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Jonathan Augustus Black

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Chapter 1: Suits

My name is Jonathan Augustus Black, and I wear suits.   Though not the preferred dress of choice for your average 22 year old, I was taught by my father that people’s perception of you is your greatest advantage over them – you can cultivate that impression any way that you want.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t go around conning people into thinking that I’m something that I’m not – I come from a long line of noted suit wearers after all.  You see, I was born independently wealthy.  Mansions, Bentleys, you know, that sort of thing.  If you want me to be sorry about that or feel guilty about my luck in any way, you might as well stop reading now.  My ancestors slaved and worked hard to acquire a family fortune that’s been built on doggedly each generation, not squandered.    It’s the American dream, so stop complaining.  Families are always rising and falling in America, am I right?***

Now that I have that taken care of, and I know no one’s going to be bitching about my relative wealth and how easy I’ve had it, I’ll add that my parents died when I was 15, and that I don’t have any remaining relatives.  I’m not sure exactly what happened but it turns out that I’m the sole remaining survivor of the noble house of Black.  Yes, that’s right, I’m all alone.  So before those same bleeding hearts who were about to whine about me having everything start feeling sorry for me, everyone should know that my life has been really good.  I’ve had pretty much everything growing up – private Latin and Greek tutors, etiquette training, the works – even a butler, I might add.  I tried to get him to call me “Master Wayne” a few times but the surly old bastard had been around my family for far to long to take me seriously.  I went to prep school, I had lots of friends, and I just graduated from Georgetown where I majored in the Classics.  In fact, I just graduated from Georgetown, as in about 6 hours ago.  And now I find myself monologuing into the night while sipping on a glass of celebratory scotch.  I never really understood why I drink this stuff.  I’ve never liked the taste.

So that’s the rub of it, isn’t it?  People do things, even uncomfortable things, for absolutely no reason.  How many people really like the fiery taste of whiskey, or the smokiness of a scotch, but still drink it anyway for appearances?  How many of my friends just get funneled into a job or more school after college because “all top college grads either become lawyers, doctors, or bankers”?  Who spends the time to go out of their way to find something they truly like, instead of conforming to the standards that we feel we have to conform to?

Well, the right answer, of course, is ME.  I, Jonathan Augustus Black, am gainfully unemployed.  I’m the only person I know from Georgetown who didn’t have something lined up for after graduation, and I’m just fine with that.  I have absolutely zero future plans.  You may call me a bum, and I might just agree with you.  I’d like to say that I’m just taking the more “thoughtful approach” to living my life.

*****

“Oh, how predictable”, I muttered, thinking back to how glorious my night had been, and how quickly things had gone to the crapper, pardon my French.  I glanced behind me looking for a quick and graceful escape, but the smooth walls of the Metro station did very well in limiting my options.  Furthermore, the bulbous man in front of me seemed like a fellow who could handle himself, and his knife was another clear indication of my impending predicament.  Of course, no well bred gentleman like myself would be completely devoid of knowledge of the martial arts, but the fencing lessons my father had insisted that I keep up seemed to be glaringly impotent at the moment.  You’d think that an incident like this would be enough to convince me to stop wearing Armani suits everywhere, seeing how this stupidly large plunk of a man had let the commonly dressed citizens of DC pass unthreatened and had deliberately sought me out in particular, but then again I’m the stubborn type.

The man took another clomping step toward me. 

“I told you, gimme your wallet, and your watch, and I’ll let you go.” he said.

I considered him for a moment with an appraising eye, thinking about how I ought to handle the mess I found myself in.  On the plus side, he didn’t know about my necklace – a family heirloom which I’d rather die than part with.  Perhaps I should just turn over what he wanted and just be on my way.  But still… I really don’t appreciate being robbed.  Besides, a man of standing and honor doesn’t simply hand over his possessions, does he?  What would my illustrious father have done?  Well, besides never getting himself in this bloody situation, of course.  A frown formed on my face.  Furthermore, I may not be the brightest bulb in the tool shed, but I happen to value my watch, even in the face of mortal peril.  It’s gold, and it matches the color of my hair.  That’s a solid reason, right?

