What happens when a cursed wizard tries his hand at gardening? 52 Wks
|While the wizard slept, the magical ink from the quill of a Phoenix began working its own magic upon the pages of the open book. What happens when you mix various kinds of magic? What if Marty does not wake in time to stop the course of events he started? If Marty uses his own magic to stop the mysterious actions, will it work? Or, will the demon's curse strike yet again and make matters far worse?
Before we answer these questions, I must ask yet another. “Do you remember Marty Mableson, the cursed wizard, spawned by a demon? Maybe yes, maybe no. For those who don’t know Marty, or have forgotten the cursed wizard, let me say a little about him before we begin our tale.”
Marty wasn’t an evil wizard, in fact, he had a kind heart. Unfortunately, he also had a demon curse upon him from his birth. His mother, Mable was put under an evil spell by the demon Dillrod and while she lay helpless, he had his way with her leaving her with a child. When the ordeal was over Dillrod demanded the child carry his evil name, but Mabel refused. The demon then put a curse upon her unborn son if he was not named for his father, his magic would be cursed with chaos. Not every spell, but Marty would never know when the cursed spell would happen.
Despite this, Mabel held fast to her choice and refused the demon his due. He would have perhaps tortured her, or worse, but he had taken too long and the sun was rising fast. In his furry over her refusal, he placed his slimy hands upon her stomach and cursed the child within. Then with a sneer, he told her the child’s fate.
With a sneer of her own, Mabel pointed behind the demon and said, “Behold, the sun.” That was the end of Dillrod, since demons cannot bear the light of the sun. The evil Dillrod was now gone, dispersed for all eternity, but his curse would hold true, and Marty suffered as a result. In fact, over time, he lost his friends, his family, and his home because of the curse. Banned from his own land, He fled his home and created his own home, Castle Addlebrain.
He may have been rooted and driven from his new home as well, but the mere site of the magical castle, the loathsome creatures living in the turbid waters around it and especially the two huge dragons that flew ceaselessly over the castle grounds kept people away. On occasion one or two fools would approach, but they never made it down the road to the castle, but ended up as snacks for either of the two dragons, Rosco or Jojo.
Thus Marty lived alone with his two fire breathing pets and his familiar, Filbert the turtle. Not that Marty minded, in fact, he enjoyed the solitude and quiet of his castle. When he did desire to go outdoors, it was usually enough to walk the long road from the castle to the main road that led past his gloomy peninsula to the mailbox he had installed to order items for his magic from one of the many mail-order catalogues he subscribed to.
It was in one of these that he seen an advertisement for a gardening book, Wizards Guide to Organic Gardening. It provided detailed instructions and spells for growing a full variety of organic foods in the unnatural environments most wizards lived in. Marty was instantly interested because he had not had fresh produce since he was banished from his childhood home. Not that he didn’t eat well, he supplied himself with any type of food he craved by use of various magical spells, but magically processed foods just weren’t the same as wholesome, organically grown foods.
Marty ordered the book for his two-hundredth birthday, along with a cake and waited eagerly for them to arrive. On the day before his birthday, Rosco landed outside the front door and rapped against the heavy wood with his front foot. When Marty opened the door, Rosco told him the mail had arrived. Marty thanked him and patted his huge head, thinking again how lucky he was to have these loving dragons to watch over him when he ventured down the road.
He could have used magic to ensure his safety from the local peasants and the creatures lurking in the oily waters beside the road, but he had not yet grown strong enough to remove the curse, and he still did not know when one of his spells would backfire. But, even if his magic wasn’t always able to protect him, he could always count on his beloved pets to watch over him.
In fact, just a couple weeks back, Marty had wanted to have a barbecue, nothing fancy, just some sweet corn, baked potatoes, and a nice steak cooked on the grill. He had a conjured up a nice patio behind the castle, complete with a grill. He cast his spell and big, full, and juicy ears of corn and fist sized potatoes appeared on the grill. He snapped his fingers and flaming hot coals appeared in the grill to cook his dinner. All he had left was to produce a nice, thick steak to cook. He decided to try buffalo and pictured in his mind a big T-bone from one and waved his hands.
The grill collapsed under the weight of the massive beast, at least two-thousand pounds. Not only was the buffalo huge, but landing on the hot grill had it fully enraged. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, Marty had put on his cherry red wizards robe because it was warmer than his black one. The bull stomped and sent burning embers every direction, then dropped its huge head, equipped with three-foot-long, needle tipped horns, and charged right at him. Marty turned to flee the beast before it impaled him, but he stepped on one of the big ears of corn and fell flat on his face.
He rolled over just as the bull was upon him, head down, horns just inches from his side. There was no time for a spell, and Marty saw his life flash before his eyes as he squeezed them shut. But nothing happened. The horns never gorged his ribs, the massive animal didn’t toss him through the air like a wizard-ragdoll, nothing. Marty opened his eyes and realized that the huge buffalo was gone. He blinked in disbelief as he seen Jojo lifting into the air above him with the two-thousand-pound animal dangling from her mouth. With one gulp, it was gone and she let out a smoking, thunderous burp, then landed on top of the castle and licked her lips.
