Part Two Rules of Engagement
Somer spent the first half of the school day attempting different kinds of talents. Telekinesis, telepathy, psychometrics, invocations, evocations, hexes, charms and spells in lost sigils and in ancient languages that she knew. Nothing happened except a burgeoning migraine. Disillusioned she didn’t call her mother, Aurora Locke would have wanted to do a first cycle ceremony. A rite of passage for novices, when they reach puberty. An invocation that gave young witches a better understanding of their abilities. Some claimed that there was a boost in their talent. Somer saw no reason to perform it, if there was no physical manifestation of her will; a waste of ingredients, time and energy.
“Hey dud, watch what you are doing!” The scold brought Somer out of her negative thoughts and into her present situation.
The second half of her school day had started at 2pm with a surprise schedule change. The seven adept students, three girls and four boys of various ages would have their special class that lasted till the end of the school day, were sent to potions class instead and paired with witch snobs of the level A Class. They were the first to show power and the strongest novices in the whole freshman class. They believed their accomplishments gave them license to cast hexes and jinxes on student not fast enough to dodge when the Instructor’s eyes were not on the class. The seven adepts were considered easy targets; six of them were harassed mercilessly with Somer it was a hit or miss, she had the good fortune of being a legacy. The Locke witches in her family attended this facility from the time it was established. Her mother and older sister Suraina were part of witch clubs, whose members vowed to look after her despite the fact she couldn’t’ find their secret club door without help and most of the students who knew her sister personally were seniors. There was also her second older brother he still “attended” Grovesnor sometimes. He was chosen by an influential witch and visiting instructor to be his apprentice and became one of the students in the Grovesnor Academy correspondence program. He is the strongest male witch student to date and admired by all the faculty and the student body except one. Somer had issues with her brother.
The snobs of this class had made the adepts prep workers for each team. Chop leaves, pound dry herbs to powder, pour and measure liquids. Somer looked at the idiot who yelled at her. She was a junior and a novice with the grand ambition of making a love potion, pathetic. Somer was mincing red rose petals.
“You know that I have a knife, right.” Her voice was bland and her blank expression unnerving, several students including the four at her table, looked at her and became wary.
“Ha ha GreyLocke good one,” the attempt at levity came from Wade Rowan. A male adept stationed at the table across from her. He believed in keeping the peace at all cost. He was the oldest of the adepts, a senior like her brother and the least respected, students picked on him the most. Tima and Devika, the other girl adept, joined in to diffuse the situation. The two shared prep duties, there was only six tables in the classroom. They thought they were helping. The novice students at Somer’s table glared at her. They were weighing the odds and going through their meager index of spells they knew. Families and Covens didn’t share serious magical knowledge with novices until they either proved themselves or stewed for three or four years. One of the many functions of the school was to teach magical theory and other metaphysics, so that when or if the family or coven entrusted their cache of magical spells, items etc. it would not be a waste. Until that time every novices spell at Grovesnor were generic unless given special compensation. Somer knew many spells only because she read more, listen to her father and eavesdropped when the situation called for it.
“All of you are so stupid,” A snide voice said from the table of Wade’s group, across the room by the windows. It belonged to Gilder Hawthorne, the first witch of their freshman class, a maiden in training and a legacy student like Somer, however the Hawthorne’s had garnered more prestige than the Lockes in the witch covens and the Greys in the mage cabals. Although no Hawthorne ever claimed to be a mage. “She can’t do anything and none of you will do anything either. Her brother came back today and he would do something completely unnatural.” Gilder informed everyone with an evil sweet smile. Too nice to be good for anyone. Many thought it was Gilder being the arrogant mean bitch she was but Somer knew different the vicious, gloating smirk was for Somer and only Somer. Gilder hated her since their first year at Grovesnor. All she did was confirm a dessert for her brother. So what if he breaks out in hives and Gilder took responsibility for making the pastries. The brother in question was Auron. Their eldest brother Anton was at Mage University in Europe. The younger twin brothers Averard and Aumar were with their parents preparing for the placement test to see if they would attend witch or mage middle and secondary schools. Gilder was talking about Auron Grey. The correspondence senior, a novice prodigy before he came to Grovesnor. Auron was given an apprenticeship, his last two years at the academy. His master returned to the school occasionally and Auron followed Mr. Quick. , wherever he traveled. “Has everyone forgotten Claude Banner already,” Gilder asked in a bemused admonishing tone. Every student, novice of various levels and adepts stepped from Somer in unison. Somer rolled her eyes and resumed mincing rose petals.
