I have been posting instalments of the Fantasy story I wrote about 17 years ago every Sunday and Wednesday afternoons.
Here is the next instalment.
If you would like to read it from the start, this is the first part:
Bethra was bored with her book. She had borrowed it out of the reading room when they’d arrived two days ago; she was at least halfway through it. The story was about a girl called Alice who feel down a hole. Bethra thought that Alice was a perfectly silly name. The more she read the story, the more Alice reminded her of her cousin Lara ‘miss prim and proper, aren’t I all sweet and lovely’! It wasn’t so much that she hated Lara, she didn’t really, but she did hate the fact that Lara always appeared to have everything she wanted. In a fit of pique, Bethra threw the book across the room. It bounced off the wall with a thud and landed on Lara’s bed. ‘Let Lara read the stupid book’ thought Bethra ‘I’m sure that Alice and Lara will get on splendidly anyway’. Bethra got up, checked her reflection in the mirror. Her pale blonde hair gleamed, she had washed it three times that morning to ensure that it did. She was wearing a dress of finely woven pale blue wool with pink bows on it. She puffed up the bows, checked herself one last time then left the room to join the others in the common room.
As she walked downstairs into the smoky atmosphere Bethra could hear the rain beating against the window panes. In the far corner of the room and sitting all by himself, was David. He was staring out of the window. She liked David a lot. He was not stuck up like Lara was and he knew what it was like to be ignored and patronised. She sat down next to him and he turned to look at her with hazy eyes and a confused expression on his face.
“David? It’s me, Bethra, are you all right?” Bethra asked.
His glazed expression faded and he smiled at her with his usual grin.
“Of course I’m all right Bethra. I was in a trance, that’s all. I fall into them from time to time.”
“Ooooh, Were you seeing into the future? Tell me.”
“No, not really, although I did see something that may be in the future. I saw great things ahead of us, maybe.”
“Where is Lara and Mage Caraffi?” Bethra enquired.
“I don’t know, I thought they were upstairs.”
At that moment Mage Caraffi emerged from the reading room, David jumped to see him standing there. The Mage gave them both a glance of intense scrutiny.
“I think you two should join us in the reading room. We need to discuss our plans.”
David stood up immediately and Bethra soon followed suit. The Mage had an authority in his voice that she couldn’t bring herself to disobey. They followed the Mage into the reading room and after they passed him, he shut the door firmly. Bethra thought to herself that the local population must be almost illiterate because, nice though it was, they had not seen anyone else use this room while they’d been there.
Bethra and David sat down in a couple of leather chairs next to Lara who was looking slightly embarrassed.
Caraffi turned to face them. “Right, we need to discuss what we are going to do. The ford here is impassable and judging by the amount of rain we’ve had will probably remain so for weeks, if not months. The Ferry, upstream in Coltswood, would be an option if we could get there, but the side road is too muddy at the moment.”
Bethra spoke up “But you’re a Mage, aren’t you? Why don’t you magic the foul weather away?” She said wriggling her fingers in demonstration.
Caraffi focussed his attention on to her, his emerald eyes glittering ominously.
“You have absolutely no idea of the complexities of weather manipulation. It is a highly delicate and sophisticated art. A butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the world could cause a hurricane on the other side, Such is the delicate balance of nature. Imagine the chaos I could unleash if I disturbed that natural balance. It takes many years of study and a tremendous talent for weather magic to successfully alter the weather patterns without releasing untold chaos. I wouldn’t want to unleash chaotic energy on which the Chaos Lords of the Grey Magehood could feast upon and draw their evil and perverted magic.”
His words seemed to chill the room better than any spell could have done. Bethra gulped and remained silent.
Lara disturbed that eerie silence “I suppose we will just have to sit here and moulder in this Inn until the rain stops and the road is dried out enough for us to ride to the ferry. It’s a good job I packed enough money with us. This inn isn’t cheap you know and an extra week will eat heavily into our resources.” She stalked out of the room and closed the door loudly behind her.
Bethra and David sat down at the Chessboard. Bethra proceeded to teach David how to play. He’d never learned because he said no one bothered to teach a scullery maid’s son how to play chess.
Augustus Caraffi stood at the window and looked out at the dark overcast sky.
Weather manipulation was indeed every bit as dangerous as he’d said it was. It was a highly difficult magical art and required a great deal of talent, but it one in which he was particularly adept. He was convinced that he would not have to alter the natural weather patterns to stop the rain and bring back the fair weather. He was now sure that the bad weather they were experiencing was itself caused by someone, a very powerful someone, manipulating the weather themselves. All he would have to do, when he was ready, was to restore the natural order. At the moment, however, he was quite happy to remain at the inn for another week or so. Whoever had manipulated the weather had inadvertently aided his own plans.
End of Part Twenty-One.
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 29/July/2018