Birth of a Magician
by Clyde Andrews
|Table of Contents|
Part 1 appears
in this issue.
I moved back to the centre of the cellar and commenced my work. With chalk in hand I drew a circle with formulae all around the outer edge on the floor. Inside the circle I then placed the mirror. Half way there, I thought and smiled.
I then pushed my spectacles up the bridge of my nose. Almost nervous now. I was ready for the final part of the possession spell. However, I needed some insurance: a protection circle for myself, a possession circle for the dark magicians, and finally, to make sure the plan went well, a code-breaking spell for that locking formula on their protective circle. I would have to face them eventually.
I pulled the nail file out of my coat pocket. Hopefully there were some fingernail fragments present: the third rule of possession is to acquire a personal item such as a hair or a fingernail. Yes, I was going to fight fire with fire. I was going to possess Valerie Upton.
I could see from the corner of my eyes as I worked that the dark magicians were almost ready to finish the ceremony. All the candles were lit at each point of the pentacle, and they had stopped chanting.
I shuddered, and shivers travelled up and down my spine. I knew there and then that Valerie was going to be the one sacrificed at the end of all this horror, not the baby. They had the sacrificial blade against her bare neck. I decided to act. Unfortunately, I had not completed all my objectives; I would now have to work it out on the fly. I frowned at that thought.
I placed the hair into the possession circle, assuming it was the dark magicians’ hair. if nothing else it would weaken them a little and give me an advantage. Some dark magicians, even though power mad, are unfortunately quite powerful.
I arranged the nail file with the mirror, chanting, “Like water that runs to the sea, Valerie Upton, you are the water, I am your sea. Come to me. Come to me. Become part of the great water.”
The screaming stopped. Valerie was now under my control. I told her to snatch the blade from the dark magician. Luckily the one who was holding it was stunned, and in the end it was easy. They stopped their ceremony, just as I thought. Dark magicians, bah, such amateurs.
I commanded Valerie, with perspiration beading down my temples, to throw the blade to me. She did so without hesitation. I smiled. The blade found its way to me easily: being something of theirs it passed unscathed through the protective circle. It clattered with a metallic ringing somewhere behind me.
The dark magicians were obviously not very happy at this turn of events. However, they could not leave their work: they had to complete the sacrifice at the appointed time to be able to take the child as theirs. Their spokesman stepped to the edge of the protection circle.”Your interfering will not help you, L.J.P.,” he began, but with far more irritation in his voice than before.”I will make sure the woman is dead, even if I have to strangle her with my own hands. I must make sure our goal is complete. The child is ours, face it, old man.”
“Why do you want the child, dear fellow?” I asked, after all, I always like to know the motives of my enemies before I annihilate them.
“As I said: we have been given a gift. A gift that has cost us greatly. It has cost us our...” He stopped himself. The others turned to him, glancing daggers. What he was about to say might jeopardise their nefarious plan.
I flashed a smile at that, but what were they doing?
He composed himself and continued, “We have been given the gift of foresight.”
“Big deal,” I retorted.”I see future things all the time.”
“It is the sight of the magician.”
“I beg your pardon?” I said, not quite understanding the ramifications of his words. I’d never heard of such a thing; and I had been around when it came to magic.
“Our great Lord has given us a gift. A gift to see those that are born as magicians... This, this child will be born a magician,” he glared.”We want this child. Need this child...”
I let him ramble on. I had heard enough. And really after a while all dark side ramblings become the same. Time for stage two, I thought. And none too soon, either: Valerie was about to deliver.
I placed the most common unlocking formula I could think of over the protective circle’s formulae. No result.
“Ha! You are an old fool, L.J.P.” the dark magician snorted.”I will leave you to your pointless work. I have a magician to help deliver.” He then returned to the ceremony. They were at the chanting stage again. Always chanting just when I need to concentrate, too. Darn dark magicians.
I sighed. I was letting Valerie down, but I was never one to give up so easily. There was certainly more ways than one to unlock a protective circle.
I tried another formula; this time something more powerful. I wrote in a grid: SATOR, AREPO, TENET, OPERA, ROTAS. The result was instant, and to my relief, successful. Why are all dark magicians so dim-witted? Never overestimate their knowledge. Fancy creating a protective circle that was unlocked by the SATOR square. That is like using your own name as the password to your bank account. Ridiculous.
I chuckled and proceeded towards Valerie. It was now or never. The dark magicians instantly stopped what they were doing. A look of shock spread across their faces.
The dark magicians backed away as I came forward. This certainly puzzled me. What were they playing at? Was I already too late? I had run out of time in preparing my plans: the baby seemed to be in a hurry to get into this world. I had no time to draw a protective circle for myself.
“Stay back, L.J.P... or the woman gets it,” the spokesman for the dark magicians said. The strain in his voice nearly caused me concern. But not for long. They were dark magicians, after all.
“Why? How are you going to stop me?” I said.
There was a silence.
“How are you going to stop me?” I repeated, writing a formula on my hand with a pen from my pocket.
