I think I’m going to combine two prompts in one today.
Studio30 Plus: THE PROMPTS
Provenance and/or Origin
[noun] the place of origin or earliest known history of something; the point or place where something begins
And The Dark Room which is the image in this post.
The intense winds during the evening hours had downed many trees and branches across the grounds of Tanglewood Manor. The left half of the sprawling manor housed Ravenwood Conservatory for Orphaned Magic Boys and Girls, the unfortunates without families. The right side, Taedia: Academy for Magics. All the oldest and wealthiest Magical families sent their children there, despite the disagreeable fact that their children would be forced to mingle with the ‘unfortunates’. However unequal the children’s circumstances were, one thing was for certain, both sides were balanced in the tragic mayhem of wooded debris littering the grounds of their precious school.
The mess was monumental, causing the Headmaster of the esteemed establishment, Pilan Lynx, to give the entire student body, all 158 of them combined from both schools, a day off of studies in order to begin the cleanup despite the still steadily whipping winds. Ravenwood and Taedia, aside from sharing classes and the same dining hall, were allowed very little interaction. Suffice to say, the chaos inside the estate housing the two magical schools was equally balanced to the chaos of the grounds. Gods forbid those two different classes should mingle a moment more than necessary. The eye-rolling was of epic proportions, showing that teens of magic were not that far removed from those of non-magic counterparts.
Piper Rathmore, a frail and mousy girl of sixteen was aghast at the thought of being involuntarily volunteered into manual labor, especially with exams coming up. Twins, Callista and Cosmo Fayne, her best friends, were forced to drag her outside by her long, thin corn colored braids, a better fate than what would befall her if Headmaster Lynx were to hear her objections. Although, perhaps Piper would have preferred being locked in her tiny room with a speck for a window.
“Classes are canceled for the day, Piper. We can explore while we are out there. Maybe we will finally see what’s beyond that gate.” Callista tugged at Piper’s braid so her friend would be forced to look at her. The rickety wooden gate, quite unexceptional in appearance, was hidden behind vines riddled with razor-like spikes and thick, poisonous foliage, both which caused ungodly rashes upon contact that were not curable by any type of magic, only time and aloe.
“But it’s so chilly and damp outside. And I need to study for Dream Sorcery!” Piper cried, wrapping her long arms around her small frame. In contrast, her excitement at the prospect of exploration was obvious by the mischievous glint in her almost clear blue eyes.
Cosmo dropped the braid he was holding, his jaw suddenly tightening,”Won’t those pompous gargoyles alert Lynx if we wander too far?”
Ten stone sentinels flanked the perimeter of the roof. Their purpose served much more than decoration. They were the eyes and ears of the establishment. Nothing went on inside or outside the school that the Gargoyles weren’t aware of. Which meant, the headmaster was kept informed, as well.
It was well known the main mission of the Gargoyles: keep the students away from the fence.
Unraveling her arms from her waist, Piper turned her gaze beyond her friends, past the naked branches of the trees, beyond the tangled vines and barren bushes separating the acres of the estate, off toward the unknown that sprawled past the forbidden hidden gate.
Callista and Cosmo had known Piper for as long as they both could remember, arriving at Ravenwood the same day as Piper, over ten years prior. They were fully aware that the blossoming rosiness of her cheeks and the darting of her eyes indicated a plan formulating beneath that mousy hair.
For equally as long as Callista and Cosmo could remember, Piper had been fascinated with what secrets were beyond the fence. She was always brushed off by Headmaster Lynx when questioning the origin of the wood, itself, which was so uncharacteristic of the rest of the estate which teemed with the ornate. Even the sculptures throughout the grounds were marvelous in their craftsmanship which was curious to Piper, more so than to any other student calling Tanglewood Manor ‘home’.
Since answers always came in the form of “not now” and “don’t you have studies to attend to?”, Piper brought her curiosity to her two trusted friends. Callista and Cosmo weren’t as interested in what was out there and why it was off-limits. It seemed no one was interested. Except for Piper.
Piper secretly believed the students were under some sort of spell, one that kept curiosity at bay. And, one that did not appear to work on her. Something beyond that gate had been calling to her since the first terrifying night she slept alone in her tiny room.
She used to be more vocal with the other orphans, asking them if they felt it too; that constant tugging toward the gate. The need to go beyond, to know what was there. The only consistent answer she ever received was to be locked in her room for the night which made her stop speaking of it except to Callista and Cosmo. They would never report her to Lynx, she knew that.
Pilar Lynx struck her as odd, as well. Everything about him, from his age which seemed far too young for him to be running an entire school, to his secrets. She felt them the way she felt there was something past that gate.
And, she knew Pilar Lynx felt there was something different about her. It was more than the way he watched her, which he tried to do discreetly but she knew. She always knew. She also knew she was different than the rest of the student body. Her magical studies came much easier, she masked it by achieving barely passing grades. He knew, though. She knew he knew.
Since she turned sixteen, everything inside her started getting more confusing. The feelings were stronger. The magic, stronger. She felt like she would explode and it was made worse by hiding all this from her friends.
So she would protest going outside, just so she wouldn’t give rise to any suspicions. And today, she would push it just a little. Today, she knew deep inside that she would finally get, at the very least, a taste of what waited for her beyond that gate.