Long before I began writing stories, I collected words. Magical and curious words that in and of themselves expressed stories. They were enough to soar to the wildest corners of one’s imagination, to that enchanted place where all stories found life.
Single words like ‘Mirror’ or ‘labyrinth’ for example.... ‘Mirror’ can be a mysterious door opening to unknown wonderlands. ‘Labyrinth’ can trap you within such wonderlands.
Or… ‘Flute.’ The sound of the instrument penetrates into my soul through one word. Perhaps because it has the ‘power to lure.’ The rats of a town lured into their doom. Cobras lured into twerking. Monsters lured into compliance. Flute. The sound of powerful whimsy.
Shrine, mage, mist, blue, prophecy… Instead of explaining how magical they can be, I feel inspired to use them in a paragraph or two below. I am curious to see the ways in which magic will unfold. Inspiration is always worth pursuing.
The two mages stood under the foliage of silver stars and the crescent moon, leaning on staffs made of a special branch from the Giant Ash. The Shrine of the Elements stood before them. Four tall towers representing the four elements reached up to the cobalt blue sky. One tower was of blazing fire, actual fire. The other, a waterfall from the heavens. Mist in shades of blue and violet spiraling up to the sky was the third tower. The Tree of Knowledge was the fourth. There was also a fifth tower – invisible to the uninitiated eye. The tower of mystery only showed itself to the true initiate, the one who had mastered the first four elements.
“We’ve made it,” said the tall mage, shivering under the amber cloak of the ancient sages. “There awaits our destiny.”
“Not yet,” corrected the short and squat one, rubbing an old, wrinkled hand in a silver wispy beard which cascaded down to his ankles. “There,” he pointed forward with his staff.
Plants had started growing before them. Behind them. Around them. Soon enough, the two mages were in the center of a labyrinth of giant trees and thorny bush. The Labyrinth of Earth. To get to the shrine they had to show mastery of all the four elements. The earth element was the last one. Or so they thought. The fifth element was yet a mystery.
The eyes of the short and squad mage prickled with tears. Trembling wrinkled hands brought a small old flute of rowan wood to lips at ready. The flute had the power to command the wind.
“There must be another way,” pleaded the tall mage. “We can go back.”
“A glorious destiny is none but a leap of faith,” said the other. He forced a smile. “The Prophecy of the Mages told of two destined to walk together to the Shrine. It never told of two reaching it.”
A hymn from the flute filled the air particles, luring them, directing them. The howling of the gust swallowed the solemn hymn. The tree branches swayed at the mages dangerously with wrath. The two mages buried their heads in their knees. Two amber mounds in the midst of a storm.
The two elements, air and earth, were putting up a great fight. The short and squat mage, one last time brought the flute to his lips. A tornado stormed its way through the labyrinth. It opened a clear path to the shrine. The tornado stormed back to the mages and one was sucked up into the starry night. The short and squat mage. His flute remained behind.
The tall mage heard two last words before his friend was no more. “Be true.”
The tall mage blinked away tears. Rivers of loving tears streamed down his onyx cheeks. The other mage, now gone was his teacher, his friend, his only family. Near the four towers he noticed a fifth one rising. He watched as the tower of the fifth element rose to the sky. The fifth tower was made of tears, tears of love. The mage’s initiation was complete. He was the true master of the five elements. He was the new Mage of the Shrine. The mysterious fifth element was Love.
Ten minutes ago, I had picked up my phone to jot down an inspiration I received about the magic of words. I embrace inspiration when it knocks, seemingly with a shy hello. And from that magical source where all stories come from, I now have the beginnings of a new story.
Words are indeed magic. Just follow them.