Chapter 50: Sensing the Magic
Of course, it took Dawn no time at all to slip into trance, though she was trying to pace herself along with the directions and not look like she was too much ahead of the rest of the class. Evidently practice did make things easier.
She waited a few moments, though she was aware with her mental senses of the magic around her, before opening her eyes.
She couldn’t see that much. After all, most of her classmates were behind her, though she could see and hear some of their magic. But the magic around her looked different, somehow. She could see the magic in the wood of the desks and chairs, and the stone of the walls, and the potted plants in the front of the classroom…
She kept breathing steadily, trying not to betray any surprise, while she worked it out. After a few minutes she realized that the picture was crisper somehow. It wasn’t that anything had seemed blurry before; after all, there weren’t specific shapes to see, more like emanations. But that was the best way to describe it. It must be the shielding on the room, protecting them from the unpredictable magic outside. Professor Lal had said they wouldn’t be able to sense it… well, this wasn’t really sensing it directly, was it? But Dawn still wondered if this was an ability that she had that others didn’t.
Actually, it made sense. If the ambient magic on the campus came from faeries, or was in some way controlled by them, then Dawn’s Sight should let her see it, or at least sense it differently. And damn, this was just one more thing that she couldn’t ask Professor Lal about. Maybe it would be worth it to face whatever punishment she would get just so she could get answers to her questions.
She certainly wasn’t going to volunteer anything, though. At least she wasn’t going to hide the fact that she could see everyone else’s magic for now. She looked from side to side, like she was seeing the magic around her for the first time—and she was, for most of them. Roe’s magic was two identical deep blue spheres at her shoulder blades. Lal’s magic was still permeating her entire body (and Dawn wondered if that, too, was something she could only sense because her aunt had given her the Sight). The guy on Dawn’s right didn’t seem to have magic at first, but after a few moments, she realized that it didn’t have a visual sign at all; instead, there was a hum emanating from the vicinity of his feet.
She turned around carefully in her chair—she didn’t think anything she could do would break the trance until she decided to, but she wanted to act as though she didn’t know for sure, and Professor Agnew’s soothing voice was still coaching them to focus and not worry if they hadn’t found it yet—to look at the rest of the class. There was a huge variety in the appearances of the magic, even in such a small class. Some people had a large amount and some an amount so tiny that she couldn’t tell they had any until she focused. Kira seemed to have a lot, but Dawn didn’t recognize it at first—it manifested itself only as a smell of ozone. No one’s magic seemed to be as strong as Corrie’s, though it was difficult to judge for certain.
Dawn resettled herself facing forward in her seat just as Professor Agnew’s instructions changed. She told them that if they had not reached trance yet, they should keep trying until their class period was over, but now she would give them instructions (that they were not to use until it was time) to break the trance.
She frowned slightly and leaned forward, listening to the instructions. She’d read the Miranda Swick book twice, and it hadn’t told them how to break trance, assuming that it would be instinctual. “Close your eyes again,” said Professor Agnew’s recording. “Draw your roots back up into yourself. Take it one at a time if necessary. Draw your attention back into yourself; if you wish, focus in on your own magic before returning your mind to normal, everyday attention. You may do this step quite quickly, and you will learn to with practice, but whatever you do, do not break the connection between yourself and the roots. To do so will be dangerous and exhausting.”
Dawn jumped as though stung, then glanced around, hoping no one had noticed. Professor Lal was staring straight at her from her desk. Well, there was the explanation for her lack of energy last weekend after the magic got away from her, at least. It wasn’t the amount of magic she’d used; it was the way she’d broken her trance. Why had the book never warned them about that?