Dreams and Demons
Claira lay in bed looking up at the ceiling. Her room looked normal, but it did not feel normal. She tried to move but couldn’t. She tried harder and managed to turn her head a little to the left. Something was there, but it was invisible. She could sense its presence as fear gripped her mind. She had to move, had to get away.
Suddenly the blankets pulled tight around her and she was dragged off the bed to the floor. The blankets loosened and she felt the presence of the invisible intruder in front of her.
“What are you?” she managed to ask as her mind raced with fear.
A deep male voice answered, “I am …”
As soon as it said what it was the words vanished from her mind. “Say it again?” she asked as the room began to blur.
“I am …”
Claira shot straight up. She was back in her bed with the blankets laying untangled over her. She breathed deeply. It had been a dream.
This time though, after waking from the dream the image stayed with her. She had had other dreams like this where she couldn’t move; she also couldn’t make any noise. Sometimes she would feel something moving around on the bed, like a cat trying to find a place to lie down. Fear usually accompanied these dreams when she couldn’t move.
The strong presence she felt during the dream was a first. Other times she felt something but not that strong. It was also the first time she could form clear words and actually speak. Whatever had been with her actually answered her, but as she heard it say what it was the word was instantly forgotten.
This was definitely one of her more whacked out dreams where she was very much aware of what was going on. Most of the time with these types of dreams she would just let the dream unravel as she watched. Now she was having dreams more often where she couldn’t move her body when she was on the verge of waking up. A therapist once told her this is sleep paralysis and it happens because the body goes into a light state of paralysis as it sleeps to minimize movement. Basically it’s for not rolling off your bed in the middle of the night. So with the not being able to move her mind was supposedly interpreting it into fear in her dream as she was waking up. She did not believe the therapist entirely.
Claira looked at the clock it was almost seven. She got out of bed and went to her closet. She pulled out a pair of jeans and a red tank top. As she got dressed she kept thinking about the dream. She stood in front of her mirror and brushed her blonde hair up into a pony tail. Looking in the mirror she looked past her reflection and at the mirrored bed. She half expected to see something in the mirror but she didn’t know what. There was a faint lingering sense of the presence she had felt in the dream but knew nothing was there.
The rest of the day passed without incident until late afternoon when Claira was walking through the park.
Whack! Claira was knocked to the ground with her face in the dirt. Winded she rolled over to see what had hit her so hard. Her eyes widened in shock and terror. There standing a few feet in front of her was the largest and strangest wolf she had ever seen. Sun light reflected off its silver and gold fur. It shook its head up and down like a buck warding something off with its horns. This thing had two horns spiraling up in an arch on its head. It pawed the ground leaving deep gauges in the dirt with its claws.
Claira backed up slowly. The creature watched her as she bumped into the park wall. It growled softly and moved slowly back and forth in front of her like a cat toying with its food. Trying to get away would be useless, she had a feeling it could run faster than her.
The creature leapt at her, claws ready to slice. Claira covered her head. Nothing happened. She looked up and saw the creature getting up from the ground several feet away. She looked around quickly to see what had happened. Behind her on top of the wall was a brown haired teenage boy with a very large sword in his hand.
He jumped down in front of Claira, “You okay?” He watched the beast. Claira sat there dumbfounded but managed a small nod. Not that the boy could see her nod with his eyes on the creature. “Stay clear, I’ll take of this.” He charged the creature as it regained its attack stance. He slashed at the creature’s head but it was faster, and just barely dodged the blade. He slashed and hacked several times, driving it further away from Claira.
“Pretty awesome, huh” a smooth male voice asked.
Claira looked down and saw another creature. This one was the size of a house cat. Its fur was red and it had bat wings, two little devil like horns and a devil tail that was twitching back and forth as it sat next to her. “Sand is an awesome slayer; he’ll beat that thing to a pulp.” Claira jumped at little when the cat spoke again.
She looked back at the boy; he was now actually trying to hit the creature. It didn’t seem to be going very well, even though the cat was sure Sand would win.
“That thing moves fast, almost like lightning,” Claira said as she watched, slowly becoming transfixed on the battle.
