The Guild – Chapter 10 – Andrei

Another chapter to enjoy this Wednesday!

 

I can’t believe what just happened. When did I start having feelings for this girl? We only just met a week ago, and for most of that week I was in the past! My heart pounds in my chest and my palms are all sweaty. I feel like I could drop my fork at any moment.

I try not to make direct eye contact with her while I eat. I have a feeling Caroline planned this just to screw with me. She’s always hated that I flirt with her. I’d bet anything that the moment she saw I was anything but flirty around Kaitlyn she jumped on the wagon of opportunity.

But what’s worse is I – kissed – her… I kissed, her… I, kissed her. The moment replays in my head as I nibble on my bacon. I can’t get the reel to stop. She looked at me and an urge took over like a spell and I leaned in. Her lips were soft and warm and in my moment of awareness I pulled away. I pulled away much too quickly, now that I think about it. It was hardly a kiss, more of a peck. I’m such an idiot! That doesn’t even count as a first kiss.

Before I realize it, the meal is over and we’re at the cashier. I shake out of my daze long enough to offer to pay for Kaitlyn’s before she has time to pull out her money. Then we leave and are walking towards the museum.

Caroline and Kaede lead us towards the ROM, leaving Kaitlyn and I side by side again. I hear my blood rushing in my ears, and I’m for once in my life at a loss for words. Why am I so nervous? Is it because I don’t know what she thinks of me yet? I mean, she read my journals, I’m sure she has an opinion… What if I was wrong!? What if she read them and hates me? Just because she read my stories doesn’t mean she understands me. Doesn’t mean she gets me. This is worse than being exposed! I don’t know what to think! My mind races a million miles a second and I can’t form the words to ask her a simple question.

A question. She said, after I kissed her, after I confessed my very immature feelings for her… that I could ask her anything. One question. Whatever I want to know. What did I want to know? Suddenly my mind is blank. Blanker than when I was meditating beneath the willow tree with Waaseywaa. What should I ask her?

Before I can think of a question we arrive at the ROM. Caroline stops and turns, facing us and the street. “So! Where’s the entrance? Do we need to buy tickets to get in or is it accessible from the outside?” The street is bustling with activity despite it being a weekday. I can’t imagine what all these people could be doing not at school or in an office. I hope we’re not seen doing anything crazy like walking through walls or something.

Kait looks around, then heads for the path around the back of the building. We follow her closely. She finds a door that says ‘Authorized Personnel Only.’ “This will do.” She says, grabbing the handle. The door doesn’t budge.

The tattoo I saw before on her arm flares and it opens.

Caroline nearly shrieks in surprise and Kaede quickly places his hand over her mouth to quiet her. She looks at him, eyes questioning what she just saw, but he hushes her with a finger to his lips.

“This is so illegal.” I whisper, trying to look casual.

As the door swings open, a guard suddenly rounds the corner beside us and stops. “Hey! What are you kids doing? Get away from there!”

Kaitlyn quickly waves us through, but I hesitate. She grabs my wrist and yanks me in, slamming  the door shut behind me. Inside is a bunch of yard equipment like rakes and shovels.

“Where are we?” Caroline whispers, confused.

The space is close and we’re nearly all rubbing shoulders. My back is to the door and Kaitlyn is still holding the door shut. I feel her warm against my chest and my heart skips. “Everyone hold onto each other.” She says. I look down at her, confused. Isn’t that what everyone is already doing? I feel Caroline snake her hand into my left. Kaede is already gripping her other hand and reaches out for Kaitlyn. I see she has her hands busy so I hold onto her shoulder with mine. Kaede grabs her elbow.

I see the glow of her tattoo again and the ground begins to shift beneath us. Caroline squeezes her eyes shut and Kaede is smiling gleefully. Rakes and shovels topple and we are knocked into each other.

Suddenly everything stills and the door swings open. She pulls me out with her but I lose my footing on a rake and topple backwards onto the ground. She falls on top of me with a grunt and Caroline and Kaede stumble out after us.

“Are you ok?” I whisper from beneath her.

She pushes herself up, hand on my chest to steady herself and seems a little disoriented, looking around. My breath catches in my throat and I focus on the feeling of her hand. I look up at her, waiting.

