Archive for June, 2010

DLA is not a Luxury but a Life Line

The UK has been hit dramatically by the world wide recession the past two years, but with the recent emergency budget and all of its announcements, will it be the disabled population who in turn pays for the country’s debts?

On Tuesday the Chancellor spent almost an hour depicting the changes he aims to implement during the term of the new government, among which were a raise in VAT, which I personally expected, cuts to public services which was sadly inevitable, a freeze on child benefit and reduction in Child Tax credit and a change to disability living allowance. The new proposal will require each person to go under stringent medical tests to approve or refuse their application. On the one hand, this does need to be done to prevent fraudulent claims but how many of the disabled population will suffer because of these requirements, especially when it comes to disabilities that are invisible, I.E, dyslexia and mental health.

As much as I agree, testing should go ahead, but disabilities are not purely medical conditions. Someone who is blind may not need to visit the hospital or be in pain a lot of the time with their eye condition whereas they may struggle while trying to be independent in the outside world. Mobility is a primary concern along with living independently and although Ian Duncan Smith claims these new implementations will force those who do not need DLA back into the labour workforce, who exactly is he referring to? Is he talking about visually impaired people who are continually fighting alongside the deaf and physically disabled to gain jobs in today’s society or is e correctly targeting those who are fraudulently claiming DLA because they would rather not work? If it is indeed the latter, I’m all for this action but if not, then they are leaving people with disabilities high and dry.

People with disabilities who rely on the money pay for taxis as an alternative if they cannot get somewhere they need, I.E., a doctor’s appointment. Someone who is visually impaired and maybe the roads are bad or their guide dog is out of work, needs that assurance that they can pay to get to important appointments. Or someone in a wheelchair who is unable to use public transport would use their mobility component to use a taxi service. The care element can be used for a variety of reasons, buying essential equipment that they need to use in order to live independently with their disability. Without the money to support them, how will the disabled people of our society survive efficiently?

Many disabled people work or want to work and disability living allowance provides them with the financial support to work effectively and live independently. If these measures are indeed aimed at reducing the number of fraudulent claimers, then it’s a good move but if not, and legitimate disabled people are going to suffer and we will continue to block the advancement for disabled people throughout the UK.

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ENCHANTRESS OF LOS OCEANA CHP 7

Chapter 7
Jealousy

School started back on the Monday morning and Hope had butterflies. All weekend, all she could think of, was Zyre Portario. His handsome face had been distracting her frequently over the course of her weekend. She had visited Thorn prison and had been taught all about the legal system by Thawson, who had also insisted he needed to find her a personal warrior after what had happened in the Blackberry Woods.

“Thawson,” Hope had huffed indignantly, not losing her teenage insolence just yet. “I have a lot of protection at home and school, Lobo for example!” She had become extremely fond of Lobo who often visited her in her rose garden at home. She wished she could see more of him at school but the knowledge that he was still there was more than enough of a comfort to her.

“Hope, you need a warrior,” Thawson had told her as the huge iron gates clunked closed behind them and the many chains and barriers clinked into place to keep the one hundred and twenty three prisoners secure. “Every enchantress has a warrior. Someone to personally guard her.”
“How will that work?” Hope laughed as she stepped onto the slay, gently patting each unicorn as she took her seat. “Thawson, I am in school. What’s my warrior going to do, sleep in my room?” Laughing hard Hope turned and suddenly stopped at the look on her brother’s face. “I’m sorry, Thawson, I’m just trying to be realistic.”
“Stupid, maybe,” His lips edged into one thin line that made him look fierce with his black beard. “Hope, your protection is vital. Not just from witches and wizards but there are animals that don’t agree with your position. Some believe that Stigma should guard the magical world.”
“Especially stigma right?” Hope asked, feeling a touch defensive at these words. “Thawson, I want to do what is right but I’m also aware that I need help. I was just questioning how it would work. I mean, I trust your judgement, you are my general and my brother, but you have to remember, I’m knew, and desperately need your guidance.”

At this Thawson had smiled and hugged his sister. “And guide you I will.” Hope had quietened after that conversation, desperate to be alone with her memories for a few moments. Her sister had quizzed her repetitively over breakfast abut Zyre but Hope was giving nothing away. Zyre had a pull on her she had never known anyone to have before but her smile spoke volumes and caused her sister to fit into giggles over breakfast.

As she walked down the stairs to the dining hall on the Monday morning, she prayed she’d speak with Zyre. He had hardly left her side at the ball and she hoped beyond all hope he would not have changed his feelings toward her. Walking into the dining hall, she found Chelsea seated at the unicorn table, eating some toast.

