Practical Exercise

My stomach reminded me that lunch time was approaching, but I still walked down to the shore to watch the waves break.  As promised, Gold Beach had much the highest surf, while the water in Silver Beach was calm and warm.  I told myself I should do this often, but realized that once classes started I’d rarely have time for it.   I stopped at Miller’s Refectory again, but the General Magic table was deserted.

I’d left a note for Marjorie, asking when meeting on spells would be appropriate.  She suggested late afternoon, after she got back from her run with Tad.  I went swimming instead, pushing hard enough that I was more than a bit tired at the end.   The beach invites people to recharge the spell batteries that keep the water warm and clean; I dutifully contributed.

By and by the bell-pull rang the door-chime. I looked over from my terrace; there was Marjorie, obviously with hair still a bit damp.  “Hi,” I called, “down in a minute.”

She’d set up her spellworking area at the top floor of her town house.  Her table, covered with a thin layer of black granite, was respectably large, a good 4-by-4 feet.  To one side was a spread sheaf of beautifully-colored papers, and a copy of one of our house’s books. On the table were several sheets of paper tinged a muddy red.

“I keep trying for a pale rose-red paper, light enough I can write on it, and nothing works,” Marjoie announced. “Most of the metal and stone colored paper spells work, but the rose-red will not.” 

I looked at the table.  It was clean.  I’d certain cast the paper color-binding spell often enough that I could check by eye the color-binding-spell diagram laid out on the table.  It was perfectly solid. “May I try your setup?” I asked.  She nodded.  I set a square of paper in the middle of the diagram, adjusted the diagrams, dutifully ran all the tests, and summoned verdigris.  I promptly had a fragment of pale copper-green paper.

“Everything seems to be set up right,” I announced. “Let’s see you do it.”

She did.  We now had two nearly identical squares of green paper.  She restored the diagram to pale rose. I dutifully ran the tests, let her prepare to cast, and realized I was being stupid. 

About George Phillies

science fiction author -- researcher in polymer dynamics -- collector of board wargames -- President, National Fantasy Fan Federation
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