Thanks for all the comments. I’ve made one change in part 7; the name Mirissa was not spelled as I intended it. I’ve edited that chapter to reflect the new spelling “Marissa” as it is in this chapter.
(Banyon Sisters 8 ) Dark Magic
Dinner time rolled around and Emily and Lindsey joined their parents in the dinning room for Sunday dinner. Jasmine had cooked a chicken, potatoes, and several vegetables. Neither of the twins was focused on their food, both had their minds on Marissa and Megan, the giggling ghosts. The ghosts had not only stolen their conjured supply of big girl Pampers, but had taunted and challenged Emily and Lindsey to venture into the Netherworld to confront them.
Both Emily and Lindsey knew this would not be an easy task, and neither had any idea as to how they would be able to travel to the Netherworld unaccompanied. Now, at the dinner table, the twins were further distracted from their food as their Father asked how their day had been.
“So girls, did you finish your history reading?” Wilfred Banyon asked his daughters.
Emily and Lindsey stared at their food not really paying attention to the question. There was a silent pause.
“Girls…hello?” Celeste Banyon said. “Your father just asked you a question…” she said, wondering why her typically boisterous daughters were mentally elsewhere.
“Huh? Oh…sorry dad.” Lindsey replied, looking up from her plate.
“The history lesson…did you two finish the reading?” Mr. Banyon asked again.
“Yeah! And you were right dad, the paintings moved!” Lindsey said excitedly.
Emily perked up at this. “Yeah Dad, the battle of Trulouxe happened in the big painting on the East wall!” She said with a smile. “Right while I was reading the chapter the people in the painting started to move!” she said.
“I told you history lessons would be fun in the library.” Mr. Banyon said, winking at Emily and Lindsey.
The girls giggled.
Emily looked across the table at her sister, they locked eyes. Lindsey looked back at her sister and shook her head, knowing that Emily wanted to ask their father about Farschole Castle and its history. Lindsey thought this was a bad idea…that their discovery should remain a secret for now. Sadly she knew that once her sister’s mind was set on a course of action, there was seldom any stopping Emily.
“Dad, we saw another painting on the wall that was interesting too…” Emily said.
“Which one was that Pumpkin?” Mr. Banyon asked.
Lindsey kicked Emily under the table; Emily ignored the pain and shot her sister a smirk.
“The picture of the old Castle…we found it in the family history book too…umm castle ff Farshoole?” Emily said.
Celeste Banyon’s eyes widened at hearing the name of Farschole Castle brought up at the dinner table; she gave her husband a concerned look.
Mr. Banyon nodded gently to his wife as if to ease her concern, neither Emily nor Lindsey took notice of this. “Taking an interest in your family tree are you girls?” Mr. Banyon asked with a smile.
Emily smiled and nodded, “Yeah well…we saw it in the book and on the wall and were just wondering if you had ever seen it…” She said.
“Well what did you learn about Farschole Castle in the family history?” Her father asked.
“That it was a Banyon family summer castle…and that it was destroyed in the war with the Drundell’s…” Emily said.
“That’s all true…I don’t suppose there is much left but ruins there now.” Mr. Banyon said. “But if you were reading the family history, I’m sure you also read about Marissa and Megan Banyon…the only known family members to survive the attack on Farschole Castle.” He added.
Emily looked across at Lindsey as if knowing she’d opened a mystery box that could lead to trouble. Lindsey rolled her eyes; the news of their curiosity was out there now…no turning back.
“Yes we did daddy” Lindsey said, looking across at her sister. “The book said that after the war the girls went back to the castle but after that they were never heard from again…” she said.
Celeste Banyon gave her husband another concerned look; he tapped his wife’s hand gently and smiled reassuringly.
“Well girls, no one really knows for sure what happened to Marissa and Megan Banyon, the history states that they returned to Farschole Castle after the war…and nothing is known beyond that.” He said. “But you have to understand that in the chaos of the reconstruction era following the war…records were hard to keep. Communication, even by use of magic was difficult to track.” Mr. Banyon explained.
“Why couldn’t people communicate?” Emily asked.
“Well there were very strict rules and regulations on the use of magic in the Netherworld and mortal world following the war.” Her father said. “The United Wizard Army instituted a form of military law…what you may know as “Martial” law from your studies here in the mortal world.” He explained.
“Why’d they do that?” Lindsey asked.