“Better get ready,” Chelsea grinned at her and pointed to a huge board over their table. Hope looked confused and Chelsea sighed exasperatedly, her eyes flashing with subtle annoyance. “I knew this was a good idea,” She pointed to the board again and Hope looked at it. It read:

“First team:
Chelsea Hubbard–Keeper
Shannon Cabillion–Defence
Hope Midway–Defence
Deltra O’Conner–attack
Angel Wright-Attack
Second Team:
Chrissie Cauldron–Keeper
Caressa Philips–défense
Maude Jenington–Defence
Luna Midway–Attack
Candice Filton–Attack

“I made the team?” Hope’s astonishment caught some of the other students’ attention as she took a seat beside Chelsea a little sheepishly, she whispered, “I thought I was rubbish!”
“Well, you weren’t!” Chelsea grinned broadly at her. “You and Luna have fit in so well here, Hope, you should be proud!” Hope smiled warmly at her best friend and glanced a look of annoyance coming from Harmony Lupere.

“Are you OK?” Hope asked Harmony whom’s green eyes glowered with a menacing stare at Hope and Chelsea.
“Fine, not that it’s any of your business!” She snarled gruffly.
“Hey!” Chelsea snapped. “What is your problem, Lupere? Hope has never done anything to upset you. In fact, none of us have but you constantly snipe and gripe at us. It isn’t our fault none of the basilisks want anything to do with you and I have no idea why you were put in our form. You’re unkind, mean, and I know it was you who put the bat in Hope’s closet.”
“Oh, you do?” Harmony’s eyebrows frowned dangerously cockily at Chelsea’s assumed confidence. “How do you know that?”
“You didn’t help her!” Chelsea sneered back. “You stood there, Halley saw you, and let Hope be terrified of that bat!”
“She should get used to it, being enchantress and all,” Harmony stood up abruptly and pushed her way past a first year.
“What a vile creature!” Chelsea scowled after Harmony’s retreating back with a pure frustration etched onto her normally calm face. “What did you ever do?”
“I wish I knew,” Hope sighed defeatedly, feeling all cheeriness and sense of achievement drain from her. Despite Harmony’s vindictiveness, Hope knew part of what she had said rang true; Hope could not fear silly things like bats when she was Enchantress. Standing up, taking a piece of toast with her, she left the dining hall, leaving Chelsea to fill Marietta in on what had just occurred.

Taking a seat on the edge of Theodore and Hirmira’s fountain, Hope looked all around her. Their must be hundreds of bats lurking in this old castle, she needed to get to know a few. If she didn’t, people like Harmony would see her as weak and incapable. Hope wanted to prove them all wrong. Kicking a stone in frustration, and screwing up her face with concentration on where to start looking, she didn’t hear footsteps descending the main staircase into the courtyard where she stood amid her thoughts.

“Wow, she still looks as pretty in her school uniform!” A deep, velvet voice spoke and Hope turned to see the smiling face of Zyre Porterio.
“Zyre?” A smile she could not help unleashing spread across her lips. He looked at her shorter frame, dazzled against the background of the snow covered mountains and the dazzling sunshine reflecting off of the water beneath their school’s founders.
“What’s up?” He stepped off the last step and walked to stand before her.
“Not much,” She sighed. “Just a girl in my form giving me a bit of attitude!”
Oh?” He smiled intrigued. “Who?” He tapped the golden badge pinned to his golden robes and grinned.
“I don’t wanna get her into trouble…” She trailed off as he glanced at her warningly. “OK!” She sighed and his scowl relinquished into a kind smile. “Harmony Lupere has developed a sheer dislike to me. I don’t expect everyone to like me but she really hates me. Chelsea thinks she put a bat in my closet and,” pausing through embarrassment she wiped a hand across her face self-consciously. “She stood there and watched as I screamed like a girl.”

