• [ Bellona ]

    Bellona, a Roman Goddess, was Rome’s original war representative. Bellona came from the Latin word for "war" (bellum), and the modern English word "belligerent". With the aspect of war embedded in the name of the school, one could only imagine what had been its intentions; however, most would rather come to speculate as to why.

    There is no light to war, no silver lining to death, no happiness to defeat, but there is one hope that carries through the dimensions of violence -- and that is the knowledge that war is evident, obvious, definite, and that it can be won. And even in greater statistic, is the knowledge in how to act in, stop, and aid in the battles which will take place. But why would one plan such a thing? Would this not be an army? A castle as old as this, there must had been proper reason to do something so elaborate, so sudden, as to transform this place into an academy for war.

    [ The Castle of Whitinik ]
    - 1507 -

    In 1507 A.D., a large castle had begun construction in Romania, in the Retezat Mountain range. A young philosopher, age thirty five, by the name of Colin Whitinik – immensely rich -- built a large estate between a valley of close mountains for he and his entire family, just atop a hillside. Including his own wife, Grissa, and his two children, Peter and Derannis, neither rising above the age of twelve. His wealth had come from inheritance and wage, the land was of which his father had owned, the rest had been of his own accord. C. Whitinik was an advisor to many leaders of his time, all paying in good wealth.

    Colin held through almost two years with his family in a small house a short walk from which his new home would be finished. In May 1509, his castle had been finished; he and his large family were finally able to settle in, peeking to a very steady home life, and for years, they couldn't have asked for more. That is until 1515 when Dera, their eldest daughter, became deathly ill with an unknown illness.

    The Whitinik family had prayed, prayed for hours in a day, stood by their daughters bedside for months on end. She never got better. After two years of pain Colin and Grissa bore while watching their child slowly die, Grissa, with grief and depression plaguing her thoughts every moment of the day -- died, age forty. At the sudden death of his wife, Colin fell into an even further depression, as his age was of no help to him, being almost forty five. Peter had begun to care for what was left of his family, his sick father, dying sister, and elder cousins. They buried Grissa Whitinik at the base of the castle, with the other family which had died of old age while living in the manor. One year later, after it had finally been confirmed that Derannis could no longer move herself, she died. Her burial was beside her mothers, a large angel placed at the top of her tombstone as her guardian, watching over her in the afterlife. Colin did not attend his daughters burial. Peter and the elders placed her in her final resting spot, while Colin fused himself with his study, the highest point of his castle. It is there where he watched the valley, it is there where he stayed a sickened recluse for the rest of his years.

    In 1530, Peter died, leaving himself no heirs, no wife, and no relatives around him. He died a lonely man of 51, the castle left in a darkened tinge, the doors sealed, no Whitinik to ever again step foot into it's vast halls.

    Or so it had been thought.

    [ The Heir ]
    - 1880 -

    "Come back here, Victor, you mustn't wander."

    A giggle echoed, bouncing off the beige concrete walls and the hardened marble floors. A young boy about the age of six unsteadily ran towards the voice, his arms wavering a bit for balance. He wore some basic white cloth as a shirt, a brown children’s button-up vest, and a pair of pants that were obviously too big for him.

    The voice had belonged to a woman, her tone gentle but commanding, feeding a hope that served in the child’s best interest. They were on the third floor of the Castle of Whitinik, in front of a pillar and window overlooking a small lake. The woman held her breath, her eyes slightly opening at the purity of the land, it's virginity had struck her from reality, forgetting she was with company for a moment or two. There had been a man beside her, in a strange cloth suit, a moustache, and an awkward haircut. When she came back, she didn't move her eyes, but said, "Are you sure?"

