Chronicles of the

Children of Destiny

Lucy Smith’


Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly





 David Smith looked at the dark lord, a feeling of dread within his stomach.  His brother and his brother’s wife had been killed by Zoldarius.  Their son, Jonathon, had been thankfully and gracefully delivered, but David knew that he was in trouble.  He knew his time was short.  That morning he had sent Caroline safely away with his newborn child Lucy, and the two of them were now safe – beyond Zoldarius’ reach.  But David knew, as he watched Zoldarius menacingly approach, that his time had come.  Zoldarius knew of Caroline, but would give her little thought, so David hoped.  She was a non-mage – not given to the craft.  But his beloved daughter, young Lucy, she was certainly a half-mage.  She would have the gift.  She would have the power which Zoldarius sought to corrupt.  But Zoldarius did not know of her.  He would never know.  David would die before he shared that information with his hated enemy.  He would give his life over to the netherworld before he would betray his beloved child.  And as the power of the spell of ‘shados’ – the shadowlife - was placed upon David by his enemy before him, he knew at that moment that his daughter would be safe.  He knew his beloved Lucy would not fall into the hands of Zoldarius.  That she, at least, would have a happy and safe life.  Away and hidden from the power of the Dark Lord.  Hidden in Australia, were wizards and witches from the old world did not greatly frequent.


As the spell overcame him, he sank to the ground.  His spirit slowly departed his body and entered the shadow realm.  A place it would remain – trapped and beyond the ability of anyone to help him.  A slave to the Shadow Realm, were other tortured souls lived out their existence.  But Lucy was safe.  Thankfully she was safe.  And as he entered the darkness he was grateful for that one small mercy.

Chapter One


Young Miss Lucy Smith’


At 10 years of age, Lucy was a happy child.  Under her mother’s guidance, through the knowledge, if not skill, her husband had taught her, Lucy had learned from Caroline much of the ways of witchery.  Lucy, so talented at her craft, had excelled in the gift.  Caroline had shared with Lucy a little of her Father, David’s life, and said he had been a good man, and that she would have been proud of him.  But she had not shared those other secrets of his life.  Those other details, which she knew she must keep hidden from her daughter.  Caroline had once looked into the welfare of her nephew, Jonathon.  David had departed from the life of Jonathon’s father at a very young age, and had been presumed dead or missing by the Smith family.  But David had kept his eye on the Smith family from time to time – never revealing himself, but watching over their happiness.  With the birth of Jonathon he had been happy for them, but knew with Jonathon’s parent’s untimely death that he must avenge his brother.  Caroline had told David to stay out of the matter, certain it would only bring them harm, but David had been resolute.  The Dark Lord was to be confronted – and dealt with.  But of that encounter, Caroline had received word amongst the wizard community, and when David failed to return she knew her beloved had perished.  She had visited Mynaxxion, the wizard and witch school were Jonathon was taught, once only, in the company of a trusted witch-friend who occasionally visited the school of wizardry.  She had seen Jonathon, who was in the presence of a blonde-headed lad at the time.  She felt assured and encouraged that he was happy in life, and that things would look up for her nephew.  She felt, then, it was safe to leave him be and concentrate on the upbringing of her own child, Lucy.


Lucy looked at the cat hovering in mid-air, very pleased with the success she’d achieved.  She had used the new ‘English’ spell ‘Hover’, which was based on the ancient spells, but had been spellwoven by her teacher, ‘Shelandragh May’.  Shelandragh had woven many spells around the Bunyan hutlet, and one of them allowed older spells to be now spoken in basic English.  She was a revered teacher of the craft in her region, and found it useful to start new beginners in their own basic language, before they moved on to the older tongue.  Lucy, her current pupil, lived just down the road in the hutlet of Chakola, just off the highway.  Lucy’s mother, Caroline, had approached Shelandragh and asked her, if she was willing, to teach her daughter the craft, as this was what her Father would have wished.  When Caroline had explained that they were from England, Shelandragh had made the comment that spiritual realities were different in the southern continent.  Older aboriginal spirits hovered here.  The lords of the dreamtime spoke with her in dreams and visions, and insisted on certain protocols and a degree or respect be shown the indigenous people.  But they had permitted Shelandragh to practice her craft in the Bunyan region, as long as such activities were within reason.


Shelandragh had respected the dreamtime lord’s wishes and woven certain spells around bunyan to keep peace and harmony with the region, without letting any of the other nearby spirits be affected by her work.  She was of course, very careful about the region just to the north of her.  Under Canberra dwelt an old and ancient dragon.  A most fearful opponent.  A cave, hidden in the mountains of the Brindabella’s, lead down to an ominous cavern, were the beast dwelt.  An aboriginal tribesman had shown her the cave, but warned her not to venture into it.  But she, in her stubborn pride, had refused to listen to his words, and dared the cave.  The journey had been fearful and long, as she walked along eastward and then northward, coming into a huge cavern.  It was there she spotted an enormous dragon, dark black, with a golden ridge along his spine, sleeping and snoring loudly.  It was the largest dragon she had ever seen, and she was silently terrified.  She left, very carefully and quietly.  But she was satisfied.  She had seen with her own two eyes the beast, and had identified its breed – the ‘Golden Ridged Wyvvern’ – the largest of all the Wyvvern’s, which was not, technically, a dragon in the classification she knew of, but which the aboriginal’s probably would not know of.  Still, to her pupils she usually called the beast a dragon, when they were older occasionally spelling out its exact classification.


Satisfied that the spell was working, Lucy looked around the room.  The cat, Shelandragh’s, was miaowing furiously at having been made to hover in the middle of the air, which the cat was finding most distressful.  ‘Calm down, Mushroom.’  Lucy said, speaking to the cat.  ‘I will let you down when I am satisfied.’  The cat, Mushroom, ignored her and persisted in her cries.  Lucy looked at a stack of books lying near the fireplace.  Old tomes of spells, she presumed.  Yes – they would make a perfect next subject.  She pointed her wand and spoke the word, again in plain English.  ‘Hover’.  The books, obediently, rose from the ground and settled in the air at about the same height as Mushroom, who was still persistently miaowing.  Lucy was overjoyed.  She turned to the vacuum cleaner near the wall and again repeated the spell, with again the same success.  Looking at the objects, Lucy was so pleased, that she did not notice Shelandragh who had walked into the room and was standing behind her looking at what her young pupil had achieved.  She smiled to herself, pleased that Lucy was showing the gifts, now, quite well.  But she came to herself and knew she had a demeanour to maintain.  ‘Lucy Smith!,’ she exclaimed.  ‘Heaven’s above.  What do you think you are doing, young lady?’  Lucy jumped, turning to Shelandragh, losing concentration on her objects, which dutifully fell to the ground.  The cat Mushroom screeched, running to the lounge chair, hiding underneath.  The vacuum cleaner smashed into the ground, the case coming loose with dust spewing everywhere.  Fortunately, for Lucy, the books smacked into the ground, but seemed to be otherwise intact.  Lucy froze.  ‘I’m sorry, Shelandragh.  I’m sorry, I’m sorry!’ she exclaimed.  Shelandragh looked at the mess the floor was now in.  She walked into the kitchen, and soon returned with dustpan and brush in hand.  She handed them to Lucy, tilted her head, and looked at the dust.  ‘Alright,’ moaned Lucy, understanding that her job at the moment was to clean up the mess she had caused.


Shelandragh sat down on the lounge and picked up a tome from the table beside the lounge, seemingly looking through it.  She looked up at Lucy who was staring at her.  ‘Well.  Get to it.’ She said, waving her hand towards the mess.  Lucy, reluctantly, got down on her knees and started sweeping up the dirt.  When she had finished, she emptied the dust into the pile of ashes in the fireplace.  Shelandragh stopped reading the book she was holding, and placed it on the table.  She looked sternly at Lucy.  ‘Lucy Smith.  What, may I ask, were you possibly thinking of in casting that spell.  You know that it is not in our curriculum until next year.’  ‘Yes, Shelandragh.  I know.  But I borrowed one of your books over the weekend and was practicing it at home.  It was working, so I tried it again today.’  ‘I see,’ replied Shelandragh.  ‘Were there any other spells that you tried?’  ‘Uh, mm.  Ah no,’ replied Lucy, after much stuttering, which suggested to Shelandragh that her young pupil was not being quite so honest.


Shelandragh, although silently pleased that Lucy was showing acceptable initiative, decided that she must caution her young friend.  ‘Lucy.  Magic is a responsibility.  It is not something to be tampered with, or taken lightly.  Many a foolhardy soul has perished believing himself or herself to be wiser than they actually were.  I would encourage you, young child.  Do not be one of them.  The spells I teach you, I teach you at the appropriate age.  You are still very young, being only 10.  But you have such maturity for such a young age, and so much talent, especially for a half-mage, that I am happy to teach you things beyond your normal years.  I knew a wizard, once.  Maddledroft was his name.  Many a tale he shared with me about the affairs of life and the things he had seen.  Great and powerful things.  But one thing he did share with me was the tale of Mallintor.  Mallintor was a master of Magic.  At 30 he was flowing in the craft, respected by all the good – feared by all the bad.  But Mallintor, one day, bit off more than he could chew.  He had been challenged by a supposed friend to defeat a dark wizard.  A wizard whose name was cloaked with fear and darkness.  Mallintor, in the pride of his youth and prowess, had accepted the challenge.  But he was not, so he had assumed, ready for the encounter.  His training had been appropriate.  His talent unmistakable.  But one thing cost him.  Cost him greatly.  Mallintor had become arrogant and believed that he could defeat any opponent.  No matter how great they claimed to be.  And so he had tackled this dark lord, but had come up short.  The evil one had captured him and cast a spell which deprived Mallintor of his power.  The dark one had then let him go.  He had called him a trifle, a thing of no consequence.  Mallintor had been humiliated.  Reduced to what, for him, was the disastrous life of a non-mage.  And all of this because Mallintor believed he was something more than he was.  Pride had been the end of him.’  Lucy listened to the words, her young mind contemplating the fate of Mallintor, and at that moment resolutely deciding that such would not be her fate.  Whatever else, she would exercise caution, and be prepared for whatever life threw at her.


So you see, young Lucy,’ continued Shelandragh.  ‘You need to have a strong grip – a firm understanding – on your real capabilities.  To think more of yourself.  To go beyond your actual talents and what you have in that heart of yours, is to suffer the fate of Mallintor.  And that fate I would not wish on a child such as yourself, with all your talent.’  Lucy nodded again at her teacher’s words.


Shelandragh rose to her feet.  ‘Well, young Lucy.  We have finished today’s lesson.  I was going to share one other thing with you, but your little incident has changed that plan.  Tomorrow, from 3 till 4, I will expect you as usual.  I will be in Cooma in the morning, so don’t come around expecting me early in the day.  But I will be back in time for our lesson.  Well, be off with you,’ said Shelandragh, shooing her young student out the door.


Shelandragh watched her go up the pathway, up to the road, crossing over, and soon coming to the dirt track which led the back-road to Chakola.  Usually, Caroline came and collected her in her car, but Lucy had stated quite often she did not mind the long walk back to Chakola, and now knowing all the residents along the back road, she was quite safe in her trip.  Shelandragh admired such determination from someone so young.  But she also thought of Mallintor and wondered if life would ever bring any such challenge to her young pupil.  She hoped not.  She hoped most definitely not.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy walked along the road, heading towards her home at Chakola.  The walk would take her probably 2 to 3 hours, but she didn’t mind.  She liked walking, seeing the countryside, and seeing the sheep and cattle which littered the fields on the back road to Chakola.  There were a number of gates which she had to pass, which she usually managed to open, but sometimes simply climbed over.  Although it was summer, and daylight saving time had began, meaning extended daylight, the light would gradually diminish as she neared home.


Quite a while later, coming over the last sheep-proof gate, she walked down the dirt track between the place she knew of as home.  Old man Barry, who lived in the old home opposite hers waved to her as she opened the gate to her home.  She liked the Old man.  His oldest son had the same name as her father, David.  David worked on the farmstead of Chakola, although his wife lived up in Canberra.  David’s children, Madalene, Jayden and Georgia, came down to the farm often with their mother, Brigid.  Those three were Lucy’s best friends in the whole world.  So much in fact did they get along that Madalene, at her confirmation, had taken Lucy’s own name in her honour.  The four of them played all the time when they were at the farmstead.  In fact, Lucy’s home was being rented by her mother Caroline from David who was the owner.  It was an old home, which had been brought down from Sydney on a truck.  It was built adjoining an old school-hall, which had been the school for the Chakola area years ago.  And at the end of the school hall were extra rooms which had been added by David and Barry.


Just down from the homes was the ‘Newmerella’ river.  It flowed most of the time, but droughts in their region were a factor of life, and it often was not flowing, with little water to be pumped onto the fields.  David often bemoaned this, as he did the life of a farmer, but it was the lifestyle he liked.  It suited him and his personality, and he did not really want to trade it for another.


Across from the river were some of the main fields were David worked, as well as a couple of other farmsteads – one being neighbours, the other belonging to David’s family.


Coming in through the door, Lucy was pleasantly surprised to see her mother standing before the fire, stoking the burning wood, talking with Madalene, Georgia and Jayden who were seated on the old tatty blue lounge.  ‘Lucy,’ yelled Jayden, pleased to see his friend.  Georgia got up and started showing Lucy some shells that the three of them had collected at the seashore were they had been that afternoon.  Lucy had forgotten about the trip, which she had been asked to attend, but she had politely declined, not wanting to miss her lesson that day.  Magic was now becoming very important to her, and she took it seriously now.  Quite seriously.


She looked over at Madalene.  ‘How was the sea?’  ‘About the same.  We went to Tathra last year and hunted for some prawns along the coast then, as we did again today.  There weren’t many today, but it was fun.’  ‘Yeah, it was okay,’ said Jayden.  ‘Were have you been, Lucy?’ asked Georgia, in the faint voice she occasionally spoke with.  ‘We told you before, Georgie.’ Said Jayden.  Your always forgetting.’  ‘She is not,’ said Madalene, defending her younger sister.  Jayden and Georgia were still of an age in which they fought a lot.  Madalene, as belied her character in general, had begun maturing, and was starting to become a mature young lady.  ‘I have been at Shelandragh’s, Georgia.  It was my lesson today.’  ‘Go on, cast a spell,’ said Jayden.  ‘You probably want to, anyway,’ said Madalene, agreeing with her brother.  Lucy looked at her mother, who nodded consent.  Lucy looked around the room and spotted Tom the cat, sitting near the fireplace, all curled up and happily dozing.  Caroline looked at Lucy and were she was looking, and then firmly said, ‘No, Lucy.  Not the cat.’  Lucy shrugged, and continued surveying the room.  She spied an old book on the table and asked Jayden to place it on the floor.  Jayden did as asked, and Lucy, looking at it, concentrated and pulled at her wand.  After a few moments she said ‘Hover’, and, the spell unfolding, the book started rising up from the floor, a metre or so.  The three children started laughing, and Jayden grabbed the book.  ‘That was cool,’ said Georgia in her faint voice.  ‘You be careful with that spell,’ said Caroline, alarmed at the possible mischief her daughter could get into with such powers.  ‘Yes mother.  I’ll be careful,’ replied Lucy.  ‘Come on.  Let’s go outside,’ she said to the others, and they all followed her out the front door.


The rest of the afternoon was filled with much yelling and shouting of the word ‘hover’, although only Lucy’s use of the word brought the others desired affect.  But of that afternoon, much fun was had by the assembled children, and as Lucy lay in her bed that night, looking up at the dark ceiling, she smiled at the adventurous day she had had, wondering what new treat the morning would bring her.

Chapter Two


The Malevolent Grimlock’


Grimlock stumbled along the dirt track, hastening as quickly as he could manage, given the limp from his bad leg.  Tonight, the night of nights, the dark lord would speak with him.  His master, lord Darvanius, would instruct him of his new plan.  A plan he had recently brought to the surface.  Grimlock thought about Zoldarius, who Darvanius often pushed to and fro in his plans.  Zoldarius was, in the end, easy to use under Darvanius’ dark might.  Grimlock realized that he too served Darvanius’, much in the way Zoldarius did so.  But he liked to think that perhaps he had more say in how he carried out his work under Darvanius’ instructions.  But he did not think that often.  Not often.  He felt the shadow of the dark lord upon him often, always there, silently eating away at him.  Rebuking him, and then, quite contrarily, encouraging him.  But all the time, so Grimlock felt, manipulating him towards the grand purpose Darvanius sought.  That much he did not like, but nevertheless he served his dark lord, eager for the reward that Darvanius often spoke of and said, one day, he would reward him with.


Grimlock entered his small shack, nestled in the western hills of Tasmania, hidden from all.  This was his private place – his dark abode.  He resided, usually, in Hobart, were he had a small shop dedicated to the dark arts.  ‘The Dragon’s Lair’, he had called it, those many years ago when the shop opened.  Business had been slow at first, the community still fearing magic somewhat in those days, but gradually changing their attitudes.  But now, darkness was becoming popular – ever so popular.  To his great disdain, magic now had white witches and white magic.  Magicians dedicated to purity and goodness.  In his store, he held a number of such books, but they were only for show.  Primarily designed to ward of suspicious authorities, especially the ever curious guild of wizards and witches, who occasionally monitored his affairs.  The Canberra bureau of the guild operated under the sanction of the English guild, a tradition established many years ago.  They had operatives in most of the major cities, including Hobart, and he knew the regular fellow from the guild who visited his store.  Darren Merryweather – a dedicated wizard of the light.  He would browse the Dragon’s Lair from time to time, perhaps, so Grimlock thought, suspicious about the rumours in the community that Grimlock also sold, alongside the traditional fare, tomes of dark magic.  Forbidden, evil spells.  Darren occasionally inquired of Grimlock wether he had such books for sale, stating a curiousity on the matter, but Grimlock always denied any such books, claiming perfect innocence.  He knew that Darren probably did not believe him, but he would never betray himself.  He would keep his secret, and go on with the charade that had developed.


He looked at the clock on the wall.  5.35 pm.  Darvanius would summon him around 9.00 pm – a usual time.  The Dark Lord would enter his room through his spirit guide and speak with Grimlock, instructing him on his new purposes.  Before then he would prepare his nightly meal, and study some of his texts he had brought with him from Hobart.  And he would wait – anxiously wait – anticipating the new directives from his dark master.


*   *   *   *   *


So, Darren.  He remains insistent that he has no such books.  No such knowledge of the dark arts?’  ‘Yes, Alfric.  He maintains this position.  I have heard rumours and innuendo from many wizards and witches in Hobart and throughout Tasmania that he has been involved with shady gatherings and questionable activities.  But so far there is nothing substantial to justify any further investigation.  Perhaps, like a number of us, he has an interest in the dark side.  A curiousity.  A fascination.  But perhaps that is all that it is.  He has never hinted to me personally that he has any such knowledge, which is probably not true.  But he may simply be embarrassed about any such involvement, not wishing for his reputation to be sullied.’  ‘Yes,’ said Alfric.  ‘That is what the guild has generally concluded.  At this stage, then, we will not proceed with the suggested detailed investigation.  Keep your eye on him, though.  But keep your distance as well.  We do not want your position with the guild known about.  You are one of only three special agents doing this work in Australia, and they are not easy to train.  We can not afford your cover to be blown.’  ‘Yes, I understand, Alfric.  In the brief you mailed me, you stated that my work in Hobart was nearly complete.  What is this new mission you have been hinting at?’  ‘Ah yes.  Shelandragh May and the half-mage Lucy Smith.’  ‘Lucy Smith! Said Darren, the name catching his attention.  ‘Any relation to the English lad?’  ‘Yes, actually.  His cousin.  Few know of that, so keep it to yourself.  You will need to know because of your next mission, but the information is privy to only the top hierarchy in the guild of wizards and witches.’  ‘I understand.  What is the mission?’  ‘Shelandragh regularly visits us here in Canberra.  She has been keeping Lucy’s progress in mind in her reports, and we feel it is time for Lucy to have another mentor in her progress.  She, for a half-mage, is showing tremendous talent and potential – far more than any Shelandragh has ever heard or read about.’  ‘That family.  The Smiths.  It probably runs in their blood.’  ‘Deeply, I would say Darren.  And because of that, we of the guild feel that Lucy has, given Shelandragh’s ongoing praises and comments, the potential to one day sit here in the guild of wizards and witches.  The Half-mages need a voice from their own community.  A beacon of light for them.  We feel young Lucy has the potential to fill such a role.  Your mission is to be, for now, indefinite in time.  Perhaps a number of months, but quite possibly a number of years may be involved.  We wish you to move down to Cooma and start associating with Shelandragh.  Introduce yourself to Lucy.  Get to know her.  Say you are an old friend of Shelandragh’s.  Children are innocent.  She will probably believe you.  And with the trust we expect you to maintain with her, teach her other lessons that Shelandragh does not.  Be the father figure she is missing.  Be an older friend – a confidante – someone she can look up to and respect.  I am sure that you will know what to say to her and to teach her as you get to know her and sound her out.  You are the most gifted in counselling amongst the guild operatives, and these skills will be needed.  Remember, keep in mind you may be training a future member of the guild of wizards and witches.  She will need to be responsible and up to the task if she is chosen.  So undertake, with the greatest of seriousness, the responsibilities the guild is entrusting you with Darren.  In a sense, young Lucy’s future is in your hands.’  Darren nodded, taking those words in.  ‘When do I begin?’  ‘As soon as possible.  When you have wrapped up your business in Hobart, we expect you down in Cooma.  We have rented a room for you on the main street, and have had it furnished with appropriate furnishings and other articles of wizardry.  Touch it up as you see fit.  And please, take care with young Lucy.  She is a ‘Smith’ and as such we are in, in a sense, uncharted territory.  Now get to it.  I have other business to take care of, but I will see you off before you leave.  If you’ll excuse me then.’  Alfric got up from his lounge chair in the main lounge of the guild of wizards and witches library, and exited the room.  Darren sat there for a few moments, contemplating his new mission.  He stood, walking over to the window, and looked out on the scenery of Canberra.  A new mission was always exciting, and this one, in particular, had the opportunity he had been waiting for.  To impart his knowledge and lore to another student.  That would be exciting – a grand new adventure for Mr Merryweather.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy looked at the river in front of her.  She was standing at the crossing of the Newmerella river in Chakola.  She was sitting on the edge of the concrete crossing, the river flowing underneath the crossing just a metre or so below.  She looked again at the words of the spell in the book of both new and ancient spells.  The spell was, like the hover spell, set for her next year in the curriculum, but she felt that as she had already ventured forth into new waters, she would continue as such.  The spell was known by two terms – ‘Hydros Conflagius’, as well as ‘Aqaurius tempest’.  It was, from reading the description, meant to cause a raging rush of water – water being the necessary ingredient for the spell to work.  She had prepared for the spell by following the necessary meditations before hand that these particular spells required, to summon a water spirit of the river, which would then act on her request.  The spells were from a book that Shelandragh herself had composed, and worked on slightly different aspects of magic then Shelandragh had been taught in her younger days in her training to be a witch.  They were animistic spells, spells involving land, water, fire, air and animal spirits.  Late yesterday she had performed a spell on a nearby willow tree, summoning the dryad of the tree to cause the branches to grow.  After she had performed and completed the spell, the dryad had complained a little, suggesting that the willow had been happy and did not really want the disturbance.  Lucy had dutifully apologized, but had decided to try another spell anyway, hopefully one which would not leave such a disturbance.  The water spells seemed appropriate, so she had decided on ‘Hydros Conflagius’, which had also been named ‘Aquarius Tempest’.  Speaking the words, the water spirit appeared.  She looked similar to the dryad she had seen yesterday, but wore a blue dress, covered in watery designs, rather than the green one the dryad had been dressed in.  She was around the same size as the dryad, about 30 centimetres in height, hovering, wings flapping, just before Lucy’s face.  The water spirit, known as a sprite, looked at Lucy, a frown on her face.  ‘HYDROS CONFLAGIUS?!!   You can not be serious young Miss Smith.  Do you know just how much trouble I will get into with my father if I allow ‘Hydros Conflagius’.  Lucy smiled at the little frown on the sprites face.  ‘How did you know my name? Lucy asked the Sprite.  ‘Oh, we all know you, young Miss Lucy.  We live here and see you all the time.  We have heard David’s children say your name often and knew quite well who you were.’  Lucy’s curiousity had been aroused by that statement.  ‘Just how many of you spirits live here.’  ‘Now that would be telling, young Miss Smith.  Perhaps when you are older we may, may, share that knowledge with you.  That is if you stop trying to cast spells like, ugh, Hydros Conflagius.  Now, I must ask you again, are you serious?  I am required, if you insist, to honour your spell – such is our responsibility.  But we are allowed to ask, especially inexperienced spellcasters, if they are quite serious in their intents.  Do you know what this spell will do?’  ‘What?’ asked Lucy, quite innocently.  The sprite looked at Lucy from the corner of her eye, a wicked thought having developed in her head.  ‘Well, if you must know, THIS!!!’  Suddenly a large torrent of water rushed up from the river next to the crossing, saturating young Lucy, spinning her backwards.  She let out a moan, and got to her feet, squishing the water out of her saturated pullover.  ‘Oh, thank you very much, you little sprite!’  The sprite hovered up to Lucy’s face and smiled.  ‘Your welcome.  But let that be a warning to you,’ she said as she started flying away.  ‘Such spells are not to be trifled with.  There is no telling how much harm you could do.’  The sprite then flew to the surface of the water, disappearing below surface.  Lucy looked down at the water, but could not see were the sprite had gone.  ‘I guess that is her home,’ she thought to herself.


Picking up the book, wiping water of the leather-bound cover, she started trudging up to her home, just a hundred metres or so up the road.  Her mother was in Cooma at the moment, but Old Man Barry’s wife, Mary, who was looking after her in her mother’s absence, would surely have words with her.  But, perhaps not.  Mary was very kind to Lucy, treating her practically like her own daughter.


Mary looked at Lucy as she came in through the doorway.  ‘What have you done,’ she asked the drenched Lucy.  ‘Umm.  I fell in,’ said Lucy, too embarrassed to share the real story with her.  ‘A likely tale,’ replied Mary.  ‘You better take that jumper off and put on another top.  I’ll get a towel so you can dry up.’  Mary walked into the hallway and grabbed a towel from the linen cupboard.  Handing it to Lucy, she motioned for Lucy to take her top off and dry down.  Lucy dutifully obeyed, and after a few moments of towelling herself off, put on one of her favourite T-shirts – the one with the Lion on the front.  ‘There, that’s better,’ said Mary, who had taken the towel and was now furiously drying Lucy’s her, much to her protestations.

Your mother should be home soon.  There is some pumpkin soup on the stove, bubbling away.  Brigid’s recipe, which I know you like.  It might be a good idea to fill up on some of that, which will help you warm up after your dip.’  Lucy nodded and made her way to the kitchen, taking a bowl, and ladled herself some soup.


Sitting at the Kitchen table, she looked through the spell book.  There were so many spells.  So many interesting and fascinating spells.  For the young Lucy, it was like a treasure-trove of delights.  Each new spell offering, potentially, a lifetime of use and delight.  Shelandragh had given the spell book back to her in yesterday’s lesson, after she had reclaimed it the previous day after the ‘hover’ incident.  She had said that, although Lucy was still young, her initiative needed to be rewarded and had thus allowed her young student to exercise her curiousity and study the tome of spells.  That allowance had been echoed by her old friend visitor, Mr Merryweather, who she had introduced to young Lucy.  Mr Merryweather was an old acquaintance who she had known for years, so she said.  He looked, to Lucy, in his mid 30s, compared with the late 50s for Shelandragh, which made her question just how many years Shelandragh had in fact known the said Mr Merryweather.  She thought that perhaps he was a former student, like herself, which meant she could potentially have known him for as much as two decades or more.  This type of thinking, working out details and being exact, was so common to the thoughts of young Lucy Smith.  She was the most precise of children.  This reflected her upbringing at the hands of her mother Caroline.  Caroline had been raised in a very traditional English home, and had seen to it that she herself would look to Lucy’s education, given their frequent travels around Australia in their younger days.  From 7 Caroline had pushed her daughter to use her intellect as much as she could.  She felt, so she had shared with her daughter, that most public and private schooling failed to really foster the talent within their students in the individual way they all, so desperately, needed.  Caroline had made sure that Lucy would use her wits to the best of her abilities.  She had taught her English and Mathematics lessons from a very young age, even introducing the concept of ‘algebra’ to Lucy when she was only 8.  Lucy, herself, was an intelligent and sharp young lady, suited to her mother’s training.  But she did know, compared with David’s children, that she was just as bright as them, especially Madalene who she looked up to, but also recognized the training of her mother, who constantly challenged her mind to think in new and different ways.  ‘Lateral thinking’ was a term she was very used to from her mother.  This constant training had sharpened the mind of young Lucy.  What, perhaps, would have been just another above average student in school, had become an intelligent and analytical thinker under the adroit training of her mother.  Caroline had once remarked to Lucy, ‘Nature and Nurture are interesting factors, child of mine.  But, I feel, nurture is, in the way they currently look at it, still greatly underestimated.  We have so much talent that is left unused.  So apply yourself, young Lucy.  Apply yourself.’  Lucy, only now, was beginning to understand the meaning of nature and nurture in the way her mother used the words.  She had looked them up in the dictionary to try and understand and now felt she perhaps was beginning to grasp what her mother was speaking about.  And in her mother’s encouragement, she had taken to her talent at magic, even more so than in her younger years, something which both her mother and Shelandragh had noticed in the young child.


As the afternoon passed, and evening approached, Lucy had read through much of the book of spells.  She had concentrated, although many of the words she had difficulty in understanding, but was grasping some of the basic spells.  Perhaps, again tomorrow, after her lesson, she would try a new spell.  And perhaps a water spell again, as she felt she might want to have another encounter with that sprite who had played that trick on her.  But whatever spell she chose, for now she had had enough of magic, and had turned on the television, noticing that it was nearly 6.00 pm.  ‘The Simpson’s were on at 6, and she hardly ever missed her favourite show.

Chapter Three


Lucy’s Lesson’


Lucy, standing in front of Shelandragh’s home, near the Monaro highway in Bunyan, looked at the clouds over in the west.  They were grey, full of water, and near ready to burst.  Lightning had been striking in occasional outbursts.  And Thor had been belting out his thunderous cries, perhaps a sign of a new war with Loki.  Asatru was, to young Lucy, a most fascinating and interesting spirituality.  The gods of Scandinavia were most intriguing and fascinating to read about in the new fiction novel she had been reading, entitled ‘Born of Thunder’, which was about the god Thor and his wars with Loki.  Valhalla had been invaded by Loki.  Many gods had fallen in battle, and only Thor with his child to Valeriel, Kadros, had been able to withstand the wrath of Loki in the final battle.  Thor had used the horn of Antharius and summoned the shadow-storm, which could only be summoned once every 1000 years.  The storm’s dark malevolence had overcome Loki and his minions, and the dark ones had been defeated.


Lucy had been contemplating, having read through some of Shelandragh’s work on spell-creating, a notion of ‘Shadow-Storm’ as a possible spell she may, when much older, perhaps work on bringing into the spirit realm.  She, although still young, thought on challenging herself and aiming high in life.  Why should it be, she felt, that only older wizards and witches be allowed the rights of spell-creating and seeking out their own dreams and ideas.  This apparent rule of magic, which Shelandragh had insisted upon, she in her young pride seemed apparently at odds with.


Lucy.  Come inside.  The storm is almost here.’  Lucy gave the grey clouds a final look and, in response to her teacher’s summoning, entered the home of ‘Minoxxia’ – Shelandargh’s abode.


*   *   *   *   *


Now Lucy.  What have you learned today?’  Lucy thought on Shelandragh’s question.  ‘Well, I understand that spells are based on energy.  Universal power within the spiritual and physical realms which, when we concentrate and become psychically aware, we can utilise for our own resources.’  Shelandragh nodded, pleased that her young pupil had been paying attention.  ‘And how do we become spiritually aware, young Lucy?’  Through connecting, in some manner, to the realm of the spirits.’  That is correct, young Lucy.  Let me elaborate on this.  For example, in the Christian religion, most Christians connect to Jesus spiritually, and often with saints and angels as well.  In the Jewish religion, Jews connect most often straight to God.  The same with the Muslims.  We witches and wizards often connect with various types of spirits.  Good witches and wizards often utilize spiritual energy which is available in the spiritual realm.  Sometimes through intelligent beings, often angels and other spiritual entities, often those who have passed on.  Dark wizards often connect with demons and the most bold and malicious try to connect with the dark lord himself.’  ‘You mean the Devil, don’t you?’  ‘Yes young Lucy.  The Devil.  That spirit is a most ancient and cunning of spirits, young Lucy.  I would caution you most strongly before you would ever contemplate tangling with the dark lord.  He has many servants and subjects and his motivations are rarely ever aimed at your good.  Most malicious and malevolent is the devil.  Other demonic forces constantly work throughout the spiritual realm, often at war with angelic beings and other divine forces.  This spiritual realm all flows from the source of our beginning – the creative energy of God.  God is, to wizards and witches, often very different in his approaches and affections than he is with religious people.  He is more honest and direct with some of us.  Sometimes brutally so.  A number of angelic beings have taught me that children of the main religions are God’s precious children – but that in many ways they remain that – still children.  Their growth and maturity is often stunted by overly judgmental beliefs, often great pride and division in their assemblies, and, although they often claim otherwise, an alarming amount of rejection and overlording towards those not within their assemblies.  They often fail to act in the love which they so often claim they do.  Yet, likewise, we witches and wizards are not perfect either.  I do believe that, regardless of the spiritual or religious condition of the soul in the heart of man, there are so many things common to each of us – our humanity – our love – our heart – which ultimately unites us all.  I feel, in the end, if we can exhibit grace, kindness and charm to all the children of Adam and Eve, this world could be such a better place.’


Lucy took in all of that information and asked her teacher a theological question.  ‘Are we all really descended from Adam and Eve?’  ‘A most interesting question, young Lucy.  I do not believe in evolution, but believe in creation.  That God created the universe and earth in 6 days, resting on the 7th.  All of the confusion regarding this issue is from the work of the Serpent – the Devil – in his confusion he sows into humanity.  In the Garden of Eden, the Serpent tempted our ancient ancestors to partake of the forbidden fruit.  The fruit contained knowledge – forbidden knowledge – which will not give the kind of life you need.  People, in their minds, believe all sorts of things.  All sorts of justifications and views to justify their own beliefs and their own actions.  So much of this knowledge is knowledge of evil – and because people often vainly cling to these beliefs, they, as God told Adam and Eve, die in the day they partake of the knowledge of evil.  I am not, as you may have presumed, in my late 50s.  I am 378 years old.  I have lived so long and healthily because I understand much of the type of knowledge which the early patriarchs, Adam, Seth, Enosh and all the way down to Noah, partook of.  That is, knowledge of good.  Knowledge of goodness – the fruit of life – leads to life.  It heals the bones, restores the mind, and soothes our hearts.  Yet, in the world we live in, so many people are preoccupied with knowledge of evil and hatred.  In the spirit of love, compassion, kindness and truth, eternal life – partaking of the tree of life – can be granted by our God and creator.  So, to answer your question, wether or not we are from Adam and Eve or another group of families also created in the beginning, the truth of Adam and Eve and the fundamental lesson in the Garden of Eden remains ever true.  Learn this lesson Lucy – learn the lesson of goodness and life – and your years may be long indeed.’  Lucy nodded.  Her teacher, so she felt, had just imparted a most important and fundamental lesson.  One which she believed in her heart would chart out her destiny in relation to God the creator – a being she knew not – but one who aroused her curiousity.’


*   *   *   *   *


Lainey Dupre looked down through the portal of Zaphon, looking at the mind and heart of young Lucy Smith.  Lainey, now 17 years old, who had just the year before been returned to her true parents, Michael and Martina Rothchild, after having been raised by the Dupre family.  Lainey had discovered, upon her being taken up to heaven by the Archangel Raguel, that her parents were actually Angelic beings – Seraphim – from the Realm of Eternity.  Lainey had been welcomed to heaven, a place she was to be taught lessons for a number of years for her future responsibilities on planet earth.  She had been shown a number of places around the Realm of Eternity, seeing the major keeps of Zaphora, Terraphora, and the other realms.  Now she studied the Torah of the Seraphim in Zaphon library.


At one end of the library was the ‘viewing portal’ which allowed the viewer to see people and lives being lived on planet earth.  With this portal she had often looked at her parents in their everyday lives, watching them with sincerity, devotion and love.


The angel Raguel had suggested she seek out the child Lucy Smith, cousin of Jonathon who had been becoming popular in England, as the child had a special place in the heart of God and was a unique daughter of destiny.  Raguel had shared with her that Lucy would become a close friend of herself upon Lainey’s return to earth.  And because of this, Raguel had shown her how to view Lucy through the portal, and encouraged her to keep her eye on Lucy throughout the next few years.

Lainey’s main concern was the servant of Darvanius – Grimlock – who she had been watching.  He, from the plans she had become aware of, was intending to move to Cooma to establish himself there and, it would seem, attempt to corrupt the young Lucy.  Lainey had asked Raguel what, if anything, she could possible do to thwart Grimlock’s agenda.  He had responded that the host of heaven, the angels of eternity, worked in humanity accomplishing God’s purposes and objectives.  He would, at times, pay special attention to particular people, and at others let destiny and life settle affairs.  He would intervene often – and often he would leave a situation alone to see how it would resolve itself.  But, so Raguel had maintained, if Lainey consistently sought out their Father regarding the life of young Lucy, he would intervene and respond to her requests in the way only God the eternal being of life could do so.


Lainey had gone to the throneroom of Zaphon and spoken to the eternal flame burning upon the throneroom.  She had spoken nervously.  ‘Father.  God.  What will be with Lucy Smith?  The girl in Australia?  Jonathon’s cousin?’  Silence had responded to her for a number of moments, after which the eternal spirit of life responded.  ‘Dear Lainey.  Life has, in some ways, a mystery to it.  Plans can be made, and often, but not always, come to pass.  Destiny – an eternal spirit, being one of the endless of the 7 eternal children – influences and crafts out lives for many humans and angels alike.  Her child, Fate, also passionately seeks grand culminations and climaxes to events of life.  To often bring things to a grand and glorious conclusion.  Fates aunt, Death, often has the occasional suggestion, seeking resolutions to conflicts, often most passionately, yet often in the quiet and gentle way which the daughter of life often seeks to do.  These children – the eternals – have their hand on young Lucy, so I would encourage you to have no fear for young Lucy, dear grand-daughter.  Have no fear for her.’  The voice of eternity had then gone silent.  Lucy had found the answer, in some ways, to her question.  And, in summation, she sensed that God had simply told her, as perhaps so many had been told, to have a little faith.


A little later, the dreamlord, one of the 70 eternals, approached young Lucy.  She had seen him in Zaphon from time to time and had wondered who he was.  She had known his name was Daniel, yet he did not seem the same as the others of the angels.  And then Raguel had told her that Daniel was one of the children of God – the eternals – who existed prior to the angels.  Who existed in a ‘heaven’ they had never been to or seen, yet who they, the angels of eternity, had known for many years as those eternal beings who watched over the angels.  ‘Lainey.  Daughter of Eve.  I would have words, if you are currently not otherwise occupied.’  ‘Yes, Daniel.  Please, sit down.  Lainey offered him the seat next to herself in the library of Zaphon.   Daniel began speaking.  ‘So, Lainey.  Talk to me.  Explain yourself.  What is in your heart.  Your head.  Why do you do what you do?  Why do you ask the questions you ask?  Why do you think the way you think?  Who are you in your heart?  Are you Lainey Dupre, daughter of the Archangel, or are you something greater?  Something grand and eternal?  Someone who is beyond reproach?  Infallible and Almighty?’  ‘What is that supposed to mean? asked Lainey, most annoyed at the tone in the query.  ‘Who are you that I should answer to you?’  ‘Dearest Lainey, who are you that you should ask me that question when I in fact asked you questions first.  Or is hostility to a gentle inquiry your first response to everything.  Perhaps, I would suggest, a little pride lies in thine heart.  A little pride in being the daughter of Michael.  Could I be, perhaps, correct in such a statement?’  Lainey softened.  ‘Well, yes, Daniel.  Point taken.  I guess perhaps living here in Zaphon has gone to my head a little.’  Daniel smiled.  ‘Well,’ he said, looking at her in a most strange manner.  ‘Well what? Asked Lainey, a little perplexed by the dream lord.  ‘Are you going to answer the question?  Or have I offended thine heart, for which, if I have, I must apologize – even if in word only, for as it is, the heart is such a cryptic maze of emotion and intensity.  Even, sometimes, in the most frozen and complex of lives.’  Lainey looked at him, a little puzzled.  ‘You’ve lost me, Daniel.’  ‘Oh well.  Never mind.  Perhaps, instead of a dialogue most irreconcilable with thine current preoccupations, we have a game of Chulara.  Have you been taught it?’  ‘No.  But, alright.  If you will teach me the rules.’


The daughter of Michael and the eternal dream lord, changing seats in the library, began a game of the oldest of strategic games within the Realm of Eternity.  Having gone through the rules, and the game have progressed for a little while, Daniel spoke.  ‘Lucy is a most intense and intelligent young lady, Lainey.  My sister, Destiny, has crafted many ideas and thoughts out for this child.  Father will not always reveal the work he does.  Often he will not speak at all, but remain in his mysterious self, a life he has chosen or perhaps, given our current level of understanding and behaviour on a communal average, understood that speaking with us more than necessary is not needed at our present age.  But of course, this is speculation.  In an eternal life, it would seem we have all eternity before us to understand and comprehend the spirit and nature of our eternal father.  But, as I assume he told yourself, have faith in young Lucy.  She will turn out alright.  Those opponents of hers, I am sure, will not prevail.  Her spirit – her love – will see her course her way through life to what she needs to be and become for herself and those around her.  I have known Lucy for so long now, which may surprise you, but I would tell you of that another time.  Suffice to say that I have faith in Lucy.  Life, strange as it may seem, often ultimately turns out for the best.’  Lainey looked at Daniel, then looked down at the Chulara board.  ‘I suppose, Dream Lord.  I suppose.’


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy Smith sat in Centennial Park, in the centre of Cooma, alongside David’s daughter Madalene.  Jayden and Georgia, along with Brigid, were up the road a little, swimming at the town pool.  David had just given them a box of hot chips which they were steadily making their way through, drinking coke as well.  David sat with his cousin, Houston, on a park bench a little away from Lucy and Madalene.


Lucy.  I have lived at Chakola all my life and have noticed something a little strange.  Shelandragh, ever since I can remember, never seems to have aged.  She seems the same she has always been.  Has she ever said anything to you about this?’  Lucy stopped munching on her chips, took a drink of coke, and looked at her best friend Madalene.’  ‘It’s a secret of life, Madalene.  A secret of life.  It is plain and most obvious to everyone, ultimately.  But most hidden and cryptic in some ways as well.  Yet, I think, all things will fall into place.’  Madalene looked at her strangely.  ‘What the heck do you mean, Lucy?’  ‘Oh, I’m just being dramatic Madalene.  Something Shelandragh emphasized to me often embellishes conversations.’  Madalene nodded, used to hearing various lessons which Lucy passed on from her teacher.


Did you see last night’s episode of the Simpson’s?’  Asked Lucy.  Madalene smiled.  ‘Yes, it was funny.  I loved the bit were God showed to Homer Jesus swinging on a swing.’  Lucy grinned a little.  ‘Yes, that bit was funny.  God is really big, and Jesus is normal size.’  ‘But you never see his face.’  Said Madalene.  Lucy nodded.  ‘Very weird, Maddy.  Very weird.  Homer was lucky, though.  But, of course, it was just a dream.  Just a dream.’


The two of them munched on their chips, continued drinking coke, and the afternoon, as afternoons, usually and most regularly do, undertook their steady work of preparing for the evening.


Chapter Four


Mr Merryweather’


This, Miss Lucy, is Mr Darren Merryweather.  He is an old acquaintance of mine which I have known for a number of years now.’  ‘Pleased to meet you, young lady,’ said Mr Merryweather, offering her his hand.  Lucy shook it, and sat down on the seat opposite were Shelandragh and Darren were sitting.  ‘Miss Smith.  I am from Canberra, were I have lived a number of years, undertaking various responsibilities in magical fields,’ began Mr Merryweather.  ‘Shelandragh has asked that I acquaint myself with you to, in a sense, monitor your progress in the field of magic.  Apparently, although I could not possibly hope to understand why, yet apparently she respects my opinions on the issue of the magical arts.  So, dear young lady, if you would not object, I will sit in on your lesson today, silently observing.  Do you mind this?’  Lucy shook her head.  ‘That is ok, Mr Merryweather.’


Darren looked at Shelandragh who took one of the books from the pile of magical books, and opened it up.  ‘Lucy.  You have been taught a number of spells, mixing of reagents, spell preparation techniques, yet it has not escaped my attention that on the fundamental basics underlying the craft, certain things perhaps need explaining.  I spoke to you the other day regarding spiritual energies available in the spiritual realm.  It is from this realm which we draw the power to enable our spells purposes to be achieved.  This spiritual energy is, in many ways, very similar to the concept of ‘the force’ which is part of the Star Wars movies, of which I am sure you are familiar.’  Lucy nodded, as she had seen Star Wars often.  ‘As witches, with our connections to this realm, we are able to intuitively draw upon certain spiritual energies and utilise them for our own purposes.  There is a movie featuring Shirley Maclaine which has a scene in which she becomes spiritually alive and her spirit voyages out from her body.  This is one aspect which many psychics are capable of, with experience and training, be able to achieve.  My own craft, currently focusing around animistic spirituality, works a little differently.  It is in the mind.  The power of the mind.  It is done by sensing, within your body and spirit, the type or kind of spiritual energy you wish to attract to yourself and to utilise for the purposes you desire to achieve.  It is done by, from your spirit within, something like magnetic energy being focused from your mind, drawing spiritual energy to yourself.  And you can choose any type of spiritual energy your mind can possibly conceive of.  There is no limit.  However, this spiritual energy needs to be created.  Each human being is capable of creating this spiritual energy with their thoughts, and in fact do so.  What is called an aura reflects the spiritual patterns which have developed throughout our experiences in life.  Most people have a basic aura, but many have developed one through intense life experience.  This power of creativity is in the heart of each human and angel – it is born from the creative spirit which the ultimate creator birthed each of us with.  The first chapter of Genesis explains our nature being based on the creator and angelic beings, thus we also can partake of this energy, create this energy, and, with experience and persistence, utilise it for our own purposes.  Now, this energy can be created by yourself in endless patterns.  In the spiritual realm there are virtually infinite spiritual patterns available to us and, of course, we can create our own spiritual energy with our thoughts, beliefs, actions and words.  This aura within and without us – our spiritual being – comes forth from the central mind within – the soul, our true identity – which brings forth everything we hope for and believe in.’  Lucy nodded at all of that new information.


Mr Merryweather spoke up.  ‘Now, Lucy.  This energy and its power and capabilities can and often are abused greatly by workers of the dark arts.  They, very often, work out on their objective of conquest and domination.  In the revelation of John, the false prophet works constantly within this idea, bringing forth fire from heaven with the power of the magic – the dark magic – that he has created.  Because of this, we who are gifted with the ability to utilise spiritual energy must always be alert.  So much harm and damage can be done, and has been done, by those whose wishes for humanity are not necessarily, and often opposed, to humanities best interests.  It is a grave and important responsibility, young Lucy.  With the flame of energy born within you, you must act responsibly, maturely and consistently.  The darkness which is alive in the world often seeks to corrupt and destroy those who are often known as ‘Lightworkers’ and children of light.  Wizards and witches who are not motivated by the power of the dark, but whose hope and belief is in goodness and love.  I hope you can understand and appreciate the gravity and importance of this fundamental lesson on spiritual energy and the law of life.’  Lucy, again, nodded.  This lesson was very heavy, even for young Lucy.  But she knew that, as her mother had constantly taught her, accepting the harder things in life – accepting responsibility – matured the soul and enabled one to accomplish the things in life which needed to be accomplished.


*   *   *   *   *


Grimlock stood in front of his new storefront, the Dragon’s lair, which he had just finished renovating in Cooma in the state of New South Wales, south of Canberra.  His master and lord, the dark one Darvanius, had given him his new agenda.  The young witch, Lucy Smith, was to be persuaded to come over to darkness.  To join the minions of the netherworld in their goal – to rid the world of the false promises of so called children of light.  This goal of Darvanius was not new.  It was ancient.  As ancient as the halls of eternity.  Darvanius was the Archangel Saruviel in human form, although he was not aware of that fact.   He was the 7th born of the male Seraphim angels of the Realm of Eternity.


Prior to mankind’s creation, Saruviel had Fought the Archangel Michael and the heavenly host most aggressively and passionately in his attempt to establish, what he knew in his heart, was the true law of life – the true law of freedom.  In those actions, he had justified much behaviour which his eternal Father had rebuked him for.


Now, as the dark lord Darvanius, who had been uniting the divided Christian church, his secret agenda – his hidden agenda – was to ultimately bring his own plan and ideology to dominate the world stage.  This plan rose up in his heart from his youth.  It seemed that the seed the Archangel Saruviel had sown all those years ago in the Realm of Eternity was bearing fruit now in the universal realm.


And now, in attempting to achieve his objective, the dark lord was utilising one of his pawns – the malevolent Grimlock – to achieve his purposes with the cousin of what was becoming a most feared opponent – the wizard Jonathon Smith.


In Lucy Smith, he would achieve his dark and glorious ambition.  He would claim the title – the power – the moniker – of divine monarch of the world.  The King, as it were, the first and most important and glorious King – of a united humanity.  In the pursuit of this goal he would be relentless.  He would not tire, not be persuaded to give up, never rest, until he had achieved all and everything that he desired to achieve.  And in that destiny he planned for himself, the young miss Lucy Smith could, he felt, play a most significant and useful role.  A most significant role indeed.


Because of this, Grimlock served the dark lord Darvanius.  He worked under his authority to achieve his agendas as, so Grimlock had been often told, his reward would one day be given.  One day he would be given the justice he deserved for his fidelity to his dark master.


Lucy Smith was to be corrupted.  To be persuaded to come over to the power of darkness – the power of wrath – the power of passion and intensity – the dark magic.  In this magic Grimlock took much and great delight.  It strengthened him, when little else gave him comfort.  It delighted his mind and heart with wicked and dark ideas.  Ideas which gave him much malevolent and sensual pleasure.  Yet Grimlock, in all the time had been training in the dark magic under Darvanius guidance, had noted something.  He had been attracted to the dark because of the power it offered, but in Darvanius he had found, while most definitely and continually a pawn of the dark master, yet found a quite consolation to some of his life’s difficulties.  Darvanius maintained, although he reluctantly used such terminology as it confused him with his opponents, yet he continually maintained to Grimlock that his agenda – his purpose – his goal – was not motivated by evil.  Not motivated toward harm, chaos and destruction.  These were, so he had shared with Grimlock, the domain of the darkest lord of all – the fallen Satan, with whom he had at one time encountered.  ‘Satan is the evil one, Grimlock.  His goals are in no way moral or intended towards the good of others.  Between him and myself there is a distinction.  A clear and eternal distinction.  Make no mistake of that fact, Grimlock.  For if you should ever be tempted to seek out the darkest of the lords of evil, my wrath you may suffer.  And my punishment towards evildoers is beyond the evil of the dark lord himself.  Forget that not Grimlock.  Forget that not.’


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy sat at the kitchen table in her home, the schoolhouse, of Chakola.  The textbook which Shelandragh had given her that afternoon had been interesting reading.  A little predictable, in many ways, in the lessons it was teaching regarding ethics in witchcraft.  Lucy understood clearly her responsibility, now, but a part of her heart yearned to, perhaps, just be a little bit rebellious.  To go out and do her own thing in the magical realm, regardless of the cautions of her teachers.  She had, for the last hour, been trying to understand the concept of spell-creation and the necessary mind processes to create spiritual energy in the magical realm.  She had listened intently to Shelandragh’s word’s, and had been thinking them over in the last few hours.  The spell she had thought about creating before, the one which had been birthed from the Asatru novel ‘Born of Thunder’ – the idea of the spell ‘Shadow Storm’.  She had understood from various spell texts she had been studying that the ‘Shadow Realm’ was a place between the netherworld and her world, almost akin to the concept of ‘Limbo’ or ‘Purgatory’.  Perhaps, she thought, she may try to seek out the spiritual energy available in the Shadow Realm, and utilise it for the creation of the ‘Shadow Storm’ spell.  At this stage she was not quite sure how she would achieve this result, but with persistence and patience she felt she may be able to achieve, hopefully, some interesting results.  The only spells she knew to connect to the Shadow Realm were ‘Shados’, also known as the Shadow Life, as well as ‘Shados Redux’, which, apparently, returned something or someone who had been cast into the Shadow Realm to the physical realm.  She had, in coming up with a name for the Shadow Storm spell in the ancient spellcasting language, had researched an ancient character which the book of spells containing ‘Shados’ and ‘Shados Redux’ had been connected to.  An ancient wizard, who had first connected to what he later called the Shadow Realm, Shadorius, seemed to be an appropriate person to name the spell after in the spellcasting language.  She, having recalled the earlier water spell she had cast, known as Hydros Conflagius and Aquarius Tempest, had decided to name the spell using part of the name of one of these spells, deciding that ‘Tempest’ seemed the best choice.  So the spell which she would bring into existence would be ‘Shadorius Tempest’.


She had been, in thinking about how to bring the spell into being, first studied the techniques for casting ‘Shados’ and ‘Shados Redux’ and then began studying ‘Aquarius Tempest’.  Perhaps it may be as simple a process as combining aspects of the ‘Shados’ spell, with the ‘Tempest’ part of ‘Aquarius Tempest’, that could achieve success in birthing the spell into existence.


Having taken a notebook she began writing down the process for the ‘Shados’ spell, as well as, as best as she could understand, the ‘Tempest’ aspect of the ‘Aquarius Tempest’ spell.


Of course, when she had the procedure for casting the spell worked out, it still seemed that it would require the necessary magical energy.  This, for young Lucy, was still a bit problematic, as she had not yet quite grasped everything Shelandragh and Darren had explained to her.  But she would think this over and persist, as her mother constantly encouraged her to.  Perhaps in a year or so, with some further questions to her teacher, she may understand some of the basics of spell creation.  Perhaps then she would have what was required to bring her vision into reality.  Perhaps then.


*   *   *   *   *


Madalene, sitting on the lounge in the mainroom of her families home in Calwell in Canberra, looked over at her brother as he was watching television.  Jayden was intently watching the ‘Ben 10’ cartoon, something which he had grown to like.  Madalene thought ‘Ben 10’ was a bit young for herself now, preferring ‘Home and Away’ and some of the comedies on television to what she thought was now ‘Kid’s stuff’.  She wondered if Jayden would also grow out of the cartoons.  She didn’t really care, though.  Kids liked cartoons.  That was normal for everyone.  But Madalene, looking at young Lucy, wondered if there were perhaps more important things in life.  Subjects which gave life a greater intensity.  A greater passion.  Magic seemed interesting to Madalene.  But she knew magic did not run in her family.  And, apparently, it was extremely rare for a child to develop the craft unless one of her parents had the gift.  Because of that she was a little jealous of her friend Lucy, envious of the talents and gifts that seemed to have been given to her.  Madalene, having take Lucy’s name in confirmation at her church, had sat in church one night, while her parents were outside talking with other members in the family after the baptism of her new cousin Amelia, had prayed to God asking him if she could also be given the gifts that Lucy had been given.  That prayer had been a while ago and nothing had really happened in response so far.  But, strangely, she had noticed a few things – strange things – which had been happening around her.  She had often felt shivers along her legs and her arms.  And she thought that she had, a number of times, seen a ghost in the hallway of her home, floating around late at night.  This worried her a little.  She wondered if the prayer she had prayed to God had been the right thing to do.  Perhaps God did not want her to be magical.  Perhaps it was not something that should be part of her life.  Yet, her curiousity remained and she had decided she would talk to Shelandragh about what, if any, magical abilities that Non-mage may be able to achieve.  It certainly seemed to be worth at least asking her best friend’s teacher.

Chapter Five


The Stoned Philosophers’


The shepherd of the soul?  What the hell does that mean Looshy?’  Lucy laughed at the slurred voice Houston, David’s cousin, was speaking in.  She had shared with him a passage from Ezekicl chapter 34 about David the Shepherd of Israel and had compared him to the shepherd of the soul.  Houston, who seemed to be an agnostic with some sort of vague belief in God had been spouting out various philosophies on life, the other stoned philosophers being David and David’s dad, old man Barry.  These three wise men had been discussing the great and grand meanings of life and what it all meant for the last two hours, steadily and devotedly consuming their most fierce passion for life – the beloved Tooheys.  Lucy had been listening intently to the conversations, most intrigued by the wide variety of subjects which the three stoned philosophers seemed adroit at discussing and contemplating.  Houston had been discussing a conversation he’d had with David’s brother in law, Daniel, who lived up in Canberra.  Daniel had been preaching the Noahide faith to Houston, who found it interesting, but not converting material.  Yet it had been an interesting conversation and Houston was sharing with the other stoned philosophers the true grand meaning of life.  Evolution was discussed.  So were certain ideas regarding human sexuality which seemed to be, from what Lucy had noted since living in Chakola, a favourite topic of the stoned philosophers.  Her mother had reprimanded Lucy on one occasion for listening to the often quite brazen conversations of the stoned philosophers, but had after a while allowed her daughter to be exposed to their conversations.


King David is the Shepherd of the Soul, Houston.’  Lucy stated quite plainly.  ‘Shounds bloody good to me,’ said David, raising a toast to the ancient Israelite King.  Barry, who had a basic biblical knowledge, began recounting the famous encounter between David and Goliath.  The subject of Goliath’s actual size came up, Barry insisting that the biblical description was exaggeration, as the whole Bible quite obviously seemed to be.  The conversation was intense and most interesting for young Lucy to observe.  After Barry and Houston had settled the issue that Goliath was probably a midget, much to David’s annoyance, they had all taken yet another beer in what had become a standard Friday night occurrence.


*   *   *   *   *


Three other stoned philosophers were lying down in Centennial Park, gazing up at the sky, high on their drug of choice, the still illegal marijuana.  Bradrick, Jack and Marty, three of Cooma’s most disrespected lowlifes, were doing their usual Friday night routine of getting high and letting the usual mundanity of the terror of life pass on by.  They had been lying there that night, the subject of conversation one of their favourite discussion points, the scene of the desert in the ‘Doors’ movie, starring Val Kilmer.  This most inspiring scene had led the three lowlives to pursue, valiantly, the experience offered by man’s true best friend – their drug of choice – which helped them escape from what was often the hell and isolation of their solitary existences.  The three of them shared a flat up the road from Centennial Park, were they spent most of their days.  They lived on the Centrelink allowance, usually to zonked out on drugs to ever do anything really useful with their lives.  But, this life that, for many people, often came to such a harsh and bitter state of existence, was persevered with simply because of the money that came through regularly and the availability of their required pastime supplies from local distributors.  These three stoned philosophers were, in many ways, real blokes of Australia.  They adored the cricket, which they watched with passion.  They drank beer.  And they got high.  Every few months, Bradrick would drive them up to Fyshwick in Canberra to visit the ladies for that other necessary component in their harsh existence.


