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Young Writers Society
Double-Trouble Writing Huddle, The
The Tales of Life and Death
Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:20 am
The Tales of Life and Death
told by Soren Palmer and Nessie Minnow but it's actually written by
Nestled against the outskirts of the city lies the beautiful Ottawa's School for Mages, a cosy, private school for teenagers, for both beginning and experienced apprentices alike, where they live on campus for the durations of the semesters. OSM is a reputable, but high-demanding school, and has low acceptance rates.
Soren Palmer hates it before he even arrives there. An apprentice mage who presented his gift at an incredibly young age, Soren isn't one of the starry-eyed, newly presented mages who are more likely to set a bookshelf on fire then anything useful. He doesn't want to be at OSM anyway and it's not like he has destructive powers - he has
affinity - what good does another school piled on the mile long list of other schools he's been to do?
Nessie Minnows likes the school when she arrives. Her whole life was catered around being worried because everything she touched, died. Her powers were unstable and it destroyed the young mage both mentally and physically. And the Minnows tried to reassure their child that her powers were not that bad but instead had a good side to it. She only hoped that OSM would help with this curse.
Last edited by
on Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
There's a thin semantics line separating weird and beautiful. And that line is covered in jellyfish.
Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:01 pm
It only took one glance at the new school - Ottawa's School for Mages and wasn't
such a fancy name - for Soren to despise it. OSM was pretty, gorgeous actually. It was surrounded by greenery, and full of life and colour. The school itself was built with beautiful stone that gleamed silver in the sunlight but had the same rustic look of cobblestone of an older building. It was a place that, once upon a time, Soren would have loved to go to school at.
But he could see it for what it really was - it was the same prison that every other school for mages was. It was still a waste of his time and energy and ability. He scowled at it, as though if he glared at it hard enough, it would combust. But of course, he wasn't a destruction mage. He couldn't will fire from his fingertips, nor numb the world with a chilling breath. No. But it was a common misconception.
He turned his glare onto his hands as if they were somehow to blame for this misdemeanour.
"Please don't look so miserable, Soren." He turned his gaze to his mother, driving in the front seat. She was glancing at him through the rearview mirror, her expression full of concern with furrowed brows. She had wrinkles from that sort of concern. They all knew it was his fault, that he'd been the one to cause that. Soren turned back away to look out the window again and sank farther into his seat.
"Yeah, Soren. If you scowl like that all the time, it's going to stick on your face," Soren's older brother, Damon, turned to give him a look that was parts serious and mocking. "C'mon. It's not so bad. You have one more year, and you'll be golden."
Soren gave Damon a hard look. "And how many more schools will I get expelled from in that time?" he asked, wondering himself how sarcastic that statement actually was.
The car fell silent as they pulled up into the grand and, frankly, over-designed entrance to the school. There was a fountain in the middle of the roundabout, the kind you'd see in those movies that filmed at a mansion. Or a really pompous private school.
A weight rested in Soren's chest, and he swallowed around a lump in his throat. He wasn't going to get emotional, not by any chance but...he was exhausted. He didn't want to go to another school and get rinsed through the same cycle and dumped out again. Like Damon had said, he only had a year left. Why did he have to spend it spinning the same meaningless circle?
"The first week will be time for you to get adjusted to the campus. You'll be able to meet some of the other students and make some friends. Once you get inside, you just need to sign in, and they'll probably want to introduce you to your roommate-"
Soren sat up. "Roommate?"
The look exchanged between his mother and Damon didn't go unnoticed. "I mentioned that when we were looking at schools," his mother said cautiously, turning around her seat safely now that the car was parked.
Grey mist curled around Soren's arms and torso and he looked away, setting his jaw. He'd had roommates in the past. Those were some of the more difficult experiences Soren had gone through, of everything that had happened in all the schools he'd been subjected to.
He thought he remembered specifying absolutely no roommates, but Soren had also been numbly going through the application processes without giving much thought to what decisions were being made about his life.
Now, he wished he had either tried to put himself into the decisions as much as he could, or fought harder to get out of the whole school system.