    The man bowed his head and blinked slowly in acknowledgment. "Yes ma'am. We've done an astounding amount of research on this -- over and over again. You wouldn't believe how we found out, it was as much of a shock to us as it was to you that there was a Whitinik that hadn't moved to Romania with the rest of his family. It's merely speculation, but the workers and I assumed that Colin Whitinik's eldest son had a dispute with him, and ran away to what is now the united states before they settled in these mountains." The man stopped a moment, an echo of footsteps clattered behind him. The boy had grabbed the women’s over shirt, looking in the direction of the noise; she hadn't seemed to notice. The man gave an uneasy contemplation towards the sound, but instead of commenting about it, he carried on. "This all belongs to him, Claire."

    Aunt Claire finally looked down at the boy, taking her eyes from the glare of the window-light. "Victor..." She began, "Victor Whitinik. It makes sense now."

    The man gave a fuzzy smile, then looked at the boy as well. Victor was still staring behind his aunt, tightening his hand on her coat. "Auntie Claire..."

    She blinked, now aware of his grip on her, she turned her head to be directed on his line of sight. There was a small pause before she had gasped, what little air having been in her lungs escaping immediately. Claire took her nephew and forced him behind her, but even then he continued to stare in amazement in the stretch of hall behind them. The man gazed and gazed, though saw nothing.

    In the center of the hallway, just before them, stood an older man, a grey tint to his hair, a professional strand of robes upon him. He was smiling, a small glow around him persuading an obvious announcement that he wasn't living. He bowed his head and chuckled, "You're welcome here, Victor and Claire, to do great things."

    Still bowing, he vanished, leaving the related to stare at an empty hallway. The man, baffled, merely heard an echo. "Are you alright?"

    The woman hesitated, but began to slowly move her head to look at him, "So Victor is the last remaining heir to Castle Whitinik?"

    "Yes ma'am." He bowed.
    "He will receive the deed when?"
    "One week from today, after the papers are signed."
    "How much land does that cover?" Claire asked quickly.
    "The 203 acres surrounding this establishment."
    She gasped.
    "This all would have gone to the Romanian Prime Minister, but since we found the true heir, that communist b*****d doesn't get to see a blade of grass."
    She half smiled.
    "...But of course," he continued, "If his father were alive, it would have gone to him."
    "No, no..." Claire shook her head, grabbing Victors hand (who was gazing happily at where the apparition had been standing ), "His father died along with his mother in a fire, along with my husband. We're all that is left..." She squeezed her nephew’s hand.

    The man blinked, unsure of what to say. He thought for a moment, then tried to elaborate on her last comments, "Yes, it has been strange how the last five generations of Whitinik bared only one son. None-the-less, he is in fact, all that we could find in regards to the Whitinik name." He paused, then realized he had nothing else to say, and let out the rest of his air and gazed at Victor. "Until you sign the deed, there is an old house not far from here you can stay in."

    Claire smiled, loosening her grip on Victor, but keeping him in hand, she began to walk with him towards the stairway. "How does a stew sound for dinner, Victor?" She asked, looking down at him. She stopped, seeing how intent he looked upon the hallway leading out of the one they had conversed in. "What're you looking at, sweetheart?"

    The boy pointed, a loss of lights having every effect on the stretch of hallway before them, appearing like a deepened cave. He raised his eyebrows, Claire looking only upon him as he replied, "Peter!"

    [ Intermissions ]
    - 1880 -

    For Victor Whitinik, a ghost encounter was of entertainment and fascination. Unlike Claire, the six year old had taken it to his imagination, keeping it there and letting it click and tinker as an unforgettable event. Claire, however, had thought about it for no more than the day which it happened, and had forgotten about it altogether afterwards. It was the fifth day in the little house, and Claire was sweaty with anticipation.

    She had been thinking about the private investigators words. Victor was to inherit the land, the riches, the castle. The deed would be signed to him, once he came of age. Until then, she would have the responsibility of it all. Claire often thought about this, and every time she had, there would be this crawl underneath her skin, a crawling sensation signifying that her subconscious had awakened excitement, hope, and happiness. Victor needed this, even if it was an exuberant amount of things he would be coming into.

    'It's all for a reason,' she ended every session of thought with, 'There is a grand purpose in this all.'

