This is an extract of a fantasy story I wrote many years ago, in 1999/2000.
This follows on from this post:
“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!”
“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
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