Opening: Stand and Become Legendary-Jack Trammell
Chapter One: The Voyage Begins
The wind blew across the small island up in the sky. On this island was a building that had launch bays that opened out into the sky. On one side of the island, away from the launch bays, was an elevator that transported people from and to the surface far below. On the side of the island, near the launch bays, was a dock, covered in a crowd of people. Today was the day many students all over the land were headed for Anaheim Academy, the school of Magical Arts and Combat.
Henri stood in the midst of the crowd, her dog, Fifi, a brown Pomeranian, running around at her feet, waiting on one of the airships to dock, her two older sisters nearby. She wore a blue dress with white lace accompanied by white stockings and small black shoes with silver buckles. As another huge breeze went past, she held her dress down to keep it from flapping inappropriately. At fourteen years of age, she was very modest and shy about her body. Still not used to the fact that it was short, she stroked her blonde hair for the hundredth time. "Do I have to go? I don't even like combat," she whined.
"This was your idea, Henri," Betsy, her oldest sister, who was twelve years older than her, answered, leaning over, her brown hair flowing down her shoulders. She wore a short blue v-neck shirt and brown slacks. A small red sash adorned her waist.
"That's right," her other sister Marie interjected. Marie was wearing a black tank top that stopped above her navel and a real short black skirt. Her hair was short and a beautiful strawberry-blonde. Needless to say, she wasn't as modest as Henri was. "You wouldn't shut up about it." She crossed her arms, closed her eyes, and looked up at the sky. "And don't like combat? So who was it I used to see beating the pants off of Jeffrey every morning and evening during his combat practice?" She put her hand to her head and began tapping her forefinger against her head. "Who was it again? Let me think..."
"Grrrr..." Henri growled, growing red. "That doesn't count. That was for fun. This is for real. Also, I only decided to go because Jeffrey didn't want to. And the two of you have already been. What if I turn into some warrior?"
"You'll be alright," Betsy replied, stroking Henri's short hair. "You can make great pay and earn lots of glory as a warrior. Maybe you'll even be famous like our Grandfather, Eric Davenport the Shining Knight."
Henri knocked Betsy's hand away. "I still don't know why I had to cut my hair short."
"That's because I didn't think you'd want people pulling on your hair while you were fighting," Betsy answered. "If you want to let it grow out while you're there, feel free to do so."
"Who knows," Marie said. "Maybe you'll find you have some magical talent as well, like Betsy did when she went to school."
"I definitely don't like magic," Henri pouted, kicking a rock off the side of the island and watching it disappear into the land below. Fifi ran to the edge of the island, looking longingly after the stone. "It just seems all weird and creepy to me."
"It definitely makes housework easier," Betsy giggled.
A nearby bell rang. "The airship to Anaheim Academy arrives in two minutes," yelled the launchpad conductor. "All those boarding, prepare to leave."
"This is you, baby sis," Marie hugged Henri. "You be careful and write us lots of letters."
"You remember the dorm you'll be staying in?" Betsy asked, straightening Henri's dress.
Henri groaned. "How could I forget? I always wanted to live in a building named after my family."
"Being sarcastic won't get you anywhere," Betsy said, brushing Henri's hair with her hands. "Remember your manners and act like the noble you are. The Davenports have been around since the Emergence, over one thousand years ago." She kissed Henri on the forehead. "May the Mother bless you and light your path."
That was what our mother used to say to us, Henri thought longingly to herself.
Betsy picked up Fifi and then she and Marie stepped back as the airship appeared and slowly pulled into port. Henri inhaled as the boarding bridge was lowered, picked up her bags, exhaled, and began walking forward up the bridge. As she sat foot on the deck, she heard Marie yell, "Try not to fall off! It's a long way to the ground!" She whirled around in anger only to see Betsy dragging Marie off. Once again, she admired Betsy. But this time, it was for the fact that she could handle her, Marie, and Henri's twin brother, Jeffrey, all by herself. She turned around and made her way to her cabin.
She dropped her bags by the bunk in the cabin and looked around as she navigated the room. To her right was the bunk, made out of mahogany wood and polished to a shine. Under the bunk was a seat and a small desk. Across from the bunk was a small bath with a privy. The tub and privy were made out of polished white marble. To her left, was a padded bench and mahogany table with a metallic center. Most likely to serve meals and drinks from. The bench and table were right beside the window. She could see the soft blue glow around the edges that the force field made when it was formed by the ship mages. The only other thing of interest was the large black wall that covered the entire left side of the room. It was going to be a two night ride to Anaheim Academy. I better get used to this right away. She dropped down in the seat that was beside the window and started as Fifi jumped up into her lap.
"How did you get here? I thought Betsy had you."
Fifi barked at her playfully. Henri began to pet her and blinked as the wall came to life.
"Hello, Henrietta Davenport. I am AI-Wall-42657."
We had several of these back home in our mansion but I hadn't expected one here. "Ooh, an info wall. What all can you do?" Some were for media, some were for work, and some were for learning.
"I am programmed to entertain you in any way you please. As long as it is within certain guidelines and child-appropriate. I have a complete history on the world, including in-depth research into the world before the-"
"What can you tell me about Anaheim Academy?"
