Chapter 47: Magic in the Trees
Thursday, November 20
It was unusually warm for November—over fifty degrees out, and all the snow had already melted. Edie wasn’t doing anything that evening and had suggested the three of them go out and try trance magic again, which was why they were bundled up (but not too bundled up) and walking away from Gilkey, towards the environmental co-op’s orchard.
“Why the orchard?” Corrie asked. “You don’t like hanging out next to Vertiline Gravette?” They had already told Edie that Vertiline’s clearing was where they had worked on their trance before, since it was not a popular place to hang out.
“No, I don’t mind… well, it’s a little weird,” Edie said. “But I figured the trees will block the wind, if any wind comes up, and it’s generally quiet there. I haven’t seen anyone there except Leila and me.” She looked away as she finished the sentence. Dawn wondered if she was hiding anything.
But it only took a minute to get to the orchard, and there was no point in worrying. They sat down among the trees, mostly facing each other, though there was a small sapling blocking part of Dawn’s view of Corrie. At least she could still see Edie just fine.
“So we obviously shouldn’t do any fire magic in here,” said Edie, “but I was thinking I could try water magic. What do you think?”
“Professor Lal says fire is the easiest to start with, but water seems to be the next easiest,” said Dawn. “And I don’t know if the book says anything about particular elements.”
“The book says to start with whichever element you have the strongest affinity with,” said Edie. “I don’t actually know what that means, or at least I’m not sure how you would know, but I thought it would be more fun to start with water. What are you guys going to do?”
“I’m going to do earth,” said Dawn. She grinned over at Corrie. “Corrie has inspired me. I want to create some weird stuff too.”
Corrie laughed. “Well, I don’t know about weird stuff, but I wanted to do earth magic too. I’m going to see if I can make a bigger plant grow.”
“Okay,” said Edie. “Let’s try it.”
Dawn smiled and closed her eyes, and dropped within a minute into trance. She was somehow unsurprised to discover that the trees around them had even more magic than most plants she’d encountered. Of course, she’d never gotten so close to trees before, but these trees seemed stronger than she would have expected anyway. It must have been because Leila and Edie were taking care of them so much.
She opened her eyes, not losing her connection, and saw that Edie and Corrie were still sitting there with their eyes closed. She could still sense their magic, and it was still the same. She could sense her own, too, but didn’t reach for it, though she was beginning to wonder if it was possible to combine her own magic with the earth’s magic. For now, though, she just focused on the thing she wanted to create—a small twig, straight and smooth—and drew on the magic around her.
After a minute or so of trying, something appeared in her hand that looked like a twig for a second. As soon as it had appeared, though, it crumbled into dust. She frowned, brushed the dust off her hand and onto the ground, and looked up to see what Corrie and Edie were doing.
Corrie still had her eyes shut. Edie was grinning, though, water pouring out of her hand. It flowed up for a moment, like a fountain, then down again through the gaps in her fingers and over both sides of her palm. It shone slightly before landing in a small pool on the ground.
“How did you do that?” Dawn asked, impressed. “I thought it would all flow away.”
“Oh, some of it did,” said Edie. “But then I scooped a hole for it with my hand, and it seems to want to stay there. Isn’t it cool?”
“It is very cool,” said Dawn. “You seem to have mastered water magic quickly.”
Edie gave a one-shouldered shrug. “It seemed easy. There wasn’t much to think about.”
Corrie sighed and opened her eyes. “I guess I’m not going to manage it. Wow, Edie, that is really cool. You know what I was thinking? If we’re ever in a survival situation, we’ll be totally fine. Edie can create water for us to drink, any of us can create fire to keep us warm, and I can create plants for us to eat, if we can’t find any.”
“Oh, that’s not the kind of survival situation I thought you meant at first,” said Dawn. “But I’m sure we could use these to fight faeries, if we had to.”
Corrie’s eyes widened. “Of course! Metal is part of the element of earth, isn’t it? Professor Lal didn’t mention it, probably because she didn’t want us creating iron in class… but I’m going to try it.”