Avarice

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A v a r i c e | F o u r t e e n

F o u r t e e n

❝A magical whisk of the hand;

and you may kill any man.❞

“BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT. FEEL THE power run through you, then cut it off,” Lilith said to me in a soothing voice. We were outside despite the stinging cold. I sat on the ground, cross legged with my hands on my knees. My eyes were closed, my thoughts were blank, and all I did was listen to Lilith’s voice.

She was teaching me to control my powers, the powers I had obtained from her. I still wasn’t completely sure what they all were (neither was she) but according to her, we didn’t need to know. We just needed to feel them. So that was what I did.

Having my power course through me like this was strange, but...refreshing. It wasn’t like that moment after Marquise Trill was discovered to be a witch. That was...overwhelming. This felt right. As I breathed in, I could feel my power flourish through my body, and as I breathed out, my power dispersed.

My skin tingled and prickled from the sensation.

Lilith sat just like how I was sitting across from me. As I peeked an eye open, I saw she had her eyes closed and her upper body was moving in a circular motion, in time with the wind. It was captivating to watch for some reason. She had a strange...feeling surrounding her. I opened my other eye and shut out what she was saying to get a closer look at it.

It was...her demeanor...her...what was that word called again? Ah, yes. Her aura. I had always thought that to be nonsense, but after learning all that I had this past month, anything seemed plausible. Lilith’s aura wasn’t a color, as I had previously thought auras entailed. No...it was something more than a color that radiated off of her in waves.

“Cerise?” Lilith’s voice broke my concentration and I shook my head to clear my thoughts.

I looked up at her expectantly. “Yes?”

“What did you just see?” she questioned with slightly narrowed eyes.

“I think...your aura. Is that a power?” I said curiously. Lilith cracked a smile and pushed herself up into a standing position. She reached out a hand and helped me up as well.

“No, not really. All...seers have it. You’ve just got to look through your eyes with your powers. There are many things you can do, actually. Would you like to learn some?” Lilith’s eyes were bright and excited. I was certain mine looked like that too as I nodded my head vigorously.

“Alright,” Lilith nodded and placed her hands on her hips on a wide stance. “Let’s just practice compulsion and seeing the auras for now before moving on, okay?” I nodded in agreement. “Look me in the eyes and tell me to do something; anything.”

Die.

I halted at the terrible thought that immediately took place in my mind and shook my head to clear it. I took in a deep breath and closed my eyes while I exhaled, calling forth my powers and taking control of them, just like Lilith had been teaching me all afternoon. When I opened my eyes, my power surged through me and I looked into the eyes of Lilith.

“Touch your toes,” I told her. Lilith’s eyes turned hazy and her body went rigid before she lent down and did what was asked of her. I instantly smiled in celebration. After touching her toes, Lilith was out of the compulsion and stood up straight, smiling herself.

“Very good. Just remember not to break the concentration. The compulsion will waver if you do, and many times it may break. Just be careful.”

I nodded in understanding. “Will do.”

Lilith nodded back at me. “Now to see an aura, as I mentioned before, you have to look at someone through the eyes of your power. But don’t focus on your power. Focus on the energy they are releasing.”

I frowned slightly. “Will average humans be releasing energy?”

Lilith laughed and nodded. “Yes. All animals release energy, and we are able to see it. By seeing a being’s aura, you will be able to identify the mood that they are in and the amount of energy they have, which in turn translates to the amount of power they have.”

“How?” I asked simply.

Lilith smiled. “Look at mine and describe to me what you see.”

I called my own powers up and went through the entire process of conjuring it before I opened my eyes, looking through my power. Now that I was more focused, I had a better look. I had been mistaken before; there was a slight color difference around her, but very slight. It made the colors she already had on more vivid. Or maybe everything else was more bland. I couldn’t tell.

“Tell me what you feel; how I feel.” She ordered.

I nodded. I could do this. Just focus, Cerise. I wanted to close my eyes, but that would just cut me off. I let the emotions rolling off of her come on to me, letting them engulf me until I knew what I was feeling was what she was feeling. “You’re...excited.” Lilith nodded and motioned me to keep going. “You’re curious, but I’m not sure of what. You’re...scared. Why are you scared?”

Lilith’s smile faltered. “Everyone’s a little bit scared all the time.”

I could instantly tell she was lying because of the way her aura quivered and her frightened emotion heightened. I didn’t tell her this though, I just nodded.

Lilith’s smile returned.

“What do you see?”

“It’s like a thin veil of water surrounding you. Whenever you move, even just breathe, it moves with you. And there are constant ripples going through it, one after another. They’re never ending.” I described to her. Lilith nodded.

“How big is it?”

“It’s not. Big, I mean. It’s only an inch or two away from your body. It’s not like a big circle; it follows the shape of your body.”

“Is it a color?” Lilith prodded.

I looked closer at it, squinting my eyes before shaking my head in answer. “Not really. It’s clear, like water is, but it is kind of...shiny. And inside of it, you are vivid; your colors are more eccentric than the ones outside of your aura.”

“Shiny?” Lilith questioned.

I nodded. “Yeah. It’s shining, like light is being reflected off of it.”

Lilith nodded. “That and the ripples are how you tell how powerful something is. If their aura is shining, they are a being of supernatural qualities. If they are dull, they are not. The ripples tell you if I’m using my power or not. If there are waves, not just ripples, and lapses, then you can tell the amount of power I’m using on you. It’s very helpful.” Lilith elaborated. “Now, what about my looks? The glamour we use to hide ourselves falls off when you look inside of the aura.”

