The air had a refreshing chill as Byron stepped out of the dorm, ; he always felt a walk or run at night was the perfect way to wind down in the evening. He was still having trouble getting used to the Swedish evening starting so early. He did understand that 59 degrees above the equator meant early nights and he was worried what the winters would be like. The summer had been nice, ; it never got too hot, he hated the heat. The summers in Arizona had been brutal. He could still feel the heat and the feel coarseness of the polyester, of the military military-style uniforms chafing against his skin as they trained at the desert school. Byron let out a chuckle as he thought of the world school, . it It wasn’t really a school, ; it was more like a prison or a factory, churning out magically powered thugs.
[2 YEARS EARLIER]
Explosions vibrated through Byron’s ears and he began to cough from the dust kicked up on the nearby firing range. He could feel the dirt combining with the sweat on his skin to form a muddy film. He wouldn’t stop running, though. He’d keep his feet moving despite the hollow feeling in his stomach and the blister he was sure was forming on his heel. He was being punished and at the Southern Desert Education Academic Teaching Hexologistic Institute you took your punishment without questions or received an even harsher sentence. He didn’t do the crime but he didn’t mind being punished. Running the circuit was one of the few times he could be alone with his thoughts.
Byron walked into the steel and concrete structure that served as the dorm for the 13 students of F class. The temperature was stifling, the electric fans in the ceiling and mounted to the walls only succeeding in moving the heavy air around.
“I’m sorry,” Sophie said meeting him at the dorm door with a towel.
“No towel. I’ll wait until I shower first,” he said. “It’d just get covered in mud.”
“But you were the one who was punished,” she said, “you said you hid it under your mattress and took the blame.”
“That’s why I did it. A half marathon isn’t a bad run,” he said shrugging the punishment off. “We just have to think of a better hiding place next time.”
“It was a fashion magazine. What are they going to think?” Sophie added.
“It’s fine, Sophie,” Beatrice chimed in. “They probably just thought it was for spanking to. Not that he ever needs it with me around,” she said pulling down the v of her v-neck tee even further exposing more of her cleavage.
“I’m going to take a shower,” Byron said walking towards the canvas-partitioned back quarter of the dorm.
“Good thing they’re cold!” Beatrice shouted after him.
“They’re always cold,” he shouted back before disappearing behind the curtain.
The water from the overhead showerhead was always lukewarm. He didn’t mind, especially in the middle of summer as it was the only way to cool down. Byron scrubbed fast to get all the grime off as quickly as possible to give him a moment to just enjoy the water.
“You forgot your towel,” Beatrice said waving the white terrycloth like a flag above the edge of the canvas stall.
“Are you decent?” Byron asked as he reached up and pulled the towel from her hand and began to dry off.
“What a silly question. You know I’m not.”
“Well, I am at least, so get out,” he said.
“Why should I?” Beatrice said, pressing against the shower curtain letting it cling to her body.
“Because if we’re caught messing around, we’d have to do more than laps,” he said, pulling the drape back and off of a girl with a dejected look on her face.
A stray drop of rain kissed Byron’s cheek and brought him back to reality; he continued to run. He looked around at the architecture as he ran by the older buildings. The island was also green, a stark contrast to the dull earth tones of the desert and the school’s steal steel buildings. in the desert. The route he ran took him in a large loop around the campus. at At first it was simply away to help him get to know the lay of the land, but it had quickly become routine. He loved the quiet of the run, too. He was content and at peace. A smile began to form on Byron’s face and for the first time since being awakened he felt that his future could be happy.
A flash of blue light from the main building caught his attention in the distance. The flashes of light became more intense as he drew closer, he could hear the sound of breaking glass and a figure crashing to the ground. “Sprengja!” a voice shouted as bolts of blue light impacted a hastily erected shield of red light by covering the person on the ground. The shadows began to take shape as he got closer, ; it was two girls, and one of them was Beatrice. He quickened his pace as he saw her climb to her feet and with her attacker closing in. “Snara!” the attacker shouted and a band of light began to extend outward towards Beatrice as she ran. The light then slipping slipped around her body like a lasso, dragging her back toward the other girl.
Byron fiddled with the runic band around his wrist, lining up the keys to activating activate a dimensional pocket and plunging his hand into the null space disappearing from view. He withdrew a gladiolus style sword in his hand. The manna in his body flowed through his sword, making it ready for magic combat.
“Where is it?” the girl demanded from Beatrice, . “Who are you working for?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!?” she replied as the band of hardened light tightened around her.
“Where is the drive?” the girl demanded again, pulling her closer confident in her victory.
“I don’t have a drive or anything,” Beatrice repeated as she began beginning to struggle for air.
“ARRRRGAH!” Byron said screamed as his sword came crashing down on the magical tether, breaking it like glass, . the The sudden shock and feedback hitting its caster like a bolt of lightning, blowing her off her feet.
“Byron!” Beatrice shouted with relief.
“Are you okay? What’s going on?” he asked, confused yet bracing himself for an attack.
“She just came at me,” Beatrice said, “that strange girl, Frigga.”
For the first time Byron could see the girl in sprawled out on the ground in front of him, cuts and singe marks on her uniform, . She was the blonde-haired girl he had literally run into more than once, a girl he had begun to steer clear of.
“She said she wanted to kill me,” Beatrice’s said her voice wavering wavered as she wrappedwrapping her arms around himByron., “She said you were her long long-lost lover and she’d never let anyone else have you.”
“You’re okay, you’re safe now,” he saidreplied.
“I know, I’ve always been safe with you,” she said, resting her head on his shoulder, “and for coming to my rescue, I’ll have mercy on you, bliour sofa.”
The magic words whispered into his ear took immediate effect. and hHe slumped against her and she let him fall to the ground.
“I guess I’d better get going,” she said looking back at Frigga’s unconscious form still unconscious on the ground and seeing the shadows of school security racing across the open quad before running into through the darkness and the trees to the shore line and an awaiting speed boat, engine running and prepared to put as much distance between them and the island as possible as fast as possible.