Nature’s Lessons – A poem

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From the iridescence of a butterflies’ wing

To the Magic of life at its beginning

trees spreading their pretty blossom in spring

and the many joys that natures hand doth fling

All make a case that is most compelling,

The world contains many wonders worth knowing

There is never any end to life’s learning.

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 02/March/2019

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/03/02/learning/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/03/02/your-daily-word-prompt-magic-march-2-2019/

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/03/02/rdp-saturday-irridescence/

FOWC with Fandango — Case

 

 

A Fantasy Tale – Part Six

This is the next instalment of my Fantasy story that I wrote many years ago, in 1999/2000.

If you would like to read it from the start, this is the first part:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/05/26/a-fantasy-tale-part-one/

 

Part Six

Lara did anything but sleep well. She tossed and turned in her sleep then decided it was no good and rose from her bed. The room seemed different from before. The walls seemed to be darker, the shadows larger, the light was strange and rather sinister.

She walked over to the mirror and was shocked to see she was wearing black satin robes and a black mask hid her features. The door opened and two figures came in dragging her cousin Bethra who seemed to be unconscious. They laid her down on a stone table and she walked towards her lifeless body. There was an obsidian knife in her hand. The mask of one of the dark figures holding Bethra down fell away. It was her friend David.

Then Mage Caraffi and the High Mage Angstrom stepped out of the shadows. They started chanting at her in unison.

“Lara, find your source of energy, find your path to ultimate power.”

Lara woke up. The sun was streaming through the window and Bethra was knocking loudly at the connecting door.

“Wake up Lara, you slugabed, or we’ll miss breakfast.”

Meal times were quite important to Bethra and she hated missing a meal. The breakfast was not particularly wonderful. The menu consisted of traditional Argor food, like oat and barley porridge, turnip soup, hard-boiled eggs or toasted bread. Lara much preferred Southern food that they sometimes prepared in the Palace. Spicy pork with peppers, hot spiced eggs with rice, much more interesting that this stuff, Lara thought. 

She just had a slice of toast. 

Mage Caraffi and David came down to breakfast shortly afterwards. Lara Introduced Mage Caraffi to Bethra, David already knew her.

“If you were supposed to be looking after us” Bethra said, disappointed to suddenly have a grown up appear, “Where were you yesterday? We travelled all the way from the City on our own and we survived. I don’t think I need looking after. I’m not a child.”

Mage Caraffi gave Bethra one of his celebrated looks, guaranteed to scare all children, and some adults, into silence. Bethra squeaked, mouselike, and returned to her breakfast.

“How are you feeling this morning Mistress Boadrah?” Said the Mage turning his attention to Lara.

“Oh, I am fine thank you. I think, as you will be with us for several weeks, you may call me Lara. How are you David, you look tired?”

“I’ve been up since 5 o’clock practising my apprentice rituals. Did you sleep well?”

“No, not really. I had nightmares. Silly really, but they were quite disturbing all the same. All about dark Wizards and such like.”

Mage Caraffi drew in his breath sharply through his teeth making a nasty sound.

“Do you mean Wizards, Lara? Or did you actually mean Mages?”

Bethra stopped shovelling porridge into her mouth and asked.

“Is there a difference?”

“Yes, young lady, there is indeed a difference. Wizards mess about with potions and powders. We don’t, we’re professionals!”

After they finished their breakfast Lara went back to her room to pack away her things ready to begin their journey refreshed. She didn’t really want to continue travelling, she’d rather start practising magic. She had just packed her trunk and was about to call for the porter to take it down to the coach when there was a firm knock at the door.

“Yes, come in” She called.

Mage Caraffi walked in.

“David and that silly girl are waiting in the coach for you. Before we go, I might as well show you something. It shouldn’t take too long.” 

Mage Caraffi reached into his robes and pulled out leather bag. He tipped out it’s contents on to the bed. It contained an assortment of large gemstones in various colours. Lara recognised some of them, an enormous emerald and a lovely red garnet. There was also a crystal clear gem that reflected and refracted light into lots of shimmery rainbow, a smoky grey jewel and finally a polished purple amethyst.

Lara couldn’t help gasping in amazement as these jewels glittered and sparkled in the morning light. 

“Goodness! They must be worth a fortune. What are they for?”

“Gemstones have a magic of their own, they contain a crystal matrix that can be used to harness and enhance particular skills and traits. Each of these gems have been finely tuned to detect a skill or talent that may be lurking hidden and latent within a potential Mage. You should receive a particular pull to one or more of these gems and possibly a repulsion from other. While we are riding along in the coach I want you to lay these gems in your lap and concentrate within, like you told me you do. When we stop tonight, I want you to tell me which ones attracted and which repelled you the most. That way we can determine where your talents may lie. You must be absolutely truthful, if you told me a lie at this stage it would be absolutely detrimental to your education and your development as a Mage. By the way, you may call me Augustus if you prefer. Now let’s get going.”

