The Sorcery Society: Part Two
"...My friends and I have finished building the treehouse. Vidla did some calculations so we'd pick the tree in the dead center of the woods. I'm not quite sure why we want the treehouse built on that particular tree - maybe it's for privacy, or maybe it's just cool to know that we're in the middle of this huge, old forest. The treehouse is pretty cool. During the day you can barely see it, and during the night you can't see it at all. My sister, Merah, is terrified of going into the woods, though. When we go there at night, she can't stop trembling, and she's always grabbing onto my paw and saying, 'Don't let them get me! Please, don't let them get me, Ru!' And all I can do is look at her and think, 'Why do I let her tag along?
We've been building the treehouse for maybe a month now, and now that it's done, it's our hang-out spot. We spend so much time there, we all consider it to be our second home. We even carted in this wooden crate with four sleeping bags in it, since all of our parents are pretty cool with us sleeping there. You know what's funny? Merah bought me this journal earlier today, all cheery and bright-eyed, and I was like, 'What? I'm not a girl. Get this thing away from me.' And I threw it at her. She cried and ran off. But now that I've started, I can't stop writing. There's so much to write about - my sister, my friends, school... by the way, two friends were helping me with the treehouse - Vidla, who I already mentioned, and Ancti.
You know what? I really should go say sorry to Merah. I'll write more later."
The diary entries were frequent - at least once a day. It didn't take long for me to learn all about the life of Rudolf "Ru" Ralander. Suddenly, he and the journal's "main characters", as I called them - his little sister, Merah Ann, his best friend, Ancti Vendette, and Ancti's cousin, Vidla Maral - seemed extraordinarily real. My greatest curiosity as I read the book, however, was exactly what year this all happened in. Was I reading a book that was a hundred years old or a year old? (Although a hundred years seemed unlikely, since Ru casually referred to places and items that hadn't been discovered/released a hundred years ago.)
Most of the journal entries mentioned little things that had happened on that particular day, but, occasionally, there was an entry that was out-of-the-ordinary, or was genuinely interesting. For example: when Ru had a fight with Ancti over something awfully petty, when Vidla thought about going into the world of fashion, or when Merah ran away from home.
One, however, caught my attention more than the others:
"5th Day of the Month of Collecting.
You know how Merah likes to try out new things - cooking, sewing, flying (what a failure), that kind of thing? Well, today, when we all went to the treehouse she (over) dramatically unveiled an old-looking book called Learning to Become a Sorcerer (or Sorceress). Apparently, Merah bought it from a yard sale down the street with some change she had in her pocket. It's not even a good book - even Ancti seemed appalled by the awful writing skills of the author, as well as the fact that the book was probably designed for five-year-olds. I think I mentioned this before, but Merah's only a few months younger than me, making us both fourteen at the moment. During those few months when I'm a different, older age than she, I love to tease her - it gets her so angry. It's actually kind of cute, and I don't say that about my sister often.
Anyway, Merah is obsessed with the whole magic thing now. She's bought all these books - real books, actually, about magic and becoming a sorceress or whatever. We're sleeping over in the treehouse tonight - everyone else is asleep, but I'm writing with a flashlight under the blanket. So, even Ancti and Vidla are getting into the 'learn magic' thing. Of course, they're all failing at spells and stuff like that. Is magic even real? I think it is, because faeries are real, right? I've never met one, but I know some people at school who have. I hope this whole magic thing is going to blow over soon - it's pretty stupid. I can't believe Ancti and Vidla are going along with this! Fyora, that means Merah's going to be even more motivated, and this obsession is going to last longer than the others. Gosh."
I've met faeries before - faeries who have asked me for items, and, when I gave them said item, they raised one of my stats, made me go up a level, or fed me. I knew that magic was real.
I read the following entries, which described how even Ru became interested in learning magic, and how he and the others began to learn spells - little ones. Eventually, they got good - pretty darn good, actually - and were able to do all sorts of things. They weren't sorcerers and sorceresses - they were more like wannabes fooling around with magic - but that's what they called themselves. They even made a name for their little group - "The Sorcery Society." The entries about their lives as members of this little society were both amusing and interesting, but I found myself becoming fairly bored with reading about magic and such. Yet there was this one entry that I kept reading over and over again, allowing the oddness of it to sink in:
"29th Day of Collecting.
This is a mess. A huge, ugly mess. Earlier today, Merah ticked off a light faerie. But it turns out it wasn't a light faerie - it was actually a dark faerie in disguise, but Merah revealed her by pointing out that it looked like she was wearing a yellow wig, and then this crazy Kyrii ripped off her wig, and it turns out that she was planning to turn everyone in Neopia Central into her minions, and the Defenders of Neopia and Illusen - yes! That Illusen! - came, and the faerie (whose name is Jhidaya) was carted away, but not before she swore revenge on all four of us. Now I'm scared, and I really don't get scared all that often. Weird things have been happening ever since Jhidaya was dragged off, like Vidla fell down the stairs, the ceiling light in the kitchen fell and almost crushed Merah, I was chased by a rabid Bearog on the way home - Jhidaya cursed us! We even checked all the symptoms of a 'Vendetta Curse,' or a Vengeful Curse. Well, we fit the bill, to the very last condition! We've been cursed by a dark faerie!
