Fudge continues his story (Prologue and Part I).
Familiars, like witches and wizards, have an affinity for one element. Mine is Earth and I am always assigned to Earth-affinity humans. Abou’s master was Water-affinity and did not know how to teach an Earth. He petitioned his gods to change Abou’s element. Needless to say, the petition went unanswered. One cannot change their element! However, the master seemed to be attached to Abou and rather than sell Abou to another mage-priest who was of the correct affinity, the master determined to make Abou the best priest he could. We were taught basic energy manipulation and what Water spells we could handle but Abou and I were on our own to learn how to handle our element. That we accomplished by asking questions of other mages and practicing in our quarters at night.
As a mage’s assistant, Abou was taught how to make the various incenses that were burned at specific times of the day in the temple; how to make spell tablets, charms, amulets and the like for the common people; and most importantly, how to read and write, writing being necessary for the spell tablets and the scrolls buried with their dead. That allowed Abou to read the scrolls of knowledge from all parts of the known world housed in the library his master oversaw.
Abou became proficient in all that was required of a priest but his magic never seemed very strong, even when I added my own strength to his. Whatever he attempted, his master always seemed to accomplish with much less effort. In the beginning, I just thought the master was stronger.
One day Abou attempted to infuse a potion with simple healing energy and only managed a trickle of power, even with my help. The master brushed Abou aside and with no effort, I saw a good stream of energy make its way from his hands to the potion. I felt I had failed my human until I saw a glint in his master’s eye then heard in my head, “A familiar’s magic is only as strong as his human’s. In effect, you double his power. Your human is very weak but only because his master siphons energy from him. You must help your human to break that cycle if he is to become all he may be.”
This was the first communication I had received from a superior since the welcome message I received when I was about six months of age. I sent a query back of, “why now?”
And felt my head swing sideways as I received a metaphysical slap from what I perceived as a much larger paw. “You have the knowledge within you but it was obvious you needed a reminder. Search yourself, youngling!”
After another cuff on the ear, the presence withdrew from my mind. My head was reeling both from the slap and the realization that my superior was correct. I had seen the flows of energy between Abou and his master and ignored them. In my naiveté, I assumed humans knew to draw from the natural energy around them as I did … from the air, earth, water, even fire. Apparently, Abou’s master did not adhere to this principle. Instead, he drew from his apprentice or anyone else who happened to be in proximity.
But how to tell Abou his master was an energy thief without dimming his adoration for the man who had pulled him from starvation and given him a purpose in life? How to tell him he must shield when we only communicated in images and feelings?
To be continued…