I – The Magician
The first time I jump, I fall into darkness. Then I wake up. The ground is hard, but I don’t feel bruised, so I don’t know how I got there. It is dark, but off in the distance, I see a bright light. I feel the dirt below me and hear drips. I stand, shaky, and test out my legs. I feel young and alive. I walk toward the light, letting my eyes adjust, but when I exit, it is still a shock. The sun is overhead, but seems to be all around, and yet somewhat filtered by tall trees, both hardwoods and evergreens. When I turn around, the cave is gone, just the edge of a mountain rising behind me, and no door or other entrance. But I’m used to that by now, and suddenly, I want to do something.
All this time I have been following, being guided, but now it’s time for me to act, not merely react. Even though I don’t know where I am, I see a clearing in the distance and head that way. The clearing is unusual because there is a table in the middle, but no one around. On the table are various tools I have never seen before. A shining brass plate inscribed with leaves. A silver chalice filled with some kind of sparkling liquid. Along the top edge lies a curved sword. And right in front of me a golden stick with two gems, one on each end. I pick it up.
I like the heft of it in my hand. One end is blue and the other red, but as I watch, the colors swirl and change. Yes. I can do something with this. I can make something. But first, I need to stake my claim on this place, so I set it down again, and pick up the sword. With the sword, I draw a circle in the dirt around the table, and then a star. I don’t remember my name, but I know I came from the stars, so I make it my signature.
I want to create life, a plant, a tree to grow in this clearing long after I am gone. One that will greet anyone else who comes out of that cave. Back at the table, or perhaps altar is a better word, I pick up the wand with the glowing tips. I raise it to the sky, pointing the other end down toward the brass plate. I feel the sunlight hit the tip of the wand. It is warm and electric, and I almost drop it, but I’m so excited about the plant that I manage to hold on to it. It gets hotter, almost too hot. I stand firm, and as I watch, the lower gem turns bright emerald green. A stream of life bursts forth, bursting off the brass plate, blinding me. I close my eyes against the brightness, but keep my hand grasped firmly around the wand. It shudders for a moment, but then, it steadies and cools. The painful light outside my eyelids recedes into delicious coolness.
When I open my eyes, I see a tiny hawthorn sapling sitting on the brass plate. I point the wand at an area of dirt near the altar, and watch as a hole appears, just large enough for the sapling. I set the wand down, and plant the sapling in the hole, covering it with dirt. I look back at the altar. Something seems incomplete and I realize that I have used all the tools except the cup. I take a drink from the cup — pure fresh water that is somehow magical. But as I move away from the altar, the altar begins to shimmer. It is translucent; I can see the grass and dirt through it, and soon, it has disappeared. I am left holding only the cup.
I pour the rest of the water over the hawthorn. In just seconds it begins to grow, growing and spreading until it is fully grown. In the distance, I hear a dog barking, and out of the corner of my eye, I see a glint of silver from the chalice. I rest beside the hawthorn a moment, but I know I cannot stay.
It is time for the next adventure.