I have to say it.

I say it silently, in my mind, unable to come up with the courage to say it aloud. The words echo in my mind, reflecting off of shining surfaces teeming with magic; the thoughts fusing into a fearsome chord. And yet - past all the fear and pain - I have to say it. I must admit it. I am drawn to this truth as much as I fear it.


It makes me tremble. Literally.

I'm not the kind of person one would normally call a coward. I'm in-your-face, brutally honest, and that takes courage of a sort. There aren't a lot of things that scare me anymore.

But this? This is not a small barrier that can be overstepped by daring. This is a change. This isn't something that brutal honesty can overcome. Honesty doesn't make this any better.

Magic is magic. Sorcery is sorcery. And, unfortunately, I am what I am - I am no longer what I was.

See? The change makes me sound like a philosopher. But I think sometimes that if I don't talk about it I'm going to go nuts, crazier than Ultimecia, driven to madness by my sheer dumbness.

It really makes me scared.

I was used before, used as a tool - a vessel, perhaps, for a greater power. That greater power now rests, inside my bones and my blood, thinking and feeling. Changing.

The sorceress is gone, everyone says. There's nothing to fear anymore. And that's true; the evil that drove all sorceresses to be evil has been vanquished. Our own blood and sweat and tears made it so.

But there have always been sorceresses.

The history of our world - the very fantasy that flows through the veins of this planet - is full of magic. The tales of the women with mysterious powers - speaking to the planet, communing with fearsome beasts, summoning forbidden spells - I have read them all in my spare time, poring over their histories in the library. Some sorceresses have been deemed "good"; others, "bad" or "evil".

I am wondering what the books will have to say about Sorceress Rinoa.

Magic is neither good nor evil. It is a tool. Nowadays it is used like one - the atmosphere that creates the spells is pulled from the earth and the creatures who walk it. The Draw technique; oh, how I have learnt it well. It came to me naturally; it comes even more naturally now.

Magic is a part of this world, and has been since the dawn of time; though it has evolved as we have. Evolution.

There have always been sorceresses.

The magic remains, as I said. It whispers in my dreams, speaking in tongues, the rumbling words of a dragon who cannot be quieted. I have been changed. I was once a simple, silly girl who spoke her mind, wore her feelings on her sleeve, and wanted nothing more than independence, both for herself and her hometown.

I am still a simple, silly girl. But I am also a sorceress.

It makes me tremble. I am very, very afraid.

The feeling of someone else in my mind - that was terrifying. Someone else inside my body, quieting my voice as if I were a pet, a little puppy to be hushed.

I heard her voice in my mind long before. First she tried to tempt me, showing me the powers that could be mine if only I handed over my body and soul for her use. I had enough spunk to refuse that. Then she tried to threaten me - freezing my body in sleep, plaguing me with nightmares until only vaguely could I hear the voices of the others, feel the sandy road beneath me as I traveled on Squall's back. She held on, fighting, her hands the only force between my subconscious and my physical body.

And when none of this worked, she simply stepped in, her mind replacing mine. I couldn't even scream in horror, for she controlled my lips.

I told them to bind me, I told them to keep me away. But they wouldn't - he wouldn't. I was terrified. I have always been in control of myself - always - and those long moments of conflict were more terrifying than anything. I had watched Edea - even she was afraid to walk by herself, and she was so much older and stronger and wiser and more experienced and so much more levelheaded about the whole thing. What could I do?

Silly, simple little girl.

Edea. She has become like a mother to me, and I the daughter she never had. Edea can claim many daughters - but only one child has actually received her powers. I was never in that orphanage, but the bond is absolute. Blood calling to blood. Our blood runs thick with the nature of our very existence.

The transference of those powers was final. It's not as if I can simply claim not to be a Sorceress now. Ultemecia is gone, yes; the evil is gone. But the magic remains.

