Shrieks followed a ten-year-old girl charging into the room. Melinda dropped the scrolls she studied as Passion darted from atop her desk and hid behind the curtains. Struggling to corral scattered manuscripts, Melinda asked, “Goodness, Rhianna, what in the world is the matter?”
Bouncing on her toes, the girl yowled, “Just look, Head Mistress.”
Melinda pressed her lips together to stifle a laugh. After regaining control, she asked, “Why is your hair pink?”
With pursed lips, Rhianna pointed an accusatory finger toward the door. Melinda turned to look. A pair of brown eyes, under a black-haired mass of curls, disappeared from view. “Ask Larah,” Rhianna said.
A few minutes later, she found Larah perched high in a silver leafed Ogamah tree. “Explain yourself, young lady,” Melinda commanded.
Larah sat silent for a moment before speaking, “I said I could turn her hair pink, and she said I couldn’t. So I did.”
Melinda cocked her head to one side. “What is the first rule of The Principles?”
“Never use magic on someone to cause harm unless you are in danger,” Larah replied with a roll of the eyes. “But I didn’t hurt her.”
“That does not matter,” Melinda said in a stern voice. “Using magic on someone just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Do you understand?”
Larah gave her a peevish look but then muttered, “I know.”
Melinda called Rhianna over, and Larah climbed down the tree. “Change Rhianna’s hair back to normal.”
Larah nodded, looked at Rhianna, and said the undoing spell. Then with a snap of her fingers, Rhianna’s hair turned back to its natural golden color.
“What do we say?” Melinda coaxed.
“I’m sorry Rhianna,” Larah stated, staring at the ground.
Rhianna stroked her long locks. “You’re forgiven,” she said relieved, then ran off.
Passion reappeared and began rubbing herself on Larah’s legs.
Melinda stroked Larah’s shoulders. “Remember dear, you have a great gift for magic – but you need to be careful when using it – never use it on someone without considering the consequences. Magic has unpredictable effects, and you can hurt someone if you are not careful.”
“Yes, mother,” Larah said with a sigh. She reached down and gently stroked Passion’s neck, the animal began purring loudly. “May I be excused?”
“Certainly,” Melinda answered. The young girl ran off. Anya had been right, the inherent magical ability Larah wielded was potent, and she did so effortlessly. She was already well ahead of the other girls in regards to ability, so much it scared her. One wrong incantation or bruised feeling could have serious repercussions. Then what?
She ran a hand over the Ogamah tree. Concerns aside, Larah had a sweet nature and understood the need to be careful. What would she do after her Visioning, when she no longer had the constraints of Avalir to reign her in? Would she, like the infamous Druid Faline, turn her back on The Principles, and leave a wake of havoc and betrayal? Or would she come back to the sanctuary after the required year? She hoped so, and that the girl would take her place, and lead Avalir for the next generation.
Light flickered across her vision as a stray breeze ruffled the Ogamah’s silvery leaves, causing them to reflect sunlight. All this was far in the future. No need to be concerned, yet.