Spring, Year 761 of the New Age
Elysia bounded down the narrow paths, relishing in the feeling that came with the last warm days of autumn. Above her head the leaves were beginning to turn yellow, orange, red, brown and every shade in between, and she kicked at small piles that had gathered along the path as she raced ahead, excited for her very first magic lesson. Somewhere behind her Eldhara was following after her, though the old doe couldn’t match the younger’s speed and energy/
I’m going to meet the Magician! She thought excitedly, the many stories she’d been told of his magic speeding through her mind as all nervousness she had had evaporated with her joy. And he’s going to teach me magic! He’s going to--
Suddenly she had burst out into a clearing, where a brown stag was stood, focused on a plant that was sprouting in front of him, his antlers glowing slightly. The Magician… Elsy thought, suddenly shy as she started to step back towards the cover of the trees. And he’s doing magic…
“Elysia, what are you--” Eldhara asked quizzically, finally having caught up with the energetic youngster. “Ah.” She whispered quietly when she saw the scene in front of her.
The stag had since raised his head and turned to look at the intruders, while Elysia tried -- in vain, for the older doe would not budge -- to squirm away and hide. I interrupted his magic! She thought in horror, panic beginning to fill her body. What if he refuses to teach me now?! Her ears pinned back against her neck as she stood behind Eldhara, hiding her head behind her great aunt’s neck and waiting to see what the stag would say.
Huisha was wiling away the time until his next student arrived. The rigors of chasing after four fawns at a time was beginning to catch up with the old stag, and now he occasionally taught youngsters on an individual basis.
While he waited, he idly sifted through the soil with his magic, looking for seeds dropped there that spring or even earlier. Most would lie dormant until the next spring, waiting for the proper conditions of light and heat and moisture to sprout and grow into fully fledged plants. Unless he helped them along, that is.
He must look like he was dozing, using his magic to sift around under the soil with his eyes closed and his lips moving as he muttered in concentration. He picked one out; spearmint. Not uncommon, but a favorite remedy for any number of things. And perhaps more importantly at the moment, it smelled nice.
He coaxed the little seed, prodding it with the energy it would need to sprout. There was plenty of moisture in the soil and not too much overbearing sunlight; it should have no problem growing once he gave it a little magical poke.
If he’d opened his eyes he’d have realized that he was glowing slightly, and that he had a visitor.
A pair of visitors; an older doe and a youngling fawn. He smiled up at them, though the little thing immediately tried to hide. Had he become that intimidating? Huisha chuckled at the thought.
“Come on down,” he said. “I won’t bite, I promise. Would you like a closer look?”
Despite the stag’s friendliness, Elsy was hesitant to approach, waiting for Eldhara to start to make her way towards the Magician before creeping slowly after her. She tried to keep her head low in submission, but the offer of a closer look had her peering around Eldhara’s hindquarters to look at the plant that was slowly unfurling itself in front of her very eyes. Eldhara came to a halt and Elsy stepped round her, ducking her head sheepishly, still embarrassed.
When no-one said anything immediately she raised her head again, to see Huisha and Eldhara talking quietly between themselves, apparently neither of them upset by her barging into the clearing. Seeing the plant unguarded, she stretched her neck out to touch it, taking a step or two closer to sniff it hesitantly.
It smelt fresh and tangy -- just as a normal spearmint plant would. Her nose tingled when it came close to the plant, though it wasn’t the tingling of her whiskers touching something, it felt almost… magical… When she pulled away her nose continued to tingle, and she wrinkled it in confusion, ears flicking backwards. However, when she concentrated on her muzzle the tingling began to spread up her face, warming her cheeks and ears before shooting down her neck and across her chest, where it settled in her stomach, tingling softly. Elysia was stood straight by this point, unmoving save for her chest moving quickly in and out as her panic rose, and her tail, which twitched anxiously.
“Eldhara…..” she said softly, wide-eyed gaze moving slowly from the strange spearmint plant and up to her Aunt’s face. “Why am I tingling?”
While his back was turned, the shy filly approached the spearmint and Huisha couldn’t help but chuckle as she blinked in confusion and the glow of the magic seemed to reflect off her curious face. “Your magic’s coming in a bit early, I think,” he remarked. “It must be resonating with the energy I left with the plant.”
