My mind is blank I’m not sure how to add to this story.
The scant rays of sun crept through the cracks in the blinds illuminating scarcely anything of the turmoil which was Ivy Hill’s room, she was far from orderly, and her family knew it despite her best efforts the closest door could no longer be shut flinging open three days prior during a routine inspection. “Ivy! To the dining hall, NOW!” An all too familiar voice bellowed from the pit. Ivy groaned to herself as she pulled herself up from her pile of blankets and clothes, quickly scanned her mirror to confirm she was well covered, and walked down the stairs, turning left at the bottom to see the kitchen and Dining hall doors. “I’m on my way, lord.” Ivy said sheepishly, unable to think of anything other than what punishments might await her for her, chaotic nature, as the shadow priest put it.
The light Priest was seated at the head of the chair, looking disappointed, odd Ivy thought it was a shadow day, why was he there at the helm, she pondered. “The Lord hath requested we postpone thine cleansing that you may yet serve the order in a new capacity for now.” He said in his usual archaic tongue which annoyed her. “What must I do light priest?” Ivy asked in what’s he hoped was a respectful tone though the look on the priest’s face assured her it was not. “One from the arcane academy be scheduled to visit, it is wished that she joins our family, it would sound more inviting from an old friend.” He responded hiding his disdain for all new comers oozing through each syllable as if it hurt, though it could also have been caused by Ivy’s offensive tones and lack of order.
The Light priest ordered Ivy to wait for the visitor outside the main building by the giant iron gates, she waited there, standing at attention for half an hour before returning to her usual stance, slouched over and leaning against the nearest structure. That was how she looked when the carriage appeared. Who uses a carriage anymore, Ivy thought to herself as she tried to straighten herself up. This was to be her first time as the welcome crew, she wasn’t sure what to say, this uncertainty showed on her face as an old man willed the horses to bring the carriage ever closer. It came to a stop and the old man opened the door to the carriage for a young girl, the same age as Ivy, a girl Ivy recognized instantly, a girl Ivy could never forget if she tried. “Well, the rumours are true, you are still alive.” Ruby Flair said as she rushed over to hug Ivy. “Y-you’re here? Why?” Ivy demanded her face turning red with fury. “I’ve come to consider my options, I’ll probably not chose a place willing to take someone as ‘free spirited’ as you.” Ruby said releasing Ivy from her grasp and prancing over to her bags in the carriage which she tossed onto Ivy to carry.
Ivy struggled against the forces of gravity, practically willing herself to keep moving despite the pressure exerted by the luggage Ruby decided to bring for a simple visit. “You think this place is worth a long visit?” Ivy questioned as she barely managed to stay afloat on their way to the front door. “Never join a group without sleeping over for a weekend first, how else can I know if they’re any good.” Ruby explained dryly as if she had given the same remark several times before giving Ivy the slightest bit of hope that perhaps this wasn’t her first order visited, and that Ruby may end up picking some other group to live with. “Well someone like you could join any order they wanted, or even just marry some nobleman.” Ivy remarked in an effort to glean more information she could use to save her former rival. “What I want is to be a part of something bigger than myself, not some weak and flimsy collection of aristocrats pretending to seek truth as they read the same books every day and drink expensive wines.” Ruby replied passionately. That’s what Ivy admired most about Ruby, no matter how stuck up she could be or arrogant, she always showed such purpose and passion like she didn’t always know where she was going but nothing would stop her from getting there. The shadow priest passes behind the two of them seemingly unnoticed by Ruby, though he left a small note instructing Ivy where to take Ruby’s things. “Where did that note come from?” Ruby asked taking it and peering at the text in confusion. “It says you’re to explore freely unless there’s a sign saying don’t enter and leave me to my work for the day, we’ll be allowed to talk at the dining hour.” Ivy explained. “Pretty sure it says a bunch of gibberish.” Ruby joked. “I can’t tell if it’s encoded and I know it well or terrible penmanship and I know it well.” Ivy replied dryly. “Probably both, good luck with your work.” Ruby said with a bow before going to explore the grounds.
