I was early to Black Magic the next day. I was usually one of the last to arrive for classes, but I was eager for Mrs Voss' class today, and wanted to speak to her afterwards about Dario Calarook, and if she knew what soul-splitting was.
"Not like you to be this early" Leo commented on what I'd just been thinking. I'd dragged him with me as I didn't want to wait alone, and I wanted to talk to him.
"Mm, well now I'm sixteen, new age resolutions and all" I muttered "Hey Leo, I was talking to Isaac on Sunday, and he mentioned that you changed after your sixteenth birthday"
"Yeah I did, why?"
"Well, you know I haven't changed yet, but I was wondering if you having... you know, horns when you're a fox was because of that and all"
His brow furrowed slightly "Hmm, never really thought of it like that. But I'm not the only one with an Okan out of the ordinary. Mia Felding in the year above has wings, and she's a horse! I suppose she's technically a Pegasus, but the teachers were particularly interested..."
He went on, I wasn't really listening, until I interrupted him "So, will I be like that, different?"
"I wish I knew, I can get a sense of what others feel, and their powers, but not when they haven't changed. Maybe you should talk to Mrs Voss? I know she seems a bit crazy, but she might know something. If you want to talk to her after class, I'll wait for you."
"Really? Thanks, I might do that." I said, watching Mrs Voss, who had just come out of one of the side buildings, stride across the courtyard towards us. Dario swooped behind her, circling when he overtook.
"Good afternoon Leo, Aria" She greeted us, whipping out her key to unlock the classroom. Her long, slivery hair was twirled into a complicated looking plait that wound round the side of her head. She looked like she was going to say more, but was interrupted by a gaggle of people coming our way, talking excitedly.
"Hey Leo, Aria! Did you hear, there's been a Shadow Shifter attack nearby!" A girl called Lauren called out to us. My muscles tensed slightly.
"We found out this morning, the teachers are telling us it's nothing to worry about, but it only happened a mile or so from here, two bodies, and Shadow marks left all over them. There's a hunt on to find the attacker, but it's so cool right!" I didn't think it cool at all. Shadow Shifters were bad, they killed mercilessly and many had been dispatched when they'd attacked hundreds of our kind. They traveled and lived in groups, they were stronger that way, so if one was here, more may not be far behind.
"This is all very overwhelming I'm sure" Mrs Voss didn't speak loudly, but everyone stopped talking "But you will all be fine, and in light of this, we shall discuss this as part of our lesson topic, now do come in." She held open the door as we filed in, whispering.
Dario eyed us as we took our seats, up on his perch near the ceiling. "Now, Shadow Shifters, as you all know, are beings derived from shadow, using shadow magic as their basic instinct. Some abilities include Shadow Walking, using the shadows to transport from one place to another instantly, Shadow Manipulation, the ability to distort shadows, and the ability to track and fight incredibly well. In other words, they are powerful."
"And bad" Someone muttered from the back, they said it quietly, but Mrs Voss wasn't the sort to miss comments like that.
"Not all bad. This is something we must understand. Just because a dog bites you, not all dogs are bad? Correct?" No one answered "Just like that, not all Shadow Shifters are bad, although some have caused terrible damage, and have no more souls than a demon. Their population greatly decreased when the Nave sentenced many to death." I raised my hand "Yes, Aria?"
"Who runs the Nave?" I asked, my mind flickering back to the passage I read online, it had told me Calarook took over the Nave, but I wanted to hear it from her.
"No one really knows" She replied, but I saw a flicker of something flash across her defined features. "Although they have taken over our world, and we have no choice but to obey them. They leave us alone, and we leave them alone. We never really see them, but we know they are there." She turned back, talking about different styles of Black Magic, and asking us to complete some exercise in our books. She clearly wasn't going to answer my question specifically, but I knew she knew something, and I wanted to find out what.