Feb 20, 2020 4:43 PM
Dreamshaper Felix in Quintessence
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"Well, yes. Maybe there is a bit of confusion here because by my world's cultural standards most people would think of shifters as humans, just... a sub-category of mageborn human. And to me it sounds like skymages like myself might not be considered human and that might extend to lightweavers or something."

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"I do not think it would be a productive use of our time to argue over the definition of the word 'species'," Raven says carefully. 

"If we were to instead refer to 'kinds of people', each with their own distinct hereditary abilities and weaknesses, would you find that a more comfortable discussion? This world, then, has three kinds of people, and yours has...many more than three whichever way they are counted, from the sound of it." 

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"It's okay. I should adjust to the local standards." Felix says apologetically. "Species is okay, I just might have a delay while mentally translating."

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"Alright," she says agreeably. 

"So...what else would you like to know?"

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"Perhaps we should mention how these categories relate to Felix?" Cat suggests.

"People will most likely predict that you are human and the local kind of mage, especially if you are visibly performing magic. Mages will assume you gave yourself wings, which would make you an unusually powerful Nature mage. I don't know how you would appear to magesight, but most people don't make a habit of using it."

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Raven nods. 

"It will help, for the - looking powerful - that you can duplicate magic from the opposite end of the elemental spectrum," she adds, grinning slightly. "That implies, by local standards, that you have mastered all of them."

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"I stopped by a village on my way here and they did look... worringly deferential, but I don't know if it was just for being magical in general." He muses. "Do you need to learn the magic in a specific order here? I don't suppose there is a safe way to test if I show up to magesight?"

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"Well, it's not quite so much a specific order as that some things are simply more difficult to achieve with magic than others, and therefore require more practice and more time spent in mastering the techniques..." 

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Cat looks at Raven. She stops babbling. 

"I do know several mages," he says thoughtfully. "The question is which of them can be trusted to keep this to themself, and not ask too many questions..."

Magister Attwater is out on the first count; he may be perfectly trustworthy but Cat hasn't had enough time to determine that yet. Journeyman Darcy fails the second test - he'd want to know everything, and he and Raven would get drawn into an excitable spiral of knowledge acquisition. 

"Katherine would do it, I think." His instincts say Katherine is reliable, but he's not as certain as he would normally be; this is an unusual situation. 

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He nods. "Are there magic detecting artifacts? What exactly does the Nature element do? Or Aether for that matter?"

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"There are," Raven answers, "but I would be very surprised if there existed an artifact that could duplicate magesight proper. It is more than a simple binary of 'this person has magic, this person does not' - magesight, properly trained, can distinguish an apprentice from a master on sight, or an Air mage from a Fire mage. Shifters and vampires show up differently to magesight, too." 

She frowns in sudden comprehension as she catches up with Cat's train of thought. "That is why we should ask Katherine to look at you. She isn't an expert, but she knows how to recognize shifters and vampires, and will be able to tell us whether you might be mistaken for either of those." 

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"Or maybe even something new, which is probably not a great idea either."

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"Yes," she agrees.

"Humanity does not have a history of reacting well to the discovery of new types of magical being."

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"I'll—" 

Oh, right, the pack bond is still nonfunctional. He can't reach out telepathically. "I'll send one of the servants with a message for Katherine," Cat says instead, more decisively than he feels. 

One never knows how much one relies on something until it is...taken away... He resolutely ends that train of thought before it can move on to what (who) else is missing. 

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"Thank you. If there is anything I can to repay?"

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"If you teach my sister to use magic, I think both of us will consider that payment enough." 

He summons one of the maids and has her fetch Katherine. It's a good thing this happened while she was still living with them; she's moving out to live with her new mentor in the next day or so, and fetching her without letting Attwater know why would have been almost impossible after that point. 

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"I will have to learn it myself. Unless you're talking about pointers on how to dreamshape properly instead of witchcraft. The former I will be more than glad to teach. The latter... well, I never learned because I was still sharing a planet with the people that didn't want to teach it to everyone else."

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"Yes, I meant dreamshaping, sorry," Cat clarifies. "I wouldn't dream of asking you to teach a discipline you were not yourself familiar with." 

He winces slightly. "Ah—you should probably not say 'witchcraft' or...related words...while you are in this world unless you are obviously referring to otherworldly magic. It has insulting connotations, left over from the persecutions a few centuries ago." 

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Nod. "Sorry, the word has a complicated history back at my universe too, but it's currently used to refer to 'the magic of the Witch-Queens' more or less."

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Cat nods.

"There is a difference," he says carefully, "between the words one chooses to describe oneself, and the words chosen by others to describe you. The Witch-Queens, I take it, would be the former case?" 

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"Absolutely." Felix says in the tones of someone who never ever considered the possibility that the Witch-Queens would stand for being called anything but exactly what they wanted.

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If Cat was currently having emotional reactions he would have one of some kind to that. 

"Good." 

There's a knock at the door; he answers it. 

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"Um, hi." 

A blonde girl, about the same age as Cat and Raven or maybe a year or so younger, stands in the hallway, peering into the room. Like everyone else in this house, she is dressed from head to toe in unrelieved black. She jumps slightly when she notices Felix. 

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Felix smiles in the most friendly way he can and says. "Hello."

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"Felix, allow me to introduce my late father's apprentice, Miss Katherine Dyer," Cat says, guiding her into the room.

"Katherine, this is Mr Felix Dalkaila, a guest." 

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