The Darkfordian Chronicles: Wind - Part Two
The Winds were not in her favor today. As a matter of fact, they weren't in anyone's favor; not in the deserts around Sakhmet, at least.
I've lived in the desert for seven years, and never have I experienced a storm like this, she thought. Perhaps it's because I'm so far from the city and winter is approaching...
After stringing together a few more lies, she finally admitted to herself: Or, I could be causing this.
This unbridled power was why she had to leave the city, why the occupants of the city had been so eager to see her off.
But still, there were mages and sorcerers and the like in Sakhmet; did they really feel her chances would be better with the Darkfordians than with the desert magic users, or had they simply felt it was best not to keep an untrained budding mage in their city? Particularly a mage who was not a native. Would the council's decision have been different if she had been born in the city? What if she had been born in the desert?
By this point the winds were so strong they could have swept her off of her feet, had they wanted to. Thankfully for Kaseem, they had no desire to do so.
Oh, enough of this negativity, she scolded herself. Any new mage is a danger; I imagine that discovering my abilities so late in life only increases that danger.
After all, a mage's power only increases with age. And without having learned the basics while her abilities were still young, learning to control more powerful abilities would be very difficult. She had to believe that was the reason for the Sakhmetian Council's decision to accept her resignation from the army but reject her application for the Mage's College.
When she had told Toby (whom she could no longer think of without a twinge of regret, she had trusted him and he had betrayed her) that she would be leaving, she had meant the army. Never had she imagined she would be leaving Sakhmet. For good.
Wind whipped against her frame, seemingly from every side.
No, not for good, she reassured herself, Just until I can get this... power under control. Just learn the basics in Darkford, a safe distance from my beloved city, and then return when my control is as developed as my ability.
That was how the Council had presented it to her.
"Simply returning to your ancestral home in the Woods could make all the difference in your training, Kaseem." Cognomen, a wizened Kacheek from the Mage's College had told her. "Ancient magics like your own are often more comfortable in the place where they have resided for several thousand years."
She had to admit that his logic made sense. If magic was really as sentient as he had implied, then of course she should concede to its wish and return to its home for her rudimentary teachings.
"At least for the first few years," he had continued, "you should try to come to terms with the essence inside of you. Then, perhaps, you can work together in coming up with a compromise that will allow you to return to Sakhmet."
"Perhaps...?" she had murmured, suddenly concerned.
"Perhaps," was his ambiguous answer.
After what Cognomen said, of course they would encourage me to leave, she reassured herself. They were just looking out for me, that's all.
The winds had calmed considerably, and Kaseem was glad to pick up her pace. She did not realize that they had been soothed by the calming of her own mind.
As she had been leaving the Council Room, attempting to hold her head high despite the fact she had just been told she must leave her beloved city, a light hand had fallen on her shoulder. It was Cognomen; he wished to speak to her. Privately.
At his insistence they returned to her chamber so they could talk while she prepared for her journey. He had been quiet at first, he assisted her packing and sorting. He didn't use the slightest bit of magic.
When she had asked him about his restraint, he had responded, smiling "Your first unofficial lesson and I assure you there will be many: Magic is not to be used for everything, dear. Particularly the variety that you are blessed with."
"What variety would that be?"
"Ah, I can hear the discontent in your voice. My dear, please understand that magic is never inherently evil. Only what you do with you gifts can be evil. Magic in itself is always a gift."
"You don't believe me yet but someday you will be thankful I tried to tell you now."
"Anyway," he had said, "your magic is of a very rare variety, called Prequels by most magicians. This is because the Prequels are believed to have existed on Neopia before the faeries came to us. They are older than anyone has dared to ask." He had smiled at her then, decided to lighten the atmosphere, "It's good to know there is at least ONE thing in all of Neopia that is older than I am."
They had had a laugh at that, and she assured him he was very sturdy for his age.
"It is also the only type of magic that appears to be entirely hereditary. Meaning, there are no records of neopets possessing this type of magic without having had an ancestor who also did. Of course, at some point, there must have been another way to gain this type of magic, but any knowledge of this has been lost to Time.
"Over the years, of which the Prequels have experienced many, those who could harness this power dwindled in number. Today it is extremely rare to find anyone with even the slightest affinity.
"You see, my dear, you are blessed."
"But my family has no recorded history of magic," she had said, confused.
"Ah, that is where Wind comes in."
"But Wind is impermanent, isn't it. I mean, almost everyone who references impermanence also references Wind."
He had chuckled softly, "Indeed, those who do not understand have interpreted patience as impermanence. Misunderstanding and simple lack of knowledge are very dangerous when dealing with magic, my dear. Wind magic has always had the extraordinary ability to wait long periods for just the right soul to come along and attach itself to."
"Yes dear. Once magic, Wind magic in particular, discovers a soul it deems fit, it will mold itself into you and the magic will become a part of you.
"This is the way it has been done for many, many centuries. Only recently have Neopians found that they can buy magical power. But the price for that is oh so high.
"That is a topic for another day however. What I wanted to tell you was that, now that your magic has awakened, you may not wish to return to Sakhmet."
"Not return? Why?"
"Calm, my dear. Let me guess, the reason you left Darkford in the first place was because you felt incomplete. Wasn't it?"
She had nodded slowly.
"Well, that may have been because your magic had not woken yet. Now that your abilities have manifested, your soul should be complete. You may be able to find your place in Darkford amongst your family.
"But you may not. Which is why I would not have said this in front of the Council, no need to have them doubt your loyalty, either way."
She had smiled. "Thank you, Cognomen. You have been a tremendous help to me."
"And I plan to help some more. I'm assuming the larger pile isn't going with you?"
"You assume correctly. Would you mind finding a family who could use these things for me?"
"Donating them? You could sell them, you know. No one would think less of you."
She had laughed. "True. But this is one last thing I can do for the citizens of this... my city before I go."
He had smiled back. "If I was the Wind, I would have chosen you as well."
She didn't know if Cognomen had given her things away yet, but she was sure he would follow her wishes. However, she did wonder about what he had said about magic and her soul. Could she really be one with something so... incomprehensible? Something older than the faeries? She had never even considered that before.
The Winds stirred around her, glad that at least she was considering them. They did recognize the fact that they were used to her and she was just beginning to see them.
The sun was near setting, and Kaseem was about to pull out her map and search for the nearest oasis when she crested a large dune and saw something in the distance. It appeared to be a grey smudge on the horizon; off to one side was a flickering light. The Border Lands. She headed for the camp, indicated by the flickering fire light, hoping she could get there before darkness came.
Pushing her onward, the winds mused to themselves that this was the beginning of their journey as well.
To be continued...