This is from my upcoming magical Pride & Prejudice variation, as yet untitled. Enjoy! – Abigail
“If I can affect your illusions, does that mean I might be able to learn to create them?” Elizabeth asked.
“Highly unlikely. That is an inherited skill, and happens only within the Three Families,” Darcy said dismissively.
“Well, if altering an illusion is unheard of, perhaps this unlikely thing might be true for me, too.”
“I suppose it would not hurt to try,” he said with just a touch of condescension. “To rule that out as a possible cause, if nothing else.”
Elation filled her. “How do I start?” She held her breath, hoping he would not suddenly recall that this was a closely guarded secret.
“First, picture the mist in your mind. Just a little wisp, nothing elaborate. Fix that image in your mind.”
Elizabeth fixed it so firmly her mind that she might never forget it. She would only have one chance at this. “Very well.”“Now you must gather energy. Can you imagine that you can see the rays of the sun reaching down to the earth, like a set of very long, very fine invisible threads?”
Could this be some sort of elaborate joke? “Threads of sunlight. Yes.”
“Now you must picture yourself gathering some of those threads, mentally bundling them together. I think of it as braiding them, so they are bound to each other. Then imagine your mist, and cast the bound energy toward it.” He leaned back against the wall, clearly expecting nothing would happen.
Oh, how she wanted to prove him wrong! She tried, picturing braiding the invisible threads and turning it into mist. Nothing. She tried again, with all the power of her will, without success. As tears of frustration began to fill her eyes, an image jumped into her mind, oddly distorted, as if seen through Cerridwen’s eyes. It was her spinning wheel.
Cerridwen never sent to her without a reason, but why her spinning wheel?
With new resolve, she gathered the invisible threads, but this time she pictured them as strands of carded flax. She let them run through her pinched thumb and forefinger just as if she were spinning them, her foot tapping as if moving the treadle. With her mist image in the forefront of her mind, she sent her spun thread out into the corner.
Mist began to coalesce.
She had done it! With a triumphant smile, she glanced over at Mr. Darcy, but he was gazing off into the distance.“Look!” she cried.
His head swiveled and his jaw dropped. “Good God.”
Giddy with triumph, she kept spinning, making her mist grow and spread. It was glorious. It was dizzying. It was….
“Stop! Let it go, Elizabeth. Cut the threads!” Mr. Darcy’s voice seemed to come from a long distance away.
Obediently she stopped spinning. Just as well, because now the pasture itself was spinning.
As her legs gave way beneath her, she felt strong arms close around her. It felt warm and safe. And then she stopped feeling anything.