The Stone Call
Author: Stephanie Bretherton

Chapter 8
The Magic

A few days after learning of the stone’s origins from the Warlock, Tim and Bridget were now completely focused on bonding with their stones. Both were sat under the shade of an ancient oak tree, which Tim thought was probably as old as the Warlock himself. The branches quivered lightly in the summer breeze. They sat silently, it had been days and they hadn’t had any luck. They were beginning to lose hope.
“Shall we try one more time, Tim? Then we can get some lunch and perhaps ask the Warlock for some other method,” said Bridget.
“Sure thing, I could do with a cold drink,” replied Tim.
Bridget relayed the Warlock’s instructions again in her mind, checking she hadn’t forgotten anything;
“First, you must be in an environment which provides peace, and is in perfect tune with the elements. Earth, wind, fire and water.”
She began to prepare her ritual; stepping a few paces away from where Tim sat meditating, she moved closer to the flowing river, and then lit a small fire using some of the Warlock’s firewood. Now she was in the right place, surrounded by each of the elements. She repeated the Warlock’s next task in her mind;
“You must then focus your mind on these elements, visualising them all in your mind, until your entire being feels distant and fading. This is the trance you need to fall into in order to communicate with the spirits in order to bond with Time itself.”
This was the hardest part of her task, even though she was one to drift off into daydreams so often, to actually focus on falling into a trance was more difficult then she thought. She tried to imagine all of the pleasant scenery disappearing in her mind, focusing on the inside of her eyelids. Then she blocked out all the sounds of the birds and the trees, so all she could see and hear was nothingness. She next visualised a symbol of each of the four elements, a cloud, a flower, a candle and a waterfall. They seemed close and yet so far away in her mind. Suddenly, her mind and body seemed to ease in and out of each other, there was a sense of being and of reality and then feeling weightless and invisible. She let the rising and sinking feelings overcome her, sensing only the elements in her mind as her body faded into unconsciousness, and entered the trance. The symbols in front of her began to dissipate in her mind’s eye and transform into four curled bodies, shaping themselves into four beautiful young women. They rose from their long awaited slumber, as gowns seemed to form onto their once naked bodies. Each had their own characteristics; the fire spirit had luscious red wavy hair, and a gown that glowed a deep red. The wind spirit had long wispy hair of an enchanting grey with a floating gown that seemed to move on its own, and the earth spirit had very knotty brown hair and a gown adorned with flowers and leaves. The water spirit had straight flowing blue hair and a dress that shimmered like a stream. They seemed to dust themselves off and stretch their limbs, before turning to Bridget and smiling gracefully. Suddenly, Bridget felt her own presence return and she managed to sense her new whereabouts. She was in an ambivalent area with no knowledge of space and time, no sense of touch or air or taste, just the sensation of standing there and seeing the four spirits in front of her. They had begun muttering in a huddle in front of her as she had been recollecting her senses. After some discussion, they turned to face her again and the water spirit asked;
“Are you the Chosen One?”
“Umm… if you want to put it that way then yes, though my friend Tim may also be too,” replied Bridget nervously, realising she could speak aloud in her own mind. ‘What am I talking about, it’s my mind I can do whatever I like!!’ she thought.
“Hmm… interesting…” said the air spirit.
“We haven’t been summoned for more than 10,000 years! My God, has it been that long?” exclaimed the fire spirit.
“Well, 10,000 years sounds like a pretty long peaceful reign, but for you to be here right now must mean…”
“… that the world is in peril once again,” the fire spirit sighed.
They all gathered around Bridget, and noticed the necklace hanging from her neck. She felt a little uneasy as she could physically sense the heat emanating from the fire spirit, the damp and cold from the water spirit, the smell of fresh soil from the earth spirit and the icy wind from the air spirit.
“Ah, I see now,” said the earth spirit, “so she is going to ask us to find the time spirit like the last guy.”
“Oh, but he was very handsome wasn’t he?” said the air spirit, looking giddy.
“Yeah… but you didn’t hear from him again did you? Especially after he had restored the peace and decided to use his magic for good, he never kept in touch,” said the fire spirit stubbornly.
The air spirit looked down looking crestfallen. They all began to look sad for a moment. But then the earth spirit soon perked up.
“But hey, we have a girl asking us this time!”
“Yes, and such a pretty girl too…” said the water spirit.
“Oh, I’m so sorry! Allow us to introduce ourselves!” exclaimed the fire spirit, “My name is Enya.”
“My name is Talise,” said the water spirit.
“Mine’s Maia,” said the earth spirit cheerfully.
“And mine is Sefarina,” said the air spirit.
“Nice to meet you all, my name is Bridget,” she replied, “And I won’t do what my predecessor did and make sure that I keep in touch with you all.”
“Oh, how lovely!” said Sefarina.
“So kind hearted,” said Maia.
“There must be some way we can repay you for having such a pure heart,” said Talise.
“No, really, it’s ok. After all you are finding the time spirit for me,” replied Bridget.
“But, that’s why we were summoned to begin with. We are to fulfill our duties as the elemental spirits but you deserve something more for your generosity,” said Maia.
“I know! Sisters, please follow my lead,” said Talise, and she placed a hand on Bridgets’ shoulder. The other spirits did the same, and Bridget suddenly a flowing rush of energy inside her, sensing as though she was in tune with the forces of nature. She could feel a part of the spirits inside of her, feel the energy at the tips of her fingers. When they removed her hands, she was buzzing as though there was electric flowing through her veins.
“Now that may have been a bit much for you -” said Maia.
“- but now you have basic control of each of our elements -” said Enya.
“- and you can use them -” said Sefarina.
“- to help you in your quest,” said Talise.
“Also, we have now bonded together, we didn’t do this with the last guy, but you are special, Bridget. Your heart is the purest I have ever felt in a human,” said Enya.
“And you can use your stone to contact us whenever you wish,” said Sefarina.
“Thank you so much, I really hope I can be strong enough for what’s to come. And you should know, where I come from, there is no magic,” said Bridget.
“That’s ok, maybe you should practise your magic and train for a while on your travels,” said Maia thoughtfully.
“Thank you, I will,” she replied with a smile, “How long do you reckon it will take to find the time spirit?”
“Oh, that could take a while…” muttered Talise.
“For you see,” explained Maia, picking off a flower from her dress and smelling it, “she has a really complex growth development due to her being a time spirit and all. In better terms, seeing as you’re a smart girl, you can solve this old riddle; what has four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?”
Bridget thought for a moment; it was the most common riddle in her world, “That’s easy. It’s man.”
“Correct. And that is what the time spirit is like, except she never gets old. She becomes a teenager in the afternoon and gets to about our age in the evening, but depending on what dimension she’s in she could be in any form at any time.”
“Yeah so we would have to corner her when her form is at the most vulnerable, which is the adult stage,” said Enya.
“I see, so that could be a while…” said Bridget, holding her pendant thoughtfully.
“Yup. So maybe we should get cracking then,” said Sefarina.
“In the mean time, you get practising, and when you get stronger, we will be able to sense it,” said Enya.
“Sure thing,” said Bridget.
The spirits closed their eyes and soon began to disappear in front of Bridget, until she hear a final whisper;
“Maybe we should update our wardrobe, as we are now centuries behind everybody…”
Bridget laughed, and as they disappeared she felt the separating sensation flow through her body again, as her mind and body returned to consciousness. She awoke to find Tim bent over her, looking worried.