“What makes you think that I would yield my precious and most personal possessions over to you?” I asked with a sneer that I’d practiced for situations like this.  Black Family sneers are things that legends are written about.

“It’s clear that your imbicillic personal lifestyle choices and the inability to make rational decisions have led you to this uncouth and immoral practice of stripping legitimate citizens of their legally acquired valuables.  Why don’t you try asserting your inflated masculinity in a more productive and honorable manner, one that you yourself can be proud of?  This, in its most glorified form, is mere petty theft.”

Obviously, this is what I hoped would be the beginning of an expertly executed verbal evisceration of my foe, hopefully curtailing this mockery of a proper hold-up.   As I gathered my thoughts to continue my diatribe, the giant oaf cut me off.

“Yeah, well whatever, gimme it now.” he said as he quickly closed the distance on me.  At this point I remembered that my trademark “sneer” had never actually worked all that well to physically disarm my opponents, and my clever bon mots usually just got them madder.  Maybe I’m just better suited for the board room than the average holdup.  I briefly wondered why this was only occurring to me now, after years of getting my ass kicked.

He brought the knife towards me, and I fought for control of his arm, the pointy edge of his shiv glinting at me menacingly.  He grabbed at my neck and a finger looped inside of my fathers charm.  I felt the gold chain snap as we struggled.  For being a slightly wirey individual, I’m actually pretty strong, especially in life-threatening situations.  I managed to hold him off for maybe, oh… 3 seconds (but they were the kind where you count to Mississippi between each, so that’s actually pretty long) before he lifted me off my feet and shoved me into the wall behind me.

My head hit hard.  Very hard.  While I’d like to pretend that I countered with a witty riposte, or better yet, a stiff right hook, my only response was a low grunt.  The man, who I had by this time termed “Big Al” had, however, succeeded in getting me getting pissed off beyond all belief.  No one, and I mean no one, ignores my verbal assaults (or sneers for that matter) unpunished.

Though my feet were off the ground, and flailing about in a a decidedly ungraceful and unsuccessful attempt to do anything productive, my back was conveniently positioned flush against the wall I was being pinned against.  Still not seeing straight, really pissed, and now admittedly struggling for my life, I thrashed against him, pushing as hard as I could.  I believe what came next could be described as a thunderous “whooshing” sound, but that might not be the scientific name and all.

I collapsed to the ground in a crumpled heap, utterly exhausted, no longer really aware of what was going on.  I did get a fleeting glimpse of Al falling to the floor about 40 feet away, and I noticed that it seemed as though an immensely strong wind had just vacated the area, as the copies of the newspaper stacked nearby had flown right along with the body I somehow made into a projectile, and were now gently fluttering to the ground around him. 

With that, that infernal director decided to call a “fade to black”.

******

The good news is that I’m not currently a murderer.  Big Al wasn’t there when I woke up, and there didn’t seem to be any sign of him, which I took to be proof that he high-tailed it out of there at some point after I passed out.  Apparently he was just as weirded out about what happened as me, because he didn’t even bother to take anything off me when I was passed out.  I even managed to find the charm my father had given me when I was 12 lying on the ground under me. 

The bad news is that I woke up to a cop telling me to get moving, and to go easy on the drink.  Slowly, I managed to stiffly get up to my feet.  By my estimation, it was about 3AM and the Metro was closed for the night.  After muttering my apologies to the friendly neighborhood law enforcement official (who had probably been conveniently sucking down coffee and donuts at the local shop while I was being accosted), I wearily made my way home.

I did my best to straighten out my suit and tie, regaining some measure of my currently frail dignity, while noticing that the suit still seemed to be in pretty good condition.  Who says quality doesn’t mean anything?  The back of my head had a lump about the size of a golf ball, but besides that, the most glaring issue was some lack of feeling in my arms and hands.  I mean, I could feel – a little.  Nothing in my back hurt, so I didn’t think that I had injured my spine.  That was a noted relief.

