Sep 29, 2022 4:53 AM
bella, daughter of hecate
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"Varies. Wildly. There's demigods rattling around from the Greatest Generation. Rule of thumb, if you make it to sixteen you'll probably make it - death rate per year after that isn't worse than mortals get from smoking. But, you know. You gotta make it."

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"So hypothetically if I stayed here for four years where there aren't monsters I'd be fine?"

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"Not quite. A big part of the life expectancy boost is that if you made it to sixteen, you know what you're doing. That means combat experience, and it means facing real danger. If you stay cooped up for four years, all you're really doing is delaying the coin flip when you go up against your first monster. I guess you'd have better odds if you spent the time sparring, but there really isn't a substitute for the first time you see a harpy coming for you with violence in her heart and know that it's you or her."

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"How do I get an exoskeleton wheelchair."

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"Huh. I think you're better off asking Chiron if you can do some kind of magic to make your body work for you, given your whole mom situation, but if he says no it is forbidden or similar Chironic bullshit I can see about finding a Hephaistos kid who likes a challenge?"

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"Thanks, I appreciate it. Though magic for not falling down would also be great!"

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"I'll bet. We haven't had anybody who did proper magic in a while, it'll be interesting to see what you can manage."

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Percy has finished his waffle, and looks mildly conflicted, but says "- I'd better get going. To General Weapons or whatever. I think the sky's pretty blue by now."

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"Oh, right, time. ADHD sucks. I'd better head to archery - see you later, Swan."

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"Thanks, it was nice to meet you." She carries her grape stem to nibble from on the way and hauls her bookbag to wherever she's supposed to be for magic lessons with Chiron.

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Magic lessons: in the woods, apparently. A specific glade is demarcated, with clear directions given.

"Hello, Bella," Chiron says as she approaches.

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"Good morning! How are you?"

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He unfolds his equine half to a standing position and puts a hand to his back, muttering something blasphemous-sounding in Greek. "Ugh. Quite well, apart from my back - you may thank the gods that, among other things, your spine does not bend at a ninety-degree angle."

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"I was sort of assuming it just worked out for you since it's supposed to do that! I guess my dad complains about his back."

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"It could certainly be worse. But I am a very old man, and it is my prerogative to complain uselessly. Enough of it. You're here to learn magic! Do you know anything of it already? I imagine not, but if you have some latent instinct for the practice you could very well surprise me."

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"I don't know anything besides what you told me about how there's herbs and stuff."

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"Excellent, then we won't be starting from a muddled base. At its core, magic is the augmentation of the physical - herb-lore, alchemy, a certain amount of mathematics - via the metaphysical. A practiced witch can create potions with fantastic effects, enchant objects to better perform their function, curse their enemies and bless their allies - but all of that depends on how well such an effect can be grounded in reality. If you wish to curse a foe to fall on his own sword, you should begin by spilling oil under his sandals. Do you follow?"

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"I guess that makes sense but it kind of limits it to situations where you have oil and your foe's sandals."

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He smiles. "This is one limitation of witchcraft! The more you know of the art, the more you can do without direct access to the subject - you might, for instance, inscribe a curse tablet for a faraway enemy, or bless an army without knowing each member individually - but a clever witch should always have a variety of reagents on her person, to cover any situation she can predict and some she cannot. The more versatile the reagent, the better. Ancient Greek had one word, pharmakon, for both poison and cure, because any cure can be a poison under the right circumstances."

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"...I guess that's true if you're generous with the definitions of poison and cure."

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