Chapter 1 : Strange Encounters.
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He told me the tale of a fair Queen who lived with her charming King in a castle. They ruled a kingdom where they lived happily, and so did the people who looked up to them. One day, it was announced that the Queen was with child. The whole kingdome rejoiced and soon, a magnificent celtration feast was arranged at the castle which everyone was invited to.
The people decided to bring gifts to the unborn child. Some came carrying shining gold, exquisite jewelries and sparkling gems. Others brought simple toys, soft fabrics and well-made clothes. Everybody brought what the most expensive they could afford, but there was one old lady with a cane who walked up to the royal couple and kneeled. She asked for forgiveness and explained that she was to poor and had nothing to offer them or their unborn child but her services.
The King and Queen felt sorry for the poor woman and offered her gold, gems and other valuables but she declined it all. The couple felt bad that she wouldn't accept their offer but then the Queen remembered what she had offered them. "Tell me, what was your offer?", she said. "My services, my Queen.", the lady responded simply. The Queen got very curious. "And what are your services exactly?", she asked.
The old lady stood up from her knee and finally met her eyes. "I'm a fortuneteller. I know the past, the present and, more importantly, the future." This made the Queen's mind uneasy, she feared that she had heard some sort of urgency in the womans words and instantly asked her to tell her if she could see what the future had in hold for her child.
The fortune-teller looked at the Queen with grief and sorrow in her eyes.
"Last night I had a dream", she began, her voice powerful enough to clear the mumbling in the large ballroom as all the other guests turned to listen to what she had to say. "A dream that our Queen will not survive the birth. And neither will the unborn. However, the future is not written in stone." she declared as the Queen's face had gone pale of fear for her child. She turned to her and continued: "You, and you alone, have to search for your childs saviour." The King felt the full effect of pure fury. He was just about to throw the old lady out of their castle, head firts, when his Queen turned to him with a pleading gaze.
The King was just about to protest, since the Queen was soon ready for birth and in no state to travel, when the old lady drew some powder out of a pocket on her worn-out robe and just disappeared! The guests gasped for air, as did the royal couple, as what they had witnessed was something quite miraculously. But the warning and the advice they had been given where etched to their mind and soon the king and queen were off to seek this saviour.
Against the Queens wishes, the King had decided to accompany her on the search since he did not wish to leave her alone, to wander in a dark forest with unknown creatures, in her state. The journey to the forest which clothed the mountains took no less than a full month and when they finally arrived at a meadow infront of the forest, they didn't know where to begin. There were endless of miles in which the forest spread in all directions but they soon roamed through the forest, climbing higher and higher up the mountain. As they reached a slim creek the Queen asked them to stop and catch their breath. It was getting colder, soon the nightly cold and darkness would fell upon them. The King put up their temporary home and asked his wife to go and get some water while he would go to collect wood for the fire. They agreed to be quick and meet eachother back at the camp but in the evening the King was back with his arms full of dry branches and the Queen were nowhere to be seen. He called out her name. Over, and over and over again. This went on until the sun made its first appearence of the day and the Queen was still nowhere in sight. Little did he know that she had in fact got lost in the fog that had surrounded them.
That night, she had walked a bit further downstream and filled the bucket with clean springwater only to find herself completely lost. She tried to move upstream but she miscalculated the length of here walk - leading here to walk to far up along the creek. She thought she would be able to see the camp from the creek like when she walked away to get the water but the fog had thickend. It had trapped her. By will? Impossible to say. She walked, for hours, along the creek and soon she heard something... It was not her husband, calling her name. It sounded more like an animal, in pain. She rushed to the sound, desperate to rescue whatever creature that was in such pain that it screamed heart-achingly. As the trees seemed to grow further and further apart and become fewer, she soon stepped out to a clearing in which a small pond where glittering as the moonlight shone bright from the sky. The fog had cleared! Although, now she could actually see the pain in the eyes of the animal laying before her.
In the ankle high grass lied a unicorn mare in serious pain. The mare did not seem to be frightend by her presence, on the contrary! It looked like she calmed down a bit. As the queen approached the poor creature she realized that the mare was in fact in labour. The Queen had been around the royal stables enough to know what to do to help the mare and soon, she could see the newborn foal resting on the grass beside it's mother. She had seen the birth of a unicorn and was stunned to find that the foal was not white. It was golden. Sparkling, shimmering golden. As she watched the beatiful stallion-foal take its first steps she felt a sudden pain herself. She was not slow to understand that her own birth was about to start. The unicorn mare had risen from the ground and as she did, a calm had entered her mind. This was her childs saviour.
