THE LAST SPELL -An Ekphrastic Story

This stemmed from a project class with Intermediate students. They each did a drawing and I redistributed them around the class, they then had to write a story inspired by the picture they had been given. After about 20 minutes of them writing I decided to play along as well. I randomly asked a student to hold up their picture for me to look at and then wrote this. The picture is here:

2013-08-08 12.22.20

The Last Spell

                The Sorcerer Acknor considered his choices. Neither option suited him well; still, he had to decide. The leaves on the willow tree outside his window fluttered melodically in the warm spring air, crickets chirruped by the stream as if to play a lullaby to a troubled mind. He blew out the candle and closed his eyes. “To sleep, perchance to dream… and when we say sleep”… ah yes, he thought, to rest at last.

The morning breeze through the open window woke him gently from a disturbed sleep. He had dreamt, as he often did these days, of his apprenticeship to Storken the Master. His dream went on till the day of his Ascension. His Lord had cast his Final Spell and he, Acknor, had become Master. His own apprentice was a fool, a naïve young conjurer who had trouble with the simplest of spells. He was not the first such, many had come and gone failing to adapt their minds to the Ancient Arts. He made up his mind to dismiss him; once he had eaten his breakfast. “One should never do anything likely to raise one’s blood before breakfast.” The ancient words of his long dead Master echoing in his mind.

The boy gone, to wander where he may, Acknor turned his thoughts once more to the business at hand. The Choice! It was simple, he might continue just as he was for a further thousand years, or he could end the tedium of his life – nay, call it for its own – his existence, by casting the Ascension Spell. The spell that would have transferred his Grace, his Aura, his Deep Magic to his apprentice, had the youth not been inept and unworthy… the very apprentice still vaguely visible, ambling along the road that led through the valley from the wizard’s home… Acknor’s eyes slowly lost focus on the meandering fool and found the empty middle distance as his mind’s eye turned inwards once more.  His train of thought renewed, the Question still remained: To live on or to cast The Spell? In other words: to die, to die without an heir. To end millennia of tradition and let the world carry on without magic, without wizards, without him.

The nib of the quill, sharpened as it was, slipped easily into the vein below the elbow. He carefully wrote out the incantation in his body’s vital fluid. Painstakingly dotting the ‘i’s, accenting the ‘a’s and ‘e’s and signing his name, as the blood from the wound in his arm turned his hand from it’s usual pallid grey to a crimson red. He read the spell aloud and as he finished he felt a sharp pain in his chest. One word was left to bring about this long-wished for demise. His name!

He cried in pain, he shrieked: “Acknor!” and he was no more.

©Iain Douglas Kemp_2013

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