~X~

Aeridel was busying herself in the Warlock’s study, closely examining the leather spines of each book in the hope of finding new spells that could be useful ever should the possibility of a magic duel arise in the near future. She had woken at dawn’s first light to get started on her training, but she had been searching for hours now in his array of books and could not find anything that looked like a spell book. Some of the books were so old that she could not read the title as it was either weathered with age or in too old a language for her to decipher. She was beginning to lose hope of ever finding such a book, until her eyes sought a book on the highest shelf entitled, ‘The Ways of Magic’. She sighed with disappointment; it was too high for her to reach. She began searching for a ladder or a stool, but there was no such thing is sight, only books. ‘Hold on a minute, I must be completely stupid…’ she thought to herself, ‘the Warlock wouldn’t need any of those things because he’s full of magic! I’ll just use my magic to bring it down, I shouldn’t be scared anymore of using it, because nobody knows me around here.’ She whirled her index fingers round and round, slow at first, but increasing with speed. Her mind focused on the power of wind, and muttering another strange spell that sounded like the faintest whisper, her fingers began to form a circle of gust, to which she then stretched her fingers out so the circle of wind expanded. She the began to form the wind, moulding it with her fingers in a shape so she could prize the book from atop the shelf. When the wind reached the right potential she began to manoeuvre it with her hands in graceful motions, until the book was hovering in midair, she summoned the wind closer to her, until the book was safely in her hands. She made sure to release the control of magic and then opened its contents pages. There was some information in particular that caught her eye;

Chapter 4: Water and Ice
Chapter 5: Earth: Controlling Nature
Chapter 6: Advantages over your opponent: To Sleep, Confuse and Create Illusions.

