Two is the Magic Number

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Laggy Lagiacrus, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. Being a fairly well-known magic practitioner in the area, it was only natural the town crier would allow Edward a slot in his daily announcements. He had requested that an announcement be made, that he was looking for an apprentice – that was the gist of it, anyway. Most people had no interest in magic, however, being too busy, or being under-qualified. Some just didn’t want to practise magic. And those that had applied, were continually turned down by Edward, as he couldn’t see any potential in them. Given his status, a fair few attempted to impress him, but they were all ushered out of the door, with the threat of an ice spike lodged through their skull used if they didn’t.

    The humdrum of everyday life was getting to the wizard, whose age was indeterminate, his mannerisms and private life enigmas. Some people wouldn’t think that someone so spectacular would live a boring life – what they failed to understand, was that he was still human. An incredibly flawed, and highly pessimistic human being, but one nonetheless. Magic was certainly a passion of his, but it wasn’t his sole one – he just hated how people acted surprised when they learned that he felt like going fishing like any normal person, or that he felt like taking up juggling, without some form of magical aid.

    He sat back, tossing a blood-red gem between his hands, the smoothness of it comforting to him. It wasn’t a special gem, really – it was something most mages used. A blood crystal, to be specific – blood in crystal form, able to be converted to any common type of blood (human, deer, hare, etcetera). A useful ingredient in alchemy, though a little hard to come by in the regions that weren’t as game-abundant as the outer parts of the town. The whole room was filled with other such magical items which, to the layman, would be astounding. But, to an experienced wizard like him, they were banal at best.
  2. Ravena could easily be mistaken as a very feminine boy. In these times, it was almost mind blowing to consider a girl dressing in male's clothes, doing things men usually did instead of sewing or such. And being a stable "boy" was scandalous. But she did her job well and her employers weren't as hard on her after a few months of her employment.

    Then came that one day when she heard the town crier on an early shift of grooming the horses lodged in the fine stables. The Wizard was looking for an apprentice, huh? Magic had always fascinated her, and once or twice when she'd tried one of her deceased mothers simple spells, she actually managed it without lighting her hair on fire. That was the main reason it was short now. See, when she was younger she'd decided on one of the many occasions to try a charm for lighting candles. Back then, she had long white, silver hair, a look that didn't quite suit her confident personality. And let's just say, candles weren't the only thing she lit that night. By the time she'd managed to put it out, it'd been burnt to a short length and the girl found she much preferred it to her old look, so she kept it that way from then on. Although she cut it with scissors now...

    Perhaps she'd give it a chance. It wouldn't hurt to talk to him, would it? That day, she finished all her chores around the stable relatively early and put on some clean breeches, white shirt and ruffled necktie. She didn't care much about appearances but she couldn't go smelling like horse. And once that stage of preparation was complete, she headed to the Wizard's establishment.

    Without hesitation, she reaches up and knocks loudly on the front entrance.
  3. Upon the knocking sounding, Edward was almost startled enough to drop the crystallised blood he was idly tossing about. Almost being the operative term – he was expecting someone, see, but not them knocking so loudly. Quickly regaining his composure, however, Edward got to answering the door. In his own special way, of course. Being such an anti-social hermit of a magic practitioner, Edward would rarely have visitors, and the ones that did stop by were rarely attended to beyond their basic needs. Thus, it was hardly surprising to find him opening the door using magic, swinging it open with a few nonchalant movements of his fingers.

    The crystal was tossed onto a nearby table for future use, but Edward himself did not bother to get up from his seat. In fact, it took an enormous amount of effort for him to even bother looking towards Ravena. He looked over her, attempting to find faults in her – looking for the positives in somebody was not something he was good at, and though it wasn’t good at making him friends, it had saved his life one more occasions than he cared to admit. Pessimism as well – though, this was less pronounced, given that he hardly ever spoke to anyone.

    “Well, what’re you waiting for? Get inside! And look serious about this. If you’re here for the apprenticeship, you’re off to a terrible start. You’re scruffy-looking, and your posture’s terrible. Take a seat opposite me anyway, it’s not as if anyone else in this rat pit’s capable of any sort of competency in the finer arts.”

