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:
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?