These three philosophers, laying there, were oblivious to the malevolent Grimlock who watched them from behind a tree a number of metres away.  Grimlock had decided, against his dark lords wishes, to enhance his powers with the use of a spell which was most evil and deadly in nature.   ‘Parasitis Zoe’, a most vicious and awful of spells, literally sucked the spiritual energy out of its victims and brought it into the spiritual aura of the one casting the spell.  It was one of the ancient and most evil of spells and Grimlock had been at first reluctant to use it, given the attitude his dark lord would respond with should he ever find out.  But, in his pride, he had decided to cast the spell to draw energy into his vortex of Spirit, to give him the necessary means and powers to forward his own private and personal objectives.  The three philosophers would, so Grimlock felt, make perfect victims.  They were zonked – they would have no ability whatsoever to resist his dark might.  Carefully, he approached them, and began the works of the spell.


A number of minutes later, Grimlock looked down on the lifeless corpses of the three stoned philosophers.  In his malevolent heart he pitied them a little, yet the reward which he now felt so strongly in his vortex was to great a reward to have passed up.  He looked around.  Nobody was present, but someone could appear at any time.  He had best leave the scene at once to ensure there was no connection between himself and the now lifeless corpses.  As he walked up the main street of Cooma, returning to his flat, he felt the new energy surge through his body.  The power within him now was extremely strong.  He sensed the natures and memories of the stoned philosophers, yet banished them from his heart.  He cared not for the memories of such pathetic souls, yet would delight in the dark power he now possessed.  It was delightful, so the malevolent Grimlock felt, to partake of such power.  To partake of and delight in the most evil of spells.


*   *   *   *   *


Nathan, Ty and Andrew put the finishing touches to their new album.  ‘The Stoned Philosophers.’  The trio, known as the Xtreme Kings, were an established band in the metal scene of Cooma.  Although this was not necessarily the greatest of accomplishments as the Cooma metal scene consisted of the Xtreme Kings and a drunk guy up the road who let it rip on the guitar late at nights, belting out extremely bad Guns’n’Roses licks.  But the Xtreme Kings were determined to have success.  They had goals.  They were gonna ‘kick ass’ and ‘go for broke’ to get a name for themselves.  They were not just kings – but ‘Xtreme Kings’.  There new album, their second, following a most unmonumental first release, did seem to the band a vast improvement.  It almost, strangely enough, seemed like a reasonable metal album.  Perhaps not quite up to the standard of some of the legendary material they often covered by some of the classical metal artists, the production values obviously lacking due to their low budget.  But the riffs and melodies seemed to each of them quite cool.  They felt, if they were to ever have any impact in Australia in metal, this album would probably be there best starting point.  The album title had come from the three stoned philosophers who regularly hung out in Centennial Park in the centre of Cooma.  The Kings knew the guys and occasionally smoked dope with them, but not to the degree that the philosophers did.


The album seemed good.  The first track was perhaps the albums killer track.  Entitled ‘Primal emotion’, it related the absolute savagery of the heart and human existence.  It was honest and, so the band felt, quite cutting edge.  It may even chart in Australia, if the record company agreed to proceed with their second album which was not guaranteed but an option which was in their contract with them.


They had put the finishing touches to the album, when their part-time manager burst into their small studio.  ‘Guys, Fugg, I mean.   Guys I have some Fugging bad news dudes.  The philosophers are Fugging dead.  I mean they are Fugging dead.  Like totally and completely Fugging dead.’  The Kings looked at their manager, a look of concern apparent.  Nathan spoke up.  ‘What do you mean their dead?’  ‘The police are at the Park and they have put up barriers preventing people from entering.  Everyone has been saying that the philosophers have karked it.’  Andrew looked at the two other kings, and went over to a bench to sit down.  ‘Now that Fugging sucks, don’t it.’


A little later on, having come to terms with the bad news, the Kings began work on a new track in homage to the philosophers.  Simply titled ‘Afterlife’ it would hopefully speak of the friendship they had developed with the departed souls, ones which had inspired the title of their album.  But the mood was sombre and the Kings could not finish the track.  A darkness had entered the house of the Xtreme Kings, and perhaps all throughout Cooma.  A darkness of ancient evil, most malicious and malevolent in its intent.  Most malicious indeed.


*   *   *   *   *


Darren Merryweather looked across the street at the shop which had just opened up.  He had noticed it immediately and looking at the sign reading ‘The Dragon’s Lair’ Darren felt that something he had previously feared was perhaps coming to pass.  His instincts told him straight away that Grimlock was inside the shop, having moved from his store in Hobart.  And Darren, almost instantly, knew why.  Grimlock would be seeking out the child Lucy for his own purposes, whatever they may be.  In Australia, the witch and wizard community was not that large, nowhere near the size of the established communities in England.  News of the cousin of the popular Jonathon had obviously reached Grimlock, who had obviously sought out young Miss Smith for whatever purposes he had in mind.  Darren felt, now, that these purposes were not aimed at the good of Lucy.  That Grimlock had perhaps shown his hand which had been hidden so far and confirmed the suspicions that the guild of wizards and witches had in him.


He walked over to the store and looked inside through the front window.  He spied Grimlock inside, working at the counter, and moved away quickly so as not to be seen.  So it was indeed him.  He wondered silently to himself wether Grimlock perhaps had some sort of association with the recent deaths in the Park in the centre of town.  If it were true that he was seeking out young Lucy, and that not for good, perhaps those three poor souls who had passed on had, in some way, come into contact with Grimlock and not for their good.  But, of course, this was only speculation.  Grimlock, in the encounters he’d had with him, seemed a wily sort of character, but did not really, in the end, seem given over to that kind of darkness.  The kind that would actually take the life of another’s soul.  Perhaps it was simply coincidence.  Perhaps that was all it was.  Yet Darren would exercise caution in his duties to watch over Lucy.  And if Grimlock ever came on the scene he would need to be prepared to respond in whatever manner such a situation called for, to the possible servant of the dark arts.

*   *   *   *   *


Alfric read through the correspondence he had received from Darren Merryweather, a letter received a few moments ago in the mail.  It seemed perhaps quite alarming that Grimlock had now moved to Cooma.  Darren’s suspicions and their earlier investigation, while halted due to lack of evidence, would most definitely now need to be proceeded with.  It appeared quite obvious to Alfric that dark forces were at work.  Dark powers were using Grimlock to accomplish malevolent and evil purposes.  Alfric, as head of the guild of wizards and witches in Australia, had received regular correspondence from the various ministries worldwide.  In the last few years dark forces had been growing in their malicious activities and the passion for evil, once thought almost dead by the guild, had reignited and was approaching, it felt, some sort of climax.  In the world today, Passion, was growing.  It felt that in so many ways in society and in the world, a grand and great plot seemed to be approaching its conclusion.  As if the powers that be had been steadily working towards a conclusion of things.  An ultimate climax to chains of events, perhaps, started in days of ancient times.


Alfric had attended a number of seminars in Christian churches recently regarding the ‘end of days’.  The Schwarzenegger movie had been most intriguing when he had first seen it, but it had come and gone with little fanfare.  But, now it seemed, the dark spirits talked of in that movie were, perhaps, at work to accomplish their objectives and realize their ultimate goal of world control.  The darkest of all the lords of evil – the dreaded Antichrist – his fearful and most malicious work seemed to be steadily underway.  And this work Alfric worked steadfastly and faithfully against.  He was not, really, Christian in nature or belief in a fundamental kind.  Yet he did believe in the creator and felt that the themes and ideas of the apocalyptic literature served a purpose in the grand design.  The spiritual and magical energies of the universe worked steadily towards achieving their goals – and the prophetic realities of the biblical texts were born, so Alfric had concluded, of spiritual energy at play.  He looked forward.  He contemplated the future.  And he felt that, while there was still much goodness in the world, darkness was now drawing up its reserves and strengths.  Dark magic had been alive for aeons.  Good wizards had always been around, but the servants of darkness had fought and opposed them for countless centuries.  But now the power of darkness was spreading, infecting the souls and hearts of so many people.  A particular concern was the growing popularity of ‘death metal’ which emphasized hatred of God and goodness, practically preaching death and destruction.  He had seen many youths affected by such music, often causing quite severe psychological damage.  This music had influenced many dark magicians and wizards to practice their dark arts with even greater evil and hatred.  It seemed that portents of destruction were present in the world.  That the dark lord of ancient evil was at work and striving to achieve his most ancient of goals – control and domination of the entire world order.  The most disturbing aspect of the seminars he had recently seen was the theology regarding the mark of the beast – the power of the number 666.  The teacher of the seminar taught that a microchip implanted in the right hand or the forehead, which enabled a universal economic system to be completely controlled and buying and selling of goods far better organised, especially with security concerns, would quite probably appear in the world in the not too distant future.  This electronic mark was the mark of the beast.  Through it the Antichrist and the False Prophet could gain control over the new world order.


All of this information was, to Alfric, most disturbing.  Most alarmingly disturbing.  The evil within the heart of mankind was coming to a head.  And an ending known throughout Christendom’s long history, yet recently gone quiet about, simply known as the ‘Great Tribulation’ was perhaps close at hand.  And that tribulation Alfric feared.  If it were to come, life as he knew it would cease.  The world he knew would fade away and be no more.  But, the good news was that the Kingdom would be born.  The eternal Kingdom of the creator would begin a millennial reign.  And the powers of light – the Christ and the Angelic host – would rule over a restored paradise.  If that were to actually eventuate, the tribulation, it would seem, would serve its purpose.


Alfric looked out of the window of his office in the guild offices.  Canberra life was steadily going through its everyday routine.  For now, all seemed fine.  All seemed fine and well.  But in the not too distant future what strange new ways awaited.  What strange new law beckoned for the world he knew as home.


Chapter Six


The Dragon Attacks”


Rhaemlius Tornanda Daverion, the Wyvvern of Canberra, awoke.  She was hungry.  Oh so hungry.  And with a passion.  The fire had awoken in her veins.  The fire of hunger for new blood.  New life.  New food.


She had slept, as usual, a millennium.  This was her standard sleeping pattern she had established since the dawn of youth – the dawn of her creation – in the early days of life of Terra, from were she had emerged to come to the far lands, a place no Wyvvern or dragon seemed to be.  She had fed then, in those dark and early days, on the children of the dreamtime lord’s flesh.  The dark skinned ones whose meat fed her and sustained her in her lonely existence.  Last millennia she had mated.  Dracorion Tashnay Daverion, whose name she had taken, had given her seed.  And she had sensed within her body twins.  Two new wyverns for the community of wyvverndom.  She further sensed their sexes – a male and a female.  This was good news.  Most delightful and joyful good news.  When they had grown she would return to Terra and seek out Dracorion to display her pride, the new children of Rhaemlius.


She emerged from her hidden cave, coming out into the trees surrounding the entrance to the cave, along the mountains which the dark skinned ones knew as the Brindabellas.


She headed south, to the place she knew food would be available, not to far a flight for one such as herself, a place were she could gorge herself and enjoy the awakening time for a number of years before again returning to her slumber.  In those years she would raise and teach the children which she would birth later that day.


Flying along she looked downwards.  A new and strange road seemed to have been made.  Perhaps it would prove useful to follow along.  She spied a number of strange structures, something which she had never really observed previously in her life.  Yet, they were a curiousity only.  Food was needed.  After a long flight, she spied a conglomeration of the structures.  And around them she spied the food she sought.  Although not the dark skinned ones, but rather pale skins.  Still, they would do for food.  One was as good as another.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy, Shelandragh and Darren were sitting in front of Michelago general store, sipping on coke and eating through hamburgers.  Michelago was about 50 kilometres north of Chakola, south of Canberra.  Darren had suggested they travel up to the small town to spend some time simply enjoying life and to have a meal.  They would spend some time discussing magic in a new and interesting location.


Lucy was enjoying her hamburger.  It was with the ‘Lot’ with extra bacon, which she always enjoyed.  She also had some hot chips, but she had not really bothered with them, only taking a few.  Darren was in conversation with Shelandragh, discussing basic animistic aspects relating to Michelago.  The spirit realm in Michelago was gentle and peaceful – soul-restoring and calmly refreshing.  This was often the spiritual energy which country towns in Australia had associated with them.  They had both noticed the presence of angelic beings and demonic forces who were engaged in a heated matter over by the Catholic Church up the road a little.  One of their, it would seem, regular wars for territory and power.


Other spirits were present near them as well, especially a cheeky young Dryad who had made herself known to Darren to ask him who he was.  Lucy was now used to seeing various spiritual beings appear.  These were not usually noticeable by non-mage, who were not gifted with the same spiritual awareness which those of the craft had been blessed with.  Earlier that morning, after having been asked some questions by Madalene on the concept of spiritual awareness, Lucy had been reading through the New Testament in various passages.  One of the gifts of God’s spirit was discernment of spirits which, she felt, if the spirit blessed further would give awareness of the spirit realm.  The idea of the gifts of the spirit of 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Lucy felt also had counterparts in the spiritual realm of witchcraft and wizardry.  The abilities of spell-creation, magic manipulation, animistic awareness and other such gifts were, it seemed to Lucy, also a gift from the divine spirit of life, something akin to the gifts which the ecclesia – the church – also possessed.  Darren had been talking about a Pentecostal church he had attended in conversation with Lucy earlier that morning.  He had felt spiritual beings present in the Assembly, often surrounding him with the spirit of love, but often spirits of passion and fire as well.  The experience had been uplifting to Darren, and he had asked God for an appropriate blessing of God’s choosing to be given to him in the Assembly.  Since then, he had felt the divine spirit of fire in work in his heart and mind, giving him new understandings and appreciation for the life of eternity which each human being was birthed with.  Further, it illuminated his mind to the truth that spiritual awakening, often known as the new birth experience within Pentecostalism, was entering the outside world beyond the realms of Christendom.  It was through such avenues as the New Age movement and even traditional witchcraft and wizardry that the divine spirit of life – the eternal fire – was entering the hearts of all the children of the eternal, renewing them and helping them overcome their own difficulties and problems in the spirit of love and kindness and respectful affection which the divine fire eternally displayed.  The fire within Darren had filled his mind with the idea of communicating this new reality –this spiritual awakening – within the hearts of the magical community to the great eternal creative source.  Other spiritual beings, which pagans and other religions sought out for peace, had slowly over the great number of centuries since the beginning of the great powers work of unification, been calling these deities to a place of peace, love and redemption.  Ancient Canaanite gods, who had once suffered the wrath and fury of the Almighty Father had been forgiven and had now accepted the authority of the eternal power.  These Canaanite gods had gone forth into the community of the ‘gods’ to bring the good news of unity, love and peace.  The God of the ancient covenant, the eternal ‘Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh’ had sought peace and grace in the reawakening amongst the spiritual communities of mankind.  One of his once fallen children, ancient Baal, whose priests had once been so savagely slaughtered by the zealous Israelite prophet Elijah, had repented of his rebellion against the Almighty, accepted the truth that his own authority could not and never could challenge the eternal creators spirit, and had gone forth to put his house in order.  Other Canaanite deities, such as Mot and Asherah had also fallen into line.  And the spiritual awakening had gone on throughout the realms of the gods.  Yet, of course, not without opposition.  The ultimate lord of evil, the dark power Satan, continued to reject the offer of resolution which the Almighty perpetually offered to him, instead seeking out the grand destiny of his own servants, the demonic forces, to accomplish his goal of world rulership.  Various deities, such as Zeus, Jupiter and Mars, and various others, had cautiously come into alliance with the Almighty, sensing the ultimate threat of the dark lord in the potential havoc he could unleash upon their dominions.  Ancient Greek and Roman gods, having been passive for many centuries under the authority of Jesus the Christ, had finally broken his yoke in the Tradition of Edom and Jacob, and been accepted again in their standing in the divine community.  And peace had ensued, yet, of course, the threat of the dark lord remained ever present.


After sitting a while, Lucy noticed suddenly a large shadow pass over herself, Shelandragh and Darren.  Looking up she jumped when she saw, what would be, her first gaze upon a dragon.  Alarmed she shouted to Darren and Shelandragh to look at the dragon in the sky.  Shelandragh instantly identified the beast.  ‘It is the Wyvvern from Canberra, Darren.  The one who dwells under the city.  I fear it has emerged and is hungry.  We must capture it now.  This type of Wyvvern feeds on human flesh.  If we can communicate with it we must persuade it to partake of sheep and cattle instead.’  ‘And if it refuses?’ asked Darren.  ‘Then we will have to kill it Darren.’  Darren nodded.  Shelandragh looked at Lucy.  ‘Lucy.  You go inside the store.  It will not be safe while we pursue the dragon.  You could become a victim.  Now go girl.  Hurry.  Lucy dutifully obeyed her teacher, and entered the store, quickly going over to the side window to see if she could spy the Wyvvern.


Darren and Shelandragh went to the car in which they had driven up to Michelago from Bunyan, Darren’s four wheel drive, and opening the back door, grabbed their broomsticks.


A short time later, Darren and Shelandragh were slowly gaining on the dragon, who had been circling around Michelago, perhaps studying out a potential victim.  As they neared, the Wyvvern spotted them and opened its mouth, breathing fire in their direction.  Shelandragh yelled out ‘Hydros’, and a torrent of water went forth, extinguishing the blaze the dragon had bellowed out.  She yelled to Darren.  ‘This breed needs a number of minutes to replenish the chemicals to breathe fire again.  Our time may be short.  I will approach the Dragon and speak to it.  Go over to the side of it and be ready to strike if needs be.’  The Dragon, flapping wings, hovering before them considered its options.  These pale skins, it felt, could make suitable food.  She decided to attack the female who had come forward in front of her.  Before the attack though, she sensed the creature communicating with her mind.  ‘Golden ridged Wyvvern.  You must cease in your intentions.  Humanity has grown strong now.  We no longer fear dragons and are quite capable of fighting and slaying them.  We know you need food and suggest you partake of the sheep and cattle which are all over this region.’  The Dragon considered these words, before responding.  ‘Why should I believe you, human, when creatures such as yourself make such delicious food.  Nay, I think ye lie to myself.  A ruse to trap me and enslaven me to your desires.’  ‘I speak truly, dragon.  We are quite capable of defeating you.  We are ancient spellcasters, and have a long history of studying creatures as yourself.  Our arsenal of magical power can easily defeat and slay creatures such as yourself.  Of this being the case you can most definitely stand assured.’  The dragon looked at the creature but decided not to bother with any further conversation.   She was hungry, and this human creature would suffice for a beginning to her feeding.  She launched forward, ready to swallow the creature, which instantly flew out of reach.


Shelandragh looked at Darren and yelled out.  ‘I don’t think our approach is working.  The Dragon does not care about what I have said.  It just wants to eat.’  ‘What do we do?’ Darren yelled back.  ‘I really don’t want to kill it.  This breed is extremely rare, but we have little other option at the moment.’  Darren thought on that.  ‘Perhaps if we try to capture it, a solution can come later.’  Shelandragh nodded.  ‘Okay,’ as she flew out of the reach of another of the dragon’s lunges.


Freefall’, yelled Shelandragh at the Dragon, in one of her own created spells.  The Wyvvern started flapping its wings a lot more violently in response to the magical energy which had come upon it, and slowly feeling the weight, began falling down to the ground.’  It hit the dirt with a loud thud, and lay there, apparently contemplating its next move.


Darren and Shelandragh flew down and stood in front of the Dragon.  Shelandragh spoke.  ‘Creature.  I warned you about our powers.  We will prevail against you if you persist in your madness.  Cease, and accept our offer of sheep and cattle.’  The dragon looked malevolently at this cursed creature who was controlling it and, sensing it’s fire breathing chemicals now restored, breathed out quick, more ferocious flame, in Shelandragh’s direction.  This time, while Shelandragh was again able to respond with ‘Hydros’, the flames managed to burn much of her clothing, singing her hair and burning some of her scalp.  It hurt like hell.  She retreated a distance and, in a sudden moment of vengeance, screamed to Darren.  ‘Kill the creature, Darren.  It is the only thing we can do.’  Darren nodded and cast the spell ‘Magmas’ at the dragon.  A flame of fire came forth from Darren’s wand, burning a savage hole into the Dragon’s flesh.  It yelled in pain, screaming in agony.  Darren really did not like to finish the encounter like this, but sensed little other option.


Shelandragh came over to stand next to Darren as the Dragon began its death throes.  Strangely, though, it managed to stand to its feet and began making a thrusting motion with its body.  Looking on intently, Shelandragh and Darren saw two large eggs, first one, then the other, emerge from the Dragon.  And then, after a final heave, the dragon collapsed on the ground, slowly sinking down to the halls of the dead.


The eggs began shaking.  Cracks started appearing, and emerging from them came forth two young dragons.  They came forth, looking at their fallen mother, and puzzling over the two human creatures before them.


Darren looked at Shelandragh.  ‘We can not kill them as well, Shelandragh.  I am afraid we will have to take care of them.  They are our responsibility now.’  Shelandragh nodded, still in pain over the singe, and in a state of anxiety over the now fallen dragon.


Darren approached the dragons, who were around a metre in length each, and began the process of making friends.  The dragons looked at him in their fresh innocence, perhaps thinking him some sort of parent figure.  Darren, thinking over lessons of bonding he had learned, looked at the dragons, and started walking away from them, his eyes still fixed upon them.  In their first steps of life, the dragons began following him, like obedient young ducklings.  He spoke to Shelandragh.  ‘They’re following me.  If we can get them to the car, we can take them down to Chakola.  They should be safe there.  Shelandragh nodded, still wincing at the pain.


They walked, carrying their broomsticks, the few hundred metres over the field they had been in, climbing over a wire fence and returning to the store.  A number of people from the store peered on with grave looks on their faces, not sure what to make of in the sudden appearance of dragons.  Lucy stood near the car, and Shelandragh and Darren, with the dragons following, asked Lucy to open the back door to the four wheel drive, which she did so in response.  Darren managed to lift each of the dragons into the back of the car, and the three of them got inside and very hastily made there way away from the store, heading out of Michelago, back down to Chakola.


Chapter Seven


Goldie and Silver’


Lucy smiled at the two dragons as they played with each other, trying to bite each others ears.  They were both golden ridged wyverns, yet the female of the twins had a silver streak further down along her spine, going down along the tail.  Because of this Lucy had named the dragons ‘Goldie’ and ‘Silver’.


Goldie was, in his youth, a savage and aggressive young Dragon.  He fought Silver most passionately and fiercely.  He would not relent or be persuaded from his attacks upon her until he had achieved his will.  Silver usually avoided Goldie’s attacks but often, when too greatly provoked, established her own space and responded to the often malicious attacks of the passionate Goldie.


Lucy, with Shelandragh and Darren looking on, got on the back of ‘Goldie’ who cautiously began walking around the back yard of Shelandragh’s house.  ‘Do you think, when he has grown a little, he may be able to fly with myself sitting on his back?’  ‘Perhaps, young Lucy,’ said Shelandragh.  ‘Dragonriding is popular throughout Europe amongst many witches and wizards, yet we are very careful to make sure that non-mage rarely, if ever, notice us.  There are certain spells we use to ensure privacy, which I will teach you one day, but not for now.  Goldie and Silver are still too young to fly, and won’t be able to for a while.’  ‘How long will that be?’ asked Lucy.  Shelandragh thought on that question, and turned to Darren.  ‘I’m not sure with Golden ridged wyverns how long till they can fly.  Have you any idea?’  ‘Dragons are not my specialty, Shelandragh.  Nor wyverns, for that matter.  I think, Lucy, that the dragons will fly when nature teaches them to fly.  Eagles when young are often nudged out of their mother’s nest to get them started, so the same may be true with dragons.  I am sure when they are ready, they will know what to do.’  Lucy looked down at Goldie.  ‘Well, Goldie.  Do you think you and me could one day take to the skies?’  The dragon, for the first time in its life, opened its mouth and spit out a few sparks of fire.’  Lucy jumped.  Shelandragh and Darren both grinned.  ‘Perhaps that was not the answer you were looking for, Lucy,’ said Shelandragh.  ‘As long as that doesn’t happen when we are in the air I won’t really mind, Shelandragh.’


The dragon started walking around the yard, Lucy on top, and began flapping its wings a little.  The Dragons wings, over the last few days, had grown quite rapidly.  Goldies wings were largely black like his mother’s, but there were streaks of Gold and Silver and a dark metallic greenish colour in various streaky patches splayed over the wings.  Silver looked similar, but she had dark blue, instead of the greenish colour on her wings.  Shelandragh had stated to Lucy that this trait was likely inherited from the dragon’s father, as their mother was all black, apart from the Golden spine.  Both of the Dragon’s tongues were bright red, common amongst that breed.  They ate the bales of hay that Shelandragh fed them by licking it up with their tongues.  Shelandragh also fed them various fruits and vegetables, for a balanced diet.


Can we have a go now?’ asked Jayden, who had been sitting with his sisters on the back porch, anxiously waiting their turn.  ‘Come on Lucy,’ said Darren.  ‘Its Jayden’s turn.’  Lucy nodded and got on Goldie.  ‘Come on Goldie.  Walk this way.’  Lucy led Goldie over to Jayden, who climbed up with a big smile on his face.  ‘Fly Goldie.  Flap your wings,’ said Jayden, anxious to see if the dragon would obey.  ‘She’s not going to fly, you dork,’ said Madalene.  ‘Shut up Maddie.  She can fly.  Flap your wings Goldie.’  Georgia pulled on Shelandragh’s coat.  ‘Can Goldie fly,’ she asked, in her usual faint voice.  ‘Probably not until she is older, Georgia.’  ‘You have 5 minutes, Jayden, then it is my turn,’ said Madalene.  Don’t forget I am counting.’  ‘Whatever,’ said Jayden.


Half an hour later, after David’s children had each had a turn, the kids were in the loungeroom of Shelandragh’s house playing monopoly, while Darren and Shelandragh were sitting at the kitchen table, drinking tea.


Of course, Wyvvern’s can be quite dangerous as they get older.  Like all wild animals, they have a fierce spirit which is often difficult to train.’  Darren nodded at Shelandragh’s comments.  ‘Do you think this will possibly endanger Lucy?’  ‘Not yet.  Wyvvern’s are extremely intelligent and can communicate in any known language.  Their brains work intuitively to understand the sense of what is being spoken or said by someone or something approaching them.  They can understand every human language and all animal forms of communication.  They generally rival mankind in intelligence in this respect.  Because of this, we have the opportunity to teach Goldie and Silver while they are young.  If we can instil within them a sense of respect for human life, we can go a long way to taming their savagery.  They could, over the long term, prove very useful companions to Lucy.’  ‘How do they speak?’  ‘Their minds send out a form of psychic energy which the listener hears in his or her mind.  Dark wyverns and dragons can, if they so choose, use an extreme amount of willpower to almost control the mind and thoughts of their adversaries.  They are a most fierce opponent because of this.’  ‘When should we start trying to teach them?’  ‘I think in a few weeks they should be developed enough for our first instructive lessons.  Anyway, another cup of tea?’  Darren nodded and Shelandragh poured out for Mr Merryweather another cup of the finest Lady Grey.


*   *   *   *   *


Linda smiled at Lucy’s comment.  ‘Yes, Lucy.  I like the car as well.’  ‘It looks just like Herbie, Linda,’ said Lucy.  ‘Yes.  That was intentional.  The number 53 is Herbie’s number, so I thought I would decorate my bug in the same fashion as Herbie.’  ‘Are you really going to race it up in the festival in Canberra?’  ‘I don’t really know for sure, Lucy.  I was thinking of entering the car more as a funny joke or something humorous.  But the organizers didn’t mind, so I may show up.  I haven’t mind up my mind, though.’  ‘You really should enter the competition, Linda.  I think you could come first.’  ‘Come first?  Yeh, it would be nice to come first.’  ‘What do you call the car, Linda?’  ‘Well, Herbie of course, Lucy.  What else could I possibly call it?’


Linda was a friend of David and Brigid’s, who had driven out to Chakola to show her new Volkswagen bug to David’s kids and Lucy.


Can we have a go in riding with you, Linda?’ asked Jayden.  ‘Everyone get in,’ said Linda.  Lucy, Jayden, Madalene and Georgia all climbed into Linda’s Volkswagen.  ‘Remember to go as fast as possible,’ said Jayden.  ‘Shut up,’ said Madalene to Jayden.  ‘Don’t go fast,’ said Georgia.  Lucy, sitting in the front seat next to Linda, gave Linda a little grin and said.  ‘Go fast, Linda.’  ‘Hold on everyone,’ yelled Linda, as the bug pulled out of the schoolhomes driveway, belting down to the crossing.  ‘Too fast,’ complained Georgia.  ‘Don’t worry, Georgia,’ said Madalene.  ‘Linda is a good driver.


The car crossed over the crossing and made its way along the dirt track towards the other houses in Chakola.  ‘Did David leave the gates open?’ Linda asked Lucy.  Lucy nodded.  ‘But we have to shut them on the way back,’ said Madalene.  Linda nodded, and the car zoomed up around a bend, steadily making its way up to Oak hill, were David’s caravan was situated.


When they got to the caravan, Linda spun the bug around on the dirt track in front of the caravan a few times, the screams of the children indicating pure delight.  Eventually Linda brought the car up next to the caravan, turned off the engine, and told the children to exit.


There is some coke cans in the fridge in the caravan, as well as heaps of chips in the cupboard,’ said Madalene.  ‘I’ll get them,’ said Jayden.  Lucy, Madalene, Georgia and Linda sat down on the benches alongside the caravan.  Shortly Jayden returned with 5 cans of Coke and some packets of crisps.


What do you do in Canberra, Linda?’ Madalene asked Linda.  ‘Oh, different things.  I have a couple of part-time jobs.  One in MacDonald’s, and another in a café in Barton.  The rest of the time I am studying.  ‘What are you studying?’ asked Jayden.  ‘An arts degree.  Not sure what I will concentrate on yet, but an arts degree for now.  I might study something else later.’  Georgia, who was over by the front of the caravan, suddenly yelled out.  ‘Look.’  She soon came to the others, holding a croaking toad in her hand, covered with dirt.  ‘Ooh, gross,’ said Madalene.  Lucy looked at it.  ‘It’s a frog, isn’t it?’  Linda looked at it, ‘I think it’s a toad, actually.’  ‘If you kiss it, it will turn into a handsome prince, Linda.  Go on kiss it,’ said Jayden.’  ‘That’s disgusting, Jayden.  Why don’t you kiss it, Gayden.  I am sure you would like a prince to kiss,’ said Madalene.  ‘Shut up, Maddy.  Don’t call my gay.  I’m not gay.  I’m straight.’  ‘Jayden’s gay, Jayden’s gay,’ teased Madalene.’  Linda looked at the two children, a little shocked at such language.  ‘Don’t worry about them, said Lucy.  They talk like that all the time.  Brigid calls them ferals.’  ‘A very suitable title, I think,’ said Linda.


Later on, after Linda had left for Canberra, Lucy and the kids were watching Star Wars episode I in the schoolhome.  Lucy, thinking on Linda, thought she was a pretty young woman and admired her maturity.  Thinking on Queen Amidala, Lucy thought Linda and Amidala were alike in some ways.  Both grown up and responsible.  It was something, hearing so many lessons from her mother and Shelandragh, that she felt a little inspired to try to grow in to as well.  It would be wonderful to be all grown up like Linda.  To be in charge of your own life and to live as you pleased.  Hopefully she would grow up into a mature young lady like both of them.


*   *   *   *   *


Andrew looked at the gravestone of Bradrick, one of the Stoned Philosophers.  Their deaths had saddened him.  The Xtreme Kings had been close to the philosophers.  They, in a strange way, looked up to the dudes.  They were older than them and had trodden through paths of life, perhaps, from Andrew’s perspective, paths they shouldn’t have trodden.  But the philosophers had shared the wisdom they had gleaned from life and had encouraged the Kings to learn from their mistakes.  Andrew, particularly, had learned from the Philosophers much about boozing and drug use.  He remembered a conversation with Bradrick.  ‘Andrew.  Lad.  You can call me a hypocrite, which my loving fans often do, but lad, don’t get into the drug scene.  It will Fugg you up in the end.  When I was younger I made mistakes.  I didn’t learn what I should have – what my parents taught me.  Me and the philosophers are bastards, in many ways.  But we are wise bastards.  Not rich bastards – Fugg em all – but we are wise bastards.  Don’t make our mistakes, lad.  Don’t make our mistakes.’


Andrew had thought on the drug thing.  He had smoked it a little, against Bradrick’s advice, but had given it away.  He had thought on the issue and decided, with his potential in music, the drug scene could perhaps cost him some of his success.  Dudes who could have made it were too Fugged up by drugs so much of the time that they never got their act together and achieved what they could have.  There were exceptions – that was true – but old fashioned sobriety usually ruled in the land of success.  That idea, Andrew felt, was the probable truth.


Rest in peace, Bradrick.  Rest in peace, dude.’  Andrew threw the flowers he had bought down on the grave of Bradrick and taking a last look, made his way over to Ty and Nathan who were hanging over near the fence of the cemetery.  ‘Did what you needed to?’ asked Nathan.  ‘Yeh,’ said Andrew, sombrely.  ‘Come on, lets hit maccas,’ said Ty.  ‘This place is depressing.’  As the three Xtreme Kings made there way up to Mittagong Road, Andrew turned to look at the cemetery.  Such is life and death, he thought to himself.  Such is life and death.


*   *   *   *   *


Jayden, against Shelandragh’s strict warning, had creeped into the backyard of Shelandragh’s house late one Saturday afternoon, having walked all the way from Chakola on his own, to see if he could in fact achieve his dream of flying on one of the Dragon’s.  Nobody was in the back yard, so he climbed the fence, and walked over to the pen were the two dragon’s were caged.  He undid the gate, and carefully encouraged Goldie to follow him out into the garden.  He closed the gate, so Silver could not get out, and got onto the back of Goldie.  ‘Giddy-up,’ he yelled to Goldie, encouraging him to start moving.  ‘What are you doing, Jayden?’  Jayden jumped, and looked around.  He did not see anyone anywhere, but a voice had spoken to him.  Was he hearing things, he thought to himself.  He yelled giddy up again, and the voice spoke again.  ‘I suppose you want me to fly, don’t you?’  Jayden looked down at Goldie.  ‘Are you speaking to me Goldie?’  ‘Who else?’  ‘How do you do that?’  ‘No idea.  Just seems to happen.’  ‘That’s awesome,’ said Jayden, amazed at the new phenomenon.  ‘Well, can you fly?’  ‘I don’t think I can do that yet.  I have tried a little, but can’t quite manage it.  But soon I should be able to.  I should warn you, young man, that I sense Shelandragh looking at us.’  Jayden looked to the back window of Shelandragh’s house, and noted Shelandragh staring at him.  He gave a little smile, and shrugged his shoulders.  Shelandragh looked at him for a few moments more, and closed the curtain.  He waited for the back door to open, but after a minute or so, Shelandragh had still not appeared.  Perhaps she didn’t mind him playing with Goldie, so he decided not to worry about it.


He rode Goldie around the back yard for a few minutes, when the back door opened and Lucy came outside.  ‘Hello Jayden.  Shelandragh told me you were out here.’  ‘What did she say?  Am I in trouble?’  ‘She didn’t say anything like that.  She just said you were in the back yard.’  ‘Oh,’ said Jayden.  ‘I guess she didn’t mind me riding the dragon.’  ‘She’s probably used to the kind of things kids get up to.’  Jayden nodded, puzzling a little on that statement.  ‘Were is Maddy and Georgia?’  ‘Back in Canberra.  I came down with dad for the weekend to stay at the farm.  We got here just before lunch.’  ‘Oh, right.  Oh – just wait a second.’  Lucy went back inside and returned a few moments later with a camera.  ‘Smile Jayden.’  Jayden gave a big grin, and Lucy took a few photos on her digital camera of Jayden riding the dragon around the yard.


Later on, Jayden shared with Lucy the news of the dragon speaking to him, which Lucy had said had also happened to her.  ‘I don’t think they are quite ready to fly yet, J.  Perhaps in a few week.’  Jayden nodded.  ‘Hopefully I will be the first to fly them.’  ‘Not if I beat you to it,’ said Lucy, smiling at her friend.


The two of them spent the rest of the afternoon playing some boardgames in Shelandragh’s living room, Mr Merryweather joining them.  Jayden found himself really happy around Lucy and Shelandragh.  They were friends in his life which he at his young age had really needed.

Chapter Eight


Grimlock’s Agenda’


Grimlock knocked on the door of ‘Minoxxia’ which was the home to Shelandragh May, the teacher of the half-mage Lucy Smith which he had been assigned by his dark lord to corrupt.  He had sent Shelandragh a letter earlier that week giving her news of his new store and requesting an audience with one of the local witches.  Shelandragh had responded positively, glad to see the opening of the new store and had invited him for Sunday afternoon tea.


After a few moments, the door opened, and the appearance of Darren Merryweather gave him a startling shock.  ‘Mr Grimlock.  How pleasant to see you.  You seem to be quite a fair distance from home.  What brings you to Bunyan?’  Grimlock thought quickly on a story to explain to his adversary.  ‘Umm.  Yes.  Well, I grew up in Cooma and have decided to move back here to open a store here on the mainland.  The Hobart scene, while steady, has become dull.  Cooma seems a much more interesting spiritual climate to pursue my trade in.  I feel business here will be far more enjoyable.  I have been aware of Miss May’s notoriety for a number of years, and have requested an audience, to which she has most graciously acceded.’  ‘Of course.  Well, come in Mr Grimlock.  Oh, just a thing.  I have never actually asked you what your first name is.  Do you mind if I ask?’  ‘No.  I don’t mind.’  Darren looked at him for a few moments, waiting for the name, which was not forthcoming.  ‘The name,’ he urged Mr Grimlock.  ‘Oh the name.  Yes, will, it is Grim.’  Darren looked at him strangely, considering that name.  ‘May I come inside, Mr Merryweather?’  ‘Certainly.’  Darren stood aside, and Grimlock entered the abode of Miss Shelandragh May.


Grimlock walked down a short hall, coming to the main lounge-room, were who he presumed was Shelandragh May was talking with the probable young Lucy Smith.  Darren, who had followed him, spoke to Shelandragh.  ‘This is Mr Grimlock.  Mr Grim Grimlock, I think.’  Grimlock gave him a strange look, which unsettled Darren.  Shelandragh got to her feet.  ‘Mr Grimlock.  Please, come in.  Sit yourself down.’  Grimlock sat down on a vacant lounge.  ‘Hello Mr Grimlock,’ said the young Lady.  ‘My name’s Lucy.’  ‘Lucy.  What a wonderful name.  It is my great pleasure to meet you, young lady.’  Lucy smiled, happy at Mr Grimlock’s kind words.  ‘Mr Grimlock.  Would you care for some tea or coffee?  I have some assorted spirits if that is more your thing.’  ‘Tea would be fine, Miss May.  Whatever you have.’  Darren sat down on a single lounge seat near Grimlock.  ‘Lucy.  I have known Mr Grimlock for a while now.  When I was working in Hobart I used to visit his store.  It is a small world, though, having him turn up here in Bunyan.  Very small indeed.’  ‘What do you do?’  Lucy asked Grimlock.  ‘I am, like Miss May, who I presume is your teacher, a master of the arts.  I have opened a shop, the Dragon’s lair, just recently in Cooma.  I am making myself known to the local magical community.  I was actually raised here, just up the road a little, but left at an extremely young age, so remember next to nothing of the place.’  ‘I thought you grew up here,’ interjected Darren.  ‘Oh, yes, in a manner of speaking.  I left when I was 5 years old, and have only dim memories of my childhood.  I think, though, that still qualifies for growing up here.’  Darren nodded, although the look on his face belied the obvious suspicion that Grimlock felt Mr Merryweather now must surely have towards himself.


Tell me, Lucy.  What have you learned from Miss May?  What areas of magic has she educated you in?’  ‘Different things, I guess.  Probably the same as the other student’s she has taught.’  Grimlock nodded at that information.  ‘Yes, I imagine she would.  Miss May is known in the Tasmanian community for her innovative work in animistic wizardry.  This field is most old, but has been untouched by the greater magical community for a while now.  Dark powers, you see.  Dark powers often are attracted to animistic wizardry.’  ‘Why is that, Mr Grimlock?’  ‘Well, as I assume your teacher has taught you, Animism involves spirits.  Not all magic is based around living spirits – in fact, in practice, very little these days.  Dark wizards, however, do often employ demonic forces to assist them in their endeavours.  Our culture is replete with such legends, of which I would assume you may have seen some old movies involving such things as incantations summoning demons.  Lucy nodded.  ‘Yes.  Supernatural on TV goes on about stuff like that.’  Grimlock nodded, also aware of the television show.  ‘Well, the animistic spirit realm has many dark spirits inhabiting it.  When magic is involved on a regular basis, word is often carried to the darker powers.  It is a reason why such an area of magic is often shied away from in our modern culture.  But, nonetheless, it is there, as it has always been.’  ‘Shelandragh has never talked about any problems around here involving dark spirits?  It has not been a problem for me?’  ‘Yes.  I have noticed that myself.  I have sensed that this immediate area for a number of kilometres is enveloped in a spiritual haven, as it were.  There are forces – binding spiritual forces – which make the outer realms unaware of the activities here.’  Darren nodded at that information.  ‘I am surprised you have noticed that, Grimlock.’  ‘Yes.  I was aware after a few days of living in Cooma.’  ‘So we won’t have any problems with these dark spirits, then?’  asked Lucy, innocently.  ‘No.  I would imagine not, young Miss Lucy.’


Shelandragh entered the room, carrying a tray with 4 mugs and some biscuits upon them.  ‘I have made tea for each of us.  I have not added the milk, but you can add that yourself.  It is in this jug.’  ‘I thank you kindly, Miss May.  Your hospitality is most appreciated.’  Shelandragh nodded at Grimlock’s words.  ‘How is your store coming along, Mr Grimlock,’ Shelandragh asked him.  ‘Oh – the usual fare for a new store.  I sell many candles, charms, and much jewellery items, which was my usual source of income in Hobart.  Most customers like magical iconography rather than taking a great interest in the arts themselves.  Although I have sold a number of books on magic as well.  Mostly introductory texts.’  Shelandragh nodded.  ‘Well, I will most definitely be visiting your store quite soon.  Probably tomorrow morning, if you are open at that time.’  ‘Yes.  I live in the flat above the store, and am often downstairs early in the morning.  I am quite happy to welcome people if I am up.’  Grimlock took a sip of tea from his mug.  ‘Mmm.  Is this earl grey?  It tastes a little different.  A little softer.’  ‘It is Lady Grey, Mr Grimlock.’  ‘Lady Grey?  They have Lady Grey?’  ‘Yes.  For quite a while now, actually.’  Grimlock nodded.  ‘I will have to make a purchase of some.  Is there any available in Cooma?’  ‘I order mine from England, but there are usually packets available in Cooma and Canberra.  I have a spare box if you would like to take some.’  ‘Thank you kindly, Miss May.  That would be most appreciated.’


Grimlock turned to Lucy.  ‘Lucy.  Are you a full-blood or a half-mage?’  ‘I am a half-mage, Mr Grimlock.  My father was gifted in the art, but mum is a Non-mage.’  ‘I see.  In the old world there is still some discrimination towards half-mages.  Most primitive, in my view.  We should be grateful for all those who develop talent in the arts, whatever their lineage.  I, myself, am a half-mage also.  My father was a gifted wizard, but not given to much in the way of actually practicing his art.  He settled with mother for a regular life, coming out to Australia just before I was born.  He has passed on now, and so has mother.  He did not make much of a fuss over magical things, but did explain my giftings to me when I was 10.  He had never intended me to pursue magic as a career, but I felt drawn to it in my teens.  And now it is my major preoccupation.  Something which fills in most of my time.’  ‘Tell me, Mr Merryweather.  Are you married?  Do you have any children?’  ‘Er, no.  Not married.  I did have a wife, once.  But she died a few weeks after our marriage in a car accident.’  ‘Oh, I am so sorry, Mr Grimlock.’  ‘Thank you.  Yes, Matilda was dear to my heart.  She was a non-mage, like mother, but kind and sweet.  My better half, for those few days.  My better half in so many ways.’  ‘I pray she sings with the angels, Mr Grimlock.’  Said Shelandragh.  ‘I do hope you are right, Miss May.’


*   *   *   *   *


Later on, while the four of them were in the back yard with young Lucy riding around on Silver’s back, Mr Grimlock excused himself from his conversation with Darren and Shelandragh to go and speak with Lucy.  ‘So, Miss Smith.  How do you feel you are developing in the arts?  How do you feel your talent is coming along?’  ‘Alright, I think, Mr Grimlock.’  ‘Have you actually cast any animistic spells?’  ‘A few.  I cast Hydros Conflagius at my home a few weeks ago.’  ‘Hydros Conflagius,’ said Mr Grimlock, his eyebrow tilted.  ‘Yes.  And a little sprite gushed water all over me.  It was very embarrassing.’  ‘I could imagine,’ said Mr Grimlock.  ‘Has Miss May given you any knowledge of the dark spells?  I assume with someone your age she would have only mentioned them.’  ‘Well, actually, I have been thinking about creating my own spell.  I have learned about spell creation, and though about creating a spell called Shadorius Tempest.  It is based on an idea I got from an Asatru book called ‘Born of Thunder’.  ‘You have read ‘Born of Thunder’, said Mr Grimlock, a spark in his voice.  ‘Not all of it.  I am nearly finished, though.’  ‘Mmm.  I guess Shadorius Tempest is somehow based on the Shadow Storm?’  ‘Yes.  That is were I got the idea.  How did you know?’  ‘Oh, I read greatly on pagan mythology.   ‘Born of Thunder’ is a very popular new work in the pagan community.  So tell me.  How would you go about creating such a spell?  Are you aware of the basics of spell-creation?’  ‘Well, Shelandragh has shared with me the basic idea for how it is done.  How to create spiritual energy in the spiritual realm and harness is.  I have the books with the ‘Shados’ and ‘Shados Redux’ spells, which I think if I combine with the ‘Tempest’ part of ‘Aquarius Tempest’ I should be able to create the spell.  Grimlock nodded, quite impressed by the obvious well thought out logic the young lady had shown.  ‘Well, Lucy.  If you would like, I could help you to create that spell.  I have created a number of spells, myself, and would be most willing to help you to create this one, if you so desire.  I would only be so happy to assist such ambition as you have shown.’  ‘Well, I guess so.  But when?’  ‘Mmm.  Well, I would not want to interfere with the lessons between you and Shelandragh.  But if you would like to visit my shop in Cooma sometimes, we could go upstairs to my flat to work on the spell.’  ‘Well if my mum says its okay, then sure.’  ‘Oh, of course.  Naturally I will introduce myself to your mother so that she can get to know me.  I tell you what.  Why don’t I come and see your mother when you have finished here.  I am free for the rest of the day and night, so it will not be a problem to me.’  ‘Okay.  Mum will pick me up at 6.00 tonight.  You could introduce yourself to her then.’  Grimlock nodded, satisfied with that information.  ‘That would be most ideal, young Lucy.’


A little after 6.00, Caroline arrived at Shelandragh’s place.  Grimlock introduced himself and inquired into the possibility of also teaching Lucy some principles of magic.  Caroline had inquired of Shelandragh wether this was alright.  Darren had voiced some minor concerns, but Shelandragh had stated that Caroline was the one to decide on such an issue.  But she had stated that she had no objection to Mr Grimlock likewise teaching young Lucy.  Caroline had asked wether Lucy would like to study with Mr Grimlock as well, to which Lucy had nodded in the affirmative.  ‘Well, okay then.  That’s alright with me.’  Lucy had smiled, pleased at the news.  Mr Grimlock had smiled also, seemingly also pleased with the news.  Quite pleased.


*   *   *   *   *


I think, Alfric, that more caution is now needed.  Grimlock has been successful in gaining lessons with Lucy, and although we still have nothing concrete on him, there is really no telling what he could teach her.’  ‘And these lessons are to be a private affair, Darren?  You could not possibly sit in?’  ‘Perhaps.  I don’t think Lucy would mind, but Grimlock may object.  And I am not really in a strong enough position to influence Caroline on the issue yet.  I am not quite sure what to do about the issue.’  Alfric paused before continuing.  ‘Perhaps a few subtle, but mind you subtle, words to Lucy to be a little cautious about Grimlock.  Suggest to her that with new teachers it is important to be careful and sound them out.  She will probably think you are advising of ‘beware of strangers’ or some such similar lesson.  I am sure she will listen to what you have to say.’  ‘Yes, that sounds like a good idea.  I will go with that then.  Thanks.’  ‘Well, keep in touch.  I will call you on your mobile again in a few days for an update.  And, finally, now that Grimlock has moved to Cooma and is teaching Lucy I feel that your tenure with young Miss Smith is to be as I said previously of an indefinite nature.  You can probably write in at least 5 or 6 years worth of living in Cooma into your diary.  We want to keep our eyes on this lass.  If Grimlock has any negative influence, she will have to be nurtured away from those elements.  It is your responsibility, Darren.  A young lady’s future is at steak.’  ‘Okay, Alfric.  Talk to you later.’  ‘bye.’  Darren placed his mobile phone back in his pocket, and continued driving along the highway back to his flat in Cooma.


Pulling into the long driveway up to his flat, he thought on his ward, young Lucy.  She was a bright young lady, so mature for someone so young.  And intelligent too.  But Shelandragh had stated that much of this was to do with her mother’s influence and careful teaching.  Lucy had potential.  Great potential.  One day, as Alfric had stated, she may indeed find a place on the Australian Guild of wizards and witches, if she so desired.  What appeared to be her fine grooming by her mother, and obvious personal abilities, spoke of potentially one of the ministries early heroes.  The guild in Australia was not old.  Not even a century.  And as such it was still establishing itself in a sense.  Young Lucy had, if she wanted it, the opportunity to establish herself in the halls of fame amongst the magical community of Australia.  Too be one of the more memorable and prominent figures in the lore of Australian magic.  And as a Smith, if her lineage ever became well known, fame internationally as well.


Climbing up the white steps to his flat, and taking the door on the right, Darren entered his abode.  It was pretty basic.  A main living room, with an adjoining kitchenette.  Also a single bedroom and bathroom.  There was a laundry around the back of the flats, but Darren had been using the local laundrette just a little walk down Sharp street from his flat.


After having a basic microwave meal, Darren picked up one of the books he had been reading.  It was a book about the Cooma region he had bought from a shop on Vale street.  One of the shop attendants, Jack, had suggested it when he had been looking for books about Cooma.  He had been reading about the history of the town, which was known as the gateway to the snowy mountains.  Lambie street was the oldest section of Cooma, just down the road from where he lived.  He had visited an art gallery on that street a couple of days after arriving.  Opposite his flat when looking out the main windows was nanny goat hill.  He had climbed the hill a few days ago, and noticed a concrete nanny goat near the lookout at the top.  He wondered to himself just how many kids had played with that nanny-goat, which was the kind of thing he would have done as a child.


The hill, being in the centre of town, also seemed the kind of place were youths of the town might go on Saturday nights to drink beer and get wasted.  Although, the pubs seemed to service most of this, he suspected that under-agers might occasionally frequent the place.  He actually found himself liking Cooma quite a lot.  It was similar to many country towns throughout Australia, typical for its region really.  The general animistic spirits for the region seemed appropriate and not out of place.  A nice fresh feel.  The kind of place, he felt, were family could be safely raised.  Away from some of the more savage places like Sydney and Melbourne, which were often a challenge for some people.  Most of the suburbs were okay, but the inner cities could often be dangerous, especially at night.  He doubted that Cooma really had any such great problems.  Of course, the incident in the park was alarming, but through conversations he’d had it seemed such events were rare, life usually going on at a steady country-town pace.  Yes, perhaps one day, if family came his way, Cooma might make an ideal place to raise family.  He had a girlfriend, sort of, in Sydney, who he saw every few months.  She was single and said she didn’t need a lot of male companionship, but enjoyed his company whenever he turned up.  Carol was very preoccupied with her career at the moment, and was not ready for settling down to family.  She was in a large carpeting company, which had a number of storefronts around Sydney.  She worked in the main office, just under the Area manager.  It was busy and demanding work, and she worked very hard to keep her job and the good pay packet that went with it.  Darren’s pay packet was not that substantial in comparison.  The guild was funded partially private by the magical community, and with a secret government fund as well.  The Prime Minister and certain other secret personnel within the Government and its agencies had knowledge of the Guild, but it was on high level intelligence status, protected by various confidential information Acts.  A great deal of funding, due to the necessity to keep the ministries affairs away from prying eyes was not really possible, but with the other income, it was still a reasonable wage.  In a sense, working in the guild was a calling or a devotion.  It was not a job to make huge amounts of money.  In the private market, magic, to the right customer, could earn quite a deal.  But for those in the arts who valued the sense of tradition and importance that magic brought to the community, a more serious occupation was often sought.  It was such an occupation that Darren, after a number of stints at various things in his early twenties, had eventually gravitated too.  And it seemed that it had security, which was always appealing – as well as long term prospects for advancement.  It was, for Mr Merryweather, a sensible choice in occupation, and one in which he found calm satisfaction.  Often eventful but, yes, calm satisfaction.


Chapter Nine


The Secret Chamber’


Well, fortunately the spell worked.  Nobody disturbed the Dragon’s body after I cast the ‘Vanishos’ spell, and when I saw the body this morning it was all intact.  The remains are here in this vase.’  Shelandragh showed to Darren a black vase, quite big, containing the ashes of the Golden Ridged Wyvvern.’  ‘What are you going to do with the Ashes?’ asked Lucy.  ‘I think, Lucy, out of respect for our fallen foe, we lay them to rest in her home – the cavern were she slept under Canberra.’  ‘Oh.  Can I come?’  ‘If your mother does not mind.  We will go tomorrow morning.  If you are here before 8.00  we will head off then.  Do you want to tag along Darren?’  ‘Should prove interesting.  My new book is progressing slowly, so I often have free time.  I can come.’  Lucy smiled, pleased at Darren words.  Darren had told Lucy that much of his work involved writing, which was not technically a lie, as he was in fact slowly working on a book of magic, which was, however, used as a ruse or excuse to Lucy to explain how he spent his time.  ‘I have a lantern in my flat.  Is the journey long?’  ‘About 15 kilometres, there and 15 back, and only by foot.  It will take us all day, and much of the night.  However, once we get into the heart of the cave, about a kilometre of travelling down, the going is alright.  Not too difficult.  We will need a few lanterns, and many wicks and kerosene.  I will prepare a packed lunch for all of us, which we can eat when we arrive in the main cavern.  I want to spread the ashes and pray a short prayer when we get there.  Lucy, it will be okay if you look around the main cavern a little.  But there is probably not really anything to look at.  Wyvvern’s, this kind anyway, do not really collect any possessions, so there will probably be a bunch of bones and little else.  But you are free to look around.’  Lucy smiled, looking forward to the morning’s adventure.


*   *   *   *   *


Standing in front of Minoxxia, Lucy looked at the early morning traffic.  Bunyan was a small hutlet, just out of Cooma, but many travellers left for Canberra from Cooma each morning along the Monaro highway.  It was just a little after 7.00, her mother having just dropped her off.  Shelandragh had asked her to stand outside and wait for Darren, who had rung her to say he would be arriving at a quarter past seven.  There were no clouds in the sky that morning.  It would probably be a warm day, as spring was nearly over with, and Summer was approaching.  Australia had many hot places in Summer from what she remembered from her early days travels, but Bunyan had reasonable weather.  It wasn’t too hot in Summer, although the winter’s could be chilly, as they were near the Snowy mountains were it snowed in winter.  But it suited Lucy to live in Chakola, which was just a little away from Bunyan.


She heard a car horn honking, and looked up the road to see Darren’s four wheel drive pulling up.  ‘Shelandragh.  Darren’s hear,’ she yelled.  Shelandragh appeared a few moments later, with a large hammock, and some lanterns.  Darren got out of the car and opened the boot.  ‘I have a few things packed for our trip, Shelandragh.’  He pushed some bags towards the back seat, making room for Shelandragh’s hammock and lanterns.  ‘I would like to get some petrol at Bredbo, and you can get a drink there if you like Lucy.’  ‘As long as its Coke.’  ‘As long as its Coke,’ Darren repeated.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy sat on a bench in Bredbo park, drinking her Coke.  Bredbo was up the road from Chakola, before Michelago.  It was a bit larger than Michelago, but not a big town – more of a village.  She had been there a number of times, usually with her mother, who had a friend who lived there.  The village was called the city of Poplars, as a large number of Poplar trees were scattered throughout the village.  It was a quiet town, which suited Lucy, something which living in Chakola she had grown accustomed to.


Come on Lucy, time to go.’  Lucy got up in response to Shelandragh’s call, and made her way over to the car.  When they had gotten under way again, Shelandragh began explaining how they would get to the cave.  ‘We can take the back road to Tharwa, just at Williamsdale, and there are number of tracks we can take from the Tidbinbilla tracking station.  I don’t think we will be seen, but I think much of the land leading up to the Brindabellas is private property.  We will have to walk the few kilometres from the tracking stations as I don’t know of any roads we can take.’  Darren nodded, taking in that news.  ‘Whereabouts is the cave?’   ‘About halfway up the Brindies.  They are not a big mountain range, as you might know, and are not difficult to climb.  The cave is likely well known these days, and is probably a popular destination for cavers.  I haven’t really looked into any established ways for getting to the cave, but I don’t think we need to worry about a one-off visit.  If anyone catches us and asks what we are doing we will simply say we are visiting the cave.  I’m sure it will be okay.’  ‘It’ll be fine, Shelandragh.’


*   *   *   *   *


Of course, when I first visited the cave, it was still generally a secret chamber which only the aborigines knew about, as it was hidden by many trees.  But it has become known about for a number of years now.’  The three of them had just started climbing up the Brindabellas, heading for the once secret chamber.  Shelandragh had been sharing with Darren and Lucy her tale of her first visit to the cave a number of years ago.  Lucy had been listening intently, especially to the part were Shelandragh had come upon the dragon.  ‘We will be all day, of course, travelling to the chamber and back, but we will rest every hour Lucy.  I am sure, while you will be exhausted by days end, you will not regret the journey.’  ‘I am sure I will be okay, Shelandragh.  I walk a lot to Chakola from Bunyan, and am used to long walks.  I can make it.’  ‘Let’s hope so, young lady,’ said Darren, who was dreading the thought of carrying an exhausted young Lucy back when she was too tired to walk on.


About 20 minutes later they had arrived at the entrance to the cave, which was quite large, but hidden by a cleft in the mountain.  Shelandragh readied the Lantern’s, lighting them, and handing one each to Darren and Lucy.  She placed the hammock she had been carrying down near the entrance to the cave and removed items of food and drink from them.  ‘If you carry these in your backpacks, it will be easier for all of us,’ she said, handing to Lucy and Darren each of the lunch-packs she had prepared.  Lucy and Darren placed the lunches in their backpacks, Lucy taking a sip of water from her drink bottle.  ‘Well, lets get going.  Darren, if you will.’  Darren led the way down into the cave, and their day’s adventure began in earnest.


