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.”

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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?

Death of a Notable – Murder Mystery, Part Six

This is the Sixth part of a Murder Mystery that I have been writing. It is supposed to be in the style of the great Agatha Christie.

For those of you desperate for the end…we are almost there.

This is the first part if you want to read it from the beginning:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/04/27/death-of-a-notable-a-murder-mystery/

Inspector Thorpe yawned. It was Eleven thirty now. Well just one more interview then he could go home. He’ll file the report in the morning. Then they will have to wait for the results from the forensic team before taking any further steps. He had to keep an open mind about it. It could very well have been just an accident. Young men do choke to death, thankfully not too often, but it does happen. He wondered what Mrs Winthrop and the Young scientist had talked about for nearly half an hour before her other guests started to arrive. She was rather glamorously dressed too. His thoughts went through all the likely and unlikely scenarios before he brought himself up short again and reminded himself that as yet nothing was proved. He had one more hurdle to jump before he could leave too.

He decided to have the courtesy of visiting the cook in her own domain rather than have her come to him. It was a mark of respect that he hoped the cook would appreciate.

As he walked into the kitchen, he was amused to see Sergeant Sheldon sitting down drinking a cup of tea while the cook was reprimanding him with her large arms waving around. She was a statuesque woman of large proportions with black hair piled up on her head in the tight bun to keep it out-of-the-way. She had on a plain dress with her sleeves rolled up and a white apron. Her overall appearance was like that of a large opera singer. Only it wasn’t singing that was coming out of her mouth but an emotional tirade. Then she noticed the Inspector and her tirade was directed at him.

“So here you are at last? Have you any idea of how late it is? I have got to be up at six to start on breakfast. I do need some sleep you know! Well now you’re here, would you like a cup of tea? I think there’s one in the pot.”

“No please don’t trouble yourself. I will just ask my question then we will be off and leave you. I am sorry for the wait, I had to make my way round everyone. I must say you keep a very tidy kitchen.”

Inspector Thorpe hoped this would make her a little less hostile. It did seem to work.

“Yes, I can’t stand mess and disorder. Actually, the wait gave me time to do a thorough clean of all the work tops. So, what would you like to ask me Inspector?”

“Is there anything you can tell me about this evening?”

“Well I was down here the whole time. I never go upstairs, except to go up to bed; my room is on the top floor. I know there was a young man who choked to death. I hope you don’t think there was anything wrong with my cooking. There wasn’t a bone in that consommé, I can assure you.”

“I understand that he didn’t have the consommé, he had mushroom soup instead.”

“Oh, that explains it. I made the beef consommé and Reg, that’s Mr Hargreaves, took the soup upstairs. I was just warming up the mushroom soup that we were going to have for our tea. I had made it for the previous evenings dinner but there was quite a bit left and waste not want not I always say. Then Reg comes back down and grabs the saucepan, pours the soup into another bowl and walks away with it, without so much as a by your leave!”

“There was nothing else you can tell me? Nothing out-of-order?”

“No Sir, nothing what so ever. Except of course we have a topside of beef that didn’t get eaten. I will have to do something with that. I can’t think of anything else out of the ordinary.”

As she spoke, she kept stroking her hair which seemed to the inspector to be quite a nervous tic. She looked him right in the eye though. Perhaps his mind was playing tricks. It was late and sometimes you start reading too much into things.

“Thank you for your time. We will leave you now. Good night.”

Sergeant Sheldon quickly downed his tea. There was a door to the street from the kitchen that opened onto a basement with steps up to street level.

“Can we go out this door? Save going back through the house and disturbing everyone” Said the Inspector.

“No, you don’t want to go that way, that’s just for the servants.” Said the Cook rather taken aback that they would use a servant’s entrance.

“Has anybody used this door tonight at all? Anyone come through here?”

“No Inspector, no one at all. I can attest to that, I have been here all evening. The door is kept locked.”

“Well we’ll just use it to leave now if that’s OK.”

The Inspector turned the key and opened the door to the outside. In the basement area it was full of the usual collection of dustbins, kitchen waste and other bits of rags. It looked like a tramp had made his home there at some point, judging from the bottles and the pile of old clothes. Then he saw a small cylindrical object, black with just a touch of gold decoration. It appeared to be a lady’s lipstick. What was that doing there? Without drawing attention to himself the Inspector knelt down to tie up his shoelace and deftly picked up the lipstick with his handkerchief and put it into his pocket.

Turning back to the Cook who was standing at the door wiping her hands on her apron, the Inspector said “Good night.” Then they climbed the metal staircase up to street level. He heard the kitchen door close and the lock click.

Inspector Thorpe turned to Sergeant Sheldon and said, in a rather abrupt manner “Right, off you go Sergeant. I will see you first thing in the morning and we’ll write up the report then.”

They parted and both went back to their homes in far less fancy parts of London.

End of Part Six….

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 02/May/2018

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/abrupt/