Alderley Edge, Cheshire, England
The Year 1313
“Someone’s thoughtless use of magick has put our school in great jeopardy.”
Emerald velvet robes flew around the reed-thin body of the headmistress as if a storm brewed within her. Red and blue flames flashed from the foot of her staff as she tamped it to punctuate her words with the ring of cold stone. Not one of Eurydice’s thirteen students moved a muscle as they stood in line awaiting her judgment.
On their first day at The Academy for Witches the headmistress had laid down the rules and pronounced there would be no exceptions if any of those rules were broken. Yet today, her cardinal law had been broken—one of the students had gone so far as to cast a curse on a mortal. She walked down the line of girls, spearing each of them with her angry gaze.
“We are sor—” one of the girls sputtered.
“Silence!” Eurydice turned on her heel to face down the unlucky witchling. “Whoever cast the spell must step forward and be accountable for her actions.”
Not one of the acolytes spoke up. All thirteen stared at the ancient stone floor.
“Your shared silence to protect the guilty one is laudable.” Eurydice’s dark eyes matched the flames flickering at the end of her staff. Still no one moved. “However this offense was committed against a member of royalty. A man with the power to close this school, do us harm, even destroy us. I am certain some would commend you for not betraying the classmate who cast this spell, but the culprit must step forward and accept her punishment.”
The girls looked at each other, linked their fingers together and then, as one, all thirteen stepped forward.
“Very well. As you will have it,” Eurydice said. The air around her swirled dark and purple as she pronounced judgment. “Henceforth, all of you are banished from this place and are cast out into the world for 100 years with only the powers you presently control. If any of you dares to cast a spell not meant for the greater good, your banishment will be extended. At the end of your banishment you will be brought before the Witches High Council to determine your final fate.
“And I hope—” she made eye contact with each girl who managed to meet her furious gaze “—you will learn just what a merciless mortal world you have been cast into.”
Then she tamped her staff against the cold, unforgiving stone floor and the thirteen acolytes vanished.
The headmistress turned to face the three elder witches standing quietly by the wall.
“Do you think they’ll be all right, Eurydice, all alone in the world?” Allene, the softhearted, asked. “Do you think they’ll be in danger?”
“Hardly, dear sister,” the headmistress chuckled. “I fear more for the world.”
Copyright Linda Wisdom 2008
Indeed, I would fear for the world too, but Jazz and her friends are good witches…right?