“Because after the war…there were still several Drundell factions scattered across the Netherworld…many of which refused to admit defeat.” Mr. Banyon said. “The official surrender came in 1770, but for almost two years afterwards, there were small incidents throughout the Netherworld in which many lives were lost.” He said.
“But the war was over right?” Lindsey asked.
“Yes it was…but there was still much anger…on both sides.” Mr. Banyon said. “Many witches and wizards acted out revenge against former Drundell army members and those who sympathized with them.” He explained. “The use of magic was highly regulated during those times…simple spells for cleaning and cooking…completing daily chores and such were really all that was permitted at that time. Even travel by teleportation and broomstick were regulated” Their father went on. “Magical communication was restricted to central post areas, otherwise standard post by owl was used…and at the time, it was very unlikely to get an owl message delivered successfully.” Mr. Banyon said.
“How come?” Emily asked.
“You see pumpkin, during the war, Warhawks were trained by the Drundell’s to attack and kill owl messengers…the Drundell’s hoped to crush lines of communication between all regions of the Netherworld…they bred warhawks by the tens of thousands…and these large predatory birds thrived in the years following the war.” Her father replied.
“So the warhawks kept attacking the owls even after the war was over?” Lindsey asked.
“That’s right Linds.” Mr. Banyon replied. “They were animals, trained for a purpose, to them; owls were the enemy regardless of Wizard Politics.” He said. “It took years to bring the warhawk population under control, and during that time the owls were almost wiped out…it took decades to retrain a younger generation of owls for message delivery. Owning an owl during those times was a real luxury…and those who did own them didn’t often risk sending these messengers out into the open skies for fear of losing them to a renegade warhawk.” Mr. Banyon finished.
The twins looked at their father as he finished his meal. Their curiosity was piqued now; they were desperate to learn more about Farschole Castle and the other Banyon twins, Marissa and Megan.
“So you see girls…” Their father continued after a sip of wine. “While Marissa and Megan Banyon may have returned to Farschole Castle, there was never any recorded communications between the girls and their Aunt and Uncle during the reconstruction era.” Mr. Banyon said. “And in 1775 Netherworld time, their uncle, your great, great, great, great Grandfather, Wallace Banyon was appointed Gatekeeper of the Northern Gateway.”
“So he never tried to find Marissa and Megan after that?” Emily asked.
“It’s not known.” Mr. Banyon replied. “He and your great, great, great, great, Grandmother took up residence here in the mortal world and built Wallace House here on the Northern Gateway…after that, communications were established with the Governments of the mortal world…and you can imagine how many years it took Wallace Banyon and the other Gatekeepers to assure the mortals that the Wizard government posed no threat to them.” Mr. Banyon said. “Wallace Banyon’s duty as Gatekeeper took so much of his time; he may never have tried to contact Marissa and Megan.” He added.
“It’s more than that dear…” Celeste Banyon chimed in. “If you’re going to tell the story you should tell them everything dear.” She said, giving her husband a serious look.
Emily and Lindsey locked eyes again across the table; the story of their distant relatives was becoming more interesting by the second.
“There’s more?” Lindsey asked.
Mr. Banyon took another sip of wine. “Yes girls…there is more.” He said.
Just then Jasmine entered the room and began to clear plates from the table.
Mr. Banyon continued to speak “Marissa and Megan Banyon weren’t well loved by their Aunt and Uncle.” He said.
Jasmine looked up in surprise “Sir Wilfred! Waa ya be telling deese girls bout da Farsh Banyons for?” She said with a tone of shock.
“Jasmine my dear, its part of their family history…” Mr. Banyon replied.
“Ohh da Farsh Banyons’ dat be istory for shoorre sir…dark magic dere in Farsh.” Jasmine said, shaking her head. “Don yooze be givin deese girls nighmares now yooze eer me!” Jasmine said with authority.
Mr. Banyon chuckled a bit at Jasmine’s concern.
“Dark magic?” Lindsey said in surprise. “But only the Drundell’s used dark magic!” she said.
“What Jasmine is talking about girls…is a dark part of the Banyon family history.” Mr. Banyon said. “Tanner Banyon…Marissa and Megan’s father was a spy for the United Wizard Army…he was feeding misinformation to the Drundells who believed that Tanner was well practiced in the use of dark magic and in fact sympathetic to their cause.” He said.
“A spy? For real?” Lindsey asked.
