Dusk gave a quick look towards her twin who just shrugged. There was nothing Dawn could do about this, and there was nothing that she would do about it. Dusk knew how Dawn was. She was always saying that they go out and do more things outside of the comfort of the castle gates. Dusk on the other hand couldn’t have cared less about the outside world. She was perfectly comfortable in the sanctuary of her father’s military arsenal, the guards’ barracks, and the sword room. It was why her father gave her the title of her sister’s protector. Since Dawn was the firstborn, she would be the queen when she married, and every queen needed a guardian, a title that Dusk happily accepted.
Snarling, she flipped the folder shut then crossed her arms. Vincent and she gave one another measuring looks, each studying the other’s strengths and weaknesses. Just from the look he was giving her, Dusk knew that there were no changing classes this semester not even this year. It wasn’t as if she didn’t like her classes. It was just the simple fact that Dusk had no clue in this realm or the next one over what she was going to do with anything like Defensive Structure.
Being a princess, she was suspected to wear dresses like her sister, act civil like her sister, and be more educated like her sister. Back when she lived in the castle, those weren’t the three tiers of royalty that her father taught her. Back when she lived in the castle, her father would frequently sneak her out of Mrs. Giada’s private lessons class to take her to the barracks or on long journeys in war laden territories.
After a short silence, Vincent mentioned, “In your folder is the key to your dorm room. You will be in the central located clock tower’s western wing, and your room will be beside your sister’s.” Breaking his statement was the sound of thundering feet then a winded girl ran straight through the door, her body completely coming through it like she was a materializing ghost.
Man, I wish I could do that, Dusk thought as the very gothic looking female held her silver ringed hand up in the air. She panted, “Abigail Whiteraven at your—service, Dean. Is this my—new—roommate?” Her bright crimson and heavily black lined eye glanced in Dusk’s direction, and she gave Dusk a pierced smile along with a leather covered hand.
Snickering, the female took it. “So, is it room 529?” Dusk asked to the pale and strangely beautiful girl grinning at her.
“Sure is, partner. Smack dab in the middle of the Pretties in Pink and the Maidens of Trinity. I like to call it cellblock 529. Call me Abby, new kid.”
Vincent looked to two women over as Abigail threw a tattooed arm across Dusk’s shoulders. “Well, I’d say that’s that,” he concluded. “Abby and Bara, please show the princesses to their rooms. Dusk and Dawn, don’t be shy to ask any of the authority for advice. My door is always open.” He glanced at Abigail. “Whether you run through it or not.”
The girls, Regina, Amaury, and Kaine all nodded at the indirect dismissal then made their way in a line out of the door. Right after Kaine faded into a misty substance that dissipated through the open hallway window, Amaury called, “I’ll meet you outside the clock tower and show you the classes tomorrow. Ours run on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from gloaming to midnight.” With that, he fell back with his arms straight out on either side of him and began to descend down the side of the tower that made up the central authority building.
Dawn gave her sister a wink once Amaury’s falling body was gone from sight. Sticking her tongue out, Dusk groaned, “Oh, whatever, Dawn. Don’t even try to play matchmaker.”
Butting in, Abigail cried, “You have got to think he’s hot. Amaury Bane is one of the coolest and strongest guys here. Heck. I’ve got a boyfriend, and I still wouldn’t mind having him come to my castle beheading dragons.”
A pale rose blush topped Dusk’s skin as she attempted to free herself of blood red faced Bara, winking Dawn, and instigating Abigail. “Yeah, whatever, I don’t have time for that kind of stuff. I have some parental deaths that I need to avenge first,” she evaded in an attempt to get them off of her case.
Abigail quieted after that, and Dawn cast her gaze the other way. If anything was going to be a social silencer, it was definitely the princesses’ parents’ deaths. Still, Dusk had already done enough mourning for today. There was no way she was going to crawl into some new bed with their death on her mind.
As much as she didn’t want to be here, Dusk was no idiot. She knew what knowledge this place could give her, and she knew that her basic fighting skills would be no match for the people that killed her parents. If there was a way to avenge them, she would do it or go down fighting.
Once the fresh night air ran its cool fingers through Dusk’s hair, she looked forward unto the stone pathway that arched and swayed to create the many pathways that were Bloodmist Academy. Everything here was some form of stone. The buildings, the walkways, even the signs, they were all carved. This place was Ilaria Cross’s baby.
