Edmund's basement was cleared out and set up as a sort of concrete training area. He needed a more controlled space than the outdoors provided. Various runes were written on the walls, almost like an altered summoning circle, drawn in chalk. Edmund himself was holding a staff and aiming at a wall. He concentrated, and from the weapon erupted a strong wind and a bolt of lightning, hitting the wall and leaving a charred mark. He smiled. Perfect.
Kimen's hand reached up to knock on the door of Edmund's home just as a loud crack of thunder filled the air. The child jumped, startled by the sudden noise, hand withdrawing from the door. It didn't seem like the weather for a thunderstorm today and Kimen realized this after his nerves settled. The noise must have come from somewhere within the building. "I wonder if he is busy with something?" He quietly asked himself before lightly knocking on the door.
As Edmund waved the staff to blow some of the light smoke away, he barely heard a small tapping at his door. He leaned the staff against the wall and began walking up the steps. He opened up the door to notice the child, Kimen. He nodded politely. "Greetings, Kimen," he said, "What can I do for you today?" as he spoke he stepped out of the doorway and motioned for the young mage to enter.
"You said if I wanted lessons I needed to find you, right?" Kimen smiled up at the man as she stepped inside, then looked down at the book in her hands. "And I read some of Mr. Kent's book just like you told me to do but... well I am not sure I get these stories, Mr. Edmund. " Even though Edmund hadn't read the book, Kimen was sure that he would be able to explain them to her in a way she could better understand.
"I believe so, yes. I apologize if I've been hard to find recently. I had something I wanted to find." Edmund eyed that Kimen still had his brother's and Kent's book. He wasn't quite sure how to respond to the child, but he should have expected it. "I'll do my best. My family truly believed in it. I'm sure I can explain a little."
Kimen nodded, then proceeded to explain what he had read, "The first story was about a mother who joined a cult to get magic to save her dying child. And with the magic, her child grew up strong but he was obsessed with finding the magic that granted his life. He became an evil warlock and couldn't be stopped for a long time."
Edmund nodded. "It makes sense. According to what my family believed, any deal with a demon, even one with good intentions, is an evil act." He pauses. "Also, restoring life is a perversion of nature. That which is meant to die is to die. It's all planned, according to their beliefs, and it's not their place to disrupt it."
"It would probably throw off the balance of things, thatís for sure. To save someone from something like death would probably come at a pretty hefty price even if it is not immediately noticeable what the cost would be." Kimen said expression softening into a sad frown as he opened up the book and flipped carefully through the pages of the story they were discussing, "If that was understood, maybe the outcome would have been a little different. Itís really a sad story. I doubt in his mind the warlock thought he was doing evil, or if he did he thought the ends justified the means. And the fact that his life was returned to him only for him to use it in such a way. I doubt that is what his mother wished for her son's future."
"No parent wishes to see their child in such a way." Edmund kept a nearly emotionless straight face as he spoke, keeping a controlled demeanor. He felt somewhat uncomfortable at the subject, but it was something he needed to hear as well. "No one ever truly believes they're doing something for an evil purpose."
Kimen nodded to Edmund, "People tend to make their choices on reasoning, wrong or right they do what they think would work out best given their knowledge and situation." The child looked up from the book, having a better understanding of the story now. "Thank you for clearing it up for me, Mr. Edmund."
Edmund smiled. "I appreciate you discussing it with me." Edmund began to walk and opened a door that lead down to a rather unimpressive basement. "But, if you want to learn magic, some of these lessons need to be somewhat ignored in favor of others." He began walking down, beckoning Kimen to follow. "Today might seem a bit basic, but, I want to see if you can understand how I learned magic."
Something about the room felt off, and Kimen was becoming increasingly aware of this the longer he stood at the bottom step. This room was supposed to simulate how mana naturally flowed in the man's world, and yet the child wasn't able to pick up on any of its presence. Kimen took the last step down and proceeded towards the room's center, mentally touching spots on the floor and walls like an ant feeing its way through the world with its antenna. There was no mana, even when the child closed his eyes and concentrated there was not a trace to be found beyond the mana he and Edmund produced. The room felt dead. Kimen opened his eyes and took a look at the other features of the room; the circle on the floor, much neater and more organized in form than the one Kimen had worked on long ago, and the runes... something the child knew very little about even though he was marked with one. "Mana doesn't come from anywhere but living things in your world, Mr. Edmund?"