*   *   *   *   *


After a couple of hours of stalagmites and stalactites, and even the occasional bat, Lucy was getting tired.  ‘It is a long trip, Lucy.  But I am sure you will be grateful for it one day.  It will prove a valuable memory for yourself.’  Lucy nodded, encouraged at Shelandragh’s words.  The trio broke for a 5 minute rest, and then started again.  Lucy thought on the day’s walk ahead of her and momentarily regretted her decision to join Shelandragh and Darren.  But she changed her mind and thought that, as Shelandragh had said, it may prove an interesting memory one day.


About 7 hours later, they finally arrived at the cavern of the Dragon.  There had only been minor caves on their journey, the route usually pretty easy to follow.  Darren had inquired as to why nobody had ever found the dragon, as he had assumed the cave would have been explored regularly.  ‘Actually, I am guilty of that not being well known.  When I first found the dragon, I placed a spell at the entrance of the cave later to show a deep abyss and a solid wall across from the abyss.  It took me half a day of solid witchcraft to prepare all the necessary deception spells to confuse any potential investigators upon finding the abyss.  I have never noted any one talk of the dragon on the news, so it would seem my spells were successful.’  ‘But Canberra has been settled for a number of years now.  Exactly how long ago did you cast these spells,’ asked Darren, his curiousity arisen.  ‘Mmm.  Perhaps you should ask Alfric about that,’ said Shelandragh, giving Lucy a little wink.


Entering the cavern Lucy began exploring.  As Shelandragh had stated, there were a number of bones around the cavern, perhaps Kangaroo, and perhaps even human, so Lucy thought.  But nothing out of the ordinary.  The dragon had made a nest out of old branches which she had presumably carried into the chamber.  ‘It would have probably taken her a few days worth of work to build this nest, Lucy.  But I guess she would have preferred the privacy of the cave for her long slumber.’  ‘Yes, they sleep a millennia, don’t they?’ asked Lucy.  ‘That’s right.  This is mostly peculiar to this breed of Wyvvern, and some other magical creatures as well.  Certain breeds of Cockatrice often sleep near 2 millennia, so I have been told.  ‘Aye.  2000 years!’ exclaimed Darren.  ‘2000 years of Grand finals to catch up on,’ he said further. ‘Not to mention the soaps.’ Said Shelandragh sarcastically, in response, which made Lucy smile a little.


I guess we can have our main lunch-break now, and then I will scatter the ashes and say a little prayer.  The three of them sat down near the nest, and opened up their backpacks.   Munching through a Nutella sandwich, drinking on her orange juice, Lucy thought on the giant nest and the dragon it would have homed.  Of course, it was Goldie and Silver’s mother who nested there.  Sleeping for a whole thousand years must have brought her so many dreams, Lucy thought to herself, if Wyvvern’s ever dreamed.  She knew from her mother’s education that bears hibernated through winter, so she assumed this was something similar for Wyvvern’s.  ‘In case you were wondering, Lucy, Wyvvern’s metabolism slow down to virtually non-existent during their long hibernation,’ said Shelandragh.  ‘They digest their food extremely slowly, which is stored in fat cells throughout their body.  You know in those Star Wars movies that you like, the one were Han Solo is frozen.’  ‘Yes,’ Lucy nodded.  ‘Well it is perhaps something similar to that idea.  They are quite okay when in their long hibernation.  It is a time for them to refresh and recharge.  They come alive for about a decade in between hibernating, and that time they are savagely preoccupied with the things of life – hunting and eating, mating and whatever other things Wyvvern’s get up to.’  ‘Were are Wyvvern’s from?’ asked Lucy.  ‘From Terra, Lucy.  That is were they originate from.’  ‘Were is Terra,’ she asked again.  ‘Oh, I had thought I had told you that.  Terra is an ancient name for the earth, which many people from the old world identify as the great central land mass on our planet.  Africa, Asia and Europe all actually form one great land block.  It is, sort of, one really big island.  I have often known it to be called ‘Terra.’  ‘Yes,’ said Lucy.  ‘I have often thought that all of those continents were really just one big island.  Australians often say that Australia is the biggest island in the world, but those three continents together are really an island, I think.’  ‘It depends on the technicalities of your definition of an island, Lucy.  But for a land mass totally surrounded by water, which is a common definition for an island, it does seem to fit.’


A little while later, after they had finished their lunches, Shelandragh took the black vase out of her backpack, and undid the cork plug which was in the top.  She looked at Lucy.  ‘Would you like to scatter the ashes around the nest?’  ‘Oh, okay,’ said Lucy a little nervously.  She took the vase and looked at Shelandragh.  ‘What do I do?’  Just tip the vase downwards and spread the ashes around the nest a little.  When you are finished I will pray a short prayer to God.’  Lucy tilted the vase downwards slowly, and ashes started pouring out.  She carefully clambered through the nest, spreading the ashes, and when the vase was empty, she returned to Shelandragh.  ‘Try placing the vase in the nest.  It may be a suitable memorial stone.’  Lucy did so.  Coming back and standing next to Shelandragh, Lucy asked, ‘Should we bow her heads?’  ‘Yes, I think that is a good idea.’  The three of them bowed their heads and a short while later Shelandragh began praying.  ‘Father God.  We ask you to welcome the soul of this Wyvvern to the place where she is supposed to go.  Assure her we had no ill feeling toward her and that we only did what we felt we had to in the circumstances.  Bless her in her new home and let her know we will be taking care of her children.  We sincerely pray this.  Amen.’  Lucy opened her eyes, and looked at the nest.  ‘Hopefully she is resting happily,’ said Darren.  ‘Hopefully,’ agreed Shelandragh.


*   *   *   *   *


Later on, Darren’s arms aching from the sleeping Lucy in his arms, having occasionally remarked to Shelandragh his new possible occupation as a prophet, having predicted to himself the girls later complaints of exhaustion, he and Shelandragh finally arrived back at the Tidbinbilla tracking station.  ‘Look, Shelandragh.  I know it is only an hour’s drive down to Chakola, but we may be able to spend the night at Alfric’s in Deakin.  That is much closer, and I am sure he will not mind.’  ‘If you think its okay, Darren.  I wouldn’t want to bother the minister though unannounced.’  ‘I am sure he won’t mind.  And it may actually be a good opportunity for him to meet Lucy.  That is, if she gets up in the morning.’  ‘Well, okay.  It is fine by me.’  Darren nodded, and carefully placed the sleeping Lucy in the back seat, buckling her up.


About 20 minutes later they had arrived at Alfric’s place, which was in the suburb of Deakin in the heart of Canberra, very near Parliament House.  The porch light had come on when they had pulled up, and shortly after Alfric appeared, dressed in pyjamas and a dressing gown.  ‘Darren, is that you?’  ‘Hey Alfric.  We have a sleeping Miss Smith, and we didn’t fancy the long trip back to Chakola.  Is it okay if we spend the night here.’   ‘Of course,’ replied Alfric.  ‘A very good idea, actually, as I would greatly enjoy making acquaintances with young Miss Smith.  Hello Shelandragh.  Good to see you again.’  ‘Hello Alfric.  How is Esthelle?’  ‘Happy as ever.  She is still up, watching the tennis.  She will be happy to see you again.’  Darren, carefully carrying the sleeping Lucy in his arms, walked up the short rampway to Alfric’s back door and entered the house.  ‘This way, Darren.’  Alfric led the way down a hall to a bedroom with 2 single beds in it.’  ‘This should be fine for Lucy and Shelandragh.  There is another guest room were you can sleep, Darren.’  Shelandragh opened up the quilts on the bed, and Darren carefully laid the sleeping Lucy down.’  ‘I will leave all of the undressing business to you, Shelandragh.’  Shelandragh nodded knowingly, and closed the door behind the departing Darren and Alfric.


Walking down the hall, Alfric brought Darren into his den.  ‘I won’t disturb Esthelle.  She can see you all in the morning.  Your room is just opposite Lucy’s.  There are towels in the cupboard along the hallway if you want to shower.  I am sure you know were the bathroom is.’  ‘Down the hall to the left, as I recall.’  ‘That’s right.  Well, why are you here tonight?  Been out partying?’  ‘Not really.  We spent the day travelling to the Dragon’s cavern.  Lucy spread out the ashes of the dragon which Shelandragh had collected, and Shelandragh prayed a short prayer to send the spirit of the dragon of to whatever afterlife dragons’ believe in.’  ‘That is pleasing.  Of course, as you probably know, we have very little magical creature folk in Australia.  Some Bunyips and Yowies, and a few other notable creatures.  But Dragon’s rarely frequent this place.  I am glad this particular beast did not cause too many problems.’  ‘Yes, it could have been difficult.’  ‘Well, I will let you get some sleep, Darren.  I am sure you can look after yourself.  Good night.’  Alfric patted Darren on the back, and exited the room, making his way back towards the television room he had come from were, presumably, Esthelle was still watching television.


Darren walked down the hall, took a towel, and knocked on Shelandragh’s door.  She opened a few moments later.  ‘I will have a shower now, if that’s okay.  I won’t use all the hot water.’  Shelandragh nodded.  ‘Okay.  Sleep well Darren.  Good night.’  ‘Yes, good night,’ echoed Darren.


A little later, Darren having gotten into the single bed in his room opposite Shelandragh, he thought on the day’s walk.  He was exhausted, but the memories for young Lucy seemed also worth his exhaustion to him, as well as Shelandragh and, hopefully, young miss Lucy.

Chapter Ten


The Trivantian Prisoner’


So you see, Miss Smith, the Guild of wizards and witches is of grave importance to the Australian wizard and witch community.  The responsibilities we undertake ensure a harmonious magical community were each wizard and witch can carry out their craft secure in the knowledge that the guild, as it was often called in days of old, is looking after their welfare and ensuring a continuation of the much enjoyed status quo.’  Young Miss Smith, sitting eating a piece of toast, occasionally sipping on the glass of orange juice in front of her, intently listened to Master Alfric’s words of education and encouragement regarding the Guild of wizards and witches.  He had explained the basic purpose the guild served, that of overseeing and regulating codes of behaviour, rulings on laws of government relating to authorized use of magic, maintenance of the positive role of white witchery and wizardry and a number of other such matters.  It had given Miss Lucy a better understanding of how she, a young witch learning the craft, fitted into the bigger world picture.  And inspired her a little as well, thinking on the possible opportunities her education could one day give to her.


Tell me, young Lucy.  Have you given much thought to your future?  Have you yet considered a possible future occupation.’  Lucy thought on that for a moment before responding.  ‘A bit, master Alfric.  Mum suggests that I study some sort of degree when I am old enough, but has left the choice of degree to myself to consider.  She said if I want to do anything in magic, it is up to me to work out for myself.’  Alfric nodded, happy with the words.  ‘Yes, life these days does have so many opportunities.  For a young child so dedicated to education as yourself, there is no limit to the kind of occupation or career you could choose.  However, should you choose to pursue a career in magic, I would have you know that we at the Guild of wizards and witches would strongly consider offering you a position in the Guild at a suitable age.  That is if you were interested.’  Lucy looked at Shelandragh a little startled, and looked back at Alfric.  ‘Work in the guild!’ she exclaimed.  ‘Gosh.  That would be awesome.’  ‘Mind you, young lady.  You would have to be most dedicated to your studies.  We do not like slouches here in the Guild of wizards and witches.’  ‘Oh, Lucy is far from being a slouch,’ said Shelandragh.  ‘A little rebellious at times – or perhaps more strong willed – but not a slouch.  Far from being a slouch.’  ‘Quite true,’ echoed Darren.  ‘She is a very dedicated soul,’ stated Mr Merryweather.  Lucy blushed a little at all the apparent flattery.  ‘But I have a lot of study in front of me first.’  ‘Quite true, young Lucy,’ said Alfric.  ‘A firm education is the foundation for an excellent life.  Success is achieved through knowledge.  Without a good education you will not often go that far.  There are exceptions, naturally, but the highest levels of success in life are achieved through a sound education.  It is an undeniable truth of our culture.’


Later on, travelling down the highway back to Chakola, Lucy thought on Alfric’s words.  Education was a major preoccupation for her mother in raising herself.  She pushed Lucy constantly to achieve as highly as she could.  Lucy knew, as she had known from a young age, that it was how success was achieved in life.  And she had chosen to stick to her studies and continue with them as best she could because, whatever else life may offer, having success in it seemed at least as good as an approach as any other.  So felt young Miss Lucy Smith.


*   *   *   *   *


Grimlock looked at the black-haired freak before him.  Long hair, beard and moustache, a long scar running down the left hand side of his face, and what could only be described as a manic expression on his face.  And although Lucifer Darvanius was an ambassador of his dark Lord, the just escaped Trivantian prisoner made him enormously nervous.  Secondborn of a set of identical triplets, Lucifer was one of the most hated warlocks from the old world.  He had been sentenced to life in Trivantium for wicked deeds which even shocked the Malevolent Grimlock, and he was most disturbed finding Lucifer now in his presence.  ‘The steak is good.  More,’ Lucifer grunted to Grimlock.  Grimlock went to his kitchenette and using a fork skewered another piece of fried steak and came over to were Lucifer was sitting, placing it on his plate.  Lucifer, finishing off the piece he was eating, took a drink of the beer in front of him, and started the next piece.  When he was finally finished, he burped and wiped his mouth with his shirt sleeve.  ‘My, we have good manner’s, don’t we,’ mocked Grimlock savagely.  ‘Fugg you, Grimlock,’ replied Darvanius.  ‘Temper, temper.  You must really watch that.  However, as you are already an escaped prisoner I assume you may not even care,’ said Grimlock.  ‘So you better watch yourself, bastard,’ replied Lucifer.  Grimlock sat down opposite Lucifer at his table.  ‘So for what godforsaken reason could you possibly have for coming all the way here to Australia.’  ‘Best place not to be seen.  I don’t think they will recognize me here.  Good place to hide.’  ‘Perhaps.  But there is a guild of wizards and witches worker who lives here in Cooma.  If he recognizes you, your cover may be blown.’  ‘What’s his name.  I’ll kill him.’  ‘Yes, you probably would, wouldn’t you.  As bad as Lurander is, I must really say you make him a saint in comparison.’  ‘Fugg off.’  Grimlock continued unperturbed.  ‘In fact, you are probably the black sheep in the family, which for a Darvanius is saying quite a lot.’  Lucifer grinned at the comment.  ‘Yeh. Yeh, I reckon I am probably the black sheep.  Suits me, though.  Lurander is a pretty-boy.  Always carrying that Fugging pretentious umbrella walking stick.  Something’s up his butt.’  ‘Most affectionate towards your older brother, aren’t you.,’ said Grimlock.  ‘Fugg off.  Yeh, I suppose.  Lucas is the only normal one of the three of us.  Hates me and Lurander for our dark ways, of course.  Buggered off to America years ago, wanting nothing to do with us.  Got a letter before I was sent to prison from him.  Told me all was well – usual bullshit.  But its his life.  He can live it as a candy-ass yankee if he wants.  Don’t bother me.’  ‘Candy-ass yankee?’ queried Grimlock.  ‘Ah, the yanks are full of it.  Always think they rule the world.  Power mad, Americans are.  Power mad.’  ‘Perhaps an exaggeration, I think, Lucifer.’  ‘Nah.  Just what I see.  So were does this guild man live.  I will pay him a visit.  Have a few words.’  ‘Mr Merryweather lives just up the road a little on Sharp street.  But he is usually out at Bunyan or Chakola with a young Miss Lucy Smith, who the dark lord has asked me to turn to the darkside.’  ‘Right.  Bunyan, Chakola.  Were are they?’  ‘Oh, just out of town on the road to Canberra.  Quite easy to find.’  ‘Addresses?’  Grimlock took a pad which was sitting on the table in front of him and taking a pen from his pocket wrote out the addresses to Shelandragh May’s house and Lucy’s address.  ‘I would stress, Lucifer.  Do not kill Lucy.  Our master would be most displeased.’  ‘Sure.  I’ll just have some fun with Mr Merryweather.’  ‘Have your pleasure, cretin.  Have your pleasure.’  ‘Fugg you.  I am mostly out of cash.  Have any?  I will taxi it to these places.’  Grimlock walked over to a cupboard and took out a number of hundred dollar bills.  ‘Here.  Take these,’ he said, handing Lucifer 7 hundred dollar bills.  ‘It should be plenty to last you a while.  If you need more, come back.  The master has practically limitless funds available, as you probably know.’  ‘Yeh, thanks.  Any brothels nearby?’  ‘Mmm.  Yes you do appear to be the type.’  In Canberra there is a number of establishments.  I am sure you and your manhood will be able to find them.’  ‘Yeh.  Me and my manhood like finding a piece of flesh.  What the hell else is there in life anyway.’  ‘A very good question, Mr Darvanius.  A very good question.’


A short while later, Lucifer had left Grimlock’s abode, much to Grimlock’s relief.  Lucifer had smelled quite bad, not surprising given his state of dress.  He’d probably had little chance to change since escaping from Trivantium, and had not seemingly showered since.  Thankfully, though, the cretinous soul had now left.  But he was useful.  If he did in fact manage to eliminate the bothersome Mr Merryweather, Grimlock would be silently pleased at an irritating adversary in his master-plan removed.  It would make his agenda with young Miss Lucy Smith much more achievable.  Much more achievable indeed.


*   *   *   *   *


So what is your name, dear sprite.’  ‘Minxy,’ said the water sprite which lived under the crossing of Newmerella river in Chakola, in reply to Darren Merryweather’s question.’  ‘Minxy?  How original?’  ‘Ooh.  Sarcastic are we.  Father warned me about men like you.  Watch out for those ones.  You never know what they might do?’  ‘Oh, you have nothing to worry about with me, Minxy,’ replied Darren.  ‘I am above board.’  Lucy looked at the sprite dressed in blue, which Darren had summoned with a spell.  ‘Well.  How many of you live in this river.’  The sprite looked at Lucy, a little grin on her face.  ‘Mmm.  I believe I have already answered that question, young Lucy.  It is for me to know and you to find out.’  ‘Well, how will I know if you don’t tell me?’  The sprite considered that.  ‘Good point, Miss Smith.  I will have to consider that.  Perhaps if you ask my Father, he may answer you on that question.  But I won’t.’  ‘Were is he?’ asked Darren.  ‘Oh, he lives upstream a hundred metres or so, just near the bend.  His favourite place of the river.’  ‘Shall we go and ask him?’ Lucy asked Darren.  ‘I guess so.’  ‘Let him know his daughter sent you.  Minxy, remember.  He rarely visits me down here, and I don’t like swimming upstream.’  ‘You swim?  Why not fly?  Can’t you do that?’  Minxy looked at Lucy, thinking on the question.  ‘Well, yes, actually.  But only when we are summoned.  And only if our summoner asks us to.  Otherwise we do not have permission.  If I am to visit Father, I have to swim upstream.  And for a sprite such as me, 100 metres is a long way upstream.’  ‘Oh,’ said Lucy, now understanding.


Darren and Lucy trod along the sand along the river, making their way up to the bend.  After a few metres, they heard the sound of a vehicle stopping at the crossing behind them.  Turning around, Darren noticed a blonde man slowly walking towards them.  ‘I wonder who that is?’ said Darren, a mild look of concern on his face.  As the stranger neared, Darren started to worry a little.  The face seemed familiar.  He was not sure if he could exactly place it, but he sensed a spirit of darkness associated with it.  A darkness which seemed quite unpleasant.  As the stranger neared, he spoke out to them.  ‘Are you Mr Merryweather?’  ‘Yes, that is I,’ nodded Darren.  The stranger pulled out a wand and pointed it at Darren, yelling ‘Magmas.’  However, Darren had sensed the attack very quickly, as belied his training in the guild of wizards and witches, and had cast a Defensive spell to shield him and Lucy from the bolt of flame.  ‘Darren.  I’m scared,’ Lucy stuttered, the lass trembling beside him.  Darren himself was also in a state of fear.  And he had now recognized his opponent from the Guild of wizards and witches files.  It was one of the most malicious dark warlocks of all – the dreaded Lucifer Darvanius.’   ‘Lucy.  Listen carefully.  Listen very carefully.  I will cast another spell on you, and you cross over the river and hide in the house.  No, better yet, get Barry and tell him to bring his rifle.  And tell him to load it.  Shotguns often work best in situations like this.’  Darren eyed Lucifer who was standing about 10 metres away, hand on chin, considering his next attack.  Darren muttered a few words, and yelled at Lucy to run across the river.  Lucifer watched the girl go, but didn’t care.  Merryweather was his objective.  Having crossed the river, Lucy looked at the two men.  Darren was standing, ready for whatever came next, while the white haired man seemed to be considering her next move.  She was still trembling, and very scared – but at this distance she felt a little safer.  Suddenly she had an idea.  The man had probably forgotten about her.  If she cast a spell on him, perhaps he would not be ready to shield himself.  She thought as quickly as she could, and instantly one of the spells from Ultima IV – or to be precise, a spell which was similar to one from that game – came to her mind.  She pulled out her wand, pointed it at the man, and with every ounce of willpower the young, terrified, Lucy Smith had available to her shouted ‘Relocate.’  Blue and white light emanated from her wand, sprouted forth and, finding its target, undertook its objective.  A few moments later the man had disappeared.  Darren, noting the light and the direction it had come from, turned to Lucy.  ‘Bloody hell Lucy.  What the hell was that?’  ‘Relocate.  It was all that I could think of.’  Darren walked over to were the man had been standing, punched the air to make sure nobody was there, and trudged across the river to Lucy.  Despite his also apparent shaken state, he had one of the biggest grins Lucy had ever seen on Mr Merryweather.  ‘You are a Smith, aren’t you dear Lucy.’  ‘Uh, yeh,’ said Lucy, still trembling somewhat.  ‘Come on.  Up to the house.  I have to phone Alfric.  I know who it was, and he will need to notify some people.  Do you know were you sent him?’  Lucy shook her head.  ‘I just cast the spell as quickly as I could.  It was the only one I could think of.’  Darren nodded.  ‘Mmm.  Well, wherever he is, I do hope there is not a happy welcoming for him.  Hopefully a swamp, or some quicksand.  Not a pleasant soul, that one.  Not in any way pleasant.’


The two of them trudged up to the schoolhome, and after Lucy had calmed down and been given some of Brigid’s pumpkin soup, Darren called Alfric.  Hours later Lucy was still jumpy, but had calmed down somewhat.  It had been an experience.  An intense experience.  But one she would most definitely not like to repeat if she had any say in the matter.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucifer Darvanius screamed.  Obscenities directed at Lucy Smith were gushing from his mouth.  There he sat, in a prison cell.  But not any prison cell.  He was back in his cell in Trivantium.  The very same one he had escaped from.  The Smith girl had cast ‘Relocate’ on him, sending him back to were he had come from.  It was a most unfortunate encounter.  And as one of the guards, finding their missing guest now returned to them grinned madly, Lucifer Darvanius plotted in his heart the most evil of vengeances on young Miss Lucy Smith.

*   *   *   *   *


Lucy.  This is not always the most pleasant of worlds.  I am sure that you can recall a number of lessons I have taught you about dark wizards and warlocks.  They are the darker aspects of our craft.  An aspect which has oft ruined our reputation.  But they are not the heart of our craft, nor ever will be.  This character, I am afraid young child, may not like you that much at this present time.  Wherever he is, he may be planning an attack on you.  Now, I will need you to sit down in a circle later on, for I have a great number of protective charms I wish to cast on you.  And, despite your young age, there are now spells I feel obligated to teach you.  If this character ever returns, you may find yourself having to face him alone.  It is horrible for such a young girl to ever have to face this.  But evil exists, and not everyone is motivated by goodness.  So you will need to be prepared, young Miss Lucy.  You will need to be prepared.’


Later that night, Shelandragh, receiving news from Alfric about Lucifer’s reappearance in Trivantium, thanked the powers that be.  A weight, an enormous weight had been lifted from her shoulders.  She was so relieved.  She thought on Lucy and felt that the lass was probably having a sleepless night, and knew she must share this news immediately.  Ringing Caroline, she apologized for the late hour of the call, and asked for Lucy.  Lucy had indeed been sleepless and she could feel the real relief in Lucy’s voice when the news of Lucifer’s recapture, as it were, had been given to her.


Later on, Shelandragh thought on the nature of her craft.  It had always had it’s darker elements.  From ancient days, dark wizardry had been practiced which had corrupted the Lightworkers craft.  But she did believe, ultimately, that the power of good and the power of those who were good within her craft would ultimately be seen.  On that issue, Shelandragh May had some faith.




Chapter Eleven


Lucy the Hero’


Morning had broken.  The afternoon sun was shining forth, strong and bright, as Lucy flew on the back of Goldie, following the highway below, headed for Cooma.


This was intense.  Goldie had flown with her on his back just yesterday.  And today, without Shelandragh’s permission, she had taken Goldie and decided to go off on a grand and exciting adventure.  Too see what was out there.  First she had flown the dragon to Chakola from Bunyan, and rested the dragon near the crossing.  She had summoned the sprite Minxy with a spell to show her the dragon, who had exclaimed, ‘Yikes.  A Dragon.  Shoo.  Shoo.’  Lucy had laughed at the Sprites animated behaviour.  Minxy had, so she now started to suspect, been acting deliberately cheekily towards herself.  She felt the sprite had been having a little fun with her.  She was not sure if all sprites were like that, but Minxy was certainly a most passionate sprite regardless.


Leaving the crossing, she had decided to fly the dragon into Cooma to the main street to show off.  That would probably displease Shelandragh greatly, but Lucy was in a rebellious mood that day.  A mood which was far from regular for the young Miss Smith, but not unknown of.  She had decided, in her infinite wisdom, to fly to centennial park to show the people of Cooma the dragon.  It could make her quite popular which, again, was not the most regular of attitudes for young Lucy.


Flying along, she soon passed by Monaro High School, just on the right-hand side of the highway on the northern side of Cooma.  Her mother had told her that she would most likely send her to that school from probably year 8 or 9 onwards.  It would round off her education with the necessary teaching to prepare her for later university studies if she so desired them.  She had never explored the school, not being allowed to roam around Cooma very often, but she had seen it from the road and thought, when she was older, making new friends there could be a great experience for herself.


Soon she flew over the big water tank on one of the hills of Cooma.  The big square steel one, surrounded by some bush and what looked like a church.  The park lay in the centre of town, just a few hundred metres down the hill.  She soared down, the dragon gliding dutifully, and soon she hovered above the park.  Almost instantly a number of people started yelling and pointing at her.  It seemed she had already attracted the attention that she desired.  She decided to show off a little.  She had been very careful sitting on the saddle that Shelandragh had made in the weeks before the dragon’s could fly.  She was tightly strapped to the saddle with a number of straps, which made it impossible for her to fall off the dragon.  They were made of hardened leather, and were quite thick and strong.  She decided to test them out.


She flew the dragon in a great nose-dive downwards and then zoomed right up again into the sky.  This brought the desired cheers from the gathering crowd, who had come from everywhere to see the spectacle.  It worked well so she decided to do it again, with the same desired effect of cheers coming again.  She flew around in circles for a few moments, thinking over her next feat.  The straps did in fact appear to be holding without any problems, so she decided to do something bold, if the dragon could possibly manage it.  Communicating to the mind of the dragon, which she had instinctively been able to do with the dragons after a couple of weeks, she asked Goldie if he would like to do a loop.  ‘I am not sure, Lucy.  If you weren’t on my back it would probably be easy.  But with you it may be a little more difficult.’  ‘Well, okay.  But do you want to give it a try to see anyway?’  ‘Well.  Alright.  I will give it a go.’


The Xtreme Kings, who had been having lunch in the park, munching on burgers and soft drink, had been enthralled by the sight of the dragon.  They had grown up with stories from the old world rumouring that dragon’s did in fact still exist.  These were often compared in the papers to stories with the same credibility as the existence of aliens.  But now, seeing what only could be described as a young girl flying on a dragon, the Kings were enthralled.  Ty, Nathan and Andrew looked on as the Dragon again zoomed downwards and then soared up again in a circular style and, to their great surprise, doing a complete loop.  ‘Fugging hell,’ said Nathan, blown away by the sight of the dragon doing the loop.  ‘Bloody intense, this is,’ said Ty.  As the Kings watched on the Dragon and its rider did a few more loops and various other acrobatic manoeuvres.


Jack, upon hearing the news of an apparent dragon doing tricks above centennial park, had rushed down from the bookstore, to see the sight.  There it was.  A dragon.  A real dragon.  He had read a number of books about the existence of dragons, taking a great interest in the subject.  He had

come to no definite position on wether they actually did exist or not.  But seeing what could only be a real dragon with a girl flying it confirmed what he had only guessed could be true.  Someone standing near him said to him, ‘Its probably really some sort of super-jet.  A hi-tech super-jet made to look like a dragon.  I bet its really fake.’  Jack looked at the dragon.  ‘I don’t know.  That sort of technology is very hard to come up with for something that size and with a girl riding it.  And you don’t see any thrusters burning flames or anything.  Nah, I think it’s the real thing.’  The bloke speaking to him, nodded.  ‘Yeh, I suppose.  But bloody freaky isn’t it.’  ‘Very,’ agreed Jack, standing there staring up at one of the most intense things he had ever seen.


Eventually, after a parade of various acrobatics, Lucy decided to land in the park to let the gathered crowd actually see and pet the dragon.  They probably deserved that much.


She spoke to Goldie and he slowly descended, coming to rest near the concrete walkway along sharp street, next to the Snowy Mountains Monument, alongside the park.  The gathered crowd slowly approached.  ‘Is the dragon dangerous?’ a voice asked.  ‘No.  He is harmless.  He is still very young and has grown up around humans.  He won’t hurt any of you.’  The gathered crowd, seemingly relieved at those words, came forward.  Young kids came and petted the dragon and anxious parents looked on, often expressions of caution and concern on their face.  ‘What’s its name?’ a young girl asked.  ‘Goldie.’  Said Lucy.  ‘He is actually a golden-ridged Wyvvern, and not a dragon.  They are very similar animals.’


A number of questions came forth from various people, filling up the next 20 minutes or so.  Lucy sat there, beaming joy.  This was awesome, she thought to herself.  It got the exact reaction she had hoped for.  Really cool.


Just across from the monument, on the other side of the street at the St George Bank, Jeremy Bludstone, wearing a balaclava, had just exited the now robbed bank, with a bundle of cash in a backpack.  He had walked in, and before the protective screen doors over the till could close, he had place a metal stand between the counter and the screen doors.  When someone quickly pushed the button, the screen doors quickly came down, but became jammed on the metal stand.  He thought the tactic would work, which it had.  He had pointed his rifle at the cashier who, the fear on her face apparent, had fill the bag with a bundle of a hundred dollar notes.  And then he had skedaddled.


Lucy, having looked around, spotted the man exiting the bank, wearing a balaclava, with a rifle and bag.  She thought, instantly, that he had robbed the bank.  Instantly she thought to herself – Magic.  Speaking to the mind of Goldie, the dragon lifted from the air and rushed over to were the man was, having taken off his balaclava and running up the street.  She ordered Goldie to fly quickly and he came up in front of the man, who came to a standstill.  She pulled out her wand, pointed it at the man, and yelled.  ‘Drop the money.  Crook.’  Jeremy looked at her, startled for seeing a dragon for the first time in his life.  He quickly came to his senses, though.  ‘This is a joke, right?  You have got to be kidding me.’  Lucy continued staring at him, and decided to bold again.  ‘I said drop the money.  This is a warning.’  Jeremy looked at her, and a grin formed on his face.  ‘Little lady.  What the hell can you do to me?’ he asked, a smirk on his face.  Lucy looked at him.  Her mind, surprisingly, was calm.  After the encounter with Lucifer, she was suddenly not overly bothered by a man with a rifle.  She was a witch.  She could handle it.  ‘This is your last warning, robber.  Drop the money.’  The man looked at her.  She was young, and he didn’t really think he wanted to have a murder rap placed on him, so decided to point the gun at her to scare her instead.  In those few seconds, as Jeremy Bludstone slowly raised his rifle with the intent of pointing the gun at Lucy, Lucy yelled out with all her strength, ‘Freeze!’.  A bolt of pure white light shot forth from her wand, and the robber, soon encompassed by light, soon froze like a block of ice.


Lucy came up to the man, and touched him.  Yes – he was frozen.  He was okay, though.  The freeze spell in her arsenal had preserving qualities.  The man would be frozen, but his body would be okay.  He would unfreeze after a while.


A short while later the sound of sirens could be heard.  After a few moments, three police cars pulled up along sharp street, and a number of police officers quickly exited their vehicles, and cautiously approached Lucy and the dragon.  Lucy looked at the police and spoke, ‘I cast a freeze spell on the bankrobber.’  One of the officers looked at the robber, and touched him.  He was indeed frozen.  He looked at the animal that Lucy was sitting on.  ‘What is that?’ he asked.  Lucy smiled.  ‘A dragon, officer.’  He shook his head, not sure what just to make of the situation before him.  ‘Whatever!’, he said after a few moments.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy the Hero.’  Shelandragh read the headline from the paper in front of her.  She looked at Lucy, sitting in front of her.  ‘Heaven’s above, Lucy.  Heaven’s above.’   She said, smiling, looking at her young student.  Lucy just grinned back.  ‘I am not sure that being a superhero was what your mother and Shelandragh had in mind in teaching you magic, young Lucy,’ said Darren, seated opposite her.  ‘Oh its alright.  You cast spells.  Fight crime.  All in a day’s work,’ said Lucy, the spirit of mockery and cheekiness having come alive in the last few days.  Darren shook his head a little at the cheek of the girl.  ‘Well, at least if that Lucifer ever comes back, he will have his hands filled,’ said Darren to Shelandragh.  Shelandragh nodded, knowingly.  ‘That dark devil is way too much for Lucy.  But, yes, I see your point.  Our young lady is probably ready for the challenges life could throw at her.’  ‘If Lucifer comes my way, I’ll zap him,’ said Lucy.  Shelandragh looked at her young pupil.  ‘Yes.  You’ll zap him.’  ‘Well it better be a good zap, young Lucy.  A good zap indeed,’ said Darren.  Lucy just continued grinning.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy looked at the medal of heroism the Cooma town mayor had presented to her.  It was goldish looking, and reminded her of an Olympic medal.  It read, ‘To brave young Lucy Smith.  The citizens of Cooma are forever in your debt.’


She placed the medal back on the shelf, next to her bed in her room in Chakola.  It had been an eventful week.  Perhaps the most eventful in her life.  This year, so far, had been freakish for young Lucy Smith.  She had met sprites, seen dragons, fought warlock’s, and caught a bank-robber.  And the year was still not quite over with.  What the next year could bring, she could only wonder.  But if it was as exciting as this one had been, it would be a year to remember.  A year to remember indeed.


Getting back into bed, she pulled up the sheet covers.  She lay there, looking up at the ceiling.  Staring at the luminous dinosaur stickers who shone back at her.  Who knows what next year may bring, she thought again to herself.  Who knows.


A little later on, the sounds of snoring coming forth from the Lucy’s room, an owl sat outside Lucy’s window.  It ‘hooed’, as owls hooed, and the night slowly passed.  It slowly passed by, going through its allotted and most regular of duties.




David Smith, drinking from the dank creek, one of the few sources of water he had found in his dark, nightly, home, sat there thinking.  After a while, the Shadow realm life was tolerable.  It was forever in night, and the feel of living in it was totally unlike the normal world, but he had adapted.


He had wandered the shadow realm for years now.  Years he could not count, for time was measureless in this godforsaken place.  There were regular watering places, and a large supply of various fungus, which were the only eating material.  They were not pleasant food, but over the years he had lived there had managed to cope with them.


He had met one other soul in his time in the Shadow realm.  A centaur named ‘Draxos’, who he spoke with regularly.  He, likewise, had been exiled to the Shadow realm to live out his existence.


David had continued to age normally and guessed he would probably one day die here.  And then, perhaps, the mysteries of the afterlife would then be revealed.  He thought on his wife Caroline often, and his daughter Lucy.  Although never having been a religious man, he prayed a little for them from time to time.  In this dark purgatory it seemed there was little else he could do.


But, having finally managed to remember some of his old spells, which seemed impossible to think of in this dark place, for whatever reason, David felt, perhaps, he may eventually be able to leave this dark realm.  He had finally remembered ‘Shados’.  The spell which transported someone to the Shadow realm.  And now, for the last year, as much as he could guess what a year was, he had been trying to remember if there was a spell to reverse Shados.  It had not come.  Not yet come to him.  But he would persevere.  If he could remember.  If he could make that breakthrough.   Then perhaps, just perhaps, his exile would be over with.  And the life he longed for with his family could be returned to him.  Returned to him with a new beginning for the life of David Smith.




The Vengeance of Lucifer’

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The eternal Dreamlord, unnoticed, entered the throneroom of Zaphon.  He had time to spend with the God of the Covenant.  The eternal Father of Glory.  He approached the throne.  The flame of the eternal spirit of God burned brightly, as it had always done, above the throne of glory.  All his life Daniel had known that flame.  He had, from time to time, studied the flame – the spark of the Glory of God.  It flowed through, in endless random patterns and variations, all the colours of life.  Often, for days at a time, a persistent streak of a colour would radiate from the flame above the throne, and then suddenly change without notice.  At other times the flame flickered bright sparks, sparks of red and orange, blue and green, and even dark black on various occasions.  No angel – no eternal – not even the humans Enoch or Lainey understood the purpose of the flame or why it did what it did.  And, so it was felt, to guess the eternal mind of their eternal God – a creature beyond the fathoming of even the greatest minds of eternity’s realm – seemed, while not perhaps pointless, certainly beyond the greatest of endeavours the community of God’s angels could ever consider.


The Dreamlord spoke.  ‘Father.  Are you there?’  Nothing answered the Dreamlord’s question.  Nothing immediately, anyway.  He looked at the flame for a few moments more and decided, as others often did, that God perhaps was unwilling to speak to them at that time.  Silence often responded to many angelic inquiries.


The Dreamlord turned, walking back towards the doors to leave the throneroom.  He looked at the benches alongside the walls of the throneroom and decided to sit down momentarily, reviewing his thoughts.


After a few moments, having seated himself down, the voice of God spoke.  ‘Yes.’  Daniel looked at the flame.  Cautiously he began with his request.  ‘Father.  The child of David Smith.  Lucy.  My eternal sister from Azaphon.  I have a request regarding her welfare.  Lainey Dupre, Michael’s daughter, has shown a great interest in Lucy.  She desired Lucy’s protection.  Her safety and welfare.  I understand, of course, that in life – in this human life you have planned for each of us your children – that innocence is often destroyed.  Often unjustly and brutally evil triumphs over good and darkness prevails.  Yet I also know that your eternal spirit of justice always rights wrongs.  That the truth and love of God always prevails.  However, in relation to Miss Smith, on behalf of Lainey I would likewise request your special intervention.  Your special favour.  Your hand of protection.  I would, heavenly father, if you were to accede to this request of mine, be most grateful.’  The Dreamlord left off speaking.  Silence answered his request.  Yet, after what was perhaps a moments consideration by the eternal, a word of God came forth.  ‘Life.’  The Dreamlord sat there, thinking on that.  ‘Life.’  Now what kind of answer was that?  Life.  Hmmm.  He looked at the flame, a quizzical look on his face, but decided to let it go.  He stood, and said, ‘Thank you Father.’  He turned to leave and, just as he was about to exit the throneroom another word was spoken, seemingly, seemingly at the back of his mind, yet seemingly from the throne of God as well.  It was, again, one word.  ‘Destiny.’


The Dreamlord turned to look at the flame.  It burned, as it always had.  It burned, suddenly turning from red to bright orange, and a few sparks coming forth.  He looked at the flames, considered that word, and turned and left the throneroom of Zaphon of the Realm of Eternity.


*   *   *   *   *


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Lucy looked at the cat, once again, miaowing furiously in the air of Shelandragh’s living room.  ‘Mushroom.  Control yourself.  You know full well I will not let you down until I am finished what I have intended to do.  Yet Mushroom, as belied Shelandragh May’s favourite cat in her long sojourn through life, persisted miaowing at her female opponent.  The cat, quite sick to death at being the pawn in one of Lucy’s many spell attacks, decided to hiss at her.  Perhaps that would work.  She let out a ‘hissss.’  Lucy looked sternly at the cat.  ‘Mushroom.  Watch your temper.  For that I will punish you.’  She pointed her wand at mushroom and said a single word.  ‘Tailfreeze.’  A white light came forth from her wand, and Mushroom’s tail dutifully froze up.  Mushroom, in response, screeched and hissed furiously at Lucy.  ‘That is for your temper, Mushroom.  Now, keep quiet.’  Lucy, having today been working on various spell combinations, which was combining elements of certain spells together to produce unique and original results, thought on her next spell.  She looked at the grandfather clock against the wall, and decided on one of the new spells she had been thinking of.  Pointing her wand, she spoke, ‘Chronos Reversus’.  However, instead of a light coming forth from her wand, something different happened.  Something like a spiritual bubble started wrapping around her.  Soon she was totally enshrouded by it.  Looking at mushroom, she noticed the cats’s tail unfreezing as quickly as it froze.  And a few seconds later, the cat started descending to the floor, in the same manner as she had used the hover spell.  Lucy was puzzled.  What, exactly, was going on?  After a few moments, Shelandragh entered the room.  Yet, as bizarre as it looked, walking backwards, and in a most strange manner sitting down as if she was getting up from her chair in reverse.  She looked at Shelandragh for a few moments and then it occurred to her just what was going on.  Time was flowing backwards.  The spell she had cast, Chronos Reversus, while only intended to affect the clock on the wall, had affected the whole area she was in.  She thought on what she needed to do and tried one of her new spell combination ideas.  ‘Chronos Cease.’  Instantly everything froze.  Nothing was moving.  The fire in the fireplace did not flicker.  The cat did not move, nor did Shelandragh.  And the clock on the wall was not moving.  Very interesting, Lucy thought to herself.  But how did she get things flowing again.  She thought on that and then the obvious spell came to her.  She pointed her wand and said, ‘Chronos’.  Instantly the bubble departed, and everything started again.  Shelandragh was actually speaking.  ‘….so if you will excuse me, I will get myself a cup of tea.’  Shelandragh got up from her chair, as before, and left the room.  Watching her go, Lucy realized that time had restored itself.  But now, in a strange way, she was living in the past.  Yet that was only for a few moments.  She would catch up shortly.


She sat down, thinking over the new spell.  It could prove interesting, to say the least, to use the spell in certain situations.  But, perhaps, that would not be the right thing to do.  It was like cheating, she thought to herself, if she used the spell unfairly.  But, in a dangerous situation – a situation were the use of the spell was appropriate – well, that would be alright.


Shelandragh came into the room holding a cup of tea, and sipping from it slowly.  She looked at Lucy, noting the puzzling look on her student’s face.  ‘Is something concerning you, Lucy?’  Lucy looked at her for a few moments before replying.  ‘Uh.  No Shelandragh.  Well, yes.  But I don’t think I can talk about it.’  ‘Well whatever it is, I am sure it can wait until later.  For now we have one last thing in today’s lesson to concern ourselves with, if that is okay by you?’  Lucy nodded.  ‘Now,’ continued Shelandragh, ‘you have learnt the runes now, and know each of them.  Ancient Celtic runic witchcraft is barely remembered in the old world of Terra and Britannia.  Today I will teach you your first spell in an ancient Celtic language.  The spell is called (Fire in the Water).  This spell can make even water burn as fuel.  Now, here, take this cup,’ said Shelandragh, handing Lucy her cup of tea.  ‘Careful, it’s hot.’  Lucy took the cup, holding it by the handle.  ‘Best if you place it on the table, Lucy.’  Lucy did so.  ‘Now take your wand.  Point it at the cup and say (Fire in the Water).’   Lucy did as Shelandragh asked, and immediately a bright flame started up coming from the tea in the teacup.  ‘Wow,’ said Lucy, happy at her success.  ‘The flame will continue until all the liquid is used up, basically like kerosene or wax, but it should last quite a while.  As always, I trust you will only use this spell in appropriate circumstances.’  ‘Yes, Shelandragh,’ said Lucy, very used to the oft-spoken lesson.


*   *   *   *   *


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Ooh.  Back again are we.’  ‘Why yes, Minxy.  It is I.’  The sprite of the crossing of Chakola, in response to Lucy’s summoning, was hovering just in front of her.  Lucy, over the last few weeks since the incident in Cooma and becoming Lucy the Hero had slowly been growing in confidence.  She had been speaking to Minxy, carefully though, to learn as much about life that the sprite could teach her – to learn the lessons she felt she needed to know.  She had come to know that Minxy’s sprite family had come from much further upstream, up near the source of the river.  Near the head, as in many rivers, congregations of sprite families often lived and had their communities.  Going downstream, as it was called, was rarely practiced as, quite often, the quality of the water deteriorated through use, especially, so she had learned, in some of the larger rivers of the world.  However, the Newmerella river was most usually extremely clean and good water.  Of course, animal matter often floated downstream, as the river flowed past a number of farms.  Yet, usually, the river was still quite clean and good to live in.


Lucy had been asking Minxy about life as a sprite and the kind of things she thought life was all about.  Minxy seemed wise.  She was, as many sprites were, quite old.  Over 300 years Minxy had been living at Chakola, and about 1000 years more upstream at the head were her old family still resided.  Lucy, as children her age usually did, quite enjoyed Minxy’s cute humour.  She was oh so sarcastic.  She teased Lucy, often, quite shockingly.  She suggested certain sexual activities that Lucy may want to consider very soon, often, to Lucy’s surprise, quite brazenly.  Once, when Jayden was over working with David just in the paddock a little away from the crossing, Minxy suggested to Lucy that she should shag him when he gets a little older.  Lucy had been most embarrassed.  She really viewed Jayden as more of a brother than a potential boyfriend.  But he had been growing a little cuter over the last few years she had known him.  She would remember Minxy’s words, though, and consider Jayden in a few years.  Perhaps around 14 or 15 when she planned on having her first boyfriend.


So what do you want to know today, Lucy.  Hey.  Huh.’  ‘You really do have an attitude, don’t you Minxy.’  ‘Lucy, Lucy, Lucy.  What is life without a spark?  So many people are sooo bloody boring.  Like David, for example.  The intelligence of a farmer indeed.  Sheer the sheep.  Fix the fence.  Plow the field.  Oh, exciting.  Now that looks like fun.  Don’t ya think.’  ‘Well someone has to do it, don’t they Minxy?’  ‘Mmm.  Whatever.  I suppose.  I guess I have my work as well.  But the life of a sprite is far more interesting, I dare say.’  ‘Why do you say that Minxy?’  ‘Well, I shouldn’t let on.  Really, I shouldn’t.  But there are regular sprite and dryad gatherings we hold around here.  We do all sorts of things.’  ‘Like what?’  ‘Wouldn’t you like to know.’  ‘So you are not going to tell me?’  ‘Maybe when you are older, Lucy.  Maybe when you are older.’  ‘Go on.  Please tell me.’  ‘Well, seeing as you asked.  A lot of S-E-X.  Pretty much a hell of a lot of S-E-X.’  Lucy looked at Minxy, a little embarrassed.  ‘Oh, I see.’  ‘Oh, shocking aren’t I.  Whatever will they think of next.  Huh.  Huh.’  Lucy looked at Minxy and decided that was about enough of that for the day.  She felt, perhaps, a little too much of such conversation could lead to things that young Lucy was not quite ready for.  ‘I must leave now, Minxy.  Umm.  Things to take care of.’  ‘Whatever,’ Minxy said in return, and dutifully flew back down to the riverbed.  Lucy left the crossing and slowly walked back up to the schoolhome, the thoughts of Minxy’s words on her mind.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy looked at the pamphlet her mum, Caroline, had handed to her upon walking through the doorway of her schoolhome in Chakola.  ‘Cooma Fair.  Centennial Park.  February 14.  Be there or be square.’  Lucy, very quickly, decided she didn’t want to be square, so assented to her mother’s suggestion she attend the fair with David’s children.  She read through the pamphlet, looking at the activities for the day:  The band ‘The Extreme Kings’ would be playing at Mid-day and at 9.00pm.  There were various markets with traditional fare goods.  Also, other standard show attractions appropriate to the park.  However, what caught Lucy’s eye, was the tent of magic which was to be set up.  She would have to speak to Shelandragh about this as soon as possible to let her know.  Shelandragh, Lucy felt, would be most interested in that attraction.


Later that night, having finally finished ‘Born of Thunder’, the Asatru spiritual epic, Lucy thought on that subject Minxy had mentioned.  It was her 11th birthday very soon.  February 13th, in fact.  The day before the fair.  Perhaps, on her 11th birthday, which such an age might warrant, she would look at one of those magazines at the newsagent.  The new ones with all the pictures of men through them.  She had never noticed them before, but when she was last at ‘Percy’s newsagent’ she had noticed, looking through the ‘girlie’ magazine section, a couple of magazines which were apparently filled with men.  She was, of course, far to young to think such things.  But, perhaps, at 11, having a look through might prepare her for the boyfriend she planned at a later date.  Give her the necessary exposure and understanding to know what she needed to know on such issues as S-E-X.  It should prove an interesting study, young Miss Lucy Smith thought to herself.


*   *   *   *   *


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Grimlock, sitting in his abode on Sharp street in Cooma, sat looking at an old photo of his late wife Matilda.  Grimlock and Matilda had known each other briefly.  The romance had been quick – sudden really.  In terms of looks, Grimlock was average, or so he thought.  Yet Matilda had claimed that he did have a certain charm to his looks, more noticeable with experience.  Matilda, Grimlock felt, was a bit beyond what he deserved.  She was, while not a stunner as in those magazines, certainly above average in looks.  She had been non-magical – a muggles.  And she had taken no interest in the subject when he had brought it up.  However, what he felt she had seen in him, having reflected on her words over the years, was a basic sense of stability and competence.  She had once said that he was not, really, a flakey type of a person.  Quite sure of himself, she had thought.  Grimlock considered this often.  Her words had influenced his life since that time.  He did, considering himself, generally agree.  He did not really devote much time to the ‘stupid’ passions of the muggles.  Simplistic idiots.  Better off dead, which he had in fact arranged for the three philosophers in particular.  In relation to the issue of human life, Grimlock was not quite moral in his judgement.  He did not think that life, for a muggles, was really worth much.  That they were, in a way, less advanced.  Less evolved.  His idea of human life and its origins were based around a spiritual power of passion and fire.  Through evolution the fire of life sought out those with spirit to advance them to the next level of human development.  In his beliefs, the work he undertook as a human could change his genetic structure over a life-time, further affecting his seed.  He had, as a full-blood, the power to evolve to the next level.  To become a ‘force’ of life.  A will of indomitable strength.  To succeed in this war of survival of the fittest, were only the strong survived, the weak were eliminated.  If necessary, killed and destroyed.  Best to do away with the weaker elements.  Let them die out, as they served no great purpose in the game of life.


Yet, occasionally, he was convicted.  He had, once, been to church.  A Baptist one.  The pastor had spoken to him personally and shared the basic message of the Christian faith.  It had confused him.  It offered a perspective not quite like his own.  A sense of morality – of decency – of kindness – which was not how Grimlock knew the world to work.  It was idiotic, ultimately, to Grimlock’s judgement.  To the truths he understood.  Yet, they were enticing.  They were enticing.  And the bible which sat in his bookcase he had read, rarely mind you, but read from time to time.


The idea of the ‘God’ presented in the bible Grimlock did not really relate to.  It was a personal god.  A being which, apparently, cared for mankind.  This seemed to be the way it was presented.  Grimlock did not, really, believe in this god.  It was at odds with his own views.  But he did seem interesting.  Interesting.  Perhaps his beloved Matilda was somewhere in the universe.  Perhaps in the ‘heaven’ which Christians went on about.  He did like to think that would be nice.  Yet perhaps just entertaining a fantasy about life.  A fantasy of what the meaning to it all was all about.


Chapter Two



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Yes Lucy.  I do know of the magic tent.’  ‘Will you be getting involved at all with it Shelandragh?’  ‘Nothing directly planned, Lucy.  Naturally I will visit the tent.  Alfric informed me that it is being organised by some witches from Sydney.  They have a more established network up there – more resources to organise such affairs.’  ‘Has there been anything like this in Cooma before?’  ‘Not that I can recall.  However, in recent years these sorts of gatherings have become more and more popular.  Much of the time wiccan witches are involved.  However, those of the older traditional craft, before such things as wicca became mainstream, are often involved as well.  The Ministry oversees affairs in the traditional witch scene, however the newer wiccan movements are often quite independent, more flexible to the passions and desires of today.  Not, Lucy, so steeped in tradition.  As a case in point, I have had relations with a particular wiccan witch from Perth who calls herself the ‘Wiccan witch of the west’ – I am sure you get the reference.’  Lucy nodded, but the reference was actually lost on her.


She is, for a witch, extremely outgoing and passionate.  Not in any way of the dark side as our adversaries are, but, rather, dedicated to the fires and passions of life.  In fact, quite passionate from my observations.  Have you yet seen the ‘Craft’?  Lucy looked at her, a little confused.  ‘The Craft?’  A movie from a number of years ago about modern witchery.  An American movie of teenage girls experimenting in witchcraft.’  ‘What was the movie about?’  ‘Dramatic teen witchery – typical teen drama for Hollywood, really.  Yet the dress code of these witches seems, from what I have noticed, to have had a dramatic impact on the dress code of many teenage girls in society.  Witchcraft is now, thankfully, becoming socially acceptable.  This particular witch friend of mine from Perth was infatuated with the movie.  She models herself on their ways, and pushes witchcraft to be accepted.  Of course it has not always been as such.’


Lucy, having grasped a little from Shelandragh of the difficulties witches used to face, asked her a question.  ‘Witches haven’t always been accepted.  Have they?’  ‘No Lucy.  Not until recent years.  In fact, witch trials and witch hunts, with witches often having been put to death for very simple magic, litters our history.  There have been dark witches in the past, but often from my memories and my own experience we were simply attracted to some of the ideas of magic and rebellion against the establishment.’  ‘The establishment?’ queried Lucy.  ‘The life and values our society has developed over its history, Lucy.  For example, the old testament teaches that witches and magical people should be executed.’  Lucy reacted quite strongly to this information.  ‘That’s not right.  It shouldn’t say that.  Madalene has never said anything like that too me.’  ‘Lucy, Madalene probably does not yet know of this teaching.  Many people in the church do not read the bible in any great detail.  It is, in a way, a fading text.’


But why does it say those things?  Why does God hate witches so?’  ‘It was, really Lucy, a misunderstanding amongst the early chroniclers of Jewish law.  They were reactionary against their slavery and the oppression they had suffered in Egypt.  They took out their vengeance in introducing malicious death penalties to wipe out their enemies.  They were, in truth, motivated by revenge and hate, rather than forgiveness and love.  However, certain biblical passages justify the murder of witches and wizards when demonic beings are involved.  This is, in a way, less problematic.  We – you and I – as witches need to be dedicated to the light.  People will always remain interested in magic and spiritual energy, and it should never be forbidden their knowledge.  Yet caution is required.  The darker forces in the magical realm often interfere with Lightworkers activities, bringing disrepute to the reputation we actually deserve.’  ‘But they shouldn’t kill witches just because they contact demons?  That is mean?’  ‘I understand were you are coming from, Lucy.  But remember, the nature of evil is vengeful and dark.  Full of maliciousness and hate.  Those who corrupt their hearts and give themselves over to the dark side have, in truth, already started on the pathway to death from were they will improbably return, perhaps as Solomon says in his proverbs.’  Lucy nodded, but uneasiness was in her heart.  She hated the death penalty.  People needed to be allowed to live.  They needed to know that they were loved and could be forgiven.  This was, in the heart of young miss Lucy Smith, a most fierce and decided passion.

*   *   *   *   *


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The Xtreme Kings looked at each other, a little nervous.  Andrew tapped on his drums a little, while  Tony started plugging in some cords to a Marshall amp.  Nathan began riffing on his Bass guitar, some new ideas coming through.  In front of the concrete stage, with a curved roof overhead, the various citizens of Cooma were busy enjoying the fair which had started that morning at 9.00.  The Xtreme Kings had begun setting up at around 10.00 and their first show was to start at 12.00 mid-day.  They had performed in the pubs in Cooma from time to time, but this was their first major gig.  They had 7 songs in the morning set and 7 more in the evening set.  They had selected their best material of the thirty or so pieces they had finished, and hoped for good things.


Their second album, the Stoned Philosophers, had been picked up by Warner Brothers records in Australia.  This one, they hoped, would be their breakthrough album.  They had different sounding material on this album – not like their first.  It was laced with religious elements, a popular topic of conversation for the Kings.  The first song, ‘In the New Age’ was an intense musical rush.  Extremely condemning of the ‘New Age Movement’, which they had decided to have a go at.  Of course, the killer track on the album was the second one, their best song, ‘Goldilox’.  This was an intense musical melodrama of forlorn love.  A heart devoted to a lady, so hard to get.  Almost out of reach.  It was, for the kings, their purest moment.  They had initially decided to call the Album ‘Out of the Silent Planet’, and had designs of multiple earths on the cover.  But they had ultimately decided on the ‘Stoned Philosophers’, in honour of their fallen friends.  Warners had suggested a band-name change to ‘Kings X’, but the band had decided to stick with the name ‘The Extreme Kings’.


The other killer track on the album was ‘Shot of Love’, which was a rewritten version of ‘Afterlife’.  The music was the same, but they had decided to change the song title to reflect the heart they had for their fallen friends.  They had sent the philosophers, in their heart, off to God – off to heaven – and prayed a spirit of love from God to come to them to inspire their hearts.


They decided to start with those three tracks in that order, and choose the rest as they went along.


*   *   *   *   *


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George Daley, aged 55, Brigid’s brother and David’s brother in-law sat with Hubert in front of the stage were the Xtreme Kings were warming up.  Elizabeth, George’s wife was seated next to George.  A friend of Hubert’s, Kylie, was sitting with them.  George began speaking.  ‘My brother Daniel has their debut CD.  He is a big fan.’  Hubert nodded.  ‘Yeh.  We have a few copies in the shop.  They sell occasionally.  A bit different, but there ok.’  ‘What type of music do you like Kylie?’ Elizabeth asked Kylie.  ‘I like Eminem.  S Club 7 are ok as well.’  Elizabeth nodded.  ‘I have never really listened to Eminem, but George has an S Club 7 cd.  The first one.  They are really good.  Very positive.  Funloving.  I like them.’  ‘Who do you like Elizabeth?’ Kylie asked.  ‘Jewel is one of my favourites.  As well as Delta Goodrem.’  ‘Yeh, I like Delta,’ said Kylie.


Up on the stage Nathan announced they were about to begin.  The kings were, now, extremely well experienced at their craft.  They were by no means a young band.  They had been playing music for years, and now in their middle-age.  But they had gained passion in recent years and were now ready to really push.  They were sure they were on the verge of a breakthrough for themselves.


