I have been posting instalments of the Fantasy story I wrote about 17 years ago every Sunday and Wednesday afternoons. Except last Sundays was posted on Monday and Wednesday’s was posted on Friday morning… .
Now I am back to my usual Schedule.
Here is the next part.
If you would like to read it from the start, this is the first part:
Lara hadn’t realised how, without thinking, she must have been making Bethra feel. She had taken so much of her life for granted. She had been pampered and spoilt. Loved by her Father and respected by people without having earned it, just because she was the Governor’s daughter. Only now she was beginning to realise how lucky she’d been. She thought of how much harder Bethra’s life had been and she felt guilt deep within her, possibly for the first time in her sheltered and self-contained little life. She was beginning to see the wider world and it was opening her mind and her emotions to new sensations.
As Lara walked down those narrow wooden stairs she could hear the noises coming from the common room below. The laughter, singing and general sound of people trying to forget they had troubles drifted to her ears. When she entered, the smell of pipe-smoke assaulted her nostrils and made her eyes sting. She could see David sitting at a table in the corner talking to one of the Merchants. It was the grim one, who always wore grey. The man was smiling as he spoke to David, something she had never seen on his face before, but when he saw her standing in the doorway his smile disappeared to be replaced by his more usual scowl. Was it her imagination or was there a touch of fear in his face? Was she not have supposed to have seen them together? Lara decided she would pretend she didn’t see them and instead walked straight through the room and through the door to the reading room beyond. The reading room was used as the towns library and was filled from floor to ceiling with books on the shelves that lined the walls. The smell of old leather and paper combined to form a much more pleasant perfume than had been present in the common room. Although quite a nice room, it wasn’t as grand as the great library in Argor, which was now the greatest depositories of knowledge in the country. The Library in the Rosana Palace in the Capital used to be the biggest, but it was burned to the ground in the revolution. So many Libraries had been burned, almost as if it was the books who were the enemy. Luckily his father had restored order in Argor quickly and preserved the library there.
At first she thought she had the room to herself, but then she saw Mage Caraffi in the corner gazing at a chessboard. Lara sat down opposite him and they began a game. She loved playing chess. It was something that her Father had taught her and when he wasn’t too busy, they would enjoy a game. She was quite good at it. In just six moved each, she had managed to put Caraffi’s king in check. With his king threatened, Caraffi brought in his Queen to take one of her pieces but had left it vulnerable. With a whoop of triumph Lara took his queen with her Knight. Calmly, the mage moved in his bishop which had been at the back of the line, captured her Knight and left her King in Checkmate. The game was over. Lara was furious with herself. She had been winning but had neglected to pay attention to his bishop.
“Remember Lara, not all your enemies are obvious. Sometimes they can be hidden.”
Lara changed the subject quickly, the Mage made her nervous when he spoke in that mysterious way and his eyes glowed green from the light of a nearby lamp.
“Augustus? Tell me a little about yourself. I know you Mages are secretive and mysterious but surely you know me well enough by not to tell me something of your past?”
“I was born a long time ago and a long way from here. I am a lot older than I look. I know I look to you about thirty-five, but I am many years older than that.”
Actually Lara had thought he was over forty but decided to only think it and not say it and hope he couldn’t read her mind like old Angstrom.
The Mage continued “This is something you should be aware of Lara. Mages do not age as normal human beings do. We age much slower and live a lot longer. Although it hasn’t been measured exactly, the life expectancy of a Mage can depend on how powerful they are, what type of Mage they, how often they use their magic and even on whereabouts they live. A rough average life expectancy is around One hundred and forty years old. Generally, High-Mages live longer than Mages because they are usually more powerful, which is why they achieved higher rank in the first place. Although rank is not just awarded for pure power but hopefully for intelligence and wisdom also. Mages, of course, are just as susceptible to diseases and plagues as anyone else. A sword or an arrow is just as dangerous to us too. Oh, and by the way, you remember those testing jewels I gave you? How have you been getting on with them?”
“I forgot all about them. I still have them but while we held in Savarias I hid them away in case they were recognised for being ‘Mage tools’. Then I packed them in my saddlebags and I haven’t used them since. I remember they made me feel very strange. Each one made me feel slightly differently, it’s hard to explain exactly how. When I closed my eyes and grabbed them at random I found that for some reason I had chosen some jewels more often than others. Some of them practically leapt into my hand. Eventually I could even tell which jewel I had grabbed before I looked at it, based on how easy it had come and how it made me feel. I picked up the Garnet most often, about twenty times out of forty. It always made me feel invigorated and full of energy, like liquid fire flowed in my veins. The smoky grey gem I picked up about ten times. It made me feel quite calm but also exhilarated at the same time, like I was soaring high above over mountains and forests. I could almost feel the wind rushing past me. The Amethyst made me feel quiet and calm like I was floating along a calm river with gentle currents caressing me softly. The Diamond had the strangest effect on me of all. It made me imagine that I had a third eye, in the middle of my forehead. The eye was like a telescope so that when I opened it I could see for miles off into the distance. How odd is that? I didn’t pick the emerald up at all. I felt a pull towards the garnet and to a lesser extent the smoky grey gem and the Amethyst, but I felt repelled by the emerald. When I made myself touch it, it felt uncomfortable, like it wanted to jump away. When I had it in my hand I had a dizzy feeling like I was falling from a great height into a pit with no bottom. The sensation always made me feel queasy, but that may have been the motion of the coach. Tell Me Augustus, what does it all mean? What are those gemstones supposed to teach me?”
End of Part Nineteen.
To be continued……
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 22/July/2018