Saturday, 30 March 2013

Magus and Hermit

This is something I was working on as part of a larger project.  A few thousand words in I realised the focus needed to be somewhere else entirely.   Rather than consign this to the outer darkness entirely I'm posting it here just for the sake of keeping up with regular posting.  

It is unpolished and may see the light of day in another form sooner or later.   In the meantime, meet Abraxas and Lucas:

“What’s the story, Old and Hoary?”

The old Magus sighed at the informal address and raised his eyes from the green-fire crackling in the heart of the vast scrying globe before him. The speaker was a middle aged man whose dark hair was showing more than a hint of grey, and whose face showed two or three days worth of not-being-bothered stubble. He was lean and scruffy, wearing a dark suit and a weatherbeaten overcoat in whose pockets his hands were thrust. The Magus, resplendent in robes of dark imperial purple girt with a belt of golden cords and whose white beard was long and immaculately kept merely shook his head.

“Show some respect for the sanctity of this place, if not for my sake Lucas,” he said.

Lucas shrugged and walked closer, peering into the scrying globe. “You sent for me ‘Raxas, I was having a fine old time minding my own business and annoying all the right people in all the wrong ways. I assumed it was urgent. Too urgent to stand on ceremony, eh?”

The Magus, Abraxas was the name he had chosen for the moment, sniffed irritably. “And your clothing, Lucas, your apparel… it is entirely inappropriate.”

“And certainly too urgent to worry about costuming. Anyway, robes always make me feel like a transvestite and not in a good way. So I say again, what’s the story?”

Abraxas gave up on the idea of squabbling with Lucas, time was too short, and the scotsman had an endless appetite for disagreement that had made many people grateful that he was also by nature a recluse.
“The story, Lucas, is that our enemy is gathering their strength for a major incursion.” That at least prompted the appropriate reaction. Lucas took a pair of wire framed spectacles from his pocket and put them on peering closer at the patterns of shifting emerald flames within the crystal sphere.

“Where? And when?”

“Everywhere of course, and everywhen.”

Lucas glanced sideways at the Magus and scowled. “An answer of great philosophical depth no doubt, and no bloody use. Anything specific?”

The Magus shook his head and said slowly, “No. No, not yet. We are working on that I promise you.”

“Aye, good. Somebody should be. We don’t want any more surprises, we’ve lost enough ground. So why the call? Why’d you want me, eh?”

“Do you know the term hamingja, Lucas?”

Lucas put away the spectacles, and shook his head. “Enlighten me,”

“Enlightenment is not my field of expertise,” Abraxas said with a wry smile, “It is an old Norse concept. It represents an individual’s luck. They considered it to be part of a person’s soul, and some people had a powerful beneficial hamingja, some did not.”

Lucas grunted and moved away from the scrying sphere and stooped over a slender silver stand on which a single tarot card was propped. It showed an old man in hooded robes, a lantern held aloft. The Hermit. “This supposed to be me? I don’t do robes, I told you. So this is basically a fancy way of saying some people are luckier than others? That’s not exactly news, ‘Raxas. See me down at the bookies and watch the money melt away, that’ll tell you all you need to know about luck.” 

 The Magus shook his head.
“It is more than that. An individual with a powerful hamingja is lucky not just on their own behalf, but also on behalf of their friends and allies. In the sagas we read often of individuals setting out on a dangerous journey or an important expedition will seek to enlist the aid of someone known to be lucky. Either as a companion, or to entreat them to send some of their luck along in their place.”

Lucas turned to face Abraxas and nodded. “So you and your boys and girls here at Source have identified a big threat on the horizon, and now you’re talking to me about obscure Norse folklore. Let me take a wild stab in the dark here, you’ve also found someone with a suitably powerful ham- thing.”

Hamingja,” said Abraxas, “Indeed. And it would be to our advantage if they could be recruited. Form a team and find him. I will let you know the where and when.”

Lucas reached into the inside pocket of his overcoat and pulled out a battered leather case, opening it to reveal a deck of cards. “I suppose I need to gather the team from Close-Context.”

Abraxas shook his head. “This is important enough to bend the rules a little,” he said with a smile at Lucas’ look of incredulity, “Draw them from anywhere, anywhen. And find this Lucksmith, before our enemies do.”

“Aye,” said Lucas clearly rattled by the thought of the Magus being willing to play fast and loose with the Source’s own rules, and he started shuffling through the sketches on the faces of the tarot deck he carried. A team to build…