I shook my head. “I’m not sure. How do I look beyond the aura?”

Lilith shrugged. “It’s different for everyone. That’s something you must discover for yourself.”

I sighed and closed my eyes. My eyes had been open for far too long and were very dry. I thought it was time to give them a rest already. Lilith understood this and waited until I was ready to proceed with the next thing she wanted me to try.

“Okay,” I blinked a few times while I squared my shoulders and rolled my neck. “I’m ready. Let’s do this.” Lilith didn’t say anything, just watched me. I got my powers ready and opened up my eyes.

I was seeing what I had seen before. The clear aura, the shining light, the ripples, the vivid color. Instead of focusing on the energy, however, I focused completely on Lilith this time around. My eyebrows furrowed, my eyes narrowed, my forehead wrinkled...but nothing new happened. I held it up for a good couple of minutes before sighing and closing my eyes.

Lilith smiled daintily at me. “It’ll come to you, just give it time and practice, okay? As for now, let’s move on and focus on spells.”

“Spells?” I repeated. “Aren’t spells for witches?”

Lilith shook her head. “No, there are some spells that even humans can perform. Witches are just more powerful, know more, and can perform a spell without even saying the words.” I nodded. “As a seer, you are capable of performing the more simplistic spells. Let’s start with the blooming spell.”

She taught me the stance for casting a spell, right foot slightly forward, legs spread apart, and my shoulders completely in line with my hips. It was as if I was going to start running. Lilith said that this position was for beginners and soon I wouldn’t have to stand a specific way for common spells.

Following her directions, I pointed with my index and middle fingers at a fallen plant that had started to go brown. We first practiced the motions I would perform to make the plant bloom. With my index and middle finger I would point, then turn my hand upside down and reverse the actions while I moved my hand up.

“Aren’t there wands that I can use or something? Won’t they make this easier?” I interrupted Lilith.

She laughed. “Wands are not meant for supernatural beings. They are meant for humans. Witches would sometimes make a human a wand with a few capabilities, for protection and such.” I sighed. I was really hoping for a wand. “We are too powerful for the likes of a stick. Our power is within us, not in an inanimate object.”

Well, that boosted my mood. We carried on with the motions until I was certain I had it down. Then, we moved onto the words. “Latin,” Lilith told me, “is the language above all others when it comes to magic.”

“So if I said a spell in my native tongue, it wouldn’t...do its job?” My eyebrows furrowed. Magic had seemed much simpler before it became real.

“Not necessarily. It would ‘do its job’, but it wouldn’t be nearly as powerful or beautiful without Latin.” Lilith explained to me.

“Oh. Okay.” I nodded. “So I have to learn Latin?” Lilith nodded.

“All magical beings have to learn Latin.” She said.

Great.

Lilith taught me what to say - just a simple floresco and I was good to go. I practiced in my mind a few times and did the motion. Lilith stood back and watched, her arms crossed over her chest. She didn’t say anything or make any movement, which I was thankful for. Any slight diversion and I was sure to do something wrong.

I took my time breathing and feeling my power course through me. I wanted this to be perfect. I wanted to do it perfectly. When I was prepared, I opened my eyes, stared at the dead plant, and put my hand up in the position Lilith had ordered. While my hand twisted and turned and raised, I whispered, “Floresco,” and-

I stopped as my stomach dropped. I quickly looked over at Lilith. “What was that?” I questioned. My voice hadn’t been my voice. It was...sweeter, but not in a nice way. It was seductive and luring and captivating. It was something I hadn’t ever heard before. But it wasn’t my voice. I didn’t recognize it. Something had changed it.

Lilith smiled. “That was you.”

I stared at her. “No it wasn’t. That’s not what I sound like.”

Lilith tilted her head to the side. “Perhaps not normally, but it was you nonetheless. It’s very impressive that so soon in your development your voice changes. It shows that you’re a very strong being.”

I was happy to hear this, but I was still confused. “Why does my voice sound like that?”

“You look different, too, when you cast magic,” Lilith said thoughtfully. I frowned.

“Different?”

She nodded. “It’s extraordinary. It took me years to get where you are now.” Lilith said, and walked towards me with a smile. “You are amazing.” She told me sincerely. “Now, try it again.”

I nodded and got back into the proper stance. I went through all the motions, and when I reached the point of talking, I didn’t flinch at the seductive lure of my own voice. “Floresco,” I whispered, and watched in utter fascination as the dead plant lifted from the ground, an aura forming around it, and went from a dull brown to a vivid green. A bud appeared and bloomed, revealing a gorgeous maroon dahlia that looked near black towards the center.

When the flower was completely flourished, I held my power back, closed my eyes, and exhaled deeply to release pent up energy. When I opened my eyes, Lilith was standing in front of me. “Incredible. Really, a very good job Cerise. I’m impressed.”

I smiled at her, but I felt a little off. A little wobbly. Lilith noticed. “You’ve strained a lot of power today. Next time you’re here I’ll show you what berries can help keep your energy up.” Lilith promised. I nodded in agreement. “Now, be on your way and get some rest, alright?”

“Alright.” I said. We bid our farewells and I thanked her for all that she taught me.

I was halfway home before I realized she had never answered my questions about what occurs when I perform magic.

Lilith had deterred me from the subjects, giving me compliments I had thought meant something.

Now, I wasn’t too sure.

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