It was several weeks before Dragon emerged from the conference room where she had been conducting research on the magic ability exhibited by our young neighbor, Marisol. The precocious five-year-old appeared to have extraordinary power. Not only could the child penetrate Dragon’s spell of concealment, observing the illusory stable and horses, she caused others to see through it as well. The child also was able to cause Dragon to revert to her true form from her guise of an elf maiden, allowing others to see the beast.

(If you are a new reader just joining us, or if you missed one or more installments of this latest mystery, here are the links to the previous episodes, in order:
7. )

Dragon and me in officeI was in my office when Dragon found me. “Mistress, prithee, a moment of your time?”

I looked up from my work and smiled. “For you, as many moments as you need, old friend.” I gestured to a chair. “Why don’t you shapeshift and take a seat?”

Dragon shook her big, scaly head. “I fear I am far too weary to undertake any shapeshifting right now. I must marshal all my strength just to maintain an acceptable size for this room.” She stood next to my workstation, leaning a bit on the desk to steady herself.

I looked at her with concern. “Are you sure you don’t want to wait a bit, maybe rest for a while, or have something to eat? We can always talk later.”

Dragon frowned. “No, I think I should share my information with you first. I am at the point of exhaustion right now. Once I take to my bed, I may slumber for many days.”

I nodded. “Then let’s talk. I presume you have completed your research. Have you determined what power Marisol possesses, and how she comes by it?”

Tendrils of black smoke 2BooksDragon’s frown deepened and tendrils of dark smoke began to drift from her nostrils. She started pacing unsteadily around my small office, her hands behind her back. “The research is as complete as possible. I possess many books on the arcane, mostly from my own world, but some from different worlds. I have found nothing in any of them that would allow me to put a label on Marisol. She is not a witch as we understand the word; nor is she a sorceress, a conjurer, or an enchantress.”

Is she a witch 2

I raked my hand through my hair and sighed deeply. “Then what? Or are you saying the child has no magical power?”

Dragon and me in officeshe is merely the receptacle 2Dragon shook her head so vehemently, she almost lost her balance. Grabbing my desk to steady herself, she explained. “No, the child has considerable power. But she does not wield the power, the way a witch or a sorceress or a magician would. She is merely the receptacle for the power.”

I stared blankly at Dragon.

dragon talkingspellcasting 2The big beast sighed and began to gesture with one hand. “You know how I and others like me perform our magic. We recite an incantation, and we combine specific spell components. We command certain things to happen, such as commanding an illusory horse to appear. We control the magic, and we achieve the result we desire.”

Dragon tilted her head and looked at me expectantly, and I indicated my understanding. “Marisol does not use incantations or spell components, correct?”

The beast gave me a toothy grin. “Correct. She does not control the magic within her. There is no such magic in my world, nor, as far as I have been able to determine, in yours. However, there are similar magics in other worlds. The magic that Marisol possesses might be a combination of a power that in some worlds is known as reactive magic, and another power called causative or influencing magic.”

I shook my head. “You lost me.”


Dragon sighed. “This may be difficult to explain.” She started pacing again. “Part of Marisol’s power might be similar to reactive magic.”

reactive magic

Dragon paused, collecting her thoughts. “Her power reacts to the presence of other spells or innate magic, sometimes in unexpected ways. Gaping at the childNormally, such power would allow the possessor to see through illusions. In Marisol’s case, it seems to allow her to penetrate a spell of concealment and see the hidden illusion. Marisol accuses Dragon who changes 2It also seems to allow her to see past my innate shapeshifting ability and see my true form.”


The beast stopped pacing and stared at me, waiting for me to signal my comprehension.

I gave a half-nod. “Okay, I think I understand that. But how does that allow others in her presence to see what she sees?”

Dragon cleared her throat. “That is the part of her power that would be referred to in some other worlds as causative or influencing magic. That power causes others to see what she sees, once she tells them what she sees.”

“Huh? I think you lost me again.”

Dragon sighed again. “If you will remember, no one saw the horses until Marisol said there were horses and pointed at them. And no one saw my true form until Marisol told them I was a dragon.”

I leaned forward and nodded. “I see. It’s not enough to merely be in the child’s presence. Someone has to hear her tell what she sees for them to see it.”

Dragon smiled again. “Exactly. That is the trigger that causes their ability to see. Thus, the term causative magic. It is also known as influencing magic, because she influences others to see what she sees through the telling.”

Bastina watches her daughterI narrowed my eyes in thought. “That would confirm what her mother said. Bastina mentioned that sometimes people think they see something her daughter has mentioned.”

Dragon nodded. “Yes. Bastina was very concerned about that.”

I frowned. “But you said she did not use an incantation. So how does she perform this magic feat?”

reactive magic“The child is most likely totally unaware of her power. It is simply there, an innate part of her. She does not consciously invoke her magic, it just happens.”

I heaved a deep sigh and took a few moments to consider this before asking Dragon, “So where does this magic come from?”

Dragon shrugged. “I have no idea. As I stated before, no such magic exists in my world. I have found no evidence of it existing here in your world, either.”

“Hmmm.” I furrowed my brow. “Just because the books you possess have no record of such magic in this world, it doesn’t mean such magic doesn’t exist here.”

Dragon nodded. “That is true. My ignorance of the existence of such magic is not proof that it does not exist. But for now, my research is complete.” She turned and started walking out of the room.

I jumped up and followed her. “Do you plan to continue researching this once you have rested? Are there sources other than your books you can use?”

Dragon grinned at me, a big, cheesy grin. “There is another source, but we will be doing the research.”

“We?” I blinked. “Do you want me to help you research it on my computer, checking references on the internet?”

Dragon placed a scaly hand on my arm. “We could do that. Or we could attend a meeting.”

I raised an eyebrow. “A meeting? Are we going to find a coven of witches to visit?”


CrawfordDragon scoffed. “Hardly. I told you the child is not a witch. No, I think we join a writers’ group. We need to speak to a certain writer – what was his name? Crawford?”

griffinThe beast chuckled at my blank stare, then explained. “Perchance he and his griffin have encountered such magic and could share their knowledge with us. Or mayhap one of the other members of his group could reveal something. You should find when next this group meets.”

Dragon staggered off to get some sleep, leaving me staring out into space, thinking about Crawford and the griffin he purported to have.

Perhaps Dragon was right. Perhaps this man, allegedly a fellow writer of fantasy, could possess knowledge that would explain Marisol’s powers. It wouldn’t hurt to explore the possibility. After all, he certainly seemed to not only be aware of Dragon’s existence here, but to understand it.

I turned and went back to my office to research this writers’ group he mentioned. Now where did he say they met?writer's group


Does Crawford really have a griffin? If so, will he and his griffin have any knowledge of Marisol’s unique power? And what about the other writers in his group? Come back next week and see. We’ll leave the porch light on for you.

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