Virge stared blankly at Katya. He could not believe the results of this wand. “May I look at the wand?” Katya handed Virge the supple twig and smiled to herself. She felt happy and like she had achieved something. Virge inspected the wand with inquiring eyes. “Applewood, around ten inches, phoenix feather core, I expected this seeing that your father possesses the gift of the phoenix. The wand is supple, not springy or rigid, being in the middle of the two. Yes, this is your wand, Katya. Much of magic, we will learn as the time comes, so you must have seen.” Virge addressed the female elven shopkeeper in Welsh, “Nawr, am y gwisgoedd,” which means “Now, for the robes…” in Katya’s native tongue.
The luminescent yet dark elf presented Katya with some cream-colored robes. They were clearly made of fine silk, with crimson red velvet adornments and features. “Pa wyliadau hoffech chi?” she spoke to Virge, and he explained to her that she was offering enchantments. Katya’s fire burned, “Would it be possible to receive regenerative enchantments?”
Virge nodded and then repeated the question in Welsh to the mixed-race elf. The elf nodded, and immediately took the robes over to her enchanting table and began using soul-gems to enchant the lovely garments. When she was through, the robes shone silvery-pink and there were some nice jewels on the neck and sleeves, and the crimson tassels were now a darker red than before. “Rhowch gynnig ar y rhain.” The female elf suggested that Katya try on the robes.
When Katya walked out of the dressing room wearing the robes, she felt the life that she felt in the wand all around her. The robes seemed to be taking on the properties of Katya. The more time that passed, Katya felt even healthier and younger…
Virge payed the worker of the shop, ‘The Bleeding Artifact’, and Katya and Virge re-entered the city square. “Let us go.” Virge said, in the matter of fact way that he always spoke in. They walked and walked. Katya was carrying most of the items they purchased from the shop in Wolfmarsh, but was not burdened because she was wearing the regenerative robes.
Virge made the joke, “You should not wear those robes when you exercise… they won’t let you build new muscle tissue because you’ll constantly be repairing your current tissue.”
Katya found the joke funny but continued walking. After a time, Katya recognized they were almost there. “Virge, welcome to my hometown of Farmdale. It’s beautiful here. I know you will love it….”
Virge tried to catch his breath and stood still for a moment, enjoying the scenery. He could see snow-capped mountains in the distance, a beautiful grassy hill a bit closer, and to the other direction was a forest of oak trees. When he walked a few more paces, he saw a horse farm. “This is where they make some of the drinks they serve at The Chatelaine. This farm is called Blackstone Brewery. They serve Farmdale in other ways too. They provide a wagon service, sell and breed horses, grow flowers and vegetables, and even more. This farm goes on for miles. In fact, I live here, in a cottage. They let me live here because I help tend to the horses and help farm during certain seasons, I also cook sometimes for the family…”
Virge stopped and looked at Katya, impressed. “You do a lot of hard work. I know you will be an excellent student. I would love to learn to cook. I have collected so many recipes but have never used them because I have never leveled my cooking skill. I have gone on quests where the reward was a recipe or two, but I have never used any recipes. Where I live with your father in Wildecourte, the elves cook for us. I have never had a need to cook. I can make basic things to survive, but have never learned anything worth making. You can make money all over Maplehollow by cooking for adventurers. You can also save money as an adventurer by having a cooking skill. You don’t have to only know how to do one trade in my opinion. You can be a master of every trade depending on the amount of time you are able to live.”
“Virge, how old are you?” Katya inquired.
“I have died many times but have the power of self-resurrection. It’s a rare gift that I discovered thousands of years ago. I don’t keep track of my age.” Virge laughed. “I wouldn’t like to fathom the length of time I have lived.”
“And there are many that are older than you?” Katya pressed.
“Yes, I’m quite young compared to the elves of Wildcourte. Your father is much older than I am. He’s one of the oldest elves in all of Maplehollow.”
“Why didn’t he resurrect my mother?” Katya asked confused.
“The elves are not to become involved in human affairs. We keep to ourselves in Wildcourte as we would like the humans to, but rarely are we gifted the respect. Humans know all about the magic elves can do… The dark elves have ruined the high elf reputation. That is why the dissension between us exists.” Katya registered this explanation as true. “The high elves are proud of their accomplishments and prefer not to share the credit with overbearing elves or humans.”
