The elder chewed slowly, but grinned broadly.

“White stone fine, wizards can jump again,” it sounded like the elder said.

“That’s our permission to leave?” I asked.


“But, let’s wait until after we have some of that meat!”

“A wise decision,” Mhorik said, and we waited for bowls to be passed to us.

We ate heartily from the roasted meat and then slept soundly by the fire of the other tribe that night. Mhorik and I sat out early in the morning before most of the tribe was awake to avoid any other sudden requests from the elder.

By midday we were within sight of the restless deep, almost back on our original path. Something about the sea invigorated us, and we kept up a faster pace than we had the previous days of our trip. Things were going well over the next few days… until we met a far river flowing into the sea; the stone bridge had been washed away by the rushing torrent of the river.

Mhorik wiped the mosture off his beard in damp aura of the overflowing river and fell into a sour mood. “We’ll have to hike up the river to find a place to ford across.”

That night, as we made camp, I felt bold and tried to stir up some discussion to take Mhorik’s mind off the detour. “What was it like when you first touched magic?”

Mhorik looked away from the small fire he had been building up with magic. “Huh? Why do you ask?”

“I was thinking about when Moonwind asked about you taking me as an apprentice. It sounds like most apprentices are detected before they do something… something like I did.”

Mhorik frowned and look back at the fire. “I don’t know if that’s the case.”

“Did your master find your power before you tried to control magic?”

“Not exactly. As has been said, males usually don’t control magic that often. The first few times I tried, our Wizard told me to stop, almost scolding me. It was only after none of the females showed any ability that she agreed to help me harness my ability.”

“So you didn’t lose control like I did?”

“Dorua, you shouldn’t focus so much on that one event. I know you remember the horror of what happened, but you learned the most important lesson about magic that night: it is not a thing that is easily controlled. It is chaotic.”


Mhorik didn’t let me interrupt. “Some wizards never learn this lesson, and they don’t just hurt others, they destroy themselves.”

I sat in silence for a while, the words hanging over us. Mhorik finally broke the quiet, “There is no ‘normal’ way for people to discover their control of magic. We just do and we hope for the best.”

I murmured something in agreement and turned in for the night.

We continued on for the next few days. Mhorik resumed the magic lessons and I eagerly learned what I could. The lessons meant a lot more to me as I could practice them freely and try out new things.

We settled down one night, resting a moment to catch our breath before setting up camp a little earlier than usual, when out of nowhere Mhorik said, “I hated magic when I first learned of it.”

“What?” I said, surprised by this admission.

“I hated it. It made me different than all the other children. I didn’t want to be different.”

I sat, barely even breathing, not knowing what to say.

“But, I accepted it. I learned the lessons and I can shape magic. That is what my early experience was like.”

“Oh,” I said, realizing how stupid it sounded only after I uttered the word. After what seemed to be an eternity of silence, I dropped off my equipment and went to gather some wood for the night’s fire.

I brought back the kindling and pieces of wood. As I tried to gather the magic to light the fire, nothing happened. Frustrated, I reached out to the surrounding area and found no magic around.

“Mhorik. There’s no magic here.”

Mhorik looked around tried to reach out himself, and his face showed the truth. “I didn’t think we were that close to the sacred place of the forest. Be on your very best behavior.”

It was then I noticed the two figures who had joined us.

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