There’s Some Spooky Goings On In The Basement Of Casters Keep!
Summer, Year 5
From the outside, Casters Keep looked serene and peaceful, set in the middle of the Glimmerbrook forest. The sun shone of the front of the tiny castle and cast soothing shadows across the front garden. It was quiet, save for the sound of the birds in the trees.
By contrast, Cristina was in the basement, attempting to communicate with the other side. She was convinced the castle was haunted and was trying hard to prove it. She’d been largely unsuccessful in previous attempts but this time, she was determined.
She finally managed to get through to someone and it wasn’t quite what she expected. It had at least confirmed the castle was haunted.
Satisfied, Cristina stood up and left the room. She’d been sitting at the table for hours; it was time to get some fresh air.
As a spellcaster, Cristina was fascinated by the things that science couldn’t explain. Caster’s Keep was a treasure trove of unexplained features. There was the wishing well in the garden that seems to come live; the little fairies around the pond. Everywhere seemed full of the unexplained. It was, to coin a phrase, magical.
It had been far too long since she’d been to the Magic Realm. With both Simon and Caleb at home caring for Willow, Cristina decided it was time to vanish for a while and she set off for a jog alongside the river towards the portal.
“Well look who’s returned at last!” Darrel called as Cristina walked into the room. “It’s been a long time!”
“Too long,” Cristina agreed. Her friend reached out and pulled her into a hug.
“I’ve been wondering what had happened to you,” Darrel said. “Camden said he hadn’t seen you for months.”
Cristina grimaced. “I had to take some time out. I was pregnant, you see.”
Eyes wide, Darrel let Cristina go. “Wow, really? I had no idea. So, you’ve got a baby then?”
Nodding, Cristina bit her lip. “A daughter,” she replied. She hastily changed the subject. “Anyway, shall we get on?”
Darrel nodded. “So you’re working with Camden again today?”
“No.” Cristina shook her head. “I want to try the Untamed magic today.”
“I want to warn you now,” Lucius said as he raised his arm. “You have no experience with untamed magic. After taking the kind of break you did, you can’t expect to do well.”
“I’m ready.” Cristina stared at her powerful opponent. “Let’s get started.”
Cristina gave as good as she got. She gave the Sage a run for his money as her power merged with his. Sparks flew in all directions as neither side relented. She had more power than anyone had given her credit for.
Later, Lucius admitted Cristina had been a far bigger challenge than he’d ever expected. Proud and exhausted, Cristina said her goodbyes and set off for Glimmerbrook.
Back at home, Oreo was guarding baby Willow, in a way only a loyal cat can.
Going back to the Realm had been like a breath of fresh air for Cristina. It had also reminded her that she had some curses to rid herself of. Nobody at the Realm would tell her how to do it; she was going to have to discover the cure herself.
So she set about studying some of the potion making, to see if she could produce something useful.
Up in the attic, Caleb and Simon were sampling some of the wine Caleb had bought. Simon wasn’t really sure what to make of it.
They were planning to head out for the night, since they’d stayed home the previous day to care for Willow.
Much later, Simon watched Caleb dancing and laughing on the dance floor. Quite a few of Simon’s old university friends were there; Javon, Jared, Ellie, Ryan and Hayley. It was great catching up and introducing them to Caleb.
Downstairs in Caster’s Keep, Cristina was trying once again to commune with the departed. Instead, all she received was a spooky message about the previous summer…