Ravenna sucked in a sharp breath and forced it out through her teeth. It was hard to think, to focus. The pain had doubled back through the veins in her arms, racing toward her chest. It throbbed at the base of her throat, sinking deep into her skin. Tears formed at the corners of her eyes. "This hurts," she heard herself hiss. Her voice sounded distant. "Vyses, this hurts."
His hands gingerly cupped her face. "Breathe, Ravenna," he said. His thumbs lightly stroked her cheeks. "Just breathe. It's almost over."
A whimper escaped her. The pain slithered through her skin and fanned across her chest until it wrapped around her heart. It pulsed once. Twice. Then the pain fizzled out.
A shaky breath whispered past her lips. Ravenna's body immediately relaxed. Her knees began to shake, almost giving out from relief. She could feel the talisman against her chest, pressing against the skin between her breasts. The sensation of Vyses's hands on her face pushed to the forefront of her mind. Her eyes fluttered open and then narrowed. "You did not tell me that it would hurt," she snapped at him.
"You would not have put it on if I had," he retorted. His hands lowered to his sides and she watched him take a step back. "This is a very powerful talisman. It will help you control your powers. It is also your first major lesson as my apprentice. No matter how good or bad it is, all magic comes at a price."
Ravenna sighed. Her chest still ached with a ghostly pain. She glanced downward, fingers curling around the talisman. It was even more beautiful up close. As she fiddled around with it, she noticed that its chain would glow if lifted above her shoulders. "What does this mean?" she asked, purposefully holding the talisman up, away from her shoulders.
Vyses looked amused. "Take it off."
Ravenna's brows furrowed with confusion. Part of her was terrified to take it off. It could mean even more pain if the talisman had to readjust when she put it back on. She took a deep breath and squeezed her eyes shut. She had to move quickly, and not give the talisman enough time to readjust.
She braced herself. Then she tried to take it off.
A frustrated grunt escaped her.
The talisman refused budge. No matter how hard she tugged, the chain would not lift from her shoulders. She dropped the talisman and it bumped against her chest. Her hands shot behind her neck, fingers searching for the clasp that held the necklace together. It had vanished. Panic entered her bloodstream. Her eyes snapped open again and she noticed Vyses's mischievous gaze.
"It won't come off," she announced.
"No, it won't."
Her hands lowered to her sides, curled into fists. "Why not?"
The corners of his lips quipped upward into a smile. He lifted a hand and ran it through his long hair. "Don't fret, lass. The talisman will not hurt you again, that I can promise. The only reason that it hurt so much during the initial adjustment was because it had to overpower what little control you did have over your magic. It will not come off unless a special spell is used, or it has decided that you have complete control over your magic."
She grit her teeth. "You should have warned me beforehand."
"I apologize if you feel as though you have been blindsided. That really was not my intention. I just needed to make sure that you would wear that talisman. I can't train you unless I know that you can control yourself. It could endanger the guests that reside upstairs. I promise that this is necessary to get what you want, quickly."
Ravenna forced herself to calm down. Despite the anger that seethed through her, it seemed as though her ice was unbothered. It didn't swirl around her fingertips or spike upwards from the ground around her feet. It acted as though it had completely vanished.
Another surge of panic sizzled through her. She quickly lifted her hand and clenched her hand into a tight fist. A thin shard of ice extended from both sides of her hand, forming a wicked looking spear.
Immediately, Vyses took a step backward, his hands lifted in front of him. "Ravenna," he said. His voice lowered and dripped with unspoken threat. "I do not wish to fight with you."
She blinked. The spear dissolved. A frown graced her features and her hand lowered back to her side. "I wasn't trying to fight you," she explained. "I was just trying to conjure a simple shard of ice. It has never transformed into an actual weapon before. Not like that anyways. It usually just grows around my feet when I get upset."
Vyses lowered his hands as well. Another smile appeared on his face. "That would be the beauty of control, lass. The talisman allows you access to abilities that you may not have been able to tap into before. The more control that you have over your ice, the more things that you will be able to do with it."
Her lips pressed together into a wrinkled line. Turning away from Vyses, she lifted her hands in front of her. She quickly worked through the motions that Caelan had taught her. Almost immediately, her ice responded. She could feel it in the ground in front of her. It lifted into the air, forming a perfect sphere that hovered just in front of her palms.
"Distract me," she ordered Vyses.
His lips quirked into a wicked smirk. He lifted a hand and swept it across the air in front of him. A bolt of red lightning shot out at Ravenna. Without thinking, her hand whipped toward Vyses. Her shield moved with it. As the bolt cracked against her shield, she saw Vyses erect his own shield from her peripheral vision. Another sharp crack sounded and Ravenna lowered her hand.
Shards of ice pelted the ground in front of Vyses. His playful expression remained plastered to his face, yet his eyes glimmered with something unnameable. "Now, not only are you able to deflect attacks, but you can simultaneously attack someone else as well. All without having to struggle with your magic."
"Oh," Ravenna breathed. She stared at her palms. "Can I still do one without the other interfering?"
Vyses nodded. His smile sent sparks racing beneath her skin. "Of course. Through practice, you will be able to do whatever you'd like with the talisman."
Excitement shimmered through Ravenna. She grinned at Vyses and moved forward, taking his hands within hers. His skin was soft and warm. "Teach me a spell. Any spell. It should be easy now."
"As you wish," he purred.
Thank you for your continued patience and support <3 Remember that if you ever want to read ahead, there are a solid 36 more chapters available for purchase from Tapas! :D There are ways to earn coins too, if you can't actually pay for the chapters!
Ugh. On another note, I've been dying to redo the cover for this book. I'm debating on what style I should go for. I tend to be more typographically oriented (it's easier for me to manipulate type) but I feel like a model/fancy looking cover would be best for this genre. The only issue with that one is that I'm having a hard time finding a good photo of "Ravenna" or "Caelan" or even "Vyses". I low-key picture them all as anime characters. >.>
Help me. What kind of covers do y'all prefer? Especially for fantasy-ish books.
YOU ARE READING
[wattys 2018 shortlisted] Humans see her as a dangerous threat -a witch that must be executed. With the uncontrollable ability to form ice at her fingertips, Ravenna is forced into hiding amongst the humans, stealing to survive. That is, until she h...