I pondered the issue in silence as I plodded down the empty sidewalk Pentagon Row, the stars glistening in the August sky silently.  Every once in a while I’d prod my fingers against my face, seeing how much  feeling I had.  It appeared that I was slowly regaining the feeling to my extremities.  Joy.  On to other issues.

Obviously, I consider myself to be a fine physical specimen.  I’m just about six foot even, medium (though muscular) build, with light blond hair and granite colored eyes.  I’ve always thought that I had a slightly smaller than average nose, but then again people have also called me OCD, so I suppose it’s a toss up.  Most of these features are dominant Black family characteristics, as the Black men have almost always been true blond with gray eyes and a heavy set jaw.  But what I was attempting to get to before I fell into that egotistical rant was that I don’t think that I’m normally capable of tossing a large fat man 40 feet through the air, which I’m not at all ashamed of because I have absolutely zero resemblance to Andrea the Giant.  I’ve heard the stories of mothers lifting up cars and such to save their babies, but… One, I don’t have a baby, and Two… a fat dude 40 feet?  The force required for that must be immense (says the Classics major).

I took the elevator to the 11th floor and stumbled into my apartment.  Portraits of my ancestors adorned the crimson walls of my suite, with a large plasma TV centered in the living room.  The hard wood floors were covered in old oriental rugs that dampened the sounds of my downstairs neighbors and their over-zealous nocturnal activities.  Besides that, I tried to keep my apartment modest – I kept the expensive wines and scotch in a secluded walk-in closet in my bedroom, and the cigars were kept in a low key humidor, that was tastefully placed in my study, which was lined with stuffed book cases containing leather bound texts.  My study was my sanctuary.  While some people don’t appreciate the comfort of books, they have always been my refuge.  Over the past few months I had been doggedly translating a selection of Greek poems, mostly just for the pure entertainment value, but also because I wanted to publish it at some point.  Admittedly, I’m a weird one.

I stumbled over to my bed, and after carefully hanging up my suit, passed out yet again.

**************

I awoke the next morning to the blaring of “Stars and Boulevards” by Augustana, my emo/angsty ring tone that tells everyone that I’m in touch with my emotions.  Flailing an arm towards my nightstand where my iPhone charges, I succeeded in knocking it further out of reach.  Now the normal person would probably give up there.  If it’s important, they’ll leave a message right?  Well, for some reason, if I’m woken up by by that insufferable contraption, I’ll damn well talk to the person who dared to interrupt my sleep.  Plus, you never know, maybe it’s someone calling to tell you that you won a gazillion dollars.  Hey, it could happen.

“Hello?” I grumbled, still mostly asleep.
“Yes, Mr. Black, this is Hanna, the concierge.  I just wanted to let you know that you have just received a package.  Would you like me to send it up?”
“Sure, I guess, who’s it from?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Sir, there’s no name on it.”

Now that’s not something that happens every day.

“Thanks, Hanna, send it up please.”

I laid back down in bed, and put my hand over my eyes.  I felt a thump as something landed on my bed softly. 

“Hey Draco, still mad at me for coming home late last night?”, I asked knowingly, and slightly apologetically.

Cats are weird like that.  Obviously, I’m the one taking care of him, feeding, petting, grooming, etc, but somehow I still feel like he’s the one who owns me.  Then again, if you had someone who did absolutely everything for you, who would you say had the upper hand in the relationship?

Draco is the most beautiful cat in the world, according to everyone’s opinion that matters to him.  He’s a deep orange tabby, with yellow and green eyes, who was originally named Tony Soprano.  I’m not even making that up.  Furthermore, when he makes his mind up to be pissy, he can be incredibly fierce.  I decided that my little dragon simply needed a better name (because he’s clearly not a fat, middle-aged, Italian mobster) and Draco just seemed appropriate, considering the etymology.  Anyway, I’m pretty sure that he’s bi-polar, and he decides in an instant whether he loves you or hates you.  Once that decision is made, there’s no changing his mind.  A friend once brought two little yappy dogs over the apartment “to play”, and needless to say, those pups never came back. 