This is why Sorceresses are women. Every woman innately knows how to give birth - how to extend the gift of life without relinquishing their own. Only a woman can pass on the powers to another, their child; the powers themselves are giving birth, placing a magical child into the framework of an earthly being. Men do not understand this viciously nurturing type of giving. Only women know how a Sorceress can reproduce.

And thus I was born. Not Rinoa, child of Julia and the General, born of music and war in a love-lost era. Not Rinoa, the princess of the Forest Owls, a naive fighter for justice. This is Rinoa the sorceress. Magic is bound to her blood.

I wonder what the history books will say about her.

I wonder sometimes if I was always a Sorceress, or if I simply became one the moment the powers touched me. I know the others have thought about it as well; if they are to blame along with fate for bringing me along that fateful day, or if the powers that own me now were always in my blood, lying dormant in the long winter of my life, waiting for spring.

I remember the day Squall introduced me to magic. He gave me a brief interview, not wanting to waste time; and I, not wanting to seem like a child, accepted his brief explanation. And it was easy, I remember; all I had to do was reach out for the GF and I understood everything.

It was probably too easy.

Funny how no one noticed. Not one of them realized that the technical aspects of magic - drawing and casting, refining and junctioning - came so easily to me. I myself was so pleased to have gotten the knack of the thing that I didn't think twice about its familiarity. And I never would have realized that it was actually a difficult skill.

But no one remembered until - until I was a Sorceress.

Edea says that she can recognize something within me, though not clearly; vaguely, since she is no longer the sorceress she once was. She tries to remember the day that the powers transferred, but her memories are as clouded as mine.

We both felt Ultimecia that day.

I remember waking up, seeing Squall's precious face above mine, and not being able to speak. There was magic running up and down my bones and through my veins. I realized instantly what had happened. Rinoa the vessel.

Did they choose me because I was already shaped to carry magic? I suspect as much. But I'll never know. It's not like I can speak with the powers.

Although they speak to me.

The visions come in nightmares.

Fearful images flit past my eyes, laughing like fire as they dance their macabre dance. I see everything - death and rebirth, life and doom. All of the elements coexisting, answering to one hand: mine. I control all: I am its Sorceress. Me. The visions come to me.

That part alone is the nightmare.

Some nights they are so powerful that I force myself awake. Squall is not always there; the hesitance of a life alone holds him back just as my girlish apprehension holds me. There are nights when I lie awake simply because I fear sleep. I wish for Squall, but not as my Knight; just for someone to hold me.

The dreams and visions are much like my Angel Wing was: the magic is attempting to teach me. Angel Wing was when the magic in my blood took over me, showing me in its stubborn way what - exactly - was possible. Now that I have left the goldmine of emotional tension that was battle, the magic has decided on this new way to instruct me in its usage. The dreams are a tutorial lesson for a Sorceress.

They are terrifying. They are confusing. They speak to me in a language I do not yet understand; although, to my own horror, I am beginning to recognize words and images.

Magic tries to speak to its wielder - its vessel - and I cannot help but listen.

What makes me afraid more than anything - more than the dreams, more than Angel Wing, more than memories - is the thought of losing control. At least under Angel Wing I could still tell friend from foe. I am afraid of the power within the power - that link that binds all Sorceresses together.

I know Ultimecia is gone. But what if someone else decides to take me?

I didn't ask for this.

I didn't ask to be a danger to the people I love more than anything - the friends who chose to defend me against fate itself. I didn't even ask for that choice; I told them to seal me away. I'm afraid of hurting.

It will not be me; Hyne knows that I'll protect that family with everything I've got. But these powers are a glaring target to many - too obvious, too available.

I don't want to be threatened I don't want to be used I don't want to hurt anyone

...I have to clamp my mind around the thoughts as they pour out. I've learned that fear stimulated the powers; danger ignites the fire.

But the thought is never too far away.

I am a Sorceress now. Sorceress Rinoa.

And I'm very afraid.