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Blessing

fantasy by A. E. Mableson

Rich hues of orange, yellow and lavender were splayed, like a huge finger painting, across the western sky.

Garn, the Wizard of Reason, pulled back on the reins, halting his steed before the doors of an immense granary. He turned and gazed at the surrounding fields.

The rich, thick aroma of fresh- plowed earth filled the air. The fields, now darkening with the setting sun, were ready for planting. This would commence tomorrow after he initiated the spring rite, the Blessing of the Seed.

The harvest master’s seal on the door appeared intact. Garn rubbed it with his fingers. Satisfied that it had not been disturbed in the months since the fall harvest, he broke it and opened the door.

Garn inspected the interior with careful eyes, searching for signs that Tak, the Wizard of Lunacy, had in some way tampered with the mussin seed. Always, the Wizard of Lunacy had attempted to thwart the Blessing. He had always failed in his immortal quest. Still, Garn had learned to be careful. If Tak succeeded in stopping the Blessing, then chaos would rule the land and all hope would be lost.

Scant light flowed from a skylight in the center of the granary. A wooden stairway loomed before Garn. He ascended and walked along the narrow catwalk to a platform in the middle of the granary. White bags of seed were piled high all around him. He inhaled their rich, musky scent.

Everything depended on the crop.

The harvest would be pressed, creating fragrant oil which was used in the bath houses as part of the daily rite of the people. Without the oil bath, the people would go mad. And only the spell that Garn imparted imbued the mussin with the ability to ward off insanity.

It was his sacred duty. One he must not fail.

The time was almost at hand. He turned and grasped the iron crank handle which raised the platform and began turning it. The machinery protested as it inched the wizard up, towards the skylight. When he reached the top, he paused and opened it, then continued cranking the lift until he was through the skylight.

To the west, the sun approached the horizon. To the east a faint glow portended the rising moon. It was almost time. A question flitted through his mind. Where was Tak?

The appearance of the silvery tip of the rising moon interrupted his thoughts. Soon the sun and moon would both be visible just above the horizon. At that moment, the astronomical alignments necessary for the spell to work would be present.

Garn lowered himself into the granary. Waving his wand over the seeds, he swiveled the platform and passed the blessing over the crop. When the circle was complete, Garn was satisfied. The blessing was almost accomplished. Tomorrow evening, when the planting was done, he would conclude the spell.

As he sealed the granary doors, a question continued to nibble at the edges of Garn’s mind.

What had become of Tak?

#

Garn needn’t have wondered. Tak was nearby, hiding in trees at the edge of the fields. He watched Garn ride away, a satisfied gleam in his eyes.

Always in the past, he had tried to prevent the Blessing and always he had failed. Garn’s spells were just too powerful.

But now he had a new strategy. The seed was unattainable. But the fields, like a maiden bathing alone in a pool, were unprotected and vulnerable.

At the rising of the moon, Tak carried an empty bucket into the fields around the granary. He gathered a handful of soil from each field and when his bucket was full, he slipped into the forest.

#

Tak could see storm clouds gathering in the west, their tops illuminated by the rising sun. As he climbed the tower he had constructed, he was satisfied that his long planned plot would soon be culminated. At the top of the tower he had placed a large iron vat which contained mussin bean oil. Firewood was stacked neatly under the vat.

He lit the firewood and began to heat the oil. As the clouds approached, vapors from the heated oil ascended into them. Tak sprinkled dirt from the bucket into the vat, chanting a spell with each handful. The clouds overhead began spinning as the vapors penetrated their gloom. As Tak threw in the last handful, the clouds began to glow with a faint reddish hue. Tak scurried down from the tower.

A lightning bolt flashed and struck the vat, vaporizing it and its contents. The clouds moved on to the fields of freshly planted seeds, raining down a curse.

#

Garn examined the young boy. The wild eyes and frothing mouth betrayed the beginnings of the madness. He had heard other reports from around the land.

He had cast the Blessing perfectly and the harvest had been bountiful, but for the first time the baths had failed. Tak would soon rule the land.

Insanity was spreading. And Garn could not fathom why.

Copyright 2010 by A.E. Mableson

A.E. Mableson is the pen name of Paul Wonning. Paul lives on ten acres in southeastern Indiana. His previous work has appeared in various online publications.

[Return to the April 2010 stories]

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3 Responses

  1. […] Blessing […]

  2. Hi!
    Nice story. Is this a real ritual?

  3. I like your story, I think it is creative. Something to think about though: With Garn being the Wizard of Reason, he should be able to reason out what happened. Your story was great, but your ending kind of lost me when you said “And Garn could not fathom why”. It’s just not believable that Garn, the wizard of reason, didn’t have a clue that Tak was involved. I also posted this on http://community.writersdigest.com/group/shortstorywriters/forum?

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