    Victor was stirring a small amount of stew for he and his aunt, his stomach growling in high tones, neither of them having eaten all day. It was after dark, and Claire had been day dreaming for most of the day. When the food was finished, Claire divided up the soup in old fashioned bowls she found stored away, giving her nephew a larger portion, and afterwards settling into the night with more thought.

    [ A Good Talk ]

    The air smelled like a peaceful stranger, the echos of the Castle Whitinik much more mellow and softer than that of the previous week. The private investigator, another man, Claire, and Victor were sitting across from each other in one of the dining rooms, on a table so long, it was a wonder how those who sat on the long ends ever communicated with each other. The new man cleared his throat, shuffling a small stack of papers around. "As John Ynessa, a notary public officer of Romania, I am only here to witness the signing of each document requiring your signatures as Victor Whitinik's legal guardian. When he is sixteen, every deed with your co-signature will automatically be in his control. Do you understand?"

    Both men looked at her as she gave a small nod.

    "There are no fall back, no loopholes, this land is entirely his, and his only. Shall he marry, it is up to him what he does with the deeds." The private investigator continued for the notary, "Any questions?"

    She shook her head this time, Victor in his own little world, keeping his eyes wandering around the extravagant room.

    The notary pulled out an older piece of paper from the stack, he turned it around and pushed it towards her with a black pen. Claire took the pen but didn't move the paper, signing it with her outstretched hand. She noticed the name before hers, declaring a guardian signature reading, "Victor Colin Whitinik".


    One hour later, after the signing, they said farewell to the notary and left into a somewhat smaller room on the first floor for coffee and Romanian biscuits. The remaining three went into a casual state, discussing how the private investigator came into the papers, and what happened to Claire’s husband and Victors parents. After an awkward pause, he tried to break the ice with some deeper conversation.

    "This castle took two years to build, no doubt it's beauty and structure. When the Whitinik family had moved in for good -- it was the entire Whitinik family. Sources say there were a total of 15 people living in the house, up until the youngest son had died. He didn't marry or have any mistresses, or at least that's the most we know." He said, though trying not to discredit his integrity as a investigator. "Colin only had one other brother, and that was your sixth great grandfather. He had one son, but a daughter named Derannis, who died very ill. I didn't look too much into it, but it seemed she had diabetes, which grew with neglect. About the castle, there is a town about five miles from here, you can get your food from there. You could always look more for yourself, he wrote it all down, Colin and his son."

    Claire blinked, as she finished with her coffee she realized something. "What is the sons name?"

    "Oh, lets see..." he tapped his finger to his lip, as if racking his brain deeply, "Ah yes, his name was Peter. Sorry about that, I always have a hard time remembering his name."

    Claire wasn't too adapted to paranormal experiences, despite her American lifestyle and peer beliefs. She was never too religious, nor was she ever really one to even humor someone who had believed. However, she remembered the name, and her nephew’s squeal of excitement when he announced, "Peter!". She stared at the man as Victor played with a row of wooden trains, suddenly realizing that this was no coincidence, and was very happy even if it was.

    [ Finally ]

    Nine years later

    "Victor? Dinner is ready, come down and eat please."

    Claire had aged dramatically the past decade, her face had become wrinkled, the torn state that middle age bore on her really showed; not to mention her hair had grayed slightly, her age nearing forty five now. Victor was in third floor study, able to hear her echo steadily from across the hall. He called back to the voice, plainly, "I'll be down momentarily."

    Like Claire, Victors years definitely defined him. His blond hair dragged to his mid back, wrapped in a string. His remarkable green eyes had been dulled slightly, but looked wonderful. His eyes appeared drowsy almost all hours of the day, no doubt from spending every day for the past nine years in the six studies of the castle. Instead of home schooling the boy, Claire had let this happen. She didn't mind him reading, but it came as a disappointment to her how she spent so little time with him. None-the-less, the last ten years of their lives, remarkably, had absolutely no odd nor paranormal encounters. Claire was somewhat thankful for this, and Victor had forgotten entirely.

