Blessings Of A Curse - 2012 USA Edition - chunk 06 by Wayne Edward Clarke

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"Now take off the velvet envelope, and pluck the tines. Tell me what you experience."

Mark did so. "Whoa! It's very loud when you're wearing it! It kind of sounds nice, but it kind of sounds scary, and in a way it seems to be rattling my skull. But I can see the magic candle! Though it doesn't seem very, uh, substantial. And like you said, it's kind of fading away with the sound."

"About what I expected. Now strum the tines. Try to keep the sound constant and even, so that the image of the candle is also constant and even.

Mark experimented with it a few moments, until he had selected a technique and stabilized it. "That's about as good as I'll be able to do without a lot of extra practice at it."

"It sounds very smooth." Yazadril nodded. "This is the important part. Maintain the strumming, while I hold your finger exactly the same distance from the magic flame as I held it from the mundane flame for the first heat tolerance test. It will take a lot longer for you to feel the heat this time, so just keep concentrating on keeping the strumming constant."

They conducted the test, and the moments passed, until finally Mark gave a yelp and jerked his hand away.

"Two minutes and four seconds." Yazadril stated thoughtfully. "Here's what we've learned, children. Within the margins of error for this test, it is safe to say that while strumming the tines, Mark is affected by magic at about one twentieth the normal amount, all other things being equal. That should hold for all types of magic."

"I have a spell of another type I would like to try." Talia giggled.

Mark gave her a bit of an apprehensive look.

"Don't worry, it's harmless!" she re-assured him. "And I think you'll like it. Kneel down please."

"Remember, you'll need to use twenty times the power you normally would." Yazadril cautioned. "Be careful of the consequences of either overpowering or underpowering the spell."

"Yes Father." Talia nodded.

With a shrug, Mark knelt and strummed the tines.

Talia put her hands on his shoulders, whistled a complex melody, and gave a jerky nod. "That's it. You can stand up."

He did. And every hair on his body below his neck fell out.

"It worked!" Talia laughed, clapping her hands. "I can't believe it! You are even more handsome without all that coarse fur!"

"Thanks!" Mark chuckled in amazement as he brushed off loose hairs that still clung to him.

"Can I do one more?" Talia eagerly asked.

"What?"

"Where you were covered by your hair and beard and clothes, you're quite white, while your hands, shins, and around your eyes are quite tanned. I would like to make you evenly and lightly tanned all over."

"Oh, well that would be okay."

He knelt down and strummed, and in a moment it was done.

"Perfect! Now you could not possibly be more handsome!" she laughed as she threw her arms around his neck and hugged him.

"And you found the twenty to one power requirement ratio to be consistent?" Yazadril asked.

"Yes Father, as near as I could tell."

"Well my boy, that is all I can do for you that way today.

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