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 Excerpts from NANO 2010.

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this modern glitch.
Ravenclaw
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Posts : 4574
Join date : 2010-02-21
Age : 24
Location : A hole in the bottom of the sea.
House : Ravenclaw and Burkenshire

PostSubject: Excerpts from NANO 2010.   Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:09 pm

There once was a narwhal.
Actually, no. That’s wrong.
There once was a zombie.
No… that’s not quite right, either.
There once was a witch?
More accurate, but not quite.
I suppose the best place to start would be the girl.
She was an ordinary girl.
Boring, I know.
Reality can’t be as exciting as fantasy books all the time, you know. Otherwise, no one would read them, right? I mean, what’s the point of escapism if you’re just escaping from one reality to another.
I never got the point of nonfiction books much. It’s reading someone else’s story, yeah. I get that. But why the heck would you want to read about someone else’s pain and suffering when you have your own to deal with? If there’s no happy ending, there’s no point. “He died of cancer and everyone was sad.” “He got mugged and brutally murdered, and his family couldn’t support themselves afterwards.” “The old guy finally conked out.” What on earth would possess anyone to read that? THAT, my dears, is the mark of someone who has absolutely no life at all, whatsoever. That is the mark of someone who cannot dream, who is faced with the facts and sees only the facts.
That kind of person makes me want to cry.
I was once that kind of person. The one who interpreted the facts and the facts alone. Logical, rational, reasonable. That was me. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, when it’s you. But looking back, it’s kind of painful, in a way. I was never cold. Not completely. But I was never very warm, either, when I had a choice. I played my part as the smiling, happy child, because that was how I was raised. But did I ever believe it? I dunno.
Actually, that’s a lie.
I might have been rational and all, but I was a yellow person to a fault. Or pink. Probably more pink. Regardless, I was innocent, clueless, and naïve.
So, yes, I was happy. And deluded.


__________________________________________________________________


Someday, I might try and go back and reread this, and it will make absolutely no sense, I’m sure. Especially since it’s pretty much entirely out of context, because I have no time/energy to set up a context. Oops. My bad.
I feel like someday, I want to go back and remember. That’s really the only reason I’m writing this. Well, that, and the fact that I had no idea what to write for National Novel Writing Month, which I am participating in for the second time. YAY! I don’t know what is wrong with me for doing this. There has to be something, or I would not be subjecting myself to this torture. I have about 1000 more words I need to write JUST TODAY. And lots of other crap I have to get done. Which I really should be working on. Hehe.
I’m a terrible procrastinator. It’s a major problem. I don’t like to work ahead, because I feel like I can handle it.
Again, that’s a lie.


_________________________________________________________________

Okay, context for this baby. I’m Kathryn. I’m ageless, spanning the divide between youth and old age. Except not really, because I’m young. But I do not believe a life can be defined merely by a number. Math is great and all, but it can’t do that. Age is irrelevant. Except for that your body starts falling apart, which is bad, and I want nothing to do with that. I honestly don’t want to grow up, ever. I want to be like Peter Pan and just stay young forever, flying around with pixie dust and hanging out with the mermaids and fighting evildoers with bad moustaches and hooks for hands.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to just completely shirk responsibility every once in a while? Just let go and be you. I honestly think that would be fantastic. My entire life so far has been based on responsibility, and man, I cannot type that word. My family is based on accomplishments. The family only sees what you’ve done and what you’ve won. Everything else is extraneous. If you’re good at something, that’s great—if you can use it to get ahead. It’s important to get good grades. That’s paramount. However, you’re also expected to do this and this and this and before you know it, there’s a long laundry list of the things that are expected of you. Isn’t that fantastic? I thought so.
People marching to the drums, everybody’s having fun, to the sound of loveeeeee
I love that song so much. It’s about Anne Boleyn, who is honestly a fascinating character. There aren’t a lot of people who really like her, because she was all caught up in that mess with Henry VIII or whatever the heck it is, but I kind of like her.

