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“Mom!” At the yell, Sera’s motherly instincts kicked in and she stopped in her cooking to go and see just what had happened to make her boy yell like that.

“Quentin? Honey, what’s wrong?” Turning the corner into their living room, she and her son nearly ran straight into each other. Her worry evaporated and the toothy grin that was plastered all over his face. He always gave her a heart attack when he yelled like that. There were certain items on the shelves in their living room that could really hurt him. “Why were you yelling?”

“Essa’s letter finally came!” He held up the envelope as proof and a grin appeared across her face. Finally, her baby girl had written. Well, Odessa was insistent that they not call her a baby anymore. She was fourteen now and everyone knew it.

Taking it from Quentin, Sera bade him a quick thank you and waved him towards the kitchen to go and stir her soup while she read. Thankfully, both her husband and her son had been good about letting her have her letters. The boys got a phone call each week but she waited for the letters.

It was the truth that was written in the letters and she couldn’t risk either Quentin or Gio picking up the phone while she and her daughter spoke of the craft. There was a possibility that Quentin could have power but they wouldn’t know for sure until he hit puberty. That’s when magic manifested itself.

With Quentin old enough to stir the soup for a few minutes, she sank down into her favorite chair to read. The opening line was enough to make her smile and she nearly laughed as went on. This summer was focused on Earth it seemed.

Dear Mama,

            I cannot express to you how much I loathe Gnomes. I mean seriously Mama, why Gnomes?! I do not even like the ceramic one that Papa got you for your garden, let alone the real thing. Grandmother has to be doing this on purpose. Maybe she found out about the cauldron I ruined. I thought I had put it far enough back in the closet that she’d never find it.

            Before I get to explain my issues with this summer’s element of choice and the current elemental I’m learning about, I should get the simple stuff over with. Overall, I am doing well. It’s getting harder to keep the secret from Papa and Quentin though. You never did explain to me clearly why we can’t just tell them. Wouldn’t it be better? I could do things around the house for them, make life easier. We both know I’m strong enough. Which reminds me, Grandmother was actually pleased that I was learning while at home and agrees that you totally over reacted, or in her words ‘marrying Gio turned your mother into a wimp, she worries too much’ (I’m just repeating what she said, sorry). Regardless, I want my books and my altar back when I get home.

            Now, for the Gnomes. They’re truly awful little creatures. Had I known that Grandmother had them living in her yard, I would not have played their so much in the years past. We’ve gone over how that Earth is a very grounded element (ha, I’m punny) and how it nurtures the world around us but there seem to be few elementals around that I can actually study. I would honestly prefer a dwarf and I hear they’re little perverts.

            Anyway, I haven’t been able to write the past few weeks because Grandmother made go and live with the Gnomes. Underground. Please tell me that you had to do this when you were training or I’m going to call some kind of child services thing (Do witches have their own?). She knows that I don’t like them and yet she had already had a bag packed when we started the lesson. No warning, just threw me to the hypothetical wolves.

            For most of my stay underground, I learned about dirt. If I hadn’t been so creeped out by all the bugs crawling around my dinner dish, I might have been amazed at all the different uses that they have for dirt. Even the mattresses were made of dirt! Not once did I feel clean down there and that hasn’t ever bothered me until now.  I will give them credit for their mastery over Earth but they’re still creepy little creatures.

            I did learn plenty about what Grandmother had spoken of before I was sent underground. Earth is a powerful element; it has limitless destructive qualities. I think with the right spell, a witch could cause her own ‘natural’ disaster. How amazing would it be to have that kind of power? I wouldn’t mind having that much one day.

But beside the destructiveness, Earth is a solid part of the circle of life. Just as much as a lion or an eagle. I guess that ‘ashes to ashes’ crap has some truth to it. But that’s not what I’m getting at. They showed me that Earth doesn’t just take strength to properly call upon; you also need to have a solid foundation. I thought this meant in terms of power but I figured out that it means your body. A witch needs a strong body in which to anchor to the element, to know what it’s like to be a rock to weather the storm. Most of this sounded better in my head but since I wasn’t corrected during my explanation of what I learned underground, I think Grandmother understood what I was trying to say.

            Now, I really really need a shower. I love you despite you allowing Grandmother to do whatever she wants. Seriously, good teachers or not, no more Gnomes. I can’t take another stint underground without running water and having to listen to ‘jaunty dinner tunes’. I just can’t. My phone call time every Wednesday was my only moment of freedom! That’s cruel!

 Make sure to give Papa a hug and keep Quentin out of my room!

With lots of love,

Odessa

 _____________________

Part 2/4 of Odessa’s training posts~

Next Creature: Undine (Elemental)

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