Sighing, Taylor listened as the door shut with a small 'click'. Despite the wall and TV between us, the faintest hints of Dad's footsteps drifted to my ears. The truck door opened, he climbed inside, and the vehicle started before pulling out. I hadn't realized it at the hospital, but being at the peak of humanity meant everything was peak. The ride back was a strange cacophony of sound, mixed together with a distractingly sensitive feeling of touch. It wasn't painful or even unpleasant really, just slightly distracting.
It was impossible to get to sleep once I got home though, despite the fact that exhaustion should have quickly set in. Between the fact that the sounds of the night were clearer than ever, and the fact I simply wasn't tired, I couldn't. So with nothing better to do, working with my power was the best option I had. About an hour spent digging around my room to try and find anything with greek in it came up empty handed, so I just spent the next couple of hours I had before morning practicing and experimenting with the two words I knew. One of the words did absolutely nothing when spoken by itself, while the other sent a book flying into my hand at full speed. So "Eláte argá" must mean something at least approximate to either come slowly or float slowly, more likely the former than the latter.
As morning came, a feeling crept up the back of my neck. There was a sort of… intangible presence in the air, as if something was watching me. It followed her everywhere except the bathroom. Dad didn't seem to notice it, so I never brought it up. Now stretched out on the couch, it was simply a matter of time to see if her hunch would come true. Which id did, as a familiar voice spoke out and made me jump. "Why is all your food so disgustingly sweet?"
Sitting up and looking over, there was Medea leaning against the door frame of the kitchen. Her hood was down and her gloves were off, as she ate an apple. Ignoring the occasional disgusted look she shot towards it, it took a few moments to respond. "...Where did you get that? We haven't don't have any apples."
She shrugged and quietly spoke a word, tossing the apple behind her as it disintegrated into motes of light. "I took it from one of your neighbors, since all the food you own is even worse in comparison. Good for energy, but absolutely disgusting in taste."
"...You broke into one of my neighbors' houses to steal an apple?!" The shock and confusion in my voice made her snort. Walking over, she delicately sat herself down in the recliner and leaned back to look at me.
"No, I trespassed in one of your neighbors houses and stole an apple. Broke into implies that I had to actually break something to get into the building, which is frankly just an insult to my abilities." It took several moments for it to sink in that she was being entirely serious. Reaching up to pinch the bridge of my nose, I couldn't contain the small sigh of exasperation that escaped my lips.
"Look, if you really wanted food, you could have just told me. I could have ran and gotten you something." That response just made her snort again and shake her head, a tsking sound escaping her lips.
"No no, you would never be able to tell what's good from what's bad if you think the food in your pantry is even passable. I'll have to teach you at some point how to tell the difference…" The way her voice trailed off as she thought foretold a long discussion of what was or wasn't good food. Deciding to nip it in the bud and change topics, I quickly responded.
"S-Speaking of teaching, do you think we can get started on you teaching me how to use my powers? I practiced with eláte argá, and I've gotten fairly good at it." Raising my hand and focusing on the TV remote, I spoke the words and grinned slightly as it floated smoothly to my hand. Over time it had gotten easier to fully imagine the image in my head, and it had gotten smoother as a result. She watched as it did so and smirked, giving a tiny golf clap as it reached my hand.
"Well done, well done. You managed to get a decent understanding of literally one of the most basic spells I could have taught you. However…" She opened her hand and spoke a word, the remote vanishing from my own hand and appearing in her open palm. "That is merely the barest hint of the beginning of what you'll be learning under me. This is magic, not the ridiculous nonsense that is your world's powers. Know that I expect you to give your all. Aunt Circe did not teach in half measures, and neither shall I."
Blinking a little at the fact that she just casually mentioned Circe, I shook my head a little. If she could teach me how to use this power properly, well… "The only response is to give it my all. I will learn this Medea."
A small smile grew on her face and she nodded, setting the remote aside as she waved at me. "Go get something to write with and write on, I'll be covering a lot of information and I do not want to have to repeat myself."
Nodding, it was a quick run up the stairs to my room to grab a pencil and a fresh notebook before I jogged back down. Medea was moving around the room, tracing faint symbols onto the walls with her the head of her staff. Once there was a symbol on each wall, she nodded and pressed her hand against one and spoke a single word. The runes glew a faint lavender for a moment, before fading entirely. Turning around, she looked at me and my supplies before nodding. "That will do. I set up a short term bounded field to ensure that no one notices us. Now, sit down."
Going over to the couch, I sat down and opened up the notebook up as Medea moved to stand across and in front of me. "First things first, I shall cover the basics of how our magic works. Make note that while some of the principles apply across all magical traditions, each one ultimately is incredibly different and expecting them to be the same is asking for disaster. Even between different spellcasters, they each have their own style and intricacies."
Quickly jotting that down, I glanced back up as she made a waving motion with her hand. "The way our magic works is through the use of what are called Divine Words. Basically, the gods have granted our bloodline direct access to the ability to fundamentally change reality through the use of their language. We intake mana, the life force of the world, convert it to prana, and then funnel the prana into the world around us so it will do as we ask. This is the most basic way to describe how our magic works at the most fundamental level, though it is practically bastardizing it for the sake of simplicity. Any questions before I continue?"
"Yes, just to make sure I understand. Our… magic, is entirely based around language? Wouldn't that cause issues with double entendres and synonyms?" The question managed to bring a small smile to Medea's face as she nodded.
