Monday, November 16, 2015

Unmasked: Part 6: Profound Magics



Rodrick chuckled. Her dislike of that particular form of praise amused him. Her submission, however reluctant, filled him with satisfaction. The first item he pulled from the bag was the chain he'd bound her with. He snorted, cocking a brow at her and setting it aside. The next was a bit of rope that had likely been used for the same purpose. He would have to remember her talent for escape. Next, he pulled out a small stuffed rabbit doll. Brown and white, the little toy was knitted from a soft yarn.
Constantina snatched it from his hands, stuffing it in the back of her belt. He decided to let the curious action go.

The final items he pulled from the bag was a jar of dirt, followed by a bag of seeds, and small water skein. "No food? No blanket? No weapons?"

She reached into the back of her hair and drew out a small dagger. He frowned and looked at the back of her head, wondering how he hadn't noticed it thus far. Well, that was certainly interesting. He wondered what had kept her from using it.

She pointed at the bag. "That is food."

He blinked, looking at the bag of seeds. "How?"

She slid off of his lap and went to the table, setting the rabbit and the knife down. She opened the jar of dirt and untied the bag of seeds, which turned out to be a simple square of cloth she'd tied up rather than a true pouch.

"What would you like?" she said, spreading out the seeds.

He thought about it. "Potatoes."

A strange expression passed over her face before she threw him an exasperated look. "Potatoes are tubers and you have to cook them." She picked through the seeds. "We'll go with grapes."

Digging a little hole in the dirt with her finger, she dropped a tiny seed in, and covered it up. She picked up the water skein and poured a bit of water into the jar. Wrapping her hands around the jar, she stared intently at it, taking in deep, even breaths.

At first, it seemed slow. He had never really thought about how fast or slow plants grew. He wasn't exactly a farmer. What he did know, was the vine snaking out of that jar was a marvel. It grew rapidly before his eyes, twisting and curling, sprouting small leaves. A flower finally unfurled on one of the shoots, fell away, and little fruits began to form. He watched with rapt attention until she had two sizable bunches of grapes hanging from the short vine.

Finished, she sighed and wiped a bit of sweat from her brow on her sleeve. "See, food."

He plucked a fat red grape from the vine, just staring at it. It was perfect and plump with unblemished flesh. He popped it into his mouth. Sweet juices spilled over his tongue. He had never tasted a more perfectly ripe bit of fruit. She was definitely more than he expected.

"The Kin consider this a disposable talent?"

She ate a grape. "From what I've been told, plant manipulation is a very basic talent. Nothing remarkable about gardening. I don't normally produce this fast, but one plant is easier than a whole plot."

"The Kin are idiots. Ample food supply is the foundation of a kingdom."

She shrugged, eating another grape. "One gardener among many makes no difference."

"I have gardeners, farmers, but no Kin. You will make a great deal of difference," he said, taking a cluster of grapes.

"I thought you only really ate meat..."

"Indeed we do, little Kin," Jurgen said, strolling through the door, naked and spattered with blood. He slung a pair of dead rabbits down on the table.

Constantina's eyes went wide, and she hugged the jar to her chest as she stared at the floor.

"Jurgen..." Rodrick said in a warning tone.

"What?"

"Clothes?"

He scoffed. "She'll have to get used to it sooner or later. Besides, I'm not that hard to look at." He swaggered over to a wash basin and set about washing off the blood.

Reiner came through the door shortly after, fully clothed. He looked over at Jurgen, huffed, and walked away shaking his head. He scooped up the rabbits and started to clean them. "Someone might start a pot heating..." he said, without looking up.

Constantina looked at Jurgen and then back at Rodrick. Seeing neither man move, she began pinching off the bunches of grape. Setting them aside, she carefully lifted the grape vine out of the jar, root ball in tact. Clutching both vine and jar, she wandered out the door. Rodrick sat up, prepared for her to run again. The sounds of her footsteps, however, were unhurried and stopped not far from the door, so he relaxed. She came back without the vine a few minutes later, her jar full of new dirt.

He noted Jurgen watched her too as she settled in front of the hearth and transferred the cast iron pot from the hook to the rack over the fire. She wandered around again, looking for things, not speaking to any of them. Somehow, she managed to unearth a pitcher of water and a good-sized bowl. She poured half the water into the pot and sat the bowl on the floor. Collecting the bones from which Reiner had stripped the meat, she tossed them into the heating water. She then poured the dirt into the bowl and carefully placed several seeds inside it. Pouring a bit of the water into the bowl, she went to stirring the pot, absentmindedly waving her hand over the bowl.

The scent of fresh herbs filled the air as tiny plants sprouted beneath her palm. She twirled her fingers around one plant a little longer than the others, but she never looked at any of them while they grew.  Finally satisfied, she started plucking sprigs of herbs, shredding them in her hands and throwing them into the pot. When she dug a small onion out of the dirt, Jurgen dropped his rag.

"She just conjured food," he said in amazement.

Constantina continued to stir. "It's not conjuring. Kin can't make something from nothing."

Jurgen padded across the room, crouching near the bowl, peering at it. Constantina stirred harder at the pot, apparently still very aware of Jurgen's nudity.

Jurgen looked back at Rodrick. "Why do the Kin fear us if they are capable of such profound magics?"

Rodrick felt her eyes on him, although she did not turn her head.

"The Kin value form over function. They could be devastating war machines, but it is not a skill they value." He pointed at the bowl of plants. "That is also apparently a skill they do not value."



Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

4 comments:

  1. I just read both parts 5 and 6 and I want to read part 7. The characters you have created here are really magical :)

    Rebel xox

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    1. Updates on Mondays for now. I'll usually link them to Wicked Wednesday, unless, like last week, I want to write on the actual topic. But they will still go up on Mondays regardless. :D Glad you're enjoying it!

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