WoP: Chapter 12

The dawn’s light streaming in from the open door was the only source of illumination in the range as Jane fumbled around for a light switch. “Figured I would beat him here.” She said as she stepped into the room so that she could look on the other side of the door.

As she partially closed the door to check the wall for a light switch she felt the door slip out of her hands and close. With a curse, she called up a ball of fire in her palm. “ You aren’t afraid of the fire itself.” A voice behind her said. Without thinking she wheeled around and threw the ball of fire. It splashed against the wall next to Orpheus’s head. “and you aren’t afraid of using it.” He continued unperturbed. “So, can you tell me why you froze? Because I can’t figure it out.” The lights flicked on to reveal Orpheus leaning against the opposite wall staring at her. He was dressed in a t-shirt from an amusement park and a pair of sweats, what the girls had dubbed his training gear.

“I just did.” Jane was surprised by how angry she sounded and tried to calm herself down. She took a deep breath.

Stop” Orpheus’s voice cracked the air and she felt the anger welling back up inside her. Orpheus’s voice softened and he explained “If you bury your feelings now you won’t ever be able to move on.”

“I don’t need your pity.” She spit as the anger continued to rise. “And where do you get off telling me what I can’t do.”

“I’m your teacher.” Orpheus’s voice didn’t raise but instead became sad “Right now you are afraid of your power for some reason. It knows this and won’t let you learn to use it better until you deal with that fear.”

He was talking about Fire like the power was a living thing which seemed odd to Jane and replaced her anger with confusion. But a voice that was not quite right came from his lips “You think too much.” Jane looked at Orpheus confused and noticed that his eyes had glazed over. She started to ask what was going on but Orpheus raised his hand and said in the weird voice “Orpheus can’t take much more of this. I am his power and I know what your problem is. You think too much.”

As the voice finished talking color returned to Orpheus’s eyes and he clutched his head. “Dammit that hurts.” He breathed as he pressed his temples. “You heard the voice and I think I know how to help you, which is a shame because I like this shirt.” He smiled wistfully and walked down range to stand in front of one of the target dummies. With a turn, he faced Jane and looked her dead in the eyes before saying “Now destroy the dummy.”

“I don’t think I can even do that and I’m not going to try with you standing there.”

Jane thought she was being reasonable and that Orpheus would come to his senses instead he just sighed and the room was plunged into darkness. “You won’t be able to leave until you overcome these fears and doubts. Now conjure the flame. Make it as hot and bright as you can.”

Jane felt as if the darkness was pressing in around her and made a ball of fire to try to repel it. When she first conjured the fire, it was as hot as a bonfire and that seemed to push back the darkness for a time but it surged back towards her and she was forced to turn up the heat. She kept increasing the temperature of the fire until it turned bluish-white in color. The light from that fire pushed the darkness back and seemed to dissolve it.

Orpheus clapped as the firelight illuminated him “That is what I wanted to see. Now hit the target dummy with that.”

Jane reared back and aimed for one of the arms of the dummy that Orpheus was standing in front of but before she loosed the fire she saw in her mind the fire going astray and melting through Orpheus’s chest. She saw Lily crying at a funeral and felt the guilt of killing Orpheus. She lowered d her hand and suddenly Orpheus was standing in front of her. “I can’t do it.” She confessed and looked down at the flame “What if I hit you? This would kill you.”

Orpheus said nothing and just grabbed her wrist. He wordlessly shoved his hand into the ball of fire and didn’t even flinch. Jane tried to pull away but the grip he had on her, while loose, kept her where she was standing. As they stood there she came to realized that she wasn’t smelling burning meat and he wasn’t screaming in pain. Orpheus’s voice was calm “You are Fire. You don’t just throw bolts of fire, you control fire with an absolute authority. It will burn only what you want it to.” She stared at the fire in her hand processing what he had just said. The next time she reared back to throw the fire-ball it soared at the target with unerring accuracy. Right before it would have hit Orpheus, since he was standing in front of it again, it split up and went around him. The training dummy was reduced to a burning post and the safety wards Wizard had put in place flashed, summoning him to the range.

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