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This story takes place in a world of magic found in few novels today. A world of magic with no zombies, vampires, werewolves or other magical creatures. A world where only people with the mage gene can wield magic. If you travel to this world and arrive in the United Kingdom in the early part of the twenty-first century, you may encounter Jennifer Bauer.

Eighteen-year-old Jennifer and her twelve-year-old apprentice Lahni prepare for a vital task. They have six months to strengthen their souls and create new magic. They study births and deaths to learn about souls, lifeforce, and lifebinder. Lahni learns how to motivate groups, because her task will require the assistance of many.

Romantic love typically comprises one-fourth of soul strength. Lahni’s soul needs that strength. Sarah recommends pregnancy and loving the unborn child as a substitute. Lahni and Jennifer know that completing puberty and getting pregnant are unlikely in four months. Lahni needs romantic love, and only Jennifer can become her lover in time. Jennifer shoves aside heterosexuality and sisterly love. She pretends she is bisexual with a sixteen-year-old lover.

Jennifer secretly plans to go with Lahni. Jennifer fears that her soul is weak because she captured criminal mages when they weren’t a threat to her. She strengthens her soul by getting pregnant and loving her unborn child.

Jennifer retains a fragment of the curse nightmare. It feeds off her angers—about the task, helping Lahni get pregnant, and being Lahni’s lover. Jennifer must eliminate her angers, or nightmares will recur and poison her soul. The combination of problems overwhelms Jennifer, and she sees mage counsellors.

Jennifer and Lahni fall in love. Lahni’s magical puberty acceleration works, and she becomes pregnant with twins. If Lahni doesn’t miscarry, she’ll have a very strongest soul. Jennifer purges longstanding angers and destroys the curse nightmare fragment. All looks good—except for the upcoming sacrifices.

Jennifer’s friend, Jason, never sought treatment for his curse nightmare. He isolates himself from everyone except his girlfriend, Beth. When Jason sees people, he is nasty and hurtful. Jennifer can’t persuade Jason to get therapy, and she can’t persuade Beth to leave Jason before he becomes violent.

Lahni’s task begins earlier than expected, and it is different from expected. Only Lahni will go—Jennifer cannot help. Jennifer sinks into a deep depression. Keeping her unborn child alive is all that prevents Jennifer from suiciding. Five months pass without a message from Lahni. The task will not be completed on time. The general public must be warned of an upcoming catastrophe. No one will believe that a catastrophe will strike unless someone can demonstrate special knowledge. Jennifer will reveal that she’s a mage, but she won’t reveal that other mages exist. By outing herself, Jennifer irrevocably changes her life and her parents’ lives.

Jennifer hears from Lahni a few weeks after the deadline. Lahni completed the task, but not in time to prevent a month-long catastrophe. Jennifer gives birth before the catastrophe strikes. Jennifer works hard to reduce violent deaths in response to the catastrophe. Millions die unavoidably, but deaths from armed conflicts and terrorism fall to the lowest levels in decades.

Jason’s soul becomes consumed by the curse nightmare. He wants to punish Jennifer because of an imagined slight four years ago. Jennifer’s powers prevent Jason from punishing her directly, but he finds an indirect way. Beth tries to stop Jason, but he severely injures her. Jason succeeds with his punishment of Jennifer.

A month after the catastrophe, Lahni contacts Jennifer and explains the origin of magic, the cause of the catastrophe, and why she will go away and never see Earth again. Lahni and Jennifer share the Nobel Peace Prize for completing the task and minimizing deaths. Jennifer feels bitterness. Not one mage government thanked her and Lahni.

SF et fantasy
19 novembre
Gregory Tetrault

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