The Well Within – Chapter 16 – Part 1

He nodded around his mouth full of hot sandwich. “The rest is interesting, and I do have questions about it all. The thought of the Fae being real though, with the Winter and Summer Courts and Seelie versus Unseelie and everything they represent. That is the stuff of legends, finding out that any part of that might be true is mind-blowing.”

Kaitlyn cocked her head and shifted the transmission into gear, handing her sandwich to Jack to hold until they were fully underway. “I guess I never thought of it that way before,” She said, at last, taking the food from him at the same time. “It was always just something that I knew to be true, there wasn’t any mystery or feeling of awe associated with them.”

Jack decided to let the subject rest for the moment and moved onto the questions she had been expecting him to ask. “What are the limits of the spell, does it still work if you do magic right in front of someone. What about last night, how will people who saw that ball of electricity in the air remember it?”

She shoved the last bite sandwich into her mouth just as they pulled into the school parking lot. “It differs from person to person.” She said after swallowing. “For some, it fades over the course of a few minutes, for others, it’s like waking up and suddenly finding yourself in a different spot than before. The real fun is in how they remember it. The spell doesn’t force them to fully forget it. Part of the idea behind it was to help people be more at ease with magic and the unknown.” She glanced at the clock on the dash and settled into her seat upon seeing that they still had time before they needed to be back to class.

“What do you mean?” He asked when she failed to continue the tale. The last of his sandwich disappearing into his mouth a moment later.

“Some of the most famous fantasy authors had some interactions with magic in their past.” She hinted vaguely while he finished swallowing the food.

“Wait,” He said as understanding dawned. “You mean some of those stories were real?”

“No, not the stories themselves, just certain details that sparked the stories. Haven’t you ever wondered why so many different stories across different genres revolved around the Fae and the use of magic?” She glanced at the clock again and opened her door.

“I just assumed they were copying someone else who did it before them because it was interesting.” He replied walking beside her.

“And that is the case for some of them I’m sure, others though have experienced the real thing and it comes through in their stories.”

“What about the Fae, have they been heard from since whenever this took place?” He was talking softly and quickly as they neared the school doors.

“No, they vanished entirely and haven’t been heard from since the days of Merlin.” She smiled after dropping one last knowledge bomb on him and opened the doors.

“Merlin was real?” He muttered in shock.

His mind was filled with even more questions during the remainder of his classes that day. Everything he heard and supposedly learned went in one ear and out the other without even bothering to stop for directions. He had more interesting subjects occupying the space needed for normal thought.

Kaitlyn waved her hand in front of his face and snapped her fingers, he blinked and jerked away as his eyes focused on her.

“What?” He asked dully, his mind slow to catch up after being stuck in his thoughts for so long.

“It’s time to leave, school is over for the day.” She crossed her arms across her chest and stared at him. “That means get up so we can leave!”

He shook his head, clearing it. “I think you broke my mind with the bit about Merlin.” He explained, getting out of his chair.

“I noticed, I didn’t think it would be that big of a reveal.” She tugged him along through the crowded halls to their lockers.

“It wasn’t, at least not really. It was just more of the same thing that happened with the Fae. There are so many stories that I discounted as a kid that I’m now wondering about what parts might be true in them if any.” He rested his head against the cold metal of the locker, letting it close under the pressure.

“You could always ask your mom sometime,” Her locker closed with a slam, the impact jostling his head.

“I’ll do it with Penney at some point, she really loves those old legends and myths. You ready to head to my house?” He asked, changing the subject.

They dodged through the crowd of teenagers and hurried over to her car.

“Do we have any homework today?” Jack asked, sliding onto the passenger seat next to her.

“Nope,” The word popped off her lips.

“Good, what about from yesterday?”

She tilted her head, thinking. “Uh, I’m not sure. None of the teachers mentioned us even being absent, in fact, the only one who said anything was Steve.”

“Two days without homework?” He asked in disbelief. “That is weird, they love giving us homework here.” He wasn’t complaining at the sudden lack of extra work, he had been barely getting everything done each day lately.

“We’re going to take our training slow today, make sure that there aren’t any lingering issues from the other night, for either of us,” Kaitlyn said, pulling into his driveway while leaving enough room for his dad’s car.

“I’ll ask mom where she wants us to train,” He jumped out of the car with his bag in hand, making it two steps towards the door before spinning on his heel. “Sorry, I almost forgot my manners.” He grinned cheekily as he opened the car door for her.

The look she gave him was one he couldn’t quite decipher as he helped her from the car.

“Your mother taught you well,” She commented, pausing behind as he unlocked the front door.

“No, it wasn’t my mom. It was my dad who drilled that one into me.”

“If he drilled it into you so well, then how come you haven’t done it before?”

He stumbled and threw his hands into the air catching them on the lintel. “There were, uh, reasons.” He mumbled with a red face that had nothing to do with his sudden clumsiness. It had been a mostly unconscious action resulting from his growing feelings for her.

Inside the house, he knocked on the closed door of the bedroom that belonged to his parents. “Mom, you awake?” He called out softly, opening it a crack when she didn’t answer. The bed was empty and had already been made, indicating that she had been up for a while by that point. “Mom?” He called out again, louder this time.

“I’m in the basement,” She called out from below them.

Curious as to what she was doing down there, he led the way to the stairs and down into the basement. They never used the space for anything as far as he was aware, it had always been filled with old items from the early days in his parents’ marriage.

“Mom, what are you doing down here?” He called out at the foot of the stairs, new boxes lined the sides creating a clear area for them to walk.

“I’m clearing a space for you to train, and down here is where I have always done mine. The boxes and other junk were just a convenient excuse to keep you, kids, from coming down here all the time.” Her voice led them down the path and into an open area that had previously been concealed from view by the boxes.

A large rune made of silver was inset into the concrete floor. Closer to the back wall was a second circular rune that had been drawn by hand using chalk and seemed to refract and distort the light around it.

“Be careful when stepping into that rune, the chalk will smudge easily. I’ll start carving up the concrete later and lay down a proper version of the rune in silver this weekend.” Dust lined his mother’s face and covered her clothes.

“Does mom know that you can do this?” Kaitlyn asked standing beside the older completed rune.

Eileen looked away from them, “I haven’t told her, so no, if she takes the time to truly think about it then she’ll figure it out.”

“What’s going on?” Jack asked, not understanding some once more. A feeling that he was quickly growing tired of and was determined to remedy the first chance he got.

“Your mother can create meditation runes,” She pointed to the chalked version they would be using. “And control and energy inhibition runes.” She pointed to the silver rune beside her.

Eileen smiled, “I didn’t think you would recognize what that one was, though you missed the third and fourth function on it.” She ran a hand through her dusty hair. “It’s not like I was trying to hide it or anything, I had just forgotten how big of a deal it was.”

“Only certain people are allowed to lay runes, the training needed is extensive.”

“No, it’s extensive if it is going to be your focus. If it is only for training purposes and certain ones for protection then it isn’t nearly as bad.” His mother turned to look at them. “All nobles must learn how to create and control certain runes for their territories, it is sort of a requirement.”

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