"You're going to do fine, Soren." His mother's tone was an attempt at reassurance, but it fell flat to Soren's ears. He tapped incessantly against his duffel bag the rested against him, one arm slung around it.
"This was a mistake," Soren muttered, shoving open the door and getting out of the car. He dragged his duffel bag out with him and slung the strap over his head. "I won't say I told you so when you have to come pick me up in a week."
A warm energy hummed to life around Damon, and Soren felt his own magic curl tighter around him as if trying to shield him. "Instead of complaining about how all schools are the same, maybe you could try looking around you and realising that you're the one who isn't changing. It's not like you can't control your own personality."
Anger, hot like live wire coils, wrapped itself around Soren's chest and his tapping grew more persistent, now again his leg. He could feel little shudders coarse through his body as he grabbed the door and slammed it as hard as he could. Control that.
A hot flush rose to Soren's face as he grabbed a fistful of his duffel bag in one of his hands and held it like a lifeline. The other hand grasped the strap laying across his chest, digging his nails into the canvas between them and his palms hard enough to turn his knuckles white. Grey mist swirled around his hands, soothing the aches from how tight his muscles were wound.
He walked away from the car without waiting for his mother to call out to him, or for Damon to try to argue with him further. As much as Soren didn't want to go into the school, he especially didn't want to try to sort through his family's mixed feelings about him. So he marched away from the car without looking back or even stopping to offer a goodbye. Up the rustic stone staircase that had chips and cracks in it, and even some moss growing in patches.
Soren let his magic swirl around his mind, trying to block out some of the incorrigible buzzing in his ears. He paused only a moment at the grand, looming doors, considered turning back around for only a beat but dismissed it just as quickly, before he pushed them open and slipped inside.
There's a thin semantics line separating weird and beautiful. And that line is covered in jellyfish.
Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:22 pm
There weren't enough emotions in the dictionary to describe how Nessie felt when her parents told her about a new school - Ottawa's School for Mages, that could help with her horrible curse of a power. Her parents were very careful when telling her, worried that her reaction would range from shrill screaming or intense sobbing. But instead, Nessie, when explained the school and what it was, sat at the dinner table. Inside was a wave of emotions, ranging from frantic monologuing to calm reassurances.
"So, how does that sound, pumpkin?" Her father calmly asked afterward.
Nessie took a deep breath, calming all of her nerves and responded, "it sounds perfect."
She then spent the rest of the day packing, fretting over what clothes to bring or what friends she might make. Nessie remembered that there were roommates at the campus and began to think about how nice and sweet her roommate might be. They could do makeup, practice spells, and stay up all night long. As she began to think harder, a dark thought washed over: what if she accidentally touched them? Her powers, the embodiment of killing off, was a curse from the start. As a child, Nessie had a pet dog and one evening, she went to pick up the dog, the poor thing died. The parents quickly dismissed it as the dog being sick when they just got the dog from a farmer up the street. That moment continued to play inside of Nessie's head as the years went on and locked herself in her room, refusing to make friends or anything of the nature.
Nessie continued packing, shaking these dark thoughts way. Her mother was kind enough to help as the day came a close. Tomorrow they would be heading to the school. Tomorrow she will meet new people and leave her family. Tomorrow will be the day she will finally feel like herself as someone who isn't afraid of their powers. That night, Nessie couldn't sleep. Her nerves were shot and all the time spent in bed was staring at a stain on the ceiling. Her parents were downstairs discussing important things about the school and finance stuff. Money was always tight with the family. The farm wasn't a huge part of income and stressed out the family more than anything. Nessie's parents had magical abilities too, but they were far better than her own.
She finally fell asleep and the next morning, woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed. Her parents were still snoring in their bedroom. Nessie decided to then make a 'thank you for deciding to take me to this school' breakfast. She could cook fairly well and quickly got to work. The first of her parents to wake up was her mother, who smelled sizzling bacon on the stovetop. She then went into the kitchen and smiled sheepishly.
"Good morning, Nessie."
Nessie, while flipping some scrambled eggs, replied, "good morning!"
