joke ever.”
“Trayen!” Isla exclaimed. “I’m serious.”
“She hasn’t done anything to prove she’s lost her mind.”
“What about in class earlier? She wasn’t acting like herself. Think about it.”
“She’s probably just tired. She stood Guard yesterday. Why do you think Professor Salvatore let her off so easily?”
Isla looked exasperated. “Mallie doesn’t look tired.”
“Really? Because if she was herself, why hasn’t she stopped us from bickering?”
Trayen stopped smiling. “It’s just another ploy, right Mallie?” He came up beside me and reached his arm around to lay it upon my shoulders.
I instinctively cringed backwards and hit the wall in shock.
Trayen watched me react, clearly not understanding why I moved away from him. “Mallie?” he asked again. “Are you alright?”
“No,” I whispered.
“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.” Isla sighed heavily. “She doesn’t know who she is.”
“She was fine earlier,” Trayen defended me, even if I didn’t remember the former me.
“I know.” Isla sighed and stared at Trayen. I wondered if she was trying to find out what happened to my memory.
Trayen glanced at me. “Can you remember anything?”
I shook my head.
“Nothing?” He stressed again.
“No. I don’t recognize anyone or anything,” I whispered.
He turned back to Isla. “Only a powerful mind charm could’ve expunged her memories. But we don’t have access to spells of that caliber.”
“Think we should take her to the healer?”
Trayen paced the floor. “No. They’ll ask too many questions, and we don’t have the answers. She could get into huge amounts of trouble.”
He stopped. “We have to go to the assembly. It’s mandatory anyway.”
Isla shook her head slowly. “But what if she’s called upon to report?”
Trayen didn’t respond.
Isla put her hand on her hips and tapped her foot in thought. “We might have to take the chance,” she finally stated. “Depending on how much she can remember, we’ll have to fill in the rest of the details on the way there.”
Trayen stared back at me. “If you can remember anything at all, now’s the time to speak up.”
I shook my head. “Nothing, before I was called on in class,” I squeaked out.
He grimaced. “She won’t last two minutes in that Arena Isla if she has to report. Her sword skills are already pathetic. All of those questions she’ll have to respond to? We don’t have the answers to those. I don’t Guard on Tuesdays and neither do you.”
“We don’t have any other choices, Trayen.” Isla sighed. “We need to go now or we’ll be late. If you want to explain that to the Headmistress, by all means stay here.”
Trayen sighed. “Alright. I hope for her sake she doesn’t get called on. It’d be a first,” he mumbled the last word under his breath. I didn’t think he meant for me to hear it, but I did.
I stared at them both, not understanding a word they spoke.
“Come on Mallie, we’ll take you to the Arena.” Isla held out her arm. I retreated from Trayen and followed her out of the bathroom. Trayen joined us from behind as Isla whispered frantically to me while we rushed down the hallway.
“Your name is Mallie. You’re a first year Guardian-in-training. You stood on Guard twelve hours ago at the Sun Shrine. During the day we sleep, unless we’re Guarding one of the nine shrines. At night we take classes to enhance our skills. We’re not allowed to visit the other side of the campus; that is where the Shapers-in-training are. Their classroom schedule is the opposite of ours.
“I’m Isla, your best friend. He’s Trayen, another close friend.” She nodded behind us to where Trayen followed. “You are in the academy on the northern continent. Right now we’re headed to the Arena where our class reports about their Guard duties. We’re tested during our shifts. They’ll want to know if you took any action at all, and how you overcame the challenge that was presented to you.
“We don’t know what happened at the Shrine, because neither of us was with you while you were Guarding. If you are called to report, you must waive your testimony and prepare for a challenge. Take up the sword, even if you’re not great at fencing, your instincts will take over. It’s okay to lose, just try to win.”
By the time she was done talking, we had reached the Arena. I was completely engrossed by Isla’s words that I missed the direction and scene change until I was out of the halls and onto the grounds. Later, I remembered the décor as the tall windows disappeared and the arch ways grew wider until they met the beginning of the central courtyard. The Arena lay beyond it, sunken into the ground. It was made up of stone walkways and wooden benches. Many circular stone tiered walls encased the Arena blocking the outside view from the spectators.
We entered the Arena from the south entrance. Isla and Trayen gasped as we approached the benches. They hesitated for a moment before picking a bench near the top, on the left side.
“This is new,” Isla breathed.
Trayen nodded in agreement next to me. I settled myself in-between them.
I scanned the scene before me. The Headmistress stood in front of the seated Professors at the northern end on a stage. What I presumed was the Night class, sat on the left side of the Arena. The Day class sat on the right side. The Night class all wore a myriad of white and navy sweaters with a crescent emblazoned on the left side. The Day class dressed in black and maroon sweaters with the crest of a sun printed on the right side.
We were the last to enter for the guards closed the gates behind us, locking us inside. We patiently waited for the ceremony to begin. Isla looked nervous, though I couldn’t figure out why. In fact, all of the Night class looked nervous and wary. Only the Day students seemed at ease.
I turned my eyes towards them, hoping to spot a difference between them and us, besides what we were wearing. As I gazed at them, several of them stared back at me. Even at this great of a distance between us, I saw them staring at me with intense curiosity burning in their eyes. I glanced away, frightened by what I saw.
Isla shifted beside me. “Since when do we report with them?” she whispered.
Trayen shrugged. “This is unusual.”
“Why are they staring at us? Were we that late?”
I kept my mouth shut, hoping that no one else realized they were staring at me in particular. Even with my head down, I felt the burn of their gaze on me.
“They’re not staring at us, Isla. They’re staring at Mallie.” Trayen whispered to her from beside me.
“What…?” was all that she got out when I peeked up and saw the Day class all turn to face the podium in unison. It was a shocking move. All of the Night class noticed it and began murmuring amongst each other.
“What was that all about?” Isla breathed after the initial shock wore off.
I wished I knew the answer, but we could no longer converse for the Headmistress called for attention.