154 A Charm Craftsman*
That afternoon, the last thing that Rassa came to check on was Kit. The young Shadow Magician had been working nearly non-stop on the projects that Rassa had given him. Frankly, many thought that it was unfair for Rassa to place so much strain on Kit, but Kit seemed to revel in it. He loved practicing his magic and learning the runes. Having a purpose felt freeing to Kit, so he had never once complained to Rassa or anyone else about the work he was doing.
That afternoon, Rassa came to him with a small Evanine Crystal and pushed it into young Kit's palm. Rassa said only two words then sat back and watched.
So Kit did.
He took up the light element tool that Rassa had showed him, poised with it ready, cleared his mind of anything else, then activated the tool and watched as the mist solidified into place on the surface of the crystal, content in the job Kit was giving it.
It seemed to be a lot of practice for just a few short moments, but that didn't make the moment any less special to Kit when he placed the tool down and looked at his work. It was not as neat or precise as the ones Rassa had drawn, nor the ones Kit had drawn on paper, but Kit could tell just by looking at it that it worked. That the charm was functional.
Rassa gave a small smile, "Well done".
Kit grinned at the praise, "Does this mean I'm a Charm Craftsman now?"
Rassa gave a small nod, "I suppose so, but that doesn't mean you should slack off on your training".
Kit gave a serious nod in reply, "Of course, Sir".
Rassa shook his head, "What's with this 'Sir' business?"
"Well," Kit began, "You are the one who bought the building I'm living in, and the one who taught me the runes and how to solidify the shadows...I think 'Sir' is fitting".
Rassa sighed, "Maybe when I come back you can call me by my name, huh? After all, you'll surely be an expert by then".
Kit grinned, "I don't think anyone could be better than you".
Rassa shrugged, "I don't know. Charm carving isn't really for me. Maybe you can take over one day?"
Kit's smile dimmed, "That doesn't seem possible, Sir".
Rassa rolled his eyes as he stepped forward, "Nevermind that now. What have I told you about what should happen whilst I'm gone?"
"Protect the Ruin," Kit said, "Don't teach the Runes to anyone but the one who signs the blood contract Miss Startree is in possession of".
Rassa nodded, "And?"
"And...is it really necessary?"
Rassa nodded, "Of course".
"And...if the Ruin falls, protect the mine Miss Startree has," Kit said, "Keep it in the shadows".
Rassa nodded, "Good".
"But what if another magician comes?"
Rassa stood, looking over his shoulder at Kit, "I handed you a Tracking Charm for a reason, Kit. If you must use it, you must".
Kit nodded solemnly. Then he stood and approached Rassa, wrapping his arms around Rassa's middle. Rassa froze at the unexpected hug, then awkwardly pat the kid on the back.
"Thank you," Kit said, "For teaching me. Please come back".
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Rassa smiled, "Of course I'll come back. It may take a while, but I will be back".
Kit nodded, then stepped back.
"Be good kid, listen to what Sharli tells you to do," Rassa instructed, then he turned and headed towards the front where Aegin and Ebony were gathering the last of their things.
Ebony had made new clothes for herself. She was dressed in pants, a shirt and a jacket but they were shaped more to her feminine curves rather than how the men's clothes she'd previously worn had tended to hide these things. She'd announced the day before when she'd shown them the clothes that there was no way in hell she was wearing a skirt if she had to scale the ratlines again. Aegin and Rassa weren't bothered, but they couldn't wait to see what Jeremiah had to say about it. Especially considering his recent, shortlived attempt to get her to dress in a more lady-like manner.
Sharli and Iah waited by them, the two clearly looked nervous. As soon as Sharli saw Rassa, she stepped forward.
"I really don't think that-"
"You looked after everyone here before I was here. You can do it again after I leave," Rassa said. She'd been getting nervous, unsure. It was clear that the pressure of Rassa's Charm business was getting to her. Rassa and Ebony both had tried to reassure her alongside Iah, but eventually, Sharli had requested that she only manage those who lived there. That the business be left to those who were capable.
Rassa had instead proposed that, if after training with Falla's staff, that she still felt the same, then she could turn away and pass the management role to someone more suited. But until that point, she could train and not have to handle the business. After all, there was enough money in the vault to last them some time. Sharli, reluctantly, had agreed, but clearly she was having second thoughts now.
"Sorry, Rassa," Iah sighed, "I tried to talk to her but-"
"It's okay," Rassa reassured the more level-headed sister before he turned back to Sharli, "The deal stands, you train first. At the very least you should become literate before you decide that things are too hard".
Sharli sighed, nodding in agreement, "Thank you".
Rassa turned back to Iah as Ebony stepped forward to comfort Sharli.
"Is she really okay?" asked Rassa.
Iah looked at her sister, then back at Rassa, "For now".
Rassa nodded, "I know I don't have to ask you to do so but-"
"I know, she'll be taken care of," Iah gave a small smile. She was so silent, always in the shadow of her sister. But it was clear that over the years, Iah had learned that that was where she was needed the most. Where she had the most purpose. A proper roof, food in their bellies, and money to spend would not change that.
"Take care," Rassa said as he slung his bag over his shoulder, Ebony and Aegin joining him.
"Of course," Sharli smiled, clearly Ebony had said something reassuring, "Safe travels".
"Until we meet again," Rassa replied, then wrapped the shadows around himself and his companions, travelling to the external area of the Token Warehouse in Port Cresh.
"Gonna be thankful I don't have to do that for another couple of weeks," Aegin said as he breathed deeply. He didn't like the shadow travel, he said it felt unnatural.
Rassa sighed, "Come on, the Captain will be waiting".