I absently stroked Draco’s back as he affectionately headbutted me.  Apparently, all was forgiven.

A knock at the door finally got me out of my bed and into some basketball shorts, with me tripping slightly as I tried to put them on en route to answer the door. 

“Good morning Mr. Black, here’s your package.”
“Thanks, Hanna.” I replied, taking the fairly heavy package from her.  It was about three feet wide and just as tall.  My guess is that it weighed 20 pounds.  As Hanna had stated, there was no return address.
“Have a good one, Hanna!” I called after her as I walked into my apartment.  I had a lot of respect for her.  She worked as a concierge at my complex during the day while putting herself through Mason law at night.  She’s the type of girl who’s going to make it.

I brought the package over to my coffee table and began to struggle to open it.  I was too lazy to go to the kitchen to get a knife, so I was left au natural – me versus the box.  After about 5 minutes of stupidity, I managed to force the cardboard apart.

It’s hard to describe what it was exactly that I found.  Objectively, it was a note, a few old textbooks, and something that looked like a stick.  What I felt, though, was something completely indescribable.  Sparkling is a visual phenomenon, but if that could be extended to the sense of touch, it might be pretty accurate as to what I felt when my hand first touched the books and stick.  It started at the moment and point of contact, and spread throughout my body in a warm, heady sensation.  It was overwhelming.  I fell to my knees in weakness, and the contents of the box fell dropped out of my hands and on to my coffee table, in a surprisingly elegant fashion. 

Draco, probably just to rub it in, hopped up onto the coffee table and when passing the stack of books, gracefully rubbed himself against them.

“Figures,” I grumbled, “the cat’s just fine.  What the hell is wrong with me?”

Deciding to start with the most innocuous thing I could find, I picked up the note.  It was a piece of parchment, folded in thirds, sealed with old style wax.  The emblem was the letter G, in an ornate, decorative style. I took a breath and opened the seal.  There was an audible pop, like something just released.

Immediately, my coffee table collapsed, as the stack of 3 books that came in the package expanded up and horizontally to the ceiling and the furthest wall, filling the area with archaic looking books.

“What the fuck!”, I shouted in shock, jumping to me feet and away from the books, stumbling over an unperturbed Draco.  I glanced around wildly looking for a weapon of some sort, thinking for some deranged reason that maybe the books were going to attack me.  I know, it sounds ludicrous, but to be fair, they had just replicated and moved on their own.  Something really freaking nuts was going on, that much I was positive of.  I waited for something else to happen for about 10 seconds – I could hear my own heart pounding, and I briefly wondered if I had defecated.  Apparently, I had not.  I had always had the perverse wonder as to what it would actually take in order for me to crap in my pants, but it would apparently take more that 3 books randomly expanding into hundreds.  Draco looked at me in disapproval over my overall reaction, as if I should have expected it or something.  After glancing suspiciously at the gigantic mass of books now occupying my living room (knocking over my plasma with little regard, might I add), I looked down at the note.

Dear Jonathan,

First off, these are your parent’s books, that we have been holding since their death.  I’m not sure why we ended up with them and not you.  My name is Sean Greyson, and my wife’s name is Cynthia.  We were very good friends of Richard and Julie, but the last time that we saw you was when you were about 5 years old – it was at the farm in North Brookfield when you were first learning how to ride a horse.  The horse you rode, Benny was originally ours (as our daughter also rides).  Your mother was concerned initially about a horse bucking you off and you getting hurt, so we gave Benny to your family, because we knew her to be extremely placid.  Anyway, there’s your backstory as to how we know you!

Secondly, we’ve been trying to return these items to you for a long time – since your parents passed, actually.  We’ve been trying to sense you for years, but it was as if you had disappeared.  All of a sudden, last night (while we were sleeping I might add), you suddenly popped back up.  So, here’s your stuff!

I must apologize for way the books expanded – that was my doing and mine alone.  Frankly, I just couldn’t help myself.  I’m positive that your father, wherever he is, was laughing at the scene that I’m sure occurred when the books expanded.  I hope there wasn’t much damage!  My wife is reprimanding me right now for being so childish, but I have a feeling that you’ll get me back in due course. 

