Faerie Tale - Chapter 5 - Blackness

Faerie Tale
Chapter Five – Blackness

“Master…”
The strain in Galien’s voice caught the Warlock’s attention and he turned from the concoction he was brewing in irritation, but the reproach on his lips died when he saw the terror on the elf’s thin face and the shaking of the hand he held out towards the dead rabbit. Galien might be a pain in the nether regions, but the Warlock had chosen him out of a dozen youngsters presented by their hopeful parents as a possible apprentice, and in the decade since he had nurtured and enhanced the elf’s natural talents. He had no doubt that Galien would one day be a very powerful warlock in his own right, if he could just out-grow his wilfulness and tendency to question everything.

The Warlock set down the glass retort he was holding very carefully, and spoke in a low, gentle tone so as not to destroy whatever it was Galien was sensing. “What can you feel?”
Galien shook visibly. “I don’t know…” he whispered.
“Take one step back and lower your hand.”
Galien did so very slowly. All the colour had drained from his face and he turned enormous lilac eyes on the Warlock. “Something’s coming…”
“What did you see?”
“The west wood. It’s … black…”
“You mean dark? Nightime?”
“No, no.” Galien was still backing away and shaking his head. He put at least the length of the long table between himself and the rabbit before he stopped.

The Warlock didn’t know whether to be alarmed or impressed. Galien had done everything he could to delay the start of the divination lessons, including being so insolent that the Warlock had left him fastened to the birch tree for an hour to two to re-think his defiance, but there was no doubt that without any safe practice whatsoever, the elf was picking up on something exceedingly unpleasant. The Warlock debated whether to tell the boy to sit down before he fell down, or make him go back and describe what he had seen. But how often did an apprentice get a chance like this?
“Galien.”
The elf still stared at the rabbit.
“Galien!”
“Yes Master?”
“Tell me what you saw!”
“I.. I… saw….”
“I don’t have all day,” the Warlock warned. He needed to make Galien more afraid of him than of his vision.

Galien swallowed and his gaze flicked from the rabbit to the Warlock and back. “I saw the west wood. And it was black. And it was daylight. And it was silent. Nothing moved. Nothing grew. Nothing lived.”
“Relax. Breathe more slowly,” the Warlock’s tone was harsh, no sympathy in his voice. “Can you tell what caused this – blackness?”
“No.”
“Go closer and look again.”
“Master, no!”
“Go closer!” the Warlock ordered. “Look again. Tell me what you see.”
“I can’t! I can’t touch it!”
“You don’t have to touch it. Just reach out and tell me what you see.”
Galien extended a shaking hand. “Blackness.”
“Yes, I got that. What else?”
“Silence.”
“You’ve already told me that. Look wider. Is the sky blue?”
“Grey.”
“What time of day is it?”
“Late afternoon.”
“Can you see anything outside the woods?”
“No.”
“Can you tell if it’s still spring?”
“Everything is dead.” Galien’s huge lilac eyes filled up with tears. “Everything is dead.”
“Can you see corpses?”
“No! Please don’t make me look any more …”
The Warlock caught the elf as he swayed and carried him to his pallet bed at the back of the cave. He laid him on the herb-stuffed mattress and pulled a bearskin over him. The elf’s face was the colour of snow and his lips and eyelids were blue. The Warlock sat on the edge of the pallet and laid fingers on the pale, damp forehead.
“Sleep now, you’ve done well today. Better than either of us expected!”

He got up and went to the dead rabbit and passed his hand over it. He saw the same blackness, the same absence of life. He also was unable to see beyond the dark woods. He made another pass with his hand and the rabbit was instantly unskinned and its Internal Workings were exposed. The Warlock scanned the entrails very carefully, looking for a clue as to what was coming. Galien had been completely accurate in his reading. Something was coming, something very nasty indeed. With another pass of his hand, the Warlock separated the guts and fur from the rabbit meat, which he dropped into the pot on the fire. At least when he returned, Galien might have recovered enough to eat a little rabbit stew. He was going to need his strength. They both were. He strode out of the cave, his long robe flapping.

Copyright Hilary Robinson 15.3.2010

Faerie Tale - Chapter 5 - Blackness

Hilary Robinson

Bangor, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

Galien demonstrates his natural psychic abilities when he sees that something terrible is about to devastate the west wood.

All my writing is copyright and protected and is not in the Public Domain

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