As the King was heading back to the camp that morning he had heard the distant cries of a child further upstreams. He had rushed to the sound of the cries knowing that it was his Queen's child. As he entered the clearing he saw a child, wrapped in a golden blanket which fabric was the softest his fingers had ever felt and as he held the child in his arms, looking for his Queen, he saw a faint silouette of a mare with her foal watching them and then fade into the fog.
I remember one night in particular when I was wrapped up in my nice, warm cover and my father was telling me the story that was slowly, but surely, beginning to come to its end. "Where did the Queen go?" I had asked confused about why a mother would leave her child all by itself in a dangerous forest, filled with dangerous magical beasts and creatures. Grief and pain had glimsed in my father's face, but then he gave me a little comforting smile, though the smile didn't quite reach the eyes, and, with a slightly distant look on his face, he answered. "I can't know for sure...”, his voice filled with sincerity as he spoke, he even looked a bit lost himself. Then he shrugged to himself, focused his gaze at me and continued: ”...but I would probably guess that she somehow lost her way and, maybe, she could'nt find her way back to the right path.”
I accepted that explanation at the time being, not realizing the high cryptical level which the anwer had contained. I just snuggled up to my father, embracing the darkness as I fell asleep, still holding my soft, worn-out golden blanket close.
It was autumn, soon the beginning of the first semester. Inside of Stockholms Central Station there were a mass of people making loud squels and a constant murmur spread through the hall. Most of them were heading for the hidden platform, Thirteen point Eight (13.8), with their luggage rolling after them and their pets adding to the loud noise. I and my father, Grim Silverstedt, was making our way through the magical mirrorportal to the platform. It always felt as exhilirating as it had been the first time I stepped though the mirror. It was like stepping trough a wall of water but, of course, you didn't get wet since it was just a pieace filled with exeptionally strong magic. We got to the other end of the portal, stepped a bit aside so that we wouldn't be in the way for any newcomers. The platform was an exact duplicate of the one we'd just transfered from but the muggles didn't even know of it's existence. We took our time to say goodbye since we wouldn't see each other until christmasbreak. My father gave me a tight hug and asked me, for the thousandth time, if I was sure I hadn't forgotten anything. I had sighed, annoyance mixed with affection and amusement somewhat audibly. “I'm fine! Stop asking me that!” I exclaimed as I halfheartedly scolded my father while I tried my very best to keep myself from laughing at him.
The hug then ended and he looked down on me with a proud and affectionate gaze which then turned to pure amusement as he asked “You're sure? There isn't anything else you'd like to bring with you?”. I arranged my facial expression as if I were thinking really hard about the question. Then I innocently shrugged my shoulders and let a cheerful “nope” slip out of my mouth.
Grim looked down at his mischievous daughter whom know wore a not-so-innocent smile on her face. He loved her so much. It was hard for him to let her go back to school. He knew that it was the place where she felt the most miserable but at , the same time, also where she felt the happiest.
“It's just one more year you know...” he said sofly, concered. His eyes moved swiftly over my face in a desperate attempt to catch the sight of any hesitation, but as he discovered, there was none. “I'll be okay, I promise.”, and with that, a bell played through the speakers which where positioned in the corners of the platform, meaning the train was close to departure. I gave my father one last hug and before I turned to my luggage, took a hold of the handles and started pulling it towards the train with Tor, my borealowl, in my other hand.
As my father disappeared into the crowd of students with their families, trying to say goodbye and push their way towards the silvercoloured train, I struggled to pull my baggage with wheels up the short stair however, suddenly, it felt like the gravitation was enabled and it was floating in mid-air. I instantly moved backwords and the luggage followed shortly, as did three people I had never seen in my entire life.
