For perhaps the first time in my life, I couldn’t sleep. My mind was in a whirl. Dawn found me pacing a short distance from where everyone slept. I drew my sword; I had energy to expend. I gave it a few experimental swings. We had never done much that might be considered formal moves or routines, but I felt the need to fight someone and there wasn’t anyone here I wanted to fight. What I wanted right now was a real good workout.
Pip came up to me. “You need to find your music,” he said softly, so as not to wake the others.
“What?” I asked.
“Watch me,” he said, and he began what I could only call a dance, but it wasn’t any kind of dance I’d seen before. The moves were slow and graceful, quite incongruous with the wiry little man who performed them. “Try it,” he said. “I have friends who do something like this using all sorts of weapons. Sometimes I use daggers, but mostly I just like to do it like this.”
I tried to imitate him and felt clumsy. I drew my sword and tried again; I felt clumsier. “What do I do?”
“Do whatever is in your heart, just make it slow, calm and complete. Find the music that is in your soul and let it come out through your hands and your feet. Don’t worry, it’ll happen, you’ll see.” Then after a few more agonizing minutes of watching me watching him, he said, “Close your eyes. Your music is in your soul, not in my hands.”
I closed my eyes and concentrated on my moves. I remembered all the different things Tsan had tried to teach me, and tried to do them all very slowly and carefully. This was hard. My sword was getting surprisingly heavy. Then, as if knocking on the inside of a glass ball, I had the idea of incorporating my magic into this . . . this thing I was trying to do.
My magic was Water Magic; the sound of water was my music. The soft patter of it was all around me. I opened my eyes and saw waterspouts. As I watched them, I made them move and sway. I made them sprout what could only be described as arms. They reached out and splashed themselves across my sword. They swayed and danced before me, begging me to widen their splash, sending spray everywhere.
I was soon drenched, but I was elated. The morning sun turned the water into drops of silver and gold. I wanted to do this forever. I could have, I think, but the spell lost its glamor when the sun climbed too high and the water wasn’t golden any more; it was just wet. I put the magic away and came to a stop. I didn’t put my sword away; it would need to be dried first, like the rest of me. I felt so much better now. I stood there in the early morning warmth of the sun. My mind was quiet. I felt like I could stand still like that for hours.
I was just thinking of turning to give my thanks to Pip when Carm started sneezing. He had done his best to stay out of the sun and still watch, but there had been little shade. He looked guiltily at me with his hand over his mouth. The part of his face that I could see looked redder than usual. “Breathe, Carm, before you suffocate yourself,” I said; I was laughing by now. He finished his morning sneezing fit while I dried my sword and then my hair with a dry cloth. The rest of me could dry in the sun.
“That was . . . that was amazing,” said Lagge. “I think I’ll remember that for the rest of my life.”
“It was positively beautiful,” said Carm.
Brom, the strong silent type, just nodded and Larak looked quite taken aback. I could tell that he was thinking about it very hard. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he didn’t try to teach his next students to do something of the sort.
Though my mind was washed clear, I was still a bit giddy. It was almost as if we were out on our first furlough from the cave, except I was the only one feeling it this time. I came down from my euphoria quickly though, and after an uncomfortable breakfast and even more uncomfortable farewells, we parted company.