___________________________________________________


You know, this is kind of like stream of conscious, except not really, because I’m putting down about half of what I’m thinking. But the fact that it’s so discombobulated makes it like that, almost. Ellie would be happy to read this, except for the fact that I’m totally cheating, because this has no plot whatsoever.
Oh.
Maybe I should throw in some random zombies to spice things up? I have a zombie obsession, I won’t lie. They’re just so… epic! I mean, first of all, they eat brains. Aside from the heart, the brain is pretty much the most important organ there is. Without your brain, you’re catatonic. Or a zombie. Take your pick. I have a poster with zombies on it on my wall. It was a sign on my locker from my friend Maria Latham for my birthday junior year, and I plastered it with stickers from Sra. Bowes in Spanish. I love Spanish stickers nearly as much as I love zombies. They’re completely and totally epic. Last year, my NaNo was on zombies! I rather enjoyed writing it. Except, just like this one, it eventually degraded into psychobabble. I went extremely in-depth when it came to analyzing simple movements and all that jazz. Every look meant something. I got the name Sadie in there, though, which made me happy. I rather like that name. She was my main character, and she was freaking awesome. And terrifying. Very terrifying, being a zombie and all. And she wasn’t especially fond of people… Even before she became a zombie, she wasn’t especially fond of people.
It was kind of sad, but not really, because she was BA and awesome. And she had Josh to balance her out.
At least, I think that was his name? I don’t even remember anymore. It’s been a long time. A whole year! Can you imagine that? And even longer, probably, actually, since I don’t think he was introduced very early on in the story. I could have sworn that I started out talking about Sadie, since she was the character that I thought was more important. She was the main character, although I always thought that Josh was more like me. He was reasonable, but drawn to that little girl. He watched her get attacked, actually. He was more popular than me, though. Everyone liked him. He was just that type of person. He tended to distance himself from people a bit, but they were drawn to him.
I guess that, in a way, he was the precursor to Denver. Denver had a lot of precursors, but I can honestly say that Josh was originally one of them.
Another fun fact—I don’t remember how my characters changed within the course of my NaNo. I just remember how they originated. I remember how they were at the beginning, and nothing more. Isn’t that interesting? I find that really odd, honestly. It’s like remembering the start of a journey, but forgetting everything that happens on the trip. It doesn’t make sense. It is completely illogical, irrational.
The way my brain works now.
Well, that’s also not exactly true. I mean, I’m plenty rational. I just also have elements of the irrational mixed in. I’ve always been quirky and odd. I’m just now a dreamer. My feet are planted firmly on the ground while my head is somewhere up in the clouds. I’m an odd person. Did I ever mention that?
My neck is bleeding.

