|A Wizard's Guide to Magic in General (2000)
Author: Emerald Viper PM
Douglas, the world's most hopeless wizard, embarks on a quest with the help of a very useful book.Rated: Fiction K - English - Fantasy/Friendship - Chapters: 7 - Words: 34,149 - Updated: 04-11-13 - Published: 03-01-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3105203
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
CHAPTER ONE: IN WHICH WE MEET OUR WIZARD
It was graduation day at The Dainor Academy of Magic. A soft breeze fluttered the white curtains in the bustling kitchens, and two scrawny cats chased a vanishing mouse on the tower stairs. The rest of the old palace was silent. All of the students and instructors were down in the Great Hall preparing for the ceremony, with the exception of Blue Moon's most hopeless apprentice wizard, Douglas. Douglas was still asleep.
Up in the third floor boy's dorms, he woke and stretched, yawning. "Another day!" He sighed heavily. "Another long, dull, exhausting day!"
Douglas sat still for a few short moments, head propped against pillow, and stared, bleary eyed at the cracks in the ceiling. It was then that he realized it was . . . "Saturday . . ." Douglas groaned and stuffed his blankets over his head, breathing in the slightly damp smell. Saturday meant that he had to clear tables. Saturday meant no lessons with Master Friedolf. Any Saturday meant a number of things, but this particular day a bit more important than usual. For the life of him, he could not remember why.
However, thinking could wait. Douglas had the morning, until second bell, to do whatever he liked best. And what Douglas liked best was staying in bed for as long as he possibly could. He yawned and listened for the usual morning clamor, but he heard nothing.
The silence surprised him. Normally, on any given Saturday, sleeping in was a difficult chore, with all the shouting and ball-playing that went on, but this Saturday morning was quieter than a tomb. Douglas pressed his ear to the wall. Still nothing. Cautiously, and somewhat regretfully, he crept out of bed and opened the stairway door. The vanishing mouse skittered into a space between the floorboards. The stairs were deserted.
Douglas tiptoed down to the second floor landing and peeked into the girl's rooms, which were also empty. Then came the last flight of stairs and the main corridor. After not seeing a soul the entire way, Douglas had begun to worry. What had he forgotten this time?
Douglas came upon the hall door, patted the brass knob and turned it open. Miraculously, there was not even a squeak from its battered hinges. He stared inside. The lecture benches were out, and students and teachers alike were dressed in their ceremony best.
Master Friedolf, the forever-ailing old headmaster, stood up and walked to the speaker's box. He coughed, took a long draught of some potion, and announced the fact that Douglas should have remembered - but, as usual, failed to.
"Today is your Graduation."
Douglas stumbled back in shock, not realizing just how far he had wandered down the aisle. He slipped and knocked the door, which repaid him by slamming loudly with an insulting tone. Everyone cringed.
Without a word, Douglas took his seat in the last row and shot Master Friedolf his best "please forgive me, I didn't mean it" glance. Master Friedolf's stiff expression softened, absentminded Douglas being his favorite, yet least successful pupil. Unfortunately, Master Trelair, Douglas's archenemy, had also seen - and he was not as forgiving.
"I see you forgot about the ceremony," he said coldly.
Douglas bit his lip, somehow knowing by his tone of voice, that he was set to cause some kind of uproar.
"And . . ." Trelair let the phrase hang. "I see you've forgotten your shoes as well."
A roar of laughter echoed from the class until the unamused Master Friedolf motioned for silence. Douglas's face burned scarlet and he tucked his feet as far under the bench as they would possibly go. His best and only friend, Silas, turned to him and forced a pained expression. He knew what it was like for Douglas, being as forgetful and stupid as he often was. Still, Silas wasn't worried about failing out of the Academy. If he didn't pass his final test, at least he had somewhere to go back to. His parents were hardworking and well-respected citizens of nearby Ginsbrook. Douglas didn't know if he had a family or not. He'd never met them anyway.
Lila Trelair, to the other side of Douglas, found her father's remark amusing.
"I knew he would be the one to fail," she whispered to a girl in the sixth row.
Fail. Douglas refused to believe it. Lila was almost always right, but this time he knew that she simply couldn't be. There was nothing in the world that Douglas wanted to be more than a real wizard, and although he knew that he would never make a great wizard, and most likely not even a good one, he still held fast to his dream. He would complete his Apprenticeship; he would Journey to the ends of the earth if he had to, and he would return to the Academy and become a Master Wizard.
