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The Place Where it all Began


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Chapter one

             The world was dark inside the car; the sun had long sensed been covered by the overhang of trees. Now Elizabeth Westworth guessed the sun had completely set as she looked out the window one more time. The one thousandth time in her 6 hours commute it seemed. 

             Not much longer now. 

             Though the ride sounds like a long time to be jostled up and down in an overused Studebaker President, a rather new invasion of sleek metal design and, according to her father, impressive mechanical work behind the vocal moving, the time seemed to be ticking by with increasing speed. Elizabeth wasn’t sure she was ready for the destination they were mere minutes away from. She never really wanted to go to the Nightingale Academy for Art and History, but something about it held great interest to her. If it wasn’t for her mother, and even greater more how elusive her grandmother got every time Elizabeth asked about her time at this academy, she might have found a way out of attending. Elizabeth could have convinced her father to let her stay at her old school, but her mother wanted Elizabeth close by. Thinking it right as she no longer had anyone to go home to. She believed it was long overdue that Elizabeth attended a school where the students lived on the campus grounds and can converse in a “controlled environment.”

             Elizabeth didn’t see the appeal. Why stay in one place all that time? Should not life be something you go out and live, not stay cooped up in one place with only a thousand or so other strangers? Nevertheless, a part of her was thrilled at the idea of going to such a place. Not by the prison like prospects but the rich history behind it.

             According to her father the school used to belong to a princess, she had it built as a ploy to fool the two feuding dukes who shared the border. During the construction, they revealed their true colors. They both committed nefarious criminal actions in hopes to win over the princess. After their scandal was revealed, their predecessors took over, and the land was able to prosper once again.

             Her mother, now a Mrs. Abbot married to a well-to-do lawyer who is madly obsessed with her, also believes it would be better if Elizabeth were closer to her stepbrothers and sister that go to the same school. 

             Elizabeth didn’t quite like Mr. Abbot, he was odd to say the least, stern and plan. He had this eerie feeling to him, like he’s lived a life he can’t quite shake. But when her mother walks in, he changes, his face seems to get this glow about him, he doesn’t really smile, but he watches her like she is the most fascinating and beautiful thing he has ever seen. As though if he blinks, she might very well despair. Elizabeth had wanted to ask what was it that let that darkness fester over him, but every time she got close to asking, someone interrupted her, and she thought better of it. It didn’t really matter; she knew he loved her mother, and that was good enough for her.  

             On the bright side, every time she met her step siblings, they were nice enough, a bit brash but polite. They were a lively bunch with one another, Elizabeth often found herself on the sidelines of their conversations. She smiled at the thought that maybe going to the same school would give her that foot hold she needed. However, who knows how much they’ll change? She was left alone with Amelia, two years her senior stepsister once, when not but minutes have passed before this well-rounded and charming young lady turned sarcastic and crude. With being separated from their mother’s watchful gaze for so long, how else would they change? 

             But she knew she could not stay with her father; he too had a new life he was creating. He didn’t need to also worry about supporting her. She would be taken care of at the academy, and during breaks she’ll make a point to visit him and his new wife.

             But the main thing that had her looking out the window, fidgeting with her little pocket watch every five minutes to the countdown of the start of everything, was her grandmother. 

             Her father’s loving mother who took her in when her parents were young. Not in the right place to rase a child, or that’s what her mother said. Grandmother told a slightly different story of Eric Westworth and Lucy Lovecraft, that they were young and resembled the reckless spit fire love of Romeo and Juliet. They came from families that have known each other for a long, long time. Long enough for the friendship of the two to be chipped away and replace with fierce competition. 

             The pair met at a party and fall in love. Well, as in love as two young people can after one encounter. But all they saw and cared about was each other, this electric connection that searched and pulsated between them.

Grandmother described their love like fire. Blazing and alive. They grew in passion and as quickly as it was lit, that love for one another was snuffed out. But not before a reckless decision was made. Before anyone found out what they had done, the pair eloped. Shocking everyone in both families. 

             Elizabeth was born eight months later and that fire never came back. They both decided to file for annulment when Elizabeth was four. Not able to keep up the façade and handle the family shame any longer. They needed help with the child and only grandmother stepped up to the plate. Elizabeth’s parents were still young, and her grandmother wanted someone better for her son. So, she took Elizabeth in and gave her parents their lives back. 

             That was 13 years ago. 

             Now her loving, elegant, wise grandmother that was her caretaker for so long was no longer with her. No longer by her side to guide her through life. A thought the young girl chose not to think too long about. She did supply Elizabeth, however, with many cherished lessons. The most important being to Elizabeth anyway, was curiosity. And the one thing she was never allowed to ask about was –

             A startling knock came from just behind her head, where the driver sat at the front of the vehicle. Elizabeth looked at her watch again, oh dear!

