Short Story Sunday: Off To See The Wizard

Off To See The Wizard

Druce had just pulled his toasted seed and dried berry bread out of the oven when his friend Morcant came through the door carrying a basket.

“What do you got in there?”

“Smoked salmon, a bottle of squid ink, and dried salted kelp chips.”

“Nice.”

“I see you’ve made your famous berry bread. That will win over the hearts of the coldest stone.”

“We can only hope. I’m paring it with a jar of honeycomb, and a jug of my best mead.”

Druce wrapped up the bread and took a look at his friend. Morcant wore a soft seal skin over his shoulders. His tunic was sleeveless showing off his muscular arms. Today Morcant’s black hair was worn down around his shoulders framing his handsome face. Druce never wondered why all of the women in their village and the surrounding area sought Morcant out even if it was just to look.

The seal skin was that of Morcant’s sister who’d died in the past summer season. She and Morcant were Selkies. On land they were human, and in the sea they were seals. They guarded their seal skins with their lives, for if anyone stole their skin they would be trapped as humans, and in bondage forever.

Morcant’s brother-in-law never took his wife’s skin, but celebrated the fact that as a Selkie she had come to him of her own free will. Her love was free, and her husband was devoted to her. They had that rare true love that so many seek but never find.

One day while they were out fishing, his sister still in her human form, they were overcome by a great shark and dragged to the bottom of the sea as dinner. Morcant, as customary for Selkies now wore his sister’s skin to stay close to her spirit and to have her love with him always.

Druce looked into his mirror and brushed his sun streaked brownish blonde waves with his fingers. He was smaller than Morcant, and not quite as handsome, but the ladies still liked him too. And of course he liked them more than they could imagine.

“So, Druce,” said Morcant, “when exactly did this Wizard guy come into town?”

“Last week, under the darkness of the night.”

“What’s he like?”

“Personally? I don’t know. I hear he was sleeping with his sister. Nymue told me that. She also said he used to stalk her, asking her about her magic and getting all sappy and trying to sound mystical about it. One day she showed him a sword she was going to give to the next king and he said I’ll show you my magic sword. She kicked him out and told him she’d put a bad enchantment on him if he ever hit on her again. And I mean bad, you know, guy bad, like his sword won’t work for a year or two. Like a blade of grass.”

“Sounds like a creeper.”

“A real mess if you ask me. Anyway, that was a while back so maybe he’s changed. Gotta give a guy some doubt that he has grown up since his misplaced youth chasing ladies in lakes and all of that shit.”

“OK so I don’t get it Druce. You’re the Worlock around here. What’s the difference between you and some Wizard dude, except that you’re better looking and are better with women.”

Druce laughed. “As a Warlock, I can, how can I put this so it won’t sound weird. As you know I can harness and control spirits, demons, and other’s who aren’t human. I can’t make them work for me. I also control their evil so that they can’t harm people. I take their energy and do good with it. I can also do other magic and tricks through my own will. I deal with both sides of the world, that of the dead and that of the living. That of the physical and that of the spirits.”

“And what about Wizards?”

“Wizards learn their craft. They are gifted in the ways of magic, but their magic comes mostly from the use of potions, and the channeling of their magic through a staff, or wand. They can scare spirits and demons but they can’t control them. And Wizards are giving Warlocks a bad rap. I hear that in other parts my kind are being hunted down and burned to death. They think we’re minions of Satan.”

“That’s bull shit. Then why the fuck are we going to greet this guy and bring him gifts. He sounds like a freak to me.”

“Because he is working for the King.”

“The Kings is an idiot. He is obsessed with some old cup, and everyone knows his wife is sleeping with his best friend.”

“Hey, I didn’t put him into office. Blame that on Nyume. The Lady of The Lake should have minded her own business and …”

There was a scream and in through the door came a whirl of gray, which stopped and materialized into a woman. She smiled showing lovely white teeth, but her eyes were black and crazy. No harm. Just their friend Milen, who was also a Banshee.

“Milen,” said Druce, as he blew her a kiss. “Thanks for coming. I have fresh venison stew in the pot there over the fire. I put the eyes in there for you.”