Hope was expecting him to laugh but he looked deadly serious.
“She’s a piece of work!” Zyre frowned then. “Wait, your half sister is Erida Midway and Harmony and Erida are bosom buddies,” His train of thought seemed to parallel Chelsea’s.
“Chelsea can’t read her,” Hope put in helpfully now as he seemed to thinking hard. “She thinks Erida has given Harmony a blocking potion.”
“Yes, that is possible!” Zyre leaned against the ancient stone of the fountain. “So, if Harmony is taking a blocking potion, then that means, she has something to hide. But what?” Zyre didn’t know Harmony at all but he frowned now. Glancing down at Hope he took a deep breath. “There are people in Los Oceana that don’t believe you deserve to be enchantress because of your blood status. I personally think that’s a load of frogs legs but anyway. Harmony’s dislike and her alliance with your half sister makes me think they’re plotting something.”
“You think Erida’s capable?” Hope had thought it herself but to have another, someone outside of her family suggest it made her uncomfortable.
“Yes!” He said with such definite tones it made her freeze on the spot. “Hope, my father is very well connected in Loso Tierras. He knows people who are good, and people who are pure evil. Erida is the type of witch who does not think allowing a half magical being in charge of Los Oceana a good plan. She has some horrific alliances with people both inside and outside of Loso Tierras. My father suspects she has broken the law of leaving more than once to recruit half beings that moved from Loso Tierras because of the increase of half blood status. Erida had never made it obvious she had two half sisters, Thawson on the other hand always raved about you guys coming home. My father talks a lot,” Zyre laughed at Hope’s astonished look at the information he possessed. “And if you ever met my father, you’d learn to listen.”
“So, does your father believe Erida’s capable?” Hope smiled at the thought of this boy being at her side.
“Yes, and he’s told Thawson so,” Zyre sighed heavily. “But Erida’s Thawson’s pure sister. He won’t have bad said of her. And obscure judgement in his position is very dangerous.” Hope nodded and stepped closer to him.
“So, if you and Chelsea are right,” Hope took a huge breath in, not willing to believe what she was about to say. “Then Harmony’s dislike toward me comes from an embedded hatred from my half sister. She, has access to me at school and Erida has access to me at home. So now I see why Thawson is so desperate to appoint a personal warrior.”
“He hasn’t yet?” Zyre’s eyebrows shot up in astonishment. His butter scotch eyes glowed with anxiety. “Hope, you are so unprotected.”
“I know,” She breathed and finally realised that if Erida wanted too, it wouldn’t just be bats that would be flying from her closet. Clapping her hand to her mouth, complete clarification dawned. “Erida, she must have told Harmony about my bat fear.”
“I would suspect so,” Zyre had already realised that so the shock didn’t cross his face as it had with Hope. He took her hand. “Hope, you will be fine.” As their hands clasped, electricity seemed to flow between them. She glanced up into his dark face and saw the same element of surprise lying in his brown eyes.

“What?” He pulled his hand away and the electrical feeling stopped.
“Weird,” She laughed and he nodded. This girl was special in ways he had no idea about just yet.

The bell rang as they stared at each other and Zyre smirked mischievously.
“Better get to class!” He teased and she laughed warmly feeling the tension that had built had been broken just by the warmth of his smile.

Heading up the stairs, he whispered:
“Meet me on the lawns at lunch,” And she nodded hurrying toward her first class.

That morning’s classes were filled with practicals. Hope didn’t mind them at all and it was safe to to say her magical ability was strengthening all the time. Professor Heartley was extremely impressed with Hope’s potential and kept telling her so during class.

“You are going to be a fine young witch,” Professor Heartley’s warm, emerald eyes glowed with a fondness as she spoke to Hope after Hope had managed to fill a goblet with water. “Your wand skills are amazing, especially seen as you have only been practicing magic a few weeks. Hope I am impressed!”
“Thank you, Professor,” Hope smiled bashfully, her blue eyes filled with self-pride. She had worked hard and to gain praise for it meant a great deal and only drove her determination to do well.

“She’s giving you really dirty looks,” summer muttered as Professor Heartley left their table. Hope glanced to where Summer was glaring. Sure enough, Harmony was throwing daggers her way.
“Oh well,” Hope sighed defeatestly. “You can’t please everyone.” And with that the bell rang to signal the end of class.

Combatment was a difficult class. They were learning shielding charms and Hope really needed to grasp this one. The constant picture of that bat in her dormitory drove her to work as hard as possible in all of her classes but especially combatment. She couldn’t risk Harmony or Erida getting to her. So when she finally managed to block Nathan’s jelly charm which sent the victim wobbly all over the place, Hope felt a sense of pure achievement.

“Nice job!” Nathan grinned his boyish grin and Hope gigled as his freckles flourished with his warm smile.
“You too!” Hope grinned at him. “Your quite the attacker.” They both laughed as the bell rang and Hope scooped up her books.
“Want me to walk you to the dining hall?” Nathan asked, his face turning a shade of pink with embarrassment. Hope smiled sweetly.
“Thanks, but I’m not going to the dining hall,” She glanced Harmony look over as she spoke and Hope decided to play this girl at her own game and glowered at her. ‘Is she spying on me for her?’ Hope thought as Harmony hurried out and headed toward the main staircase, Hope suspected to tell Erida of her new found information.
“Oh, OK!” Nathan bowed his head and Hope smiled gently. “See ya later!” He called and hurried toward the dining hall. Hope sighed and trudged toward the staircase. The corridors were filled with laughing and chatting students heading toward lunch and Hope wondered what she could do to protect herself. For until Thawson found her a warrior, she was at the hands of her half sister that clearly despised her and a roommate who could slit her throat whenever she slept.

“Star,” She murmured to herself. Of course! Her Phoenix! Where was she? She hadn’t seen her beautiful bird even at the weekend as she thought these thoughts, a gentle flutter was felt by her ear. Turning her head, her long blonde hair being tugged on for a few seconds, Hope spied the pink and gold feathers of her beautiful Phoenix.

“Hey you!” She smiled warmly. “I need you to do me a favour? Could you stay with me at night?” The bird’s golden eyes sparkled and she gently cooed. Smiling Hope kissed the warm plumage and Star took off. Hope knew instinctively she would be waiting in Hope’s dormitory.