A picture of a castle appeared on the screen. It was bleach white with red tiles on each of its roofs and eaves. Angels and gargoyles adorned random spots and a giant lake and forest were nearby. A large bustling town was nestled nearby and large majestic mountains rose in the background. She couldn't help but gasp at the beauty of it all. "Anaheim Academy, named after a plaque found inside, is one of the few buildings that survived the Great Catastrophe. Three hundred years after the Emergence, it was designated as a place to teach young people how to develop and control their magical powers. It has been well maintained since. But due to a severe drop in new students, as of this year, it has now been appointed as a martial combat school as well to influence more and active attendance. Will that be all?"
"For now," she replied, the screen went blank and she sat back and chewed softly on her lower lip. I enjoyed combat as a hobby, but to learn it full time? She really wasn't sure if this was what she wanted. It was a little late now though. She decided to use the airship ride to brace herself for the upcoming year.
A bell rang and the airship left the dock. Henri watched from her window, Fifi pressed up against the force field barking happily, as the small island seemed to lazily drift off into the distance. Soon they were surrounded by the clear sky. She decided that before dinner she'd like to take a stroll around the ship.
She left her cabin and made her way up to the outside deck and leaned against the railing, watching as the land sped by way below them. Fifi set at her feet, wagging her tail. She had decided not to leave her in the cabin. Ever since Henri was little, as far back as she could remember anyways, she had had a way of getting out of locked rooms and areas and finding her way back to her.
She looked over as another figure leaned against the railing. It was another girl. She had fiery red hair and wore blue pants and a long blue jacket. From what Henri could see she wore a blue vest as well, covering a white shirt. "It's beautiful, isn't it?"
"Y-Yes," Henri stammered, awed by this girl's beauty. It seemed she had been painted by an artist as an angel and then brought to life. She was perfectly proportionate in every way.
"I'm Jessie Valentine," she commented. A red fox seemed to materialize out of thin air and wrapped around her shoulders. "This is Lucius, my familiar." The fox looked at Henri.
"What's wrong?" Jessie asked.
"I just don't like magic ever since-"
A raging inferno raged inside the house.
Henri sagged against the railing. What was that?
"Hey!" the girl exclaimed, reaching out and supporting Henri. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. I don't know what came over me. But I haven't liked magic as long as I can remember. So you're a Valentine? As in the Valentines that win the Spell Cup every year?"
She blushed. "Yeah, that'd be my family. My family has been going to Anaheim for about thirty generations now. We've been winning the cup every year for ten years now. So who are you?"
"Henry? Isn't that a boy's name. What kind of family do you come from?"
"Not Henry with a y, but Henri with an i. It's short for Henrietta." Henri turned around and stood up straight. My sister says I need to act my station and be all formal. Guess now's a good time to start. "My name is Henrietta Frances Davenport. And this is my dog, Fifi."
Her eyes widened. "As in the Davenports? Like Eric Davenport?"
"He was my grandfather."
"It seems we both come from distinguished families and have a reputation to uphold."
"Tell me about it. It feels like a great burden."
"It certainly does." She looked out at the sky and then back at Henri. "Why don't we carry the burden together?"
"Yeah, what's the worst that could happen? Or does nobility not mingle with us common folk?"
Henri huffed. That seemed like a pretty rude comment.
"Whoa, whoa, princess," she said, putting her hands up in front of her. "I meant no insult. What do you say?"
It is a Magical Arts school as well, with some of the best talent in the world. Plus, I'm probably going to be hassled about my dorm being named after me. Having a friend might be a good idea. "Sure," Henri smiled. "I like that idea. Friends it is."
But what was that memory? Where did it come from and what does it have to do with me? Why was my name being yelled? Do I want to know?
"Earth to Henrietta," Jessie called, waving her hand in Henri's face.
"H-Huh?" Henri stammered, coming out of her reverie.
"It's almost dinner time. I asked if you wanted to meet up again tomorrow after breakfast."
Henri smiled. "Sure. That'd be nice."
"Well. See you then." She turned and left and it was only then that Henri noticed she had an orange bushy tail with a white tip sticking out from under her jacket
With that, Henri pushed myself off the railing and headed back to her cabin.
After dinner, she decided to get an early night's sleep. She didn't know what was in store for her at the Academy or what her hours would be, but she assumed they would be pretty early.
She changed into her pajamas and laid down, Fifi jumping into the bed beside her, and she drifted off pretty quickly.
That night, she dreamed of being an adventurer and travelling across the land. But each time, before she could complete the quest, her dreams would jump to another adventure.
The next morning, she was awoken by the sound of her info wall turning on.
"Good morning, Henrietta Davenport. It's a beautiful day outside. The temperature is 72 degrees. Forecasters predict rain moving in tonight and continuing on until early afternoon tomorrow. Have a wonderful day!"
She groaned and rolled over, Fifi jumping up into the bed, licking her face eagerly. "Okay, okay, okay. I'm awake. I'm awake!" She continued licking for a couple of minutes and then curled up at the foot of the bed, watching Henri expectantly.
She got up, stretched, and changed into a pair of shorts and a tee shirt. She decided to be a little informal today in what she wore. It was going to be a long day, so she might as well be comfortable.
She walked towards the privy in her cabin and took care of business.
Afterwards, she ate breakfast and then did her morning calisthenics for about thirty minutes. Then Henri threw open her door and started out of the cabin, ready to face the day.
Closing: Fatal-Critical Mass