_____________________________________________________________________


Once upon a time there was a little girl. That little girl was an angry little girl. She was also very little. And angry. But she was very pretty. Until she killed the one dude and was stuck in jail. And then, it was bad, because she was pretty and in jail. And that was stomped out of her very quickly. Pretty people should not be in jail, after all. Right? So, they beat her and tore her hair out, hoping she would give up. However, they neglected to notice that she is a brat, and a VERY angry child. So, when she thought they were sleeping, she managed to salvage a weapons store that should not have existed, but she made magically from air (did I mention she was a magical little angry witch girl?). She then proceeded to stab the guards repeatedly through the heart until they let her go. It took a while, since she had to make sure her impalements did not prevent them from letting her free. It was dreadfully tedious work, you know. She had to ensure that they could use their hands to unlock the door and their legs to walk to get the key. She cut their lips, so they could not scream, but she did not slit their throats. Once she was free, she ran. No one knows where she went, but everyone knew that her one, single, solitary goal was to get out. She wanted to go where she wanted to go when she wanted to, not because someone else told her she had to.
She was not the best person. However, in this she was admirable. She did not want to be trapped within the confines of prison life. She wanted freedom. That was the one thing she truly wanted—the one thing that would cure her from being angry.
So, she ran. She went beyond the pine trees of the north. She went to where human life was the exception, not the rule, and she hid. She had every reason to want to hide, as her past was as murky as her sense of ethics.
She was originally not so angry. In fact, she was happy. She was a happy little witch, free from the trappings of anger and depression. She had a loving family and a place to rest her head at night, although her family had issues with money. Even witches have families with money problems.
Like everyone else, that problem led to her unhappiness. Her family was constantly fighting and splitting apart. Eventually, she snapped, and turned them all into dragonflies.
Once they were dead, she missed them greatly, and eventually, the guilt sunk in. This was all her fault. Her family was gone because of her impulsiveness. This realization caused bitterness to take root, and eventually, this bitterness gave birth to anger. It was no longer her fault. It was all their faults. Who was the one who was trying to help? She was. Her alone. They just wanted to sit there and have screaming matches across the room from each other. She was not cool with that at all.
In fact, her anger started to grow worse and worse with time. She took it out on anyone who got in her way in any way she could think of. The cashier at the mortal grocery store was looking at her strangely? She was mocking her, condemning her with her eyes, and announcing to the world with her staring that something was amiss. She was blowing her cover. She needed to be ended.
The woman took her lunch break, to find that she no longer was working at the store. She was now a mouse, in fact. A lovely, furry, bright pink mouse. The witch had a penchant for pink, even though she was angry. She was still a little girl, and she liked pink. It was far better than the traditional black of witches.
Her magic used to be pink, but over time, it was fading. The color was draining from her magic, but she did not notice. No one else knew her well enough to point it out, either. It was the sign of evil to come—an evil spirit was drawn to her anger and was now feeding off her magic. It was leeching the goodness from it, bit by bit, which only encouraged the little girl’s anger and unhappiness. Her magic and personality became more and more violent.
She was becoming a pawn of the spirit. It would begin with him sucking the life from her, and it would end in complete and total possession. He would take the final dregs of life from the angry young girl, using her own energy to overwhelm her. He would take her body as his own, using it for his own malicious purposes. The girl would be lost forever. Her guilt, her anger, her unhappiness would no longer be her own, but merely the tools of the demon. She would no longer feel happiness, remorse, or love.
The change would be gradual enough that she would not suspect a thing. She was never the most self-aware person to begin with. However, the pink was the one thing that she has used to identify her magic, to differentiate it from her own. One would think that she would notice its disappearance, right? Wrong. The takeover had already started. The more the magic became colorless, translucent, the more power that the spirit had.
It was sad, really.
Even worse, her magic was largely self-taught. The Guild of Magical Beings did not know of her by name, although they were starting to detect loose traces of leaking, uncontrolled magic. It would come from supermarkets first, then from the woods—the bursts were always stronger in the wild, they noticed. The patterns started to reveal, however, that the sudden spurts of magic could not be coincidental. They decided to investigate, realizing eventually that the magic must have been coming from a single person. Whoever was causing this was dangerous, and needed to be stopped before they caused irreversible damage. Everyone had seen before what a witch gone wild had done. The entire history of the magical guild was based on the actions of a single individual who went to the dark side. There were evil witches and wizards. They had always existed and would always exist.
However, this one was worse than any who had come before him. He murdered thousands of innocent people, using his wizardly powers learned at The Academy to persuade the people that his vision was the right vision. No one knew how to stop him, and many of those with magic were won over by his gruesome, disturbing ideas. Most with strong powers were resistant to his charmspeak, but not all—those with charmspeech are among the most powerful wizards in the world, as it is a talent born of natural talent and natural talent alone. It cannot be learned or transferred between individuals.
Those with the purest raw magical energy often have such talents bestowed on them. Charmspeech is just one example. Charmspeech is so rare because it allows the user to infer the thoughts of those around them so that they can convince them to the user’s purpose. When a charmspeaker knows what makes those around him or her tick, that powerful witch or wizard can convince them that what they want is what the charmspeaker wants. Follow him or her, and the world will be a better place. You will be happy. The world will be happy. Because of this, charmspeakers are especially deadly. They bend the will of others through their own words. Many of the greatest and most terrible politicians were charmspeakers, until the Unspeakable War. After that, wizards and witches were banned from entering the field of politics or civic service. Or the Church. The church is tricky, too, because the charmspeakers tend to end up as the pope.
