Chapter 26: Smell-o-vision.
Illusion is an art.
That was the conclusion I came too long ago, not a science or some other definable process but an art, subjective, opinionated, not always easy to define, an art.
Okay, they said, so we’ll teach you about art.
I can now paint decent pictures using both muggle and wizards paints, decent landscapes, portraits and indeed, despite being no expert, have been offered a few commissions by the teachers. It has helped, more depth has appeared in the illusions I create, more realism to the shadows, more details to the texture, less wavering of the shapes… and perhaps most telling, the way the shapes bend and move in the wind is truer to reality.
Still liquids look real now as well, but flowing, those I have yet to master. One final step in creating completely real images to complete but an image is all it will be. An illusion can not only be about what you see, for even muggles have a full five senses and an experienced and capable magician will have a six, a feel if you will for the magic in their surroundings. How do you make an illusion that will encompass those as well?
Having the targets mind fill in the blanks in the detail cannot help if the details are not there in the first place and I can not say that I have ever been one to full sensory dreams except with outside interference so I cannot use that.
But it all comes back to art… the subjectiveness of existence. Why is it one person eats an egg and enjoys the taste, but another will be put off by it? Why do you lie in a bed and think too soft and yet another will come along later and think too hard?
Illusions, are we really talking a look into the human condition? The more I learn about illusions, the more real they become to me and others, the more I find that I know about people, the way they act, they why they act.
Is learning about people the way to learn illusions?
Then again, that might help me learn how to fool humans but it won’t always be humans I would be trying to fool, what about all the other creatures, magical or not in the world?
And that not to mention the effect of mood on a persons perception of the world!
Enough, I have work to do. A stage magician has been ‘persuaded’ to teach me that craft, I’m sure I don’t want to know how, so lessons is sleight if hand, distraction and misdirection are coming up. I’m sure Jareth would approve, he seemed to be an expert in those arts.
“It seems Sarah has learnt how to give an illusion scent,”
Dumbledore quirked an eyebrow at Snape, whose expression was far beyond his usual brooding ‘why do I have to deal with these brats’ sucked lemon look and straight into the realms of ‘ I have to teach Neville Longbottom for two more years?
Dumbledore hid a smile and glanced out the window, where students were still racing with what was almost certainly unaccustomed speed out of the building.
“I see,” he paused, “was it truly an illusion or something…?”
Snape grimaced, “Not subtle is what it was. I could feel it, she bypassed the nose entirely, told the mind that it was smelling the most foul stench imaginable and then…”
“The classroom evacuated?”
“Quite,” the Potions Professor grimaced, “as much as it pains me to admit it, Parkinson deserved that but the rest of the class didn’t.”
He gave a sharp agreeing nod, “control is as always the issue, however I don’t think I would have noticed what she did had I not been a legimens, Potter seemed to have caught on as well but he was still affected by it.”
“So, right now they are all smelling the worst smell they themselves can come up with?” Dumbledore asked softly.
“Probably,” he grimaced, “I am not sure how we are going to stop that however.”
“Round them up, take them to Madam Pomfrey and have her give them a placebo. If the smell is all in their heads the cure might as well be as well.”
Snape shot him a startled look, “would that work?”
“If they believe it will, it will. Why not cure an illusion with another type of illusion?”
Snape shrugged, and turned to leave the room, “I think it will teach Sarah one important lesson though. If you are going to create a nasty illusion make sure it doesn’t affect you too.”
Dumbledore choked, his eyes twinkling as he carefully watched the students milling around outside.
I watch, I see the way the sunlight plays in her hair, the way it ripples as she runs her hands through it, the delight in her eyes as she takes a step closer on the path to her mastery.
I wish I could help her with that path but I can not, what I have is as natural to me now as breathing, I do not even remember if I ever had to be taught myself, it has been too long. For each of those scarce few in the years past who defeated me, the path to knowledge was different and individual and unfortunately, often brutally cut short. I can not help her, for I do not know how.
Nor can I do as I wish, to take he in my arms, to let go all illusions, all pretence and let her know how I truly feel, until such time as she accepts me I can only briefly appear before her before the magics that gave her my powers attempt to remove me, her rejection complete until revoked.
She should be mine and yet, I suspect that as much as I had yearned before, it would only have been a fling for there was no respect there. It was only with her defeat of me that the respect came and with that, the seeds of something potentially more powerful and longer lasting.
I wish I could be with her now, I think I ma ready but it is not me who matters in this and she is not yet ready to choose me. I flatter myself if I say she likes me, but in truth, whilst I know she has a certain respect for me I do not think she likes me. I do not think she hates me either, small blessing that that is but I do know one thing for certain, she trusts me.
Why is it that scares me more then anything else?
She gave up her life, came to Scotland and to a completely new existence at my bidding, because I said it was necessary, she has no reason to trust and reason enough not too and yet, for whatever blessed reason, that trust is there.
What did I ever do to deserve that, have I ever demonstrated that I am anything other then decidedly untrustworthy?
It humbles me and I am not one used to being humbled and I honestly am not sure what to do about it, except for one thing. If she is ever to be mine, I know I must somehow be careful not to abuse the precious gift she has unknowingly given me.