    "Okay, well ... the chicken is waiting for you, whenever you come." Her voice echoed as she began to walk down the stairs.

    Victor sighed. He had finished reading Peters diary just the day before. It had taken him the entire year, mainly because he had to translate most of the pages he had written, because he hadn't known an extensive amount of Romanian language when beginning his quest on the book. None-the-less, he enjoyed it, and had learned so much.

    Peter had written a lot towards his later years, death being near and eminent to him, he began writing everything his father had told him throughout the years he had been a child. It had included the extent of Roman Gods and Goddesses, cultures, and the traditions in which Peter had remembered; all written on paper. Victor read it all, and by the time he was done translating, he could speak a well learned version of Romanian. Victor, having been putting away the books before he went downstairs, reached over to a desk for a small book, written on an old parchment. Victor grabbed what seemed to be one hundred pages long, in a slow lethargic manner, and pulled the stack over to himself, not recognizing the stack. He blinked curiously, there was a large fold in the parchment.

    He slowly slanted the stack of papers, forcing a long but thin key from the pages in the book. It was almost as if in slow motion, suddenly realizing that something was falling from the pages, Victor watched it fall to the floor, shimmering for a mere moment as it bounced a reflection in the sunlight.

    He bent down to pick it up, placing the poorly bound book with the other stack that he had been piling. Victor studied the key for a few seconds, his eyes brightly shining in the same sunlight which the key reflected. "This must open-"


    He jumped, but didn't let go of the key. "Coming."


    "What kept you?" Aunt Claire asked, pouring Victor a glass of milk from a pitcher. "Your chicken had gotten so cold."

    Victor wielded the key in his hand, letting it clank lightly as he set it on the table before them. Claire gazed at it for a moment before asking, "Well what's this?"

    "I found it in the study."
    "What is it to?"
    "I don't know."
    "You don't think it mi-"
    "It might be to the top study," Victor finished for her, "It's a golden lock, and this is a gold key..."

    Throughout the decade they had lived in Castle Whitinik the two had found one room, and only one room in which had been locked. This room was the top study, the upmost room in the entire castle. Victor, when he was thirteen, had finally tried to get it open with force, and no luck as well with lock picking. Without putting too much worry to it, they finished their attempts in reasons that if the room was locked, there was a reason, and they kept it this way for the same reasons. With all hope, this could be the key which opened it.

    "Should I go try? I mean, to open the door..."
    "Eat your dinner first, before the cold gets too fond of it."

    [ Memento Mori ]

    "It fits!"

    Claire put a hand on her chest as if to ease the speed of her heart, excited on what this door must hold if kept locked all these years. She wasn't looking forward to the dust, but surely this room had some kind of importance? Victor tinkered with the key a bit, ensuring it was placed correctly, and turned. An echo of the lock shifting pranced through the walls of the large, oval room. The two of them paused a moment as the door swung open, entranced by what seemed to be to each a personal victory. Finally, this door was open. Victor stepped inside, Claire following shortly after.

    A dull moment swept upon them when they realized it was obvious, this room was just another study. They were in the dark, unable to turn on any lights because the electricity was never set up in that room -- for obvious reasons. After opening the curtains, emitting a beautiful moonlight, Claire accidentally let a repressed sigh out, deep inside somewhat hoping that there would be untold treasures or perhaps dead bodies locked away in the top room of this castle. Victor, on the other hand, had discovered much more valuable secrets.

    "Aunt Claire... Claire-! Look, it's his journal. It's... his journals. It's all of them. There must be over ten books here. Notice, they all have a golden bind."

    Claire took a few steps toward him, but had immediately seen the three uneven stacks of books Victor was looking through, each one of them stating his name; "Colin Whitinik", and a small title of what had been the biggest event in the book. One caught Victors eye, the title reading, "Memento Mori". He picked up the book, opened the poorly bound book wide enough for Claire to see (even though she could not understand the language) and began reading.

    Moments later, the light the door emitted ceased. Victor turned around immediately, Claire slowly following his look. The door had been shut. Suddenly scrape was heard behind them, the curtains Claire had opened being steadily closed one by one.

