Swamped Chapter 37 Page 6

It takes a moment for the big implication to sink in.

“I’m a wizard?” you ask, incredulously.

“You can call it that if you want. You’ve got the ability to manipulate ether. But I’m guessing you’ve got no practice with it.”

“Well… no.”

“Hang on. I’m thinking you may not be all that clear on what ether is. Am I right?”

“That’s right. I don’t really know anything about magic.”

Dominique lets out a sigh.

“Well. I can monitor the transfer and give you a little lesson at the same time. You may want to sit down on the bed, though.”

You do, and she starts explaining.

“It’s hard to explain what ether is, exactly. Most people can’t detect it, and most materials don’t interact with it in noticeable ways. But there’s tiny amounts of ether everywhere. Now, what a wizard usually does is gather up a bunch of it, and then uses that to power a spell. At least, that’s what all the research I’ve read says; never actually seen it myself until you turned up.”

Well, that just feels awkward.

“What’s going on with your clothes, though, is that they’re etherically charged. That is to say, you went and gathered up a whole bunch of ether around yourself, and your clothes are storing it. Now, you might be wondering how that’s affecting your body… answer is, not much. That’s because it doesn’t take a lot of ether flow to knock yourself out, and once you’re out, the ether generally stops flowing. Not only that, but the body has a tendency to push it out when you’re unconscious. Don’t know why, that’s just how it works.”

“So… the ether’s not dangerous unless someone gathers it?”

“Pretty much. And after a spell gets cast, the ether slowly returns to the environment. But inanimate objects tend to stay charged for a long time. They used to take advantage of that to make flaming swords and the like. Called it ‘enchantment’, I think. But it’s dangerous with these clothes, because there’s no particular spell on them. Just raw ether flowing around, waiting for a will to shape it.”

“But only a wizard’s will works?”

She shrugs.

“Can’t say I know why it works that way, but yeah, for most people, ether might as well not even exist. And like I said, I can sense it, but I can’t really manipulate it directly. Gotta use special tools for that. I think that’s about all I had to say… why don’t you relax while the siphon finishes up. It should be about done soon.”

You suppose you might as well leave her to it. But just before you lie down again, one last question comes to mind.

“I don’t suppose you’ve heard of a Christopher Laikenne?”

She pauses for a moment before turning away.

“Can’t say it rings a bell.”

“He’s my father. He wrote the book that I used when I… well, cast that spell, I suppose.”

“And you had no idea he was a wizard?”

“I didn’t know the book existed until yesterday. And I’ve realized there’s a lot I don’t really know about him.”

“Well, I’m not the person to ask. Not about Christopher Laikenne, anyhow. But you really shouldn’t be worrying about that sort of thing at the moment. Just get yourself some rest.”

Well. Now she’s gone and gotten you curious. But she seems to have gone back to work, so you doubt you’ll get much out of pressing her any further.

Now what?

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This bedsheet is pretty decorative. If you’re a wizard Marshall, maybe you should have a robe?

Either that or it’s time for a naked walk!