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Fairytales and Other Stories / A Wizard’s Enchantment

   The Wizard first saw the Enchantress as he returned from his castle construction site.  She was standing at the crossroads about hour, by horse, from town.  The late spring breeze had caused her long black hair to dance about her shoulders.  Her clothes were baggy and hid her figure from the prying eyes of mankind, but anyone with half a brain and the eyes to see with could tell she was beautiful, and young.

  He looked like a simple monk riding in a wagon pulled by a team of black oxen.  Closer examination would reveal a robe not quite the homespun trappings of a monk.  Young eyes looked out of an old body and down at the young woman.  "Are you headed into town," he asked as his wagon rolled to a stop.

  "Yes, I am.  Take a rider," she replied.  He could see the doubts beginning to creep through her mind.  In time the Wizard learned her doubts came from a lack of trust in men in general.  It took a certain amount of courage for her to set aside her fears and consider climbing up on to his wagon, and into an uncertain future.

  "Sure, climb on up," he said.  She threw her things in the back of the wagon, and climbed up the side of the wagon and sat beside him.  They talked about the village, her laughter was infectious and her smile gave her a warm glow.  Here was a woman men might die for; if I were a few years younger, he thought driving the oxen team forward.  The Wizard dropped her off at the edge of town.  The Wizard couldn't think of anything else to say so he watched her walk away, and then continued on to the quarry for another load of stone for his castle.

  He saw her in the town, from time to time, as he made his daily trip to the quarry.  He was far too shy of women to even think of approaching her; held in check by fear and uncertainty within himself.  Sometimes he'd stop to say, hello.  As of late he had begun to hear rumors; whispers of enchantress, witch, and worse, none of which he believe.  Then one day she moved into a hut next to his home on the outskirts of town.  'If she is an enchantress I should be able to withstand her spells being a necromancer myself,' he reasoned to himself.

  They were quickly drawn to each other because of their love of magic, and became the best of friends.  They could be found together often, and the Wizard enjoyed the young Enchantress's company greatly.  She is a bit rough around the edges; a bit of discipline and a touch of refinement and she would be dangerous.  Men would fall down and worship the ground she walked on, he thought as he watched her run her hands through her hair.  How I'd love to run my fingers through her beautiful long black hair, damn, he clamped down hard on where that thought was going.

  Each day he saw something new in the way she smiled, or ran her fingers through her hair.  A thousand little things she did added up and he had become enchanted, enslaved by his own love and desire to be loved.  No command was too great for a slave, anything she desired.  The Enchantress had no idea of the power she could unlock.  The cost to turn the key was to let go and allow the rage of pure passion and unending love flow through the very core of her being, but she always held part of herself back, and lacked the trust needed to turn the key.

  Rumors flew about some peasants in town, and the young squire that stopped by her house often.  There were even rumors that the Wizard had taken the Enchantress to his bed.  No such luck, I should be grateful for the squire's distraction, he thought bitterly.  He knew the squire to be a little inconsiderate and a tad self-absorbed but not so as you could tell at a glance.  No one thing you could put your finger on, but hundreds little things that added up over time.  Things were important to him, not people.  The exception of course was when he considered a person a thing to be possessed.

  He watched as the squire stopped by or came over to say good-by as he went off to battle or when she left town for a while.  "Somebody should teach that boy how to say good-by to a woman," the Wizard said to himself, shaking his head sadly.  “You don't stop by and just say good-by, and then go out drinking with the other young men in search of glory.  Spending the night braggin' of trophies taken, and conquests made.  No," he sighed, "you wrap yourself around her and spend the night telling her how much you'll miss her, and if it were me, I'd still be there the next day and would watch until she passed from sight."

  The Wizard's construction of his castle's keep ground to almost a halt.  His work suffered, plans were set back and he grew angry at small things gone wrong.  I'm totally gone, he thought after a long hard nonproductive day.  "She's driving me slowly insane.  God, help me, but how I'd love to run my fingers through her hair, and watch her as she lay sleeping next to me.  I'd like to cover her body with kisses, and make love to her long into the night and well into the next day.  Yep, I'm hopelessly, totally, gone," he said aloud to the air.  "Part of me would be glad to see her leave.  The other part would do anything to make sure she stays.  I've got it bad.  I would conjure up a world for one good kiss.  The heavens would damn me, and the earth open wide her jaws after me for what I would do for a night in her arms."

  Slowly the Wizard began to struggle against the spell that held him tight.  Little by little he pushed back the spell; weaving spells of his own making.  Even if I overcome the enchantment I will never quite be the same, he thought.  A pleasant thought was shattered when the Enchantress burst into the room holding a headless chicken.

  "You," she hiss, "you did this to me.  What did I ever do to you?  Brand me a witch.  Now they will come for me and run me out of town.  I hope you rot in hell, Wizard."  Her accusation could not have cut the Wizard deeper.  An arrow through the heart would have been quicker and less painful than a wall of mistrust thrown up between friends.  A wall of emotional force hit the Wizard hard before he could protect himself.  He lost all thought and crumpled to the floor.  The Enchantress fled from the room as quickly as she had entered.  She left the Wizard a mindless thing incapable of action.