Ivy got to work scrubbing the floor of the kitchen the reprinting the walls of the observatory as well as sweeping all the hay out of the barn, her tasks were chosen to help forge her spirit or so the priests would tell her when questioned. She knew the truth, deep down though it was too dreadful for her conscious mind to bare. The words of Slyvia Moon the lady who first invited her into the order “If I were to give this place an unofficial motto it would be don’t think just do.” Ivy hadn’t seen Sylvia in weeks she wondered if her friend had gotten in trouble, or maybe she was the one being punished, and they separated her from anyone she liked in the slightest. Her every choice was made for her by the order, she ate what they told her to she went where they told her to, all for the greater good they assured her. Ivy was to become the perfect tool for bringing order to the world, once her inner chaos died. She was beginning to think her inner chaos was her very essence. She ended up being assigned more tasks than usual and getting to her room at one am. As usual too exhausted to clean she fell asleep in a nest of clothing waiting to be put away.
Ivy hill awoke from a nightmare she couldn’t recall, as odd as it was she was sure she couldn’t figure out why she felt the need to check behind herself as if she was being followed. She gazed around at her personal den; several piles of clothes littered around her room let her know that things were as she left them. A small smile crept across her face as she practically danced over to the pile of clean clothes she neglected to fold and put away. Just as she was there deciding between two sets of outfits for the day’s activities her door opened without a knock. It was Ruby Flair; Ivy had all but forgotten her former classmate was even there. “In the Order we are instructed to knock before entering the domain of others.” Ivy said practically soullessly as she chose the one on her left dropping the set on the right back into the pile. “Where are the towels I need to shower?” Ruby said ignoring Ivy’s complaint and unusual tone. “Did you know this building along with most buildings on the premises has secret compartments and rooms hidden throughout?” Ivy said in what in her mind was the voice of a tour guide but in Ruby’s it was the voice of someone who couldn’t possibly care any less. Ivy walked out her room and knocked on the wall next to the bathroom door and a closet opened up revealing the towels. “Take your time don’t worry about using up hot water, you’re our guest and thus you deserve the best.” Ivy said turning to reenter her room which was a mere ten feet from the bathroom on that floor. “What is wrong with you?” Ruby protested. “Whatever do you mean?” Ivy said shocked but not letting it seep into her voice. “I may not have liked you, like at all, but I’ve always respected your way of doing things, all that energy you had, you were the wild child out to concur all, the unstoppable rule breaker, has this place broken you so quickly?” Ruby asked spewing her feeling truthfully for the first time since she arrived. “Is that how you feel? Funny, I always liked you, at least until you got me kicked out, forcing me to come here, no one else would take me and I’m sure you know what became of my family.” Ivy explained her tone devoid of feelings though a few tears were visible on her cheeks. “Enjoy your shower; I’ll introduce you to one of the priests after breakfast.” Ivy said as she turned away once more, rushing to her room with tears dropping as she went forming a trail directly from one spot to the other.
At the breakfast table the light priest sat staring at a piece of toast. Ivy had never seen either priest eat anything though she had on occasion seen the light priest stare down a plate of food, she often wondered if they thought it unseemly to be observed devouring or if they ate things other than food and the light priest felt the need to hide this truth with the occasional stare. “Ruby Flair, it is a pleasure to meet someone from such an illustrious background, the lights are truly bright with you, your life will shine truth upon many, I do hope you let us magnify and intensify your inner light.” Spoke the light priest, before attempting to excuse himself from the table. “You promised to let the initiate ask you a few questions about our beliefs.” Ivy said, fearfully. “I know you’re not authorized to do so, but I think you’re a bright young girl in your own right, despite your obvious imperfections and chaotic tendencies. I’ll leave the matter up to you, do try to get her through a confessional first, I don’t want the impure to know all our secrets.” The light priest said with a smile as he walked out the room. The dining room was instantly darker with him gone, just as it always was when he left a room. “He seems nice, is he always so busy?” Ruby asked. “He’s here every other day to make sure all followers are on the right path, another priest comes the alternating days, it’s unfortunate you didn’t meet him yesterday when you arrived.” Ivy said as she buttered a slice of toast for herself. “The man in the black robe? Why do they wear different colours?” Ruby asked inquisitively. “I’ve been instructed to give you details after a confession but I’ll tell you this much, I prefer the priest in black to the one in white.” Ivy said with a smile, the first smile she had outside of her den in weeks.