Dusk and Dawn’s mother had been a scholar and had been the student of Mrs. Giada’s, which was no coincidence as to why she was their tutor before she also died in the burning of Castle Trinity. It had been Ilaria’s idea back when Daxton took power to design a college that would house the two mighty countries of Trinity and Nyx with the territories of Faelian. She wanted the wars to cease between the three countries. She believed that those who learned together grew together. It had worked until the castle burned down. Gazing upon the stones that her mother had strategically made by her own architectural design, Dusk could see the pride that her mother had felt after the creation of this majestic academy. This was Dawn’s territory, and Dusk was lucky enough that Queen Ilaria respected soldiers enough to give them a home here.
Causing Dusk’s thoughts to burst into thin air was the sound of Bara’s sweet, melodic voice. “Always check these signs. See? The tricolored one points to the Trinity House. The black and white one points to the Faelian House. The elements colored one points to the Nyx House. Always be sure to stay on your path during the full moon. If you accidentally wander to one of the other houses during the full moon, they might not be as forgiving if you were to stumble around there any other time. Emotions run high here during that time with the wolves’ changing uncontrollably, the witches’ powers growing stronger, and the vampires’ getting stronger.” The small female held her waving hair out of her eyes as a gust of wind attempted to blow it in her face, and she yipped when a warlock appeared out of the air.
“Ozzie!” Abigail exclaimed then flung her arms around an equally as pierced and tattooed male who just wrapped a single arm around her, keeping his other hand in his pocket. “I never thought that you’d show up!”
“And miss the grand entrance of the twins of Trinity?” He outstretched his tattooed hand to Dawn who brazenly took it without hesitation despite the many chains, threating runes, and spikes that decorated him. “My name is Osiris Lamia. I am the patron saint of the Nyx House and would like to extend my upmost kindest greetings to the most influential characters to ever set foot in this great stone haven we have aptly named Bloodmist Academy.” He extended his hand to Dawn who shyly took it in an uncomfortable and loose grasp. Holding back a grin at her reluctance, Osiris waved his hand as a tattoo on it glowed. The winds rose up around him and the rest of the group until they were hovered a few feet off of the ground. “I really do hate walking.” He turned towards Bara who was so pale it looked as if she was a reverse vampire. “Now, now. Carry on with your little tour. I will only be providing you all with transportation. Courtesy of House Nyx, of course.”
She stammered, “Ah—of-of course, Osiris.”
“Call me Ozzie, love.”
She gulped. “As I was saying, the full moon is a dangerous time around here, and all of the guards are on duty whenever it comes around. With this realm having two moons, one real and one a gift from King Ezra of Eternity saying that he approved of his second-in-command working of this establishment, we have a full moon every two weeks.”
“May I cut in, dear?” Ozzie asked as he held up one, long tattooed finger. When she paled further and nodded rigidly, he added, “King Ezra of Eternity created that moon by collecting a large mass of white rocks that he then had compacted by ogres, orcs, earth sorcerers and giants. It was by Queen Raella Cross’s—no relation to you girls—design that he did so. If one was to have the power to open such a great mass, it would send Armageddon hurdling down upon the realms and all would cease to exist.” When Bara stared at him appalled, he simply said, “Fun fact for the night. Anyhow, where shall I direct this cloud next, love?”
Abigail turned towards whom Dusk and Dawn were beginning to believe was her warlock boyfriend and requested, “Can we take them to the pier? Show them where we all go swimming. I’m sure that some of the Faelians, Nyxens, and Trininites will be happy to see the new girls.” Remembering that Bara was supposed to be the guide of this tour, she added, “Only if that is okay with, Bara.”
The white headed, petite female nodded with her lips so flat that they were like an unregistered heartbeat at the hospital. Her little heart was pounding so loudly in her chest, and Dawn held her icy hand to bring some color back into her body. It was obvious that Abigail’s boyfriend was a little less that welcome in Bara’s eyes.
With a gentle wave of Ozzie’s hand the wind enclosed them like the inside of an invisible tornado, and they were thrust gently forward across the pathway of the school. Taking over Bara’s tour guide service was Ozzie as he stated, “That large clock tower with the golden archways is your dormitory. On the western wing are the girl’s dorms, and on the eastern wing are the boy’s dorms. That grand masterpiece was inspired to represent the strength of time against all of us immortals. It is also notorious for male’s sneaking into the female’s dorms and midday partying while the headmasters and guards are asleep.”
