Indigo, the Color of Magic
"It is often said that the greatest and most powerful magic is that which comes from the heart."
-- Merlin --
His first memory of the other world was one of a great droning kind of sound. It was enticing like a magnet draws iron filings to its core. He was drifting in a cosmos of speckling light, dazzled by its beauty and lulled by the harmonics of its gentleness. He had no reason to be anywhere, to do anything. He only had the need to exist. To flow wherever the great River of Life took him. Not a straggler in the currents, tossed against the hard rock's of humanity, but an eagle soaring high above the weights and uncertainties of life as we know it.
So it's no wonder that his first thought when awakened from that vast, soothing current of peacefulness was...
"I am Merlin Indigo of Ambrosia. I am the high flying Eagle, firm of purpose, powerful and wondrous to behold." He stated, mimicking the tall tree that bent over him and chided him for speaking like a child. He was a child. A very small one. Not so small, but small enough to qualify him as a genuine squirt of a human. Though some might say Elf, because his ears strayed a bit too far from the sides of his head, and were a bit too pointy for their satisfaction. But no one every spoke their complaints out loud. No, he had to hear them in his mind. Always over and over, the same things.
"What manner of creature is this that can talk to trees, flowers and skies?"
"How can he possibly know it's going to rain right now, and then it does?"
"He's too small to even grasp a magical staff, and yet he can weave spells like a threader with a loom. He's impossible."
"Just a child."
"He can't be of magic yet. Or at all. He's just a human. Or maybe mostly."
Yes, it was the same drivel over and over until his poor tiny mind, or big mind if you could measure such as his, was tinkling with noises and prattles, complaints and overtures until his cherubim little body wanted to sprout real wings and fly away like his pet eagles did.
And that was another thing. How could a mere child. And a boy at that manage to tame a full grown eagle, let alone a baby? Those were the endless squirts of information and gripes he had to endure day after day, hour after hour, and yet even through all of that grueling mind work, he managed to exhibit an exemplary temperament, or perhaps it was in spite of it. He didn't know anymore.
He was growing up now. He was almost ten years old, or was it nine, or eight. He couldn't remember because no one would dare to tell him. Mother Tree had forbidden them to age him in any way, saying it would ruin his wonderful mind.
"Ha!" He spit out at the frog gathered on its webbed feet before him.
"Ribbit!" The frog replied eagerly, sensing he might be in for another handout.
Whenever Merlin was aggrieved or angry with someone, which was usually himself, he would wander down to the Lilly Pond or Frog Pond as Mother Tree called it and feed the frogs crumbs from his breakfast or dinner. He never ate it all, which might explain as he grew older why he lost his cherubim form and became more like a beanstalk, lean and wiry, muscular and dense, as opposed to rolly poly and fat like Gnome Brown was, who lived under Mother Tree's home in his tiny apartment made from sea shells and mouse glue.
Today he was mad mostly because Papa Tree had been scolding him for being human, saying he wasted too much time playing with the buds and the sprouts, and not enough time on his education. If he was going to grow up to be a proper tree and stay in his place, he would need to reach out in more directions, stretch himself. Which in this instance meant standing in all kinds of preposterous positions with his legs and arms spread out like a wildly growing Thumble Brush.
He never complained. His father just didn't understand why he couldn't grow leaves and branches like all his other children who came back to visit his forest from time to time. Nanever Forest was in the Realm of Fairie, to the Southern Southern portions, where the Great Melts met the Frozen Wastes. And fragile, so fragile because of its precarious balance between extreme cold and the ever budding spring of the Great Melts, which kept all life perpetually growing.
It was rumored, by his father and mother he remembered that anyone who drank of the Great Melts would never die, but live forever. But like all rumors that floated through Nanever, he gave it little thought. But in those days he didn't give much of anything a lot of thought. He might have had a great mind, but his heart tended to overrule it most of the time and ride his emotions into one spread of experience into another, like a river seeping into the sea endlessly, endlessly.
"Father." He asked Father Tree one morning as he stood on his right foot alone, both his arms at opposite angles, and fingers trying to do the same, but not so successfully. "Is it true what some of the Gnomes say?"
"What would that be child of thunder?"
It was his favorite name for him. Child of thunder, because they had found him in a thunder storm, wailing so loud that even the thunder couldn't drown him out. Though his mother had been more specific and claimed he had come down from heaven on a thunderbolt of light that split the forest in two.
He didn't know who to believe when he was told that yarn, and chose to just ignore it as was his nature with rumors and fantasies. Like the idea that there were humans out there somewhere warring with each other over food and drink. He couldn't begin to imagine such a thing, so he set it aside for a day of pondering, which he seldom got to.
It wasn't that he wasn't a wise child. For most children are wise to the extent that they are quite malleable and accepting, he just wasn't a very patient one when it came to the truth. Truth had to be spooned to him on a platter of hard rock stone, with it nailed down by green sprouts or he didn't believe it.
Father Tree had taught him that way of truth. And he clung to it. He would never forget the teachings of his parents, Father and Mother Tree. He had learned as he got older that both had been alive before the Great Movement that had separated Fairie from mankind, separating the dross, but heavy lands of humanity from the Light and heavenly lands of Fairie. The mortal from the immortal.
It was rumored. Those dratted rumors he swore beneath his breath. It was rumored that all of life had once been immortal but ten men and ten beings of earth, rock, stone, wood and petal had rebelled against the Creation, the One Light and caused a battle for dominance of the elements and the world itself.
It had divided in time the spirits of man from their very own bodies, sending many of them into an animal like state, before the more loving brethren of Fairie had taken pity on them and helped them to find their spirits once more. It had been a long and arduous process, and he had heard that at one time the entire world had been conjoined as one land mass, but the battle had severed the land mass into giant masses moated by huge seas of water. He didn't know if that was true, for he had seen no more water than he could find in Nanever, which was usually more than enough for his needs...a drink, a bath, a swim, splashing water into the petals of his friends, and the sprouts of his other friends.
Even the Tree Children played in the abundance of water that was readily available. It was there one day as he was holding a frog in the palm of his hands, studying it, as it sunned itself there, that he learned that in the world of man water was not always readily available and man strove against man to secure it from the other. Killing each other.
When they said the word "killing" the entire forest became as quiet as the first whisper of spring and toadstools hid beneath their tops, Gnomes closed their tiny trapdoors and spouts drooped beneath the earth to hide their ears.
But today he was just sitting on his usual perch above Frog Pond, counting how many leaps it would take his favorite frog friend to cross the lilies in the water. Herkie. He had named him after a large Brownie that lived in the huge Sunflower beside the pond. Herkie had taken but two hops. The other froggies had taken a minimum of four to five.
He had applauded when Herkie reached the other side, causing the rest of the frogs to start croaking in alarm, until he spoke to them calmly and told them they were all quite good at being frogs and had no reason to be frightened or alarmed.
Immediately, they had settled down on their favorite lily's waiting for tasty bugs to waft their way for lunch.
He stood up on his perch and admired his form in the rippling waters of the pond. He now stood about five feet tall, which he was told was small for a tree, but he ignored it knowing full well that known he had known so far exceeded his height by more than ten feet. Surely he would catch up all in one spring, as had so many of his other Tree friends.
So ignoring his slim, short body he began practicing his stretches to make himself strong enough to become a full grown tree. Little did he know at that time that he would never become a tree, nor reach fifty feet tall, but would instead top off at a meager six and a half feet or so.
Such is the fate of a Merlin.