**********************************************************************************

Governor Boadrah sat behind his large oak desk in his office. He already was missing his eldest daughter a lot. He still had Esther, but she was quiet and not as headstrong as Lara. He’d had a lot of trouble from Lara but he admired her character. He was rather pleased with himself how he’d dealt with the matter. Angstrom had told him honestly he thought he’d been a bit abrupt. Well maybe he had, he couldn’t help it, he’d always been that way. Always been a quick thinker too. The idea of sending Lara to Albana had just come to him quickly, like a flash. It would get her away from all that Magic nonsense. Mages were alright in their proper place, the gods knew that Angstrom could be very useful, but he didn’t want one in the family. It had been a good idea to get Bethra off his hands too. She was immature for her age and needed a Mother. Both Lara and Bethra had lost their mothers at a young age. Esther was his daughter by his second marriage. His second wife was very much alive, but they had grown apart. She was now living an independent life, spending his money and enjoying herself in the Capital. Esther spent the summer with her Mother and the Winter with him. 

Lara and Bethra would greatly benefit from some time with his cousin, Lady Hardcastle. He had asked his cousin to look after them while they were in Albana and continue their educations. She’d take no-nonsense from them, that’s for sure, a proper battle-axe she was.

************************************************************************************

High Mage Angstrom was very worried. Of all the Mages to send, he’d had to send the one he’d known the least about. Augustus Caraffi had not been one of his students and hadn’t grown up in the Mage school at Argor. All the other Mages had either studied under him or under High Mage Landerby, who been a student with him and was an old friend, as were the Mages Sturmburg and Harrison. Mage Caraffi had studied elsewhere and had arrived fourteen years ago from the mountainous district of Toric to the East. He’d had excellent teaching qualifications so he put him to work as a member of the teaching faculty at the Mage school, but he’d never been sure of Caraffi. Why couldn’t one of the others had been free? 

Yes Angstrom was very worried.

End of Part Six.

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 08/June/2018

I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you liked and what didn’t work so well.

Would you like to hear more?

A Fantasy Tale – Part Three

This is an extract of a fantasy story I wrote many years ago, in 1999/2000.

This follows on from this post:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/05/26/a-fantasy-tale-part-one/

 

Part Three

Lara wondered where the High Mage had gone. Half an hour ago he had announced he would be back soon, but there was something important he needed to do. David had returned to his lessons with his tutor, Mage Caraffi, who by all accounts was brilliant but considered quite a nutcase. Becoming quite annoyed at being left alone for so long, Lara stood up to leave. Just at that moment the old man returned, slightly red in the face.

“Where do you think you’re going young lady? If you have no patience then you’ll have to learn some. Practising magic can make angling look interesting at times” Barked the High Mage.

“But where have you been? I have been sitting here waiting for you for ages.”

“The call of nature affects us all, you know. Just because I’m a High Mage does not mean my digestive system stops working. If you are so fascinated about where I go then I will send you a copy of my social diary. Now let’s get to work.”

High Mage Angstrom began rummaging around in an old chest of drawers. Eventually he produced a handful of old yellow parchment covered with wiggly symbols. He laid them out on the mahogany desk and beckoned Lara closer.

“I presume you know all about the different schools of Magehood?” the High Mage enquired.

“Well, no, I’m afraid I don’t know anything at all about Wizards. That’s why I’m here, after all.”

The High Mage drew himself up to his full height and puffed out his chest. Indignantly he said “WIZARDS! WIZARDS! We are not Wizards. We are Mages. We practice Magic NOT Wizardry. Wizards are not much better than Witches. Bunch of amateurs, that’s what they are.”

“Oh, I’m sorry but I thought you were all called Wizards.”

“Maybe to the ignorant. To anyone with a scrap of education and knowledge, we are Mages. Anyway, as I was saying, there are several schools of magic, designated by a colour. I am a High Mage of the Red Magehood, but there are also others.”

“What make as Wiz…er Mage a Red Mage?”

“Good question. To put it as simply as I can, a Mage taps energy and controls it to cast spells. The source of that energy designates to which school of magic we belong. Red Mages tap the energy within ourselves, within each and every one of us. We can use the energy our own bodies convert from the food we eat and use it to bring about our wishes.”

“Fascinating, but what other kinds can there be?” Lara asked.