Dawn gazed up in awe at the great expanse of gold and crimson stones that made up the grand clock tower. Her green eyes twinkled in the darkness like an animal’s as the light reflected off of them. The clock tower was a beautiful creation. Blocks of crimson brick lined each arching window. Dead center of the massive building was hundreds of long windows that met and grew to form a spire’s tall peak. From there the majestic clock hung proudly in its several foot radius.
“Looks like something Mom would make. Doesn’t it?” Dusk asked as she watched her sister gaze in adoration at the beautiful campus bestowed upon them. It did though. Each brick that was laid upon the massive campus represented their mother in such a way that only the twins could appreciate. Daxton had ruled their kingdom as a single man for two hundred years before Ilaria showed up, and in the short expanse of time that they had spent together, the two had devised such a beautiful haven for scholars.
Strange. Dusk had never had an appreciation for learning back at the castle, but here… something about it just seemed different. It was probably because of the strange draw that this place was suddenly giving her. It was like their mother was watching over them here, and that she would never let anything bad happen to them here. For once, she felt safe.
Grinning, she looked towards the pier that continued to come closer and closer to them. The sounds of splashing and laughter carried through the stones, and the clouds of wind beneath their feet dissipated as they were lowered to the ground. “Welcome, Dusk and Dawn, to Pier Ema. This is the Trinity pier. The Aderfos and Aderfi Ema groups come here to host social parties and sometimes to incorporate new members into their groups. When it’s not being used for that, you can usually find friends from each house swimming.”
Abigail ran towards the pier and leapt against the damp body of some massive, muscular male. “Everybody, I would like for you to meet the Faelian House’s most popular jock, Zev Lycan. He is their best hockey player and best full contact martial artist.” She patted the tanned male on his massive chest. “He’s also one of the biggest teddy bears around here.”
With a snicker the giant shook his mane of russet hair, spraying Abby with a mist of the crystal clear water that he had just leaped out of. “Don’t give out my secrets so willingly, Gail,” he stated with a foreign accent the twins had never heard before. “So, you must be the wily one that my brother was makin’ fun of with yer squabble with that vampire fella? Pleasure to meet ya, miss.”
Dusk nodded and introduced, “This is my twin sister Dawn. It’s also a pleasure.”
“Zev here is probably the least judgmental of all of the lycans. He’s for sure the only one that can say that he has just as many friends with the vampires and witches as he does the wolves.” She gave him an absolutely adoring look as he returned it with the same enthusiasm. “He’s the only one who accepted me right off the bat. A true southern gentleman of Tennessee.”
“You ladies feel free to ask me and Gail if ya’ll need help with anythin’. We’re always around somewhere.” His head cocked to the side, and he whipped around to snag a rock that had been flying towards the back of his head. “And, let me introduce my pack mates. Forest, Ember, and River. Forest and Ember play against me on the hockey team, and River is the only guy to ever tie with me in martial arts.”
Three half naked males looked towards the group, and Dusk watched her sister’s face redden when one stood up, revealing a six pack and thighs that someone could bounce a quarter off of. “Just to clarify,” a blonde warlock said as he tossed a towel around his neck, “I’m Ember.” His fingers snapped, and a rune lit up on the back of his hand as flames flicked away from his hands. His long hand reached out towards blushing Dawn, and she took it in a nervous grasp. “It’s a pleasure to meet a princess as beautiful as you, Ms. Dawn.” His strange, black eyes glanced towards Dusk. “The same to you, Ms. Dusk.”
“The pleasure is mine, Mr. Ember. I would assume that you were a fire warlock?” Dawn wondered as she slipped her hand away from the male. The warm sensation that was left in the center of her palm assured her that he was, but with a warlock that was always a conversation starter.
“Yes, Princess, and I would assume that the two of you are Draco vampires on a tour of the campus.” At her nod he grinned. “I would love to take you on a tour of Nyx, but that will have to be saved for the next game. Speaking of, we all need to get to practice before Coach comes down here and makes us practice in our shorts like last time.” His steady gaze landed on Forest who pulled himself up on the pier to pick up his towel. “Have a good night, Ms. Dawn.” His hand gingerly slipped up Dawn’s and he pressed his smooth lips against her pale hand.