The music began.  An introduction flowed out in the most original and unique of sounds.  And then the lyrics.  ‘The Riddle of the Ages is the New Age of the End, when the souls and hearts of mankind no longer call God friend.  The Riddle of the ages is the New age you will find.  Were they follow riches vainly, and unto God they are so blind.’  The song continued on with ever more complex lyrics, yet this didn’t really bother the audience who took it as standard rock metal. The kind of stuff they were used to.


They finished the song and the audience reacted quite positively.  They had seemed to like it.  Nathan steadied himself, prayed a quick prayer, and began his soulful melody.  ‘I wish you were here with me, my heart in yours, devotedly.  I wish my soul was joined with you.  Forever pure, forever true.  I say these words, they are my soul, to sweetest love who makes me whole.  Be with me, forever mine, and I will love you for all time.’


At the end, the audience was quiet.  It had taken them by surprise.  It was, musically, different.  Decent.  Kind.  Some hearts had softened a little, and slowly people started clapping a bit.  Nathan looked at Tony, who nodded.  He looked at Andrew who nodded also.  He gave a little grin, and started on the next track.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy sat with Madalene, Jayden and Georgia a distance away from the stage, all of them eating chips.  Lucy looked, nervously, so as not to show it, at Georgia’s new scar.  Just the previous night Georgia had been with Lucy at the farmhouse with Jayden and Madalene.  Georgia had been outside for around half an hour, and Caroline had suggested Lucy go off looking for her.  She had found her down by the stream, having apparently fainted.  And, seemingly, she had hit her head, as a wound, hauntingly in the shape of an ‘l’, now graced her forehead.  Right between here eyes.  Georgia could not remember how she had gotten the scar.  In fact, she had said she could not remember anything since leaving the house.  Caroline and Brigid both assumed that what was probably a bump to the head had made her forgetful.  Brigid, Georgia’s mother, had taken her to the hospital in the morning to have her checked out.  The doctor at emergency advised caution, but said she seemed generally ok.  They had glued the wound together, rather than stitching it, which was a newer treatment.


The ‘l’ haunted Lucy.  It seemed as if it was an ‘l’ named deliberately after herself.  As if Georgia had gotten herself entangled in something and taken the ‘l’ in Lucy’s honour – as her friend.  They were strange thoughts for Lucy.  Paranoid really.  But after the incident with Lucifer Malfoy, she still worried a little.


Unknown to Lucy, though, was that Alexander Darvanius II had sent one of his henchman, Brax, to place a spiritual ‘bug’ upon young Georgia – one through which he could watch over and keep his eye upon young Lucy Smith.  Brax had grabbed Georgia down by the forge of Chakola, and placed the spell upon her.  And, to complete the spell, Brax had taken out a pocket knife, carving the slightest ‘l’ mark into her forehead, not to damaging, to appear as if she had hit her head.  Yet that mark, the ‘l’ for ‘Lucy’, enabled Alexander Darvanius II to trace young Miss Smith, so as to be aware of her whenever he needed to.


Alexander Darvanius II had studied witchcraft and was adroit, like many masters, in the ways of witchery.  He was attuned, in particular, to the dark side of magic, yet, in his redeemable way, Saruviel was not ultimately evil.  Perhaps, if anything, misunderstood.  The mark he had born in his youth, for a short few years, the birthmark of 6 6 6, was undoubtedly the work of prophecy.  Alexander himself knew nothing of the mark, as it had faded before he had known about it, and in this respect he was as much a pawn of prophecy as anyone could possibly be.


Yet the father of Glory, long ago, had planned out a destiny for his son Saruviel.  Lucy Smith, the lastborn of the children of Heaven, was key in that destiny.  Lucy, with the aid of many others, would in time defeat Alexander Darvanius II and his attempts to rule Christendom and the world.  For soon, just ahead in the years of life for young Lucy Smith, the Taheb – The Seraphim Angel Davriel of the Realm of Eternity – would come into prominence, making Israel’s great declaration before the children of mankind.  And then, Darvanius empire – his glorious New World Order – would begin forming in response to his bitter opponent, the Taheb.  Yet, Darvanius would be defeated, and the Taheb would emerge triumphant.  The Taheb – the Son of God – and the first Messiah would emerge and fulfill his rulership for 400 years, the allotted time prophetically for the Messiah’s rulership in writings of Esdras.


*   *   *   *   *


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Yeah, whatever.  But Herbie’s better.’  ‘Herbie.  You call that piece of junk Herbie?  That’s a joke, right.  Herbie.  Ha.’  ‘Watch it, creep.’  That said, the creep who had been pestering Linda and boasting about his Ford Falcon, walked away.  Linda, grateful to see the pest leave, said to Herbie, ‘Ignore that creep Herbie.  He has no idea what he is talking about.  You’re going to win, alright.  You’re going to win.’  In response to that encouragement, Herbie let out a honk on his horn, which gave Linda a puzzled look.  Linda was at the Canberra Dragway, having entered Herbie into a dragster competition.  The organisers had thought, looking at the car, that while they understood the practical joke Linda was playing on them in entering the competition, they decided to let her enter anyway for comic relief.  She was now, though, ready to put Herbie to the ultimate test.  She’d had Herbie fitted, at her grandfather’s great expense, a jet engine specially designed for a bug.  Her father had said she was a nut, but she loved Herbie and decided to do it anyway.  And now she was ready to put Herbie to the ultimate test.


The creep who was her opponent in the next dragrace had mocked Herbie, but she knew she could win.  She was going to come first, that was certain.  ‘Well, Lucy.  The race is set to start shortly.  You had better get back to your seat.’  ‘Good luck, Linda.  You’re going to win.’  ‘You bet.’  Lucy left the race track and returned to her seat next to Shelandragh and Darren, who were both anxiously looking on.  Shelandragh turned to her.  ‘Is Linda nervous?’  ‘No, I think she is okay, Shelandragh.  I think she is determined to win.’  ‘What was all that with the other racer?’ asked Darren.  ‘Oh, he was having a go at Herbie.  But Linda told him to go away.’


The announcer came over the loudspeakers declaring that the next race was about to begin.  As Lucy watched on, Linda drove Herbie up to the starting line.  ‘Good luck Linda,’ Lucy whispered to herself.


Inside Herbie, Linda started pushing some special buttons – buttons which she had not told the organisers about.  The Jet engine propulsion system started charging up, and out the back of Herbie panels rolled back and orange fiery flames started shooting out.  The people in the stands started yelling and shouting, pointing to the flames.  Lucy looked at them, and wandered just what Herbie was now made of.


One of the race organisers came over to speak to Linda.  ‘Just what the hell is in your car?’ he asked.  Linda gave him a cute look and said, ‘An engine.’  The organiser went to look at the back of the car and stared at the flames for a moment.  He came back to Linda, shook his head, saying, ‘Yeah, well.  Good luck.’  ‘Thanks.’


The track cleared, and the crowd started its usual tumultuous behaviour.  Linda looked at the lights.  They suddenly started on red.  ‘Okay Herbie.  Here we go.’  The lights went through their colours and when they hit green, Linda pushed the accelerator to the floor and Herbie belted away.


The race was over in a flash.  The two cars started together, but after a split second, Herbie flashed like lightning as the jet engines power pushed the bug to the limit.  And then, when Herbie passed the finish line, well in front of the creep opponent, Linda yelled out, ‘Herrrbiieee.’  The crowd, as such crowds usually do, erupted.  Cheers were everywhere.  Linda slowed Herbie down, and the bug eventually came to a stop.  She got out of Herbie and raised her hand to wave to the crowd.  ‘The cheering was intense and Linda had won.’  Sitting in the crowd, Lucy had a big smile on her face.  ‘Way to go Herbie,’ she said softly.


Chapter Three


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Lucifer Darvanius sat in his cell on the island of Trivantes, off the northern coast of Scotland – an island hidden from mankind by the spells of the Guild of Wizards and Witches – brooding intensely.  In his heart one idea had permeated thoroughly – vengeance on the witch child Lucy Smith.  Having escaped his prison cell of Trivantes the old fashioned way, a way not thought to too closely monitor by his guild captors, simply by digging an escape tunnel with a metal spoon he had stolen from his dinner room, Lucifer had been sent by his brother Alexander Darvanius II to monitor Lucy and associate with Grimlock.


For reasons Lucifer knew not, Alexander feared the young witch – feared her greatly.  Lucifer had suggested they simply kill her and have done with it, but Alexander had recoiled greatly at the suggestion – alarmed almost.  No, it would simply be best if Lucifer worked under Grimlock’s authority, and that had meant eliminating Mr Merryweather, even if Lucy became aware of whom Lucifer was.  But the little witch had cast a ‘Relocate’ spell on him, without specifying a location and, now, he had been taken to the point such a spell had last been cast upon him, to his cell were the guild of wizards and witches had sent him, through the same spell, to live.  And since then he had brooded.


He had a gut instinct that Alexander would get him out.  Most of the work Lucifer undertook for the family was, in a way, out of kicks.  He liked being the bad guy in the family – it suited him – and doing the dirty work was not a problem.  But, like Alexander, he had the long term goal in mind and as the ‘Western Alliance’ grew in power under his brother’s influence, and his father, Alexander Darvanius I completed his work in uniting Christendom, it would soon come one day in which is family, and the other head families of the Illuminati, ruled the world.  Yet for now he would have to patiently wait the freedom his brother Alexander would bring him.


*   *   *   *   *


Yes Lucy, she said yes.’  Lucy smiled, ever so happy at the good fortune of one of her mentors from the Guild of Witches and Wizards, Darren Merryweather.  Darren’s girlfriend in Sydney had said yes to Darren’s recent proposal, and was now in the process of arranging a permanent transfer down to Canberra in the national carpeting company she worked for.  Fortunately the company had been scratching around for a new area manager for the Canberra district, and Carol Davidson seemed the perfect choice, or so she’d told Darren that her supervisor’s had claimed.  They had set the date for early January 2023, just a year from then.  Lucy was pleased and delighted that Carol had said yes, and as Carol was planning on coming down to Cooma for a few weeks, Lucy looked forward to meeting her for the first time.


That day Lucy was with Darren at Alfric’s house in Deakin in Canberra.  They had been studying various textbooks on magic lore, and then Alfric had announced that, beginning 2023, if Lucy would accept the offer, she could begin studying under a guild sponsored scholarship at ‘Zeraxxus’, the school for wizards and witches in Sydney, hidden in the ‘Rocks’ area of Sydney.


Lucy had been overjoyed at the news and looked forward to telling Shelandragh and her mother when she got home.  Of course, her regular schooling could continue in either Cooma or Canberra, or even Sydney if she wanted to, but the magic school would run through the regular school terms holiday times, which would mean a very full year of study for young Miss Lucy Smith.


Well, dear young Lucy.  What have you learned today.’  Lucy, sitting at Alfric’s table, staring through the window, was lost in thought.  Darren looked at her, waved his hand, and said ‘Lucy’, but with no response.  He turned to Alfric.  ‘She must be off with the fairies.’

Lucy turned to Darren and said ‘Very funny’, at which Darren and Alfric smiled.  ‘I have learned lots of things,’ she responded.  ‘Another grand day of witchcraft.’

I only hope you are saying that when you are my age,’ replied Alfric.

How old are you anyway, master Alfric?’ queried Lucy.

Darren looked at Alfric, curious as well.  ‘A good question Lucy.  I wonder what the response will be.’


Alfric looked at both of them, sat down at the table, and took a drink from the glass of juice in front of him.  And then he began, ‘Age is not so important as you may presume, younglings.’

Younglings?’ queried Darren, slightly taken aback being called as such for a grown man.

Yes, younglings,’ continued Alfric.  ‘Yet as I was saying, despite my many years, which by modern comparisons are vast indeed, age is not everything.  It seems to me, from personal observation that wisdom – true wisdom – can lie in a soul at a bear 10 years of age, often vastly contrary to the wisdom which should be there for someone 100 times that age.’

Your not a thousand are you?’ asked Lucy earnestly.

I could only wish, young lady.  Nay, I am yet to reach my millennial year, but it beckons, as do the days of older age.  But I did know a man, once – a fierce wizard of a man – who had crossed the threshold of a thousand years, but by no means by the grace of love and life one would, or should expect, for such an accomplishment.  Yet Zoldarius was not living, nor seemingly ever had done, for the pleasures of goodness towards his fellow mankind.  His long age, I fear, has been gained from the vampiric like soul-sucking of his wizard and witch victims.  For this dark lord sucks their very souls, killing them quickly, yet extending his own manifold.  For such is the evil of this foul lord.’

Lucy looked at Darren, who nodded to her.

This is Zoldarius?  Who sent Lucifer?  Isn’t it?’

The one and the same, young Lucy.  Of course, Zoldarius, while being an ancient evil, is not the one we should fear the most.  Believe my words when I tell you that, dear child.  You may have heard, these days, of a certain Alexander Darvanius.’  Darren nodded, ‘The great ecumenist.’

That is him, Darren.  Well, from my incantations and peering into the pool of knowledge, I have discerned a great evil associated with this man.  Not him, directly – I mean not him, personally – but associated with him.  Most definitely associated with this man.’

And what evil do we speak of, Alfric,’ queried Darren earnestly.

The most ancient of evils, Darren.  The most ancient.  The one spoken of in John’s Apocalypse.  The final child of wrath who will usher in the end of the age.  The one we of the west have feared for millennia now, whom is finally approaching.’

Lucy looked at them, a little familiar now with biblical concepts.  ‘Do you mean the Antichrist?  Like in the Omen?  I saw that two weeks ago with mum.  It was really scary.’  Alfric looked at her, and just nodded his head.

So we are living at the end?  The end of days?’

Alfric looked out the window for a moment, and then looked at Lucy.  ‘Jesus taught the church to know the time of the end, Lucy.  When things begin happening, like he taught, he encouraged the church to know that the end was at hand – and I fear, now, the end is at hand.’

Madalene is in the church,’ said Lucy innocently.  ‘But I have never been baptized.  Should I be baptized Alfric?’  Darren listened to that question with interest, as he had begun taking more of an interest himself in Christian religion, and had been considering the baptism question.  Alfric raised his hands apprehensively, ‘Of God and truth, and baptisms and covenants I cannot answer you Lucy.  I am aware that, by birth, you are under the covenant of the Rainbow – the covenant of our father Noah.’  Lucy looked at him squarely, and brightened.  ‘That is what Brigid’s brother Daniel goes on about.  The Noahide covenant.’  Alfric looked at her, curiousity piqued.

The NOAHIDE covenant,’ he queried, most interested.

Yes.  Noahide means child of Noah.  And Daniel is the head of a fellowship called ‘Haven Noahide Fellowship.’  Alfric looked at Darren.  ‘Do you know anything of this fellowship?  I am asking because, well, I am not strictly speaking a Christian, but have long abided by the Rainbow as the sign of our covenant with God.  It actually surprises me that a religion exists based on this covenant.’

I am not really sure about it myself, Alfric.  But I have met Daniel and will have words with him.  Perhaps you two could get together and have discussions on the subject.’  Alfric nodded, seemingly quite pleased to have gained this information.


Lucy got her bag and took out the Bible she had with her.  Finding the passage in Genesis which Daniel had shown her, she began reading:


And God blessed Noah and his sons. And he said to them: “Increase, and multiply, and fill the earth.
 And let the fear and trembling of you be upon all the animals of the earth, and upon all the birds of the air, along with all that moves across the earth. All the fish of the sea have been delivered into your hand.
And everything that moves and lives will be food for you. Just as with the edible plants, I have delivered them all to you,
 except that flesh with blood you shall not eat.
 For I will examine the blood of your lives at the hand of every beast. So also, at the hand of mankind, at the hand of each man and his brother, I will examine the life of mankind.
 Whoever will shed human blood, his blood will be poured out. For man was indeed made to the image of God.
 But as for you: increase and multiply, and go forth upon the earth and fulfill it.”
 To Noah and to his sons with him, God also said this:
“Behold, I will establish my covenant with you, and with your offspring after you,
and with every living soul that is with you: as much with the birds as with the cattle and all the animals of the earth that have gone forth from the ark, and with all the wild beasts of the earth.
I will establish my covenant with you, and no longer will all that is flesh be put to death by the waters of a great flood, and, henceforth, there will not be a great flood to utterly destroy the earth.”
And God said: “This is the sign of the pact that I grant between me and you, and to every living soul that is with you, for perpetual generations.
I will place my arc in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the pact between myself and the earth.
And when I obscure the sky with clouds, my arc will appear in the clouds.
And I will remember my covenant with you, and with every living soul that enlivens flesh. And there will no longer be waters from a great flood to wipe away all that is flesh.
 And the arc will be in the clouds, and I will see it, and I will remember the everlasting covenant that was enacted between God and every living soul of all that is flesh upon the earth.”
 And God said to Noah, “This will be the sign of the covenant that I have established between myself and all that is flesh upon the earth.’


She stopped reading, and then quoted the chapter and verse, ‘That was from Genesis 9, 1 to 17.’

Alfric nodded, familiar with the passage, but it was mostly new to Darren.


The Death penalty for murder, I see,’ said Darren.  ‘But I guess such was the era in which the text was written.’

Yes,’ nodded Alfric, although having a slightly different perspective on how important that principle of the covenant was.


So someone who follows this is a ‘Noahide’’, stated Lucy.  ‘I guess that makes me a Noahide then.’  Alfric looked at her, somewhat consoled at such a statement.  He put his hand affectionately on her shoulder,  ‘I guess it does dear Lucy.  I guess it does.’


They chatted on for a while longer, before Darren announced that the day’s lesson was finished, and that it was time to return home.


Driving back to Chakola, Lucy thought on the Rainbow.  Really, it was a nice sign to have for her covenant with God.  Perhaps, now that she had decided what her religion was, she could also speak with Daniel and look even more into what was apparently her religious birthright.  It would, she believed, prove a most enlightening experience.

Chapter Four


Grimlock, looking at the portal in front of him, eventually gave up.  ‘Bah.  A waste of time,’ he said to himself.  And while monitoring Lucy Smith from the viewing portal contained in the scar on Georgia Bridges forehead was allowable from time to time, mostly Georgia was pre-occupied with the simple things a girl her age was pre-occupied with.  Yet, in this task he had no great choice.  His master Alexander Darvanius II required this of him.  He was to monitor Lucy personally whenever he could, and when he could not do that, ensure he would check when and were young Georgia was in the witches company.

There will be useful – information,’ Alexander had once said, almost cryptically, and had thereupon insisted on Grimlock’s devotion to the task.  And so every night, from his habitation in Cooma, Grimlock surveyed Georgia’s activities, rarely bothering to listen, yet waiting for whatever adventures she had with her friend Lucy to gain any pertinent information were and when he could.


Yet tonight to no avail.  Georgia was at home in Canberra, currently in the bath with her brother Jayden, and they were acting their ages.  Nothing interesting for Grimlock to be concerned about.


Taking a seat on his lounge, he picked up a dark leather tome from his table next to him, opened it, but paid no close attention, lost in thought.  His master was looking for key information with Lucy – key information.  He had spoken, vaguely, to Grimlock that one day Lucy would confront himself and there would be an encounter which would decide destiny in a most strange way.  Unless Alexander was prepared for that encounter, and he felt only by close observation of Lucy could he know for sure how to be ready, that it would not go in his favour.  And so he had assigned Grimlock to monitor Lucy, and had arranged for the viewing gem, very tiny, to be placed in the scar in Georgia Bridges forehead.


For Grimlock, though, while he served his master faithfully, he was ultimately in it for the reward promised to him.  One day, so Alexander had said, they would rule the world – literally.  And in the new commonwealth of glory they would find themselves in, opportunities for positions of power and authority would abound.  It would, for Grimlock, be a most satisfying lifestyle, one in which he could exercise all of his most luxurious decadence.


And so, with that motivation, Grimlock served Alexander Darvanius II for the hoped reward that would one day, most certainly, be his.


*   *   *   *   *


Urrh.  Grrr.  Urrrgh.  Arrhg.  Bloakins Belt!’

Lucy, hearing the noise, queried the sprite as to what it was.

Oh that is just Theodox.  Look out – here comes now.’  And then, coming into view at the bend of the river where it turned eastward, the most foul looking of creatures, barely three feet tall, dressed in an ancient looking leather tunic, stumbled onwards, continuing to make the most abrasive of noises.  ‘Urrhg, horrr, grrr, drrrdd.  Bloakins Belt!’  From what Lucy could notice, the creature was looking downwards, perhaps in search of something.  When it finally arrived at where Lucy and the Sprite were sitting on the edge of the Newmerella River, it stopped, looked around the ground for a while, and then, grumbling, raised its head to look at them.  And then it spoke.

Grrr.  Bloakins Belt?  Grrr.’  Lucy was perplexed.  Just exactly what was Bloakins Belt?’  Minxy, though, seemed to know.  ‘So you have lost Bloakins Belt again, Theodox.  He must be most upset.  You know you really need to get your own when you want to go swimming to keep your togs on.

What is Bloakin’s Belt,’ asked Lucy innocently.

Bloakin is Theodox’s brother.  Trolls live in families and Theodox is in the habit of borrowing Bloakin’s belt to keep up his swimming togs when he wants to go swimming.  He loses the belt often, though.

Theodox is a troll!’ exclaimed Lucy.  Theodox looked at her, grumbled and said, ‘Grrr.  Bloakin’s belt?’  Minxy responded.

It is alright Theodox.  This is Lucy Smith.  She and I will help you find your brother’s belt.  Come on Lucy – it must be along the river somewere.’  Lucy gave the troll one last cautious look, and joined in with Minxy to scout the riverbank in search of Bloakin’s missing Belt.  Minxy went on to relate that a family of trolls lived not far upstream, and that swimming in the river was often a pastime they engaged in.  ‘But they rarely come down this far, Lucy.  Probably why you haven’t seen Theodox before.  Oh, and he is magical, so the others probably won’t be able to see him unless he allows it.’  Lucy nodded, having grown a little more comfortable around Theodox, who genuinely seemed quite harmless.


Eventually Lucy, finding a leather belt lying on the riverbank just 100 metres downstream, yelled to Minxy and Theodox.  Theodox grabbed them in the manner of trolls, delighted to find his brothers belt.  ‘Grrrr.  Grrrr.  Bloakin’s Belt!’, he exclaimed, ever so happy.  And then, much to Lucy’s shock, gave her a hug.  Lucy was nervous at first, but reassured by Minxy’s encouragements, placed her arms around Theodox.  ‘It is alright Theodox.  You now have Bloakin’s belt.’  Theodox pulled away from her, and did a little jig in front of her, celebrating the finding of Bloakin’s belt.  And then, putting up his hand in a farewell gesture, started making his way back upstream.  Lucy and Minxy gradually walked back to the crossing and watched as Theodox turned the bend and disappeared out of sight.

A Troll!’ exclaimed Lucy.  ‘Whatever fantastic creature could possibly come next.’


*   *   *   *   *


The ride was thrilling – as exciting as any adventure Lucy had been upon.  Seated upon the back of Silver, with Jayden on the back of Goldie, the two of them were flying over near Numerella, following the river to the place they intended to go for a swim, just east of Numerella village about 5 kilometres.  Jayden motioned for Goldie too once again skim down and fly his feet along the water, upon which Jayden lowered his feet also and let out a huge ‘awesome.’  Lucy just laughed.


When they spotted their destination, Lucy yelled for Jayden to land, and the two wyverns came down and settled on a rocky beach of the river, just near were the water gushed down in a tiny waterfall of a metre high, were at the bottom the water gurgled furiously.


Taking off their T-Shirts, Lucy was dressed in a bikini and Jayden in just his board shorts.  Jayden took a sip from his drink bottle and Lucy put on some sunscreen – another layer – just to be safe.  It was so hot in Summer.  She looked across the river to where the opposing hill face, all rugged, ran up to the top of the hill.  It was a steep climb opposite them, but it had been climbed by those in the family in earlier years.


Shall we climb that later?’ Lucy asked Jayden, pointing to the steep incline.  ‘Sure.  But after we sunbake, ok.’



The two of them, with the wyverns watching intently, made their way to the river were the tiny waterfall rushed into the gurgling basin.  They climbed in, and both of them came and stationed themselves beneath the rushing water.  Jayden turned his face up to the water a few times, and they had great fun feeling the water as it rushed over them.


They stayed in that section for around 20 minutes, before making their way over to the deeper lagoon section, were they swam for another half an hour.  Eventually they came to the set of large rocks which seemingly had been made for sunbaking, and rested, both facing downwards.


Lucy listened intently to the sound of the Australian bush, and loved the feeling of the sun soaking into her flesh.  Really, she was in bliss.  They laid there for around half an hour, before Jayden stirred.  ‘Shall we still climb that hill?’ he asked.

Yeh, ok,’ said Lucy.  They put their shoes back on and carefully made their way, jumping over the river rocks, to the opposite side of the river, and stared upwards.  It would be a challenging climb, but they felt safe enough, despite the warning from David not to climb the hill.


Halfway up the incline Lucy looked over the outskirts of the river to the east and the west.  It was a tremendous sight to behold and nature seemed to come alive from were she was clinging on.  They pushed on and in a few minutes made the top of the incline.  Before them was mostly more bush and trees, Canberra about 100 kilometres to the north of them approximately, being roughly level with Cooma on latitude.


They walked around for a while, noticed an old campfire were some broken beer bottles were sitting, and looked over the river from their high up view point.


This is cool,’ said Jayden, and Lucy could only but agree.  Eventually they came down, and after crossing the river, returning to the wyverns who had been eating grass, Jayden suggested they fly a little further to the east just to see what lay beyond.  However Lucy said the day was starting to get on a bit, and they wyverns would probably tire out, so they agreed to travel on home.


As they flew, following the river, heading for home, Lucy thought just how lucky she was to be able to fly on the back of a young wyvern.  Of course, very soon she would be learning to fly on a traditional broomstick – and while that would be so very exciting, it just didn’t seem to have the excitement of riding on the back of a dragon.


They made home in an hour, after stopping once for Jayden to go to the toilet, and they wyverns settled into their paddock in Chakola, just to the north of the school-house home of Lucy’s.


After dinner, and when Jayden left with David for Canberra, Lucy sat watching TV thinking on life.  So much had happened in the past few months, and now the new school year was about to begin with her mother having now enrolled her for the first time after home-schooling her in her younger years.  It would be an exciting time indeed for young Miss Lucy Smith.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy sat obediently in the front row, were her desk was located.  She was in Mr Jones class, in year 5J, at St Patrick’s Primary school in Cooma.  That morning she had gotten to know a few of the girls in year 5, being shown around by the teacher, and now classes had begun.  The students generally knew Lucy was a witch in training as the incident late last year had not been forgotten, despite the best efforts of Alfric and the guild to try and play down the incident, not wishing magic and magic creatures to become general knowledge in the community, a worldwide attitude of the Guild of Wizards and Witches.


After they had done some basic English lessons on grammar, which Lucy found incredibly easy with her mothers strict tutoring, the class was given some free time to do some colouring in, funnily enough of a stencil of a witch and a cauldron, given to the whole class.  Some of the girls giggled, whispering to Lucy that she should be good at this.  But such was the nature of children.


Lucy spent an hour working on her picture, after which little lunch was called, and Mr Jones marched the class out to the playground were the rest of the school had gathered and little lunch began.  They had to eat their meal first, and then a second bell went off indicating their playtime.


So you’re the witch, huh?’ said a young redheaded lad to Lucy, who was sitting on her own at the edge of the playground, reading one of her books on magic.  Lucy looked at the kid.  He had very bright red hair, was average size, a little overweight.  She was not sure if he was a popular kid or not, but was not really worried about that issue.  ‘Yes, I am a witch,’ responded Lucy.  ‘Wow,’ said the boy.  ‘That is amazing.  My name is Michael.  Michael Bradley.’  Lucy nodded, responding, ‘It is nice to meet you Michael Bradley.’

What are you reading,’ asked Michael.  Lucy showed the cover of the book to him.  ‘It is a book on spells.  My teacher, Shelandragh, gave it to me to study.  It is part of my curriculum for this years study.’

So it pretty serious, huh.  Witchcraft I mean.’

Yes, quite serious.  It really makes you grow up but.’

Amazing,’ said Michael again.  ‘Can I have a look at the book.’

Well, ok,’ said Lucy.

Michael came over and sat next to her and Lucy handed the book to him to let him look through.  Michael looked at the first spell in the book, and began reading the words.  The spell was a basic fire spell, for lighting fires.  After he had spoken the words, Lucy was amazed at seeing a few sparks come off his fingers.  Michael jumped back, shocked.

Wow,’ said Lucy.  ‘You must have reservoirs of magical spirit energy.  You could possibly be a young warlock.’

Michael held his fingers up to his face, and looked at them cautiously.  ‘A warlock?  What is that?’

Like a male witch, or a wizard.’

Oh,’ said Michael, still a little shocked.

They talked for the rest of little lunch, and Lucy suggested that Michael might like to meet Shelandragh.  ‘Perhaps you could have lessons as well, Michael.’

Yeh, perhaps,’ said Michael, who was not to sure.


Over the next few weeks at school Lucy didn’t really make any other friends, but Michael sat with her every little lunch and at lunchtime, and spent time with her after school before her mother picked her up.  After 3 weeks Michael told Lucy that he had spoken to his mother about Lucy and Shelandragh and his mother had said it would be ok for Michael to visit Lucy and Shelandragh this weekend if he wanted to.  Lucy was naturally excited, and looked forward to seeing her new best friend on the weekend.


Chapter Five


Yes Lucy.  It does appear as if Michael is gifted in the arts.  He seems to have some point in his life, perhaps instinctively, built up his own personal reservoirs of magical energy and used it by nature when speaking the words to the spell you told me about.  I have spent all afternoon with him, going through some of the more introductory lessons on witchcraft, and the young lad is definitely of the craft – he has natural talent.’

Lucy smiled; ever so pleased at the news Shelandragh was sharing with her.  It would make her new life at St Patrick’s so much more pleasant to be able to – hopefully – have someone to talk to about her magical craft.

Mind you, he is new.  And if his parents decide they want his gift nurturing, he will need a lot of encouragement and guidance.  And I think, if they do, you may be able to provide that encouragement.’

Lucy nodded, pleased at being given responsibility at such a young age.

Do you think Michael’s parents will allow him to have lessons?’

It is hard to say.  They may be religious, sending him to Catholic school, and religious people often have concerns about witchcraft.  But leave it with me.  I will talk to his mother when she gets back and we will see.  But remember what I always tell you – don’t count your chickens.’

Before their hatched,’ finished Lucy.  ‘Yes I remember, Shelandragh.’

Very good.  Now why don’t you go and play outside with Michael.  I am sure he has been looking forward to some play time with you.’

Lucy got up, ran to the kitchen were Michael was sitting watching TV and drinking a soft drink, and dragged him out to the back yard.


From the kitchen Shelandragh watched her pupil and her potential new pupil.  Of course, she had a few other students besides Lucy in the Cooma region, from which she gained a small income going alongside the pension she had earned from work in earlier years.  In her long years of life – far longer than most others – Shelandragh had acquired a large fortune, and had a number of overseas bank accounts with strong interest rates which she maintained for any potential future need.  Really, if she chose, she could have lived a far greater quality of life in a far more beautiful and pleasant house, with servants and all the accoutrements of a grand life.  Yet her heart was for magic, and those in the craft which life brought to her.  It was for children like Lucy, and possibly even the new Michael Bradley, that Shelandragh devoted to herself, believing in her heart she served some sort of higher purpose in the work she was involved with.  Like the head of the guild of wizards and witches, Shelandragh held to something akin to the Noahide faith.  While she had been baptized at a few months old, which had been the practice all those years ago, she had foregone strong church attendance long ago, and drifted from mainstream Christian faith – so much so that she no longer felt comfortable identifying as a Anglican Christian.


But she kept faith in God, having her own understanding of what religion ought to be about, favouring love and mercy rather than any strict devotion to a set of rules.  This, of course, seemed necessary with her practice of witchcraft, yet in truth she felt that, perhaps, the wizards and witches of the days of Moses were not quite like herself.  True, like them she practiced magic.  Yet from what she had read of biblical literature on the subject, the wizards and witches of those days were devoted to demonic idols, and often had ill intent in the practice of their wizardry.  So, she assured many who often had questions on the subject, white witches of today were simply not like that and, as such, the practice of their craft was quite acceptable.  There were, of course, numerous darker witches, whose spellcasting was not always for the benefit of all.  But many of these were not really evil – not in the traditional sense anyway – but more of the darker side of life.  Yet, also, there were the children of the devil, whose dark practices she had not escaped unscathed from herself.  Zoldarius she feared the most, but the new evil which Alfric spoke to her of worried her greatly.  The great and final dark lord, the dreaded Antichrist.  God forbid that either herself or Lucy should ever find themselves entangled with such a one.  God forbid.


With the kettle boiled, Shelandragh poured the hot water into the teapot, and covered it to simmer.  She sat their, gazing at the children, occasionally wondering why she really never had any of her own, and just hummed quietly to herself.  It was a pleasant and happy afternoon.  One of many which the good lord had blessed his beloved daughter, Shelandragh May, with.


*   *   *   *   *


As the year passed, coming to its conclusion, Lucy spent much of the time with Michael at weekends, whose parent’s had consented to his lessons.  Like Lucy, he showed promise in the arts, and Shelandragh had her hands full answering all of his many questions.


When the school year concluded just before Christmas, Lucy was excited and looking forward to her first year at Zeraxxus, the school of witchcraft and wizardry she had been sponsored by the guild to attend during summer holidays, having gained permission from her mother Caroline to attend.


On January the second 2023 AD (or 5993 Since Creation (SC) in the Taheb’s calendar), travelling by train to Sydney with her mother Caroline, Lucy was glancing out the window of the train for most of the trip.  Darren had dropped them off at the train station, telling Lucy he would visit her at the school in a couple of weeks and encouraging her to try to make new friends in her first year at Zeraxxus.


The school was the oldest seat of regulated witchcraft and wizardry in Australia, nearly as old as the country itself, having been established in Sydney’s early years.  They had moved a few times, finding their present location in the late 1890s, having not moved since.  When Lucy arrived late in the afternoon of the second of January, she gazed up at the two story building, situated in Randwick in Sydney, amongst a grouping of other similar looking homes.  From what Alfric had shared with her, the school was housed in 3 adjacent homes, having been purchased, and the brick walls between them having been eradicated to make way for new doorways.  There were rooms for up to students at any one time, with most sharing a room.  Lucy had been paired up with another young witch around her age, a certain Belinda Jamieson.


Coming to the front door of the school, Caroline encouraged Lucy to knock on the door or to push the buzzer.  Lucy looked at the gargoyle with the buzzer on it, but decided to try the rather foreboding looking doorhandle instead.  She gave three loud knocks on the heavy knocker, and they patiently waited.  After a few moments the door opened, and what appeared to be a student, a male around 16 or so, greeted them and let them in.  ‘Hello, I’m Mark.  Mark Ash.  I’m a student here.  I’ll go get someone, ok.  If you just wait in the waiting room here, I’ll get someone.’  Caroline and Lucy followed Mark into the adjoining waiting room, and sat on comfortable lounged waiting for who they knew not.


Lucy looked around the room.  A television was playing, noise right down, situated below the front window.  There was a fireplace against one wall, and a grandfather clock against the other.  They were seated near the entrance to the room, Caroline having picked up a magazine and leafing through it.  Lucy stood and walked over to the mantelpiece surrounding the fireplace, and picked up one of the bronze soldier figures to look at it.  ‘Careful Lucy.  Don’t drop it.  It probably costs a fortune.’  Lucy looked it over and then carefully put it back on the mantelpiece.  There were other assortments on the mantelpiece, and at the end a number of what appeared to be Spell-books, which Lucy was instantly drawn to.  Looking through them, she picked an appropriate volume and set back down to look at it.  No sooner had she sat down than Mark Ash returned.  He turned to Caroline.  ‘Are you Caroline Smith?’

Yes that is I,’ responded Caroline.

Good.  Well, you can leave if you want.  I will look after Lucy and show her to her room.  The elders have decided that they would rather not introduce themselves to you personally as it is mainly policy to see the students alone – privacy reasons to do with magic, if you know what I mean.’

Caroline nodded, not unfamiliar with such goings on.

Very well then.’  She turned to Lucy, who had returned to looking at the Spell-book.  ‘Well, daughter of mine.  This is it.  Remember, you are a Smith.  You are my daughter, and your father would be oh so proud of you today.  Do your best and always remember I love you.’

Lucy smiled up at her mother.  Caroline gave her one last hug, and followed Mark to the door.  Outside on the pavement Caroline looked at Lucy through the window, gave her one last wave, and hailed a taxi which had magically shown up.  Lucy watched the taxi leave and thought to herself, ‘Well, here we go.’


*   *   *   *   *


Walking alongside Mark Ash climbing the stairs, Lucy decided to ask him some questions.  ‘Well, Mark.  How many boy and girl students will there be this year.’

Mark looked at her, and pointed out one of the loose steps.  ‘Mind that one Lucy.  Old Peter cast a temporary spell so it wouldn’t come loose, but we really need to nail it down or get it fixed professionally.  Yet he never has the time, so he says.  Anyway, we have 5 boys and 5 girls to answer your question.  Each of the girls and boys are 2 years apart, going from the youngest girl, yourself, at eleven, to Narelle at 19 this year.  And the boys ages are roughly the same.  Our school is the most prestigious in all of Sydney, but believe me it is very old fashioned.  Almost the ‘establishment’ of wizard schools in Australia, if you know what I mean.’  Lucy nodded, vaguely familiar with the idea.  ‘So there are other schools in Sydney?’ Lucy asked Mark, who was knocking at a door at the top of the stairs.  ‘Yes Lucy.  Many, actually.  I would have personally rather have gone to one of the new modern ones – they teach a lot of edgier spells, and even talk about the darker side of magic from time to time.  And some of the teachers are really cool – first class witches and warlocks, totally wicked, if you know what I mean.’

Sounds awesome,’ said Lucy.  Just then the door opened, and Mark urged Lucy to go inside.   ‘I will get your bags, Lucy, and take them to your room.  Peter will show you to your room after introductions.  Ok go on in.  Its ok.’

Lucy smiled at Mark nervously, who was retreating down the stairs, and peered into the room.

The room of Peter Daley, head wizard and headmaster of Zeraxxus school of wizards and witches, was crammed with, perhaps, every major magic book known to the magical community.  There were literally thousands of them crammed along three walls of bookcases going up to the ceiling, and many in piles all over the floor.

Just then a voice spoke.  ‘Come in.  Come in fair maiden.’  Coming out from behind a desk were, presumably, he had been engaged in his craft, old Peter Daley came out to greet Lucy, giving her a friendly hug, and placing an affectionate hand on her shoulder.  ‘Greetings young Lucy.  Greetings.  I have heard from Alfric so much about you.  He says you are a great child of promise indeed.  Perhaps one to be on the board of the guild one day in the future.  I myself am an honorary member on the board of the guild, but take no real part in its every day functioning.  I mainly correspond with Alfric in Canberra to keep up to date with affairs in the world of witchcraft.’  He motioned for Lucy to take a seat next to the small table near the burning fireplace, and resumed his chatter.  ‘Well Lucy.  In choosing to come to Zeraxxus you have chosen to come to a fine institution indeed.  As you may know, we are the most established of such a school in Australia.  Oh, there are many new modern ones – especially ones aiming to cater to the new trends.  Unwholesome trends, mind you.  Far too much dabbling in the darker side of wizardry goes on I fear in some of the newer schools.’

Lucy spoke up.  ‘Yes, Mark was saying that as well.’

Mmm.  Well it is not really anything for you to concern yourself with.  Oh, you will probably meet some wizards and witches from some of the other schools in your time here at Zeraxxus but, if you pay attention to your lessons, I am sure you will see for yourself the vast difference in not only the quality, but the type of education we offer in comparison.  And I do stress the word ‘type’ dear young Lucy.’

I am sure I will,’ responded Lucy confidently.

Well, your first lessons begin on Monday.  We have 4 weeks of solid magic ahead of us, in which you will be reintroduced to many of the lessons you would have learned already, especially in the first week, before we go more in depth in week 3 and week 4 before your final exam.  Let me stress something to you about Zeraxxus.  If we accept a student it is because they have been thoroughly sounded out already.  As such passing the exams will not prove that difficult to you, as you will find your own magical abilities quite competent already in this respect, and I am sure you will handle the theory component from reports I have heard.  Essentially, even more than imparting knowledge to our students, we aim to impart one very important thing -  an attitude.  Believe me Lucy, many wizards and witches can do extraordinary things with their craft – but to gain respect in our craft, maturity of mind – knowing when to use the craft and when not to – is the general rule of thumb in when to gain respect.  In this sense it is more important to know why you are using magic, rather than how powerful your spell can be.  You see Lucy, we teach ‘quality’ of magic, here at Zeraxxus.  Quality as opposed to quantity.  As an example, one spell, carefully chosen, may solve your situation, rather than a hundred mis-chosen spells.  So I stress to you, young Lucy.  Seek excellence.  Seek quality.  It is not, so much, what you do my dear young pupil, but how you do it.’

Lucy nodded, familiar with such teaching from Shelandragh.  Peter resumed.

Well, we have 5 teachers here at Zeraxxus. 4 fulltime, 3 of them witches, and 1 warlock, and myself.  Yet you will not see me teach very often.  However I will be testing you for your finals, so best be prepared.  Your keep has all been paid for by the scholarship, and you will be given a small allowance for weekend ventures with your classmates.  Until you are 15 you will not be allowed out without someone at least of that age present with you, and that is a strict rule.  But as long as someone who is at least 15 is present you may leave at will.  At 15 we deem our students responsible enough to manage their own affairs to a degree.  You will be boarding with Belinda Jamieson, who arrives later on tonight from Brisbane.  You will be given some textbooks tomorrow morning, but tonight I will show you to your room and you can find your way down to the main meal room yourself.  It is in the adjoining building, just through the open doorways downstairs on the ground level.  You can’t miss is.  Your room is just below us, facing the backyard.  It is a very pleasant room, specially suited for girls, and I am sure you will find yourself enjoying your stay here.  Alright then, dear Lucy.  Any questions?’

Lucy thought on it.  ‘No thank you.’

Very well then.  Follow me.’

Peter made his way out of the room, and proceeded down the stairway, Lucy following him.  He showed her to her room, which contained two beds, a large set of cupboards, two study desks, and a small television and stereo.

I know young people love their music, but try to keep it low alright.  On weekends before evening you can have it quite loud during the day, but not during weekdays which is for your studies.’  Lucy nodded, understanding the rule.

The bathroom is just upstairs, opposite my room.  You will find it very easily.  The school rooms are in the centre building.  We have one large main room, were a number of students may be studying at any one time, and two other private chambers upstairs for one on one mentoring and teaching.  The library is also in the centre building.  The other end building is were the boys reside.  And there is a living room in the centre building downstairs were everyone can relax.’  Peter pointed to the cupboard. ‘I dare say you have brought much of your own linen, but everything you need can be found in there, including towels if you would like to shower.’  Lucy looked at the cupboard, taking that information in.

I suggest you have a shower, get changed, and go introduce yourself to some of the other students.  I am sure they will love getting to know you.  And they are all friendly, young Lucy.  You will feel right at home.’  Peter looked the room over, and, seemingly satisfied, started out of the room.  Holding the door open he spoke some final words.  ‘Remember Lucy, you are most welcome here.  But remember, you are here to study and learn.  It is still what a school is all about.  Well, I will be in my room if you need me.  But I think you can find your way around.  And don’t be too shy.’  He gave her a final wink, and left.


Lucy sat down on the bed, next to her bags which Mark had placed on her bed.  ‘This should be interesting,’ she thought to herself.



Chapter Six


The full role call of students at Zeraxxus school of wizardry and witchcraft, alternatively known as the Zeraxxus school of witchcraft and wizardry, neither sex being given the premiere position in the name of the school, consisted of 5 boys ranging from 11 to 19, and 5 girls ranging from 11 to 19.  The boys were, Jason Peabody at 11, Frederick Turner at 14, Thomas Armstrong at 15, Mark Ash at 17 and Ken Chiu at 19.  The girls were Lucy Smith at 11, Genevieve Dupre at 13, Belinda Jamieson at 15, Nancy Carter at 17 and Narelle Kurston at 19.


At dinner that night Lucy met 8 of them, and later on as the evening was passing, hanging out with her new school-friends in the common room watching television, her room-mate Belinda Jamieson showed up, with Ken Chiu due to arrive in the morning.


Mark introduced Lucy to the gang, but it was Genevieve, just a little older than her, with a faint French accent, who befriended her quite quickly, smuggling her into her room after Belinda had shown up.  Genevieve shared her room with Nancy Carter, who remained in the common room with the others.


Genevieve quizzed Lucy for over an hour, asking all sorts of questions about her and were she had come from.  Lucy, in turn, softly asked Genevieve about her own life, learning the girl had emigrated from France with her family when Genevieve was 7, coming to live in Sydney in the western suburbs, her father gaining work in central Sydney in Parramatta with his French firm’s Australian outfit.  Genevieve, like Lucy, was an only child, having been shown talented at the craft from an early encounter with French Gypsies.  When they arrived in Australia, Genevieve’s mother had made careful inquiries about the magic scene in Australia, learning of Zeraxxus and deciding to send Genevieve there when she turned 11.


This was Genevieve’s third Summer at the school, and she dutifully informed Lucy that the school’s posh reputation was truly well deserved, and that Lucy was in the upper class of witchery because of it.  Lucy herself, despite the fact that such a distinction in class seemed suitable to her new friend, was simply grateful to be taught in such a quality establishment.  The reality of the class system, which her mother had often commented was stronger in England, was less noticeable in egalitarian Australia.  Yet for the private schools there was still an edge of the old world’s attitudes.


So tell me Lucy.  Do you have a boyfriend.  Have you had your first kiss?’

Lucy, having gotten more used to the idea of the birds and the bees from her conversations with Minxy the Sprite of Chakola, still blushed a little, yet to receive her first kiss.

Maybe young Jason.  He might be the first for you, oui?’

Lucy just rolled her eyes and looked the other way.

Oh, so you are shy are you?  That does not surprise me.  English girls are always shy from my experience.’

Well I am Aussie as well, you know,’ responded Lucy.  ‘I became a citizen this year.’

Oh, no, you are definitely English.  You have all their mannerisms.  Believe me, I have noticed.  It comes with you when you are born, you know.  Like your birthright.’


Anyway, perhaps Jason is for you, or perhaps not.  I think this Jayden you speak of may be the first for you.  He sounds ideal.’

Jayden.  God no.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love him like a brother.  It’s just that that is really it.  He is more of a brother to me.  I don’t think it could really ever be anything more than that.’

Oh well.  I guess you know best.  Still you have your whole life ahead of you.  You will find someone.  You are quite pretty, for an English girl.  You will find a man.’

Thank you Genevieve,’ replied Lucy, who was starting to sense a bit of an attitude in her French friend, perhaps not surprising given some of the things she had already said.  ‘Well, I don’t know if I should ask, but have you had your first kiss.’

Oh yes,’ replied Genevieve, but said nothing more.  Lucy looked at her intently, but Genevieve simply zipped her lips with her hand in response.

So I guess you know the other students quite well by now,’ continued Lucy.

Oh, Jason is new, as yourself.  But yes, I know all of the others.  They have been here for the past three years since I have been attending.  I am sure you will get to know them and love them, as I do.  Ken, who will be hear tomorrow, is very noble.  Very respectful and polite in what he says and does.  Very excellent mannerisms for a Chinese Australian.’

I suppose that is their culture, though,’ responded Lucy, used to such attitudes from Asian students she went to school with.  ‘Indeed it is, Lucy.  So unlike Aussies in comparison.  Most of them are such an uncultured people, you know.  So rude and aggressive.’

Lucy nodded, now quite used to the brazen language which many Aussie males talked with, especially Barry and David from time to time.  Yet she knew they had a softer side as well, and that such a thing was mostly cultural as her mother often reminded her.

I supposes the French are the masters of culture, hey Genevieve?’

Oh, the English are very cultured as well.  While we French are the people of love, which our language speaks so very well, English people are so very, how can I put it, ‘Traditional’, in how they present themselves.  A very ‘Straight laced’ people, the English.  In a good way, I mean.  Honest, not difficult to understand.  Straightforward, if you know what I mean.  Very European in their own ways, even if slightly set apart.

Lucy nodded, finding Genevieve’s sociological observations quite entertaining, wondering to herself if much of this was Genevieve’s parents talk rather than their precocious daughter’s.

Do you want to go back to France?  One day I mean?’

Oh indeed,’ replied Genevieve.  ‘Once I have finished my training here at Zeraxxus and perhaps finished a degree at the University of Sydney, I will quite possibly move home to France to find work and love.  I know my parent’s have fallen in love with Sydney and the Australian climate, but I miss home.  I do.  Australia is not ultimately for me, I fear.’

I will be sorry to see you go.’

Oh thank you madame-moiselle.  How very thoughtful of you.’



They chatted on a while longer, before Belinda came in to see when Lucy wanted to go to bed.  ‘I’ll be there shortly, Belinda.  I won’t be long.’  Belinda nodded.  ‘Well Genevieve, I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.  Perhaps you can show me around some more.’

Oh, I think you have seen the place already.  But I will give you the official tour if you like.’

Lucy smiled, and left for her own room.

Unlike Genevieve, Belinda was more down-to-earth and easy to relate to than her new French friend.  Belinda explained the basic house rules, and encouraged Lucy to follow them.  ‘Oh don’t mind loud music on the weekends, as the rules allow that, but try to keep it quiet the rest of the time, ok.  I work hard at my studies and need quiet time to concentrate.’

Ok Belinda.  That won’t be a problem with me.’

We should get along fine, you know.  We might be room-mates again next year, so best we get along.  And you can call me Lindey if you like.  It is what I am usually known as.’

Alright Lindey.’

Good.  Well, I am quite tired as it has been a long flight.  Have you had a shower?’

I had one just after I arrived.’

Ok.  Well I will have one shortly, then I would like to get some sleep if you don’t mind.  But we can chat in the morning.’

Lindey excused herself after a while, and Lucy took the opportunity to get into her night garments.


Later on, as Lindey was snoring softly, Lucy stared at the ceiling.  She found, often, staying at a new place was like a refreshing experience – something new which she seemed to instinctively drew new feelings from.  And this place already felt like home.  She was sure, certain really, that she would be right at home within a week.  It certainly seemed like the right decision for her to have made.


*   *   *   *   *


Two weeks into her studies, half way through, Darren Merryweather and his fiancé Carol Davidson came to Zeraxxus to visit Lucy.  Lucy gushed out all the new things she had been learning.

In the first week we went over some of the spells I already knew, as well as being introduced to the basic principles of magic and magic energy creation.  It is what I learned early last year with Shelandragh.  And then we started learning in the second week more on the ethical usage of magic and when it is the right time to use magic and when not, and the more appropriate spells to use in a given situation.  We also learnt about Animistic Spiritology which I found very interesting.’

Yes, they teach that here I have heard,’ commented Darren in response.  ‘A more recent understanding in the wizarding community to become more official than it was in the past.  Seemingly accepted as fact now, rather than as superstition it was once held with.  But it ties directly into the field of spell creation, something which witches had often wondered were the power came from to form their spells.  You see it worked intuitively to begin with, but now we are gaining a better understanding.’

That’s right Darren,’ said Lucy in response.  ‘That is exactly what my teachers are saying.’

And how are you finding your teachers?  How are they compared to Shelandragh.’

Oh, they are as wonderful as Shelandragh.  Miss Modafferi is so knowledgeable in how traditional herbs and minerals and things integrate with spell energy.  While a lot of the time we draw the energy for spell creation form our own auras,’ said Lucy, putting her hands up around her head as if to indicate an aura, ‘Common herbs and minerals and things can be used to draw energy from as well.  The magical ingredients have special energy fields of their own which are used in spell energy creation.’

Yes, I understand the theory,’ replied Darren.  ‘It is similar to much of what I was taught at magic school as well.  But a bit more advanced these days it would seem.’

Were did you go to magic school anyway, Darren?’

A few different places, actually.  I had lessons with both Shelandragh and Alfric growing up, and spent one year hear at Zeraxxus, before going to a school in Sydney’s southern suburbs.  A more modern school.’

Oh,’ said Lucy, thinking on what she had heard about some of the more modern schools.

Peter says some of the modern schools have an edgier look at the dark side of magic these days.  Was it like that when you attended.’

In truth, it was beginning to go that way.  The school was still quite traditional, but was starting to look at ways of broadening its appeal to the emerging marketplace.  Yet, fortunately, for those used to the traditional methodologies, Zeraxxus, much like Mynaxxion in England, follows the traditional teaching methods.’

I think that is what is probably best suited to me,’ said Lucy in response.

Yes, I think so to, Lucy.  But I fear that you are still young and that some of the other schools may appeal to you later on in life.  So be careful in your life choices, young Miss Smith – I encourage you on that.


Later that afternoon Lucy, Genevieve, Carol and Darren were at a nearby Ice Cream parlour, going through its various flavours at Darren’s expense.  Lucy, while she had missed home, had found a new exciting home with the students of Zeraxxus and would be sorry to leave them.  Having Darren show up for the day was still a pleasant surprise, but she was sure she would see him soon enough when she returned home.  Lucy knew Darren worked for the Guild of Wizards and Witches, as an associate member of the board, actively involved in monitoring or policing the work of the wizards and witches in the Australian community.  Technically, the Prime Minister was aware of the work of the Guild in this policing effort, although he never made such information publicly available.  The guild received a small stipend from the government to ensure that magic practices never got out of hand, and Darren was one of the key workers involved in that activity.


Lucy understood that she herself was being groomed for work one day, perhaps in a similar role to what Darren undertook.  From the words Darren had commented to her, working for the guild in his work needed the right type of person.  Not just a wizard or witch talented at the craft – but an upright, honest and decent person – someone with integrity and a sense of ethics, morals and even spiritual awareness.  There were other, almost intangible qualities they looked for – but Lucy had been told often enough that she seemed to fit the bill for what they were looking for in the future and, if not already, seemed to have decided that if she could gain acceptance into a position like Darren’s, then that is what she would aim for in life.  Naturally she would persevere with her civil schooling, but ultimately being a witch is what Lucy Smith found herself, perhaps irrevocably, destined for.


*   *   *   *   *


Like so many other things in life, good things come to an end, and Lucy passed her exams with very high grades, something old Peter commented on.  Before leaving, though, Peter spoke to Lucy on a number of things, especially an ancient Gem which had been lost in the school somewhere over a hundred years ago by a visiting wizard from England.  Known as the ‘Zaxxon’ Ruby, which rumour had it contained magical powers, Peter set a task to each returning student to see if they could find the Ruby the following year.

Believe me Lucy, many a student has been through my entire bookcases on a many an occasion to no avail.  I feel, perhaps, if it is still hidden here it is waiting for the right person to find it.  Maybe that will be you, dear young Miss Smith.  Maybe that will be you.’

Lucy smiled, ever so hopeful for the following year.


When her mother arrived, she greeted her with a big warm kiss and hug, and farewelled her friends.  It had been an eventful four weeks, and she now looked forward to getting back to Chakola and catching up with Madalene, Jayden, Georgia and Michael.



Chapter Seven


In a cell in Trivantes, unknown to his jailers, with the aide of a solitary metal spoon with which he had been digging passionately for 12 months, with the aide of the meagre sparks of spiritual energy he could muster given the magic dampeners in the room, Lucifer Darvanius had finally managed to dig through the metres of rock to the outskirts of the jail.  They were fools, he believed.  His hosts were fools, for they gave him his food under the door which never opened, yet never checked his cell.  And due to this mistake on his captors part, Lucifer had dug.  And now he was free.


Coming to the edge of the island, escaping through the woods, he knew he had time.  But he needed it not.  In a few hours he would have recharged his energy and would cast the relocate spell to his brother’s location in New York.  And one thing screamed furiously in the mind of Lucifer Darvanius – Vengeance on the girl Lucy Smith.


*   *   *   *   *


While Michael Bradley had continued with lessons with Shelandragh in Lucy’s absence, his parent’s had come to the conclusion that such lessons were not for their son, and had withdrawn him from Shelandragh’s tutelage.  Still, all year 6 that year Lucy spent most of her time with Michael, sharing with him her own knowledge and helping him to develop his own talent.  While his parent’s had not strictly forbidden him to practice witchcraft, they had made it known it was not what they truly wanted for their son, despite the way it had started becoming popular in recent years.  So, while they had withdrawn Michael from lessons, Lucy was allowed to share her own gifts with him.


As the year approached its ending, Mr Grimlock spent a Saturday visiting Lucy at her Chakola school-house home.  Lucy found him quite odd on this occasion, wondering if it was just him finding the magical climate of Chakola uncomfortable for some reason, seeing as he had rarely been like this at Shelandragh’s were she usually met him, or in his store in Cooma, to which she now visited practically every day after school whenever she could.


Darren had advised her to be cautious about Mr Grimlock, but he was now living in Canberra with his fiancée Carol, and she didn’t really keep his warning in her mind.  Mr Grimlock was a little bit scary and strange in some ways, but she liked him well enough and he was in the craft like herself, and that meant they had to stick together as far as Lucy was concerned.


Many a day after school Caroline found Lucy and Michael at Mr Grimlock’s magic shop on Vale Street, just down from their school a few hundred metres.  For the small Cooma market he sold all the traditional magical spell-books, as well as tarot cards, gothic posters and figurines, especially of dragons, necklaces, fantasy novels and all the other paganistic mythological items which many other more mainstream stores sold these days.


Grimlock, at the farm that Saturday afternoon in November, spoke generally with Lucy and shared with her how business was generally quite profitable, not that that was a great issue.  When she had asked why money didn’t seem to matter to him that much had had informed her that he had other sources of wealth if he needed them and that the work was simply to pass the time, as it were, while he contemplated other goals in his life.  She had asked him about those other goals in his life, but he had remained strangely quiet, refusing to comment.


She introduced Grimlock to Minxy the Sprite of Chakola, who was her usual self, being very sassy with her latest acquaintance, as she was with everyone.  And then, seemingly satisfied, he had left, and Lucy had gone to her dinner.


As all years do, though, this one too passed, and Lucy again found herself for her second year at the Zeraxxus school of Magic.  There were no new students due this year, but Ken and

Narelle were in their final years, the school not progressing any further with students after 20 years of age.


Caroline did not take her this time as Darren had offered to drive her up, and when they got to the school they were ushered in quickly and quietly.  Old Peter gave her a similar introduction as he had done the previous year, wished her well, and welcomed her back.  And then her studies began again in earnest.


*   *   *   *   *


Well Madame Moiselle?  Shall we then?’

I don’t know Genevieve.  I mean, I have a lot of study to do and nobody has ever found it.  We could be searching all weekend and no luck.  Why waste our time?’

We could be the lucky ones, Lucy.  Go on – live a little.’

Lucy looked at Genevieve slightly frustrated, but in the end shrugged.

Very well.  Were should I start?  Perhaps under the couch?’ she said, the subtlest hint of sarcasm in her voice.

My dear Lucy.  If we are going to find the Zaxxon Ruby, I hardly think it will be under the couch.’

Lucy smiled.  ‘Well it might be.’

