TS20: Past Focus
After lunch, in his last class of the day, Jove knelt on a meditation matt, in a pose he believed was called seiza. His hands were on his knees and his eyes were closed. He tried to keep his breathing calm, and ignore the unusual position. Minutes into the exercise, his mind started to think back. It had been a good day.
He thought of his first class, and the rush of strength that helped him state what he was. Aden had used magic for emotional support, and Jove had managed to repeat the technique. Jove had even managed to repay Aden during Southâ€™s class.
Apparently, whatever magic technique Aden used to gain emotional strength could also be used for physical endurance, and Aden was so used to using it when he was nervous that he set off Southâ€™s wards four times in the first lap around the gym. The fourth time, Jove told Aden he wanted to try something to help him, and Aden didnâ€™t set off the wards for the rest of the class. Jove hoped that was because Adenâ€™s magic was suppressed and not because Jove made him undetectable to the wards, but it was the first class, so things should work out.
MGC 120: Meditative Focus was the one magic class he could take without finishing 096. Introspection was apparently the first step in making sure your magic doesnâ€™t activate by accident. At least thatâ€™s what Mr.- Archanist Erickson had said. The muscular tiger had started class with a roar, which caused most of the new students to jump. Erickson had explained how controlled rage was more potent than uncontrolled rage, thus controlled magic was more powerful. Mark had not-so-graciously volunteered to test that theory. Erickson managed to get Mark to be unable to speak with just a glance. Somehow, Jove even knew there was no magic involved. He felt a little bad for the stoat, even if Mark was a jerk.
Just before class, he was happy to see that his roommate Tan was in the same section, although since it was a meditation class, they wouldnâ€™t be able to talk. Jove had mentioned helping Aden, and Tan said he had an idea to try, but it would have to wait.
Jove thought back to his grimoire. Null Aura. It knew what spells he had active, so could it detect what spells he had used? Could it tell what he had done with Aden? That was a good thought, and Jove guessed Tan had the same idea earlier.
If being a null was a spell, how had he used it before? Joveâ€™s subconscious drifted back to when Julius had tried to use Lava Eruption. It was the word, â€œStop.â€ When Jove helped Aden he said, â€œNot now.â€ When Dion tried to breathe fire on his mother, he said â€œYou canâ€™t.â€ The words had just come out on their own. Perhaps they were needed. Although, in the struggle there was the first time.
The images solidified: Dion exhaled, and the jet of fire struck Jove. Jove watched, detached in time, as his clothes smoldered, but his fur was unharmed. The fire breath wasnâ€™t stopped, per se. It just hasnâ€™t burned him. Jove had flinched, but didnâ€™t put his arms in front of himself. He had kind of made claws with his hands and tried to grab the flame, like he was guiding the jet into himself. He didnâ€™t stop the fire, as Dion had claimed.
The flashback continued. Jove winced at the memory of being knocked into the barbeque. The hot embers from the burned letter feeling like cold ash on his skin. Jove willed the scene to pause. He walked around the image, the metal cut him, the stone he fell on bruised him, but the embers, they didnâ€™t burn. At the time he was too in shock to notice, but unless the burning paper was magic, he couldnâ€™t have suppressed it. Even if the paper was magic, the light brush he used to build the initial fire wasnâ€™t. He made himself immune to fire. He had used Dionâ€™s magic somehow.
â€œJove,â€ someone said. Jove was aware of it, but it came from outside this place. He gasped, he must have fallen asleep in class.
Joveâ€™s eyes shot open, to be greeted by a giant catlike grin. The great cat was on all fours like an ancient, and almost four feet at itâ€™s shoulder. The smile was almost twice the size of Joveâ€™s head, framed by a tan lion-like face, without the mane and with two giant dagger-like teeth hanging down. Jove startled, scrambling out of his meditation pose with both of his legs asleep and unable to support his weight.
â€œProfessor!â€ Jove squealed, â€œDonâ€™t do that!â€ Which lead to an outbreak of laughter from the other students.
The cat sat down with a frown, still towering over Jove. â€œHow did you know?â€ He laughed, â€œIâ€™m sorry, I do this to anyone who falls asleep in my class on the first day.â€ The voice was distinctly Archanist Ericksonâ€™s, only a bit deeper. â€œIf you had the presence to notice my change to mythic form, I suppose you werenâ€™t asleep.â€
The truth was, Jove hadnâ€™t noticed him change. He just knew the tiger and this giant cat has the same magic. The other magic he knew how to do. â€œIt was a lucky guess,â€ Jove said. â€œYouâ€™re a saber-tooth tiger?â€
â€œYes,â€ Erickson purred, walking on all four of his legs to the front of the room. â€œSome mythic forms are forgotten evolutions, like dinosaurs. We actually found them first, and engineered their rediscovery in otherworld.â€
That sounded odd to Jove, â€œBut, what about the Oath of Habitat?â€
â€œIt was discussed, and determined that discovering the past was more important.â€ Erickson shrugged, â€œIf I remember correctly, the argument was that showing your world the real past wasnâ€™t interfering, and it wasnâ€™t about magic, so it was okay. Still, it started in 1815, and they had already found some dinosaur bones. We just helped them out a bit.â€ He looked at the ground, â€œScrying into the past takes more energy the farther back you go. Without Otherworldâ€™s science, thereâ€™s a lot about dinosaurs and megafauna we wouldnâ€™t know.â€
He stretched, a slow deliberate motion that worked each muscle one at a time, â€œAnyhow, thatâ€™s all we have time for today. Remember, your magic comes from you. Introspection is one of the best ways to understand the basics of your abilities.â€
The feeling was finally returning to his legs. Chris walked over and silently helped Jove to his feet. Jove blushed, â€œThank you.â€
Tan also approached, â€œWere you sleeping Jove?â€
Jove shook his head, â€œNo. I saw the past. When Dion breathed fire at me, I didnâ€™t stop his flame. I made myself immune to fire.â€
â€œI think thatâ€™s a Hunting and Guardian combination power. Instead of manifesting higher physical stats, you reduce all further damage dealt by an element.â€ He paused, â€œIâ€™m sure itâ€™s just a coincidence.â€<< TS19: No Magic || TS21: Dissonant Echo >>