Ivy had only a few moments to make her case, to show Ruby exactly why she would love to join the order, but of course Ivy wasn’t going to do that at all, Ivy wanted merely to tell Ruby the truth, to tell her to run away. “First of all, no, there are no breaks, no time to rest during the day, no free time; we work fifteen hours each day. The remaining nine hours are designated as down time, it’s mainly used for sleeping eating and of course cleanliness, not only that, but we are also expected to maintain a high standard of ‘fashion’ I’m honestly not even sure what that actually means, but sometimes they tell me that a day requires some special colour for reasons I honestly cannot be bothered to understand.” Ivy said with a vindictive smile. Ruby stared at Ivy, with a small smirk, far from the look of shock Ivy was expecting, “You’ve always been such a terrible liar, I’m sure this place works fine enough for you, actually if you’re in such a rush to rid yourself of me it’s probably pretty good, I think I’ll stay.” “I’m not kidding this place is the worst, you’ll hate it, they’ve got some kind of creature trapped beneath it, who tells everyone what to do, their beliefs make no sense, something about balancing scales and everything having its place. That’s why they call it just the order, and not some sort of name that tells you anything about it. This entire place is like a mad house.” Ivy said struggling to keep her voice down as she placed her hand on Ruby’s shoulder, the look of concern on her face was all too genuine. “I take it back, you may not have believable stories but you sure know how to sell it, I almost want to believe you, unfortunately for you, I don’t believe you.” Ruby responded getting up to leave. “Unfortunately for, you.” Ivy corrected sounding defeated, her goal of saving someone from the clutches of madness which had a hold of her for what felt like decades, maybe even longer, although in reality it was a little less than a year.
Ivy cleaned up the confessional room hoping her former classmate would reconsider. Another thought occurred to her, filling her with dread, she felt as if she had been electrocuted. “What if she tells?” Ivy said aloud as she packed up the fabrics and the crystal ball. “What if who tells?” asked the young girl, appearing in the open door to the outside. “Who are you?” Ivy asked the stranger. “They call me North, and I am here to speak to your superiours.” Spoke the girl who Ivy turned, to take note of. North was dressed in long flowing robes, they looked gray, not the kind meant to be gray but the kind grayed out with age as if originally black but owned and worn for centuries. “They’re in the main building why would you think to check in the smaller building?” Ivy asked hoping she didn’t sound sarcastic. “Amusing, you don’t know me, I’m certain you’d watch your tongue if you knew, I like you.” North said while actually floating away as if a kite on a gentle breeze. “That was a bit weird” Ivy thought out loud as she turned back to her cleaning. “What was so unusual Ms. Hill.” Spoke the Light priest appearing in the doorway. “Sir there was a girl, she floated away.” Ivy explained, hoping she didn’t sound too crazy. “While I’m sure the shadow priest may tolerate the occasional tall tale to further our goals I will take no part in such fanciful blabbering. Return to the dining hall and scrub down every inch there shall be another banquet tonight and we’ll hold a candle vigil so please see to the fire casters. I won’t have you repeating your actions at our last candle vigil; you oft bring shame to us all.” The Light priest spoke pointing t the hall she was to run to busying herself with his tasks.
If you have any idea what should happen next please leave a comment.