The moon silvered the night as the cloaked figure shambled up the road to the castle nestled in the cliffs. Tired and annoyed, he gave the postern gate three thumps with his walking stick.
Minutes later the guard opened the view port and grumbled, “What?” with a sleep cracked voice.
“Go to Frederick, tell him Gacgon is back.”
The guard looked more closely at the man and rushed to open the gate. Not many would enter the castle by faking to be the owner. And he definitely didn’t want to be the one to keep the sorcerer out of his own home. The sorcerer wasn’t known for his compassion.
“Also tell him that you were sleeping on duty.” It was said with complete indifference. Gacgon firmly expected the guard to do exactly as told. The guard would lose his job and would be unable to put food on the table for his family. But his fate was out of Gacgon’s mind the moment that he crossed the flagstone courtyard.
He was ready. Years of research and the last year collecting the items needed for his triumph were at an end. The thought of the council’s regard after this act of magic convinced him that it was impossible to fail. That tiny lingering speck of self-doubt was all that stopped him from sending for witnesses to the magic. Once he was in possession of the fyredrake, the Council of Sorcerers had to acknowledge him the most accomplished sorcerer of all time.
No one had attempted this in more than a hundred years. Records relating to their creation were insubstantial, spotty at best. The fragment of parchment found while he studied the habits of the Hiato dragons gave him the clue to solve the riddle.
A controlled fyredrake excited his imagination to the extent that he was unable to concentrate on anything else. It took ten more years of study to ferret out all the legends regarding the fyredrakes. The snowspurt mandrake essence was the one ingredient that was the hardest to find.
He kicked awake a keep boy as he entered the main building.
“Tell Mrs Ratleigh I am home and have need of her in my laboratory.”
“No need sir, I was expecting you to get back tonight. I’ve prepared some mead for you as well as something small to eat,” Mrs Ratleigh said from the side entrance. The keep boy scooted into a corner out of Gacgon’s way.
“Good, Mrs Ratleigh, I’ll take the food and drink in my laboratory. We have much to do tonight,” Gacgon said and started up the winding stairs to his laboratory.
Mrs Ratleigh knew when her master was impatient. She grabbed the platter with the food and drink that she had prepared earlier and hurried to the laboratory.
Gacgon already had his largest cauldron next to the fire that he started with a simple spell. He was prepared for the exhausting hours that the fyredrake spell would take.
Writing order: Sumanda Maritz (S. Africa), Hemali Ajmera (Ind), Angela Shaw (NZ), Ray Stone (Cyprus), Linda Alley (Aus), Rosemary Wakelin (Aus), Raymond Stone (Cyprus), dannyo77 (NZ), Gabrielle Burt (NZ), Sameer Nagarajan (Dubai)