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TS03: Parental Review

“I don’t believe you,” Mr. Astrom declared. “I won’t have my son study something that’s not real when he could make something of his life.” The middle aged red fox was trying very hard not to yell at the weird snake who claimed to be from a magic college.

Raphael, the snake, sighed, “Please, let me show you it’s real.”

The fox glared at the snake, “What? You don’t have some kind of promise or drawback that prevents you from showing the uninitiated? Or is this going to be some kind of cheap parlor trick?”

“Sir, I am Magus Raphael Azarias. Your doubt makes it more difficult, but I am a magus.” He glanced over at Jove and his mother, then closed his eyes and got still. He whispered, “No matter your belief, I exist.” His dark green scales lightened to a brilliant reflective emerald. “I am air, couatl, the rainbow serpent.” His robe shifted slightly, still hanging over his two arms, as two wings unfolded from underneath. The wings were feathered, colored as a rainbow with red at the top through all the colors to purple at the bottom. His face changed slightly, his yellow eyes losing their lids and gaining a covering of clear scales. His legs merged into a single thick tail that coiled lazily on the ground. He looked, unblinking, at Jove’s father. “This is my mythic form. The one I’ve used for most of my life.”

Jove’s father stared. He managed to mumble, “That’s… That’s impressive.”

Raphael settled down on a nearby chair. “It takes a little energy to keep this form in this world. If it makes you uncomfortable, I can change back.”

Mr. Astrom sat down, “I’m not afraid.”

“I know,” Raphael said. “So, as I said, this offer is quite real.”

Jove’s mother asked, “What would he study? Is there a placement test?”

Raphael nodded, “Yes. I brought it, if you’d like to see.” He gestured towards the nearby coffee table and whispered, “Backpack retrieve thaumascan.” The air above the table wavered, and a small rectangular box came into focus.

He picked it up and opened the box. He took out an engraved silver tray and a vial of water, and placed them on the table. Then he pulled out a square card, black on one side, white on the other. “We normally do these tests in private, as what they reveal can be embarrassing. What you get is a five line description of your magic abilities. They’ll be colored to indicate what elements you have affinity with. Generally, the last line gives your strongest affinity. In some cases, the lines will be black, indicating you do not have your full potential for magic. That depends on a number of factors. Given what happened earlier and if everyone agrees, we can do it now.”

“I want to be sure it’s safe,” Mr. Astrom said. “Can they test multiple people?”

“No, but I have more than one with me.” Raphael smiled, “Would you like to go first? It takes a drop of blood.” He offered a small disposable blue plastic lancet.

Mr. Astrom took the pin. “Isn’t this for diabetes?”

Raphael opened the vial of water and poured it into the silver tray. “Yeah, my non-mythic form has trouble with blood sugar. This form doesn’t.” He took the card and carefully let a single corner touch the water’s surface. He held the card so the opposite point was strait up. “Just dab a drop of blood on the corner, the magic is already in the tray. Take your time, the magically distilled water is good for a few minutes.”

Jove’s father pricked his finger, and tentatively dabbed a drop on the card. Immediately, the card started to spin, flipping between black and white. Finally, it flopped, black side up into the tray. As it floated, words appeared.

You are a proud man.
Solid and grounded in what’s real,
You consider the consequences,
Yet hope was lost to time.
When ready, magic blooms in Earth.

Raphael gasped, “I’m sorry.” He took another breath. “I mean, there are four colored lines. The three green ones indicate an affinity for earth, and the yellow one is for air. The white one means that your life has taken a turn away from magic. Probably because of your career. Actually… Four lines of color is remarkable for someone who’s middle aged. Most people would only have one or two.” He picked up the card and offered it to Mr. Astrom.

Jove’s father took it, and looked at the writing, then the blank white side. “Why is the writing on the black side?”

“There are two magic facings. Venator and praeda. Generally, venator are good at aggressive magics, and praeda are good at defensive magics.” The snake ruffled his wings slightly, “If you were to learn magic, you’d be classified as an earth venator. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t learn other magics, just that earth magics would be easiest for you, followed by air, then fire and water.”

“And the wording? ‘Lost to time’ is an unusual phrase.” He looked at the snake, “Are there meanings for specific phrases?”

Raphael shook his head. “I could guess what the words mean, but ultimately they are your words. If they remind you of something, you should look there for answers.” He smiled warmly, and retrieved two more testing kits. “You should keep the card. Most find the words a source of strength.” Quickly he set up another test. “Ms. Astrom, would you like to go next?”

She blushed, “I couldn’t…”

“Of course you can,” Jove said. “Mom, I’d like to see what you get. Didn’t you like reading Dad’s?”

“If you’re sure.” She said, taking another disposable lancet from Raphael, and dabbing a drop on the corner. The card spun and landed white side up in the water.

You give and protect,
defend when it’s needed,
Your family is your life,
You promote them, not yourself.
Mother, Wife, Water bearer.

Raphael smiled, “That’s interesting. Between the two of you, you give Jove a connection to all four elements and both facings. In addition, water bearer is a reference to the zodiac sign of aquarius. Sometimes, such references imply a hidden potential.” He offered the card to her, “I hope it wasn’t too embarrassing.”

She quietly shook her head. “No, it’s okay.” She managed a weak smile.

“Well, I think it’s time for Jove’s test. If you’re ready.” Raphael set up the third test.

“I’ve been waiting for this my while life,” Jove replied. It did take the young fox two tries before he could draw enough blood from his finger. The pain was not what he expected, but he managed to get a drop of blood welled up on his finger, and onto the corner of the test card.

The card spun, faster and faster. Suddenly a tearing sound came as the card ripped into stips then reformed. It flopped onto the water, two black stripes showing against the white face.

Silly fox,
You are beyond
our ability to sort.
you are the Void.

The four of them looked at the result. Jove’s father asked, “What does that mean?”

Raphael took a slow breath, holding it and letting it out over several seconds. “I’m not sure.”

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