All these books are now yours, as is the shyra.  If you have any questions about any of them, feel free to simply write on the back of this paper.  Cynthia charmed it to sense when you read it, so we are now aware that you are reading and will be able to read anything that you write back instantly.

I hope this letter finds you well!

Sean and Cynthia

Holding the letter in my hands, I furrowed my brow.  In the last 48 hours, I’d thrown a 300 pound man forty feet, and had hundreds of books magically appear in my living room.  Oh, and my plasma screen tv was ruined.  AND my coffee table.  Wait, did I say magic?

I picked up a pen and turned the note over.

Can you read this? I wrote in my 5th grade handwriting, feeling pretty stupid.  I mean, rationally, of course the only person who could see it would have to be in the room with me.

Yes, appeared a few seconds later, in an elegant script.

I glanced around.  Nope, no one here except Draco, who seemed to be looking at me with an amused glint in his eye.

How? I asked.

Um, magic?

Yeah… okay.

Why do you ask?

Wait, do you mean like… Harry Potter magic?

Well, yes.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

No… are you really unaware of magic?

Well, isn’t it a myth?

Then how are we talking right now? 

I blanched a little, trying to think of something. 

Probably through some sort of high tech piece of paper.  I’m sure Japan’s been using this for years.  We’re always a little behind in the States.

Okay, so that was pretty lame, but it was all I could come up with.  There was no response for a few moments.

Would you mind meeting us?  I think that we have much to talk about.  How about we meet for lunch.  Cynthia and I would be overjoyed to meet you.

I pondered this for a while.  They seemed nice, but “they” were talking to me through some sort of magic paper. 

I think that deep inside everyone, there’s a side that simply just wants to believe.  And I did.

Meet me at the Tortoise and the Hare, on 23rd Street.  When can you be there?

20 minutes?  Be sure to bring the shyra (you might think it’s just a stick).

Perfect.

I folded up the piece of paper and went to get dressed.  I chose a black three piece suit, and wore my Slytherin green tie.  I was able to slide the “shyra” into the deep coat pocket of my jacket fairly comfortably, and though it wasn’t as overpowering as before, it still was a little overwhelming when I picked it up.  I glanced at myself in the mirror as I brushed my hair.  I think my father would have approved.  If I’m going into some magical world, I’m going in style.

*********

I’ll freely admit that the walk to the T&H was probably the longest in my life, and I was beginning to think that the bump on the head last night was really messing with me.  I took out the piece of paper again, and noticed the area we had corresponded was blank.  Maybe I was just imagining all this stuff.  Either way, one thing was for certain; I needed a beer.

I took a seat at a back table, after telling the barman (who knew me very well) that if anyone asked for me to send them on over.

After a couple of minutes, a couple who looked in their late 30’s came in and went to the bar.  The man wore a light gray suit (how fitting), which fit well over his solid build.  He had brown hair, that was just starting to turn.  The woman was attractive with red hair, wearing a bright sun dress.  I had a feeling that these were my mysterious couple.  They looked disappointed at first after talking with the barman, but after looking in my direction their face brightened and they walked over to me.

“The barman said that he didn’t know you, but I can tell a Black when I see one.  I’m Sean, and this is Cynthia.”  The man smiled and held his hand out to shake.

I stood as I shook his extended hand, somewhat confused as to why the barman said I wasn’t there.

“Please, have a seat”, I said, remembering my manners.  “I’m sorry the barman said I wasn’t here, I explicitly told him to send you over if you asked for me by name.”

Sean furrowed his bushy eyebrows at me.

“That is peculiar”, he mused. 

“Tell me,” he said, “and this is going waay out on a limb, but is there any chance that you just recently stopped wearing a trinket of some sort?  Most likely given to you by your parents?”

I stood up sharply.  “What do you know about that.”  I demanded.

