Chapter 129: Jamian
This flame that burns inside of me
I'm hearing secret harmonies
It's a kind of magic
The school seemed empty with two cy’rees gone. In the suite, it was as if nothing had changed – everyone who came to hang out was cy’Linden anyway. But looking around the Dining Hall, and in classes, there were holes where Jamian’s friends had been.
With them gone, Jamian contemplated the plan. They’d gotten some of the worst Kept out for a while – how that would work remained to be seen. But he and Kai hadn’t talked to all the Fifth Cohort yet, and they still hadn’t figured out Frodleikr.
Kailani, of course, had gone for a more studious approach to the Frodleikr question; it was her way of doing things, and Jamian had to admit, she usually got good results with it. Hitting the library for hours on end in search of who-knew-what wasn't his idea of a good time though, especially with mysterious closing doors. Maybe some experimentation was called for?
Kai would never have approved. Jamian could hear her voice now as he contemplated it: “dangerous, reckless, foolhardy.” Exciting. After classes today, he’d figure out where he could go and what he could do. As long as he didn’t blow himself up or something, Kai could hardly complain about his methods when she wasn’t around.
The idea grew on him through the day; by dinnertime, he was nearly bouncing with poorly-contained excitement and a growing thread of frustration. He still wasn’t sure where he could safely – relatively safely – experiment without getting caught.
He cornered Melchior before dinner. “Hey.”
“Hey Jame,” Melchior greeted him. “What's up? Headed to dinner?”
“Yeah,” he agreed, trying to contain his excitement. “I should probably eat.”
“I'll go with you. Are you by yourself, or is this another activity to share with Ty?” Mel ribbed him, grinning.
Torn between grinning and blushing, Jamian did both. “By myself at the moment. Ah. Trying to figure out a place to be alone after dinner.”
“Alone-alone, or with-someone-alone?” Mel asked curiously.
“Depends on the upperclassmen geasa, I guess.”
“Huh?” That had Melchior's full attention now, despite the thought of impending food. “Why's that? What're you up to?”
He couldn’t help it; he grinned at the goblin. “That would be telling. Which I’ll do, later, behind closed doors, if you promise not to tell.”
“Later, then. Can't give you a whole lot of advice though if I don't know what you need.”
“No cameras and nothing to blow up.” That part was simple enough.
“No cameras is a tall order, from what I hear. This is some seriously secret stuff then, huh?,” Melchior mused.
“A little, yeah,” he admitted.
“Well, I guess you could try some of the maintenance corridors downstairs or something? Or topside, actually.”
“Topside sounds like a good idea,” he admitted. “Probably the safest, too.”
“It's not exactly secure, depending on what you're doing,” Melchior warned. “But there's often nobody out there, and there definitely aren't cameras or, uh, stuff to blow up.”
“Cool.” He grinned, feeling like he was bouncing out of his skin. “Thanks, Mel. You’re the greatest.” He stopped himself at the last moment from leaning in for a kiss. If Melchior noticed, he didn't say anything, and dinner passed without anything strange happening, as Jamian remained lost in his thoughts.
After dinner, he slipped away while the rest of the crew was distracted. Better if there was nobody around; stuff kept going wrong when he experimented.
The question now was, what exactly could he do? He stood blinking in the fading sunlight as he stepped out onto the topside grass, seeking the shade of the tall, solitary tree atop the hill. None of his Words were all that active, and every time he’d tried Jasfe, something had gone wrong.
Well, then, maybe he could try disassembling something? “Aposyntheto Frodleikr,” he intoned, waiting.
The air crackled above him, his hair beginning to stand on end. Electricity? The smell of ozone began to trickle into his nose. What had he done? Jamian looked around frantically, as storm clouds began to gather overhead. Seriously? Shouldn't that have been air, or water, or something?
Kai would know. Kai would have yelled at him long before, but she would have been able to do an Idu on this. He could barely say the word, much less use it.
Mel? He had no idea what Mel’s Words were, he realized. He barely knew what Ty’s Words were.
