Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Penny Dreadful Ch1 Pt 5 ::VOTE::

Merle was the one to break the silence. "Now, dear friends, we must be on to business. I will state it quite plainly, actually.", he gestured at Penny.

"I am here for your daughter."

All was quiet in the room, as the magnitude of Headmaster Ambroses's words settled in. Even the fire in the fireplace seemed to crackle much quieter than before. All eyes, of course, were on Penny.

"There has to be some mistake!" Penny declared at last, "I'm no wizard!"
"Please, Headmaster Ambrose", added Penny's mother, "surely there has been some oversight, somewhere?"

The Headmaster simply shook his head quietly. "Penny, my dear child, I know for a fact that you are a wizard."

Penny's mind raced. How could he know factually? There had never been any suggestion to her having any kind of magic abilities.No unusual events in her childhood. No omens for good or ill, suggesting she had a hand in the currents of energy that flowed and ebbed in the world of magics.Suddenly, a very recent event popped into her head.
"The capstone!" she offered, in a burst of realization.
"Quite precisely, Penny", Merle nodded, " Of course, I chalked up all the spell work, but if you did not possess The Spark, you could have pounded with that rock all day, and the boulder in the field would not so much as budged."

"Excuse, me Headmaster" queried Mr. Dreadful ," 'The Spark'?"

"Oh, ho! Yes, indeed! The Spark is what makes wizards, well, wizards." Merle explained, "Many have tried to determine it's source, to no avail.It simply 'is'. It has no connection to a persons geography, their lineage, no links to family history at all."

"In fact,", he continued as he reached into his velvet bag yet again, "We have a fault proof system of actually proving the existence of The Spark in an individual." Withdrawing his hand from the bag, all saw he had a metallic orb with it's own mahogany holding base.

"This, my friends, is The Spark Detector" Merle explained. Everyone closed in tighter to get a better look at the device.

It was no more than six inches in diameter, and it was etched with undecipherable markings all over it's surface. A white crystal, carefully carved, protruded from the little metal planet's "North Pole". Headmaster Ambrose continued his impromptu show-and-tell.

"You see, all Sparks are not created equal. All can be trained and refined through years of practice, but all wizards start from an undetermined, and very individual, starting point. Allow me , please, to demonstrate."

With that, he placed his hand on the metal orb. There was a soft humming, and a faint glow from the crystal in the orb's top. A sphere of light appeared over the crystal, bright and shining, spiking in random directions, and color shifting like a soap bubble.

"That, my dear friends, is my Spark. I've invested countless years refining it. You can have two wizards study all the same texts, cast all the same spells, do all the same things, but their Sparks will develop as individually as the wizards they reside in."

Sliding the device in it's base towards Penny's mother, Merle offered her to try it. Reluctantly, and with patient guidance from Merle, she did. Again the soft hum, the glow in the the crystal, but no lights. For Penny's father, (who required considerably less convincing), the same result.

Now it was Penny's turn. She looked at the Orb, at the man who she just met mere hours ago, and at her parents. All she looked at returned her questioning glance with encouragement.
Steeling herself, she reached out, and touched the orb with a finger. The Orb was cold. Nothing happened.

"See?", Penny sighed, quickly withdrawing her finger, "No Spark. No Wizard, here. Just you Headmaster Ambrose." And as soon as she had said it, she realized that nobody in the room was going to be fooled.
"Penny, m'dear", Merle Abrose leaned forward, "Nobody can make you something you're not. As Headmaster, I will accept no student that is not at Ravenwood of their own free will, It is a school, not a detention center.
This is a simple, and painless test, simply to confirm what we already know. Please." With a waving gesture, he invited her back to the Orb.

Penny, was entirely too curious not to try, but deathly afraid of what it might mean.With a deep breath, she closed her eyes, and firmly grasped the Orb.
Again, the cold.
Again, the hum.
Again, the glowing crystal.

And there it was. Her Spark. Certainly not a large, or as bright as the Headmaster's, it pulsed with a slow, steady rhythm, varying between hues of gray, and the color of purple slate.

Merle Ambrose let out a soft whistle, examining the display of light. The abruptly, his eyes twinkled and he softly and genuinely congratulated Penny.
"That, my dear, is a most impressive Spark, for someone with no magical training! Why, I'd daresay that that Spark falls right on the curve of a level 20 student! Some wizards struggle for their first few years to refine their Spark to the same parameters your untrained Spark has!"

