Talesin shook his head then broke off before he could reply. “What the devil are you doing, Gwyon?” he asked. He approached the litle mage and shook his head. “Pretty,” he added as he got a good look at the window.

“I miss flowers, Tal,” Gwyon said softly. “All the worlds we’ve visited and they just don’t have them the same as back home. So I figured that I’d make some.”

“Please tell me that they’re illusions,” Merlian murmured.

“Of a sort,” Gwyon said. “They’re on the windows, like paint.” He reached out a fingertip to one of the swaying blossoms and as he touched it, it seemed to meld to the glass of the window. “It won’t hurt anything.”

“You couldn’t have done this in your own room?” Talesin said. “You know how the captain feels about magic, Gwyon. He won’t let you keep them there.”

“They brighten up the place so well though,” Gwyon protested. He glanced back along the corridor and the older men followed his gaze. All the way down the corridor, on every window, bright flowers bobbed on a breeze that only affected them.

“You know you can’t leave them, Gwyon,” Merlian said softly. “Not only are they magic – which not only the captain but half the crew will take amiss, but they’re distracting.” He looked over at the smaller man and sighed. “I’m not trying to upset you, Gwyon. You simply can’t leave them there. Put some flowers in your own quarters.”

“You can put them in our work space, too,” Talesin said. “They won’t freak us out and they will brighten up the place.”

“I know,” Gwyon said. He drew his wand and painted a glyph in the air. One by one the flowers that danced in the windows disappeared in a sparkle of light. “Everything here is so cold and clinical. I miss my tower and workshop back home. I had a garden, did you know?”

“I suspected,” Merlian said. “You know why I chose you for this mission, Gwyon? With all the plant and animal mages I had to chose from?”

Gwyon shook his head and slipped his wand back into his robe. “Because… I’m not very threatening for the normals, since I’m young and small?”

“That’s one reason,” Merlian agreed. “There’s also this: your magic, the way you use it and the way you view it, is the least threatening of all the research mages in the Brotherhood. Your magic is the stuff of fairy tales and that’s not going to be seen as threatening toward the normals.”

Gwyon looked up, smiling shyly. “Really?”

“Really,” Merlian agreed. He set a hand on each of the younger man’s shoulders and said, “Master Gwyon, we are out here, among the stars as research mages. Our purpose – officially – is to help discover new life and new civilizations and to help build friendly relations with them. Unofficially, however, our purpose in this crew is to help the people of our home world learn that magic is not to be feared simply by its being. They need to learn the good side of magic and we’re here to show it to them.”

“Right then,” Gwyon said. He tilted his head and said, “Maybe I can put flowers in the common room. No one is going about their duties there so if they’re distracted it doesn’t matter as much.”

“I think that’s a fine idea,” Merlian said with a nod. Gwyon was smiling brightly as he bounded down the corridor and Merlian chuckled as he turned to Talesin. “I suppose I should warn the captain about his little endeavor.”

Talesin shrugged, “I don’t see why. They painted the common room last week with all those bright colors and he didn’t have anything to say about it. He said he wants the common areas to be… relaxing and cheerful.”

“A place to get away from the stresses of space travel,” Merlian said, quoting the memo that everyone had received.

“What could be more relaxing than flowers?” Talesin said with a grin. “Let’s get going to the mess. I could use a drink.” He chuckled and took out his own wand. With a wave, he traced a small glyph in the air. As they walked a soft, warm breeze swept through the corridor. He grinned at Merlian’s smirk. “People are always saying that the corridors are chilly,” he said.

continued here

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