Twelve years after Prologue

Evan awoke in his dorm room. He tried to open his eyes, but the morning sun filtering through the window was too much for him right now. Half squinting, he hauled himself out of the bed and proceeded to change into his blue suit. The dorms were nice and quiet at this time. Evan peered at another bed beside his, where his roommate Philip still lay sound asleep. He didn’t look like he was going to stir anytime soon. Evan had things to do in the main building, so he left the dorms right after he was done.

It was a calm day with little wind. The grass was slightly damp with dew, probably because nights were getting colder now. Fall was coming to a close. This time of year was special for Evan. It reminded him of an emotion, but he couldn’t describe exactly what it was. The closest word that Evan could think of was nostalgia.

But it wasn’t really nostalgia. This problem had bugged him his whole life, but it was only recently that he had become very aware of it. It wasn’t just this emotion, but any sentiment that his mind latched onto seemed to vanish into fog after a couple seconds. Sometimes, he would have dreams of himself experiencing a certain emotion. It would be crystal clear what it was to him in the dream, and he was sure that he would remember it when he woke up. But when he did, it all went away, as if falling through his fingers. Now that he thought about it, he never remembered a single one of his dreams his entire life.

As Evan looked back on his past, his thoughts turned to the school. It was an unnamed, government sponsored boarding school which was an orphanage for kids who had lost their parents. Exactly why it didn’t have a name, Evan didn’t know. He had lived at this school for as long as he could remember. His parents died in an accident when he was an infant. That’s what he had been told at least, and since Evan had no real reason to deny this, it was also the story that he accepted.

The school’s activities and curriculum were fairly straightforward. The students were required to study academics, such as math, English, history, and the like, but their focus was to be on practising magic for use on the missions which they had to complete. These missions varied widely in difficulty, but they all required some form of magic. The most common goal of a mission was to eliminate, usually directly assasinate, a specific target from the ‘outside’ for the Headmaster.

The school had strict rules for the students, which were collected in a rulebook that the students needed to commit to memory. There were many minor rules like “be on time for classes” and “obey your teachers” and the like, but the most important section of the book had to do with the Fundamental Rules. This section of rules were special in that they applied whenever the students needed to leave the school for whatever reason, the most common of these reasons being for missions.

They applied when students went to the ‘outside’.

There were three rules in this section:

  1. Do not speak of or about this school to anyone from the ‘outside’.
  2. Show no mercy or compassion to your targets or anyone that gets in your way when doing a mission. Most of all, do not show love of any sort.
  3. You will not be forgiven for breaking the rules in this section. Any deviation from the above statements will result in your death.

Evan shuddered. Thinking about these rules always made him paranoid, as if his subconscious was furtively plotting to break them without his knowledge. He was brought up with these rules from his birth and had never questioned them, and knew of nobody at the school that would even dare to. In fact, the words “mercy”, “compassion”, and “l…o…v…”

He couldn’t bring himself to say the word, even in his head. These three words were the “forbidden utterances”, as the students called them, and were considered taboo. They were unthinkable to say in any circumstance, whether in the school or ‘outside’.

By now, Evan had reached the doors to the main building. He gripped the cold, metal handle and slowly pulled the door open. The building greeted him with the familiar, still dark, silent hallway he was so used to seeing. The reason he was here was because his teacher, Nick, had told him to meet early in the duelling arena to practise some magic, though judging by the looks of things, he probably wasn’t here yet. Evan walked further down the hallway and turned into a stairway. He descended one flight of stairs which led to the double walled, magic proof doors opening into the arena.

The doors were enchanted with a spell and thus automatically opened for him. The arena was dark. Looks like Nick really hadn’t come yet.

“Welcome,” said a voice.

Evan jumped. There was a figure dressed in all black leaning against the wall in the corner of the arena. His black clothes camouflaged with the dark shadows and so Evan hadn't notice him before. Naturally, Evan thought it was Nick.

“Ni-” Evan froze. Now that he looked closer, the man didn’t look like Nick. He was taller, somewhat slimmer, and gave off the impression of prestige and importance. There was only one person Evan knew that fit this description...

“Headmaster Jules?”