The clattering footsteps of a young mage, normally loud and echoing in the stone hall, were drowned out by frantic shouts and cries of fear. His hand tightly wound around a tome. Less than a week prior to the mass evacuation, Thanados, leader of Mortem Imperium, had declared war against Merlin's Council.
Placed on a hill above a town was the Ilaris School of Magic, one of the oldest academies dedicated to the teaching the arts and history of magic. Its stone walls and grand rooms once housed the royal family and was defended by a large stonewall covered in spells of protection. As a result, in times of dire situations, it was designated as the safety haven to all who lived around it.
From Ilaris's gates had come some of the most powerful sorcerers and sorceresses in history. Unfortunately, not all had chosen the path of righteousness and instead walked on the path to power and destruction.
As wonderful as the instructors were, they could not always change all their students for the better.
Some slip right through their grasps.
Thanados was one of them, though at that time he was known as Joshua Wright. The instructors blinded by excellent grades and model attitude failed to see who he was.
The young mage maneuvered through the throngs of refugees to reach to woman whom had called out his name. His eyes met with the steely blue gaze of the nurse in charge. Her forehead glistened with sweat and blood, the staff in her hand glowed, a tome hovered besides her. Drifting above her was a ghost, one of the many trapped in the school. Unlike the others, this ghost was dressed in the same attire as the students of the school, indicating her unfortunate death.
The nurse trembled slightly as she reached out to the spell book Eric held out, "Thank you. Eric start working on the smaller injuries, take Ashlynn with you. I've never seen a curse such as this."
Under normal circumstances, he would not have been allowed to perform spells on outsiders until his third year, but many of the older students had already been sent out to fight in the war. This only left him, a mere 13 year old, and other 1st years to assist in the castle. His heart trembled, it had not been a week and they were already resorting to using students to battle. How were they to win?
His shoulder was suddenly engulfed in a cold numbing sensation. He looked up meeting the blank eyes of Ashlynn Mayes, she had placed her hand through his shoulder.
"Calm down", a clear voice commanded, filling up his mind.
Eric nervously nodded, thankful for the ever present Ashlynn. She pulled a tome of healing out her bag handing it to him. He calmed himself, flipping the pages open and began reciting spells. A warm glow covered the bruises and cuts of the villagers.
His mind wondered as he did so, remembering of when he had first met Ashlynn Mayes.
He was walking to his Potions class, when the students in front of him began parting. A girl walked through the halls calmly amongst the other students. She looked to be the age of 16, wore the student uniform. Long pale hair swayed loosely behind her back as she took each step, her eyes were the deadest of whites, staring straight ahead. Her hands clutched around a satchel she carried over her shoulder and despite its large shape, she seemed to walk on effortlessly. Students shuddered as an icy sensation filled their bodies in the smallest of brushes against her translucent body.
He was soon surprised to see her attending classes as a normal student would, and very quickly discovered why she was nicknamed Sophophile Mayes. A term coined for her incredible lust for knowledge.
She scavenged for every book in the castle, forbidden, cursed, or not, constantly reading and rereading. It was as if she stopped learning for one second she would descend into something further than death would take her. Often, she would force students to help her experiment in casting spells and potions before scribbling away in a book.
This girl was no ordinary student as she attended each class of each year ritualistically for several decades stuck in her ghostly form.
Eric still couldn't help but wonder who was she.
Why did she lust after knowledge so greatly?
Why did she follow students around, assisting with work rather than haunting one of the many rooms?
How did she die?
Why does she exist? A soul is trapped to buildings or objects because of incomplete business.
To put it simply, ghosts don't hang around without a reason.
The School on the Hill