One Is Enough

This little snippet was inspired by a picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.  It’s not great, but I think it shows the personalities of the characters perfectly.

**

9675ed201eefba6c24e537008c2cfb42Lyall scowled at the image.  It showed every different edition of Batman from the various television shows and movies.  He grimaced and then looked at Henry and Orion.  As he looked back at the image, he began chuckling softly and shaking his head.

“What’s so funny?” Henry asked, frowning at the image.

Stifling his laughter, Lyall ducked his head.  “I just was imagining if there were that many… Orions,” he said, shrugging.  He gave Henry a sidelong glance.  “Can you imagine the mischief?”

“He causes plenty enough mischief all by himself, I think,” Henry said, shaking his head.  “That many Orions would push Professor Lindsey right over the edge!”

“Some friends you are,” Orion groused.  He scowled at the picture and then grinned.  “Just one other might be fun, though.”

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Dangerously Cheesy?

This little scene was inspired by a picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.  I know that I’m mixing my metaphors a bit with the title (that’s the slogan for Cheetos, not Cheez-its), but I couldn’t help myself.

**

Orion froze in his tracks as he came upon the sign that was tacked to the wall.  Turning to Henry, he scowled.  “They aren’t serious, are they?” he asked, frowning.

9c5173e8a0992da24eebdfcfe6d6a653Lyall froze and then looked down at the box in his hands.  Heaving a sigh, he glared at the two boys.  “It’s all your fault,” he said, shaking his head.  “Now, I can’t have my cheez-its at lunch and it’s all because you two can’t leave well enough alone.”

“Where are you going?” Orion called, as Lyall turned and stalked away.

Sighing, Lyall turned back to face them.  “If I can’t have my cheez-its in the cafeteria, I’ll eat them in the courtyard,” he said.  Then, he turned on his heel and headed towards the north courtyard.

Henry chuckled softly.  Looking at Orion, he shook his head.  “The headmistress is over-reacting just a bit, I think,” he said.  “Do you agree?”

Orion shrugged.  “Who knew they reacted that way to fire magic?” he said, his voice soft.  “I mean, it’s not as though we knew there was a spell on those candles in the first place.  It comes of the professors trying to be all mysterious, really.  Not our fault at all.”

“It was pretty funny when they showered down on Professor Boudin, though,” Henry said, grinning.

“Too bad for Lyall that Professor Lindsey didn’t agree,” Orion said, chuckling.  Then the pair headed into the cheez-it free cafeteria.

Pull, Don’t Push

This story was inspired by another picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.  It was too much fun to write it!

**

4a1de0fa057b323b5a7ff50550604667Henry stepped over to the edge of the grass and frowned at the thing in the middle of the sidewalk.  “Is that…” he trailed off, his mind refusing to put the object into words.

Lyall finished the thought for him.  “A giant zipper,” he said, nodding.

“Let’s open it,” a familiar voice said.

Henry spun on his heel and sighed.  “I’m not sure that’s a good idea, Lucy,” he said, shaking his head.  His brows furrowed.  “I mean… we don’t know what it’s closing.  We could… there might be lava or something under there.”

“Lava would melt a metal zipper,” Lyall said.  He stifled a laugh when Lucy grabbed the zipper pull and began tugging on it.  Then, he blinked.  As she pulled the zipper up the walk, it was leaving sealed blocks in its wake.

“The other way,” he said, catching her arm.  He pointed.  “To open a zipper, you pull it toward the narrow end.  Pulling towards the wider end closes it.”

“So then… it’s already opened,” Henry said, blinking.  At Lyall’s nod, he said, “Then why did you stop her?”

“I want to see what’s inside,” Lyall said, shrugging.  He frowned when Lucy began pushing on the zipper.  “Pull, Lucy,” he said, bringing her around to the flat blocks of the sidewalk.  “Pull, don’t push.”

Together, they tugged on the zipper and, to Lyall’s surprise, it worked.  A gap opened in the sidewalk.  Henry peered into the gap and then screamed when someone popped up out of it.  His scream was met with laughter – familiar laughter.

“Orion?” Lyall breathed.  He grinned when he saw his friend climbing out of the gap.  “What is this?  Did you make it?”

“Professor Schmidt helped,” Orion said, nodding.  He looked up the sidewalk and then grinned at Lucy.  “Thanks for opening it.  I sort of put the pull on the wrong side.”  He turned and looked down into the gap.  “Professor, it worked!”

A tawny-haired man popped up from the gap and grinned.  “Brilliant work, Orion,” he said.  Then, he nodded at Lyall and Henry.  Looking back at Orion, he said, “Once you get the bit with the zipper figured out, it’ll be a dead useful charm, my boy.”

“Bit surreal,” Henry said, shaking his head.  Then, he sighed and threw his arms around Orion’s shoulder.  “Great seeing you, though!”

“We’ve missed you,” Lyall said, nodding.  He looked at the professor and frowned.  “How long can you visit for?”

