Author’s note: I’m going to be trying something a little new with the formatting of this post — in a word, COLORS! It should be clear enough which color goes with which person, but in case I screw up in places, just leave a comment and I should be able to fix it!
Also, I sincerely hope that everybody can read it on their monitor!
Dear Mum and Dad, wrote Ravenna. She paused, her pen hovering in the air.
How are you? How is Dad’s garden growing? It’s almost time for the lettuce to start coming in, isn’t it?
I’m doing well. I’m absolutely loving our lessons this week. Ravenna wrote this very line most weeks; however, the irony of that had yet to occur to her. The Professors Emrys are beginning to teach us to materialize and de-materialize! Can you imagine? And we just started —
Ravenna’s pen paused.
— weather spells, she went on writing. And you will not believe what that pri boy George decided to try!
Not far away, in a dormitory practically identical to Ravenna’s, barring the colors of the bedsheets and other furnishings, a certain pri boy, named George, was also composing an epistle to certain relatives. He was not foolish enough, however, to try to address his parents. Parents were not to be trusted with the kind of news he wished to bear.
Dear Granny, he wrote instead.
You won’t believe what idiots some wizards are. And before you say anything, Granny, rest assured that this time, I wasn’t the idiot.
He is such an idiot, Mum and Dad! Such an idiot!
We’re here to learn, Granny, and that’s all I was trying to do, I swear! Learn something!
Doesn’t he realize that when a spell is marked as DARK, you shouldn’t use it? No, no, this fool decides that he shouldn’t bother to use his brain, only his wand!
I know the spell was labeled as Dark — and honestly, now I see why — but I honestly can’t understand why any self-respecting wizard, even a dark one, would bother to make a spell like that. It’s certainly too unpleasant to be called Light or even Neutral, but it’s too narrow, too petty to really be Dark. I would think that Dark Wizards have plenty better to do than think up silly spell that — maybe I should go back to the beginning.
I suppose I ought to start at the beginning. It all started when George started really reading his magical books. I thought this was wonderful, a sign that he was really beginning to understand what his time here was meant for — and besides, every minute he was reading was a minute where he wasn’t making absolutely rude comments about my dress!
Anyway, Granny, I found the spell when I was … well, not quite studying. Most of the spells we were supposed to learn this week were kind of boring. Spells to make the sun come out, and chase away storms, and that kind of thing. I guess they weren’t really boring, very useful, really — but what’s the use of having magic if the only thing you use it to do is make the clouds go away and butterflies come out? Come on. Why bring out butterflies when you could have a thunderstorm?
But that came later. I was looking up windstorms, actually. I’m sure you can figure out why — but, if you were a boy man my age and going to school with a girl as pretty and as damn frigid as that Ravenna, you’d be wanting to be able to call up some choice breezes too!
I never found the breeze spell. There has to be one, but I haven’t found it, yet. But I found another spell instead.
I should have known he was up to no good when I saw him grin like that. Not, of course, that I was watching him — I mean, you know me better, Mum and Dad, to think that I would be watching a boy. It’s not like he’s The following portion was too scratched-out and scribbled-over for even Morgan to quite make out without the aid of magic. Anyway, I wasn’t watching him, I was just resting my eyes, because the handwriting in the spellbook I was using was awfully cramped and small and I needed a rest. And that foolish boy has decided to station himself right across from me, so there really wasn’t anywhere else for me to look!
Where was I? Oh, yes, the spell he found.
It sounded like a really cool spell at first, Granny. I mean, thunder and lightning! Who wouldn’t like that? And … well, maybe I didn’t completely read the description, but honestly, it was in a spellbook that the Professors had given to us, so the results, whatever they were, couldn’t be too bad, could they? So I read it really fast and planned to use it as soon as I had a chance.
I don’t know how he was able to sneak away to use it — he snuck away almost immediately, I know that. It must have been when I was talking to Professor Naomi. I had a question about rain spells — for your garden, Dad. And she was explaining it all to me, and it was absolutely fascinating how wizards of old had tried to work around the rules about what Light wizards could and couldn’t do, because you have to admit, it’s awfully arbitrary saying that Light wizards could bring sunshine and not rain. What if there’s a drought? And isn’t chasing rain away just as meddlesome as bringing rain someplace it wasn’t before?
My chance came pretty quickly. Ravenna had some silly question about the kinds of spells that are and aren’t allowed for Light wizards. And Ravenna’s much less silly than most girls — she’s pretty smart, most of the time — but sometimes …
Let me ask you this, Granny. If you were a wizard, why would you bother with rules and that sort of nonsense? Couldn’t you just do whatever you wanted? I mean, within reason, of course. But seriously. In places like Glasonland and Reme, the Church hates us and makes everyone else hate us, so why should we waste our time and energy trying to find ways that make them hate us less? We could save them from rampaging barbarians and they would still hate us!
