W/B – Chaos crackled

The beam of golden light illuminated the front of the cottage. He saw it like a rising sun, casting deep shadows now over him and the wreckage. His pockets were full and his hands were numb. “Curse this coldness” he muttered, the snow continuing to fall. The light now snaked around the side of the building like a moving body, banishing the dark and the evil shadows. It crept closer and closer to him. He naturally began to edge backwards, as if a creeping hand of light was reaching for him, threatening to cast him into the open and explain himself. He backed up more and more before falling backwards into a huge snow drift. The cold condensed snow stung his face and he scrambled to be free, like a cat stuck in a bag. “Curse you and your snow!” he spat towards the house. He turned hastily then, and sped off into the woods. His pockets heaving and weighted down as if he carried gold, for the sapphire tears of the girl’s cocoon were heavy and clung to him like weights of guilt.

Ezra made his way quickly to the fire that still roared away in her little living room. Strong white and blue flames danced in the grate and he rubbed his hands hastily to warm himself. The girl watched him from the stairs, the small little boy in his pyjamas and his feet covered in snow.

“Next time, I’m wearing the coat before you freeze me back!” he grumbled. The lady hovered in the doorway smiling, the light from the flame in the jar dappled her face bringing forth a deeper warmth. Ezra concentrated on the warm fire. “So you’re what all the fuss is about huh?” he said, not looking away from the fire. Theatrically shivering away. She was surprised he’d seen her, but answered swiftly.

“I’m sorry for your coldness, I can help if you like.” She said, descending the little stairs and bringing forth a huge overcoat. Her skin shimmered in the light of the flames, and the closer she got it seemed to cascade away in huge chunks, repairing back like a tide of cells in different colours.

“Don’t go spoiling him now.” The lady said, going over quickly to the sideboard on the other side of the room. “A little cold never hurt anyone.”

“Thank you, glad someone has some manners.” He said, turning to her and taking the coat. He slipped it on and stuck out his hand. “I’m Ezra.” He said. She looked at his extended little hand curiously. He waved it a little impatiently.

“Nice to meet you Ezra.” She said, swooping down upon him and giving him a hug. This was unusual for both of them, but in the moment it seemed like the better thing to. Ezra was warmed further by her touch, and she was able to dive into his life in that short moment. She saw oceans of adventure and wonder, and little pools of sadness too.

“Well, you are the damsel after all. Even if you are much larger than usual. I suppose it befalls me to save you, and the old crone over there.” He said, stamping his feet now by the fire. The lady ignored him.

“Thank you.” The girl said, bowing humorously.

“My name is many things, but P’erl is one I wish for you to have.” The girl said, touching her heart with her forefingers and then touching his forehead. He smiled at this graceful and generous act.

“And you’ve come from the stars?” He asked. She nodded, smiling.

“Very well.” He said, as if used to the unexpected. “So what is all fuss?” He asked, turning to the lady, warmed now and eager to get started.

The lady of the jars was fumbling in the sideboard, reaching to the back of the cupboard now. She stuck her tongue out in an extended effort to stretch and reach into the very heart of the wooden beast.

“Well, we have to make our way to the Mondol stone. This is where the energy in this area pools and the magic is deep and expansive. You my dear will begin to change the closer we get,” she said, looking to the girl “layers will begin to lift, and meanings will come forth. You will evolve and reveal. Once there, I shall perform a rite of sorts, and if all goes to plan; what is meant to be will unleashed.”

“What do you mean, what’s meant to be? And that doesn’t sound too difficult, a quick trip in through the woods. Why do you need me?” Ezra argued, half-jokingly.

“Well, excuse me mister but I’ve never done this before you know.” He lady snapped, suddenly succeeding in her retrieval of a small box from the cupboard. “I’m not too sure what is to happen. I’ve only read about this in the book.”

“Well, that’s helpful.” He said. The girl laughed, she could see the ease the between the two of them. She didn’t know it then, but Ezra had once come from of the lady. A manifestation of a small part of her that she had conjured into being. The arguing, questioning side of her youth that was a source of strength and safety.

The Lady frowned.

“It will be some opening of portals and minds, a great wash over the land that will lift us all to new heights and banish that darkness. It will also bring forth her true purpose.” The lady said, peering now into the small box before putting into the bag she had over her shoulder.

“In other words, you haven’t got a clue, but it’s something to be getting on with.” Ezra said, walking over to the door where a row of boots and shoes stood. “Sounds like a wild goose chase to me.” He picked up the brown hiking boots and begun to put them on.

The lady ignored him and bustled about the room putting things into her bag. The girl followed Ezra and choose a pair of boots also. She hadn’t need for them, but if she was here to explore and try different things, she could start by wearing shoes for the first time.

