“Why are we training here?”
Ey looks over at eir first Apprentice in over ten millennia and wonders not for the first time how ey nearly missed his Awakening. Wonders how it was he could sink one of their strongest Cities without straining but cannot sense the way this World eats magick without giving it back. Wonders if he could sense it but doesn’t see how it could benefit him.
Watching the way he looks around, orange-amber eyes identical to eir own, his power a soft cooing call that flutters around him like the aura no Greywalker has, ey honestly cannot tell which reason is behind his question. So ey answers them all.
Because he comes from eir line, is eir grandson by several generations removed and ey figures he must take more after eir line than his sire’s. Ey’ll teach him the importance of being concise and pointed with his questions later. For now, ey is just happy he’s even asking them at all.
“Imèn World eats magick performed in it and stores it. It doesn’t give it back unless a Dhaoine knows how to speak to it. If you wish to train in peace and hidden from the rest of the Worlds until you’ve earned all of your bells, this is the best place to do it.”
Those old and young eyes turn to em and ey understands in that moment exactly why the gods of old chose Rhyshladlyn Ka’ahne to restore Balance to the Worlds. Ey understands in the way he looks at em, seeing everything, while cataloging the truth of eir words as he touches the World around them with no more effort than it takes to form a fleeting thought. Ey watches as the Currents soften and brush across his skin, as the Lines above them hum contentedly, as the after image shimmers of his Others dance across the long distance between them and their kè despite the doors and Shields he has erected to block them out.
When the World becomes aware of him, when it shakes off its slumber and whispers across eir skin ey smiles, impressed in a way ey hasn’t been in what feels like eons. Still smiling ey calls in a bell and hands it over to him. Delights in the way his expression shifts and drops as he takes it and stares at it like it holds every answer he’s ever wanted, like it will turn into a monster and eat him if he isn’t careful. That isn’t the look of an adult but rather of a fledgling who had learned early on never to trust gifts from anyone, let alone an elder.
It breaks eir heart to see it. It makes em pray to the Old Ones that by the time his training is done, Rhyshladlyn has learned that even curses can be blessings, even if one doesn’t see how at first.
“Why?” It’s a simple word, a question he poses without looking at em and while its disrespectful to do such, ey doesn’t reprimand him. Not this time.
Because he had just done something that had taken even em three centuries to learn and another two to perfect and he was only ninety-three namedays old.
“You earned it,” ey answers at length before snapping eir fingers, magickally weaving the bell into his hair with string that matches his eyes. “But don’t get cocky. Not every test will be as easy.”
His grin was beautiful in the way that Hôhyündír hunting was beautiful, all darkness and shadows and perfect Balance even if it was destructive and chaotic. It changes his entire face in the blink of an eye; merges the ancientness that all of their kind has and the easy going, quick to laughter fledgling into a single expression. Seeing it shining at em while Imèn World chitters and sings and sighs around them, ey finally has hope that the Worlds will see true Balance again soon. And that hope is enough to make the knowledge that ey is bound for the After once Rhyshladlyn’s training is complete much easier to bear.
His head tilts to the side as he regards em, eyes reading the change in eir own expression but he doesn’t comment on it. And for that she is grateful.
“If the tests were easy it wouldn’t be fair,” he replies at length, that grin still there but muted, seen more in the way his eyes squint and shine, the way his accent dances around his words.
Ey couldn’t agree more.