The Next Step 8-01

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“Miss Chambers!” The loud voice of Professor Carfried filled the auditorium-like Introduction to Heretical Magic classroom a few days later. “Without consulting your book or any of your peers, can you tell me what the three primary categories of the energy used to create Heretical Magic are?”

The energy used to create Heretical Magic. I knew this one. Considering how much extra time I had for studying in the middle of the night while most people were sleeping, it would have been pretty bad if I didn’t. “Yes, sir, it’s uhh, Shapeless, Directed, and Forged.” I recited the names without looking away.

The young teacher, who was still filling in for Professor Tangle (seriously, how badly had she been injured in that giant shark attack?), gave me a broad smile. “Indeed! Shapeless, Directed, and Forged.” Turning his attention away from me and toward Rudolph across the room, he asked, “Mr. Parsons!”

Jolting in his seat, the pale, slightly chubby boy’s eyes widened. “Uhh, yes, sir?” A slightly guilty look crossed his face, and it was obvious that whatever he’d been doing, paying attention wasn’t part of it.

“Honestly, Mr. Parsons,” Professor Carfried shook his head. “I could walk into any Bystander classroom in the world, ask who wants to learn some real magic, and do you think they’d be bored?”

Flushing visibly, the boy sank a little in his seat before shaking his head. “No, sir. I mean, I’m sorry.”

“The three categories of magic,” Professor Carfried pressed on after nodding his acceptance of the apology. “Shapeless, Directed, and Forged. I want you to tell me which one we’re learning this year.”

“Oh, uh, right.” Rudolph seemed obviously uncomfortable, but slowly answered. “Um, the magic you’re teaching us right now is Forged. The second years learn Directed magic, and the third years learn Shapeless magic. Seniors, umm, they pretty much know it all by then and just sort of use every kind.”

“Yes, because seniors are essentially active Heretics by that point, and are far more involved in field work than classroom study,” Professor Carfried agreed before turning his attention to someone else again. Koren this time. “Miss Fellows. What exactly are the differences between the three categories?”

The brunette was obviously ready for the question. She promptly replied, “Forged magic is the easiest kind. They’re the spells where you say the exact same specific, established word everyone else does, make the same established gesture everyone else does, and end up with the same established effect.”

Carfried gave a short, pleased nod. “Precisely! Forged Magic, in this case, is like a dog. You teach the dog a trick, and from then on, if it hears the command, it does the trick. Speak the command, add the power, the magic performs the enchantment. Very good. Now, what about the other two categories?” When Koren started to answer, he shook his head. “Actually, let’s hear from… Mr. Levin.” His gaze moved to Zeke. “Since we’ve heard about Forged magic, can you tell us what Directed magic is?”

The boy gave a thin, humorless smile. Which wasn’t anything new. I was pretty sure I hadn’t seen the guy act amused or even happy about anything all semester. “Yes, Professor. Directed magic is not quite as open as Shapeless magic, yet it is still more free than Forged. Essentially, a Directed Spell is simply a category of effect. For example, the spell you taught us that turns rocks into flash-bang grenades is Forged magic. The exact same effect every time you cast it. But if you were to alter that effect, such as… for example, making the rock recite the Gettysburg Address while throwing around strobe lights, that would be a Directed spell. You are taking a Forged spell and altering it for your own purposes.”

“A good answer, Mr. Levin, thank you.” Professor Carfried looked around the room one more time, clearly choosing carefully before his eyes settled on Shiori. “Miss Porter, what is the final category?”

Poor Shiori, who looked even paler than the last time I’d seen her, wasn’t looking at the man. Her gaze was fixed elsewhere, and I could see her lips moving a little as if she was mouthing words to herself.

When it was obvious that no answer was coming, Professor Carfried raised his voice. “Miss Porter!”

The response was instantaneous. Shiori bolted to her feet. Her hands caught hold of the table that her team was seated behind, and she gave it a hard shove that sent the table crashing onto its side loudly. Her voice was raised into a near shriek. “Shut up! Just shut up and leave me alone, leave me alone!”

