Chapter 8 – Magic Lessons

Kyja and Riph Raph apologize to the wolf for being late. Turns out the wolf is Master Therapass (surprise, surprise.) He basically says it’s okay that they were late. Which is weird because they were all worried about getting in trouble for being late and he called them out on it when they finally showed up. He calls them “little ones”. Granted, he’s in wolf form and is apparently pretty large, but he also calls them that even when he’s in his human form. I’m getting serious Saphira vibes from him now. Great.

“There was a time when the chill in the morning air didn’t bother me. Now, alas, my old bones don’t move quite so easily as they once did.”

As he turned from the fire and padded across the room, Kyja noticed the limp in his back right leg was worse than ever. “Can’t you use your magic to make that any better?” Kyja asked.

The great wolf paused, and Kyja wondered if she had overstepped her bounds. Without any warning, the creature disappeared and in its place stood a stooped man in a powder-blue robe.

A wizard in blue. Typical. If he has a long beard, I’m going to….

“There are some things magic can’t cure.” He shook his head ruefully, making his unruly gray beard waggle back and forth.”

Of course he has one. grumble grumble This is just another example of Savage using cliches and stereotypes rather than being innovative. It’s bringing this book down a lot. And why does Kyja keep worrying that she’s being offensive? Master Therapass has been acting pretty chill up to this point. Which implies that he’s not exactly the type to get pissed easily. Or maybe he actually usually is nasty. I wouldn’t be surprised, seeing as everyone in this book except for Marcus has been a complete jerk.

Master Therapass asks why Kyja is there. Apparently either he or Savage forgot that she had an appointment with him. He asks if she’s there to play a game called trill stones with him again.

Kyja says she isn’t there to play the game, and Master Therapass reaches the conclusion that she clearly is there to learn magic (which is what he’s been trying to teach her for a while now, so it’s kind of weird that he didn’t reach said conclusion immediately.) Kyja tells him all about how she managed to make one of her hair clips jiggle a bit and is very proud of having been able to do that. Therapass makes a point (via several very dramatic similes) that she is not meant to use magic and needs to accept that.

Kyja starts crying. Sigh.

“Is casting spells really so important?” he asked, his deep brown eyes mirroring the pain in her glistening green ones.

Says the powerful magician, whose life would be completely different and likely far less privileged if he couldn’t use magic, seeing as his entire lifestyle is based on the fact that he can. Really, saying that just seems condescending and vaguely hypocritical.

“Yes!” Kyja cried, leaping from her chair. Everyone has some magic.”

“Everyone but you.”

“Exactly!” Kyja began pacing about the room. “I’m an outcast. It’s bad enough I can’t do magic. But I can’t even take part in the magic the other kids do.. Charms don’t work on me, spells bounce off, potions might as well be water for all the good they do me. I can’t play in any of their games.”

Therapass says not being able to do/be affected by magic makes her special. Which of course doesn’t help Kyja calm down, and only makes her more emotional. It’s revealed that Riph Raph used his magic to make her hair clip move. As soon as Kyja realizes that, she flops down in a chair and starts crying again. Therapass decides to fix the situation by telling her he knows that she has magic inside her somewhere. Which of course makes Kyja stop crying. It doesn’t seem realistic for him to say, after so much evidence to prove that she doesn’t have magic, that she does, and that it would somehow reassure Kyja so much that she’s suddenly over her emotional outburst and back to normal.

The psuedo-dramatic nonsense chapter ends there.

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  1. Danielle on 5 May 2012, 00:20 said:

    “There was a time when the chill in the morning air didn’t bother me. Now, alas, my old bones don’t move quite so easily as they once did.”

    Ugh. I hate it when authors put their own words into their characters’ mouths. It always comes across as stilted and self-indulgent on the author’s part.

    Although this isn’t as bad as a scene Proulx wrote, where she had one of her characters describe a man’s bloody, mangled body as looking like it was covered in burned tomatoes, it’s headed in that direction. I’m sorry, Savage, but no matter what your high school English teacher said, that is NOT good writing. Describe the scene yourself, or don’t describe it at all.