She grinned and put a long fingered hand into the boiling stew and plucked out an eye, the popped it into her mouth.

“Hey, Milen, we should be gone just a few hours,” said Druce. “I’m so glad you could watch the baby for me.”

“Ohhhhhh of course,” she said as she went over to a baby unicorn who was curled up asleep in its tiny bed made of soft sea grasses and dried fragrant flowers.

“Alright then, we’ve better get going, if we’re going to go,” said Druce, and they packed up their gifts and went to meet their new neighbor.

The new Wizard had chosen and old Roman camp on a hill as his new home. The buildings were already there and in fairly good shape. It was also about a five day journey from there to where the King lived. Or at least the king the Wizard worked for.

The two friends arrived at the home of the Wizard and were greeted by a tall man with a brown beard flecked with gray. His eyes shone blue like spring wildflowers, flecked with gold.

The Wizard welcomed them in and introduced himself as Merlin, the Wizard. There was something sort of sad about him, like someone who had a lot of friends, but nobody he was really close to. Druce wondered if Merlin could pick up on emotions and sadness like a Warlock could. Or like a woman could.

Merlin thanked them for the gifts and asked them to come sit. He led them to a room where the walls were covered with tapestries and the chairs with lush textiles and furs.

“The seal skin you wear is beautiful. The finest I’ve ever seen,” said Merlin to Morcant.

“This is my sister’s skin. She passed six moons back. I wear this skin in her honor.”

There was a pause in the conversation and a bit of weirdness.”

“Morcant is a Selkie,” said Druce.

Merlin looked surprised. He was surprised. He’d never met a Selkie before. It seemd, as they talked, that there were a lot of things Merlin had never done.

Still they visited and had polite small talk. Druce and Morcant of the village and the surrounding peoples, and those who were not people. There was also a lot they didn’t tell him. When the sun began to set Druce and Morcant bid their host goodbye.

They started the walk home in silence but then Morcant spoke.

“Merlin was nice. Not much of a bro, if you know what I mean, but nice. But dude, he has more demons than you’ll ever have.”

Druce gave a sad smile, “At least I can control my demons. Fuck, they aren’t even my demons. Merlin needs more sunshine, and he needs to divorce himself from his dysfunctional family and friends. I always tell everyone that it isn’t demons that are bugging them, it is their toxic friends and family members that are getting them down. He needs to let go.”

“True,” said Morcant. “Are you going to tell him about the unicorn?”

“Hell no,” said Druce. “I’m not telling him where the dragons are either.”

As they passed a cottage on the edge of a field of grain a woman stepped out and greeted them. “Morcant, will you stay the night with me? I could use your love, and I’ll have plenty to give back.”

“Go,” said Druce. He knew Morcant had been seeing the Widow Cath for few months. Her elderly husband had died leaving her a large farm to manage, a task she did better than most men. Morcant had always been fond of her, but now it was becoming a bit more than fond.

At home Druce found the Banshee Milen sleeping with the tiny unicorn baby in her lap. She’d taken on a physical form, that of a woman of a certain age who had a well earned beauty earned from a life well lived, at least before she had been betrayed and murdered by her husband. He put a blanket woven of the softest flax over them.

He poured a glass of beer and pulled a stool outside in his garden, out under the stars. He could hear the waves of the ocean. Maybe later he’d go down to the beach and see what spirits were among the sea shells and boats tonight.

But now he sat and thought of the sad Wizard. Then he thought of the women he knew and how it would be nice to have one of them in his bed that night, skin against skin, and a special kind of magic that came when two people came together in desire of both the body and the soul.

Then he thought about how dragons had become so endangered due to the trade of dragon bones by Wizards for their wealthy clients. Everyone with half a brain knew that dragon bones powder did nothing to make one’s manhood larger.

Then he thought of women again.

Milen the Banshee came out with a stool and sat next to him. He told her about his visit to Merlin. She said it was sad when one was so full of power and so lost. Then she said she was glad her husband had been hanged after she’d died. She always mentioned that. Druce didn’t blame her. She hadn’t planned on being a Banshee.

