Living in a society where everyone could do magic, Lucy found it was used for almost everything… but not by everyone. Specialists used magic for their own purposes but less so for things out of the area of their expertise. For example, those who cooked casually were less likely to use magic for the process. This wasn’t because they had to create particular spells to do so, because fey used magic without the form of a spell. Whatever they spoke- when they wanted it to be magic instead of just words- was magic.
The limiting factor was the words used, specifically jargon for a particular area. While Lucy could easily say a spell to the effect of “cook the eggs but don’t burn them,” she might cook some eggs and they would indeed not be burnt… but they might not be as well cooked as she wanted either. The words weren’t precise enough… and even if they were, the image wasn’t good enough. She could imagine a perfectly cooked sunny side up egg, but until she had watched it happen a number of times, she didn’t really understand the process. In a way, creating a hand of force that followed her actual hand’s movements was easier- she had been moving her hands all her life, after all, but she had not always cooked particular foods. Going along with some other motion also made magic easier in general- laying a trail of fire at the end of a finger was easier than describing the exact locations to have fire.
Of course, there were also other reasons to not use magic for everything. It wasn’t always more efficient, and it did take magical energy. While fey could come up with ‘spells’ on the spot and speak them into action, they still ran out of magic. Lucy had her own troubles to deal with there.
She had to memorize spells before she could cast them, and then they would be burnt out of her mind. That did not happen for the fey. However, as she became more proficient with the language of magic as an actual language, she could construct a spell like constructing a sentence. It might not actually be the same one as a previous sentence, but it would have the same meaning. However, even if she could come up with a spell quickly, she still needed a few moments to solidify it as a ‘spell’ in her mind. Thus, it was still faster to use spells she had memorized before, as long as she was doing one of the specific things she had a spell for.
Lucy did learn to speak words of magic without knowing the runes- but as long as she spoke the right word, the rune would appear. That took some practice of course, but there were so many people around her that could help. Because of her situation, Lucy also learned many words that wouldn’t necessarily be useful in magic as she considered it… but were words nonetheless.
“Thicket,” Lucy spoke to the small man- a gnome- who had first brought her to Briarspring. “How is your brother doing?”
“He is well,” Thicket responded, “His new daughter is healthy, and he and his wife will likely have more children.”
“That is good. Perhaps I will stop by their house on the way to the market.”
In her studies with her father and brother, Lucy had never actually come upon those words… father, brother, or anything related to family. It was generally more practical to know words for “fire” or “heat” or “light”. It wasn’t like she could conjure a brother out of thin air with magic. Lucy’s thoughts went to Douglas. He had been alive when she last saw him… with an injured hand, but otherwise able to survive. She hoped he was doing well, but had no way to contact him. If she knew where he was, perhaps she could send a message with magic… but magic to find him in an unknown place would be much more difficult. Then again… he was her brother. Perhaps that would make it easier… at the very least she could still remember his face… at least what he looked like four years earlier.
By now, Lucy felt confident enough to move out of the forest, but by the time she had been even slightly confident in herself, it had already been months. Either he would still be in Pendle- a place she had no desire to return to- or he could have gone anywhere. She wasn’t confident in how he would do away from Pendle, not that he wasn’t competent but he was… different. It wasn’t just that he couldn’t speak, but he handled people and things differently. He had a hard time until he could logic out a particular situation.
There wasn’t much news from outside the forest, but what new that came wasn’t heartening. Scoubar had continued expanding, and they were officially at war with Bryria, after they’d more-or-less settled down Dalgare. Fortunately, that had given Bryria time to finally muster some resistance, and while Dalgare had been taken over in less than a year, depending on when one officially counted the start of the conflict, Bryria had been holding on for several years, losing perhaps only a third of their territory.
Lucy was on the way to the market to sell paper- and advertise her services for writing. Not all fey could write, and if they did they did not always write well, but their literacy was higher than humans in general. Perhaps that was because it merely took practice with penmanship- if they needed to know a particular rune, they merely had to speak it… and thus so long as they spoke properly, they could eventually write.
The market was not large- even though it was a central place for Briarspring and a few surrounding villages, there just weren’t that many fey. However, that didn’t mean the market was lacking. One stall was full of luscious fruits and vegetables, large in size but good in flavor- if earlier years were any indication. “Looks good today, Finch,” Lucy remarked.
“Indeed! Try the oranges! My tree produced very well this season.” She held up a fruit that was a perfect example of its name. Finch was a nixie, and she looked almost human, though she was a bit smaller… and had gills, since nixies spent most of their time in the water. Finch was an exception, though she never went far from her streams and ponds she did maintain orchards and fields around them, using magic to help with growing some plants out of season. Of course, out of season fruit was more expensive… but worth every bit.
“I’ll try one,” Lucy handed over a few small coins. Fey were much like humans- while there were fewer of them and could use magic to grow crops- thus they didn’t have so many large fields taking space away from the forest- they still did everything humans did… including mine and create coins. Durable currency was useful for trade, and while gold and silver weren’t exactly durable, they didn’t rust like iron and it was easy to recover them with a bit of magic when they tarnished. Fey liked pretty things just as much or perhaps more than humans, so precious metals were still valuable. The coins weren’t the same size or print as Bryria used, but the idea remained the same.