Practical Exercise

“Where are your flower petals?” I asked. “The copying target.”

“What?” She looked puzzled.

“The spell copies the color from – it’s not there – a rose petal, best placed in a glass vase at the head of the diagrams,” I said.  “But it’s actually copying the color, not transplanting color the way verdigris is removing copper from your copper knife.  You don’t have a rose petal, so the spell doesn’t do much.”

“The books don’t say a word about that!” Marjorie exclaimed.

“!”  I bit my tongue. “Everyone I knew who did this was taught by a Master.  The rose petals get mentioned as the spell is demonstrated.  There are also spells that pull the color out of the flower…iris spells do that.”

“Oh. Is that why the chapter is called color making,  not color summoning?” she asked.

“Precisely.  I had this drilled into me since I was around ten—before I could power up diagrams reliably.  I’ll have to tell the relatives who wrote it, so they fix the next edition. Each making spell needs one or a couple of copying samples; they’re always included in the spell’s name.  I always assumed everyone knew that.  Someone in Harmony probably sells samples.”

“You can buy almost anything in Harmony,” she said.  “I suppose I should be happy this problem was so simple to solve.  May I ask you for help if I can’t figure out what the target is?”

“Sure.  Glad to,” I promised. “Of course, I may not know the answer.  Most of my training time out of school was combat sorcery, not paper making.”

“And now I get to see about your panelling,” Marjorie announced. “I did promise.  You may need to buy supplies for me.”

Her inspection of my townhouse’s walls confirmed that they were clean and ready to stain.  She needed ingredients I didn’t have, so she proposed we buy supplies and have dinner in Harmony.  It was a pleasant before dinner walk, in which Marjorie was happy to talk about her very large family and how happy they were to have her studying construction here.

About George Phillies

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