natural

The room smelled of leather and wax.  A desk took up most of one wall, a bed another, a small window would have invited in the sunshine if the thick drapes had not been shut against it.  Two candles on the desk provided the only, flickering, light.  A small bookcase, only two shelves and those only half full, was on the third wall within reach of the desk.  There was no door to the room.  It required magic to get in and magic to leave, as per its design and intent.  The creator favored privacy so he could study uninterrupted at his leisure.

He had come to his room that morning to tidy the place up a bit.  He would soon have an apprentice he would be bringing along to study and practice the craft.  However, he had soon gotten distracted in the particulars of a spell he had been toying with.  The few books he did keep were more a set of observations and ideas rather than written spells.  He was of the belief that magic was organic, natural, and couldn’t not be controlled simply with words.  It had to be felt, breathed, tasted, touched, lived.  Some of his peers laughed at him and called him a fool and yet sometimes their magic failed them.  His magic never failed.

Still, they flourished in their schools and their traditional methods, advancing through hierarchal ranks, accumulating spell books and scrolls, accolades and apprentices.  He became the recluse, happy to practice the craft in his own way, confident in his abilities and his assumptions of the art.  He was fine with that arrangement until a recent trip to the nearby town and had resulted in a deviant attempting to rob him of his meagre possessions.  He had called upon his magic to foil the heist.  A passerby had witnessed the exchange and had begged him to teach them.  After a prolonged conversation, it was learned that the passerby, still a child in many ways, had failed in the traditional schools but still wanted to learn.  He saw this as an opportunity to prove his theories were correct.  If he could teach another his methods successfully….

Light sprang from his hand as he finished the spell.  He had called upon the flame from one of the candles on his desk to share its illumination with his flesh, then he called upon the light itself to intensify until it was as though his hand had become a torch.  He pointed his palm at the dark corners of the room to reveal the cobwebs gathering dust in the shadows and that reminded him of the task he had meant to set upon.  Closing his hand the magic dispersed and the light went out.  The candles continued to flicker in the stirrings of his movement.  The room still smelled of leather and wax.  Nothing had changed.  Everything had changed.

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the moon

Wisps of fog spread beneath the slivered moon and the light tower winked and blinked as it swept its circles. He welcomed the sight, a sign of familiarity, of routine, in a dark morning that had been anything but. Nothing had gone according to plan since he’d woken, hours before the sun was even considering making an entrance. That daily occasion was still far off. The winks, the blinks, the fog, the moon all seemed to laugh at his futile attempts to find balance. He’d laugh too, if he had a voice.

He could still remember the taste of words but could not remember the sound of his own voice. It was one more odd thing about him in a list that grew daily. He had kept a list, pen on paper, for a bit but when he realized he was going to need more paper to keep it going he had abandoned the endeavor and had begun to accept the truth. He no longer minded being weird, eccentric, outside the norm. It was routine he still craved. And it was routine that was failing him. He’d blame the slivered moon but that wouldn’t solve anything, and it really wasn’t the moon’s fault.

In all likelihood, the disturbances in his morning were his own fault. All the odd things that happened around him usually could be tracked back to being a result of his quirks. He couldn’t easily see the direct connection that morning but that didn’t mean it wasn’t there. One time he traced a day gone wrong back to a toenail he had failed to pick off the ground and place in the trash where it belonged. That one bit of carelessness had caused a whole day to go sideways. Afterwards he had researched having his nails permanently removed, to avoid such a disaster in the future, but the procedure was prohibitively expensive and no reputable doctors would perform it anyway.

The fog thinned further and the tower faded in the distance behind him, leaving only the moon to shine down on his progress. He liked the moon. Always had. It represented something magical, even if that sorcery was based in science. Its influence on the world was something he appreciated, longed for at times. He didn’t want the attention it received but he wouldn’t mind its importance. His jealousy of the moon was another of his oddities he had made peace with.

The dark sky cracked in a thousand tendrils of light reaching away from the east and he smiled for the first time all morning. Finally the sun was rising and perhaps that could turn his day around.