Alan raised his hand to grip curved steel, feeling a faint tickle of other-curiosity. And the oddest sense of stiffness.
…Right. Djinn of decorum. This is a spar, not a life-or-death fight. Formal. Teacher and student. And – we’re supposed to be partners. Working together. I should be polite.
He remembered the incantation Aladdin had used. He could sense it, floating in the back of his mind.
Sacred servant of decorum and austerity….
He could hear it. Almost taste it. But his throat seemed frozen. The words didn’t feel right.
Oh hell. Damn it, what do I do… head down, take a breath, think!
The words hung there, mocking him. Like an unbreakable wall in his head-
Since when do you break a wall to get past it?
So the incantation was an obstacle. So what? The whole world was an obstacle course, for those with eyes to see. Every wall, every alley, every storm drain had its own quirks that made it seem impossible. Yet if he paid attention, if he listened to the world – the impossible unrolled like Aladdin’s turban, showing him how to fly.
The incantation’s not the right way. Not this time.
It didn’t fit. As though he were trying to do a flat-out wall run up and over chain link. All that’d get him was flat on his face.
You don’t run on chain link, Alan thought, gripping steel. You climb it… or if you’re lucky, you pull a bounce off two alley walls, and a vault clears the top.
I’m doing this wrong. Somehow.
…Amon? Do you… I know, I know, you’re serious power, you take on dragons – do you not want to spar? Because I kind of need to learn what I’m doing. Is that okay? What’s going on?
Stiffness – shifted. Warm. Almost flexing.
Like a hand, ready to clasp.
Knees locked to keep from shaking, Alan reached toward that sense of other.
Here I am. What do you want? What do we need?
Words surfaced, shimmering in his mind like a painted scroll. Not Tran, but curved swoops of letters he knew, if only in dream; words that danced and spun in his heart like a laugh, like a battle-cry….
“Let’s go, Amon!”