William stared intensely at the ball of light in his hand. It wasn’t particularly impressive in size, and was even flickering, but William still smiled proudly. As a second attempt, it wasn’t bad either… especially compared to being completely incapable of magic. Then, William started a chant. “Light, born of the sun and of fire, shine forth!” As he did so, a second ball of light appeared above his other hand… and the first ball of light immediately winked out of existence. He didn’t really have an opportunity to compare them directly, but he felt they were almost the same in size and intensity. That, even though he had used two different spells to create them. The first was in Gevai, the one that he had heard his father use. The other… William recalled it was in Ostanan. Yet, they both worked equally well. Something seemed strange about that, but William was having trouble remembering. It put a slight damper on his excitement about being able to do magic… but contemplating the unknown was actually quite interesting to William as well.
William realized that his eyes didn’t have any problems at all. It was just that he could see mana, and it was different than he would be expecting. Nobody described it like television static… but how could they, without knowing about such things? Now that he knew what it was, though, he could actually choose to not see mana. That actually required more effort than he thought it would. On the other side, humans who were capable still had to put in effort to see mana, even if it wasn’t always much. Well, William could discuss the particulars better now that he had actually experienced seeing mana.
When his parents finally came back inside, soaked through from the rain, they found William sitting in the entrance way, contemplating in the dark. His father smiled. “Oh, staying up to wait for us?”
“Something like that,” William replied. It wasn’t really true, but it didn’t hurt to say. He considered showing his parents his newfound ability to do magic, but decided against it. That could wait.
Even though he decided to let it wait… William really only waited until the morning. Instead of announcing that he could do magic, he came up with a different plan of approach. “Hey, mom and dad. Can you teach me how to do that thing with the light? That was magic, right?”
“That’s right, it was magic.” His father crouched down to talk with him at eye level. “Can you see mana?”
“What does mana look like?” William knew that perfectly well by now, but his parents had never talked to him about it.
“It’s tiny sparkles of different colored light.”
While William agreed that it could be called sparkles, it was nowhere near as pretty as that. Perhaps he saw it differently, but more likely he was just biased because he had seen television static, and had that negative association. “Oh, I can see that.”
“Good. Now, repeat after me, ‘O’ light, heed my call. Brighten my path, and provide illumination to my steps.’” A ball of light appeared in front of him again. “As you do so, imagine creating a ball of light, something like this.”
William considered intentionally failing the first time. He quickly disposed of that idea. Although he’d already learned how to do this, he had succeeded the first time, so it wouldn’t give a false impression of what he could do. “O’ light, heed my call. Brighten my path, and provide illumination to my steps.” Now that he had something to compare it to, he did find that his spell certainly looked less stable, and was smaller, but practice would help with that. Perhaps he would be weaker and have less natural talent, but William wasn’t sure. After all, he wasn’t able to use magic at all before, so if something really had changed he couldn’t be sure what level he would end up at.
His mother clapped. “Good job!” While William didn’t particularly need that to be stated, at least she didn’t seem to be exaggerating her feelings. She was quite happy.
His father nodded. “Excellent. I see you put your ability to remember words to good use. There are more things you can do with magic… but we should probably talk about that more in the morning.” That was his father’s way of saying he was tired and going to bed. Well, they had just worked hard, and William now had magic he could practice without it seeming strange.
In the morning, they woke to find many of the crops had been washed out. However, instead of despairing, his parents merely met it with resigned expressions. After a quick breakfast they went out to salvage what they could. “Alright Josef,” his father said, “Would you like to learn some very practical magic?” Upon seeing William’s nod, he took him next to the fields. “O’ earth, heed my call. Change thine form to nourish the plants of the earth, and to hold them in your care.” After his words ended, the soil moved, and a hole was left. He kneeled down and pointed to what the soil looked like. “See here William? There are different kinds of dirt, and we want some more like this at the top, some like this around the roots, and this below. We also want to straighten up the plants themselves, but you can do some of that by hand.”
William nodded. “Okay.” He had already seen how the soil was arranged when planting, but his parents hadn’t used magic. However, some of the various root vegetables couldn’t be properly replanted without magic- or a much larger amount of physical effort.
William repeated the spell next to a nearby plant. His parents dug down with him to check how he had done, and he found that it was good enough. It was perhaps not so neat as his father Barend’s work, but it didn’t really need to be that exact. William stayed in sight of his parents as he worked on his own row… though more slowly. While his magic was just fine, William couldn’t help but thinking about how it could be better. He felt that if he concentrated he could control the spell better. He also practiced speaking the spell with a particular cadence, and that seemed to help as well… but for some reason William felt that was wrong. Not that it wasn’t helping, but there was something there he was forgetting about why it worked. Well, he would probably figure it out soon. Something William didn’t expect though was that he got tired very quickly. Though he was concentrating on the magic, he didn’t feel as much effort being expended as actually was. His brain must have been doing things subconsciously… of course, it had to be that way, because there were many details that went into magic. William had just never had the chance to do magic himself much before, so he hadn’t realized how tired he would get. He knew that the tiredness as well as the effect would improve with practice. As it was, he was not as helpful as he had thought he would be… but he still saved his parents a bit of effort.
Author’s note: It was going to take William a bit longer to figure out how to use magic (or that he could), but then I realized he’s not so stupid as to not figure it out if he saw magic being used once or twice, and his parents weren’t so impractical as to not use magic at all. This meant that a later scene I had in mind where he learned magic is now moot… but I think the story is now going in a better direction because of it.