I considered trying to point out landmarks or something that might be of interest to a fey to distract Doloise along her way.  In truth, I was dreading the conversation that began, “Um, no, you actually can’t stay here all day.”  Guide and guardian.  I know she had some talent, sure, and was definitely in the heavyweight league, but I was more concerned about the creatures tied up in her.  I mean, was this a timeshare operation that was costing something outrageous? 

All magic costs.  Nothing’s for free.  I want to say there are exceptions to every rule, and sure, there’s fairytale magic that you don’t see the immediate costs of, but it’s a fairly strict equation.  If you’re in the big leagues, maybe the costs are tied to the rules, but even what I practice has its own co-pay, so to speak.  That’s one of the arguments between the shades of magic I’ve heard over and over again; “good” magic is sourced in the self or willing sacrifice, and “bad” magic is sourced in someone else or unwilling sacrifice.

Magda calls baloney on it and I’m generally in agreement (if not thoroughly convinced by her arguments, either.)  She points out that some of the strongest magic comes from repetition, the kind of will that is reinforced by the act occurring identically a multiple number of times.  While on a physics level (dirty rats, physicians…erm… that’s not the term) it certainly costs energy, once you start labelling sacrifice “willing” and “unwilling” you’re ignoring that will can be oriented somewhere else entirely and still have magical consequence.  The person opening a door to get somewhere is, most of the time, not caring that that opens the door for a thousand other things, from the cool wind or a gnat or a multitentacled being from beyond the grave.  (If the lattermost could be subtle.  They really can’t.  They’re not psychic neutral – they give off dread and despair like a real man sweats.  I, on the other hand, use a good antiperspirant.  Hmmm.  “Cool-thulhu.  Keep your cool in the direst situations.”  Advertising wasn’t really my medium.)   

So, to continue with the door metaphor, if it’s a hot day, the cool wind is going to have a small effect, and so is the energy required to open the door.  But the consequences stop being “willing” very soon on, so unless every opening of a door is an act of “evil” then we have to start to consider intent, and I don’t think anyone with a brain wants thought police.  (I’ve enough trouble keeping my mouth shut.  Imagine trying not to think the things I think!  Which is different than not being punished for them anyway.  Somehow, women always know…)

You also run into the problem (and here is where Maggie’s convinced) that unless you really are under the rules of “my strength is the strength of ten because my heart is pure,” while your “white mage” is exhausted, using her own energy (and maybe some given to her by her friends), the “black mage” is still going strong, her energizer battery being fuelled by everything she can possibly steal, kill, or otherwise grab.  If it’s a battle won by pure power, guess who wins?

There are those, however, who do try to think ahead that much, and I hope their talents are similarly untainted.  I also know practitioners who only do magic with their left hands and interact with the daily world with their right.  I don’t know that they drive that well, and tennis is just out of the question.

So when I was considering those behind Doloise and their interaction, I was concerned because someone had to pay for her.  Somewhere my name got involved in the contract, and since I didn’t get to read it, I was hoping it wasn’t one of those like from the hospital that says, “And if your insurance doesn’t cover it, you agree to foot the bill.” 

I know, I’m such an optimist.

Guide and guardian.  I guess I could test it – get myself in trouble, or something and make her get me out.   I was already worried as to how much having a simulacrum in my position set me back.  There hadn’t been any nasty messages, or, well, messages at all on my voicemail when I checked it last night, so I was guessing I was still employed.

That reminded me, then, that I had the ultimate fey distraction tool.  An iPhone.  (Well, an off-brand equivalent I’ve patched to be pretty awesome.)  I wonder if the fey like Ninja Ropes.