    Though his words were abusive, Edward refused to shift his tone beyond deadpan. Though, his words did hold merit to them. Not cleaning oneself properly before alchemy or before performing volatile magic could severely skew the results – sometimes making things end fatally. And posture, when performing spells, was always important – if something went wrong, it was always important to be able to take action swiftly.
  4. Ravena enters the household carefully as the door swings open by what she expected to be magic. Sitting among the contents of the room was the wizard, Edward Johnson. She had expected him to be cranky and quite crass, but it still was a bit of a shock. Her posture? A frown crosses her features as she stands up a bit straighter, walking over and sitting across from him, crossing her legs. And sure, she may be scruffy but she'd always looked that way. At least after she cut her hair. The white haired girl didn't care if she looked like a boy, nor if she was dirty. Being afraid of getting dirt under her nails was something that hardly even crossed her mind, unlike most "ladies". Although, if this required frequent bathing, she had no objections.

    "Sir Johnson," she says calmly, folding her hands in her lap. "My name's Ravena Lucious. I've come to inquire about your announcement in the criers rounds this morning." Ignoring the jabs at her looks and posture wasn't that hard. Many insults were thrown her way over the years, especially since she dressed as a man would and kept short hair. "I might as well get to the point since you, no offense, don't seem like you're one for small talk. My mother did magic before she died and I've been exposed to it, maybe I've even tried a few charms and spells myself, but the point is, I'd jump at the chance to learn more of what my mother knew. I would be grateful if you considered me for an apprentice."

    The girl was small framed and thin but not in a mousy way. She had a confident and calm air to her that anyone would notice. Even though she held a job in the ranks of a servant, she could be a noble with that aura. She rarely lost her temper without good reason and she could ignore almost any insult directed toward her.
  5. “Spare me your life story,” he replied, his offhand manner unmistakeable, “You’re here to try and be my apprentice, not to beg for food. Your past is of no relevance here, unless it hinders either my progress, or yours.”

    Edward lifted himself up, a tired grunt escaping him as he stood. Not that he was – despite the bags under his eyes, and the exhaustion that was so clearly displayed in his expression. Once more, he looked over his potential protégé, muttering incoherently to himself as he made mental notes of aspects only he could see. “Oh, and before I forget, stop it with all the ‘sirs’ and formalities. You’re not in the royal palace, and you’re not in court. You’re in a grumpy old wizard’s house, addressing a man with the social skills of a Frost Troll.”

    Edward turned to a small, wooden chest on his desk, and flipped it open – presumably unlocking some generic magical seal or other. In it, was an assortment of tarnished jewellery – the most valuable metal there was probably the steel ring, and even that was fairly low-quality. However, these were not rings made for making someone look pretty. They were, in fact, enchanted – with what, the common man would never guess. Most wizards would tell Edward that he really needed to reseal the magic bound to most of the items, lest the effects become unstable. Not that it mattered, they weren’t used enough to actually tarnish in the first place.

    He tossed a copper ring over to Ravena, one engraved with what appeared to be his crest.
    “Put it on,” he told her, “That’s your first test. To put the ring on.”

    While he said it without so much as lifting an eyebrow, this was what separated the magical, from the magically inept. The ring was made to reject people of a certain magic potential or less – in other words, it would not go onto their finger. The higher someone’s potential, the more easily the ring would slip on. Edward suspected there would be a notable amount of difficulty for Ravena, but if she focussed, he knew that she would be more than capable of outing it on.
  6. The tomboy bit back a sigh. It seemed the wizard wasn't not only for small talk, but much talk at all. Perhaps she should avoid speaking then.

    She swiftly catches the ring, lowering her hand slightly before opening her palm as she studies the old copper ring in her grasp. Her first test, huh? It seemed like a normal, tarnished old ring. But she glances slightly at the wizard and knew he wouldn't tell her to do something so mundane without a reason...

    Picking it up between her fingers she slowly attempts to put it on. Ravena frowns a little at the slight resistance she feels as she slides the ring on. Why had it been a bit difficult to put it on? It seemed big enough... Then she pauses. Perhaps a charm... She looks down at the ring that's now on her finger curiously. What was it enchanted for?

    Her gaze runs along the pattern of the crest, memorizing with ease. It's not like she'd be able to forget it... The girl had something that we now know as photographic memory. But back then, it was imperative to hide such a thing, as many would mistake it as evil witch craft. Peoples minds were so dull and unopen... Ravena knew for a fact she had never made a deal with the devil for such a thing but it's not like if anyone believed otherwise that they'd take her word for it. So she'd gone her entire life, hiding the ability.

