A Heritage of Power 4: Jerik's Story 5:
Knowing the Difference

by Fur and Fantasy
PG-13
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

"Calm down, Jerik, and focus," Temreth sighed, feeling more than a little frustrated himself. He hadn't yet had any student who seemed to have this much trouble working with a staff, even a practice staff. The simple wooden tool, with a small piece of quartz in the tip, almost seemed to be intentionally hindering Jerik, even if they both knew better. "You're trying to cast the spells the same way you always have; you have to work the staff into the process," he explained. "Don't use your hands to make the gestures, use the tip of the staff to draw them."

Jerik nodded and drew a cleansing breath to settle himself and tried again. The spell was a cantrip, as simple as they got. Just a little ball of light that would float for a minute before disappearing.

The movements did not come at all naturally; it went against all his instincts to be dependant on an object to make things happen. Still, he focused, relaxed his mind and made the effort to trace the symbols with the quartz tip and not just with his mind or hands.

He could feel it starting to work; the Force he was trying to manipulate being channeled along its length, collecting at the crystal. It was not something he was used to, but if he thought about it as trying to draw the spell in the air, he could make himself to it, slowly reciting the words as he completed each symbol.

It was almost painfully slow, especially with how naturally most of his Force training had come, and even his fist few cantrips using only his mind and hands. Still, as he finished the last symbol with the crystal tip he knew it had worked, even before the small glow of light appeared before him.

Jerik let out a breath of relief. This was the hardest way he'd ever done anything, but it had worked. He'd done what he had been asked to do.

"It will become easier with time," Temreth smiled, the Stoat grateful that Jerik had finally managed it. "Your prior training is making it more difficult to adopt the new method, but you are managing it. Now tell me; do you feel as drained, magically, as you did the first time you cast a cantrip?"

"More drained." He said truthfully. "My first cantrip came much more naturally, much easier, than this one. This is a much greater difference in method than using my hands or mind to cast the spell.

"I'm not too surprised," Temreth admitted. "Still, that you managed it now is a good start. Once you have adapted, you will be able to wield it more effectively. Most mages find that the difference between using their staff and not using it is a palpable one. To be honest, without mine I can't manage more than the Fourth Circle for spells."

That raised an eyebrow in surprise and appreciation for the statement. A full Circle of spells higher was a serious change.

"That is definitely worth the effort in learning to be at ease with one." Jerik nodded seriously, then looked up at the teacher who had spent so many extra hours with him to get him this far with the staff. "It is too early to ask about how to build mine?"

Temreth smiled, glad to see that Jerik was finally warming up to the idea. Up to now, the youth had seemed to work on it only because he was expected to.

"Not too early to ask, but too early to start. You should begin your design work shortly, but not the actual building process. Why don't we begin inspecting the one you have there?"

"All right," he nodded and moved closer so the Stoat could point out things as he explained them.

"We'll use your practice staff," Temreth explained, taking it from Jerik. "The basic design of the staff is generally up to you; I prefer one like mine, natural and sturdy, made of pine. However, I have colleagues who prefer intricate designs, and even some who use wands instead of staves. The most important thing is that the design is right for you. Do you have any specific questions about this part?"

"Not yet, Mage Temreth." He said, already working on several ideas for it.

"All right," the Stoat nodded, moving on to the quartz tip. "Some would argue that the finial is the most important part of a staff. I disagree myself; I have seen staves without clear finials that function properly, and the mage-blades are even capable of using swords as foci, albeit not to the same extent. The crystal is the most common adornment, though others are possible. What is most important is that it resonates with you, magically. When you cast a spell with your staff, the magical energy will collect in the finial before you release it. I doubt you felt it this time, but why don't you try again, see if you can feel it this time?" He handed the staff back to Jerik.

"Mage-blades?" Jerik looked at him curiously as he accepted the practice staff back and began to focus on creating the ball of light again. This time he did his best to pay attention to what was going on as well.

"A group of mages, generalists of the worst sort," Temreth explained with a bit of obvious disdain. "They distract themselves with martial pursuits. As a result, they are passable warriors with a mastery of the simplest of spells. Even the greatest among their number are only capable of wielding spells of the Seventh Circle. They use their swords as foci, and are utterly dependent on them to use their powers at all."

Jerik felt the magical energy gathering with each symbol he inscribed, just as Temreth had told him it would. As he stretched his senses into the Force, he could almost see the gathering glow in the quartz crystal, moving along the staff and collecting into a single point before it was released into the small glowing orb.

"I can see it," Jerik nodded seriously even as he closed his eyes briefly at the drain it was to cast a spell this way.

"Rest for a bit," Temreth said seriously. "You will be expected to practice in this manner from now on, but in an emergency feel free to use spells as you usually do. You will notice that many around here don't use their staves all the time; in most cases, it is because they don't need their full power magically here. In the cases of the Elders, I think it's because they don't want to depress the rest of us," he chuckled.

Jerik nodded and sat down, grateful for the break. "I understand, Mage."

"Do you better understand the process of using your staff for a spell now?" Temreth asked him. "How to do so without losing the spell most of the time?"

"Yes, and I believe so." He nodded. "It will take practice, but so does everything."

"Very good," Temreth smiled. "I think you're beginning to get a feel for what using magic is like for the rest of us now," he observed, noticing that Jerik still seemed exhausted. "If you're open to a suggestion?"

"Yes, Mage." He nodded and turned his full attention to the Stoat.

"I would suggest that, when you return to your quarters, you have some milk brought up ... and if your Defender is willing to pamper you, let him," Temreth chuckled. "The wear and tear of inexperienced spellcasting can be impressive, especially if you weren't ready for it."

"I will," Jerik smiled fondly at the mention of his Defender. "Tomar is always happy to pamper me."

"You have a good one then, as long as he can fight too," Temreth smiled. "Make sure it goes both ways; you're partners, after all."

"Oh, he can fight," he grinned and stood up. "And I do like pampering him. Thank you Mage Temreth."

"You're welcome, Apprentice Jerik," the Stoat chuckled, standing and bowing slightly to Jerik. "Have a good evening."

A Heritage of Power 4: Jerik's Story 5: Knowing the Difference

PG-13

8 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written December 24, 2005 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann

Setting: Herath, Star Wars (Furry)

Primary Races: Kat, Stoat

Contents: Furry. Gen.

Blurb: Jerik finally manages to cast a spell the way the Mages of the Academy do.

Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.

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