26 of March, 2021 – Class E-1
The rest of the week seemed to fly by. Jett started walking me to and from classes at Sacred Heart, which was a minor annoyance. Lilly, Helena, and I thought up more movies to binge on Saturday, so it was nice to have solid plans to look forward to.
Wednesday’s Physical Health class was very exciting; my bet with Lilly was all our homeroom class could talk about, so the upperclassmen were eager to see how it all played out. The epic game we were tasked to play was… Manhunt. All that suspense just for a game of hide and seek. With Angel, Elyse, Finn, Storm, and Teagan on my team, we rocked the game. It helped that the coaches gave us the go-ahead to use the rest of the school as our hiding place–the locker rooms, the gymnasium, the classrooms, the gardens… The only place off limits was the library. We found more of Lilly’s team than they did of mine, so Coach Nemo declared us the winners! Which, if you remember, means Lilly owed me a favor.
Val took me to meet with Professor Penn on Thursday evening; we ate dinner while I asked her the questions I had thought up for my History of Magick assignment. My homework for Astronomy, Advanced Magick, World Literature, Magickal Properties, Chemistry, and Language Essentials were all the same: review the first chapter of the virtual textbook and complete the online quiz created by each individual professor. My Political Science assignment was the only other like History of Magick; we were expected to choose an event in magickal history and write an essay on the political ramifications. Since I was considering using the same event for both assignments–the creation of a new coven among a group of influential witches who had all left their own families–I made sure to slip in some political questions for Professor Penn. She didn’t seem to mind at all, and she even stopped Val from trying to stop me.
“If you silence an inquiring mind, then they’ll never grow,” Penn pointed out, a twinkle in her dark eyes.
All those classes I had taken to some extent before, so I was never worried–until I made it to Divination, a class where I had no idea what to expect.
Professor Stratton was a three-foot-eight whirlwind in four-inch heels. Her carrot-orange hair was wild and curly as it sat atop her head in a messy bun, and her entire body seemed to be covered in freckles. Her green eyes were wide and mirrored her warm smile, and she assigned our seats with a lighthearted Irish brogue. Once we were all settled, Professor Stratton began her opening remarks:
“Some say that divination is all about natural talent; that you must have the gift in order to wield its methods. Others believe it boils down to practice–that if you try with all your might, you’ll achieve foresight. I think it can be both, and neither.” Professor Stratton paced back and forth at the front of the class as she spoke, her heels click-clacking against the tile floor. “There have been stories throughout history of those who have never once practiced divination suddenly having visions. Our own dreams not only help us process our day-to-day lives, but can be used to determine our very future. Divination is not a science; there is nothing exact or definite in the way it works. It takes intuition, luck, and our individual experiences to decipher the messages of the otherworld, and I am here to guide you as you navigate through this chapter in your lives. Will you have a natural affinity for divination? If not, is practice all that you need? And, if your answer to either of those questions is yes, then which method is right for you?”
There was a creak toward the rear of the class. Professor Stratton’s eyebrows rose and her smile deepened. “Yes, Angel?”
“Is it normal for Hunters to use divination?”
Professor Stratton nodded. “As a matter of fact, yes. Sirens used to foretell the deaths of sailors through song, and phoenixes could predict war and famine. There have even been Haunters who’ve retained their prophetic abilities after death–so yes, Angel, it is very normal for you to be here with us.”
“Oh. Thanks.” Even though I didn’t turn around to see them, I could tell by their voice that the unicorn was surprised and relieved by the professor’s assurance. It can’t be easy to be the only Hunter in a room full of Enchanters.
“Are there any other questions?” asked Professor Stratton. “Don’t be shy–you’re only bearing your soul before the whole class. No pressure.”
Her remark made several of us chuckle, and Sofia–who was seated to my left–raised her hand.
“Is it okay for us to take this course if we have no prophetic abilities?”
Professor Stratton’s lips pouted as she feigned a scowl. “No prophetic abilities? ‘Course not. Get out, go on.”
More giggles. Sofia broke out into a smirk, her cheeks tinted pink.
“In all seriousness, love, I don’t believe in such a thing,” the professor revealed. “No prophetic abilities–you’ve heard of intuition, yeah? Your gut feeling? That’s your sixth sense kicking in, raw and untrained. You use it every day when you make decisions. Do I believe it’s alright for you to take this course if you’ve never had a vision, or thrown tarot cards, or some other method? Of course I do. All are welcome here because, in my expert opinion, you all have the potential to wield fantastic divination skills. Your gut told you to take this course, so that’s a start, don’t you think?”
Sofia nodded and whispered, “Thanks,” before the professor addressed the rest of the class.
“Alright, anything else?” She paused, allowing other students the chance to raise their hands. I watched her eyes sweep over the room briefly before she beamed. “Excellent! Today, we’ll discuss common divination methods and touch on some of their more obscure relatives.”
Professor Stratton’s class was one long, entertaining lecture, and my worries seemed to melt away as time went on. I was so caught up in learning about anthomancy–the ability to determine the future by studying flowers–and sikidy–the divine interpretation of sixteen figures–that I didn’t once think of Blodwen, who had been on my mind all week.
