After the incident in the Ministry of Works, Evie was convinced. Her new acquaintances had a knack for finding trouble and she needed to be prepared. She would need to find an appropriate tutor for part of it – she wasn’t convinced her mentor, Altir, had the skills she needed. On the other hand – he had agreed to her taking on a teaching role in the cell soon. She was to train the novices on how she could weave Lust and Diamond threads together, despite their intrinsic differences. Many weavers, she understood, would weave threads of similar tangibility, but for her – the threads she could/would weave were the ones she found herself drawn to.
She sat in her living room, noting the new signs of her mysterious cat visitor trailing across the room, and worked on her lesson plans. As she finished the second week of her plan, her attention was diverted by a light rapping at the door. It was unusual – she rarely gave people directions to the front door. Even the new acquaintances she’d brought back to do name research only knew the way to the back door….sometimes…..when it wasn’t wandering. As she headed to the porch, she pondered – there was only one person she’d directed there recently and she had expected to see her the previous night.
As she opened the door she saw the flirtatious smile of the woman from the bar. Evie could tell she had weaver potential, had seen it in her eyes as she’d watched the magical beacon.
“Sorry I missed you yesterday evening. The library had closed early so the bookworms could remove an infestation of fire aunts”, she explained in greeting.
“Ah yes – the aunts! They’re terrible for sneaking into the stacks to read the erotic literature,” Evie sighed. “The bookworms have to get them out before they get too inflamed or they can loose a whole section. Come in – we have matters to discuss.”
Evie appraised her visitor as she entered her home and guided her to the living room. “Take a seat and tell me – why did you take me up on my invite? Why did you come back after yesterday’s wasted journey?”
“Well – it was an offer I couldn’t refuse!” she grinned slyly. “Besides – that….thing you were holding. It was…..singing to me. I’ve never seen anything like it…outside of my daydreams!”
“Your daydreams?” Evie queried, as she studied the young woman to discover her truth.
“Yes. You know when your mind wanders sometimes, and your eyes unfocus, and you imagine all sorts of weird and interesting things?” she explained, excitedly. “Well sometimes it’s like I can see things that aren’t really there. Like the essence of the world……almost. But it’s just daydreams. Not like what you did!”
“Actually – it’s not dissimilar”.
Evie paused and looked deep into those eyes that yearned to know more. She could tell the woman was telling the truth. What she saw wasn’t uncommon in the untrained weaver and it clearly fascinated her for all her hand waving. The only real question was whether she was willing to learn or instead remain a daydreamer forever.
In her most serious tone, Evie continued. “What do you do now? I could show you more, help you learn to do what I did, what I can do, but it would take you from your current life!”
The woman grinned, amusement entering her voice. “Me – well lets see. I run errands for one of the fighting pits, because I know how to handle myself, and I do the odd night shift at the Bar Cafe. And sometimes I act as a chaperone for ladies who want a bit of evening entertainment, as I look good all dressed up and I know how to handle myself. Mainly it’s odd jobs – whatever it takes to pay my rent. But nothing dodgy and nothing I’d miss!”
Evie smiled subtly. “If you’re sure there’s nothing you’d miss….” and Evie could sense the veracity of that, “…would you like to be my apprentice?”
The delighted, eager expression gave the answer more surely that the “Yes!” that followed.
“There will be some rules, but nothing too prohibitive. We weavers need our creative freedom after all,” she explained. “You will need to stay here, so that you can study and work alongside me – I have an….interesting spare room you can use. When can you move in?”
“Tomorrow!” her apprentice exclaimed, excitedly.
“Perfect. We’ll spend the rest of the week getting to know each other, assessing your skills and preferred learning styles. Then we’ll initiate you into our ranks and introduce you to the other students. I’ll be teaching some of them in a couple of weeks – you’ll be able to join them.” She paused – pensive for a moment. “You said you knew how to handle yourself?”
“Yes!” her apprentice stated matter of factly. “You have to if you work round the fighting pits and there are areas of this city where a handsy drunk is the least of your worries. Why? It’s not going to be a problem is it?”