“A few hours, anyway,” the man replied, climbing out of the gap.  “We have to be back for supper or the headmistress will have my ears.”

Waterfalls

This scene was inspired by a picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.  I can’t help but think of Harry Potter when I write about Amberlyn’s and the students there.  In my mind, it just makes sense that magic would be taught at a castle, so when I saw the picture, a school for magic was the first thing that came to mind.

**

13c506257aec08f6367c49fd09a9356bOrion knew it was an honor to be among the students selected to visit Owlgazer’s Academy.  However, as he looked at the school, he couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed.

Amberlyn’s was a small school.  It was one of the smallest schools in their league, in fact.  At the same time, Orion hadn’t realized how much larger Owlgazer’s Academy would be.

Set in the center of a waterfall, with causeways on either side for access, it was one of the most secure schools in the league.  Orion glanced over the edge of the waterfall and took a steadying breath.

“You’ll be fine,” the professor accompanying him said.  Even though she spoke in a normal tone of voice, it was difficult to hear her over the thunder of the falls.

Orion looked over at her and gave her a weak smile.  “Everything’s just a bit… overwhelming,” he said.  It was too big and too loud.  Suddenly, Orion nothing more than to be back at Amberlyn’s with Henry and Lyall.  He squeezed his eyes closed and took several deep breaths.  When he opened them again, their carriage was drawing into the courtyard of the school.

When the carriage stopped, the driver got down and opened the door.  Orion let the professor step off first.  Then, he hopped down to join her.  He looked around for a moment and then smiled weakly at the small group of people that had come to greet them.  They were all adults, probably the administrators of the school.  However, he could see students watching them from the windows.

His attention was drawn back to the adults when his professor touched his shoulder.  “This is Orion Blackburn,” she said.

“A pleasure to meet you,” Orion said, giving the trio a polite nod.  “I’m honored to be here.”

“We’re very glad that you could come,” a slight man with tawny hair said, stepping forward.  “I’m Professor Randolph Schmidt.  I’m going to be overseeing your training while you’re here.”

Orion nodded slowly.  He met Professor Schmidt’s steady gaze and a smile tugged at his lips.  He would be learning spellsmithing at one of the best schools for the art and under a man whose name meant “smith”.  He could tell that things would work out and, in a couple years, he’d be back at Amberlyn’s with his friends to finish his education.  “I’m looking forward to it,” he said, nodding firmly.

Everything Changes

This story was inspired by a phrase prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth (falling stars and eagles).  It’s there, if you look for it, but it’s pretty well hidden…

**

Orion lay in the grass and stared up at the sky.  In a few weeks, he’d be heading off to a school that was hundreds miles away from home.  He’d be able to come home for holidays, but otherwise, he’d be at school.  That prospect was frightening enough, without the knowledge of what sort of school it was.

He heaved a sigh and looked at the letter in his hand once again.  He was a mage.  It explained so much.  He’d always known that he could do things that seemed impossible.  Now, he knew how that could be.

“Ori?”

He sat up and gave his sister a weak smile.  “It’ll be strange,” he said, his voice soft.  “I’ll be going to school there and… you’ll be going to school here.”

Anne sat down beside him in the grass and shrugged.  “We always knew that the time would come when we’d have to separate, Ori,” she said, meeting his gaze.  “You’ll be fine and we’ll see each other over the holidays.  Right?”

“Right,” Orion said, nodding.  Somewhere up the slope, he heard their mother calling.  He stood and helped Anne to her feet.  “Let’s go, before she comes looking.”  Nodding, Anne ran on ahead of him.  Orion hurried to follow, but slipped in the grass and landed on his hands and knees.

Chuckling, he got to his feet and hurried after Anne.  Things might be changing in his life, but at least he was just as clumsy as always.

Try to Sleep

This little scene was inspired by a word prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth (snore) and… my own experience with people like this.

**

Lyall lay in bed, his eyes on the ceiling.  He often had trouble sleeping.  Usually, he was plagued with night terrors that would wake up him and everyone else in the dormitory.  Other times, there was simply so much on his mind that he couldn’t relax enough to go to sleep.  Then, there were the nights when he’d wake feeling as if he wasn’t alone, but that seldom happened at school.

Tonight was like nothing else he’d ever experienced in all his sleepless nights.  The feelings of anger and frustration that flowed through him were nearly as bad as the thing that spawned them.  He ground his teeth as he glanced over at the bed where Henry was peacefully asleep.

“If I smother him,” he whispered into the darkness, “will that make it stop?”

“Why don’t we try making him roll over first,” Orion said, his tone colored with amusement.  Lyall glanced over to find the third boy in their room sitting up in bed.  He ruffled a hand through his hair and sighed.  “Have you ever heard anyone snore like that in your life?”

“I’m surprised he doesn’t swallow his pillow when he breathes in like that,” Lyall said, shaking his head.  He slipped out from under his covers and shook their friend away.  As Henry blinked up at him sleepily, he smiled.  “Roll over or I’ll murder you.”

