July 11th, 2011

June, otter

The Next Great Magician

“Now,” said Weisz. “What was your second question?”

“Well, in my reading, it said that to practice magic I had to believe I could do it, but even when it felt like was believing that I could do magic, it didn’t work until I thought about…other things,” she trailed off.

“You mean other things such as your failings? Misgivings? Distrust and contempt of others?” Tabitha flushed. “Oh yes, Tabitha, there are a great many things which can cloud a magician’s mind. I know it well, any experienced magician does—it’s the small buzz in the back of your head which when you resolve it can make you stronger, and should you not, it can drag you down.”

“But why?” Tabitha asked. “What does that have anything to do with magic? I could do magic just find with I transformed the gun and when I pushed Klaus away from me.”

“Because, in those moments you could think of nothing but reacting,” Weisz replied. “So, you reacted. But practicing magic cannot always be so simple. It can and does influence you. But you must let yourself lay to rest your mistakes, put aside your misgivings and learn to trust those around you. The latter is most especially useful when there is someone whom you legitimately cannot trust. Then you can tell the difference.”

“Well, what does that have to do with believing in myself?” Tabitha inquired.

“If you cannot trust others, you soon find their failings in yourself. If you constantly believe you will make mistakes then you will not believe you can do something right. When you judge a situation or someone with the worst in mind, you soon cannot think of any way for another situation to be. And though you may be betrayed as you believed, you many also, more times than you thought possible, see the good in others, and realize you were wrong yet again.”

“I guess I can understand that,” Tabitha grumbled.

“You guess?” Magic is not guess work, child,” Weisz laughed. “Come, finish your meal and then we shall see what you have learned so far.”

When the salmon and greens were done, as well as the glass of wine at Weisz’s insistence, they moved in front of the fire place, where Tabitha lit a fire. Then she moved something across the room, then demonstrated a summoning ritual she had only just begun to practice, which did not quite work. While she set up the ritual again, this time with more advice from Weisz, Tabitha asked,

“So, what’s the difference between moving something and summoning it?”

“Range, style and for a beginner, execution,” Weisz answered, monitoring her. When he did not go on, Tabitha asked,

“Elaborate, please?” Weisz raised an eyebrow at her.

“You’re a smart girl. Work through it. Start with the easy one: execution.”

“Well, with a moving spell, I’m just willing it to move across a distance. With the summoning ritual I have to draw ritual circles of very particular parameters and makes sure the item is very specifically placed, and it just goes from one point to another.”

“Directly from one point to the other. There is not intermediate space. So then, explain range,” Weisz ordered.

“Well, I suppose—”

“You only just suppose?” Weisz asked. Tabitha glared at him, but corrected herself,

“I conjecture that summoning is more long distance, where as moving would be short distance.”

“And why do you conjecture that?” Weisz asked.

“Well, to move something it helps to have your eye on it, because it helps concentration. So you have to be right there with it. But with summoning you only need to have an item connected by the ritual drawings.”

“And lastly?” Weisz inquired. “What can you tell me about style?”

“Well, I know when you move something, it crosses over all the distance you move it, so…summoning doesn’t do that?”

“Well, does it doesn’t it?” Weisz asked.

“What’s the point in being my teacher if you don’t actually teach me anything?” Tabitha retorted.

“The point is I know more than you about what you are learning,” Weisz pointed out.

“But if you never impart your knowledge that can’t really be called teaching, that’s more knowledge hording.” Weisz gave a grumble and rolled his eyes.

“Part of what I’m teaching you is patience,” he said.

“The only way to teach patience is to contantly test it, and I gtet enough of that from my family and school, Weisz. It also doesn’t make for great relationship building—if you really aren’t going to do more than make me figure out how to be a magician all on my own and check my progress, maybe I should go, because I study best on my own.” She started him down until his look softened.

“You stumbled on it before. Summoning calls an item directly from one drawing to another—there are no in between points, unlike moving which drags the item along every point between start and finish. And for future reference, through a tantrum will not always get you your way.”

“Forgive me if I’m a bit upset at my circumstances.”

“Which would be?” Weisz asked.

“I just found out I can do magic—that seems great aside from the fact that apparently inheriting this position means that there will be people who come after me for a book which has secrets that can make people immortal. And it feels like in spite of that, no one appears to be telling me things—not that book, not you—”

“Tabitha when I want you to figure something out on your own, it does not mean that I am not with holding something from you—it means I want you to know the gratification of figuring something out on your own.”

“Okay, fine, but what about cutting yourself off from me for two days? Or the fact that you see me as something I’m not!”

“I don’t—”

“YES YOU DO! You, Klaus and God knows how many others. You look at me and you see her! And I just…I just…” Tabitha sniffed and it made her realize her nose was running, and that made her realize she was crying. “I can’t be Elba Mullins. I don’t know how to be a Great Magician. And I don’t want to die.”

“You…you won’t die, Tabitha,” Weisz promised, though it sounded to be the least sure thing he had said yet.

“I’m scared,” she confessed. Weisz stood for a moment, his weight shifting from foot to foot, before he opened his arms to her and went forward. Tabitha collapsed toward him, gripping him tightly as she began to sob.

“Fear,” he began, “can be the beginning of greatness, should you confront it and not let it control you. For when you do this you gain strength beyond great measure. But if you let it lie in your heart and allow it to grow and fester, it will become a desire you always need to feed and it will become a weakness you may never remove from yourself.”

He gently drew away from her and used his thumbs to wipe the tear stains from her face. “Do you fear Death, Tabitha Walls?”

“No,” Tabitha replied almost instantly.