“Dimian.” The lady suddenly said.

Ezra looked over to her.

“Not them again.” He said, his brow furrowing.

“And the gentleman of the boxes.” She added.

“That old goat, what’s he up to?” Ezra asked.

“And I hadn’t mentioned it earlier, but we are also going to have to hurry.”

“Hmmm, because two challenges weren’t enough. Why the haste?”

The lady stopped and looked at them by the door, dressed now and ready to leave.

“Because, in in two moons from now; I will have died”.

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White/Blue – Underneath

The Gentleman of the boxes

Though the perpetual snow covered everyone and everything in a magical flurry, some homes escaped the gingerbread icing of the winter dusting. Though treacherous at times, the snow that fell in the area of Ravensbrook was mostly welcomed. The small village itself was well known for its snow festivals which would be held often during the year. While the borders of the county were at the whim of the regular weather patterns, Ravensbrook enjoyed the snowfall of the mountain passes more than the tropics of the equator. But not everyone was happy with the snow, and one in particular made sure to be out of it as much as they could.

He had once had a large cabin on the other side of the woods which backed on to the small cottage by the stream. His was a stern roughly built cabin, reeking of ash fires and masculinity. It’s coarsely built structure was a testament of his own strength, having built the place himself. But it did not appeal to the eye, and was poorly landscaped. Fresh animal kills were strewn around, the bones of which would be stacked sometimes by an outhouses.  He lived there alone, stuffing small woodland animals with sawdust and brooding over a life that was slipping away from him. That is to say, lived there, for now the gentlemen of the boxes lived underground.

One day, on a particularly snowy afternoon whilst trudging back to his cabin, he’d stopped with his fresh kill slung over his shoulders. The snow had covered his face and was blotting out the view of the track he was following home. He’d stood there, a human snowman for much longer than an idle man should in the cold snow, thinking and pondering and wondering over the incessant weather. Raising his fist in the air, he cursed the sky and the lady who lived in that small little cottage; telling tales and playing god.

He stormed home, and packed the few possession he could into a duffle bag and set off into the depths of the woods. Thick in thorns and thistles, the snow drifts piled high in the dark and gloomy woodland. But soon enough, he’d found what he was looking for. A small opening in the ground marked by two huge boulders which led down underneath the earth. He’d found this long ago, chasing a fox that had sought shelter from his murderous hands. The opening expanded deep underground, a vast cave backed up with many little recesses built into the earth. Here he intended to live, and be away from that infernal snow and cold which stung his bones.

Over time, his little cave house filled with things and skeletons. The shells of the creatures that he didn’t keep in his boxes. He would stuff them with sawdust and set them into little boxes and crates, depending on the size. He would mark them all and catalogue what he had. In his noahistic mind, he would covert two of each creature, stripping one of the fleshy outtings where he could peak at the ivory bones underneath, and stuff and box the other. His collection grew in time, and much of his cave was taken over by the boxes that he would stack high to the ceiling.

One day, when he was in town selling some animal meet, he happened to notice the traveling cart man who’d stopped in the small village square. The man would peddle, in all weathers, around the villages with a huge caravan of objects pushed and slotted onto the back of his trailer. This travelling circus of curiosities was much welcomed where it went, for he was always known to bring treasures and wonders to their little part of the world. The gentlemen of the boxes never usually bothered himself with that sort of thing, but something that day seemed to call to him, picking at his mind and heart. He’d trundled over to the cart, impossibly piled high that day with brass lamps, copper kettles, crystal glasses and books. One book in particular stood out to him, a purple bound one the size of a bible. He slid it out from between a jewellery box and iron fire grate and looked at the cover.

The image on the front was nothing new to him, he’d seen the real thing a hundred times, but the way it was drawn unsettled something inside him. Dislodging some idleness and bringing forth some action. The skull of a creature, that of a deer, stared back at him. The eye sockets glowing with a purple-ish flame tickled the hairs on the back of his neck. He’d just begun to open the book when the seller called over him.

“Ah, I see you’re interested in the Lunamaji.” He came around the side of the cart and up to the man.

“Maybe. How much for the book?” He replied, gruffly.

“Ten Quartz to you good sir, anyone interested in such deep allurement deserves to get a good price.” The man held out his hand as some small glass coins tumbled into them. The gentlemen of the boxes huffed, thinking it was still too much for a book. But then, it held something he couldn’t explain, some pull or hold on him somehow. He had to have it, so he paid the small price. As he turned to walk away, the old man grabbed at his arm suddenly.

“Be warned though, this is not for the faint of heart or weak of conscience. There are many things in there that need to remain within those pages, and just to reside in the mind.” He’d said, hastening a smile to take the edge off his warning.