As a freshman, I never once saw the senior in my classes, even though I was enrolled in various higher-level courses. She wasn’t around at lunch, which made sense–all the ghosts found ways to entertain themselves during that hour since none of them required food. I couldn’t find her in the crowd of upperclassmen watching us freshmen during Physical Health, even though most of the ghost seniors were in attendance. I even convinced Axel to come through the portal earlier with me, and I stayed by the portals wishing my friends goodbye until he was practically dragging me back home. At no point did I come across Blodwen again, and her absence only heightened my curiosity.
At the end of Divination, Professor Stratton gave us a simple task for homework: continue researching various methods of divination, and find the method that speaks to us. We were to answer a questionnaire Stratton sent to us via email; we had until the following Wednesday to complete the online form, giving me plenty of time to decide on the methods that interested me. I was already leaning toward astromancy, or divination by stars and planets and other celestial bodies, so I just needed to find a couple others that I wouldn’t mind practicing in my spare time.
When the bell rang, I was packing up my tablet when Sage spun around in their seat.
“I’m headed back downstairs for Debate. Where’s your next class?”
“Upstairs, on the roof,” I explained.
Sage nodded and stood as understanding washed over their expression. “Oh, you have Dacal. Alright, I’ll see you at Middy then.”
“Okay, see you!” I called out as they rounded their desk and headed for the door. I stood from my own seat and slid my arms into the straps of my backpack, ready to go.
“Um, excuse me?”
I glanced around; the source of the voice was Aerwyna, a freshman elf that was seated in the next row over and two desks back. Her hair was raven black, wavy, and shoulder-length; her face and body were slender, bony even. Her light eyes peered down at mine from beneath side-swept bangs, and her thin lips formed a tight grimace.
“Uh, hi. I have Botany on the roof with Professor Dacal, too. Do you want to, er, walk together? I mean, if you don’t have anyone else to, like, walk with or anything–”
I fought the urge to bite my lower lip. It would be super mean if I just bust out laughing. Control yourself, Cari. So I smiled and shrugged. “Sure. Let’s go.”
We exited the classroom and meandered through the busy corridor, headed for the stairs. There was an awkward air between us, so I decided to break the ice. “So, what divination method are you thinking of choosing?”
Aerwyna thought for a short moment before responding, “Palmistry is well-versed in my clan. I’d also like to learn how to read tarot cards. You?”
“I’m also interested in taromancy!” I gushed. “That and scrying are two forms I’d like to master. And I love astronomy, so I think astromancy would be really cool. I don’t think I’d be any good at palm reading, though. How do you tell a beauty mark from a mole or dirt?”
As we ascended the steps, the elf giggled. “It works best with clean hands, obviously. Do you want me to read yours?”
I blinked and glanced around. We were at the top of the steps, just a hair’s breadth away from the door leading to the rooftop. There was no one else around. “Here? Right now?”
“Sure!” she shrugged, holding out her left hand. Though hesitant, I placed my right hand on hers, waiting.
Aerwyna brought her other hand over mine, her fingers tracing the lines of my palm as she studied them with an inquisitive gaze. “Interesting. You have no marriage line, yet you have a long love line.”
I frowned. “Is that… Bad?”
She smirked. “Nah. It means you’ll be an understanding partner–maybe you just won’t get married. What are your thoughts on marriage?”
“You could at least buy me dinner first.”
Aerwyna snickered. “If I ever switch teams, I’ll keep that in mind.”
“I guess I’ve never really thought about it?” I shrugged. “I don’t know. My parents aren’t married–they both put their careers and covens before their love lives. I guess I always expected I’d do the same.”
The elf’s smile became burdened. “That sounds lonely, Cari.”
I didn’t say anything as she returned her gaze to my hand. Would spending my time alone really be so bad?
My eyes darted back and forth between Aerwyna’s scowl and my hand. “What is it?”
She shifted her weight from one leg to the other, inching closer in the process. “Well, you have a nice, long head line and a deep life line–but it’s broken. Cut in half right at the center. That normally happens toward the start of the line, but I’ve never seen it so close to the middle before. A-And the head, love, and life lines all seem to fray together.”
It was my turn to scowl. “What does that mean?”
Aerwyna met my gaze head-on. Her eyes took on an amber sheen as she revealed: “You’re going to experience something big very soon. You’re normally an analytical person, but curiosity will get the better of you. Your head and your heart will be at war, and you’ll make a mistake that will cost you your life. Those closest to you will be the deciding factor as you teeter on the brink of darkness and light.”
A chill ran down my spine. A mistake? Me? I never let curiosity get the better of me. I was so disturbed that I wrenched my hand out of Aerwyna’s clammy grip.
She blinked. “What… Just happened?”
Is this girl serious? “You just read my palm and told me I was going to get myself in trouble.”
Aerwyna frowned. “I… I did? Oh… S-Sorry, forget I said anything.”
Then she hurried through the door to the rooftop, leaving me on the stairs feeling creeped out.