  2. Minoan Ferret on 5 May 2012, 00:45 said:

    Out of curiousity, does anyone know the proper pronunciation of “Kyja”? Kee-Ya? Kai-Dga? A mix of the two?

  3. Mingnon on 5 May 2012, 01:34 said:

    You might be a pretentious author when readers can’t even pronounce your characters’ names correctly!

  4. Lone Wolf on 5 May 2012, 03:10 said:

    I pronounce it as Keeja, with “j” as in “John”.

    Ugh. I hate it when authors put their own words into their characters’ mouths.

    I don’t understand why you consider it so. Therapass’ words sound just like Your Usual Generic Old Man for me.

    And to be fair, I’d rather have a character complain about being anti-magical, then “OMG I have magic and everyone hates me”.

  5. taku on 5 May 2012, 05:06 said:

    I actually really like the idea of a genuinely forgetful mentor-figure, it could make for an interesting story. This one, though, just seems like another Stock Mentor Wizard.

    re. Kyja: I’ve been reading it with a French ‘j’ as in Jean.

  6. VikingBoyBilly on 5 May 2012, 09:09 said:

    I’ve been reading it as “Kai-jaa” with “Kai” as in Kaiser and “Ja” as in Jamaica.

  7. swenson on 5 May 2012, 09:32 said:

    I’ve been reading it the same way as our neighborhood viking. In IPA, if anybody wants/can read that, [kaidʒʌ].

  8. Danielle on 5 May 2012, 12:50 said:

    I don’t understand why you consider it so. Therapass’ words sound just like Your Usual Generic Old Man for me.

    It’s just the way it’s phrased, I guess. Had Therapass said “There was a time when the cold didn’t bother me” or—even better—launched into a story about a time when it was 20 below zero and he was happy as a clam, I wouldn’t have minded. “Chill in the morning air” sounds like it should have been part of the narrative.

  9. Fireshark on 5 May 2012, 15:07 said:

    To be fair, if you make up a name it’s pretty hard to make people understand how to say it without a pronunciation guide.

  10. Tim on 5 May 2012, 17:50 said:

    Nonsense, your intended pronunciation just has to be the most logical one given the spelling. Kaijah or Keeya or Keyjuh or or similar would make it far clearer how it ought to be said.

    Then against, given the guy whose name can be parsed as “the rape ass,” this is hardly an isolated problem here.

  11. swenson on 5 May 2012, 18:01 said:

    No, no, rap. As in, a rapping donkey. This fellow, perhaps:

  12. Fireshark on 5 May 2012, 19:27 said:

    If the people in the story write in our alphabet, then I think how the name would look them is also important. Let’s say it’s “Kee-juh.” Just because I named my daughter that shouldn’t mean I have to spell it phonetically. I would spell it in whatever way looked good to me (although it’s always a plus if people get a name right the first time).

    On the other hand, if the culture has its own alphabet, then the translation should be phonetic. Let’s say it’s “КиДжа.” Since it cannot be spelled as is, the transliteration would likely be phonetic, and more like “Keeja.”

    Since Kyja comes from wherever-the-hell land, I don’t know yet if they speak English there. If they do, she has every right to be spelled weirdly in my opinion.

  13. Tim on 5 May 2012, 19:34 said:

    That’s very poor writing form since you’re writing for the reader’s sake, not your own sake. If they can’t figure out how to say the made-up name of your main character, it means you have failed to give them enough information to do so. In this case, by not providing sufficient letters to describe how it sounds.

  14. Sweguy on 5 May 2012, 20:36 said:

    Douche-bag donkey…

    I’ve got to say, quite interesting to have Kyja a non-magic user. Even though the story is awfully cliché and hurts a little here and there, I’m still able to see some potential in it. But if you prove me horribly wrong it’s also ok :>

  15. Taku on 5 May 2012, 21:08 said:

    There’s definitely potential in the concept, but I think Tales of the Questor did it better.

    This? So far, this isn’t living up to potential.

  16. Fireshark on 5 May 2012, 21:58 said:

    @Tim Yes, you’re right. I tend to write based on what seems realistic to me first, even if it’s not the best for the reader. That’s because I write mostly as a hobby and for myself. I totally see where you’re coming from, though. And I do hate reading a book and not knowing how to say something.