“What are you doing?” Mrs. Clara asked, her voice icy, her face hard. Ama felt a tremor of terror run down her legs.
Jack was watching them, a stubborn cast to his mouth, his hands knotted behind his back in an imitation of his father.
Jo was preoccupied with her feet, trying to dry them off against her skirt without bending down or being too obvious – she didn’t see the impending storm in her mother’s eyes. But Ama saw it, taking in everything as if it happened in slow motion. Mrs. Clara was watching Ama closely, too, her eyes like solid blue ice chips. Ama’s hands began to shake.
“Leave your shoes, foolish child. Let the girl get them for you. She’ll put them on you, too.”
Mrs. Clara had never referred to Ama that way – “the girl.” Ama wondered distantly how she managed to get Jo’s stockings on her, her shaking hands felt like lead as she pulled them up Jo’s trembling wet legs and then helped Jo squeeze into her soft leather boots.
Ama stood up slowly, slipping her own bare feet into her brown boots that were two sizes too big and worn through the bottom. She could feel the spiky green grass peeking through the holes and a bit of mud oozing in.
Mrs. Clara watched her still, her face hard and pale, frighteningly beautiful. Ama noticed the dainty curls that had slipped out of the smooth red knot of hair at the back of Mrs. Clara’s neck. They fluttered in the wind, brilliant against Mrs. Clara’s ivory skin.
“Turn out your pockets,” Mrs. Clara said finally, slowly as if talking to someone stupid.
Ama was confused as she felt around in her pockets for some offending object. A lump of biscuit left over from breakfast, a piece of cane to suck on, a partially unraveled string.
And then her fingers closed around the cold metal of the locket. She felt her heart flutter as she turned out the two handfuls. The metal flashed against the satiny caramel skin of her palm.
His name was Kimble, he was 25 and four days old, and he had just killed a woman.
(This one is part of another blurb that I previously posted a while ago, just so ya know.)
“It’s a simple enough spell,” Sibelious said as he absently twirled a dagger of ice between his fingers, twisting and reforming it as it shimmered and floated in the air. “But I’m not a sorcerer, I don’t know if it will work the same for you, Tam,” his voice was casual, but sounded forced. Tamyrn only nodded, watching the spiraling icicle, and tried not to look too eager. Sib looked up at her through is lashes and nodded, the icicle melted into a puddle and fell to the ground with a splash. “It’s really all in how you think about things,” he said, throwing his cloak over his shoulders and pushing back his snowy sleeves. “For me, I concentrate very hard on what I want to change. I can’t just summon water out of thin air, so I focus on the water in the air, I think about making it into rain,” a swirling ball of water was suddenly balanced just above his palm, “and then I think about rain turning to ice.” The water formed into a neat dagger of ice, still floating above his palm. “Then I just think about throwing it.”
Tamyrn looked skeptical as Sib threw the dagger across the camp with a flick of his wrist.
“It can’t be that easy,” she said dryly, shaking her head.
“Well, no, and when you’re trying to fight with a spell you have to think a lot faster. I don’t even know if ‘think’ is the right word, lass…but that’s how I learned. I sat for hours and hours thinking about rain. The first time I actually made it form, I drenched myself because it formed up in a torrent rather than a controllable ball like I showed you.”
Tamyrn couldn’t help but snicker, thinking of the little gnome soaked through by his own spell.
“Laugh all you want, but learning magic is full of accidents – and dangers if you’re not careful. You’ll have to learn what’s right for you, but you already have the magical force within you – you proved it when you took down the dragons. You just need to learn to harness it, manipulate it. Once you do, it’s as easy as breathing.”
She nodded, though her eyes were still full of questions. “I guess there is not to do but try it,” she said.
“Aye,” Sib replied settling on the soft grass and slipping a pipe out of his cloak.
“You’re going to watch?” she asked nervously, rubbing her hands on her thighs and licking her lips.
“Aye,” he nodded, pipe between his teeth, “That I am.”
Tamyrn cringed but then set about trying to ignore the little fellow.
At first she wasn’t sure what to do, sit or stand, use her hands, hold still so she finally settled on standing up and keeping her hands loose at her side. She tried to think about rain. The sound, the feel, the smell, but soon she was distracted by the sounds of the forest, the distant rush of the river and the subtle puffing sound of Sib’s pipe.
“Everything is so noisy,” she grumbled, blushing under Sib’s scrutiny.
“Just try to think about the air, think about making it stick together to form a rain drop. It took me a long time, Tam, just sit and think.”
She sat down with a bump, blushing, and Sibelious kindly looked off into the forest depths although he couldn’t hide a grin.
This time she chanted internally “air to rain, air to rain,” until the words lost meaning and her mind began to wander again. With a sigh, she refocused, thinking more about the air and less about the rain, until her mind was filled with the valley smells – green wood, dampness, tree bark, mold, smoke from the cook fire, even her own salty sweat. She shifted uncomfortably, thinking how long it had been since her last bath, and Sibelious laughed.
“You’re distracted again, lass,” he said and she blushed yet again though there was no consternation in his reproof.
“I was distracted with the dragon breathing down my neck too!” she frowned.
“Aye, but you were focused on the dragon?”
“I don’t know, it’s all a blur.”
Sib nodded thoughtfully, “Perhaps what you need is action and not meditation.”
Samuel Biggleston lived in a great white farmhouse that sat just at the edge of a lovely field of corn. In the summer the corn plants would grow tall and strong, reaching to the sky, their shiny green husks seeming more like praying hands. Samuel could walk between the rows and get quite lost in the maze of green stalks. Sometimes he would come to a hollowed out place where the corn hadn’t grown properly and he would lay on the soft brown earth and gaze up at the sky, peppered with clouds. In the fall the whole farm would smell of shorn plants and overturned dirt. Mother would bake and pickle and jar and the delicious aroma of harvest would hang over the house like a thick blanket. In the winter the farm was almost asleep, wrapped up in snow so that the house almost disappeared but for warmly winking windows. But springtime was Samuel’s favorite time of all. The whole place teemed with life renewed. The ground groaned and broke free of winter’s shackles. New animals were born, stumbling and blinking with curious eyes at the bright blooming world. Father began the rhythmic dance of preparing the soil for planting. Flowers would began to peep up from their beds, stiff breezes sweeping away the old snow and ice, and trees would unfurl delicate leaves and intricate lace works of blossoms. In springtime the world was alive with magic and wonder and Samuel was every year fascinated by the splendor of a world reborn.