She finally realizes she’s on top of me and I see her cheeks turn red as she shuffles away. “Oops, sorry… Um… I’m ok. Are you?”

“Y-yes, I’m good.”

“Well when you two are done being all cute you might want to check this out.” Kaede says. I turn to see him and Caroline looking behind me. Caroline’s hand is on her mouth in awe.

I scramble to my feet and look out at a vast landscape. We’re standing on the edge of a cliff, on an island and in front of us the landscape crawls upwards toward a large elaborate castle-like metropolis. Towers spear the sky, sweeping pointed roofs are mounted with little flags of various colours. Arched windows decorate every walled surface. I see bridges exposed to the sun and domed structures are scattered about the entire structure.

The air is warm and my coat suddenly feels unnecessary. A salty ocean breeze buffets the cliff. The fields before us are dotted with tropical trees and flowering plants. There’s a fancy brick path leading from where we stand all the way up to the city; it’s the best word I can use to describe how large this castle looks to me.

I turn to Kaitlyn, shaking out of my wonder to see what her impression of the place is. I remember she said she has been here since she was four years old, I can’t imagine growing up in a place like this. She just stands there, passively picking at her nails.

I turn back to the wondrous Guild and notice a tall figure approaching quickly along the path. “Hey! Someone’s coming, is… is it safe?” Kaede points, noticing the figure too. As he gets closer I notice the figure is a man, a very tall and muscular man with a scruffy beard. He almost looks like a viking! I see red and blue tattoos on his arms like snakes curled around his limbs and his light brown hair is pulled back into a ponytail.

Kaitlyn nods beside me, not bothering to look at who it is. “They’re just coming to see who’s arrived.”

The man arrives, huffing from his run, which explains how he got here so quickly. Now that he’s closer I feel small as he towers over me. Beneath his thick beard he wears a huge smile and his eyes glint in the sun. “Hello there!” He says in a deep voice. “Welcome, to the Guild of Antiquities.” He begins his introduction and pauses as his eyes settle on Kaitlyn standing quietly beside me.

“Kaitlyn? Kaitlyn Smith? Oh my god! You’ve come back! Thank the gods!” He booms, stretching his bear thick arms wide and diving in for a hug. My eyebrow raises in surprise. I thought she said she didn’t have any friends?

She starts to backup, an alarmed look on her face, but Cliff pays no heed and grabs her in a bear hug. I think I hear bones cracking and I unconsciously bring a hand to my mouth to stifle a laugh.

“Do I know you?” She squeaks.

“You don’t remember me? It’s Cliff! Cliff Reznick! We arrived the same year!” He shouts in surprise. “Always been your biggest fan, other than Professor Ambrosse of course.”

She glances at me quickly then back to Cliff, a little horrified. “Fan of what, exactly? Spontaneous combustion?”

“I do say,” He says releasing her and bringing his hands into a thinking posture, “That is a very intriguing ability and I think it is my favourite. Wish I could make fire. Then I could light my arrows and send them flaming!”

“What?” She shakes her head. “Why would you want to do that?”

“Make them look like falling stars,” He grins. It’s a terrifying look for him. Kaitlyn stares at him like he’s crazy. I agree, the man’s nuts.

“Oh, forget that nonsense! I’m so glad you came back! And look! You brought new friends!! Did you know Professor Ambrosse forbade me from going after you?! I begged and pleaded and even threatened to quit the school, but she wouldn’t have none of that.” He rambles on.

“So, what do you do?” Caroline pipes in quietly.

“Oh, the new one asks! I am an alchemist. I can transform any substance into another! At least, that’s my main ability. And how about you guys? Why has Kaitlyn brought you to us?”

Caroline answers first. “I seem to have some sort of water ability but all I do is flood things.” She says. She points to me next.

“I… uhh, I time jump.”

“Whoooa. I ain’t never seen that one before! Wicked.”

“Right?!” Kaede chirps.

“And you, what can you do?” He asks Kaede.

“Ahh, you know, I’m a master at Warcraft and other games. I can fix computers and shit. And I take care of these guys.” He smiles, grabbing us by the shoulders.

