Sunday, September 9, 2012

Practical Magic....3

It wasn't too long after Deidre started at Martindale's that the Keeper sisters earned their nicknames. No one is sure if it started with the professors or the students but once it started it spread like wild fire and they were known as Joy and Pain through the rest of their time in school. When Joycelynn had first overheard the nicknames she had done everything she could to keep them from her sister, only to hear Deidre tell their parents about them with pride the first holiday weekend they were home. Their father roared with laughter while their mother sighed and shook her head.

Both sisters had come in to Martindale's with the highest marks possible from their time in elementary and middle school. They had both done exceptionally well in their general studies classes. But though Joycelynn still loved her general classes Deidre was more excited about her focused track. Though her grades remained high in Prophecy, Spell-casting and Basic Healing as well as the more standard classes like math and history she was obviously restless in class and just biding her time until she could get to one of her Basic Fighting Techniques or Weapons Management courses.

Keeping her grades high in all of her classes was due more to the well developed sense of competition that most warriors had as part of their basic make-up. Hyper vigilance, speed, strength, mental and physical toughness, competitiveness, these were all parts of the gift. Just as with all of the gifts you could receive all or part of the gift and you could receive the different parts in different strengths. For instance you could have the calling to be a warrior and only have developed hyper-vigilance. There were many warriors working in security fields among the Gifted and the Others that only focused on being aware of where every one was at any point in time. The Keeper sisters had both realized the full complement of gifts when they received their callings. It was not always the case in fact there was only one other warrior in Deidre's year that had the full complement of gifts. That was Calvin Springwater.

Cal came in to Martindale's expecting to be the top of his class, as he always had been. Instead he spent his time there fighting with Deidre Keeper for top spot. They would alternate #1 and #2 so consistently that the other students in their grade started counting the #3 place as their own #1. Cal was fearless in his fight training. His mother was a world class healer and he had spent his days fighting with the reckless abandon that came from knowing there were very few injuries his mother couldn't heal within hours. So while his style was more aggressive Deidre's was more cunning. She had trained with her father, a high ranking watch commander and leader of the guard and learned quickly that she was never going to overpower her much larger father so she would have to find other ways to try and gain an advantage.

They were evenly matched in weapons and though Deidre was better at spell-casting Cal consistently got better marks in their healing arts classes. When the end of their sophomore year came and they were finally allowed to start sparring against each other instead of just their instructors and work out dummies everyone was ready to see who would best whom in their first match. After two years of stalking each other, of competing against each other to try and be the best they were finally going to get their shot.

The match was set for the last round of the week. Deidre had noticed the gym filling up with other students as the time drew closer and closer. It seemed like everyone wanted to be there to witness them face off. Deidre caught her sister's eye in the crowd and smiled as Joycelynn gave her a thumbs up.  The time for the match finally came and they squared off, slowly circling each other, each one waiting for the other to make a mistake. To get off balance in any way. The tension in the gym got to be so high Deidre thought that everyone there was holding their breath waiting for one of them to make a move. Finally Cal's best friend Jake yelled from the bleachers, "Are you going to fight her or kiss her?" The crowd laughed, the tension broken. Deidre caught Cal's eye and saw the blush starting to spread across his cheeks. Oh, well this was interesting. She smiled at him and walked slowly towards him with her hands held out, palms up. As she reached him she asked, "Well?" and then leaned in towards him. Cal blinked twice and leaned towards Deidre to receive the offered kiss. This was the opportunity she had been looking for. With a quick leg sweep she took Cal down to the mat pinning him.

As they lay on the mat the look of shock on Cal's face was replaced with a wide grin. "You're a tricky one. I won't forget that next time." Deidre smiled and told him, "Yes you will." and with that she gave him the kiss he had been expecting when she walked toward him a few seconds before. From that point on they were not only the top two students in their class but they were the class couple as well. Inseparable. A perfect couple in everyone's eyes. Or at least everyone at school.

Calvin's family was not as happy about the match at first. They had a long history of not exactly arranged marriages, but highly suggested marriages. The wife they had hoped Cal would choose was the daughter of a local politician who was a very gifted spell-caster. Marriages among the Springwater's and their friends were always between two different class of called. They felt this was the best way to keep a good blend of gifts in the family. Some of the older families had practiced this for generations. Other families like the Keepers had a blending of gifts through natural pairings. And sometimes that meant that instead of a married couple having different strengths they shared their gift.

Eventually though the Springwaters realized that Cal had made up his mind and met his match. Once they had a chance to see Cal and Deidre, or Deeds as he called her together they understood that their son would not be happy with anyone else. And once Aska joined the family they could not have been happier if they had chosen Deeds for Cal themselves.

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