Another time, when walking to the mailbox, one of the creatures from the turbid waters slithered up out of the dark waves behind Marty. The thing looked much like a lobster, but had four limbs with jagged pinchers on them, and a gaping, fanged mouth. Marty wasn’t even aware it had come up on the road until he heard the terrible snapping of its pincers behind him. He turned and seen the twenty-foot monster rushing at him with all four pincers open and ready to tear him to pieces. Before he could conjure a spell, Rosco dropped down in an arching swoop and blasted the hideous creature with a blast of white hot flame, roasting it instantly. With a second pass, Rosco blasted it again, then landed on the road beside Marty, wagging his spiked tail like a puppy looking for praise for a good deed. Marty patted him on the head, “You’re a good boy, Rosco. Come let us get the mail, then when we return, you can carry this massive mountain of seafood to the castle and we will have lunch together.” Rosco, Jojo, and Marty dined on the steamed flesh of the creature which tasted just like boiled lobster. Filbert wasn’t interested in the tender, white meat Rosco had provided, so Marty conjured him up a pile of lettuce and berries and they all enjoyed the afternoon.
As Marty walked to the mailbox, both Rosco and Jojo set down on the road and walked with him. It was an uneventful stroll and the dragons found nothing interesting in the package Marty took from his mailbox. Marty, however, was very excited and eager to enjoy some cake and get started on his garden, so instead of walking back, he climbed up on Rosco’s massive back and let the dragon fly him back to the castle. Both Rosco and Jojo loved giving him rides and Marty let them carry him on occasion, but the course scales always gave him a bad case of saddle soars if he rode for too long.
“Thank you for the lift, my friend. One day I will conjure up some kind of saddle to protect my tender behind so I can ride longer.” Marty patted his nose, then dug a treat from his pocket and set it upon the great dragon’s forked tongue. Jojo pushed her nose in and almost toppled the wizard in search of a treat for herself. Marty dug out another and laughed as she sat up and begged. “You, Jojo, are a ham.”
Once Marty was back inside, he opened his package and served himself a slice of cake with a generous scoop of ice cream. He cut another slice for Filbert, then cut the rest in half and took it out for the dragons, who were both sitting up begging for cake. Filbert had frosting on his head and they all laughed and enjoyed the sweet treat. Then Marty carried Filbert back inside and opened his book on gardening.
After skimming through it quickly, he poured himself a glass of brandy and went through the door to his right that brought him to the top of the tower. It was a massive room, forty feet across, and round, with windows every three feet. The vaulted ceiling was twenty feet high at the walls, and fifty feet high at the center peak. Suspended ten feet below the peak, a huge ball glowed like a giant light-bulb, filling the massive room with bright, but artificial, sunlight. A recliner sat by one window, and Marty sat down, setting his glass of brandy on the table beside the chair. He opened the book and began to read about gardening.
There were many types of garden spells available for Marty to choose from. Some created specific gardens, as illustrated in the book, other’s allowed the wizard to choose various aspects of individual gardens to create one suited to their individual needs. The author had even provided some worksheets in the center of the book for combining various gardens. Marty took out his pen, a magically inked, azure feather from the tail of a Phoenix and began to fill in the information required to create his desired garden. He listed various fruits, vegetables, and grains. He included a little of everything, knowing he could preserve his bounty by magically freezing it for later use. He even added an area for pasturing livestock, but knew it would be difficult to keep any animals without them becoming feed for Rosco, Jojo, or any of the devilish creatures that lived below the surface of the murky water.
Once the form was completed, Marty flipped through the pages to find the needed words that would create his garden. He had not yet filled out the line that asked where he wanted to put his garden, since he wasn’t sure yet himself. He intended to go walk around the castle and pick the best spot. Once the spot was picked, he would recite the words needed to cast this spell and create the garden. He didn’t think anything could go wrong, since it wasn’t his spell, but instead one created by another wizard.
Had Marty finished reading the book, instead of stopping after he had found his personalized garden, he would have seen the warnings listed along with the recommended instructions for casting this spell. But, Marty was two-hundred years old and a powerful wizard, he knew how this stuff worked.
Marty had finished his glass of brandy and by the time he had filled out the worksheet, he was very relaxed. He set the still open book down on the small table beside his empty glass, reclined back and put his feet up, closed his eyes and thought about the wonderful garden he would create, right after his nap. He soon was snoring, lost in sleep and dreams of gardening.
While he slept, something began to happen to the open book. The magical ink in the Phoenix quill Marty had written with began to turn from a deep azure, to a bright red, then orange, finally yellow, then burst into tiny lines of flame. A golden hue formed around the book as the burning ink worked deeper and deeper through the pages, As the ink bore down through the pages, they turned blank, the information upon them now consumed by the flaming ink. Smoke began to waft up into the air, forming a haze in the gigantic, circular room.
