Make it stop!
Dark fire blazed in his hands.
Kirito bit his lip to keep from yelping, trying to bat the purple-blue flames away. Which was crazy, fire wasn’t solid-
Except this… sort of was. He felt something, delicate as a bit of gossamer ribbon, tickling off of his skin as it fluttered toward the stream.
Blinking spots out of his eyes, Kirito held still and listened. For one second, all had been dark. Even now there were holes in his vision. Anything might strike through them.
“Hmm.” The medusa had a warm chuckle. “Interesting way to wake up.”
He glanced Stheno’s way, cursing the still-dark splotches in his vision. “That wasn’t- I didn’t mean to-”
“Hush.” Clawed fingers gripped his shoulder, points just pricking the surface of his coat. “Catch your breath. The first casting always hurts.” She crouched slightly, dark lenses meeting his gaze. “You’re not going to run screaming, are you? Galifar humans think sorcery comes from monstrous blood in your lineage, but I’d hoped your islands knew differently.”
Exhaustion hit like a wave; if it hadn’t been for her hand, he would have stumbled. His Skills and Equipment lists shimmered, then closed. His HUD-
Two bars where there should have been one. HP was green, but slightly down, just as it got when you fought for hours without taking a break. And below that, in the yellow that marked half-exhausted….
MP. It wasn’t there before. I didn’t have it.
Kirito shivered. And decided maybe, just maybe, it was the better part of valor to sit down.
Ah. Right. Sit, and unlatch his sword harness, so he could sit without poking either of them somewhere unpleasant. If Stheno hadn’t attacked by now, she wasn’t going to get aggro’d by a few questions. “What’s… sorcery?”
“Huh.” Stheno settled herself on the green beside him, snakes alert and interested. “That, I didn’t expect… shhh, shhh, it’s all right. Sorcery doesn’t mean you’re a youkai. All that lives has magic. Wizards tap it through study and practice. Shamans speak with the spirits, the fay, the elements themselves. Potion-makers, mage-crafters – they use skill and hands to draw magic from themselves and the world about them. But in those of us with sorcery… hmm.” She knuckled her chin, thinking. “If wizardry taps a deep well within, in sorcerers that well bubbles closer to the surface. Like a spring.” A soft laugh. “And when we’re young, and don’t know how to use what grows within us… eventually, it bubbles over.”