Chapter One - A Keep Her Own
Lightning sighed, blowing back a lock of curly hair from her face. Absently, she tapped the eraser end of a pencil on the notepad in front of her, a few notes cleanly and neatly jotted down. Normally, the young magi would pay rapt attention to a lecture from Thane, but today, her thoughts were elsewhere.
She glanced up as Thane took a break from his lecture on flying spells, sure he was about to chew her out, but he simply took a sip of water from a nearby glass, set aside for this purpose.
Lightning glanced back down at her notebook, flipping to a new page. She felt like doodling, and was sure she could get any notes she'd miss from her friend, Mathew. He always paid attention to Thane. Pressing the sharp tip of her pencil against the paper, an intricate drawing flowed from it.
She refrained from sighing again as she realized what she'd drawn - a keep. And not just any keep, but the one she would shortly be moving to, one that had been in her family for generations. It was replicated from one of the few memories she had of the place, of being held in front of her mother on a pegasus as they returned to the keep after visiting Synara City.
It wasn't a large keep, but it was beautiful. It had been crafted from a gleaming white stone shot through with golden veins, shaped and fit together by magic. The thick walls kept the heat at bay during the summer, and trapped it in the winter. Four gracefull towers were at each of the corners on the rectangular keep, and another, much taller tower soared from the center of the keep, where she and her parents had lived.
Lightning rubbed her eyes tiredly, trying to remember her parents. Her mother, she knew, looked much like her - small and slender, but with killer curves, long, curly brown hair, and large blue eyes. Her father had been taller, tan, with black hair and chocolate brown eyes.
And both had died on a horrific shipwreck.
The plan had been for a young Lightning, only five years old at the time, to stay at the Keep, watched over by Thane, whom had been a good friend of her father's, while they went to seek out some new companions from the Callisto Islands.
Word had reached them several days later that driftwood had washed up on a beach at the Callisto Islands, one of the longer boards bearing the name Golden Dawn, the name of the ship her parents had been on. No one reported any sign of them, and everyone suspected that their bodies had been dragged down to the bottom of the sea.
It had been a great tragedy, not just for Lightning, but for several other young magi as well. Mathew, one of her closest friends, had lost his mother, and Halisa, another young magi in their class, had lost her sister.
Lightning shook her head, feeling slightly dizzy. It's no use dwelling on the past, she told herself sternly, and jumped as a bell tolled lightly. It was the signal that the last class of the day was over, and the students were free to enjoy their weekend however they pleased.
She flipped her notebook closed and shoved it and the pencil into her bag. Halisa, behind her, shook her head ruefully, long auburn hair swinging around her shoulders.
"It's a wonder you find anything in there," the earth magi teased, a smile playing around her lips.
Mathew rolled his dark eyes. "You should be talking, Halisa! The only time I ever got the nerve to sneak out to the girl's dormitory, and it was your pigsty I was stuck in."
Lightning giggled. "Guys, come on. You want to see Rayven's Keep with me?"
The two of them glanced at her, then back at each other, eyes wide in identical surprise. "Of course!" Halisa chimed as Mathew said, "Definitely!"
Lightning smiled. "Great! Then you can help me pack."