Lanis, who is now Journeyman Mage Drake, has a student thrust upon her by Master Mage Lenden, and he chose the student for Drake. Today they begin working together.
Episode 009, ‘What is a Cantrip?’
By Rusty Knight
Previously in episode 008, ‘Reining’:
Lenden took Drake to Tamel’s Cartwright to purchase a horse. The two through some trial a discussion found a horse and tack. They returned to Lenden’s, where Lenden broke the news to Drake that she is to be a master to a student.
And now we continue in episode 009, ‘What is a Cantrip?’
Spring 15 Bear
Gods-rise is a short time away as Drake sets the morning meal on the table. She thinks, ‘I have to teach Melinda and I am just learning my journeyman skills. Maybe this is Lenden’s way of teaching me those skills? It may be harsh for Melinda. I’m getting deeper in debt to Lenden. I must owe near a thousand Flairs now. I never thought I would ever have ten Flairs at once to spend. But I have over forty in my coin pouch, the remains from buying the horse as well as getting Melinda, after using Lenden’s allowance of one-hundred Flairs each time. How? Why is he doing this? What do I teach Melinda?’ Drake sets the bowl of scrambled duck eggs on the table for the three of them to enjoy, then she sits down, joining Lenden and Melinda at the table.
Lenden clears his throat and says in a harsh manner. “So what are Melinda’s duties? Or are you going to continue to do all the work and she reaps the benefits?”
Melinda pales and looks down at the table.
Drake’s face reddens as she blushes. She answers, “I was thinking, after studies, Melinda can do the housecleaning and laundry. I’ll continue with cooking and stables. We can alternate the livestock chores and errands.”
Lenden observes Melinda squirming in her seat, and he nods, “I think that will work. Have you set fees?”
Drake nods and answers. “She owes me her apprenticeship fee of one-hundred Flairs, but earns one-duster per day here.”
Lenden swallows the milk he was drinking. “Okay, you have that worked out. Scheduling?”
Drake pauses briefly while watching Melinda. She responds to Lenden. “I am thinking we continue with my working with you, then I work on my projects, then in the afternoon I teach Melinda. Then if I have time, I will study in the library.”
Lenden shakes his head negatively. “No, you study your projects first, then teach, then either work with me if I’m working on something, or study in the library. You end the day working on chores and errands.”
Melinda and Drake glance at each other, then at Lenden and nod in agreement.
After morning meal, Drake leaves the meal for Melinda to clean up and heads to the laboratory to work on studying her ‘levitate’ spell for three hours.
After she exhausts her mind studying, Drake searches the house looking for Melinda. She finds her washing floors in Lenden’s study on the ground level.
“Are you ready to learn what it takes to be a mage, Melinda?” asks Drake.
Melinda wipes up the wash water quickly, and then standing answers. “Yes, I’m ready.”
They put away the equipment and walk to the laboratory and Drake’s area.
Drake stands to demonstrate for Melinda. “Okay, face west with your feet firmly planted flat on the floor, shoulder width apart. Stretch your arms out directly out to your sides at shoulder height.”
She watches to make sure Melinda follows directions. Once Melinda is set, Drake continues. She instructs, “With your right hand fully open, fingers together, place your palm up. Your left hand fully open, fingers together, but palm down. Stand still.”
Drake counts silently to twenty. Then she asks, “What do you feel?”
Melinda hesitates, and then answers in a firm tone. “My right palm in cold and my left palm is warm, and I’m feeling kind of lightheaded.”
Drake sits down on her chair and tells Melinda. “You may sit. That which you feel is the powers that flow around us. You will learn to use that to power your magic, to focus that and harness it into events and items of power. That is the true power of magic.”
Melinda sits after shaking out her arms. She says, “So power flows around us all the time? We only need to learn to focus and harness it?”
Drake nods. She continues, “Yes. For novices who are learning apprenticeship, you learn basic powers called cantrips – miracles in themselves really. But this is minor, compared to what you can learn to do if you keep studying. To learn a basic cantrip for someone of sufficient intelligence should take about an hour, then they can continue to practice it to master it.”
Drake sits a mug on the table in front of her. “Feel the mug.”
Melinda feels the mug and examines it, then sits back.
Drake utters, “Hearth” warming the mug to the temperature of hot tea.
Drake points to the mug. “Okay, check it again.”
Melinda reaches out, discovering the now hot mug. She excitedly replies. “Its hot, with just you saying one word.”
Drake says, “Wait here, I’ll be right back.” Drake walks down to her room fetching her tome of cantrips. She returns to the laboratory and Melinda.
Opening the tome to the cantrip of ‘warm’, Drake tells Melinda. “Each mage uses a language of script to record their spells as they develop them. So, they can study and memorize the spell for use when they want to cast the spell. Now, its not standardized so you need to learn the script you are studying from. But, basically, they all have similar elements. You can start by studying this cantrip called ‘warm’. I base my script on jalnoric script, so you should find it not too hard to decipher. Use this table and I will give you two sheets of parchment to copy your notes onto. The parchment costs you two Flairs each. If you want more, they will be five Flairs each as a standard price.”
Melinda stares blankly at the tome for a few moments, barely having heard Drake.
Then Melinda asks. “Did you say Flairs per sheet? I can’t afford that.”
Drake smiles, “Then it looks like you will be doing extra work to earn more coins, doesn’t it?”
Drake sits in her seat to help Melinda, setting the inkwell and quill in easy reach with the two sheets of parchment.
Together, they begin the instruction on the ‘warm’ cantrip.
After an hour, Melinda has a scribed a copy of her own ‘warm’ cantrip.
Drakes says, “Okay, study it and memorize it. Let’s see if you’ve learned the cantrip.”
Melinda spends ten minutes putting the cantrip to memory, and then she looks away and says, “I think I’m ready.”
Drake moves the mug in front of Melinda. “Okay, give it a try.”
Melinda focuses, then says, “Hearth.”
Drake touches the mug and frowns, withdrawing her hand.
Disappointed, looking down, Melinda reaches out. Touching the mug, her eyes light up and she straightens, shouting, “It worked! It worked!”
She squeezes Drake in a hug and Drake laughs.
Drake responds to Melinda. “I think we can make you into a mage, after all.”
Settling back, Melinda asks, “What now?”
Drake’s expression, becoming cold once again with straight lips and squinting eyes, replies. “Now a test. You try on your own. Choose a cantrip from my tome: study it, learn it successfully.”
Melinda pales again as she peers into Drake’s eyes and says, “You’re not serious? On my own?”
Drake shrugs and responds. “If you want to be a mage, yes.”
Drake turns the tome facing Melinda.
Melinda turns through the pages randomly and stops on a page, hesitating. She says softly. “This one?”
To be continued …
In the next episode 010, ‘Spell This!’
In the next episode, Melinda studies another cantrip, ‘Scratch’, and Drake studies ‘Levitate’, while Lenden has plans for everyone.
© 2016 Rusty Knight with Inevitable Unicorn Press
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