A Blast from the Past: Rhodea Wissallis, our Master's First Friend
Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2024 is treating you well, as it is me. I'm busier than ever with a new routine and new goals, one of which is to return to more regular blog posts. I think the key is writing ahead on the weekends. For the first blog post of 2024, I thought it might be appropriate to introduce a character from a story in volume two aptly named Happy New Year.
This is actually the titan, 160-page story that has kept my editor and I so busy. It's unlike any story I've written before, not just in length but because it takes place (primarily) in the past. And our narrator is the one and only Wisteria Amberfinch. This story tackles a lot. Not only do you see Wis as a student herself, and the pressures associated with being a prodigy, but you learn about the people and events that influenced her into becoming the renowned apothecary she is in present day. And no one is more influential than her first real friend, Rhodea Wissallis.
An AI Generated rendering of Rhodea, isn't she cute? See the pointed ears? She's not actually an elf, but a dryad.
The New Student
From the corner of my eye, I noticed my new potions partner peering at me. It felt like her gaze was boring right through me.
“Y-Yes?” I adjusted my glasses uncomfortably and looked over at her.
“Hello!” She grinned enthusiastically. “My name is Rhodea.”
“I heard.” I smiled politely and returned to mashing my steamed moonbeans.
“You are Wisteria?”
“Just call me Wis.”
“Wis.” Rhodea giggled like I had just told a joke.
“Sorry, I’m not laughing at your name.” Rhodea pierced me with her gaze again. “Wis just sounds like my last name, Wissallis.”
“Ha. I see.” I let out a small laugh only to be polite.
“Perhaps we’re meant to be best of friends. I can just tell.”
Kind of a weak standard for friendship…
I didn’t reply and instead pointed to a thistle of white and yellow flowers to her left, “Can you pass me the feverfew?”
“What is this?” Rhodea asked, looking into the cauldron.
“An antidote for cockatrice venom.” I held out my hand impatiently for the flowers.
“Oh.” Rhodea furled her brow. “Feverfew is no good.”
“What are you talking about? The recipe calls for it right here.” I thrust the grimoire into her hands.
Rhodea ignored me and raised her hand to catch the teacher’s attention.
“Yes, Ms. Wissallis?”
“Where is the bee sage kept?”
Sage Marais seemed visibly confused by the question. “In the storeroom behind you, but you shouldn’t be needing—”
Without waiting for permission, Rhodea disappeared from my side and into the storeroom adjoined to the lecture hall. She returned moments later with a thistle of bee sage and proudly handed me the herbs.
“I’m not using this.” I rolled my eyes and reached for the feverfew myself.
Rhodea placed her hand on top of mine to stop me. “Feverfew is okay. But bee sage is better.”
“You’re wrong.” I insisted, shaking my head.
Rhodea groaned and began flipping through the grimoire. She searched several moments before finding what she was looking for.
“Here.” She smiled in self-satisfaction. She pointed to the botanical entry of bee sage, highlighting a line with her finger.
“… this herb contains the toxic compound thujone, which can be broken down by certain venoms. In some antidotes, this allows the sage to be used in quantities that make it a suitable anti-inflammatory for preventing swelling and risk of infection.”
I looked up at a loss for words. Not to sound conceited, but… how could this new girl know something I didn’t?
Name: Rhodea Wissallis
Age: 13-16 (flashback age)
Birthday: Juinette 18, Constellation of the Flame
Hometown: Monemia (Kingdom of Huriel)
Bio: Rhodea is a dryad from the swamp Kingdom of Huriel. She was sent away to Aramore to study magic at the Circle of the Lilac Grove when tensions in her own kingdom began to boil. This is where she met Wisteria. Rhodea has a deep love for potions and believes magic exists to help others.
Likes: Pixie Bed flowers, potions, making friends, anything made with mushrooms, climbing trees
"If something like magic exists, it should be used to help people."
Recognize that phrase? It's a belief Isabel holds close to her heart, which she heard once from her teacher. Well, who do you think Wis heard it from? I'm so, so, so excited for you to read this story. It felt like it took me forever to write because there was just so much I wanted to say - and say right. Without getting into any spoilers, this story was therapeutic for many reasons.
As for why Rhodea, who was so pivotal in Wis' past, hasn't been mentioned or seen before now... well, you'll have to read to find out. But I guarantee you'll fall in love with this character who always has a smile on her face.
Happy New Year and the entire second volume is just around the corner. Please be patient for a little longer. I promise it will all be worth the wait!
As always, thanks for reading. Until next time!!