Then you go look.’

Well, ok then,’ responded Lucy.  Lucy got to her feet and went to the main living room to move the couch.  Sure enough, it was not underneath it.  However, in moving the couch, she had also moved the old rug, exposing the polished floorboards.  Looking at the floorboards momentarily, just underneath were the couch had been stationed, she noticed something.  The floorboards had a pattern to them, but in the section of the floorboards just under the couch the pattern had been altered ever so slightly.  Perhaps to slightly for anyone to ever really notice unless looking at it directly.  She got down on her knees to look at the pattern.  It seemed as if it was in the shape of a small square.

Genevieve.  Come – bring a knife,’ she yelled.

A knife,’ yelled Genevieve.  ‘Whatever for?’

Trust me.’

Genevieve soon appeared with a sharp knife and handed it to Lucy and, with all the noise, 4 other students, including Ken Chiu, had appeared to see what the fuss was.

Whatever are you doing Lucy,’ exclaimed Ken, now alarmed at the digging motion Lucy was making on the floorboards.  Old man Peter had quietly entered in the room, and was at the corner watching on silently.  He smiled to himself.  She was a bright one, as had been rumoured.  Lucy persisted in her digging around the edges of the design and after a few moments removed the wooden floorboard.  She looked down and, spying a box, placed her hand in the hole to bring forth a small wooden box.  Everyone in the room gasped.  Genevieve chuckled.  ‘That was under the couch, wasn’t it Lucy.’  Lucy just grinned.

Well go on then, Lucy,’ said Ken.  ‘You may as well open it.’

Lucy, triumphantly, opened the box and smiled.  Lifting out her prize she showed to the room a large ruby, hanging on a chain – a pendant.

The Zaxxon Ruby’, gasped Genevieve.  Ken nodded, and the others all shouted ‘well done Lucy’, one of them racing to tell the rest, yelling ‘Lucy has found the Zaxxon Ruby.’

Soon all the students were gazing at the Ruby which Lucy held up triumphantly.  And then Peter came forward and asked to see the Ruby, Lucy obediently handing it to her.

Closely inspecting it, he said, ‘Yes, this is it.  I recognize it from the design in my book.’  He handed it back to her.  ‘Congratulations Lucy.  You have found the Zaxxon Ruby.’

What are its powers,’ Lucy asked Peter.

Nobody really knows, Lucy.  But it is rumoured that when you are in a life threatening situation, the Ruby will help you when you need it the most.  So hold on to it dear young Miss.’

She nodded, ever so happy.


Later that afternoon, after everyone had fawned over the Ruby, Lucy was alone in her room studying.  She glanced at the Ruby on her desk from time to time, gave a little smile, and happily returned to her studies.


*   *   *   *   *


No, Lucifer.  You may NOT kill Lucy.  I stress that again.  You man NOT.  The girl is key in prophecy.  If she dies our claims will fail – that is inevitable.’

Lucifer Darvanius looked with unhidden hostility at his older adopted brother Alexander, yet bit his lip.

Very well, Alexander.  Have it your way.  But I will have my vengeance, you hear me.  I will have my vengeance.’

But you will not kill her.  Now leave me.  I have much to think about.  Oh, and go get Zoldarius out of whatever stronghold the guild has him in.  I am sure you can manage that.’

Lucifer shrugged.  He may as well go and free Zoldarius.  It would give him something to do – kill the time.  Besides, he was still mad at the guild as well and could hopefully knock in some heads in freeing Zoldarius.  It would certainly be a pleasant enough way to spend the next few weeks.


*   *   *   *   *


In England, at Mynaxxion School of magic, Jonathon Smith, Lucy’s cousin, whose parents had been killed by the dread wizard Zoldarius, was looking at the letter in his hands.  So he was not alone – he had family.  An aunt and a cousin in Australia, Caroline and Lucy.  When Zoldarius had killed his parent’s, Jonathon had been alone and had felt it.  But now – now – he had family again.  And so, he adjusted his plans.  He would finish the year at Mynaxxion and, with the funds his parents had left him, go and visit Caroline and Lucy in Australia.  He would see his family and enjoy their company.  It would be a blessing in his life – a blessing young Jonathon was now grateful for.


*   *   *   *   *


In the Shadow Realm, David Smith sat alone, thinking.  His Centaur friend had disappeared and he was alone again.  But he had found what he felt was a vortex – a doorway out of the Shadow Realm.  In his shallow existence he found it difficult to move the knobs on the gate to the vortex, going through what would probably be a million different combinations to unlock the key to open the vortex.  But time was on his side – he had nothing else to do.  And so, every day walking to his water reserve, David returned and went through the combinations on the control panel, carefully remembering and marking off in his mind the combinations already done.  He would be free again, he was sure of it.  He would one day again be free.


*   *   *   *   *


In Chakola Caroline Smith sat reading the letter Jonathon had sent her.  He thanked her greatly for telling him of her existence, and promised to come and see her at the end of the year and meet Lucy.


Caroline regretted, often, separating from Jonathon.  But she had known that the dread power of Zoldarius would have hunted her down if she had made herself known, and so had stayed hidden in Australia, raising Lucy as best as she could.  It had been a sacrifice to go without Jonathon, but one which had to have been made.  But now, with Zoldarius imprisoned by the guild according to what Alfric had shared with Shelandragh, who had told herself, Caroline felt it now safe to speak with Jonathon.  It was now time for her family to be whole, and she was silently thankful things were now working out, despite the loss of her husband.


*   *   *   *   *


After finding the Zaxxon Ruby and being the flavour of the month in Zeraxxus, Lucy was again looking forward to coming home, and starting year 7 – high school.  When she did arrive home her mother gave her the news almost immediately that they would be staying with the Bridges family in Calwell for a short while before getting a place of their own somewere in Canberra.  Caroline had been successful in gaining employment at Australian Quarantine – a department of the Public Service – and they would now be living in Canberra.

But what about Shelandragh?’ Lucy had moaned.

Oh you will see her often enough.  It is just that opportunities like this do not come around very often, and I have to take it.  It is for the best.  You will see that.’

Lucy nodded, reluctantly, but accepted her mother’s decision.


*   *   *   *   *


Gemma Watkins.  How very rude.  Go see the principal at once.’  Gemma Watkins, who Lucy had quickly worked out seemed to be a girl who liked the guys, had been flirting with one of the guys at the back of the class in her Year 7 classroom at Melrose High School in Pearce in Canberra.  And she had just gotten into trouble for it.  Lucy watched her leave, glad it wasn’t her getting in trouble on her first day.  After the interruption, the class continued as usual, and some of the students whispered from time to time, pointing at Lucy and calling her a witch, something which may have been known from her Cooma encounters.  The picture in the paper a few years back must have circulated, she felt, and her cover was now blown.  Perhaps they would avoid her, because of it, which had been the usual problem at St Patrick’s in Cooma.  Still, she would cope as she had always done.


At lunchtime, sitting alone at the canteen, she noticed a small group of girls, including Gemma Watkins, watching her.  Eventually, at the suggestion of one of the girls, the group of three came over to were Lucy was sitting.

So you’re a witch, huh?’ said Gemma.

Lucy just tried to look embarrassed and not answer.

Hey, it’s ok,’ said Frances Jones.  ‘You have to be who you are, and if you are a witch that is ok.  Don’t stress it.  Isn’t that right Justine?’

Justine Atkinson, the conservative Christian in the group of three, did her best not to answer, but did manage an ‘I guess,’ despite not really agreeing with Frances.

Gemma spoke up.  ‘Justine reckoned you would probably be lonely, being the new girl, and that we should be friendly to you.  So you can join our group if you like.  Well, do you want to?’

Lucy, silently very pleased to be making friends again, nodded.  ‘Thanks Gemma.  And thanks Justine.  It would be awesome being friends with you girls.’


And so, friendships which would last forever began that day, and Lucy Smith came to know probably her three best friends in the world, apart from the Bridges children and Michael Bradley, at the beginning of her first year in the capital city of Canberra.


Chapter Eight


So what is it like being a witch?  I mean do you cast spells on people and ride broomsticks?’  Lucy noted the subtlest of smiles on Gemma Watkins face, showing she was not being quite serious, but decided to answer honestly anyway.

Well, yes actually.’

So you do ride a broom,’ commented Justine.

I have done.  But not very often.  Usually it is a dragon that I ride.’

Frances, in total unbelief, commented, ‘Yeh right.  She’s having you on.  Everyone knows witches have no real power.  It is all hocus pocus – tricks and foolery.  I’m right aren’t I Lucy?’ said Frances looking straight at Lucy.

Uh, sure Frances.  Whatever you say.’


The light banter continued that lunchtime, near the end of Lucy’s first week at Melrose high school.  The four of them, now, had almost become a tight-knit group, almost a little clique of their own, to which Lucy was actually quite grateful, not having to endure being the loner.


As the year wore on the four of them became closer still and Lucy found a little haven at school, moreso than she had known in Cooma at St Pats.  When the school formal came around near the end of the year, Lucy was nervous, as she had been asked to the dance by one of the boys in year 8.  While he was cute, she was not looking for anything serious, and so would just dance with him.  Frances had been asked to the dance by Freddie Bulsara who seemed to like her a lot.  He had bucked teeth, and listened to the band ‘Queen’ a heck of a lot, which Frances also seemed to really like.  They seemed suited to each other, so Lucy privately thought.


After the formal, things for the year were being wrapped up after the exams, and Lucy began preparing again for her third year at Zeraxxus.  But before that could occur Lucy was greeted with the most pleasant of surprises from her homeland, England, in the form of a cousin she had never been told of, a certain Jonathon Smith.


Jonathon arrived in Australia near the end of Lucy’s fourth term at Melrose that year and coming home Caroline introduced her to her cousin, David’s brother’s child.


Lucy made all sorts of fuss over Jonathon, telling him everything about her witchcraft, instantly learning that he had been studying at Mynaxxion School of magic in England, and that he, like her, was incredibly gifted in the craft.


They spent a few days at Alfric’s house with Alfric and Darren, and the guild officially welcomed Jonathon to Australia.  Alfric spoke praisingly of Jonathon’s father David, who had been well respected in the Wizarding community, and encouraged Jonathon to follow in his father’s footsteps, something which he pledged to do as faithfully as he possibly could.


Just before starting at Zeraxxus in the New Year, Jonathon left for home, but left Lucy with these words.  ‘You are a Smith, like me Lucy.  And we have a reputation for excellence.  In all that you do, do well.  And remember, we are family.  I will always be there for you.’  After that she hugged him, and her family seemed now complete.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy was now 13 years old and with Genevieve, who had turned 15, they had permission to go out on weekends from Zeraxxus School of magic, as long as Lucy was in company with  Genevieve.  They had been invited by a student, Jack Black, from one of the more modernish schools of wizardry, to one of the most old fashioned of witchcraft activities – a séance.


Four of them, Jack, his girlfriend Kirsty, Lucy and Genevieve were in the basement of Jack’s parent’s home in Sutherland in Sydney’s east.  Jack welcomed them, giving them Cola and some chips, and then they retired to the basement, lit the candles and got things under way.


Who are we calling on,’ asked Genevieve naively.

You’ll see,’ responded Jack.


The séance got under way and Jack cast certain binding spells on the pentagram circle, with candles at each corner, to ensure the dark spirits which he intended summoning did not escape that boundary.


Jack began.  ‘I call upon you, lord of darkness.  I call upon you, ancient angel of dread.  I call on you, dark lord Saruviel.  Answer my call.’

Lucy instantly shuddered at that name being mentioned, but said nothing.

Instantly a howling began in the ether of the room – as if a shrieking moan from the pits of hell – and a dark image, cloaked in black, appeared before them.  It spoke.

A child?  A child summons me?  When I find you child, you best beware.  You will know my wrath.  Now, cancel the summoning at once, or you will dearly regret it.’

Jack continued unperturbed.  ‘Dark lord Saruviel – we four command that you do our bidding,’ said Jack, indicating those present.

The figure cloaked in darkness looked at the four students and then, noticing Lucy, paid particular attention to her.

Lucy shuddered, with the firelit eyes staring, almost, into her very heart, her very soul, reading her most intimate of secret thoughts.  It spoke again.  ‘You.  You are Lucy Smith.  You are Lucy Smith are you not?’  Lucy remained silent.  It spoke again.  ‘I will meet you, Lucy, one day.  I will meet you and we will have words.  And I will speak to you of the power of darkness – a power, I ensure you, you will find most comforting.  Most comforting indeed.’  And then the voice stopped, and the image was gone, but not before lashing out a short spark of lightning which caught on Jack’s hair, singeing it instantly.

Jack stamped it out and, looking at the group, and especially Lucy, all he could say was, ‘Fugg.’





Later that night, Lucy had nightmares.  Dragons – horrible black dragons – were crawling all over her, luring her, tempting her, promising her all sorts of rewards if, and only if, she would accept their offers, accept their temptations, and come to the darkness.  If she did, so they promised, if she did, the world would belong to her.  Yet Lucy, as befitted a Smith, refused their temptations and, as the night wore on, the nightmares departed, and Lucy awoke in a cold sweat.  She drank some water from the glass beside her bed and sitting up, looking through the window at the full moon, promised herself to never again go to such a séance with Mr Jack Black.  Not even if her life depended on it.


*   *   *   *   *


Remember Lucifer, do not harm her.  And Zoldarius, when you have finished with your temptations and spells, leave her be.  Ultimately she must make the decision to come of her own thoughts.  So let your words be as cunning and as tempting as possible.  Now begone.’

With those words said, Lucifer Darvanius and the Wizard Zoldarius, just freed from a guild prison, left the offices of Alexander Darvanius II.  Brax spoke up.

Shall I go with them?  Keep an eye on them.’

No.  As sick as they both are, I trust them to handle this properly.  They may be decrepit servants, but they usually handle their responsibilities.’  Brax nodded, saying nothing.

Leave me Brax.  I have things to think upon.’  Brax left the office of his master, Alexander Darvanius II, and headed off for a drink.


Alexander sat at his desk, contemplating Lucy Smith.  Prophecy – ancient Catholic prophecy – taught him something.  One day, when Lucy confronted himself, she would make a choice on his own destiny when confronted by Destiny herself.  She would be given certain options and Lucy – this young child – would choose the fate of the dark lord.  And so all he could hope to do was tempt her and lead her to the dark side.  Otherwise, knowing the potential fate in store for him, woe and thunder would only come for the dark lord Saruviel.


*   *   *   *   *


Alright Lucy.  Can you make the flame rise 1 metre.  And be precise.’  Lucy, thinking on Peter’s words, concentrated on the fireball rising from the fireplace in the back yard of the school of magic.  She was being tested today, and handling the element of fire was in her exam.  She spoke some words silently, concentrated, and the flame of fire in the form of a ball, rose from were it was about 1 metre right upwards.  Peter placed a tick on a box on his paper, and thought about giving her a challenge for extra points.  ‘Ok, Lucy.  You will have to be imaginative for this.  Can you divide the fireballs into 7 separate fireballs, and then make the dance in a circle.  It will be very tough, but lets see if you can do it.  This is for bonus points.’  Lucy looked at Peter, a little perplexed, but returned to the task.  She thought on an appropriate spell wording, concentrated, and spoke ‘Magmas Separatus Septarius.’  Instantly the fireball separated into 7 smaller fireballs.  Peter gave a little tick.  ‘Now see if you can make them dance in a circle.’  Lucy thought on that, and decided to ask Peter if he would mind her using an English spell.  ‘Can I use English?’

As long as it works.’

And so she pointed her wand at the fireballs and yelled ‘Merry-go-round’.  At once the fireballs started travelling in a circle, going up and down as if on a merry-go-round, and music from a fair started playing.  Peter looked on and smiled.  She had earned her bonus points.


Looking on from the back window, Genevieve smiled at the sight of the fireballs doing a merry-go-round.  That was just like the talented Lucy.


Lucy again passed her exams that year, this time with flying colours.  She was being deemed a young prodigy by Peter for her creative imagination and the other students all praised her saying ‘well done Lucy’.  Life in the school of magic, for Lucy Smith, was proving wonderful indeed.


*   *   *   *   *


During year 8 at Melrose High, Lucy resumed her friendship with Gemma, Justine and Francine and spoke of her time at Zeraxxus, much to the doubts of Francine who seemingly dismissed it as a fantasy from Lucy’s imagination.  Eventually Frances challenged Lucy to prove she really was a witch and do something magical.  While she was eating an apple, Lucy pointed her wand to Frances apple and said ‘Grow’.  The apple quickly tripled in size in front of the girls and Frances said ‘Enough.  Ok I believe you.  Bloody heck.’  All the girls were slightly shocked at seeing such an open display of magic, and none doubted the talents of young Miss Lucy Smith ever again.


*   *   *   *   *


Grimlock sat in his apartment, finishing off the fried steak for his two guests, Lucifer Darvanius and Zoldarius.  Zoldarius rarely spoke, but usually just leered, and Grimlock served him is steak and fried tomatoes without a word.


So what do you plan on doing, Lucifer,’ asked Grimlock.  ‘The master has sent Zoldarius to tempt the white witch.  But I will have my fun first.’

And what exactly type of fun is that, dare I ask it.’

Ah.  Wait and see.  It will spoil all the fun, otherwise.’

Yes, I could imagine.  Well Mr Merryweather is having his wedding up in Canberra this weekend.  Perhaps that might be an opportunity to speak to young Lucy and do what it is you will do.’  Zoldarius nodded, taking in that information.

Lucifer spoke, ‘Sounds like the perfect opportunity.  Were is the wedding?’

A Church in Gowrie in Tuggeranong.  I am sure you will find it.’

Lucifer skewered the steak, taking a bite.  ‘And I am sure I will find young Lucy.  You can count on that.’  And then he took another bite.


*   *   *   *   *


So you are happy enough being a bridesmaid together with Madalene?’ asked Darren to Lucy.  ‘I would be honoured Darren.  And thanks for choosing Madalene.  She is really grateful, believe me.  ‘Carol didn’t really have anyone in the family who was suitable for the job, and Madalene is such a close friend of yours I felt her a suitable choice.  Carol will see you tomorrow with the bridesmaid dresses.  Now the wedding is, of course, at Corpus Christi in Gowrie.  Carol was brought up a Catholic, and that is the church in Canberra she attends, so it was the ideal choice.  Now you have all the details, and I look forward to seeing you there.  I’ll be off now, but I will see you at the wedding.’

Sure thing, Darren.  And remember, break a leg.’

Thanks, Luce.  Thanks so much for being a kind friend.’  He gave her a hug, and left Caroline and Lucy’s house, headed home.


Lucy had known Darren Merryweather for a while now and really looked forward to his wedding.  He had been such a close friend and mentor that she valued him highly and had been greatly honoured when Carol had chosen her to be one of her bridesmaids.  It would be a wonderful wedding, and she was ever so nervous with anticipation.  It would be a weekend, she felt, to never forget.  A weekend to remember for all time.



Chapter Nine


Lucy was nervous – ever so nervous.  The wedding was set to begin in about 30 minutes, and she was in the presbytery opposite the church with her mother and Madalene’s extended family whom Darren had invited.  Also there were Darren’s parents and 2 sisters from Sydney with their husbands and children, and the whole Davidson entourage of Carol’s family.  It was a truly hectic time.


Carol was at home with her mother and sister, waiting on the limousine.  It had been decided for Madalene and Lucy to meet Carol at the church, and then the service would begin.


Madalene looked nervous and said to Lucy, ‘I’m so nervous I could pee.’

Well don’t ok.’

Maybe you should cast a spell on me just in case.’

I don’t think I know one for that,’ replied Lucy.

Oh well.’



Beside the church, in Grimlock’s ratty old Holden Commodore, Grimlock, Lucifer and Zoldarius were watching on intently, the dark glass of the car windows shielding people from knowing their identities.  Grimlock spotted the two girls, Lucy and Madalene, come out the front of the Presbytery to talk, and then Madalene went back inside, leaving Lucy all alone.  She seemed to be praying.


Ok Lucifer.  I will talk with her first, and then do what you will.’

Grimlock got out of the car and approached Lucy.  Lucy looked startled.  ‘Grimlock.  What are you doing here?  Did Darren invite you?’

Grimlock spoke.  ‘I have come to ask you a question Lucy.  A most important question.  Your life may depend on your answer.’

Whatever do you mean?’ responded Lucy, perplexed.

The darkness.  The power of the Black Dragons.  The power of Saruviel.  Have you decided to give yourself over to these powers – have you made the right decision, young Miss Lucy Smith.’

Lucy stared at Grimlock and just then all the many warnings Darren had given her about him hit home.  It was true – he was part of the power of darkness.

I trusted you Grimlock.  I trusted you.  And you are not good at all.  You are evil.  Go away, now.  Go away.  I am going to tell Darren.’

Probably not,’ spoke a voice.  Lucy jumped.  It was the voice – that voice – which had confronted her so savagely at the Newmerella River.  The one and only voice of the dread Lucifer.  She turned to see her nemesis standing a few metres from her, a dread look on his face.  He began speaking.

Hello Miss Smith.  I haven’t forgotten our last encounter, you know.  Believe me on that.  And I don’t think you will ever forget this one.’

Be quick about what you are doing,’ said Grimlock.

Lucy was cornered, but before she could do anything Lucifer had come forward, grabbed her, and put his hand on her mouth.  And then, dragging her across the road, to the Fadden Pines Park, down to the narrow valley like section with nobody about, Lucifer started disrobing Lucy from her expensive bridesmaid dress.  She struggled.  God knows she struggled, as she told herself reassuringly many times years later, but he was too strong.  And the viscious and vile Lucifer Darvanius proceeded to rape Lucy Smith, having his final and satisfying evil vengeance.


When he had finished Lucy was sobbing silently.  Her virginity had gone, and in the most horrible of ways.  And then Lucifer had left.


She lay there on the grass, sobbing for a few minutes, before another voice spoke.  ‘Greetings Miss Smith.  I knew your father.  I cast him into the shadow realm, and killed your uncle.  I, however I fear I can no longer call you fair maiden, but I fair maiden am Zoldarius.  And I have come to make you an offer.  Serve me – serve the power of darkness – or I will cast your soul into the shadow realm.  While your body will inhabit this earth, you will be as if a living zombie, unable to have any real life.  Oh, you will think and act normally most of the time, but it will be a half life.  A shadow life without your soul.’

All Lucy could manage in response was a ‘Go to Hell.’  She reached inside her dress to try and bring forth her wand, but instantly a spell was cast on her, denying her of her powers.  And she felt completely helpless.


Fear not, Miss Smith.  Your powers are useless.  I have cast a spell on you negating all of your spiritual energy.  You are at my leisure.  Now, tell me again of your answer.’


Lucy struggled up and just then remembered something Peter had said.  When she needed it the most, it would help.  And she was wearing it around her neck for the wedding.  She grasped the Ruby, pointed her wand, and yelled ‘Relocate!’  And just as suddenly Zoldarius was gone, back to wherever he had come from.


She got to her feet and looked for Lucifer and Grimlock, but they had already gone.  Perhaps she had given them the answer they needed to hear.


She had stopped her sobbing.  But the pain was in her heart.  Yet she remembered words of encouragement often spoken to her and faced something.  ‘What is done is done, and can’t be undone.’  And so she tidied herself up, and walked back to the presbytery.


Inside Madalene looked at her, annoyed.  ‘Lucy.  What a state your dress is in.  Come quickly, and I will fix it up.  We are beginning shortly.’  Lucy obediently came over to Madalene, who patted of the grass clippings, and tidied her up.  After a few minutes of careful grooming she looked alright again, and Brigid said she would be fine.

Whatever happened to you?’ asked Madalene.  Lucy just looked at her, frozen.  She couldn’t say.  She wouldn’t say.  She was too embarrassed.  For something which had been in no way her fault, she was too embarrassed.  And she was to strong a person – to strong in character – for this to affect the wedding.  No, she would go through her duties, and let the incident be forgotten.  But she would never forget Lucifer.  She would never forget him.


*   *   *   *   *


It was later on, down in Bunyan, the following week, that Lucy was at Shelandragh’s.  And she was in the lounge room and began crying.  Shelandragh asked her whatever the matter could be, and Lucy spoke of the rape.  Shelandragh took her, cradling her in her arms, and the two sobbed silently.  And Shelandragh, calling on her powers, said ‘Forget Lucy.  Forget.  Forget.’  And for a number of years after that Lucy Smith did forget her rape at the hands of Lucifer.  She did forget the vengeance he had shown her.


But over time, she recalled the incident, with less dramatic horror now, but she knew, one day, she would again confront Lucifer.  And it would be a day of reckoning.  A day in which issues between Lucy Smith and Lucifer Darvanius would be resolved once and for all.



'The Golden Sovereigns'




David Smith looked at the vortex before him.  He had spent much of the past few years travelling throughout the shadow realm, drinking water from dank creeks and eating grass and the occasional leafy tree.  Fruit was rare and prized highly.  He’d even eaten his dead centaur friend when it had died from starvation, managing to find some deadwood and flint and lighting a fire to cook him.  But, as ever now, he was hungry.


Strangely enough, there was a sense of night and day in the shadow realm – almost a distant reflection of his home of earth.  A distant, pale reflection.  The shadow world was, in every sense, a shadow of the greater reality.  It was lesser, paler, dimmer and greyer.  Life had a surreal quality to it and it was if he didn’t exist in some way.  But every night, facing the cold turf for his sleeping partner, he knew he did exist.  And he knew he had to find a way out.


And then, last night, he had found the vortex - a two-storied building full of doors with apparent mirrors on them and strange knobs next to each door.  He had called it a vortex because he believed, somehow, the doors would transport you somewere if you could just use the knobs somehow.  And he had now spent all day trying to use the various doors, still to no avail.  Regardless, he would persevere, as he now had somewere useful to sleep and potentially wait for another lost soul to find him.


For David Smith life went on in the Shadow Realm and, with one last thought of his daughter Lucy, he returned to the knob he had been spinning.



Chapter One


Lucy ran.  She ran and ran and ran.  But no matter how fast she ran she couldn’t escape the creature’s clutches.  Deatheaters – all around her.  Taunting her, mocking her, deriding her.  And then, as they pushed and harassed her towards the place they wanted, her standing in a clearing, the death eaters slithered back into the shadowy trees.  She stood, in the middle of a grim, dark and haunting forest.  She peered over her back cautiously, sensing that while the Deatheaters had disappeared into the shadows, they were still there, silently watching her, studying her every move.  She turned frontwards.  There before her, seemingly having come out of the mist, stood a tabernacle.  A grey, marble tabernacle, with what looked like fresh blood dripping from it.  And then, the stench suddenly hitting her nose, she looked over to the side of the tabernacle and saw lifeless corpses, ones which had breathed their last breaths, all offered in a sacrifice to darkness and evil.  And right then, a figure appeared.  A figure appeared behind the tabernacle, and it looked at her and uttered fowl words.  ‘Lucy,’ it said, with the vilest of voices, yet with an allure of darkness and temptation which only the most evil of tempting spirits could summon.  ‘Lucy,’ it repeated again.  ‘Come to your new master.  For he beckons you.’  Just then Grimlock appeared next to the man, and spoke.  ‘She cannot yet come, master Zoldarius.  While she is the final blood sacrifice to renew you to life completely again, she is bound to our lord and master Darvanius until the final day of dark prophecy.  Until that day comes and passes you simply may not slay her.  Her death will not help you, as the contract with the higher powers will be deemed null and void and the angels will have all the say then.’  Zoldarius looked despisingly at the cretinous Grimlock, yet seemingly acknowledged the point.  The lord of evil turned to Lucy Smith, smiled the sickest of smiles possible at her, and spoke final words.  ‘Your cousin destroyed me Lucy.  He destroyed my precious Horcruxes and vanquished me with the simplest of spells that day at Mynaxxion.  But his fate awaits, Lucy Smith.  And one day we will meet again.  We will meet again and I will have my wicked pleasure with you, as I had with your father David.  On that you can count assured.  Now begone.’  As if in response to those words, the Deatheaters emerged from there hiding places, taunted Lucy yet again, and drove her back through the darkened forest.


Again she ran.  She ran and ran and ran.  And then, coming to a cliff, she turned to look as the Deatheaters approached.  And then, her foot stumbling on the ledge, she fell, and racing to meet her doom, put up her hands to her face and then, just as suddenly……


.Lucy awoke, screaming.  Yelling and crying, which brought Shelandragh from the next room racing in.  She looked at Lucy alarmed.  Lucy was drenched with sweat, soaking in her nightgowns and trembling.  Shelandragh came over to her and cradled her in her arms, rocking her to calm her down.  And then Lucy began relating the dream, Shelandragh listening intently.


Later on, Lucy sitting with a blanket wrapped around her, having just showered, Shelandragh handed her a hot cup of tea.  It was early in Bunyan, just after 5, and the chill of winter departing was still in the air, but the beckoning of spring seemed to bring a gladdening note to the early cockerel’s crows.  Lucy seemed to have recovered somewhat from her nightmare and, while Shelandragh was indeed watching her closely, it was from the corner of her eye to try and not bring attention to the dream.  Eventually Lucy, finishing off her tea, put off the blanket and stood up.  ‘I am going to have to deal with things like this now, aren’t I Shelandragh.  After Lucifer my life will never really be the same again, will it?’  Shelandragh looked consolingly at her young protégé.  ‘Heaven’s above Lucy.  You really do know how to ask difficult questions.’  But, despite her own nervousness, Shelandragh softened.  She came and stood next to Lucy, wrapped her arms around and her, and spoke.  ‘Life never will be the same again, Lucy.  Never again.  We are, it seems, in a war.  A dreadful and terrible war with evil.  Alfric spoke to me last week.  He spoke to me about events in England at Mynaxxion.  I know you saw Jonathon up at Zeraxxus but he really told you very little of what he has been dealing with, from what you told me.  Jonathon was chosen from his youth, dear Lucy.  And in a strange way, so were you.  Both of you are special children – children of destiny.  For you see, heaven and hell have an ancient agreement.  As ancient as the sands of time.  And I think it is time for you to be taught it, as it was once taught me by a most special angel.  In the beginning, long ago, the eternal creator created a home for himself.  And funnily enough that place was called that very thing.  ‘Home.’  In ‘Home’ God brought to be his firstborn son, the Angelic being with many names, mainly known as ‘Metatron.’  After Metatron came the two words – ‘Logos’ and ‘Memra’ – male and female.  Everything was pleasant at home for a long time, but they grew lonely, anxious to be with more people.  And so God created a new realm.  A brand new realm for them to watch over.  And that realm was called ‘Heaven.’  In heaven there were 70 children – 35 males and 35 females.  Each of them was special and beloved of God.  Now one day in heaven God gave each of the children of heaven a list.  A list with 70 particular roles.  70 most important and particular roles.  Each of the children of heaven was to pick one of the roles and, from that point onwards, their destiny would beckon.  There were many important roles, such as the Dreamlord, the author, which the firstborn ‘Adam’ chose, and of course, ‘Destiny’ herself.  The role of Destiny was chosen by Adam’s twin sister, ‘Eve’.  It is ‘Destiny’ which leads us onwards to the final day of glory in which all the realms of existence will unite.  And it is our destiny which, ultimately, we must follow.  However, to thwart the children of destiny one particular role was given power.  Great and terrible power.  The power of the role of ‘The Devil’.  One particular child of heaven, ‘Samael’, chose this role for himself.  And in that role he had great delight.  But, as became apparent after everyone had chosen their role, and Samael had begun his devilish work, harmony had ceased in heaven and chaos had begun.  There was ongoing tension between the Devil and the other children of heaven, with many hearts broken by his fowl deeds.  And when the announcement came that the new realm of the first Angels was to come to be, the Realm of Infinity, and that Samael would be permitted to wreak havoc over them as well, the children of God decided on a contract with Samael.  A most definite and particular contract.  And that contract involved one of the children of heaven in particular.  One most familiar and important of all of God’s children in her own particular way.’  ‘Who was that child?’ asked Lucy, anxiously.  Shelandragh continued.  ‘The contract was this:  If this particular child, in her day of destiny with one of the particular angels of the realm which would be known as the ‘Realm of Eternity’ one particular angel called ‘Saruviel’ – if this child in her day of destiny with the dread Saruviel made one key decision – one phenomenally and most important key decision, the contract gave the power to the children of heaven and Samael would have to repent of his wickedness and atone for all his sins.’  ‘And if not successful,’ asked Lucy.  ‘Then the 70 children of Heaven would give themselves up to the service of Samael for One Billion years.  A billion years in which he could wreak as much havoc and chaos as he liked, the children voluntarily serving him.’  Lucy looked alarmed.  All of this was just a bit too much to take in for a fourteen year old.  ‘Who was the child of heaven, Shelandragh?’  Shelandragh steadied herself.  ‘It was the last of them all, dear young Lucy.  The 70th.  A female.  A female who had chosen a role very familiar to both you and I.  The role of the ‘Witch.’  Lucy shuddered.  She instantly felt compassion and alarm for the child of heaven who had been chosen for such a daunting destiny.  And then she noticed Shelandragh looking at her, almost wanting to say something more, but instantly thinking better of it.  ‘Not now,’ Shelandragh told herself.  ‘Not now, is still to young.’  And so she kept silent about the identity of that child of heaven.  The very identity of the 70th of the children of Heaven.’


*   *   *   *   *


That was very brave of you Ron.  Well done.’  Ron nodded, happy at Luna’s comment.  While he was far from home, stuck in China with Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom, Ron was pleased as well.  His services had been paid for handsomely by the Chinese village, now satisfied they would have no more problems with a particular dragon that had been, occasionally, eating one of the female villagers as dragons were wont to do.  When an ambassador from the village had left China, travelling the long journey by train to England, seeking the talents of the famous friend of Jonathon Smiths, the illustrious Ron Weasley, who had become famous in the village for his quidditch skills, which the local village witch showed on videotape to a number of the villagers it had been deemed that Ron had the agility necessary to rid them of the malevolent dragon.  Ron, when contacted by a cousin of ‘Cho’s’ who lived in China, had decided that he needed help and, with the ample funds given to him by the village, had asked Hermione and Luna to accompany him and help him when and were they could.


Ron had just dismounted his broomstick, having cast a number of spells on the dragon that had just appeared that morning over the village, with Luna and Hermione guarding the village at the gates at each end, doing their best to protect the villagers.  Cho’s cousin, Tan, had also helped out and with the three of them guarding the village, Ron had taken to the skies.  All of his Quidditch skills had been put to the test and then, suddenly, the dragon was in front of him, letting out a flame of fire.  It had spoken to his mind, in the way telepathic dragons had an ability to, and somehow Ron had understood.  It had called him a puny human, threatening to kill him if he didn’t move out of the way, but Ron had bravely stood his ground.  The dragon had made various darts and lunges trying to avoid the Weasely boy and attack the village, but Ron had always risen up in front of the dragon’s face.  And then he had cast the spell ‘Hydros Conflagius’ as soon as the dragon breathed out fire again, and a huge torrent of water emerged from his wand and extinguished the dragons breath.  When it tried breathing fire again, all that came out was a wheezing welching sound.  Sensing defeat, the dragon had departed, and Ron had emerged triumphant.


But what are we going to do now, Ron,’ asked Luna earnestly.  ‘Surely the dragon will come back tomorrow or later in the week.  It must be still hungry.’  They had already discussed this issue and Ron, with the approval of the villagers, had decided that the only way to rid themselves of the menace would be to tame the dragon somehow, as they really did not want to kill it.  Hermione approached and spoke.  ‘Ron, we have to follow it back to its nest.  And then we have to try the spell we have been planning.  Once that fire is no longer a threat the dragon can use, Tan and the other villagers will be able to defend the village against its threat.  ‘Expeliarmus Magmas’ it is then,’ said Ron, ready to put the new spell into action.


The dragon was in the distance, flying back to the mountain range, and the two witches and one wizard mounted their broomsticks and began chase.  Luna shouted, ‘Don’t get too close.  Don’t let it see us.  We want to see were its cave is and then enter by stealth.  If it knows we are following, it may lead us on a merry chase.’  Ron nodded at Luna’s sensible words.  Neville Longbottom was left in the village, in his bed were he had come down with boils on his skin.  He was in no position to help them, but silently Ron wished Neville was with them, as it would have made their job easier.


The dragon flew on ahead and as best as the trio could fathom never once looked behind.  It flew over the lush landscape, climbing slowly and gradually as the mountain ranges below escalated into the summits of China’s mountainous glory.  Soon, though, it dove down and the three of them spied it entering a small chasm, disappearing out of sight.


Ron signalled for them to descend and shortly they landed at the entrance of the chasm, dismounting their broomsticks.

What would Jonathon do,’ Ron thought to himself.  ‘Now don’t go asking what Jonathon would do,’ said Hermione.  ‘It is up to us.’  ‘What are you, a mindreader?’ asked Ron, which made Hermione give him a funny look.


The three of them slowly, carefully, and anxiously, hearts racing, entered the cave, treading down carefully into the dragon’s lair.  All along the entrance were human bones scattered here and there, some with rotting flesh on them.  ‘Ooh,’ said Luna, pinching her nose at the stench, but the others ignored it.  They came to a corner, and Ron looked nervous.  ‘Go ahead,’ whispered Hermione.  Luna nodded, encouraging him.  Carefully, heart beating, Ron peered around the corner.  There was the dragon, back turned to him, sitting on its nest, now at rest.  Ron turned to his compatriots.  ‘Its back is turned to us.’  Hermione nodded and motioned with her wand for him to proceed.  It was now or never Ron thought to himself.  The three of them came around the corner, carefully, silently, and then stood a number of yards in front of the dragon’s back.  Just then Ron stood on a bone which rattled and the Dragon veered around to face them.  It stood back on its legs, opened its mouth and tried to breathe flame, but just wheezed again, much to the trio’s relief.  Ron looked at Luna and Hermione.  ‘Ready?  Wait for it to try and breathe flame again.’


The dragon stared at them, and rose up on its back feet.  Again it opened its mouth to try and breath flames when the three of them pointed their wands and said together, ‘Expeliarmus Magmas’.  Jolts of icy electricity came forth from each of their wands, and struck the Dragon in its mouth.  The dragon recoiled, coughed and spluttered somewhat, and tried again to breathe flames at them.  But this time there was not even a spark.  ‘I think it has worked,’ said Hermione.  ‘Now lets get the hell out of here,’ yelled Ron.


As quickly as they had entered, the three left the cave, the dragon still spluttering and wheezing, and once outside the cave, took to their broomsticks and returned to the village.


Later on, the council reached a conclusion.  It appeared the spell had probably worked, from what Ron, Luna and Hermione had said, so they decided that unless the dragon breathed fire on them again, the three of them were now fulfilled in their obligations and payment had been settled.  If the problem rose again, though, they would have to return and try something else.


That night, Neville still wincing over his boils, but relieved that two of them had now burst, joined them as they arrived at the train station of the village to take the long journey back across Asia to France and then home to England.  Cho’s cousin Tan had thanked them tirelessly, and as Ron sat in his coach, the countryside passing them by, he reflected on one of his first major job’s since graduating from Mynaxxion.  The life of a wizard, it would seem, would have its fill of adventure, certainly something to often write home about.  He looked over at Hermione who was casually chatting with Luna.  She noticed his look, smiled a little, and turned back to Luna.  And as Ron contemplated life as a maturing wizard, the night passed by, a dragon many miles behind them still wheezing and spluttering.



Chapter Two


Jonathon Smith trod the well worn staircase and knocked on the doorway.  He had travelled a long way from his current home, but was anxious to discuss an issue.  An issue which had caused Dobbledax some concern, an issue which Jonathon had felt aware of but out of his love for Dobbledax had not wished to say anything.  Jonathon knocked on the door, and Dobbledax’s voice hailed him to enter.  Jonathon entered and found Dobbledax sitting near the fireplace of the ancient office, just putting down a tome of magic.  ‘Jonathon,’ said Dobbledax softly.  ‘Jonathon.  Come in, sit.  Sit.’  Jonathon nodded at his teacher and looking around the familiar room, noting the phoenix happily snoozing, sat down opposite Dobbledax.  ‘Well, Jonathon Smith.  You are looking well.’  ‘Thanks, sir,’ responded Jonathon.  ‘And you too.  You never really change Dobbledax.  You never really change.’  ‘Oh, I change Jonathon.  All of us change, over the years.  You know how it is.  I think dying brought more changes than anything else.  But that was only temporary, as you know.  Now Jonathon, how are you finding your new life?  And how is Ginny Weasely?  I understand you two are now engaged?’  Jonathon nodded, unsurprised the news had spread to Mynaxxion.  ‘Ginny is well, Albus.  Very well.  We have not set a date for the wedding, but you will be the first to know.’  Dobbledax smiled lovingly at his young protégé, pleased that after the years of testing Jonathon was coming into himself.  He was becoming a man.  ‘Albus, I know you have invited me here for a reason.  And I think, from what you said in your letter, I already know.  And I just want to say its ok.  I don’t think you need worry yourself about it.’  Dobbledax steadily looked at Jonathon, a concerned wrinkle had appeared on his forehead and he made as if to speak, but then left off and went silent.  ‘And others, do you think they are aware?’  ‘I would think Mrs McGonagall, after all this time, quite likely knows professor.  I don’t think you would have hidden it from her.’  ‘Probably not,’ said Dobbledax.  ‘And the students?’  ‘Its different now, professor.  Times have changed.  You probably know that better than anyone.  It wasn’t that long ago that they put people like us in prison or dumped us under water to test wether we really were magical folk or not.  But muggledom is growing up – slowly, mind you.  Albeit slowly.  But they are losing their hatred for people who are different to themselves.’  Dobbledax nodded.  Jonathon’s words spoke wisdom beyond his years.  ‘And you don’t have a problem with it, Jonathon?’  ‘Don’t get me wrong Professor.  I like girls.  I mean I really like girls.  And while your ways and, well, your love is your own heart, it could not really be for me.  But I respect you Professor.  Everyone does and I don’t really think that what you could say on the issue of your, you know, choices, could really, in the end, offend the wizarding community.  I really don’t think that at all.’  ‘Yes, you are right.  Of course you are right.  It is just I had feared.  For so long I have lived with this, at times thinking myself different.  Oh, I had always known magic set me apart.  But it is a different world, the muggle world.  They are the society out there in the real world which we have never really truly been part of.  And of course, their religion often condemns us for not being part of them.’  Jonathon nodded, knowingly.  ‘Well the Weasely’s celebrate Christmas, Professor.  And they tell me that in their church which they go to once a year that things have changed a lot.  It is not like it was.  The hatred is gone.  The bigotry of being different is gone.’  ‘But not in all of them, Jonathon.  Not in all of them.’  ‘No, professor.  No.  I do know what you mean.’  Dobbledax got to his feet, stretched somewhat, and looked quietly relieved.  He had gotten something off of his chest – something which had bothered him for quite some time, and was relieved to find in his young student a heart and friend which bore no condemnation but only love and understanding.  And Albus Dobbledax was silently relieved and pleased because of it.


Later, after they had partaken of a pint each of butter beer, Jonathon noticed, after he had been talking by himself for some time, staring into the fireplace, that Dobbledax had gone off to sleep.  Quietly, so not as to disturb him, he placed a blanket onto his beloved professor, and wishing him good night, departed.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy looked at herself in the mirror, noticing that her breasts were now really starting to grow as puberty was progressing.  At fourteen she was something of a young lady and soon, when the holidays were over, she would be back in Melrose High school with her new friends Gemma, Justine and Francine, to face year 9 in her studies.  She had known, recently, that she must have fallen on her fanny and had an accident because from what she knew of female anatomy in her feminine region something had broken, which may have suggested she wasn’t a virgin.  But of course, she was a virgin, wasn’t she.  And she kept telling herself that, that she was a pure and innocent virgin, ready for her first man.  Yet, despite her telling herself this over and over again, something at that back of her mind was nagging her.  Something – an indescribable horror – which had somehow been put out of her mind someway:  an indescribable horror which suggested to her in the back of her nightmares that she wasn’t the purest vessel that she claimed to be.  She ignored the voices, as best she could – but still she worried.  Still she was concerned that, in some way, the title of fair maiden mightn’t belong to her.  But she brushed aside those thoughts as she stared at herself naked, and slowly started dressing.


This summer holidays she was staying with Shelandragh in Bunyan, just north of Cooma and about 90 kilometres south of Canberra, Australia’s capital city.  Shelandragh May was her teacher in the ways of witchery, as she had been for a number of years now.  Shelandragh, after her young lessons from various eccentric Australian witches all over the continent, had grabbed hold of Lucy instantly upon them settling in Chakola, just up the road from Bunyan, and the two of them had quickly formed a strong relationship of trust, respect and love.  So much so that Lucy really did view Shelandragh May as something of a grandmotherly figure, so close had their relationship become.  But, in truth, perhaps that was not that surprising.  The witch and wizarding community in Australia, held together by a strong guild run by the ministry of magic, was close-knit.  They had to be.  To survive in a world which had once persecuted their kind strongly, witches needed to know each other and have safe communities.  Shelandragh once spoke of a place called ‘Daigon Alley’ in London, a refuge for the wizarding community were a whole host of magic related businesses congregated together.  It was cut off, hidden and out of sight from the rest of London, as the community of wizards and witches for so long had been.  But this was necessary, so Shelandragh taught Lucy.  Not everyone in the ‘Muggle’ world was as sensitive to witches as people like the Bridges family of Jayden, Madalene and Georgia and their parents were.  It was still, in some places, hostility which greeted them instead of friendship.  But such was the life of being different, such was the life of being a witch, and so be it Shelandragh had often told her.


Lucy, are you finished dressing?  We must get going.  We promised Michael we would be there at 6, and we are always running late.  And you know how he enjoys spending his time with us.’

Coming,’ yelled Lucy, just placing on her black shoes.  She came into the living room and Shelandragh looked her over.  ‘My, we do look smart, don’t we?  Could I ask, are we wanting to make a good impression with Mr Bradley?’  Lucy smirked.  ‘Michael Bradley!  Heaven’s above Shelandragh May, what could you possibly be thinking.  Michael Bradley,’ she again said, shaking her head, to which Shelandragh chuckled a little at her young student’s sarcastic sense of humour.


As they drove the short distance into Cooma, Lucy thought on just what Shelandragh had suggested.  And while she loved Michael a great deal, it really was in the same way she loved Jayden – more as a brother.  No, for Lucy, while she could not say why, it was as if there was someone else.  Someone, in a strange way, she was more closely linked to.  Someone she had never met but who, nonetheless, was waiting for her, keeping himself for her, and promised to her alone.  And because of that Lucy Smith entertained no serious thoughts about a relationship with either Jayden Bridges or Michael Bradley.


*   *   *   *   *


Enrique, you no good fool.  Get the hell in here now,’ said the ringmaster in his Spanish language.  Enrique Lopes, who had been valiantly trying his best to win the fair maiden Delilah, the flying trapeze partner of the illustrious ‘Giovanni’, reluctantly made his way into the circus tent, clothed in his skin-tight shorts and nothing else.  The ringmaster, master ‘Hercules’, who also performed as the strongman in the show, glared at Enrique, seemingly, as always, with some sort of complaint on his mind.  ‘Enrique.  How many times have I told you to lock up that blasted dragon of yours.  Look at this!,’ he exclaimed, pointing to the large pile of faeces sitting in the middle of the circus ring.  ‘You know what you have to do,’ said Hercules.  ‘So get to it.’

Enrique nodded.  He knew exactly what to do.  First, though, he would have to tether ‘Andropholous’, his pet dragon, instrumental to his act.  Coming out of the tent, he spied Andropholous a few hundred yards away, staring at some horses who were giving him a quizzical look.  He grabbed the dragon’s leash and walked over to his dragon, coming around the front of him to face him.  Andropholous was not a very large dragon.  In fact, even for his particular breed of dragon, which was a smaller breed, Andropholous was perhaps a dwarf.  But what this meant for Enrique who had tamed him that, in the career of the circus which he had found himself caught up in, flying on the back of a dragon as the world famous ‘Terran Dragonrider’ had certain advantages to it.  The dragon was small enough to be able to manage by himself and usually did not frighten people very often.  He breathed small gasps of fire, but they never reached out very far and people gasped in excitement rather than terror at seeing the twosome’s dazzling display.


Tethering Andropholous the dragon, albeit reluctantly, so fascinated had it been by the horses who were still staring at it, followed Enrique back to the stable.  Tethering him in the makeshift stable, Enrique spoke to his beloved dragon.  ‘You know, Andy.  You have to watch yourself.  Herc has been good to us for so long and, while I really don’t think he would get rid of us, he does like to run a tight ship.’  The dragon snorted, almost seemingly acknowledging the point.  ‘Now, I will be back later on to give you some food.  Sleep tight or whatever you do.’  The dragon again snorted and Enrique gave it a little wave, getting back to his job.  Picking up a shovel he placed it in the wheelbarrow and, coming into the tent, started shovelling the faeces.  Hercules came in and looked at the work.  ‘Remember to dump it in the usual recycling bins.  The council here are friendly, fortunately like most, and have agreed to dispose of the animal waste for us.’  ‘They like circuses,’ said Enrique.  ‘It is in their best interests.’  ‘Yes, that is what I always say.  So you don’t need to worry about burying the stuff.  Now get to it.  And remember we have two hours before Showtime.  I know you won’t disappoint – you never do.  You have been good for us, Enrique.’  Enrique nodded, appreciating Herc’s words of encouragement.


Dumping the faeces in the recycling bin, he looked at the carpark.  There were a few people who had already shown up who were looking at the various animals on display.  It would be a good night, it seemed, and the Terran Dragonrider would again be star of the show, right at the climax.  Dumping off the faeces, he returned the wheelbarrow to its place and, whistling a tune, went back to his prior occupation.


*   *   *   *   *


Your move Michael.’  Michael, who had been absentmindedly leafing through a magic book, returned his focus to the game of Magical chess going on between himself and Lucy.  The chess game was being played on one of Shelandragh’s ancient chess boards – a magical chess board.  With a simple spell to set up the game pieces, almost ghost like pieces, appeared in the front two rows of either end.  The two of them, by now, with Shelandragh’s instructions, had learned the grid references for the game, and commanded the pieces to make their moves speaking out loud.  In the current game Lucy had the upper hand.  She was one knight up over Michael and looked as if she would win which was why she was anxious for Michael to move.  Shelandragh had begun teaching Lucy chess from about 10 years old and now, with 4 years practice, was becoming quite skilled at the game.  Michael had learned from his father, but didn’t play it quite as often.  But Lucy was sharpening him up.


Come on Michael.  What are you going to do?’

They were in Michael’s place at 6 Bradley Street in Cooma, were Michael lived.  They had chosen Bradley Street because that was also the family’s surname, and they had a quirky sense of humour.  Michael surveyed the move Lucy had just made and casually moved up his knight.  Unfortunately he had left a bishop vulnerable, not having noticed, and Lucy took it instantly.  5 minutes later the game was over, Lucy having checkmated him.

Well done, Luce,’ said Michael.  ‘You nearly always win.’  ‘But you are getting better, Michael.  You probably need practice, as Shelandragh says.’


Shelandragh was sitting on the couch, in conversation with Michael’s mother.  While Michael had been taken out of his lessons with Shelandragh for a while, they had since resumed.  From the conversation Shelandragh had learned that Michael’s great-great-grandfather had been known in the family for certain magical traits.  It appeared this is were Michael had inherited his talent from.  The family, from Michael, had become familiar with the term ‘Muggles’ to describe them as non-magical folk.  But they had it in them, somewhat, from what Shelandragh had learned.


Shelandragh continued what she had been saying.  ‘So Michael really is developing.  Showing great talent.  He is not quite as gifted as Lucy, I mean few are.  But he is a genuine wizard in training and I really think it is time you considered, in the school breaks, sending him to one of the Sydney schools of magic.  It would benefit him no end.’  Michael’s mother nodded.  ‘Yes, me and Henry have been considering that.  Perhaps next year, but not this year.  His school studies are still very important to us.  Perhaps next year.’

Let’s hope so,’ responded Shelandragh.


Sitting on the floor in the front living room of the Bradley’s house, Michael and Lucy had their wands pointed at each other and were threatening each other with the most deadly of spells.  Lucy chided him, suggesting she should turn him into a mermaid.  Michael responded by saying he would turn her into a Leprechaun.  The two of them circled each other for some time and both Shelandragh and Mrs Bradley seemed somewhat amused by the obvious rivalry.


Later on, having calmed down, Lucy looked out the window of the car as they drove back to Bunyan.  Visiting Michael was always one of her favourite things to do, and she quietly buzzed with happiness as Shelandragh left the outskirts of Cooma, just a few minutes from home.


*   *   *   *   *


Jonathon, arriving back at 17 Bradlock street in Cottingham, somewhere in Yorkshire, a little cottage hidden away from the rest of the Cottingham community, came through the door to find Ginny, his fiancé, at the table, crying.  She had a letter in her hand and Jonathon wondered what on earth the problem could be.  ‘What is it Ginny?’ he asked alarmed.  ‘Whatever could the matter be?’  Ginny, seeing Jonathon had returned, rose to her feet and put her arms around him, sobbing on his shoulder.  Eventually she began.  ‘Grandmother,’ she said, spluttering out the words.  ‘Grandmother has passed on.’  ‘Oh, is that all,’ said Jonathon a little callously.  ‘Is that all!’ she exclaimed, belting his shoulder lightly.  ‘Look, I didn’t mean it that way.  Sorry.  But nobody lives forever, really, do they Ginny.  Nobody really lives forever.’  Sobering up somewhat, Ginny nodded.  That was true.  That much was true.  ‘She had a good life, didn’t she?  And which grandmother anyway?’  ‘Well, great-grandmother Weasely actually.  She was 137, quite old I guess.’  ‘137!’ exclaimed Jonathon.  ‘And I thought Dobbledax was old.’  ‘Oh, I think Dobbledax may even be older than that Jonathon.  I think he is, in some ways, ancient.’  She wiped her tears on a handkerchief, and seemed somewhat cheered up.  She looked at him intently.  ‘How was the professor.  Did he share his news with you.’  ‘It is sort of what we had already known, Ginny.  Something he wanted to get off his chest.  But, knowing the professor, he will still have his concerns.’  ‘He shouldn’t worry about that.  People understand these days.  Even Muggles understand on that issue.’  ‘Yes, I guess,’, said Jonathon.  He looked at the other letters sitting on the table, noticing one from Ron.  ‘What does Ron say?’  Ginny looked at the letter.  ‘Oh, he had success in China.  A spell they had planned worked wonders, apparently.  And he is grinning, from his tone, at the good payout he received.  Says the wizarding life could have its advantages.’  ‘It always has had that,’ replied Jonathon.


Eating a late lunch that afternoon, Jonathon looked through Ron’s letter.  It was a typical Weasely letter, with all the spelling mistakes.  Still, he had not concentrated on Muggles schooling as much as his wizardry, so spelling mistakes were not a surprise.  He noted that Ron planned a visit to them soon, just after getting back from China.  It would be good to catch up with his best friend, a friendship which had steadily continued after Mynaxxion days.


Thinking over his new fortune, Jonathon knew he really did not have to work now.  He did not even have to ply his trade as a wizard if he chose not to.  But wealth did not change a man, Jonathon often told himself.  If he was going to be a true man he would have to show the world he cared – that he would give of himself and bring something of the man Jonathon Smith was becoming to the larger community.  But as of yet, he was still waiting to see exactly what that would be.  Oh, he’d had ideas, but he was still waiting.  Waiting for a light to be turned on in his mind which would lead him on the pathway of destiny that Jonathon Smith, instinctively, knew he had to tread down.  But for now he would enjoy the simple life with his fiancé, and all the various family and wizarding gatherings, and let the life of Jonathon Smith develop when and were it should.



Chapter Three


Madalene Bridges, sitting watching a movie on her television, home alone with her mother yet to return from work, heard a knock at the door.  Her mother had told her many times never to answer the door when nobody else was home, but Madalene always had a stubborn streak.  She peered through the spy-hole and saw what, strangely enough, looked like a sort of gypsy figure, all dressed up, standing in front of her door.  And so, curiousity aroused, Madalene opened the door.


Yes, can I help you,’ began Madalene.  The gypsy looked at her, bowed formally, and put out her hand, holding something.  ‘Dear Madalene, daughter of destiny.  This is one of five special golden sovereigns.  Five very special golden sovereigns.  Inevitably you will meet the owners of the other four, for you already know one of them.  Now, you must not lose this sovereign, Madalene.  Whatever else happens in the quest before you, you simply can not lose this sovereign.  If you do you will certainly fail, and you will meet your fate sooner than expected.’


Madalene, despite thinking she should know better, reached out her hand and took the sovereign from the gypsy.  She looked it over.  It was encrusted with strange designs, and a particular greenish yellow gem in the centre of it on one side.  It looked valuable.  She was about to ask the gypsy a question but, when looking up, found the gypsy had disappeared out of sight.  But then a shrilling voice of the gypsy from somewhere in the distance yelled out, ‘remember, do not lose the sovereign, or you will certainly pay the price.’  And that was that.


She returned inside, placed the sovereign into a special box in her room, and went back to her movie.  But all that afternoon before her mother, brother and sister returned home she could not get the gypsy and the golden sovereign out of her mind.


*   *   *   *   *


The train was belting along, currently somewere in Northern Siberia, and Ron was happy enough gazing out at the countryside.  On the first stop he had sent a letter to Ginny and Jonathon letting them know of his successes.  Yes, he was chuffed, and the letter reflected that to a degree.  Ron gave thought to Jonathon’s knew life with Ginny.  It had been shortly after the vanquishing of Zoldarius, when they had completed their final year at Mynaxxion, a much talked about final year that Jonathon had proposed to Ginny in front of the whole school assembly.  There had been an overwhelming cheer from everyone, all pleased, and Mrs McGonagall had congratulated Jonathon and Ginny personally.  Dobbledax, unfortunately, had been busy in London with the Ministry of Magic and had missed the celebration, but had likely since been informed, so Ron suspected.  They’d been on the train for a week now as it was a long, slow and winding route it was taking back to France, and it was estimated another full month before they would be home.  But this didn’t bother Ron Weasely.  Somehow a wizard riding in trains was traditional, especially in light of his many trips to Mynaxxion on trains.


Hermione had, increasingly, since graduating from Mynaxxion, grown closer to him.  Closer than ever before.  They snogged each other often but Ron sensed, in the subtle ways females communicate, that Hermione was after something more.  Perhaps that something which had brought Jonathon and Ginny together.  Ron, though, was nervous.  Very nervous.  He was still young and really did not feel he could make the kind of commitment that Hermione perhaps was after.  Not yet, anyway.  Still too many wizarding adventures to take care of before that kind of commitment.