The academy clock chimed. It was time for the Interviews. Douglas shuddered, futily trying to remain calm.
"Cross your fingers," Silas whispered. "If you get Trelair he'll fail you in a heartbeat. They say he'll fail anyone."
"Except for Lila," Douglas added, feeling a bit more vicious than usual.
Everyone, including Lila's friend Chloe laughed. Bran gave Douglas a cuff on the shoulder and winked. Although the "Wester" was officially a student at the Academy, he never seemed to pay any attention to his lessons. His constant companion Kaylin was only a maid, but Bran wouldn't let anyone talk down to her. Even if he wasn't very talented when it came to magic, Bran could throw a good punch. So could Kaylin, for that matter.
Lila frowned indignantly and sauntered down the hall for her interview with Master Trelair, who opened his door for her with a smile plastered somewhat awkwardly on his normally stern face.
"That's so unfair!" Chloe muttered. The gathered nodded in agreement and Bran gestured rudely once he was sure that the door was closed. Kaylin laughed loud enough that everyone stared at her. She stuck her tongue out when Mistress Narchell gave her a dirty look.
"Silas Gray," Master Friedolf read. "Master Hawthorne."
Startled, Douglas fell back and rocked the empty bench behind him. It clattered to the floor and the room fell silent. Silas stood up and began to make his way down the hall. Douglas, by this time, had become hysterical.
"He skipped me!" Douglas protested, tugging on his friend's sleeve. "Silas! He skipped me!"
Silas turned. "Please, Douglas!" He hissed. "You know how Hawthorne hates me - ever since we blew up his nasty old cat our first year. Even if I do answer all of the questions right he'll probably fail me out of spite. The Journey . . . well, I don't even want to think about it!"
Silas sighed and slowly opened the door to Hawthorne's room. That was the biggest fear for everyone, the Journey. The better the student, the better the teacher, the easier the journey. Everyone said it had a lot to do with the interviews.
Douglas slouched over in his seat. It was probably just an oversight, he reasoned. After one of the three students in the Interviews was finished, they'd just stick him in with whoever was ready. Master Trelair, Master Hawthorne, or Mistress Narchell. Douglas cringed. They all despised him equally, but he really had no other choice.
The only other wizard at the academy was the mythical Lady Orna who supposively lurked the halls and battlements, but no one, not even Master Friedolf had seen her in many years. The door to her room in the West tower was never opened, and even the bravest of the academy students steered clear of it whenever possible. Master wizards were quite commonplace in the civilized East, but most of them held very little real power.
The Lady Orna was a Legend. She had come from the deadly West, a place that to most Academy students was as unreal as it was distant. Master Friedolf often told stories about her on dark winter evenings, always quietly and with a hint of something in his voice that was either fear or awe. According to him, Lady Orna was the greatest wizard there had ever been, even more powerful than Good Queen Miranda.
Suddenly, Master Hawthorne's voice woke Douglas from his daydreaming. "Out of it, Douglas!"
"Wha . . . What?!" He gasped.
"Douglas, your Interview," Master Friedolf spoke slowly and adjusted his spectacles, as if he was sure there was some kind of mistake on his paper.
"Sorry, Master Friedolf," Douglas recovered quickly. "Left hall or right?"
Friedolf shook his head heavily and sighed. "Upstairs, Douglas," he pointed to the forbidden West tower door, which opened slowly on its own accord. "Lady Orna wishes to speak with you herself."
Silas and Lila, both returning from their Interviews, grew pasty white with terror at the mention of the great wizard's name.
"Lady Orna!" Chloe gasped. "Oh what did you do Douglas, it must have been terrible!"
Although Douglas hadn't the faintest recollection of doing anything other than coming late to class and stealing the occasional extra biscuit from the pantry, he agreed that it very well must have been.
"Don't worry, Douglas. She's been up in that tower so long she's probably just a skeleton!" Silas added.
"Or a hungry ghost!" whispered Lila, grinning devilishly. "Looking for body to eat so that she can come back to life!"
"Watch out, she has a sword!" Lila's brother Argent added. "She walks with it like a cane, and she'll cut your head off with it!"
"And the statues! Watch out for the statues. They can see what you're doing!" piped in a small girl.
"That's what she does to kids that go up there," Bran hissed. "She turn's im' into statues!"
