Zadia looked longingly out of the misty car window, her straight blond hair resting on her bony shoulders. She gave a sigh of discomfort and directed her gaze to the teary eyed man next to her. “It’s alright grampa. Grandma is in a better place now,” she said while placing a hand on his shaking knees. He nodded his head slowly and unlocked his seatbelt as the car pulled into their driveway. Zadia did likewise and grabbed a small bag of things that her grandma had left her in her will. She opened the car door and walked quickly towards the house. She pushed the door open and ran up the steep staircase. Zadia was always the strong one for both her and her grampa, but this time she just couldn’t hold back the tears. She rushed into her room and threw down the bag. Zadia then opened the door to her bathroom and turned on the shower. “A shower will do me good,” she mumbled. “Yes, a shower always calms me down,” said a voice. Zadia whipped her head around quickly. There, standing next to her, was a man. He had a short beard and an odd-looking hat that had a ball on the end. “Who..?” was all she could manage to say. “Ah, Professor Fenderol of Fire-Thorn Academy,” he said nonchalantly. “Why are you here...Professor Fenderol?” she said quietly. “I have come to take you to Fire-Thorn, Ms. Thorpe. You did, in fact, turn 10 years old on Tuesday.” “Y-y-yes. B-b-but how did you know?” she stuttered. “Well, Ms. Thorpe, you see, I am not just any old Professor. I am a Professor of magic. I have come because you, like many others, are a magical being.” “You must be mistaken, sir. There is no such thing as....magic,” she said nervously, “and, I, am definitely not...magical, so you better leave!” “Ms. Thorpe, I‘m afraid your going to have to believe me. Your grandfather has agreed to let you go and we don’t have much time,” he said while looking down at his watch. Zadia was very confused at this point. She was pondering the idea thoroughly when Professor Fenderol took her by the hand and said, “Navis Villa!” Zadia felt the blood pounding in her head as her vision went black. After the dizzy feeling subsided, Zadia opened her eyes. She was completely shocked. There, in front of her, was a boat house. “Well Ms. Thorpe, this is the boat house that leads to Fire-Thorn,” Fenderol said while squeezing her hand slightly. He led her across the dock and towards the building where a crowd of people were. They all had large suitcases and at least one caged pet. “But, Professor, I don’t have any....school supplies,” Zadia said, still not thoroughly convinced that there really was such a school. “Oh, not to worry miss! It just so happens that there is a special store right about....here!” he said while stomping on a loose board. Zadia stared at Fenderol in a very confused manner as he stomped away. “Dangflabit!” he said suddenly, “They’ve changed the passcode!” He stepped off the board and waited for a few seconds. He then took out his wand and said, “Ostendo Secretum!” The board immediately lifted off the dock to reveal a hidden staircase. The opening widened until it was big enough for the Professor. “Well, hop in!” he said excitedly. Zadia obliged and soon found herself in the middle of a small shop. All sorts of magical merchandise were sold there. “Now, Ms. Thorpe, we will get this done faster if we split up so....you go pick out a magical creature and a wand,” he said quickly, pointing to a certain corner of the building. She walked over there, the whole “magic” thing starting to sink in. She shuffled over to a small woman who looked as if she was the store keeper. “Umm...excuse me ma’am. I need to get some things for...Fire-Thorn Acadamy,” she said shyly. The woman turned around quickly and smiled, “Aaah, yes! Well then Miss....?” “Thorpe. Zadianna Thorpe,” Zadia said. “Thorpe, did ye say Miss?” Zadia nodded her head. “Well now, you need a pet Ms. Thorpe! So....how ‘bout....a cat?” She said while holding a black cat in front of Zadia. Zadia shook her head, “Not very fond of....cats.” “Alright...how ‘bout a dragon?” Zadia’s eyes widened considerably, “Are they real?” The woman chuckled, “Real? Ha ha ha! Oh goodness me, of course they are! Next you’ll me ask’n if magic is real!” she