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TS32: Another Impression

Friday’s classes were not cancelled, and Jove headed to Magister Hypatia’s class as if Wednesday did not occur. Aden greeted him on the way, “Morning. Are you sure you’re up for class?”

“I didn’t finish the reading, but I don’t want to fall behind.”

The rabbit added, “I take it you didn’t make it that far into Aeon?”

“Just the first chapter. I passed out shortly after everyone left.” Jove blushed, “I am not sure how much I can identify with a thirty year old corporate wage-slave. And I never really had a best friend.”

Aden shrugged, “You seem to be making friends now. And you have Chris.”

Jove blushed and looked back at the wolf following him. “I suppose. Chris, do you read Aeon?”

“My father forbade it.” The wolf answered, “I found ways.”

“Why is it so popular? The writing is decent, but it doesn’t seem all that special.”

Aden said, “It spoke to my magic.”

“Your magic?”

“Erickson went over that in class on Wednesday.” Aden said, “Your magic is like an external subconscious. Each person’s magic is unique and has its own desires. Normally, it’s the same as what the mage wants, but not always. It can overwhelm you if you aren’t careful.”

“That’s definitely what happened to me.” Jove paused then added, “Wait, Erickson held class?”

“Yeah, but he completely changed what he was going to do. He said it would be best to stop rumors before they started. So, he went over how people could lose control of their magic, and we spent most of the class trying to listen to our magic.”

“That’s interesting. I’ll have to make sure I catch up.” He shook his head, “I still can’t believe they held class.”

The three friends arrived at the classroom and entered. Mark was already there, trying to pull himself into a corner of the room. The others were in a circle. Hypatia followed shortly after.

“Today I’d like to start by letting Mark introduce himself.” She gestured for Mark to join the group. “I know it’s hard, but I want everyone to give him a fresh start. He’s had a rough week.”

The stoat slowly walked over to the circle. His head bowed he slowly spoke. “Hello. I’m Mark. Air Venator.” He took a breath and looked up, ears hung low. “I burst a few months ago while in a foster home. I’m sorry I caused so much trouble.” He bowed his head again, fighting back tears. “I remember most of last week, but the details are weak.” He sat down. “I’m sorry.”

Mug gave him a firm slap on the back, knocking him half out of his chair. She declared, “Hey, it’s alright. No one is proud of everything they’ve done. You’ll be fine.”

Hypatia coughed. “Yes, normally on the first Friday of class we have a discussion of expectations and what was different your first week. I hesitate to ask, but we probably have different responses than normal.” She shrugged, “So, who wants to go first?”

Jove felt eyes on him. He thought about what he wanted to say, his first week was nothing like he expected.

Chris spoke up first, “I didn’t expect anyone to be able to dissolve geas. I was told that was impossible.” He smiled at Jove.

Hypatia nodded, “That’s something. I do have to point out that what happened with Jove is a little beyond what normally happens. Although, student’s do occasionally lose control of their magic. Typically that results in a giant fireball or an ice mage freezing another student solid. It’s one of the reasons the whole campus has safeguards against magical injury.”

“Speaking of that,” Jove said, “How come nothing disrupts classes here?”

“That’s something I’ve heard before.” Hypatia ruffled her wings slightly. “Being a mage is dangerous. While we have enough safeguards that the last death on campus happened over a century ago, injuries happen. Even what happened to Mark’s hand isn’t all that unusual. As mages, you’ll be able to hit hard, and with mystic force.” She shrugged, “Not all conflicts are with other mages, there’s the fay, dealing with the normal residents of Atlantis, or even dealing with your old world. Mages from otherworld tend towards positions where they can keep residents safe. That’s why I’m teaching this class.”

Mark shivered and whimpered, “Do Vorax attack every week?”

“The Vorax, that was different. I think this week was the first time that’s happened since I’ve been here.” Hypatia shivered, “Vorax attacks are rare, usually they just target mages on the verge of becoming Animus.”

Duane pulled his feet onto his chair and asked, “Wouldn’t it make sense to attack weak mages?”

Hypatia shook her head. “This is just a rumor, but I heard that a Vorax needs to consume strong mages. Plus, untrained does not mean weak. A mage gripped with terror and about to die can call upon magic almost as strong as an Animus.”

The crow shook his head, “I don’t understand.”

“You’ve probably heard the term outburst already.” Hypatia explained, “That’s when a mage panics and his magic lashes out in desperation. While the strength of the magic used can easily match that of a trained Magus, there is little control.” She looked at Jove, almost asking permission to continue. When he did not object, she went on, “When Jove outburst on Wednesday, his magic didn’t know friend from foe. He could have ended up injuring South or one of you. His use of magic was primal and simple. A more complex spell or a subtle one was impossible. In addition, it exhausted him and left him unconscious for a full day.”

Hypatia took a breath and paused, letting things sink in. “Raw power is useful, but what you will learn is skill and endurance. A sudden burst of magic is useful, but being able to use magic reliably and in a sustained manner is more important. What Jove did on Wednesday was scary and impressive. In a few years, he’ll be able to do that reliably, when he wants, and not be drained afterwards. That’s the kind of power that the Vorax are looking for.”

There was a long pause.

“That’s not what I meant Jove.”

Yet, he knew it was true.

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