"There was some sort of energy that living things produced, and it might have been mana, but nobody ever tapped into it or researched it." Edmund stopped as he said this, and thought for a moment. "Perhaps some of the demon lords, but nothing I'd know. But, there were creatures of extreme magical power that seemed to produce enough of it naturally that other people could use them as a source. Ever wonder why Kent claimed that all magic users were demon cultists? Well, from where I came from, they were. When I came to the Cleft, magic seemed significantly simpler."
"So the only way you could use magic was through other living beings?" Kimen frowned at this thought, knowing that there were quite a large number of creatures back in her own world that produced a lot of it themselves. So much sometimes that it could leak into an area, alter, and even enchant it. Still, the idea of humans using these creatures for such an end did not sit too well with Kimen. Luckily in her world, things were a little different. They were more like here.
"Demons produced such great power that they could effectively have dozens of human spell casters using them as a source and feel very little, if any, effect from it. However, because of this, only those who had already made deals with said demons knew how to siphon this energy in the first place." Edmund got up and offered his staff to you. "However, I think more advanced siphoning should be avoided for now. See if you can use this."
Kimen walked up to the staff and picked it up, blinking in surprise as he felt the touch of mana flowing from it. He cast his gaze over the staff, turning it in his hand trying to pick up on its properties. The child needed to know what it was used for after all. "Wind?" Kimen said finally after a long moment of scrutiny, "This... staff is a little weird Edmund. I don't know why but itís different than elemental magic that has been collected into an item. Like, it is coming from within it... but not directly from the staff itself. The staff is dead like the rest of the room." Kimen spun around to face Edmund, "Mr. Edmund, considering how this staff feels, your talk from a moment ago regarding siphoning from other creatures, and the way you set up this room, what exactly is the source this mana?"
Edmund blinked for a moment, and then let out a strong, almost proud laugh. "Hahaha! I had my suspicions that you'd examine it closer, but, I wasn't quite aware how quickly you'd do it." He claps his hands together and shouts. "Ariel! You can come out now!"
It wasn't long before a young man seemingly made of wind and weather flew up right beside Edmund with a wide smile. "Hello there, master Edmund! Does the staff serve you well?" Edmund nodded, and pointed to Kimen. Ariel immediately circled Kimen, flying incredibly fast, before stopping in front of him with a quick and energetic bow. "Hail, young master! What is thy name?"
Kimen turned her head and watched as the spirit circled her mouth parting in surprise, "Its not really wise to handle magical items without knowing their properties first. My schooling with magic before I came here was primarily focused on keeping people unfamiliar with magic alive in magic related situations and environments so its only natural that I would examine it closer to understand what it did." Kimen told Edmund, before turning to the wind spirit and smiling softly, returning the bow, "Hello, my name is Kimen! You um... Don't have to call me master." It felt awkward being called that.
Edmund leaned against the wall as the two talked. Ariel floated beside Kimen, tilting his head. "I apologize Young Kimen, Sir. I did not mean to offend. I believed it to be a sign of respect." He waved his hand into the air and threw is chin up dramatically. "But, if you do not wish to be called Master, then you will not hear it escape my lips, so swears Ariel!"
Kimen held up his hands and waved them about frantically, still maintaining a friendly smile. "You don't have to call me Young Kimen, or Sir Kimen either. And yes, it is a sign of respect but surely I haven't earned such titles. I've only just met you, after all!"
Ariel raised a brow at you, and then towards Edmund. Edmund simply shrugged, somewhat amused by the confrontation going on. "...Of course then, Kimen! Ariel will do so then." The wind spirit floated into the middle of the room and leaned back and crossed his legs, as if he had a bed beneath him. He turned to Edmund. "Is this who wishes to learn sorcery, Master Edmund?" Edmund nodded. "Huzzah!"
Kimen was so glad she noticed Ariel connected to the staff before she used it. It wouldn't have been nice to use his mana without asking his permission first! Though she was sure Edmund had asked already since he seemed to be in on his lesson plans. "Lets be friends, okay?" He seemed like a pretty nice wind spirit after all.