said through fits of laughter. “But aren’t they too...big?” Zadia inquired. The woman then turned to face Zadia. She held a dragon in her hands. It was about the size of a small dog. Its eyes were an emerald green and its wings were streaked with gold. “Beauty, isn’t he?” the woman said, completely fascinated with the creature. Zadia held out a hand and the dragon looked her in the eye. He was chained to a post and in his eyes she saw the yearning for freedom. “I’ll take him,” she said softly. The woman set the dragon down at Zadia’s feet and said, “His name is Tigerleaf. He won’t grow much bigger. Here.” she said while handing the untied rope to Zadia, “Now, you need a wand don’t you...” The woman ran over to a pile of boxes and opened one. “Here, hold it in one hand.” Zadia took the wand and did what the lady told her. The wand squirmed and writhed violently. Zadia was frozen with shock. “Definitely not it!” the woman said loudly as she took the wand back, “Try this one.” Zadia took the next wand and carefully squeezed it. It began to glow and shoot out sparks, catching a nearby counter on fire. The woman grabbed the wand and screamed, “Fluo Aqua!” A bucket of water appeared above the fire and tipped over. The fire was put out in a matter of seconds. “Sorry....I-I d-didn’t mean t-to...” Zadia said, completely bemused. The old woman scratched her forehead in thought and took out another wand. She handed the wand to Zadia carefully. “Alright miss, hopefully this one will work.” she said while tidying up the shelves that held most of the wands. Zadia held the wand in her hand and closed her eyes, awaiting another disaster, but nothing happened. She opened her eyes and the wand was sending out lime green streamers. The lady jumped up and down with excitement, “Oh! Finally! That’ll be 20 dear,” she said, holding her hand out stiffly. Zadia swallowed nervously I don’t have any money she thought. She put her hands in her pockets and felt something papery touch her fingertips. Zadia let out a sight of relief as she pulled out the six 5 dollar bills. She handed the money over. “Dear, that’s non-magical money. You need wizard coins to pay for ye things,” she said with a crooked smile. “B-but I don’t have....” “Of course you do Ms. Thorpe!” came the voice of Professor Fenderol, “Your grandfather left you some of his old money.” He then handed over a large bag of golden coins. Zadia opened the bag up quickly and counted out 20 coins. “No, dear, those coins are worth twice as much as a regular wizards coin. I’ll be needing only 10 of those,” she unhappily (obviously wanting the money but unwilling to lie in front of a professor). Zadia took back half of the golden coins and dropped the others on the counter. She looked over at professor Fenderol who had a flying carpet in front of him. The carpet was piled high with all sorts of magical supplies. “Ms. Thorpe, you still need a pet,” Fenderol, said while looking at his watch. “Oh, I’ve already got one.” Zadia said happily, pointing to the jade green dragon by her feet. Fenderol stepped back uncomfortably, “Aaah, yes. Very nice. Well, we best be off! Thank you Mrs. Dimrig.” he said while paying for the rest of the supplies. They walked up the staircase and once they reached the top, magic carpet and all, Fenderol turned on his heel and tapped the edge of the opening. It immediately closed up with a “snap”. Zadia led her pet dragon towards crowded boathouse. Once they reached the entrance they were surrounded by magic carpets and wizards. “Come, Ms. Thorpe, the boats are over there. We better get you a seat!” said Fenderol, weaving his way through the crowd. He stopped at an office window that was near a long line of row boats. An old man’s head popped out of the window and grinned at them. “Professor Fenderol! I knew you’d be here sometime. What little witch have you brought us today?” he said in a cracked voice. Fenderol looked down at Zadia and said, “Ms. Zadianna Winsor Thorpe.” The old man raised one furry eyebrow curiously. “Really?” the man said, “You mean.....Sky and Winsor’s...” Fenderol nodded quickly, shifting his eyes nervously over to Zadia. “Well, Ms. Thorpe, you can take your carpet over to that woman