fulfilling the favor

The hidden pathways of magic, opened upon her command, and she stepped into the swirling madness and then safely into the tall flowing grasses that flanked the river.  Its strong currents murmured noisily, and she smiled at the thought that it was perhaps voicing its disapproval of what she was about to do.  The grass caressed her robes and she pushed through them to stand on the near bank.  The sun peered down from its zenith, curiously watching the strange proceedings.

Confident in her abilities and the research she had done, the sorceress held her hands over the tumultuous water and began chanting in the ancient language of the druids.  She could have simply forced the river to change its course, she had that power.  She could have also reshaped the landscape to move the waterway where she wanted it.  However, in her research she had discovered that the best way to permanency was to “ask” the river to flow on a new course.

The druids had long been considered masters of the natural world, and it was within their histories she had found the magic that would fulfill the dragon’s request.  His cave had run dry and he needed a new supply of water to keep from needing to move.  As it had grown fond of the dwelling over the long years of its life, the beast considered the task a worthy test of the witch’s abilities and a worthwhile cause.  She had easily passed the first part of the test by understanding that it wouldn’t be prudent to use blunt-force spells to shape the river’s course.  If the druid’s magic didn’t fail her, she would easily succeed in passing the rest of the test.

As the spell took hold, she both felt the magic begin to drain, and she audibly noticed the querulous river subsiding.  Its rocky howling voice squawked in futile protest and then quieted to a whisper.  The bulk of the flowing water drained away from the muddy banks to seep deeper into the earth where it would find a new route that fed the old pathways and springs within the beast’s cave.

The sorceress continued chanting, her energy levels fading, coercing the water to find the desired path and follow it instead of the well-worn riverbed, until the voice of the dragon filled her head, “You have done well, witch.  You have proved yourself worthy of reprisal and I shall not unleash my vengeance upon you.”

She held onto the spell for a few seconds longer, to ensure the water had truly changed course as intended, and then with a sigh of relief, she released the magic and collapsed to her knees.

“But, make sure our paths do not cross again, witch.”

The dragons’ voice entered her head one last time and then faded quickly.  The hood of her robes fell away and her long hair cascaded down her shoulders.  Her hands pressed against her legs to keep her balanced and her gaze was lost in the tiny pools that sporadically graced the now empty bed.  Sunlight winked mischievously from those thousand eyes and she sensed the danger a moment before it was too late.

Whirling in place, mud flinging away from her as she twisted around, the sorceress faced her ex-apprentice, the wizard that had betrayed her.  His laughing eyes and sardonic smile indicated that he held the advantage.

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