This is strictly is a work of fan fiction using the characters and settings of the MMORPG Wizard101. Wizard101, its characters, the universe of the Spiral, and all the worlds therein are owned by KingsIsle Entertainment. I do not work for KingsIsle Entertainment, have any contact with them directly, or claim any ownership of their characters, concepts, or ideas. The story I have written is not purported or believed to be cannon to the game and is for entertainment purposes only. I am thankful to KingsIsle for the elaborate worlds and characters they have created, without which this story would not exist. I thank everyone and anyone who reads, follows, and supports this story or any of my work, and invite you to please support the official game. Thank you and enjoy!
Thunder cracked and rolled through the sky over Wizard City, as a light drizzle quickly turned to pouring rain.
Sleep didn't come easily to Sylvia, at least it hadn't for many years. Most nights were spent drifting in and out of hollow relief and unrelenting terror. It was a truth she refused to share, not even with her beloved husband or closest friends. She hated the thought of burdening them with images of those memories.
Hours passed and Sylvia stood unmoving, staring into the bleak expanse of the stormy sky from atop the city ramparts. Her body was rigid and inflexible, her fists tightly clenched, her face a mess of matted wet hair and gritted teeth. She wanted to scream, to do something, anything for reprieve. After a while, all she could muster was a soft sigh. Now thoroughly drenched, Sylvia closed her eyes and remembered…
It had been a sunny day, without a single cloud in sight, it had been a day like any other. She'd been standing high on the academy's walls enjoying the view. Her beloved Malistaire blew her a kiss from the campus below. She'd blushed at the gesture, earning a bit of teasing from her friends.
She hadn't entirely registered the sound, but it stunned the bustling city into complete silence. An overwhelming sense of dread pooled in her chest, as students and staff poured onto the campus.
The top of the Great Spyre cracked, sending buildings tumbling down the mountainside. The shrieking was near deafening as the summit burst open; a colossal pair of draconic wings stretched into the sky. The ground shook, another part of the mountain giving way, as a massive clawed hand reached into the daylight.
Alarm bells boomed throughout the city, people and soldiers were scrambling by, someone shouted for her to move. But she couldn't, her legs where like lead beneath her. Frozen in place, her eyes transfixed upon the mountaintop.
The peak shattered, the blue sky bathed in swaths of ash and dust. A searing wind blew down the mountain, the leathery snap of its wings was like a hurricane in the height of summer. A great terrible shadow rolled across the ground, as the sky became twilight for as far as the eye could see. Sylvia dared to look up to see the titanic being whose mass had blotted out the sun.
A sky shattering roar left her ears ringing as the ground began to rumble. Sylvia fell to her knees, desperately trying to cover her ears. There was a pain in her forehead, a vibration, a summon. One by one every pyromancer in the academy was taken by the same effect. Terrified, flames erupted from her fingertips and something terrible stirred deep within her.
A compulsion, a desire to watch the world burn…
Sylvia could see torchlight from the corner of her eyes, a city guard carefully approached her. A question was posed to her, one she answered with ambiguity rather than genuine desire. An ultimatum was issued, to which Sylvia stared blankly in response. After a moment her voice trembled to life, devoid of all emotion. After several minutes the guard left, flustered, leaving her to her grief.
The titan's wrath had been all consuming, entire city blocks were destroyed overnight. The peaceful sanctuary of the Basilica was laid waste, the Grand Necropolis desecrated, the priceless collection of knowledge kept within the Great Library completely ransacked.
One by one, day by day, entire districts of their great city fell to total anarchy. Entire families turned against each other and the greatest champions of their people perished. Tyrants, kings, and heroes rose and fell like day and night. Within a week a once proud, accomplished people were reduced to a few hundred frightened souls, and she was one of them.
The hoard of the titan's army drew closer. A council was called, frantic fearful arguments ensued. Who would go? Who would stay?
After a night of heated deliberation, the decision was made. Those who could not fight would abandon the city, everyone who could would cover their escape.
They rose in the early hours of the morning, quickly moving civilians and supplies to the last dreadnaught the Dragonspyrian navy had left. Every able dragon rider was assigned to escort it to Valencia, in the hopes the unicorns might grant them sanctuary. Their last hope was christened with a litany of prayers and fearful tears and launched in the dark of morning. Every warrior and mage strained to see the hundreds of people who saluted from the stern of the ship. All of them fearing the fate that awaited them.
They returned to the academy, there they stood motionless atop the besieged walls. Barely a hundred souls in full armor and armed to the teeth, with a single intact Dragonspyrian standard fluttering in the wind above their heads.
Slowly the hoard approached, an army of vagabonds, vagrants, and vermin filled the streets. The wicked children of the titan circled above them like vultures homing in on a fresh carcass. They cackled and screeched gleefully, mocking the sacrifice of those who stood upon the wall.
Malistaire took her hand and grasped it tightly. He whispered a short three words into her ear, a gesture which she returned.
An absolute massacre ensued, over half of their force dead in minutes. It started with a dragon seizing their standard and ended in a retreat. Everything in between flooded together into a muddled portrait of pure chaos.