Well, if he’d broken something, maybe then repairing it wouldn’t be bad. “Jasfe frodleikr,” he muttered hastily. Weather, what was weather?
Rain began to fall, spattering lightly on his head and arms, then... ow! A peach? At the risk of being hit in the face by the next flying fruit, he glanced up. Fortunately, he wasn't making fruit literally rain from the sky, it was merely growing on the tree. Rapidly. Peaches, and apples, and oranges. On the big old oak tree.
“No, dammit! It was the wrong frodleikr! Um... Jasfe Frodleikr... sky? Jasfe Frodleikr storm? Jasfe Frodleikr nice sunny day?” He knew this, he had heard Kai use it, hadn’t he? Kai, that was it! “Jasfe Frodleikr kairos!” he shouted.
Lightning rent the sky... and was swallowed up, retreating into the storm. An expanding pulse ripped through the clouds, melting their dark faces into fluffy white mist as the rain ceased. In a matter of moments, all was tranquil.
Jamian breathed a sigh of relief, leaning back against the oak, and idly plucked a banana from it.
D'oh! The tree. Okay, what could he do with that? He’d repaired, randomly, and it had begun sprouting fruit. He could … preserve it? How much good would that do? Maybe if he wanted jam. He couldn't work plants directly, so for now, taking whatever he'd repaired back apart seemed the safest bet. “Aposyntheto Frodleikr fruit, Aposyntheto Frodleikr tree, I mean tree-os, um... drees.”
The banana remained in his hand, but the other fruit slowly morphed back into acorns. Okay, maybe it was time to aim at something he could actually work, at least. He took a few steps back, searching for a suitably flat piece of land. Once a site was selected, he imagined the ground as a big chessboard, saying, “Tuapeka Eperu.”
That, that he could do. After weeks of practice, he ought to be able to make something, right? The grass stayed decidedly grassy, but changed colors in big individual squares.
There, that was more like it. Nice and controlled. He strode forward across the board, imagining himself as its king, populating it with other pieces - peasants, really. In his mind's eye, he saw their colorful costumes, saw them bowing to him; yeah, that was right. He was so engrossed in his vision that he nearly fell flat on his face when he tripped over a divot in the landscape.
“Ow! Dammit, I'm supposed to be the king,” he complained, glancing at the hole in the ground. “Jasfe Eperu,” he said as he brushed himself off, rising. The earth healed, and a broad smile crossed his face. This was more like it. This was his domain, his magic. Across the board, he saw a dark knight rise to challenge him, and pointed his finger, attempting a haughty expression. “Aposyntheto Frodleikr,” he said quickly, the second word escaping his lips unbidden, rushing over the first. Just like that, his chessboard flickered and was gone, the lofty vision dissipating with it as his confidence broke again. He couldn't even control this word, how could he hope to figure it out?
“Jasfe hugr,” he muttered despondently, but his emotions weren’t broken (at least not at the moment); nothing happened. He returned to the shade of the oak, sitting underneath it and stretching out, wondering what else he could do. Was there even anything else he could do? Kai would know, of course, but she wasn't here; that had really been the whole point, hadn't it? He mulled it over for awhile, but as the sky began to darken, finally he dragged himself back up to his feet, sighing.
He might as well give up and call it a day. Experimentation would only work on a system that followed rules, that could be predicted in any way. Physics barely seemed to apply in Addergoole. The whole place was made of magic, from the earth to the trees to the sky... oh. Oh!
Quickly, he racked his memory. Suite One? Luke had been frowning about their oxygen problem. That Working should have been dismantled years ago. What were you doing? And that wasn't the only time.
…what we know is that this collar used to have an enchantment on it More frowning, this time Kai, about Conrad’s zappy collar. Acacia put it there; Professor Akatil took it off. And didn’t that make Acacia sound like a wonderful person?
So it’s a second hand collar that used to be enchanted, he remembered trying to follow her train of thought.
With something that sounds much like the enchantment it had on it today – and didn’t have on it before we sat down at the table with you. Enchantment? Could it be? Was it really that simple?
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