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“You mean you’re—?” Tarin couldn't figure out if he wanted to fall off the log, or stand up from it and start pacing. He picked the latter, watching the man as he explained.
“My name is Luscar. I always promised that I would return, and teach you everything I know about magic, but there was never a good time—”
“A good time!” Tarin cried, “where were you four years ago, when I was struggling to get my magic under control then? Why couldn’t you have taught me as a child? I was banished because of my magic. My entire life is over, and it is because of you.”
“Over?” Luscar was taken aback. “Over? Son, your life is only beginning! Your powers will only grow with time.”
Tarin sat back down heavily, a deep sigh escaping him with a whoosh.
“You’re here to teach me?” He said. Luscar nodded, and stood, marking out a wide circle in the grass with a wave of his hand.
“So, tell me,” he said. “What can you do?”
“Do?” Tarin asked, feeling a little foolish. “I mean, I’m good with plants, growing things. I can make things move, or people..” he thought back to the day the four older boys who had been terrorizing Jim had attacked him. “And, I made a light last night, but I don’t know how.”
Luscar nodded at this. “Your skill with plants is probably an elf trait. You get that from your mother.” He said. “As for the rest, it seems you already have figured out some measure of basic spell casting, so we will skip the basics and start with more advanced techniques. step into the circle please.”
Tarin did as he was told, and Luscar waved his hands again, saying words Tarin didn't recognize. A wind sprang up out of nowhere and blew Tarin's hair out of his face. Luscar nodded, satisfied.
“No one will detect magic performed in this circle.” He said.
“Can people do that?” Tarin asked.
“They have their ways. I’m sure someone is already interested in your power. It’s lucky I found you first.”
Tarin was confused, and he didn’t know which question to ask first. Things about the mysterious ‘They’ that Luscar seemed so afraid of. Why did they want sorcerers? How did they track magic? Why did Luscar leave him with Ella when he was a baby? Who had been Tarin's mother?
But he couldn’t ask any of these, because Luscar was digging around in his coat pocket and muttering to himself in that strange language. Tarin realized that his father must have been isolated for a really long time, rehearsing everything he planned to say.
“How long have you been out here?” Tarin asked.
“Years…” Luscar muttered, “Years too long. Aha!” The exclamation was so loud, Tarin jumped as Luscar pulled a small book out of his pocket. “When I was given my powers, the witch, Angela, gave me this book. It’s a grimoire, a book of spells. Now, I’m giving it to you.”
Tarin took the book from his father, admiring the decorative, finely worked leather cover, and the writing that covered the pages in a fine, neat script.
The spells themselves weren’t in Lollican, but were in an entirely different language. Tarin recognized it as the same language Luscar had been speaking. The language of magic, he realized.
He flipped through the book. The spells were sorted into categories, household, fighting, transportation, transformation.
“We will start with self defense,” Luscar said, suddenly all business. “The fireball spell is a swift and simple solution that will deter most attackers. The flames do not last long once they come in contact with your intended target, but they do burn. To conjure it, simply say ‘Nom’.”
“Nom?” Tarin repeated, and almost of its own will, a small orb of orange flame flashed in front of him, before fizzling out. Luscar smiled, and stepped closer, demonstrating.
“Prepare your hand, reach out, like you are taking something. This is where the fire will appear. Will it to be held in your fingertips. Nom.” He demonstrated, and a similar ball of fire appeared above his outstretched palm. With a deft movement, he flung it toward the cliffs, where it exploded in a shower of sparks.
“Wow,” Tarin said, reaching out and imitating Luscar’s pose, but nothing happened. He dropped his hand. “What did I do wrong?”
“Did you say the magic word?” Luscar asked, arms folded, looking at Tarin thoughtfully. “The spells must be translated into the language of magic. Only the most personal spells are completely non-verbal. Don’t overthink it. Let the magic use your body as a signal, telling it what to do, and where to go.”
Tarin reached out his hand again, and whispered the magic word for fire. Almost as if he had plucked an apple of flame from thin air, the fireball appeared in his hand, with his fingers curled around it. The flames tickled slightly as they licked at his skin, but they did not burn him. Tarin gazed at the ball, mesmerized, and it grew bigger, going from the size of an apple, to the size of a grapefruit, then a small melon. He held it in both hands now, watching the fire grow larger.
“Tarin, stop!” Luscar said, waving his hand. The fireball went out, and Tarin jerked back as if he had been bitten, dropping his hands.
“I’m sorry,” Tarin said, putting his hands behind his back.