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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 South’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 South’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 didn’t set off the wards for the rest of the class. Jove hoped that was because Aden’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 doesn’t activate by accident. At least that’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 wouldn’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? Jove’s subconscious drifted back to when Julius had tried to use Lava Eruption. It was the word, “Stop.” When Jove helped Aden he said, “Not now.” When Dion tried to breathe fire on his mother, he said “You can’t.” 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 wasn’t stopped, per se. It just hasn’t burned him. Jove had flinched, but didn’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 didn’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 didn’t burn. At the time he was too in shock to notice, but unless the burning paper was magic, he couldn’t have suppressed it. Even if the paper was magic, the light brush he used to build the initial fire wasn’t. He made himself immune to fire. He had used Dion’s magic somehow.

“Jove,” someone said. Jove was aware of it, but it came from outside this place. He gasped, he must have fallen asleep in class.

Jove’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 it’s shoulder. The smile was almost twice the size of Jove’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.

“Professor!” Jove squealed, “Don’t do that!” Which lead to an outbreak of laughter from the other students.

The cat sat down with a frown, still towering over Jove. “How did you know?” He laughed, “I’m sorry, I do this to anyone who falls asleep in my class on the first day.” The voice was distinctly Archanist Erickson’s, only a bit deeper. “If you had the presence to notice my change to mythic form, I suppose you weren’t asleep.”

The truth was, Jove hadn’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. “It was a lucky guess,” Jove said. “You’re a saber-tooth tiger?”

“Yes,” Erickson purred, walking on all four of his legs to the front of the room. “Some mythic forms are forgotten evolutions, like dinosaurs. We actually found them first, and engineered their rediscovery in otherworld.”

That sounded odd to Jove, “But, what about the Oath of Habitat?”

“It was discussed, and determined that discovering the past was more important.” Erickson shrugged, “If I remember correctly, the argument was that showing your world the real past wasn’t interfering, and it wasn’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.” He looked at the ground, “Scrying into the past takes more energy the farther back you go. Without Otherworld’s science, there’s a lot about dinosaurs and megafauna we wouldn’t know.”

He stretched, a slow deliberate motion that worked each muscle one at a time, “Anyhow, that’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.”

The feeling was finally returning to his legs. Chris walked over and silently helped Jove to his feet. Jove blushed, “Thank you.”

Tan also approached, “Were you sleeping Jove?”

Jove shook his head, “No. I saw the past. When Dion breathed fire at me, I didn’t stop his flame. I made myself immune to fire.”

“I think that’s a Hunting and Guardian combination power. Instead of manifesting higher physical stats, you reduce all further damage dealt by an element.” He paused, “I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.”

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