Ymiden 4 718
Hanabi had been lying in a cold cave / burrow for the last couple of days. She hadn’t done much of anything except sit around and eat the food that was brought to her by her magic mentor, Snow. She’d been initiated into Abrogation and ever since that moment she’d been recovering from her injuries. It hadn’t be a very fun process, as she had been injured by two different types of magics while her new spark dutifully came to her aid. The spark was getting bored of sitting around in a cave with nothing to do, and Hanabi was starting to share that feeling.
“Snow, how long are we going to stay here,” Hanabi would ask for the first time. She wasn’t one to question his methods, but she might as well get a feel of when she’d be able to go back home. She didn’t have any attachments yet, but she felt that if she had a home she should at least be sleeping there.
“Well,” Snow started, “long enough to make sure you understand what’s happened to you. And since you’re a mage now I wouldn’t feel right letting you leave without knowing how to defend yourself.
“Alright, so what do I have to do,” she’d respond cheerfully as she got to her feet and dusted herself off. She was excited to learn something new since the last two days had been as strange as could be.
“Take this,” the mentor would say as he handed Hanabi a longsword, “I’ll not have you relying on your fists alone. When you go back to Rharne, your first task will be to buy one of your own.”
Hanabi shrugged and accepted the weapon without question. She’d never in her life thought her fists would solve all her problems and was comforted by the fact that she had someone to show her the ropes. “Unfortunately, I don’t know much about swordplay myself and I’m definitely not good enough to teach you. The basics come naturally though, so let’s see a swing or two.
The new mage held the blade in her right hand and started swinging it back and forth. She was merely copying the guards she’d seen in the past, and found that the hardest part was dealing with the blade’s weight. She was not a very big woman and the heavy blade made her body twist with every swing. She’d try vertical slashes as well, and had to put a lot of effort into not letting the blade hit the ground. “I don’t think this is the right kind of weapon for me,” she’d admit, “it’s just so heavy!”
“Ah, well that’s probably because it was made to my liking. A smith will be able to craft one for you to take into account your stature. Anyways, let’s see an attack. Come at me!”
Hanabi looked worriedly at Snow then down to the blade. She didn’t want to try attacking him, even if he was capable of making shields. It felt too dangerous. Punching was much easier, since the worst that could happen was a fracture. ”If we’re not careful he’ll end up with no head!” Putting her fears aside, Hanabi lifted the blade and slashed down at Snow only to feel her arm come to a screeching halt when the blade connected with an invisible force. She’d pull the blade back and strike with even more force and would still feel the seemingly impenetrable wall block her progress.
Again and again Hanabi would slice her sword, in every which angle and every time the sword would feel resistance right before coming into contact with Snow’s body. Snow wasn’t just standing still though, he was actively moving and twisting his body in order to get a defensive angle in the mock fight. He used his hands a great deal and Hanabi suspected that his hands played a big part in creating his magical shields. The two would go at it until Snow waved his hands dismissively.
Hanabi walked over to the sword’s sheathe and tried to put it back inside. It had always looked so simple but in practice it was pretty difficult to maneuver the heavy blade into the tight slot that was built for it. She’d find herself fiddling around like a foo until Snow came over and helped her out. He’d show her where to place her thumb and where to look at in order to successfully put the sword back in. He’d then show her the movements necessary to pull the blade back out again. “Don’t worry, this all comes with time. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find a tutor in Rharne.”
”As if I don’t have enough to learn about already,” Hana would think to herself. She had so many things she wanted to do that just thinking about a viable training regimen was giving her aches. Snow took the blade from her and pulled it out of the sheathe. He’d toss the sheathe aside and Hanabi was suddenly feeling her adrenaline build back up. ”There’s only one thing this can mean,” she’d think as she held up her hands in defense. She watched as Snow gave the blade a couple test swings then turn his focus entirely on his student.
“Alright, now it’s your turn. It should come naturally to you, but the basic gist is that you will be expelling ether in order to stop an attack. There’s no good way to practice this except in combat, and there’s no better way to draw out the spark than to add some danger into the mix.”
Snow stepped forward and slashed at Hanabi, holding back just enough so that he wouldn’t make contact with her. Hanabi held up her hands in fear, and felt the spark inside her buzzing around excitedly. She’d ask it for help and it would comply by sending out such a powerful burst of ether that Hanabi was knocked right onto the ground. Sure the burst of ether had come out, but it seemed to have exited the entire front half of her body in such a large chunk that she was already starting to feel a little dizzy. She looked up and saw the sword coming back at her. She’d hold up her hands and try to focus her ether into her hands this time. It would come out, but again it did nothing but slow the sword down a little. Snow had to stop his attack mid swing to avoid chopping Hanabi’s poor hands off.
“Good,” Snow would say as he gave the student reprieve, “at least your ether is coming out. My ether didn’t come out voluntarily for quite some time after my initiation. It looks like you’ve got a knack for expelling it! Although it looks like you use way too much at once. I’m honestly not sure whether this is better or worse than not expelling enough ether!”
Even more dizzy than before, Hanabi felt herself fall right asleep. She’d still not fully recovered from her initiation and she was pushing her body way too hard. She’d not wake up until that night when the only light was the campfire. Snow was sitting there and watching her patiently and looked excited that she had woken. “Alright, back at it then,” he’d say as he gathered the sword back up.
“I don’t’ think I have the energy,” Hanabi said nervously, “it can’t be good to keep going like this. I’ll pass out again!”
Snow shook his head and explained, “your body is running off of two energy sources my dear. Your muscles are powered by the energy from your food. Your magic is powered by the ether from Emea. You restore your ether when you sleep, so you will be okay to keep going. I will not let you leave this cave until you can show me that you can create a barrier without knocking yourself out.”
Hanabi groaned, but she got to her feet all the same. She held up her hands and commanded her spark to send out ether. She’d try her best to focus the ether out in the smallest burst possible and try to build up from there. Snow took a couple light swings with the sword and felt each swing slowed considerably by the expulsion of ether. Hanabi was surprised with her progress and knew that a good rest was not enough for her to have improved. ”It must be the spark. Maybe it practiced while I slept? That’s a dangerous thought, if it is indeed capable of using my energy without my permission.”
Regardless, Hanabi would get better and better at blocking the gentle sword strikes as the night went on. She’d refined her ether usage to a point where she could use a little for small attacks or a lot for heavy attacks. When she finally started to feel dizzy again Snow would call it quits and the two would sleep for their (hopefully) final night in the cave.