Chapter 29: Power
Dawn was still a little dubious about this trance concept—but she did want to get better at magic, and it seemed that her skill with elemental magic was not that great. She’d managed a slight breeze from her hand in class that day, but her pinwheel had never moved very quickly. She was certainly nowhere near Corrie’s level, trying different gases in the back of the classroom. So she did want to try something else, something she might have more success with.
She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and summoned up a mental image of the book. She’d read some of the pages over and over again, trying to get a handle on how exactly this was supposed to work, so it came quickly. First: calm your body. She took several more deep, slow breaths, fidgeting with her hands until she finally made herself rest them in her lap. Finally, when she felt that she was mostly relaxed, she moved on to the next step: grounding. She pictured roots growing from her legs, burrowing into the earth, anchoring her there. She found herself relaxing even more when she’d done so, as though the imaginary roots were really holding her in place and supporting her.
Then she tried Corrie’s suggestion—turning her awareness outward, away from her body. At first, all she could sense was her own magic, fluttering lightly at the back of her mind. But she forced her awareness to turn away from it, to reach outward. It was like groping in a dark room and trying not to trip over anything.
Minutes passed. She couldn’t sense anything, except for the faint sounds of Corrie’s movement and animals in the trees, at the very edge of her awareness. She continued to breathe slowly and steadily. The sounds faded away. And then, like a light being switched on, she could sense it.
There was power in the earth. There was power in the buildings. There was power in the grass, in the clover, in the trees, in the animals. There was a bright globe of power, glowing and pulsing, in Corrie—it dwarfed all the other power, nearly overwhelming the rest so that Dawn couldn’t see it, except that she couldn’t just see all the power but hear it, smell it, taste it, feel it.
She didn’t realize she’d reacted physically until her eyes had flown open and her gasp was ringing in her ears. Unfortunately, that seemed to sever her connection, and it was just night again, without multitudes of power sources surrounding her.
Corrie had been facing away from her, but spun around, her face splitting with a grin. “Did you do it?”
Dawn nodded shakily. “I… could sense it all. All around us. It was pretty overwhelming.”
“That’s awesome!” Corrie crouched down at the edge of the path, putting her more on Dawn’s level than when she was standing. “You didn’t do anything with it?”
“No. Uh, I only connected to it for a second. Then I surprised myself and lost it.” She grinned weakly. “I think I could do it again, though.”
“What was there?”
Dawn described the magic she’d sensed, as clearly as she could. “I could see your magic, too,” she added. “It was like a big, glowing sphere, kind of throbbing. Like a heart.”
Corrie nodded, her eyes wide and shining. “That’s how I see it, too.” Then she frowned. “Do you think you could have used it?”
“I have no idea. I don’t even know if I could have used any of the magic I sensed. But I know it’s there. I’m going to have to try again.” Her heart was still beating fast, despite her body’s relative calm. It had been so exhilarating to sense all that.
“What about Vertiline Gravette?”
“Oh… I don’t know.” Dawn glanced over at the statue, then shook her head as she thought back to what she sensed. “I’ll have to pay more attention next time, but if there was any magic in her, it was just like the magic that’s around in the earth and plants. It was nothing like yours.”
Corrie sighed, looking over at the statue as well. “I guess that means there’s nothing alive in there.”
“I thought we agreed that there wouldn’t be any point trying to turn her back even if she is alive, since she’s dead to everyone who knew her and she’d be all out of her time.”
Corrie shook her head slowly. “Yeah, I know. I guess I just wanted to know if there was any chance.”
Dawn stood up, stretching her legs, which were uncomfortable from being crossed for so long. “I guess there is one good thing about it, though.”
“What’s that?” Corrie held out Dawn’s bag toward her.
Dawn smiled, taking it. “At least it means there’s nothing alive where Marlin used to be, either.”
A grin slowly spread over Corrie’s face too. “Okay. That’s worth it.”