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TS36: Magic Questions

Something about how Arcanist Erickson’s class was structured made Jove think that this would consistently feel like the longest class of the semester. Jove sat on his feet again, with his knees together in front of him. Erickson had talked about using meditation to open up a conversation with your own magic. Jove had lots of questions.

The fact this class was shortly after Merlin’s threat didn’t help. Jove also worried about what he did to Chris or South or any of his friends. If they were really his friends and not manipulated. Still, his magic would have the answer. Jove wondered if his magic was like anyone else’s. Maybe it would be reflective of his lack of element.

“You overanalyze things.”

Jove was fairly certain he had not opened his eyes, yet the room slowly returned to his perceptions. He sighed. This was probably a dream, and Erickson would be annoyed he fell asleep in class again.

“Erickson uses a spell to help his magic communicate. We’re just borrowing it for now.” The voice was his. Not the internal one that filled his head when he spoke, but the external one that happened when he heard a recording of his own voice. Something brushed his hand, “Come on.” Jove looked at his magic. He had seen these forms in art on the internet, something called non-morphic. It had the face and head of a red fox with a long tail. It had legs where its arms should be, and it stood or crouched on all four legs.

Jove tried not to be distracted. “We can borrow spells?”

“Apparently.” The fox sniffed along the ground. “I don’t know more than you do, but I’m better at saying it. At least, like this I am.”

Jove looked at his hands. “Is that what happened with Dion?”

“You already know the answer to that, silly fox.” Jove’s magic started to follow a scent. “Try a harder one.”

Jove followed after his magic. “Am I Venator or Praeda?”

“I don’t know.” The fox paused and turned back to Jove. “When I borrow a Praeda spell, I am Praeda. When I borrow from Venator, I am Venator. When no one else is around, I just listen. I don’t think we’ve used magic when no one is around.” It continued following the scent, exiting a nearby window, and walking up into the air.

Tentatively, Jove attempted to follow. He found the air solid under his feet. “What are you looking for?”

“You’re looking for it. Remember, I’m part of you.”

“But, I’m looking for you.”

“I disappoint you.” The fox kept walking, new corridors coming into focus around him. Stairs similar to the Escher-esque warren appeared underneath them. “I will find a way not to.”

“Wait, please. I was confused when I first learned what you could do. Shutting down magic, everyone calling me a null. Then the revoker business.” Jove sighed, “Come back. I want to listen to you.”

“Is that what you really want?” The fox spun around, and nipped at Jove. “You want me to be like everyone else’s magic. So, I am. You want to stop them. So, I do. You want them to feel strong around you. I do that too. I’ve done all you asked, and now you want to listen to what I want?”

“I-” Jove shivered. “I’m sorry. I should accept you for what you are.”

“I do like being everything.” The fox smiled. “We should get used to what we know we can do. We have three places to start. That will keep us busy for a while.”

Jove nodded. “All right. Can I ask you about what you’ve done in the past?”

The fox nodded, “Ask as we walk. We’re almost there.”

“How do I tell you to negate spells?”

“I think your voice helps if you’re making them stop.” The fox moved with a new purpose, moving through the phantom Warrens quickly now. “Or you can gesture tearing the spell apart, which has the same end result.”

Jove started jogging to keep pace. “Could I make a spell stronger?”

“Probably, but be careful with that. Until we learn to control our magic, other mages may have trouble with boosted magic.”

“And borrowing magic?”

“That’s all gesturing. Although, if you also do what the other mage does, it makes things easier.” The fox broke out into a run. “That’s how we learn about other’s magic. A mage knows his own magic, we simply borrow that ability. It will take practice.”

Jove sped up, and realized he’d been running on all fours. “And controlling others? Do we have to learn that?”

“Yes.” The fox was running through stairs and doorways. Gravity shifted up then down then sideways. Yet, he kept moving towards his unknown destination. “You have to learn to control, even to avoid using it accidentally.”

“Have we done that to our friends?”

“Not nearly as much as you think.” The fox started passed through a final doorway and exited into the zen garden from the Abyss. “Talk to them, and trust yourself. I do only what you desire. Even if that desire is buried.”

Jove was confused. “But, how can I tell?”

His magic did not answer. “We’re here.” In the center of the garden, the old fox, Merlin was meditating, floating in the air. Jove’s magic yipped, “You’re not wanted here.” It growled a the invader who showed no reaction. “Jove, I cannot act without your direction. Order him to leave.”

Jove walked up to the image of Merlin. He examined the fox, “This is a representation of a a spell. It’s not him.” He concentrated, “What kind of spell is it?”

“A tracker.” Jove’s magic sniffed around the garden. “Merlin has been using it to keep track of your progress. Dion stuck it on you when you first burst. When I got a sense of Merlin’s magic, I was able to tell this didn’t belong.”

Jove ordered, “Find a spell to remove him.”

Jove’s magic faded, and Jove felt a heavy hilt in his hand. He smiled. “This spell is from my friend Chris. This is his knife.” He laughed as the blade manifested. “Your caster called it a sword, I’m surprised he was so ignorant. A sword is an instrument of war. Do you know what a knife is?”

The blade cut easily, aimed not at the spell itself, but at the thread of power it still drew from Merlin. Without the magic to sustain it, the spell would fade. With no more need for the knife, that too faded, as did the understanding of what it could do.

The spell stood. It turned to Jove. “My caster is very powerful, but he has built that power by going against my wishes. Severed from him, even as a lowly spell, for this moment, he does not control this part of me. For what you have done, I will answer one question before I fade.”

Jove was stunned. He had so many things to ask, but only one question came out. “Merlin is like me, isn’t he?”

“The same element, yes.”

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