“Course it does,” the cat started, “It’s an astral demon.”
“A what?” I asked distracted by Sand and the demon.
“Astral demon, a light demon,” the cat explained.
At some point Claira had stood up without realizing it. She watched the fight and soon realized she was transfixed on the demon. The demon swung a paw at Sand knocking him against a tree. Sand slowly stood up and seemed rather dazed.
“Hey! What are you doing?!” the cat called out as Claira started walking toward the battle.
The demon was getting ready to pounce on Sand. It leapt into the air and Claira shouted throwing her hand forward, “NO! STOP!” Light flowed from her fingertips and surrounded the demon in mid-air. Sand had regained his senses and was staring at Claira.
“She’s an astral summoner!” exclaimed the cat. “Stay focused on the demon,” it instructed.
Sand was fiddling with something in his pocket. He pulled out a small notepad and flipped through it. Great time to review notes.
“Repeat after me,” he shouted to Claira. She could feel her concentration waning. “Portal open before me.”
“Portal open before me,” Claira repeated.
“Cast this demon back to Laicrane!”
“Cast this demon back to Laicrane!”
A swirling purple black mass formed beneath the demon. “Now drop the spell,” Sand instructed.
Without knowing how she did. The light vanished from around the demon and it plummeted into the portal. The portal closed and Claira fell to her knees.
“Ha, ha, wow!” exclaimed the cat as it trotted to Claira. “You were great.”
Sand came over and plopped down in front of her, his sword had vanished. “Uh, thanks for that,” he said rubbing the back of his neck.
The cat was bounding around them enthusiastically going on and on about how good Sand had been, then Claira coming in with the hold spell.
She was not sure that she wanted to know what had just happened, but felt she needed to know any ways. “First thing; does that thing ever calm down?” she pointed at the cat.
Sand laughed, “That’s Moroko, and he gets excited very easily. He’s my familiar.”
“Familiar? As in witches and spells?” Claira raised an eyebrow.
“Sorta. I’m a gaean slayer and Moroko is a gaean demon. I draw on his power at times.”
“But if you’re a demon slayer, than why do you have a demon familiar?” she asked becoming confused.
“Well not all demons are bad,” Sand petted Moroko on the head. “I don’t know why slayers are able to have familiars so I can’t explain it…actually I don’t think anyone can, not even the teachers at the Academy. You’ll get a familiar too and a power stone,” he showed her an egg-shaped emerald embedded in the leather bracer on his right arm.
“Now that one,” he pointed to were the demon had vanished, “was bad.”
“Yeah, I kinda got impression that when it tried to EAT me!” She brushed some loose strands of blonde hair behind her ear.
“That’s the most obvious way to tell if one is bad, some are a little more sly about it; especially the fae type demons. But that goes into a more complicated explanation that one of the teachers at the school should talk about.”
“Raven Moon Academy,” Moroko chimed in as he jumped into Claira’s lap.
“Raven Moon Academy? That high class private school just outside town?” She asked as she scratched Moroko between the ears.
“Yep,” Moroko confirmed.
“Raven Moon Academy for Summoners and Slayers,” Sand stated. “By the way I’m Sand Conifer,” he stuck his hand out.
“Claira Evans,” she shook his hand.
“Well by Monday you should get a letter in the mail from the school,” he stood up. “I’ll see you around school.”
Moroko popped up out of Claira’s lap and jumped onto Sand’s shoulder, “See ya.”
Secrets and Eggs
Claira pulled the blankets off her head when she heard her mom call her. Her mom’s voice sounded curious. “Yeah mom?”
“Come down here please.”
Claira kicked off her blankets and went downstairs. She entered the living room and plopped down on the couch. Her mom and dad were sitting in their arm chairs. Her mom was holding today’s small stack of mail and looking at an open letter. “You want to explain this?” she turned the letter around and Claira could see a crescent moon with a star hanging from it at the top. It was from Raven Moon.
“Well, um,” Claira started, unsure of what to tell them. She thought they would think she had gone nuts if she told them about the wolf, the cat and Sand.
“What happened Friday?” her dad asked, “What caused you to hide in your for the past two days?”
“Well, um,” she tried again, “It’s something a little out of the ordinary.”