    "Who's there?" Victor yelled as deep as he could, trying to sound ten years older. "Who are you?"

    The book was forced out of his hands, the darkness playing against him he backed up into Claire who let out a small scream as her foot became smashed by his own. He was startled himself, and repeated, "Who is there?"

    A quick voice circled around them, "What do you mean, who is here? My-my boy you don't remember a thing, do you? Oh well, all the better and more fun!"

    Victor blinked, "Dad?"

    "Haha, no silly! I am not your father." He hooted, Victors heart racing as fast as the unknown voice. Claire felt a breeze beside her, the voice soft but still in a high pace, "Ah, Claire, I have been waiting a long time to tell you how beau-"

    "What do you think you're doing father? You shouldn't be talking to her that way!" Another voice, slightly slower but outstandingly sharp intervened. The curtains began opening one by one again, the moonlight showing Memento Mori floating around beside Claire who was too frantic to scream. The journal seemed to shake in place, then began floating a different direction. "This belongs here, you shouldn't read other peoples things!" The book slid onto the desk from where Victor had gotten it.

    Victor paused a moment, his eyes wandering all around the room, from the desk back to the door several times, he began to get impatient and filled with an uncertain fear he couldn't take much more of. "Who the hell are you?"

    There was a short silence before the quicker voice had announced, "I'm Colin, Colin Whitinik. This is my castle."

    "And I'm Peter," The sharper voice sighed, "Colin's son."

    Claire gasped, the voices now had bodies to go with them, and immediately they recognized each one. Colin was the first one they had seen the original day they had gone to look through the castle. Peter was easily identifiable by Claire because she knew who Colin was, but Victor knew his face as well, he had seen it when they left the first day, Peter had been leaning against a pillar before the stairs.

    Victor held his breath, Peter chuckled sinisterly, and Colin bowed just as Claire fainted.

    [ Little 'Splainin' ]

    The shadows were apparent, even with her eyes closed. Peter and Colin both had astounding glows, but mellow to the point where you wouldn't have to shield your eyes from them. "Claire? Aunt Claire, are you alright?"

    Claire opened her eyes completely, noticing he was still in the top study, the moon as well was still shining but a little higher from the window in which she had remembered before falling. "Yes.. yes I am fine sweetie." She said shortly, not sure if she wanted to say anything else.

    "I was... talking with Grandpa Colin and Great Uncle Peter ... they have told me some extraordinary things." Victor said slowly, sitting down on the floor beside the couch his aunt was sitting on. Colin and Peter were both sitting beside each other, smiling, "You should tell her, Vic." Peter said.

    "Err.. right. T-they said they hadn't shown themselves afterwards because there was just no sense to. They said I would have not understood until now.. until... I was sixteen. Which is in a week..."

    "By the way," Colin looked pleased, for an old ghost he had a lot of energy, "How is this woman your Aunt? That funny man with the papers said-"

    "Before you go any further, I'm not his real Aunt." Claire sat upright on the couch, looking a little depressed, "It's a very long story... my husband and I just were very good friends of his parents, and we were considered family." Victor nodded, he had known this since he could fathom it.

    "A-anyway.." Victor continued, "That's all we got to before you came to. Oh -- and they speak English, only because they know a lot of other languages, too."

    Colin and Peter disappeared for a moment, a cold breeze sweeping past them. Claire and Victor both became overwhelmed with goose bumps as every curtain closed halfway, the moonlight dimming and light spots shrinking.

    "We have a lot to talk about, dear Victor, but you have so much more thinking that needs to be done." Colin solemnly stated, reappearing on a velvet chair across from them, Peter replacing himself on the couch they once were.

    "About what...?" Victor asked.

    "Your destiny."

    [ Ileana ]

    "My .. destiny?" Victor almost laughed, but Claire didn't move. She knew that between all odds of the deeds landing in Victors lap, and these two ghosts from his far past appearing in his life, that this was something larger than common sense.

