"Khal, are you even listening to me?" she just barely heard Alameth's voice break through her thoughts as she stared out the window of the second library. But she ignored him as she watched a few brightly colored birds skim over the tree tops.
"Dani!" Alameth's tone was louder this time. She turned to look at him with a half-hearted scowl.
"I hate that name," she mumbled.
"Got your attention though, didn't it?" Alameth grinned to himself satisfactorily. "So, if you mix corniss root, with ginger and fae's breath, what would you end up with?" He repeated the question that she assumed she had dazed off for the first time.
"A really strong smelling pouch of sand?" she folded her arms and leaned back, her eyes took in Alameth's appearance for the first time that morning. She'd been too tired to really observe anything earlier, but now she could see that he had circles under his eyes, and the blue in them was duller than usual. Her gaze moved to the small extract stones that adorned his ears and she could see a few of them were depleted. His usually combed, swooping blonde hair was now tousled and unkempt.
"You had an episode last night, didn't you?" she inquired. He flinched inwardly and that confirmed it to her. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because, it happens. You don't need to worry about it every time it happens," he sighed.
"Fine," Khaalida narrowed her eyes. "Then I won't bother to worry you about it next time it happens to me," she threatened.
Alameth shook his head slowly. "It's different for you. Depending on what emotion you're feeling, you could kill someone. Or yourself."
"So? You still deserve to have someone there to help you feel calmer. Safer." She shot back at him and he sighed again.
"Fine. I'm sorry I kept it from you. But I don't see the reason both of us should lose sleep over it." Then he pointed at the book in front of him, "You get Shaw's Dust from mixing those three things together by the way," he forced the conversation to an end by going back to studying. "Which you can do what with?"
"Alameth... Alchemy and potion stuff and all this concoction mixing excitement is your thing. Not mine," she groaned.
"You still need a basic understanding in order to pass so you can be marked up."
"For what?" she asked in exasperation.
"Pardon me?" He asked, lifting an eyebrow.
"Why do we need to learn all this stuff if we never even get to use it?"
Alameth looked completely lost. "So we can help teach and train the next generation of mages..." he offered.
"Why? So they can also NOT use what they've learned to do anything interesting with their lives?"
"Well, because we-" he didn't get to finish because Khaalida cut him off.
"We live our entire lives in this tower, learn, practice, learn some more, study on and on and on and on... For what? So we can pass it on to younger mages who will just end up living and dying in this tower just like us? There's no legacy there. We'll just end up being forgotten and nothing will come of our names." This wasn't the first time she had breached this subject. But she was always careful about whom she opened it up to. Some of the higher-ups would view it as a disregard for their way of life, and the penalties for that weren't desirable.
Alameth was one of the only two people she trusted enough to open up to about this. Shen was the other, but he was busy taking some type of test for his specific abilities. She heard Alameth sigh as she had gone back to staring out the window.
"Are you Scrying feelings right now?" Alameth asked quietly and she shook her head in response.
"These are all my own," she mumbled softly.
"What do you wish you could do? We rely on these mages to teach us. To help us progress. Not to mention the extract..."
She chewed her lower lip, fighting the urge to lift her hand and touch the headpiece she wore with the extract stones threaded through and knotted in place across her forehead. That was where her magic originated, so the closer the extract to the source of the magic's origin, the better the control.
"You know that leaving the tower is forbidden. Not because we're prisoners, but because it's dangerous out there for us. People's distrust of magic would keep us from living normal lives. Always hiding our talents and abilities. Here, we can practice freely. Without damnation."
Khaalida knew what he was saying made sense, but it still didn't ease her inner turmoil. She just nodded, deciding it would be best to let the subject drop for now.
"Look, we've been at this for a while. Why don't we go get something to eat? It's just about that time that the dough will be coming out of the ovens, fresh and hot."
Khaalida finally looked back over at her friend and forced herself to smile. "Sounds good to me," she stood up in time with Alameth and they quietly left the library together. Khaalida's robes whooshed around her ankles as she walked side by side with Alameth. Her hood helped block her vision of the passerby's stares and scrutiny. The kitchens were two floors up from them so they didn't have too many stairs to traverse.
"Shall we eat in here?" Alameth gestured around them as they walked through the dining hall. As usual when she would take the time to look around, Khaalida caught a few of the stares coming their way. She knew some of the mages and apprentices shared a common belief that Alameth's and her magic type were unpredictable and that they should be kept separate, but luckily the head mages didn't think so.
There were only three known apprentices in the whole tower that had abilities that originated from their own minds. Alameth got visions. Confusing, emotional and usually full of death types of visions. He would forget them as soon as he came out of his episode though. He was trying to learn how to remember them. Has been for years. Khaalida deemed it hopeless. The only information you could glean from what he saw were the things he muttered during the vision. Which were usually incoherent babble or broken pieces of sayings or phrases.
The third mage was new, she was still a child and all Khaalida knew of her power so far was that she could make people hear or see things that weren't actually there. As well as feel the emotions they felt while doing so.
"Still with me?" She heard Alameth break through her thoughts again and she glanced over at him quickly, shooting him an apologetic look.
"Yea, sorry. Yea, let's eat in here. It doesn't look too busy this morning."
Alameth grinned and nodded as they walked through the door into the fragrant and warm kitchen. Khaalida took a deep breath in, savoring the smell before she allowed herself to start dipping into the food that was freshly laid out by the cooks and maids behind the counter.
"Looks and smells amazing," Alameth beamed his compliment at the nearest chef who was placing a fresh portion of sausage on a serving tray. She grinned back at him.
"Enjoy," she offered quickly before going back to her work. Khaalida watched as the woman adjusted the size of the flame she was using to cook on with her hands and she grinned.
"Having an elemental ability would be so nice, wouldn't it?" she whispered to Alameth as they filled their plates. He followed her gaze to where the cook was clearly using her abilities to do her job and nodded.
"Anything that didn't make us go a little crazy each time we tapped into it would be nice," he elbowed her arm softly and she nodded enthusiastically. She had just finished getting what she wanted and was waiting for Alameth to finish heaping his plates full of almost everything he could fit on it. As she stood by the door out to the dining room, she wondered briefly how Shen was fairing in his exam.