“Nothing about me has ever been weak.” The man replied, and stormed off with the book under his arm.


Push

He’d consumed the book. Reading it hurriedly in the candlelight of his cave. He’d read it once through and went straight back to the beginning to read it again. Days passed and he’d not emerged from his cave, breaking his concentration only to hydrate and use the bathroom. The words and the knowledge mesmerised him. He’d never been one for books before. He thought stories and fables were just things to tell children before they went to bed. He’d seen the kids from the village, hurrying to that little house by the stream to sit and listen to tales and wonders. Foolish kids. They should be out working, doing, playing, being. Not stuck inside listen to yarns that only take place in the mind.

But this book was different. This book showed him a way to be that was not fiction. These things he was reading told him how he could change his life for the better. How he could master the weather himself, make the wind blow the direction he wanted it to. To even stop death, and bring the things he wanted back to life.

But there was a cost to be paid, like there always was.

He was smart enough to know a warning when he saw it, and the book was riddled with them. And he wasn’t foolish enough not to heed this warnings either. He practised in secret, squirreled away underground. Little things at first, then moving on to larger and more completed things. He left his body many times, if not his cave, and before long he was very knowledgeable about the ways of Lunamaji and where it all could take him. But the power that he craved at first, shifted and changed. At first he’d wanted to see if the magic worked, to see if reading something could arouse a change in the very set up of the earth. To play god himself. But he soon learned, much to the cart seller’s warning, that it could consume and cause havoc. He didn’t want that. He wasn’t an evil soul, merely bitter by the hand life had dealt him. He changed his mind, as so many do, and instead sought out the one thing he knew the book could help him with. Aside from stopping the damn snow.

And that one thing had fallen from the sky that very morning.

To be continued…

 

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White/Blue Read the ongoing story here

White/Blue – Between the jars (I)

(Between the jars – Sidebar to fable)

How to bottle the weather:

The lady of the jars has many of nature’s wonders stacked and stored in her secret room, away from prying eyes (though she keeps the door unlocked). This magical art was not taught to her by anyone in particular. Which perhaps is a shame, as she does like company. Instead, she learnt how to do this from the Guāng-shu, her own little magic bible that was passed down through her family. Pages have been ripped out, new pages added. A suspicious crystalline stain permeates one of the sections towards the back which refuses to be cleaned. Though passed down through her family, the book was never intended to end up in her hands. This may have been to save her from her fate, or because of the doubt in her abilities. But through a series of events that still surprise her to this day, the book was hers when she was old enough to read. And read she did.

Jars fill her little cottage there by the stream. She is forever getting new vials, and jugs and glass jars delivered. Not so much through her proficiency of usage; but lately, more to her failing eyesight which refuses to be remedy by the wearing of glasses. Which leaves the broken jars tipped away in the rubbish, and many a swear word emanating from her little house.

To bottle the weather….

1.    Pick a day that the weather you wish for is at its most potent. The intensity leads to longer shelf life.

2.    Set your jar in a pool of water (this conducts the elements required for storage).

3.    Place a ‘Tan-ya’ stone in the bottom of the jar (imitation stones will not work).

4.    Recite the incantation located in the Guāng-shu.

5.    Channel the power down into the bottle, sealing it quickly. This may take some time depending on the nature of it. NOTE: Hurricanes are decidedly tricky.

6.    Once bottled, swirl the jar until the Tan-ya stone breaks like an egg. This seals the condition inside and prevents escape or leakage.

7.    Store in a cool place where sunlight cannot enter.

As impressive as bottling the weather is, her favourite bit of magic has to be the ‘Dragon’s tongue’. A single little red flame that ignites and burns within one of her little jars with the ability to burn the strength of the smouldering centre of the earth. This she keeps tucked under the blanket in her bed.
Her own little wizardry water bottle.

Read – White/Blue

Accident of grand design

I ran from the moment, away from the all the pain.
Up into the hills.
Far from you now, though I see you from up here. Up into the rains and breath of the mountain.
I stand on the edge and look up. The black rain falls on my face.
I swallow the sky and spit out the stars.
Raining them down upon you.
I stay here far too long, I no longer know who you are.
Memories hang off me like vines in the amazon. The animals of self-loathing crawl in these branches.
Tears fall that weld me to the stone. Moss begins to grow over my flesh.
I could not keep the promise I made.
A funeral procession trundles up the path below.
Laying rest to a soul who knew nothing but how to leave.
Their final exit, left all with destruction behind as they now carry his bones skyward.
I watch and listen to their dirges. Only I am to blame.
God help him.
God help me as I learn to say goodbye.