"Or animibles," announced a primary class boy. His name was Caden and as far as anyone knew, he was Kaylin's brother. The two of them didn't look at all alike. Kaylin was very tall and thin with red hair and freckles and Caden was a short, round little boy with dark skin and a mop of black curls. Of course, no one would dare suggest that Caden wasn't Kaylin's brother. That would earn them a punch in the teeth.
"I sawed an old hawky-bird fly out of her winder once and it landed right in front of me an' then…" Caden began.
Kaylin put her hand over his mouth. "An' then Cade's sister beat his backside for tellin' lies, didn't she?"
Caden scowled. He looked ready to say something in return but only sighed in defeat. Douglas stood up slowly and walked down the aisle. Everyone stared, as if they were waiting for a lightning strike or a shower of fire and brimstone. When he had finally reached the door, the unearthly silence was broken on Bran yelling out "Nice knowin' ya!"
Douglas shuddered and began to climb the stairs, crossing his fingers and praying that his friends knew less than they had lead him to believe.
CHAPTER TWO: A VERY GOOD BOOK
The silence was unnerving. Douglas counted his footsteps, nearly running for his life with each passing shadow. "One hundred ten, one hundred twelve." He muttered, and then stopped short, turning to look behind him . . . at a closed door. Douglas shuddered, feeling the all too familiar "twitch" of magic in the air.
There was a sign tacked to the top of the door frame, written in terribly awkward script. It read. "Plese enter and clos Dor. Do not tuch Things". As far as Douglas could see, there were no statues or animals, but just because he didn't notice them did not mean they weren't hiding somewhere in the shadows watching him.
Douglas closed his eyes and pushed open the door, expecting to see fountains, gardens, and all of the other "Things" he had been told that the Lady Orna would have, but all that awaited him was a small chest of drawers and a bed with a lumpy mattress, exactly like his own. A simple blue robe hung on a peg on the wall and a small white Whisper Crystal sat on a three-legged stool. There was a large window with magnificently colored stained glass and a few swords lying against the wall in the corner… but other than that, there was nothing particularly remarkable about the room at all.
It looked ordinary.
"This is crazy," He scoffed. "Even Trelair has better quarters than this . . . and he's only a Master of Illusions."
Douglas found the whole situation rather comical. He had been frightened out of his mind, and for what? A small, empty bedroom. But he did not laugh aloud. He heard a whisper as a breeze rippled through the closed window, and suddenly he was not alone.
A big red hawk landed on the back of the chair in front of him. The supernatural breeze calmed and the bird eyed Douglas suspiciously.
"Lady Orna?" Douglas whispered to the ceiling.
The hawk laughed. "Who are you talking to, Douglas?"
"You can talk?" Douglas screeched, sounding rather like a small child. He knew that there had once been talking animals all over Blue Moon, but the Anim, as they called themselves, had mostly left the East after the time of Good Queen Miranda. The hawk was the first talking animal Douglas had ever met.
"Yes, yes . . . Now, Douglas, there's a Whisper Crystal on that stool. I want you to look in it for me and tell me what you see. Go on, pick it up."
Douglas obeyed, carefully turning the precious object in his hand, and willing for something to appear. The blade of a silver sword raced across the surface of the glass, followed by the image of a ship, and deeper still, the crimson glow of a fire. But there was something in those flames, and as he watched them, Douglas saw the shape of a bird. Then the crystal went dark.
"It's a sword," he announced. "A sword, a ship, and… a bird."
Douglas looked up for an explanation, but the hawk had vanished and behind him was a tiger. The tiger yawned, looking disinterested. Douglas did not scream, though he wanted to badly. Instead he whispered.
"Which are you, a bird or a cat?"
"Both," the tiger replied, changing suddenly into a fox. "And neither."
Douglas was confused. "I don't understand," he said.
"I don't expect you to. You haven't had any education in shape-changing, have you? No. We don't teach it here anymore, do we?" The fox replied, sounding annoyed. "More's the pity, it's the only really useful magic that I know. Douglas, do you know what I see when I look into this crystal?" she asked, taking the dream crystal from him.
"Nothing," she gritted her teeth. "Nothing at all! And that is the problem with magic, you see? It's never what you want it to be! It is what it wants to be. A great wizard acknowledges that – he accepts the will of magic… and if he is very lucky, magic takes care of him."
"You're Lady Orna," Douglas whispered in awe.
