The Magician's Trial

The Magician's Trial

A Story by The-Blue-Phoenix-Sings
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This is an old "short story" or tale I wrote out of whim and found from my notebook. Edited it slightly to give it more refined look, it vaguely borders the world of my fantasy project.

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Three goddesses, a phoenix, dragon and unicorn needed a sword, the strongest they could find to slay away the evil. But no blacksmiths of their halls knew how to craft such powerful a weapon.

‘If you want it to be durable, you’ve got to find somebody else. Somebody with powers that surpass the work of hands and fire. Somebody with the skill to do magic.’ So told the blacksmiths to the goddesses.

One of them knew to tell them about the tricky magician that was told to be capable of granting anybody’s wish. Yet, there was but one downside to shadow his business; his trials were not easy to pass. Though his work might be the finest of its kind, his magic also had the cost of the same value. And it happened the loss of the plea was often greater than the utility of the original favour. So it remained only a few people could pass them with their loss smaller than their win. As they tended to say; the one who got out of his house with his head between his shoulders, his house still standing and his herd yet alive was considered a lucky one.

Though, what did goddesses have to offer for the magician? None of them knew - or rather none of them knew what he would ask, but they regarded themselves rich enough to the task. With abundance not only in property but in other skills and gifts. Well, what would you expect from the three divines anyhow?  

Thanking for the smiths’ advise the goddesses headed to the magician’s door as nobody else suited their needs. But like the smiths had told the man was a tricky sort who did nothing for free. As the goddesses asked the magician about the sword, he answered them. ‘To grant you your wish means you must pass my trial, accept the value of the cost. Now then,’ he rubbed his hands together in an excitement. ’To make you a sword with the strongest blade I need a part of you each.’

A part of us each? The goddesses hadn’t a faintest idea of the meaning of this but they kept on and followed the man further inside.

There, the magician turned to face his guests: the beautiful blue phoenix whose feet alone with the talons were about the height he was tall and just one glance at her feathers got him believing he had seen all the possible hues there was to see about blue. Then, was the dragon black like ink, who stood on the left of the bird, her fierce red eyes fixed on him and the wings like giant red sails folded on her back. The claws and spikes looked truly nasty detail to encounter without speaking of the fangs that stuck out of mouth even at her mouth closed. And then came the unicorn her appearance shifting from gold to that of star sky with the one horn glowing on its own. The magician grinned rubbing his hands together, well, these were quite some extraordinary, not-everyday-visitors to his house. He almost wished he could whistle - and that was one rather unique-a-corn to his eyes.

The man lowered his head and took a while to think. That unicorn sure looked exotic though it was just the size of a regular horse unlike those two. They were huge, enormous even. But the man didn’t fear. His visitors might be great in size, but they did not know what aces he had up his sleeve. He smiled. His smile reached to the edge of his dark beard. Surely they didn’t, that was clear from the anticipation in their eyes. Though it was a true mystery how they had ever fit in the doorway. However, the man bothered to ponder it no further.

He fumbled his long, smooth sleeve of exquisite fabric - the cost of one of his customers, though considering it now it felt rather cheap -  while he circled the goddesses then, and stopped by the bird. ‘With the feather of the phoenix light shall the sword become. Now, come stand before me and bring forth the finest plume.’ The magician solemnly said his voice high, and dramatic, giving a hand to the phoenix. The blue goddess looked down on him for a while, as if mocked by his cunning smile but did as he ordered, reached behind her to pull off a long plume of her tail and placed it on his open palm.

The magician glanced at the phoenix. She looked rather satisfied as if she had been expecting a lot greater loss. The phoenix glanced back trying to read his face attempting to figure out whether she was being tricked at. But the goddess found nothing on the man’s face no matter her wisdom about people’s different characters.

Hiding his wily smirk the man moved to the reptile until he stood completely in its shadow. ‘From a dragon, I shall ask for…’ he paused for a moment and stroked his reddish beard as if weighing. ‘A fang!’ The sound of his voice was almost annoyingly cheerful, at least for the dragon who stared at him like trying to decide whether or not to swallow the tiny man as a whole. Her pupils that were already but thing shreds in the iris narrowed even more. Her glare was red of hate. She had expected the man to ask for a scale. The man’s smile widened in the shadows of his face hair.  

However, the magician noticed the goddess’ mistrust and put on his fraudulent expression: ‘If anything, a dragon fang is sharp and strong.’ He assured, nodding his body back and forth,’ with it shall sharp the blade be. It doesn’t matter which fang even the furthermost will do fine. And,’ he added as the dragon cocked her head, ‘nobody will notice it missing.’ That didn’t make the dragon convinced, however, but she accepted the magician pulled out one of her furthermost fangs.

Finally, the magician moved to the last goddess, the unicorn. His favourite. There he took the longest time. So long it took him to make up his mind he felt the two goddesses’ gazes drilling on his back and their gossip like icicles at his pride as he glanced the unicorn over. At last, he harrumphed. ‘Fast as the unicorn shall the blade become with the help of… hooves!’