Only then did Shiori seem to realize where she was and what was going on. Her eyes flicked around the room, and I saw the dawning comprehension and horror on her face. “I—I–I mean…” Tears sprang up.

Mutters had broken out all over the room, and Columbus was already on his feet, but Professor Carfried held a hand up, his voice commanding. “Silence, or detention.” The muttering stopped, and he stepped over to where Shiori was. His voice softened. “Miss Porter, can you look at me, please?”

Clearly reluctantly, Shiori slowly lifted her gaze to the man. I could see her trembling openly. When she spoke, her voice was hesitant and clearly emotional. “I’m sorry, sir. I shouldn’t have yelled at you.”

“Everyone makes mistakes,” Professor Carfried’s voice was calm and soothing. “We’re asking a lot of all of you, and if it wasn’t too much sometimes, you wouldn’t be human. Believe me when I say that I have been exactly where you are. You aren’t the first student to yell at a teacher because you were stressed out and you won’t be the last. So take a couple of breaths. Are you all right now?”

Breathing in and then out, Shiori gave a slight, unconvincing nod. She didn’t speak or move otherwise.

“All right, let’s have a little chat in the hall.” Carfried set a hand on her shoulder. “It’s okay, you are not in that much trouble. As I said, we understand. But I’d still like to talk to you in the hallway.”

The two of them stepped out of the room, while Shiori’s male teammates Stephen and Gavin moved to pick up the table she had knocked over, replacing it back where it had been. They’d just maneuvered the thing into place when Zeke, seated across the way, twirled his finger by his head. “Cuckoo, cuckoo.”

“Hey!” Columbus was back on his feet and halfway around the table in what had to be record time. His hand pointed toward the Heretic-born boy. “You’re gonna want to shut up, right fucking now, Zeke.”

Clearly unimpressed, the other boy shrugged dismissively. “Hey, if she can’t handle the stress, maybe she should just go back home. Maybe get an easier job. I bet she’d fit right in at a laundromat.”

Sean leapt up, hooking an arm around Columbus. “He’s not worth it, man.” He kept his voice low and controlled, easily stopping the other boy from lunging across the room at the jerk. “He’s just an ass.”

“At least I can do the job we were brought here to do,” Zeke retorted derisively. “I don’t freak out like some people.”

Next to me, Sands was already starting to stand up, and I could see Avalon opening her mouth.Before either of them could say anything, however, the boy was interrupted by a sharp, scree-noise as Sovereign, Aylen’s metallic bird, flew across the room to land on the table in front of Zeke. As the boy jerked backward, the bird made a loud, angry noise, puffing itself up to look larger while several metallic ‘feathers’ pointed outward, their sharp ends looking an awful lot like daggers.

“Get this piece of shit away from me, damn it!” Zeke demanded, bolting to his feet.

Aylen was frowning at him. “Then stop pissing him off.”

“Fuck you,” Zeke retorted, his eyes locked on the mechanical bird. “I’m just telling the truth. Some people can’t handle the stuff going on here. Your wuss of a teammate obviously doesn’t belong here.”

That brought the rest of Shiori’s team to their feet, their anger obvious. But the person who actually spoke up was still a surprise.

“Oh my god, would you shut the fuck up?” Koren. It was Koren talking. “They’re teaching us how to hunt and kill monsters. Real monsters, the kind that eat people. If that doesn’t mess you up at least a little bit, if that doesn’t make you wanna freak out, then you’re the one with the problem. Not her.”

The fact that it was Koren of all people saying it seemed to surprise everyone into silence for a few seconds, and I thought about the reaction she’d had when we were examining the murder at that gas station (Ammon’s work, I reminded myself. That much had been clear after I spoke to Asenath about what had actually made her start tracking the little psychopath). She’d been pretty messed up by the sight of what happened there. Even if she tended to talk without thinking about what she was saying, and more times than not came off as a gossiping bitch, apparently even she had her layers and limits.

The door opened again before anyone else could say anything, and Mr. Carfried stepped back inside. His gaze took in everyone in the room before he directed his attention to Columbus. “Mr. Porter, would you mind escorting your sister up to the counselor’s office? I think she could use a chat with Mr. Roe.”