"I bloody hate that," The fox replied. "Don't call me "lady". If the Warrior wouldn't have it, then neither will I."
"Sorry." Douglas whispered. Like all children in Blue Moon, he knew very well who the Warrior was. She was one of the most famous of all the Legends and had lived in the long-ago age when magic was everywhere, not only in wizard's schools and castle towers.
"Hm. Don't take it personally. But yes, you've guessed right," Lady Orna paused. "Before we go on, I think you should know, Douglas, that your class has been a favorite of mine. I have been watching you all with interest since the day you entered this school and I can tell you now with the utmost certainty that Lila Trelair will never become a great wizard. Nor will Silas, Chloe, none of them. They may excel in a particular art, perhaps - but they all think too much. Your friend Bran is very good, one of the best . . . but his heart is not in it. You must believe in magic. And above all, you must trust it."
The fox assumed the shape of snake. Douglas froze, stock-still.
"A sword fortells conflict. A ship, travels. A bird in a fire . . . now that is a powerful sign, Douglas. You'll be tested."
"Tested?" Douglas suddenly felt cold.
"A Wizard's Trial. Like in the old days, before everyone learned magic at schools," she said that word with contempt in her voice, changing from a snake into a white ermine.
"Are you going to keep doing that?" Douglas wondered.
"Shapechanging? I dare say I will. It's good exercise. Why?" She asked.
"It's unsettling," Douglas admitted.
"Well, don't watch me do it then! Run along!" The ermine growled, dismissing him. "You've passed!"
Douglas closed the door and began galloping down the stairs, by this time sure that the entire menagerie of animals had all been the not-so mythical Lady Orna. He still wasn't sure what to think though, so when he was positive she would have believed him gone, he opened the door for one last peek. The room was empty.
"I am not stupid," Lady Orna's voice seemed to echo from the very stones of the stairwell. "Don't even try to outsmart me, Douglas. It would be bad."
Douglas heard the sound of heavy footsteps and he jumped, clearing half of the stairs in a single bound. The rest he took three at a time. He ran down the empty hall, composed himself in the anteroom, opened the door to the dining room, raced for his seat, and started dishing himself more than he could possibly eat in a month of Saturdays.
"What happened?" was the first question. All of the students were eager to hear about his encounter so he told them, everything except for what Lady Orna had said about being a great wizard. It bothered him terribly, and he figured, at very least, it would earn him a black eye from one of the older boys who considered themselves Masters already, even though they had scarcely become Journeymen.
"Did you fail?" asked Chloe.
Douglas shrugged. "Well, no. The Lady said I passed."
Though clearly shocked, Lila found words right for the occasion. "Passed last of the class, probably!" She sneered. "Why don't you just face it? We all know you'll never be a real Wizard!"
For a moment Douglas was tempted to insult her so badly it would take her years to come up with a snide remark, but then he thought better of himself. Master Trelair was sitting four seats to his right. Besides, Douglas reasoned… no one would ever believe that Lady Orna thought Bran was the best student in the whole school. Maybe she was as crazy as everyone said. She'd chosen to meet with Douglas in person, after all – and none of the others. And if Bran was the worst wizard at the academy, Douglas knew that he was probably the second-worst.
When most of the gathered had finished eating, the masters handed out the letters and packages from the soon-to-be teachers of the new Journeymen.
Lila opened hers first. She smiled at Douglas and then jumped up, announcing that she had gotten Mistress Narchell, and that they would be spending the summer together in Halefed.
"Of course, isn't that lovely?" sighed Chloe, who was fairly sure she didn't want to be best friends with Lila much longer. She inched closer to Silas.
"I got mine," Silas muttered, tearing the gooey wax seal from his parchment with a knife.
"Who? Who did you get!" shouted Lila, fearing the worst, that she would be forced to spend the summer with him. Of course, Silas wasn't quite as bad as Douglas, Bran or that awful Kaylin – but it simply wouldn't do to study with someone so unforgivably common.
"I got Master Thalkan in Cilas," Silas pushed his paper towards Douglas. "See, it's not too bad. There are three different routes I could go. It's not far at all."
"No, it's not," replied Chloe. "I got Mistress Mera in Seven Falls. Cilas is on the way. Maybe we could go together. I've never been to Seven Falls . . . but I've heard that it's a beautiful city . . . and that there's a magnificent fountain in front of the palace that people make wishes in."