“Easy, easy”, Sean said, holding his hands up and looking quickly at his wife for help. “I’m just conjecturing.  I have reason to believe that it may have been spelled.  Remember how I told you that all of a sudden you showed up to us, after years of being missing?”  I nodded.  “Well, one possible reason is that you stopped wearing a charm that was hiding you.  They aren’t uncommon, especially these days.  Secondly, if it was hiding you magically, it might have been hiding you in another manner as well.”

He looked at me thoughtfully.  Cynthia spoke up.

“I think there’s an easy way to find out.  Jonathan, would you mind humoring me for a moment?”  She gave me a dazzling smile that men simply just don’tsay no to.  She told me her plan.

Sighing, and feeling ridiculous, I walked up to the barman.

“Hey Joe, this is going to sound random, but could you just tell me my name real quick?”

He looked at me funny for a moment, then shrugged.

“Sure, you’re name is David MacKenzie.”

My mouth did a pretty good job of making it’s way to the floor.

“Th-Th-Thanks Joe.”  I walked away shakily.  I think I walked away shakily for two reasons.  One, my favorite bartender thought my name was something other than Jonathan Black, and two, Black’s never stutter.  Well, until now.

I sat back down with a thud.  I looked at them in surrender.

Sean and Cynthia returned my gaze with veiled pity.

“There’s so much to tell you, Jon, and I’m not sure how much of it you’ll actually believe.” said Sean.

“I think that it’s one of those things that you need to experience – it’s the only way.” Cynthia added.

I nodded dumbly at them.  I’ll confess, I’m the kind of guy who likes to be in control.  You know, maybe it’s not so much not being control that was getting me, it was rather the fact that there was clearly a bigger situation here that I was completely blind to.  I’ll resign myself to a fate if that’s what’s in the cards, but I at least want to know what hand I have.

“Then show me.  Tell me everything.”  I stated.

Cynthia and Sean exchanged a meaningful glance.  Sean reached into his pocket and pulled out a heavy gold ring, with an ornate “B” engraved on the top in red and green.  He held it out to me.

“Put this on,” he said, “it’ll disappear as soon as you put it on, but it’s required for where we’re about to go.  And by the way, it was your fathers.”

I slid it on my pinkey finger.  I guessed that it was a signet ring, used for the type of seal that I had noticed on the note the Greyson’s had sent me.  Like Sean said, it slowly faded away over about five seconds until you could not longer see it on my hand.  I looked up to Sean questioningly.

Sean reached out and took my hand in his and closed his eyes.  He muttered something under his breath, and instantaneously I felt the same “pop” that I had felt with the envelope, except this time it seemed like I was inside the pop.  

Sean looked at me expectantly as Cynthia ran to get a trash can.  I noticed that I was most certainly not at the T&H anymore, but rather standing in a large open room, with various oddities lining the walls.  On one side of me was a large selection of walking sticks, and on the other was a large selections of cloaks hanging off of hooks on the walls.  Cynthia returned and held held the bucket in front of me.  I looked at it suspiciously.  Was this some sort of magic bucket?  Was something going to come out of it?  I was guessing it would be a rabbit of some sort.

“Um, Jon, are you alright?” asked Cynthia.

I looked at her somewhat puzzled.

“I think so, why?”  I nervously, checked my limbs making sure I was in one piece.

“You mean you’re not nauseous?  Not at all queasy?”

I paused, trying to detect some kind of disturbance in my stomach.  Feeling like I had let them down in some way, I looked at the floor and shifted from foot to foot and said,

“Um, no.  I feel just fine, sorry.”

I coughed nervously, and looked around awkwardly.  Maybe I could induce myself to throw up somehow without them seeing.

“Well that’s a first.”  Sean said with a laugh.  “I don’t think anyone’s ever not gotten sick after their first transport.  I’m impressed.”

I gave him a shaky smile.

“Okay, so, to business.  Let’s experience some magic shall we?”  He gave me an enthusiastic grin, and waggled his eyebrows.  “So your basic flash-bang magic, shall we?  Why don’t you stand over there with Cynthia.”  Out of his jacket pocket, he whipped out his “stick”.  He didn’t have to tell me twice, as I gladly put some distance between myself and Sean.

