The First Spell
Welcome to Scriber's Ford, a small village quite lost in the land of Soulstra. And welcome to the home of Kiernan. Kiernan the Wizard to some. Kiernan the Crazy to others. Kiernan the Nomad. Kiernan the Bard. Kiernan the Bad Housekeeper said an aunt older than sunshine but twice as good at making things sparkly. Kiernan of the many guises, it would seem, though there is much truth in that. The Nor'folk, the snow people of the White Wind Mountains, have a wonderful way of greeting a friend: "It's a blue sky day, indeed," they say, and rather loudly, I might add. And so I say to you, gentle reader, it's a blue sky day indeed when one meets an old friend for the first time. Now there's a puzzler. And yes, I am speaking directly to you, and in this present moment (no matter how many times you read this). What I'm saying right now is what you are reading in the same instant. I'm sitting in my oh so cozy armchair, in my beautiful little house by the river, speaking directly to you from a medieval mystical, once upon a time twistical, land of then and now (as they all are) and this is not what you thought it was. You'll have to get used to that, I am a wizard, after all. But then, so are you.
First of all, I must thank you for your help in casting this spell. You could have ignored the possibilities and not read on. A book is a very old spell of transformation. Even the people in the time of Soulstra have already forgotten that. In an ordinary book, my feelings would become thoughts which are transformed into symbols on a page that are then transformed into thoughts in your mind that would hopefully let you feel what I felt. You might even be transformed in some way. We would not have spoken a word to each other and yet, if our combined Magic was strong enough, I would be conveying something as complex as a feeling to someone in, what seems to be, another place and time. That's what most books would try to do: try to clearly communicate thoughts and feelings. And this book will try to do that too. But, as you've already gathered, this is not an ordinary book. And this path that's opened up before you is not your average literary quest.
To begin with, how do you see me? Has it been a vague picture, or very specific, or somewhere in between? Am I completely bald and clean-shaven? Or do I have a long, white beard and hair to my waist, with a tall, pointed hat hanging on a wooden hook beside my patched, grey cloak? In short, do I look like Merlin to you? Am I wearing a snazzy robe embroidered with runes and cosmic symbols or is it knee high boots, green pants, blue shirt, and a jade ring on my left middle finger? And what shade of blue did you just make that shirt? Do I use a wand made of Oak to point and zap or do I prefer to wave long-fingered, graceful hands in strange patterns when I conjure blossoms from a tree? The possibilities are truly endless and the choices for how you want to see me are all yours. For myself, I choose to be rather Merlinish, though I'm not much for robes, so I choose some light brown pants, broken-in and baggy, and a long, dark green shirt with seven pockets for good luck. I feel that there should be a small family of white mice who live in one of the bigger pockets and the father's name is Bill. I await what he feels is the right moment for the introduction of his family. But I suspect the baby's name is, at least temporarily, Pinky, from what I've overheard. Did you get as far as giving me a cat? You might want to re-imagine that for Bill's sake. Or maybe a dog to run the green fields and deep woods around Scriber's Ford, or splash in the river and bark at the horse carts as they cross. Can you hear the barking muffled by the house? Stop for a moment and listen to the sounds. What do you hear besides the dog? Are there sounds coming from the village? Can you see anyone there? What are they doing? And what are you feeling? The welcoming warmth of the fireplace at night? The heat of the noon sun trying to toast the hair on the top of your head? Feel the texture of a blade of grass as you place it just so between your thumbs, blow through the gap, and try to get that weird, squawking sound. Run your hand down the trunk of that tree. You can actually feel the roughness if you reach out with your imagination and memory. Try it. A hawk circles above, watching you far below. Be the hawk. Extend your imaginal wings and feel the wind in your feathers as you catch an updraft. How beautiful to be at home in the sky. Now, back up the path to my house, past the peaceful willow swaying in the Summer breeze, seeming to center itself within its earth consciousness. Or is it late Fall? Are the bare branches of the high Elms reaching like little children wanting to be picked up by the clouds? And then you're inside again where.... No, I'm going to leave that up to you. You'll be visiting these rooms quite often and I want you to be comfortable. Best you conjure them up yourself. Go ahead, I can wait.
There, you made something from nothing easily and are also as much the creator of the world of my words as I am: you created your own images from my phrases. And as if that was not enough of a Magical feat in itself, look back, how often did you unconsciously complete your images with additions I never even mentioned? I said the ring was jade, but never spoke of its shape or form. Did you make it a simple stone band or cut stone in a setting? What did the blossoming tree look like, before and after? What colour was the dog and what breed? Were they Cirrus or Cumulus clouds that hung or drifted in the Elms' sunny light blue or windy grey sky? And all this was done, no doubt, in the blink of a mind's eye. What if you didn't fill in the details? Try to. Test your limits. For I tell you now, friend, you have none. Your reach is more than you know. As I said, this is not an ordinary book. In time, we are going to use an even greater Magic, you and I. I just wanted to remind you now of who you already are as a wizard and to tell you that it's only a hint and a shadow of what you can become. You have great power over the imaginal world. Some would say it is not so different from the real world. Some would say that there is no difference at all.
Stay tuned for more of The Sparrow Stone