Cliff’s face makes an expression that sort of looks like a bear in pain. “Warcraft? I’ve never heard this ability before. Perhaps the professors will know of it.” Kaitlyn smacks her forehead and I chuckle nervously. I’ll let him have his moment of fame for a little while longer. It might get interesting.

“Wow, Kaitlyn! You’ve done a wonderful job bringing these new kids back with you. I’m so pleased! Professor Ambrosse wishes to see you. How ‘bout we head up to the Guild and get you folks settled?” He holds out a hand, gesturing towards the castle city and I feel a bubbly excitement rise in my throat. This is something I’ve never seen before and I think I’m going to love it.

He starts walking up the path back towards the Guild and we all follow behind. To Kaitlyn we probably look like a group of gawking tourists. At a steady walking pace it takes us nearly forty-five minutes to arrive at the main entrance to the Guild. Standing this close, the place towers above us, taller than anything I’ve ever seen, except for maybe Everest.

Cliff leads us through a maze of halls; branching passages, winding staircases, over some covered bridges and through cavernous halls. Eventually we arrive somewhere on the east side of the building, according to the sun, and he stops at a tall door engraved with a flame. It is literally dancing on the wood. No heat comes from it but it moves as if it were a real fire and I can’t stop staring at it.

“Well, here we are! Is everyone ready to meet Professor Ambrosse, Headmistress of the Guild?” He asks us, smiling. He seems excited for us to meet her. Why would he be excited?

I watch closely as he pushes the doors inward, the flames moving as if they were affected by the movement. I look back at Kat, hanging back nervously. I let Caroline go first with Kaede and bump Kat’s shoulder. “Hey, you got us here, don’t worry.” I say. I shyly offer her my hand to hold, hoping she’ll accept it. I try to hide the fact that it’s shaking.

She looks at it for a second, like she’s not sure what to do with it. Then she hesitantly reaches out her own hand. She timidly places it on top on mine and I grasp it tightly, moving into the doorway.

Kaede turns his head back and whispers, “Oh – my – god! This place is freakin awesome!!” I know it’s difficult for him to contain his excitement. I notice Caroline pinching his arm every time he says something.

We walk down the centre of a large room, wood arched supports line the ceiling and frame the geometrical patterns that construct it. The other end of the room is a wall of windows taller than even Cliff. The centre of the room is adorned with a red carpet that leads to a desk at the end, set before the windows. That must be a magnificent view. It would suck if you had a fear of heights though.

Before the wall of windows stands a tall woman, white blonde hair cascading down her back in loose ringlets. She wears a white dress made of lace, the middle of which appears to be see-through, showing the small of her back and I assume her midriff from the front. She looks like a medieval princess from Ireland to me. Draped across her shoulders is a golden orange lizard with wings… wait… is that a dragon? I swallow my surprise and hold Kaitlyn’s hand tighter.

Wait… why am I nervous?

Cliff stops before the woman and bows slightly to her. “Professor Ambrosse. I’ve brought Kaitlyn and the new guests, as you requested.” He remains bent as she withholds her response. The dragon on her shoulders lifts its head and makes a sound similar to that of a cat meowing and a bird chirping at the same time. It flies off her shoulders and soars towards Kat, landing across her shoulders and licking her face like a puppy.

Kaitlyn starts giggling and tries to fend it off with her free hand. I gape in horror, expecting it to rip her face off.

“He missed you.” The woman says from the window, turning slightly with a smile. The noon sun barely filters through the window, but the rays that do fall upon her hair and make it shimmer like gold. She can’t be more than thirty years old!

I hear a whine and notice Kaede barely holding back a scream. “Ohh, ohhh!!  This is the best!! Man! I can’t wait to get a pet dragon!!” He whispers loudly. I roll my eyes.

When the headmistress turns around, her eyes study us closely. They come to rest on our interlocked hands with a raised eyebrow and a coy smirk. I begin to sweat. I feel like I’m meeting the in-laws and I drop Kat’s hand suddenly. Why did I do that? She’s gonna be so mad! I hazard a glance at Kat, wondering what she’s thinking.