Luna Lovegood and Hermione returned to the carriage just then, having excused themselves to go to the ladies room.  In Luna’s hand Ron noticed something – something which looked like a golden coin.  Something which had Luna and Hermione talking avidly.  ‘What’s that,’ asked Ron innocently.  ‘It’s a golden sovereign,’ replied Luna.  ‘A gypsy gave it to me.  A most strange gypsy.  And then she disappeared.’  ‘A gypsy? Yeh right.  I haven’t seen any gypsies aboard,’ replied Ron.  ‘That is what we have been discussing, Ronald,’ said Hermione curtly.  ‘Well, why did the gypsy give you a golden sovereign?’  ‘She said something about a quest, and not to lose the sovereign.  Very important that, she stressed.  Don’t lose the sovereign.’  ‘Give us a look then,’ said Ron, holding out his hand.  Hermione just shook her head, but took the coin from Luna and gave it promptly to Ron.  Ron examined the coin.  ‘It’s got strange markings on it.  And is this a ruby?’  ‘We know Ron,’ said Hermione.  ‘It is most strange,’ commented Luna.  ‘Most strange indeed.’  ‘A gypsy, huh?  Well, were has she got to?’  ‘She’s gone, Ron.  We looked through every carriage and couldn’t see her anywhere.  She has just disappeared,’ replied Luna.  ‘Very weird,’ said Ron, still looking at the Sovereign.  ‘Well don’t be surprised if she comes back and asks for her coin.  She may have been just drunk.’  ‘Very funny Ron,’ said Hermione.


Hermione and Luna sat down and Ron gave the coin back to Luna.  Returning his gaze to the countryside his mind puzzled over coins and gypsies.  Still, reminding himself, that was the life of a wizard.  Full of all sorts of adventures.


*   *   *   *   *


Waking up that morning, Ginny still snoozing in the bed beside him, Jonathon woke to the early morning sun streaming through the window, bathing their room in morning glory.  The cockerel outside they kept was crowing proudly and just then everything seemed good in the world.  Inevitably he rose, put on his dressing gown, and went to stoke the fire in the main room.  Just then, though, a knock at the door.  Wondering just who it could be this early in the morning, Jonathon opened the door to see an elaborately dressed Gypsy, with a big smile on her face, standing in front of him.  ‘Greetings, greetings, to the famous Jonathon Smith.’  Jonathon nodded.  ‘Good morning, maam.  Can I help you?’  ‘I think it is I who can perhaps help you,’ replied the Gypsy.  She brought forth from inside her dress a coin – what looked like a golden coin, and handed it to Jonathon.  He took the coin and started examining it.  It had strange markings, and what looked like a turquoise gem on one side in the centre of it.  The gypsy spoke again.  ‘I know full well how wealthy you are, Jonathon Smith.  But for wealth beyond your wildest dreams, do not lose that golden sovereign.  Again, I repeat, do not lose the sovereign.’  Jonathon nodded, replying, ‘I won’t,’ and again started examining the coin.  He was about to ask the gypsy another question, but looking up noticed she was nowhere in sight.  And then a shrilling voice from somewhere in the distance yelled, ‘Whatever you do, don’t lose the sovereign.’  And that was that.


Jonathon returned inside, looked at Ginny as she came into the living room, yawning, and sat down at the table examining the coin.  ‘What have you got there?’ asked Ginny.  ‘A sovereign.  A golden sovereign.’  ‘From your collection?’  ‘Uh, no actually.  From a gypsy.’  She looked straight at him, a puzzled look at her face.  ‘Now what do you mean by that?’  ‘I guess we will find out eventually,’ replied Jonathon, again returning his gaze to the coin.


*   *   *   *   *


Enrique picked up another of Delilah’s many magazines, sitting in her carriage, while she was practicing in the big tent with Giovanni.  She didn’t mind him snooping around, so she told him, and he fancied her a lot.  But there was nothing official yet – just a friendship.  Reading through the magazine he suddenly noticed a face at the entrance of the carriage staring at him – a Gypsy.  ‘Uh, hi.  Delilah isn’t here at the moment.  She is in the tent practicing.’  ‘It is not Delilah I am after Enrique Lopes, but yourself.’  ‘Me?  You want me?  Well, how can I help you fair maiden,’ replied Enrique with his smooth Spanish accent, coming to the front of the carriage.  ‘I think, rather, it is how I can help you,’ replied the gypsy.  ‘Indeed,’ said Enrique, perplexed.  The Gypsy then held up in front of her a coin, what appeared to be a golden coin.  She flicked it with her thumb in Enrique’s direction and he reached out and grabbed it.  Examining it there were strange markings all over it and what appeared to be a diamond encrusted in the centre on one side.  ‘What is this for?’ asked Enrique.  ‘It is a key, Enrique Lopes.  A most important key, one of five.  In the quest before you, when you meet the other four, ensure you are not missing your own.  For then wealth beyond your wildest dreams will be denied to you.’  ‘Yeh right,’ said Enrique, again looking at the coin.  He looked up, about to ask another question, but the gypsy was nowhere to be seen.  And just then a shrilling voice from somewhere in the distance which yelled, ‘Whatever you do, don’t lose that coin.’  And that was that.


Enrique looked outside the carriage but couldn’t see the gypsy anywhere.  Returning inside he turned the coin over in his hand, trying to make sense of the strange engravings, but to no avail.  Still, if they gypsy spoke true, it was a key of sorts to great wealth.  And Enrique Lopes could certainly do with great wealth.  Placing the coin carefully in his wallet, he picked up the magazine he had been reading, and again lay down on Delilah’s bed.  What a strange encounter he thought to himself, as he turned the page.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy, sitting in Shelandragh’s living room, reading through a tome of magic, Shelandragh out the back hanging up the washing, was oblivious to the knock at the door, so entranced was she with the magic book.  But then, coming to herself, she suddenly became aware of the knocking and rushed to the entrance.  There standing before her was a gypsy, elaborately dressed, presumably wanting Shelandragh.  ‘I will just go get Shelandragh, ok.  Be right back.’  But before Lucy had gone a few steps the gypsy spoke, ‘Not so quickly, Lucy.  For it is you I have come to talk to.’  Lucy hesitated and then, curiousity aroused, returned to the Gypsy.  ‘Yes,’ she said innocently.  ‘Lucy Smith.  You are the important one.  The most important of the five.  For your sovereign is the final key – the final key to ultimate treasure, treasure beyond your wildest dreams.  You must not lose the sovereign I am giving you, guard it with your life.  For if at the end of your great quest you have managed to retain the sovereign, wealth beyond dreams will be yours.’  The gypsy then brought her hand inside her clothing and then brought forth a golden coin which she handed to Lucy.  Lucy took the coin and started examining it.  There were strange engravings all over one side, and what appeared to be an emerald encrusted in the centre of the other side.  She was about to ask the gypsy another question when, looking up, the gypsy was nowhere to be seen.  But a voice from the distance shrilly yelled out, ‘whatever you do, don’t lose the coin.’   And that was that.


Coming into the kitchen, Shelandragh had come inside, noticed the coin, and asked, ‘What do you have there Lucy?’  Lucy handed the coin to Shelandragh who started examining it.  Shelandragh looked at her student.  ‘Were did you get this, Lucy?’  ‘A gypsy.  She was just here.  She said it was something to do with a quest and whatever I do, don’t lose the sovereign.’  Shelandragh looked at Lucy, about to ask another question, but thought better of it.  Whatever strange fate the gods had in mind for Lucy Smith, it was her quest to face.  She handed the coin back to her student and said, ‘Well don’t lose it then.  Keep it safe.’  And Lucy nodded.


*   *   *   *   *


In Heaven, one of the 70 children, Daniel the Dreamlord, was looking through one of the viewing portals.  The fifth and final sovereign had been delivered.  And now the quests would begin, he thought to himself, ever so pleased.


Just then Ariel, the Lioness, Daniel’s twin, entered the room.  She came up to Daniel from behind and touched his shoulder.  He turned, looked at her, and smiled.  He indicated the seats near the fireplace and they sat.


So,’ began Ariel, ‘the coins are delivered now?’  ‘Yes, they are,’ replied Daniel.  ‘And now the quests begin.  I am most sure you will watch avidly.  But what if they should fail?  What if the obstacles are too much for them?’  ‘I am sure, dear sister, that the five of them will shine in this little adventure we have planned.  I am most sure of that.  Certainly, Grimlock will thwart them in what way he can, and I dare say Zoldarius will be there waiting at the end, yet again.  But I have faith in our five young adventurers.  They are full of life, full of dreams and hopes.  They will take this as a challenge and come out shining.  I am confident of that.’


Ariel nodded.  She had the same viewpoint, by and large, ever since Dream had suggested setting up this particular quest.  ‘I do so hope they remember not to lose their coins.  It would be so disappointing getting to the gates, if they manage to get that far, and not have the coins.  It would be such a disappointment.’  Daniel nodded.  ‘My own fear is that Zoldarius claims all four.  For the fortune will be his then, which will make him far more deadly on the final day of dark prophecy.’  ‘Still, brother, Saruviel is the one she must face that day, and not Zoldarius.  For in the prophecy, with regards to the other chosen one, it is Jonathon who must ultimately defeat Zoldarius.  It is his destiny and his destiny alone to finally defeat that foul creature.’  ‘Jonathon will rise above, dear sister.  It is in him, I sense it.  Greatness belongs to him.  Remember he has noble blood in him.  Merlin’s seed will not fail on that day, I assure you sister Lioness.  I assure you of that.’  ‘Let us hope so.  Now, would you like a game of chess?  I have nearly caught you in our games played.  4367 to 4455.  Not too many to go and I will have you.’  ‘Oh, I know.  I have just gone soft, dear sister.  But I will move when I need to.  Believe me on that.’  Ariel grinned.  Her brother was nothing if not confident.  He was nothing if not that.


They began another of their famous games and, as another day of eternal life passed in the realm of heaven, in the throneroom of heaven the sparks of the flame of God went through a myriad of rainbow colours, before returning to a bright burning purple flame.



Chapter Four


Lucy was exploring today.  She was up on the hill, across from David’s paddocks, looking down over Chakola.  Minxy the Sprite, despite many protestations, had walked beside her, as well as Madalene.  And Madalene had in her hands a map – a strange, old looking map.  They had found it in old Grandma Bridges house.  She had passed away a number of years back and, when they were exploring, they found what looked like an old map.  Madalene had decided to bring it along with them on their adventures that day to see if she could make out just were the treasure supposedly lied.  But while it had a starting point down at the Chakola crossing and led to a series of 5 key places, there were 5 cryptic riddles which needed to be solved to get to the next place on the map, from the best of what they had discerned.  Lucy said it was probably an elaborate hoax, but Maddy kept the map anyway.


They had both showed each other their Golden Sovereigns, and Lucy had said maybe Michael Bradley now had a golden sovereign as well.  She suspected the gypsy simply knew a few of her friends and was playing a game with them, which Maddy said might be true as well.  Still the sovereigns looked like real gold so it could be an expensive game to play.


Sitting there, gazing over Chakola, watching David in the nearby fields gathering some veges, Lucy asked Maddy to read the first riddle again.  Maddy spoke, ‘In the centre were the kings of fiercest pride reign, on the warfield of glory, were many men are slain, in the colour were saints reign in purest cleanest white, were the nanny goat does gaze, lies the key to darkest night.’  Lucy thought over that riddle.  She had thought on it many times but, as of yet, still no sense could she make of it.  ‘It is cryptic, Maddy.  But we will work it out.  I am sure.’  ‘Let’s hope so, responded Madalene.


They spent the next half an hour up on the hill, chatting casually, and then started the long walk back to schoolhouse.


*   *   *   *   *


Enrique shovelled yet another load of his beloved Dragon, Andropholous’, dung into the recycling bin.  While shovelling shit was not exactly the most rewarding of jobs he realized it was an inevitable part of a day in the life of a Terran Dragonrider.  Finishing up he decided to go clean up and head into the nearby village were they had currently set up the big tent.


Finding himself, after a latte in a café, in an old bookshop browsing around, he found at the back of shop, on a very dusty library, an ancient array of Spanish tomes.  Looking right up at the top shelf, which looked like it hadn’t been disturbed in decades, he reached up to grab a book which looked interesting.  Yet, pulling it out, there fell to the floor what looked like a scroll, which seemed to have been hidden behind the book.  He reached down, picked up the scroll and opened it.  It looked like a map of sorts and there seemed to be a series of questions in the forms of riddles by the looks of it on the map.  He put the other book back, wandered to the front of the store, and asked how much for the book.  Yet the storekeeper denied ever having seen the scroll and told him he could have it if he wanted it.


Walking along the cobbled streets he veered to a small park and sitting down on a bench looked over the map.  There appeared to be a starting point at the bottom of the map which had the village name he was currently in residing underneath it.  And then a riddle, which led to the next part of the map were there was another riddle.  All in all there were 5 riddles and at the top of the last riddle a picture of a gate with a drawing of a treasure chest behind the gate.  He laughed to himself.  ‘An old fashioned treasure map.  Fancy that.’  Rolling up the scroll and carefully putting it in his satchel he started his walk back to the big tent.  But he would give the scroll another look over that evening.  If there was treasure, as they gypsy seemed to allude to, perhaps this was the start of his adventure to find it.  Perhaps he had gotten lucky after all.


*   *   *   *   *


The train had come to a stop somewere in central Russia.  Ron and Hermione were wandering around the village were they would be stopped for a few hours, looking here and there are at the old world style of country life.  They were sitting in a small park of the village when Luna returned from her wanderings, holding an old tatty scroll.  ‘What’s that,’ asked Ron.  ‘A map, I think.  It was folded up in this old spell-book I purchased at a bookstore just up yonder,’ she said pointing from were she had come.  ‘It has some riddles in it, I think.  There in English funnily enough.’  ‘Does the map lead anywhere,’ asked Hermione, curiousity aroused.  ‘Here,’ said Luna, showing them both the map and what appeared to be the final part of the map’s journey.  ‘It’s a gate following the final fifth riddle with a treasure chest shown behind the gate.  ‘Oh how quaint.  A bloody treasure map,’ said Ron sarcastically.  ‘It’s probably a forge, Luna,’ said Hermione.  ‘I wouldn’t put any trust in it.’  But Luna seemed more confident than either of them and persevered.  ‘The first riddle has a little picture of a village with this villages name underneath it.  I think this is the starting point.’  ‘We don’t have time for chasing up phoney treasure maps, Luna.  The train will be leaving in an hour or so.’ Stated Ron flatly.  ‘Well let’s see if we can solve the first riddle anyway.  See were it leads.’  Ron just shook his head, but Hermione decided to read out the riddle.


In the centre of town, were you spieth the clown, look into his heart, at the top of the arch.’ Read Hermione.


Well the centre of town should be easy enough to find,’ said Hermione.  ‘Come on then,’ replied Luna.  ‘We may as well have a look.’  Reluctantly, and moaning, Ron got to his feet following his friends.  If they did spy a clown at least it might make some fun for the next hour or so.


*   *   *   *   *


Jonathon made regular visits to Cottingham for various everyday living items and was familiar with most of its storefronts.  But one afternoon, walking down a side alley he had not been down before, he came to a rather decrepit looking storefront with an old sign out the front ever so similar to the kind of sign you would find in Daigon Alley.  The storefront was called ‘Ye Olde Magick Shoppe’.  ‘How original,’ Jonathon thought to himself.  ‘Now why haven’t I seen this before?  And so entering the old store, he came inside to a place from another age.


It was like entering Merlin’s home from the 4th century.  Old cauldrons, a number of living frogs creaking around the store, jars and bottles and cans filled with all sorts of reagents and, fortunately, over against the back wall a bookshelf which looked rather flimsy, almost held together simply by its ancient will to survive.  He spied, behind the counter, a rather old man with an ancient wizarding cap, and an ever so long beard, snoozing.  ‘Best not to wake the old fellow,’ Jonathon thought to himself.


He spent a number of minutes perusing through the magic books and was quite surprised by what he was reading.  Ancient spells were contained within, some in very early primitive form.  Whoever this wizard store owner was he really needed to move with the times.  Finally, finding an old tome which looked interesting, he came up to the storefront and coughed lightly.  But the old man did not stir.  He coughed again, to no avail.  But finally, on the third attempt, coughing quite loudly by now, the old man stirred from his slumber.  ‘Heaven’s above.  Do I actually have a customer?’  ‘Ah, yes,’ replied Jonathon.  ‘This book,’ he said indicating the magic tome.  ‘How much is it?’  The old wizard took the book from Jonathon’s hand, looked it over, and smiled.  ‘Ah yes.  Alchemy for beginners,’ he said with a voice of one of ancient days.  ‘That will be thruppence, my young son.’  Jonathon gave him a look.  ‘Three pennies?  You are kidding, right.’  ‘Not a penny more, not a penny less, my young son.’  Jonathon smiled.  ‘Well ok then.’  And fishing into his pocket pulled out three pence.  ‘There you go.’  The old man took the pennies, placed them in an ancient purse he pulled out from his cloak, and started going back to sleep.  Jonathon just shook his head, puzzled, but turned and made his way to the exit.  As he left, unbeknownst to him, the old man opened an eyelid, gave Jonathon a quick look, smiled to himself, and returned to his slumber.’


With the book under his arm Jonathon started his trek back to his home, carrying his satchel with some minor groceries and the magic book.  ‘What a strange man,’ he thought to himself, as he continued his way back to 17 Bradlock Street.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy and Madalene were in Cooma in Centennial Park, sitting on benches, eating Ice Cream.  Shelandragh was sitting nearby, chatting to Darren Merryweather who had come down from Canberra for the day.  Shelandragh came over to speak to them.  ‘Lucy, Maddy.  Me and Darren are just going somewere for a short while, but you two should be safe enough here.  Why don’t you go and climb nanny goat hill for the view.  I am sure you could use the exercise?’  Maddy stared at Lucy instantly.  ‘Nanny goat hill,’ they both mouthed to each other.  ‘Of course,’ said Madalene.  And then the two of them took off up the road, headed west to climb the nearby hill in the centre of town.  ‘We won’t be long,’ shouted Shelandragh after them.


Climbing the hill made them puff as it was quite steep near the top, but eventually they got to the summit and came over to the viewing section were the concrete nanny-goat stood, looking in the direction of roughly south by the looks of it.  The two of them peered in that direction.  ‘Well there is the shopping mall just there,’ said Maddy pointing.  ‘And there is the SMEC building.’  Lucy nodded, familiar with the sights.  ‘There’s a church up there,’ said Lucy.  ‘But I don’t think the nanny-goat is really gazing at the church.  It looks as if it is looking at the oval, of all things.’  Lucy pulled out the map and looked again at the riddle.


In the centre were the kings of fiercest pride reign, on the Warfield of glory, were many men are slain, in the colour were saints reign in purest cleanest white, were the nanny goat does gaze, lies the key to darkest night.’


Saints in purest cleanest white,’ said Madalene out loud.  ‘Maybe they are talking about when cricketers wear white?’ said Lucy.  And then the riddle seemed to make sense.  ‘And the oval is the Warfield of Glory,’ said Madalene.  ‘And when they get out that is when they are slain,’ finished Lucy.  It all made sense.


We better be quick then,’ said Madalene, and the two of them took off for the oval.  About ten minutes later they were standing in the middle of the oval were the yearly show was held.  ‘Well, we are in the centre,’ said Lucy.  Now were is the key to darkest night?’  Maddy walked along the pitch and stood right in the centre of the pitch.  ‘This is the exact centre,’ she said, looking about.  ‘Well if it is treasure we are after, we will need to dig for it,’ said Lucy.  ‘Look there,’ said Lucy.  ‘There is a shovel.  The groundsman must of left it there with those other tools.’  ‘He must have been working on the pitch,’ responded Madalene.  ‘I hate to ruin his beautiful work though.  Well, how far down to we dig.’  Lucy thought that over.  ‘Well, I guess this pitch is used a lot.  But if we don’t find anything after about 30 centimetres we think of something else.  ‘Alright then,’ responded Madalene, and started digging.  Fortunately the ground was soft at the moment and at about 25 centimetres downwards Maddy hit what sounded like metal.  ‘I Think I have found something, Lucy.’  She dag around a bit and getting down on her hands and knees, groping in the dirt, she pulled out a rusty old small metal box.  ‘Look inside,’ said Lucy instantly.  Inside Madalene found a key and another tiny scroll.  Opening the scroll she read one word, the name of a small village near Canberra, ‘Tharwa’.  Lucy reached an instant conclusion.  ‘I guess that is were the next riddle will be answered.’  ‘So we persuade Shelandragh to take us to Tharwa sometime,’ quizzed Madalene.  ‘I’ll work on it,’ responded Lucy.  ‘Now Shelandragh will be worried sick.  We better get back to Nanny-goat hill.  Maddy nodded and the two of them filled the hole back in as best they could and carefully carrying their prizes made their way back to the hill in search of Shelandragh and Darren.


*   *   *   *   *


Looking at the first riddle there was a tiny picture of a village with the name of the village he was in written underneath it.  Presumably that meant he was in the right place to start his quest.  Enrique looked at the first riddle. 


It read, ‘When Death’s long hand reads number three, follow ten yards to wrinkled tree.  Inside the heart of flora’s boast, the key of night and your next host.’


Death’s long hand?  Mmmm.  Now what exactly was Death’s long hand?’  He looked again at the name of the village that was the starting point of the map and it was indeed the village he was in.  So he would have to go looking for death’s long hand.  Presumably, with some effort, he would find it.


*   *   *   *   *


I have been looking, ok,’ whinged Ron.  ‘Well look harder,’ said Luna.  Ron shrugged, annoyed that there time was running out.  They were in the centre of town at the market square, looking everywhere for a clown.  Ron looked over the buildings again.  The toy store with its funny building design.  The town hall.  The post office and an array of shops.  And then, struck by an odd thought, Ron looked at the Toy store again, noting the carved roof of the toy store.  ‘Hey,’ he said to Hermione and Luna.  ‘Come over here.’  He began walking a distance to get a look at the toy store from a distance.  And when Hermione and Luna had joined him and he pointed to the store they both smiled.  ‘And there is the arch on the roof beneath the hat.’  ‘Come on,’ said Ron.  ‘I’ll jump up.  Nobody is looking.’


Hermione ended up putting her hands up for him to climb up onto the roof and Ron approached the ancient arch.  There appeared to be a metal case underneath the top of the arch, sitting on a ledge.  He grabbed it and returned to the girls.  ‘Open it,’ said Luna.  Ron opened the case and found a key and a tiny scroll.  He gave the key to Luna and opened the scroll.  ‘It has a name on it,’ said Ron.  ‘A village name.’  Hermione took the note from Ron.  ‘This is the name of our next stop.  Tomorrow morning.’  ‘It must be the town for the next riddle,’ said Luna.  ‘I guess each riddle is in a new town.  ‘And the key?’ asked Ron.  ‘It must be for something important.  Keep it.’

Ron looked at his watch.  ‘We had better be going, and fast.  The train is leaving any minute.’


As they ran to the station Ron had a slight grin on his face.  If they could solve the next riddle at the next town then maybe, just maybe, the mysterious gypsy had spoken the truth.  It was certainly worth finding out.


*   *   *   *   *


What’s that Jonathon?’  Jonathon looked were Ginny was pointing.  ‘Oh, a magic book.  I found this amazing old store in Cottingham.  A magic shop.  I had never even known it was there.’  ‘Really?’ said Ginny, quite excited.  ‘And you purchased that.’  ‘For three pennies.  Can you believe that.’  ‘Three pennies?  That doesn’t sound right.  What, was the store owner barmy or something.’  ‘Quite probably,’ said Jonathon, sitting down at the table, picking up the book.  Just then a scroll fell out of the book.  Jonathon picked it up to look at it.  Ginny was looking on curiously.  ‘What is it?’ she asked.  Jonathon’s eyes scanned the document, quickly reaching a conclusion.  ‘It looks like some sort of map.  And there seems to be 5 different riddles.  And the starting point on the map has a picture of a small village underneath the first riddle with a sign reading ‘Cottingham’.  ‘Were does the map lead to.’  Jonathon followed the line.  ‘It goes through five sets of riddles with 5 villages, the other 4 villages have a blank sign, though.  And at the end there is a gate with a chest behind it.’  ‘That must be the gold,’ said Ginny smiling.  ‘Uh, yeh right,’ responded Jonathon.  ‘It’s a treasure map, Jonathon.  It must be.  Isn’t that what the gypsy was talking about.’  Jonathon nodded.  ‘Its just coincidence Ginny.’  ‘Nonsense.  It’s a treasure map.’  ‘Stubborn as your mother,’ said Jonathon underneath his breath.  ‘What was that Jonathon Smith,’ asked Ginny, rising to her feet.  ‘I said, your as brilliant as your mother.’  Ginny gave him a cautious look, but sat back down.  ‘So what is the first riddle?’ she asked.  Jonathon began reading.


Were life doth take us all, neath John Smith you’ll find it all.’


Ginny looked puzzled.  ‘Were life doth take us all…’ she pondered.  Jonathon just looked bemused.  ‘We’ll work it out, Jonathon.  It will just take some time.’  Jonathon nodded.  It seemed a pretty simple riddle, really, but at the moment he was stumped.  ‘Were exactly did life take everyone,’ he thought to himself.  ‘Were exactly?????’



Chapter Five


Enrique looked up at the clock.  ‘Now that is a bit obvious,’ he thought to himself.  The clock had as its background on its face a picture of the Grim Reaper – death himself.  But, ironically, the arms of the reaper were the two hands of the clock.  Looking at number 3 on the clock he realized he would have to go southwards now 10 yards.  Looking in that direction he spied the small park with the wrinkled tree.  Walking over there was a large hole in the tree, a seemingly natural cavity.  Guessing it was floras boast he reached inside it and searched around.  After spending 10 minutes pulling out leaves and twigs he finally pulled out a tiny metal box.  Opening it he found a key and a tiny scroll.  He looked at the scroll – on it was the name of a village not to far from the one he was in.  Success.  Now on to the next village.


*   *   *   *   *


Heaven’s above Lucy Smith.  Why on earth would you want to visit Tharwa of all places?  I have been there occasionally, driving through, but really there is not much there.’

We just need to Shelandragh.  It is important to us both.’

Shelandragh looked at Lucy and Madalene’s earnest faces and finally caved.  ‘Very well then.  But it will have to wait until the morning.  It’s nearly tea and it’s getting cold outside.’

Thank you Shelandragh,’ said Lucy, hugging her teacher.


The following day, driving up the Monaro highway, Lucy and Madalene were chatting busily to themselves, focused on the next riddle.  It read, “Beneath were cars and trucks do go, search ye were doth the Bidgee flow.”  They had thought on it for a little while with no great certainty, puzzled by the word ‘Bidgee’.  ‘I am sure it will make sense when we get there,’ said Madalene, Lucy hoping she was right.  It was a puzzle but it would make more sense at Tharwa.


*   *   *   *   *


Jonathon was sitting in his home in Cottingham, looking over a magic text, when Ginny asked him a question.  ‘Jonathon, what power is magic based upon?’

What is it based on?’ asked Jonathon, finding the question a little interesting.

Uh, not sure.  Dobbledax had a convoluted explanation, but wasn’t exactly clear.  Why do you ask?’

I was speaking to this fellow, over at the cemetery.  He was a Christian.  Fancy that.  And we were talking about witchcraft and he said the power of witches came from demons, and that they were the enemies of God.  The demons I mean.’

We are not all like Zoldarius, Ginny.  White witches have the purest motivations.’

But where does our power come from?  I mean, where does it come from?  Is it from God?’

Jonathon looked at her.  She mentioned the ‘G’ word.  You weren’t supposed to do that, mention the ‘G’ word.  It wasn’t the done thing.

Ginny, I don’t think I really know who or what God is exactly.  I mean, he could be anything.’

If he’s a he.’

Exactly.  But if it is the biblical God, then we are in the wrong profession.  I read in Exodus, once, what you are supposed to do to witches.  You are supposed to kill them.  I mean, kill them.  The laws of this God, by the looks of it, don’t tolerate witches at all.’

But if witchcraft is based on demonic power, perhaps that is the reason why?’

He looked at her, feeling uncomfortable with the subject, but conceded the point.  ‘I guess I see what you are saying, Ginny.  I guess I see what you are saying.’


*   *   *   *   *


Over the next few months the teams all gradually worked through their various riddles and quests.  Each of them had an exciting and wonderful time, learning more about life and its challenges.  Finally, they were down to the final destination, which was a place in Austria.  Madalene and Lucy managed to persuade Shelandragh to pay for their fare, after finally giving her the full explanation of what had been going on and, finding themselves in a chateau in Austria, coming down for dinner, they suddenly ran into most unexpected company.


*   *   *   *   *


Jonathon, is that you?  Is that really you?’

Jonathon looked up, suddenly very surprised.  ‘Lucy!’ he exclaimed.  ‘Cousin Lucy!’  He came forward, hugged his cousin, and introduced her to Ginny, his wife.  ‘This is Ginny.  It is great that you two have finally met.’  Ginny hugged Lucy, who turned to introduce Shelandragh and Madalene.  ‘This is my bestie, Madalene Bridges.’  Jonathon waved to her.  ‘And this is my teacher, Shelandragh May.  She know all about you, Jonathon.’  Jonathon looked at her, smiled, but noticed a reserved look in Shelandragh’s face.  As if she didn’t approve of him in some way.  In some mysterious, strange way.


*   *   *   *   *


So what is animism, exactly Shelandragh?  What is it exactly?’

Animistic spirits are the creator’s spirits, Jonathon.  The ones God has put in place.  You do notice them, don’t you?  The spirit of a place?  The feel, the ambience of a place.  You do notice that, don’t you?’

Jonathon thought about that and, suddenly, a connection was made.  A connection in the familiar feelings around their home in Cottingham as opposed to that near Mynaxxion.  And suddenly he had an inclination of were this Shelandragh May was coming from.

And what is Animistic witchcraft?’ asked Jonathon, very curious.

Shelandragh looked at Jonathon, and then looked down at Lucy, who was smiling at her anxiously.  ‘I think it is time you knew, Lucy.  I think it is time you knew.’

Shelandragh looked at Jonathon, and spoke.  ‘Well, Jonathon, you really should know this.  In Australia, apart from the wiccan and older witches, ones outside of the Australian Ministries authority, we no longer practice traditional witchcraft.  Every school in Australia now teaches Animistic witchcraft.  During the latter half of the 20th century we gradually did away with the older ways of witchery, and began teaching the new methodologies.  The older ways, in the end, had their flaws.  You see, Jonathon, animism is part of the natural order.  It is part of God’s designs, part of his creation.  When we engage in animistic spiritual witchcraft, when our motivations are pure and enlightened, angelic forces grant us our abilities.  Abilities they have long used in their own struggles.  Struggles with darker forces.  Darker, more evil forces.  Forces of Satan.’

Jonathon stood back.  He didn’t like hearing the Devil mentioned.  He didn’t like hearing that one little bit.

Lucy looked at Shelandragh, a question arising.  ‘Shelandragh, I thought you said we created our own animistic energy.  You even taught me how that was done.’

For you, Lucy, it was taught.  But that was for a reason.  I reason I hinted to you at earlier this year.  But you will find out about that later on.  You will find out about that later.  Suffice to say you were somebody capable of using this talent, as opposed to others.  And I guess we will leave it at that.’  Lucy nodded, but remained uncertain what Shelandragh really meant.  Shelandragh looked at Jonathon.  ‘You have latent abilities in Animism, Jonathon.  It comes from your pedigree.  Merlin learned that later on in life.  Finally got the point, I think.’

Merlin,’ asked Jonathon alarmed.  ‘Are you saying I am related to Merlin?’

Heaven’s above, Jonathon Smith.  You and Lucy are direct descendants.’

Lucy looked at Shelandragh, incredulously.  ‘I am descended from Merlin.’

You learn something new every day, don’t you sweetie.’

Lucy beamed.  It was awesome news learning you were related to Merlin.

In fact, you live in Cottingham, don’t you?’ Shelandragh asked Jonathon.

We both do,’ said Ginny, holding her husband’s arm.

That is ironic,’ said Shelandragh, but said nothing more.

Well, why on earth are you here?  Lucy finally asked Jonathon.

We’re on a quest,’ Ginny blurted out.  And over the next few minutes, to everyone’s surprise, they found out they were on exactly the same quest.  And later on that evening, when Ron, Luna and Hermione arrived, too much the same excitement, they figured out that somebody had been pulling strings to get them all together.  Of course, over in a corner of the chateau a Spanish looking fellow had been eyeing them suspiciously all evening, someone who had caught Lucy’s eye, a very attractive looking guy.  And, somehow, quite familiar.  As if she had known him before.  Known him very well, in fact.



Chapter Six


He followed from a distance, initially, but when they arrived at the address given after solving the final riddle, Enrique knew he must make himself known.


After introductions, and explaining he had heard them last night and knew they were on the same quest, the group considered the door to the chanty in front of them.  It was all thick stone, and the chanty itself looked otherwise impenetrable.

What are we going to do now?’ bemoaned Ron.  Luna had a suggestion.

Try the keys.  There are four keyholes, after all.’  They looked at the keyholes and noticed that each keyhole seemed to have a differing basic design around it and, after taking out the keys, they noticed a similar design on each of the differing keys.  Putting each key in its hole Jonathon said.  ‘Lets now try turning them.’  As one the group turned each key and a clicking noise was made, after which the door jolted open.


They all peered inside.  ‘It looks dark,’ said Hermione.

Jonathon cast a light spell and they all entered into the gloomy pathway.  It was dark and quite scary and Lucy found herself next to Enrique, clinging on to his arm.  Enrique didn’t mind that though.  He had found himself instantly taken with the girl.


The ceiling of the walkway was full of cobwebs, and they encountered more than just one creepy crawly landing on their head, which they wiped off quickly.  ‘Ooh, I hate bugs,’ said Madalene, and everyone laughed.


It was a long walk, and after about a mile Ron exclaimed ‘Will this tunnel ever end!’  And, is if in response, the tunnel suddenly ended, coming into a large cavern.

Excellent work, Ron Weasely,’ commented Shelandragh.


Excellent work indeed, Ron Weasely.’  And suddenly, coming out of the shadows, Jonathon’s true adversary, the one whom he had thought finally and utterly defeated, Zoldarius himself, on top of one of three hideous looking dragons.  And then, Deatheaters appeared, all around Zoldarius, nine of them.  Jonathon suddenly put his hand up to his scar, almost instinctively.

Does it hurt, Jonathon?’ asked Hermione.

No,’ said Jonathon.  ‘It’s ok.  This is going to get dangerous,’ said Jonathon, wand ready.

We’re not as young as we used to be,’ said Ron to Jonathon.

We can handle them,’ said Luna.


Shelandragh spoke up.  ‘Dear Zoldarius.  It does not surprise me that you are here.  I should have known better.  The mastermind behind this little quest, I take it.’

Zoldarius grinned.  ‘On the contrary, fair maiden, I have had nothing to do with this little quest of yours.  But I will take the rewards, and your lives as well.’

We’ll see about that,’ said Hermione, wand ready as the Deatheaters approached a little.

I am quite sure I have the upper hand, dear Smith entourage.  But let us see if we can come to an arrangement prior to your deaths.  Perhaps they can be avoided.  I require half of the treasure.  Half, and I will leave your group alone.  Grant me this agreement and we can have a more amenable resolution to our little predicament.  What say you, Jonathon Smith.’

Go to hell, Zoldarius.  We will have no agreement with you.’

Well spoken, Jonathon,’ said Luna.


Zoldarius sneered at them, but accepted the obvious.  ‘Very well then, as you wish,’ he said, crossing his arms and bowing his head slightly to them.  And then the other two dragons and the Deatheaters attacked.


Over in the corner of the cavern Grimlock was watching from a hiding place.  He didn’t want to get involved in this fight.  Really, he didn’t want to.


Jonathon was older now.  Older and wiser in the ways of magic, and the fight which followed, while intense, and the cause of great anxiety for Lucy, Enrique and Madalene, seemed to be handled well by the other more experienced magicians.  It only took about 5 minutes and the dragons had retreated, scorched themselves by some of Shelandragh’s spells, and the Deatheaters had backed off, Jonathon and the others now more than a match for them.


Zoldarius watched on, increasingly embarrassed, as his most loyal Deatheaters were overcome by the now experienced youths.  Really, it was intolerable.

Come on Zoldarius,’ said Jonathon.  ‘We are ready for your worst.  Come on, you coward,’ he yelled at him.  ‘Come on.’  Zoldarius, though, knew better.  Yelling for Grimlock, he made a retreat up another walkway on the other side of the cavern, yelling one last threat.  ‘We will meet again, Jonathon Smith.  Be assured of that.’  And with those words he was gone, like a shadow disappearing with the rising sun.


Jonathon walked over to the other walkway, and noticed Zoldarius and his dragons and Grimlock scampering up the pathway.  They were no match for Jonathon Smith anymore, it seemed.  No match at all.


*   *   *   *   *


Was it Grimlock?’ Lucy asked Shelandragh.

I am not really sure.  I think that is what Zoldarius yelled, but I didn’t hear clearly.  But I guess anything is possible.  The ministry has long had concerns over him.’


Well, now what?’ said Ron.

I guess this door is the next obstacle.’ Said Luna, and everyone noticed the large door in the far wall of the cavern, something they had not immediately noticed having been distracted by Zoldarius.  Lucy walked over to it, and the others followed.

There are four keyholes, with the same designs again.’

Let’s try again,’ said Ron.  They did so, and again the large door jolted open.


The pathway was again dark, but only seemed to go on a number of yards, opening up into a lit room.  They came in and found it empty apart from a tiny little house in the corner, and a pinball machine.  They all looked on puzzled, when a Leprechaun, of all creatures, suddenly emerged from the house, looked at them, stretched himself and yawned and said, ‘Top of the morning, to yous.  Glad ye finally arrived.’

Who are you?’ asked Madalene.

Shamus O’Shamus,’ replied the Leprechaun.  ‘Glad to be of service to ye.  Now tell me, did ye bring yer Sovereigns.  Ye won’t be going on any further with this quest without them.’

The group brought forth their Sovereigns, and Shamus smiled.  ‘Good luck then,’ he said, indicating the pinball machine.


Go on Jonathon,’ said Ron.  ‘You go first.’

Alright,’ replied Jonathon, and put in his Sovereign.  He pushed the start button and proceeded to play.

Let’s hope the four of you get enough,’ said the Leprechaun.

And how much is that,’ asked Jonathon.

We’ll see,’ said the Leprechaun.

Jonathon made 3,700 and the ball finally went between the flippers.

Not a bad score,’ said Shamus.

One by one the other three had their turns, and then finally, the last ball disappearing between the flippers, the total score came up.  10,120.

Oh my,’ said the Leprechaun.  ‘Oh my.  We were lucky, weren’t we.’

Madalene who had gone last had scored 4,000, the highest score, and they had just exceeded the 10,000 mark by the looks of it.

How much did we need,’ asked Jonathon.

10,000,’ said the Leprechaun.

Phew,’ said Madalene, wiping her forehead, and the others laughed.

Well I’ve done better.  Now press the golden button.’

Madalene pressed the golden button on the machine, and instantly the machine dropped down into the floor, revealing a doorway beyond it.

Enjoy,’ said the Leprechaun.

One by one they went through the doorway, and as they entered the room Jonathon cast a large light spell, and they were suddenly overcome.


All throughout a large cavern were piles and piles of treasure chests, filled with gold coins, diamonds and rubies and every gem imaginable, as well as artwork and numerous other items, so many laden with gold and other precious metals.


We’re rich,’ exclaimed Lucy, and everyone laughed.


*   *   *   *   *


After Shamus O’Shamus giving them instructions on how they could more easily access the treasure when they needed to, he gave them backpacks which they could fill with just enough to get them started, and wished them well on their way.  They were wealthy now, some of them even more so than they had been.  It really was a good day for Lucy Smith, and looking at Enrique, noticing how handsome he looked, she felt it was a good day for him as well.  Everything it seemed had turned out for the best on this little quest of theirs.  Everything, it seemed, had turned out alright in the end.


*   *   *   *   *


Ariel smiled.  ‘It was a good ending,’ she said to her Dreamlord brother, Daniel.

Of course it was, Lioness,’ replied the Dreamlord.  ‘How could it have gone any other way.’

They are getting stronger in their powers now, Daniel.  Much stronger.’

And I think they will need to.  While Jonathon will inevitably defeat Zoldarius, there are darker powers at work, and a choice of destiny one day.  Let us hope the right decision is made that day, dear sister, let us hope so.’

By God’s grace it will, brother.  By God’s grace it will.  Now how about another game of chess.’

And Daniel the Dreamlord of Heaven smiled.



The Sprite of Chakola


 Zoldarius sat on the red carpet, eating chips and drinking coke, looking at his copy of the magazine ‘Demoniac’, his favourite magazine published by one of his underground sources.  The half life he found himself in was unpleasant at times, but he found himself, when he concentrated, able to eat food and drink liquid, as well as touch things.  But it could only last for a few minutes at most.  The girl ‘Lucy Smith’ was on his mind.  And the last confrontation with ‘Jonathon’, his adversary.  He needed an idea – a wicked idea – and reading through ‘Demoniac’ he was starting to formulate a new plan.  ‘Play on her weaknesses, strike the ones she loves,’ were ideas which the magazine had inspired in him.  And knowing were she lived and what he could potentially achieve, he turned his mind to a new agenda, yet another dark, wicked and malevolent agenda, ready to once again confront the child of destiny he feared.

Chapter One

 ‘Lucy Smith.  Heaven’s above girl, look at all this mess.’  Lucy, sitting by the fireplace, gazed over all the magic books strewn across Shelandragh May’s carpet in her home in Minoxxia in Bunyan, just north of Cooma.  But she was a little older, and displayed some attitude.  ‘Oh, so what Shelly. That doesn’t matter.’  Shelandragh eyed her.  ‘Shelly?  Since when have you gotten into the habit of calling your teacher Shelly?  I am Miss May or Shelandragh.  Shelly indeed.’

Oh, lighten up,’ responded Lucy.  Shelandragh just looked at her, shook her head in frustration, and began picking up books.  Suddenly Lucy became quite animated.  ‘Look at this, Shel.  Have you seen this before?’  Lucy produced a page of a book showing a ‘Horcrux.’

I would rather you not study that material, Lucy.  It is not something to be trifled with.’

I’ll have to learn eventually,’ she responded, with her headstrong mannerisms, something she had been recently growing into.  Besides, I’m curious.’

Well curiousity killed the cat, Lucy Smith.’

Very funny.’  Lucy continued studying the book avidly and Shelandragh finished off tidying the books back into the bookcase.  Mushroom was miaowing so Shelandragh led her into the kitchen, gave her some meat, and sat down to look out the window.  A year had passed since they had won the prizes of riches, and Lucy was now incredibly wealthy.  Really, the lass no longer really needed to work, and as such Caroline had arranged with the government for her child to be home tutored.  It was no longer necessary to send her to public schools or other.  As such Lucy had been in the habit of dropping around to Shelandragh’s most days.  Lucy was 15 now, emerging into womanhood, and had started to develop as women were wont to do.  And she was continually arguing these days with Shelandragh over this and that, especially on magic where she felt she already knew it all.  But that was youth, wasn’t it – thinking they knew it all.  Madalene visited too, quite often.  A young lady now, growing up in the ways of the Bridges clan, becoming a woman, attracting men, likely off to marriage, and with her looks perhaps sooner than she would have anticipated.  And, of course, Jayden and Georgia, following in their bigger sisters footsteps, on their way to becoming grown ups.  She had seen them come and go in her years, of course.  In her long years of life.  But that was simply the way it was for now.  Yet she couldn’t help but feel, in some strange way she couldn’t help but feel that she now had a companion in Lucy Smith, a girl which just might also be around for quite some time to come.  She pushed the button on the kettle, filled a mug with a teabag, and sat there, happily, thinking over life and its highs and lows but generally content with it all.  Generally content.


*   *   *   *   *


Grimlock looked at the ancient bookcase in the central library of his master Zoldarius’s hidden mansion.  For 7 days now he had been trying to solve the enigma of spellmagery which prevented him from accessing the books.  Naturally, when Zoldarius was present he made no such attempts, but he was usually downstairs, going through the motions in his plans, leaving Grimlock to wander through the mansion as he saw fit.


Lucifer visited the other day and he and Zoldarius were away for a while, time in which Grimlock cast as many spells as he could think of to unlock the charm over the bookcase, but unfortunately to no avail.  Still, he persisted and continued to read and study through the other more mundane works of the other bookcases.  If there was a clue in them, he would find it, and sample himself to the more seductive, powerful and malevolent works that Zoldarius had available to him.


Out of the corner of his eye he spied a mouse crawling across the floor and suddenly, feeling annoyed for no good reason, he cast a freeze spell at the mouse.  The mouse was crawling right next to the bookcase he desired opened, and the freeze spell did freeze the mouse but also froze the aura which surrounded the bookcase.  Grimlock stopped, stunned.  He came over, kicked the aura, and it started falling away.  After 5 minutes of solid effort he had broken through and made a hole in the aura and now, finally, had access to the books.  ‘Good little mouse,’ he said to it, and cast an unfreeze spell on it.  The mouse, shocked that it had been frozen, scurried off and returned to its home.  Grimlock looked at the bookcase in triumph and reached up, selecting his first grand volume.


*   *   *   *   *


Chakola was a quiet little village, if you could call it that, off the Monaro highway, along a dirt track, situated on the Newmerella River.  The river did not always run, a bane to the farmers along the river, but it presently was quite high up and Lucy had been in the habit of visiting regularly, speaking to one of her best friends ‘Minxy the Sprite’.  Today Minxy had news.  There was to be a gathering, soon, just upstream.  An important gathering of many of the Sprites throughout the Monaro region.  It was an official ‘Council’ in which the Sprite communities got together, discussed their various affairs, and had a grand old celebration.  And Minxy wished to know if Lucy would like to attend the ‘Council’ as a special guest of hers.  Of course, she could hardly say no, so accepted, which pleased Minxy no end.  The ‘Council’ was set for the end of the week, and Minxy was excitedly talking about it all day long.  ‘Shelzaria will obviously be there.  She never misses a council.  And ‘Ashkezam’ and ‘Simblag’ and the rest of them.  They’re all my cousins, you see.  And they are so much fun, dear Lucy.  So much fun.  I simply can’t wait to introduce you to them.’

What do they do at this council?’ asked Lucy, curiousity aroused.

Oh, the regular things.  Discuss affairs, catch up on old times, and then we have a big celebration which lasts 3 days, with feasting and tournaments and games and dancing and music.  It is a wonderful time and I am so glad you are coming.  Don’t worry, you will likely see a few witches there.  Some of them usually come out if they are invited, so you won’t be alone.’

Is Shelandragh invited?’

That I can’t say, but you will find out soon enough.’

Good.  Well, I have had a good time today,’ she said yawning.  ‘But I’m tired, and I must get going.  See you tomorrow Minxy.’

Good night Lucy.  Don’t let the bed bugs bite.’

Lucy laughed.  ‘I won’t.  Bye.’  So off she went, back up to the old school house, saying hello to her mother, eating her dinner quickly, but going off to bed because she really was quite tired.


In the morning Lucy had an idea.  Perhaps she could invite ‘Michael Bradley’ to the Council.  She would have to check that with Minxy first, but it might be the perfect event for them to have some fun together.  She was starting to become attracted to Michael.  He was soft and sensitive, and quite cute.  But while she did not think any further than that in her head, other aspects of her femininity had noticed.


That day she spent at home, studying her magic books and receiving some schooling from her mother on standard lessons.  Caroline was a good teacher, Lucy thought to herself, and she really was learning all the regular life stuff all the Muggles learned in their lives as well.  Jonathon had told her just before they left France that he was so wealthy now that he could, really, do as he wished.  And so he had made a simple decision to go off to a regular Muggles university to study a degree to catch up with regular world knowledge and schooling.  ‘A wise man learns all he can,’ Jonathon had said, ‘and we wizards need to be the wisest of them all,’ saying it in an old man’s voice which had made Lucy laugh.  She, with all her money, felt that maybe now she also could one day go to university, regular muggles university, and study a degree.  It would be incredible to be around so many people, so many bright and eager minds, learning about how life worked and the science of it all.  Of course, such training would inevitably prove useful throughout her life, something which she instinctively understood.  ‘Never stop learning,’ as Shelandragh had taught her.  ‘Take in all you can.’  Words of wisdom Lucy Smith thought to herself, as she went through her regular studies that day, going off to speak with Minxy later in the afternoon, and preparing herself for the council later on in the week.


*   *   *   *   *


Madalene Bridges was an altogether lovely girl.  She was a little older than Lucy Smith, her best friend, and the two did practically everything together.  Apart from schooling, though.  Madalene lived in Canberra in the suburb of Calwell with her sister Georgia, her brother Jayden and her mother.  Her mother, Brigid, preferred the city life and worked in the Public Service.  Madalene felt perhaps one day she too would work in the Public Service, unless she got married sooner of course.  Boy’s had been busily buzzing around her in the last couple of years, ever since getting to high school.  She went to St Clares High, which was a girl’s only school, but the boys were nearby.  She hadn’t had a boyfriend yet, but wasn’t too worried.  They would come in the goodness of time.


Of course, now, she was rich.  Very rich.  All the people who had gone off on the ‘Quest of the Golden Sovereigns’ as they had come to call it had received an equal share of the wealth, and Madalene had now, with her father David’s help, transferred a lot of her share into a quite generous looking bank account figure.  It was well over one million Australian dollars now, and still there was much treasure left for her share.  How could she possibly spend all of that?  But she was sure, with a full life ahead of her, she would find a way to spend her fortune, and thanked her lucky stars that she had been best friends with Lucy Smith because of it.


At nights she dreamed to herself how she would spend her fortune.  Her father, David, had told her not until she was 18 would she be allowed to have access to it.  She complained, of course, wanting all sorts of clothes and music items and other things, but David was resolute.  Still, 18 was not that long away, and she could wait.  She would have to learn patience, she told herself.  But patience didn’t always wait and, sneaking into her father’s bedroom in the Bridges family home in Chakola early one morning, careful not to wake him, she stole the keycard to her account because she had been able to find the pin number hidden on a document on the family computer at home.  ‘Money’ she grinned to herself.  She was rich.


Making an excuse later on that day, she went with Lucy on one of her lessons to Shelandragh’s in Bunyan, showed Lucy the keycard, and the two of them managed to persuade Shelandragh to take them into Cooma for the day.  She was reluctant, but eventually agreed, and let the two of them go off, agreeing to wait in Centennial Park were she would read the afternoon away.  It was a bright and cheerful day so she was happy enough and, as Madalene and Lucy wandered off, Shelandragh gave them a final wave wondering just what on earth they were up to.


Later on that afternoon, returning to the park with 4 large carry bags each, Shelandragh looked suspiciously at the girls, suspected were the money likely had come from, but said nothing.

I suppose you will want me to drag that stuff back to Bunyan, hey?’

Oh, would you Miss May,’ said Lucy, with a cheek which had become all too familiar as of late.

At your majesty’s service,’ said Shelandragh, with an upper class accent, ever so slightly chidingly mocking her beloved student.

It has been a good day for shopping, has it not?’ said Madalene, in her best toffee nosed English accent.

Why yes, I believe it has,’ replied Lucy.  And the two of them burst out in laughter.


On the way home, one of the new CDs they had purchased blurring out from the car speakers, Shelandragh just shook her head.  Still, they were young, and young people had to enjoy themselves, didn’t they?  ‘Yes’, she thought to herself, of course they did, and just drove on, thanking her stars that Bunyan was a short trip home.


*   *   *   *   *


Idolatrous Extremus!’  Grimlock looked at the spell, hidden in his room away from the Lord Zoldarius, the spell book under his blanket just in case, with a torch lighting the dark so he could read the book.  It was late, well past midnight, and he was studying the forbidden spells.  The ones which Zoldarius had refused to show to him.  He read through the spell ‘Idolatrous Extremus’ with new delight.  It seemed perfect.  Reading from the description it read:


Idolatrous Extremus’, a very old Canaanite witches spell from the very early centuries of witchcraft.  Fashioned after the Hebrews Teaching, Idolatrous Extremus conjures up the ability for the spell mage who casts such a spell on an object or person to have such an object or person worshipped as a literal god.  This is one of the darker spell, dear students of the dark, and the dark lords delight in its use, especially when towards evil purposes.  There must be summoned one of the 7 dark lords of the ‘Southern Necronomica’, from the lower reaches of Hades, the dark lord being the power which will attract worship to the said object or person.  But beware, the dark lord will invariably require some sort of sacrifice for his work.  They always do, dear pupils.


Grimlock smiled to himself.  Of course, he was perfectly willing to obtain the necessary sacrifice.  And this spell, well, it was perfect.  But he would use it right when he needed it most, right when it would gain him the power he desired most of all, for his dark, malevolent, purposes.


*   *   *   *   *


Welcome, Lucy.  Come in, come in,’ welcomed Mrs Bradley, to the Bradley abode at, funnily enough, 6 Bradley Street in Cooma.

Thank you, Mrs Bradley,’ responded Lucy.  ‘Is Michael home?’

I’ll just go get him,’ she responded, leaving Lucy to look around the front living room of the address.  It looked like an older home in many ways, as if it had been built when a lot of the Cooma houses were put up, and not changed much.  Madalene had shared with her that in the 1980s her mother and her mother’s family had lived at the very same address for the decade, in which she had done most of her schooling at St Patrick’s school in Cooma.  The Bradley’s had not known this when they had purchased the place, but life was full of little coincidences like that and Cooma was not that big a town in the end.

Michael appeared, beckoned for her to come to his front bedroom, and Mrs Bradley left them to their own devices.


Madalene looked out over the town of Cooma from Michael’s room.  It was quite a good view, as 6 Bradley Street was near the top of one of Cooma’s hilly section, and the town was full of hilly sections.  You could see Nanny Goat hill from the window, were they had started their quest for the golden sovereigns.  And, on the opposite side of town, on another of the hilly sections, the old stone Catholic Church, which Madalene had been baptised in.  You could see Rotary oval and a lot of the tops of the rooves of the central business section of the town.  The main street of the town, which continued on from where the Monaro highway left off, was Sharp Street, which ran through the centre of the town upon which most of the businesses of the town were located.  The street continued onwards from the centre of town, going again upwards for quite a while along the western side of town, going up to what was called the ‘4 Mile’.  And then 20 miles further along that road to Berridale, a sleepy little village were Brigid’s family had also lived, this time in the 1970s, the road then going a little further on to Jindabyne, and then the snow beyond Jindabyne with places like Thredbo and Perisher, where Lucy had occasionally gone skiing with Madalene and the Bridges family.


Cooma was called ‘The Gateway to the Snowy Mountains’, which was featured on a sign as you came into the town along the Monaro highway from Canberra.  If you went back along the highway a few miles you came to Bunyan, and a little further back, along a dirt track to the east, you came to Chakola, were Lucy lived with her mother.  And, of course, Canberra was about 60 miles from Cooma, back along the Monaro highway, northwards.


But the Bradley’s lived in Cooma, and that is where she found herself, in Michael’s room, ready to invite him to the Sprites, hopefully, magnificent celebration of their council.

Michael.  Minxy’s family will soon be celebrating their ‘Council’.  They have them every so often.  Do you want to come?’

Michael looked at her with a disappointed look on his face.  ‘I don’t think I can, Lucy.  Mum and Dad don’t really like my involvement with magic that much anymore, even though they used to think it might have been a good idea.  We are still allowed to be friends, but I can’t get involved with magic much anymore.’

Oh,’ said Lucy, disappointed.  ‘But why?’

The family thinks it might ruin its reputation, so dad says like that.  I think he means our family, but says ‘the family’ as if it is something bigger.’

But there is nothing wrong with magic.’

That is not how dad sees it anymore.  He thinks it puts a lot of people off – like it is a bit weird and strange, to have a magician in the family.’

I understand, Michael.  Our kind have always battled to be accepted.’

I know,’ he said.  ‘But we can still see each other at other times.  Don’t be disappointed.’

But she was.  She was terribly disappointed.  She didn’t want to say so, to show her hurt heart, but there was nothing she could do.  Magic users had always been resented by muggles – it was just the way it was.


*   *   *   *   *


Grimlock looked at all the penguins gathered on the shore.  It was a funny enough audience, but he was prepared to try the spell on them anyway.  He had made the preparations and, in front of the crowd of penguins, he spoke the words ‘Idolatrous Extremus’ and paraded himself in front of them.  One by one they moved forward to hover around him, making their weird penguin sounds, seemingly adoring him.  He was their Emporer – the Penguin King – and, satisfied that the spell seemed to work as it should he started planning on the ultimate potential use he could put it to.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy sat by the Newmerella River, a little downstream from were Minxy lived, near one of the Bridges paddocks, sitting there with the Bible of all things.  She was reading from the ‘Torah’ as it was called and, having spoken with Madalene’s uncle Daniel on the weekend about magic in the bible and finding out a bit more of her Noahide faith on the issue of magic, she was praying to God.  She wanted to understand why.  Why were witches the enemies of God?  Why did God hate them so much?


After a while, having prayed with her hands together like Madalene had shown her, she felt good and at peace.  She felt better about life and saw things, at that moment, from a different perspective.  Life was all about Lucy Smith, as far as God was concerned, in a very major way.  But there was also a totally other perspective, which she was now thinking upon in her mind, that life was not about Lucy Smith hardly at all.  There were millions, billions, of people on planet earth and they could hardly lose sleep for the concerns of one bewildered witch.  God’s rules, so she was starting to understand, from conversations with Daniel, and also from what she was thinking in her head, were meant to guide a community on the whole, and to be the laws of the land to protect them from going down the wrong path.  So much damage could be done with magic and, in the old days, from what she had learned, the magicians had not always been motivated by goodness.  Thinking over Zoldarius she knew that much was very, very true.  Magic, so she had been told, pried into spiritual areas of life which humans were not really prepared for and were they were not really supposed to go.  The power was available – all sorts of powers were available in the universe – but it took a very strong and noble mind to know the right use for all those things.  Being moral, according to Daniel, was not going around casting spells just to get what you wanted – being moral was about caring for other people also and acting in their best interests.  Not selfishly casting spells and confusing the ones you cast spells upon with all sorts of spiritual realities they are not ready for and don’t know how to deal with.   ‘It is all very confusing to a lot of people,’ commented Daniel to her, and explained to her how traditionally all that sort of stuff was considered idolatry by the old religious communities and the pathway to the devil.  And the devil was evil, after all, wasn’t he Lucy Smith, so Daniel had said to her.


But Lucy Smith WAS a moral girl.  Lucy Smith WAS a good girl, and wanted to get along with people.  She liked magic because it fascinated her, and the powers were really great to have.  But she knew, in her heart, they shouldn’t and couldn’t be used for childish purposes – for childish games.  The ministry of magic stressed oh so often that these days, with magic users not so frowned upon anymore, they needed to ensure that the reputation they had worked hard to achieve not be destroyed by the machinations of fellows like Lord Zoldarius and Lucifer Malfoy and the like.  They had come a long way and those older ways were a thing of the past – not for the ways of white witches like ‘Lucy Smith’.


After a while she felt better – cheered up – and felt like God was there and that he cared for her.  And that her Noahide faith – the covenant sign being the Rainbow – was the right faith for her and that Daniel’s fellowship, the Haven Noahide Fellowship, would be a place, in time, were she would come and have a very long look into and see just what on earth they were on about.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucifer Malfoy looked down from the tower at the penguins which the island housed, were Grimlock again was surrounded by the creatures, all crowding around him, thoroughly devoted to him it seemed.  Whatever spell the fool had cast on them, it seemed to be working, as the birds were entranced with their new master.  But, no matter.  Grimlock was an idiot – a lackey – at the best of times.  Let penguins worship him if they saw fit – it was the only worship Lucifer expected him to ever receive.