"Really?" Silas asked, sounding a bit too interested in a rather boring remark. They talked on. And on.
Bran got his notice - after which he announced that he had failed and was going to see his 'Uncle Cory' in a place called High Reaches. Kaylin hugged him and the two laughed and cried at the same time. Douglas couldn't decide if they were sad or happy… at least until little Caden jumped up on the table with a tremendous war whoop. "We're goin' home!" He shouted. "No more biscuits, no more tests! It's the gud' ol' Forest that I likes best!" Caden ran into the kitchen. There was a thump, then a crash, and then Friedolf's voice sounding neither calm nor understanding. Bran winced and Kaylin shrugged.
"He don't know he ain't goin'," Kaylin paused.
"Can't blame him for missin' High Reaches." Bran replied. He turned to Douglas. "It's the best place in the world, mate. Summer everyday. All blue skies and rainbows."
That was when Master Hawthorne walked by and ever-so-inconspicuously deposited a sealed note and a small brown-wrapped parcel on Douglas's empty plate. No one noticed, because as soon as it was out of Hawthorne's hands, the parcel was under the table where Douglas could look at it with out interruption. He put the sealed note under his plate and proceeded to open the package, quite sure that he did not want to know where he would be going the very next day. Douglas tore the paper from the box violently, and pulled out its contents, a small, brown, somewhat squarish book.
The title was embossed on the cover in red and gold, "A Wizard's Guide to Magic in General" and in parenthesis "A very useful book." Douglas was pleased. It sounded like just the thing he needed. So, naturally, he opened it. At the top of the first page, under the words "Chapter One" it said "The Graduation Breakfast."
Douglas frowned, finding it a bit strange, but read on anyway.
"A short word on the Graduation Breakfast - it is probably the last good meal you will ever have. The lunch is so-so and the dinner is not worth eating. You're probably quite pleased with yourself, finally graduating and all… but you have forgotten one itsy bitsy teeny tiny ever so important detail. Your journey. If you have even the smallest inkling of brains you will have already read the note before opening the parcel. This is the proper way to do things, of course. However, if you are Douglas - then you probably opened your present without seeing who it was from (which was very rude). Read your note, Douglas. Before Lila gets to it."
Douglas slammed the book shut and stared, petrified. Bran and K'Lin stopped chattering about High Reaches and Silas looked up from his ever-so-pressing conversation with Chloe.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
Douglas was about to answer, but Lila, upon catching sight of the note under his plate, had already come to her own conclusion.
She snatched it up and before he could stop her, she climbed onto the table and began reading it very loudly and dramatically.
"Dear Douglas," She paused, making sure all eyes were on her, and then continued. "In accordance with your performance at the Dainor Academy of Magic, you are now to be considered a Journeyman wizard. This level of your training is very important and should not be neglected. Whilst you attended the Academy, your lessons were decided by your Masters. It has now fallen to you to Journey into the world and discover your own teachers, to learn what you can and decide for yourself which sort of magic you would prefer to study. Blah blah blah. Blah. Blah . . . Well, this is certainly fascinating!"
Bran fumed. "You drop that stickin' paper right now or I'll cut off your fingers!"
Douglas was impressed. Never had anyone defended him before, least of all Bran. Bran seemed to believe he was some kind of royalty, treating everyone, masters and students alike, with equal disrespect. The exception, of course - being Kaylin.
Lila put on an innocent face and made a mental note to tattle on Bran later.
"Your journey . . ." Her voice rose into a high-pitched squeak. "Will be a difficult one, but not without reward. The Lady Orna has determined that the proper . . . She's sending you West, Douglas! You'll never make it! You'll get lost in some awful heathen jungle with trolls and ogres and vicious Tessars!"
"Jest watch what you say about Tessars!" Kaylin warned.
"And worst of all it's just to see some worthless wi. . ."
She trailed off into silence as Master Friedolf passed. He gave her a stern look and wagged his finger twice slowly, back and forth. Although Lila was unsuspecting, Douglas was prepared for what happened next. When Friedolf continued his customary "hall-stalking", Lila attempted to finish her sentence, but no sound came from her mouth.
Terrified, she croaked like a frog. Everyone laughed, and taunted her, for a while forgetting completely about Douglas.