Edmund smiles at the two. "Seems as though you two are getting along." Edmund walked up to Kimen and held out his hand for the staff. "I don't think you'll need it, to be honest. And I apologize for the deception. I believed you would be more comfortable with an item than with a spirit." Ariel crossed his legs again and winked. "Better than demons!"
Kimen handed the staff back to looking up at Edmund with a confused expression, "So you want me to siphon from his mana?" Kimen turned back to the wind spirit, he was sure Edmund had already asked but it seemed like a good idea to clear it with them himself if they were going to proceed with this. "Is this okay? Do I have your permission to do this Mr. Ariel?" In Kimen's world this kind of magic was generally frowned upon so he had to admit he was feeling a little uncomfortable with the idea. Though the child didn't think it was so much of an issue if the thing he was taking mana from was willing and in communication with him.
Ariel nodded lazily. "Go on, go on. I don't bite." Edmund stepped forward. He didn't even seem to do anything special. Despite the lack of mana in the room, Edmund snapped his fingers, and a small breeze filled the room. "It's simple. As long as the target is willing and lets you be in tune with its energies, it's simply knowing what energy you're looking for rather than using the world around you as a whole."
Kimen nodded to Ariel, "You probably have plenty to spare, but let me know if I ever use too much." The child then turned to Edmund, ready to get back to her lesson. "So what would you like me to do with his magic exactly?"
"Right now, we're not doing anything beyond harnessing it. A simple gust of wind would be enough to know you understood the lesson. Maybe some fog?" Edmund raised a brow at Ariel, who laughed. "Speak, and I could make the rain fall and the thunder crack! But we're inside. Kimen would find any air magic easiest given the conditions." Edmund nodded. "If you can cast a simple air spell, that's all that's needed for now."
Kimen nodded, to Ariel and stepped towards the center of the room, "So maybe a little gust of wind?" That idea didn't seem too bad, nor too hazardous. Taking in a deep breath, Kimen mentally reached out towards Ariel, drawing his mana towards him and reaching out with his fingers carefully touching and manipulating it to his will. The child's hair ruffled a little at first, but as more was taken the gust of wind turned into steady breeze which circled the room, funneling upwards and whipping about Kimen's clothes.
Edmund clapped his hands together, followed by Ariel. However, Ariel was doing it much more energetically, and proceeded to jump off of one of the walls and hug Kimen. "Excelent! You've got the work of quite the sorcerer in you!" Ariel jumped back and floated proudly next to his master, Edmund. Edmund, however, seemed happy, but less impressed. It was merely fulfilling expectations for him. "You might have noticed that the magic felt more distant than what you're used to using. Less... real. But, that's how I was introduced to magic and how I learned. Beyond that, I think our spell casting in this world is extremely similar."
Edmund nodded towards Ariel, who relaxed and leaned back in the air again, kicking his legs as if swimming. "Next time we'll work on a more advanced technique that builds off of this if you're still interested. Counterspelling."
"Alright, Mr. Edmund." Kimen had to admit she wasn't familiar with counterspelling but she knew what it entailed, or so she thought. It seemed like a good spell to learn. "I will come find you after I read another story if that is alright." She then turned to the air spirit, "And thank you for your assistance today." She said with a nod.
Ariel gave a very dramatic bow. "Good Kimen, your company is most enjoyed! I do hope Master Edmund will be seeing more of you." Edmund waved him to be quiet. "Indeed, you were very helpful, my good Ariel. Very helpful. But, I need to erase some of these runes and get this basement back together, now that I don't need such a controlled space." He nodded to you. "I hope you come by soon. I'm looking forward to it."
"I'll get my reading done and be back here as soon as I am able to!" Kimen gave the two of them a smile and a wave good-bye before heading back up the stairs. She had learned quite a bit today from Mr. Edmund today. And she was looking forward to the next lesson.
"A very nice fellow." Ariel looked back at Edmund, his eyes more serious than before. "Great Sir, I must ask. When do you intend to release me?" Edmund began walking up the steps, staff in hand, waving off Ariel to dismiss him. "In due time, my Ariel. In due time."