|Grimoire of Magical Laws LIBER I THE PROLOGUE
Author: fratervel PM
This Book shall also be known as Liber Legis Profanum/L.L.P. Here follows a book composed upon the natures of Magick, regarding a certain magician known as Arnaldus Philalethes. One day, a family came to him, imploring him to take their daughter Cheryl as apprentice. An adventure soon followed.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 3 - Words: 4,227 - Reviews: 3 - Updated: 12-09-12 - Published: 12-07-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3080798
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"Mercury is the Secret and the Key, for she is the daughter of Silver. Only through the Child may be White Light be obtained, and only through the White Light may the Borderless Light be glimpsed." read Arnaldus Philalethes from the yellowed pages before him, his brows furrowed in perplexity.
Sunlight filtered through the dusty window panes and revealed the peculiar array of apparatus littered across the chamber, ranging from the smallest of glass vials to the enormous bulks of machinery. The magician sat still if not silent at the bench, brooding over an ancient leather bound volume.
His unkempt raven hair stood in stark contrast against the fine shirt and waistcoat he donned, and he labored feverishly, quite ignorant of the heat in the room. Outside the twelve bells of the Cathedral tolled eleven, announcing the time. Simultaneously a series of knocks rattled the door of his workshop, but apparently nothing could interrupt his thoughts whilst working.
The knocks repeated again, this time louder and more urgent, as though the visitor feared the dull thuds of the bells may drown out the sound of the knocks, and so the crescendo persisted for five patient minutes, 'til the visitor began to elude himself with the belief that the host was not inside, and disregarded courtesies, bursting into the chamber with a sincere apology.
Arnaldus glanced up from the book for the first time and scrutinized the trespassers: Leading in the front was a stout man some forty years of age, with bits of wood shred attached to the fabric of his peasant guise; pursuing his steps was a woman so pallid and slender that she could only be described as underfed; Last in the row, a little girl healthy yet tiny entered cautiously, peering in first with her large expressive eyes and not noticing the black silhouette leaning on the bench, crossed the threshold.
Once inside the gentleman began fishing in his waist pockets, while his two female companions glanced around uneasily. Arnaldus found his eyes drawn curiously to the girl, for she seemed somewhat different from her parents, a difference that transcended beyond the matter of age and features. The girl appeared to sense the watchfulness on her and looked timidly at its source, yet a cranium was planted squarely on a shelf and blocked her sight, so that she found herself staring into a pair of hollow orbits instead.
She yelped in fright and retracted a step, her right foot stamping down on a glass cylinder on the floor. As she span away from the item of her horror, the cylinder rolled off and she toppled face-first onto the floor.
The magician snapped his book shut abruptly to the consternation of the couple and rose to his feet. In the split of a second before a tragedy could gripe the family, he caught the girl by her arm and drew her lightly back to her feet.
An awkward silence fell as the three intruders gaped comically at their host, broken only when the cylinder collided with the base of a precariously rickety shelf and triggered a chain reaction of smashing mayhems. The man blushed and his wife shuddered under Arnaldus' dreadfully keen gazes, whereas their daughter erupted into a nervous frenzy of bows.
"I'm sorry, sir! I didn't mean to smash your things." The last words trailed off into a barely audible whisper, and her hazel eyes dropped to the toes of her shoes.
"Those were but trifles. You need not concern yourself with them, signora-?"
"Visconti." The father chimed in hastily and the girl nodded rapidly after.
"And your purpose?"
"Signor Philalethes, we implore you…" but the artisan of wood hesitated and exchanged a glance of distress with his spouse, who parted her lips as though to speak, but shut them quickly.
With a snort of impatience, Arnaldus turned away from the embarrassed couple, whistling a tune of merriment, and picked up the skull that had mortified the girl, carelessly stroking the bones, while his eyes tracked a speck of dust drifting randomly in air.
After quite a while, he said with his back still to his audience, "If you're reluctant even to state your wish, then leave."
"Please take me as your apprentice, Signor Philalethes!" blunted the girl to Arnaldus' surprise and flushed scarlet immediately.
