((Original RP 26 Oct 2014 – this is a catch-up post))
I have never considered myself a powerful person. Oh, Mother would try to convince me that I was; that I had power over the bullies by denying them the reaction they wanted, and perhaps I did, but I never considered that as being powerful. Power is not something I have ever sought, save that now I find it necessary in order to defend my people. Certainly it is not something I have ever sought for its own sake. Power, like magic, is a two-edged sword. I know this, I have always known this, and I have often spoken of this to Aoibheann, to Wren, to Hadley and others when discussing the use of magic.
Today I had more lessons with Maric, in which he taught me more of the healing powers of the blood magic. And there, I found yet another way in which such power can be two-edged.
I had been taking afternoon tea in the main hall. Some very English habits take a long time to die, and taking a break from my labours for a pot of tea is one of them. Maric turned up and joined me, though he declined the tea in favour of a glass of wine. He was carrying one of the roses, a rather sad-looking specimen and looking at it thoughtfully. We chatted for a while and I told him about Aoibheann’s current obsession, for chocolate mead. He nodded and looked at the rose again and passed it over to me. That would probably explain the rose, he said. It was not well, so I pricked my thumb and allowed it to feed on my blood. It seems that Aoibheann’s desire for chocolate mead had led to some well-intentioned, but misjudged experimentation. This in turn, had brought about the demise of some roses and a few bees, which she had been trying to feed on milk and chocolate. Maric was sure that chocolate mead was possible, but doubted that Aoibheann’s approach was the best way.
We spoke a while about the plans to rid her of the Huntsman’s spirit. He had not yet had the chance to visit with Janus to see what could be done there. I speculated that we might be able to tempt him out by providing some new vessel, much as he had for Vedis’ memories. He was not overly thrilled with that prospect, although he agreed it might be the best idea. It would not be easy, as Aoibheann might be reluctant to give him up, and the Huntsman in turn might be reluctant to leave her. I opined that he might be more reasonable without Llwyd’s influence. The new Huntsman seemed more open to reason than the last, more in tune with his original purpose, so maybe the old one would be more as he should be, as he had been before Llwyd. We moved on to speak of the shard that still invested the castle, but neither of us had much idea of what to do as yet.
He had other questions, but felt they were better addressed in the privacy of my office. It was time for further lessons, he told me, and another exchange of blood. He had concerns, though, for he was still not used to my fae nature, nor did he have much experience of the wyld magic, and did not know how they would interact. Nevertheless, we should continue with my education. What, he asked, did I wish to learn of blood magic. I avowed that I did not really know, since I was unfamiliar with what the possibilities were and suggested that perhaps he could guide me and teach me what he felt was best.
We decided on healing. There were other things – tracking and finding people, and my use of the castle senses, but healing seemed to be the best place to start. He offered his wrist, but first, wanted to know what had caused the most recent increase in my wyld powers.
I told him of the incident with Horace and Gwrgi, and how I had helped Valene with the healing and transformation of Gwrgi and the energy I had received from the wyld wellspring. I told him also of the increasing effects I was feeling from the wintery side of the wyld, perhaps the lingering influence of Gwythyr. I told him of the incident with Dorina and the dreams she had shared with me and my momentary loss of control.
This troubled him, but he trusted that I would be able to contain such things. It was to be expected as I grew in power, and it was something he would try to help me with, controlling those darker urges. He offered me his wrist then, and after checking that his flesh was soft enough, I bit, and fed.
As ever, it is hard to describe the flow of feelings, energies and knowledge that happen during that feeding. I lack the words, for it is something outside my experience. During that feeding, parts of our minds merged, and he left me with the knowledge of how to use the blood to shape, to change, to transform and to heal the flesh, mend the bones, to close wounds and much more.
It was somewhat overwhelming, and with it came a chilling thought. Could this be reversed, I asked. If I could transform flesh to heal, could I also do so to harm? Could I damage or kill, or transform somebody else into, say, a bat, just as I could transform myself.
He appreciated the question. Yes it was possible, and he had done so on the battlefield, pulling the blood from his enemies to incapacitate them. It was a power he used lightly, he said, and only when absolutely necessary, when there was no other alternative. He said that he could only teach me these things because he knew I had made the choice; that I had chosen not to be the monster I could be; that I had chosen to do good rather than do ill.
I told him then that I had always known power to be two-edged, from the mundane power I had over the lesser ranks onboard ship through the magic and powers I now possessed. That is what I had been trying to impress on Wren and Hadley with their magic powers. As for choosing to not be a monster, that came from Mother, I told him, when teaching me how to deal with the bullies, and then later, when I had grown taller, how to not be like them.
That seemed to please him, as if his assessment of me had been correct. He then fed from me, but in a new way, a simple touch of the tip of his tongue to my wrist, enough to raise a couple of drops of blood and no more. Even so, that was enough to provoke an intense reaction. He sat, rigidly in his chair, gripping the arms so hard I thought he might break them. For a few minutes, he seemed to not dare look at me, nor even speak. I suppose I should have expected that, given his craving for the fae side of me. Sure enough, once he could speak again, he said that as he had suspected, there was more power there and his cravings had increased. However, he felt sure he could find a way to control this, and think of something to help me conquer my darker side.
We would have spoken more, but I felt something through the link, something second-hand, as though he were sensing something from Aoibheann. This was confirmed when he rose quickly and said he needed to attend his lady. With that, he disappeared off outside somewhere. I remained where I was, having sensed that it was not anything particularly dangerous and instead, spent some time trying to integrate this new knowledge and power. Find a willing subject, he had said, to practice on. I suppose I could wait until one of the guards injures themselves in practice or something. Even so, it is a scary concept, reaching out to reshape, to heal, when, with just a misplaced thought, I could do harm instead. But, as with all the powers I have gained it is something I have to deal with.