It blinked up at them with mournful eyes, its shoulders humped over.
“That was a good beginning,” Lyra said, patting her arm. “Most people don’t get anything on their first try. I know I didn’t.”
“What did I do wrong?” Gwyn frowned down at the toad. It was nothing like a door.
“I’ve never conjured a toad like that, so I don’t know.” Lyra leaned over and brushed her fingers across the toad’s brow. Its face relaxed right before it puffed into a golden cloud of magic. “Try again.”
After summoning a pink hatbox, a shoe, five pieces of silver, and an old coat that was mostly patches, Gwyn slumped down. “I’m never going to get this.”
The initial buzz of her magic had worn down until she felt like little more than a desperate wish fueled by exhaustion.
“Hmmm.” Lyra eyed the pile. “But at least you’ve moved from living to inanimate objects. That’s closer to being a door.”
Gwyn’s hands no longer fountained magic. With each new try, her sparks grew fainter and tinier until they were nothing but pinpricks of light.
“Have I used it all up?”
Lyra shook her head. “You’re just coming into your magic. It’ll take a while for things to even out. Think of it as running a little too hard, a little too fast, for a little too long. You’ll build up your endurance; it just takes time.”
Trying not to be too discouraged, Gwyn nodded. Visions of returning triumphant to the Garden to put the Ruby Queen in her place dissolved into the simple hope that she’d have enough energy to make it back. Already she could feel an uncomfortable tugging in her midsection, prompting her to return.
The light turned a misty gray before day faded into night. Her magic slumbering in her palms, she lay back and looked up at the night sky. In the Garden, the stars were like lanterns—cold, aloof lights that flickered in the distance. But here, in Lyra’s realm, they were stories being told across the sky.
“Why can I find doors, but can’t make them?” she asked.
The stars paused in the midst of their stories as if they’d heard her. But after a moment or two, they carried on with their tales, unable or unwilling to give her an answer.
. . . TO BE CONTINUED . . .
© 2015 by Danyelle Leafty. All rights reserved.
Well do I know those hopeful wishes fueled by stubborn desperation. I greet them each morning and evening where they wait for me every day on the keys of my laptop, in the streaks of the mirror, and in the unformed dreams for the day. Such wishes burn us out if we aren’t careful, but that is only because we pour so much of ourselves into them.
Join me next Tuesday as the night wears on and so does the binding.
If this is your first time visiting, check out the first installment of this episode. Feel free to gather round the hearth and read the other stories that are going on too. The more the merrier!
If you like, feel free to join me tomorrow as we follow the adventures of a certain Queen of the Nearly Dead Fae in training. 🙂