“Good morn, Enchantress,” Dempi the elf that had shown Luna and Hope to the school for the first time stood at the top of the staircase leading to the courtyard, sprinkling fairy dust that acted like grit.
“Good Morning, Dempi,” Hope gently touched the tip of the Elf’s red hat as he bowed to her.
“Its safe now, Miss Hope,” He squeaked as he backed away and allowed her to descend the stairs. She thanked him and felt the cool breeze blow around her as she descended the marble staircase to the courtyard.Pulling her blue school robes around her shoulders, she crossed the large stone courtyard and headed down the slope to the lawns. Sitting there on a blanket was Zyre, with a picnic basket and a funny looking object that looked like an umbrella. As Hope moved closer she felt warmer and as she took a seat opposite Zyre she realised the umbrella like object was the source of the heat. It felt like a warm summer’s day in Tamorik as she sat there, not a snowy day in Loso Tierras.

“What is that?” She smiled as she crossed her legs, leaning against her school bag for support.
“It’s a weather shield,” Zyre smirked feeling rather proud of himself for thinking of it. “It has a dial on it and you can set it to defend whatever weather you like. So, if it’s snowy and cold and windy like it is here today, then you set it to protect you from that. If it is hot and sunny and you need to cool off, set it to do that. Cool huh?”
“Yeah, very!” Hope grinned and was thankful for his brilliance. “Why didn’t Violet use one of these instead of endangering our animals?” She questioned outloud.
“Well, they’re not cheap and they don’t fold up so carrying one around with you could be problematic.” Hope glanced up at the huge red umbrella that looked much bigger than your average parasol and concluded he was right about that.
“Zyre, this is awesome,” She said glancing at the picnic basket. He lifted the lid of the wicker basket and her smile broadened. Before her sat lots of sandwiches, a selection of cakes, some salad, pasta, chicken, sausages and some other foods she did not recognise.
“Wow! This looks delicious,” Hope smiled as she looked up into his dark face and felt butterflies flutter deep within her stomach. His eyes were pool of melting butterscotch that she knew if she stared into long enough she could get very lost in.
“Those are wand sticks,” Zyre pointed to dough like sticks that twirled at one end, giving the impression of a wand. “Try one!” He encouraged.
Gingerly she picked up the stick and nibbled the straight end. It tasted remarkably like cinnamon and caramel bread. Hope grinned at the taste and nodded her approval.
“Told ya they were good!” He picked up a cheese sandwich and they ate in silence for a few moments. Then a question occurred to Hope.
“Where did you get this?” Her voice was gentle and then she spied his eyes that danced with mischief.
“That Miss Hope is privileged information.” Hope smiled a winning smile as she leaned in.
“I will find out,” Hope’s blue eyes flashed with a sense of determination Zyre’s stomach jolted over.
“Of course,” he drawled defeatestly. “Your weapon of mind reading, also known as Chelsea Hubbard.” They both laughed and Hope drank gratefully from a goblet. This day was turning out to be a very pleasant one indeed. She was so happy and appreciative that she could spend time with Zyre and he wanted to do so.

“Where’s Drew? That’s your friend’s name, right?” He nodded and finished chewing his mouthful before replying.
“Drew has detention with Professor Midway,” Hope took this to be Thawson as most of the students she had come to learn, called Erida Professor Bitchway for two reasons, one for the implied intention and secondly to differentiate between brother and sister.

“I see,” Hope laughed gently. “Thawson doesn’t tend to give you and drew detention much, does he?” She was remembered how the girls in her form had insinuated that Thawson favoured Zyre and drew over other students.
“He was forced too,” Zyre smirked now with an air of insolence and arrogance. “Drew had a Basilisk stuck in the toilet as the toilet regurgitated everything it recently had digested.”
“Gross!” Hope exploded with revulsion as Zyre re countered his story of Drew’s actions. Zyre on the other hand was fitting with hysterics as Hope glared at him reproachfully.
“I’m sorry,” He howled with laughter as he wiped away a few tears. “But her pretty little head was cover…” But Zyre was unable to continue what he was going to say through his now silent giggles of amusement. Even Hope allowed herself a few giggles, not at the same thing he was laughing at but his laughter and smile were so infectious, she couldn’t help it.

“OH, Zyre,” she laughed and he buried his face into the blanket to finish his giggling fits.

Hope glanced up, amazed to see snow flakes falling and yet they were bouncing off of the invisible shield that the weather umbrella created Looking around her, Hope was amazed to see the trees rocking in the wind and yet she felt as though she was inside by a roaring fire. A crunching of leaves caused her to look behind her and she spied Harmony Lupere glaring at Hope and Zyre from the path that led to the green houses.

