In a Tower (3 of 3)

‘Archimedes,’ said Ralph as reality settled in his mind. ‘Archimedes!’ He screamed and before he knew what he was doing, he cast a lightning spell on the falcon. It was not a strong lightning spell, Ralph was not a strong wizard, but it was enough to give the falcon a shock. As the miniature lightning bolt hit home, the falcon dropped its prey and zoomed towards the nearest gnarled bush on the mountainside.

Then Archimedes was falling.

Falling much too fast.

Ralph stumbled through the words of the telekinesis spell and Archimedes’ fall slowed. Slowed but did not stop. Archimedes was not heavy, but he was heavier than the pebble, and it was proving a problem. Sweat sprang from Ralphs brow, as he said the words again concentrating with all his might. Archimedes stopped falling. Then he began to rise. He rose all the way to the windowsill where Ralph put him down gently.

‘Archimedes?’ said Ralph slightly out of breath. There was blood on Archimedes’ feathers and his neck lay at a strange angle. ‘Archimedes.’ Tears welled into Ralph’s eyes. Archimedes was supposed to be alive. Why was Archimedes not alive?

Then Ralph thought of the life book. It did not have to end here. But to heal wounds and bring a creature like Archimedes back to life that was a much harder spell that the basic life spell, which he had failed so miserably so many times. Ralph bit his lip. Then he straightened out his back. He would do it anyway. If it worked he would have Archimedes back and if it did not, well… It just had to work.

He grabbed the book and flicked to the right page. Then placed his hands on Archimedes’ small body and took a deep breath. As he said the words, he pictured how Archimedes looked when he was alive and healthy. He pictured how Archimedes neck would straighten out, how his wounds would close, how his feathers would grow back, and his hands began to tremble, but he did not stop. He kept saying the words, kept picturing how the spell would work, and somewhere deep inside of him a small voice said:

‘Live, Archimedes, you have to live.’

He could not keep it up for long.

Exhausted, he slumped onto the floor breathing hard. Then he looked up at the windowsill and a small beaked head looked back. It cooed at him.

‘Archimedes,’ Ralph smiled wider than he had ever done since he came to the wizard’s tower.

The door flew open, Archimedes fluttered down and hid behind Ralph and Ralph’s master marched into the room.

‘What in all the bloody hells was that?’ Spit flew from his master’s mouth. His face was a rich shade of dark red.

‘Master?’ Said Ralph his smile gone, too shocked to even try to stand up.

‘Are you trying to kill me?’ Screamed his master.

‘No, master I’m sorry,’ said Ralph, then he registered the kill part. ‘What?’

‘Throwing lightning after me.’ His master kept shouting. ‘Not only was it a pathetic, weakling spell, it also made me drop my lunch! And don’t you say “what”, it’s called “excuse me”!’

‘Sorry, master,’ said Ralph. ‘So that falcon was-’

‘Yes, it was bloody well me!’ The volume dropped a bit, but that might just be because his master was running out of breath. ‘How do you think I travel? By foot?’

‘No, I know you fly. I just thought-’

‘Thought? Ha! That’s a good one.’ His master marched to the chair and dropped into it. ‘Now tell me,’ he said. ‘Have you even learnt that life spell, or have I just wasted a whole year on you?’

‘I,’ Ralph began, but then he did not know how he wanted to continue his sentence. He saw in his mind’s eye hours and hours trapped in this tower with his nose in a book and no company. His master would never let him keep Archimedes, and he would have no influence whatsoever on anything he had to learn. He pictured his master yelling at him.

‘I’m sorry, master,’ said Ralph, a small smile creeping onto his lips. ‘I just didn’t get it.’

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