Thursday, 13 September 2012

High Magister

Yet another site I’ve been reading for a while now but hadn’t got around to entering their flash fiction challenges is the Parking Lot Confessional. I’m not sure if entries in their 500 hundred club have to be dead on in number, but I guess I will work it out as I intend to participate more often. It makes a nice change for me, going over the word count for once, most of my pieces tend to be under whatever target is set us. One of the choices for this week was to write about something loved that was forgotten, so I took the easy route and wrote about love. 

I finished this a few days ago, but yet again, they’re mucking around with filtering software at work, and blogspot was on the hit list, so I think I've just managed to scrape in before the deadline. It also makes reading other people’s entries in various flash fiction challenges difficult.

Picture from here

Ervity was High Magister and throughout the kingdom, he was the final say in all matters magical. Steeped in lore, his form remained ageless, his violet eyes burned with an inner fire. Those eyes had captivated many a maiden, but his studies had always kept him aloof. That changed when the russet locks of one of the serving staff had a similar effect on Ervity. Shorn of his usual confidence the wizard was slow to court Penny, not just because her station was so much lower than his. Eventually - and without the influence of Ervity’s arts - the relationship blossomed into into the worst kept romance the palace had ever known. Instead of being sequestered amongst his books and alchemical equipment, the High Magister was to be found in the laundry, scullery, or wherever his beloved was working.

Granting an unaksed-for boon to his wizard, the king kindly transferred Penny to the staff of the High Magister so that Ervity would be more focused. Rumour ran rife through the palace, but the two did not mind... the mage was well-liked and the teasing was largely good natured. But as the years progressed, and her auburn hair faded to grey, his fondness for her lessened and he became distant - Penny found herself relegated to someone Below Stairs again. If she had been a woman of means, she could  have left in a flounce of skirts and a moue of disgust. But Penny was practical - she was under no illusions she would find better employment outside the castle especially at her age, so she buried her sadness under a professional demeanour and kept to cooking, scrubbing and dusting.

It came to her one day that maybe magic could solve their situation. She was loathe to broach the subject with Ervity, especially since he prided himself on not using sorcery to win her heart all those years ago.Taking the little money she had saved over the years, she spoke with one of the magicians who traded in love potions and fortune telling down by the dockyards. For a small fee (conveniently the exact amount she had brought with her) he instructed her in the design of a sigil that was certain to work.

After washing the needle in her tears, Penny carefully sewed the symbol into the hem of Ervity’s robes of state, using a single iron grey hair as her thread. Penny did not expect the rune of forgetfulness to have an instantaneous effect, but as the weeks progressed, Ervity seemed no closer to her. Perhaps her stitching hadn’t been accurate? Or his wards and defences too strong? Fretting and unsure of herself, Penny waited with a heavy heart.

On the evening of the full moon, just mere days before Penny was going to admit what she had attempted, the magic took effect. The colour of Penny’s hair was not all that departed the memory of the mage. The next morning found him helpless as a babe, unsuitable to fulfil the duties of his rank, or even comport himself in polite company. No-one was able to reverse the spell, and the position of High Magister was passed to another. Penny saw out her days, caring for the man she once loved, but not in the manner she had hoped for.

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