    "Yes, m'boy, do you know that lovely little house just a small walk away from my castle?" Colin asked.

    Victor nodded.

    "Well, that quaint little house made of stone belonged to a quiet witch who settled on my fathers land over twenty years before he died..."


    "Scoundrels! Cretins! Nasty Nobility -- weapons of your own! You shame your race and those of your blood!"

    "Woman, woman! Calm down!"

    "I shall not calm, heathen!" A woman dressed in clad green robes screeched her words to a middle-aged Colin who seems to appear frantic, in desperate means of calming her down. The women’s hair had been uncut, seeming to be entirely original hair that traipsed down to her toes, a green tint faded into it. Lush flowers adorned her hair, though Colin seemed to not se her beauty either because he was too worried about calming her down, or because he was married. "You are in my land, you have no right to start building here!"

    "For the last time, this is not your land, this was my fathers land and it is now my families -- you must understand this, that this is not your land."

    "Bah!" The woman spat, "You wish to drive me from this place! I, Ileana, the witch of Romania, will not be unheard in this!"

    Colin put his hand to his head, massaging his temples as if showing impatience, "You may stay, we do not want you to leave, we never had those intentions. We merely came over to meet you!"

    "I know your kind! We have been here for over twenty years." Ileana stated frantically. It looked as though she wanted to wring her shirt in nervousness, "You can't drive us out!"

    "Us? Who is us?" Colin asked, looking behind her as if someone were to come out.

    "Us!? Do you know who you are driving away from these mountains as you build? As you build your precious home that will reach the heavens!? The animals of course! The werewolves, golem, skeggiolds! The sweet piamettes, and even.. you will even drive the mighty Valkyries from these skies! You mustn’t build here -- not in this forest."

    Colin blinked, "Did you just say.. Valkyries?"

    Ileana nodded her head sternly.

    He began to chuckle, "Witch, you are daft." He stopped, surveying her now. He mistook this lovely crazy witch for a sane but nervous woman. "How do I drive something away which does not exist? We will build here, and you are welcome to stay -- if you keep your business as your own!"

    The witch shook her head, "... No! You're evil, pure evil!"

    Colin continued to shake his head, he turned around and started to walk away from the witch and her small farmhouse.

    "Listen to me! LISTEN."

    The young Colin stopped, but didn't turn around.

    "Poena illorum mons montis ero felt in vestri cruor!"

    Colin turned around, listening, "I can not understand you, repeat?"

    "Vestri posterus liberi quod illud universitas vadum sentio ira of meus mores-"

    "Shh! I cannot understand you, what are you saying?"

    "-Ut creatura illae silva iunctum pro suum vox locus in is Terra!"

    "Puh!" Colin spat, shaking his head. He did not know that language, he had only known Romanian at the time, no Latin. He waved a hand in her direction, turning back towards his families campfire in a foggy distance. The sun was just setting, but his mind was just rising. He had hoped this witch would not cause any problems while his family was waiting for their new home to be finished, whenever that would be.


    "If only I had known the trouble she would cause us." Colin finished, Victors eyes lazed with thought.

    "You said witch? Witch, right? Witches aren't real!" Victor furrowed his eyebrows, standing up from the floor with skepticism.

    "Hah, aye, m'boy. I had also thought Valkyries were fictional as well. I didn't even know what piamette was. It turns out she was right, that haggard ol' witch was absolutely right." Colin sighed in remorse, Peter shaking his head in the same tone.

    "What do you mean? What happened, what did she say?"

    "Ileana, it turns out, wasn't just a witch -- but a very well known witch. It seems as though from a sheltered life I had lived, as well as my children, in the way of certain areas of Romanian culture was foreign to us. If I had known, I would have built further away from the forest." Colin said, standing up, reaching almost a foot and a half taller than Victor, "It turns out she cursed us."

    Victor blinked and Claire gasped, "Cursed?" She asked.

    Colin nodded, "How do you know?" Victor raised an eyebrow.

