“The Brotherhood has existed for hundreds of years.” Professor Anise explained, “Perhaps since the dawn of witches and wizards. And since then has existed their hatred for magic.”
She pointed to the blackboard and a piece of chalk flew up, scratching madly at its surface.
“Originally it was a small band of fanatics, denouncing prominent wizards and witches and promoting unrest. However, after the Wars of Iron and Steel, they started to gain traction. Veterans and ordinary citizens disgusted with the devastation magic could cause began to back The Brotherhood. New factions formed throughout Eion. They gained strength as politicians and governments began investing in their radical ideas. Suddenly, the world was a dangerous place for witches and wizards. Hate crimes ran rampant. Lynchings, elaborate trials, thousands even suspected of witchcraft slaughtered.”
Anise paused for a moment, letting her words sink in, before continuing.
“It was at the peak of this time period that Wisteria Academy was founded. It was to be a safe haven for the magical, and at the same time, a way for humans to feel safe from us. Witches and wizards worldwide formed MPUP, or Magical Persons United for Peace, who advocated for nonviolence and rights for witches and wizards.”
Kuro nodded absentmindedly. She’d read about The Brotherhood.
“Slowly we began to win the fight.” The teacher sighed, “Laws were put in place to protect us, The Brotherhood was forced to disband, and a new era was born. Until now.”
Not a sound escaped the students sitting in the History of Magic class.
“As with all of the teachers at the Academy, I am required to inform you that a young woman who attended this very school…has been murdered.”
The class was shocked into further speechlessness.
“The incident is being investigated as we speak. But the circumstances were similar to the murders committed by The Brotherhood.”
A girl in the back of the room started sobbing. She probably knew the…victim.
“For your own safety, we are asking you to be vigilant. Stay close to the school. Follow the new rules, the new curfew. Today there will be no lesson.”
Kuro felt herself being jerked rudely back to reality. She suddenly felt cold, and put her hands back into the sleeves of the school blazer.
A girl killed. By…The Brotherhood?
The name felt strange to her. It had lived in that part of her mind where the bogeyman and Bloody Mary were, fairytales to scare children.
But now…The Brotherhood seemed all too real.
The normally rowdy class was quiet for the rest of the period. Kuro half-heartedly edited her War and Peace essay, trying to keep her hands from shivering.
When the bell rang she was almost relieved to get out of class.
When Kuro got to the dining hall and sat down in her usual seat, she could tell she wasn’t the only one who was perturbed.
A hush had fallen over the cafeteria, and the excitement for Homecoming had evaporated.
Kuro listlessly picked at her food, looking up as Akiko and Tsuki took their seats.
“Hi.” Kuro offered, chewing slowly.
“Hi.” They both replied, quiet.
They had been sitting silently, hardly eating for five minutes before Kuro looked around, brows furrowed.
“Have either of you seen Nike?” she asked, trying to keep the concern out of her voice.
“She was in our first three classes.”
“Almost ran out of Myth Busting,” Tsuki admitted, “I guess she took the news hard. It was her first day of classes, too.”
Kuro nodded, convincing herself Nike was safe.
“She probably needs some time to digest it.”
She could hardly blame her. Kuro needed some, too.