“Are you a summoner or slayer?” her mom asked suddenly.
Claira’s eyes nearly popped out of her head, “How did…”
“We already know what Raven Moon really is, have known for a long time,” her mom explained.
“There just hasn’t been a slayer or summoner in the family for a couple of generations now,” her dad added.
Well so much for chalking all of Friday up to being a whacked out dream. “Well,” Claira said for the third time, “Friday I was attacked by a large silver and gold wolf, a red devil cat spoke to me, a boy with brown hair and a big sword told me to repeat some words and the wolf thing fell into a big black purplish hole.”
“Your great grandmother on my side was an ifrit summoner,” her mom explained, “That’s the last one from my side to show these powers.
“It’s been even longer on my side,” her dad added, “a distant second cousin or something long ago was a slayer but I don’t know what element.”
“Uh the devil cat called me and astral summoner,” Claira told them. “The boy was Sand Conifer and he’s a gaean slayer. The cat was Moroko, first time a cat ever spoke to me outside of a dream.”
Claira’s mom got up from her chair, came over and put her arm around her and sat down, “I know this is a lot to take in and there is going to be a lot more to absorb, but this is going to be an amazing time in your life.”
Starting high school just got a lot more complicated.
The first day of school at a brand new school. Most might say it’s exciting to start a new school, but Claira had a feeling that Raven Moon would take “exciting” to a whole new level. She came to a stop in front of the open gates of Raven Moon. Looking up at the archway way she saw the Raven Moon crest all silver and shiny in the morning sun. Then she looked up the path way to the school. It was an impressive building, made of tan brick. It looked like a mansion. It was large, about twice the size of her old school. Lush lawns, beautiful trees, and flowering bushes encompassed the school.
A group of three girls came around the corner toward the gate carrying their book bags in their arms. One was tall with long black hair that was tied back in several braids and pulled into a pony tail; she was wearing plaid black, gray and white skirt that came to two inches above her knees, a white button down blouse and a black vest. The girl on the right had shoulder length curly brown hair and a black headband, gray slacks and white shirt. The one on the left was Asian with straight black hair down to her waist and was wearing a white skirt down to her knees but slit up both sides, and a white tunic with a gray belt. The girls stopped and looked at Claira. “New?” the one with the braids asked.
“Yeah,” Claira answered as she brushed her blonde bangs out of her face, “Really new.” Just then a lizard head the size of a grapefruit popped out of the braided girl’s bag. It looked at Claira and chirped.
“I’m Randi Cloenstien, this is Bridget Johnson,” she indicated the girl with the curly brown hair, “and this is Chloe Kimotasha,” she gestured toward the Asian girl.
“I’m Claira Evans.”
“Why don’t you come to the Grand Hall with us?” Randi invited, “Everyone gathers there the first day for orientation. Then we’ll find out our homerooms from there.”
“Alright, thank you,” Claira joined them and they walked up the path from the gate to the school.
The school was even more impressive inside. Beautiful dark purple carpets lined the hallways, windows had matching purple curtains tied back with gold tassels, all sorts of paintings lined the walls from people, to landscapes, to creatures, to abstracts. Occasionally there was a pedestal or shelf with statues of various mythical creatures she was familiar with, and a lot she wasn’t. As they passed open doors Claira glanced in a few and saw regular school desks lined in rows; in a couple she would see a teacher sitting at the teacher desk writing or reading.
All the students were heading toward the Grand Hall. Everyone was wearing some combination of white, gray and black, some even wore leather vests, pants or jackets. Most of the students were in small groups of three or four; some had little creatures riding on their shoulders, bounding by their feet, or even flying beside their head. There was such an assortment of creatures that we would be here for a year trying to describe each kind. Here and there were single students that were following the crowds of students into the Grand Hall.
Claira and the three girls she had met entered the Grand Hall. There were long tables set up on either side of the room, chandeliers were scattered along the ceiling, dark purple carpet ran down the middle of the room leading to a stage at the front of the hall. There was a long table draped with a gold tablecloth with dark purple accents. On top of the table were piles of egg-shaped gemstones! The gemstones were about the size of a chicken egg and divided into six piles. Red rubies, green emeralds, blue sapphires, pearly opals, white diamonds, and black onyx.