    Internally, she decides, simply out of curiosity, to find out what crest it was when she had the chance later. She looks up again at Edward, raising an eyebrow as she waits for his verdict.
  7. Edward observed the situation, raising an eyebrow at the events unfolding. He had thought she would not face much resistance, but to face so little? Obviously, she was not some average run-of-the-mill, bog-standard member of the public that did not deserve his attention. Of course, just because she had magical potential, did not mean that she had the mental or physical fortitude for it. Still, he couldn’t risk the so-called “mages” at the palace take her in. They were students at best, in his eyes, and he looked down upon them as such. They appeared to be no more than scholars, who had some minima command of the elements.

    “Congratulations,” he said, recalling the ring back to his hand, “You passed the first test. That ring was enchanted to test your magical potential – according to my observations, you’ve got the makings of a fine mage. Tell you what – if you can perform this simple spell with the wand I’m about to give you, I’ll take you in. However if you can’t get it right, I won’t even consider it. You can try as many times as you like, but the moment you give up, you're out. The wand’s on the shelf next to you, by the way.”

    Edward pointed to the wand – not an especially fantastic one, but the oaken stick looked fairly new. However, there was a catch to the tool.

    The wand actually blocked the holder’s magic, to a certain degree. It would certainly not let someone of Ravena’s level perform a spell, much less even use her magic in any way. However, this was not told for a reason – a reason Edward would divulge, if Ravena passed the test he had not told her about. It was one of character – of determination. Magic was just as hard to pick up as the way of the sword – if not harder. Sure, people could have potential for it, but it would still be obscenely difficult to get beyond an amateur’s level. And Edward had no time for people who couldn’t stand their ground, and keep spit in the face of adversity.

    “Light the candle on the desk next to me - of you've even got minimal experience, this shouldn't be too hard. Remember, you can try this as many times as you like. I’ll stop anything from burning down, don’t you fret.”
  8. Alright, she'd passed the first test. That was wonderful but now he was asking her to light a candle. The same charm that had burnt her hair to the biased length it was now. The prospect of having to try again wasn't an especially exciting one. But Ravena nods and stands up walking over to the wand, picking it up carefully inspecting it. There was probably a catch to this test as well, seeing at how simple it was in truth.

    It wasn't any point in asking however as she walks back over and looks at the candle simply, speaking the charm she'd memorized from her mother quietly. Nothing happened. She frowns. Usually she set at least one thing on fire, not nothing. That really was strange. Speaking it once more, she gives it another shot. Nothing once more. This was the point it pissed the white haired girl off just slightly. And when that happened, she wouldn't stop trying something even if someone attempted to stop her with force.

    Ravena carries on, speaking the charm over and over, focusing completely. Everything around her seemed to disappear, even the wizard standing close by. An overwhelming sense of need rushed over her as she tried to light the candle. She really did want to learn magic, and she wouldn't give up easily if it meant she'd be able to learn what her mother knew.
  9. Edward observed his potential protégé with great interest, noting how her determination never seemed to falter – how most people would have assumed their talents insufficient by now, or would have made up some excuse to try a different test. Instead, here she was, attempting to use magic, with a wand that should have told her she couldn’t cast. And, for but a moment, there was a spark in Edward’s eyes. It was there for but a split second, no more, no less. But, there was no denying that it was there, if anyone had actually managed to see it appear.

    “That’s enough,” Edward said, “You’ve done your part. I’ll confer judgement immediately.”
    The wand was placed back on the shelf, and he returned to looking to Ravena. However, this time, he stared her dead in the eyes – this was to be a serious undertaking. No corners could be cut, and he could not afford to appear nonchalant at such a time.

    “You could not light the candle. You could not even conjure a single ember. Yet, despite the fact that you were failing miserably, and despite the fact that there appeared to be no chance for you, you pressed on.”

    “And for, that, I hereby declare you my apprentice.”

    Edward allowed a moment or two for the information to sink in, before continuing. He had a few things to address before they got properly started – after all, he hadn’t expected to find such a promising student so quickly. “Magic is a tough subject to grasp, Miss Luscious. I’ve seen more potential students turn away from it than I have flies in a cesspit. Your little display has assured me somewhat of your determination. You WILL fail at casting spells, time and time again. You’ll mix the wrong ingredients into a potion. You’ll damage enchanted items. But so will everyone else practising magic. Now, look me dead in the eye, and assure me that you’re capable of being my apprentice.”