The New Apprentice

falcon

A peregrine falcon flies near the Throgs Neck Bridge. Credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin.

Landon stood majestically on top of the wind-swept plateau dressed in archaic and stereotypical magician’s apparel. The robe draped over his slight nine-year-old frame from neck to ankle was colored a deep violet with bright yellow crescent moons and five-pointed stars dappled generously across the fabric. His head was adorned with a tall, conical hat made of the same material, displaying identical hue and decoration.

In his right hand, he held a long, slender wand made of a dark wood with no name, and on his left hand and wrist, he bore a thick, heavy glove of leather. High above in the deep azure sky, he saw a mere speck of darkness contrast against the pink and yellow clouds, spread thin as paper by the light of the setting sun to his back.

The wind rushed past his ears, but he could still hear the distinct cry of the falcon circling over his head. The bird of prey was too high for him to hear the boy, but he projected his thoughts into the heavens and the avian would be compelled to respond.

“You must choose now, Perry. Is she to join us or not?”

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The Apprentice

magical

Image: AA VFX YouTube channel

The Sixth Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series

This story resolves the cliffhanger begun in the previous tale The March of the Stuffed Animals. Read that story before continuing here.

Eldritch magic surrounded Buddy the Ambrosial Dragon and Tarmreiboth the Dark Wizard of Setioval as they battled for the very soul of a seven-year-old boy. Landon was lying unconscious in a circle of light surrounded by living stuffed animals, animated by Landon’s own spell which was secretly taught to him by the Dark Wizard, the animals ultimately being controlled by that same wizard.

Landon’s Dad and Grandpa watched helplessly, held motionless by the dark magic of the stuffed animals, as the dragon and the wizard wove brilliant and violent spells around each other designed to defeat; to annihilate. Buddy fought to take Landon and his family back home and to safety, while Tarmreiboth desired that the child become his apprentice and an operative of evil, perhaps one day to inherit the title of Dark Wizard.

The only illumination in this out-of-the-way “pocket” dimension, not a true realm, but a reality constructed for just this purpose, was from the circle of light surrounded by the stuffed animals and the flashes of magic woven by the two combatants, but somehow, Grandpa and Dad could see everything.

“You cannot defeat me, dragon. You never could. That’s why you ran away with the boy last time.” The wizard was confident and with good reason. Although possibly thousands of years old, in many ways Buddy was still young and immature. He could not make full use of his abilities yet, while Tarmreiboth was at the height of his powers.

“Me fight. Me win. Love Landon. Save him.” If a pure heart and determination were all that mattered, Buddy would have given the dark wizard serious competition, but unfortunately even goodness and love had to give way to superior skills and strength. Buddy could feel himself weakening.

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