Katya returned, “But you’re not an elf, right? Why do they talk to you? Why do they let you live there?”
Virge laughed, “Not only am I your father’s lover, many elves respect my magical abilities and achievements. I study and do research for the elves huge stores of knowledge and I record my findings in books that I have authored and donated to the elven library in Wildecourt. In Welsh, Wildecourte is called ‘Llys gwyllt’. The library is known as “Y Llyfrgell Frenhinol” which just means ‘The Royal Library.'”
They had been walking through the grass the whole time and finally they arrived at the cottage. “This is my humble abode…”Katya welcomed him inside.
The first thing someone would notice when they entered is the round door. “Did a hobbit used to live here?” Virge asked. “No, but it was built in the hobbit style.” The second thing Virge noticed was that there were books everywhere. “Ah, you have a beautiful home, Katya.” She set down the things she was holding in a space in the entryway.
She replied, “Thank you, Virge,” but he was already wandering about the house. He found himself quite at home, and set down his things next to the bed that Katya had intended for him. It was a nook in the wall, and similar to the rest of the house, there were books everywhere. Virge thought he might lie down, but remembered just in time how hungry he was. “Do you have anything to eat, Katya?” he asked almost unwillingly.
“Of course, but I recommend that you let me make something. I make an excellent ginger pie, and I have all the ingredients for that.”
Virge’s stomach rumbled… “I need to save that for another day, I need something that’s already made at the moment.”
Katya caved instantly, “I think I have some steak pie left in the icebox.” After a few moments of rummaging around in her scullery she returned with two plates with large pieces of steak pie. “There’s some very tasty mushrooms in the pie. I hope you like it. I made it from a recipe I received from a library patron. Searching for the ingredients took longer than I expected, but I collected so many ingredients that I have enough for two more uses.”
Virge took a bite out of the pie, and he sighed, satisfied. Katya loved her own cooking and she sighed as well. After they finished eating and speaking jovially about unimportant things, she stood up and took his plate, and grabbed a book off the floor that had been open spine up, halfway read. “Introduction to Magic: A Guide to the Theoretical Uses of Mysticism” was the title of the thick volume.
“I see I wasn’t the first one to teach you about magic. I’m glad you had an interest before you met me. I suppose I should assign you some homework. I would like you to explore the reasons for which you are learning and practicing magic as we discussed earlier today. This is very important. I require you to answer the following questions, ‘How can I help others using magic?’, ‘What benefits will learning magic bring me?’, and begin to explore the following. ‘What are the ethics regarding the use of magic?’ This is very important. Ethics are a subset of the academic study of philosophy. We must study philosophy to acquire wisdom. We will be studying different types of philosophy starting with epistemology, specifically the epistemology of magic. We must remember to study other disciplines as well. This is very important. Knowledge is power, but remember if we are being wise, we know that without wisdom we’ll be firing in the dark. I will not ever tell someone that I’m wise, because wise people do not tell you that they are wise. But even, then I’m not admitting to being wise, I’m negating the fact that I could be wise by knowing one thing. I can be humble and desire wisdom without being wise. This is an important distinction. There are fools who will tell you they are wise, and there are fools who know that if you are wise you are also humble… They will try to act wise by negating the fact that they are wise. I believe that those who desire wisdom just need to ask God for it, and that he will always grant this request. It requires humility to ask someone for help, so foolish people will never become wise because they lack humility. I can see that you are wiser than most because you read. Those who read wish to learn, and foolish people don’t want to learn. There is the occasional fool who passes for a student, but he is the type of fool who wishes to appear wise. You must always be able to tell the distinction, yet because of humility we must not judge even the most foolish. Their judgment lies with Christ alone. People will tell you that you cannot be magical and a Christian but I know this to be false, Christians are not perfect. The Bible warns against magic, but most magicians in the Bible were serving an evil purpose. Magic itself is not evil, it is the lack of control and chaos, and worst of all putting faith in someone other than Jesus. I would not recommend the path of the magician to most. Only those appointed by God should practice magic and only with His direct permission. Currently you are still learning magical theory and there is nothing wrong with learning about it. The problem is when you use tarot or psychics for advice that you should be getting from God. We must put our faith in God above all else. That is a requirement you must follow if I am to be your teacher. Tomorrow I will tell you my reasons for practicing magic after you answer your homework.”