“Zyre!” Hope roused him from his now quieter giggles. “Look!” She whispered in a desperate tone. He looked up and saw the girl’s retreating back.
“I really think she’s up to something,” Zyre said, all amusement gone from his dark face. “She’s trouble, Hope. That I’m certain of.” As his last words echoed in Hope’s ears, the bell rang for afternoon classes.

“Cleanio,” Zyre pointed his ebony coloured wand at the picnic basket that began tidying itself. Hope stood up and thanked him for lunch.

“It was delicious!” She exclaimed as she stepped into the crisp air of Loso Tierras again and took the path toward the greenhouses.

“Later,” Zyre called, heading toward the castle. “Enjoy Professor Romolus’s class, he’s a great teach if there ever was one!” Hope thoroughly enjoyed the way Zyre spoke and smiled uncontrollably as she walked briskly toward her class.

Harmony was the only student sitting in the back of the huge barn where they had the animal portion of their magical biology classes. She didn’t even look up as Hope entered and was scowling at Professor Romulus who was already seated at his desk. It was cold in the barn, drafts flying from every nook and cranny of the ageing outhouse. Hope wished she had brought her cloak that was lined with fur but she took her seat, pulling her animals of the magical kingdom book from her bag and began flipping through to see if she could find anything to do with bats. She knew they were not exactly magical creatures but their alliance with the magical kingdom must bear something.

Almost giving up, Hope dropped the book on her desk and in her mind she thought,
“If only I could find more information about bats” and as soon as the thought had formulated in her mind, the book began to flip its pages and turned to a picture of a scaly black bat, eyes of red. Hope gasped at what her book had done and as she looked up she saw Professor Romulus standing over her smiling.

“Hope you have to remember,” His voice was gruff and yet somewhat soothing as he spoke quietly to her. “You’re enchantress. All objects must obey your command. You wanted to look for information on bats, this book possessed such information, and so it gave it to you.”
“But Professor,” She said almost in a whisper. “What if an object forms another alliance? Surely if it can obey me, it is capable of disobeying me?” Her blue eyes were alive with curiosity. How had this happened? She was suddenly thinking of objects capable of their own choosing.
“This is true, Hope. Objects are capable of disobeying you, but you will know if they are. A red glow will emit from them as you have thoughts such as the one you just had. But may I ask?” Professor Romulus’s eyes were filled with wonder as he stooped over the young enchantress even more. He was too aware of Harmony’s ears and eyes straining behind their conversation. “Why the fascination with bats?”

Hope turned her head slightly and Professor Romulus nodded with comprehension. “Well, Hope,” He began. “Bats are harmless creatures on the whole. Their blind eyes prevent them from attacking but they can often be used to an attacker’s advantage by means of disorientation. Many bats together can cause vision blurring and deafness.”
“Because of the amount of flapping wings and the high pitched noise they make?” Hope smiled feeling smart that she had concluded this answer after only a few weeks of magical training.
“Oh no,” Professor Romulus sighed and Hope’s feel-good feeling vanished. She had been certain she knew the answer to this question. Picking up the book, Professor Romulus read aloud:
“Bats on their own are harmless to human beings; almost helpless against them. But in groups more than thirty, they can cause blindness and deafness in a human. A pheromone given off during such a large grouping, which is very rare unless intended, will cause a mist to form against human eyes and a block on their sense of hearing rendering the victim disoriented and lost. Effects can last up to an hour after the bats departure if the pheromone is concentrated, usually in young bats.” He replaced the book and smiled at Hope. “So now, do you understand?”
“Yes,” Hope smiled and the Professor nodded as more students trickled in from the huge snow storm outside. As Chelsea plonked down beside Hope, she was in deep thought with many other questions she needed to find the answers too. To every question that she asked presented another few she needed to ask in return.

The week progressed rather quickly and Hope found herself spending more and more time studying and socialising than she had ever done at home in Tamorik. The lack of electronical equipment freed up more time than she ever thought was possible. Zyre helped her study Elementation which he was also good at along with combatment. They often were found after lunch or before dinner duelling in the combatment chamber. He was a good teacher and their time together was always productive. After dinner most nights, Hope would head to the library to study and complete her homework. And the final hours before bed were spent either in the student common room or the girls common room alongside her roommates and friends.

On Wednesday evening, after having had sonic ball practice, Hope was thawing out in the girls’ communal common room when Chelsea came running over. Stardust was sleeping on the chair arm beside Hope at the delight of most of the girls. Most of whom had never seen a real phoenix, let alone touch one.

“It came! It came!” Chelsea pushed a huge brown package into Hope’s lap and wiped a strand of her brown hair from her eyes. She had obviously just come from the mail room which was in an old empty classroom on one of the upper floors with no windows in it so delivery could occur. Everything from pigeons to unicorns delivered mail and the windows were huge to permit the delivery animals.

