First week of Year 6
“Kwxe is not a toy.” Luke glared. Shahin smiled back placidly.
“Kwxe is not a toy,” she agreed. “It’s a tool, like any Word. And sir, I want to use it more effectively.”
“Harrumph. And your Mentor —”
“Is not the expert in Kwxe.” She was too calm. She was absolutely steady. And she knew he didn’t like this and, damn her, she knew he didn’t have a reason to say no.
“You don’t need it to win challenges,” he sniped.
She didn’t flinch. He wasn’t sure she’d flinched when the Dragon had her.
“No, sir. Not the challenge I’ve already won, at least. But I can see the future — flashes of it. Snippets. And I’m going to need to be better than what my father named me to help people.”
“Help people?” He lifted his eyebrows.
Now she looked the slightest bit uncomfortable. She shifted her position and glared up at him. “Yes. Help people. Will you teach me?”
“Let’s see what you’ve got,” he conceded.
Second week of Magic Classes Year 6, Monday
“Kwxe.” Luke paced in front of the students — the second batch this year. It might not be their best word, but it was going to roll off their tongues warmly. “Say it back to me.”
“Kwxe.” Two students repeated it cautiously. Luke watched their faces. There ought to be — yes, they had lit up. The word spoke to them.
“Good. Now. Meentik Kwxe.” He held out his hand and let a small flame light above it. “This is Kwxe, but it’s one tiny bit of kwxe. And that’s what you’re going to have to learn. Kwxe is force. All right. What verbs — Manifestations — do you all like the most?”
Abaddon spoke up first. He looked uncomfortable in his skin, uncomfortable in his collar, and his voice was rough. “Tempero.”
“Good one.” Luke set his flame down on a small bowl of oil he brought out for this class. “Okay. Workings — you can think of them as spells — they go like this. Verb — Manifestation. Domain — Noun. Then a greek letter for power level. Do not go over Gamma. Do not. You can burn yourself out that way. You can kill yourself that way. And then you want some Greek to describe what you want to do.” He flipped over his chalkboard. There were a handful of greek words written there,, both in greek letters and phonetic english spellings. “Learn more Greek. You never know when you’re gonna need the word for forsythia, and the more specific you are, the better it works.”
“Why Greek?” Nessie leaned forward, peering at the list. “Why not Latin or Sumerian or—”
“Because the Old Gods deemed it so. All right. Abaddon. I want you to move the flame away from you.”
“Away. O—” the boy cleared his throat. “Okay. Tempero, uh, Kwxe alpha? μακριά.”
The fire hopped out of the bowl and shot across the room away from Abaddon.
“Abatu Kwxe.” Luke waved his hand at the flame before it could scorch his gym floor. “Good. Good. That’s a very strong combination for you. Visualize very clearly what you want. Right. Nessie.”
Six weeks into Year 6
“Do you really think you can hold up a force shield while shooting fireballs?” Luke paced around Shahin. “That’s rather high-level Working.”
She was petite — shorter than him, thin, pale, and delicate-looking. Luke knew better than most how little that meant when it came to Ellehemaei, and yet it was easy to underestimate her. Easier still to remember what she’d looked like when her father had lifted her out of the back of his car, unconscious and bloody.
If he was being honest with himself, that was why Luke had agreed to teach her.
“If it’s too high level, then Dr. Caitrin will be scolding me for a while.” She quirked an eyebrow at him. “Unless you were going to be sending kill shots at me.”
He snorted. “I don’t send kill shots at second-year students. All right.” He pulled up a Force Working to give himself a shield and let it take on a bit of color so that Shahin could see what she was aiming at. “Ready?”
Her posture was lazy, her smile was languid, and her gloved hands were loose at her sides. She looked like she might, if anything, be about to aim a pointed insult at him. “Ready.”
“Go.” He gave her to the count of five while she murmured out Workings — not loud enough for him to make out clearly, almost conversational in tone — and then began flinging force-bolts at her.
She lifted one hand up between them, the other hand casually flicking in his direction. His force-bolts vanished into her shield as a fireball flew right into his shield.
Flames licked up around the edges of his shield, threatening his hair. Luke found himself grinning as he readied his next attack.