Columbus reached down to grab his bag, then stepped over to take Shiori’s too, as Aylen held it out to him. Then he gave the rest of us a quick look before heading out into the hall where I could see Shiori sitting down against the wall with her face buried in her hands. She still didn’t look very good.

“All right,” Professor Carfried began once the door was closed. “We’ll be moving on now, and if I hear about anyone saying a word against Miss Porter, you’ll have detention every Saturday for a month.” Looking toward Zeke, he added, “Mr. Levin, since I hadn’t actually stated that rule yet before leaving the room, we’ll only make it two weeks, starting tomorrow. You still should have known better.” As Zeke’s mouth fell open to protest, the professor pushed on, ignoring him. “One more time then. Where were we… oh yes, let’s see… Miss Moon, explain the last category of magic, if you would?”

“Yes, sir.” Vanessa answered promptly. “The last category of magic is Shapeless. Those are enchantments that are made up on the spot. The Heretic determines the effect they want, and imbues the item with that effect without using any previously designed spell. Shapeless magic is the most powerful kind, and the most prone to mistakes and backfiring. Only the best spellcasters, usually in the Development track, use Shapeless magic regularly. Most get by using Directed and Forged spells. A Shapeless spell can become Directed and then Forged after being cast the same way often enough.”

“Excellent,” Professor Carfried smiled then. “Now then, with that in mind, let’s chat about the next spell we’re going to be learning. A long time ago it was called the Cloth of Steel spell. But when I was in school… which, to be fair, was about a year ago, we called it the Kevlar spell. You will learn to enchant your clothing with a temporary spell that will allow them to resist most bullet impacts.

“So, let’s get started.”

******

Later that afternoon, after our final class of the day, I was on my way to Mr. Roe’s office. It was time for my own weekly visit to the school therapist, which was supposed to continue for at least for a couple of months. The school staff wanted to make sure that I was getting past what happened back home (or at least, what they knew of it). Sean and Columbus were walking alongside me. Vulcan, of course, was trotting a little bit ahead of us, his mechanical head twisting eagerly this way and that.

“How’s she doing?” I asked the dark-skinned boy, glancing toward him.

Columbus’s response was a long, heavy sigh. “I don’t know. She said she was just tired. I know she’s not sleeping much, but she won’t talk about what’s wrong. I… I don’t know what to do. Part of me wants to sit her down and make her talk to me, but I’m afraid that’ll just make her clam up more. But it’s obvious that this isn’t working, so…” Gesturing vaguely, he shook his head. “Damn it, I don’t know.”

Biting my lip, I offered, “Maybe try making it clear that you’re not going to just let it go, but let her tell it on her own time? Be there for her, show her that you’re there and you’re not leaving, but you’re also going to let her talk when she’s ready to. Try just… doing other things with her. Spend time with her. Be around her. Show her that she’s not alone without outright demanding answers. I mean, maybe that’s the wrong advice, I’m not an expert. But you know, it’s the best I can think of.”

Sean agreed, and the three of us continued on for a few minutes before the other boy changed the subject. “So I think it’s safe to say that Deveron’s roommate doesn’t know a damn thing about what’s up with him,” Sean reported, keeping his voice low as we passed by a couple of senior students in the hall.

I glanced sidelong toward him. “I take it you gave him a, ahh, thorough interrogation?” Try as I might, I couldn’t help the little smirk that came along with the words. Which, of course, was followed by a blush as my brain caught up with what I was implying and transferred the mental image back to me.

From the look on Sean’s face, he knew exactly what I was thinking and winked back at me as we continued to walk. “Let’s just say, if he knew something, he would’ve shared. Well, okay, he did know some stuff, but nothing useful. Just that Deveron’s different this year. Lazy. Stuff we already knew. Apparently he’s put in for a roommate transfer, but they keep refusing. So yeah, not a happy guy.”

“You think Deveron knows something about who your brother and sister are?” Columbus asked.