    "Well..." Colin began to pace the room, "once my daughter and wife died, at such a young age, and I became sick, I wondered what it could have been that overcame us all. Except Peter, who was always strong."


    "Anyway, I locked myself up in this very room, determined to find answers. Months and months went by, I could not find anything. The witch had deserted her home merely days after I had met her, so I could not confront her on the issue. But then I came across my history books, and it all came together."

    "What came together?" Victor asked eagerly, "What did you find out?"

    Colin half smiled, "War was coming."

    [ The Prophecy ]

    The room fell silent, all that could be heard was the beat of two hearts in unison. Victor's mind was racing, he didn't remember anything about a war in Peters diaries, but then again, he never read Colin’s.

    "War? What do you mean, war? Who did you have to fight?" Claire beat her nephew to the question.

    "Did? No, Claire, it has yet to begin." Colin shook his head, "Now, please... let me finish this in one piece. There is a bit of explanation behind all of this, and every portion concerns you Victor, and this world."

    "Yes sir." Victor said simply, nothing more as Claire nodded.

    "Alright..." Colin began to pace the room again, nervous, "As a philosopher I had studied many cultures, but that was a lesser ritual than what I was regularly to have done. I wrote many books, when have been locked away in this room for hundreds of years. I had advised kings and queens, and leaders of provinces. But nothing prepared me for what I had found out.

    "I had discovered some books that I had never seen before. Old books, if you could even call them that. Parchments and bound papers, really. The wildest thing I had read were the pages of mythology -- or so it had seemed."

    In that moment, pages came flying out of a far bookshelf as if being spit out, the papers flying to the desk beside them. Three sheets came to Victors side, spread out in numerical order to be read. It was entitled, "The Prophecy of Ileana". Victor blinked, scanning through the pages.

    "See there? It talks of a war, does it not? A war begun by a witch known as Ileana."

    Victor slowly nodded, still reading the pages, written in an old Romanian text which was difficult to understand. "But she could have read this, the woman, and been daft.. or something, like you said?"

    "Yes, yes that had occurred to me." Colin nodded, still pacing, but slower, "I continued to read books on mythology, and they all stated the same prophecy those pages claim."

    A page flew into the air from the desk this time, gliding over to Victor who caught it in mid-flight. "But none of them had this."

    Victor began reading it, "It says ... the other side, the other side 'will be taught to fight by the gods and goddesses themselves to protect the earth and bring a balance to man and creature'. What does that mean? What deities are they talking about?"

    "Many of them, Roman, Norse, Greek, and some Pagan scripts all talked of this same prophecy."

    "Yes, but what about the papers? Like you had thought, she could have just seen this and believed she was the prophecy to 'bring the creatures to war'?" Victor shook his head, losing the skepticism.

    "Oh yes, about that... Ten years after my daughter had died, after I had read as much as I could on this prophecy, I had almost given up. I abandoned the quest to find what my family had died of. But then, one day, I stood here thinking -" Colin stood inches from the window, looking out the cracked curtains, " - And I saw her, I saw Ileana. This would not have been a great deal of trouble, as she did not realize I had seen her, but I had -- and she did not look a day older from when I first met her."

    "It had only been ten years." Claire said simply, "It's not that uncommon."

    "Perhaps, but there was some addition to do here. What is twenty plus eighteen? Thirty-eight. She claimed she had been living at that home just in the borders of our land for twenty years, and it had been sixteen years since she had returned from wherever she had been. Beyond that, I doubt she had been living there her entire life. Even if she had, she would still look older than she had that day."

    "How old did she look?" Claire asked.

    "Not a moment under or over twenty."

    Victor paused a moment, shuffling the pages around, opening his eyes wider in concentration, "It says the war begins with 'the un-aging witch Ileana'."

    Colin nodded.

    "Furthermore, when she returned briefly that night, she had a small group of girls with her. Adorable, really. But there was something I had heard her say, without conceal.


    "My dear piamettes, we must go now, we have the scrolls."


    "When I heard her say that, it came to me so quickly, as if I were... were destined to hear her say it." Colin said slowly.