Randi found a section along one of the four tables that would seat all four of them together. The girls sat down and Claira noticed most of the students were looking at the piles of gemstones, some looked with deep intent, others had the same look she did; curiosity and surprise. Randi, what’s with the gemstones?” Claira asked pointing at the table of gems.
Randi smiled, “You weren’t kidding when you said you were new. Those gemstones are demon eggs. You’ll go up to the piles and an egg will pick you, it’ll let us know what element you are. After the eggs hatch you keep them and it becomes a power link between you and your familiar.” She raised her left sleeve to reveal a white arm sock with an onyx stone embedded in it.
Claira examined the gemstone, it looked whole. “If it’s an egg and it hatches why isn’t it cracked?”
The lizard in Randi’s bag poked its head out again and chirped. Randi smiled and petted it, “You’ll see soon enough. By the way this is Loki. He’s a chaos dragon demon.” She pulled Loki out of the bag and he unfurled little dragon wings and swished his pointed tail.
“Can I?” Claira asked looking at Loki.
“Sure,” Randi answered holding Loki out to her.
Claira petted Loki on the head and he purred loudly. His black scales were cool to the touch but the edges were sharp. “So after you find out what element you are, then what?”
“Then it needs to be determined if you’re a summoner or slayer if you don’t already know,” Chloe chimed in.
“How is that done?” Claira was really curious and interested in all of this.
“You’ll see,” Bridget smiled, “What fun would it be if we told you everything?”
“Do you know what you are?” Randi asked.
“Yeah, astral summoner,” Claira replied as she looked around at the other students sitting down.
“Oh good, then you don’t have to move,” Rand pointed at the tables on the other side of the room, “Slayers sit over there, summoners over here, and those who don’t know what they are go to the front of the tables on either side.”
At that moment a tall boy with brown hair walked by. He was wearing a black leather vest over a black long sleeved shirt and tight black jeans. A red devil cat sat on his shoulder and Claira blushed a little as she realized it was Sand and Moroko. The cat poked Sand in the neck and gestured to Claira. Sand glanced at her and gave a quick wink before he joined the slayer tables.
Randi looked at Claira wide-eyed. “You know Sand Conifer?” she asked.
“Yes,” Claira said hoping she wasn’t blushing anymore.
“You’re lucky,” Bridget said, “Sand is one of the hottest guys in the eleventh grade, let alone the school.”
“Shame he’s a slayer though,” Randi sighed. “Summoners and slayers don’t really get along. We don’t mingle much. Sometimes we are in the same classes such as general education ones, but even then we don’t talk much.”
“Why?” Claira asked.
“Just the way it is,” Chloe said, “It’s sort of an unwritten rule.”
“So, even though he’s a slayer, dish,” Randi demanded, “How do you know him?”
“Oh, well he saved my life in the park the other week,” Claira explained, “Actually it was him who told me what I was.”
“Really?” Randi was listening intently.
“There was a silver and gold wolf that attacked me, Sand came out of nowhere and got the thing off of me. Then Moroko popped up and told me the thing was an astral demon. I went into a sort of trance as I watched the fight. Sand got in a bad spot and suddenly an energy beam surged from my hand and wrapped around the demon stopping it in its tracks. Sand had me repeat some words and a big black and purple hole opened up and the demon fell in.”
“Pretty awesome,” Chloe said.
Suddenly the whole room got quiet and faced the front. A formidable looking woman in a long flowing black dress stood in the center of the stage. A pendant with a deep blue sapphire hung around her neck.
“That’s the headmistress,” Randi whispered in Claira’s ear.
The woman held out her arms in a welcoming gesture, “Welcome new and old students to Raven Moon Academy,” she had a firm but friendly voice. “For those of you, who don’t know, I am your headmistress Mrs. Calen and I am an undine slayer. Now before you are assigned your homerooms we need to get the new students their familiars and determine who is a slayer,” she gestured to the slayers, “and who is a summoner,” she gestured to the summoners. “When I call your name,” Mrs. Calen continued, “come up to the table and find your power stone. The first for the Determining is Claira Evans.”
