The gods of Nevre: The Sorceress – Before

Taika mixed two chemicals together to produce a flame. Frevren was watching her from the other side of the table with a furrowed brow. As an alchemist, Frevren knew that the two chemicals would not produce flame, but this was the mixture that Taika claimed to have used in her act. They were taken from his own shelves from this very wagon, so he knew for sure what was in the bottles.

“Well,” Frevren asked, “when does the-” He was cut short as flames started dancing over the liquid. Concerned Fevren grabbed the two bottles and a bowl and did the same. Nothing happened. “Well, I don’t know what you did, but it wasn’t alchemy.”

A look of concern appeared on Taika’s face. “What? I thought I was using alchemy. What else could I possibly be doing?”

“Magic,” Frevren said with a straight face.

Taika laughed for a moment then realized that Frevren wasn’t laughing. He still had that serious look on his face. “Wait, you aren’t joking.”

“I have something for you to look at. It’s a recipe book of sorts. I can’t make a single recipe in it, but perhaps you can.” Frevren lifted up a piece of cloth and retrieved a small, battered tome from beneath it. “This was my grandmother’s. Please be careful with it.” Frevren walked towards the back of the wagon. “The one I want you to try is better done outside.”

They exited the wagon, and what happened next got them both onto the king’s radar, and half of a village removed from the map. Thankfully nobody was harmed because they were all at the festival, but the buildings and everything inside them on the eastern side of Norwich fell along with the block of ice that was separated from the rest of the glacier the town was built on.

– – –

“So, you can do witchcraft then?” The king’s sorceress, sometimes called the king’s witch, was questioning Taika.

“Well, Frevren seemed to refer to it as sorcery, but it does involve mixing ingredients together so…maybe?” Taika glanced at the ingredients in front of her. “What do you want?”

“I want you to mix these ingredients into that cauldron,” the sorceress pointed to a cauldron over a fire, “then we will see what the mixture does. The cauldron currently has water in it. Once it starts boiling, I’ll instruct you.”

“Ok.” The water started boiling. “What first?”

After a frantic few minutes filled with “no, the other one” and “do you even know the difference between a root and branch” the two women lifted the cauldron off of the fire to allow the mixture to cool.

“Now that we’re done with that I want to have a talk with you.” The sorceress sat down again. “Please, sit.”

Taika sat down again. “So, what do you want to know?”

“I want to know when you found you could do these things.”

“Well, I realized what I was doing just before the incident in Norwich.” Taika sighed. “But, I started mixing things for my act a few years ago.”

“So you had no book or list or instructions of any kind? You just started mixing things together?”

“Exactly. I just knew what to mix. I tested things before the show, of course, but I was never wrong.” She paused and looked away. “If Frevren had told me what he wanted to accomplish I would have realized the ingredients were too powerful.” She turned back. “I believe him when he says he thought it would just shake the ground.”

The king’s sorceress smiled. “Oh, I questioned him. I believe him too, but I don’t know how much I believe that you didn’t know the ingredients were too strong. You let me know when we were mixing that the root was too big for what we were making and  you were right.”

“I didn’t know what the feeling meant when we were making the shaking serum. Now I know he didn’t know how much of each ingredient to add, and I should have adjusted the amount.” Taika’s eyes started to redden. “The only thing that lets me sleep at night is that nobody was there to get hurt.”

“Yes, that was lucky, wasn’t it.” The sorceress went to the cauldron and pour the mixture into two mugs. She returned and placed one mug in front of Taika and sat down, her mug still in hand. “Well, drink up. If you aren’t a sorceress nothing will happen, but if you are we will both have a very nice, relaxing sleep that will last about an hour and we will feel like we slept a full night’s sleep.”

“Hmm…that sounds really useful.”

“You have no idea how many times I used this to finish some of my potions for the queen. His wife died recently, I’m sure you know, and I did my best to keep her from doing so.”

The two of them drank and then slept for an hour afterward. When they awoke the king’s sorceress took her on as an apprentice.

– – –

“Taika, the king’s chief magic user, step forward and place the last stone, releasing magic back into this land.”

The whole company watched in silence as Taika stepped forward and placed the last piece of the gem in its slot. Everyone waited and silence filled the room. After a moment Taika broke the silence, “is that it? I thought there would be a flash or-”

An explosion rocked the castle.

Taika found herself in Irfan’s arms, he had caught her before she could hit the floor.

“Are you okay?”

“I am now,” she answered before she could stop herself, then blushed slightly. She had a crush on him after spending so much time in the library.

“Uhh, can you stand by yourself?”

“Yes, but I’m comfortable enough here.” Taika couldn’t believe what she was saying, but it was true.

“Oh, ok.”

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