over there,” the old man said, leaning over his desk and pointing a bony finger in the direction of a very short, chubby witch, “Then you can find a boat to sit in.” “Thank you, sir,” Zadia said quietly. She then dropped her carpet off by the short witch and waved a goodbye to Professor Fenderol. “I will see you at the Academy, Ms. Thorpe!” Fenderol yelled. Zadia walked along the row of boats, looking for a somewhere to sit. Each boat only carried up to three passengers. She finally spotted a boat at the end of the row. Only two people were sitting in it. She jogged over to the boat quickly and was soon looking into the faces of two boys. One was a brunette and the other was tall, thin and had black hair. “Do you mind if I sit with you? All of the other boats are taken,” Zadia said shyly. “Not at all,” said the brunette. Zadia sat down slowly and led Tigerleaf onto the boat. “Wow! You got a dragon!” said the black haired boy excitedly. Zadia glanced down at Tigerleaf, “Oh, yeah. I got him at the.....store.” The boy nodded. There was an awkward silence for a while when suddenly the boats began to move. “Oh, by the way, I’m Larsen Higgins,” said the boy. Zadia smiled, “My name is Zadianna Thorpe.” The brunette suddenly looked very confused, “Excuse me, but did you say...Thorpe?” Zadia nodded slowly. “My name is Daniel. Daniel Thorpe,” stated the brunette flatly. Larsen patted a gray cat that was asleep at his feet and said, “That’s odd. Two people, same age, same last name, and both magical. Bit more than coincidental don’t you think?” Zadia looked at him and then Daniel, “You don’t think we are......related, do you?” “Impossible,” Daniel said in a less than confident voice. “Well won’t they know at....Fire-Thorn?” inquired Zadia. Larsen nodded and then said, “So, what Tree do you think you are going to be in?” Zadia and Daniel gave him a funny look and then said simultaneously, “What’s a Tree?” Larsen rolled his eyes and then began explaining, “Ok, so, when they were first building Fire-Thorn there were these five gigantic talking Oak trees. They were so unbelievable big that the Great Wizard, who was the founder of the school, decided to make those the students dormitories. They built the Academy so that part of each tree was inside the building. Each tree is named after a certain magical creature. There is Griffin, Hippogriff, Basilisk, Phoenix, and Dragon-Tail. Every new student stands in front of the row of trees and the trees talk amongst themselves for a minute or two. Then one of the trees will call your name.” Zadia raised an eyebrow, “So what determines if you are in....lets say....Phoenix?” “Well, each tree only has students with specific characteristics. Phoenix, for example, has only Wizards with strength and bravery.” Zadia nodded her head to show him she understood. “What...Tree do you think you’re going to be in, Larson,” asked Daniel. Larsen picked up his cat and put him on his lap, “Oh....well my dad was in Phoenix and my mom was in Hippogriff. Suppose I’ll be in one of the two. What about you?” Larson rested his chin in his hand as he thought deeply, “Umm....well. I guess I wouldn’t mind being in Phoenix. Not sure what the other trees characteristics are. What about you Zadia?” Zadia shifted uncomfortably in her seat, “Well, to be perfectly honest....I just found out I was a witch 10 minutes ago.” Larsen was the only one out of the two boys who was even the least bit shocked. “Really? Wow! You mean you didn’t even know about....magic?” Zadia shook her head and turned to Daniel, “Are your parents wizards?” Daniel looked down and after about 1 minute of silence said, “I’m an orphan. I never knew my parents.” Zadia nodded sympathetically while Larsen looked as if he was about to fall over. “Y-y-y-you! And you!” he said turning to Zadia, “You’re the Thorpe twins! The Thorpe....oh my gosh.” Both Daniel and Zadia turned to each other, completely befuddled. “Well, if we are...related...I am sure that it wouldn’t be that..umm...exciting. And anyway, we will find out for sure once we get to Fire-Thorn,” Zadia commented. Larsen looked at both of them in disbelief, “You mean, you have never heard of the Thorpe Tragedy?” both of them shook their heads