“Was I snoring?” Henry said, shifting in his bed.

“Yes,” Lyall said at the same time as Orion.  Then, Lyall returned to his bed.  Inwardly, he prayed that he’d fall to sleep before Henry did.  He was certain that Orion felt the same way.

A Mother’s Love

This little scene between Lyall and Orion was inspired by a picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth (from back in January) and a documentary that I watched on Animal Planet.

**

4-d2c7a2519aLyall frowned at the picture in the book that was laid out in front of Orion.  His friend was using it as a reference image, so he could draw the cats.  “They’re so close to her,” he said, his voice soft.

“There’s a lot of dangerous things out there,” Orion said, nodding.  He looked thoughtful for a moment.  “I watched this one show on the television that showed a mum cheetah and her baby was separated from her and these… I think they were baboons?  They were looking for him and, if they’d have found him, he would have been killed.”

“What happened to him?” Lyall said, his eyes wide.

Orion frowned for a moment, tilting his head.  Then, he shrugged.  “She led them off and then circled back when she’d lost them,” he said.  He turned back to his drawing and smiled.  “Anyway, they snuggle close because they know she’s their mum and it’s her job to protect them.”

Lyall heaved a sigh and looked down at the picture.  “Life is so much… easier for them, isn’t it?” he said, his voice soft.  “At least they know they can trust their mum to look out for them.”  He blinked when he found that Orion was staring at him.

“Right,” Orion said, his voice soft.  His brows furrowed and he nodded slowly.  “It’d be really great if we could all be so confident that our parents were there to keep us… safe.”  He gave Lyall a wry grin and then went back to his work.

For a moment, Lyall just stared at the top of his head.  He’d said too much – certainly more than he’d intended to say.  Now, though, there was no way for him to backpedal.  He was certain that his friends would ask him what he meant by that comment, eventually.  What would he say when they asked?  What could he say to that?

How’s that Work?

This story was inspired by a word prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth (letterbox).  There’s just one more from this month and I’ll be all caught up!

**

Orion sat between Lyall and Henry.  Each of them was writing a letter to their parents.  Henry had assured him that there was a way to post the letter to his parents.  In fact, the letter would arrive by the next morning, according to Henry.

Henry was the first one to finish writing.  He folded his letter into thirds and then sealed the flap closed with wax.  Orion finished with his letter and followed Henry’s example.  Then, they waited while Lyall continued to write.

“Lyall?” Henry prompted, after a few minutes.  “We’re both done.  Shall I show Orion how to post letters or do you want for me to wait?”

“I – I’m nearly done,” Lyall said, looking up at them with wide eyes.  He heaved a sigh and then Orion saw his eyes scan the page.  He wrote one more sentence and then signed his name.  After that, he folded the page into thirds and sealed it.  Unlike Henry and Orion, he used a ring to stamp a symbol into the wax before it had cooled and hardened.  Smiling faintly, he nodded.  “All right, let’s go.”

Henry rolled his eyes and then led the way to the far corner of the common room.  He let Lyall open a small red box in the corner.  “Just watch,” Henry said, as Lyall set the letter inside and closed it.  A moment later, there was a dull thump.

Lyall heaved a sigh and then, Henry opened the box.  Orion’s eyes widened.  The box was empty.  “Where’d his letter go?” Orion asked, looking at Henry.  He looked at Lyall.  “Where’d your letter go?”

“The post office,” Lyall said, shrugging.

Henry nodded and put his letter into the box.  “He sent it silently,” Henry said, shrugging.  “You have to tell them where it’s going, by saying the name of the recipient as you close the door.”  He shut the door and said, “Mr. and Mrs. Charles Westley.”  There was a dull thump and Henry opened the box, to show that it was empty.

Orion frowned and nodded.  “All right,” he said.  He set his own letter in the box and shut the door.  Feeling a little embarrassed, he said, “Mr. and Mrs. Apollo Blackburn.”  There was a moment or two of hesitation and then he heard a dull thump.

He opened the box and then heaved a sigh of relief.  The letter, as with the ones that his friends had sent, was gone.  “That’s pretty cool,” he said, shaking his head.

“Teaching Blackburn how to use the letterbox?” Bess said, looking from one boy to the other.  Henry smiled and nodded brightly.  He greeted her, but she didn’t answer him, her gaze going to Orion.  She held up a folded page, shrugging.  “I’ve got to send my own, if you’re done.”

“Sure,” Orion said, as he stepped out of the way.  “Be my guest.”

As they headed back over to the table by the fire, Henry said, “She smiled at me!  Did you see?”

Orion arched an eyebrow at him and glanced at Lyall, who sighed and shook his head.  It was useless to point out that Bess barely even noticed him.  All she wanted was to mail her letter.  Patting Henry on the shoulder, Orion said, “Sure, mate.  Just keep telling yourself that.”