“Ignotis!” he shouted, and a horizontal pillar of fire a few feet in diameter billowed from his stick and incinerated a large fifteen foot block of wood about sixty feet away.

I admit it.  I think at that point I might have defecated a little.  Just a little, I swear.  At least that mystery’s solved, right?

“Well, that was impressive.”  I said with a noticeable tremor in my voice.

“Indeed, but now watch his.”  He flicked his fingers and a new box appeared.  He nodded to Cynthia.  She moved her hands in a circular motion, eyes closed in concentration, mouthing words soundlessly to herself.  She glanced up, satisfied, a small smile on her face.

“Ignotis!” Sean shouted, brandishing his wand towards the box again.  Instead of being incinerated by the heat, this time the flames were seemingly absorbed by the box.  Sean glanced over to Cynthia questioningly.

“Wait for it…” Cynthia drawled, a smug smile forming.

With a rush the flame pillar exploded out of the box back towards Sean.  He dove out of the way and landed in a roll.  The pillar hit the wall behind us and harmlessly dissipated. 

“You saucy wench… that’s just outright devious!” Sean exclaimed delightedly, looking at his wife almost like he was getting turned on.  “They’ll think it’s just a harmless shield charm, not a reflecting spell.  They’ll let their guard down after it doesn’t reflect initially.  Did you control the release time as well?”

“I might have.”  She coyly giggled, and looked at her husband suggestively.

There was an awkward silence as the two of them mentally undressed each other.

“Right, so.  Basically, there’s a defensive counter measure to a lot of, um… spells?  Is that the right word?” I asked.

“Sure.  Spell works.  So, are officially a believer now?” Sean questioned, smiling playfully.

“Well, I am until I wake up from this dream.  But for now, I can’t exactly just ignore what I’m seeing.  Plus, I think this explains what happened to me last night.”  I said.

“Wait, so what happened to you last night?” Asked Cynthia with a worried expression.

“Well, some gigantic vagabond tried mugging me, and… well I was on the losing end of it until I somehow turned him into a missile and launched him across the room.  He must have gone 40 feet before he hit the ground.  That was when the necklace my father gave me broke, by the way.”  They both exchanged glances.  I plowed on, determined.

“It seemed like a huge gust of wind had come out of me and just launched him.  I don’t know what to tell you.”

“Actually, that kind of makes sense, Cynthia.  Was that after the chain broke?”  Sean asked.

“Yup, right after.” I replied.

“Well, that’s probably what woke us up.  And you’ve never used magic before?”

“No, I had no idea it existed, or that my parents were part of that world.”

“So you launched him without knowing the name of the spell?” concluded Cynthia.

“I didn’t know there even was a spell at the time.  I was just trying to defend myself.  My arms and hands were pretty numb for a bit after that.”

“Jesus, he didn’t even use a shyra, did he Sean…” Cynthia asked her husband, with a small tremor in her voice.

“Jon, why don’t you take your shyra out, and we can try some real basic stuff, shall we?”

For the first time, I truly looked at the piece of wood that I had taken out of my jacket pocket.  It wasn’t actually completely wood.  It was more of a composite of materials.  The actual length of it seemed to be a finely polished, deeply stained wood – bordering on black, that narrowed towards one end.  Extremely fine, intricate engravings were finely carved into the wood itself.  The engravings seemed to be custom, as there were several ornate “B”‘s depicted, as well as the motif of a lion and a rose being predominant.  It was exquisite.  At the narrow end, instead of the wood rounding around, there was an extremely well cut jewel – a black diamond.  The shyra as a whole seemed a bit lighter than it should have been, so I posed the question to Jon.

“Is this hollow?” I asked.

“That’s correct.”  he beamed at me.  “See, what you did before was you somehow, without knowing the name of the spell, managed to manipulate enough air with your innate magic to throw this guy across a room.  The advantage of the shyra is that you only have to manipulate the matter contained inside of it.  It’s like a microcosm of our world.  You manipulate the matter inside, and through the special construction and unique focus of the shyra, it’s reflected through your direction.  Still, the more power you put into it, the more powerful the manifestation of it will be when it leaves the shyra.  Honestly, I can’t wait to see what you can do with this.  A lot of us can only do what you did with the aid of the shyra and the name of the spell.”  He paused, and lowered his voice.  “Frankly, what you did is pretty unheard of.  I can think of only a handful of people who could pull that off.”

