Nestled away in the Prosanim Mountains
December 17, 794 TSR
Sara -- he'd learned her name -- was still quite traumatized but he supposed giving her something to do would help. So the grey-haired man started to teach her about magic.
"Sara. Magic. Where can I start. It's been so long since I trained anyone. Maybe I never did. Anyway, I'm rambling, and that doesn't do you any good.
"Perhaps some background first. Magic is the practice of manipulating mana. Mana is the...well, it's everything. It is the life-force. It is the material from which everything is made. That chair, the grass outside, the rocks, the sky, you, me -- all children of mana. That mana can be accessed and manipulated, just as you can mold clay or sift grains of sand through your fingers.
"There is at least one more notable thing that relates to mana. This..this existance. It is not the only one. There are scores upon scores upon scores upon scores of existances. They are sometimes called planes. There are some who travel among these planes. That involves manipulating mana as well, but in a very particular way.
"Now then. To manipulate mana, you must first reach a state of, well...it's very hard to describe. You have to empty your mind. Let everything go, release your will. Try it now. ... Yes, you see. It is not in any way easy. You feel that you would be leaving yourself terribly unprotected and vulnerable, which you would be. You have to conquer fear, but without conquering it at all. You have to give in to fear, but it is giving-in that you fear in the first place. Don't worry, you will learn in time. For now, I'm just going to tell you about the practice.
"This is not the way most mages learn magic. They learn some very complicated and arcane procedures, likely involving dragon toenail or griffin saliva or some such nonsense. The procedures are, in fact, very effective methods of temporarily reaching something like the state I have just described to you. Carrying them out helps to focus the mind. They are quite unnecessary however, and even if I knew any of them I wouldn't teach them to you."
Sara looked tired. "Sara, you look tired. Why don't you get some more rest, you still need quite a bit." He gave her a mug of tea, and she headed on towards dreams of meadows and monarch butterflies.