Her mother took over the rest while Nessie went and changed. When she was done dressing, Nessie headed downstairs to see that her father was now awake and stuffing down on pancakes and coffee. Nessie quickly joined the table, stacking on pancakes, bacon, eggs, and french toast. Breakfast went by silently and fast as Nessie realized they would be leaving for OSM today.
Her nerves from last night started up again. A thousand different thoughts raced through her head. Her mother, sitting across the table, noticed a sad frown on her daughter.
Nessie sighed. "Yeah, just first day jitters is all." She then smiled, pushing her chair back. "We should get this show on the road before dad decides to sleep again."
They all cramped inside of her father's small blue Beetle. Sometimes as a child, Nessie would imagine the Beetle turning into a carriage complete with horses, and then take her to the ball. The imaginative scene would then crumple as everyone inside would die and the carriage would turn back into the Beetle. Nessie spent most of the time, staring out the window with her chin in her hand. Her parents were in the front, talking about directions and what they were going to do while Nessie was away. There was a slight guilt feeling that lay in her chest and it kind of ate away at her, but it didn't grow.
They arrived at the school. It was towering over the car and Nessie felt a slight tug of discomfort at her heart. She shook it away when the car parked. Carefully, she opened the door and stepped out. Her parents followed after and went to the trunk, grabbing Nessie's belongings. Curiosity grabbed her attention as Nessie began to walk towards the front doors. To the side of her, there were more students arriving in tiny cars. They were here to learn too. Maybe one of them would be her friend. Laughing thoughtfully, she stopped on the stairs. Her dad was closing the trunk and called out for her once. But Nesse didn't come the first time because she was in her own world with different imaginative possibilities ranging from having a favorite teacher to possibly meeting her soulmate.
"Nessie!" Her father called out for the second time. Nessie blinked and took a deep breath.
"Coming!" She then ran down the steps and headed to the small blue Bug. Her father and mother smiled brightly at their daughter.
"We're going to miss you," her mother cooed, kissing her forehead. Nessie smiled brightly.
"Be a good kid. Don't cause too much trouble," her father warned, shaking a finger in front of her face. Nessie laughed and sighed, "I won't cause a lot of trouble, believe me. If I touch trouble, it'll die before it gets to class."
She then said her goodbyes to her parents and turned around. Taking a deep breath, Nessie and her baggage went into the school. Nervousness raced through her veins and she skipped up the stairs. She took one last at her parents and waved before pushing through the school doors, entering what would be the best and worse days of her life.
Shaniac starter kit: you must be fond of wind, squeaky shoes, and moldy bread.
You're like the Flash but in reading - @scribbleinks
The hardest thing about growing up is the ground.
Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:02 am
The moment Soren entered the school, he found it much quieter than he was expecting. There weren't many people in the front lobby - actually there was only one - which stretched into a high, domed ceiling that formed into a circular room. It made it look like it was styled after some sort of astronomy tower. And Soren had seen a lot of astronomy towers.
The ceiling swirled above him, a midnight blue, and Soren was pretty sure he could see little stars illusioned onto it.
He couldn't help but note - and feel a little jealous - that whoever was projecting them must be able to keep a small, coordinated stream of magic to keep them there.
In the distance, Soren could faintly hear the drone of voices and the soft drumming of a gathering of people all shuffling around.
Sitting against the far wall, a girl with soft brown hair pulled back into a ponytail was tapping rhythmically to music Soren couldn't hear, surrounded by piles of books. She looked up, whether she heard him, just happened to look up, or had used her own magic to detect him coming in. Regardless, she straightened and beamed at him.
"You must be one of the new apprentices!" she chirped as Soren approached her. A cool, soothing mist ran through his chest, but it didn't stop the heavy weight there. He couldn't heal emotions.
He shoved his hands into the pockets of his hoodie. It wasn't the sort of appearance many thought of when the term 'mage' or 'apprentice' came to mind, but Soren didn't care. "What else would I be?"
She doesn't seem fazed by his grumbling, instead, she simply waved her hand. A sheet of paper floated over from one of the stacks on books and came to rest in her lap, a pen coming in quick succession for her fingers to curl around. "I'll need your name, and I'll give you your schedule and room number, and I can answer any questions you have."