“Well, I’d best get started,” she said to herself. ‘I haven’t fully mastered the water and earth elements yet, and that last chapter would be really interesting,’ she thought.
She went outside, taking the book with her. She could see Bridget and Tim struggling to meditate under the giant oak tree. She prayed for them in her mind to be able to bond with their stones. As she walked to the river, she could see the sparkles as the water reflected in the intense sunlight, the stones and pebbles on the riverbed becoming almost like jewels wrapped in a blanket of translucent silk blowing in a summer’s breeze. Aeridel couldn’t wait to begin. She sat down facing the flowing water, her legs crossed and her eyes closed. She composed her body and settled into a relaxing motionless position. She cupped her hands in her lap and focused her mind on the water, removing all other thoughts and senses. It felt the same as when she had managed to call upon the other elements, and yet she missed her old book of black magic a little, even though it had spells that would probably have been used for evil purposes. She was moral enough to know not to ever look at those sections; at the time the only thing she wanted to do was learn spells that she could use for everyday life, and make things easier for the people in her village. She knew also that she needed to be near the element to connect to the source. When she had learnt how to summon fire, she would make a camp fire in the woods, and when the days were windy she would go out and master the air magic. In her mind, Aeridel could feel the cooling touch of water in front of her mind, and the wetness of it. She visualised the contemptuous rhythmic flow in its movement, the smell, so fresh and enticing. She focused her mind on willing the water to move from the river and fill in her hands as though she was holding an invisible bowl. She opened her eyes and she could see a stream of water coming from the river flowing through the air and filling up her invisible bowl. She felt proud of herself, now managing to learn how to control another element she willed the water back into the river and sat in the warm sunshine for a moment, letting her mind relax into awareness. As soon as she had come to her senses, she suddenly felt tired and weak. ‘That must have taken a lot out of me,’ she thought, ‘I’ll go and get something to eat and then I can maybe practise some more water magic.’ She got up and walked back towards the tower with her book, feeling satisfied with her new achievement.