He turned from Eldhara and slowly walked over to the palomino filly’s side. Despite her shyness she seemed thoroughly entranced by the magic. “What does it feel like?” he asked her quietly. Everyone’s magic seemed to manifest slightly differently, and it had become almost a hobby of his to study the range of reactions. Most could hardly access their magic at all at this age and he had to admit he was impressed that she had picked up on his small working at all.
Elysia’s eyes flicked over to meet the Magician’s, and she instinctively took a step away from him -- she had never been keen on fawnlings getting to close to her, and even though she respected and admired the stag, he was no exception. Dropping her head submissively, she struggled to find the words.
“It feels… tingly…” she murmured almost inaudibly. “Like the feeling you get after a nettle sting, only… nice… and not painful….” She glanced up at the brown stag’s eyes then blurted out an apology. “I’m sorry for touching the plant, it was just glowing and I got curious and--” A subtle flick of Eldhara’s tail silenced her, and her mouth sealed shut as she stared at the Magician’s hooves, waiting for his response.
The tingling had subsided somewhat, though she could still feel a very faint, almost imperceptible buzz somewhere in her chest, as though something tiny and full of life had woken up and was ready to play. She shuffled uncomfortably, uncertain of how to react to this strange new feeling.
Sensing her discomfort at having a stag looming over her, albeit one so scrawny and knobbly as himself, Huisha folded his knees under him and dropped to the ground. He’d found that even the most timid of fawns could usually be coaxed out of their shells when they were talking to someone at their own eye level.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “You can touch it if you want. It won’t hurt the plant, or the magic, or you. Here; I can do it again and you can watch me do it.” He could see her shifting in uncertainty, or maybe curiosity, and he proceeded.
Again he closed his eyes and searched for a seed, another spearmint. Having found it in his mind’s eye he coaxed it up and into the sunlight, where Elysia could see it unfurl.
“There,” he said opening his eyes. “Could you feel me do that?”
The Magician was suddenly lying on the ground beside her, and instantly Elsy felt more comfortable; nothing was worse for her than having big adults looming over her -- she was only small!
She watched, mouth agape, as the Magician repeated his trick, making a tiny spearmint plant erupt through the soil and begin to unfurl upwards, stretching out towards the sun that was shining high above them. To Elsy it seemed as though it was glowing faintly, and again there was a faint tingling in her nose, just like when she’d touched the first plant. “Wow….” Elysia said quietly, eyes wide with fascination.
The Magician asked her if she could feel him making the plant grow. She nodded slowly. “I felt it in my nose, again,” she whispered, bending to rub her muzzle on her knee -- the feeling wasn’t unpleasant, but it made her feel like she needed to sneeze. “Tingly. It didn’t go down into my tummy this time though, maybe I have to touch it…”
Without thinking she stretched out and rubbed her nose against the spearmint, almost snapping it in two. Immediately, the tingling rushed up her face and down her neck, before settling in her stomach, where it fizzed happily.until she brought her nose away again. “It goes to my tummy if I touch it! It fizzes… like just before you get hiccups…” She frowned down at her muzzle as the feeling receded once again, leaving just her nose tingling slightly.
Already missing the happy feeling she got from the magic, she thrust her nose against the spearmint once again, though this time pushing too far and breaking the plant in half. Elysia leapt back, terror plastered on her face. “I’m sorry!” She cried, bending close to peer at the broken plant and nudging it hopefully, wondering if she could repair it herself.
Huisha smiled at the little filly’s enthusiasm. “It’s okay, sometimes young plants are a little bit delicate, just like young fawnlings are.”
He wondered a bit about the fact that she felt the magic in her nose and belly- it made sense that she would feel it more strongly when she was touching a recently magicked plant, though the way she experienced that magic was a new (and adorable) one in his experience.
Blowing lightly on the broken stem, he wafted the gentlest possible puff of magic towards it. In a second, the stem had begun rebuilding itself, straightening where it had bent and unifying into one unbroken stalk. “There. A simple fix. Not everything in life is as easily mended but luckily young things can be as resilient as they are delicate.”
He looked at the young plant and glanced back at the young filly. Most fawns of this age couldn’t harness their magic yet, but it couldn’t hurt to try. If she could experience magic so completely, she could probably access it. The worst that could happen would be that she tired herself out and required a nap.