He came away from the window, sat down on his rough wooden table, drank some beer from a bottle, and flicked the set onto the pay TV network they received on the island.


They were at ‘Zoldarius’s hidden lair’ and island in an ocean he refused to name, as he brought people here through spell work, but Lucifer knew were he was.  He had flown off once, found his place in the world, and memorised its location.  Zoldarius probably knew he knew – probably – but no matter.  He didn’t quite serve Zoldarius particularly in the end and, in truth, didn’t really think he served anyone.  Not Lucifer Malfoy – he served himself.  But Alexander Darvanius II pushed him around a lot – that much was inevitable – that bastard had hidden reserves of power, and a dreadful stare which seemed to permeate your very soul and remind you exactly who and what you were made of and, wether you liked it or not, judged you right to the core for every last bit of it.  And he was still convicted on his evil in Alexander’s presence – he somehow couldn’t escape it, no matter how much he disavowed giving the slightest damn about morals and good personality.  He was evil – fucking evil – and he knew it.  But with Alexander, in those eyes of him, the Judgement of the Almighty stared out at you reminding you exactly what you were in his holy eyes.


He turned on the cricket, looked at the score from England against India, was satisfied, and put it over to a quidditch match.  It was a Russian competition, and they were always a fiery bunch.  Good watching for a while, as he sipped on his beer, burped away, farted a little, and continued to smell like he hadn’t washed in a month.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy looked at the window in her room in Minoxxia.  Shelandragh had recently turned one of the bedroom’s over to Lucy for her own use, and glaring at her on the glass screen was ‘I am watching you – Zoldarius’, seemingly written in the condensation.  She wiped it away, but the bad feeling in her guts remained.  She couldn’t escape him – she knew it.  And he knew, every day, he knew were she was and how to get to her if he really wanted to.  But there was another truth – she was not quite so young and innocent as she used to be.  Lucifer Malfoy had taken care of that truth.  And, because of her ordeals, she was a little stronger, a little wiser, and a little tougher.  Definitely a little tougher.  She didn’t like Zoldarius – he was evil – but she was not a frightened little school girl quite so much anymore.  If he came around, and Shelandragh was not home, she would stand her ground.  She would keep her wand very close, look at him with proud Smith eyes full of fire, and say ‘Get Lost Devil’.


But, even with all her courage, there were limits, and the haunting’s of Zoldarius most definitely accomplished the purpose for which they were made.


She looked at the window, waited a while to see if he was sending any other message, and when none arose sat down on her bed, picked up her current favourite magic book, turned to a page and laid back, reading.  But after a while, restless, she put the book down and stared at the ceiling.  She was anxious, now, in many ways.  Anxious about her future in a sense, even though she did not really need to work again.  But anxious in another sense – about the most fateful thing in life in the end after all anyway – a subject rarely addressed by those so young.  Death!


It was different now, very different.  The other day, sitting there at the farm, praying to God, she felt something.  Was it God – the big guy?  Was he really ‘out there’, watching over everyone, judging everyone, protecting those who stayed loyal to him, as so many claimed?  She felt, now, in her heart, he really was.  That God really did in fact exist.  She had never really been an atheist, as they call them, but again she had never really questioned the big ideas until more recently in life.  But when she became a Noahide God started to become alive to her, and now he was the big question in her life.  Where was he?  What did he want from her?  She knew Shelandragh also believed in God, and that she went to a church rarely, but sometimes did go.  Lucy didn’t seem to have any real church she knew of nearby of what she seemed to now believe, but in Canberra the ‘Haven Noahide Fellowship’ apparently had some members, from what Brigid’s brother Daniel maintained.  Would she one day find a home with the Children of Haven?


But, it was more than that.  Death.  Death, the biggest issue of all in many ways.  For beyond death, apparently, more.  An afterlife – what they all seemed to call heaven.  Was she going there when she died?  Was she a good enough person?  Did God want her to live forever in heaven?


And living forever – wow!  That would be amazing.  All the things she could do, all the dreams she could follow, all the time to study magic and learn every spell under the sun.  And more than that – to find romance, and maybe family, and do everything she ever could possibly dream of.  All that waiting for her – if she was good enough – in heaven.


She looked at the bible Daniel had given her on her shelf – the Tanakh – the Jewish Bible.  She picked it up, opened it again to the first chapter, which she had read a few times, and started reading again.  This time she would concentrate and finish the book of Genesis.  She would learn about this God and his people and see, as a Witch, just what that meant for Lucy Smith.



Chapter Two


Madalene, Jayden and Georgia were all present, at the farm, down at the river, with Lucy holding a spell book.  Minxy was hovering around, anxious to see what Lucy was about to cast come to be.  Lucy concentrated, raised her wand to the sky and said ‘Transformus Spiritucus’.  Suddenly a vortex of hazy watery stuff appeared above the little group of four, and surrounded them.  Quickly they started transforming, shrinking down in size, each of them growing wings.

We’re sprites!’ yelled Jayden, amazed.  ‘Look Maddy.  I can fly.’  And he proceeded to duck down to the river, flying downwards into the water, before emerging in quick rush of water.  Madalene and Georgia both started flapping their wings, and Lucy noticed she could too, and for the next few minutes the children ducked and weaved all around Newmerella River, enjoying the times of their lives being sprites for the first time.

Ok,’ said Minxy.  ‘Enough fun and games.  The council is starting to gather upstream a few miles, so we have some flying to do.  Now follow me, and no funny stuff Jayden.  I know exactly what you are like, you little brat.’

What, me?’ asked Jayden, in perfect innocence.

Ooh, yes you, you little brat,’ responded Minxy.  ‘I don’t want any funny stuff when we get to council.  The community will know you are not real sprites, but guests, as they have already been told.  There will be witches and wizards gathered who, likewise, will be tiny.  Maybe not all sprites, but we have size concerns.  Now let’s go.’


As they flew upstream, the four of them ducking and weaving around, enjoying their flying escapades, Lucy wondered just what new wonders she would find at this council.  She had a vague idea of where they were going, but did not know the exact location of the council.


After a while, as they drew around a bend, they came to a large field which had a host of little tents put up, all hidden from human eyes with special protective spells.  They were closer to the mountains, in a section of the river which didn’t seem to be used very much by the farmers.


Well, we are here,’ said Minxy.  ‘There is a lot to do.  That big tent is where the official meetings to discuss affairs will take place.  Mostly the men folk run things there.  There is though a fare with lots of things to do as well.  There are a lot of things to buy at these times as the community has spent a lot of time making things to sell here.  All sorts of clothes and jewellery and other interesting knick-knacks we use.  There will be toffee apples and fairy floss and ice cream and other candies at various places.  You have the sacks I gave you with Sprite coins which we use to trade.  You should have plenty to buy what you need.  And, of course, later on when the council is over there will be dancing and music and feasting for the rest of the week.  We sing a lot of songs and catch up.  And lots of romance and other things as well.  So come on – we’ll go to my family’s tent.’

Minxy led the way to a large blue and white striped tent and, coming inside, they found a few dozen of Minxy’s family members, gathered around, chatting, some knitting and weaving, some children playing around, a few of the men smoking pipes and chatting.

Everybody,’ yelled out Minxy.  ‘These are my friends.  Lucy, Madalene, Jayden and Georgie.’  The gathered sprites spoke out various greetings and salutations, with nods from some of the elders.  ‘Well,’ said Minxy.  Council will start at the end of the day and go until midnight.  If they need to they will do it again tomorrow evening, but it never takes more than one or two days.  So, explore all you want.  Let them know you are with Minxy.’

Jayden was the first to walk over to some male sprites which looked about his age.  He started chatting with them, and they took off outside to play some games.  Georgie found a young girl around her age who had dolls and sat with her, amusing herself.  But Madalene and Lucy stayed with Minxy, who suggested they look around at the fare.


Walking around the large grounds, seeing the gathered tents full of merchandise for sale, with lots of commotion and too many sprites to count, Lucy felt instantly at home.  She was in a magical community – her own world – and was connecting straight away.  Madalene found a purple scarf with gold thread and purchased it, wrapping it around her neck.

It suits you,’ said Lucy.

Do you think?’ Madalene asked.

Watch out though.  A boy sprite might chat you up,’ which made Madalene laugh.


Soon they found some fairy floss, and sitting on benches in the centre of the fare, watching some of the younger sprites take turns riding on a little pony an older sprite was giving rides on, the little group felt relaxed and happy.  It was magical, faerie like, and mysterious.  And Lucy loved it.


So this is your Sprite world,’ said Lucy to Minxy.

This is a big part of it,’ responded Minxy.  ‘There is, though, a big Sprite city near Sydney, were tens of thousands of Sprites live and we have our official government.  I have been once with daddy when I was younger, but it was a long time ago and I don’t remember much.  This is the major gathering, though, for our own community.’

Lucy nodded.  ‘We have witch fares in Centennial Park in Cooma,’ said Lucy.  ‘I went to one not long ago.  It was good as well.’

We all need our own space,’ said Minxy.  ‘Now does anyone want to ride on the pony?’

Madalene nodded and, paying a small coin, she got her turn shortly and the other two watched as she rode it around for 5 minutes, enjoying a tiny sprite pony.


When they had finished that they wandered over to the main big tent.  There was a guard out the front and Minxy said to him ‘Can we look inside.’

He looked unsure but said ‘Make it quick.  Don’t tell anyone I let you.’


They came into the big tent, and there were rugs all over the floor of colourful designs, with cushions to sit on, and a main larger front seat.  ‘That is were the head of the council sits,’ said Minxy.  ‘Each family takes a turn to be the head of the council, and they nominate a representative to run the council.  He has a list of things to discuss and they vote after going through the matters to decide on what they will do.  Sometimes there are things to discuss, but often there is only 1 or 2 issues, and sometimes we just have the celebrations.’


As they walked around the tent, a figure dressed in brown and black entered, and looked at them.  ‘Hey, you girls shouldn’t be in here.  This is for the men.’

And what are you going to do about it Magnus?’

Oh, its you Minxy.  I should have figured.  You’re always trouble.’

Not as much as some,’ she said offhandedly to Lucy.


Magnus came over to the group, smiled at Lucy and Madalene, and looked right at Minxy.  ‘You are nothing but trouble, Minxy, Minxy, Minxy.  Ever since you were little you have always disobeyed the rules for our community.  It doesn’t surprise me to find you in here.  But when you are grown up like me, you learn to be responsible.’

Oh, shove it,’ said Minxy.  ‘You are just puffed up because daddy is heading council this time.’

He ignored that slur.  ‘Minxy the Sprite – trouble maker supreme,’ he said, rolling his eyes.


Minxy looked at him, giggled a little and said ‘Well, why don’t you chase us out of here.  If we are such trouble makers.’  Lucy was ready to leave to not offend Magnus, but Minxy grabbed her arm to stop her.  ‘We have every right to be here,’ said Minxy.  ‘We are Sprites too.  Haven’t you heard of feminism, Magnus?’

Muggle nonsense,’ said Magnus.  ‘We are the old world – we don’t change on things like that.’

Lucy found that idea interesting.  ‘But Shelandragh is well respected by the Ministry of Magic.  Witches are very important these day,’ she said.

It’s different for Sprites,’ defended Magnus.  ‘Witches are too connected to humans – they are, after all, humans as well in the end.’

Lucy nodded.  She knew that much to be true.

But we Sprites are special,’ continued Magnus.  ‘We never change our customs, so our community will last properly.  We don’t change with the times, as the muggles always say.’

Poppycott,’ responded Minxy.  ‘Just because that has been the way of things, doesn’t mean it always has to be.  Aren’t I right Lucy?’

Lucy said nothing – she didn’t want to offend Magnus.

Bah, humbug,’ responded Magnus.  ‘You are a silly girl still, Minxy.  You never grow up.’

And be old and boring like Magnus?  Ha.  That’s a good one.  I’d rather eat lumpy porridge.  No, I’d rather eat lumpy porridge with worms.  Anything is better than old, boring, Magnus.’

I’m your age, Minxy,’ he retorted.

Then act like it,’ she said.  ‘And lighten up Magsy.  You don’t have to be so serious.’

And end up like you?  That’s a good one.’


All throughout this conversation Madalene and Lucy were both noticing the fiery glances each of the sprites were giving each other.  There was chemistry between them – that much was very obvious.  Magnus liked Minxy, a lot by the looks of it.  Boys always teased the ones they liked.


Well, we have seen enough of the boring men’s tent,’ said Minxy, staring at Magnus.  ‘Come on girls.  Let’s get out of here before Magnus has a heart attack.  As they left Minxy poked out her tongue at Magnus, who just shook his head.  He didn’t mind though.  He liked her.  She was cute, and they had known each other since youth.


I guess we can go back to my family’s tent and have some food.  We can wait for council.  The women will gather together in another tent with the younger sprites, and we will sit around, catching up, preparing the meal for the end of council.  There isn’t a great deal to do then, but it is good time to talk with people you haven’t seen for a while.’

Lucy and Madalene nodded.  Such was the council of the Sprites.


*   *   *   *   *


Gather round,’ said Bluebell the Sprite, Minxy’s aunt, ‘and I will tell you all a tale of adventure and fright.  But don’t let the bed bugs bite.’

The men were now in council, and they were all in the women’s tent, some of the women sprites preparing the midnight feast, while Bluebell had now before her gathered some of the younger ones, with Minxy, Lucy, Madalene, Jayden and Georgia sitting before her like good, obedient children, ready to hear a tale.


Once upon a time, long ago,’ began Bluebell, ‘when the world was still young, and Adam and Eve’s children were still building the kingdoms of men, the sprites appeared.  The first two sprites were Tinkerbell the female and Bludington, the male.  The angels made the sprites, so legend goes, but who can really say. As time passed, the sprites met the others of the wild magic, the dwarves and the elves and the hobbits and so on.  And, of course, we feared the wyvverns and the dragons, who were kin to each other, and the centaurs and the Minotaurs, and the nasty hippogriffs and the griffins and the loathsome harpies.  And then, one day, a Wizard appeared on the old world, a famous wizard, named Merlin.  And Merlin had with him a Golden Hammer – a very powerful and magical Golden Hammer that he had forged in the dark places, working upon it spell after spell and enchantment after enchantment.  Merlin came to the sprites and dwelled with them for some time and talked of the Golden Hammer and its powers.  It would protect a community, giving them great power and strength in courage, and helping them if they needed to fight battles.  And, if in battle, the one possessing the hammer would have extra courage and strength, certain to banish all that they fought.  And Merlin did say ‘I have it in mind and heart to give unto you Sprites my Golden Hammer, for it has been made for a brave and courageous people such as yourself.  Choose amongst you a noble and brave manchild and I will present to him the Golden Hammer for him and his offspring forever.’


Well, all the sprites, quite naturally, desired the hammer, and there was bitter debate about who the hammer should belong to.  Some made great claims that they should righteously be the heirs of the Golden Hammer, but time after time claims fell on deaf ears.  And then it was agreed that the victor to hold the Hammer should be brave enough of heart to challenge all others in the Sprite community to trial by joust.  And the victor of the joust would be presented the Golden Hammer as indication of his bravery.


And so they jousted, and fought, and one by one they fell until, on the final day, brave Robustian claimed the prize of the hammer, the bravest of all the Sprites, and was cheered and celebrated upon.  Now, in time, brave Robustian died, but that hammer was passed along from generation to generation, to firstborn son, throughout all the journeys of the sprites.  And today it is the brave sprite ‘Goldbeard’ who bears the Golden Hammer, some saying his very own golden beard as true testimony to his family’s right to bear the weapon.’


She left off speaking and Minxy turned to Lucy.  ‘I don’t think I ever actually said, but my father’s name is Goldbeard.’

Oh,’ said Lucy.

So he has the Golden Hammer?’ asked Jayden.

It will be in the council on display,’ said Minxy.  ‘He takes it to every council for the men to gain courage from.’


The little crowd gathered at Bluebell’s feet asked for another tale and, as she began again, Lucy thought on Goldbeard and his hammer and how it had been the ancient wizard ‘Merlin’ who had given it to the sprite community.


*   *   *   *   *


Ten million credits says I hit her between the eyes.’

Lord Zoldarius gazed with his evil eyes at Lucifer Malfoy, considering the wager.  Lucifer was several feet from a dartboard which had a picture of Lucy Smith in the middle of it.  Should he take the wager on?  Surely the dark lord of malevolent evil could afford such a paltry sum.

First, you shall stand further back.  And then, right between the eyes, and indeed I shall personally inspect the outcome, and you shall have your money.  But if you lose I will expect prompt payment.’

Lucifer looked at the floor and strode back a few paces.  ‘Here?’

Zoldarius waved his hand.  ‘Further.’

Lucifer moved a little further back.  ‘Here?’

Zoldarius looked at the dart board and how far there was between them, about to agree to the wager, but waved his hand again.  ‘Further.’

Lucifer swore under his breath, stepped even further back and said ‘Now this had better fragging do, mate, or the wager is off.’

Zoldarius inspected the distance, and nodded coldly.  ‘Remember, Lucifer, right between they eyes.  And I will be checking.’

Lucifer swore under his breath again, took aim and said ‘Take that bitch,’ throwing the dart the several feet, landing it, as he claimed he would, right between the eyes.

Zoldarius looked at the outcome and said ‘Perhaps it is a little high.’

Bullshit mate,’ responded Lucifer.  ‘It is right on.  Don’t fuck with me Zoldarius – I want my bloody money, ok.  I have debts.’

Debts?’ queried Zoldarius.

Too much boozing on rare fermented dragon blood.  The Russian stuff – the bloody expensive stuff which they make in the Urals.  I have a hell of a debt from a drinking session with Jovius.’

Jovius?’ inquired Zoldarius.  ‘The name is vaguely familiar.  Do I know him?’

He’s an angel.   You might get along though.  Believe me, he is your regular John Constantine all over, with a dark sense of humour.’

The Hellblazer John Constantine?’

Yeh him.  I think Jovius is related to him in some way – feels very similar to him.  Wears the same bloody long overcoat.  Smokes the same bloody cigarettes.  Same dark spirit.  But you got to love him.’

Love, Lucifer?  Does one such as yourself contemplate such muggle realities?’

Lucifer stared at him.  ‘Your delaying – trying to make me forget our wager.  Money, Voldie.  You don’t want to get on my dark side, after all.’

Zoldarius stared at him and, deciding he had lost fairly after all, walked over to the safe on the wall, concentrated to become solid for a while, and opened it, fishing out a bag full of Gold.  He came over, threw it onto a table, and Lucifer picked it up, looking at the gold.’

That is sufficient enough payment, is it not?’ queried Zoldarius.

Yeh, sure.  It will fucking do I guess.  I should be able to trade it for cash somewhere.  Now, what about the same wager, and I will do it blindfolded this time.’

Zoldarius stared at him, and smiled his dark smile.  ‘I think not, Lord Lucifer.   Although I am very sensitive to such things, I feel there has been dark magic unknown to me in the losing of this wager.’

Fair enough,’ said Lucifer, looking over his gold.  ‘But I wouldn’t cheat you now, would I Zoldarius.’

Zoldarius gazed at him, but did not reply.  Certainly, Lucifer Malfoy was a man of honour in wagery.  Certainly he would not cheat in such a thing.  Certainly.


*   *   *   *   *


Legend goes,’ said Minxy to Lucy, ‘that the Golden Hammer is now so enshrined with our community and that we have drawn strength from it for so long that we would probably die out without it.  We wouldn’t have any power left – it is what we rely on.’

The little group had been discussing things like Merlin and the Golden Hammer and Minxy had been teaching them some of their history.

For a long time it has been passed on and, while it is held that it was made by Merlin, it is still just a legend.  I guess it is true.  I guess,’ said Minxy.  ‘But who knows.’


They were wandering around the fare, and it was the third day of council.  The men had completed their discussions the previous night, and they were now starting to celebrate properly with dancing and feasting and a never ending array of entertainment.  A number of jugglers had been roaming around the fare, using blades even, much to the joy of the young sprites who delighted in such things.  They had met a number of witches who had cast spells on themselves to look tiny, and wizards and warlocks were selling spell books and amulets and other protective charms.  They were still in a world of their own, Jayden somewhere around the fare with his group of friends, Georgia playing with her own group as well, and Minxy, Lucy and Maddy a happy little trio.  It seemed, now, that with Lucy and Maddy sort of becoming sprites in a way, that Minxy had a new little group of friends on her own level and she hugged them and kissed them and they were becoming a proper little clique.  All was good and happy when, coming around the corner as they were wandering around, Magnus appeared, coming right up to them.

Minxy the Sprite.  I wonder, are you still misbehaving?’

Oh, shove it, Magnus,’ replied Minxy.

He circled them, looking them over, and stood in front of Minxy.  ‘You know, Minxy.  If I was the dumbest Sprite in the world, there would still be a dumber one.  You.’

Minxy smiled.  She liked the jibe.  ‘Oh, Magnus.  If I was the ugliest sprite in the world, there would still be an uglier one.  Go figure who.’

Lucy and Maddy smiled at that as the two sprites continued their loving mockery of each other.

Magnus had another go.  ‘If I had no fashion sense, I would still look like a Prince compared to your dopey dressing.’

And if I smelled like a pig, I would be delightful compared to your fowl stench,’ Minxy replied sharply.

The girls again giggled at Minxy’s response.

Magnus looked at her, and thought on his next reply.

Minxy, Minxy, Minxy.  If I was the poorest sprite in the world, I would be rich compared to you.’

Minxy winked at Lucy.  She had a good response coming.  ‘And If you were the last Male Sprite alive, I would still fancy an ogre before you,’ the response making Lucy laugh out loud.

Oh, really?’ said Magnus, smiling even more.


They were both looking longingly at each other, the two girls quite aware of the affection between the two sprites, when a commotion started coming from the main tent.  They heard yelling and voices talking about the Golden hammer, and suddenly an elderly sprite appeared and said to Magnus ‘It has been stolen.  The Golden Hammer has been stolen.  We can’t find it anywhere.’

Magnus swore a Sprite swear, and ran off with the man towards the central tent.  The girls hurried after them, following Magnus to the tent, were a crowd had now gathered.  There was a lot of commotion for quite some time, and the whole community had gathered round.  Then, appearing in front of the tent, Minxy’s father Goldbeard shouted for the crowd to go quiet and he spoke up.

Yes, I am afraid it is what you have all been hearing.  Someone has swiped our Golden Hammer.  We are searching everywhere and, unfortunately, we are going to have to check everyone’s tents and belonging.  We are not accusing anyone, you all must know that, but we must make this search.  Our whole community relies upon the Hammer.  Now Magnus and others will start the searching, so while they search I want everyone gathered inside the main tent were we can all keep an eye on each other.  We don’t want anyone wandering off if they have the Hammer to hide it again.  So come on, everyone.  Into the tent.’


As Goldbeard waved a number of the elderly male sprites urged everyone into the large tent and soon everyone was inside, seated, talking all about the missing Golden Hammer.


Gosh,’ said Lucy.  ‘I hope they find the Hammer.  You guys really need it to protect you.’

Its more than that,’ said Minxy, a worried look on her face.  ‘Without that hammer we are in big trouble.  Big trouble indeed.’  Lucy nodded.  She was concerned for her friend, concerned for her welfare.  Presently, there was not much she could do for her, but she reached out her hand and held Minxy’s, who turned to her and nodded.  ‘Everything will be alright, Minxy.  Have a little faith.’

Minxy nodded, but the worries were on her frown.  Wherever that Hammer was, she was hoping it would be found and soon.  Because, if not?  Well, if not, what would become of her Sprite community?  What would become of them?  Lucy continued holding Minxy’s hand, as the community chatter buzzed all about the Hammer, waiting anxiously for news from the search.  Waiting anxiously for good news for her people.


*   *   *   *   *


But, despite the menfolks best efforts, they had no luck.  No luck at all.  And as Goldbeard announced to everyone they had searched absolutely everywhere with no luck and that the group could disperse, a sad feeling came over everyone, and tears started pouring forth.  For so long Goldbeard’s own community had relied on the strength of the Hammer that, even now, they were starting to notice.  Even now they felt somewhat weaker.

Minxy looked miserable to Lucy.  Head downcast, crying, and would not be encourage, no matter what her or Madalene said.  ‘Cheer up,’ she said time and time again, but with little or no response.  Minxy would not be consoled.

Then why don’t we look for the hammer?’ said Jayden.  ‘Start investigating.  Be detectives.’

Minxy looked hopefully at Jayden, and Madalene said ‘Well, what do you suggest?’

Jayden looked at the girls looking at him and said ‘Perhaps we should talk with Goldbeard and ask if we can look around.  We will try and work out were the hammer went.’

Minxy was still sobbing, but nodded.


After talking with Goldbeard who said they may as well search for the hammer if they wanted to, Jayden looked at Minxy.  ‘Do you have enemies?  Your people, I mean?   Is there anyone who would want to steal the hammer to hurt you?  Something like that.’

Minxy looked at him softly.  ‘We are a peaceful people, the sprites.  We have had wars in the past, and sometimes there are old grudges.  But I don’t think anyone would want to harm us like that.  Except for the trolls, maybe.  Maybe the bunyips or yowies, but nobody else that I can think of.’

Jayden nodded.  ‘Then we will start with the trolls.  Do any of them live nearby?’

They are further upstream,’ replied Minxy.

Then that is were we will go,’ responded Jayden.

They have a cave.  In the mountains, were they live.  Not far from the river.  They have a king who protects them, and they don’t like sprites very much.  I don’t think they will let us just march in and ask them questions – they would throw us into dungeons.’

Then we sneak in Minxy,’ responded the confident looking Jayden.  ‘Besides – we are tiny at the moment.  They will never even notice.’

Minxy dried her weeping eyes and came over to Jayden and kissed him on the cheek.  ‘Thank you for caring, Jadie.  You are not such a little brat after all.’  Jayden blushed, but didn’t say anything.  He was a little too embarrassed to speak.


They talked with Minxy’s father who, at first didn’t like the idea one little bit.  Sneaking into a trolls cave was most definitely out of order for a daughter of his.  But, when they said time and time again that the community would fail without the hammer, eventually he was persuaded.  ‘But be careful,’ he responded.  ‘And let me send Magnus.’

He will only get us caught, the lumbering oaf,’ responded Minxy, to which Goldbeard thoughtfully nodded.

Then be off with you.  And if you find the hammer or learn word of it, come back immediately.  Although they are much bigger, we will fight them if we have to.  Our future depends on it.’  Minxy came forward, hugged her father, and turned to the group.  ‘Well, we should probably get something to eat, before we head off.  It is a bit of a journey, and we won’t get there till late in the day, but I can’t wait any longer.  We must find the hammer.’


And so they ate, and drank, and Lucy said a quiet prayer to her God that he would watch over them and protect them and help them find the missing hammer.


*   *   *   *   *


There wings finally getting tired, they were far enough upstream anyway, and Minxy pointed in the distance to the troll cave at the mountains, so they started walking instead, trudging through some mud, making there way over properties, climbing fences, getting nearer to the mountain and the home of the trolls.


Minxy began telling of their history with the trolls.  ‘Trolls have long hated Sprites, but he trolls hate everyone except themselves and ogres and goblins.  There are some nice trolls, of course, but mostly they are at war with us out of simple tradition.  We have lost men in battle over the centuries to warring troll parties, but these days they don’t really seem to bother us as much as they have done so in the past.  They seemed to have lost interest in worry about the Sprite community.  I sort of feel, truthfully, we are wasting our time in even going all this way, but I guess we have to be sure.’

Jayden spoke up, ‘If the trolls have stolen the hammer they will be boasting about it all the time.  I suggest we sneak in and listen to what they are all saying and if anyone speaks about the hammer then we will know.’

And if they don’t talk about it?’ asked Minxy.

It is so soon since it was stolen that they will be if they have it I think,’ replied Jayden.  ‘So if they don’t mention it, then they probably don’t have it.  We will have to wait long enough to be sure, though.’

I guess so,’ moaned Minxy.

Lucy, who had been following along with the idea, looked at Jayden with some new found respect.  He had acted quite quickly when the hammer was stolen, almost taking charge, and doing his best to help out.  He was, of course, like a brother to her, and always had been, but he too was growing up.  He, too, was becoming an adult.


They continued trudging along, getting nearer the cave, and Lucy noticed that the sun was getting close to setting.  Minxy had said that they would probably make the cave by sundown, and it had taken them all afternoon so far, but they were now getting near the mountains, having flown from time to time when they were feeling refreshed, and there was not long to go now, she assured them.  If the trolls had the hammer, it could be a devil of a time trying to get it back but, somewhere in the back of the mind of Lucy Smith there was this uncomfortable feeling.  A feeling as if a dark and sinister power, all too familiar, was behind this latest occurrence.  And as she trudged, and got nearer to their current destination, that feeling grew stronger until, in the back of her mind, the name ‘Grimlock’ seemed to be boasting of itself, daring her to name him as the thief of the hammer.  Daring her to name him as her current, untimely, foe.



Chapter Three


Grimlock sat in the shadows of his room, in the dark, looking into a mirror portal in his hands.  The spell had been successful – the spell he had cast on one of the denizens of Chakola, a lowly figure, desperate, in need of the gold Grimlock had promised – had been sufficient.  The little thief had stolen the Golden Hammer, successfully escaped with it, and now, if all went according to plan, the sprites of Chakola would now start to suffer.  And he had taken a gamble – if Lucy and her friends had been Sprites under the Hammer’s protection for some time, they, too, could well be affected by the Hammer’s absence.  He knew not the secrets and powers of the hammer very much, but was hopeful for a result according to his dark machinations.


He watched in the portal as the thief returned to his lair, hid the hammer, and sat on his bed.  ‘Good’, Grimlock thought to himself.  He would claim the hammer, take it far, far away, and watch as Lucy and her companions – by all the powers of dark hope within him – shrivel up and die.


*   *   *   *   *


Jayden peered into the dark cave.  It was past sundown now, and they were at the cave’s entrance, ready to sneak in.  All of a sudden Lucy had a bright idea – invisible spells.  She looked a them all and said ‘I will turn us all invisible.  Don’t worry, with the spell I will use we can see each other, but nobody can see us.’  They all agreed and so Lucy, racking her brain to remember the spell, lifted up her wand, pointed it at Georgie and said ‘Transformus Nullus’.  And then Georgie disappeared.

Are you there, Georgie?’ asked Jayden.

Yes,’ responded Georgia, and Jayden poked her to make sure.

One by one Lucy cast the spell on each of them, finally upon herself and, all of them now ready, they started slowly, and carefully, with a tiny little light to guide them from a spell of Lucy’s, sneaking into the cave.


The Heart of Destiny, Glamdrad, is making sure you know each and every day just what it is you are supposed to be doing with it all.’

Here we go again,’ responded Glamdrad.  ‘The wisdom of bloody Blandig – troll theologian supreme.  Don’t you ever get tired of reading from the book of bloody destiny?’

But it is our Troll legacy,’ responded the innocent Blandig.  ‘The great mother troll forged the work in the sufferings of her heart for the eternal generations of trolldom.  We must allow its wisdom to teach us, Glammy.’

Bah, humbug.  A good meal in the belly, a good womantroll in the bed, and a good Warhammer in the hand – that is the stuff of trolldom.  Destiny – whatever – leave that for the old scribes.  And you aint a bloody scribe, Blandig.  You are too stupid for that.’

Shut up,’ responded the insulted feeling Blandig.  ‘I’m not stupid.  I study all the time, thank you very much.  I’ll show you.  I’ll be famous one day, amongst the trolls.  The theologian of wisdom.  I’ll show you, Glamdrad.’

Bah, humbug.’


In the corner of the cave of the two arguing trolls, hidden beneath a troll chair, the group of four children were waiting, hidden as well as they could be, eager to hear news of what the trolls were speaking of – wether they had news or not of the sprite’s lost hammer.

This is going nowhere,’ said Jayden.  ‘We should try another cave.’

Give it a chance,’ responded Lucy.  ‘They might bring up the subject.’


And with the book of destiny,’ continued Blandig unperturbed, ‘we will no longer have to be at war with our enemies.  The other wild magic creatures will respect us and live in harmony with us.  The hobbits, the elves.  Even the sprites will all get along with us.  For we were never supposed to be so trollish – we are a better people than that.’

We are trolls, you idiot,’ responded Glamdrad.  ‘Nothing more, nothing less.  And the hobbits, the elves and the bloody sprites will always expect that.  But who cares about being at peace with them anyway – they haven’t been a concern of the king for years now.  We can attack them whenever we want, so who needs to be at peace with bloody faerie folk.’

But with the other creatures, the wild magical ones can re-enter the world.  We can teach men that we have been here all along, and reclaim our former lands.  Isn’t that what we should do?’

Too much of a hassle, Blandig.  We would never get the others to accept us.  The hobbits hate us, the elves and the dwarves mistrust us, and the local sprites would just use their bloody hammer of Merlin and throw spells at us.  It is not worth the hassle.’

Blandig stared at Glamdrad – he got the point.  They had a bad reputation, and they knew it.


Under the table Minxy seemed satisfied.  ‘There,’ she said to the group.  ‘As far as these trolls are concerned, the sprites still have the hammer.  They mustn’t have taken it then.


Lucy spoke up.  ‘But, just to be sure, why don’t we try and find were the king sits.  Perhaps, if they have stolen the hammer, he will be talking about it.’

Well, ok,’ responded Minxy.  ‘But we will need to be careful.’

Then we will be careful,’ said Madalene, and the others nodded.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucifer was again at the corner of his abode in Castle Zoldarius, watching Grimlock trudge along the shore, the penguins following him around.  He did that most days, now.  Out there, enjoying his penguin worship.  Enjoying being a god to simple creatures.


Lucifer thought on that, and his own purposes, ultimately, in life.  There was a plan, with Alexander.  With Alexander Darvanius.  A plan of rulership – of global domination.  Zoldarius, fallen for the dark long ago, was a suitable enough bedfellow at the moment, and with his powers of persuasion over much of the dark wizarding community, an alliance, for now, seemed welcome for the machinations of Lucifer Malfoy.  Sure, Lucius served Zoldarius with unflinching devotion, but Lucifer always wondered wether it was fear of Zoldarius’s power which motivated his older triplet brother.  But Lucifer was not of Lucius mould – Lucifer had real power – dark power.


The dark magic – a wild magic – inhabited the very soul of Lucifer.  For so long now he had known this truth.  That he was a child of absolute darkness, of absolute evil in some ways, and that he knew none he feared.  Not even Alexander, in the end, who he saw as a rival – no soul, except perhaps one.  Bradlock – Damien Bradlock.  That soul, while Lucifer was bad, Damien Bradlock was the epitome of evil.  Darkness surrounded him, enshrouded him, was at home and one with him.  If there was a devil in hell, his name was Damien Bradlock.  Of that Lucifer had no real doubts.


He came away from the window, and picked up the pictures of Lucy Smith he had in his private collection.  She was growing up, almost attractive, but still young.  She was becoming a woman, but, more than that – a threat.  And somehow, to Lucifer Malfoy, despite the very fact that the powers of magic ruled the heart of Lucy Smith also, powers to which he was in allegiance, somehow, someway, this Lucy Smith did not serve the power of any of the wild magic’s, good or bad.  She served none in that sense, except….  He left off.  He did not like to think of them, those angels of Glory.  And the deity they served.  That Yahweh power.  He did not like to think of God, for what purpose could God serve at all in a heart as darkened as Lucifer Malfoy’s?  What purpose indeed?


*   *   *   *   *


Shelandragh May scrubbed at the pot, covered in cheese, the result of the previous nights lasagne.  Lucy was away at the moment, living with the sprites with the Bridges children, off in her own little world.  And good for her – after all the struggles she had been through with the dark lords, the girl deserved a break.


Life was quiet at the moment for Shelandragh.  She was only taking a few pupils a month for lessons.  It was not because there was not demand, there was enough of that regularly these days, but she was not as anxious as she once used to be to share all her wisdom and magical talent.  In a strange way, besides her ageless face at times, and her ancient life, Shelandragh was starting to feel it.  In her bones.  In her heart.  She was old, now, very old.  Many a regular life she had already lived, perhaps far too many as far as some may be concerned, but such, once, was her own heart’s lust for life.  Shelandragh had once gone off on a sabbatical in her youth, around 21 years of age.  She had been to a church, and then a synagogue, and then a mosque, and then disappeared into the northerly regions of Scotland, hidden away in wintery cold north, in a small shack, with a few meagre food supplies with her, which she didn’t touch anyway.  She only drank water.  For 21 days straight, nothing but water, and the bible she had – the King James Version.  She read it – in full – in those 21 days, and fasted.  And she prayed, and prayed, and prayed.  And then, at the end of her 21 days, the angel appeared, and put his hand on her forehead, and said all was well, and said she may have her hearts desire.  And she asked for long days and long life, and the angel agreed, and that is what she had been given.


But now, centuries later, she was old.  Old, looking in her 50s, but perhaps feeling much older, and ready for a long rest.  Ready to retire.  Oh, the ongoing adventures with young Lucy Smith kept her heart amused and full of life and grace, but it was late in the evenings in Bunyan, looking into the flames of the fireplace, her heart and mind thinking over ancient memories, over ancient days, and all the ones she had known and loved now gone from her, that Shelandragh, now, welcomed the final years and the final day of judgement.  She would go, then, off to the heavenlies, and see them again – her family –her friend – and rejoice and be at peace and full of love in her heart.  And, in whatever place she found herself in on the day after, she would find a place and pray to God and thank him, so gratefully thank him, for the long days of life and grace he had granted her.


But, as she scrubbed away at the lasagne, she smiled on her memories, but a sense of adventure grabbed her heart and said ‘I’m not quite finished with you yet, Shelandragh May,’ and she smiled.


*   *   *   *   *


They were in a large cavern, which was lit with burning torches, filled with a dozen or so trolls lounging around, some of the eating there nightly meals, others laying on beds, and what was apparently the king of the troll, seated on a throne, eating soup with a spoon.


The group were over by the side of the room, still invisible, listening carefully to everything that was being said.  Mostly the trolls burped and ate their meals, a lot of scratching involved, and slurping at their food.  Shortly the king finished his soup, dropped the bowl onto the floor of the cave, and a female troll came out of the shadows, picked up the bowl, and disappeared to where she had come from.

Bladron.  Where are you Bladron?’ the king suddenly yelled out.  The other trolls all looked at the king, one of the younger looking trolls coming forward.  ‘He is in his cave,’ he said to the king.

Then go get him, Blard.’

I’ll be right back, Lord Hamfist.’


Blard disappeared down a tunnel, and the trolls went back to what they were doing.


Shortly, Blard reappeared and, presumable, Bladron with him.

Yes, your majesty,’ Bladron said to the king.

I am tired of the same old soup.  You never change the recipe – boring old vegetable soup.  How about putting some chicken in it?’

But the farmers are very sensitive about their chicken’s,’ replied the troll.  ‘We can’t risk getting caught stealing them.  It has long been that way when we live near humankind.’

Bah, humbug,’ responded the Troll King.  ‘I want some chicken.  Go steal some from the sprites.  They usually have one or two chickens poking around their places.’

But they will use their hammer on us.  We never like getting involved with the sprites in the local community.  It has always been that way your majesty.’

Bah, humbug.  Get me chicken.’

Oh, ok.  I’ll find some chicken,’ responded the cook Blard, and disappeared.

Sprites and their blasted Golden Hammer,’ grumbled the King to himself.  Shortly, he got down off his throne, wandered around the room nodding to the trolls, and said to them all ‘I’m tired.  Time for bed,’ and made his way out of the cavern, down a tunnel, presumably for his sleeping quarters.


The group watched for a while as several of the trolls also made their way down various tunnels, shortly leaving a quiet room with only a few trolls left.


Well, that answer that I guess,’ said Lucy.  ‘The trolls don’t have the hammer – that much seems certain.’

I guess so,’ said Jayden.  ‘I suppose we should leave.’

And so the group, quite disappointed, left the cavern, walked carefully out the tunnels they had come in, soon finding themselves out in the open night air, a long walk and flight from home.

Minxy looked at the tired group.  ‘Well, I guess we can sleep up the hills a little away from the cave for the night.  It is a warm enough night, so perhaps Lucy can cast some sort of spell to keep us warm enough for the night.’

I do have a spell for that,’ nodded Lucy.

Ok then,’ said Minxy.  ‘And I guess we are back at square one.’

So, feeling a little disappointed, the group trudged up the hills a hundred yards or so, found a little clearing and, all cosying up next to each other, Lucy cast an elemental salamander fire spell, and that night they were warmed by a burning Salamander in the centre of their group, sleeping soundly, if uncomfortably, waiting for the dawn and the next part of their adventure.


*   *   *   *   *


Jayden was sitting at the top of the mountain, staring at the rising sun of the new day.  Down the hill a ways, the children were rising, and Georgia spied her brother further up the hill and motioned for the children to come up and see what he was doing.


Hey,’ said Lucy to Jayden.  ‘What you up to.’

Just sitting here,’ said Jayden.  ‘Looking at the dawn.’

Sure,’ she responded.

Weird,’ said Maddy, but the group sat down next to him anyway and watched as the sun slowly climbed into the sky.


They sat there, not talking much, waking up still, a solid hour passing before Jayden bothered to get to his feet.


What’s up, Jadie?’ Madalene asked him.

Just life, Maddy.  It is like uncle Dan said to me a while ago – life has moments in it when we can appreciate how it all fits together.  I sort of know what he means a bit now, so I thought I would watch the sunrise this morning.’

Minxy came over to Jayden, kissed him on the cheek, and said ‘You are a very deep boy, Jayden Bridges.’  He shrugged it off, but he was smiling anyway.


Well, what next?’ Madalene asked the group.

We return to the council,’ said Minxy.  ‘And start again, I suppose.’

I guess so,’ responded Lucy, and as they took off for the walk down the mountain to start their return voyage, agreeing to start flying after they had warmed up a bit, Lucy thought on the missing Golden Hammer.  Minxy still looked relatively fine and normal, but perhaps she was starting to feel it.  Perhaps, now, she was starting to notice the missing strength and lack of spirit.  Or perhaps everything was fine – only time would tell.



They continued down the mountain and, after a while, Lucy motioned that they may as well try flying for a while and, taking off, but staying close to the ground, they flew down the mountain, made their way back to the river and gradually continued flying along, heading downstream, back to the sprite fair.


*   *   *   *   *


And so, the little group of adventurers arriving finally back at the council of the sprites, mid-day having just passed, they returned to the central tent, talked with Goldbeard and said they’d had no luck and that the trolls definitely did not have the Golden Hammer.  Goldbeard sighed, said not to worry and that, for now, the community seemed well enough.  ‘But we are feeling it,’ he responded.  ‘We are feeling it in our bones, in our heart.  The strength of Merlin in us is dissipating, and we are becoming like our own selves in many ways.  Perhaps, in the end, that may be a good thing.  Don’t worry little ones.  Don’t worry.


And so, sighing, the group wandered away, off to the central paddock, watched as the pony trudged around, feeling low and unhappy again.  They needed the hammer back – the community needed it desperately.


*   *   *   *   *


Shelandragh sat with Darren Merryweather, in her abode Minoxxia, chatting on life.

So that is why, Darren,’ she continued, ‘that I have decided, once and for all, apart from mentoring dear Lucy as she grows, that teaching witches and wizards, taking them in for lessons, is part of my past.  I am now retired.  Out of action.’

Do you intend to remain practicing, though.  You haven’t commented on that.’

I don’t know,’ she said, looking vaguely ahead of her.  Shortly she came to herself.  ‘Look, maybe Darren.  Maybe.  But I am old, now.  Old and wise in the ways of life and the lessons I have learned have often been very hard lessons to learn indeed.  For so long, now, I have been learning about witchcraft and the source of its power – the wild magic, as they call it.  And this wild magic, as we know, inhabits the universe, an undercurrent of power, which witches and wizards tap into to draw strength from to cast their spells.  Long ago we forewent the wild magic in official ministry protocols here in Australia, and sought the softer and gentler animistic spirits for our work, spirits which have often seemed more real, more humble, more acceptable for the purposes of a white witch.  But even they, now, to this old soul….’ She left off speaking, again staring ahead.


What?’ asked Darren, looking intensely at her.

Even now, they are becoming too much for me,’ she responded, and said nothing more.

Darren looked at her silently for a while.  Just what had happened to the witch Shelandragh May?




That afternoon they chatted gently, and he didn’t bring up the subject of her decision again.  Mostly, they talked of Lucy and her probable current adventures and how the Bridges children were growing up and life in general – mundane subjects.  But looking at Shelandragh May, Darren sensed something in the conversation.  When he brought up witchcraft from time to time, she had a subtle way of bringing the conversation back to more mundane topics – more mugglesque topics.  What was happening to Shelandragh May?  As bizarre as it may sound, was she losing her faith?



That night, eating a stew she had been slow cooking all day, Shelandragh opened up once more.


It is that bible.  The one in Lucy’s room.  Oh, I’ve read it before, you know.  Over the years.  Paid cursory respect to it.  I did seek it once, very greatly, and fasted, and found my youth.  And, I guess, those old prayers and fastings are catching up on me.  The God of that Bible has found me, seems to want me for his kingdom, and is being very quiet about all my past ways of witchery.  As if he won’t bring up the subject but, for the questions I might possibly ask him, there is a subtle and soft way of referencing that bible – that Jewish Bible of Lucy’s.  The Tanakh, as it is called.  Oh, the Old Testament.  The Old Testament of Christian faith.’

Darren looked at her, honestly.  ‘And its teachings?  The ones condemning witchcraft.  You are listening to them now.  God, Shelandragh.  It must have been centuries ago that parents of ours came to terms with that and chose the wild magic anyway.  It’s our destiny – it is what we are to live with and live by.  It is the choice they made.  It is the choice WE make, each and every day.  God, I mean, forgive me, alleluia and all that, but God doesn’t really come into it.’

Shelandragh looked right at him.  ‘But is he not the Lord of Life?  Is he not, in the end, the one who rules all?’

I have always thought it was more than just one power which answered that question, Shelandragh, but I note your point.  Look – what does this God want of you?  What does this creator of yours ask of your life?  Aren’t you a moral enough person?  Isn’t he satisfied enough with you?  Why does he have to come and bother innocent old Shelandragh May?’

I don’t know,’ she said again, with the vague look in her eyes.  And, suddenly, with quite strong force, ‘But he doesn’t want me practicing WITCHCRAFT!  OK!’

Ok, ok.  Calm down.  I get the point.  You’ve gone religious.  It happens to even the best of us.’

She looked at him, very crossly for a moment, and then settled.  ‘Yes.  I’ve bloody gone religious.  Happens to the best of us.  Har, har, haar.’

Darren smiled at her.  She was a lively old soul, wasn’t she.



They continued on, into the evening, chatting away, drinking tea and eating biscuits, and Shelandragh seemed to come even more alive and animated as time passed.  It was as if, to the observations of Darren Merryweather, that Shelandragh May had been through an ordeal – an ordeal of the heart – and he was starting to understand just what that ordeal had been.  But for a witch, steeped in the craft, devoted to it her whole life, centuries of practice…. For such a witch to be having convictions now?   Certainly, that would really be a matter of late nights and worried frowns.  But, seemingly, she had resolved her difficulties somewhat.  Witchcraft was to go – that much was apparent – but what then for Shelandragh May?  What then?  With her craft gone, what on earth could possibly fill the gap?  He mused on that as the evening drifted along, sipping on his tea, eating his bikkies, staring into the face of dear old Shelandragh May.


*   *   *   *   *


The following morning, Darren haven risen early at Minoxxia, getting the fire in the kitchen going again, there was a knock on the front door.  He came around, opened it and stared into a face he recalled from a photograph of Madalene’s family.  One of the two Daniel – the Daly’s, this one the one which had been raised a Rothchild, by the looks of it.

Ah, Mr Daly Rothchild.  You are here to see Shelandragh?’

Yes,’ he responded.

Come in, come in,’ responded Darren.


He led him into the lounge room, left him and knocked gently on Shelandragh’s door.  ‘Mr Daniel Daly Rothchild is here to see you, Shelandragh.’

Shortly the door opened and Shelandragh’s head popped out.  ‘I’ll be out in about 10 minutes.  I just want to take a shower, ok.  Won’t be a jiffy.  You have a chat with him.’

Right,’ nodded Darren, and returned to the lounge room.


Mr Daly sat there, innocent looking, dressed in black slack track pants and a t shirt, a very casual man by the looks of it.  He had a short beard on, seemed a little unkempt in dress, but apart from that seemed a solid enough personality.

Daniel,’ said Darren.  ‘Shelandragh will be out momentarily.  Can I get you anything?  Tea, Coffee?’

Uh, do you have any juice?’

I think so.  Orange and apple I think.’

Either will be fine,’ responded Mr Daly.

Darren entered the kitchen, poured the remaining apple juice into a glass, poured some orange juice for himself, and returned to the lounge, handing Daniel the glass.  Daniel took a few sips and smiled at Darren.

So.  What do you do with yourself, if you don’t mind me asking,’ began Darren.

Oh, this and that.  These days I have very good business investments.  I do, though, get actively involved in religious group myself and my brother founded.  It is what Shelandragh called me down to talk about.’

The Haven fellowship,’ said Darren.  ‘The one Lucy is interested in.’

Yes,’ agreed Daniel.

Darren looked at him a bit more cautiously.  Perhaps, in some ways, the heart of Shelandragh’s concerns could be addressed in this man.

What is your perspective on witchcraft, Daniel?’  Darren came right out with it.  ‘From a biblical perspective, I mean.’

Daniel nodded.  ‘Sort of what Shelandragh wants to talk about as well.  You practice the craft as well, I take it?’

I do,’ he confirmed, nodding.

Right,’ said Daniel.  ‘Well, there is not much to say, really.  In the olden times of Canaan, witches sacrificed children and cast spells on people.  The consulted the dead and gave omens.  All sorts of things which, in biblical language, makes a person spiritually unclean in God’s eyes.  And God is so savage against these unclean practices that he condemns witchcraft and advocates the death penalty.’

Darren took that in his stead.  At least the man was honest with were he was coming from.  ‘And your perspective on that, Mr Daly?’

Who am I to argue with God.  I just obey his laws.  Though, I do understand, especially in this day and age, with all the political correctness surrounding witchcraft and accepting witches, why this perspective of the bibles can seem outdated and even evil in many people’s eyes.  But, in its defense, the sort of practices which the bible forbids do cause spiritual uncleanness.  I feel it in people’s spirits all the time, there unclean ways and behaviour.  It affects their own spirit person, which is corrupted by darkness and evil, and the spirits end up spiritually unclean.  To be blunt about it, the smell of a person’s corrupt spirit is very obvious once you are very clean according to Torah regulations.  You notice these things a lot.’

Torah regulations?’ asked Darren, almost amused.  Almost wanting to laugh, but not quite sure.  What were Torah regulations on cleanness?  Uncleanness?  Did Darren smell to Daniel?’

But why kill witches?  A bit drastic, isn’t it?’

I think, forgive me, but it is supposed to be a lesson in their lives.  A fundamental one.  All of us, the offspring of Adam and Eve, were created in the image of God and the Angels, and we have an eternal destiny with God.  This fundamental lesson, enforced by the death penalty, is were some of us learn the very hard way just exactly what God does approve of and what God doesn’t approve of.  It is as simple as that.  As harsh as the death penalty may sound, it is in the soul’s best interest.  He who spares the rod, spoils the child, as Solomon would teach.’

Darren looked at him, a little perplexed.  ‘So the soul of the witch also lives forever, I take it?’

As far as I am aware of, yes.  The reason being that God desires the salvation of all souls, and while purgatory is a likely reality for some, for the cleansing of their evil, redemption is the heart of God for all mankind.  It always has been.  It is what the Torah is all about.  It is what the people of Israel and Noah represent.’

Darren looked at him, a little bit confused.  He hadn’t heard this kind of teaching before – the actual logic of the scriptures on the issue.  He was, to put it mildly, ill informed on the subject.

So what I am hearing you say is that God DOESN’T hate witches.  He is just acting in our best interests.’

Oh, he will hate a witch enough if the witch is evil, but God is longsuffering and merciful.  He wants the witch’s salvation, in the end.’


Darren sipped on his juice, looking at Mr Daly Rothchild.  They weren’t exactly the kinds of answers he expected from him.  They weren’t exactly the simple condemnation of something different, but rather an elaborate explanation of ‘Why’.


Shelandragh appeared, and Darren stood.  ‘Well, Daniel.  It has been illuminating.’  Darren looked at Shelandragh.  ‘Well, Shelly.  I may as well get going.  We have done our thing.  I’ll see you perhaps in a few months when I am down this way again, but ta for now.  Daniel,’ he said, nodding to Mr Daly, and made his way out the front of Minoxxia, over to his car, taking off.


As he drove along the words of Mr Daly were in his mind.  Old fashioned ideals, to Darren Merryweather, in many ways.  Outdated, archaic approaches to witchcraft.  Salem hunting’s all over again.  But, thinking over the content of as to actually why they condemned witchcraft, Darren, perhaps for the first time in his musings over the issue, was taken back a little.  That witches had practiced evil in the past was undoubtful – he knew of rogues like Grimlock and Lucifer were the banes of his community.  But uncleanness?  Spiritually unclean?  Corrupting the soul to cast spells?  Was that, really, why God condemned witchcraft?  Because they were dirty?


As he drove along he laughed at the idea yet, despite telling himself he shouldn’t really care, part of him wanted to catch up with Daniel Daly again, for another chat, just to see what else he had to say.  Just to see what else was on his mind for the issue of Darren’s main occupation.



Chapter Four


The children sat there, glumly, as the fare meandered on with a half life, almost, it seemed.  Minxy was the most depressed looking, seeming miserable to the others, moping around, crying some times.


Eventually, having had enough of the malaise, Jayden livened up.  ‘Well, ok.  It wasn’t the trolls.  Why don’t we go back to the tent, have another look around.  We might get luckier this time.’

And so, the group not knowing what else to do, shrugged, and picked themselves up and over to the main tent.


They looked around for quite a while, and then, giving up, they came outside the tent and sat on the grass.  ‘Ooh, what have I sat on,’ said Madalene.  Standing up she turned to look at her bottom and it was the most disgusting of things – poo.

Oh, gross,’ said Lucy, but Georgie and Jayden laughed.


Minxy, though, looked at the poo funnily.  ‘That’s not sprite poo.  Its not even pony poo.  It’s Bunyip poo.’

The others looked at her.  ‘Bunyip poo?’ asked Jayden.  ‘Then a Bunyip has been here?’

Minxy, thinking over that, nodded.  ‘I guess so.  Maybe a Bunyip stole the hammer after all.’

Then we go to the bunyips,’ said Jayden.

We’ll have to tell my father,’ said Minxy.

Why don’t we wait this time,’ said Jayden.  ‘And be sure of ourselves.’

Well ok,’ said Minxy, not certain, but agreeing anyway.


Where do the Bunyips live?’ asked Lucy.

Not too far from here, actually,’ responded Minxy.  ‘They are not that much bigger than sprites.  They have a community not far north of here.  It will take us a couple of hours to get there.’

Then what are we waiting for,’ said Jayden.


And so, Lucy leading the way, the children embarked on their second adventure to, this time, hopefully recover the thief of the missing Golden Hammer.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucifer Malfoy sat in the main eating hall of Zoldarius’s castle, hidden somewhere on an island in an ocean Voldie would not name, but Lucifer knew where they were.


Zoldarius was in the habit of having a number of regular guests at any particular time staying with him at Castle Zoldarius, and currently there were a dozen or so wizards and witches and other dark figures haunting the castle, a few of witch, including Grimlock, were currently in the dining hall for luncheon.


He was served his meal, came over, looked at the antisocial Lucifer, and came and sat down opposite him.  ‘Is this seat taken?’ Grimlock asked.  Lucifer grunted, which was good enough for Grimlock.


As he began his meal of stewed meat and vegetables, Lucifer gazed upon him.  ‘Idolatrous Extremus.  The spell I mean.  To control the penguins.  That’s the one you are using, isn’t it Grimmy?”

Grimlock looked up nervously, thought on denying the claim, but said nothing, and carefully ate his stew.


Eventually he found the courage to speak.  ‘And what if it is, Lucifer?  What is that to you?’

Look, mate.  I couldn’t give a shit, personally.  Have penguins worship you if that tickles your fancy.  I’m just wondering, though.’

Grimlock continued eating nervously.  Eventually he responded.  ‘Wondering about what?’

About where an imbecile like you managed to locate a spell like ‘Idolatrous Extremus’.  It is hardly one which Zoldarius would leave lying around, after all.  And not many apart from him would know about the spell.  Just wondering, that’s all, Grimmy.’


Grimlock stared at him, but returned to his stew.  He spoke again.  ‘A man in my profession.  Well, after a while we come across certain artefacts – spell books and the like.  I AM well known, you know.  In wizarding circles.’

I’ll bet,’ responded Lucifer, lighting a cigarette and staring at his opponent.


It is just for the life of me,’ continued Lucifer, ‘I could not imagine who, for the life of me, would want to part with such knowledge of such a powerful spell.’

Everyone has their price,’ responded the defiant Grimlock, which brought a grin to Lucifer’s face.


Now if I had access to such a spell,’ continued Lucifer.  ‘Well, let’s put it this way.  I wouldn’t be after Penguin worship.  I can guarantee you that, Grimmy.  I can guarantee you that.’

Grimlock said nothing, but continued eating his stew.  The silence between them was ominous.


*   *   *   *   *


Zoldarius, standing in front of his specially sealed bookcase, noticed immediately – a tome was missing.  Who could have stolen that?  What wizard would have had the power?  No matter – he knew the spells in the book well enough now.  It would show up when it was needed.


He came over to his large personal lounge chair in his magnificent library, sat down in front of a roaring fire place which his servants kept going, and sat there, contemplating life, and reality.


He was in a semi-solid state, and he awaited the sacrifice of the witch Lucy Smith, blood with Jonathon, could offer her and renew himself to full life – full form.  And more than that – his full form, of earlier days, of his beauty, would be brought back to him.  The sacrifice of the Smith girl’s blood would reawaken his body, propel it onwards to new ‘Smith’ life, and give him strength and vigour for hundreds, if not thousands more years, for he knew her already in truth to be one of the elect ones.  He saw it in her, like his oft adversary Shelandragh May.  Elect of he who was, the being of glory which he, of the dark, could not name – would not name.


He sat there, staring into the fire, thinking over many things.  His defeating at the hands of the Smith Boy, and his vanquishing.  Vanquishing into the world of the dead were, in his afterlife state, he was confronted by demon’s and satan’s and other dark powers, mocking him, laughing at him, reminding him that he was now receiving the rewards for his dark ways in the judgement which he who was saw fit to judge him with.  But then, fowl grace of graces, the sacrifices began.  The sacrifices performed by Grimlock and the others, dark virginal sacrifices, which purchased new life for this dark lord of life.