“What is it?” Luna was peering over her sister’s shoulder as she ate a pumpkin cake.
Hope hurried to rip the paper from the package and she pulled out a beautiful silver mirror.
“My micro mirror,” She gasped with excitement.
“Add me first,” Chelsea said eagerly, pulling her own mirror from her bag. Hope’s mirror was around the size of a small notebook and looking in her package she found the other things she had ordered from Teen Witch. A mini radialus and a new quil with coloured ink. Smiling, she handed Chelsea the mirror.
“Add new friend,” Chelsea ordered the mirror, holding her blue wand over it’s glassy surface. They other girls looked on with joy, waiting in line to be added to Hope’s mirror.
“Name?” The mirror asked in a smooth voice.
“Chelsea Lee Hubbard.”
“Mirror number?” The mirror’s crisp clear voice asked.
“Mirror number 825111.”
“Chelsea Lee Hubbard added,” The mirror informed. “Nickname for Chelsea Lee Hubbard?”

Chelsea looked at hope questioningly.
“Just Chelsea,” Hope smiled quietly and Chelsea held her wand over the mirror again and spoke:
“Chelsea,” She grinned and the mirror made a whooshing noise as it completed the task and Chelsea handed the mirror back to Hope.
“You add someone now,” Chelsea said eager to have her friend try out her new toy.

“You Summer,” Hope said as Summer took a seat beside Hope. Even stardust was curious of what was going on around her as she lifted her tiny pink head to look. The golden circle around her head, that looked like a crown shimmered in the reflection of the mirror.
“Add new friend,” Hope spoke clearly as she held her wand over the glassy surface. “Name?” The mirror commanded.
“Summer Jenkins,” Hope replied to the mirror.
“Mirror number?” The mirror commanded again.
“826324,” Summer said as Hope hovered her wand over the mirror.
“Summer Jenkins added. Nickname for Summer Jenkins?”
“Summer,” Hope told her mirror and grinned when the completed task noise was heard. She handed her mirror along the group of girls she knew and each of them added her own number to Hope’s mirror.

“I want to get one too,” Luna informed Hope. “I’m going to send for one from Teen Witch too.” Her eyes sparkled with excitement.
“You should,” Hope told her and a loud crash was heard. All of the girls turned to see the mirror in chards at Harmony’s feet.
“Woops,” She said with a mocking apology on her lips. “Slipped.” She informed deviously.
“You.…!” Chelsea and Summer glared but Elli was standing between them. Glowering, Marietta stood in between Sumer and Chelsea and Harmony who was looking simply smug.

“Why?” Hope’s voice was high with fury. “Why did you do that?”
“An accident,” Harmony smiled sardonically as Hope stood up.
“I don’t believe you!” Hope snapped and turning to her friends she asked: “can I fix it?”
“I’m afraid not,” Ellie chimed in, being the quieter of the girls but by far the smartest. “Once a mirror is broken, it will never piece back together precisely as it was made. Not even with magic.”
“Then you can pay for a new one,” Hope told Harmony and with that the girl laughed manically and left the tower room. Summer, Chelsea and Hope made to go after her but Marietta and Ellie held them all back.

“She wants you all to get into trouble,” Ellie hissed as Chelsea struggled against her grip. “Let it go and tell Heartley about it tomorrow.” Hope relinquished her attempts and leaned back in her chair, all excitement gone. Even the shiny new quil didn’t look quite so glamorous now her mirror lay broken on the floor.

“She’s such a horrible piece of work!” Summer was ranting on the old blue couch as Chelsea glowered toward the door clearly annoyed she was not permitted to go and give Harmony Lupere a piece of her mind. Snapping her head toward Hope, she growled.
“You need to go to Heartley about her bullying!” Hope nodded feeling desolate and stood up collecting up her things.
“I know!” Hope said sombrely. “She was glaring at me all week during classes and when I had lunch with Zyre…” But Hope was unable to finished her sentence as Summer, Marietta and Ellie all chimed.
“You had lunch with Zyre?” Chelsea smirked knowingly. She of course knew this as soon as she’d seen Hope after lunch on that Monday but had not said anything to her friend.
“Of course you knew!” Summer sighed exasperatedly at Chelsea’s gloating look. Her small face erupted with light as she laughed.
“Of course,” she beamed victoriously. But Summer wasn’t interested in Chelsea at that moment, she wanted details.

“So…?” She turned to Hope with a look of eagerness that can only come from someone who’s dying to know more. She honestly looked like a dog that has just spied the juiciest bone lying on the ground, just waiting to be snacked on.
“So, I’m going to bed,” Hope walked toward the door and headed up the stairs with calls of pleading from her friends. The teenage girl part of herself glowed with triumph as she headed upstairs to bed.

Saturday was the first sonic ball game between Basilisk and Unicorn forms. Zyre had been teaching Hope a few tricks on the broom that very morning. His skill on a broom impressed her deeply as he soared around the skies above the sonic ball stadium.

