Writing 2014-02-12



Coldwillow sips her coffee, letting Larrikan get used to the idea that she really wants to hear what he has to say.  She’s used to shy undergraduates, even if they aren’t Shy Folk.

Larrikan takes a moment to find words, and gives up on finding a perfect, clever way to say this and finally says, “I want to be a wizard, ma’am.”

Coldwillow can tell he means this by the intensity of the words, and the struggle to get them out, even by the fact that he came at all.  She asks simply, curiously, “Why?”

Larrikan expected the same kind of rejection, the denials, the claim that he was being ridiculous, the statements that he doesn’t know what he is talking about.  The apparent belief in his ability to know what he wants amazes him.  He knows why, and none of the Shy Folk would listen.  He explains the joy of working the fox magics, the feeling of working that power, the desire to understand how it all fits together, and how he fears being incomplete and unfulfilled if he does not learn more.  He speaks intently and passionately, his months long desire to have someone listen, to believe him, carrying him along for much longer than he expected.  He concludes, “I would do anything to learn more.”

The visen who led Larrikan here looks shocked at this intensity.  Coldwillow, however, does not.  She is smiling, a little, almost secret smile.  When Larrikan finishes she says, “If you have the talent to work magic, and are willing to stay here to learn it, we can teach you.”  She finishes her coffee, sets the mug down, and says, “Neither of those tow things are certain, but we can find the answer to one of them right now.  The other will take nearly ten years of study.  If you think you can do that, we will test you for magic ability right here.”

The vixen looks frightened and says, “Ten years?”  She looks at Larrikan and asks, “That’s a really long time.  How could you stay here that long?”  She sounds horrified, as if it is almost a perverted idea.

Larrikan nods at her, and replies, “I know it is a long time.”  He shocks the vixen by adding, “It’s worth it.”  Looking at Coldwillow again, Larrikan replies, “I would do anything, even that.”

Coldwillow stands, and says, “Come over here and let me test to see if you have magical skill.  Without that we can’t do much.”  She moves off the blanket, to stand in the center of the clearing, on the ground.

Larrikan stands, moving towards Coldwillow, but the vixen darts in and grabs him, clinging to him and demanding, “What are you going to do to him?”

Coldwillow looks surprised, and says, “I’m just going to cast a simple spell on him.”

“No!” shrieks the vixen, “You can’t!”  She tugs at Larrikan, and implores him, “Please, Lar, don’t!  Come!  Let’s get out of here!”

Larrikan gently unhooks the vixen’s claws from his shirt and says to her, “I have to know.  It’s okay.”

Coldwillow says, “It is a very simple thing.  It won’t hurt him.”

That is too much for the young vixen, who cries, “No!” and runs off into the forest.

Ragna, who was too slow to reassure the frightened vixen asks Larrikan, “Are all Shy Folk this afraid of magic?”

“Yes,” Larrikan answers.  He looks at Coldwillow and says, “I’m ready.”

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