This is the next instalment of the fantasy story I wrote many years ago.
I still haven’t got a title for it, so if you can think of a good one, let me know in the comments. 🙂
If you would like to read it from the start, this is the first part:
In the Citadel of the Sun, a thousand miles to the North of Argor, a ceremony was taking place. This was the city from which the Red Magehood commanded its vast empire. This city was the very nerve centre of the Red Magehood’s power. The Empire of the Red Magehood covered nearly a third of the whole world, from the Ice-Tundra wastes in the North to the Great Dividing Mountain range in the south. From the Emerald Ocean in the west to the empty swamps and forests in the east.
In the Citadel, every full moon, the ritual of protection had to be recast. It was a ceremony that had taken place for as long as anyone could remember and for as far back as the records in the archives went. The ceremony was always conducted by the High Sorcerer of the Red Magehood himself. The Citizens of the city gathered around the temple of fire to gaze on the power of their leader.
High Sorcerer Tiberius Dinantius stood on the top of the pyramidal temple and waved his arms in the air, clearing the clouds and exposing the light of the full moon which bathed the city in its cold light and drove away the dark shadows. Gongs sounded from four directions and echoed around the ancient temples and palaces of the inner City. The Slight and elderly figure of the High-Sorcerer pointed upwards with his athame, his sacred sword, in one had and his staff in the other. Blue and red flames shot upwards from his outstretched arms followed by lightning striking upwards, accompanied by a loud crack of thunder. The flames then fountained like a thousand fireworks and surrounded the city with a cascading waterfall of colour and fire. The Gongs sounded three times and the ritual was over. Once again the City was covered by a protective dome that would keep its citizens safe from attack. It would prevent any Magic from being cast by anyone who was not a member of the Red Magehood. There would be feasting this night to celebrate this monthly renewal. In the streets the people had already begun their merrymaking. Musical instruments of many kinds started up and people began singing and dancing as almost unnoticed the silent procession of Mages with the High Sorcerer himself and all his disciples made their way back to their fortress on the slopes of the great fire-mountain.
The next day at noon, the Grand Council of the Red Magehood gathered. The atmosphere within the council chamber was even more oppressive than usual. There had been a shift in the magical forces that Mages could catch and use, anyone with the talent could feel that something had changed. Here among the most experienced and powerful, this shift had been felt like a major earthquake. People were scared, but powerful people were not allowed to say they were afraid or show they were shaken by fear. They had to pretend and that had caused the atmosphere to feel so heavy in the chamber. The enormous, cathedral-like space was surrounded by large pointed windows. The walls were panelled in highly polished mahogany, imported from the Elvenlands to the far south-east. The floor was covered in a Crimson carpet and all the benches were covered with red cushions. At one end of the room was a raised platform on which stood an enormous wooden chair, intricately carved with flames and dragons. A dragon with rubies the size of walnuts for its eyes stood just above the head of whoever would sit in this great chair. The Dragon throne would inspire fear and awe in any who approached it. The current occupant appeared to be a man of around sixty years of age, but he was actually three times that and had sat on the Dragon Throne for nearly fifty years. His robes were a mixture of scarlet satin and blood-red velvet with gold embroidery in flame like motifs. He had bright blue eyes that had the piercing stare of a bird of prey, under bushy black eyebrows. His grey hair was streaked with pure white wings at his temples and his raptor like appearance was finished with his bold nose. He had a pleasant demeanour about him, like that of a kindly uncle but around him the air crackled with so much latent power that no one could doubt he was the rightful occupant of that chair. Near the throne were six smaller thrones placed around a large table. These were the chairs of the six sorcerers of the Red Magehood who along with the High Sorcerer ran the entire Empire. On plain benches spread around the chamber and rising in rose sat the High-Mages that were appointed to represent their lands on the council for a period of ten years.
The High Sorcerer spoke, his voice was strong and clear, if edged with impatience.
“Have you learned anything more from studying the heavens? Can you be any more specific yet?”
The question was directed at one of the six sorcerers, Carnelius Kaprical, the Keeper of the Archives and the most adept at Astrology and predicting the future. He responded with a quiet, fragile tone.
“I’m sorry, great one, but the heavens remain vague on this particular subject, choosing only to convey brief snippets of the knowledge they posses.”
“Stop talking like a poet with gastric trouble and give me some facts. This prophecy spells out our potential doom and no one has studied it in more depth than you have. Perhaps you could begin at the beginning and inform the whole assembly of what we know to date. They have all felt the recent shifts in our energy patterns and they have a right to know more.”
“Yes, High Sorcerer. We know that around seventeen years ago a star was born in the Demetrius triangle, which usually denotes the birth of a powerful Mage. Shortly afterwards a red star appeared in close proximity to the first. This could mean that another powerful mage was born, with a connection to the first, some fateful link, or in could possibly be One Mage with two possible destinies. Shortly after their appearance, the two stars began drifting together slowly across the night sky. Over the last seventeen years they have passed through all six of the constellations of Magehood, starting in the eye of the Dragon, denoting the Red Magehood, it has passed through the Tree, The Snake, The Unicorn, the Puma and the Demon. I have interpreted this to mean that the fate of this powerful mage, or mages, will affect all the orders of Magehood. A supernova also occurred in the Dragon constellation which indicates that soon, and probably within our lifetime, there will be a cataclysmic event that will bring great damage to the Red Magehood. One that will make even those terrible wars in Re’aldorin, that damaged our standing there, seem just a minor event.”
End of Part Fifteen.
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 08/July/2018