Then she put her hand on Druce’s. “Darlin, I’ll be in human for for another hour or two. Let’s go inside and take advantage of that.”

And like any good Warlock who knew what was good for him Druce kissed her and took her inside.

~ End

 

First published January 2018
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Tangled Tales

 

Short Story Sunday: House by the Ocean

220px-Sir_Galahad_(Watts)

“My parents were sluts, both of them. I’m the last person to throw stones but my dad was sleeping with the Queen, his best friend’s wife, and my mom lied about everything she ever did in her life.”

“Don’t be hard on them Galahad. Lancelot might not have been the best father but, well, he was a shitty father, and your mother Elenore, well, lied about everything. I think her lies were more of survival mode thing. You know, fight or flight, and by sleeping with your father it was her way of fighting for what she wanted. As for Guinevere, I have no good feelings for that woman or your father. They played the victim card far too often and at the expense of people who loved them. But that said, none of this reflects on you. Don’t ever let yourself think that you are your parents.”

Galahad, all of nineteen, Knight of the Round table had spent the past year traveling in search of the Holy Grail and all that was good. He was pure of heart and body, but there were questions that ate away at his soul. The very idea of his parents bugged him to no end. The contradictions of the Christian faith and his search, with magic, wizards, fairies, and the laws of nature confounded him.

Galahad had come to the estate on the hill that overlooked the ocean. He thought one day someone will write a song about this place. He wanted to wash away all of his critical mistakes.

He’d been drawn to the direction of the place when he’d come to a fork in the road, and even more so when he heard the crashing waves of the ocean.

A man with pale blonde hair, and a goblet of wine in his hand, who looked to be Galahad’s age answered the door. He invited him in, already knowing who he was. The man introduced himself as Tellias. His accent was different but yet slightly familiar. Maybe at one time Tellias had lived in Rome or somewhere South that Galahad could only dream of. Oh to live near the Holy Lands.

“Galahad. My friend Druce, who just happens to be sort of a wizard predicted you’d be here this week. As for me, I can’t predict shit. Come in and join us. We have a warm bed, and even a fire in your room. I take you can read. We have some books we thought you’d be interested. My God I can’t believe that nobody can read anymore. One day I’m sure someone will label this moment in history The Dark Ages. Oh how they embrace ignorance and fear.”

And from there Galahad was brought into a warm and inviting room unlike any he’d ever been to. The walls were covered with weavings, paintings, and shelves full of beautiful pottery the likes of which he had never seen.

There he met Morcant, and exceptionally handsome man who was built like an ancient God. He also met Druce, a Warlock that Merlin had told him about. Druce was an average man of average height, but he had a warm smile, unlike most men of magic. Galahad had been told that Druce could be trusted and was wise with matters of the heart and soul.

Standing by the window, with the summer breeze in her long curls was a beautiful girl with a smile that melted his heart unlike any other girl he had ever met. Her name was Eleora. It turned out that she was the beloved of Tellias and his mate for life.

During food and wine Galahad told his new friends of his quest for the Holy Grail and how there had been a prophesy about Joseph and so much more. He also told them of his travels and brave deeds that left him feeling good but sort of shallow.

Then Tellias asked Galahad, “But something is missing, isn’t it? Tell me about your family. It’s complicated isn’t it?”

Eleora sat next to Galahad and took his hand in hers. Her hand was cold like winter ice, but a warmth spread through his entire body.

And he told them things he had never told another living human being. He told them about his mothers, his father, and the complicated and twisted relationships they’d centered their lives around. He told them of a somewhat lonely childhood spend in reflective prayer and study.

They all listened. It was wonderful. Nobody had ever really listened to him before. He had just listened to others then done his duty.

After he and Tellias had talked of his family, Galahad said, “You and Eleora seem so young. You’re young like me, yet you seem so old, in a wise and wonderful way.”

Nobody said a thing for a while, then Morcant said, “Are you going to tell him Tellias? Eleora?”

