Jerrida the Lamp-mage and her Quest for the True Might and A

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Geoffrey(aka Jasper)
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Jerrida the Lamp-mage and her Quest for the True Might and A

Post by Geoffrey(aka Jasper) » Sun Aug 14, 2016 7:38 pm

FWIW this is my (winning) entry in the Armadacon 27 1,000 word short story competition. I hope it is enjoyed:

Jerrida the Lamp-mage and her Quest for the True Might and Awe of Magic.

In the Great Imperial City the mage-guilds make the City work. From the great and proud Stone-mages who raise the City’s mighty towers and the delicate bridges that twirl and twine around them, to the shadowy Mages of the Guild That Bears No Name, who keep the privies fragrant.

And of these Guilds the young women of the Lamp-mages are the ones who illuminate it all, from humble glow globes to soaring light sculptures celebrating the pure joy of life or advertising the benefits of Necromantic Life-insurance. The Guild is also well known for its end of apprenticeship celebration where after three years of hard study dozens of high spirited young ladies run naked through the city streets trailing streaks of magical luminescence in their wake. (Hence the expression streaking.) Much to the annoyance of the more staid of the City’s citizenry.

Except this year they decided to do the run fully dressed, much to the annoyance of the more bohemian of the citizenry. The run finished, as it always did, in a Tavern where beers were drunk, songs were sung and bright futures were embraced. Except in one corner where Jerrida, newly qualified Lamp-mage, was sunk in gloom.

“What’s the point of this?” she asked herself. “This is magic. It should be fantastical, invoking awe and accomplishing mighty deeds. And we’ve made it mundane. Safe. Boring.”

She would have continued like this and no doubt began the next day’s job hunting with the Mother of all Hangovers, but a stranger approached. An old beggar woman, one of those unfortunates whom fortune has passed by, and she told Jerrida a tale of a town, far to the North, and there she would find a Hidden Valley with Magic that was truly awesome and mighty.

“Now where exactly?” asked Jerrida.

The old woman smiled sadly and held out her hand. After emptying her purse, followed by much patting of pockets, Jerrida raised her empty tankard to the group of disappointed young men hanging around the bar and left for the greatest journey of her life.

The journey North was easy, at first. But while a pair of light sandals were fine for clean streets kept level by the Spirit-mages, when the road started to turn rough, so did her feet. Neither was sleeping under the stars wrapped in her cloak as romantic as the stories made out. Particularly when the cloak owed more to fashion than function.

One evening close to what she reckoned was the mid-point of her journey. Jerrida came across what she hoped was an inn. It was a solid building, no signage telling its name, but in the middle of nowhere it was unlikely to be anything else. She hoped anyway. A man opened the door, he had the sort of open friendly smile that made Jerrida want to hit him. “And where you be bound young lady?”

“Harrberg.,” It was the name of the town near to the Great Magic. “And this place?”

“Honest Ibs supply and rest stop.” He glanced over Jerrida. “Hardiest boots, warmest cloaks and softest, well at least it won’t break your jaw, beef jerky. And a woman like yourself, you won’t have to pay in coin.” He grinned and Jerrida hit him.

She left well equipped, but with sore knuckles and somewhat embarrassed. By the sign work she’d done for Honest Ib, in exchange for his wares, anyone within thirty leagues after dark, and not much closer in daylight, would know his name.

Many days later, another building; sprawling and gloomy with lofty snow-capped mountains rising behind it. Was this the end of her journey?

A woman answered the door, old, careworn but hale and a friendly yet cautious look to her. She was the caretaker of the Harrberg Home for Waifs and Strays. “And you be looking for the Great Magic?”
Jerrida nodded.

“Well it be an awful dangerous journey, but young Tomps here could guide you safely there.” Tomps was a lanky individual with a suspiciously well practiced grin. “But I must ask for a donation to the Home, if you don’t mind.”
Jerrida had an inkling where this was going. “Good woman my purse is light . . .”

“And this Home is gloomy.”

Jerrida spent the next few days making the Home the best lit orphanage in the North. She found that the home was magically waterproofed and had the most fragrant facilities she had encountered since leaving the City. It was almost as if many Mages of many specialisms had passed this way . . .

And then it was the final stage of her journey. Tomps led her along paths, aside precipices and through twisting hidden tunnels.

Then suddenly Jerrida found herself gazing down on a valley. A river flowed through it, and one side of the river boiled and the other was frozen. A great oak stood at the head of the valley burning yet never being consumed. On the boiling side thirteen black sheep grazed and on the frozen side twelve white sheep grazed. As Jerrida watched one of the black sheep leapt across the river and as it did its fleece turned white.

Jerrida watched in wonder for a long time, then she turned to Tomps. “Is this all there is? “she asked plaintively.

“Well, “said Tomps. “Sometimes one of the white sheep jumps over and turns black.”

Jerrida slumped. “I come all this way. . . “ She trailed off. “And what do I do now!”

She had intended it rhetorically, but Tomps answered. “Well plenty of mages have found gainful employment in Harrberg.”

Jerrida glared, a suspicion clearly forming. Then she stomped off towards Harrberg and her new life muttering, “Awe and Might, you can shove it!”

As she departed Tomps smiled. “Well this Magic keeps an old beggar woman in the Imperial City from starving, Honest Ib in business, an orphanage maintained and Harrberg well supplied with skilled mages. I think that’s pretty awesome and pretty mighty too.”
"I Want My Chirfugging Goose Back!"

David A Harvey
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Re: Jerrida the Lamp-mage and her Quest for the True Might a

Post by David A Harvey » Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:22 pm

Thank you Jasper. I enjoyed that enormously :D

Geoffrey(aka Jasper)
Posts: 3865
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Jerrida the Lamp-mage and her Quest for the True Might a

Post by Geoffrey(aka Jasper) » Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:58 am

Glad that you enjoyed it David. :)
"I Want My Chirfugging Goose Back!"

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Re: Jerrida the Lamp-mage and her Quest for the True Might a

Post by lordashram » Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:56 am

Very Enjoyable :)
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Geoffrey(aka Jasper)
Posts: 3865
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Jerrida the Lamp-mage and her Quest for the True Might a

Post by Geoffrey(aka Jasper) » Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:56 am

Glad to hear that it was enjoyed. :)
"I Want My Chirfugging Goose Back!"

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