“Well, you can draw energy from the natural surroundings, the trees, rivers and the wind all produce an energy that can be tapped. Mages that use this source of energy are known as Green Mages. They live far off to the South of here in the swamps, marshes and Jungles. They’re just a bunch of druids really, they’ve absolutely no refinement or finesse.”

Lara was thankful that she had been friends with Old Cornelius, her father’s resident physicist. He had taught her something about energy but she had never thought she would ever need it.

The High Mage continued.

“There are also White Mages. They draw energy from, what they call the eternal spirit and source of all goodness. It’s all a load of tripe, I say. Source of goodness? Absolute poppycock! I must admit though, they can cast some very impressive magic when they do decide to use it. Whites believe they can’t use their magic for selfish reasons, just for their own good, only for the benefit of others, and what’s the point of that, I’d like to know? There are a couple of White mages here in the Palace, you may not have seen them, they are rather quiet. They are representatives of some kingdom far off to the East. They look more like peasants than Mages. Where was I? Oh Yes, there are those Purple Mages.”

From his dark tone, Lara gathered that High Mage Angstrom did not think at all admirably of these Purple Mages, she wondered to herself why that could be.

The High Mage interrupted her thoughts, “Your problem Lara is that you think too much. Just listen to me for now. Purple Mages tap the energy from other people, rather than themselves. They drain the energy from their victims to bring about their wishes. They usually have lots of slaves that they use for this purpose and they have developed some quite obscene acts and rituals to get the maximum benefit from their poor victims. They have absolutely no morals or scruples. Nothing is out-of-bounds, they destroy defenceless animals and even innocent children. Evil creatures they are, and I’m glad to say we have no representatives from them in the palace. They live to the south and west of here, over the great mountains.”

The time was progressing rapidly, it was nearly lunchtime already. Her Father would soon be wondering where she was. What excuse could she think of? She had been to the Doctors already that week. He had told her not to bother him and it wasn’t at all unusual to have a spot in that particular part of her body. Then it came to her. Her Ballet lessons would make excellent excuse. She no longer went because she saw no reason why she’d want to be able to do the splits. Her Father would never know.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door and it then swung open to reveal the bulky figure of her Father. He looked surprised to see his eldest daughter there.

“Lara! What on earth are you doing here? I told you I didn’t want you talking to Wizards. Sorry Angstrom, no offence intended. Answer me girl, why are you here?”

Lara stuttered over her reply “Father…I…er…well, I thought I would…I have the gift Father.” She confessed.

Her Father raised his voice even further.”Don’t be so stupid girl. You can’t have the gift. No One in my family have ever had the gift. Never. You’re coming with me girl. Gift Indeed. What you need is a bit of young company to take your mind of this sort of thing, parties and such like. I am going to send you away, you and your cousin Bethra, to stay with my cousin, Lady Hardcastle in the city of Albana. You’ll enjoy the livelier atmosphere and have lots of fun there and Magic is illegal so you’ll be free of all that nonsense. Now get back to your room and pack.”

“But Father” Lara protested.

“GO!” Her Father shouted.

Knowing never to argue with her Father, Lara quickly ran back to her quarters as fast as she could. What on earth was she going to do? How can she go to a place where magic was illegal? She was Magic. 

End of Part Three

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 29/May/2018

I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you liked and what didn’t work so well.

Would you like to hear more?

A Fantasy Tale – Part Two

This is an extract of a fantasy story I wrote many years ago, in 1999/2000.

This follows on from this post:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/05/26/a-fantasy-tale-part-one/

Part Two

“Good morning little one” the over loud voice of Mistress Calvert, her personal matron, greeted her. 

She Like Minni, as Mistress Calvert liked to be known by her charges, but she did keep thinking of her as a child.

“Good morning Minni. What time is it?”

“It’s half past Six, my cherub. You did ask to be woken up early, though you wouldn’t tell me why. Quite unlike you to be so secretive. It hurts when after all I have done for you, you can’t confide in old Minni.”

“I can’t for the life of me think why I wanted to be up this early. I only got to be a few hours ago…..Oh Warts! Now I remember.”

“Well really Miss, not like you to use such unladylike language. I have a mind not to let you go wherever it is you’re going. Where is that, my cherry pip? Where are you going at this time of the morning? Only servants are up this early and of course Wizards never sleep at all, do they?”

Realising that, after all, Minni seemed to have guessed where she was going, She decided to come clean. How typical of Minni, she could read her like a book.

“Well, you guessed right Minni, I’m off to see High Mage Angstrom. Please don’t tell Father, you know how he feels about Wizards. Now quick, help me get ready, I have to be there in half an hour.”

Minni helped get her ready and as she did Lara was forced to listen to a torrent of words.