What the angry little witch did not know is that she had this rare ability. She managed to convince people to just let her do whatever she wanted. The way she saw things started to take on a life of its own, reaching out to innocent bystanders and consuming their view of the world. The evil spirit was pleased—her will would be like a virus, and he could achieve some truly evil things. However, the witch did not know that this was happening. She was unaware of her abilities—she just thought she had a knack for people, even though they made her angry. She had no idea that her charmspeak sent up large magical flares for all to see, or that she was marking herself with a big red x, between her rare ability and her untrained magical powers. She never went to magic school, and she had no idea how to damper her powers. She just knew that she had them, and she could use them. The rest was logistics. Her magic was purely raw talent, working from only what came from her head and from her hands. She did not memorize spells or learn potions. She just said the spells that came to her head. Many of the most influential leaders in the magical world would envy what she could naturally do, working centuries to gain that little knowledge when it simply appeared in her head. Magic was in her blood, although its exact source was unknown.
It was time to investigate. The Guild wanted to send a whole troop, but one young man pointed out the complete impracticality of this. His name was Zachariah, Zach for short, and he was one of the few young members of the guild. No one knew where he was from or who his parents were, but everyone knew that they had to have been very, very powerful to have given birth to Zach. He also seemed to have been given training from an early age, for when he showed up on the doorstep of The Academy at age nine, he already had a broader knowledge of magic than many first year students in The Academy’s university-age wizards. He had a natural charisma that was astounding, although he was not a charmspeaker. His talents were elsewhere—even the committee he worked with did not know what secrets he was hiding, but the general consensus was that he had some form of magic unknown to them all. He was so powerful that there was no other feasible option.
Realizing he was right, and a large group would not work well. It would scare the little witch, and she would disappear. She would figure things out eventually, and discover how to make herself invisible to those seeking her magic. One person was best. That person would have to be someone the witch would actually talk to. Someone she wouldn’t be afraid of. Someone… her own age.
Zach was chosen, of course. He didn’t mind at all. It was not a plot on his part or anything, but he knew it would happen. It was the only logical way of doing things. So, he prepared, trying to think of ways to track the bursts of magic. It should have been an easy task, especially for Zach—he had a natural ability for the detection and tracking of sudden releases of magic. However, following the patterns created was much more difficult due to the fact that the girl’s color drained more and more from her magic with every burst. This covered her tracks to a certain degree—very few things would cause this gradual color alteration, and it was not something that Zach was used to. However, he eventually figured out the trick, and used it to trace the web of leaked magic. He extrapolated and planned the best place to begin his search. He packed some equipment; he packed light, because he doubted he would need much in the way of gear, and if he did, he could always go back to home base. He doubted it would be a long voyage, though, and he left, armed with a backpack and a source of blazing energy. He was fresh, ready to take on the task in front of him.
He started in the most logical place, where a cluster of energy seemed to center. He was not sure exactly where within the region the source of the magic bursts would be, but he figured that that region at least gave him some form of a starting place. So, that was where everything would begin, he decided.
He started in the fringes of the region, searching using his eyes, ears, and magical senses. Anyone who had a complete lack of control so as to send out such bright, vivid flares would leave behind small traces of magic regardless of whether it was being used or not, Zach knew, so he used this to his advantage. Eventually, his search was made easier by a sudden burst of energy nearby—he followed it, even though it was paler and more translucent than any he had come across so far, even outside this specific case.
He walked up to find a little girl, sitting on a tree stump. It was a boring tree stump, but it was a tree stump nonetheless, and it was very randomly stuck in the middle of the forest. Granted, it was the forest, so it wasn’t really all that random, but regardless, it was a tree stump. A green and brown one. Not surprisingly. It could have been a purple tree stump or an orange tree stump, but it was in fact brown, covered with a layer of bright green, cushiony moss. She was sitting on said moss. The first thing that Zach noticed was her size—she was little. Next, he noticed the expression on her face. She looked distinctly angry. Then, he noticed her color—it was faded. However, he also noticed that it was pink, which surprised him, because pink did not match her angry demeanor. It was, in fact, the exact opposite. She looked like she was used to being angry, but the pink more matched her size—little and young and innocent and generally a chipper, naïve individual. Except, Zach started to suspect she was naïve, as the color was somehow being leached from her… well, from her color.
This was not something that happened naturally. In fact, Zach had only heard of it once, and had never come across it himself. It only happened when something very bad was happening—either the magic user had done something terribly evil that was draining the positive energies and all that jazz from them, or something else was feeding on it, drawing it away from the source. Although the girl looked very angry, she also looked pink and little, and Zach had trouble believing that she was a very evil person. Thus, he deduced that something must be going on, and she probably was not even aware of it herself. Based on the sheer force of the magic she was leaking, she clearly did not know much about magic and the way it operated. Zach doubted she had had much education—he could see from the contrast her wild tendrils of color, his own green colors were very tightly contained; the control showed discipline and formal training. He would not be noticed as anything special or extraordinary in a crowded room, even if the room was full of wizards and witches. He had that amount of control. He could almost pass as a non-magic wielder.