And he returned to life – albeit a half-life – and saw fit the sacrifices continued apace, and would so, until that fateful day.  The day in which the girl, in the divine contract, made the choice she would make and, with luck, Zoldarius would have her slain, her blood drawn and offered on the altar of death for his soul’s full redemption, and new life being drawn to him, born again, to once again seek the dominion, power and rulership he so desperately sought.


And on that day, his day of glory, he would seek out the Smith Boy.  The Smith boy he desperately hated and, with the darkest power of might within him exact his final, dark, deathly and venomous vengeance.


*   *   *   *   *


As they trudged the final bit, Lucy felt better about the situation.  Discovering the Bunyip poo, right outside the central tent of the sprite council, really seemed a positive indication that fowl play from the Bunyip community was responsible for the missing hammer.  But, then again, how could they be sure.  There could be a lot of reasons why the Bunyip poo was there, and a simple enough answer was that a Bunyip had simply done his or her business on that spot before the council had been formed – finding Bunyip poo didn’t necessarily prove anything, and Lucy Smith knew that.  But it was there best lead and, in truth, there only lead.  They had to follow up on it.  But, if it proved futile, what next?  And what would happen to the Sprite community?


They trudged along, getting nearer and nearer to the Bunyip community according to Minxy, when they started coming upon a path and, suddenly, a Bunyip appeared on the path, looked at them suspiciously as they walked past, but said nothing.


And then, more and more Bunyips started appearing, until, coming into a large clearing, a whole host of Bunyip houses greeted them, a number of Bunyips staring at them.


Well, this is it,’ said Minxy.  ‘The local Bunyip community.  The poo almost certainly came from one of the Bunyip’s living here.’

Well, what next?’ asked Lucy.

We ask them to take us to their leader, I guess,’ responded Minxy.

I suppose so,’ responded Lucy.


Uh, excuse me,’ said Lucy to a Bunyip, who rudely did not answer but just stared at her, unblinking.

How rude,’ said Minxy to the Sprite.  ‘Didn’t your mother teach you any manners?’ but the sprite continued ignoring them, seemingly satisfied that they were no threat to the community, and walked away.  Shortly an elderly male Bunyip appeared and spoke to them.  ‘What do you want here, sprites?  This is Bunyip land?’

Oh, we know,’ said Minxy.  ‘Don’t get your knickers in a knot.’

Oh, it’s you Minxy,’ said the elderly Bunyip.  ‘I should’ve known.  Only you have the kind of cheek to show up uninvited.’

Oh, shut up,’ said Minxy, defensively.  ‘Anyway, we have business with the king.’

Why do you want to see the king,’ the old Bunyip asked her.

Because a Bunyip has nicked our hammer, and we want to find the sod before we perish.’

Watch your language young maiden,’ said the old Bunyip.

Maiden.  Those were the days,’ said Minxy, a naughty look suddenly in her eyes.


Well,’ she said, staring at him.  ‘Are you going to take us to old Lord Rodric?’

Oh, very well,’ he said.  ‘Follow me.’

About time,’ said Minxy, and as the children trailed along after her, Lucy smiled to herself at the wit of Minxy the Sprite.  She really was an unforgettable character.


*   *   *   *   *


Shelandragh May was a healthy living lady – most of the time.  She drank very little alcohol, smoked about one cigarette a week, did none of the illegal drugs anymore, but had done some marijuana in the 1960s when it had been cool and the in thing.  She was not exactly a party type of lady – not any more anyway – there were some dark secrets, though, hidden in the heart of Shelandragh May about a misspent youth indulging in certain traditional devilishly famous witches activities.  But she would no longer speak on those days.


She did drink full cream milk, and would never be persuaded otherwise, and indulged in coffee and tea and chocolate from time to time, even in alarming quantities.  But those were her main vices in that sense.


Apart from that, if it could be called a vice, her love affair with witchcraft had been the main thing in her life, and her fame, for a long, long time.


But, usually, Shelandragh May was one of the more sober members of society, and could be relied upon in general to set a good and decent example for other citizens of the nation.


Today was an exception.


She had been, since talking with Mr Daly a little earlier that week, in a fowl mood.  He had said things, things which she suspected he might say anyway, and things she knew, in the end, she would be agreeing with anyway, but which were still hard to bear.  Things about her life of magical practice.


And, a little after that conversation, she had got high on a joint she had hidden in her house for a while, started hammering away on her Port and then her Brandy, and been smoking all that morning and afternoon.  Really, she was in a terrible way.


But she needed it – and she knew it.


It would be about the only blowout, in that sense, that she had planned in her going cold turkey on her magic life.  She would indulge, briefly, severely, and pent all her built up frustrations, and that would be the end of it.


And magic would be done with – for good.  Almost.


She knew, with Lucy around, that magic would be a reality for a while to come and, for the sake of Lucy, had agreed with herself that when magic became necessary in some way, for the time being she would still allow her own practice of the craft, and her own dabbling.  In this sense she would wean herself away from magic gradually, as Lucy, who would be her final pupil, matured and lived out her own choices and life on the magical arts.  She could not make Lucy Smiths decisions on this issue after all.


So, for Lucy, she would make an exception for now.  But only for Lucy.


She was to be a witch no more – the end of her career, in that sense, time for retirement.


Certainly, from centuries of investments in various collectable items which she had stored in both Minoxxia and a few other homes in both Australia and the Old World, which she sold from time to time when they had increased in value to such a degree that sale looked timely and profitable, she garnered her quite handsome income.  And she had quite a batch of gold hidden in various places in Minoxxia, usually well hidden away from prying eyes.  No, she was not poor, would not need to work in the rest of her days, apart, perhaps, from the occasional investment in a quality collectible item which had the potential to increase in value over many years, so in this sense she had no real concerns.  Witchcraft no longer really needed to serve as a source of current income, which it had usually supplemented her wealth by.


No, Shelandragh May could contentedly live out her last days in Minoxxia, a happy old maid (almost), drinking tea, conversing with old friends, and being a lovely old biddy.  And despite the shocking passion which was once in her to live life to the fullest and grasp it by the horns and run with it, such a gentle and loving way to spend her latter years no longer bothered her, really.  Growing old with grace and dignity – a proper English woman – proud daughter of the Empire.  No, such muggle terminologies no longer offended her and, in fact, offered her a gentle pardon in a sense from her lifelong devotion to the magical arts.


Perhaps, for a soul which had lived on the edge so vividly and passionately as Shelandragh May, it was something of a come down.  But, these days especially, she felt it in her bones.  The long years, finally catching up with her, telling her that she’d had enough, and a long and good rest was deserved.  And while she perhaps might want to struggle against it and sensed something of a special destiny and final last task laid before her, some final adventure of sorts, for the most part she was done and dusted, and ready to be put out to pasture.


And she was only bothered a little by that reality.


Yet, for the moment, sitting in her lounge, feeling terribly sick, but not caring in the slightest, she was enjoying her final big bang, ready for the inevitable knitting of scarves, sipping of teas, and conversation with grandmotherly neighbours who would only be filling her head with their latest ‘Little Johnnie’s’ accomplishments.  But such was life.


*   *   *   *   *


And so, coming into the chief house of the King of the Bunyips of the local Chakola region, Lord Rodric, Minxy stood her ground, staring up defiantly at the Bunyip, ever ready to insist on the return of her beloved Golden Hammer.


We want our hammer, Rodric.  NOW!’ demanded the little sprite.

Rodric considered her.  Who was this little sprite to make demands of him.  Still, if she was missing some sort of hammer, he could at least ensure the Bunyip’s weren’t blamed as they, apparently, were.

A hammer, you say.  Mmm.  I don’t think we have any hammer in our possession.  Algranon.  Do we have possession of a spritish hammer?’

The elderly sprite who had brought the children before Lord Rodric spoke up.  ‘Not that I am aware of, Lord Rodric.  Perhaps the children are just playing a game with us.  You know Minxy and her troublesome ways.’

Is that it, Minxy.  You are having some fun games with the Bunyips.  Har, hargh.’

Your being defensive, aren’t you?’ accused Minxy.  ‘I’ll bet you stole the hammer and you have it right under your throne.’

My throne, you say?’ said Lord Rodric.  He stood to his feet, pulled off the cushion, and looked.  ‘I dare say, I see no hammer with my old eyes.  Perhaps your bright young firey vision can see something, dear old Minxy.’

Minxy glared at him, but said nothing more.


Lucy decided to speak up.  ‘Please forgive us, Lord Rodric.  We didn’t mean to accuse you, but the Sprites have lost their Golden Hammer.  The Sprite council is currently going on, and when the men’s discussions were finished somebody found out that the Golden Hammer the sprites need to protect themselves had been stolen.  We tried the trolls, but no luck.  And then we found some Bunyip poo…’

Lord Rodric interrupted her.  ‘So you think a Bunyip has stolen the hammer.  Deary me.’  He drew himself up in stature, glared at them, and sat back down.  ‘Now, dear Sprite, whatever your name is.  Yourself, Minxy and your friends need to rest assured that no Bunyip would have any business in the thieving of a Sprite hammer.  We have ample enough concern with our own business that we do not need to make trouble with the Sprites.  Wherever your blessed hammer is, well please believe me that the Bunyips have had nothing to do with any theft of such an item.’


Minxy stared at him, but was still not satisfied.

Perhaps you could order a search.  Maybe one of the Bunyips has stolen it without your permission.’

Lord Rodric frowned.  ‘No.  No I don’t think I will mistrust my community on insisting on such a thing.  I trust them well enough not to be thieving spritish hammers of all things.  We understand your loss, but you will need to look elsewhere than the Bunyips for the recovery of your item.’

But we found the Bunyip poo,’ insisted Jayden.

Nevertheless, you will have to look elsewhere,’ replied the King.  ‘Now, unless you have some offer matter of business with us Bunyips today, you are excused.  Algranon.  Please ensure our visitors find their way safely back out of our community.  We would not want any of their possession to be stolen, now, would we.’

At once Lord Rodric.’


And so the children, frustrated, protesting, but not really able to have anything more of a say with the Bunyip King than that, were escorted by Algranon back to the entrance of the Bunyip community they had come from, with Algranon pointing at the path.  ‘Run along now, Minxy and your friends.  I am sure your father is missing you.’

Oh, poo,’ said Minxy, totally bothered.


Come on,’ said Madalene.  ‘I don’t think we will get any more out of the Bunyip’s today.  If they have the hammer, you can be sure they are not handing it over.  We will just have to accept what their King said.’

Minxy stared at Algranon, who smiled at her, and shooed her on, finally turning and, as the children departed, she stuck out her tongue at the old Sprite and skitted on, down the path, making their way home.


*   *   *   *   *


As Lord Rodric had proudly defended the honour of the Bunyips, insisting that Minxy’s suspicions had simply been misplaced, in the corner of the room, sitting quietly, unobtrusively, amongst some of the few Bunyip’s who occasionally gathered in the King’s counsel, was the Bunyip Gilgo, a younger male Bunyip who, when Minxy had left, carefully and guiltily retreated from the King’s chamber, away, back to his own abode.


And there, looking around to see nobody about, he got down on his knees, reached down under his bed, and brought forth – surprise of surprises – the golden hammer of the Sprites.  Yes – Gilgo the Bunyip had been the guilty party.


It was simple, in the end, the motivation for Gilgo’s crime.  Quite simple.  A powerful and rich sorcerer had promised Gilgo that, if he had stolen the hammer successfully, and hidden it away in his own lair, he would, upon receiving the Golden hammer from Gilgo, pay him a princely sum in gold, for the spending of as he saw fit.  That much alone had probably been sufficient enough reason to motivate Gilgo to think about the crime but, when the sorcerer also, off the cuff, promised to turn him into a human should he so desire, for the enjoyment of the money in human society, the deal had been set.  Gilgo would steal the hammer.


But now, somewhat, he felt guilty.  Being confronted by the Sprite community for the sin of his crime had convicted him and he was half a mind to take the hammer, run down the path, give it back to the sprite Minxy, and apologize profusely.  He was half a mind to do just that.  But only half.  The other half, taking solid delight in all the potential gold to be offered him and the thought of spending some of his days in human form, roaming the land freely, taking delight in human custom and practice and, nay, should he really say it?  Drinking human wine and perchance finding a human woman for hidden delights of the night.  And, sitting there, looking at the hammer, no matter how much he wanted to do the right thing, and confess his crime, and restore the reputation of the Bunyip’s, his greed and lust was just too much, and he put the hammer, carefully, back under his bed, sat on the bed momentarily thinking about how he would spend all his beloved gold, and contemplated that later that evening he would have to contact the sorcerer to arrange deliverance of the hammer and payment of the gold.


No, he would remain a crooked thief, and enjoy his wicked pleasure.  And, despite the fact that he was truly devoted to his Bunyip community, the temptation was just too much in the end.  Too much wicked delight for the likes of Gilgo the Bunyip to resist.  Far too much.


*   *   *   *   *


Grimlock put down the portal communication device – a  mirror of sorts, for this particular work – and was satisfied.  Most satisfied.  The Bunyip Gilgo had indeed retrieved the Golden Hammer and, from what Gilgo Said, the Sprites wanted it back desperately.  And that was enough for the malevolent Lord Grimlock.


In truth, in the end, he was not really trying to kill off Lucy Smith or even the Bridges children at this time.  While he may have been motivated, though, to do some serious harm to them and put them in a place of suffering and misery they would have cried woe from, it was still not his intent to kill them off for good.  That much he wouldn’t do yet – that much he couldn’t do yet.


Lucy Smith was the exact type of sacrifice, with her probable elect status which the dark lords had already sensed she had, similar to her cousin Jonathon, meaning that the sacrificial blood of such a witch would prove the necessary life force necessary to fully recover and redeem Lord Zoldarius to full living status and, so they suspected, more than that – to his former beauty of youth.  And so, because of this, they could not hurt the witch – not yet – not until a certain age long wager between an old devil of heaven and the other children of heaven was satisfied and, in a manner acceptable to the Lords of the Dark, meaning they could then kill of the Smith children once and for all, take dark delight in the blood sacrifice of dear Lucy, and resurrect Lord Zoldarius to full life to enjoy his long sought glories of power, dominion and rulership over the wizarding and witching world and community.


And, naturally, Grimlock, for his long service, would receive a handsome reward for his work as well.  Or, at least, such was the promise.  Such was the promise.


He put the portal away on his bookcase, sat down on his bed, and picked up his nightly meal.  Munching on a chicken leg, he thought on the suffering Lucy Smith.  ‘We were once friends, dear Lucy, but your time will not last forever, child of he who is.  We are watching you Lucy Smith – we are watching you,’ he devilishly thought to himself, and munched on his chicken leg, his heart continuing to be filled with Grim, Malevolent, and dark – most dark – evil.


*   *   *   *   *


As the children trudged home there was a sombre mood among them.  Minxy was constantly rumbling that the Bunyips were hiding something which Lucy personally surmised might indeed be true.  But they had no proof – only evidence.  Sure, the Bunyip poo could have been old poo – they couldn’t really prove it either way.  And with no firm evidence to incriminate them it was not surprising that Lord Rodric would defend his people.  But that didn’t make Minxy any happier.


Lucy had been keeping a careful eye on Minxy the last couple of days as the time of the Golden Hammer’s disappearance increased.  If what she had said was true, that they community of sprites relied so heavily on the spell power and enchantments of the hammer and had become so attached to it that they would waste away without it, then she could expect Minxy to soon start feeling the effects of the missing hammer.  But while Minxy was in a distraught and fowl tempered mood a lot of the moment, she still seemed the same animated and bubbly Minxy the Sprite which Lucy had come to know so well.  Perhaps they had placed too much fear and anxiety into their worries over the missing hammer – perhaps the community had not too much to worry about anyway – perhaps.


But one thing did seem certain enough, and that was the hammer played a vital role in protecting the sprite community from attacking forces and, without its constant presence, could they expect hostilities from some unfriendly sources?  She liked to think not, that nobody had a particular grudge against her friend Minxy, but you never could tell.


They continued trudging along, getting nearer to home and Minxy became animated.  ‘We will have to tell father, but we can’t give up, can we Jayden?’  She said, looking hopefully at Jayden for consolation.

He came over, hugged her, and said ‘No we won’t give up on you Minxy.  All for one and one for all, ok.  We are your friends forever, Minxy the Sprite.’

And that much seemed to make Minxy a little happier.


Soon the Sprite gathering came into view and, as they neared home, Lucy gave thought to what they might possibly do next.  Goldbeard wouldn’t want to attack the Bunyips, would he?  Besides, without the hammer, they would be greatly outmatched, and it was the hammer they were trying to recover anyway.  All she could really think of was that she needed a good nights sleep and, in the morning, as her mother Caroline would often say, things would be better and a solution would present itself.  She could only hope her mother’s wisdom would be right on this occasion.  She could only hope.


*   *   *   *   *


You’re up to something, aren’t you Grimmy?’

Grimlock ignored Lucifer’s question, sipping on his juice, sitting at the breakfast table.

Come on, come clean,’ said Lucifer.  ‘I sense something – magic has been going on – portal activity to Australia.  And Chakola in particular.  You’re watching the Smith girl.’

And what if I am?’ said Grimlock defensively.

Lucifer snarled a little but said nothing more, staring at his opponent.  He picked up his spoon, took another bite of his corn flakes, his favourite breakfast cereal, and gazed upon the grim one.  He couldn’t figure it, but Grimlock was up to something.  Something sinister, something evil.  Something Lucifer should know about.


He continued munching on his corn flakes, staring at Grimlock who was working on his raisin, toast, ready for his next question.


Something about a Golden Hammer.  I am a diviner after all, Grimlock.  I CAN work these kinds of things out.  Strong clairvoyancy runs in the family, pal.’

Grimlock looked a little startled, but continued saying nothing.  He finished his toast, drank up the last of his juice, and stood.  ‘I’m going to my room.  If Zoldarius wants my presence today, that is were I will be.’

Lucifer glared at him as he departed, and munched away on his corn flakes.


Finishing them off, he looked into his mind and saw Grimlock there, receiving a Golden Hammer from a weird creature.  It was a portent – a vision of the future he was receiving – and somehow the hammer was tied into the Smith girl.  But how?  That much he didn’t know yet.


He poured a glass of orange juice from the decanter, started sipping on it, and thought on the Smith girl.  He hated her, really.  Hated her.  She represented the worst element of the dark magic – morals.  Hell, if you were a witch or a wizard there was shit which came with the territory.   You took that for granted.  You didn’t go making excuses and pretending to be all moral and holy about it all.  That was just plain old hypocrisy as far as Lucifer was concerned.  His kind were of the dark side – to pretend otherwise – to be one of the so-called White Witches – well, what a fucking joke.  May as well call Satan a Saint.  He laughed at the idea of the Devil being received into canonisation by the pope, but his thoughts turned to that of the hammer.  He could sense, in the vision he received, in the feel of the hammer, ancient magic at work.  Ancient, but familiar magic.  Arthurian magic.  Merlinesque magic.  Really, if Grimlock had the hammer now, or soon would be receiving it, perhaps it would be the kind of magic which could come in useful for Lucifer to possess.  You could never have too many magical items at your disposal.  Yep, it could always come in useful.


He sat there, sipping on his juice, and thought on Grimlock.  He would wait, for now, but monitor the situation.  And perhaps travel to Australia, find out about this figure which had the hammer and, perhaps, intercept it before it was given to Grimlock.  And while his dreams were often portents of the future, destiny could always change if he struck hard first.  It was why visions were often given in that sense – for decisions of acceptance or rejection to be made upon them.


He sipped on his juice, thought on the hammer, and smiled to himself.  It would be good to have another go at the Smith girl again – scare the wits out of her.  And he could always visit Fyshwick when back in Australia, and enjoy something of the other passions of the dark Lord Lucifer Malfoy.



Chapter Five


Goldbeard had been worried about the missing Minxy, but was now relieved to have his daughter back.  In some ways, the community were recovering, but there was still a strong sense of loss.  They had accepted the idea now, reluctantly, and faced the truth that life would have to go on anyway.  For the little group of adventurers it meant that their efforts had been in vain, and as the council was winding down its activities, some of the stands already packed up, they sat in the central paddock, quiet, thoughtful, wondering what was next.  And then Goldbeard came over to the group with an idea.


You know, Minxy.  I wouldn’t put this on you normally daughter of mine, but you have been so anxious to help recover the hammer.  There is something, perhaps, which could help.  Something which I would give you and your friends permission to do if they so wished.  At Uluru – the red rock in the centre of Australia – there is an old and ancient indigenous community of sprites.  Amongst them is the lands ‘Oracle of Secrets.’  She, if we are lucky, will be able to use her powers of divination and locate the hammer for you, for no secret can be hidden from her.  I can’t promise she will help, but they are sprites.  There is a chance.’

Minxy, overjoyed, came and hugged her father, and turned to the group.  ‘Well, Lucy.  Maddy.  Jadie and Georgie.  Are you all up for it?’  Georgia nodded, and Jayden said ‘Uluru.  And I think I might have a bit of aboriginal in me anyway,’ which made Lucy laugh.

So it’s agreed then,’ said Minxy, and the children all nodded.

Yes, it is our final option I guess,’ said Lucy.  ‘And then we will find the hammer, and your community will be saved.’

Thank the gods,’ said Minxy smiling, and started hugging them all one by one.


*   *   *   *   *


Gilgo the Bunyip had turned the Golden Hammer over to Grimlock the night before when he suddenly appeared in his room using a relocate spell.  And, as Grimlock had promised, Gilgo had been turned into a human – but on the outskirts of the Bunyip community, and given his gold.


Now Gilgo was in a drinking session in one of Cooma’s pubs, drinking wine, in the steady process of getting drunk in human form.  And he was a happy little man because of it.


But in his heart there was sorrow and regret.  It hadn’t been the right thing to do in the end, no matter the reward, and his guilt was great.  But such was life.  It didn’t always go according to plan, and even in hindsight he was not sure he would change his mind.  So he drank his wine, got steadily drunk, and listened to the rock and roll music on the fabulous juke machine.


*   *   *   *   *


The children had returned to Shelandragh’s house to find her recovering from a desperate drinking session.  ‘I have a headache, Lucy.  Can’t you turn yourself back into an adult?’ said a miffed Shelandragh May.

Not since the Golden Hammer went missing,’ responded Lucy.  ‘We tried before, but the Golden Hammer seems to have affected all of us kids.’

Then we will need a congress,’ said Shelandragh.  ‘It is all that will work to counter the effect of your spell.’

Lucy nodded.  ‘A congress was a gathering of two or more witches to act in harmony in a spell.  She had done various congresses with Shelandragh before, but never seen Shelandragh work with anyone else.


Shelandragh looked at the little sprites, smiled to herself at lifes ironies, and brought out a bar of gold.  ‘This is some of your money, Lucy.  We will cash it in in Canberra to pay for the airfares to the Rock.  And then you can seek the Oracle of Secrets and ask your questions.’

That’s wonderful,’ said Minxy, and hugged  Shelandragh.


*   *   *   *   *


Alfric, Darren Merryweather, and Shelandragh all pointed their wands at the group of children, spoke various words and, quite quickly, the children felt themselves changing, returning to normal size.

Look at me,’ said Minxy.  ‘Finally all grown up.’

Gee.  Your cute,’ said Jayden, then put his hand to his mouth.

Minxy winked at him, but said nothing more.


Ok, children.  I have purchased the tickets and we leave on the evening flight from Canberra airport.  Minxy has the directions to the sprite community so I will leave her and Lucy to find them, and you Bridges children can stay with me at the hotel.’  The children moaned but Shelandragh said ‘And I will buy you all ice cream.’ Which shut them up somewhat.


Later that evening, when they arrived near Uluru after the flight, and booked into their hotel, Lucy was excited.  She had never been to the red centre before and, despite the sudden heat hitting her upon leaving the plane, was really looking forward to it.


The following morning, after breakfast, Minxy and Lucy spent a while with Shelandragh, listening to her warnings, before finally disappearing again into the bush, once again turned back into Sprites, following the directions of Goldbeard.


They found the community, not far from the rock, and Minxy was greeted warmly, while the indigenous sprites were cautious about Lucy.  ‘She’s not a sprite,’ one of them said.  ‘I can tell.’

She’s my friend,’ said Minxy, which appeased them somewhat.  ‘We are here to visit the Oracle of Secrets to answer a dilemma my Chakolan community is facing.  Can she help us?’

The aboriginal sprites looked at her for a moment, as if considering her request, then finally nodded.  ‘Come with us,’ one of them said, and lead the way through the community, to a rugged old tent.

Go inside.  She knows you are here.’


Inside the tent they found a withered old sprite, perhaps thousands of years old in the estimation of Minxy, who smiled at them warmly and took their hands.

Gilgo the Bunyip has your hammer.  But he has already given it on to one who I think is named the grim one.’

Grimlock!’ exclaimed Lucy.  Minxy nodded.

And where is Gilgo?’ asked Lucy.

The oracle just shook her head.  She did not know.


As they returned back to the hotel, with happy news, Lucy thought on what they should do next.  ‘Perhaps we should find Gilgo and ask him were Grimlock could be?’

I guess,’ responded Minxy.  ‘It is as good an idea as any.’


*   *   *   *   *


When they had been returned to human size and gotten back to Chakola, Shelandragh, reluctantly, used a spell to locate the origin of the poo which they had collected from the now finished council.  ‘Why didn’t we think of that?’ said Lucy.

Your young,’ responded Shelandragh.  ‘The Bunyip is in Cooma.  I sense it strongly.  We will go now, it is not too late.’



When they arrived in Cooma Shelandragh pointed to the Centennial Park.  ‘He’s there, Lucy, Minxy.  But be careful.  Something dark is here.’

Jayden, Madalene & Georgia were about to follow them, but Shelandragh held them back.  ‘No, children.  This is for Lucy and Minxy alone.  They have an encounter destiny has fated for them.’

What is that supposed to mean?’ asked Madalene, curiously, but Shelandragh would say nothing more.



They came into the park, and soon found Gilgo in human form, drunk, a bundle of cash lying at his feet.  He looked at them groggily, but said nothing.  And then, stepping out of the shadows, the dark lord Lucifer appeared.

Hello Bitch.  What’s new?’

Lucifer,’ she gasps.  ‘Can’t I ever escape devil’s like you.’

So you are after the hammer, are you?  I have been waiting for you too arrive.  The sprite won’t tell me were he has put it.’

Grimlock has it,’ said Minxy, but put her hand to her mouth instantly.

I figured he might,’ responded Lucifer, staring down at the human Bunyip.  He kicked Gilgos’s foot, and the human Bunyip moved it a bit, but there was no real resistance.

Your all charm, Lucifer,’ said Lucy with open hostility.

Hey babe, you know me,’ responded Lucifer.

All too well,’ said Lucy.


What do you care about the hammer?’ said Lucy.

Lucifer looked at her.  ‘Little girls like you should be cautious when asking questions to big wolves like me,’ he responded, walking around her.  The two girls, though, stood there ground, unmoving, unblinking.

What I want with the hammer is my own business.  Let’s just say, I could use it.  Merlin’s artefacts always come in useful.’

Lucy glared at him, but said nothing.


You know, Lucy,’ said Lucifer, staring at the young maiden who had developed more since he had raped her.  ‘You are starting to become quite a woman.  Perhaps we could get together and have a good time.’


Lucy wanted to raise her wand, but stayed calm.  She wouldn’t be baited.


You know, you and me, start a family.  It could be wonderful.  Rule this world together, babe.  The world at your doorstep.’


Good and evil never work well together,’ responded Lucy.  ‘Funny that, isn’t it.  Oh, I might tread on your toes and say stupid things like ‘Don’t kill that person, Lucifer.  People might get upset.’

Lucifer grinned.  ‘Yeh, good point.  You probably would complain.  And then I’d have to kill you.’

Exactly,’ said Lucy sarcastically.  ‘And we can’t have that, now can we, Lucifer Malfoy?’


He looked at the little bitch.  Really, she was growing up.  Starting to become a handful.  Quite a handful.


Well, if Grimmy has the hammer, that is good enough for me.  I am sure he can be, heh heh, persuaded to hand it over.’


We want our hammer back,’ insisted Minxy.  ‘You have no right to keep it.’


Oh, don’t I,’ responded Lucifer, eying the girl.


No you don’t, you old goat,’ responded Minxy, which made Lucifer smile.


He looked at them for a little longer, looked down at the pathetically drunk Gilgo, and started walking off.  But he turned, looked at Lucy and said, ‘Till we meet again, babe.  And don’t go getting engaged, you here.’

Freak,’ yelled Minxy after him, and then he was gone.


What next?’ said Minxy.


I guess we find Grimlock.  And, strange as it may sound, I think I might know were he might be available.  With a certain man I have been learning all about, who even Zoldarius fears.’

And who is that?’ asked Minxy.


Mmm,’ said Lucy, but said nothing more.


*   *   *   *   *


Lucy and Minxy, with a number of their bars of gold cashed in just in case, were in New York – the Big Apple.  And there they were, 666 Avenue of the Americas, staring up at the skyscraper.


Well, I’m ready,’ said Lucy.


Here we go,’ said Minxy.




At the reception desk to the offices of Mr Alexander Darvanius II, Lucy simply said she was Lucy Smith and that Mr Darvanius would probably know her.  She was right, and they were admitted in quite quickly.


He sat there, behind the desk, all in black, a larger than life foreboding figure, and when he rose and came forwards, Lucy almost backed down.  His spiritual power was unbelievable – greater than even Zoldarius’s – more then she had ever confronted.


Lucy Smith.  How remarkably wonderful it is to meet such an astonishing girl.  Tell me, how is Shelandragh May.  I have only met her the once, but she was such a lovely old dear.’

She is fine,’ responded Lucy.

Very good to hear,’ he said, and looked at Minxy.  ‘And you are, my dear?’

Minxy.  I’m a sprite, uh, sir.’

You appear quite human to me.’

Shelandragh has cast a spell on her,’ responded Lucy.  ‘It is why we are here.’

And why exactly are you here?’ asked Alexander.  ‘Oh, please, come and sit on the lounges.’

The girls came over, sat down, and Lucy looked at Alexander nervously.  He was so imposing, but, more than that.  He was quite handsome and, despite telling her heart that this should be the last man in the universe to be attracted to, she was.


Grimlock stole the sprites Golden Hammer.  They need it to protect themselves.  You know him, don’t you.  I am sure of that.’

Yes, I know Grimlock.  And I am aware of the hammer he has stolen.  Lucifer retrieved it for me the other day.’

And where is it,’ demanded Minxy.

Alexander walked over to his desk, opened a drawer, and pulled out the little golden hammer, which was big for sprites.


Minxy almost rushed for it, but controlled herself.  ‘Give it to us,’ she yelled at him.


Alexander looked at Minxy then, almost as if for the first time, and looked right into her eyes with eyes so heavy and so dreadful that Minxy almost turned away.  But she had courage, and remained defiant.


Alexander stared at her, then softened, and said ‘Of course, Minxy.  Here is your hammer,’ and came over, placed the hammer into her hands, and she cried with joy.


Thank you, Alexander,’ said Lucy.  ‘We do appreciate that.’


Alexander smiled.


Well, I guess we will be going,’ said Lucy to him.  ‘That is all we came for.’


As they turned and started making their way out, Alexander spoke up.  ‘Lucy!’

She turned to look at him.


You are aware, now, aren’t you?  You are aware.  Of the – arrangement.’

Lucy looked at him, and nodded.  ‘Yes, I know, Alexander.  Shelandragh has told me all about it.  I worked it out recently, what it was all about.  The divine contract.


Alexander nodded.  ‘Sometimes, Lucy Smith, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.  Please, please keep that in mind, one day.  One fateful day when you make your dread decision.  Please keep that in mind.’


Lucy looked at him, nodded, and turned.


And, as they left the building, she finally turned back, looked up, and almost did the sign of the cross which Madalene had shown her.  That was a man not to forget any time soon.  Not to forget at all.


*   *   *   *   *


The sprite celebration lasted a full week, so happy were they with their returned Golden Hammer.  Goldbeard officially inducted Lucy into his own clan family, and they were happy again, relieved sprites, all singing happy songs and doing happy dances.


And then Magnus was suddenly there, next to Minxy, picking her up in the air and twirling her around.  ‘You are a gem, Minxy,’ he exclaimed, and kissed her on the lips, which Minxy the sprite didn’t seem to mind one little bit.


Lucy grinned and Minxy came over to her and said ‘For what it is worth, Lucy, you are my best, best, best friend in the whole wide world.  But even for you there are things which you can’t offer.’


And what are they?’ asked a very curious Lucy Smith.


As Minxy walked away from her with Magnus, who quickly pinched Minxy on the bottom, Minxy turned to Lucy Smith and said ‘Well, wouldn’t YOU like to know.’

And Lucy laughed

 Lucy Smith and the Gem of Wonder


The Terran Drgonrider

Chapter One

Lucy Smith was a girl of extraordinary sensitivities. To the realities of being a teenage girl, trying to find her place in the world, encumbered with the mysterious powers of witchcraft yet, at the same time, not 100% certain that she should at all be such a thing as a practicing witch, no matter how appealing such a thing might be to her person, her family and her legacy, Lucy Smith could not be anything but sensitive to the community of witches at one end, who seemed to accept her, somewhat, yet a Half-Mage, in the end, was still a Half-Mage, and the big bad world of Melrose High School and the broader community which, although they might not so much shun witches as in the days of old, had yet to fully expand their thinkings to the point of full acceptance. Sure, nobody cared, really, as the motto went - but it didn't mean such a lifestyle was welcomed into homes, social groups and other important communities, sometimes necessary to the functioning of a full and healthy life. Yet her genuine instincts and intuitions of great perceptive ability were more keen to life than just such social aspects - there was a keen sense of the divine power which ran through the cosmos - the spirit of God - to which she also showed much allegiance and devotion.

And it was to the spirit of El Shaddai himself, this fine Saturday morning, she was praying in a tiny little group of 3 souls, in a house in Belconnen in Canberra, apparently a rental of Aaron Goodsell, a holiday house of sorts, were she, Aaron and Daniel Daly, were currently praying, and sitting calmly, in the glow of an informal first or second or such Haven Noahide Fellowship meeting. It was understood - she was a Noahide, and genuinely interested in the Karaite approach to Noahidism, but she was not joining Haven, as such. Just taking a little bit of an interest at this time of life.

'Maybe in latter years, Daniel,' she had suggested to him. 'I just want a visit or two at this stage, in my youth. Nothing more than that. Maybe later, when I'm older, and thought through a lot of things.... Maybe then I will even give you a committment of regular attendance. But not now.'

'And that is all I could possibly hope for, dear Lucy,' said Daniel. And the meeting finished, and they went their seperate ways, but the Children of Haven was not for Lucy just quite yet. Not just quite yet.

* * * * *

'Ocularis Deprivus', shouted Lucy, and the 5 foot rat in the back yard of Minoxxia suddenly turned blind, unable to find its prey. The rat scurried around here an there, and Lucy then cast a freeze spell on it and it sat there, unmoving, very soon dead.

'Dumbass bitch,' spoke a voice from out on the front road, just to the north-west of where she was standing. She turned and looked. 'Lucifer!' she exclaimed. 'What the hell do you want.'

He was on a Harley Davidson, smoking a ciggie, and decided in his heart, what the fuck. He got off his bike, parked it, and walked down the driveway, coming to just in front of Lucy, who was standing there, wand raised, ready to cast a spell on her vilest enemy. She looked at Shelandragh May, who was inside, drinking a cup of tea, watching them. She indicated with her head, but Shelandragh looked at Lucifer who smiled at her, sipped on her tea, and did nothing.

Lucy turned to him and lowered her wand. 'What do you want, Lucifer.'

'Your a dumbass bitch,' said Malfoy. 'You know, Lucy. You could make it a lot easier on yourself. You know what Alexander wants. What Damien wants. A simple and happy transaction. A calm arrangement. Make it easy on yourself, and we will leave you alone forever. You have our words.'

'The word of a cretin like you is something I can live without.'

The back door opened and Shelandragh stood there. 'Would you like a cup of tea, Mr Malfoy?'

Lucifer shrugged, and took off his leather jacket, coming up to Shelandragh, winking at her, and walking past her to sit inside the kitchen.

Lucy came up to Shelandragh. 'What the hell is your problem, Shelly.'

Shelandragh looked at her young pupil. 'He's a wizard, you know. And in the world of witchcraft, despite the millions of lessons I have given you on morality, sometimes those in the craft simply need to bite their lips and accept some of the harsher realities of life.'

'Which means?' asked a perplexed Lucy Smith.

'That we give our guest some tea, some Tim Tams, and listen to his ramblings for a few days.'

'Good grief,' said Lucy, and followed Shelandragh inside.

'Your disgusting Lucifer,' were Lucy's words as Lucifer took the entire packet of Tim Tam's offered to him, sat there, dunking them in the tea, and ate the lot within a few minutes.

'You'll get fat,' said Lucy.

'Now Lucy. Is that any way to speak to our guest?'

Lucy glared at Lucifer, who glared back, seemingly in a jovial mood.

'Can you put an Irishman up for the night?' asked Lucifer, in a mock Irish accent.

'Your not Irish,' said Lucy instantly.

'But, to be sure, Luna Lovegood loves the accent. Tells me all the time.'

'We can certainly put you up for the night Mr Malfoy. It would be my pleasure.'

'Ta. And some good tucker would be fab, Miss May.' Lucifer, just finishing off the last caramel Tim Tam, burped.

Lucy said 'Pig,' and Lucifer grinned madly at her.

'Would you like some more Tim Tam's?' Shelandragh asked Lucifer.

'Do you have any of those Monte Carlo's?' asked Lucifer.

'I'll just check,' said Shelandragh, and went off to the cupboard.


Lucy sat there, staring daggers at Lucifer, shaking her head constantly.

'Unbelievable,' she said after a while, and when Shelandragh returned, handed Lucifer the entire pack of Monte Carlo's, almost hissed at him as he started on them as well.

'Heaven's above, Shelandragh,' said Lucy, looking at their pig of a guest. 'He'll eat us out of house and home.'

Shelandragh looked at Lucifer devouring the biscuits and said, 'Even Lucifer watches his weight, Lucy. He's probably just hungry.'

Lucifer burped again, and Shelandragh watched him, like a fascinating zoo exhibit, the beast devouring its prey.

Eventually Lucifer finished the second packet, finished his tea, and stood looked at them both, almost apologetically, and farted. And the smell, being quite fowl, brought a 'For heaven's fu**ing sake,' from Lucy, who held her nose and wafted the air in front of her.

'Cheers,' said Lucifer, who disappeared into the lounge, flicked on the TV, turned it to the 'Merlin' repeats on Freeview, and sat there, totally uncaring, a vile guest, but welcome enough, leaving an extremely flabbergasted Lucy Smith severely questioning the wisdom of her long term teacher and mentor, who simply washed the mug, and went off to prepare Lucifer's bed for the night.

* * * * *

'Don't worry. He won't try anything,' said Shelandragh, to a nervous Lucy in her bed.

'How can you tell. It didn't stop him before.'

'He's on good behaviour. He wants an agreement. I already know. What he's after. He said it to you, in fact. But he'll only hint at it, seriously, until you are ready to understand a little more deeply. Its about something. We talked about it once.'

'What do you mean?' asked Lucy, looking intently into the eyes of Shelandragh.

Shelandragh looked down at her pupil and simply said, 'You'll work it out. Now sleep tight.'

Lucy didn't know what to say, but slowly drifted off, and dreamed.

She was in a cantina in Mexico, and Lucifer came in, sat down next to her, and showed her a document. It read 'The Divine Contract'.

'Sign it,' said Lucifer, in her dream. 'Samael likes you, babe. You have nothing to worry about.'

And then the dream changed, and she was chasing turtles along a beach, and the random craziness of the sandman took over once more.

When she awoke she just remembered the dream, vaguely, and her subconscious, all that day, started putting bits and pieces of things together. Started working it out.

* * * * *

Lucifer farted. Lucifer farted again. Then he belched, scratched his butt, and turned the page of the Playboy magazine.

From the other side of the kitchen Lucy was shaking her head in disgust.

'Don't be so judgemental,' said Shelandragh. 'He is only being himself. Just the way God made him. Beautiful baby Lucifer.'

Lucifer snorted at that commen.

'I mean, he is disgusting,' said Lucy.

Lucifer belched again.

'I don't think a cruder man exists on this planet.'

Lucifer unfolded the centrefold and held it up.

'Beast!' exclaimed Lucy.

'Heh, heh, heh,' grinned Lucifer.

Later on in the day they were in the lounge room playing Monopoly. Lucifer didn't own any complete group of properites, yet Lucy had the two blue ones worth the most. Lucifer wasn't happy about it.

'Your lucky, bitch,' he growled at her.

'It doesn't take much to compete with a dimwit like you,' she responded.

'Now, now, Lucy,' chided Shelandragh.

'I'll offer you $50 for Fleet Street,' he said.

'In your dreams,' said Lucy, but Shelandragh looked at her softly, and Lucy groaned saying 'Alllllriiigght.'

'Heh, heh, heh. Sucker,' responded the happy devil.

Lucy in fact, unluckily, kept on landing on the reds and Lucifer was making inroads. But then he landed on the first blue, with her hotel, and then rolled a double 1, and he was broke.

'I'll have to sell some stuff,' he muttered.

'Poor devil,' said Lucy, and almost felt empathy for him.

Lucy finally won, yet, strangely, Lucifer was quite humble about it.

'Well played, kid. Ya did me.'

'Well, thank you. Manners from you is not what I expect.'

'Oh, well, congratulations lady muck. Enjoy your freaking victory.'

When he had left the room Lucy, strangely, felt a little guilty.

Shelandragh eyed her. 'Like I said. Don't be so hard on him. He likes you. It's why he is here.'

Lucy looked after the departed Lucifer, and her heart softened a little. The devil liked her. How weird.

He stayed that night again, and the following morning, at breakfast, they were eating bacon, eggs, tomato and hash brown. And he didn't even belch once.

When he was at the door to leave, Shelandragh chatted with him for a while and then he looked at Lucy.

He winked his eye at her, and smiled a little. 'I'll be seeing you later, Lucy Smith,' and then he was gone.

Shelandragh walked out to watch him drive off and, despite herself, she followed, and watched him as his bike sped off up the highway.

They came back inside. Shelandragh looked at her. 'What? No thank God he's gone?'

But Lucy said nothing.

Chapter Two

With Lucifer gone, life returned to normal once more for Lucy Jane Caroline Smith. Lucy continued in her lessons, and farm life at Chakola was that steady and sedate world of the Bridges clan, where it moved at its own pace of things and which was more intersted in the farming lifestyle than anything else, though they wouldn't mind a few healthier profits every now and again.

Lucy found herself down at the Chakola crossing a little, just up on the bank, seated below the fence which guarded one of the paddocks. It was her place - her place in the world - and she sat there, dreaming her dreams and thinking her thoughts. Fantasies of life, love and other mysteries filled her head. Would she end up famous. She was already rich, now, after the quest of the Golden Soverigns, but did life have more in store for the likes of one such as herself. She thought on Enrique, the Terran Dragonrider, and fancied that meeting him again would not be that arduous an encounter. She thought on life, and her dreams; of being a world famous witch, and everything under the sun, really. And magic; she especially thought about magic. But time was ticking.

Soon, very soon now, she would live up to the committment she had made. She would attend the New York school of magic known as Redaxxiel, were Jonathon would be teaching this year, and learn even more so, perhaps from Americas finest, the powers and excitements of the world of magic. And she was really looking forward to it. New York. The big apple. The city that never sleeps. Or was that L.A.? Either way it would be the time of her life and she was, literally, counting down the days.

But for now she would come home after school at St Pats, do the chores her mother Caroline set her around the old schoolhouse which was their home, and do her lessons with Shelandragh and learn as much as she possibly could. And her life was content enough with that.

* * * * *

'Hurry up, Lucy. You don't want to miss your flight.'

The bothersome concerns of Shelandragh May, witch of Bunyan, were lost on Lucy as she stared at her suitcase. This was it - the big apple. Perhaps the biggest change of her young life. She knew, deep down, she was a quiet and gentle country girl from the heartland of Australia, with mostly simple ways and attitudes, despite her worldly wisdom, mainly imparted from the mentorings of Shelandragh and the grim realities someone so young had had to face. Yet, in one of those life ironies, it was most likely those exact grim realities which would prepare her for the next few years of her life. Shelandragh claimed Lucy still had much to learn from her, yet also acknowledged that a far more thorough education on witchcraft in the more official institutions would equally benefit and, besides, Lucy neede more interaction with her community than Sydney had provided for her. Time for the big league she thought to herself.

As they drove up the monaro, looking out into the fields, she wondered what new adventures life in New York would bring her. Oh, the usual hustle and bustle of a big city, she supposed. But she had this feeling that even bigger things awaited her. And, of course, there was Jonathon. Time to sit at his feet, if she was so lucky, and learn from her cousin firsthand the lore and knowledge someone so young, yet so gifted, had inherited.

They arrived at the Canberra airport and her mother with Madalene, Jayden and Georgia were all waiting for her.

'Good luck Lucy,' said Jayden.

'Thanks Jay.'

'We'll miss you,' said Georgia.

Lucy clasped her shoulder.

Madalene took her aside. 'Remember. Boys are nothing but trouble.' Lucy laughed at that.

And then her flight was called, and she was away, away from home and safety, off to a big new adventure, another brand new chapter in the life of Lucy Smith.

* * * * *

'The irony of magic is that it serves no real purpose. It is no grand vision of the future, no compelling morality, no scheme of wealth acquisition, no agenda at all really. It just is what it is.'

'Then what's it for?' the student asked Jonathon Smith, teacher in the magic and ethics department at the New York school of magic known as Redaxxiel.

'It's not so much what magic is for but what we're for. For we are the ones with the gifts. Some people take their talents and turn to darkness. There are many a dark power,' he said, looking at Lucy, 'who would take magic and speak doom to mankind should they not be opposed. And that is our job as wizards and witches of the white order. To oppose the evil ones.'

'Like the Hellfire League,' said a student.

Jonathon looked at the student. 'We shouldn't talk about them. They complain of being misunderstood.'

Lucy was curious. 'Who are the Hellfire League?'

'Old witches and wizards. Their roots go right back. They originate in Salem. They've got a lot of power. A lot of wealth. They run in illuminati circles,' said the student.

'Which they deny,' said Jonathon. 'They do claim to be acting in our magic communities best interests.'

'A fool believes that,' the young wizard in training replied.

'What makes them so dangerous?' Lucy asked.

'They are well connected. If you are a problem to them and their ambitions, you're in for it,' said the student.

'And what are their ambitions?' asked Lucy.

'To rule the world of course,' said the student.

'Which is patently untrue,' responded Jonathon. 'The League makes several regular donations to Redaxxiel. Their interests are entirely Altruistic.'

The student snickered but said nothing more.

'Whatever the ambitions of the League, OUR purposes are to serve good things with our lives. To put magic to its proper use, for what it was created to do. And while some may mention those such as the Illuminati and the Hellfire League, it doesn't matter who it is. If it uses magic for evil, we oppose it.'

A bell started ringing, signalling the end of the lesson.

'For next week please read chapter one of the text,' said Jonathon. 'And thanks for paying attention for my first lesson.'

As the students departed Lucy smiled at Jonathon after his first lesson, and made her way out into the corridor.

Following the students she came to the central cafeteria section of the school, and sat down next to the boy who had spoken about the Hellfire League.

'Hi. I'm Lucy. Lucy Smith. I don't think I know you yet.'

'Lucy Smith,' said the lad. 'Another Smith. Any relation.'

'We're cousins,' she said, somewhat proudly.

'Wonderful. Another bloody Smith,' replied the blonde haired lad.

Lucy ignored the comment. 'Who are you?' she asked the lad.

'You don't want to mess with Jack,' said a girl opposite them. 'He is a Malfoy after all.'

Lucy almost shuddered.

'Oh, its ok,' said the girl. 'He's Lucas Malfoy's son. The redeemed member of the Malfoy triplets.'

'Lucifer is your uncle?' she asked him.

Jack nodded.

'Wonderful,' uttered Lucy Smith. 'I travel half way around the world, and I still can't escape the bloody Malfoys,' but she said the last word 'Malfoys' looking at Jack from the corner of her eye with a small grin on her face.

'Humph,' went Jack, but he had a smile on his face.

'He looks like his older cousin Draco, so we have been told. A younger version of him,' said the girl. 'But Jack's a good guy. Seriously.'

'Who are you?' Lucy asked the girl.

The girl came and sat down next to them. 'Isla Strongfire. From a VERY old magical family. Pleased to meet you Lucy Smith,' she said, offering her hand.

Lucy shook it and smiled back. 'Pleased to meet you too, Isla Strongfire.' Lucy was suddenly happy. She was starting to make friends it seemed.

Lucy looked at Jack. 'Tell me about the Hellfire League.'

Jack sipped on his bottle of juice and said, 'What do you want to know about them?'

'Oh. I don't know. I was just curious,' she said somewhat defensively.

'Old Jenkins. Defense of the dark arts crony. I think he is linked to them.'

'He creeps me,' said Isla. 'And that owl which sits on his shoulder. It's like it looks into your very soul.'

Jack shuddered on that statement.

'What is it?' Lucy asked Jack.

'I don't think it's an owl,' he replied.

Isla spoke. 'Jack has a fertile imagination, Lucy. He suspects everyone is guilty.'

'Everyone has something to hide,' said Jack.

'Not me,' said the moralistic Lucy Smith.

'Are you sure about that?' asked Jack, looking right into her eyes.

Lucy looked at the Malfoy boy, suddenly reminded of who his uncle was, and said nothing more.

'The League are the real power in American witchcraft. They are the ones behind the scenes who tell people what they can and can not do. You don't get far as a wizard if you're not serving their agenda.'

'Which is completely untrue,' objected Isla. 'There are loads of magicians who have no affiliation with the League.'

'But with no real power amongst us,' replied Jack. Isla didn't reply, but looked away softly.

'They're like the magic mafia,' said Jack. 'If you are not in their pocket you better watch what you say.'

'It's that bad?' asked Lucy.

Jack just nodded.

'He's exaggerating,' said Isla. 'But, yes. They do have a lot of power.'

'But what can they do to you. If you don't serve them?' asked Lucy.

Jack ran his finger across his neck.

'Don't be stupid,' said Isla, giving hima shove. 'They are not that powerful yet.'

'Yet,' said Jack.

Lucy took that information soberly.

'So where are you from?' asked Isla. 'You sound foreign.

'Oh, Australia. But I was born in England,' said Lucy proudly.

'She's a Smith, remember,' said Jack. 'Uncle Lucifer lives in Australia most of the time now. You've met him, haven't you?'

'I know Lucifer,' said Lucy soberly. 'He is not one to forget easily.'

'He is linked right into the League. And the Illuminati as well from what dad tells me. All the Malfoys are connected like that.'

'But you don't go along with the pack?' asked Lucy.

'No,' said Jack softly. 'Dad. He taught me when I was young. Said our family had a bad reputation. But that Malfoy's really should have a good one. That we didn't have to be that way.'

'And you agree with your dad?'

Jack looked at her. 'I suppose,' he said, but Lucy sensed doubt in those words.

'Jack's a good guy,' said Isla, giving him a shoulder hug.

Jack just smiled at Lucy with a knowing grin.

They chatted on for a while, and as Lucy settled in for her second night at the school, and her first day's lessons, she thought on Jack and Isla. And she especially thought on the mysterious Hellfire League and what, if any, her time in America might be affected by the secret organisation.

She slept well that night, and she dreamed. She entered a deep, deep state of slumber, and her body turned ice cold. The window came unlocked, and rain poured into her private dorm, and around midnight it turned to snow and sleet, yet still she slept and dreamed. Her body, when you looked at it, seemed very hot and sweaty, and at three in the morning, feeling the chill down the corridor, Jonathon unlocked Lucy's door with the master key, with some of the other students gathered around to want to know what the fuss was all about, to find Lucy, encased in ice, but seeming to be glowing hot red inside the ice.

'Do something Jonathon,' yelled Isla.

Jonathon looked down at Lucy. 'She's not dead,' he stammered. 'Would someone close that bloody window.'

A student fastened the window shut, and they all stared at Lucy, glowing red, encased in the ice.

Jonathon turned to the students. 'I can't do anything.' He looked down at his cousin. 'A war is going on. Notice this symbol on the ice?' he said to them. 'It's the symbol of the Illuminati. They have their claim on her, and won't let her go.'

'But who is fighting her?' asked Isla. 'It's like she is burning up. Like she is in hellfire.'

Jonathon looked at Jenkins, the defense of the dark arts teacher, hovering in the background. 'I don't know,' he said.

'But I do,' said Jack Malfoy softly.

Nobody got much sleep that night as the war raged for the soul of Lucy Smith, and Jonathon sat in the cane chair, in the corner, watching great powers slug it out for ownership, so it seemed, for the soul of his cousin, Lucy Smith. Great powers indeed.

Chapter Three

She was in a vast field, and it was circled by burning lava. And then a blonde haired, thin but impressive man, with long hair in a ponytail, not dissimilar to Lucifer's occasional dress code, but dressed in a formal suit with a walking stick, and a beard, appeared in front of her.

'Join us,' he said.

'Suddenly Alexander Darvanius II appeared behind her and said 'leave her alone Bringfire,'

'Humph. I should have known the Illuminati would interfere. Your ways are so – trite – Alexander Darvanius. The Illuminati is old, tired. Yahweh's servants have long had the better of you. The Hellfire League is a new beginning for the power of evil. Darkness shall reign through us. Your kind practically serve God now anyway. You are gutless.' Saying that he pointed his walking stick, and a fireball rushed forward from its end, yet Alexander put up his right hand and the fireball stopped and burned up.

'Evil was never the point, Bringfire. It was freedom we desired.'

'You say that,' he said, and blasted another fireball at him, which Alexander dealt with in a similar manner. 'But now you serve.'

'I serve no man,' said Alexander, and pointing at Bringfire a blast of ice, like some comic supervillain, exploded from his hand and surrounded the League member.

And thus they warred as Lucy ran and instinctively hid behind Alexander.

'Give her to us. Times are changing, Alexander. You are the old guard. The tamed old guard. And Satan is a pussy who rules hell through reputation only. There are darker powers than he.'

'Your pride astonishes me Bringfire. It seems like only yesterday your father begged mine for a pact. You knew then you needed us. Tell me, what has changed?'

'Out with the old,' said Alexander’s adversary and, suddenly jumping skywards and unleashing a bolt of fire which a parade of ice rings defeated, he finished saying, 'and in with the new.'

They stood there, glaring at each other, and Lucy could feel her heart beating furiously.

They stalked each other then, encompassed by the ring of fire.

'Don't worry. He has used a lot of energy,' Alexander said to Lucy. 'It will only go on for so long.'

Yet Bringfire was patient, and for 4 hours he stalked them both, the occasional bolt of fire, which Alexander fended away.

'I don't want to kill her. You know that, Alexander. But her potential is even greater than her cousin. She is a real Smith after all.'

'What does that mean?' Lucy asked Alexander.

'Don't worry about it,' he replied.

'Let me speak to her, then. Look. I will put down my cane.' And he did that and softly came forward.

'Lucy,' he said, smiling wickedly at her.

''Go to hell, bastard. Even Lucifer is a saint compared to you.'

'Temper, temper child.'

'You can see the girl is not interested,' stated Alexander.

'Then let me make her an offer,' said Bringfire.

Alexander said nothing, and so Bringfire sat down crossed legged in front of them both, took out a whiskey decanter, took a swig, and smiled at them both quite wickedly again.

'The whole point of witchcraft is that it does break the rules, Lucy Smith. Why on earth even pretend to be so hypocritical so as to pass yourself off as a, humph, white witch.'

'Not everyone with our gifts is evil, cretin,' she hissed back at him.'

'True,' he responded. 'But they should be,' he said with the most villainous of grins.

'Our calling Lucy Smith is to run amok amongst the children of men. They are the, lesser, mortals, after all. Simple muggles and their spoonfed existence.'

'Some of those muggles are my best friends,' she retorted.

'Through fear, Lucy Smith. Through fear. Why deny yourself. You are a beautiful creature. A savage delight. Do not repress the carnal desires you know you entertain. It is what we are. No. Who we are.'

'I'm nothing like you,' she said angrily.

'Oh, but you are. Believe me. You are. Every snide comment. Every sideways glance. Every casual insult. You know what you are. From birth you have known. All of us have. We're different, you and I. Not common. Not base. We were born for better things. And if you join the league you will know those better things.'

She hid there, behind Alexander, but she wanted to say something, something burning in her heart. She came out, looking carefully at Alexander for protection, and faced her adversary.

'I may be different, Bringfire. I may not indeed be like the rest of them. I may bear taunts and I may bear insults. But I suffer that, because I know the truth. I know, in my heart, I will never be of the likes of you.'

He glared at her, and his face suddenly turned to anger, and as he pointed his hands at her a bolt of ice suddenly exploded all over him, and he was encased quickly, surrounded by frozen water.

'It will take him a while to chill out,' said Alexander to the startled Lucy. We best leave this part of the dreamscape. Take my hand.

And she grasped the hand of her often feared adversary, and they flew upwards, and she looked down, down at the circle of fire, and wished no soon relief to the torment Bringfire was experiencing.

And then, Just as suddenly....

. 'Errrgggh. What time is it?'

Jonathon bolted upright awake, and looked over to see the drenched Lucy Smith in her bed holding her head. He rushed over to her.

'Your safe,' he said, clutching his cousin. Thank God you are safe'

But Lucy just sat there, wondering at all the fuss, and why she was wet all over, for she remembered nothing.

* * * * *

The man woke and, coming to his senses, undid the leather ties which kept him secured, and climbed out of the 'Dreamscape Traveller'. The traveller was a globular metallic contraption, with a comfortable seat. When the subject slept, a covering mask was lowered over the dreamers head and spells cast. Through this way the Hellfire League had long accessed the dreams of the powerful - from prime ministers to presidents, senators and congressmen – all who could be corrupted to suit their tastes for decadence. They had existed 400 years now – not as long as the ancient Illuminati, but long enough.

He first showered, to warm up, for he was unsurprisingly chilled, and then Bringfire climbed upstairs, to the ground level of the castle, and found Witchqueen in the throneroom, sipping on wine, looking through girlie magazines.

'How predictable, Witchqueen. Hollywood magazines. I swear, you will be starring in one of them one day.'

'Back, are you,' said Witchqueen, and sipped on her glass.

Bringfire poured himself a brandy and looked out at the ocean. 'Darvanius was there. I had no real opportunity.'

'I am sure WK will appreciate your failure,' she responded, turning a page in her magazine.

'I don't think the Warlock Supreme really cares any more,' he said, looking out at the ocean. 'The Smith girl was only a tempting treat to him. She has interesting powers. Quite gifted. But her corrupting is too much effort from initial observations.'

'Still. It would have been nice. Princess would have enjoyed a new companion. So many of the new recruits bore her so quickly. The Smith girl would have been a challenge.'

'Yet she may end up being an adversary,' said Bringfire, staring out at the ocean.

'What did you say?' asked the Witchqueen uninterestedly, yet Bringfire did not respond.