"For beginning spellcasters, it can be quite the issue. For more complex spells or even simple ones, they can occasionally mess up and cause some… unintended effect. That's not even counting the times when a spell isn't entirely clear. For instance, say you cast the simple spell vázo fotiá. Direct translation is simply 'set on fire', in english. You think the effect would be simple. You set the intended target on fire. But, what the target actually is, entirely unclear. Do you mean the fool who insulted you, the chair he's sitting on, or the person off to the side that you saw move out of the corner of your eye? That's where visualization comes into play." Holding up a finger, she tapped the side of her head a few times to drive the point home as I quickly wrote down the important bits.
"It's the reason I told you to imagine the book coming to you. By visualizing what you want to happen, you don't have to say as much. 'Set on fire' works when you have a firm image of your mind of your enemy combusting before you. It's not as easy as you'd think though, completely separating surface level instructions from the stray random thoughts people have in the day to day. Trust me, I accidentally caused enough destruction when I was first learning to know that."
I wrote 'Visualize what you want to happen" down as she raised a finger and began to write in the air. "A technique you'll learn much later on will be condensing and conceptualization. For example, if I were to normally go about saying my strongest spells, it'd take far too long to speak all the complex parts required to set it up. Instead, I have shortened them to either a few words or even a single word by attaching meaning to those words. So for instance, when I say vrochí fotós, while it directly translates into 'rain of light', in reality I have condensed a paragraph's worth of speech into three simple words. This will be a technique that you'll learn much later on in your career, as it requires a firm understanding of what you need to say before it can work."
Stepping out of the way, she motioned to a paragraph of writing in greek that she had left hanging in the air. I couldn't understand a word of it, but it was long. She snapped her fingers and the writing came together in a ball before separating into two large words, which then separated into three words of an english translation. Rain of Light. Looking over at her, I couldn't help myself but ask. "What exactly does that spell do?"
A small smirk grew on her face and she tossed her hair over one shoulder. "It is an offensive spell, designed to channel raw mana through a magical circle to create lasers capable of punching through solid steel. It's also variable, allowing me to manifest as many circles as I have mana. The only liability is that it needs me to use my wand" she gestured to her staff "to actually target where they go. It's what I primarily use in combat, as it has the best balance of damage and speed out of any of my spells."
Nodding along, one element of what she said didn't make sense to me. "I understood most of that, but what is the point of the magic circle? Is it just so you can create more of them, or does it have another use?"
Holding a hand up, she recreated the circle she had last night. Purple in color with glyphs running along the inside of the circle as it idly spun in the air. "The magical circles serve two seperate functions in that spell. The first as you guessed, are to allow the spell to create multiple points for the lasers to fire from. The second is to increase the potency. The mana could be used raw, but that wouldn't produce as good of results. So it is channeled through the magical circle to refine it, for lack of a better term in your language. You likely will not be using magical circles for your on the fly spells for a while, as setting one up requires precise wording, and failure means the spell is going to go awry."
Adding onto the notes with 'Magic circles refine mana for better spells', she shut her hand and collapsed the circle before going back to writing in the air. "The first and most immediate concern for your education in magic is the fact that you don't know the language. Simply put, I'm going to have to teach you how to speak it before you can really get into the nitty gritty of spellcraft. But, before even that, I've got… a little gift to help with your appearance."
Blinking a little, I reached a hand up to brush against the tip of one of my new pointed ears. I hadn't really thought about it much, too preoccupied with practicing with my power. It was going to be an issue, but if she had a solution to it… One hand slipped back into her sleeve before coming back out with… a simple leather band with a few beads on it. I blinked a few times before giving her a confused look, and she quirked an eyebrow. "What, were you expecting a golden necklace inlaid with diamonds? This is much easier to pretend to be simple jewelry, to avoid suspicion."
Handing it over, I looked it over. The leather seemed like actual good leather, not crappy fake leather. The beads were each made of some kind of purple gemstone, with a single letter emblazoned on each to spell out WWMD. Looking back up at her, she smirked a little. "Plus, if you're ever in a sticky situation, you can just ask yourself. What Would Medea Do?"
I blinked a few times and gave her a slightly shocked stare for a few moments before shaking my head. She just kept smirking at her own stupid joke, as I slipped the thing onto my wrist. Looking at it there, I didn't feel any different and moved over to a mirror that sat in the living room. Moving in front of it, I blinked a few times at the sight. The effects weren't much, simply turning the tips of my hair back to their original brown, changing my eye color back to their normal color, and making my ears look like regular human ears. Reaching a hand up, I felt at the tips to see that they were in fact still there, just invisible. Subtle, but wasn't subtly what was wanted for a disguise?
Turning back to find her still smirking at me, I couldn't help but tear up a little bit. Despite the smugness that was coming off her, it was one of the first acts of kindness that had been given to me in a… long time. The smirk on her face softened a little, becoming more of a smile as I went back to my seat. "Thank you…"
She waved a hand as I sat myself down and picked my writing utensils back up. "It's a gift darling, besides, you're going to need to be able to move about the city without issue. I might send you on runs to pick things up, or we'll need to head somewhere to test out some of the more… dangerous incantations and spells I have. Now, to begin proper lessons on the greek language."
Soon all that filled the room was the sound of pencil on paper and Medea's calm voice as she precisely explained the way ancient greek actually worked. It was… nice. Actually being taught by someone who cared for once, instead of someone who was just phoning it in. I could see myself doing it a lot.
A/N: So... this might be the last chapter for a fair bit. I've screwed up a lot of the background lore on the fate side of the spectrum, and I'm not sure if it'd be worth rewriting everything or just dropping it. So... Yeah.