In a Tower (2 of 3)

Had he really scared it off already? Maybe it just stopped for a short rest on its way somewhere. He felt disappointment creeping in. But he was a wizard, was he not? Or at least a wizard’s apprentice. A lure spell should not be too difficult, especially not when it was just on a pigeon. He scanned the bookcases, found the appropriate book and said the spell.

A flutter of wings announced the return of the pigeon and Ralph smiled a victorious smile. However, after a few pecks at the breadcrumbs the pigeon saw him and flew away again.

‘Ah, yes, I still look dangerous of course,’ said Ralph although he had promised not to talk to himself. ‘Let’s see what a little charm spell can do.’

After another small search, he found the spell and did the lure spell again. When the pigeon landed on the windowsill, he locked his eyes on it and did the charm spell. The effect was immediate. The pigeon lifted its head and went straight for him.

‘Ow,’ said Ralph as the pigeon scratched him in its attempt at finding a foothold on his face, ‘counter spell, counter spell,’ Ralph flicked through the pages of the book while attempting to dodge the smitten pigeon.

‘Ah, counter spell.’ Ralph did it and at once the pigeon fled onto the top of the bookcase leaving several droppings on its way.

‘Oh dear,’ said Ralph when he noticed one of them had hit the still-open life-spell book. ‘He won’t just throw me out now, he’ll kill me.’ Ralph saw his masters face in his mind’s eye red and contorted in anger, and suddenly he did not care that he had begun talking to himself.

A somewhat weaker charm spell and an attempt at cleaning later, Ralph sat by the window feeding the pigeon breadcrumbs from his hand. What would he do now? He had cleaned the worst off the book, but it still had a very visible smudge. His master would never forgive him.

Or would he? If Ralph made something bigger than a pebble alive or created something living out of nothing, his master might be so impressed that he would let Ralph stay. But he had not even mastered the most basic life spell, how would he even begin on the bigger ones? His eyes fell on his new pigeon friend. Perhaps he could ‘magic’ the pigeon into existence for his master, just until he learnt it properly. He smiled, it was better than nothing.

The next couple of days he read a bit and played a lot with his new pet. First, he taught it not to poop inside the tower. Then he taught it tricks like flying through a hoop that he made. He even taught himself a bit of telekinesis which allowed him to make his pebbles float out of the window, so that the pigeon could bring them back.

One day however, his conscience clobbered his brain over his lack of studying.

‘I’m sorry Archimedes.’ Ralph had named the pigeon Archimedes as soon as it stopped pooping inside the tower. ‘I can’t play with you today. I have to learn this life spell.’ It really was a good thing that Archimedes turned up; Ralph had stopped talking to himself completely. ‘Actually, yes, maybe you can help me.’ Ralph fetched a pebble. ‘Try to imagine that this is a seed of some kind.’

Archimedes pecked at the pebble.

‘No,’ said Ralph. ‘Don’t try to eat it. Just imagine.’

Archimedes pecked again.

‘Oh, you’re hopeless,’ said Ralph. ‘Just get out and let me study.’

Archimedes tipped his head to one side.

‘Go on. Get out!’ Ralph shooed at Archimedes. ‘I said get out!’ He pushed the pigeon out of the window and turned his back on it.

He stared at the pebble for a while. Was it really alright to push Archimedes out of the window? Had he been too hard on him? He turned back to say he was sorry, but what he saw made the words stick in his throat.

It happened so quickly that Ralph found it difficult to make sense of it at first. A peregrine falcon swooped down at Archimedes while Archimedes flapped his wings at a panicky speed. The falcon stretched out its talons and plucked Archimedes right out of the air. Ralph stared with open mouth as the falcon flew on with a limp Archimedes in its claws.

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