Chapter 1:

With the morning comes a guest

Healing Magic for Dummies

The day starts at different times for different people, even within the same town. The first to rise in the town of Chambers, for example, are the farmers. Rising from their beds to toil in their fields, they are soon followed by the working populace, who get ready to head to their office or post yet again. Next are the children, who eagerly run out of their houses, ready for another day of play - as soon as they get that pesky school business out of their way, of course. The last to come to are the night guards and hunters, sharing an alcohol-induced headache as they groggily clamber out of their cots. Within a few hours of sunrise, the entire town is full of life, as if it had never gone to sleep at all. 

Morning even comes to the small house some distance away from the town, to the great dismay of the sole inhabitant. As the rays of sunlight peeking through the windows shine brighter and brighter, there is no choice but to accept that there would be no more sleep to be had. Defeated, Karina dragged herself up from the floor, clinging to her desk as if it was her anchor to reality. After a few minutes of bleary-eyed blinking and yawning, she sat herself in her chair, spilling stacks of papers and at least two ink bottles in the process. Before she could lean back and doze off while basking in the sun, she noticed a foreign object on her desk. 

The snow-white envelope stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the dirty parchment and ink blots that occupied the rest of the table. The only blemish on the paper was a fat wad of red wax, with a familiar yet unpleasant seal emblazoned upon it. She stared it for a few seconds, scratching her head. What the hell did her old school want with her, three years after she'd left? Surely they wouldn't have the gall to ask for donations? 

She catapulted the letter into the pile of crumpled-up paper on the floor, her disdain for the school triumphing over her curiosity. Within minutes, thoughts of envelopes were no longer on her mind as she began her morning routine.

Fwoosh. Her hair gently floated ever so slightly as magic arced through her body, leaving through her glowing fingertips. The wisps circled lazily around the kitchen, momentarily stopping to spark a small fire to life before pooling in a bowl, filling it with water. Reaching into a few unmarked jars, she tossed a handful of dried ingredients into the bowl before setting it on the fire. As she waited for her morning soup to come to a boil, she fanned out her hair to run a wave of magic over it, ridding it of the blotches of ink and clumps of dust that spoiled her near-white locks. After taking a moment to squint at her split ends before tying her hair up into a large, messy bun, she - 

Knock knock! - was rudely interrupted. Karina grabbed her staff as she marched towards the door in a huff, grumbling under her breath until the moment she swung open the door. "What do you-"

"Hi! Oh my goodness, it was such a long walk here from the town! Oh! I'm so sorry, I'm Wynona. And you must be Karina! It's so nice to meet you! Here, these are a box of cookies I picked up from the bakery this morning, oh, and those are some flowers I found from a field on the way here, aren't they so pretty? I really hope this is a good learning experience for me, and I can't tell you how grateful I am that you agreed to all this. Hello? Karina?" 

Karina stared at the unwelcome guest, mouth still agape from when she was cut off. Somewhere along the barrage of introductions her staff had been knocked out of her hand from a hearty handshake, and in its place was a basket filled with baked goods and flowers. She snapped back to life when the girl waved her hand in front of Karina's eyes, as if to check if she was still conscious. 

"Who-," she stammered out. "Who the hell- actually, never mind that, just come inside first."

"Don't mind if I do!" Wynona quipped cheerfully. She followed Karina into her kitchen, where her soup was now furiously boiling.

"Sit down over...uh, wherever it's clean." A quick glance revealed only a few options fitting that criteria, but Wynona happily moved a few pans from a nearby chair into a tub full of bowls and sat down. "Sorry, I wasn't expecting guests," said Karina, pulling up a chair of her own. Dousing the fire with a quick flick of her hand, she cradled the bowl in a blanket on her lap. "So," she started, blowing on a spoonful of soup. "Let's start from the top. Who are you, why are you here, and what is it that I supposedly agreed to?"

The girl fidgeted a bit in her chair. "Umm...Okay. I'm Wynona. I'm a current junior at Erikson, and I'm here to work as your assistant for the summer. You agreed that you'd teach me how to better control my lona and that you'd house me for the what Dean Ochiltree that not true?" She twirled her pale gold hair with one hand as she spoke, growing more uncertain with each word.

Karina narrowed her eyes. Ochiltree. It was a name filled with mixed emotions. She raked her brain for a possible explanation for all of two seconds when she gasped, jolting upright from her chair, then immediately yelping as hot soup poured over her feet. "Oh no!" Wynona cried out, also standing up. "Hold on, let me-" 

"Don't!" The sudden outburst stopped Wynona dead in her tracks. The dean's name had tipped Karina off, but now she was certain: this girl was a Healer. Or in school to be one, at least. "I mean- I can heal myself. Don't worry about it." A small golden glow proved her claim, as her burned skin quickly reverted to its original shade. "Uh, just sit there for a bit. I'll be right back."

Karina briskly walked into her study and shut the door behind her. After all, she didn't want her guest to see her digging through a mountain of crumpled papers to find the one thing that might make sense of the whole situation. Ten seconds into her search, she held in her hand that damn letter that was on her desk this morning. The wax seal flew off as she tore open the envelope and began reading.

Joe Gold
Ataga Corliss
Syed Al Wasee