26 January 2012

The Sorcerer's Bane

The Spell

A full moon shone through the open window, the scent of night blossoming jasmine filling the air with its pungent aroma. The sorcerer stood in the center of the room, meditating. His eyes were closed. He looked near sleep. Only the perfect stillness with which he held himself showed his wakefulness.
Suddenly his eyes snapped open – brilliant blue, shining in the moonlight. He turned with a flourish of robes, stalking towards an oil lamp set on the floor, and igniting it with a softly spoken incantation.
His movements were graceful, almost inhuman in their silence. He ghosted back to the center of the room, the small circle of light illuminating the shadows.
Bowls full of flower petals sat in a circle across the room. Intricate symbols were drawn in the center of it, like a gigantic piece of art work.
He stood straight as an oak, his eyes trailed towards the full moon. A blast of wind shot through the window, almost blowing out the lamp, but it survived, struggling back to life with the perseverance of a wildfire.
His imperial gaze overlooked the room – it was ready. He opened his mouth, and a rich, resonant voice echoed through the room.

“Like the lily, strong and bright,
Like the rose, a stunning sight,
Sweeter than the nectar tree,
I call your beauty unto me,
Hair dark as night, I desire,
And a spirit filled with fire,
Now come to me, my lovely dear,
From all other worlds, to me draw near.”

The window swung shut with a resounding crash. A cold wind blasted through the room, clearly otherworldly as the window was now shut.
Sunlight filled the room, lighting all but the darkest corners.
A girl appeared in the center of the circle of flowers, her long hair flying around her head in a halo as the wind persisted.
The sorcerer waved a dismissive hand and the wind dissipated. They stared at each other in silence for a few moments, the girl confused, the sorcerer astounded.
“You are gorgeous,” he said, breaking the silence. His voice was full of awe. The girl looked around, her eyes wide and scared. Apparently the spirit full of fire part of the spell hadn’t taken.
“Don’t be afraid,” he whispered, walking up to her slowly. Her gaze darted around, looking for escape. “I won’t hurt you. I called for you. You are very special.”
“What the hell is going on!” he jumped back as the frail flower exploded into song. “Troy! What did you do to me?” She looked up at the ceiling, as if trying to see through to the sky above.
“I do not know any ‘Troy’.” The sorcerer said, haltingly. “I brought you here. . .” But she talked over him, as if he was not even there.
“What did that boy do to me?” she rolled her eyes, looking at him through dark lashes, “Just diet coke indeed. He must have gotten a hallucinogen off of the streets. I’ve told him a thousand times not to mess with the drugs, and now he’s fed some to me. . . you are a very strange hallucination.” She added, smiling. “That’s a compliment by the way,” she added quickly, “What are you doing?”
She looked around the small, dark room, marveling at the rose petals and lilies scattered about.
“What’re all the flowers for?” The sorcerer stood, frozen in surprise, unable to answer her. She was acting very strangely. He had been prepared for some discrepancies of culture . . . but this was all very odd.
“The flowers were for the ceremony.” He said, sitting gracefully on the floor. Just because she wasn’t scared yet did not mean she would not be – particularly when he started explaining how she had gotten there. He meant to make himself as unthreatening as possible.
“Huh.” She sounded unimpressed, “what kind of ceremony? Some hokey weddingish thing? Do you suppose that what you imagine while on hallucinogens from the street is like your deepest desire or something? Cuz I don’t think I want to be in a dark room with some,” she looked him up and down, taking in his dark cloak and the dagger sheathed at his hip, “vampire wannabe and flower petals everywhere. It seems just a little on the crazy side for me.” She paused, seeming to be waiting for a reply of some kind. He sat in silence, wondering what a hallucination was, but since she wasn’t screaming in terror he took it as a good sign.
She smiled, throwing herself down into a sprawling sit across from him. Deciding he was not going to reply she added. “Guess it is a little strange to ask your hallucination if you are crazy – I mean it is obvious isn’t it?” She leaned back on her side, propping her head on her hand. “I guess I should just wait until the drugs wear off or something.” She leaned towards him conspiratorially, “I knew I shouldn’t go out with Troy. He’s a bad boy – motorcycle, bad history – you know what I mean.” She lowered her voice, “he even has a rap sheet.” She nodded wisely, “Christy told me. We don’t know what he did, but it can’t have been that bad . . . probably alcohol possession or something. I mean he didn’t go to jail or anything. I would never date a felon! But he does have that aura you know . . . sort of bad, but – not that bad.” She sighed, dreamily. “I guess I have to break up with him now,” she looked sad at the thought, “I can’t have people feeding me drugs, it just isn’t right.” She broke off her rambling, looking at him slyly, “You’re pretty quiet you know that? Can’t you say anything? I feel like such a jabber box.” She waited a moment, but he was obviously still in shock or something, “I’m Natalie by the way,” she smiled sweetly, “just so you know.
I feel like I should introduce myself . . . sort of weird cuz it’s like I’m meeting my own mind.” She looked at him expectantly, pleased with herself for having such a philosophical thought. His palms started to sweat. He did not know what she wanted from him, but he was starting to realize that he had gotten more than he bargained for when he had spoken that spell. All he had wanted was the most beautiful wife in the world. What he had gotten . . . well he wasn’t sure what he had gotten.
“So what’s your name?” she asked, looking at him like he was a blockhead. “It’s usually customary to give it when someone tells you theirs.”
“Oh!” he said, starting from his reverie, “Of course.” He straightened his shoulders. “My name is Vladimir Alessando Branric Robert Le Fay.” Her jaw dropped.
“You cannot be serious! Really!” She shrieked with laughter. “I cannot believe that my subconscious could name someone that even if I am high, that is just too mean. What was I thinking?” He looked offended, standing up, and pacing the ground next to her.
“I am from a great family lady. The Le Fays have been held in highest regard since the time of Morgan – the matriarch of my line. We are the greatest family of sorcerers in Camelot since Morgan vanquished the evil Merlin Ambrosius."
“Wow! I have some imagination! This is as ridiculous a dream as I have ever had.” The sorcerer regarded her in shock.
“You are not in a dream lady! I am indeed a Le Fay – descended from the illustrious Morgan – and I brought you here to be my bride.” She laughed gaily.
“Oh I highly doubt that.” She got gracefully to her feet, brushing the dust off of her hands onto her – he blushed as he saw them – rather revealing trousers. “I’m dreaming – it is the only logical explanation. Either that or I’m high, though I prefer the former.
Besides if you are a magician, or wizard or whatever then where is your wand?” She arched her brow, challengingly. She was on equal footing with the man, though he was almost a foot taller than her. His cloak and renaissance boots would have – on anyone else – appeared ridiculous, but he carried them well.
“I do not need a wand. The words of power are all I require.” He loomed over her, not threatening, but not backing down either.
As she stood under his shadow she began to doubt. What if he was telling the truth? Of course it was impossible . . . but there was something about him. An air of power and danger that was frightening.
“I don’t believe it. It is a trick to scare me. If you really are what you claim then prove it.” He stood before her, perfectly tranquil.
“I dare you.” Her voice was quiet, but firm.
The man narrowed his eyes, stepping away from her into the shadow beyond the small lamp light.

