Lady Gwillyn's Academy of Elemental Magic: Paradise or Hell?

(Hey, just transferring LGA to here~)

Corrym Leila O'Linn isn't your average fourteen-your-old girl. In fact, she's not even fourteen-- she's four hundred. And she's not just a girl. Corrym is a Lost One, a Hidden One, a "Sharuu'teyaar"-- better known as an Elemental. What kind, exactly (fire, earth, water, air, darkness, arcane, light, or time-space), no one's sure. But one thing's for certain: Corrym isn't just Unspecified-- she's dangerous!

Chapter 44

Joining Forces

by: _Haunted_
What follows is the longest class of my life.
I jump at each sound, blood still rushing in my ears as I grip my feather pen, and stare down at the parchment on my desk.
Shred lurks in the corner, periodically casting suspicious glances at Mathias, who ignores him and slowly copies down the notes on the board. With only Shred, Mathias, his group, and I in the room -- in the way of students, that is -- the class feels eerily empty.
Tense, fearful thoughts crowd in my mind, each clamoring for attention.
All of your friends are in danger.
Chewing my lip, I take a long, deep breath. What's happened to them? Pyron, Rana and Zana?
The bay to the west of the academy -- don't go there.
Why? What the hell is in the bay?
"The N. A. T. and I will take care of it."
I swallow a glob of spit, cold creeping up my spine, and sneak a glance at Mathias as well. The N.A.T. -- his group? Briefly, his eyes meet mine, then he looks away once more and sets his pen down.
I grit my teeth. I'm not going to sit back and allow more of us walk right into danger -- even if they are creepy, strange, and in Mathias' case, obnoxious.
I close my eyes tightly, a deep ache beginning in my head.
Save them, Corrym, Ardora murmurs, her voice soft and echoing. But be wary... be on your guard.
At the front of the room, Ms. Okunai sits in silence behind her desk, still focused on her textbook. A fog of unease hangs heavy in the air, and each breath I take feels like yet another step toward something truly terrible.
A hand brushes against my side.
I barely contain a shriek, heart thudding madly, and turn to stare at Shred. Leaning over the desk next to him, he nudges a folded-up bit of paper into my hand. Briefly, I stare down at it, then unfold it in my lap.
In rushed, jumbled writing, it reads, 5 minutes from now, ask to use the bathroom. Meet me outside healing ward. I look back up at Shred, my hand shaking slightly now, but without a word, he stands and slinks out. Ms Okunai tsk-tsks under her breath and glares disapprovingly at his retreating back. A pang goes through my chest as I realize that she doesn't actually care -- none of the teachers would.
I bite my lip again, shivering; from cold or otherwise, I don't know.

***

Five minutes have passed. Wordlessly, I rise from my seat and wordlessly step out, ignoring Ms. Okunai's exasperated sigh. After glancing over my shoulder at Mathias, I stare down at the now-crumpled note in my hand.
Meet me outside healing ward.
Chewing my lip again, I turn and swiftly make my way toward the ward, my mind once again buzzing with jittery, anxious thoughts. Save them, Corrym. I hear Ardora's words again, and quicken my pace until I'm nearly running toward where I will meet up with Shred. Shivering again, I force myself not to look over my shoulder -- sorrow, despair, thickens the air around me so that, if I close my eyes, I can imagine for a moment that I'm racing through the swamps of the deep south.
It's catching up to me. And at the same time, it lurks ahead.
Steeling myself toward it, I walk straight ahead, and as I round the corner, I'm at once relieved to see a familiar swirling shadow in the corner. Shred looks up quickly, then steps forward to wrap his arm around mine. Despite the situation, I pull him close, feeling redness and heat creep across my cheeks.
His hand tightens around mine.
Without thinking, I stand on my toes and touch my nose to his.
"It's going to be alright," I murmur, suddenly aware of how much I sound like Ardora -- soft, low voice, rumbling slightly, like embers that fade but never quite die. After a moment's awkward hesitation, I bring his hand up to rest near my heart, which calms the bubbling nervousness within me... just slightly.
I don't know how long we stand like this -- me holding his thin, pale hand above my chest, him leaning against me with eyes closed.
Neither of notice the four pairs of footsteps that rapidly draw closer -- but his eyes snap open and I hastily push him back as voices reach our ears. I recognize Mathias' voice, bright and easygoing, with that distinctive accent I now know is Danish. The others, however, are unfamiliar -- two are strong and smooth, with syllables dropped from most words, while the other is softer and more serious.
I quickly smooth my hair down, hoping that my face isn't as red as it feels, while Shred straightens his jacket collar.
The four black-cloaked darkness elementals step around the corner a moment later, each clutching a faded leather tome and a short dagger -- the latter of which look to be made of bone. Mathias's gaze flicks briefly to Shred, who glares back and crosses his arms. I step between the two, though the gesture isn't needed; Mathias is grinning again, tucking his own dagger into the pocket on the front of his cloak.
The other three form a row behind him, shoulder-to-shoulder, and keep their faces hidden beneath their hoods.
"Corrym," he begins, stepping toward me and mostly ignoring Shred. "I'd like you to meet Alrik, Hallmar, and Olin -- from Sweden and Norway, respectively. They're all quite skilled in our art."
He glances over his shoulder and nods slightly, at which each boy -- or, rather, young man -- pulls his hood down. Shred rolls his eyes, but for a long moment, I just stare at them.
Alrik and Hallmar, both with slicked-black, pale blond hair and eyes blue as the summer sky, are obviously brothers. The resemblance is undeniable -- tall and well-muscled, each of them -- though the first of the two appears about a year older and has a short, broad scar stretching across the bridge of his nose.
Olin, shorter and slimmer, has an air of sarcastic wit about him. His eyes, behind thin black glasses, are a story grayish-blue and shine with an unusual intelligence.
He gazes back at me, then pushes his glasses up his nose -- a habit, I'm assuming.
Next to me, Shred mutters various profanities, stepping back slightly.
"Together," the three say in unison, lowering their heads, "We are the N.A.T., Necromancers Against Tyranny. Our leader, Mathias, has informed us of a treacherous plot to destroy the elementals who make this Academy a strong, stable, and honest place. We will use our power and the art of necromancy to serve you, Aquaflame Corrym, and your allies to the utmost."
I say nothing, stunned into silence, and remain standing in front of Shred. Mathias, still grinning, bows slightly before us both. Shred scoffs and turns away.
However, I reach forward and grip Mathias's shoulders -- probably tighter than I should. I stare at the ground, then look back up, firmly meeting his gaze.
"Alright," I say clearly. "Mathias, tell us what's going to happen."

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