“Diamonds are for astrals,” Randi whispered and Claira stood up.
Claira took a deep breath and walked up the aisle. She stood in front of the table of gemstones eggs unsure of what to do. She moved in front of the pile of diamond eggs. The diamonds started to glow and pulse. Claira looked up at the headmistress. Mrs. Calen smiled and nodded softly. Claira turned back to the pile of eggs and saw a golden glow coming from some where in the middle of the pile.
She moved the eggs away until she saw the diamond that was emitting the golden glow. Claira picked up the egg and the golden glow swirled up from the egg and formed a crescent moon over her head.
“Astral Summoner,” Mrs. Calen announced. “You may sit back down with the other summoners.”
Claira sat back down with Randi, Chloe and Bridget. She turned the egg over in her hand not really paying much attention to the rest of the Determining. The golden glow was gone now and other than it being a diamond the egg was unremarkable.
Randi nudged Claira. Claira looked up at her and she pointed to the front table. Bridget had been called up. She stood in front of the rubies and picked up a golden glowing egg and the crescent moon formed over Bridget’s head. Bridget sat back down with Claira and the others.
“Janet Walsh,” Mrs. Calen called out.
A girl with red hair walked up to the table. She stood before each pile in turn. When she stood in front of the sapphire eggs they started to glow and pulse. At the top of the pile one glowed gold and Janet picked it up. The swirl of gold formed a four point star above her head.
“Undine Slayer,” Mrs. Calen announced and Janet went and sat with a group of slayer girls.
After all the new kids received their egg Mrs. Calen instructed a teacher named Mr. Hammel to pass out the schedules to the new students and a few other teachers to pass out the rest to the other students. After all the schedules were passed out the students were dismissed to their homeroom classes.
Just outside the Grand Hall Claira, Randi, Bridget, and Chloe stopped. “Let’s see if any of us are in the same classes,” Bridget said.
“Homeroom with Hammel, English with Thompson, Familiar Familiarity with Edge, Basics of Summoning with Fallons, and World History and Demon History with Hammel,” Claira read.
“I’ve got Hammel for homeroom too,” Bridget said, “and Familiar Familiarity with Edge also.”
“Makes sense for both of you to have Hammel for homeroom since he IS the freshman homeroom teacher,” Randi chided a little.
“I have Miss Fallons for my homeroom. She’s the new junior homeroom teacher. Last year it was Mrs. Clayton,” Chloe stated.
“Mr. Schide is the senior homeroom teacher,” Randi said, “so he’s mine.” Randi looked over everyone’s schedule, “We all have lunch together it looks like.”
“We’ll see you guys at lunch than,” Bridget said as she turned her ruby egg over in her hand.
“When do they hatch?” Claira asked.
“Few weeks usually,” Randi said. “Alright see ya at lunch.” Randi and Chloe headed down the hall and around the corner.
Claira and Bridget walked into Mr. Hammel’s classroom. They took seats in the last row by the window near the front of the room. Claira noticed there was an egg-size divot at the top left-hand side of the desk. She looked around and saw that all the desks had the same divots. Students were setting their eggs in them so Claira and Bridget followed suit.
As Mr. Hammel called role Claira turned her egg over and around in the divot watching it catch the sunlight. “Now some of you have been aware of magic and demons for quite some time, and some of you just found out all those fantasy creatures are really when you got your acceptance letter.”
“Or when a horned wolf tries to eat you,” Claira whispered to Bridget. Bridget smirked.
“Any one who has any questions about anything don’t be shy, ask,” Mr. Hammel continued.
A blonde girl with pigtails raised her hand. Mr. Hammel pointed to her. She stood up, “How come the general population doesn’t know about demons and magic?”
“Good question,” Mr. Hammel said, “Actually magic and demons is known. But the general public does not want to know about it, so ones that see “unusual” things dismiss them with any other possible explanation they can come up with. Hallucinations, natural gas leak or explosion, lighting, shadows, some plainly refuse to believe they saw anything at all. There are also some government programs that help “gloss” over demon sightings and such. Like with this school, to the general public it is a very high profile, expensive private school, but as you know it is more than that. There are people set in the right places to make sure that important information is kept secret.”