The smell woke Marty with a start; in his dream, his garden had caught fire and he was casting a spell to spray water on it. Upon waking, Marty completed the chant for water and when he seen the burning book, directed the spray towards it. Instead of putting the fire out, however, it only spread the flames across the floor. Marty jumped from the chair as it began to smolder then was consumed by the spread flames, as was the table the book had set upon. It, the book, landed, still open, on the floor by Marty’s feet.
Still groggy from his deep sleep, he didn’t realize it wasn’t an actual fire burning and consuming, but a magical fire. He would also have noticed that the flames continued to stay in the shape of letters and pictures from the book, but had now spread from the water to cover the entire floor. Instead, his foggy thoughts focused on the spread flames being like burning oil, water just makes them spread. He needed something else to put this out. He conjured up a spell and dirt began to rain down on the flames. From one hand, water sprayed out in a fine mist, from the other, dry dirt. As they landed on the burning runes and lines on the floor, they became wet, almost muddy, soil. The lines vanished beneath them, smoldering more gray haze into the air.
Marty turned off the spray of water and dirt, smiled, then replaced it with a deep frown. He had extinguished the fire, that was true, but now he had a wet, muddy mess to clean up. In fact, it looked to be about three or four feet thick across the floor. Then, he remembered the book. Had it survived the water and dirt? Was there anything even left after the fire?
It had landed by his feet, right in front of him. Marty knelt down and began digging through the soft, moist soil and felt the edge of the book. Lifting it carefully, he seen was saturated from the water, but he could still make out the writing of his worksheet. He tipped it up and shook the worst of the dirt off of it, then set it gently down on the soft soil. He thought for a minute, then had the perfect spell to fix all of this. The spell of restoration.
Marty formed the words of the spell in his head, held out his arms and turned his hands palm up. He could feel the energy flowing through him and out of his hands, filling the room, but instead of the sparkling, golden energy that should have filled the room and restored everything back to when he had first entered the room, a green swirling mist filled the room and plants began to grow from the still open book. Quickly they spread through the moist, soft, soil, and before he could end the spell, the room was filled with plants, trees, birds, and insects.
“That damn curse!” Marty spat the words out as he realized it had changed his spell of restoration to one of regeneration. Everything in the book had been regenerated into this room. Not only had it regenerated, but it had become mature within seconds. Huge trees laden with fruit, ripe grain swaying in a light breeze, and vegetables of every kind filled his sight. Bees buzzed in the warm breeze landing on flowers and blossoms, butterflies floated through the air, and bird-song filled his ears with melody.
“How?” Marty had thought the word, the question, out loud. He finished it silently, in his head. How had the contents of the entire book even fit into this room? Sure, it was a big room, but the tree in front of Marty was taller than the peak of the ceiling. He couldn’t see the peak, light clouds drifted overhead in a blue sky. As they passed, sunshine rained down in bright rays upon the ground. He could see the wall behind him, it was just a few feet away, but it vanished in the distance as he turned his head to follow its curve. Marty started walking across the room, but it was no longer a big, big room, it was now huge. Marty figured it was at least a mile across, likely more.
He was alarmed to think how big the room must have grown to hold this massive garden, complete with its own small lake and a river that flowed right into the wall. Had the entire castle enlarged? How much more of the coast had he taken from the locals? He became alarmed, knowing they would be very upset and possibly try and force him to leave if he destroyed more of the beautiful countryside.
Marty opened a window and whistled out a shrill call and Rosco and Jojo swooped into view. “My friends, I need a lift. I must assess the damage done by the curse.”
Jojo responded while Rosco hovered near the window for Marty to climb upon his wide back and then walk up to his serpent like neck and sit down. “What spell? We see nothing, all is still the same outside.”
“I hope so.” Marty hooked his fingers under a scale and held tight as Rosco shot up into the sky with Jojo right beside him. Then, with bellowing roar, they turned and dove back down towards the coast, slowing about a half mile out. Marty could see as they approached and then circled, nothing had changed. The castle was still the same size, the tower no higher nor wider than before.
“Set me by the door, my friend.” Rosco did, and Marty dug out a couple of treats from his pocket and rewarded his faithful pets, then went back inside. He toured the entire castle, a task that took two days, but nothing had changed. He climbed the steps to the tower room this time instead of using a magical door, and when he reached the top, the heavy wood door was still there. Marty had to stretch up onto his toes to peer through the small window in it.
Inside was the garden, his garden; trees, plants, birds, even his river flowing into the wall, but not through it. Outside, the tower was about fifty feet across, inside, over a mile. “Well, dad, looks like the curse is still working, but for once it worked for good.”
Marty smiled as he entered the garden room, as it was now named. “I’ll build a gazebo here, by the river and on the shore of the small lake. I’m going to need to fence in that grassland over there to keep the livestock out of the crops, and I’ll have to set a timer for the over-head sunlamp, so it mimics day and night.” He reached up and picked a red, ripe apple and took a bite.
He didn’t speak it, he didn’t want the curse to know his thoughts, but he also thought it about time to try that spell to remove the damn thing once and for all. After all, if he was powerful enough to turn a curse into this….