Jase smiled in satisfaction, but she locked eyes with him and he swallowed hard.
"However," she said sharply, watching his smile disappear, "Ta'shaen is a Gift. It should never be used in such a trivial manner. But, as I said earlier, it's obvious that you don't really know what you are doing yet, so any past discrepancies will be overlooked."
She saw him start to relax and sharpened the edge in her voice. "But you must learn to control these Gifts, Jase, and the place to start is here." She touched the side of her head. "Only through your Awareness of Ta'shaen can you hope to control your Gifts. The Dymas of the Old World used the word nizan'hael - 'wakeful heeding' - to describe the mindbond you must form with the Power if you are to ever master it fully. You must be awake to the Earthpower all around you. You must heed its call."
She softened her voice and continued. "You are Gifted beyond what's normal, that much is clear. What it means? I don't know. But one thing I do know: you must learn to control your emotions if you are to control these Gifts of Power." She leaned forward and looked him firmly in the eyes. "If you only call upon Ta'shaen when your emotions are high, your Gifts will develop such that you won't be able to use them otherwise. And wielding Ta'shaen while angry can have dangerous consequences. Only when you can call upon the Power while calm will you have mastered it." She leaned back in her chair, and her voice dropped almost to a whisper. "Even then, things can go wrong. You can destroy yourself."
Jase rubbed his temples as if his head hurt. AI thought by telling you about my fears they would go away," he said. "And now I'm more frightened than before."
"You should be," she told him flatly. "Ta'shaen is not something to be trifled with. Those who misuse it don't live very long."
He turned and gazed into the fireplace, falling silent as he mulled over what she had told him. She watched him quietly, knowing that he would take nothing she'd said lightly.
He must have felt her gaze because he turned to regard her with brows raised. "What?" he asked defensively.
"I was just thinking how much you remind me of your father," she said fondly. "He used to sit and stare into the fire while he thought things over, and I used to sit and look at him. He was always so worried about the well-being of others that he sometimes forgot to take care of himself. It really was his only fault."
No sooner had she spoken the words than tears sprang to the corners of her eyes. She wiped them away and forced a smile. "I'm sorry," she apologized. "It's just... I dreamed about him last night, and it's had me feeling sorry for myself all day. This summer would have been our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, you know." She fell silent and gazed into the fire. Jase waited quietly until she continued. "At times," she said finally, Ait seems like the last twenty years have just flown by C watching you and your sister grow... making a life here in Kindel's Grove. And then other times, like right now, Benak's absence makes those twenty years feel like an eternity."
This time the silence lasted, and they gazed into the fire until the embers went black and the chill of night began to seep back into the room. Only a bar of moonlight slanting through the window remained, a pool of white in a room whose mood was as dark as the surrounding night.
Another tear slipped down her cheek, and she let it go. While it was true she missed Benak, what really saddened her was how Jase had never even known him. How sad, she decided, to not know the man you were so quickly becoming.