WILL WOULD HAVE LOOKED FORWARD TO DUELLING CLASS HAD MARINIA'S THREAT NOT PLAGUED HIS MIND.
What had she meant about having obvious weaknesses? The mistake that Will had made by rejecting their friendship...what would be the consequences? From the first impression of the Twins, he knew not to underestimate them, yet from their point of view, he'd already done so. Learning how to fight and spellcast was exactly what Will needed in his circumstance, but he was nervous. His last Duelling lesson had been explaining the rules of competitive duelling, how to properly stand and hold a wand, but this lesson they would be using magick, a prospect that made his innards twist, and the other students bubble in excitement.
He sat with Tayna and Andrel in the commonroom at lunch break, he had decided that although he'd made friends and was living in the beautiful Sanctuary, his experience had been rather gloomy.
‘What will you do if you have to duel one of the Twins?’ Andrel asked, Will and Tayna sitting comfortably on the sofa together, and he on the floor by the fireplace.
‘Run away, screaming,’ Will answered. Andrel chuckled, but he was serious. Remembering their behaviour in the hall, how carefree and powerful they were, it was enough to make him shudder. ‘Anyway,' he added, trying to distract himself, 'I don’t think anybody will want to partner with me, I get the feeling that nobody likes me. I might have to sit out.'
‘They can’t do that,’ said Tayna pragmatically, ‘you have to learn how to fight like the rest of us, especially with what's been going on. Anyway, I’d take you on,' she added with a friendly smile, one Will couldn't help but return.
‘Maybe...' he said, 'but still, ever since my first day I've felt left out, even if they have warmed a little.'
‘Then they need to get over it,' Andrel assured him, his tone nonchalant. 'I did, and I'm the one you catapulted into the blackboard.' He prodded the fire with the prongs, the flames burning plum-purple. ‘Besides, everybody saw you stand up to the Twins yesterday. Even if nobody stands up to them, they don't like them either. You've impressed them just by doing that, it'll give them an idea about what team you’re on. Now, just show them that you can control your abilities.'
Will felt like he was a contestant trying to win over a crowd, going through various challenges to win their affections, each becoming more difficult. Even then, Will felt the magick tingling and warming through him, like a cauldron frothing over, as if it was only a matter of time. ‘I’m not sure if I can -,’ he began to say,
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ Andrel snapped, glaring at him with angry eyes, further brightened by the firelight. ‘You’ll have to, whether you like it or not!’
‘Calm down, Andrel,’ said Tayna, her eyebrow cocked in surprise at his outburst. Andrel’s posture softened and his attentions went back to the prong, he’d left it in so long that it was white hot. He seethed, dropping it onto the tile surround with a loud chime and clatter.
‘Sorry,’ he said sulkily, blowing on and flexing his hands. ‘I just don’t want you to get expelled, is all,’
‘I don’t think any of us want Will to be expelled,' argued Tayna, 'but there’s certainly something strange about the way your magick is summoned. It's almost as if your Gift is...unharmonious.'
‘What makes you say that?’ Will understood how he could have fallen behind in his magickal skills, he had lost his memory, and alongside that, any recollection that he was a magus. He wondered if he'd used magick before in Vincula and Wilhelmina had wiped his memory each time. It felt like he'd been born at thirteen years old, now trying to get to grips with his life. But to say there was something wrong with his magick, wrong with him, he didn't know how to react.