slowly, “Well! I suppose I will have to inform you.....ahem. There once was a dark wizard named Nutris. Well, there still is actually. Anyway, there were these two wizards named Winsor and Skywater Thorpe. They were the most intelligent and the most powerful wizards of their age. Well, except for Skywater because she was, in fact, a witch. When they married, Nutris knew that their children would be unbelievably great wizards. So, he went over to the Thorpe house, his intent being to kidnap the twins. But the parents would not give up their children without a fight and so he killed them.” “So he did take the twins?” interrupted Daniel. Larsen glared at him, “I was telling the story.” Daniel nodded quickly, his face turning a bit red. “Anyway,” began Larsen, “He tried to take the twins but for some reason, every time he touched them his hand burned and stung. He tried grabbing them with gloves but the gloves burned off. He even tried lifting them with magic but the spells wouldn’t work. Then, out of desperation, he tried to kill them, but.” “Why would he want to kill them?” Zadia questioned. Larsen stared at both of them for a good 3 minutes before saying, “I would jinx you two right now if magic weren’t forbidden on the traveling boats.” Speaking of traveling boats, the boats were indeed traveling. Without someone rowing or pulling them. “Sorry,” said Zadia, looking down at her shoes in embarrassment. “Anyway. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t kill them. Finally, he tried the darkest killing curse that had ever been invented. He said the words and the next thing he knew he was right back in Westfall, which is where he lives. Nobody knows why that happened. All we know is that the twins were left with two enchanted scars. One is a silver horse and the other is a golden wolf. We think that the reason that killing curse didn’t work is because their parents had special protective charms on them.” “And..the scars?” Daniel said nervously. “Well, Skywater Thorpe’s Transito was a white horse and Winsor Thorpe’s was a wolf. That proves that the parents were definitely making sure that their children were not harmed.” Larson’s eyes darted from Daniel to Zadia and then he sighed. “You don’t know what a Transito is, do you? Well, every witch and wizard has an animal that they turn into, once they are advanced enough to cause the transformation that is. For example, my mums is a dairy cow and me dads is a fox. I imagine mine will be a lion or something,” he said proudly. Zadia covered her mouth, trying to hold in a small snicker. She looked over at Daniel and saw him doing the same thing. “Destination Acquired!” yelled a man who was standing up in the boat that was further along than the others. All three friends looked up and in front of them was an island covered with trees of all shapes and sizes. “Where are we?” breathed Daniel. Larsen waved his hand in the islands direction, “Destination Acquired, of course. One of these trees leads to the Academy.” “You mean, Fire-Thorn is in the bottom of a tree?” said Zadia while trying to stomp out a fire that Tigerleaf had caused in his excitement. Larsen looked at her in confusion and said, “No, it’s in the top of one.” Before Zadia or Daniel could respond a very tall and thin man came over to them and one by one helped them out of their boat, “Good eve to ye Ms. Thorpe, Mr. Thorpe, and Mr. Higgins.” he said in his reedy voice. “Evening Pearlie,” said Larson with a big grin on his face. The man immediately lit up and patted Larsen on the back. “Oh, by the way, you know what you were saying about the scars?” whispered Daniel. Larsen nodded, “Why?” “You see....I’ve got one of those scars. It’s a golden wolf, on my ankle.” He lifted up his pant leg slowly, revealing a medallion sized golden scar. “My uncle said it was a birthmark, but it’s too...realistic.” Larsens jaw almost dropped to the ground, “I-I-I knew it! But, I never thought the whole ‘scar’ thing was true.” He turned to Zadia, who was equally shocked, and said, “Do you have one too?” Zadia nodded her head slowly and rolled up her sleeve. There, in the middle of her forearm, was a silver horse.
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