“Then what do you fear?” he asked.

“What happens to me before I die,” she said. “What they will do when they try and break me. If I will be broken. Wondering if I’ll have the kind of peace that I did before Elba gavwe me this book.”

“Were you at peace then?” Weisz asked. “Because it sounds to me as if you may have been in a great deal of misery.”

“I could have been at peace,” she replied.

“Don’t meditate on the past and what could have been. Focus on what is here now, Tabitha and what you can accomplish. You will be a truly wonderful magician.” Tabitha reached for him, and they gripped each other tightly in an embrace. “Though I confess, I have learned something here today.”

“What’s that?”

“My young apprentice becomes drunk very easily and highly emotional when she is.” Tabitha snorted though it something more like a laugh.

They studied for a few hours more, Weisz showing her a few new spells, and Tabitha performing them for him. As she prepared to leave she exclaimed,

“Oh, I almost forgot to ask. Is there something else you want me to study?”

“Aside from magic?” You already seem quite content to study more than most.”

“I mean other books of magic,” Tabitha clarified.

“You already have one, why should need another?” Weisz asked.

“Well the book is great if you want to perform rituals that lead to immortality but has about six spells for beginners. I was hoping for something more basic.”

“It becomes clearer and clearer to me how much you like text books,” Weisz remarked.

“It depends on the text book,” Tabitha replied.

“Typically, most magicians don’t write much down. We use more traditional means od study—such as oral communication.”

“So that’s a no.”

“A big one,” Weisz replied.

Chapter Nine: With Brian in the Library

When Tabitha exited Weisz loft, she did not quite feel like returning home so soon, so, she walked back toward the library to write her paper for English, as Ms. Grant had only approved her proposal yesterday, and she had been more contrated on the book than her homework, and problem sets than papers. But when she entered the library lobby, she was met with a very familiar,

"Hey!" Tabitha turned to see Brian striding toward her. "You're family said you were here, but the librarians said that you left earlier."

"Oh, yeah, I took a walk, then got some lunch," Tabitha replied.

"Oh, where'd you go to walk?" Brian asked.

"Around the park and in the woods area," she said. "I just needed some time to myself."

"Yeah, it's a little easy to lose track of time in there," he said. "Well, anyway. I was kind of wondering if you would help me with my English essay, cause you know, I've um put it off a bit, and as it turns out not trying with something makes you kind of bad at it, because my last one got a D for effort, and this one's kind of the same."

"Uh, sure," she said. "I have one of my own to write, so I can look yours over and while you edit, I can write. Come on." Tabitha led him to the stairwell, where they climbed all the way up to the third floor.

"Isn't this floor haunted?" Brian asked as they entered onto it. Tabitha turned and shushed him.

"Indoor voice," she told him.

"Sorry," he whispered.

"And if it is, it's haunted by the possibly nicest ghost in the united states if not the world," Tabitha said, moving off toward one of the tables. Her normal stall called to her, but she knew there was no way that she and Brian could fit and still study. Though, if rumors were to be believed, two people could do other things besides studying in there. And they did. With some frequency.

"Here," she said, setting her bag down at a table and swinging her coat on the chair, trying to blush at the thought she and Brian locked in a library stall with anything but studying on the brain. As he sat, she could not notice his hands, which were a bit larger than the frame of his body. It made her wonder if he would grow any taller...and if what they said about guys with big hands was true.

Tabitha squeezed her eyes shut and when she opened them Brian seemed normal--which meant he still gave off a somewhat creepy vibe--and not sexual at all.

"Are you all right?" he asked.

"I got some dust in my eye," she replied. "I just needed them to water."

"oh, well, I don't know how you want to do this, but here's my essay," he said, handing it over to her.

"Did you spell check?" she asked.

"No, not really," he admitted.

"All right, well, that will be the first thing you'll want to do. Next, how long does it have to be?"

"He said somewhere from five hundred to seven hundred words," Brian reported. Tabitha eyeballed the page and nodded.

"This looks about right, but you can check with word. I'll show you how when you go to type it up. Also, are you supposed to have quotes in this to back up your points?" she asked.

"I don't know?" he replied.

"What English are you in?"

"Sophomore regular," he replied.

"I would do it, with at least one or two--three if you're feeling ambitious. As for your actual argument, it seems fairly descent, you may just want to elaborate what you mean a little more. But as for the actual writing..."

"Is it that awful?" he asked.

"Brian, it's not terrible, but it's kind of...Freshman grade," she said. "There's no sentence variation, too many adverbs and adjectives. You used some contractions and you're punctuation's a little off. There are a lot of to be verbs and..." Tabitha froze, when she saw Brian's face falling. "Sorry, that was a lot. Um...First try changing where you have a form of to be, like is, was, will be, were, verbs like that, and try changing the sentences so that you can use a different verb."

"I think I can do that," Brian said.

"And you don't have to change all of them, just..." She looked down at the paper. "Try and keep only three for the whole paper." Brian nodded again, but looked blankly at the page.

This time, Tabitha looked up at him as she penned an outline for her essay, looking up various quotes from the Odyssey as she went. Brian had pulled out an extra sheet of paper because there were apparently a lot of sentences that needed rewording, and he did not double space the paper. He frowned a lot, but his tongue stuck out a little from between his lip. But he worked slowly and surely, and when Tabitha was about half way through her outline, he got her attention and handed the paper back to her.

The two sheets of paper correlated very easily, as Brian marked where he was changing a sentence with a number, and then marked it on his ruled sheet of paper. the changing of the verbs changed a lot the sentence structures too, and the paper already looked much better written.