She hardly notices as she continues to fend off the dragons loving licks, now with both her hands. I release the breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding.

“Typhon, that is quite enough.” The Headmistress calls. The dragon stops, hanging it’s head sadly. “Kaitlyn, come.”

Kat gulps, walking up to where Cliff stands, and kneels on the floor with her head down. Are we supposed to do the same? I thought this was a school for learning magic? Why all the formality?

The woman walks over to stand in front of her, “Come now, child. That is not necessary. Tell me how you met these new friends.” She says, smiling.

I watch Kaitlyn stand, but her eyes remain downcast. “They were Logan’s next target. I stopped him, but… he escaped.” She glances back briefly. “I thought they would be safer here.”

Caroline wrings her hands and Kaede for once is quiet. Ambrosse has an aura about her that demands attention. We listen carefully, watching. She nods and turns to look up at us. “Of course, you are welcome to stay as long as you would like. Kaitlyn, you’ll show them to the dorms, won’t you?”

Kaitlyn bows and scurries back. The dragon returns to it’s mistress with a chirp. I shift my weight to follow Kaitlyn as I feel Ambrosse’s pointed gaze on me and freeze.

“Take care of each other.”

Caroline hesitates before turning. “Umm….” She tries to work up the courage to address the Headmistress. “We heard that we could learn about our magic here.” She pauses again,  wringing her hands together. “Umm, I’d like to learn here, if I could, please.” Her cheeks are bright red, making her freckles stand out.

The mistress flashes a set of perfectly white teeth, “Of course, dear. You are welcome to all of our resources.”

Caroline smiles timidly eager. I can tell from the way she works her jaw that she has more questions. “How do we enroll?” She asks. Of course she’d ask that. One doesn’t go to university without knowing how to apply. I imagine you can’t just walk into this place and start learning. There has to be some sort of application process.

The Headmistress giggles, her laugh sounds like chimes ringing in the wind. “You already have.” She says.

“Wait, me too??” Kaede jumps in, Caroline shoots him a look that could kill.

“Apparently he has the ability of Warcraft, headmistress.” Cliff adds. Oh boy…This can’t end well.

I see her visibly trying not to laugh now, “You are certainly welcome to try.”

“Yesss!” Kaede pulls down a fist. I can only facepalm myself. God save him now…

Cliff waves us goodbye. “See you later Kaitlyn! You too new kids!!” I see them begin to laugh out of the corner of my eye as we shut the door behind us.

Kaitlyn leads us around the castle to the West wing where the dorms must be. I watch her maneuver the curving halls and twisting stairs and I can tell she really knows her way around this place. I don’t think I could ever remember how to even get out. This place is a maze!

As we walk the halls we see others, mostly older people in strange garb and funny hairstyles. All of them giving us a wide berth as we pass. I furrow my brows with concern. Is it because we’re new? Or, is it Kaitlyn? It concerns me, the looks they give us and it makes me angry that anyone would treat her this way before getting to know her.

I decide to make my move. I stride up to Kaitlyn and boldly grab her hand with a smile. “Thanks Kat, this is great! Tell me about the Headmistress. She seemed very casual with you. What’s her ability?” I ask, glaring back at the others as we pass.

Kaitlyn looks at me, surprised. She tries to say something but the words come out jumbled as she trips over them. I can’t make out what she’s trying to say.

I give her a look and she tries again. “Um… She’s the Senior Guardian of Fire in the Guild. She’s also the best healer on the island. She’s been my mentor since I first arrived.”

“I see. So, it seems to me you fibbed a little when you said you have no family or friends here.” I tease. “Cliff sure seems to like you, and Ambrosse seemed almost like a mother if you ask me.” The way she stared at me when I had held Kat’s hand still made me nervous.

Kat tips her head, genuinely confused. “You think so?” God, she can be dense sometimes. If she didn’t notice till I said that then she has a long way to go.

“Yea, totally. Did you not see the way she was looking at you? All smiles and laughter. That’s what a mother is. And Cliff is a secret admirer I think, if you’ve never spoken before. He seems alright.” I say, feeling a little defensive. I squeeze her hand as I mention him.

