lassarina: (Rydia)
[personal profile] lassarina posting in [community profile] rose_in_winter
Characters: Rydia, Rydia's mother
Rating: G
Contains: N/A
Wordcount: 1003
Notes: Written for Sev and Rina's Prompt Extravaganza, substitute prompt: "Summon"
Betas: N/A
Summary: Summoning is a harsh lesson for one so young.

Gwendolyn rests her hands on Rydia's shoulders and looks over her daughter's head. The morning sun has not yet burned off the mist in the valley, so everything is soft and damp. Her skirt clings chill to her ankles, and her toes are cold in the dew-laden grass. Rydia fought tooth and nail against wearing a shawl from the warmth of their house, but now that they are out in the chilly morning, she huddles tight in it.

Farther down the valley, a chocobo bends its head to tear up plants, and the sunlight gleams gold off its feathers. "Do you remember what to do?" Gwendolyn asks.

Rydia nods quickly. "I call it and I hold it," she says.

"All right." Gwendolyn lifts her hands, and watches.

Rydia leans a little forward and whispers the words of the incantation in her high, clear voice. Magic threads faintly around her, a subtle green shimmer, and then fades.

The chocobo continues to pull at the grass.

Though Gwendolyn cannot see her daughter's face, she knows that Rydia is scowling. Her daughter is impatient, and magic has come perhaps too easily to her hand; she does not like to be thwarted.

Rydia clenches her little hands into fists, and repeats the incantation louder. The green energy threads around her, brighter this time, and then whooshes away, flying straight to the chocobo. It wraps around it, casting the golden feathers in a sickly glow, and the chocobo turns toward them. It trots over to them, and Rydia reaches out to pet it. Gwendolyn folds her hands tight inside her sleeves, knowing what will happen next.

The chocobo pecks Rydia's hand, and bright red blood wells in her palm. She yanks her hand back with a sharp cry, and the chocobo turns and runs away.

"Mama!" Rydia turns to her, and the tears begin to fall.

Gwendolyn wants nothing more than to scoop up her daughter and soothe away the hurt, but this is an important lesson, one that Rydia must learn, because other summons are less gentle still, and a summoner risks her life or worse when she calls up what she cannot control.

Still, her daughter is but a child, and so her voice is gentle. "Do you know what happened?"

Rydia sniffles, and clutches at her hand. "It pecked me!" All the petulance of youth, and so little understanding.

Gwendolyn knows she was the same at that age, though she remembers it very little. "Do you know why?"

Rydia's lip is trembling, and she stares at the blood on her palm. The words for Cure rise to Gwendolyn's lips, and she bites them back.

Rydia stares at her hand and then looks up. "Mama, I'm bleeding."

"Do you remember the word for Cure?" Gwendolyn prompts her. Her hands itch with magic unused, and sometimes she wonders if it would have been better to leave Mist with her daughter, and raise her far from this rigid life—but they will always be summoners, in Mist or not, and here at least the village is warded against accidental adventures.

Rydia whispers the word, tear-choked, and blood stops rising from the wound in her hand. She bends to wipe the blood on the grass, and Gwendolyn waits.

"It pecked me," Rydia says again, her lip trembling.

She is only five. Gwendolyn wonders what they teach children in far-off Mysidia, if it is any different. She knows the way she was taught and her mother before her, but she does not know a better way, so she asks again. "Do you know why?"

Rydia thinks about it, her eyebrows knit in a fierce scowl, and then looks up. "I did the spell. It came to me," she says. "It isn't supposed to hurt me."

"Did you do all of the spell?" Gwendolyn asks. Five is too young, but better this than an experiment at the back of the house, or one that harms someone else. Then, too, there is the vague sense of unease that wakes her from a sound sleep and whispers hurry, hurry. She does not know its origin, but she doesn't doubt its truth.

"I called it," Rydia says. "I—" The scowl deepens. "It got away from me."

Gwendolyn is grateful her daughter is clever. She kneels and hugs her. "It did," she agrees. "You must hold on to your summons, my darling, or they will hurt you, or someone else."

Rydia's face is pale and sheened with sweat from the strain of those three spells, dark circles under her eyes though she slept a full night and the sun is barely up. Still, she nods. "Can I try again?"

"Not today." Gwendolyn smooths a hand over her daughter's hair. "Tomorrow morning, perhaps."

There is the expected argument, but Gwendolyn firmly turns them back toward the village, and soon enough Rydia is asleep in her bed. Gwendolyn quietly lets herself out of the house and walks to the edge of the village, then farther, into the cavern where the mist she summoned to protect her home swirls deep and dense around her.

She, too, called chocobos that scratched and pecked her when she was small; she once ruined half a season's farming with an ill-timed bomb summon. To fail with the simple summons is the way that Mist's daughters learn and grow stronger, but she finds it so hard to watch.

Her dragon does not manifest, but the mist around her thickens, and Gwendolyn breathes deep, until the frustration and anger is locked away where Rydia won't see it. That voice is pushing her to hurry, and she will, but she must also be careful not to make her daughter afraid of that which lives within her.

"Thank you," Gwendolyn says to the mist, and turns back. She will spend the afternoon going over the summoning lessons again, and tomorrow, perhaps Rydia will call the chocobo to her, and hold it tight and safe.

She needs to hurry.


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