I wasn’t sure exactly how I was supposed to take that.  I felt slightly embarrassed, but mostly just awkward.  Being told you’re good at something you have no clue about – hell a whole world you have no clue about.

“So, um, how do I go about doing this.  Can we do the wind one again?  What’s the name of the spell?”  I asked, rapid fire.

“Easy there.  You really are just like your father.” he laughed.  “But anyway, it’s pretty difficult to explain.  First you just have to have the innate ability to do this.  Not everyone can.  You’ve proven that you’re one of the select that can wield a shyra already, so don’t worry about that.  Secondly, you have to treat the shyra as an extension of you.  It should literally feel like a body part.”  That part seemed easy.  It had felt that way since I first picked it up.  “Lastly, mental focus is required.  It’s not as simple as pointing a stick and saying a word.  Your magic will react to your wishes.  You command it.  When you knocked that guy across the room, I imagine that your sole wish  at that moment was simply just to get him away from you.  What resulted was an impression manifestation of that wish, but I think it just as easily could have been fire or water that reacted.  If you focus more specifically, I think you’ll have a more refined result.”

Uhuh.  So… focus.  And be careful of my emotions.  I could have fried that guy, I guess.

“The incantation for calling the wind is ‘aeol’.  I’d recommend focusing like your putting pressure against a barrier with your concentration, and then just when you think you’re at your max concentration, say the word.  It kind of works as a release.” Cynthia added.  She gave me an encouraging nod.

“Just the latin?  Isn’t that kind of… I don’t know, obvious?”  I questioned, incredulously.

“Most things are, Jon.  And I’m glad you have some knowledge there.  It’ll help things along.” replied Sean.

With another flick of his fingers, Sean conjured a humanish looking test dummy about 40 feet away from us.  It was bolted to the floor.  Cynthia gave Sean a skeptical look.  Sean shrugged.  They both walked over beside me.

“So do I have to focus on the area inside the shyra, or just on the outcome?” I asked, starting to get more nervous.

“It’ll be trial and error.  I’ve heard of different methods working for different people.  We have plenty of time, just try to find something that works for you.” said Sean.

I held up the “stick”, as I had originally referred to it, and took a deep breath.

I closed my eyes and focused on projecting a gust of air at the test dummy as hard as I could.  I pushed my concentration to it’s limit, the with a shout yelled “Aeol!”

The rush of release was impressively loud.  I heard a loud clanking and two surprised yelps that followed shortly after.  I opened my eyes.  The clanking sound was of the test dummy hitting the far end of the room, carrying along with it a section of floor that it had been bolted to it.  The yelps came from Sean and Cynthia.  They were both lying on the floor in front of me.

“Well, I don’t get it,” Sean said, getting to his feet, “it was like we were pushed from behind or something.  We both just fell on our faces and were drug a few feet forward and towards the path of your wind.”

“I think it had something to do with a vacuum or something.” said Cynthia.  “All that air just left there creating a pressure difference – nature doesn’t like vacuums so air was pulled to fill it.  We were kind of pulled along.”  She finished.

“Ah, of course.” said Sean.

They both looked over the test dummy, smashed to pieces and in a pile over against the far wall.

“Well then,” Sean said happily, “I guess you’ve figured out wind eh?  The secret for you now will be to be able to do that at a moments notice, and while there are distractions.”

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Written by DMN

August 11, 2008 at 10:33 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Yes… The writing must continue… More story!

    – T. Ohhe

    Tom

    August 12, 2008 at 10:17 pm

  2. Yes, more please! (that’s what she said, hahahaha)

    Also, this leaves me wondering what you and Draco are up to when I’m not around. 🙂

    Samantha

    August 13, 2008 at 6:08 pm


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