Hopefully you are all enjoying this week of vignettes. I’m having a lot of fun writing them. Anyway, here is the next one.
As ever, enjoy!
The workshop was back to how it had been before her experiments with Trinket.
The small rug in the centre was covered by a sturdy table, parchment scattered over its surface. Chairs that had been moved into the hallway outside were once again crammed into the corners and shoved under the long tables against each wall.
While she had an organised mind and excelled at bringing order to the world through her actions, Allura’s private spaces always tended to end up as a chaotic mess. She smiled as she remembered the moment Kima had discovered that little secret. The halfling had spent five minutes laughing before affectionately teasing her about hypocrisy.
A knock at the door brought her out of her reverie.
“It’s unlocked.” She called. “Come in.”
Kaylie Shorthalt, draped in a voluminous cloak, pushed the door open and slipped inside.
“Wow. I thought my room was a mess…” She said, her eyes wide as she took in the disordered room.
“I know where everything is.” Allura answered dryly. Kaylie laughed, unclasping the cloak and looking for somewhere to put it that wouldn’t knock any teetering piles of books or equipment over. Allura sighed and muttered a short phrase under her breath, summoning a spectral hand to carry the cloak over to a hook on the wall.
“Sure, you do.” The little gnome teased, standing awkwardly in front of the door.
“Please. Sit.” Allura said, moving a pile of papers from a nearby chair. “How long do you have?”
“Not long. Dr. Dranzel will notice I’m missing in an hour or so.”
“It’s a good thing I can get you back there then.” Allura paused as a thought occurred to her. “Do I want to know how you got here?”
Kaylie looked down at her depleted pouch and mud-stained boots.
“Probably not, no. But when you offered to teach me magic, I had to say yes. To study under a member of the Arcana Pansophical…” An innocent, dreamy expression drifted over Kaylie’s face and Allura was reminded how young she really was. “That wasn’t a chance I could pass up.” The world-weary expression of practiced cynicism cloaked the young gnome’s face again. “What do you get out of this?”
“With all that has happened, students are few and far between. The preservation of knowledge is enough of a reward for me in these dark times.”
Kaylie gave her a piercing look, as if doubting her honesty. Allura gazed back at her, an expression of practiced neutrality on her face.
The silence stretched between them until it became uncomfortable for the garrulous gnome.
“Fine.” She said, sitting down at last.
“Before we get started,” Allura began, “you must understand something. Our ability to cast magic comes from the Weave. It saturates the world around us, a metaphysical material that empowers those who are sensitive to it and allows certain people to manipulate the very nature of things.” She stopped as Kaylie nodded impatiently.
“I know all of this already.”
Allura gave her a stern look.
“As I was saying. Our ability to cast magic comes from the same place but that is as far the similarity goes. I channel the Weave through words of power and prescribed gestures and components. To me, the act of spell-casting is something learned and practiced.
To people like you and your father, it is something instinctive. You enact your will upon the world through force of personality and will. Anyone can learn to be a wizard, it takes someone special to be a Bard.” She smiled and leaned backwards against the desk.
“So what will you teach me? How to throw fireballs? Summon lightning from the air?” Kaylie fell silent as she noticed Allura’s amusement. “What is it?”
“While you are, no doubt, capable of learning such things and wielding them to great effect, I was going to start with something easier and, in my experience, far more useful. I will teach to you see the workings of the Weave itself.
So, shall we begin?”