“We’re Vampires,” said Eleora gently putting her hand on Galahad’s cheek, then she stood and walked over to where Tellias sat.

“What are Vampires?” Asked Galahad.

“We drink the blood of men. We live a long long time, longer than men. Some say forever. I was here before the Romans came.”

“I was one of the Romans,” said Tellias. “I was there when Christ was born. I was there when he died.”

Galahad looked at them in shock.

“Oh get over yourself. It isn’t that bad. We’re biologically different from you. Put it this way, if we were animals I’d be a horse, and men would be asses.”

“Most men are asses after all,” said Eleora.

“Like you Eleora is pure of heart. She just doesn’t have the physical hang ups,” said Tellias.

Galahad looked at Morcant. Maybe he was a normal man.

Morcant shrugged. “I’m a Selkie. You know what a Selkie is, I’m sure you do. I turn into a seal when I want to, you know, when I get tired of people.”

“Fear not,” said Druce the Warlock. “There is no evil here. Only good. In fact, you might not know it but that cup you’re drinking out of. THAT my son is the Holy Grail.”

Galahad blinked a few times and fainted.

2018

The Dark Ages didn’t always seem so dark when Galahad thought about them. He looked out of his back window over Monterey Bay. California hadn’t even been a dream back then. On the mantle over the fireplace was a simple silver cup. There was no power in it except it had been used in the name of love. How he wished the world had more love in it, but maybe one day.

Legend had it that he’d found the Grail and gone to heaven with Joseph. Instead he’d chosen to live, for a long long long time as a Vampire. Funny how things worked out.

Tellias and Eleora and Druce were coming for a visit and would be there soon. Morcant had passed on years before in the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. It had broken his heart. He had become great friends with the Selkie.

But now he did have his house by the ocean. He didn’t worry about critical mistakes because he knew love, and had spent the centuries doing good. It was his way, even as a Vampire, for his heart, as always had stayed pure. And most of all, he realized that in their own weird and twisted way his parents had loved him.

~ End

For another tale of Druce and Morcant Click Here.

Tangled Tales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want you so bad my fangs hurt (and more historically accurate tales of Camelot)

“I want you so bad my fangs hurt.”

I whipped around feeling cold breath on my neck. Smiling behind me was non other than my old boyfriend Pleasant Van Dousen.  Yes, HE is the one I made that meme about. Yes, this one. Even after all these years, more unpleasant memories to want to remember, and the fact that we’re both happily and faithfully married, I still got a little bit of a thrill out of it.

Pleasant Van Dousen, my old beau

Anyway, this isn’t about this. It is about history, and setting the record straight. It is about reunions. It is about sharing experiences. It is about the Knights of the Round Table before you learned it all from Monty Python. It is about old people and how you need to get their stories down and treasure their stories because when they’re gone so is any trace of the history they take with them.

Over the past four months I’ve been in the throes of planning a reunion for the Vampires of my youth (1870’s.) My old friend Amelia, a charming and stylish Vampire now living in Las Vegas, came up and stayed with me for the week. While she was here we stopped by to see the Ancient Vampires Eleora and Tellias.

Apparently we were not the only ones. Pleasant also stopped by. Amelia was even nice to him, something which surprised the jeebers out of me. Stranger things have happened.

We sat on the back porch of the large old Victorian farm house chatting over glasses of iced Poet’s Blood with sprigs of mint and sweet basil. Our hosts Tellias and Eleora are over 2,000 years old but they look like they are nineteen or twenty years old. Tellias wore an old Bob Seager tour shirt from the 1980’s over black tuxedo pants. Eleora was in an old faded sundress made of a print with monkeys and tropical flowers on hit. She’d pinned the straps with safety pins. They both wore yellow flip flops.

We were just chatting about people we used to know, or still know, or want to know better, or want to be rid of. Then Pleasant said, “Tellias, Eleora, I heard recently that you two were close with Merlin, the Wizard in the Court of King Arthur.”

Tellias leaned back in his chair and smiled a sly Vampire smile. “The thing is Pleasant, Merlin wasn’t much of a Wizard. In fact he wasn’t a Wizard at all.”

