She felt a bony hand pull her from the water, and quickly regained her sight. No one was there, but that wasn't the weirdest thing Jaela had seen at the school.
Jaela wondered what time it was, and looked to the sky. The clouds were a purplish red on one edge, from which Jaela assumed that it was sometime around dawn and that the brighter edges faced east or a direction near east.
She stood up and began walking forward, away from the river, hoping that she had ended up somewhere near the school.
Eventually, she did wander out into the gigantic clearing. Her clothes had dried significantly, and she felt raw flesh and something like mud on her face. She wiped the gunk from her face on her shirt and walked towards the school.
She walked inside the building, down the maze of hallways, and into a large lecture hall. She picked a seat and waited for her first class.
Ten minutes before her class was supposed to start (she found her schedule in a pocket - it was waterlogged and the ink had run everywhere, but it was still barely readable) people began slowly trickling into the room. A few looked at her as they walked in, but those were only the early birds, after which point there were too many people moving and talking in the room for anyone to pay attention to anybody.
Jaela began tracing shapes on the back of her left hand: circles and spirals, a whole tapestry of them, dots and lines invisible to any and all eyes. She became so engrossed in her work that she didn't realize when someone sat down next to her, watching her doodle with her finger.
"Bored?" the voice asked.
Jaela looked up to see someone she recognized from the Capture the Flag game two nights before.
"That's me," he laughed casually. "I didn't see you at all yesterday. Wanted to congratulate you on Saturday's Capture the Flag win."
"You heard about that?" she grinned.
"Not hard to when six people walk out of the woods with serious injuries and one with a concussion."
Jaela laughed quietly.
"What happened last night, though?" Dylan asked, his smile fading. "You look like you had a hard time out there," he said, wiping some of the mud substance off her face with his finger.
"Ambushed," she explained. "Some guys threw me in a river. And I thought I cleaned all of the mud up..."
"What?" he asked. "They threw you in the river? How did you get out? The current's around eight miles per hour!"
"There was a tree that had fallen in," she lied. She figured that it wasn't a wise idea to tell anyone the truth about that event. "I grabbed its trunk and climbed out."
"You're lucky, then," he told her. "The teachers don't go out looking for people to save. It's run by the students, and sometimes they leave each other to die."
Jaela grinned slightly.
"I'll have to remember that."
He smiled at her, and they waited in silence for a few minutes.
"I hate this," Dylan said finally. "You know?"
"What do you mean?" she asked him.
"Being here. What it means. All of it."
She grinned fully. "I think it's invigorating."
He sighed. "You don't have my problems, then. I'm struggling with my humanity."
He frowned and sighed, and examined the back of her hand. "I'm a kraken. This is all an illusion. I'm a gigantic sea monster that eats ships for breakfast, and I'm struggling with holding onto this last piece of myself."
"How'd you become one?"
"Fell out of a boat while on a fishing trip and drowned. Woke up here," he explained.
She smiled. "Seems like everyone falls unconscious, then."
"It's not funny."
Jaela smirked. "The way you say it, it is."
Dylan snorted. "I like your sarcasm."
Her first class of the day, Basic Magic, passed by easily. According to the teacher in the front of the room, since every student arrives at a different time, the classes were enchanted so that anyone could begin the course at the beginning at any time, and would see just what they had to learn. Apparently the teacher (or whatever it was) had office hours after class for help, but Jaela figured she wouldn't need them.
The day rolled on. Basic Magic rolled on, eventually morphing into another class. Everything seemed slow, enough to let forever pass in a heartbeat - or the equivalent of one.
Eventually there was a break in the daytime activities for lunch. Jaela and Zevi walked to the gym to find a table. They sat down once they found one near the door and waited for a little while. Eventually Dylan walked up to their table.
"Can I sit here?" he asked, sitting down before either of the girls could answer.
"Well, you are," Zevi laughed.
Jaela laughed as well. "Oh, but my imaginary friend Bob was going to sit there."
"Funny," Dylan said.
"Let's see what we've got. Okay: the fish kid that won't swim, the werewolf with depression, and you. The new kid with the fucked-up face."
Jaela turned around to face the voice. It was a boy several inches taller than her with white-blonde hair and deep crimson eyes. The smirk he wore was teasing and twisted. He was flanked by two other kids of similar height and breadth. They seemed to be the school bullies from their looks.
"Go away, Blake," Dylan groaned. "Go be an asshole to someone else, how about?"
"Nuh-uh, fish face," Blake grinned. "I'm showing the new kid her place."
