Derwen’s cries attracted the attention of a few people around them, and they started making enough noise that Ginny came over and told Derwen she’d done a good job. Darcy, on Derwen’s other side, was smiling a little, but her shoulders slumped. Edie caught Darcy’s eye and rolled her own eyes toward the ceiling. Darcy’s smile widened.
“Sarah,” Ginny said, speaking loudly enough that the whole class could hear her, “while I’m pleased that you’ve caught on so quickly, remember that this is almost as much luck as it is ability. The more magic you have available to you, the easier it will be to reach your magic and start something. And it may be that you have a particular affinity for fire magic, but that when we do water, air, and earth, you will not have so much luck.”
Derwen pouted a little. Edie resisted rolling her eyes again. Ginny was obviously saying this for the benefit of the rest of the class, anyone who might be unhappy about not having been the first to light their candle or who were now worried that they wouldn’t be able to.
“Or it might actually be that you have a great deal of magic,” Ginny said, perhaps trying to make Derwen feel better. “In a few weeks, when we learn trance magic, we’ll be able to sense one another’s inherent magic and evaluate it. But again, that’s the luck of birth, not lack of skill. I know that everyone in this class will be able to light a candle with enough practice, as long as they are trying. And that means get back to it.”
A few people giggled. Edie straightened her back and lifted her candle again. What had she been planning to try?
That’s right, she was going to let her whole body settle into the magic, instead of trying to reach for it at once specific place. She took a deep breath and tried to sense the magic again.
There it was. She almost felt that if she could push it a little, it would extend beyond her skin. Was that how glamour worked? No, Derwen had said it came from behind everything. Was that Faerie?
Edie wondered if she could learn to use glamour. Maybe in her next magic class, if she had a faerie professor, she would ask about that. She was sure Derwen would be able to tell her, but learning any kind of magic from someone who was only taking introductory magic, not to mention who was extremely dramatic about everything, seemed like a bad idea.
But her mind was wandering, and closer to the front of the class, someone else had managed to light a candle. She didn’t mind others moving at a faster pace than she was, but she had to at least try.
She found the magic again and relaxed into it, letting her mental body settle. She knew at once she’d done the right thing. Her whole body felt electric, like the magic had energized—like it had woken up and now was ready for her command.
It still felt familiar. The tips of her fingers tingled, as though she could release something from them just at that moment.
She stared at the wick of the candle, trying to focus on both it and the tingling sensation in her body, and told it to light. Nothing happened. She tried again twice, then tried picturing the flame instead, setting up a vision of it in her mind.
Her focus became deeper and deeper. She envisioned the flame more and more clearly—until suddenly, the flame in her mind’s eye was replaced by one in her real vision.
She blinked in surprise. Had that really happened? Was she just envisioning it so clearly she thought it was really there? But no, when she closed her eyes, or looked away and looked back, the flame persisted.
She let out a breath, half sigh, half laugh. She was grinning. “Hey, Sarah, I did it!”
Derwen looked over and grinned. “Nice job!”
“Oh, me too!” Darcy said. Her candle flared up and melted an inch quite quickly as Edie watched, then died down to a tiny flame. Darcy’s eyes widened. “Uh, is it safe?”
“I think so,” Edie said. “It’s moving slowly now. Maybe you just have a lot of magic, like Corrie.” Corrie had needed to practice a lot to keep control over her fire magic because it had melted her candles very quickly in the beginning. Darcy might have the same problem.
Darcy’s smile returned and she nodded. “Maybe that’s it.”
Edie’s fingers were still tingling. She reached up to touch her flame to see if it would feel any different. But the moment her finger seemed to reach the yellow part, even before she could feel any change in the heat, it went out, leaving nothing but a thin trickle of smoke reaching for the ceiling.
Derwen looked at her. “Did you lose control of your magic?”
Edie shook her head. She could still feel it tingling throughout her body. “I guess I stopped concentrating. I’ll try again.”
But it did seem strange that it had burned steadily the whole time she was ignoring it, as a lit candle would ordinarily do, and only gone out when she returned her attention to it.