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Dark Mage

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Length: 10 pages9 minutes

Summary

“I know what the problem is and how to solve it. However, I first had to wait until the neighbors gave up hope that the problem would just go away. Until the meeting yesterday, they wouldn't listen to me. Now, they have no choice but to listen, or they and their families starve.”
Fiona snorts, “You tell me that the problem is magic. I am your sister and I don't believe that.
I sigh and tell Fiona, “You can believe it or not, but the problem is caused by magic. I know how to defeat the magic, but I know not what the cost to me might be.”
Fiona looks at me and asks, “How will you defeat the magic, if magic it indeed is?”
“There is one, who calls himself The Magician. He lives in a cave, not all that far from here. He approached me some time back and threatened me, if I would not give him most of our animals, leaving us to live like paupers. He also threatened to harm you. I can defeat him, but I need the aid of the neighbor men. Up until the problem got really bad, they would not listen to me. Now they listen and I prepare to solve the problem.”
Fiona says, “Cormac, I'm not afraid.”
“You should be afraid. The Magician is powerful and only I can deal with him. As you know, our father walked some strange paths. He even dabbled a bit in magic. Now, I have to use some of his lore to solve the problem of The Magician.”
Fiona asks, “Why is it that only you can use father's magic, if he indeed had magic, to deal with this Magician?”
I sigh, “Because I am much stronger than you are, that's why. Father was a very strong man and only a strong man can read the secrets of his magic.”
Fiona says, “Don't you try that nonsense with me, Cormac. I may not be as strong as you are, but I can think. I have talked with the Priest and he tells me that there is no such thing as magic.”
I laugh, “For the Priest there is indeed no such thing as magic. However, for our father and now for me, there is indeed magic, as you will see. Tomorrow, I will gather the neighbor men and we will go and deal with The Magician. While the men travel with me, you need to bake bread and even cake. When the men return, they will eat your bread and cake and they will then acknowledge me as King.”
Fiona looks at me and says, “You are serious, aren't you, Cormac.”
“Never more serious.”
In the morning, the neighbor men gather, at the order of Cormac O'Brien.
Cormac addresses the men, “We have seen our herds diminished. We have seen our crops fail. One has threatened me and I lay the blame with he who calls himself The Magician. This day, we go to confront The Magician and reclaim what is rightfully ours. I have obtained enough magic to counter The Magician. However, we must first fight for what is rightfully ours! Will you follow me, men of Clare?”
The men respond with a sort of rumble, with no man willing to admit his fear, but also no man wanting to be too eager to go and face magic.
The giant Cormac then sees to the loading of the men into ox carts. He finally boards the lead cart himself.
The carts then wind their plodding way, up into the hills, where lies the lair of The Magician. At first the ground along the road is covered with small farms and farmer's cottages. Then the landscape turns to wild wood, a dark tangle of forest. Finally the carts arrive at the rocks that lie in front of the cave of The Magician.
Cormac jumps off his cart and forms the men up. Cormac is over seven feet tall and well muscled. He has the confidence of a man who has never been beaten in battle. He gets his men in a marching formation and then leads them up the hill.

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