This image is courtesy of ENRIQUE PARIETTI
from his 3D Portfolio.
The Second Magic
"A Young King Arthur Story"
By John Pirillo
“There was a time of magic when hearts were full of joy, and the skies filled with light. That is no more. But it will come again during the time of the Second Magic, which will be even more powerful than the first, because it will be driven by the power of love and reason.” -- Merlin
The Second Age of Magic began simply. A small child wanted something and he got it. Wendell Wimple lived in a small cottage in a village near Snowden, the eastern portion of Westmere, a growing town of abundance and industry. The village was named Caer Mare, because it was a town of mostly graveyards, and had built its industry on serving the living through serving their dead.
Wendell was not a smart child particularly, nor was he a town idiot, driven to do things because he knew no better and never would. No, he was just a simple baker’s son, who had a dream. To become a creature of magic.
So he began as all such things do with the simplest of magic. He got up that morning from his cot of straw and linen to stretch. His tiny legs barely touched the floor, even as close as his mattress was to it. He set his feet down on the cold dirt of the floor and immediately brought them back up, hugging his legs to his chest. “How I wish that every poor child had shoes to protect them from the cold!”
And that day all across the world, starting from Caer Mare every single poor child in the world woke up to a wonderful, brand new set of shoes beside their beds. No child from that moment on would need to touch the floor of their cold abodes and freeze, or whimper from the cold there.
“That sounds like a lot of nonsense.” Arthur said to Merlin, as he washed his cloak in the fresh stream pouring down from the Swords into the valley near his Crystal Caves.
Merlin winked at Arthur. “Perhaps. But it does explain how it all began.”
“So you’re telling me that this is the second magic, which you do?”
Merlin laughed, bringing his cloak up for air, and then tossing it across a broad rock to dry upon. The noonday sun was not hot, but warm enough to dry the cloak and allow seepage of comfort into his limbs as he stretched out on the grassy sward beside the stream and Arthur.
Merlin looked at his brown cloak, then at his own green pants and shirt, and then at the green staff…evergreen staff that never aged…that held his magic at times. “No, there is no second magic for me. No longer. Nor a first.” He added, seeing Arthur about to jump on his words.
“Then if not first or second, what kind is it?”
“Practical.” Merlin said, his eyes crinkling in that attitude of humor and warmth they were wont to do.
Arthur sighed, not sure he would ever get a straight answer from the wizard. “Okay. Let me rephrase my question.”
“What is practical?”
Merlin rose and eyed a stack of clothing that lay near the stream. His and Arthur’s. “Practical is you finishing the wash before it gets too cool to dry them.”
And without further word, but lots of smile etching lines in his handsome face, he set back to the Crystal Cave to work on a project he had been secretly designing for over a month now.
Arthur shrugged. “Whatever!”
He got up and began washing the pants at the top of the heap. His own. They were quite dirty because he had been training with the knights the day before and had slipped and fallen into the pig’s mud they were working in. Each day the Sergeant took them to another potential..as he called it…battlefield where they could simulate real world fighting conditions.
Arthur thought it more likely the man was just torturing them for the fun of it, since he worked for the Dark Queen. But then he shook his head. No, the man had no hint of evil about him, just a gruffness that enfolded a kind heart. Many a time the man had secretly given Arthur lessons and advice when he needed it, so he wouldn’t disappoint Uther or Morgana. Arthur was grateful for that.
He finished the pants, laid them beside Merlin’s cloak to dry, then thought about that morning.
“Har right!” Sergeant had told the men. “Today we pretend we’re fighting a dragon.”
One of the knights, a new one, barely tall enough to slip into his armor and carry it, made the mistake of asking why. “Why, sir?”
The Sarge had swung on the newbie and touched his armored chest with the tip of his mace, which he preferred over a sword. “Because when you meet one, you’re only going to get one chance to win.”
Then he tipped the young man with the mace, and sent him flying backwards to land in a swill made by the local swine. Everyone had broken into laughter, except for Arthur, who had rushed to help him regain his feet. The act had not been lost by the Sarge or the others, who stopped laughing, and suddenly got cases of conscience.
Everyone froze as two dark shadows swung across the group. Sarge turned, a scowl turning to a smile, as he faced Morgana and Uther on their steeds. He bowed. The knights fell to a knee and bowed in that manner.
Morgana gave the Sarge an icy smile. “Some men never get even one chance to defeat a dragon, let alone two!” She said with a hint of menace.
Uther touched her right wrist. “Dear Morgana, surely you can talk to the men in a more queenly fashion.”
Arthur waited for the explosion. It didn’t take long.
She spun on Uther, causing him to jerk in panic. A look neither the King’s men or Morgana’s had seen before. It quickly vanished, as she began to reprimand him. “I shall speak to them as I shall speak to them. These…are my men. And as such, they will whither where I want and when I want.”
Uther started to respond, then withered beneath her harsh glance.
The knights all pretended to be doing something else while the fight continued. Finally, Arthur did a remarkably stupid thing.
“Your majesties!” He spoke up.
They both fixed angry glares upon him. “I have found a new material for the summer cloaks you’ve been asking me for.”
Both continued to glare at him.
Arthur felt his stomach sink with his heart, and then said. “They are made of dragon silk I got from the fairies in the Golden Forest.”
Arthur was taking a chance letting out that information, but he hoped for them both to be so lost in their emotions, so as not to notice the extra bit of information he had given them. That he worked with magic and dragons.
Uther’s face lit up, as did Morganas. “When shall we have them, good man?”
Arthur stood up and half bowed. “When so shall I come hither to your castle?”
Morgana clapped her hands together in glee. “Why at once, good Arthur.”
She and Uther turned their mounts and rode back towards the castle.
Arthur stood there a moment, thinking he had been dismissed, then felt the tip of the Sarge’s mace on his behind.
“If you don’t run like the wind to get those cloaks, and catch them soon after they reach the castle, it’ll be yourself we’ll be chasing with our swords and they with their magic!”
Arthur took the cue and ran.
Which was not easy with a full coat of armor about you
But as he ran, he felt his feet grow lighter. And lighter yet again.
He looked back once and saw all the Knights laughing, but gratitude was in their faces. He had saved them.
Arthur finished washing the last of the laundry, and then sat next to the stone, allowing the heat building up within it, to warm his own water soaked hands and arms. His feet were wet as well as his britches.
He began to think as he lay there, that maybe, just maybe he knew what the second magic was.
Then he fell into a deep sleep, borne away on the wings of angels and dreams yet to be.