Wisdom And The Days (2) That Passed (part 2)
Evester watched as Zeydar continued to stare at his hand. Shawn had said that listening to Zeydar’s lessons had been both fascinating and boring. They were boring, not due to the content, but because Shawn did not have the foundational knowledge to fully understand what Zeydar was saying. He and Phil said that Zeydar knew his stuff, hundreds of years of history and theory and when he taught Kony the lessons were far more entertaining. Kony had been trained in how to pretend he could do powerful magic, even when he might not have been able to control it, for looks alone, because Zeydar knew how to mimic it. Kony had spent months reading theory, doing equations and calculations and tests to learn about his magic, all while Zeydar insisted that it was an art.
“It was about as much of an art as advanced physics and as much of a science as being a genius of music. I’m not sure he recognized the finesse required for his talent, as he never was given the opportunity of establishing a base line,” Phil had said. Zeydar had been isolated, controlled, and pushed from a young age, and when he did have friends — those friends often assumed the best in him, because they had a base line understanding of magic that Zeydar did not. Zeydar called magic his friend, because in a way, the calculations and control over the power was the only friend he had. Dreams also, supposedly, did not make that any better.
“Are you okay?” Evester whispered to Zeydar.
“When we use magic,” Zeydar said, dropping his hand and looking into the camera. “We open our bodies up to the universal force, similar to manipulating atoms or more specifically gravity or even time. The ways in which that it usually manifests are in the form of elements.”
Evester watched as Kony sat up straighter, smile disappearing. The joyful child transformed into a young man who was keen on listening. At the same time, Shawn, Phil, and May all changed their expressions as well. Where everyone else became a bit more confused, they looked as if they were expecting a lecture. Shawn sat up straighter, Phil’s smile grew rigid as he listened, and May’s eyes narrowed ready to absorb what was said. They were students in a class, whereas everyone else was caught off guard. Evester adjusted himself, ready to hear every word that Zeydar said.
“As much as it is a science, one has to be able to sense the particles. This is what distinguishes the stars from others. Classes within our system are defined by how well you can sense the particles. This is roughly an exponential curve. The stronger a person is, they are many times more sensitive. In order to qualify for a Class One, you must be able to sense a certain threshold of magic for a certain amount of time. This is the fundamental purpose of the tests to distinguish Stars from others, and, then later, our classification testing.” Zeydar looked to Evester.
“Those tests are highly specified moments of pressurized magic, where we are tuned to be more sensitive. Most training at a young age is to further expand ourselves in order to be able to sense the particles, while developing our skills in maths and sciences. We have to establish a base line of understanding in general principals so that when we begin applying theory and learning of more complex topics, such as using the magic, we know the necessary information and formulas in use the magic.”
“But you never thought of it as that?” Evester asked.
“Well… No.” Zeydar shook his head. “Not that Kony does either. He has a far more nuanced approach to magic that is based on what feels right, akin to trial and error more than actual theorized perfection.”
“In practice, however, if he had that foundation?” Uly asked.
“Then he’d never mess up and his control would be consistent.” Zeydar looked back to the screen. “The way that Kony described his magic is true. It’s the case for most new mages. They know how to turn on the control and turn it off, but the small nuances of control, while highly specified, are also a sensation based. I could tell you the equation and calculations to know the exact amount of power needed to reach a target or to do a task, but if you don’t know what that feels like, then it does not matter. It is equal part learning the correct pressure needed to exert your will and what that feels like, as well as understanding the necessary amount of pressure for a task by the numbers.”
“And you?” Heia asked.
“Me…” Zeydar whispered, squeezing Evester’s hand. “I had always just thought of it as a sensation only. As if the magic was guiding me, for what I needed to do. But…” He looked to Evester. “Magic isn’t sentient and I just realized that I’d been thinking of it as if it had it’s own will.”
“Maverin said you’ve been doing the calculations this whole time without considering that you were doing them,” Shawn said.
“I…” Zeydar laughed. “Short answer. Yes. Long answer? I only ever cared about the sensation. Take for instance when I thought of teleporting us all. Kony told me that I couldn’t do it due to the magic needed. I calculated the exact amount necessary, had to calculate the location, think of the travel path, and consider all of the nuances regarding weather, altitude, trajectory, and placement so that we didn’t end in the ground. However, to me, those things were easy. The difficult part was sensing my magic. I knew the math and had calculated what was necessary for success but the variable was how I could control the ability. It was not so much a question of if it were possible, but on if I had the nuance required within my control, to be able to do it.”
“This whole time, you’ve been doing complex math to consider elements of the magic, before you use it,” Heia repeated. “With the tower collapse?”
“I had to consider the angle, the proper force required to hold and not to snap anything. The pressure required and the additional forces and factors.” Zeydar then smiled. “While this is true. I’ve never cared for the math. It, along with other elements of magic, have always been givens. I assumed they had to be known, understood, in order to know magic. It was how I was taught.”
“Because your sensitivity to the force is so high, that they had to make sure that was second nature to you, over your use of the magic.” Uly nodded.
“Yes,” Zeydar answered. “You wouldn’t tell a person who is breathing that they are breathing and then ask them how they are doing that. They just are. A baby learns how to walk, and then they can. It had to be muscle memory for me, when the only variable was my sensitivity and ability to exert my will over the force itself. I never thought about the math and forethought necessary, because it was a given.”
“But you did think of history and general theory,” Phil said.
“Yes, because those are necessary for understanding and developing magic. If one knows how it was developed to begin with, then they can develop more in the future. Unlike the math, theory was more like… You are walking and you come to a fork in the road, theory allows you to understand which path to choose based on multiple considerations, where as history is using past precedent to explain why and any additional possibilities that could occur.”
Evester nodded. “Like a house. The general knowledge and calculations were the foundation. The general structure is the theory and history.”
“And the actual control is the aesthetic and design.” Zeydar nodded. “No on thinks of the foundation.”
“But it’s the most important part.” Evester laughed.
“I’m sorry. I just didn’t…” Zeydar shook his head. “Why are you so concerned by magic now?”
Evester was caught off guard. “I suppose… I had always just assumed it was… you know, magic. It had rules and explanations that we did not understand but we did not have to because you did.”
“We also assumed,” Heia added. “That you were simply powerful and that was all that mattered.”
“But why now?” Zeydar squeezed Evester’s hand. Evester squeezed back.
“Because they are watching you do research every day, and as much as Maverin explained that it was necessary, no one really understood why,” Uly explained. “In fact, I wasn’t entirely sure I know why. I know it’s about the magic, but it seems as if he’s having you do far more.”
Evester tapped on Zeydar’s wrist, asking him to explain it to them all, after all, they did have the right to know. No one was going to get out of Maverin, either. Evester felt as Zeydar breathed in deep and then thought for a moment, trying to answer. Evester steadied himself for whatever answer it could be. No matter what, Evester needed to be the one who was not surprised. Zeydar needed the support.