Monday, 9 January 2017

Magic on the Bridge

This is a response to the Light and Shade Challenge prompted by this picture.

           Image from WikiCommons, taken by Richard Webb and used under the Creative Commons Agreement

I wasn't meaning it to turn out like this, but it ran away with me, so below you will find the just about under 500 words version, because I ought to try if I'm setting the challenges (I don't check anyone else's).  However as it turned out to be part of the rebooted 'At the Sign of the White Hart' series and the Steve Adderson story, I expanded it and added it on to both of those.  For those interested, the Steve Adderson story is here, and the latest installment of 'At the Sign of the White Hart' is here.   For reference, installment one is here, installment two is here, installment three is here and installment four is here.  And, if you are still with me, here is the story...

Steve Adderson took a deep breath.  It was a lovely, crisp spring day but the refreshing air didn’t blow away his sense of unease.  He looked at Lord Ragnar who was leaning on the bridge parapet and looking down to the foamy river beneath.  Kadogan was looking along the road to the west at the Yorkshire Dales stretching into the distance.  The hills were empty.  They should be undisturbed. 
“Are you sure you want to go ahead with this?” Steve asked Lord Ragnar.  The elfen nodded.  Steve looked at Kadogan who gave an almost imperceptible nod of his head.  Steve unzipped his heavy sportsbag and started pulling out his equipment.  It was a perfect day.  The breeze was light and yesterday’s rain had filled the river.  He snapped together the portable easel and placed the mirror on it.  He set the deep brass braziers with care at either end of the bridge.  The charcoal caught quickly and the heavy incense was soon smoking.  Then he pulled out the heavy rope to mark the circle.
“Do you honestly believe that you will break through elfen magical wards?” Lord Ragnar asked.
“Nothing is guaranteed.” Steve said as he put the orange candle in the hurricane lantern and lit it.  “But if anything can, this will.  It’s the place.  Feel the energy.  We are between sky and water, between fire…” Steve gestured at the smoking brazier, “and earth.” He gestured to the bank rising up on the other side of the bridge.  “We are between the elements. As we are so undefined we have a loose tile, a loophole, a possible chink that we may be able to use.  Right, let’s start.”
The two elfen remained motionless as Steve pulled on the currents of power and twisted it around the mirror, sending sparking filaments out to search.  Lord Ragnar stepped back in shock as the mirror flooded with inky black but Kadogan just froze.  They could see the different strands of magic spiralling in and out of the circle and converging on the mirror on the easel.  The images coalesced and just for one heartbeat Steve saw Lord Ragnar change back to the glamour of a Viking berserker that he had worn when he seized control of the elfen of York back when it was called Jorvik and the Norseman ruled the men.  Then he was his normal self.
“I congratulate you.” Lord Ragnar bowed formally to Steve.  “It is a feat of legend to break through the magical defence of an elfen.  You recorded it?” Steve nodded.
“What are you going to do with the recording?” Kadogan asked, his eyes averted from the mirror.
“A recording of my wife sinning with her lover?  I shall merely use it in divorce.” Lord Ragnar turned to Steve.  “Thank you.  I owe you a large favour that will not easily be repaid.  Now I need to return to York.  There is much to do.”

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