“Who’s going to train us?” Blake asked, sitting up.

            “Oh! Good, you’re awake. I’m not sure who can train you… perhaps Whist Swordsbane could help us. He’s a wizard, and his brother Jayson is a warrior! They live not too far from here, maybe a ten minute walk. They live down in the Portland Square Hotel. I can take you guys there tomorrow, if you want to.”

            “Definitely,” said Spencer.

            “Sure,” replied Blake.

            “I’ll go with them, too. I want to see them in action!” said Steph.

            “Uh, Aunt Sara?” said Blake once Spencer and Steph had gone into the backyard. “Can I go get a book from your shelf?”

            “Blake you know I don’t like anyone going in my study, right?” she said sternly.

            “Come on, just this once? Okay, can I just go look in there? I’ve never even seen what your study looks like!”

            “I suppose that that’s okay. If I find any books missing, then I’ll ground you. Only school and wizard and warrior training. You won’t be able to go anywhere with your friends, no eating out, nothing at all, you hear me?” she said gently.

            “Thanks Aunt Sara!” Blake bounded up the winding staircase two steps at a time and reached the first landing. Then, he hopped up the next few stairs on his left. He was on another landing, looking over the banister at his Aunt Sara. There was another landing below him where his room was, and there were two other ways of getting to where he was: the left or the right stairway. He turned around and looked at the large door. There was a lock on it, and he’d never seen his aunt use a key to get in. “Aunt Sara! It’s locked!”

            “That’s because it’s voice activated,” she said, walking up the stairs. When she reached the door, she told Blake to move away, and then muttered something under her breath when he did. The lock clicked, and fell off. She handed Blake the lock and then headed downstairs. Blake walked into the large room.

            There was a domed ceiling, and bookcases lining the walls and the space off of them. There was a red carpet embroidered with runes and symbols that led straight down the middle of the study and right up to a desk that had a Mac laptop and an organized amount of papers. There were two other tables next to it with thick books and encyclopedias on them. Blake remembered that his Aunt Sara still possessed some of his mother’s spell books. He ran down the carpet and looked at the labels on the bookshelves. He went to one that said Magical Terminologies and Recipes and picked up a book from there. Then, he went to another section that said Attack Spells, and took another book, tucking the two under his shirt. Then, he ran out, put the lock on, and put the Magical Terminology book under his bed, taking the other one outside.

            His backyard was huge.

            It was 21 acres of land, and they had a private forest and a ravine there. Blake took the book and ran over to Spencer and Steph, who were in the forest.

            “Where were you?” asked Spencer.

            “At the library,” Blake answered, brandishing the book in one hand. When they were down at the ravine, they crossed it and went over to the stone part where there were statues of angels and birds and other creatures. Blake cracked open the tome and looked through the table of contents. Some was in Latin, most in English. He flipped to the section that said ‘Animation’. He studied the spell carefully. It looked simple, and it was in English. He read it over and over until it was stuck in his head. Then, he kneeled beside a statue of a bird and placed his palms over it.

            “What are you doing?” asked Steph.

            “You’ll see,” Blake replied. “Using all my might, I kindle this statue’s light!”

            Blake quickly realized he’d stuttered on the words, and knew he would regret it. There was a flash, a whoosh, and Blake slid backwards into the water filled ravine. He pulled himself out, and shook the water off. “Are you okay?” laughed Spencer.

            “Yeah. This magic stuff isn’t as easy as it looks!” He walked back over, ignoring Spencer’s laughter. Sitting beside the same statue, palms facing down over it, he repeated the words he’d said before. He was careful to enunciate clearly. “Using all my might, I kindle this statue’s light!”

            A soft blue light flickered from the statue and Blake’s fingers, and the stone chipped away, causing golden beams of light to protrude through the holes. Soon, the stone had all cracked away, and a hummingbird the size of Blake’s middle finger was beating its wings rapidly, lifting itself away from the stone pedestal. The three of them stared in awe as the fluttering bird darted around the area. Blake looked down at the book, flipping through it and finding the ‘De-animation’ section.

            “I’m in a little quarrel; turn this creature back to normal!” Blake said confidently and clearly, pointing at the hummingbird. Blake’s finger began to glow, and a yellow bolt of energy flew from the tip of his finger, striking the hummingbird, which automatically turned into stone again, only in a different position than before. It was falling right out of the air, and Spencer dove onto the ground, grabbed it, somersaulted, and jumped back up. “Nice one, Spence!”

            “That was so cool!” said Steph. Blake and Spencer high fived each other, and Spencer put the stone hummingbird onto the pedestal, and it clicked into place, making it seem as if it had never left there in the first place. Blake was about to flip through the book, bur Steph placed a hand on it.

            “You might want to be careful of what you do with this thing; you don’t want to attract attention.”

            “Yeah, just be careful of that,” agreed Spencer. Blake opened the book up again, this time into the actual ‘Attack Spells’ portion. He looked at the fire spell, and realized it was in Latin, so he looked at the English spell. He found a lightning spell, but it was in Latin as well, so he looked at the weaker one. He focused on the energy all around him and tried to draw upon it, but it didn’t work. He made a mental note to learn how to learn eliciting.

            After a while, Blake shoved the book up his shirt and went inside with Spencer and Steph at his heels. When he got to his room, he put the book under his bed, and returned downstairs, fiddling with his necklace. Every time he touched it, the sapphire would glow, as if reacting to his wizard touch. As he touched it, he felt it vibrating with power, and realized it was his own. He sauntered into the kitchen and sat in between Spencer and Steph. His aunt was pacing around the room, marinating chicken and fixing a salad. Blake stopped playing with the necklace and walked over to help her with the salad.

            “So how do you know who’s in what House?” asked Steph. “Do they have any kind of identification?”

            “The Roses have a tattoo of a rose on a thorny vine, The Templars have the head of a knight wearing a feathered helm, and The Sparks have a line of stars and little scorch marks. Each House has their own marking to represent their affiliation. The most violent house is usually The Templars, but all Houses are dedicated to their jobs. Lucien Whityon and Cyton Faire are both affiliated with The Roses. They are quite dangerous. Lucien is a wizard and Cyton is a charmer. Cyton is the head of an organization called The Network. They track down powerful wizards to recruit or steal their powers, they find warriors for The Hunt, and they look for untrained Magi and use them for their own selfish gain. The Council of Wizards try to find them, but there is an even number of votes on both sides, three saying they should find The Network, and three saying they shouldn’t.

            “The Houses will conceal themselves the best they can. They will send wizards who are undercover, or who simply cast an invisible veil around themselves to sneak up on Magi, but even invisible spells can’t cloak footprints.”

            “What does that mean?” asked Spencer.

            “All of you will understand in time,” she replied.

            “I’ll get it!” said Steph, rising from her chair.

            “Get what?” asked Blake. Spencer shrugged, and Steph ran to the door and opened it up just as the doorbell rang. Everyone got up to see Steph giving her dad a hug. “How’d you know he was there?”

            “Because he rang the doorbell,” replied Steph. “You heard.”

            “But you went before—” Blake’s aunt placed a hand on his shoulder. “Bye, Steph.”

            “Bye Blake, see you guys tomorrow,” she said. After she closed the door, Spencer and Blake ran up into Blake’s room.

The End

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