Pleasant looked surprised, as did the rest of us. “Was he a Vampire, like us?”

“Heaven’s no,” said Tellias. “Merlin was a time traveler. Or maybe still is. He still pops in occasionally, though it has been about sixty years.”

“Sixty five,” said Eleora. “Sixty five long years without a word. No word at all. Not a one.”

“But how…” started Amelia.

Tellias leaned forward and gave all of us a long look. “Technology. He bowled them over with simple technology. You’d be amazed at what folks in the dark ages thought of a man with a simple hand held flash light full of D batteries. Or music coming from a smart phone stuck in a tree.”

“But what about Excalibur?” asked Pleasant. “How did Arthur get the sword out of the stone? Didn’t Merlin have something to do with that?”

“A few sprays of WD40. It was a no brainer,” said Tellias. “You know what else?”

“Pray tell Tellias,” said Pleasant.

“He had a taser, and a laser pointer, and a Zippo lighter. The Knights of the Round Table went nuts. They had no idea they were being fooled by a handsome sleight of hand artist with a seductive voice and skills that would have made Houdini proud.”

“He fooled them with all kinds of things.” said Eleora.

“All kinds of things,” said Tellias.

“A bag full of things we take for granted,” said Eleora.

“Things we take for granted,” said Tellias, “but seemed positively magical in the Dark Ages.”

“Positively magic,” said Eleora.

“But,” said Pleasant, “what about the Lady of the Lake?”

“That was me,” said Eleora with a coquettish grin.

“You know how she loves to swim,” said Tellias. “Can’t keep my gal out of the water. She love to swim.”

“I love it,” said Eleora.

“What about the rest of the Camelot group?” I asked.

“Arthur was a good King, but his personal life was out of control. He was swayed too much on his emotions. He trusted everyone,” said Tellias.

“He was sexy as hell. I have no idea why Guinevere cheated on him so much,” said Eleora.

“She was in an arranged marriage my dear,” said Tellias. “Remember it wasn’t love at first night as it was with us Eleora.”

“Love at first sight. Every single night with you  Tellias is love at first sight,” said Eleora.

Tellias blew her a kiss from across the room and continued, “Guinevere didn’t go to a convent either after her affair with Lancelot.”

“Where’d she go?” Asked Pleasant.

Tellias shrugged his shoulders. “She hooked up with the pilot of the time machine, a guy named Frank. They’re both still out there. Somewhere. I don’t know. I saw them at one of Scott and Zelda’s parties back in the 20’s. Don’t know where they went from there.”

Pleasant looked surprised. “What about Lancelot?”

“Sir Lancelot du Lac, now he was a piece of work. He was worse than Casanova. Couldn’t keep it in his tights. It wasn’t just the queen. He’d see a pretty face, or any half way decent face that was female and he’d go nuts. It didn’t matter if she was married or not,” said Tellias.

“Once Lancelot came up behind me and guess what he said to me,” said Eleora.

“What did he say?” said Pleasant.

“He said I want you so bad my fangs hurt. And that was when he was with Gwen. Yes, he was a Vampire. Tellias and I turned him.”

I was shocked. “You two never told me that. Where is he now?”

“Nowhere,” said Tellias. “He was an unfortunate victim of the Spanish Inquisition.”

“So sad. So sad it was. Positively tragic,” said Eleora.

On that somber note we turned our conversation beck to Time Travelers, old friends, and our plans for the week.

As night turned into dawn we shared hugs and promised we’d be back soon.

On the drive back to my house, while Amelia talked about Merlin’s use of simple technology, I thought about my own past. I thought about how it had always been love at first sight with my  husband Teddy, when I knew what love at first sight was. I thought about all of the Vampire men who’d attempted to take a piece of my heart, along with my body. Then I said, “What are you wearing to the party tonight? I’m going to wear my black dress with the low back.”

Amelia answered, “Color. Juliette you need more color. I’m wearing blue and silver.”

And she did and she was absolutely beautiful, more than any princess or queen who ever lived. Even in Camelot.

Of course, as usual I wore black. I always wear black.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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