Chapter 4 : The Disciple
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Nimueh cooked them a stew that night. After she let Severus out of his bonds, he was able to explore the cave. He found it surprisingly cozy. There was a huge, warm fire in the center. Around the fire were three large piles of furs, all fluffed and warm. There was a back part of the cave, where Nimueh kept her belongings -- her clothes, candles, jewels and other magical artifacts.
While they were eating around the fire, Nimueh took his wand. She ran her hands over the grooves of the wood.
"You can only do magic with this?" She asked. Severus nodded.
"Yeah. I can do a little magic without it, but nothing major," he said between bites. He was practically inhaling the soup, he hadn't eaten in what seemed like days.
Nimueh tucked his wand under her shirt.
"What are you doing?" Severus asked, practically spilling his stew everywhere.
"I will teach you to do magic without this wand," she said the word with contempt. "You will be more powerful."
"Give me back my wand," Severus said forcefully.
"Trust me," Nimueh answered with a glint in her eye. Severus wanted to tackle her and pry his wand out of her fingers. He hated being without his wand, and he had been without it for so long. But he knew that if he moved an inch closer to her, she would snap her fingers and fling him against the hard wall of the cave. So, he ate his soup in silence.
Though Severus felt naked without his wand, he slept soundly on a pile of warm furs.
The next morning, Severus awoke to a horrible smell. He reluctantly opened his eyes to see where the smell was coming from. The once dark cave was now filled with sunlight. Severus didn't quite understand it because there were no holes, cracks or windows in the cave. He couldn't tell where the light was coming from. Nevertheless, it was very welcoming. He wandered around the cave. Nimueh was no where to be found, and the smell seemed to follow him around.
Severus went outside of the cave -- it was the first time he did this since he was kidnapped. Outside was a beautiful stream in the midst of an evergreen forest. It was pure and beautiful. Severus bumbled over to the stream, still half asleep. He splashed some water on his face. It was so cool -- it felt as though Severus was covering his face in droplets of morning dew. But the smell was still there. Wondering if it was him, he decided to bath in the stream.
He took off his cloak and his shirt underneath. He gently placed his pants and shirt on his cloak on the riverbed. As he was placing his clothes on the ground, he noticed something odd. His Dark Mark was different. Upon closer glance, he noticed it was drastically different. Instead of the skull was a silver chalice. It was intricately designed, with engraved vines and leaves. He tried rubbing it, but nothing happened. He realized then where the smell was coming from. His skin had been burnt and ripped. The smell came from the tattoo. The snake that once came from the mouth of the skull now came from the silver cup. Severus watched it crawl under his skin. Desperate to clean the chalice off his skin and find the skull in its place, Severus plunged his arm in the cool water. He scrubbed it with all his might. But he found that the more he scratched at it, the more it burned.
"Its a shame I couldn't get the snake off. That is one bit of powerful magic," came a voice behind Severus. He spun around, now waist deep in the stream. Nimueh was on the opposite bank, her skin shining in the sun like silver.
"What have you done? Take it off!" Severus shouted.
Nimueh gracefully took off her dress and waded into the stream after him.
"Now, don't shout," she said, "you'll need it if you want to go back to your time."
"What do you mean?"
Nimueh waded right up to Severus. She picked his arm up from the water and gently caressed the silver tattoo.
"This is my symbol. A silver cup. With this imbued on your arm, you will have access to my help and power, even if I am not there. Merlin is far beyond your abilities and I cannot teach a lifetime's worth of magic to you in a week, which is all you have before you must leave to retrieve him." She let Severus' arm fall in the water. "Shall we start?"
She turned her back to Severus and began walking to the bank. Severus relaxed. But before he could start wading to the other side to get his clothes, she spun around, raised her arms high and shouted: "Detta vatn!"
A huge wave of water hurdled toward Severus. He didn't know what to do. Without his wand, he was helpless. But out of instinct, he held his wand arm up and said, "Protego,"
He produced a small forcefield from his palm. This did not stop the wave entirely, but it slowed it down enough for it to be not harmful. Severus, amazed at what he had just done, remained with his hand raised. The power that surged through him was amazing. He had never felt anything like it. It heated up his hand -- he felt like he could burn someone just by touching them. He could feel the magic pass through him, like he was a mere conductor.
"Nicely done," she said, now at the other side of the stream. "Try to use more power in your voice. It helps when one is first beginning." She turned to leave.
"Wait, how did I do that?" Severus asked, now splashing his way over to her side of the stream. "Wait!" He called. But she was gone before he made it to the other side.
Severus sat in the cave, examining the silver chalice on his arm. Was this the reason he could do wandless magic? Was that him, or Nimueh, who cast the shield.
He decided to test it himself. A simple charm, he thought.
He looked around and found a small piece of parchment. He couldn't read what was on it -- it looked like some ancient rune writings.
He pointed his index finger right at it.
"Wingardium leviosa!" He said strongly. Nothing happened. He didn't feel the heat that he had felt before and the parchment didn't move an inch.