She stares ahead, expression unreadable, “I dunno. Logan said she’s like that with everyone. I’ve never really talked to anyone else here, except professors.” She admits.

“Well, for one, do you always believe everything Logan says? I mean, look what he was doing? I wouldn’t trust a word that comes out of his mouth. And two, do all the professors act like her? What do you think?” I point out, hoping for her original opinion.

She chews the inside of of her lip, and it’s adorable. “Um, I don’t know… they’re all very different people. Wouldn’t it be weird is they all acted the same?”

“Exactly.” I confirm. “And all the teachers I’ve ever had have never acted like that with me.” Except maybe Waaseywaa. He seemed very friendly with me, almost like he knew me. I’ve never had an encounter like that before when I’ve time jumped.

She doesn’t respond and I can’t make out if it’s my comment about Logan or the Headmistress being friendly with her that has her in knots. I decide to probe a little and see if I can understand more about her previous relationship with Logan.

“Did Logan tell you why he was leaving?” I ask, trying not to be too accusing. I hope she’ll open up to me.

She shakes her head, “Not exactly. He said there was a better place for us to go. That we could become more powerful… but I didn’t want to go.” Her voice gets almost inaudible, “He got really mad… and then he left.”

I frown. That was a jerk move he pulled on her if they really were friends. I can’t believe him. I mean, it really shows what kind of guy this Logan really is and it makes my blood boil. I can’t wait to get my hands on him again. I still have to help Kat figure this out too though. She keeps trying to convince herself that he’s her friend, it seems.

“Have you not seen Star Wars?” I ask, imagining Kaede jumping in with the perfect example scene I’m thinking of. Unfortunately, him and Car seem to be speaking excitedly in hushed voices behind us and not paying us any attention.

“No… Should I?”

I stare at her, my jaw hanging open. “Really? Do they not have cable in this place?” I ask incredulously.

She shrugs. “Oh my god, Kat! You need to watch it with me. Anyway, my point was, the Chancellor, Palpatine, promised the main character, Anakin, a powerful Jedi, that if he turned to the dark side, he’d be more powerful than anyone else, so powerful he could even prevent his pregnant wife’s death. Of course, there’s no such power and it was all lies, just to get him to murder a bunch of people and make the Chancellor more in control of the empire. So… the moral is never believe a lie about somewhere you can get more power. The only way to have more power is to look within yourself. You’re only as strong as you let yourself become.” I suddenly feel like the twenty first century philosopher and I contemplate growing a beard.

She hums, “If that was true, I wouldn’t have magic at all.”

What?!! How did she come to that conclusion? “That’s not what I meant! It means you can’t find more power somewhere else. What do you mean you’d have no magic at all?”

She looks at me, wide, innocent eyes, “If I had a choice. You said you can only be as strong as you let yourself become.”

“Yes… but I think you misunderstand. I mean, if you have magic, I don’t know where we get it from, but, if we have magic, we either do or we don’t. And that magic has a level. I think it’s predetermined what our level is and we can only train ourselves to use our full potential. You can’t extend past it. I don’t know what preconceptions Logan has about power, but it sounds like he’s not satisfied that he’s maybe reached his full potential.”

“I guess that makes sense. He never really talked about it.” She pouts, “He doesn’t like when I ask stupid questions.”

I see this is starting to bother her, but I have to say it, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question, especially between friends.” I hope she gets it. I really want her to trust us. Now that we’re all here, there’s no going back.

The words must be stewing in her head ‘cause I see her brow crease and she becomes silent again. I guess that’s better than complete compliance.

Finally she stops walking and I notice we’re standing in a circular chamber with five halls branching off in different directions. I didn’t realize till now, but there doesn’t seem to be anybody else around.

“You’re free to claim any of the unoccupied rooms.” She says, waving her hands at the halls surrounding us.

Caroline walks up close peering across the vast space. “It’s really kind of creepy. Where’s your room Kat?”

“Yea we wanna be close to you! That way we can keep you up at night.” Kaede jokes.

She leads us down a hall that looks different from the rest. It looks sort of newer, cleaner. Brighter, even. We follow her all the way to the end. Along the way I see that every door is open, unoccupied, except for the one at the end. Inside each I glimpse a basic dorm set up like Caroline’s dorms in Pond at York university; wooden furniture, a chair and a table. That’s all I can see from the hall.