Soren doubted he's going to need to know anything about OSM- he wasn't going to be here long anyway. "Soren Palmer," he said under his breath, a swarm of butterflies fluttering in his stomach.
Now she paused and gave him a more scrutinizing one over before clearing her throat. "Mr. Palmer," she said neutrally, turning down to her list and carefully examining the list. Soren grit his teeth, knowing full well that he wouldn't be
if she wasn't afraid of him.
He wondered what kind of things she'd heard about him.
The room fell into a tense silence. His pale smoky magic swirled around his hands and haloed around his head. He noticed the girl sending him quick, nervous glances as it curled around him.
"Here." She handed him three sheets of parchment. "One of those is your schedule, one is your information for your living quarters, and the last is a map and a few basic guidelines here at OSM. Is there anything else you need?"
He took the paper, but Soren can't help the sinking in his gut. He grit his teeth, feeling a mixture of guilt and anger. It wasn't her fault that her voice strained and she audibly paused before asking him if he needed help, but at the same time, it
The silence spoke everything Soren couldn't say without the same harshness, and the girl ducked her head. "Have a good time here."
Soren turned out of the room, ignoring the way the fake candle wall scones flickered as he walked past.
The dome room, or the entrance room, leads down a long hallway that had dark, rich wood paneling on the walls. Soren loathed admitting that it was comforting, because he was used to the bright, cheerful colors or industrial white or grey of most other schools, when it was the darkness that made him feel secure.
His silver haze danced in the air, swirling around Soren, but venturing away from him to surround the lights and the paintings on the wall. Sometimes, Soren was pretty sure his abilities had more joy than he did, but he didn't recall it back.
He quickly came across a text blazed into the air, with swirling letters that read
Student Icebreaker In the Ballroom!
with an arrow showing the way. Soren wanted nothing more than to ignore the sign and go to his dorm and take a nap. He knew he wouldn't be able to keep himself cool, and he wanted to, at the absolute least, avoid an explosion the first day.
So he kept walking down the hall, gripping the map in his hand and projecting the image to his mind. Unfortunately, the hall he was in lead past the ballroom - and honestly, what did a school for crazy kids with magic need a ballroom for, glitter prom? - to get to the dorms.
And it proved to be his downfall. There was an older mage standing outside the ballroom as if waiting for any students who tried to sneak past him. Soren could just tell by the way he held himself that he was one of the mentors.
He scowled as the man smiled warmly at him, tightening his grip on the map in his hand. The parchment crinkled underneath his fingers, crackling just like the tension in the air around them.
"It's Soren, right?" the mentor asked, leaning against the wall with a relaxation that Soren couldn't begin to comprehend.
"How do you know my name?" Soren demanded, although he could think of several different ways and knew that asking was pointless anyway. "Forget it. Is this whole little 'meet and greet' necessary?"
The senior mage smiled and nodded inside. "It's a good way to get to know the people you'll be spending time around the rest of the year. We like to keep a friendly atmosphere around here, keep all the bad vibes away, yeah? You don't have to stay for long, but at least introduce yourself. Maybe you could find your roommate." His smile widened. "I'm Professor Elwood, but please, call me Lester."
Soren bit his tongue and looked away from Lester. Noise buzzed in his ears, and his whole body felt hot. "If you prefer a friendly atmosphere, why'd you accept me?" he grumbled bitterly under his breath.
That seemed to catch Lester's tongue for a moment, and Soren used the opportunity to brush stiffly past him into the ballroom. He didn't want to get into an argument with a teacher within his first ten minutes - though it wouldn't be a first - and figured that, at the very least, he could go in and hide out until there was an opportunity to slip away.
As he entered the ballroom, he couldn't help as his pace subdued. It was a cavernous room, with glittering gold lights strung up like burning stars. The walls were covered in silver and gold tapestries that glistened under the light, and honestly, Soren would be surprised if they weren't enchanted.
There were huge glass windows that let light stream into the room, and Soren could only imagine what it must look like at night, with a crystal clear view of the inky sky, filled with stars and the moon.