All the three goddesses shrieked in unison. So loud was their cry the magician almost feared his windows cracking.

‘All of them!?’ exclaimed the unicorn. Her eyes almost bulging out of head.

‘All of them,’ nodded the magician lacking every hint of mercy to his voice.

‘You-! Dare-!’ This time it was the dragon, letting out a thunderous roar of protest. ‘Without them, she cannot run, not even walk, even live!’ She stuck her head with the remaining fangs right in front of him, glaring at him, her gaze red.

The magician shrugged trying not to shudder at the proximity of the beast. He put his hands protectively in front of him almost brazing the dragon's nuzzle. ‘A cost is a cost. You still want me to make that sword?’ He forced himself to smile.

‘I think I’m going to change my mind soon, very, very soon…’ hissed the dragon in front of his face.

A long-lasting quarrel between the dragon and the magician occurred until finally, the phoenix interrupted. ‘What if you chose another thing, good sir, something else she can live without but that is still of same value. Isn’t there anything else?’

The magician took a time to ponder and another. Then, he raised his hands high and clapped. ‘You are right, I shall thank you for your wisdom. That had been a bit brutal even for my standards, indeed, indeed.’ There was a bit of a disappointment in the way he said it but nobody seemed to notice. He sighed. How wonderful it had looked to have that pair of sparkling hooves hanging on his wall. Or on display behind a polished vitrine. Cursed was that blue birdie!

He kept nodding to himself and then his eyes brightened. The magician closed them and corrected his posture like he was pronouncing something very formal and emotive. He spoke painfully slowly as if to ensure none of his words would echo to deaf ears. Which was a bit unneeded as everybody was already fervently waiting for his next suggestion.

‘Ahem, again, from the unicorn I shall take…’ The goddesses impatience grew as he spoke. Eventually, he opened his eyes and said: ‘the horn!’

All the three breathed, the unicorn’s look the most devastated. She could have sworn she caught a glimpse of mischief in the magician’s eyes when he pronounced the last words. Though now as she gazed to see better, there was nothing to see, all she got was the unemotional glow in his eyes and the faked merciful smile only the man himself knew to be false.

‘Unforgivable!’ The unicorn finally let out.  

‘Take it, or leave it.’ He answered the indifference clear to his voice.

The unicorn kept shaking her head. ‘I won’t take it, I…’

As if for his boredom the man took the two ingredients and dropped them on the bubbling cauldron by his hand. ‘Without the last ingredient, this shall never be complete.' He shook his head. 'Is that what you wish?’

‘Ugh,’ whined the unicorn but at last, she humbled for his suggestion and walked to the cauldron. The magician dug out his dagger (another rare item from a foolish customer) and the unicorn lowered her head. Just when the magician was about to cut off her horn the events took an unexpected turn. The unicorn took a few quick steps more, spat at the metal pot and yanked her head back upsetting the magician. As the man got to his feet again a cloud of smoke rose from the cauldron. Smoke with a strange smell to it. The magician cursed.

He stared at it his lips drooping in disbelief, eyed at the rising smoke wreaths like they were the worst enemy he had ever seen. Though aloud he only uttered. ‘Remarkable, you passed!’

As the goddesses left his house happily carrying their desired blade the magician swore he would never, ever, ever deal with goddesses or any divine beings anymore.

Alone in his shady hut, the man pulled up the dragon fang about his size. It would go to a soup. Bone soup. Such was rumoured to give you strange powers, at least... He eyed at the blue plume he had just picked up from the cauldron. That phoenix had ruined his life, how dared she to bargain for his requirements! And with all of the three there he had no choice but to accept her suggestion. The magician pressed the tips of his fingers against his forehead. He could have sold those hooves with a good price! Or then kept them and admired them forever. And though beautiful and marvellous by its look the man couldn’t decide whether to burn the plume or pierce it with the pin.  

And how dared that unicorn to fool him like that! Her horn could be used for many things, for cutlery, weaponry, art... but what was he supposed to do with saliva? Goddess' saliva? Was that even valuable? He peered over the iron rim to the bottom for the pitiful small drop barely visible to his eyes. His trusty cauldron had proved it to be valuable enough, but what could he do with it? He could not even sell that, nobody would ever believe where he had got it from and by what means… And if he told he was bound to lose his reputation. His pride, most of all.

One day, he swore, one day he would surely find her in his hands and then… well, the goddess, and all of them would regret ever coming here! Ever hearing about him! So it would be, the man assured to himself. The luck would turn to him. All the rage and rancour would shift to joy and the world was right again.

© 2021 The-Blue-Phoenix-Sings


Author's Note

The-Blue-Phoenix-Sings
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Added on June 22, 2021
Last Updated on June 22, 2021
Tags: phoenix, unicorn, dragon, black, gold, blue, space, stars, magician, goddesses, tale, story, red

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The-Blue-Phoenix-Sings
The-Blue-Phoenix-Sings

Finland



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A writer/artist/craftsgirl, interested in all things Medieval, Iron Ages, Heian Japan. A Storyteller, archer, big dreamer... aspiring to have my work bound into books one day. Currently I write some.. more..

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