I shrugged at the boy, feeling helpless. “I dunno. Maybe, but I’m pretty sure he won’t tell us.”

Sean just blinked at me a bit blankly. “Won’t tell us what—oh god damn it, are you talking about the security room stuff again?” He demanded, looking toward Columbus and then back to me.

Yeah, that had been fun to figure out. Since Sean and Avalon hadn’t been in the security room with us when we read those files, we weren’t able to actually talk about anything that was in them with the two of them. They weren’t protected from the secret-keeping magic, or whatever it was called. So when we talked about it, their brains just… skipped over it or something. We’d managed to be vague enough to explain what was going on, but any specifics were out of the question. We’d tried writing it down, and they just saw the paper or the screen as blank. We tried sign language, charades, none of it worked.

“Okay,” I announced. “I have a new plan. Let’s try this. Every twenty seconds, I’m going to say a word. You remember every word, then put them in order when we’re done. All right? First word, I.”

“Right, got it.” Sean nodded once easily. “First word is I. God, I hope this shit works. Avalon says she’s got some kind of plan for getting around this, but seriously, this magic secret stuff is getting old.”

We kept walking, as I counted down the seconds before speaking again. “Have. Second word.”

“I have, got it. Got that much.” Sean brightened a little more, clearly encouraged. “Closest so far.”

After another twenty seconds, and as we neared the school therapist’s office, I spoke again. “More. Third word.”

“More,” Sean repeated dutifully. “So far you’ve said ‘I have more’. Shit, this might actually work.”

Trying not to get ahead of myself, I counted down once more and glanced toward Columbus before speaking again. “One more word. Here it comes. Siblings. The last word is siblings.”

Sean met my gaze, started to nod automatically, then asked, “Okay, what is it?”

My heart sank. “Siblings. I just told you. The last word is siblings. Did you get it? Tell me you got it.”

“Get what?” Sean was shaking his head. “You’ve gotta tell me the last word before you can—wait, what was the first—okay, it was I… I have… wait, it was you have… wait, was the first word I?”

Columbus groaned out loud. “You’ve gotta be kidding me. As soon as the sentence is complete, not only do they not hear the last word, but they forget the part of the sentence they already knew? Damn it!”

“Something wrong, Columbus?” The question came from the doorway, as Klassin Roe poked his head out.

The therapist for Crossroads Academy looked… well, as far as I knew, he didn’t look like any therapist I’d ever seen or heard of. For one thing, he looked like he belonged to one of those 50’s greaser gangs. His black hair was always slicked back, he had those high cheekbones, and he actually wore a dark leather jacket along with jeans and a gray tee shirt. I’d seen a tattoo of a sword on his arm once, during our first discussion in his office.

Jumping a bit at the interruption, Columbus finally managed a shrug after a moment. “Nah, just talking about something else. Uhh, wait, you know who I am?”

“Sure do,” Klassin drawled in that simple, casual way he had. “I try to make it a point to know who all the new kids are. Makes it easier if they ever wanna come chat.”

“You mean all the new bystander-kin?” Columbus asked. “Shiori, she came to see you today, right?”

“She did,” the man confirmed without saying anything else about it. “But nah, I mean every student. Bystander-kin ain’t the only ones with problems. Anyone wants to chat without it being some formal thing, my office is open from six to eight on Tuesday and three to six on Sunday. I don’t make appointments then, so if you drop by and the door isn’t closed, feel free to come in and talk about anything that’s on your mind.”

To me, he gestured. “You wanna head on in? Oh, and grab that notebook off the chair there. Shiori left it. Figure Columbus here can take it back. You don’t mind, right?”

Columbus shook his head, and I moved into the simple office, stepping over to one of the padded armchairs. Sure enough, there was a small black notebook sitting there with a pen in the spiral binding, and Shiori’s name written in marker across the front in neat cursive.