“So, has Miss Lupere been giving you any trouble?” Zyre inquired raising a disapproving eye brow at his own question. Anyone who would give Hope hassle was automatically bad and deserved punishment as far as he was concerned but she was always by Erida’s side and so out of his reach. “She broke my new micro mirror the other night,” Hope said zooming past him and doubling back as he had showed her to do in order to distract players.
“Why?” He asked with aggression prevalent in his tone.
“She says it was an accident,” Hope rolled over with an applause from Zyre as she spoke. “But with all of the looks and stuff she’s been giving me all week, not to mention no word of apology, I know she did it on purpose.”
“I bet you she did,” He snarled glowering toward the castle. “Has Thawson appointed a warrior yet?” His eyes glowed with concern as she circled him ready to catch the ball.
“No,” She spoke gently. “I think your friend Drew has been keeping him busy in detention.” Zyre laughed his booming laugh and nodded.
“Sounds like Drew,” He nodded confirming his own response. “Well I hope he finds you one soon. You ready to head back?”
“Sure,” She soared to the ground and dismounted her broom. “Thanks Zyre,” Her stomach knotted as she looked up into his dark face as snow flakes began to shimmer in the bright morning air. He nodded and they both trudged up toward the castle for lunch.

Chelsea was stomping around the changing rooms as Hope wandered in dressed in her pink robes. She headed over to the rack of team robes and pulled her robe off to replace it with the sky blue robe with a unicorn printed on the back.
“Come here!” Chelsea commanded and as Hope approached, Chelsea pulled out her wand and emblazoned on Hope’s chest and back her name and position.
“There!” Chelsea stood back to admire her work but was quickly doing the same thing for deltra, Shannon, Angel and herself. Sitting quietly, each girl took their time to prepare for their first game. Chelsea and Deltra had done this for the past five years, having been on the team since their second year. Hope, Angel and Shannon were all knew to this and so their nerves were much more prominent.

Hope kept gripping her stomach that felt as though hundreds of snakes were alive in their. Angel kept twisting her hair repeatedly and Shannon kept rubbing the back of her hand. When the pre-game entertainment began which consisted of the school band playing the school’s song and the form tutors all giving a small speech of encouragement, in this case Professor Heartley and Erida, The team trudged out with their brooms to get ready. Snow flakes fell heavily as Hope stood beside Chelsea.
“How will we see?” She asked quietly as a huge bang was heard.
“Once in play the snow is directed away from the stadium by elementalists such as Professor Solomon so play can continue.”

At that moment the magical sports teacher blew his whistle and both teams rose into the air. Hope only just managed to look at they’re apposing team of green clad Basilisk students and saw to her dismay that Kady was on the team and snarling with delight at the sight of the unicorn students. As the whistle blew that the ball was being released, Hope felt the tension flurry inside her and the third whistle went off to indicate the start of play.

Hope and Shannon defended amazingly as Angel and deltra attacked flawlessly. Angel’s athleticism and Deltra’s tiny frame were a good combination to get the balls in the hoops. Hope blocked the Basilisk attackers which Kady was one of extremely well and laughed hard when Kady was fowled for almost knocking Hope from her broom. It was almost like the sound of the crowd wasn’t even in Hope’s ears as she watched Kady repeatedly attempt to throw Hope from her broom.

“Hey, Kady, thought you were supposed to be scoring, not trying to vault me off of the broom, isn’t that your defenders jobs?” The defenders on the Basilisk team were two scrawny third year girls that were incapable of very much. Hope wondered why they had even made the team. She found out later that their parents had bought the team’s equipment and contributed generously to school equipment. Erida obviously saw that a good enough reason to be on the team regardless of lack of ability.

Soaring around the stadium, blocking the ball and throwing it back to Angel and Deltra, Hope felt at home in the air and when Angel scored just before the ball erupted with a boom, Hope was sad to see the game over despite their two-hundred-10 lead over the Basilisk fifty-five points. Thundering to the ground, Hope felt elated and as the team whooped and hollered, she knew this was truly home now. Tamorik was a long distant memory and Loso Tierras held it all for her. This thought was only compounded as she looked up to see zyre and his shorter, chubby faced friend cheering along side most of the other students. She smiled up at him and headed off to change with a feeling of ultimate contentment.

Back in the girls’ common room, all the unicorn students were celebrating as the Basilisks kept removing themselves from the unicorn forms victory song.
“Unicorn kicked you,
O believe it indeed,
We are the best ever team,
With a symbol of a steed.
Don’t underestimate us,
You can’t pull us down,
Because when unicorn wins,
We cheer sonic ball loud!”

Constant repetition of the song drove all of the Basilisk students to bed and now Hope and Luna knew the words, they sang along as loud as everyone else.

They were just finishing yet another chorus of their song as Harmony stomped into the room and stood before Hope with a glowering glare upon her face.