  Two days later the Wizard was awaken by the young squire.  "Wizard wake up.  She knows you didn't do it," the squire said, still shaking him.  "Wake up they're coming for her.  I can't hold them alone.  They'll burn her if they can get their hands on her."  The Wizard placed his hands against the wall where he fallen to steady himself as he began to rise.

  On the Wizard's porch is where they met the town folk.  Torches burned bright against the night sky as they surrounded the Wizard's house.  "Go home she is not a witch," the young squire yelled from the high porch.

  "Give us the witch."

  "Burn the witch," came the replies.

  The Wizard reached into his pocket and pulled out a rock and put it to his forehead for a moment.  He then threw the rock high into the night.  Stars began to wink out as clouds began to fill the night sky.  "This is a lie that you believe, go home.  I do not wish to harm anyone," he said in a voice that was quite yet penetrated the heart of all there.

  "He's not a real wizard."

  "Give us the witch."

  "Burn them both," was the cries from the mob.

  "Enough," cried the Wizard in the voice of thunder that shook the ground.  Fire roared up from the ground around his house and lightning danced around the crowd of people.  "This is a lie you believe.  I shall find the truth, but now go home or I will destroy you all."  Lightning licked the ground before the crowd and the people ran for their lives.  The Wizard would think more highly of the squire from that night forth, but there would never be anyone one good enough for the Enchantress in his mind.

  One night as he contemplated the Enchantress, the nature of her spells, and how she was both madding and amusing at the same time.  He looked out to see the squire and the Enchantress together.  It hurt, more because he thought she could do better than him without even trying.  If he makes her happy, then I am happy for her too, the Wizard thought.  As he meditated he heard voices coming from her house.  "Something has come up and I can't see you any mor---" he heard the squire begin to say.

  "---e months," came the whispered reply.

  "I have responsibilities and things I must take care---"  The sound faded.

  "---t last night you---" and the Enchantress reply was lost even to the sharp ears of the Wizard.

  "I'm not the only one who---" the squire began.

  The Wizard didn't wish to intrude farther into something that was not his business; he got up and closed his window even though the night air was still hot from the summer heat.  "I'll never understand her.  She doesn't trust men and yet her choice is someone I would never turn my back on.  It would be most amusing if I didn't love her as much as my own sister," he said to himself.  "The only thing I can do is become an example of a man she can trust, and hope my love will be a standard against which she will measure other people in the future."

  Later the Wizard went out to sit on his porch to escape the heat of his house after the squire rode away.  In the still of the night he heard the quiet sobs of a woman crying softly as not to be overheard.  He went over to the Enchantress's hut and knocked on the door.  "Go away," she said between sobs.

  "Let me help," he said softly.

  "You can't help me."

  "Perhaps not, but I have a shoulder you can cry on."  She opened the door slowly wiping the tears as they rolled down her face.  He pulled her to him and wrapped his strong arms around her.  She buried her face in his robe and began to cry more earnestly.  Spent she lay against him.  He stroked her hair, she turn her face toward him.  He lost himself in her eyes and bent his head down and kissed her.  She responded and lost herself in a kiss of such intense passion and desire that she had nothing which to compare it with.

  "Stay with me tonight," she asked.  "I don't want to be alone."  All of a sudden the Wizard could have his heart's desire; she was his for the taking.  He smiled and swept her up in his arms and carried into her bedroom, and laid her gently on the bed.

  "No ...not tonight," he found himself saying, as he sat next to her.  "Ask me again tomorrow when you feel better."  The Wizard held her until she fell asleep.  He then tucked the Enchantress in bed pulling the covering tight about her.  He kissed her lips and then her forehead gently, and went out of her room blowing out candles as he went.

  They stood waiting in the morning mist; the wind caused their cloaks to dance together.  He stood behind her with his arms wrapped around her shoulders.  She thought, how being in the arms of a true friend was almost as good, if not better, than being in the arms of a dozen lovers.  She traced his arms with her fingers and leaned back into him.  She felt him kiss the back of her head, she smiled.  Maybe I should tell him, she thought.  He would want me to change and I don't know if I could even for the sake of..., he interrupted her thoughts.

  "It's time.  Take this," he said, handing her a small leather bag.

  "What is it?"

  "Magical power beyond your wildest dreams embedded in the remains of fallen stars.  It is all I have to give that I value.  My heart is already yours for now, but in time the power of your enchantment will fade, and though we may never see each other again, a small part of my heart will remain yours forever.  No power in Heaven or Earth could change my love for you.  I would give my life for you."

  She turned to face him her arms going around him.  He would not watch her leave.  They held each other as though they were lovers about to be parted forever.  He ran his hands through her hair; he bent his head down and kissed her, his arms going around her for one last hug.  Another moment he was gone, vanished into the mist.  How does he put such emotion into a kiss, she wondered still feeling the sadness from the kiss.  He loves me so much, maybe I could---.  She heard the sound of the wagon rolling down the road.  She knew his would be the only tears shed when she was gone.

  The Wizard returned to the spot where the Enchantress last stood, and stared down the road, tears pour from his eyes.  He tried in vain to wipe them away and then gave up.  "I gained much from you, Enchantress, but never quite conquered your spell.  Remember me, my love," he said silently.



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