CASTLE - NIGHT
Now comes the moon riding over the horizon. Upon a hill at
the edge of the wood squats a castle, its crude stonework
bathed in cold silvery light. Queer carvings and runes
decorate the ponderous gate. Heavy vines are climbing up the
walls. The castle is old, its unfamiliar form testament to
an ancient mind and an ancient craft. Flickering candle light
dances on a leaded windowpane.
Inside, the corridors are dark and silent. Under low arched
ceilings the uneven floors are paved with stone blocks.
Perched over lintels and crouched in niches are icons with
strange animal heads.
A sleep on a straw palette in a room strewn with vegetables
and crockery is Hodge, a wrinkled old retainer. A flickering
candle and empty jug are beside the bed. He is snoring gently.
This circular chamber at the heart of the castle is stuffed
with parchments, scrolls, dusty books, bronze braziers, glass
retorts, chemical salts, birds both stuffed and caged. An
iron candelabra stands on a work table, tapers burning. In
the soft glow it seems that the room is unoccupied, but no,
moving in the background is a shadowy figure, preparing for
a magical deed. Feet are positioned carefully within a
pentagram chiseled into the floor. A scroll is consulted; up
comes an arm and a voice blurts out:
Omnia in duos:
Duo in Unum: Unus in
Haec nec Quattuor nec Omnia
nec Duo nec Unus nec Nihil Sunt.
Come on, candles, out!
But the little flames stand at attention without so much as
In Volunta Divina et Verbum Magi:
It's no use. There is a sigh and the figure moves forward
into the light. Revealed in the glow is the discouraged face
of Galen Bradwardyn, sorcerer's apprentice.
Carrying the candelabra, the youth trudges up a circular
The highest point of the castle is a turret, open to the
stars and the night air. Here, more magic is afoot. An old
enchanter, Ulrich, Magister Ipsissimus, pours water from a
silver ewer into a stone bowl. As the surface ripples
disappear he leans forward and gazes into the pool. All at
once his face hardens as the distant sounds of screams and
thunder reach his ears. Lights and shadows, reflected from
within the basin, play across his face. His frown deepens as
the sound of his own voice comes to him from the vision in
the water -- Draco draconis -- suddenly squelched by the
roar of flame and an ugly snarl.
At that moment Galen reaches the top of the steps and holds
up the candelabra.
Vide, Magister. There's something