Virge tucked himself into bed and Katya turned out the light. “Good night, Virge.”
“Good night, Katya. I shall see you tomorrow.” Katya walked to her room holding the book she had picked up off the floor. Katya normally stayed up late into the night, and she knew this night would be no different. Katya’s bed was also a wall nook, and she loved it. Her room was the largest room of the house. In one wall she had a bed, and on the opposite wall she had a reading cave. There were paper lanterns decorating the area with soft white light, and she had beautiful cloth surrounding the area. Her bed nook had a king size bed in it, and the walls surrounded half the bed, there were deep holes. She also had a loft in her room with huge bookcases going up to the loft on both sides of the ladder. The ladder moved as well so that she could reach the books on the top shelves of the whole wall. In the loft she had a huge window that poured natural sunlight into the room. Katya’s clothing and important belongings were in closets or in the other rooms of the house. In her bedroom, books were the most important feature.
She had so many questions running around in her mind she didn’t even know what to start exploring first. She had to quiet her mind to be able to read, and she decided that her homework was more important than reading the book she grabbed.
She sat on her bed with a scroll and a fountain pen. She began by writing down the questions that Virge had asked her to answer.
Question One: How can I help others by using magic?
Katya thought about this… She began to write.
I can help others by using magic in so many ways. My first priority in life is to help others already. As long as I am healthy and breathing, I am trying to assist someone else. I can help get the work done at the farm more quickly if I could use magic. I could get my work done at the library more quickly. I can always anticipate the needs of others by using tarot cards or becoming psychic. I can help them by loving them. Love is a form of magic, I think. And in the Bible, we are told to love others. That is the greatest commandment. I can heal people that I meet on the road. I can feed people that I see who are hungry. I must remember that I am here to serve, not have other people serve me. Selfishness is the opposite of what I want to become. Being selfless is the right way. I can search for things that people are missing, and I can go on quests for them. I can discover new people and places, and most of all, I can help my father. I know now that’s what I need and want to do. He needs me when he wakes up. I know he will.
She looked at her answer, pleased with herself then continued.
Question Two: What benefits will learning magic bring me?
The benefits are vast, but as I explored before, I know that magic is not to be used to serve myself, it is about helping others. I hope to feel happy from helping others. I would like to serve God. I believe in God, and I have read the Bible, but I forgot how to become a Christian. Being able to serve the Creator sounds like a large benefit. Please tell me what I need to do.
She thought about looking at her Bible but pushed the thought away when she realized how late it was getting. She would talk to Virge tomorrow morning about it.
Question Three: What are the ethics regarding the use of magic?
This question was the hardest out of the three. She knew not to pursue researching because she knew that Virge wanted to hear her answers, not a famous philosopher’s.
Ethics are morals. Magic is energy. So what are the morals of harnessing and manipulating energy? If you are using magic to serve Christ and help others, and you are being wise, or trying to be wise, and you trust that the Creator has a plan, then there is nothing wrong with it. All of those factors must be in place in order for magic to be good.
Dark magic is not only evil, but practicing it is morally wrong. You could hurt someone or yourself and lose sight of the reasons you were practicing magic in the first place. In order to understand dark magic you have to understand evil, and that is not something we are supposed to understand. In fact, I’m not sure if it’s something that is possible to understand.
If you are truly helping someone, you will feel good about doing it. Asking for help from or channelling anything besides The Holy Spirit is evil. It breaks the commandment “Put no other gods before me.”
In order to believe in magic, you have to believe in a higher power. So if there’s a manual “The Bible,” why would you ignore that and worship something else? The whole reason why magic exists has to do with our existence as a whole, and it’s possible the purpose of it is to be used in the final battle in the end of the age.
At this point, Katya realized she needed to read her Bible. After doing a bit of studying she continued writing.