“No! On the contrary. I think you can help me, as I’m helping you.” Evie took a breath. “Whilst I am ‘handy’ when it comes to weaving my own special magic, I’m inexperienced when more physical measures become necessary. I have the tools, but I need to learn a better way to use them. Can you help?”
Her apprentice’s smile beamed more exuberantly. “Of course! It seems only fair.”
Evie’s smile mirrored her apprentice’s. “We’ve three weeks before I have to start teaching my classes. We need a week to get you ready for that – will two weeks be enough to teach me the basics?”
The flirtatious grin spread across her apprentice’s face. “Oh yes – if we really work hard at it and don’t let ourselves get distracted, then there’ll be no problem…improving your physical prowess!”
The laugh that escaped Evie’s lips was unstoppable. She had no doubt that they were both going to learn a lot over the next few weeks. Pouring them both a drink to celebrate, she settled into a spirited evening of discovery.
Evie stopped, her dagger blade barely caressing the skin of her apprentice. It had been an intense three weeks. First bonding, appraisal of their skills and then for Evie, a long couple of weeks of knife fighting. She had learnt a lot and progressed from being repeatedly knocked to the floor, cornered or otherwise incapacitated to this – a hard fought victory against her street trained teacher. She wasn’t a match for her yet, but she could now hold her own in a fight for a while.
The three weeks had taught her a lot about her new pupil. She was an enthusiastic teacher, an incorrigible flirt, a hard worker, fascinated by magic and good company. On the other hand – she was an incorrigible flirt, who liked to sneak up on you to give you a fright, who sometimes had nightmares and who needed company to keep her energy up. Evie liked her a lot and had almost been unable to stifle a giggle when she overheard her pupil’s trying to flirt with the lady tapping at the spare room window. Her pupil had been warned not to open the windows and she was faultlessly loyal to that rules, but there was no rule against talking back. Evie imagined that the lady would be glad not to have the usual response of shock and screaming at least.
Evie withdrew the knife and took a step back. This was the last sparring session of the day and the week. Tomorrow they would take on more traditional weaver roles with Evie back as teacher. Her apprentice had but a few of the magic basics, but she had the raw talent. They had already started to identify a possible first thread for her to work with by utilising her ‘daydreaming’ state. Tomorrow she would join the other novices as they learnt how Evie had come to her skills and some of her more unique weaves. After those classes, they would retire to Evie’s library, where she would guide her through the theory and work on unlocking more of her creative mind. The other novices had been studying for a while now, so were further ahead, but Evie had no doubt her apprentice would soon catch up.
Evie sighed as she sank into her favourite library chair, currently pulled up to the table where her apprentice was dutifully practising some weave forms. It had been a long month. Each and every day she had worked with the novices, explaining the weave forms that made up her personal weaves. She had answered endless questions such as whether she could make love potions or unlimited wealth from the more immature members of the class, and whether she could kill with a touch from the more stoic. She had demonstrated her weaves until her head ached and then watched as they tried to replicate her actions without pulling in threads – for safety. She had even emergency healed one of the class when they recklessly tried to grab a thread of diamond without care. And, at the end of each day, she continued teaching her apprentice while doing a little of her own research into other worlds on the side. She was exhausted.
Still – it had been fun….most of the time, and particularly when with her apprentice – just the two of them. She was good company, though she too was very tired. Tomorrow they would have a day off to relax. Evie would show her how spider game was played and as a reward for all the hard work, would give her her own board. They would grab afternoon tea at the Cafe Bar and enjoy each other’s company until Evie had to go meet Altir for a review of her training course. They would undoubtedly play a few more turns of their own epic spider game, but after that she could have a quiet night back at home with her apprentice.
She had barely thought past these last seven weeks. She wondered how her adventuring acquaintances had been getting on. A couple had popped in to carry on their research from the last time they’d been together, but she’d been too engrossed with her apprentice to chat to them. Engrossed in teaching and…..absorbed in those intense, alluring eyes that wanted to enlightenment and to create beautiful things. Those eyes that on occasion had been almost irresistible, well mostly almost. Evie wan’t made of diamond after all.