As I picked up the notebook, a piece of loose paper slipped out and fell to the floor. I bent to grab it, and started to slip the paper back into the notebook while straightening up when the words on it caught my eye. Or rather, the word on it. There was only one word, and it was written several dozen times. Sometimes it was printed, other times it was in cursive. Sometimes the letters were small, other times they were large and bold. A couple of times there were underlines under the word. One of them had several circles drawn around it. Over and over again the word was written, all across the paper from every angle. Every inch of space on the page was taken up by the single word.

Except it wasn’t a word. It was a name. A single name.

Asenath.

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24 comments

  1. Nice chapter. I see the censorship spell is very thorough, and that you’re averting the trope of There Are No Therapists (maybe you’ve mentioned it before now, but if you have, it slipped my mind).

    I also see that Shiori is starting to crack under the weight of her secret, and it looks like she’s starting to fixate on the name of her (half-?) sister. This can only end well.

    Possible typo:

    “(Ammon’s work, I reminded myself. That much had been clear after I spoke to Avalon about what had actually made her start tracking the little psychopath)”

    Should “Avalon” be “Asenath” here? I don’t think Avalon was ever tracking Ammon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice chapter. I see the censorship spell is very thorough, and that you’re averting the trope of There Are No Therapists (maybe you’ve mentioned it before now, but if you have, it slipped my mind).

      Yeah, the therapist was mentioned back when Flick gave her report about what happened in Wyoming. Dare told her to visit the therapist for awhile to make sure she got help working through what she saw.

      Should “Avalon” be “Asenath” here? I don’t think Avalon was ever tracking Ammon.

      Whoops! Yup, thanks.

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  2. (Ammon’s work, I reminded myself. That much had been clear after I spoke to Avalon about what had actually made her start tracking the little psychopath)

    I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about this sentence seems… off. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

    Anyway, some thoughts.

    Flick’s going to get stuck with Zeke during detention, isn’t she? Hopefully his dickery isn’t just a superiority complex based on being Heretic-born.

    Poor Shiori. And I hope she reacts positively to Flick’s now-officially-inevitable attempt to help her. As in, I hope she doesn’t react by going to a teacher with the knowledge that Flick is friendly to a Stranger. Especially a Stranger that could very well be on a list of Joselyn’s former allies.

    I want to know more about Koren, specifically why I can never guess if she’s going to a bitch or this other, insightful person she also is. I can never predict her and that’s great. Part of me is kind of hoping that it turns out she’s Joselyn’s granddaughter. Most of me is hoping that the twins are Heretics, but I still think it would be interesting if it turns out that they’re Bystanders and one of them is one of Koren’s parents.

    I’ve said this before, and I want to say it one more time: I think the Bystander effect is a much larger application of the spell that’s been cast on Joselyn. The way they both keep people from retaining new information is way too similar for them not to be connected.

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    1. I want to know more about Koren, specifically why I can never guess if she’s going to a bitch or this other, insightful person she also is. I can never predict her and that’s great. Part of me is kind of hoping that it turns out she’s Joselyn’s granddaughter. Most of me is hoping that the twins are Heretics, but I still think it would be interesting if it turns out that they’re Bystanders and one of them is one of Koren’s parents.

      Oh good, Koren is working as intended then. 🙂

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    2. Instead of the Bystander Effect being a larger application of the secrecy spell, I suspect it’s the other way around.

      The Secrecy Spell was developed by studying the Bystander Effect (The Bystander Effect has been around _far_ longer than Crossroads after all)

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      1. That is also a possibility, but I’m still convinced of my theory. The impression I’ve been getting – and I recognize that future revelations may contradict this – is that the Bystander Effect is unique to Earth.

        We’ve heard very little about other worlds so far. The closest thing to direct information we’ve gotten about any of them have been Tiras’ world and the angels’ world, both of which do not appear to have an equivalent to the Bystander Effect. The angels and the four races from Tiras’ world are all the dominant species on their homeworlds, and yet do not have the same problem humanity does.

        The apparent uniqueness of the Bystander Effect to earth could very well just be a quirk of this world/dimension. I recognize that. However, I’m inclined to take it as evidence that the Bystander Effect is artificial.