I approached the pentacle. As I did so the dark magician’s head bowed in shame. The others had backed up against the far wall of the cellar and looked like deer caught in headlights. Those hairs must have been theirs; they were visibly weakened.
I could not believe it. In fact, this was more far more baffling than actually having to deal with them in magical combat. I added, “What is going on?”
“We... don’t come any closer... the woman will suffer otherwise.” The spokesman stepped closer to Valerie as a warning to me.
Just then I had a suspicion, but I had to test it. With the CASED square and accompanying formula drawn on my hand I entered the pentacle. Nothing happened. I smiled, these dark magicians really were ill-prepared.
I walked over to the magician about to climb up onto the podium and strangle Valerie. I reached out and touched the fiend. Instantly he vaporised; his cloak falling empty on the floor. Even I was surprised by that, and I thought I had seen it all. I then grinned, seeing the cloak fall to the floor an amusing thought crossed my mind. I wondered how these inept magicians were going to cope in the Sahara naked.
“Just remember to breathe, Valerie,” I said as I turned my attention to the other three dark magicians, who were now cowering by the wall.
My suspicions were confirmed as I worked my way down the line; they hid their faces from me, frightened and unable to resist. But their weakness did not stop me. I did not have the time nor the patience to show them any compassion; they certainly did not show Valerie any. I sent them away — all but the last one — by touching them with the hand I had drawn the CASED square on.
I needed some answers to this riddle, and I spared one of the magicians the shame of being transported far away with no help and no hope of return — for now. These dark magicians seemed to have little or no magical power. What had they done for this to happen?
“Speak, foul magician,” I said sternly. “Tell me what is going on here.”
“We... We needed the sight... We had no... choice,” he stammered.
“What are you talking about?”
“The sight. We needed to see those born of our world... the sight lets us... do that... See who is... going to b-be a magician.”
“And this sight cost you your powers?”
He looked to the floor and added, “Sort of.”
“What fools you are! You have given up the miracle of magic and your humanity as well. Both have been wasted on you and your so-called friends. I am going to send to a place where you cannot harm us again. ”
“This baby would have saved us. It would have given us all great—”
“But how can you be so stupid?” I cut him off, this conversation was becoming boring anyway. “Did you not know the consequences of such an action? As I said: you wasted your power.” And with that I touched him. He vanished, and just like the others his cloak crumpled into a neat pile on the floor. “Good riddance to bad rubbish,” I whispered to myself as I turned my attention to the only thing that really mattered: Valerie and her baby.
First and foremost I had to release the possession spell so she could deliver her baby naturally. “As the water is taken from the sea and returned to the land by the sun, come back to the land, the light, Valerie Upton. Come back.”
Valerie’s eyes blinked, as if for the first time.”Doctor, what... happened?”
“All in good time, my dear,” I smiled down at her.”For now we have to concentrate on delivering this baby of yours.”
She smiled. I don’t think she even realised she was back in the ward. It took only a few extra equations to convert the dark magicians’ protection circle into a transport circle. Well, I say dark magicians; really they were more like rank amateurs. I smiled down at Valerie. I was sure glad this was all over.
Just then Judy stormed into the ward, two police officers in tow. “VALERIE!” she screamed when she saw her friend safe and sound.
“What seems to be the problem, dear officers?” I said with a cheeky smile. Suffice it to say they left the ward as quickly as they had entered, requesting that Judy go with them. She had a lot of explaining to do, the poor dear. Magic can be very baffling to the uninitiated.
* * *
The dark magicians were right about one thing. This baby, a boy, would most certainly be a magician. He was born, as all magicians are, with a caul.
“Ahh, its a beautiful baby boy, Valerie. I see your baby also has a caul.”
Valerie, still exhausted from this whole ordeal just looked confused and a little bewildered by what I had just said.
I placed the baby into her arms, after I had cut the cord and removed the caul. “I will explain, my dear. I can see you want to know what all the fuss was about. I think you deserve that much.”
She just nodded and said softly, “I know that my child will be different. That is why they took me. But in what way will he be different?”
“He will be a magician; the caul has seen to that.”
“What’s a caul?” she said with genuine curiosity.
“The caul is the name given to the amniotic sac that has remained over the face of a child even after birth. Quite rare,” I said.”It means, my dear, that your baby has kept the inherent powers created by every birth. Simply wondrous. Simply fantastic.”
“I still don’t understand...”
“The caul captures this power. There is only one true miracle in the universe: birth! From the birth of a star to the birth of a child it is a miracle. And I might add, your baby will be a particularly powerful magician: the caul covered his whole head. The dark magicians foresaw that. No wonder they wanted him so badly.”
There was a silence in the ward that was profound. Valerie then understood. She looked down at her baby.”I will call this little magician, Shane... Shane Upton.”
I smiled, “And we will have to keep a close eye on him from now on.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Valerie whispered.
“Oh, my dear, you can call me, L.J.P. I think we have gone well beyond formalities, don’t you think?”
“Yes, it’s a long story, my dear. For now, just know that we magicians hide our true identity; for protection, you know.”
Valerie smiled, “I understand.” She then returned her full attention to her baby boy.
Copyright © 2005 by Clyde Andrews