Spirit Splinters, Part 5

Dear Ajau and Jajau,

How are you? Here at school I'm having a great time, except that a girl was murdered by a vampire today. I want you to be extra careful, in case vampires target you guys, too. I'm not being paranoid, no matter what my big brother might say. How are Keasa and Reuwo?
You can spot a vampire by its pale skin and beauty. Also, they don't have red eyes, but dark ones. If you meet anyone like that, stay as far away from them as you can.

Kui,
Cenobi

I set down my pen. My parents deserved a letter once in a while; in fact, they had made me promise to write them as often as they sent them. I decided to get ahead of the inevitable flow of letters that were soon to come by penning one myself.

I jumped up and my pen clattered to the floor as I heard a voice boom over the intercom, "All first-term students please meet in the assembly hall. All others are permitted to go to their classes, and are required to have their personal weapons out, although the rule stands is that there is no fighting outside of classes." I heard her hang up and, pausing to grab my bag, I sped out the door.

***

The assembly hall seemed so large and empty without the flood of students. Instead, it was only me, Elly and the nine other new students.

"I wonder what they meant by 'weapons'," mused Elly, leaning against the wall. I didn't answer. I'd seen a few students in the halls when I'd rushed to the assembly, and they had all been carrying one of some sort. It had yet to be explained, as they hadn't had them with them yesterday.

My head snapped up as the vice headmaster--the guy from the first assembly-- walked up to the podium. What was his name again? Rowy... Owey...

"Mr. Owrie speaking!" he exclaimed, pronouncing it similiar to ovary. The students looked up at him dully. "Now, I know that today has been both difficult and scary for you, and that some of you may wish to return home. But not to worry! This sort of thing has happened before-- although not quite so early in the year-- and the perpetrators have been apprended quite soon after. This school is filled with fighting, trained hunters, and besides, a professional vampire hunter has been hired to come here and will be arriving in a few days.
"Now, the reason I called you all here. If you haven't heard about it already, all students are permitted to have a personal weapon. Usually, these are never used in the hallways, but now that we have a killer on the loose... well, rules have changed a bit."
He walked back a bit, holding out his hand, and there was a red flash from the vincinity of his arm. All of a sudden, a black pistol was gripped in his hand.
"These kinds of weapons," he continued, "Or, as is the official name for them, 'Splace' Weapons, are formed from your own bodies to suit you. They are, in a sense, part of you. Part of your soul."

There was a silence as we attempted to absorb the information.

"Now, you should know that only students of Ulnow Institute are allowed those weapons. Non-students having weapons are illegal, and will be arrested." he said it quickly, as if wanting to talk about more interesting things. "Ulnow Institute has the means to bring out these weapons, a closely-guarded secret that only the Headmistress--I mean, only one person in the world knows. "

Was this guy for real? I fail to believe he was actually appointed Vice Headmaster.

"Usually, we wait for you to get farther into the year before you obtain your Splace Weapons. However, due to the circumstances...you are allowed to recieve them immediately."

There was a cheer from a few students. I was with them.

He dropped the pistol, and instead of falling to the ground, it vanished in another flash of light. "The headmistress has procured the means to draw out your Splaces, and if you'll just follow me..."

We followed him off the stage and into a back room. It looked clean, and looked as if it had been used occasionally. On one end, the wall was taken up by a huge mirror, or what looked like a frame coated with silver.

It swirled and gleamed, glittered and flowed, enchanting and holding me in place. As I stared at it in rapture, Mr. Ovary--I'm sorry, Owrie-- led a student up to it. She was a plump girl with curly brown hair and large, moist blue eyes. She seemed just as smitten as I was with the mirror, and followed Mr. Owary as if she was in a trance.

"Kaella Remensey?" he enquired, then nodded. "Please reach into the mirror."

She tore her eyes away from it to look at him sceptically, but did as he asked. As soon as her fingertips touched the surface, she stumbled forward, sinking her arms into the molten liquid. She gasped, choked, the sound loud in the horrified silence, and then stumbled back, pulling out what looked like a large, spiked boomerang.

She stared in wonder and ran a finger down the wickedly sharp edges. Mr. Ovrie smiled and patted her back. "Well done, Kaella! There's your weapon, now report to Battle Tactics to learn how to use it. Your classmates will be joining you shortly."

After she left, nearly tripping over her own feet in excitement, Mr. Vice Principal turned to the rest of us. "Who wants to go..."
"Me! Me!" I squealed, inwardly cringing at my too-happy tone. A girl had just died, for gods' sake!

Number of mental slaps: 2.

I stepped in front of the mirror. My reflection stared back at me, pale, waiting, yet simmering with expectations.

I dipped my hands into the silvery substance, gasping at the freezing feeling that enveloped me. It felt as if I'd plunged my hands into ice-cold water.

I felt myself becoming dizzy. The mirror shimmered in front of me, so shiny and enrapturing. I felt the chill seep into my bones, and I let out a low whine of pain. I heard Elly yell, as if from far off, "Hanna... are... okay..."

My hands closed on handles. Feeling the sudden need to jump back, I leaned outwards, pulling with me two metallically sharp, curved...

Sickles.

I breathed, looking down at the hand-scythes. They glinted in the light of the mirror, looking fit for slashing and disembowelling. They seemed to fit my hands perfectly, as if they were part of my body.

Which they were.

I felt a pair of arms close on me from behind, and a familiar voice yell in my ear, "You did it, Hanna! You got a Splace Weapon!"

As Long As the Enemy...

...needs to be in contact to attack a student, a hand weapon would seem to be a reasonable counter, though one wonders if anything short of decapitation would stop a vampire attack.

I think I'd still prefer a projectile weapon, though, especially a pistol like Owrie's. Until he came up with one, I had the impression from the vampire description in part two that guns weren't part of the technology here, since there was no discussion as to whether vampires could be killed that way, or whether silver bullets were helpful or necessary.

The administrators here seem to be overlooking the seemingly obvious possibility that the vampire is one of the new students. One might think that they have faculty members who could identify a vampire on sight (or other sense), but their decision to bring in a professional may suggest otherwise. I suppose they're confident in their background checks of potential students, but if they're really choosing nearly at random, it'd seem more than possible that one could sneak through.

Anyway, giving new students a personal weapon (cute take on the term, BTW) before clearing them individually seems awfully foolhardy.

(Note: after I wrote this, the author revised the term to "splace weapon". I'm a little disappointed: it's cute, but I hope there'll be some explanation for the name. It doesn't seem to be a meaningful acronym, and "displace" and "misplace" are the only words I can think of for it to be derived from, neither of which seems relevant here.)

I don't know if Elly's supposed to become a romantic interest for Hanna, but so far he comes across to me as a real jerk: no great loss if he's the next victim.

Hope you'll keep this coming so we can figure out the rest of the background.

Eric

(Edited to reflect changes by the author after this note was originally written.)

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