    "This is a little far-fetched..." Claire's skeptical side came forth, despite her beliefs.

    "Important things normally are."

    Victor sat down again, "So how did you know you were cursed, though? And what is a piamette?"

    Colin chuckled, a question he had been neglecting to answer. "I translated what she had said that evening to me. 'The pain of these mountains will be felt in your loved ones blood. Your future children and those of this world shall feel the wrath of my ways, as the creatures of this forest unite for their rightful place on this Earth.'

    "At least, that's the rough version of it." Colin slightly shrugged. Victor began looking through the papers again. It said exactly that of what the witch had stated, it was said in the papers to have been the starting point of the war. “Also, a piamette is a small girl, able to control an evil soul through an object. Most of the time, it’s something very important to them.”

    "So..." Claire had a hard time with all of this, unable to read any of the things they were talking about, "There will be a battle between these mythical creatures and humans? For the earth?"

    Victor and Colin both nodded, though neither looking at her. Peter was silent, letting his father explain.

    "So when does it begin?" She asked.

    "After the second millennium," Victor said before Colin had a chance.

    "You mean in more than one hundred years from now? What can we do, what did you want from Victor?" Claire asked, standing up and waving her arms around.

    "The prophecy talks about a school, a private school to teach the defendants of balance, some place where the witch couldn't possibly expect." Victor started, looking through the papers slowly, "There will be many defendants, many supporters, and many fighters." Victor then stopped, but appeared as if he was reading some more.

    "And who is going to teach? You said the Gods and Goddesses? How is this possible?" Claire asked, pacing herself now.

    Colin disappeared a moment, Peter following. Victor hated it when they did that, unsure if they would come back. Claire tapped her foot impatiently, though Victor knew it was only out of anxiety. Moments later, however, Colin and Peter returned in unison within a cloud of fog, smiling.

    "They're ready," Colin said, "And willing to help."

    [ The Final Decision ]

    One-by-one, an apparition appeared from every corner in the circular room, apparitions of all shapes and sizes, looks, facial expressions, and of all, their wardrobe. "These are the teachers, they are ready."

    Claire gasped, unsure if she should bow. She could recognize most of the figures from history books and readings, but others she sure were from a different culture. She couldn't believe this, as much of it that even stared at her form the very room she was in.

    "This is absurd..." Victor shook his head, "You mean to tell me the best place for this school is here, in the Castle Whitinik?" He thought for a moment, admitting to himself that it was highly unlikely that Ileana would expect there to be a training school for soldiers to use against her very own army. Victor suddenly understood where he tied into all of this. "The castle is now mine, as of next week when I turn sixteen. It is up to me?"

    Victor suddenly felt a large sack of bricks settle on his shoulders, this was still absurd, but what did he have to loose? Over thirty great gods and goddesses were staring at him, along with his very great and distant grandfather and his son's ghosts. "Okay... okay, I'll do it. I'll make this into a school. But what if this was all wrong, what if the second millennium doesn't bring war? And all of this was for nothing?"

    An older, toga dressed and scythe-wielding ghost stepped forward and spoke in an aged gruff, "It is not! It is all coming, you must prepare the world, time is running short!"

    "Alright, alright!" Victor pushed his hands toward the ghost as if to calm him down, "But how do we find who is able to attend? I'm sure this school will not be on the top lists of even the most believers."

    "Leave that to me."

    A medium sized female ghost disappeared for a moment from her corner, reappearing above Victor and Claire, inches from them. "I'll take care of that." The woman had a golden glow emitting from her, as her small wings balanced her in the air.

    "Iris here will deliver notifications to the destined children who will not only belong at this school, but will choose to attend." Colin explained as Iris disappeared back to her corner.

    "So lets get this straight... This castle will be turned into an academy for learning to defend and fight against a mythical creature army that a thousand year old prophecy claimed an un-aging witch would lead?"

    There was an unsteady stir in the room before someone said, "Yes".

    "Alright then, when do we start?"