Apr. 30th, 2017

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Blackwood watched as the master enchanter glanced from him to Licorice and back again, their feline ears splayed, startled. They ran a hand through thick auburn curls and wrapped one lock around a finger. "Ah, well, yes, I love my work, but -- you don't really want to hear about it, do you?"

"Of course we do!" Licorice motioned encouragingly with one hand. "C'mon, tell!"

"Please, Smoke." Blackwood felt self-conscious calling them by only their given name, but he liked the intimacy of it.

Smoke's ears canted further, their enby earrings chiming with the motion. "It's a great job; I hardly know where to start. There's this quality about channeling magic: it's both fussy and exacting, and very rewarding when you get it right. Like playing a delicate instrument, one that you have to tune after every song because it's so precise. But then you get it right and play and the notes are more than pitch-perfect: they're rich and full, and the song fills the room and it's amazing." They ducked their head and covered their face with one hand. "Ugh, that sounds ridiculous."

"Not at all," Licorice said. "It's just like the way you described enchantsight."

"What's enchantsight like?" Blackwood asked, fascinated and hoping to set them more at ease. Although their flustered demeanor was endearing, at odds with the brisk professional image he'd had of them from earlier in the day.

"Like seeing a different kind of light, colorful and tangible to the touch, that overlays the ordinary world. When you're crafting an enchantment, it's like sculpting with light. You pull it out of the Wall and position it just so."

"The Wall?" Blackwood asked.

"Sorry, enchanter jargon. The Wall is where magic comes from; it's a kind of barrier around the physical world that constrains material action. You manipulate the Wall to change the way things interact in the physical world; that's what makes magic. And it's the way you pull on it, the way you sculpt it, that gives enchanted items their power. If you sculpt it wrong, it makes a blobby mess and you just have to smooth it back into the Wall. But if you do it right, it's magic." Smoke laughed, self-consciously. "I guess that's obvious. But it feels like magic, too. You can feel it click into place, like puzzle pieces fitted together. You develop an instinct for it; you just know that this time, it'll do what you meant for it to do. I can't feel it the same way on enchantments once they're complete. I'm much more attuned with them while I'm casting. So examining an enchantment to see if it's working isn't the same connection. But there's still a beauty to it. The Wall itself is hard to see at all, just a faint haze, like an aura, around everything."

"Wow," Licorice said. "Now I'm sorry I slept through it."

Smoke ducked their head again. "I'm sure if you asked my apprentices, they'd have a different take on it." They smiled wryly. "It's not for everyone."

"How did you get an apprenticeship in the field?" Blackwood asked.

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