[The Cottage] Ancient Knowledge

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Straken
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[The Cottage] Ancient Knowledge

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Later in the Day After A Practical Morning Exercise

It had been a thrilling day for Willow, and despite all of the amazing magic she had seen she was most excited about her own discovery. Although, much like the other time she had supposedly done magic she couldn’t replicate the result, but at least this time she had seen it happen; if no one else had. As such, she had requested a personal meeting with her mentor so as to not sound like a fool if she turned out to be mistaken. Once classes had wrapped up, she made her way across the grounds to Mr. Flynn’s cottage. Nearing the quaint building, she saw Ms. Laoise doing some gardening in the back, and was noticed in turn. With a smile and a wave Laoise invited her inside.

Inside the cozy cottage, Ruarc was sitting at the heavy wooden dining table, reclining back and resting the foot he had hurt up on a chair with some ice. A pot of tea was sitting in the center of the table and smelled of fresh earl grey. Standing at the counter though was Caoranach. Willow had seen her once or twice before, but was still a little weary. In an odd turn, the usually extravagantly dressed woman was wearing relaxed jeans, a flannel top of her own that she wore over a light camisole and had knotted in the front. She had even tied her hair back with a bandana.

“Now when did you even get in here?” Laoise asked, her tone more irritated than angry.

“While you were gardening, and since Ruarc’s foot is still sore I figured I’d help out and make dinner. You can eat up at the mansion if you’d like. Can be just the three of us,” Caoranach said, her tone oddly innocent. Laoise glanced at Ruarc, who merely shrugged innocently.

“Well, Willow here wanted to speak with you,” Laoise sounded defeated as she spoke.

“It should be fine, I think. I’m still confused, so having more people to talk to about it might be best,” Willow responded to Laoise’s concern.

“Boy trouble?” Caoranach teased. Willow blushed a bit, but dismissed the jest. “No. I’m pretty sure I did magic today.” At that, Ruarc sat up, wincing as his foot set down a little hard. Caoranach and Laoise similarly looked on with interest.

“Come, come. Sit down. Have some tea. Tell me about it,” the Irishman sounded excited. Laoise pulled out a chair for the Brit before taking one of her own; Caoranach continued cooking. Willow grabbed a seat as the familiar poured her some tea, and suddenly felt very self conscious.

“Well… it was during the spar today, when you went to make that second jump,” she started. “I… pulled the coin out from under you.” A look of realization dawned on her mentor as he listened.

“So that is why I flew wide. How did you do it? It wouldn’t have been an incantation. An innate ability? Telekinesis? Magnetism? How exciting. Describe the moment,” he responded.
“Well… I got very annoyed and I swore at you,” Willow paused as Caoranach laughed a little bit before stifling it. “My stomach felt warm, and I feel like I could almost see string stretching between me and the coin. I pulled on it, and then the damn thing hit me in the chest hard enough to leave a bruise!”

Ruarc sat in contemplation for a time, over at the counter Caoranach had finished with a pan and begun to clean it; she must have been feeling adventurous as she was using the cast iron pan while wearing some heavy gloves. She apologized for the noise, saying she burnt something and proceeded to scrape at the pan in the sink. Sitting for a time, Ruarc posed a few theories, asking Willow to try some stuff to see if she could do any more magic. In time, the food was ready, and Caoranach had finished scraping the pan clean before bringing a light meal to the table and setting a glass of water down for the young student. Thankful for the cool water rather than hot tea, she downed the glass; noticing near the end that the water had some particulate in it.

“Humor me,” Caoranach said out of nowhere as she took her own seat in the chair Ruarc had been resting his leg on; placing herself next to Willow. “Try it one more time.”

Arching an eyebrow, Willow was skeptical, but tried again. She focused on her stomach. She felt hungry, but there was something there that wasn’t before; it felt… warm. Focusing now on the warmth, it happened again. Blue lines sprung up all around her. Some were large and pointed towards the metal frame on the fireplace, some were smaller like the ones pointing to spots around the kitchen; the closest one being a fork sitting across the table in front of Ruarc.

Before, she had pulled too hard, she supposed, so perhaps if she was careful she could get it to float. She used the magic on the fork. As if alive, the fork lurched and flew at her chest, tines forward. Before she could react, Caoranach’s hand was in front of her, and the fork stabbed into her palm. The table was in sudden motion. Laoise and Ruarc rushed to check on Willow, Willow had rushed to Caoranach while apologizing profusely, and Caoranach simply laughed a warm and knowing laugh.

“What in the world was tha’?” Ruarc asked, he used his special sight to look around the room, and noted the blue lines that were connecting Willow and a number of objects around the room; including the fork in Carrie’s hand.