Closing his eyes and breathing on the spearment again he nudged it with just a hint of magic. A few tiny buds slowly formed and ever so slowly one unfurled into a tiny tender purple flower with delicate rays off the petals.
“You want to try making a flower bloom, Elysia? See, here’s a little bud right there. Imagine it opening and see what happens.”
Lia watched in rapture as the magician repaired the broken stem, a smile spreading over her muzzle as a sprinkling of tiny purple flowers sprouted across the plant. Her huge brown eyes turned to look into the stag’s at his question, and her gaze darted between plant and stag in surprise.
“Really?” She asked, her voice barely anything more than a squeak, and she flicked her tail excitedly before turning to the plant and focusing on one of the smaller buds, eyes narrowing in concentration.
She didn’t really have much of a clue how to go about making a flower bloom, but she stretched her nose out to brush it against the bud, closing her eyes as the tingling flooded through her. She could feel the magic coming from the plant into her, and while it felt good, it didn’t feel right, and so she pushed in back the way it had come, brows furrowing with the effort. The flow slowed, then reversed, and was soon pouring out of her nose back into the tiny spearmint. Picturing the bud flowering, she nudged the plant both with her nose and with her magic, then smiled as she felt a sudden flush of the energy, opening her eyes not just one, but three buds blooming as she watched.
“I did it!” She cried, leaping backwards and bounding around for a moment before stopping, staring at the plant in disbelief. “I made it flower! It flowered! For me!” She grinned at the Magician, and the old stag smiled back at her.
Huisha leaned back with a beaming smile, honestly impressed. So few had a feel for it the first time! The little filly was a natural.
“That was wonderful, Elysia! It takes many fawns a few tries to figure out how to harness their magic and make it do what they want. You have a real gift.”
The old stag leaned in close now, and lowered his voice conspiratorially. He wished he could say what he was about to say freely but even now the favor of the herd seemed to be shifting against the progressive souls. “Don’t let anyone tell you can’t use magic just because you’re a commoner or just because you’re a doe. You have talent, real talent. Please don’t let anyone take that from you.”
He glanced around as he was prone to do when he was nervous. “Just be careful who you share that with, okay? Your papa and Eldhara are wonderful souls and you can trust them but not everyone believes does and commoners should be allowed magic. They’re wrong-- never forget that-- but they’re powerful, and can make things bad if you show off your talents to the wrong people.”
Now he prodded a little extra magic into the flower, making the rest of the buds open and hoping he hadn’t just scared the poor girl. She was so young, after all! Much too young to have to worry about such things. Perhaps old age was making him paranoid.
The magician seemed impressed with what she’d managed, and she beamed like the sun when the stag said she had a “real gift”. Elysia glanced to Eldhara and smiled broadly, and the old doe smiled back, clearly surprised her great-niece had such skill.
The words that followed from the magician confused her a little. He made it sound as though there were fawnlings who would try to take her magic away -- could they do that? Her ears flicked back in discomfort at the topic, but the stag seemed keen to continue speaking, and so she said nothing. Her confusion only deepened though as he spoke -- who on earth would believe that not everyone should have magic?
The stag turned back to the flower and made it bloom even more, and Elysia took that to signal that the conversation was over. She tossed her head and shook her mane in an attempt to dispel the worries that the old stag’s words had settled in her head. Perhaps it meant nothing, but what if it did? She made a mental note to practice only when she knew she was alone, or if she was with fawnlings she could trust.
“I never thanked you,” she said boldy, stepping forwards and pressing her nose against the stag’s neck. Her nose tingled once more and she pushed magic towards the stag, smiling as she felt the glow that she’d seen around him envelop her as well. “It’s been a wonderful day -- so thank you! Thank you thank you thank you!”
Huisha smiled as the little fawn touched him with her nose and then her magic. She’d be quite a little magician herself some day, he imagined.
With a grunt he unfolded himself and got to his feet. The stiffness wasn’t as bad in spring as it was in winter, but it never quite went away anymore. “Of course, Elysia, it’s a pleasure to see young fawns with so much excitement for magic. Please do come back if you want to learn more.”
He waited to make sure Eldhara had collected the little golden doe before he meandered back home.