"Wingardium leviosa!" He shouted. Still, nothing happened. He practice and practiced, but still nothing would happen. Severus was now becoming frustrated and it was getting dark out.
"Where is that damned Nimueh," Severus mumbled. Just as he cursed her name, she walked through the cave opening with a spring in her step. Her arms were full of flowers and plants.
"What is this? What does it do?" Severus yelled at her.
She ignored him and walked passed him to put the plants down.
"Give me my wand!" He shouted, stomping after her. She placed the plants in a basket by her pile of furs.
"Now, now, Severus, we mustn't yell," she said calmly, sorting through the plants.
"You cannot keep me here forever! What is this mark and where is my wand?"
Nimueh turned toward him.
"Lower your voice," she said firmly. She took his hand and led him to the opening of the cave.
"I will not give you your wand until you earn it back."
"How can I earn it back?" Severus asked. His voice was notably more calm and softer.
"When you have mastered a certain level of my magic, then I will give you yours back," she explained.
"And what magic is that?" Severus asked.
"The magic of nature. The moon is full tonight. So, tonight our magic is strongest. We will go to the end of the stream and I will begin your lessons."
"What is this mark? Where is my old tattoo?" Severus asked.
Nimueh sighed. "So many questions. At least you're not shouting," she said, smirking, "the mark is my mark. The silver chalice is the symbol for the silver sorceress. That is how I am named in places that fear magic. They do not understand."
"Silver? I did notice that you looked silvery in the sunlight." Severus observed.
Nimueh rolled her eyes. "That was not silver, that was the glint of magic within me. It shines bright from my blood in the sunlight, as it will in the moonlight. Only the true priestesses of magic have that kind of glean." She stopped and examined Severus, "Unfortunetly, that high of a status in the magical world is reserved for women alone." Before Severus could answer, she quickly went on, "Now, get some rest. We will be up very late this night, and you will need all of your strength."
Severus seemed to have slept for a mere five minutes before he was rudely awoken by a splash of icy water on his face.
Nimueh towered above him.
"It is time, wake up," she said, a flame flickering in her hand.
Silently, they hiked through the evergreen forest. Severus did not know where they were going, but he knew better than to ask. He watched as Nimueh breathed deeply and soaking in the moonlight.
Finally, they reached a grassy valley.
"This is my private spot," Nimueh said, sitting down on the black grass, "there is another field where all of the sisters meet. But tonight, we will remain private."
Severus sat down next to her. Nimueh was cross-legged and breathing deeply with her eyes closed.
"When I made that shield earlier, was that you or me?" He asked.
Nimueh opened her eyes and looked annoyed. "Trust me, when my power surges through you, you will know," she said, "Now, close your eyes and breath with the rhythm of the moon," she said.
"The rhythm of the moon?"
"If you listen, you can hear it."
Severus sat quietly and listened to his surroundings, though he hardly believed the moon had a rhythm.
He watched Nimueh breath. It was hypnotizing. Soon, the wind around him seemed to be pushing and pulling with her breathes.
Now, he closed his eyes, concentrating on the wind.
"Alright, get up," she said.
"But I haven't--"
"It takes years to understand the ebb and flow of the moon. I didn't expect you would get it in one night. But I have much to teach you."
Severus stood up.
"To preform magic successfully, you have to let singular feelings fill you up. Certain movements will help project these emotions into magic. I will show you a few basic movements first," she said.
She crouched down deep into the grass. With a single movement, she turned in a half circle, still keeping close to the ground, and whisked her arms up. From the top of her fingers came little flames of blue fire.
"The movements help, but the magic is from the emotions," she explained.
Severus tried to replicate the movement, but ended up falling on his butt. Nimueh giggled.
She took his hand and helped him up from the ground. Then, she put his arms around her, hugging her waist, as she slowly did the form. This forced Severus to do the motion with her. This also allowed Severus to realize for the first time, just how beautiful Nimueh was. Her skin glistened in the moonlight. Her long, brown hair swished and swayed with her every motion. Her deep brown eyes were burning with passion. And now Severus held her slender frame in his arms. He could feel the heat emitting from her.
Nimueh let go of Severus' hands and Severus quickly put his hands at his side. He hoped she couldn't see him blush in the moonlight.
"Now you must think of something, something very strong, and let it fill you up completely. With the movement, this will bring forth pure magic."
Severus stood for a moment, thinking of something. He was mad. He was mad at Lily for marrying James. He hated James. He loathed him.
With that thought in mind, he did the motion. Giant, yellow flames lept from his fingertips into the air. Severus was left panting. He felt...better. His rage burned out of him with the yellow flames.
Nimueh quietly clapped behind him.
"That must have been some thought. Very good."
The rest of the night, Nimueh taught Severus several more movements and forms. She taught him how to control what kind of magic was going to be emitted through his thoughts.
"I've never experienced magic like this. It's incredible," Severus exclaimed on their trip back to the cave.
"Yes, with this knowledge, I am confident you can capture Merlin." A fire burned in her eyes at the mention of the great wizard.
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