“I had a hunch, but that helped confirm it,” Caoranach said, her tone was calm as she pulled the fork from her hand. Setting it on a napkin, she gave a reassuring pat on Willow’s shoulder. Looking between Ruarc and Laoise, she was amused by their looks of confusion. “Don’t tell me you have never seen an allomancer before?”

“A what?” Ruarc asked with genuine curiosity. “Not that I’m aware of.”

“Hmm, I suppose they were very rare back in the old days as well, and the way they function wouldn’t lend itself to more being found,” the fey woman started. “I mixed metal shavings from the cast iron into your glass of water.”

“You did what?!” Ruarc asked, sudden anger coming through, shocked that the woman had done something like that.

“Sit. Down. I was right, and she will be fine. Willow, focus on the warmth until it goes away. Now, since you lot seem none the wiser, consider yourselves lucky that you have me around. I knew a couple of her kind over the ages, and recall enough to give a brief lesson. For starters, their magic behaves differently in that they need to actively ingest metal. Various metals provide various abilities. Theoretically, there are sixteen metals one can consume, split between eight pairs; a base metal, and an alloy of that metal. The base metal pulls, and the alloy pushes. As demonstrated by iron pulling on the fork right there. I had had a hunch the first time I had met her, as I’m sure you have noticed as well that spirits and faeries seem to want to flock to her. Mr. Flynn’s rustic approach to life also meant you regularly ate and drank out of copper, brass, and pewter containers and utensils. Brass, namely, can make you very popular with the fae, as it allows you to sooth the emotions of others; like making them feel calmer when they are panicked, or doing the opposite by soothing every other emotion besides anger. A similar premise to how my spirits function.”

The table sat quietly as Caoranach spoke. Laoise was hesitant, Ruarc was listening closely, and Willow was positively in awe. “So, I’ll be fine?” Willow finally asked after a while and the warmth in her stomach had faded.

“I would imagine, the allomancers I once knew seemed to have been fine. That said, a number of the metals can be toxic for you humans, so make certain you expend all of the metal after a few hours, or before you go to sleep,” Caoranach responded. “Also, gain a strong understanding of physics. As I mentioned, allomancy is all about the whole For Every Action philosophy.

“So… what metals do you know about?” Willow probed.

“There are physical metals, mental metals, and some utility ones. Iron and an unknown alloy. Tin and pewter. Bronze and Copper. Zinc and brass. Gold and an unknown alloy. Cadmium and an unknown alloy. Aluminum and an unknown alloy. Technically no one I have met knows the last pair, but there had been rumors of it; as well as legends of a seventeenth metal. You burned iron, which lets you pull on sources of metal; pull on a fork and it comes to you, pull on a car and you go to it. Tin enhances your mind; better eyesight, better hearing, can focus your mind, but a bright light or sudden noise can be like a flashbang grenade. Pewter makes you stronger, faster, can shrug off wounds, but allomancers can grow dependent on it; it also burns quickly, and if you burn it to shrug off a deadly wound it will still be deadly once the metal is gone. Bronze detects magic. Copper conceals you from detect magic. Zinc is the opposite of brass in that it lets you enhance what someone is feeling rather than relaxing them. Gold… is weird. I’ve never met someone willing to burn cadmium. And aluminum immediately burns off your entire metal reserve.”

“Wait!” Willow cried. “Aluminum? So you’re saying anytime I drink a soda I’m eliminating these reserves?”

“Why yes, seeing as you’d likely only been gaining reserves from mineral rich water, which is rather sparse in most places,” Caoranach said with a chuckle.

From his own seat, Ruarc sat dumbfounded. He had never heard of allomancy or these abilities, and he was suddenly feeling in over his head as a mentor.

“Now, this next bit I cannot confirm, but is true from what I’ve seen,” Caoranach started again, her tone somewhat somber. “Your magic is unique in that it comes from ingesting minerals. As such, you don’t actually possess a reserve of magic of your own. So, I am unsure if you are actually capable of becoming a druid; at least in the traditional sense. But, you are in a position to be something entirely your own, which I think is very exciting.”

Willow sat quietly at the revelation. On the one hand, she had discovered her magic. On the other, she had become emotionally invested in training with Mr. Flynn, and liked the idea of being a druid. Laoise leaned over and put a comforting hand on her shoulder.

“Can I still train with you and Drysi?” Willow asked sheepishly.

“Of course, Willow,” Ruarc answered warmly. “There are plenty of Druids that use unique magic, and being able to cast isn’t a requirement. As Carrie said, you are in a position to make a name for yourself, and I’m happy to help you do that. Alright?”

Willow nodded. Caoranach smiled at the young Brit. “And I suppose I am happy to help you learn more about allomancy,” the fey said, giving Ruarc a sly grin. “But, regardless. The food is getting cold. Eat up, you guys had a long day.”
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