“I call you power, from the sea,
Come Fire, and her teacher be,
Dust I desire, show the way,
And wind to blow her doubts away.”

She smiled as he began, but at the end of the chant she shrunk back in fear. Water exploded into the air, a pulsing light at its heart – the red light of fire. Dust cyclone around the fountain in a halo, sounding like a small hurricane. She screamed – terrified – and immediately the apparition faded. The boy stood there, silently, his dark cape still, his boots impeccably shined.
“You are a wizard?” she asked, taking a step back. She could not have slept, or even dreamed through that. The wind had felt so real. This was no hallucination.
With belief came shock. She trembled with cold, adrenaline making her skin crawl.
“No of course not!” he scoffed, and she took a breath, “I am a sorcerer.” She gasped, her eyes widening in disbelief, but she could not forget what she had seen.
“Why am I here?” she took another step back and he followed, staying at a distance, but never allowing her to get more than three feet from him. She moved, he moved, always maintaining the distance.
“It is as I said. I called you here.” His eyes were dark, deep. She could not see any emotion. The shadows veiled them.
“Why?” She ran into the wall. She had nowhere to go. She shrunk back as far as she could.
“Because I wanted the most beautiful girl in the world for my bride,” he took a step closer, changing the distance between them . . . two feet now.
“What about Helen of Troy? You know ‘the face that launched a thousand ships’ and all that?” Her voice was loud, she was nearing hysteria.
“Helen was a blonde. My spell was for the most beautiful dark beauty. I have . . . sort of a thing for brunettes,” he smiled, moving nearer still . . . one foot.
“But I’m nothing special,” she panted, her heart beating fast, “There are lots of people more beautiful than I am. My best friend Christy is lovely. She is the captain of the cheer squad. . .” she knew she was babbling, but she couldn’t stop.
“They did not have all of the . . .” he searched for a word, “qualities I desired.” Natalie’s heart pounded, adrenaline humming through her veins. He was going to kiss her, and she knew instinctively that if he did she would not find any of this strange. Her distance was the only thing keeping her sane –
And then she saw it.
It was as beautiful as a rescue ship to a drowning man. It shone brightly, like the first dawn a released convict sees, free of the prison.
The Exit sign.
It was the type of sign that she had seen throughout all her life, red – bright. She had seen it at movie theaters, schools – even hospitals, but never had it been more welcome.
She took a deep breath. Everything was moving in slow motion. He was mere inches away now.
She shoved him with all her might, her head reeling, and ran at a mad dash towards the exit. She did not look back – not even when she heard him fall to the ground with a great crash.

1 comment:

Enchanted Etymologist said...

Here is another excerpt from a story I'm writing. This one is a fantasy novel about a sorcerer trapped in New York City - and yes it is a comedy. What do you think?