I found myself dumbfounded. I had learned to never expect any help from anyone, other than from my father of course. Although here they were, standing infront of me with a friendly smile on their faces. It was... weird. Definately leery. But I still had my manners... “Ehm... thank you”, I squeaked awkwardly at the two girls and the boy infront of me. The boy, who had used the levitation-spell on the luggage, had with ease put it down beside her. They all seemed mildly confused at my reaction but they still kept their friendly smiles intact. Even though the girls had looked like they were about to say something a several times now, the boy was the first one to speek – and the accent of his brutally murdered the english language as he tried to make himselt understood. “'Elloh, ve arr exchange studants from Beauxbatons”, he explained slowly, as if he thought that the low level of speed would make him more understandable. It didn't, but I did catch some keywords which led me in the right direction of what he was saying. “... ve were vondering if ve could sit wit you?” Once again, I just stood there for a few seconds. Stunned. I really hope this isn't going to be a habit, I thought, annoyed with myself, but the words soon rolled out of my mouth. “I-I... Of course.” I stuttered as I felt a heat spread over my cheeks and I knew I was blushing. It probably – no, definitely – looked stupid. I gestured to them to follow me down the hall as I grabbed the handle of my baggage and started to search for an empty cubicle.
I found one pretty easily since the train was still being boarded but, even if I hadn't, I knew that if I had sat down in a full one, the occupants would clear out before I could snap a fingers. I opened the slide-doors and squeesed in my luggage side-ways, holding Tor infront of me and making sure not to swing his cage to much. I then put him down on the seat along the right side of the window, as far away from the light as possible, flipped my bag-on-wheels vertical to the floor and pushed it under the crimson vinyl-clothed seats. I sat down on my windowseat and placed Tors cage in my lap, much to his dismay I may add, but we had to make room for one of the others. It would be rude to claim all of the seats on one side and let the remaining three persons squeeze on the other side, even if they didn't actually had to. There was plenty of room on both sides to fit 6 people in the cubicle, but, I knew my manners. The French may enjoy “close encounters” but we Swedes always make our own and others personal space our number one priority when forced together with strangers. The Beauxbatons had followed me into the surprisingly spacious booth, watched me for a second and then mimicked the routine. They sat down almost simultaneously as I. As they started to introduce themselves, I started to take in their appearances for the first time.
The girl who had taken the seat next to me, although with an appropriate distance of mere an arm length between us, was the first to fall under my scanning gaze. Her name was Alicia Picard. She had dark brown skin, a heart-shaped face which contained a pair of big, darkchocolate brown eyes with prominent lids and two very symmetrical full lips. They were a bit darker than her skin and they sparkled with the curiousity and innocense of a child. Her hair was light brown, the colour fitted her skintone perfectly and it certainly did look natural but I strongly suspected one of those fancy hair-dyeing charms. It laid loose, long and wavey against her back and spread around her shoulders. She was really beautiful and I would bet that she'd have every boy in school at her feet when the first day was over and done.
The seconed girl, Rienne Fargues, seemed to be the exact opposite of the one sitting next to me. While Alicia gave the impression to be the warmth personified, Rienne seemed to take home the titel of Ice Princess. She had sharp, arctic blue, deep set eyes that could easily match the deep blue at the bottom a glacier and her skin was ashen, however, still very beautiful. Her hair was blond, long and braided into a fishtail braid that laid casually over her shoulder. There were something elfish about her... It might've been her straight, slightly upturned nose, or the sharp edges that molded her face or maybe it just was the loaded air of dignity that were floating in the air around her. I couldn't tell but she could be sure to ger her fair share of the male attention.
Then there was the boy. He had dark brown hair, short on the sides and in the neck but as it climbed his scalp it grew thicker and just a bit longer so it could still be acused of being messy. His jawline were stronly accented and his skin was almost as pale as Rienne, but not quite though. He had deep set eyes which were slightly more narrow than the girl's and they were filled with a playful light blue colour. They were dangerously mesmerizing. As she studied the attractive trio she noticed that they all were their own version of the ideal beauty. Alicia were half a head taller than me and curvy as hell. Rienne were just a bit shorter but her slim limbs made her look taller and she didn't have the same flowing curves but covered it by walking with such lightness in her feet that it looked like she was gliding over the ground and keeping her head held high.
The boy was taller than all of us, about a head taller than me, but he was also slim which added to the tall-factor. He had broad shoulders and seemed to be quite muscular. His name was Loïc Mignard.
“Ant what is your name?” he asked.
I smiled shyly. I couldn't think of any reason why they would want to bother with asking me, of all people, that but I quickly reminded myself that they really didn't know why they shouldn't want to bother. But I wouldn't tell them. So, even though I knew it would only last for so long, I pretended that they actually could be my friends.
“My name's Callista.”
Well, I hope it wasn't too long, too short or too boring - it's my first try EVER to write something like this :/
PLEASE WRITE ME SOME FEEDBACK - I really need it since this is my second language and I really want to write a good story! Feel free to post me about how to improve and what you'd want to read about!
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