“You must never keep a wizard waiting, no knowing what curse or spell they’ll put on you, or your family even. My friend, Lindi, swears her Jack’s lumbago was brought on because he didn’t turn up on time to fix Old Angstrom’s window. Still in agony he is after seven years. Then there is my friend Beatrice. She accidentally spilt Landerby’s tea when serving his breakfast and now she’s got that terrible wart on her elbow…..”

After twelve minutes of listing to all the friends that Minni had that have some complaint or another that can flimsily be connected somehow to a Wizard, Lara was finally ready.

“How do I look Minni?”

“Why you look angelic dear. A perfect Angel. Now you’d better hurry if you don’t want to be late. There’s a much quicker way to get to the Wizards tower if you go via the Kitchens and the West wing drawing-room. Hurry along dear and be careful.”

She walked briskly though the palace. Occasionally servants going about their daily chores of dusting and sweeping stopped to bow or curtsey and she responded with a smile. She ran down the servant’s steps to the main kitchens. Normally she would stop to talk to Mistress Dreyfus, the Cook, but now she just waved and hurried past.

“That child never stops for a chat nowadays” Said the cook to one of her helpers.

“Gone are the days when she would ask to lick the custard spoon.” After a wistful sigh the cook returned to thumping some dough with a rolling-pin.

Lara travelled on swiftly through the west wing and passed a beanpole of a man who gave her a very odd look. She ignored him. This was the wing used by foreign diplomats and her Father hated her to go near here as a rule, but it was the quickest way to get to High Mage Angstrom’s study.

“That’s the Governor’s daughter,” thought the envoy from Garmax as Lara ran past. “Stuck up and self-centered that one is. She could make an excellent hostage though. I bet her Father would pay a pretty penny to get her back.”

Finally reaching the stairs of the Wizard’s tower Lara began to climb. After nearly two hundred steps, Lara had reached One hundred and Seventy Three before she got bored and stopped counting, she reached the ornately carved wooden door to High Mage Angstrom’s study. She had six minutes to spare. Taking a deep breath Lara was just about to knock when the door swung open and a voice came from inside.

“Come in Lara. No use in standing out there forever.” The High Mage said gruffly.

She walked in and saw the Old man sitting behind his desk near the window and her friend, David was standing there too, in his plain novice robes.

“Hello David, what are you doing here?”

The High Mage interjected before David could reply.

“He is here because I told him to be here. By the way, you are early. I said Seven o’clock and there still 5 minutes to go.”

Lara couldn’t help remembering what Minni had been saying about cures and her friends warts. She started to feel just a little bit afraid.

“Well, I will spare you the warts this time young lady” The old man said with a glint of a smile. “Take a seat over there Lara. David, please fetch us some tea. Would you like some Crumpets? You should never undertake anything on an empty stomach, you know.”

Lara sat in the chair indicated and nodded that she would indeed love some crumpets. She hadn’t time for breakfast and the thought of crumpets made her stomach growl with hunger.

“David, as her friend, I think you should know that Lara has the ‘gift’.”

A loud crash filled the room as David dropped the teapot on the floor.

“The Gift?” Said David, becoming soprano all of a sudden. Lara felt she had to say something.

“Yes, David. I wasn’t sure at first, that’s why I wanted to speak to the High Mage in secret and now I know. I didn’t want anyone else to know though.”

David looked at her with sad eyes. Was there just a touch of jealousy?

“Lara, I have always dreamt of being a Mage and I have been studying for nearly a year. It will take many years of studying before I become a Mage and all this time you have had a natural ability and you never told me.”

“I wasn’t sure until that accident with the Baron Hawksworth.”

“You mean, that Gargoyle falling from the sky on his head, that was you?”

“Well, I caused it to happen. I know I’m no goddess but I’m not so ugly to be mistaken for a gargoyle!”

They laughed.

“You knew what I meant.”

The gruff voice of the High Mage interrupted their light-hearted conversation. 

“Now Young man, go get a dustpan and clean up that mess you’ve made. In future, I will make the tea.” 

A cup of tea materialised on Lara’s lap and beside her on a small table a plate of hot buttered crumpets appeared.

“Thank you” said Lara but then, just to show off she tried to make some honey appear to sweeten her tea. The bee hive that suddenly appeared on the mantelpiece complete with a swarm of bees was a complete surprise.

“I’m Surrounded by Idiots!” cried the High Mage waving his hands. The hive and all but one elusive bee disappeared. “I can see you are badly in need of teaching. Hurry up and finish your breakfast so we can begin.”

Eager to begin her lessons Lara ate her food too quickly and began hiccoughing. 

End of Part Two.

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 29/May/2018

I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you liked and what didn’t work so well.

Would you like to hear more?