I pause for a moment, then ask, "Did you notice anything unusual about her?"
Holly hesitates. "Well, she seems to know an awful lot about brandies for someone who says she's never had one before."
Holly shakes her head.
"The way other people reacted to her in the bar?" I prompt.
"A lot of people feel uncomfortable around magic," she says finally. "You must've noticed this by now. The way some people will review your work, going into it with a negative attitude simply because of its content. Or the way they start to fidget and look uneasy if the conversation turns to the inexplicable."
"Of course," I say. "But I'm not sure I'm getting your point."
"It's Saskia," Holly says. "She's magic."
"Magic." I'm back to one-word echoes again.
Holly nods. "Her being magic is what antagonizes them. They recognize it in her, but they don't want to believe it, they can't believe it, so they lash out at her in defense. Humanity's whole unfortunate history is one long account of how we attack what we don't understand, what's strange to us. And what's stranger than magic?"