River pulled himself up on the pier and tossed his soaked black hair away from his eyes. “So, you’re his next victim,” he pointed out before joining the group. “The name’s River. I’m a part of the fifty percent that calls their selves werewolves in the territory of Faelian. Zev is my blood brother.”
“Nice to meet you, River.” Dawn bowed her head politely, and when River’s gaze slipped to Dusk who was staring off into the distance, she only gave him a nonchalant shrug.
“So the rumors are true. The two of you really are like night and day,” Osiris cut in, breaking up the greetings with his observant nature. Bara and Dawn both jumped at the sudden sound of his voice then his appearance in front of them. “I wonder how many more of the rumors will become truth with your appearances,” he said more to himself than anyone else. “I have things that I need to research. Have a good day, princesses.” With a bow the tattooed male went up with the wind then faded into nothing.
Turning towards everyone, Bara said, “It is getting early. We should all head in before the sun comes up. I’m almost immune to it, but that’s not the same for you Dracos. Abby, if you want to stay out just make sure that you come in before daylight.”
It wasn’t the sound of Abigail singing in the shower nor the cacophony of the warlock band called Death Grip permeating through the walls of the bathroom that had Dusk’s big, emerald eyes breaking free of their slumbering chains, it was the sight of Osiris hovering over her bed. Swirling purple eyes met with bright emerald, and she had to hold back a scream when his shimmering ivory teeth flashed upwards in a lip pierced grin. “So,” he analyzed, “this is what a princess of Trinity looks like first thing in the morning.” His feet moved him further along the ceiling until he was standing on the wall, his face mere inches from Dusk’s. A sweet, wintery scent bathed Dusk’s face as Osiris opened his peppermint scented mouth, and he added, “How very… typical. Interesting.”
Irritated, Dusk reared her hand back to punch him, but as her fist came within the space between their faces, Osiris froze it in the iron hold of one of his spells. “Wind snakes can be a real pain. Can’t they?” he stated, nodding towards the mass of air that began to take the physical form of a constrictor anchoring her wrist into place. “If I let you go, do you promise to be a good princess?”
“Yeah, whatever. Just get this thing off me.” Her eyes cut through the snake creation and touched Osiris’s purple orbs that were glowing with his powers.
“As you wish, my dear princess,” he chimed and released the snake only to have it slither up against his throat then dip beneath the fabric of the black V-neck he had on.
Cracking her neck, Dusk wondered, “Why are you here? In the girl’s dorm? Don’t you have small, helpless animals to sacrifice?” Her pale arms went behind her and lifted her up while Osiris’s face continued to back away until he was standing on the floor like everyone else that couldn’t defy gravity.
His nonchalant gaze followed the sharp peaks of his claws with scrutinizing eyes, and Ozzie replied, “Unfortunately, I have already done my sacrificing for the evening. Now, I am to be the loyal bodyguard of Ms. Abigail. In other words, I’ve been watching the two of you sleep all day and am bored out of my wits. Please, entertain me with your day-to-day activities, princess.”
With an ebony eyebrow high atop her head, Dusk mumbled, “What planet are you from?” Her body rose from the bed that Abigail must have decorated especially for Dusk considering the crescent moon pattern in black and white with a deep purple comforter lined in wide, black stripes, and she glanced out of the ivory curtains to see Amaury standing exactly where he’d said he would be the last night.
Great. She really was going to have to meet him. For an introvert like Dusk, meeting new people was most definitely not the top priority on her to do list. Dawn had always taken care of such trivial matters, getting Dusk out of class by spreading a rumor that she was a key in her father’s arsenal, coming between Dusk and a potential suitor probably coming to steal the crown, and even distracting guests so that Dusk could become another limb on their father’s body. There had never really been a need to socialize with anyone but the soldiers, her sister, and her parents. Now, that secure world had come crashing down. She’d always known that there were other people out there in the world. She just never knew that she’d need to speak to them.
