The Author’s Apprentice

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Chapter 3

I was awoken by a knock on my door.

“Who is it?” I called sleepily.

I recognized Logan’s voice from outside: “Morning, newbie! Sorry if I woke you up, but the Author wants to see you for your first lesson in mind magic.”

“Got it, be right there!”

I groggily pulled myself out of bed and slipped on my hoodie. There was a doorway I hadn’t noticed yesterday behind a bookshelf (how awesome is that?) that led to the bathroom, which was stocked with amenities like a some kind of hotel room. I brushed my teeth, took a quick shower, then left the room and headed out to find the Author.

I wandered the halls for a bit before realizing I had no idea where to go. I paused a second, picking a random hall to turn down in this labyrinth of a library, and turned to see Logan around the corner.

I gave a start. “Hi, Logan,” I said with a chuckle.

“Hey,” he said with a grin. “I figured you’d need help finding the Author’s study. This place is a maze.”

I laughed. “Yeah, it really is… Thanks.”

“No problem, Stormcloud.”

“Stormcloud?” I asked.

“Yep. It’s my role in the group to give everyone a minimum of one nickname,” he said. “Yours is Stormcloud. Now, c’mon. The Author’s study is this way.”

Logan led me through the halls of the Library until we reached a large, sleek wooden door that read: Jonathan Chambers, Author.

Logan opened the door for me. “After you.”

“Gracias,” I said.

“Hey, ¿hablas Español también?” he asked.

“Sí, pero…solo un poco, y no muy bien,” I said with an awkward chuckle, stumbling a bit over the words.

Logan waved off my comment. “Tonterías, ¡tu Español es bueno! Vamos.”

We walked into the study. It was a large room with the typical bookshelf walls, an ornate blue-and-gold rug on the wood floor, and a little alcove set into the wall complete with a bench cushion and a little lamp. Every surface was strewn with various ancient-looking objects, ranging from weathered yellow papers to artifacts with strange symbols carved into them. I couldn’t tell whether the latter were powerful magic-wielding tools…or just paperweights. The Author was sitting at his desk, combing through the books and scrolls that the desk was covered in.

“Good, Stormi,” said the Author, looking up from the scroll he was scanning. “Thank you for walking her here, Logan.”

“No problem. I’ll see ya later, newbie,” Logan said with a wink as he walked out of the room.

The Author rolled his eyes, then waved his hand in the door’s direction. Following his hand motion, the door swung shut. “That boy never shuts the door behind him.” The Author shook his head, then gestured for me to sit down in one of the chairs by his desk. “Come, sit. I’d like to ask you a few questions before we begin.”

I blinked, still registering the fact that he’d closed the door with his mind, and stumbled over.

“Now,” said the Author, folding his hands in front of him on the desk, all serious-like. “What abilities do you have exactly?”

My mind went into panic mode as a reflex, and I had to remind myself that my secret was already out. I was safe here.

I exhaled deeply and said, “Until about a day ago, it was just telekinesis.”

“I see,” the Author murmured. “And how did this ability manifest itself?”

“Well, I’ve always avoided doing it on command,” I explained. “But it acts up when I have strong emotions, or when I’m really focused on something—like when I’m reading, writing, or drawing. That’s when it happened the most.”

“Intriguing,” he mumbled. “Well, that makes sense. What you’ve described is completely normal for a user of mind magic at your age.”

I blinked. “Really?”

“Yes, think of it like...bouncing your leg, or drumming your fingers. You don’t mean to do it, necessarily, it just happens, as a way to vent excess nervous energy. Magic can function in a similar way.”

“Oh, so, like stimming?” I asked.

“Yes, exactly. Except...”

“Except what?” I asked hesitantly.

“Well...your case is a bit unique. You possess a raw power that we haven’t seen in centuries. Not only your telekinesis, but your other abilities that have just recently come to light; teleportation and intuition. These are very difficult branches of magic. Your magic seems to function on an intuitive level—in other words, you’re a natural.”

My face grew hot with embarrassment. “Huh,” was the only reply I could come up with.

“You could still benefit from some technical instruction, however. Magic is a tricky thing to master, no matter how naturally it comes to you. And that is why we will be having these lessons.”

The Author stood up from his desk and walked over to the center of the room, gesturing for me to follow. “We’ll start with the fundamentals, then once you’ve mastered those, we’ll add on more complex abilities and techniques. Now…”

Without warning, the Author grabbed a book off the desk and hurled it right at my face.

I yelped and threw my hands up. The book froze midair inches away from my face, suspended in a light blue glow.

The Author smiled. “Excellent reflexes,” he noted. “You have the natural ability—you just need to learn the mechanics. Let’s begin.”

For the next couple hours, the Author walked me through different exercises that helped me learn to control my telekinesis. I went from floating a book around the room to lifting countless objects within the room simultaneously. It was a strange but liberating experience. I’d been repressing my power for so long, it was hard to fully embrace it, but once I did, it felt amazing. It was like a piece of me had been missing. My telekinesis was like an extension of my body, and I controlled objects with my mind just as I would my hands or limbs. Within a few hours, using telekinesis felt completely natural.

“Excellent work, Stormi,” the Author said with a smile as I set each object I’d been controlling back in its place. “I think it’s safe to say you’ve mastered telekinesis. Let’s move on to another fundamental, shall we?”