The others are looking up a reversal spell right now. The bad thing is, you need to know exactly what curse was used against you in order to reverse the curse. Only very, very powerful magical beings can completely erase a curse that you know nothing about. We've only been able to identify our curse as a 'Vendetta Curse,' but we don't know exactly what Vendetta Curse it is - so far, we haven't matched up to any of the curses in the Complete Book of Common Curses that Merah bought. What if the curse isn't common? I'm not exactly sure how powerful a faerie Jhidaya is, but who knows - maybe this is the type of curse only real sorcerers and sorceresses can cast, and only real sorcerers and sorceresses can cure?
This is a huge mess! You know, we shouldn't have even started this! This is so stupid! This should've never happened! We're not even real sorcerers and sorceresses, yet we call ourselves The Sorcery Society! I hate this! I hate this so much! I feel like screaming and screaming and screaming until my lungs run dry!
I HATE THIS!!!"
I stared at the page, trying to make sense of the entry. I reminded myself that I wasn't reading a novel written in diary form; what I was reading was a real journal. The entry was really written by someone named Rupert "Ru" Ralander, once upon a Month of Collecting. (Of course, there was the possibility that the journal was merely a first-person novel that someone had written, yet it seemed highly unlikely.) And, I soon realized, the book had to be old. The pages were dry, brittle, and yellowed; the neat, penciled letters were faded; and the cover was so weathered and beaten that I began to wonder exactly how many years the journal had spent in that bush.
I turned the page. The next entry was also the last entry.
I read on.
"30th Day of Collecting.
Tomorrow is the day. We can all sense that tomorrow is the day that Jhidaya is going to make her move - her move to get rid of us. After all, tomorrow is Halloween - what better day to get revenge and scare someone to death - maybe literally? We've all thought about just staying home tomorrow, but we're guessing that, if Jhidaya gets us anyway, shouldn't we - The Sorcery Society - (I laugh when I think of that name now) at least go down together? It would make sense. Even though this is our solemn, unspoken oath, we've all been working very hard to identify the Kassdarned curse that Jhidaya cast on us. The curse that fits us the best - so far - is the 'Klepto Curse.' The Klepto Curse is a curse that can only be used by a victim of thievery on their respective thief. We fit the bill for every condition except for the main one - the person casting the curse must be a victim of thievery. I guess, in a way, we 'stole' Jhidaya's freedom, but the condition is very literal - an object had to be stolen, or at least something that can be seen, heard, smelled, or touched.
I'm being very honest when I say that I'm not scared. If we're going down, then we're going down, but it's actually been a fun ride. I laugh at us, now - a bunch of teenagers, fooling around with magic and calling themselves The Sorcery Society, as if we could ever be considered actual sorcerers and sorceresses. Did I ever tell you we made our very own spell? We spent an entire week trying to get it right with a book Vidla had found in her attic, entitled Making A Spell Is Like Laying An Egg, which we all thought was very funny. I never mentioned the spell because it felt like a nice secret to keep, even from my journal... but if I'm going down, why go down with secrets? I might as well tell you, even though you're, well, a book. Anyway, it goes like this:
Vidla, Merah, Ancti and Ru,
Close your eyes and ask 'Where to'?
The point of the spell is to teleport yourself somewhere. The four of us are supposed to stand in a circle and hold hands, then close our eyes. Two of us say the chant together; then the other two reply with a location, or a person who we want to locate. The result is that all four of us are teleported somewhere else, anywhere else. It's pretty cool. What's even cooler is that it only works for the four of us, because it's a 'personalized' spell, as the book calls it.
It's pretty funny that I can right this all so calmly. We've all taken a break from searching for a cure for the curse, even though there really isn't any time to do so. We're eating Tigersquash and drinking Borovan, just like we did before we all got into magic. Everybody's talking about normal things; school, homework, each other. We're reminiscing, even. It's a fitting end to a story, don't you think? Foolish friends, The Sorcery Society, laughing like old times?
You know what else?
I really should stop asking a book questions.
I thumbed through the book, over and over again. There has to be more entries - there just has to be! I thought despairingly. But all I found was a notice on the last page of the book that read: "Property of Ru Ralander." I closed the book, plopped it down on the bed and sulked.
That wasn't a very good ending to a story at all.
I firmly decided to go to the Neopia Central Library the following day. They stored a lot of ancient, untouched records there, and I was sure that the young assistant librarian - Athy, her name was - would be more than happy to help an old friend find some old papers.
There was a knock on my door. "Come in," I said.
Citrus opened the door a crack. "Mom says it's time for dinner," she told me.
"Okay." Then I followed Citrus downstairs for dinner.
To be continued...