“Thanks for the warning, Gil,” She spoke in loud voice full of the sweet fake saccharine tone of the other girl. “My brother still won’t know who the hell you are though.” The whole class gasped in horror. ‘He barely knows who I am.’ Somer kept that thought to herself and locked it down. Thinking about Auron would really mess with her already crappy mood. Gilder Hawthorne hissed like a cat. She may be the first novice witch in their class but she wasn’t the only novice witch. In the week of her announcing, last spring, eleven other girls in their class acquired their manifest will. Gilder was one in almost three hundred students. Auron is a senior with an option of staying with his master or going to university. Gilder was fourteen years old, in her first year of high school. She began to murmur something, the containers in front of Somer began to rattle. Somer slipped the knife in her sleeve and grabbed the mortar bowl on her right. The heavy dark wood cube shaped bowl was the only object not moving to Gilder’s will. Somer drew a symbol on the side of the bowl with the rose essence. She picked up the cube bowl and threw it across the room it hit the middle of Gilder and crew’s table. The old bowl shattered something there was a blue flash. Gilder, her two lackeys and anyone else at the table fell back with a shock. The containers at Somer’s table stopped moving. The mortar bowl spun at the center of the table on its point. It began to form a small rainbow funnel shape. “Interesting,” Somer said watching the colors. No one seemed to notice them but her. “What did you do,” the novice at her table accused. Somer shrugged. “Sorry Wade,” she said absent minded. “Interruptions have no direction:,” “GreyLocke,” Junior novice demanded. “I threw a Shaken mortar.” Somer answered back as the bowl slowed, the rainbow funnel began to dissipate. “Throwing school property is a violation, Ms. GreyLocke,” An older voice full of authority stated at the door of the classroom. All the students’ backs were turned facing the table and spinning mortar that had stopped spinning but now froze on point. The students all turned to face the voice. It belonged to their instructor Ms. January. She appeared to be in her late forties. She wore dark calf-length skirt suits, crisp white high neck shirts with pearl buttons and matching sensible lace-up shoes. She wore squared framed glasses and her chestnut brown hair was always in a severe bun. She fit the description of any hiding witch or 1950’s librarian. She imbued calm and fear of being called on. Students returned to their tables and high stools. Wade, Gilder, her lackeys -Lyndsey and Monika, all stood up wobbly, shook themselves. It didn’t take long for them to come to their senses. They all glared at Somer, except for Wade. He grinned sheepishly and fixed his gray and navy striped uniform tie. At a glance, Ms. January always gave Somer a pain behind the eyes. It always took time for Somer to adjust to the sight of the demure middle aged woman. “Miss GreyLocke, what do you have to say for yourself?” Ms. January walked into the classroom and stopped at her desk at the corner of the classroom. Somer moved slower than the class to face the witch. “So is unsanctioned magic, Ms. January.” She spoke slower than usual. “Unsanctioned magic?” Ms. January repeated. “Class?” Unsupervised, restricted use of magic, the hexes and small cast spells Instructors turned a blind eye too. Somer closed her eyes to the growing head pain. It appeared as frustration, because not one of the twenty seven students in that class corroborated her words. Their actions were expected. No one spoke to Gilder Hawthorne like that and remained unscathed. Somer was no exception, even though Gilder would have to appeal to a higher power than her own for payback. Now it seemed that Somer was a default. She had no magic, in the sense of how everyone used their power. She was a little better than a blind mundane, she was classified as an adept to be kind. This was where things became odd for many students at Grovesnor and some of the faculty. A mundane with no magic had no real place at this school and a mundane did not throw objects in the face of certain magic. This was not the first time Somer disrupted someone’s ability. It was hard to understand and uncommon for many. Somer didn’t spend time explaining it either. She was just the middle child of six witch/mage prodigies. She had to hold her own with her siblings and extended family, otherwise her younger brothers Aumar, Averard and baby sister Seleste would have run her over and the older siblings, Auron, Suraina, and Anton would have ruled her. She could never forget her lack of manifest will because Auron wouldn’t let her.
There were many firsts in learning magic and the supernatural world. It move with and around the everyday mundane world, with the millions of powerless having no clue. The most important was the way to safely disrupt spells and other hinky stuff that will mess with and upset all the practitioners.
“Miss GreyLocke,” the woman’s voice was melodious and smooth, but to Somer that was the surface, thin like skin of milk whatever it hid underneath it scraped her senses. Sometimes she could ignore it but today was different. Today she felt raw and that witch was salt.
“Ms. January, am I in or out.” She spoke with resignation. The instructor’s eyes flashed white, then slightly narrowed. “You are definitely out Miss GreyLocke, Guidance is waiting for you” The class made a unanimous noise of fear. This was the third time in the marking period, Somer was going to the guidance office. Somer sighed heavily collected her belongings and walked out of the potions classrooms.