Twenty-Five: Cerise

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It had been one thing to stand from a distance and gaze at Cevata, but it was entirely another to stand so close that she was able to see the design in each scale.

And it was absolutely terrifying.

But she was also excited. Now she would finally be able to carry on her father's legacy, the legacy of being a mage. She would also be one of the first were-mages, something she believed would make her mother proud.

"You wish for help in unlocking your abilities as a mage? Interesting, though I can't say I'm surprised. I knew from the moment I saw you that you were special. The union between a mage and any other being is rare, and a union between a mage and werewolf has only ever been heard of once before. I can help with making your abilities available to you, but you must do all the work yourself in developing them, is that clear?" Cevata raised an eyebrow--if that was even possible--and stared solemnly at Cerise.

There was so much wisdom and power hidden behind those dark eyes, like pools of blackest ink. Was she ready for these powers? Sometimes she couldn't even control her own now. Still, if the power resided within her, shouldn't she explore it? Discover what she could do? "Yes, it is clear. I understand what is expected of me."

Cevata nodded approvingly. "Very well, but be warned: you have within you much more power than you can possibly realize. It might overwhelm you."

Suddenly, she was afraid. Would it consume her much like the wolf had? What if she could not control it?

Perhaps it wasn't wise, though she desperately wanted it. It was a lot to consider. Maybe her new abilities could help combat Pan and Madame Rose. Maybe they could help them win.

Cevata studied her gravely. "You're not certain. If you're not fully settled on this, I will not help you. One who doubts can be dangerous. Tell me now: are you ready?"

Her father would have believed in her, would have told her to seize this chance that she had been given. This was her chance. "I am certain. This is what I want, and what my father would have wanted too. I'm ready," Cerise said with conviction, managing to look Cevata straight in the eyes.

"Very well," Cevata nodded her head approvingly. "I shall do as you requested."

She exhaled, freezing air surrounding Cerise. It was palpable, heavy with magic. Pain seared through Cerise's mind, causing her to whimper. Was it supposed to hurt? Something within her fought the ice, making the pain increase. It was a battle in her mind, each side pulling at her to retreat to them. She tumbled to the ground, feeling like she was frozen solid. She had to be made of ice at this point.

Suddenly, it was over. Cerise let out a ragged breath, her vision clearing.

Aura stood just to her right, her eyes wide with fear. "I thought you had died for a moment. First you twitched, your skin turning blue, then suddenly you lay still. Are you alright?"

Cerise rose slowly, her limbs shaking. Was she hurt? Her head was pounding still, but the rest of her body felt oddly rejuvenated. Even the headache began to lessen. "Yes, I'm fine. In fact, I feel great." She turned in wonder to Cevata.

"It is a sub-product of my magic. It heals as well as destroys. Your father had placed quite the impressive spell on your mind, a dampener for your powers. I'm sorry it was so painful."

Her father had placed a dampening spell on her? Was that why she had never shown any signs of magic?

It was like she had been punched in the stomach, filling her with an aching hollowness. She couldn't understand why her father wouldn't have wanted her to have magical abilities just like him. Maybe he had been afraid of what a were-mage could do? Maybe he had been protecting her? Cerise wished she knew, but he was gone now.

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