“That’s right Linds…” Her father replied. “Tanner Banyon was well versed in dark magic…but was not a dark Wizard…he was a True Defender, a high ranking officer in the Wizard Army trained in the use of dark magic as a means for defense against it.” Mr. Banyon continued. “During the war, most of the True Defenders were killed off by the Drundells, Tanner Banyon included. When the Drundells learned of Tanner’s true allegiance to the United Wizard Army, they proceeded to attack Farschole Castle.” Mr. Banyon said.
“Was he killed when the Drundells attacked?” Lindsey asked.
“Yes…sadly Tanner Banyon, his wife Chloe, and their youngest two daughters, Jessica and Stephanie, who were just babies at the time, were killed by the Drundells during the attack on Farshole Castle…Marissa and Megan the older daughters, escaped through an underground tunnel built for just that purpose.” Mr. Banyon replied.
“But why didn’t their Aunt and Uncle love them?” Emily asked.
“Perhaps love is the wrong word” Mr. Banyon relied. “I’m sure the girls were loved…” Mr. Banyon continued. “It’s just that Wallace Banyon was said to be suspicious of them…you see he had not known that his brother Tanner was a spy…or a member of the True Defenders.” Mr. Banyon said. “Tanner Banyon’s status as an agent of the Wizard Army was so well hidden that even his close family members…believed that Tanner was a traitor and an enemy of good wizards and witches everywhere. However, neither Marissa nor Megan knew any of this, they were young, and had no knowledge of their father’s dealings” He continued. “Wallace and Felicia Banyon took Marissa and Megan in, but it wasn’t until after the war that Tanner Banyon’s status as a True Defender was revealed to Wallace and Felicia.” Mr. Banyon said, finishing the last of his wine.
“But when they found out wasn’t everything ok?” Emily asked.
“It’s not clear…Em.” Her father replied. “The story I was told, is that Wallace and Felicia Banyon were distant and somewhat cold towards Marissa and Megan at first. They had lost one son during the war, there was a lot of bitterness towards anyone believed to have sympathized with Drundells” He said. “But after learning of his Brother’s true status Wallace felt horrible about how he and his wife had treated the girls…it’s said that Wallace and Felicia tried to make amends and get to know their nieces, but when the girls came of age, they left their Aunt and Uncle’s estate and returned to Farschole in the hopes of making it their home…the family was estranged after that.”
“Tell dem about da dark magics!” Jasmine interjected as she cleared more plates from the table.
“Yeah what about the dark magic?” Lindsey asked.
Mr. Banyon refilled his wine glass from the decanter on the table before responding. “The surviving residents of Farsch believed that the Drundells had deeply cursed Farschole Castle.” He said. “No residents would go near the estate after the attack. It is true that Marissa and Megan are the only two souls ever know to have returned to Farschole Castle.” Her father said, taking another sip of wine.
“But was it really cursed…the castle?” Lindsey asked.
“The residents of Farsch still think so to this day.” Celeste Banyon said.
“That’s true.” Mr. Banyon added.
“No one has ever gone there to find out?” Emily asked.
“Our side of the family has always been Gatekeepers since Wallace Banyon built this estate.” Her father replied. “We travel to the Netherworld for vacations and on business…and will do so more often when you two begin University there.” He added. “Farschole Castle has been empty for generations; no relative that I have known has ever traveled to Farsch to claim ownership of the estate.”
“So it’s really cursed then?” Lindsey asked.
“Oh I don’t know pumpkin…but our duties are here in the mortal world…Farschole Castle, cursed or not…has never been our concern.” He said, giving Lindsey a smile.
“Dats a dead place…ann empty place…you girls be best to foget bout it ann tend to yoorz studies.” Jasmine said, removing the last of the dirty dishes from the table.
“Jasmine is right girls…” Celeste Banyon said. “It’s a school night…after desert I want you up to your room and ready for bed…school work is done yes?” she asked.
“Yes mom” The girls answered.
Later that evening, Emily and Lindsey lay in their beds reading…although each girls mind was elsewhere.
Emily closed her book and rolled on her side to face her sister. “I want our diapers back!” she said.
Lindsey closed her own book and faced her sister. “I do too Em.” She replied.
“So how do we get to Farschole Castle?” Emily said with a grin.
Lindsey sighed; she nodded and stared at the ceiling “I don’t know Em.”
Lindsey knew an adventure was at hand…the question was, where would their journey begin…and where would it lead them?