With a fleeting smile, the magician replaced the cranium on the shelf and turned around, glimpsing profound relief on the parents' countenances. The girl caught his sweeping eyes and instantly buried her chin between her narrow shoulders, her wrists interlocked in a prayer of supplication. "Your name is?"
"Cheryl Visconti."-"So you're their daughter, yes?"-"Umm…yes."
"Do you come of free will, or are you compelled to do so?" Cheryl swayed slightly under the string of words beyond her youthful comprehension, struggling obviously with their meaning. Her parents opened their mouths to respond as her substitute, yet Arnaldus silenced them with a warning glance.
He then strode across the room and temporarily vanished behind a cabinet. A second later he emerged carrying two small stools with cobwebs woven all around them, and set one down for Cheryl. With a dismissive wave, he expelled the elder Viscontis from the workshop, while he settled himself on the other stool opposite to Cheryl.
"Now, would you like a replenishment of some form before we begin?"
Every hour was long as a millennium for Cheryl Visconti, and she knew for certainty the memory of this interview under the piercing eyes of the magician would never diminish in her mind. Pounded ceaselessly with a volley of bleak and, at times, ridiculous inquiries, she experienced for the first time in her life the sensation of suffocating in a frozen sea, yet she dared not protest. No, she would not have the efforts of her beloved parents ruined in vain.
"Are you aware that magicians must have delicate hands?"-"Yes, because the devices used are often fragile."-"No, the equipment, such as the ones you broke, is for alchemy, not the arts of Magick. Do you know what alchemy is?"
"I heard…" searched Cheryl in her brief memories for the word "Alchemy", and replied at last, "Is it the scienza that converts cheap metals to gold?"
"Scienza? Yes, the ignorant calls it so. Can you tell me the difference between true scienza and alchemy?'
Cheryl panicked, but Arnaldus merely smiled and asked another question.
The aforesaid dialogue was a short demonstration of the nature of this interview which lasted two full hours, and Cherly was numbed and stiffened afterwards. However, Arnaldus rise indifferently and walked over to the bench where he had laid his book, indulging himself again in the depths of knowledge once more.
"Sir?" Cheryl timidly called at Signor Philalethes, and Arnaldus looked up at her in bemusement.
"About the results…"-"You are not accepted into apprenticeship." interjected the magician sternly.
Before she could halt her reflexes from surfacing, her knees yielded under the crushing weight of this pitiless statement and turned her head heavenwards, and wept. A surge of misery and despair overwhelmed her and gushed out in tears. She could not bring herself to blame anyone but herself, perceiving only fairness in Arnaldus' verdict and failure on her own part.
"Your parents' true intention for you is to ensure you become a woman capable of supporting herself after their expirations, but not necessarily a magician's student." She saw Arnaldus standing before her amidst tears. "The life as a practitioner of Magick is a ruinous one, with such terrors that you could never imagine. To be a magician is to be thrown into the inferno when the End comes, so turn aside from this path, Cheryl Visconti. Choose a better one other than the one to your own destruction.
"I leave for Sereno at dawn on the morrow." declared Arnaldus Philalethes with an air of finality, "We shall not meet again, unless by luck."
With that, he span on his heels and crossed the shop to its sole entrance and exit, opening it with a graceful swish, in full anticipation of being bombarded instantly by an anxious barrage of questions from the concerned Viscontis.
Instead what met his eyes was a deserted street, so abnormally lonesome and deprived of life, as if a monstrosity of some form had come and gone.
A terrifying thought claimed his mind and he involuntarily trembled. He closed and bolted the door swiftly once he had mustered himself, and said to Cheryl, "Go upstairs and wait. I shall reconsider your application." And she hurriedly wiped tears from her cheeks, and joyously obliged, with a great many thanks.
When she had disappeared behind the stairwell, Arnaldus snatched a white chalk from the table and sketched a heptagram on the torn wall next to the mouth of the stairs. Before the symbol he murmured an inaudible incantation so that his Holy Guardian descended and sat in vigil at the appointed spot.
Upon completion of this Operation, he cleared a circle out of the debris carpeting the floor, and sat there in a meditative posture. Soon, a Body of Light issued from his body, and dashed into the wide world beyond.