been thrilled to fantasy one too many times

Well that was interesting...

Her fingers curled around his, and in the same breath her thoughts cut out, the line suddenly severed. He was so used to skimming the surface thoughts of those around him that the sudden solitude was momentarily disorientating.

There was something else too...something nudging insistently at the back of his mind, applying pressure where it wasn't wanted. A small innocuous voice whispered, trying to soften his resolve, encourage his compliance.

Mordred's mind was neither emotional or weak. Her magic was looking to pluck a harp frame, stringless and still. He pushed back, gently nudging the nagging little voice away. He was not to be played. The song was his choice and his choice alone.

But was the magic hers? She hadn't blocked him before, hadn't even demonstrated that she was there. He was always subtle, gentle, barely noticeable. He might have wondered if being around him, being subject to his magic, had caused something to grow in her. The mind-blocking alone could have been explained as an adaptation, a sub-conscious form of resistance.

"You're far from useless," he reassured her, keeping his grip on her hand. He permitted his brows to move, arching elegantly in an enquiring expression; intrigued and faintly in awe.

"Are you...are you doing that?" Mordred held her eye. Did she know? Or was it something still-forming? Blooming into something extraordinary. I wonder...

Releasing his grip on her hand they separated. There was a beat, and then everything was restored to normal.

"Give me your hand again," he instructed her, gently. Mordred raised his, the palm turned flat towards her. When their skin met he smiled at her. "Concentrate..."

Mordred reached for his magic and, moving his free hand through the air, conjured a small ball of fire. He pressed it into a perfect sphere and left it to float between them. It crackled, tiny flames licking tentatively at the air.

"You try," he urged her, eager to see if she could. She was a puzzle, a beautiful, powerful puzzle. There was no level of it that did not appeal to him. He had always loved magic, ever since he was a child. And since coming to the castle he had read every book he could find on the theory and practical application. This new manifestation of hers was a scholar's dream come true.

"You'll feel a warmth deep in your stomach," Mordred explained, "think about pushing it upwards and down into your fingers. Picture the flames in your mind's eye, imagine the heat on your skin, and focus."

He waited hungrily, his expression encouraging. The power was one thing, the talent to use it to its maximum potential was quite another. Raw and untrained she was fascinating...but with time.

"I don't have a lot of time..." he mused, "but I can probably find a gap in my schedule, once a week perhaps. I don't know if you know this, but before I knew who my real family were, I was alone. I taught myself to fight so I could survive, find out who I really was." He arched an elegant brow. "I could do the same for you...if you'd like."

M o r d r e d
photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin at unsplash.com


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