             “Just about five minutes, miss. If yd’ look out your window, you might be able to see the school, seems as though some kids are still up and about.” Mr. Dunkley said, the longtime driver for Mr. Abbot. 

             Elizabeth took a moment, closing her eyes, taking a breath. Why was her grandmother so adamant about not wanting her to go here? What was here that had her grandmother so shaken? She looked out the window. Finally, facing the world she chose.

             It was large, much taller than she thought it would be. The structure really looked to be from a different time. The vast structure sat just a few miles away from the bas of a mountain. Whose rocky peaks stretched high in the clouds. In the shadows of some light inside the building, the whole fortress looked to be made of some dark old stone. Long stretching walls with some stone guarding connected what looked to be massive round pillars that seemed to be everywhere. There was no doubt in her mind that this place used to be a lavish castle before it was turned into a place of learning and housing young people. 

             She drew her attention down to what looked to be the front entrance. A man was standing by the front door, and next to him, flanking the large double doors, looked to be armed guards. There was a rather long staircase that led to those doors. Feathering out at the bottom, leading to a well-kept garden whose leafs now glistened in the slick ran that came past. Large elegant braise gates separating the driveway and the rest of the courtyard were left open just enough for two figures to stand in. Along the lines of the gate, holding them in place, were sturdy old towers of rock. 

             She looked back at her watch; she was already five minutes behind schedule. She had no idea who the headmaster would be, if this blunder of time management would lead to any disciplinary actions. She shook her head. 

             The buggy slowly came to a stop. She reached to open the door, raiding herself for whatever might come next, but before her hands could even touch the cool metal of the handle, the door sawing open on its hinges! There standing on the ground was a tall young man in the school uniform. Was there a welcoming comity? 

             “Hello there, you must be Elizabeth Westworth!” the boy said, his small tired and what seemed to be a little announce mixed in. 

             “Yes!” she said, braising herself for getting out of the tall car. “I’m so sorry for the tardiness!” Her hand slipped; the rain still dripping down the sides, not giving any grip so that her gloved hand held no friction on the polished frame as she came tumbling down! 

             The boy reached out hoping to catch her before Elizabeth could reach the murky stone walkway, but his reaction was too late as she slipped down past him. 

             Elizabeth crumpled herself into a ball, bring her hands and knees to the forefront of the crash. She landed like a cat on the muddy stone road leading to the front of the gates. “Ow!” she said, polling herself back slowly. 

             “Oh, yeah! Are you ok?” the boy said. He crouched down close to pressing his knee on the stone. “It’s ok, can you stand? Are you hurt?”

             Looking down at her hands, the fine fabric that was once a pristine white now faced her, dirty and ripped. Small pieces of rock clinging to the threads. Elizabeth resisted the urge to close her hands. “Well, I think the only things broken thus far are my gloves.” she joked. 

             The boy’s face softened. 

             “Well that was quite an entice..” someone said. “Well, let’s make sure alright?” A female it was a girl, Elizabeth looked up to see a beautiful girl of native decent. Her dark coiled hair bounced as she walked over. “Charles, help her up already.” she posed a good five feet away and crossed her arms. Her face set in a pleasant smell with no visible meaning behind it. Her stance alone made Elizabeth feel small. It didn’t help that she was now covered in dart and muck. 

             “I’m getting there!” He, Charles she assumed, said to his companion before saying to Elizabeth, “Forgive me.” he looped his hand under her arm and dragged Elizabeth up. “Are you hurt anywhere?”

             “No, I’m fine, really, I’ve had a lot worse falls then that.” She said, taking a step away from Charles. He smelled… off. 

             She took off her ruined gloves as the girl spoke again.

             “Well, if you’re sure. I’m Josephine Noil. You’ve already met Charles Richman” Charles, who had already around the car and fishing for her bags. Most of which were sent ahead of her.

             “Yes, thank you by the way. Again, I’m sorry for the tardiness.”

             Josephine waved it off. “it’s been a long journey, yes? Let’s get you to your dorm room before you catch cold. The last thing we need is you bring a bug into the school.” Josephine turned and nodded her head, beckoning them to follow.

             Elizabeth turned and quickly thanked Mr. Dunkley for getting her here safely and once he smiled and wave did she hurry off to Josephine. Passing the elegant craftsmanship of the gate. And heading up to the wooden entrance.

             That man she saw on her way in now came into focus. He was a student, probably no older than herself. He looked like he hadn’t spelt in days. There was something familiar in his harsh lined face. His hands were shoved in his long wool coat. He said nothing as he pushed open the door to the school. 

             Opining into a large foyer with more armed guards. What were they protecting?

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