Blushing, she glanced down at Amaury’s form as he chitchatted with two pretty girls that had to have been cheerleaders with their short skirts and gym bags not to mention the obvious symbol of Bloodmist plastered across their chests. His body was highlighted in the moonlight. Every little indention of his very masculine, highly muscular build was made all the more impressive as the shadows moved to highlight him. Amaury’s broad shoulders were strong and resembled some of the berserkers that Dusk had loved to talk to back home. His legs were long, leaving the cheerleaders standing at his shoulders. Dusk came to his chin, a fact that she was proud to know seeing that he didn’t look down on her as he did most other females.
Today was Sunday, meaning that classes wouldn’t start until tomorrow at gloaming. Amaury must have wanted to get a read on her, see how far she was from being in his standards. Oh, she’ll show him. She won’t let her guard down and let him get the upper hand like she did last time. Good looking or not, she’d punch him flat in the jaw if he tried to flip her over his shoulder again then parade her about the schoolyard. Ha! Once she got through with Amaury he’d come begging for her to train him in the techniques that her father taught her. She may have been a little rusty last night, but today she was on her toes.
Bloodmist wasn’t just a school for learning. Ilaria had also designed this place to train soldiers for the servitude they would grant towards nobles, princesses, princes, kings, queens, and other royals that were in the lands of Trinity. Since Amaury was Vincent’s son and was studying defensive techniques to guide him in battle then that must mean that he had been previously recruited by the kingdom to be a Guardian of the Kingdom.
“Looks like he meant what he said when he wanted to meet you,” Osiris analyzed as his towering, lanky form cast a long shadow over Dusk’s view.
Back to reality, she spun around to poke the warlock in the chest. “Obviously, he did. Now, move yourself or else I will move you.”
With a nod he backed up then flopped himself down across Abigail’s bed. “So, does this mean that he will be your Guardian once you leave this fine estate or does this mean that he just has the hots for you my femme fatale?”
Scoffing, she snapped, “Hopefully, neither. I don’t need some guy following me around all day every day like my mother’s guardian did when my dad wasn’t around.”
Osiris looked to take mental note of that then he cast those strange purple eyes to Abigail’s towel clad form standing in the steaming doorway of the bathroom. “Good morning, Trinity!” she exclaimed with her pale arms up in the air like some kind of performer. “Pleased to see you up and looking gorgeous, Dusk, and it’s always a pleasure to see such a man as handsome as you, Ozzie, lying on my what-used-to-have-been ironed clothing.” His hands rose up in defeat, and he lifted himself up with those runes glowing just the faintest shade of purple.
Her towel slipped off of her body as she pulled one long leg into a v-string, and she seemed to not take notice of her own nudity as Dusk attempted to hide her eyes from Abigail’s nakedness. “What’s on the agenda for the both of you today?” she asked while clasping her neon colored bra together.
“Well, I’ll be following you continuously and trying to prevent any mayhem that some sort of evil character may be plotting against you,” Ozzie responded. To Dusk’s surprise he didn’t look anywhere but Abigail’s face. It was as if the thought of her nude form didn’t do anything for him. Odd.
Red eyes were thrown Dusk’s way, and she mumbled, “I’m going to meet Amaury.”
Those eyes were big and round as Abby soaked that in, and she chimed, “Oooh! Interesting. Ozzie, it looks as if we’re going to have to go spying on Dusk and Maury. You up for it?”
“Your wish is my command, sweet Gail.” He gave Dusk a once over before adding, “She’ll most definitely want to wear her uniform if they’re going parading about the alcoves. Wouldn’t want Regina on her ass the first day of college.”
Green eyes went rolling, and Dusk glanced to the outfit covered in a thin plastic bag that was sure to preserve it in some way. She growled, “It’s not even school hours for me, but I still have to wear the monkey suit?”
“It’s only because you’ll be on school grounds. If you were both just going to stay in the commons, it would be different,” Abigail explained.
Ozzie added, “All of the school’s uniforms are enchanted so that the headmaster of each dorm will know whether you have snuck off campus or not.” At both of the girls’ looks, he added, “When I was a freshman like the two of you, I got caught during the sneaking out process.” His unnatural fangs flashed in a smile, and Dusk began to wonder if Osiris was actually just a warlock.
“Well, I guess that you’d better get it put on before the wicked witch of Trinity comes knocking on our cell door looking for you,” Abigail laughed then reached to pull the white undershirt from its hanger. “Welcome to Bloodmist, new girl.”