Writer’s Note: Get used to seeing this kind of thing. I desperately want to see if I can write speculative fiction and so I’ll try out a few concepts here. Today’s Daily Prompt was just too good to pass up.

There were two sets of hands resting on the wooden table. One pair was folded, right over left. Delicate nets of blue and green veins, more prominent than they once were, pulsed gently under the skin. The other pair forced the palms flat on the table’s surface, trying to convey control but a twitching finger betrayed some dread. The girl belonging to those hands kept her gaze just above them, hardly daring to look up.

“I’m not sorry I did it,” she said. Her voice was quiet but firm.

“You put yourself at risk. You put your family at risk. But I can’t say I would have done much differently at your age, particularly with a boy like that at stake.” The girl’s fingers curled in on themselves. The woman allowed a corner of her mouth to smile slightly. “There is to be a wedding, then?”

The girl looked up. “Yes. Before the end of the season. But we can all move into the palace right away. There is a lot of talk about preparations and how much time it will take, but I know you and I can make quick work of all that.”

The woman tightened her grip on her own left hand. “My dear one, my daughters and I cannot go with you.”

The girl waved them away. “Oh, of course you can. He knows what we can do. Well, what you and I can do. I don’t think my sisters will ever learn now, do you? I don’t think so and neither does he. You see, I told him everything. He knows everything and he doesn’t care. He-”

“That may be true. But it’s one thing for a young prince in love to blindly trust the object of his affections. It’s quite another for a king to accept that kind of power. Does he know?”

“He knows there was magic involved that night, but-”

“Does he know it was you?”

The girl’s hands fell to her sides. “No.”

“He must never know.”

“It was a dress and some shoes. It was a party trick. What concern could he have?”

“That what started as a party trick would turn into a coup.”

“A coup? He would fear me? Us? That’s madness! We would never do something like that. I don’t want that kind of power. I never have.”

The woman leaned forward slightly. “Oh, no? You have never considered what you could achieve with your gifts?”

The girl sat up straight. “No. Never.”

They sat in silence a moment, the girl’s words hanging in the air. The woman fixed her eyes on the girl. “He will be hard to convince. It would be best not to give him the opportunity to wonder.”

“So what would you have me do? Lie?”

“Yes.”

“And say what? A witch enchanted me? Or a fairy broke the veil just to bring me new clothes?”

“Say whatever you think he will believe so long as he does not suspect you. Better to let him think you were a victim or innocent bystander than a woman who can wield magic.”

The girl pushed back from the table. “You always told me magic was a gift. That I should be proud. Now you tell me I must hide it?”

“From those that would fear you or cause you harm, yes.”

The girl crossed her arms. “So this is the end? I’m never to use magic again? You would leave me with no teacher? No guidance?”

The woman sat silently for a time then stood. “For our safety – yours, mine, and my daughters’ – you must leave me behind. I hope you continue to practice in some small way. But you must be discreet.” She walked over to the girl and took her hands. “I feel as though I have doomed you to a life of compromise. If you stay here, I can teach you. Your talents could improve some but your heart would be miserable. You would never know more than this small patch of land. If you leave, and you know that you must, your heart will sing but you must hide a part of yourself. This world does not understand magic. They may see the beauty in it as long as it remains a novelty. Once it ceases to be amusing, they will fear you and then they will want to destroy you.”

The girl looked at the floor. “I can’t bear this alone. There is still so much to learn. I need you.” She looked up. “Think of what good what might do together.”

The woman tilted her head. “Ah, and you say you never wanted power? Be honest with yourself, dear one. Of course you want greatness. I only wish this world would allow it.” She squeezed the girl’s hands. “My days of teaching are at an end. It’s time to focus on my young daughters and build up their strengths. Yes, their strengths. They are different than ours but they have strengths nonetheless. And I will care for your father’s estate and all who work here. That’s enough goodness for me to do, I should think.” She kissed the girl’s fingers. “Goodbye, my dear one.”

“Goodbye, Stepmother.”

 

via Daily Prompt: Conjure

Conjure