In the Bible, reincarnation is not mentioned. When someone dies they go to either heaven or hell, but who says they can’t return from one of those places in another body? The Bible never mentions that this is false, and even in areas where this could be confusing to some such as the verse Hebrews 9:27, this verse uses the phrase “die once” to refer to the first death and that the second death is “hell”. So, if a person dies and is reborn over and over, that does not necessarily contradict with the Bible. The Second Death will not happen until after The Final Judgement.
After writing this she realized she had asked Virge in her homework how to become a Christian, but this could not wait. She found the verse she was looking for.
“If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 (The Bible)
Katya wrote this down on her homework. She then closed her eyes, bowed her head, and prayed. “Dear Jesus, You are Lord. You are the reason I’m praying. You are the reason I have to keep going. The idea I could spend eternity with someone who loved me so much is unfathomable. I believe that you died on the cross for me, Jesus. For me! I am so lucky. Please forgive me of my sins. Wash me white as snow, for I am Yours. Amen.
After praying she felt a cleanness wash over her, but she couldn’t say that she felt like a different person. She registered that her actions would have to change. Katya wasn’t perfect. She struggled, she just always tried to do the right thing, even if she wasn’t sure what it was. She didn’t have to worry anymore about making a mistake, though she would continue to try to do the right thing even after praying.
Her journey was just starting as the day was just ending. It was dark and she could hear the crickets. So she turned the lights off and went to bed.
In the morning the sounds and sights were different. The sun was shining and she could hear animal sounds. She realized that she dreamt of her father. He was a man at this point, and he was reading to her. She had taught him how to read, and he was thanking her for those lessons that had happened years before. In the dream she could tell that he was sorry for leaving her and her mother but because of the elven way at Wildecourte, her mother couldn’t live there, and he had lifetimes to spend with Katya, whereas her mother only had one. He wanted her to have a full appreciation for her mother.
As she remembered her dream, she realized that because Virge came to her, she forgave her father. She understood.
This provoked a thought regarding homosexuality and the Bible. She knew there were many homophobic people, but then she remembered that Jesus loved everyone, lepers, women, and victims of demonic possession. Of course he loved homosexuals too. Her birth had been planned this way, it was not a result of adultery. She shook her head. Oh, the fools of the world and their simple minds…. She wasn’t sure she could forgive every one of them for not loving their neighbors.
On with the day! Katya remarked silently.
She walked into the guest room to discover that Virge was not there. She then realized that she could smell bacon! “Thank the Lord!” she exclaimed louder than she meant to.
“Good morning, Katya!” Virge called from the kitchen.
“Good morning, Virge!” Katya ventured into the kitchen. “Can I help you with anything?”
“Alas, all has been completed. I have no need for assistance at the moment.”
Katya held her rolled up parchment, excited for Virge to read the work she had put so much thought into the night before. But first, it was time to eat.
She relaxed in a chair at her table by the bay window in the kitchen. Virge happily set her bone china plate in front of her and the food looked delectable. There were three different types of sausages, several strips of bacon, some pink salmon, a few sardines, and of course, she had a cup of coffee. The coffee had a cinnamon stick and some sugar in it. The kitchen smelled of breakfast and Katya soaked it all in. They ate in silence, but it was not an awkward silence, it’s the type of silence that exists only in contentment.
When they finished, Katya rose and took the plates to be washed. Luckily for them, Virge had a magical cleaning charm and he cast it on the kitchen. “We have no time to waste, all of this lallygagging and we’ll never get anything done! Did you complete my assignment?” Virge asked Katya directly.
“Yes, I did.” Katya handed the scroll to Virge. He read what she had written and set down the scroll.
Virge held a straight face as he said, “Katya, I believe you are ready to practice magic no longer in theory, but in reality. This is wonderful!” He smiled brightly. “I promised you that I would tell you my reasons for becoming a magician. The first reason is that I have always craved wisdom since I first heard the word. The second, is that I wanted to control my surroundings humbly, but with precision. The final reason, is that I wanted to help people. As we go on this magical journey together, I would hope that you would always reassess your reasons, and change them when necessary. For today, I would like you to set an intention. Pray to God and ask him if you may set