        And again, I understand that I might be proven wrong in the future. But taking it one step further, there is at least one entire race of magical beings that has a vested interest in guiding/manipulating the development of the human race. Keeping us from using magic and isolating us from other magical beings would be a big help in accomplishing that goal.

        So I believe the Bystander Effect is similar magic to the Memory Spell. I noticed in the course of writing this that there are differences in the ways they function, so they might not be the same spell, as I originally claimed, but similar.

        Because I also believe that the Heretics call themselves Heretics in part because they see the angels (who are the agents of a dominant European religion) as their enemies. I would not at all be surprised to learn that the early, pre-Bosch Heretics started learning magic from the angels.

        And – once again – I realize that I might very well be completely wrong.

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  3. Well, Zeke’s certainly a real jackass- hope he doesn’t continue to be a problem, even after getting smacked down by pretty much everyone.

    Though Shiori’s having a really bad time, as the stress of finding out & keeping the secret of being part-Alter is weighing on her to the point where she’s starting to come apart, which could get her into a really tight crack depending on how she breaks & if the wrong people hear the wrong thing. Fallout from that could end up on Columbus & Flick among others. Suppose just what sort of confidentiality, if any, applies to Roe’s sessions with the students, as well as just what might he or anyone else (and if so, whom) make out of all those references to Asenath are soon going to be some more very pertinent questions.

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    1. Suppose just what sort of confidentiality, if any, applies to Roe’s sessions with the students,

      Pretty extensive confidentiality up to a certain point. Being part-stranger would generally be considered past that point though.

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      1. Hmm, because if something that would be as sensitive a topic among the Crossroads Heretics as that is outside the bounds of therapist-patient confidentiality there, then Shiori better hope that Roe doesn’t figure out the truth of her ancestry, because that would likely not go well for her, particularly once Ruthers & his crowd found out.

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      2. And thus, Shiori’s extreme, self-destructive paranoia is actually justified!

        The fact that being part-stranger ISN’T covered by confidentiality is a massive breach of ethics for therapy.

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  4. Ooh. More exposition on the magic of this world. Sounds like a very interesting format of magic. Is it based on anything?

    *flips table*
    Goddamit Carfried, you are not supposed to be anywhere near this reasonable and understanding of the problems of your students!
    Honestly, in a world where pretty much every mythological being and their mother exists, where there are secret societies keeping the mundane world unaware of the truths, where there are secret magical schools, sentient rocks, and gattling-gun-dogs; a teacher being reasonable after a student flips a table and shouts at him is one of the most unbelievable things for me to process.

    Also, looks like Flick unlocked a new sidequest! Reward for completion includes 500 xp, +2 relationship points with Shiori, and unlocks Shiori as an optional member of your party and a romantic option.

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    1. Ooh. More exposition on the magic of this world. Sounds like a very interesting format of magic. Is it based on anything?

      It’s sort of in a way kind of based a little bit on my own re-interpretation and personal explanation of how Harry Potter’s magic worked that I got into in my own HP fanfic, but other than that, not really.

      Honestly, in a world where pretty much every mythological being and their mother exists, where there are secret societies keeping the mundane world unaware of the truths, where there are secret magical schools, sentient rocks, and gattling-gun-dogs; a teacher being reasonable after a student flips a table and shouts at him is one of the most unbelievable things for me to process.

      To be fair, he was one of those students a year earlier.

      …. though that probably doesn’t help the realism that much.

      Also, looks like Flick unlocked a new sidequest! Reward for completion includes 500 xp, +2 relationship points with Shiori, and unlocks Shiori as an optional member of your party and a romantic option.

      lol. Don’t forget about the additional dialogue it unlocks the next time Asenath is encountered.

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  5. The counselor’s office hours, those are just for unscheduled appointments, right? I mean, five hours a week is not a lot of time to get through a whole school of monster hunters.

    I’m interested in the fact that Shapeless magic can become Directed and then Forged. Is that for a particular Heretic, or for Heretics as a whole, or both? Like, some Heretic creates a spell to make bananas into nunchucks, using it as Shapeless magic so much that he can use it as Directed and then Forged. Can any Heretic then use his Forged version of that nananunchuck spell as long as he teaches them the method? If they’d tried that same action before the Heretic got it down to Forged, what would have happened? Does the spell now have ontological weight, or is what’s being ‘forged’ the Heretics themselves?