His nerves buzzed like live wires and his gut wriggled in his stomach. Soren could imagine anywhere else and he'd rather be there than in a room full of people, just waiting to tip him over the edge.
He thought about what Professor Elwood had said, what his mother had said, about him having a roommate. He stuffed the crumpled up map into his pocket and pulled out his dorm information instead.
had been written in elegant, swooping letters.
Jeez. Was she named after the Loch Ness Monster or something? What a name.
Soren swallowed the contempt he already held towards this Nessie Minnows. But he knew that it was just to mask the taste of guilt. She didn't deserve to be saddled with him.
"What the hell is going on with your magic, man?"
Soren's head snapped up to two other apprentices approaching. The one in the lead was a boy who was a couple inches taller than him, while the other was a girl who was a couple inches shorter. The taller one had mussed black hair that matched his dark eyes, and the girl had hair the color of fire. Soren squinted. It might've actually been on fire.
He looked down at himself and then above his head, and found that a silver fog had covered his body protectively. Soren crossed his arms over his chest, still gripping the paper. His hands were shaking.
"None of your business," he snapped, hunching his shoulders. He knew it was probably curiosity, not a random accusation about why his magic was so...noticeable. It was uncommon. Of course, one more thing to add to the disaster of Soren Palmer.
"Easy, smog boy. It's just weird, that's all," the girl said, shrugging nonchalantly. "I'm Kirsten, that's Raoul."
"Smog boy," Raoul snorted. "Better yet, what about Smaug? Like the dragon? It'd be funnier if you had fire affinities. Do you have fire affinities?"
Soren looked down at the ground, heart palpitating in his chest. He dug his teeth into his cheek now to keep himself from saying anything, deciding the best course of action would be to swallow his words altogether.
"I think you broke him," Kirsten teased, elbowing Raoul in the ribs. She tilted her head, and it was a second too late that Soren realized she was reading his dorm information sheet. "Soren Palm..." her voice trailed off, and Soren dared to look up to see the carefully composed, blank expression she wore.
Kirsten and Raoul exchanged a quick glance, but Soren didn't have to do more than guess to know they were already nervous. Of him. Because they had heard about him and how crazy he was.
"Yeah? So?" he ground out, his tone like nails on a chalkboard. It was the closest thing to nice he'd manage and he knew it. His chest was heavy, and his skin hot and prickly. He wanted to leave. Now. "Are you going to finish that, or repeat it louder this time so everyone knows the monsters come out from under the bed?"
He bit his cheek the second his mouth is closed and the taste of copper immediately filled his mouth. A cooling sensation filled his mouth a moment later to mend the wound.
"Hey, back off of her," Raoul said with narrowed eyes. "She didn't do anything. Relax."
Soren hated that word. People threw it around so casually all the time like it was a ball that another person could just catch. Soren couldn't just
, not when it felt like there was a fire in his throat.
"Why don't we see how well you can relax when you burn alive." And of course, he had to say it too, and make it sound like a
. What a cherry on the top of everything that could go wrong tonight. Although Soren doubted that it was the worst it could get.
He bit the other side of his cheek, and this time when the skin bonded back together, it prickled, as though his magic was exasperated.
Kirsten and Raoul took a step away from him, and even some of the other apprentices stopped talking around them to turn and watch. Kirsten glared at him through narrowed eyes. "Maybe the monster did come out from under the bed," she said.
The tiny part of his brain that had actual logic told Soren that she was just scared. It wasn't as though he had made any sort of positive impression.
But the rest of his mind boils, red and churning, and Soren's gaze is filled with grey mist. "Stay the hell away from me," Soren snarled. He knew he spoke, but it didn't register to him until he was back in the hall, brushing past Professor Elwood who stood up straight and called after him.
It didn't fully register until he was making his way towards where the dorms are, the map scalded on the front of his mind again, and he could feel the way his face was flushed enough to feel like a fresh sunburn.
The whole thing was a mistake, just as Soren had predicted.
There's a thin semantics line separating weird and beautiful. And that line is covered in jellyfish.
Sometimes I'm terrified of my heart; of its constant hunger for whatever it is it wants. The way it stops and starts.
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