I nodded, grinning.

The Author closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them. “Our volunteer should be here any moment.”

I tilted my head. “Volunteer?”

Right on cue, the door opened and Logan poked his curly-haired head into the room. “You wanted to see me, Author?”

“Come in, Logan,” said the Author. “Stormi and I are just moving on to telepathy.”

“Ooh!” Logan swung the door wide open and walked in, grinning excitedly.

I waved my hand and the door shut behind him. “The door, Logan,” I said with a chuckle.

Logan smirked. “I see you’ve mastered telekinesis.”

“Logan will be helping you learn the next basic ability: telepathy,” the Author explained. “Every magic-user has a specialty—a primary ability that they’re best at and often rely on—and Logan’s happens to be telepathy. He will be assisting us in our telepathy lesson.”

Logan gave me a subtle wink.

“For this lesson, I’ll be tossing you into the deep end, so to speak,” said the Author. “Logan will open his mind, and you will have to find his thoughts and connect with him yourself.”

I gulped. “Alright,” I said quietly.

“You’ll do fine, Storm,” said Logan. “Just reach out and—”

“Ah, ah, ah, no tips, Logan,” the Author chided playfully. “She’ll have to figure this one out on her own.”

I chuckled. “Okay,” I mumbled.

I closed my eyes and reached out with my thoughts. I focused only on the thought of Logan, clearing all others from my mind.

Logan.

I felt around in the darkness of my own thoughts, trying to find his.

Logan.

It took a few moments, but eventually, I heard his voice. It began as a faint whisper, then steadily grew louder:

Stormi.

A strange jolt shot from my head and down my spine when I heard Logan’s voice in my mind. Something in my head seemed to click, like his thoughts fit perfectly into mine, like two puzzle pieces had been put together.

Stormcloud, is that you? His voice was distant and had a slight echo at first, but quickly became clearer.

You can hear me? I thought back to him.

Yeah, clear as day, he answered.

“I did it!” I said aloud, a wide grin spreading on my face.

“Well, that was fast,” said the Author, who was also smiling.

Logan raised his hand for a high-five, and I complied, still grinning.

“Telepathy is a unique and rather abstract skill,” the Author said. “When using telepathy, you must stay grounded; you mustn’t lose yourself to the complexity and depth of the mind.”

I nodded.

“And I must warn you, Stormi,” said the Author, taking on a serious tone. “You must never break into an unwilling mind unless it is absolutely necessary. The mind is a sacred place, and we Storytellers respect that.”

“I understand, sir,” I told him.

The Author smiled. “Good. Now, let’s practice some more, shall we?”

The rest of the lesson consisted mostly of having telepathic conversations with Logan and practicing moving things with my mind while he watched with an impressed grin, muttering, “Why can’t I do it that well?”

After about another hour or so, the Author stood from his desk. “You’ve done excellent work today, Stormi,” he told me. “I’d say our first lesson was quite the success.”

Logan hopped up from the window seat. “Oh! You know what that means!”

“Um, no?” I said, shooting Logan a baffled glance. “What does it mean?”

The Author simply smiled. “Come with me.”

We walked through the meandering halls until we reached what I’d figured out was the center of the Library, the large cylindrical room with the portal. There, Emily and the rest of the Storytellers were waiting.

“What’s going on?” I asked. I glanced at Logan again, hoping for an explanation, but he just continued to grin widely at me.

The Author nodded at Emily. “It’s time to make it official.”

Emily smiled and nodded back. She held out her hands, and a soft blue light grew between her palms. The light shifted along with Emily’s hand motions; she pulled and twisted and shaped the light into a U-shape. Then, when she was done shaping it, the light receded and left an intricately patterned silver cuff in Emily’s palms.

Bradley stood, and I noticed he was holding a small wooden chest. He opened it and Emily took a round, vibrant blue stone from it, and placed it in an indent in the center of the silver cuff. It fit perfectly, like a puzzle piece.

Emily handed the bracelet to the Author. He brushed his fingertips across the surface, leaving behind trails of blue light that glowed brightly for a moment, then faded. I watched in awe and disbelief as the trails of light etched my first name in the silver surface just above the blue pendant. The letters were cursive and elegant, and they curved along the shape of the jewel.

“Stormi Griffin,” said the Author, holding up the bracelet. “This is a story gauntlet. The stone in the center is known as a Storyteller’s stone, a gem created by some of the first Storytellers infused with raw magic. It is used by Storytellers to help channel their power.”

“Wow,” was all I could say as the Author handed the gauntlet back to me.

“Welcome to the team,” said the Author.

“Thank you, sir,” I said softly.

Startling me, the Storytellers all erupted into happy shouts and crowded around me, telling me they were happy to have me and they were proud of me and giving me claps on the back.

“Good to have you, rookie,” said Bradley, shaking my hand.

“Thanks, Bradley,” I said with a grin.

“You’re going to be a great Storyteller,” said Evelyn, smiling at me.

“All in favor of celebratory froyo?” Logan said, putting his hand in the air.

Kayla, Evelyn, and Bradley thrust their hands up and said, “Aye!” I followed suit, raising my hand and saying “aye” along with them.

I grinned as the Storytellers and I grabbed our things, breaking into friendly conversation. They were like their own little family. And my smile widened as I realized I was now a part of it.

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