    I think I would possibly be on the Development track were I a Heretic.

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  6. The counselor’s office hours, those are just for unscheduled appointments, right? I mean, five hours a week is not a lot of time to get through a whole school of monster hunters.

    lol, yeeeeaaaah that would be pretty short hours. But that’s why his very next words were ‘I don’t make appointments then’. He was saying that those hours are the ‘open office’ hours where he deliberately doesn’t allow appointments in order to let walk-ins happen.

    I’m interested in the fact that Shapeless magic can become Directed and then Forged. Is that for a particular Heretic, or for Heretics as a whole, or both? Like, some Heretic creates a spell to make bananas into nunchucks, using it as Shapeless magic so much that he can use it as Directed and then Forged. Can any Heretic then use his Forged version of that nananunchuck spell as long as he teaches them the method? If they’d tried that same action before the Heretic got it down to Forged, what would have happened? Does the spell now have ontological weight, or is what’s being ‘forged’ the Heretics themselves?

    This will be referred to some more later, but basically, yes, the spell will work for others. Once the magic that the Heretics use ‘learns’ a spell effect and associates a specific action with creating the effect of the spell, it can be regularly used by anyone who knows how to do it properly. It was originally my solution for how new spells are created and shared in the Harry Potter universe, and I appropriated it from myself and expanded it here.

    And trying to use a spell before magic is fully trained and considers it ‘forged’ wouldn’t really do anything. It’s like trying to get a dog to do a trick you haven’t taught it yet.

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  7. “Poor Shiori, who looked even paler than the last time I’d seen her, wasn’t looking at the man. Her gaze was fixed elsewhere, and I could see her lips moving a little as if she was mouthing words to herself.

    When it was obvious that no answer was coming, Professor Carfried raised his voice. “Miss Porter!”

    The response was instantaneous. Shiori bolted to her feet. Her hands caught hold of the table that her team was seated behind, and she gave it a hard shove that sent the table crashing onto its side loudly. Her voice was raised into a near shriek. “Shut up! Just shut up and leave me alone, leave me alone!””
    Me: *frowns* I was afraid of this. Shiori’s cracking. I place some of the blame for this on Crossroad’s MO of “Meet Stranger, Kill Stranger”.

    “You aren’t the first student to yell at a teacher because you were stressed out and you won’t be the last. So take a couple of breaths. Are you all right now?””
    Me: If he truly understood what she was stressing out over, he would likely be reacting much differently.

    “My heart sank. “Siblings. I just told you. The last word is siblings. Did you get it? Tell me you got it.”

    “Get what?” Sean was shaking his head. “You’ve gotta tell me the last word before you can—wait, what was the first—okay, it was I… I have… wait, it was you have… wait, was the first word I?”

    Columbus groaned out loud. “You’ve gotta be kidding me. As soon as the sentence is complete, not only do they not hear the last word, but they forget the part of the sentence they already knew? Damn it!””
    Me: I suppose having that actually work would’ve been too easy a work-around, eh? I can understand the group’s overall frustration though.

    “As I picked up the notebook, a piece of loose paper slipped out and fell to the floor. I bent to grab it, and started to slip the paper back into the notebook while straightening up when the words on it caught my eye. Or rather, the word on it. There was only one word, and it was written several dozen times. Sometimes it was printed, other times it was in cursive. Sometimes the letters were small, other times they were large and bold. A couple of times there were underlines under the word. One of them had several circles drawn around it. Over and over again the word was written, all across the paper from every angle. Every inch of space on the page was taken up by the single word.

    Except it wasn’t a word. It was a name. A single name.

    Asenath.”
    Me: It’s almost like a Web of Connections at this point isn’t it? I’m actually looking forward to Shiori’s reaction to Flick stating “So, I know Asenath.” or something similar.

    I also found the classes of magic to be both simple and intricate at the same time. Nice update.

    Like

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