Bran spit out a storm of curses and stomped outside. Kaylin snorted and followed him. Silas turned back to his conversation with Chloe and Lila continued to wail, occasionally croaking. Taking advantage of the situation, Douglas snuck into the kitchen, for the first time in his life happy to be a pot scrubber. Silas joined him a few moments later – followed by Bran, Kaylin and Caden.
"Hey Douglas!" Silas shouted over the roar of the kitchen fire and the rush of the water in the overhead pipes. "Where are you staying in Halefed tomorrow? Chloe and me are at The Bear, and Bran and Kaylin are at The Lion."
"I dunno," he muttered, concentrating intensely on his pot.
"I dunno neither," Caden said.
"That's cause' you're not goin', maggot," Kaylin replied.
Caden's lip trembled. "But there's Games!" He whined. "You said that when I's big I could play, and I's big now, ain't I?"
"Nope. Not quite big enough," Bran leaned forward to spit out the window. "Hawthorne's downstairs," he grinned.
"Cade, it ain't safe yet. You know I'll bring you for sure when Da comes back from the North. Jest… not this time," Kaylin explained.
Caden stared for a moment and then burst into tears. An old nurse came in on a moment's notice, picked him up under the arms, and carried him off for a much-needed nap.
Once again, Douglas found himself alone as Silas began another conversation with Chloe who brought in the rest of the plates from the table. Bran and Kaylin, upon seeing his "glum mood" decided to lighten the situation.
"I knew a bloke that got a journey longer than yours once," Bran announced.
"Really?" Douglas was suddenly intrigued. "What happened to him?"
Bran clucked in mock sorrow. "Throat slit by a mad pixie. Bloody shame."
Kaylin laughed. "Woohoohaha! Moon an' Stars, that must've been some pixie!"
She stopped short, glancing at Douglas, who was by then on the verge of tears.
"There now, lookit what you've done!" Kaylin smacked Bran across the face. "He's gonna cry imself' a lake an' drown in it."
Douglas rubbed his nose and glared at her. "No, I'm not. I'm going to go tomorrow and I'm going to make it! What would you do, anyhow?"
"Quit, that's what I'd do," Bran said. "I ain't partial to fightin' drackens or trolls but I am partial to keepin' my head where it's at. Only started here cause' good ol' Uncle Cory thought we could use a wizard at High Reaches."
Douglas frowned. "I'm not stupid. You can't fool me. I know there aren't any ogres or dragons . . . or whatever anymore. If there were, the teachers would have warned us about them."
"Yeah, Course they would have. They are so nice an' all. I guess there's not a lot of beasties around here leastaways, but where I hail from you're lucky if a day passes without some sort of critter trashin' camp . . . specially' since Christie's so fond of collectin' em."
"The Christie?" Douglas couldn't believe his ears.
Christie was the most feared Legend of the West forest. Like Lady Orna and the Warrior, she was a person Douglas had always considered to be a myth. It was a little hard for him to believe that someone like Christie could really exist. According to the stories Christie was the best swordfighter in the world. She could fly, tame any monster in existence, drink poison even! And that wasn't even the worst of it! If the Christie Kaylin was talking about was the same Christie Douglas knew of… then she had to be thousands of years old!
"The one an' only," Kaylin replied, giving an invisible hat a smart tip.
Douglas was shuddering from head to toe, and by then Bran had caught on.
"He thinks were pullin' his leg. Tryin' ta scare him. He don't believe the stories are true," Bran observed.
"Well they are," Kaylin snapped. "Death and drackens, they all are! Every single one of em'. And if ya think we're playin' ya for a fool, we're not! We like you, Doug! Better than anyone else in this school, better than anyone else in the whole East probably! We're just warnin' ya. The other thing Bran ain't partial to is cleanin' up carcasses, ain't that right, Brandinn Lariolle?"
"Well now, Kaylin Tirenian, the kitchen's all scrubbed, I don't suppose you want to go an' play some cards in the belltower for ol' times? Since we're leavin' tomorrow and might never be back here?" Bran smirked.
"Why, I thought you'd never ask," Kaylin replied. She finished the last plate and then walked off, followed by Bran. Douglas went up to the dorms and slumped down on his bed, praying and hoping that they were just trying to get him worked up, but somehow he didn't think so.
Lunch came. It was so-so. Dinner came. It wasn't worth eating. The sun set, Douglas slept, the sun rose, Douglas woke, and to his horror discovered that time had passed while he was sleeping. It was the first day of his journey.