It’s been a while since I’ve done a character spotlight post! I know you’re probably desperate for more insight on the lovely creatures of Vista in Spellbound, and in truth, I’m kinda desperate myself to tell you about them!
In Spellbound, Bella’s biggest strength is her friends! I have a scrumptious treat for you guys, because I love you so and I just want to fill your bloated bellies with literary foodstuffs. A special two for the low, low price of one!
Time to meet Daron and Magnolia.
Do you have a punk rock older brother, borderline narco, who would laugh at death’s face and dance around hell’s flames, but still maybe have a small heart attack if you got a paper cut? If so, you already understand Daron! If not, then get ready to have one. It isn’t hard to imagine that someone as loud and unpredictable as Daron Leviathan would wind up a practiced dragon rider, or that he would treat his sweet dragon Violet with so much love.
Daron is quick on his feet and loves to keep the other Mages guessing. Much like his blue mohawk and many facial piercings would indicate, he’s got a big rebellious streak; but he uses it for his friends’ benefit, never one to refuse a good time. Daron can’t put down the java, the otherwise drowsy boy drinks it like water. It may be partially to blame for his antics, the blood in his veins replaced mostly by coffee to keep him bouncing off walls. Daron is actually a very powerful Mage, coming from a well-to-do family in Vista, though you might not guess it from his laid back attitude and tendency to laze about.
Picture the “mom friend” of your social circle. Heck, maybe even an actual mom. Now, think of all the times he or she had made cupcakes and brought them to movie/game night, all the medical supplies they seem to have handy at all times, or how often they’ve listened to you when you cry, how many times they’ve picked up your drunk self or given you a lift to/from the airport.
And understand that they can never match Magnolia’s pedigree.
Vistians are constantly getting themselves into trouble, especially with a secretive and violent dragon rider, Marion, and the danger-prone-plot-centered Mage, Bella, as some of your closest friends. Fortunately, Magnolia’s limitless well of compassion and love keeps her from going absolutely crazy with them.
Magnolia is very quiet and hates to be a bother to anyone. Her humility makes her often seem like a delicate flower, something to be protected and watched over to save from the evils of the world. Never fear, however. Magnolia is non-corruptible! Besides, despite how small and sickly sweet she may be, this little Holy Mage can fend for herself.
Daron nudged me, handing me a small sheaf of papers. It was the test. I took them from him gently, and he gave me a sarcastic grin – he threw those around frequently, as if he had too many of them to use in one lifetime..
“Are you going to take it?” I whispered as softly as I could in the dead silence that the room had taken on as students started their tests.
Daron shook his head, “They make the best pillows.”
I tried not to laugh, in fear of making too much noise, “Do you ever plan to graduate?”
He opened his mouth like he was going to respond, but instead our attention turned to a book that was hovering nonchalantly over Daron’s head. Someone was casting a spell, as books did not just hover for no reason. Then, without warning, it was overtaken by gravity, and fell with its pages flapping in the wind until it collided with the top of his head. “Ow!” He cried, rubbing the top of his cranium as the book landed in his lap. We looked to the front of the classroom, where Mr. Louis was standing, arms folded.
“Are you quite done, Daron?” He asked, “There are some students who want to learn.”
Daron just flashed him the “okay” gesture, with thumb and forefinger clasped together, and put his head on his desk.
I closed my books and set them aside, taking a pen and filling out my own test. It was fairly simple, as far as tests go, but for all my studying I felt like there were too many questions that I didn’t know the answer to.
I felt another nudge, this one on my thigh. I glanced furtively, afraid of getting Daron in more trouble, and saw he was extending a plastic-wrapped parcel of what looked like two bagels and some cream cheese.
“From Marion,” he mouthed to me.
I took them with a grateful smile, and slipped them into one of my robe pockets.
When I’d finished my test I walked to the front of the room to turn it in. Mr. Louis gave me his ghostly smile, and I tried to return one but the way my stomach turned probably made it look more like a grimace. I certainly hoped that either I would become accustomed to being around the Undead, or he would forgive me for being so quietly terrified.
It wasn’t long after that class was dismissed. Daron woke with the bell, as he always did. We gathered our things and headed for the door. I asked how he slept.
He stretched dramatically, satchel hanging easily at his side, and eyed me sideways, “Like a baby without any coffee.”
I chuckled, “Have you ever thought about breaking that habit?”
He shrugged, “Can’t say I haven’t tried, but it never worked out.”
His blue mohawk swayed gently with each step, even though it was hard for me to see given how much taller than me he was. Daron really did stick out in a crowd, but maybe that was why I enjoyed talking to him between classes. I’d never been spectacular in the face of normalcy, and these new friends I was making were certainly out of the ordinary. I had been worried about being part of a different crowd here, but it wasn’t like I’d fit in so well on Earth either. Maybe I was an outcast, too.
“Besides,” Daron said, catching eyes with a girl in the hall, “When my dealer is so close, it’s almost impossible.”
The coffee as drugs jokes were rampant in his life, I wondered if Daron ever got tired of hearing them. But, with his boundless sense of humor, I doubted it.
The girl he had spied in the hallway was Magnolia, his girlfriend I remembered from the cafeteria. Her short white hair covered most of her face, as if she were trying to hide from judgmental eyes. In her hands, she clutched a white Styrofoam coffee mug close to her chest, steam curling through the opening in the black plastic lid.
She wore a grey ascot like Marion’s, and beneath the scarf was a tan jacket and pastel pink v-neck shirt, with white skinny pants and knee-high tan boots.
And while she was normally the type to stare at her shoes with an almost sullen expression, as soon as she laid eyes on Daron she lit up like the fourth of July. He approached her, and I followed suit, keeping my distance.
She didn’t say anything, just handed him the cup. Daron gave her a cheesy grin and took a long sip of the mug. Instantly, he seemed revitalized. He looked at her with new vigor and scooped her up with his free arm. She let out a little squeaking sound, as he proceeded to swirl her around like they were characters in a romantic movie.
“Hey, baby,” he schmoozed, rubbing noses with her after both feet were back on the ground.
“How’s your coffee?” She asked in a timid voice. She reminded me of Lucy, back on Earth. Perhaps even more timid. “I put a little sugar in it, was it too much?”
“Perfect as always,” he said, “You spoil me.”
“Oh, good,” it was almost a strain to even hear her, “Hi, Bella” She waved meekly at me, her tiny voice like a mouse-squeak. The longer I was around her, the more comfortable she seemed to be getting with me. But she was really bashful, so I didn’t take it personally.
“What’s up?” I waved back.
“Oh, did you want coffee, too?” Magnolia seemed petrified by the possibility of having forgotten someone’s item.
I laughed and shook my head and hands, palms facing forward. “No, no, I don’t like the stuff.”
“Blasphemy!” Daron belted, raising his cup higher. A bit of the brown liquid sloshed onto his wrist and he winced, but tried to grin through it despite the steam that rolled off it.
Wordlessly, Magnolia snatched his hand from the air and pulled it to her level. She brushed the liquid away and kissed the pink skin. It was adorable.
Daron sighed, then kissed Magnolia’s forehead. “Thank you,” he turned back to me. “You should talk to Marion, we should all hang out sometime. I know this great place in the Untamed Wilds. Of course, you have to get there by dragon.”
These two Mages are part of the delightful gang you’ll meet in Spellbound, and some of the easiest to fall in love with. I know I certainly have, and that’s why I can’t wait for you to meet them, too!