“Relix Nah….riss?”

Milo opened their eyes and looked down at the journal in their hands. Nah-rez. Narez. Relix Narez Relit.

Words were always hard for them. Motions were easier. The handsigns came quick, almost without meaning. Just fun motions they could copy from Alphonse or Ludovic.

“Relit. Maahhhh…. morum?”

Their eyes dart to the page again, scowling. Mamuri. Worum.

Words were always hard. This was harder. Nonsense phrases that could launch javelins of stone or pull a person into a ground. Or maybe kill disease. Their eyes closed again.

“Relix. Narez. Mamori. Orum.”

No, that didn’t sound right. Their eyes opened again. Relit. They forgot relit. Ludovic’s voice came to mind. ‘A mispoken phrase can cost your friends their lives.’ Milo sighed and read the page again. Relix. Narez. Relit. Mamuri. Worum… Not Orum. Worum. Eyes closed.

“Relix… Narez… Relit… Mah-Mah-Rii…. Wor-Uum.”

Eyes open, look at page. Relix Narez Relit Mamuri Worum. Mam[U]ri. Mamuri. Not mamari. Mamuri. This was stupid. Nothing was getting done. Did they even really need to know this stuff? They’d seen Alphonse cast with just his hands before, they could surely afford to just not learn this dumb made-up bullshit phrase for people who just wanted to be loud while casting. Fucking dumb. Bullshit.

Milo threw the journal onto their bed, sighing in frustration. Stupid fucking brain. Stupid fucking bandit good for nothing brain that couldn’t even remember some baby-speak blah-blah language for people who were smarter than it. They clasped their hands in front of them, palms together. Handsigns were easy.

Middle fingers locked, curl pinky and pointer. Flip upside down. Pointer to thumb. Make fists, twist over, thumbs together. Bring up to shoulder. Flip outwards, right to left and left to right, clasp fingers together. Flip around, palms up, thumbs still together. Break, clasp an orb. Right hand palm up, left down. Clasp fingers. Break to form V.

Easy. Alphonse had called it Maelstrom. Said it was bullshit. Speaking was bullshit. Maelstrom was easy.

“Relix. Narez. Relit. Mamuri. Worun.”

Eyes to the book. Worum. Not Worun. Stupid fucking brain. Worum. Wore. Uhm. Wore-Uhm. Worum. What other handsigns were there? Alphonse did Sight alot.

Hands together, palms touching. Pinch. Open in triangles. Sideways. Spin. Hands Flat, pointer and thumb touching, facing downward. Upside down diamond. Flip up, pointer and thumbs pinch to make mask. Back into Diamond but upright. Bring down to chest.

“Relix. Narez. Relit. Mamuri. Worum…. Sigun?”

Sicun. Not Sigun. Sick-uun. Everything else was right though. Sicun. Sicun.

Alphonse had said Magic was like Flips. Mostly as a joke, but Milo found it a useful comparison. Before you flip you need to stretch. You need to practice curling your body. You need to get comfortable being upside down. You need to trust your body to move without your mind. Handsigns were easy because they were an extension of the skills they’d practiced for years in the woods already, just smaller. Why were these words so difficult in comparison?

Speaking was hard because coming up with the right words was hard. No amount of words could convey the meaning a shrug and a head tilt could. No turn of phrase could communicate a purse-lipped smile in response to a questioning look. But did Milo need to come up with the words for Magic? They remained the same every time. A universal response to a dozen questions.

A cartwheel was a set of actions taken in order every time, with only minor adjustments based on angle, speed, and weight. If taken out of order they would do nothing. If the actions didn’t flow, then the cartwheel would fail halfway through. Many minor parts that individually do not matter, but which when taken together make a new and more significant thing. Would Milo really need to learn each word, then, or could they learn the words as cousins to each other, each individual pieces of a whole? A set of actions that conveyed sound, each strung together not because they had meaning but because their order was what determined their significance.

Relix-Narez. Not Relix, Narez.

Eyes back to the book. Full incant.
Relix. Narez. Relit. Mamuri. Worum. Sicun Gundavult. Vorug. Ta. Verg. Tira.
Relix. Narez. Relit. Mamuri. Worum. Sicun Gundavult. Vorug. Ta. Verg. Tira.

“RElix, NArez, RElit, MAmuri, WOrum, SIcun, GUndavult, VOrug, TA, VErg, TIra. ”

The words were slow and awkward in their mouth. Not half as fast as Alphonse could speak them. But speed would come with practice. Repetition would lead to Mastery.

“Relix, Narez, Relit, Mamuri, Worum, Sicun, Gundavult, Vorug, Ta, Verg, Tira. ”

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