Though I will say, Ravenna looks awfully pretty hot when she’s interested. Her eyes get all big and wide, and the way she smiles I mean, the way she shrugs her shoulders so her dress kind of moves …
Um, where was I? Oh, that’s right! I was sneaking out. And I almost didn’t make it, too, because Ravenna was so because I got distracted. But I did make it outside, and just in the nick of time, too.
At first, I didn’t think there was anything wrong when I turned around and didn’t see George. Not that I was looking for him, of course. But when there are only three people in a room, you do notice when one of them goes missing. At first I just thought he’d gone to the privy, because as long as the Professors aren’t lecturing, we can leave the classroom for things like that without permission. Not that I was thinking about where George was — but if I had bothered to wonder where he was, that’s where I would have thought he was. You know?
You have to be outside to cast this kind of spell. I don’t know why, but you just do. So I was able to sneak out of the room and out the front door. I figured I would do it from the front yard, since there’s nothing much interesting there, and so if anyone went looking for me, they wouldn’t look there.
Anyway, I started casting the spell. And at first, it was so amazing! Green sparks were coming out of my wand and everything. Green sparks! I’d seen white ones and blue ones before, but not green ones!
“Corruptus Locus!” I shouted, and waved my wand, and —
I’m not kidding, Granny! There wasn’t just thunder, there was lightning! Right beside me! It was the most awesome thing ever!
Professor Naomi and I nearly jumped out of our skin when we heard that thunder, Mum and Dad. I thought it was just a normal storm, because you know they can spring up very suddenly this time of year, but Professor Naomi looked very troubled. She looked right at George’s spellbook and workstation, too. “Oh, dear,” she murmured, but she didn’t say anything else — she just told me to go back to work, which I did, and she materialized out of the room. I didn’t think anything of it, at first.
And that was when the possibilities started racing through my head, Granny. You know how recently, Brother Tuck has been talking and talking about this is true, and that is true, and if it isn’t true, let the Lord Wright strike him? Well — wouldn’t it be funny if I made a thunderstorm come up just as he said that? Not inside the church, of course, because that’s a good way to start a witch hunt. Or someone would probably try to make Dad pay for it. Or me. Or somebody could get hurt, of course.
Oh, by the way, Granny, could you burn this after you’re finished reading it? You know. Just in case I figure it out. Even if nobody does get hurt, Mum and Dad would probably kill me if they knew I was the one who scared everyone half to death in church.
I’m going to have to work really hard at making the spell better, though. Because right while I was thinking this, I noticed something else.
And to make matters worse, Professor Merlin chose that moment to pop up right next to me.
Professor Naomi came back in a minute, and again, at first I didn’t think anything of it. At least, not until after the storm blew over, just as suddenly as it had come in. Or at least, that’s what I thought at first.
Professor Merlin didn’t say anything to me, not at first. He was pretty much glaring at me, though. “George,” he sighed. “George, George, George.” And then he cast another spell that removed the thunderstorm and replaced it with sunshine and daydreams and all that sh stuff.
I’d like to say that he got rid of the roaches, too, but he didn’t. No, he just did something completely vile and disgusting with them.
He turned them into butterflies. Butterflies! A grown man, making butterflies! I didn’t think Professor Merlin was a fop, but geez!
As soon as the sun came out from behind the clouds, Professor Merlin put his wand away and stared at me. He was even shaking his head, Granny. Shaking his head!
“George, George, George,” he said — again. “Have you not been paying attention at all in Ethics of Magic?”
I should mention, Granny, that Ethics of Magic is what Professor Merlin calls the first hour of magic class, right after lunch, when he talks to Ravenna and I about how we’re supposed to use magic and how we’re not supposed to use magic. Which is very silly, to me, but Ravenna and I both have to appear to be paying attention, or else he won’t stop until we’ve got everything he was trying to tell us down. It could all be so much more concise, really.
I first got the feeling that something was wrong, Mum and Dad, when Professor Naomi looked up — after the storm cleared and birds started to sing again — and sort of smiled, and said, “Well, it looks like George will be getting a second dose of Ethics of Magic this afternoon.”
“Sorry?” I asked the Professor.
“Never mind, dear. Say, why don’t you take a bit of a walk until George gets back? I can’t really continue the lecture until he gets back. And considering it’s your time of the —“
I simply took a walk, because the Professor asked me to.
“I’ve been paying attention, Professor.”
“Then surely, George, you must know that no wizard of the Light meddles with the weather — and in such a destructive manner — unless it is gravely necessary.”
I think he must have been able to see what I thought of that.
“You just meddled with the weather.”
“I was not meddling, George. I was restoring the balance. And more to the point, would you have rather gotten rid of those roaches — in a non-magical manner?”
He sort of had me there.
I wandered out into the main hall, just because it … it felt good to stretch my legs, that’s all. So I was there when George and Professor Merlin came back inside.