A black haired boy raised his hand, “So if demons are real does that mean fairies and unicorns are real too?”
“Actually yes they are, but they are also really demons. Demons are not just supernatural monsters; they are magical beings that belong to other dimensions that at time cross into ours either by accident or being summoned,” Mr. Hammel explained. “So your demon familiars could be a fae, unicorn, dragon, gargoyle or something else. Demons come in all types and different elements are natural to them. The elements of summoning and slaying are light, shadow, earth, fire, water, and wind and these translate into Astral, Chaotic, Gaean, Ifrit, Undine, and Aerial.
Your familiars will be with you constantly some of them look almost like a common animal you may see around, some are more exotic. Generally the more exotic looking ones will find ways to hide when non-magics are around.”
“What happens when the eggs hatch?” Claira asked.
Mr. Hammel smiled, “The hatching of the egg is very special and you will see it soon enough. But afterwards the stone becomes your power stone. Both you and your familiar will draw power from it. Granted you already have power of your own, the stone will amplify it and most importantly allow you to control your powers better. Once your familiar hatches you will turn your egg into a talisman of some sort,” Mr. Hammel raised his arm that had a bracer with a diamond embedded in it, “Some choose a bracer type setting, some an amulet, or some type of head adornment, something that fits their style.”
The bell rang. “See you all either later today or tomorrow,” Mr. Hammel dismissed them to their next class. Claira went to her English class and Bridget went to Algebra.
English was just like any other English class; they were going to be assigned books to read and various writing assignments to accomplish. It was very “run of the mill.”
Claira’s next class was her first extraordinary class dealing with something magical; Familiar Familiarity.
She sat down in the last row by the windows again. She liked being able to look out over the lush grounds of the school.
Bridget rushed into the room and plopped down at the desk behind Claira. “My algebra class is all the way on the other side of the school from this class,” she panted and set her egg in the divot.
The bell rang and Ms. Edge walked into the room. She stood at about five feet tall, but well toned. Long black hair cascaded down her back and over her shoulders. She was wearing form fitting black jeans, three inch heeled boots, and a black corset over a scoop neck red blouse. A black choker adorned her neck with a ruby power stone dangling from the center.
“Welcome to Familiar Familiarity, I am Ms. Edge and this is Armaretta,” she ran her fingers over her power stone and it glowed as a cat creature appeared next to her. It resembled a bobcat with its coloring and fur, but it had a scorpion tail. “Armaretta is an Ifrit familiar called a bakion.”
Ms. Edge knelt down on knee and scratched Armaretta behind the ears. The bakion purred and closed its eyes. “Each familiar is unique just like every person is unique. They each have their own distinct personalities.
“In this class you will learn how to develop the bond between you and your familiar, once it hatches, and how to draw on its power to enhance your natural power.”
Just then Claira’s egg started glowing brightly. The brightness grew and drew the attention of everyone in the class. Ms. Edge and Armaretta came over to Claira’s desk. “Well this is interesting,” Ms. Edge stated. “I’ve never seen one hatch so early.”
“It’s hatching?” Claira asked.
The glow soon became too bright to look at. Suddenly the light coalesced into a pillar from the egg to about a foot into the air. The pillar arched and touched the desk, the light then flowed from the egg into a ball on the desk. As the light faded from the egg the ball took the shape of a creature about half a foot tall. The glow around the creature faded to reveal a stark white bat. Its head was tilted down slightly hidden by its wings. It lifted its head and opened its eyes and looked at Claira. It had big lilac colored eyes.
“An astral bat,” Armaretta chirped.
“I’m Lavender,” the bat squeaked. Lavender spread her wings and flapped them a little testing them. She then jumped a little, flapped a little and perched herself on Claira’s shoulder.
“Go ahead and introduce yourself dear,” Ms. Edge urged Claira.
“Oh, um, I’m Claira,” Claira told Lavender.
“We’re going to have a lot of fun!” Lavender declared and climbed on top of Claira’s head and sat there looking around the class. “Why is everyone looking at us?” she asked innocently.