Her mother’s secret

(Another piece featuring Jerra, in the world of Ravers, Masica, and magic. For the first flash, check here: Surprises in the night)

 

Jerra had a secret. One her small-minded neighbors in the tiny settlement of Pason’s Crossing would kill her for. The only problem was, it wasn’t really hers, or at least, not her fault.

Years before, when she’d been a child, barely ten summers old, Jerra had encountered a dangerous group of half-men, Ravers, up close and personal. But that wasn’t the secret. The secret was that Jerra’s mother, Ambra, had destroyed every last one of the band of monsters with magic.

Masica magic.

The people of Pason’s Crossing didn’t have much magic beyond the runesmakers. Even then, those few who knew the making of the protective runes had only the barest of ideas about the crafting of the marks. Every house, barn, and shop had runes, one each on the four cardinal points, to protect those inside from the raids of the half-men. Some shops had runes etched onto window sills and doorways, to deter ordinary thieves, but they only sometimes worked.

The simple people of her village knew nothing of Masica magic except that it was forbidden to anyone not of Masica birth. Most people thought it was evil. Mothers all told their babies that if the children misbehaved, a Masica magus would snatch them up to use in their magical rituals.

But Ambra, the small plump woman in the house on the edge of town, bore the power of magic inside. And, from the story she’d told Jerra all those years ago, so did Jerra.

After her mother had stormed from their house and blasted the Ravers to bits, she’d sent Jerra’s father and twin baby sisters to bed, then she had settled into her smooth polished wooden rocking chair beside the  stone fireplace with its roaring fire and pulled a frightened Jerra in close.

The story Ambra told her oldest daughter was near to unbelievable. Jerra’s sweet, unassuming mother was a Masica magus-in-training who had run away from her city and her duties, far away from Pason’s Crossing.

Ambra told Jerra that she could feel Jerra’s magic bubbling up and that before too long, Jerra would start to grow, taller and thinner, to appear more Masica. She wanted to teach Jerra, in secret, how to maintain the look of her father’s people, Buranga, like she did.

That night began the first of many lessons for Jerra, half-Masica, half-Buranga, which would help her protect her family, her village, and keep her safe from the prying eyes of Masica spies.

 

(Part 3: Masica fever)

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