A Tall and Narrow Notebook

Kera wiped the long day out of her eyes with the heels of her hands and leaned back in the burgundy leather chair. Her two lab-mates were finally gone and she could attend her spell notes in private. Relying on the clarity of their spells to convey the import, few mages kept additional notes these days, but Kera’s grandmother had given her a shingle-sized notebook for her thirteenth birthday and she had kept notes ever since. None of her notes were extensive—maybe a short paragraph or two. And it wasn’t likely they could help another mage in any significant way. But Kera liked the ritual of mixing the India ink and composing her thoughts.

Kera looked up from placing the period at the end of a sentence when a double-knock on her open door drew her out of [the zone].

“I’m sorry. We hoped you were finished.” A woman Kera had seen before but couldn’t place stood in her doorway. The woman’s blond hair was French braided into two short plaits which barely went past her ears to her neck. She wore a sea-green back-buttoned cassock and clutched a clipboard to her chest. She twined a pen, a hank of keys, and a pair of sunglasses in the same hand holding the clipboard. Kera couldn’t tell if the woman was important or just thought so.

“I was. Just.” Kera set the pen down and left the narrow notebook propped open. Looking around for the rest of the ‘we’, Kera used her phone voice to ask, “How can I help you?”

260 words on day 883

A Cool Blue Mage’s Cassock

This follows the Crainstock, LTD. stuff you’ll find somewhere else on 1000 Days

The extended warmth of the traverse and the uncanny sensation of being piped like frosting onto a cake told Kera she’d stepped through a portal and not just a door. There was a déjà vu hiccup mid-trip she wondered about, but soon forgot as she was deposited onto the black sand of a broad flat beach. The sunglasses in Donna’s pocket made sense now.

Twenty-five mages circled a great metal band and hummed a low continuous monotone. Kera had expected a torus instead of a band. The band was…

Donna roughly twisted Kera around, placed her free hand in the center of Kera’s back and guided her without apology to a white tent. Kera got her hands up in time to part the flap as Donna pushed her through. Magic cooled the air inside and flattened and packed the sand to a black gloss. At the back—in a ring of padded folding chairs—Mr. Balasubramanyan sprawled across a pair of them with his head in his knees; he didn’t look up. Donna pushed Kera behind a tri-fold. “Get undressed. All the way. Earrings, contacts, patches. I’ll get you a cassock.”

Kera heeled off her sandles, shuffled out of her Levi’s, and quickly unbuttoned her blouse. She hesitated a moment before unclasping her favorite flower bra, but then continued and stacked that neatly on her growing pile of clothes. Donna returned and tossed a blue mage’s cassock over the top of the tri-fold.

“Tattoos too?”

“Don’t be flip, Miss Woods. All. All your ink was natural or you wouldn’t be in our employ in the first place.”

Donna’s repeated word struck just as Kera slid her panties past her knees; shame…

xxx words on day 879

More and More Imbuers’ Local

A single voice intoned the chant.

Other voices joined the first in staggering succession as if each new chanter required a sense more substantial than mere hearing to recognize the invitation. As the number of chanters grew, others joined more quickly until the swell of the chant could not be ignored by the remaining few—save one, the chant’s initiator.

Thima, toak-Slay, had ceased chanting once sufficient others took up the imbuing chant. It waited silently but not unmovingly for the remaining Imbuers to join. Thima then maneuvered the crowded dais to the edge and signaled for the next hoop to be lowered into place. It worried they would fail in their task.

The unseen audience—hushed to silence on their benches in the steep [auditorium]—drew a collective breath as the second hoop descended from the darkness. Lit from a bright point at the apex of the chamber, the silhoutted ring channeled a cone of light on the chanters below that transformed into a cylindar of rays as it dropped to match with the first. Had a blonde-haired girl, arms out and twirling in the evening air, stood in the center she might have been able to touch the insides of the ring. Had a tall man hoisted the iron torus in his grip, he could have put thumb to fingertip. The three well-recommended Translators laid the second ring atop the first with the sound of felt on felt. And now the work was back to Thima.

When its manager, Mrs. Vayda Carn, had first asked it to stay a moment in the conference room following the status meeting half a year ago it had not even known there was a project to be specially selected for. In fact, Thima’s breath ceased for the entire time Mrs. Carn gently closed the door to the room and singled it out. It assumed it was being let go.

“Thima, you may have heard we are working on something new,” she said like a question. Thima breathed in. It shook its head no. “Good. If you haven’t then we’ve been successful at least in that so far. I need a team leader for an uncommon portal imbuing.”

Mrs. Carn waited there for a nod or an ascent of some kind. Thima had noticed her habit of making all conversations like a classroom lesson and wondered regularly if the woman hadn’t been an early-grade elementary teacher before she came to [magic corp name]. Thima accepted what she’d said; Mrs. Carn continued.

“You’ve done well since coming to [magic corp name]. Worked under [some well respected retired guy]. You are not as senior a choice as we might have made, but your…”

“Neutrality,” Thima interjected into the slimmest of pauses.

“Yes, your neutrality. Our truncated and brief investigation into this imbuing leads us to believe that will be of value to our success.” She waited.

Sequel: emotion | thought | decision | action

A flush of pride warmed its face and it smiled a little. Thima pondered this. It’d never given much thought to its imprecisely defined gender as a contributor to its magic.

517 words on day 826