Sylvia Hawthorne ran through the halls, cheeks pink, lungs begging for air. She dashed past the chestnut wood doors in the upper hall, legs burning, mind only on her destination. With a crash, she flung open the obsidian door, where she cut short her running. The room was large, and dark. An alchemist’s room. Sylvia brushed her long, black hair behind her ears, then began chanting a spell. She stood with her arms out and palms forward. The blue-purple fire portal grew bigger in front of her. She was so intent on her spell, she didn’t hear the man creeping up on her.
“Hello, Sylvia.” a voice from behind her said. Sylvia whirled around to see a man leaning in the doorway, a droll smile on his face.
“Vincent.” Sylvia growled. “You shouldn’t be here.” Vincent walked around her in a full circle. “Ah,” he said, nodding at the portal. “It seems I was wrong about you.” “What do you mean?” Sylvia glowered at him. “Well, it seems that you were able to open a portal to the Spectrum.” He shook his head. “Tut, tut, tut. You would really rather face the Spectrum than me?” Vincent smiled slyly. Sylvia looked him right in the eyes. “No.”
She pushed out her arms, and he went flying back- straight into the portal. “How dare you!” he screamed. “How dare you…” In a flash the portal closed, leaving Sylvia kneeling on the floor. As she panted for breath, a streak of white flowed into her hair. As she looked up, she pulled the strands in front of her face and slowly let them fall. She had paid the price, she knew, but it was well worth it. “I wouldn’t fail you,” she whispered.
Sylvia entered the castle, weak and tired. More of her hair had turned white. Iaera rushed over to her. “What happened?” she asked. “It’s… he’s… it’s over,” Sylvia managed. Iaera began leading her to her chambers.
“What do you mean?”
“You killed him?”
“No. The Sceptrum.”
The two women sat in silence for a little while in Sylvia’s room. “So,” Iaera finally said. “What will you do now? Will you finally settle down?” Sylvia was silent. “I do not know,” she said after a moment. “But I fear I don’t have much time left.” Right on cue, another strand of her hair turned white. Iaera gasped softly. Sylvia leaned over and grasped her hands. “Sister in-law,” she said. “I know you are expecting a child.” Iaera unconsciously touched her stomach. Sylvia talked quickly. “You must not let her know about our secret. Tell Acton-” She faltered. “Tell my brother that I must leave. He’ll understand.”
“I’m sorry, Iaera.”
Sylvia kissed on the cheek, then flew out the door, leaving nothing but scrap of parchment with an important message. Iaera picked up, read it, and stood up to tell her husband the news. Sylvia Hawthorne was gone. And for the first time, they were on their own.