Sylvia opened her eyes, finding herself on her knees weeping. For the first time in many years she mourned for everything they had lost. All the lives that had been snuffed out in an instant, the thousands of soldiers who'd died trying to combat the inevitable. The thousands more civilians who'd been swept up in the chaos, and those few who stayed and died to ensure their people might escape. But it hadn't ended there and there was nothing to stop it.
A single luminous gold eye fixed its gaze upon her. A horrible voice echoed loudly in her mind; her head throbbed painfully, eliciting an agonizing scream. It whispered horrible things, truths she refused to believe. It hissed and goaded, offering her everything and more, perfection even, if only she kneeled, listened, and obeyed. A sword of flame appeared in her hands, the eye demanded she cleanse herself of her imperfection; forcing her attention to the Drake twins.
She knew what it wanted, and couldn't remember her exact answer. The eye narrowed and ultimately cared not for her rebuttal.
Her mind and body ceased to be her own as she was turned. The eye forced her to remain conscious so she could see the pain in her beloved's face as he was forced to fight her. The pain was excruciating, the eye only prolonged it. It wanted her to suffer, it wanted her to see and feel every horrifying second. After what felt like ages she was cast down. Sent tumbling to the floor, discarded, uninteresting, imperfect, useless.
Her mind was drifting aimlessly, images flashing in quick sequence. Her mother and father as she left for the academy, her mentor Mavra berating her for the umpteenth time, the back of Pharenor's head as they flew over the city, one of Cyrus's paintings, her beloved's calloused hand offering her a stone rose.
The reels in her mind started to turn as she awoke upon hard stone.
Mustering the strength to stand, she began to bark orders to those who were left. They began one of the fastest rituals ever conducted, the titan's roars of pain and fury were absolute as its body began to petrify. It was working, they might win, they might survive! The titan's screeches stopped, and for the first time since the horror began the city was silent.
With little time to waste they began their escape, moving as fast as their legs would carry them. Her arms slung between either Drake's shoulder, struggling to keep pace until she found the littlest drop of strength to move on her own.
They were almost free of the city when a massive fissure opened, separating her from the Drake twins. Her beloved Malistaire screamed and shouted in ways that sickened her heart; exhausted and too weak to make the leap she beckoned them to continue without her. She would only be dead weight to them anyway.
Helplessly, Sylvia watched as Cyrus seized his brother's arm and dragged him away.
Time drifted by in some unknown quantity. She searched hopelessly through the near impassible labyrinth of smoldering towers and crumbling buildings for some route of escape. After two days of fruitless searching, Sylvia collapsed senseless to the ashen earth as a strange familiar shadow fell over her.
The next memory to follow was one of being swaddled in bandages and blankets in a quiet sterile room. The lights were turned low and the room furnished modestly with a desk covered in first aid supplies, and several clean hospital beds.
Everything in her body ached as she sat up, her throated was so dry it burned, her stomach painfully empty as looked around the room. Her eyes ceased their wanderings as the door opened to issue in a kind-faced koala carrying a glass of water and a familiar haggard witch.
Sylvia woke up shivering, huddled in a tight ball beneath the overhang of an empty guard tower. Unsure of exactly how long she'd there; her teeth were chattering as a bitter cold wind ripped across the walls. She slowly stood and looked to find the sky engulfed in early twilight. Sylvia flinched in surprise as a warm hand gently tugged at her shoulder. Wearily she turned around to find the familiar face of her husband.
With little effort he beckoned her down from the city wall, tempting her with his warm winter cloak and the offer of tea. They passed silently through the empty still sleeping streets, she could feel her husband's gaze fixated on her. She could sense his temptation to ask, though he proved wise enough not to.
They arrived home to a cold dark house, for a moment Sylvia wondered how long Malistaire had been looking for her. Though she had little time to dwell on the thought as her exhaustion was fast setting.
Malistaire picked up on this instantly, he helped her to the inviting sofa in front of the hearth. She watched with faint amusement as he struggled to light it and stubbornly refused all offers of magical assistance. Once lit, her beloved vanished from sight allowing her to slip into a light sleep. Malistaire gingerly woke her as he tossed a heavy blanket over her still shivering form. Offering her a cup of warm black tea, as promised.
For a moment she wondered when he had become so proficient at reading her, then she wondered when she had become so easy for him to read.
Malistaire seated himself on the opposite end of the sofa and made no move to approach her. Instead he watched her sip gently from the cup, taking a few short sips from his own before suddenly remembering why he preferred coffee to tea.
Sylvia was the strongest woman he had ever known; indeed, she was a beacon of hope and strength even in the darkest times. However, she wasn't without her flaws. He waited, faithfully for a sign, pondering the way the flames danced over her glasses to pass the time.
Minutes drifted into what seemed like hours as Malistaire watched Sylvia trace the rim of the now empty cup. She continued to brood, something she rarely did in front of him, but nevertheless conveyed her distress. Malistaire was no healer, indeed that talent fell upon his wife. However, this was a wound he knew, the deadly kind that festered silently eating away at the soul till an empty husk remained. A wound he too struggled and fought with day to day.
He could only help her if she wanted him to.
Then, finally, after what felt like ages Sylvia tentatively set down the cup and looked at him.
Slowly he moved closer, gently pulling her into his embrace as he softly whispered, "I understand."