“Just who the hell do you think you are?” She demanded with a dangerous tone in her voice.
“Excuse me?” Hope asked with bewilderment written all over her face and posture.
“You think your better than everyone else, just because you’re enchantress!” Harmony spat with venom filled in her voice. “Well, let me Tel you something Hope Midway, you are nothing but some jumped up teenager who got lucky!”
“Lucky?” exploded Hope. Her fists clenched ready for the fight. “The ancients chose me!” Red glowed around her protecting her from her own powers. “And if you question my integrity, you question theirs. I suggest you run off and keep your opinions to yourself. Unless Thorn prison was on your agenda of things to do!” As Hope spat the last word, the glow vanished and she took a seat, breathless from the effort.

Harmony was dumbfounded and retreated up the stairs as Summer, Marietta, Chelsea and Ellie, along with other girls looked on in amazement. Until Hope had been appointed, most of them had only ever seen the enchantress in pictures but they had just witnessed one of the enchantress’s most powerful gifts. The ability to warn with words and magic. Not only did the red glow protect Hope from her own anger, but it sent the fear of Theodore into those it was aimed at. Luna had been knocked from her chair with the force field that had been heading for Erida but Hope’s ability to manage her powers had grown considerably. The recipient felt as though they were in a vortex with Hope’s voice echoing dangerously in their ears with visions of whatever threat she was foreseeing for them.

“I’m sorry,” Hope breathed, lifting her head to look at her amazed classmates. I had to do something.”
“We understand,” Chelsea rested a hand on Hope’s shoulders. “She is one jealous…”
“She’s right,” Summer interrupted Chelsea. “Jealous as the green eyed monster. Ignore her Hope, she may go and crawl into a hole where true Basilisks belong.” And with that the girls laughed and resumed their celebrations.

Sunrise

An inky black sky overhead,
Begins to lighten in the east,
A shimmer of silvery, golden slice,
That threatens to conquer the darkness.
A sliver of light begins to grow,
Turning the darkness into grey,
All across the newborn sky,
A bird begins to sing.
Cloudless and cunning,
The greyness is defeated by the blood,
The tinges of red splatter everywhere,
With the rising of the morning sun.
A golden tinge on the horizon,
Begins to lighten the day,
And yet the solitary bird still sings,
Solemnity in its song.
Mourning of the darkness,
Triumph for the day,
The sun peaks over the horizon,
Its forthcoming foretold,
in a variety of ways.
The solitary birdsong,
The grey to red to gold,
The war of the darkness and light,
Forever proceed in a daily dance.
So until the next night should fall,
And until the next day begins,
The battle between light and darkness,
Will forever begin and end.

The future is not Bright, it’s dull!

Respect seems to be a dying breed these days. And it’s not just the thuggish youths hanging outside of stores, trying to intimidate shoppers. It stretches far deeper than that unfortunately and I dread to think where it will end.

When you have a four year old child tell you that your dog “smells” and comment on his peeing habit in his own garden while you also have the knowledge that the same four year old child has called their mother a “fat pig” to no consequences, you fast realise that this child is the negative portion of our future generations.

At the risk of sounding as though I’m harping on about the “Good old days”, to which I would have often swore I’d never do, things were much more expected of us as children. The old phrase that my elders continually blurted on about when I was a little girl, “children should be seen and not heard” has a touch of glamour to it now. If I’d acted as that child had then my parents/grandparents or aunts, uncles and even friends of the family would have berated me and punished me for my lack of manners. I wouldn’t have dreamed of speaking to someone in such a negative way at any age, even now, “you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all” springs to mind but the children of today are far too bold for their own good.

Unlike the masses in our society, I despise bad behaviour and even more lack of good manners, and bringing in yet more cliches, “manners don’t cost anything” I can honestly see the good my parents and family on the whole did for me instilling decency into me as a child and young adult.
I do not think it cute for a child to be disrespectful and speak out of turn amongst adult company nor do I think it appropriate that this child was out alone without adult supervision.

Which brings me to my next point. Why do parents not watch their beloved little darlings while they are out “socialising” with those good and decent individuals of the world? Why are these hoards of children allowed to rome our streets tormenting us well mannered human beings and innocent decent smelling dogs? These children are never alone either. They usually have many siblings that are experienced in the art of torturing the good and decent people of the world with their bad behaviour and ill manners. And are never supervised. While the parents sit indoors gazing into the antisocial box of the TV world, their offspring are out showing off their talents in disgrace and disrespect.

We live in a sad society where good children are assumed to be disrespectful and badly behaved and ill-mannered because of the masses of irresponsible parents who would rather watch Jeremy Kyle than supervise the three or four children they have created purely for a means to an end.

I implore the government to put an end of this disrespectful society and enforce some discipline back into the generations of irresponsible and ill-mannered animals that patrol our world pretending to be human. send them to an Island somewhere or take away their benefits and put them in a sweat shop, teach them the reality of life and make them pay for their children’s bad behaviour and take responsibility for their shoddy parenting.

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