Chapter 11 - Camillia Hollowood

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"Alana Winters," Eldress Narani greeted as Alana and Headwitch Storm entered her office. She raised the back of her hand to her forehead. "Peace. I'm so glad to finally meet you."

Headwitch Storm raised her hand to her forehead and did the same.

Alana attempted to do the strange greeting too, but ended up facepalming herself. 

The Headwitch shot her a dirty glare.

Oops.

"Thank you for bringing Alana here, Emmersca," the Eldress said, completely missing Alana's grand failure. She acknowledged Headwitch Storm with a nod of her head. 

The Headwitch made no comment, but from Alana's angle, she could see that her body stiffened slightly.

Strange. SUSPICIOUS. Alana thought. But what sort of name is EMMERSCA? Even I would be humiliated if anyone called me that.

"Miss Alana," Eldress Narani smiled warmly at Alana. "So glad to finally meet you. Oh my, your eyes really are striking up close," she chuckled.

Usually people talked about her violet eyes to make fun of Alana, but Narani said it in a way that made Alana feel warm and fuzzy all over.

"Has the other arrived yet?" Headwitch Storm asked curtly, smoothing out her black dress.

"Instructor Milori is coming soon," Narani gazed at an antique gold clock on the wall. She turned back to Alana and the Headwitch and chuckled, "You're early as always, Emmersca." 

She leaned towards Alana over her wooden desk. "Always on time, this one," she said, nodding at the black-robed witch. "She has been my right-hand assistant for 20 years and she's never missed a faculty meeting." The Eldress winked, "I forget them all the time - and I'm the one setting the time."

The Headwitch looked like she'd swallowed a lime, unsure whether to smile or scowl. And overall, looking very much like a pufferfish.

Alana laughed, and for the first time that day, she felt the tension in her muscles relax.

Alana gazed around the room. Beside the Eldress' chair was a gold bird perch, probably for the raven that was riding on her shoulder in the dining hall. The window was open, so Alana guessed that the bird was out.

Pretty much everything else in the room was antique. These witches really loved their antiques, Alana thought, bitterly. Just like mum.

But the one thing that caught her eye was the gigantic dark pink tapestry on the wall behind the Eldress, with the face of a gold-haired woman surrounded by swirls of purple and gold... that kind of looked like Narani, with her gold hair and fair complexion.

It wasn't antique, but it didn't look that new either. Alana wondered what it meant.

"Oh, this thing?" Eldress Narani caught Alana staring. She turned to the tapestry behind her, "That's dear old mum. Former queen of Audoria. Founder of Kalliste Academy," Narani sighed. "Most powerful witch of all time, she was." 

Narani turned back around, and for a split second, Alana could have sworn that the Eldress rolled her eyes.

Alana's thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the office door opening.

"Peace," she heard a deep male voice. Alana turned around to see a man with white-blonde hair, dressed in a blue cloak. Behind him was a short girl about Alana's age, with wide blue eyes, and shoulder-length wavy blonde hair. 

"Peace," the girl gracefully lifted a dainty hand to her forehead, mastering the greeting perfectly as Eldress Narani and Headwitch Storm did the same.

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