Zenith – Part 4

Standing in front of Emily was a house. It didn’t look all that out of place. She was still in the park blocks, she could see Portland around her, but everything past the house looked a little blurry. Emily had never heard of a house being located anywhere near here, and with this location it would be worth a fortune.

The house was of a victorian style. Broad windows, tall ceiling, covered patio with a cute outdoor couch looking out over the street. The walls were painted a pastel yellow with white trim. On the peak of the roof was a classic weather vane with a metal cut out rooster on top. In the sloping corner of the roof a swallow had made a nest and dutifully sat over its eggs.

The house looked so perfect it appeared to glow. The grass of the park wouldn’t have felt out of place on a golf course. The paint didn’t have any chips and certainly didn’t look to have faded at all. A bouquet of flowers sat on the porch, all looking pristine but many flowered during different seasons.

Emily took the first step up to the deck.

“STOP”

The word had power behind it. Emily had no choice but to freeze in place. She felt a tendril of energy reach out to her mind and she tensed up trying to keep her mind under control.

“RELAX”

Emily dropped her shoulders and let out the breath she had been holding in. She was unable to panic as she felt her mind opened like a book. She could almost relive her memories as she felt some foreign force flip back through time in her head. Images, emotions, words, all were openly revealed to the other occupant of Emily’s head and Emily felt it all, but was unable to protest.

Then her book closed and her mind was her own once more. Emily shook herself. She had no idea what just happened.

“You also have no idea what you are now,” said a voice as the door of the house opened up. The black haired lady stepped forward, wearing a blue sundress with her yellow eyes burning. “You charged into the unknown without any thought that that unknown might be a dangerous place for you. I’d ask why you’re here, but I can tell you know I know. I’ll try to answer some of your questions. Come on in,” The woman walked into the house leaving Emily stunned for a minute on the porch.

Inside the house, bookshelves lined the walls. Some books looked brand new, others looked like they could have been older than the city they lived in. The room had a rich smell of knowledge, and though it was situated in a strange pocket of space, any feeling of size, was completely normal inside the house. The rooms were set up for a single occupant. The dining table had one chair, there was one bed upstairs. Emily had a feeling she was the only visitor other than her new friend that had entered the house in a long time.

“My name is Violet. I’m a mind mage for the most part. Though I have enough control over space to get in here, which I can tell you do to. Took me months to be able to get in though, you just waltzed through on your first day,” Violet trailed off. “Kinda unfair if you ask me.” Violet forced a smile as she looked over her shoulder. She picked up the kitchen chair and brought it over to her library chair, motioning to the larger more comfy of the two as she sat in the other.

“What do you mean a mind mage?” questioned Emily as she sat down. “And I guess you know who I am but I’m Em–”

“Don’t tell another mage your name. That is lesson one. The more information another mage has about you the easier it is to affect you. Yes I know your name, but you need another name to give people, gives you another layer of protection. Now think of something or someone you can make a code name of sorts from.”

“What do you mean, how can they affect me? and what is a mage?”

Violet closed her eyes and sighed. “I’m sorry, I have a tendency to move a little fast. I’m used to just understanding people, it is hard for me to step back.” She opened her eyes but they didn’t seem to focus on the woman sitting across from her. “Why have you been able to see strange pockets in space lately?”

“I–” Emily didn’t know. Ever since this morning she had been much more aware of the space around her. Distances between things, volumes of cups. But it wasn’t until Violet asked her that she thought about it. “I don’t know.”

Violet looked straight at Emily and finally focused on the real world. “You are a mage. Like me you can use magic.”

“Like spells?” it didn’t make sense to Emily, magic only existed in the stories, “Are you going to tell me I can shoot fireballs or something?”

“It isn’t much like your traditional wizards carrying a staff and vanquishing dragons. Though some of them do still wander. The magic we can wield is often a little more subtle. I often feel like I kindly ask reality to change and it says OK. For me I guess, I ask for the universe to let me open up someone’s mind and it adjusts itself to allow it.”

“But all I’ve done is notice strange things, how do you know I can change things?”

“The first step is often seeing things. What makes you different, is that often the first appearance of magic is through a violent event. Yours was a coffee cup.”

“What was yours?” Emily tipped her head slightly, genuinely curious about her new acquaintance.”

“I–” Violet’s eyes widened. She knew she brought this on herself and didn’t know how to get herself out of it. “I would really rather not talk about it.”

Emily noticed Violet’s shaken appearance, “Oh, I’m sorry. Probably bad form for mages, more information about each other right?”

Violet was even more stunned. “Did you just try to save me face?”

“Well,” Emily replied with a chuckle, “as far as I know you are the only other mage in Portland, I have to try and keep you on my good side.”

Laughter burst through Violet’s body. She shot backwards with such force that she nearly knocked her chair over. A cat that was sitting in the corner that had been asleep the whole time so far jumped and ran upstairs.

“I don’t understand,” trailed Emily, “What is so funny?”

“It’s just that,” Violet struggled to speak through bouts of laughter still falling from her mouth, “it has been so long since I met a mage who even tried to be nice, and here you are: a first day mage trying to make me look better after I rudely dug through your head.”

Emily looked down, “Sorry. I guess I still don’t understand.”

Violet’s laughter subsided after a moment. “No, I’m sorry. You have to understand. very few mages work with each other kindly. I think maybe that was just stress leaving my body.” She stood up walking to the kitchen. “How about I make it up to you, I know you like coffee, but how about some tea?”

“It’s not some magic tea is it? I don’t need a spirit journey today.”

“Don’t worry, I’m a mind mage not a spirit mage.”

Emily’s head snapped to look at Violet, “Wait that’s a thing? I was making a joke!”

“Oh yeah, there are a lot of kinds of magic out there, but they all follow that same theme of asking reality’s rules to change to suit you.”

“So we have Space, Mind, and Spirits? what else is there?”

“I have a little bit of experience with Life as well. Then there is Death, which I know it sounds like it is the same, but don’t tell a necromancer that.” Violet paused for comedic effect, but when no laugh came reconsidered. “That was a joke. Mages often call ‘pure’ magic Prime, and then Matter is basically any stuff that isn’t alive. Forces is all the energy things, and then there is Time and Fate, which is where things get really weird.”

“Oh,” pipped Emily, feeling completely overwhelmed.

“Don’t worry,” reassured Violet as she returned with a pot and two cups, “I’m not going to test you.”

“OK, so you said it took you months to get into this space does that mean you didn’t make it?”

“Nope, I found it much like you did. After talking with some other mages nearby I eventually learned an old mage had made it. Then that mage passed and left it alone. It isn’t a good spot for most of the magic community around here, so no one wanted it. I trained regularly to be able to get in. Which by the way, says to me you can probably do a lot more then just follow me into here.”

“Like what?”

Violet started to pour the tea. “I think you can teleport. I think you can bend space like this pocket. I think you could make a second layer of space situated on top of this house right now that when you open a door you enter a different version of the same place.” Violet looked up and locked eyes with Emily, “I think you can do anything to space that you wish.”

Emily picked up her tea with wide eyes. “Okay. Well. How about we start with some get to know you stuff before I accidentally break the universe?”

Violet smiled. Maybe it will be nice to have a friend again, she thought as she obliged in a lighter conversation.

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