“Wow! It’s like a private suite!” Kaede grins. “You’re so lucky girl! I’m so happy to be your dorm neighbour!!” Caroline smiles and nods.

“Oh, Kat, umm I hate to steal you gloves. Do you think I’ll be ok without them here? Or should I wait till I start lessons?” She asks.

Kat looks at the gloves for a moment, “Yea, maybe hold onto them for now.” She scratches her head awkwardly, “Everything in this hall is fireproof now… So it should be fine.”

“Think it’d be waterproof?” Caroline asks, giggling.

Kaede stops and cocks an eyebrow. “Wait, everything is fireproof? What the hell do you do in your sleep?”

“Kae, that’s a bit rude. I’m sure it’s nothing, just a procaustion.” I dismiss.

“Actually…” Kat blushes.

We all look at her, but I think I’m the only one whose heart skips a beat with her reaction. Her face begins to scrunch, looking kind of guilty.

“What!” We all say in unison. It’s actually quite amazing.

She looks at her feet, “I have nightmares a lot.. Ever since I was little.”

“Annnndddd?” Kaede prompts.

She frowns, confused. “What do you mean?”

“He means,” I try to say in English. “What happens with your fire when you have these nightmares.” I give Kaede a flat stare. “Common man, don’t be dumb.”

“I’m not being dumb! I really want to know what happens? What if I walk in on her in the middle of the night? I just wanna be prepared!”

“Kaede, don’t be mean. Kat’s our friend. I’m sure she wouldn’t let anything happen to us. That’s why they’ve fire proofed the rooms, right?” Caroline states.

Kat sighs, “Essentially, yes.”

Caroline sighs. “Kaitlyn, look, don’t let my idiot of a boyfriend get you down. I believe in you. You taught me quite a bit this past week and I’m sure we’ll be fine. Remember?” She tries to joke, “I’m like your personal fire hydrant! If you ever want something put out, just give me a shout, kay?” She smiles, and it looks a little goofy on her face, but she has a point. Water is the opposite of fire. Anything that could go wrong, could potentially be taken care of with Caroline’s ability.

She looks skeptical, but nods in agreement. I feel her hand trembling in mine and I look down just to be sure. She starts to squeeze it and I can’t tell if she’s sad or happy. I look at her with concern filled eyes. “Hey, Kat, you ok?”

Caroline punches Kaede in the arm and smiles. “Well, I think it’s time we picked a room, wouldn’t you say Kaede?” She glares at him and he smiles back weakly.

“Yeaa.”

“I don’t know about you Kae, but I want this one.” She says, pointing at the one to the right of Kaitlyn’s door. “I think it’s perfect, no morning light to wake you up but plenty of evening sun to tell you when to go to bed.” She steps into the room, pulling Kaede with her. “Maybe we can steal a second bed for you Kae, unless you want the floor.”

I grunt with a laugh. Oh, poor Kae.

I squeeze Kaitlyn’s hand in return. “So, wanna help me pick a room?” I ask her.

She puts her best smile on, my heart thumps in my chest, “Sure.” She says. I don’t think I can handle any more excitement today. She points of the left side of the hall, where the empty room on the left sits. “What about this one..” She mumbles, barely audible.

I think I’m smiling but I can’t really feel my face. “Yea, looks perfect. Thanks.”

 

By Krystyna Yates

Kiki's Tales

    I can’t believe what just happened. When did I start having feelings for this girl? We only just met a week ago, and for most of that week I was in the past! My heart pounds in my chest and my palms are all sweaty. I feel like I could drop my fork at any moment.

    I try not to make direct eye contact with her while I eat. I have a feeling Caroline planned this just to screw with me. She’s always hated that I flirt with her. I’d bet anything that the moment she saw I was anything but flirty around Kaitlyn she jumped on the wagon of opportunity.

    But what’s worse is I – kissed – her… I kissed, her… I, kissed her. The moment replays in my head as I nibble on my bacon. I can’t get the reel to…

View original post 5,098 more words

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