The Turning Point Comes in the Empty Tomb of a Child Soldier

The spider was hesitant as it dropped from the ceiling, lit by a beam of falling sunlight from a break in the rock face. Klaus watched it get lower and lower until it was just above his arm. When it touched him, the spider’s colouring started to change, from the light brown of the rocks to the paler colour of Klaus’s bare arm. Slowly it skittered down him, from his forearm to his hand, off onto the blackened ground where it changed colours to match.

Watching it, Klaus wondered if it would turn red as well when it reached the pool of blood slowly spreading out from where he was sitting. But the spider stopped at the edge of the pool and moved back, back up Klaus’s arm, and started spinning a web immediately.

Chosen One, 15

“Your room is nicer than mine.” Isaac said, a little scandalized. “It’s actually warm in here.”

“Three quarters of students leave after the initial training period. There are less of us, so we can get nicer rooms.”

“I feel like more students would stay if we had nicer rooms.” Isaac grumbled. The apprentice’s rooms weren’t enormous, but there was a bed, a long table on one wall, some bookshelves, a little table for eating or studying and some chairs, and a wardrobe in one corner. Plus a nice sized window that looked out onto the grounds. The room was a little disordered, with possessions scattered about, but Isaac didn’t mind that.

“Now I’m starting to feel like you’re using me for my bedroom.”

Isaac turned and smiled. “I’m offended that you’d think I’m so shallow.”

Dragon, 9

“I’m just not sure taking a shortcut through mountains in the winter is the best idea,” Owen said, as they approached said mountains. The ground was growing rockier as they moved, and they were headed steadily uphill. Plus there were mountains right in front of them and all.

“Going around them would take weeks,” Gavin said. “We’d just be wandering through snow forever, leaving tracks behind us.”

“I know, I know.” They were approaching what looked like a pass that would take them into the mountains proper. If this was so much faster, Owen had to wonder why there wasn’t a road. Something must be stopping people from using the Amaran Mountains regularly, and so he checked to make sure his sword was loose in his scabbard, just in case. “We’re going to be trapped in snow up there, though, is what I’m worried about.”

“Maybe,” Gavin admitted, smirking. “We’ll have to huddle together for warmth, and…” His voice trailed off for a minute, eyes suddenly fixed on something ahead of them.

“Gavin?” Owen tried to find what he was looking at, but it was just a lot of rocks and whatnot. There was a pretty big spider, easily the size of Owen’s hand, sitting on one rock a little ahead of them. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” Gavin said faintly, not moving his gaze, and he was definitely looking at the spider. “I, um. Owen. I don’t really, uh, like spiders.”