It had that way with him, her voice. “It is a good morning Estelle! I hear it’s the only one like it. You are beautiful, and I should think the light Is glad to fall on you!”
He had found a few words, sometimes those were tucked away for the hiding and nonsense came out. Branch figured those were the awkward moments, this was NOT one of those. It was a good moment, one that was light and full of that play that fun only has. One that Branch could look back on and smile, he did and would, those moments, sometimes they pressed themselves on you. Sometimes you have to make them. Branch made sure, this was one he would remember.
He tried to feel everything, to give scope and depth, to capture and hold the passing time, to see the small things that made up a good memory. He noticed the light of sunrise, the crisp morning air, her smile and the way her lips tucked up, no thing was spared from his notice, sometimes, he had to create the memory.
“Oh hush!” She hushed him.
That was the funny thing with being hushed, it only worked if you hushed. He did, for a moment, “Well, it is true!”
“Fair enough! Branch, what are you doing here so early?” She let him compliment her.
“Just you know, saying hi.” He smiled and waited, letting the quiet play in the space between them, still not awkward.
He liked to think that something grew between people when they interacted. There was something there, a creation that was made through the way they felt. He couldn’t describe it, but he sure could feel it. Branch wondered if Estelle could sense the thing. The connectedness.
They moved on into the conversation about why he really was there. He told a bit of why he was going to Clarity to her as they walked through her shop. It was a nice shop, it was organized, but in a natural way, it wasn’t one of those too clean shops. Where you felt like you dirtied it just walking in, or the type where you didn’t want to touch anything for fear of dislodging the order. It welcomed you, called to be looked at and walked through. It was the kind of shop that made you feel like you were the only thing missing from it.
Estelle kept a good shop.
She tried to wave off him when it came time to pay, but he insisted. The moment ran by. Before either of them knew it, they were waving goodbye. Branch had nearly asked if she wanted to come, to join him in the journey, but he didn’t. So, they waved goodbye.
Not much time had passed since he had arrived, but the sun was glowing brighter, the day was quickly coming, and he was eager to be off. Ready to take the next step. Growth mage.
There was a great library in Mageform. Thousands of years of knowledge were held there. There were stacks of tomes from the lives of other mages, thousands of them. From all sorts in the craft. There were other magics, some forgotten, see, it was the understanding that made the magic. Trent had implored that, impressed it, that the real key to it was in understanding it. A growth mage though, that was a rarely rewarded endeavor, it took a deep understanding. About life, to grow, cultivate and bring out, it takes an understanding.
What better place than the great library of Mageform to find himself an understanding?
Branch walked, a spring in each step, it was different when you were walking toward something, he could feel it. A liveness that was nestled within. Something that pulsed and grew. He was a Growth Mage now. He would need to understand what that really meant. That was the next step for him, he knew it. For now, on this journey, he could practice the growing.
But, when he got to Clarity…
Branch walked through the town. The fog that had still clung low to the ground had fled as the morning rays of light grew. It was a bright morning; a clear sky was only dotted by scattered clouds and the wind moved softly. Most of the buildings had the slate-shingled roof, wooden walls, though a couple houses were made of stone and mortar. It was a small town, a good town. Branch enjoyed living there. Though the sun was rising a few folks were up and about. He waved but didn’t stop.