~X~

“Bridget…” murmured Tim, looking worriedly at her as she came out of her trance. She smiled faintly, before collapsing from mental exhaustion onto his lap.
“Wow, you’re completely wiped out, huh?”
He lay her on the soft grass underneath the shade of the tree. She looked so peaceful; he was tempted to kiss her unconscious lips there and then, but with regret he resisted: he had to bond with his stone. He gazed at the beautiful emerald in his hands. He began to relax and he let the stone drop and lay on his chest as he began to meditate. The Warlock had said that it would be much more challenging for him as he wouldn’t have the sun and the moon in the sky at the same time for him to focus on, and also because men tend to have shorter attention spans than women, so he would have to be extra vigilant. He had to admit, he was finding trouble keeping focused on the meditating as it was so boring. He’d much rather relax with a good video game or movie back at home. But then he realised; ‘if I don’t bond with my stone, we may never get home,’ he thought. The sun and the moon symbolise light and darkness, but he thought that just to picture them would not be enough to summon the spirits. He tried to block out the sounds and the sense of touch so he could focus better, but he could still feel the warmth of the sun. He tried to focus more on the sun, as this was the stronger element for him right now. He felt the ground melt away from him, he was scared but continued to keep his mind fixated. Everything grew dark around him, and his sense of being began to fade away and come back again. He felt so close to his goal, he dare not open his eyes or think about anything else in case he lost it all and ended up back under the tree. After a few minutes of overwhelming silence, he thought he would take a risk and opened his eyes. Both the sun and the moon hovered in front of him, gleaming bright. He had no idea where he was; it felt empty and overwhelming, sad and yet full of hope, both a mixture of cold and warmth at the same time. There was no breeze, no sense of any life but his own presence. He thought the darkness might continue forever. He took a step forward, realising he could actually walk without falling, and feel something solid in this darkness. He felt he was quite far away from the sun and moon, so he walked slowly and cautiously towards them. He stopped as they suddenly began to ripple and move wildly, and then ceased. He heard a loud crack, like shell breaking, and out climbed two boys. They looked around nine years old, both had the same styled curly mop of hair and twinkling brown eyes. They both had the same face shape, nose, mouth, height. Twins. The only difference between them was their hair colour and their clothes. The sun twin wore a golden yellow shirt and baggy orange shorts, and the moon twin wore a turtle neck grey jumper and dark grey trousers. Their feet were bare. The sun twin was chuckling mischievously but the moon twin looked almost bored. Tim asked;
“So, are you the spirits I need?”
“Umm… I think so…” said the sun twin, suddenly looking shy, “I’m Aodh and he’s Chand.”
“Cool, I’m Tim,” he replied.
“Great,” murmured Chand, “Why’ve you summoned us?”
“Oh, shush, Moody-Pants!” cried Aodh becoming angry, “Ignore him, he doesn’t like a sudden wake up call.”
“Well, I have to wake up next to you and you give me a headache,” retorted Chand, “He can be a real pain my brother.”
“Erm… yeah,” Tim said.
“Not I’m not!” shouted Aodh, “You gotta believe me Tim I’m not a pain!”
“Why is he a pain exactly? Seems bit energetic but fine to me,”asked Tim.
“His emotions change in a snap. Therefore, he’s a pain.” said Chand.
“S’not my fault… Just who I am,” mumbled Aodh.
“Ah, I understand,” said Tim, sitting down with his legs crossed, “So answering your question, Chand. I’m here because I need a favour.”
“I can probably guess. You need our powers for some life-threatening mission,” he replied, squinting slightly, as though he was concentrating on something.
“How did you -”
“Intuition,” said Aodh cheekily, “And I’m a mind reader!”
“Wow, that’s so cool!” exclaimed Tim.
“I must say I agree,” replied Chand, “even though I cannot do it myself, it takes a lot of skill to be able to read minds, and he has lived longer than I have so I have yet to master it.”
“I see,” said Tim, “so what else can you all do?”
“Well… I can levitate things,” began Aodh, “But it takes a lot of energy to levitate objects so it’s not something I like to do often.”
“I don’t really have any special abilities as that…” Chand said glumly.
Tim felt sympathetic; it must be hard having a sibling that seems to surpass you.
“It’s ok, Chand. You don’t need to have them straight away, you’re the younger brother and you just have to take the time to learn what is inside of you, and know what you are capable of.”
“Thanks Tim,” said Chand, cheering up with his kind words, “I’ll get better I promise.”
“Now, back to business,” Tim said, crossing his arms and looking seriously at the boys, “You are the source of light and darkness in the world am I correct?”
Both boys nodded keenly.
“Okay, but what exactly am I going to do with them? How do I use them?”
“Well with light you can do many things! You can make dark paths visible by creating a globe like so,” said Aodh, and he cupped his hands together and closed his eyes. A small ball of pure golden glittering light rose from his palms and floated above his eyes.
‘It looks so beautiful…’ Tim thought.
Aodh made the light disappear and continued; “You can also create distractions for enemies by blinding them for a short while.”
He mimicked the movement to blind someone by spreading his fingers out in front of him, and then in and out in a quick motion. He paused and began to think about what else he needed to say.
“Umm… Oh! You can also control the weather but there’s a problem with that…” He looked gravely at Tim.
“What? What is it?”
“Well, the bad thing is that your moods control the weather.”
“Ah, so I’ve got to watch myself then?”
“Yep, but you only affect those within a 5 mile radius,” said Aodh.
“That doesn’t sound too bad,” said Tim smiling, then turned to Chand; “Now what about darkness?”
He coughed dryly and said, “Basically the opposite of Aodh’s powers but you can use darkness to disguise yourself as a defense rather then his offensive stratagem.”
“That’s interesting, it would be good to defend myself too,” said Tim.
“Perhaps. But perhaps the most intriguing of all is the ability to become a shadow of someone else, and this allows you to see into their memories and discover more about their past. It’s one of the most deadly of moves as it makes one go mad if you interfere with their most precious memories. It’s a truly awful power to hold the darkness but it’s necessary for a last resort.”
“I see,” replied Tim in a serious tone.
“Well, I believe that’s everything you need to know,” said Aodh with certainty.
“Brother! You have forgotten the whole reason why he is here!” exclaimed Chand.
“Have I, Brother?” Aodh replied.
“Well, duh! He didn’t exactly come here for information did he? He needs our powers!”
“If you had let me continue I was gonna do the transfer… you should know me better, Chand.” Aodh said, squinting at his brother.
“Oh, right. Sorry,” replied Chand, who then nodded at his brother.
They both placed a hand onto Tim’s shoulders and closed their eyes. He waited, and then he felt both warmth and coolness flow from the twins’ hands and flowing through his entire body. They removed their hands and looked at him.
“Now you must learn how to use our powers, and vanquish the evil that may jeopardise the whole world,” said Aodh.
“Dude, don’t be so serious, look at this guy, he’s totally gonna nail it!” replied Chand enthusiastically.
“Well, we shall see when the time comes…” his twin replied, and with that they turned their backs on Tim, and left the unknown space in which they had once stood.

~X~

 

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