widdershins, came the voice from behind me, somewhere to my right. i stirred, raising my head, murmuring the incantation slower than before.
turn to the voice, i could not. i could not look to her, gage a reaction or try to read her expression. she was coaching me, this elixir normally beyond my skills. it had been the last of last resorts, one where she would coach and i would steadfastly follow her instruction. it wasn’t either of our first choices for activity on a new moon, but the nightmares were getting worse. more frequent.
this, she had told me, would mute my subconscious, sweeten my dreams as if they were bitter tea, and as easily remedied. i had no reason to mistrust her; she was far more skilled, calmly older and far more perfectionist than i.
tonight, she would have to guide me blindly.
i could feel power in the air, humming, trying to reach at my own; i closed down my own emotions, pulling my own power into myself. this was the worst part of the lessons: ensuring enough emotional control that neither person would be impacted by emotion or excess power.
clear liquid dripped from the ladle, flecked with silver as the moonlight hit it, and i bottled slowly, silently, reserving one vial. she wore no expression, and i paused with my hand over the cork. it wasn’t the perfect solution. i had been cautioned of this many a time. then again, the nightmares themselves were worse; the sleepless nights were better, but only by a fine margin.
for a short moment i wondered if this was my test. perhaps she was waiting to see what would be my next action, having finished making the elixir.
i unstoppered the vial, and drank.