“Hello there,” Zach said, loosening his control slightly, making sure that the angry little girl could sense his presence. He did not release enough energy to appear to be a threat, but he knew that the girl was powerful enough to detect small traces of energy, trained or not. The girl bristled at the unexpected release and turned around—Zach quickly withdrew his energy, glad that he had left enough space so that she would not have heard him quite yet. As he approached, his footsteps became slightly more pronounced, a slight crunch of leaves in the fall weather. However, he had a remarkable gift for walking in and out of places completely unnoticed when he wanted to—the noise now was him deliberately attempting to make himself heard.
“Who are you?”
The angry little witch was not used to being asked this question, as she did not tend to stay around people for extended periods of time. Therefore, it caught her a bit off-guard. She did not know how to respond, because she had not heard her own name said for so long that she barely used it herself. This was another reason that the evil spirit had such an easy time—because the witch was losing her own identity, the demon was easily able to insert his own.
“Um… that is a good question,” the angry little witch said, her voice rough from underuse. “But, first, I want to know. Who exactly are you to be asking me who I am?” She did not trust this kid—what was he doing in the middle of the woods, and why did he care who she was? She did not like this at all—she was used to living alone, with no one around to bother her or ask her pesky questions that made her think about herself and her identity. This was bad, and the bad kid needed to go away before he asked more intrusive questions. The angry little witch started to get angry, and her colors started to flare.
Zach watched the little girl work herself up, and he wanted to walk away. Clearly, this child was unstable—she was getting upset about him asking who she was? Who on earth was she? She clearly had some mental problems. However, it was his job to make sure that she quit causing disturbances with her abrupt, sudden bursts of spontaneous magic. So, he continued to talk to the deluded, insane, angry witch.
“I’m Zachariah, or Zach for short. I work with the Guild, which is basically a big old organization of witches and wizards. I am 16, which is really young to be on the Guild, but they all like me there, because I’m awesome.” He was joking, of course, which he hoped would help to settle her down a bit. She seemed overly upset, and it was bothering him quite a bit. He would prefer if she would calm down and quit leaking magic all over the place.
“Now, if you don’t mind telling me—what is your name? I don’t mean to pry, and if you are offended by my question, by all means, you do not have to answer me. I am just curious. You seemed really upset, so I thought I would come check on you, and see if you were doing alright. I hope you don’t mind the company.” He spoke softly, as if he was speaking to a wild animal—he was careful to put lots of calming energies into his voice, but he did not know that it did any good, ultimately. That is, until the energies surrounding her started to calm down, gyrating less and less. “See, I’m not going to hurt you. I don’t mean to disturb you. I just want to help you. You can do magic, can’t you? I bet you don’t know a lot about your powers. I can help you learn—I learned myself. I can do magic—I bet you felt it when I walked closer to you. Didn’t you?” The girl nodded cautiously. “See? You have a natural perception for when magic approaches you, which is only something that witches and wizards have. You have to have some magical ability. You seem pretty powerful, too—I can tell from my own ability to sense magic.”
Her voice cracked when she tried to speak, but she got out what she needed to say. “I can do magic, yes. I am very good at magic. I never had training—never knew there was any available. I don’t need training, though,” she stated, all her conviction (and, unbeknownst to her, traces of her magic) evident in her voice. Her voice did not quiver and her voice was soothing. Any normal person would have instantly agreed with what she said, just to ensure that she was happy. Her words had that kind of effect. However, Zach was not a normal person. He was a very powerful wizard, and although he could sense the releases of magic, he was not affected in a major way. He
Wait, what the heck? I’m missing over a hundred words? I know that I got up to 5849 last night. Where did my words go? It says that I’m at 5790 right now, which is not cool with me at all. So, I’m babbling for another 42 words or so because this is unacceptable. I object! See what I did there? Babbling. Using lots of words. YAY! I have to cut off at exactly 5849, though, or it’s totally cheating, don’t you agree? And we shall gut…. Right now.
He was immune to the power of her voice. Not many were, but he was definitely one of them, because he was pretty awesome. He could feel her power, though, rolling off of her in waves. If he planned to convince her of anything, he was going to have to work quickly, before she got herself worked up over anything, which would cause her to become angry and her emotions to spike. And, as any good witch or wizard knew, a spike in emotions would lead to a spike in magical energy. Basically, the angrier she made herself, and the more upset she became because of his presence, the more magic she would leak, and the more clear she would turn. Zach wondered what was going on with that—clearly she was not doing anything evil just by speaking to him. From his research, it was not common for even charmspeakers to lose their color so rapidly, so it could not be the evil of the imposing of her will by the use of charmspeech. It had to be some other factor that was interfering.
There did not seem to be anything particularly hazardous with the surrounding environment—and even if there was, it would not matter, based on the fact that the pattern revealed she moved around quite a bit. There was no possible way to take toxins in the air surrounding her body, was there? Although, that would not be enough—toxins would not cause this kind of personal damage to her colors. The only other possibility was that it was not she herself causing this, but someone else—was someone else leaching power and life away from her? However, that raised the question—who on earth was powerful enough to steal energy from this girl? Although, Zach mused, with the sheer amount of energy that she was giving off for no reason at all, it would be entirely possible that someone could steal it without her noticing. However, based on her awareness of other people’s energy, which seemed to be finely honed, he doubted this was possible.
Unless, maybe whatever it was was not living? Was that possible? He would have to do more research on that one. It sounded like an interesting theory, but he doubted its plausibility. However, he needed to focus more on the situation at hand, he decided, filing the thought away for further reference.
Zach was hit like a ton of bricks. He had the magical ability to sense her use of charmspeak, but it had no effect on his actions. Nevertheless, he could feel the magic projecting from her voice and flowing over him, soft and seductive. He could see how anyone with less experience with magic would fall prey to her ability. However, this girl had had no training. She had been virtually invisible up until her magic started leaking. How had she gone unnoticed with such strong abilities? It should not have been possible—she should have been caught long before now, especially since it seemed her magic had been manifested for a while.