Mr. and Mrs. Dreadful looked exceedingly proud. "Our daughter, a wizard! Can you imagine?!"

Penny, however, was not as jubilant as everyone else around the table. This little 'test' carried with it massive, life altering ramifications.

"What if I choose to stay here?" Penny suddenly asked. Penny's parents looked shocked. Merle raised his hand, to stave off any comments the girl's parents might have made
"As I said, Penny. I would not let you into Ravenwood, without you wanting to be there. This isn't Dragonspyre we're talking about."


Penny shuddered. Dragonspyre was the place all frustrated mothers threatened to ship their disobedient children. It was a Military Academy, which was bad enough, but they accepted non magic users, as well, and it was rumored that their recruiting was as harsh and calculated as their training. Granted, they forged some of the finest soldier The Spiral had ever seen, but to Penny, the cost seemed too high.

Everything was happening so fast! The room swam, the heat felt stifling. Penny excused herself, to step out for some cool evening air.

The it was early evening already. There was a gentle breeze, and the smell of fresh cut grass. Penny sat down on a nearby hay bale, and leaned against her humble little home.

Looking up into the clear Summer skies, she looked at the stars. On a really good night, you could make out the curvature of The Spiral, and tonight, almost like an imagined omen, was one of those nights.
But the stars she saw appeared somehow different. She knew, logically, that they were in fact the same, that it was her own perception of them that had changed.

"Got room for one more?" a voice asked, pulling her back from her distracted thoughts. It was her father.
Penny scooted over and her father sat beside her, and he too, gazed up at the stars.
"It's a beautiful night, isn't it? So much to take in.", he volunteered

"Daddy, what if I say 'Yes'?" There, she said it.
"Pumpkin, you will always be my girl, whether you farm, or cast spells. Your mother feels the same way. No matter where you are, or what you do, nothing will change the fact that we love you, and want to see you happy." Penny snuggled into her father, who wrapped her in a brawny, protective arm.
"I..I just don't know!" she sniffled a bit.
"Headmaster Ambrose is not making you choose right this minute, but he should have an answer soon. He said he will be back to hear your answer."

"He's gone?! Penny sat upright.
"Why, yes. Packed his things, and 'poof'! Quite wizardly, it was."
Penny rushed back into the house, and true to her father's words, there was no sign of Merle Ambrose, his owl, or indeed any other trace that he had been there. Penny's mother was there, wiping down the table.
"You know, dear", her mother said without looking up, "Your father and I only wants what's best for you. This is an opportunity that a modest country farm girl might only have once in her life, and she the luckier for
having had it at all." Meeting Penny's eyes, she walked over, and planted a firm, and well practiced Motherly kiss on Penny's forehead. Her father was standing behind her , in the door frame. He agreed with Mrs. Dreadful with a simple "Mmm-hmmm."

Penny's mother fell back into a "business as usual" mode of motherhood."Now, it's been a Dreadful busy day, young lady. Since there's no dish work to be done, I'll expect you to retire early..though I don't expect sleep will be on your evening's agenda."

And, as usual, Penny's mother was right.

Decision Time!
Does Penny accept the offer?
Since this is (finally) the first in the 'decision process' , it is going to be a simple 'yes'/'no' poll.
So you, the readers will decide if :

YES: Penny decides to venture out into The Spiral

NO: Penny lives out her life as a simple farm girl.

Let the first vote of the "Chosen Fate"commence!
This Poll will only run 4 days!

And, as a personal note, please feel free to let your friends know, as well. The more votes I see, the more motivation and encouragement it fuels me with. I'll be honest with you, there is already more writing than I originally imagined, lol.

Be well!


Rowan Ironblood said...

yes yes yes!

Jessica said...

I'm gonna be gone, so I vote on that.

JGoof said...

I voted YES!!!

I realize you this must take you a lot of time (I know it would for me). But I love the story and your writing. So thank you very much!!

Sierra Starsong said...

Spark, eh? Nice! You wouldn't happen to be a fan of "Girl Genius" by chance, would you? *grin*

Ashley Duskhunter said...

A DUH YES DUH No to No so that would make it yes which would lead to her going which would................ Actually To make it simple YES!
P.S. People Plz come read my story lolZ

smvb said...

Yes, of course.