I won’t bore you with the whole lecture, Granny. We’ll just say that he went on and on and on. About the proper use of magic and all that rot. I’m still going to make a thunderstorm on Brother Tuck at my first opportunity though. Because let’s face it, it would be too darn cool not to!
But I won’t be using that spell again, that’s for sure. I mean, roaches? Roaches? That’s what I meant about the spell being petty, Granny. Surely, if a Dark wizard really wanted to hurt someone, he’d call down a plague of locusts. Or flies! But not some stupid roaches.
I bet you anything that Uncle George would say the exact same thing, though I didn’t tell that to Professor Merlin.
I walked into the main hall just as Professor Merlin stopped lecturing George — which is how I learned that he was responsible for using the Corruptus Locus spell, and that it wasn’t just coincidence or something like that. I still can’t believe the nerve of that boy, though! Meddling with the weather like that! What if some old person had a heart attack, because of what he did?
I mean, granted, the school is rather remote, and surely he couldn’t have started a thunderstorm that covered a very wide geographic area …
But in any case, I just sort of froze when I got there, and though I couldn’t really leave without drawing attention to myself, I turned and look at — something — and pretended not to be paying the least bit of attention to them.
Anyway, I had to promise Professor Merlin that I wouldn’t try a “dumb stunt” like that again, and he told me just what I’d be doing with the next few days’ worth of free time. I’d prefer not to get into that right now, though.
Then he left, and I turned around, and guess who I saw standing there?
You guessed it: Ravenna.
I was trying very hard to pretend like I was very interested in the unicorn tapestry opposite, so that maybe he would pretend I wasn’t there and would leave me alone.
She seemed to be completely interested in the wall, which had to be an act, because who can be interested in a wall? She must have heard the whole thing. So, I figured I’d take the bull by the horns. “So, Madam Eglantine,” I said.
(I should mention, she pretends to hate it when I call her Madam Eglantine. I don’t know who Madam Eglantine is, she’s from one of Lady Guinevere’s romances.)
Not only was that boy stupid enough not to simply pretend I wasn’t there and leave without embarrassing the two of us — he called me Madam Eglantine! I hate it when he does that! So, naturally, I had to turn around and say, “Don’t call me that!”
She tried to pretend that she didn’t like it, again, so I ignored that and asked, “What’d you think of that? Never met a man before who could make the rain come from the sky on demand, did you — Madam Eglantine?”
That foolish boy had the stupid idea to keep calling me Madam Eglantine, and not only that, he was bragging about the stupid thing he’d done! Acting like I’d never met anyone else who could do that! I mean, I’m sure I could do that if I really wanted to, so why should I be impressed with him for doing it?
So I told him, “No, but then again, I never met anyone who planned to spend the next week taking all of our eyes of newts and separating them out into ten-eye vials based on their size and quality.”
(That’s what Professor Merlin told him his punishment was going to be. So, HA to you, George!)
Ravenna is trying to play hard-to-get, Granny, so she brought up the punishment Professor Merlin assigned to me. I wasn’t fazed, though. I just kept smiling, while I said, “If it impressed you, Madam Eglantine, then it’s all worth it.”
He called me Madam Eglantine, again! And he kept smiling, the whole time! As if the whole escapade was nothing more than an attempt to impress me! Really, can even a boy be that dumb?
No offense to you, Dad, of course. I’m sure you weren’t that dumb, even as a silly boy.
“Well, it didn’t impress me,” I replied. “I thought it was all rather foolish, to be honest. What if someone had been hurt in the lightning?”
Ravenna stuck her nose up in the air (I swear, if it had still been raining, she might have drowned!) and pretended to be the “concerned female,” spewing some nonsense about Sims getting hurt. “There isn’t anyone around for miles to get hurt,” I pointed out.
He tried to minimize my natural concerns, claiming that there wasn’t anyone nearby to be struck by lightning. “You don’t know how far that storm extended,” I replied.
Of course, I realized what a mistake it was as soon as the words left my mouth.
And then Ravenna proved that she was impressed, because she said that my storm could have extended for miles and miles without me knowing! So she thinks I’m that good!
But I had to play it right. “Thanks, Madam Eglantine,” I said, standing up as straight as I could and grinning at her.
He called me Madam Eglantine again! “Don’t call me that!”
She couldn’t just admit that she liked it, and told me not to knock it off. Like I said, she really plays hard to get. “Aw, come on, Madam –“
He tried to call me that again, and I put my hand up in his face. “I’ll not listen to this!” I told him. “I don’t have to put up with the likes of — with the likes of — you! I’m going to take a walk!” And so I did.
One of these days, though, Granny, she’s going to chase off some well-meaning guy with her games. I mean, she stomped off after that, acting as if she was actually mad!
He’s such a stupid boy!
She’s such a silly girl.