51 Days Until Magic And the Uncertain End (part 1)
Zeydar took a deep breath, letting himself focus on the moment at hand. Before when he had fought the Aralax, he had thrown out everything he had without caring for the effects and cost. He had known then he had the power. Now he had to be precise. He could not waste the magic, when he was already limited. With the camera watching everything he did, he used the vocalization of the spells and the waving of his Staff to slow him down. The Staff managed and lowered his output naturally. It was a limiter for him, rather than a focus for him. With it hindering him, however, he found himself more accurate than before.
Zeydar fell hard into his training, wielding the magic that he had, to kill those before him with simple spells that did not take much from him. Calculations raced. Trajectory, spacing, momentum, physics, acceleration, numbers were made, calculations continued. He was able to determine the best path for each spell in seconds, along with the exact amount of magic needed and the Staff allowed him to slow down and think rather than to act on instinct.
In many ways he was doing better. In others, he was doing worse.
It was a game of endurance. With each spell he lost more magic, due to the inefficiency. With each action he had to analyze how to pull in more magic. Deep breaths, Zeydar centered himself, thinking of his childhood training in channeling magic. He thought of what he had taught Kony, in how to reach his magic. Childhood skills, guiding him in pulling in the magic around him. At first it was strained, but with each passing moment, he was learning to pull it in faster.
“You okay?” Evester asked over the headset.
“If you stopped talking, I’d be better.” Zeydar glared on ahead, casting out his magic. His output and intake were almost balanced, however he was at a standstill with the onslaught. He could not figure out how to do more with his magic. If he discarded the Staff, and acted on instinct, letting the magic guide him, he would burn himself out. If he acted with training and slowed down, he wasn’t able to keep up.
“He’ll stop when his own battle begins.” Heia sighed.
“Have your soldiers gotten prepared?” Evester asked her.
“Like I told you twenty minutes ago, yes.”
He had only been at this for two hours, and already he was exhausted. How had he lasted a full ten hours before? How had he kept a tower from falling? What was he doing wrong? Using the Staff could not be the only thing.
“What’s hindering you?” Evester asked Zeydar.
“Are you watching his stream?” Heia asked exasperated.
“I have nothing else to do.” Evester laughed.
“I—” Zeydar paused. Whatever he said would be heard by everyone. “My input and output are matching. Intuitively that probably sounds okay, however…”
“When you annihilated the forces the other week, was that the case?”
“I went all out. However I haven’t recovered my full reserves of magic since then.”
“Ah. So you are balanced at a lower output?” Evester sighed. “About how much do you have?”
“I’m operating at about ten percent of what I know I can do.”
Zeydar threw out his wind blades with Kony’s, when paired the two split the wave of Aralax headed towards them. Zeydar did not care that he was using more than ice magic, not when the Stars had already seen him do it in the Tower footage from the battle before. If the Superiors grew infuriated, he’d deal with it later. When he had to limit himself with spell words and the Staff, he could not care. He needed all his tools in his arsenal.
“Have you considered pulling in more?” Evester asked.
“Really, you don’t say.” Zeydar rolled his eyes. “What do you think I’m doing Evester?”
“Like Valaria,” Evester said, as if he did not seem to register the danger that Zeydar was in at all.
“What do you mean?” Zeydar decided to take the bait. The worst it could do was be a waste of time. However, it could give Zeydar more time to think of other possibilities. Zeydar threw out ice, causing sliding amongst the Aralax, as Kony raised a wind wall and then threw blades at those who hit it.
“Oh!” Hear gasped. “Yes. In Valaria. Didn’t you take in all the surrounding magic?”
“I did?” Zeydar vaguely remembered the collapse of Valaria. He remembered what mattered, but not the feeling of how he had done it. He remembered the pull of his magic, but not how he had gotten his energy back.
“You made Kony pass out sucking in all his magic, but there was more to it, like you were using him as a catalyst to pull in more from the surrounding air.” Heia paused. “Sort of like what you were doing earlier today before the sun set.”
“When I was what?”
“The world. It shimmered and glowed around you, like a mirror. Refracting.”
Zeydar did not doubt it, not that he had seen it himself. He thought to earlier, in his meditation and accepting the magic. He then glanced at Kony. He had always had been compatible with Kony, after Valaria. Zeydar had used Kony as a recharge and focus point to pull in more all the time while they had been on the run. He, however, could not remember exactly how he had done it then. Since then Kony supported Zeydar willingly, himself. Kony knew how to use his magic in that regard, after Zeydar had drained himself, twice. The first in Valaria, however, what had he done? How had he used Kony to absorb the magic and why?
“I can’t use Kony like that.” Zeydar watched Kony fought with May, the two of them using their powers to take down Aralax that approached as Shawn supported them from the back.
“Is there another way for you to do it?” Evester asked. “Another medium that you can pull in from?”
Zeydar pointed his Staff out, noting the color distortion in the center. It was oil slick, not the opalescent of Kony’s Staff. Staffs were meant to be used to direct power, but Zeydar did not need a Staff to use magic. He could use his own body and others. Kony didn’t need a Staff to help Zeydar, but he did to use his own magic. That meant Zeydar was the odd one out.
Thoughts began to spin in his mind, as he fought.
What if Staffs weren’t supposed to be used to direct magic. What if it was to circulate and gather magic, and help the body use it better? What if Zeydar had never learned to use a Staff properly? His entire life he’d had thought that they were given to him to limit him. The Superiors, and Tyler, and always made sure that he used it as a focus and director of his magic. They’d placed tens of Staffs on him, in a way to channel his magic and to collect it from his body, he had assumed. However… what if that was not the case?
Magic burned him, because of the Dreams and the effect that had on his body. However, they had given him the whiteshade to control him, and his powers, also to limit him. What if when he were a child, he was drawing in too much magic like a never ending sponge? The whiteshade cut off his sensation. The Staffs controlled the magic itself.
Other mages needed Staffs to cast magic. He did not. What if a Staff was supposed to aid in intake, but Zephyr had never learned it because he could do it instinctually?
They had limited his connection to the world through Dreams. It had been to stop him from exploding outwards with powers they could not contain. He was off Dreams not because they had trusted him to control himself, but because he trusted himself. He could feel the touch of magic on his skin. He could taste it, smell it, see it in the flicker of the light and night.
Magic had always been different for him. From what it felt like. To the way he used it. To the way that he experienced it. He had assumed that the Staff was only something that everyone but he, needed. He had always forced the Staff to work for him, knowing that he did not need it, and using it to hide rather than embracing it, just like he used words to hide. It was a limiting factor, because it had limited him to try to use it the way they explained. However, what if they had placed the number of staffs on him on order to control the output? In his tantrums, instead of the magic exploding, it was contained by the Staffs?
If that were the case, then his relationship with Staffs was fundamentally broken.
“I’ll try.” Zeydar told Evester, looking at the Staff in his hand. He would learn to use a Staff properly.