“How long have you been able to use charmspeech?” Zach asked casually, wondering if she herself was familiar with the official word for what she could do. Apparently, she was not completely devoid of magical knowledge—her face broke out in shock.
THERE ARE MY MISSING WORDS! I like those better than the ones I was just about to write. So, I’ll go with them. YAY!
“What do you mean?” she recovered, becoming more and more angry and indignant. “I don’t know what you are talking about.” She was, of course, lying, but Zach let her continue. Cutting her off would probably make her angry, and right now, the very last thing he wanted to do was make her angry… unless it actually helped him in the long run, allowing him to see what happened when her color was leached? That was actually a decent idea, he pondered to himself. It was a huge risk, and he was putting himself and her in danger, but if he figured out what was going on, it might be worth it all, in the long run. He just had to figure out how much he would be willing and able to rationalize it. The girl seemed dangerous, but she also was just a little girl, and he felt that he had to do everything that he could to ensure that she was saved—her color was more important than life itself. Or, it would be to him. He had to figure out how she felt about it.
“Oh, don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m referring to,” Zach said calmly. His voice almost sounded amused. The fact that she was denying something so central to her existence was amusing to him. He could never imagine denying his abilities, although he usually chose not to reveal them to others. It was personal and private, yes. But if someone knew, he would admit to it—it was nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it was something he considered important enough to be proud of. Why would anyone deny their abilities? Was she trying to convince herself that she did not have the ability to charmspeak, or was she just denying it so that he would go away and leave her alone? Maybe she still thought he planned to hurt her, or cart her away to some zoo or something. An alarming number of witches and wizards seem to think that people would take them to zoos for having magic. Zach always found the concept laughable. People would not pay money to see other people—especially people who were not willing to cooperate with the zookeepers by performing random acts of magic to appeal to a bloodthirsty crowd of patrons. It would just be bad business, in the end. Zach shook his head.
However, the question remained—why did this little girl care so much.
“What’s your name?” Zach asked again. “and what are you doing here? I promise, I’ll help you. Don’t try to deny that you have charmspeech—I’ve studied it before, and I know all the signs. I just want to know who you are, so I can do what I can to make sure things work out. Did you know your color is draining? Also, your magic is leaking. That is why I was sent here. There was all sorts of loose magic all over the place. Random bursts here and there, with no set pattern. Not even the same color—with each use of magic, I found that the color was getting lighter and lighter.” Zach looked pointedly at the girl’s colors, noting that it seemed more translucent than ever. This was concerning.
“A name? Why do you need a name to help me? I’m just a little girl, alone in the woods, who would like to be left that way, thank you very much. I don’t need your fancy training or your magic mumbo jumbo from some school. I can do perfectly fine on my own. And who are you to talk about my colors?” She scoffed, thinking she had just won the case.
“Well, I don’t need a name to help you. I want to know who you are to help you. Really, I just want to know your name because you’re a human being, and I prefer to know the names of the human beings I am addressing. It tends to make things less awkward. If you don’t want to give me a real name, I’ll make something up, you know. Or you can make something up, if using your real name makes you uncomfortable. As for my colors, the reason you can’t see them is because I’m shielding them. Whenever you can see someone else’s colors, it means they are releasing energy. In those who have had formal training, it usually means they are doing powerful magic and do not have the energy to maintain the shield while they work, or that the person wants you to know he or she is there. Notice the small release of energy that came when I was walking closer to you? That was me wanting you to know I was there. I could show you my colors, though if that would really reassure you. You don’t seem to believe me about much of anything, which is rather disappointing. With your lovely pink energy, I would think that you would be a bit more polite and accommodating. Although, I suppose you think you’re protecting yourself, so it is fair enough. I can hardly blame you for being so overly cautious. I don’t know that I would trust a random stranger that walked up to me in the middle of the forest, talking about colors and energy and shields and academies and guilds. I would probably be a bit paranoid.” And he would. He was a bit paranoid to begin with, and having someone coming around into his territory and asking random questions of him would freak him out a lot. He would have shielded himself, made himself disappear, and have gotten the heck out of there. Not in that particular order, necessarily, but still. He understood how she was feeling.
He would never forget how horrible it was the day he walked into The Academy. He was not intimidated by the stuffy old professors and the rich aristocrats that rain the place, but he was a bit overwhelmed by being surrounded by so much magic in once place. The worst part, though, was all the questions. At one point, they tried to probe him mentally in order to find out information—that was a very difficult, complex piece of magic, and it took three of them joining their energies to complete it. However, at that point, he had already figured out mental shields, so their effort was for naught. He was caught a bit off guard, in that he did not expect to be attacked mentally in such a dishonorable way. He was raised on the ideals that magic was not to be used against another person like that. However, he had a habit of maintaining his shields in new environments, because one could never be too sure about those things. The constant buzzing of energy around him was enough motivation to keep his mental walls up, and it was a good thing he did. Otherwise, he never would have made it through the encounter alive.
After that, they did not try anything else, realizing that the little child sitting in front of them was a threat. However, the questions were relentless—how did he learn to do such advanced magic when he was so young? Who was he? Where did he come from? Why did he come there? Did he have any money? How did he expect to pay for The Academy?

