This comes from the conjunction of two things: Thursday Inspiration and the newest story, so I’ll reconcile with Fandango as well and show you some of the interior of The Novitiate. Yes, it’s a new title. And only a tiny bit of an excerpt.
The signs and sigils on the circle aligned the groups, formed them as separate parts of the whole through the diaphanous links. Aventi glanced at the door, cocked her head to listen. Nothing. No one. She’d get on with the basics, and advise the guide where she was up to when she arrived.
“You have answered a call. You may not know what it’s about yet, but maybe the sign gave you an indication.” Aventi swung the curtain to reveal the reversed letters of the name of the shop: Earch Magic.
“This is about magic. You are here because you answered the call. You seek to learn why. Magic.” She smiled at the upraised faces. “There are rules associated with the use of magic, and if you disagree with anything I say, you can get up and walk out into the normal world.” She turned her face away. If someone wanted to leave, she didn’t want to stare them into staying out of embarrassment or fear.
“If you do that, you will forget everything that happened over the last three days. Magic does not remember those who refuse the call.” She reversed her stance, checked for an empty space. Nine people focussed their attention toward the centre of the chalked circle.
“I’m going to fetch the gifts of familiarity and move around the outside of the circle.” Aventi prayed for calm, sang the opening.
“Songs of lament and sorrow be not of this day; I call forth the choices, the offers; I show signs of passage, of travel to destinations, of wisdom earned and learned.” She called the censer to her hands, raised it to the copper painting of her familiar, the Wanderer butterfly, and touched one to the other. “Time flies, and Wind carries her message,” she whispered. And the familiars who were prepared to bond to a novitiate whispered on that wind, in words she did not understand, but they weren’t for her.
The chimes chattered in tones as soft as peaceful dreams. Aventi rose on the soundwaves and floated to the side of One.
“Please stand, all of you.” When they were all up, she put a hand on One’s shoulder.
“Hold your object. Everyone else needs to watch and learn.”
“You chose the sign of Earth.” Aventi opened her palms toward the floor, spread them wide to enlarge the shape in the circle, opened the weave of patterns around the feet of One. “Time to choose your other tools.” She held out the censer.
Now to deal with the first potential problem. She raised her head to speak to the whole group. “Take care,” Aventi said, “and consider first how you would have to adapt to live with something as interesting as a windy squid, or a fiery spider. Don’t push the choice so far. Trust the instinct, respect the offer presented. This is a moment you’ll have to live with for the rest of your life.” She opened the lid on the censer, nodded to One.
A note on the story: I may have to change the butterfly from Wanderer to Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly because the story also mentions the use of Dutchman’s Pipe and the toxins it contains, which is not a food of Wanderers … but they’re so beautiful. And the Pipevine Swallowtails aren’t found in Australia.
There are rules about reality in fantasy. One is to ensure people don’t make a mistake and deliberately grow Dutchmans Pipe thinking it feeds Wanderers (it doesn’t), or ensuring that I use the correct landmass for the chosen butterfly. Which rule do I break?