"Sure, sure, then," Dylan told him. "Why don't you show her your place? You know, the corner of your ass something crawled up and died in?"
"I'm the one that makes the rules, fish kid," he growled. "Not you or your therapy-magnets."
"Blake, why do you have to be such a bitch to everyone?"
The new voice came from a few feet behind them, and Jaela turned to look at him.
"Blaise, I said I was going to make the introductions," Blake told the voice, who was still out of view.
He walked into sight finally, and Jaela got a good look at him.
The most noticeable thing about him at that moment were his fangs, pure white, sharp, and backlit, as if by a flame in his throat. His hair was a dark charcoal grey, and his eyes were a deep, fiery amber. His skin was tan, but not quite the same reddish color as Dylan's.
"Well, Blake, I'm afraid that no one really cares what you think, as you're just a genuine asshole. How about that?" Blaise asked, grinning deviously.
"Fuck you," Blake said.
Blaise raised his hand and summoned a small fireball, which he tossed in his hand like a baseball.
Blake immediately gave up the argument. "Fine. Have fun with your 'friends', loser."
He walked away, and the fireball was extinguished. Blaise then sat down.
"Sorry about that. I have no idea why I'm friends with that asshole."
"You're a dragon, aren't you?" Zevi asked, clearly curious. Her brown hair fell around her face. "Skilled with elemental spells?"
"Fire, mainly," he replied. "Not very good, otherwise."
"Huh," she smiled.
Dylan spoke. "Well, thanks for getting him away. He wouldn't stop pestering us, otherwise."
Blaise laughed. "Nothing like a fireball to make his ass clear the room."
Jaela laughed with the rest of the group. Two new allies in a single day was quite an accomplishment.
The next class after the lunch period was over in what seemed like an instant, and then it was time for the final class of the day. For Jaela, it was Blood Magic.
She walked into the room where the class was to be held, picked up a paper on the desk at the front, and picked a seat to sit in. Blaise and Zevi were also in this class, and they sat next to her, one on each side.
The magical 'teacher' hologram stood up front and asked all of the students to listen to the lecture before diving into the project of the day. Jaela was happy to oblige, as she didn't know what to do in the first place.
The lecture was a basic overview of blood magic: what it is, what it can do, and how 'few people are successful in this fine discipline, so it's okay if you fail'.
"Blood magic is the process of using blood of yourself or another to create the most powerful spells possible," the 'teacher' said. "It can be used to create potions of all strengths and all types, as well as various helpful spells."
"One of the most important types of magic you can create is to create life - reanimating the dead, for example. It can also be used to create immortality potions so that one can survive when victims become scarce."
The hologram mentioned a few more things before it let everyone sit back and start their projects. Jaela looked at the paper in front of her and assembled the materials needed for the assignment. Today, they were trying to resurrect dead cockroaches using a 'basic' re-animation potion.
1. Assemble required ingredients:
one Dead Man's Finger, minced
one-quarter ounce Powdered Wolfsbane
one cup Water
She had everything she needed (it had been passed around beforehand - the ingredients, as well as pots, Bunsen burners, and small pocketknives), and began with the second step.
2. Mix ingredients in small pot; boil, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove from heat. Use knife to draw blood on underside of wrist; add three drops to pot. Stir.
Jaela poured the ingredients together with the water in the pot and stirred it a few times before setting it on the burner to heat. Meanwhile, she prepared the rest of what she needed and read through the final instructions.
4. Apply heat for one minute. Pour over corpse.
The pot finally managed to boil, and she set it down on the counter before taking the knife and pressing it into her skin slightly.
Her skin broke, and for a moment, something glinted within the cut, like metal, before a tarry black substance began pooling around the wound.
Jaela didn't blink an eye, but walked up to the teacher's office door to knock.
The woman that opened it stared quizzically at her for a moment, looking like she was going to say something about the fact that 'class isn't over yet', but Jaela quickly held out her arm.
The teacher's eyebrows rose immediately, and she sucked in air through her teeth. She forced a smile.
"I think we're going to have to change your schedule," she commented, clicking her tongue.
(A/N): OH MY GOD. I HAVE NOT WRITTEN FOR THIS IN SUCH A LONG TIME.
Sorry about that, guys! Gah. I'd trapped myself in a few corners, though, and it took me a long time to figure a way out of them (as in a month, or however long it's been). And now I'm free! Yay!
Anyway, Dylan's a kraken, Blaise is a dragon... What else do you want, people? We've got vampires, werewolves, dragons, sea monsters, and beldams.