Zach kept his business to himself. It was the way he had always operated—by keeping his own secrets close, as well as the secrets of others, he did not have to worry about anyone interfering. He could take care of his own business, and he could take care of others’ business, even, if he needed to. He could do that—that was what he was doing now. He was taking care of business for the Guild, and he was finding out what the story was with this young, angry, little girl. First, her name, though.
The girl took a deep breath, as if she was convincing herself that this was worth it, and as if it was some great challenge. “My name is... I actually don’t remember. No one has used it in so long, since...” She stopped, as if she was facing some horrid memory she wished she did not remember. Zach felt bad for her—he knew how that felt. “Well, do you want a new name? It seems you need a break from the ghosts of your past. I sometimes find that a new name is just what a person needs to get away from what has happened in the past. Nothing like a new identity to shake things up, eh?” Zach would know that better than anyone. “If you don’t want to make one yourself, I can come up with one for you. I’d imagine your name for yourself would be better, though. I do not really know you.” She looked as if she was considering it, but she didn’t say a word. She did not seem to be able to say much of anything. Well, she could talk, as she had already, but she did not seem to like to do it very much. She seemed a bit wild, almost feral. It was as if she had not lived among the people for the longest time, and it was causing her to behave as if she had never been a person. She had no name that he knew of, she had no sense of voice, no ability to speak to other human beings, and she had absolutely no training in the realm of magic whatsoever. It was rather bothersome, and anyone but Zach would be daunted by the case. He, however, had some experience with people with murky histories. As he spoke, he laced his voice with traces of magic—not enough that it would send up red flags, and not enough to do as much as he could, but just enough that it had some effect on her. She seemed to visibly relax. Zach felt a bit guilty using his magic like this, but only because she was a stranger. He was very backwards in that he felt significantly less guilty using his magic against people he knew. They had no idea what he could do—not that those who knew him for very long knew what he could do. He did not tell them either, just as a matter of policy. However, they knew he was powerful, which she did not seem to figure out yet.
He was glad she was relaxing, though. That was somewhat of a relief. He poured a bit more magic into his voice and talked to her, speaking to her as if she was a wild animal. He felt her stiffen up a bit, noticing the magic, but she did not seem to know how to stop it. So, she felt her own muscles relax, felt herself want to tell him all she knew. Felt herself forgetting her pain. That was the weirdest thing—she felt her anger and pain slip away, as if it had never been there in the first place. She felt herself forgetting.
That was the remarkable thing—the forgetting. That was what Zach specialized in. Making people forget. No one ever figured it out, because if they did, he slipped it from his thoughts. Professors forgot tests he did not study for. People forgot when he messed up, doing the wrong thing or saying something stupid. It is why he was considered one of the most responsible, intelligent members of the Guild—no one ever remembered any of the things he did wrong that were not on file. No one remembered that they did not remember, either. That was the most remarkable thing about the human brain. It filled in memories on its own. Any space was filled by what fit that person’s view of the world. Thus, if everyone thought that he was a wonderful person, because they forgot the things he had done, then they would fill their memory spots with memories of wonderful things he had done. At times, their statements even shocked him—he remembered the time when one of the elder members discussed the brain-created memory of him saving a school bus of nonmagical children from a wild zombie attack. He had no idea how on earth that made any sort of sense at all, but that was what the person had told him. It did not make sense, but it was amazing what the human brain thought up. He had never actually met a mostly alive zombie, although he had heard that they existed. It was a remarkable thing, being both dead and alive. Zach wondered what it would be like to save children from a zombie attack. He would probably feel bad for killing the zombies, though, as he was rather fond of the idea of them.
Either way, zombies or not, he eased bits and pieces of magic into the girl. He did not go to his full extent—that would allow him to talk her into allowing him into her head so that he could manually pick and choose memories to erase. That was a major invasion of privacy, and he had only done it once, a long, long time ago. He instead just applied an upper coating, a layer of mental protection for her. Her memories were still there—he did not go far enough so as to steal them from her. However, she would have trouble accessing them for at least a few hours—long enough for him to establish himself as moral and trustworthy.
Was it ethically and morally questionable? Absolutely. Did he really care? Not particularly. He was on a mission. He was to get this angry little girl with extraordinary talent to The Academy. He was to get her trained. He was to figure out why she was leaking energy and why her energy’s color is draining. That was his job. He was just using his abilities along the way. It was a tool, as opposed to a major goal. So, the guilt did not stick around, really. He was all about the end justifying the means, really. Using a bit of his natural ability was just helping him achieve his final goal. Why should he feel bad about using what he had been given? This little girl clearly needed help, although she did not know what he was doing to her, it did not matter.
Forgetting seemed to make her much chattier. She talked and talked, although none of it really told him much. She talked about her little brother, and how he started kindergarten that year. From the way she was furrowing her brow, something bad must have happened involving her family—she looked as if she was trying to forget the things he was hiding from her. Luckily, it appeared his magic was holding, even though she was just as powerful as he was. Her magic, however, didn’t affect him. That was just the way charmspeak worked. There was no precedence; however, for whatever it was that he could do. It was completely unestablished. It was completely and totally unknown to the magical community. He definitely wanted to keep it that way, if he could help it. The sooner he announced his abilities, and the sooner they became commonplace, the more people would want to analyze it. The more people that were involved, the more people that he would have to mind wipe. Although he didn’t mind, really, it was a bit draining, and if he could minimize exposure, that was the ideal situation. The fewer mind wipes, the better. Less energy expenditure for him, which was always important, and less damage control in the future. Less pretending he knew exactly what was going on and less trying to get everyone to remember the same stories. Less spin control, essentially. With this girl, he doubted he would have to mess with spin control. She was completely alone. If she did not remember anything, that was perfectly natural—it looked like she had worked hard herself to create some walls that seemed fairly solid. He just added a coating on top. It was easy, and effective. And no one would know, not even her.
“Name?” Zach asked.
“Oh,” she responded. “I really do not remember. I can make something up, though. How does Eliza sound? I like the sound of that. It is pretty. It was not my old name, though. My old name began with a...” she paused for a second, struggling to remember, but she drew a blank. Her expressions were written all over her face. “Oh well. I don’t remember. It doesn’t matter, though. I’m Eliza, now. What’s your name again? I was not paying attention before, because I honestly did not trust you at all.” Her stony silence had turned into psychobabble, and her colors were becoming more and more subdued. Maybe what was causing her problems was the fact that something in her past was disturbing? Maybe she had done something horrible, after all. Something so terrible it was eating away at her color, making her more and more translucent. Either way, with her memories glossed over, her pink was becoming brighter, and she was seeming more and more like an actual pink person. It was astonishing how much of a difference it made.
However, he noticed something else, also. The more she forgot, the less she used her charmspeak. Maybe it was something she only learned she had recently, or because of whatever traumatic accident had taken place? It would make sense in her case. However, Zach still had a niggling feeling, a burst of intuition, that that was not the case. Something else was going on here. He would need to do more research.
Having successfully won over the charmspeaker, “Eliza,” and feeling mildly guilty, he finally asked, “Where do you live?” She looked confused for a second, as if multiple answers were conflicting to gain her attention. “I used to live in a house. It is kind of hard to remember, but I know I lived there with my mom and dad and little brother. Now I do not live anywhere. Or I live everywhere. I go wherever I want to whenever I want to. I am free. I have no place to call home, but I have no place to call my prison, either. Isn’t that wonderful? I like being free.”
“About that,” Zach started. “Well, I think you should come with me to The Academy. You have much so magical potential. It is kind of amazing, actually. I have not seen many people with as much talent as you have, and I went to The Academy for years. I am part of the Guild! You have a lot of talent. When did you find out you were a charmspeaker?”
“Oh, that?” Eliza said. “Is that actually something that not everyone has? I mean, I sense magic coming from you, but not when you talk, usually. That’s what I do, isn’t it? I send magic through my voice. If I want something, and I talk about it, it happens. I kind of always knew. It was something I always had, and something that always seemed natural to me. My teachers said I should be a politician, or a lawyer. I knew they were not just being polite. I could do anything in the world... but something went wrong. And things got worse and worse, and I remember being very angry. Why was I so angry, I wonder... do you know? You said your name was Zach, right?”

___________________________________________________________

This is going to be miserable. I am going to run out of things to talk about, so I’ll return to my plot, and then I’ll start babbling again, like I did yesterday. I have no idea where I left off yesterday. I think she was basically drunk off his memory-hiding magic, and she was starting to talk a ton, and it was annoying me, because she started out as a little, angry girl (those were pretty much her only original established characteristics), but now she is so happy! That is wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. I do not like it one little bit. Although, she was a pink person, which I established very early on. I really should have changed that. I should have made her a purple person, really. She seems like so much more of a purple person than she does a pink person. Oh well. I’ll have to work with what I have. When she forgets the horrid things she has done, she turns into more of a pink person. That works. Whatever.

__________________________________________________________

Zach eventually somewhat convinced Eliza to come with him to visit the members of the Guild. He did not try to press her going to The Academy, yet, as she seemed to exhibit a strong amount of resistance to the idea of receiving formal education on something that came so naturally to her as magic did. However, she agreed that she should at least talk to the officials, and see what they said. She did not know much about the magical world, since she had lived most of her life underground. She was genuinely curious, although a bit intimidated, and a bit cautious. She did not seem to trust much of anyone. If Zach was more of a trustworthy person, it probably would have bothered him, but he knew how she felt. He was used to not being able to trust anyone with the complete truth, and being immersed in a group of strangers on terms beyond his own would bother him quite a bit, he knew. However, that was one thing that he was good at that it seemed Eliza had no natural ability for; changing the given situation to mirror his own wishes. Manipulating the world beyond his own so that it followed his terms. That was the thing he was really, really good at. She should have been good at it, with her charmspeech. However, it seemed that although she was powerful, knew how to use it, and seemed to realize the effect it had, she did not know what to do with it. She used it on petty factors, not really caring what it could do on a larger scale.
If she wanted, she could walk into a room and gain complete control in very minimal time. All she had to do was open her mouth and say what she wanted, and everyone would scramble to do what she asked. Well, most people. There were a few random nonmagical humans who were immune, for unknown reasons, to all magic, including charmspeech. Then, there were very powerful magical witches and wizards, like Zach, who were not strongly affected by the magic. They felt it, but they were not convinced of anything, except that the user was very powerful, and had far more influence than he or she should have. It was like the wind for all larger beings. They all felt it, but unless something happened and the power was magnified to an extreme degree, it did not blow them down, or anything. It just blew puffs of energy at their faces, blowing their hair a bit and ruffling their clothing. However, it did not overwhelm them. That was the way it was for Zach when it came to Eliza’s charmspeaking ability. He definitely felt it, as he was mostly human. However, the strong magic within him created a barrier against mental invasion, even unknowingly. Because, that was essentially what charmspeech was. It was invading the part of the brain that controlled willpower and decision-making.
Zach shuddered to think what he would do if he had the power that Eliza had. It was interesting watching her—she had a self-destructive kind of energy to her. Instead of using her powers to take over the world, she used them on a whim, almost as if she did not care whether she had them or not. She used them when the moment seemed right to her, but when the moment seemed right to her was rarely the most opportune, natural time to use her magic. She just used it when she felt like it, in other words, which was really rather strange. He admired her in that she used it for her own purposes, and not for anyone else’s. However, it bothered him that her purposes were not really clear. He actually doubted she actually had a purpose. It seemed to him as if she was just using magic because she had magic to use, which was rather sad. He was a big believer in everything having a purpose, in every action being part of a larger plan. It was the only way of thinking that truly made sense to him. He could not live by the moment, because the moment would constantly change, and his views would change with it. He really needed the solidarity and finality of set goals for the future, of having something to work for. Having some goal to achieve always helped him to focus on how to best use his magic. It allowed him to figure out the best things to do with his abilities on a daily basis, he found.
He never told anyone his true purpose, though. He doubted many people would believe him. It was not so much that it was a ridiculous goal as that he just did not seem like the type of person who would be attracted to such a goal. He never seemed it.







Okay, stopping here.

_________________

Tsuki is fantastic.
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Excerpts from NANO 2010.
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