Rule of Magic, The Leira Chronicles Book 4
By Martha Carr and Michael Anderle
Charlie Monaghan stood on the wide granite steps of his house on River Road in Richmond, Virginia. Only in Richmond in the polite circles of old families and old money would a house with ten bedrooms and just as many bathrooms be referred to as a house. It was a sign of new wealth to talk about money. Charlie was new money but he got that rule.
He was waiting for the young man, Langston Rogers to park his old Ford Escort in front of Charlie’s neatly trimmed English boxwoods along the circular driveway. Charlie kept the smile plastered on his face despite his irritation that he was even having to go through the motions. He only agreed to meet the young college professor because he was from his alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University and was an old friend’s grandson. The grandfather reached out personally and struck a deal.
Fifteen minutes of Charlie’s time to get Langston to hopefully let this all go, take on something more suitable, in exchange for the man’s proxy on a few key boards.
Charlie was certain the young man was too coddled and slightly off. His emails all talked about an important discovery made in Peru and a powerful artifact. Charlie emailed him back out of curiosity and asked, powerful to do what, but Langston insisted it had to be seen to be believed and would revolutionize manufacturing. At first, Charlie deleted the emails, all fifty-three of them but then his grandfather called and asked for that favor.
He raised his hand and gave a short wave, neatly dressed in expensive slacks and a cashmere sweater over a soft-collared shirt and soft leather loafers. Perfect for the mild winter. “Langston, good to see you. Your grandfather speaks so highly of you.” He stood aside and let the young man go ahead of him, even though he had no idea where to turn once he stepped into the large foyer. It was a familiar tactic of Charlie’s to put someone immediately off their game. The young man blushed and stuttered, “After you,” still turning in a circle as he looked up at the high ceiling. Charlie smiled graciously and showed him to the wide doors that led to the library.
“I’m sorry about the limited time. This was all last minute and I have a golf game to get to. Can’t leave my friends waiting at the first tee.” He waved his hands around as he talked.
“Of course, I appreciate the time. Just get this started.” Langston fumbled with an ornate wooden box he was carrying, setting it down with a thud on Charlie’s antique oak desk. A momentary wince passed across Charlie’s face but he let it go. Thirteen minutes.
Langston put both hands inside of the box, gingerly lifting out a metal wheel decorated all the way around the rim in hieroglyphics. He laid it gingerly on the desk and took a short, hollow brass metal pipe out of his pocket, giving the wheel a solid hit in a specific pattern across the symbols. Each time he made contact the wheel let out a loud ding in a perfect pitch of C. On the twelfth ding, the wheel started to rattle on the desk as Charlie took a step back.
The symbols along the rim lit up as the wheel lifted, spinning in a circle, rotating a few degrees to the east with each turn. The smile froze on Charlie’s face as he watched. “It’s an impressive magic trick.” What the hell?
“Just keep watching.”
The wheel spun even faster until sparks flew out, some of the cinders landing on the heirloom Persian rug. A hole emerged the size of a window just above Charlie’s desk and he found himself staring at the backside of a tree.
“How the…” He took a step forward, blinking his eyes to see if he could detect the edges of the illusion. It’s real… It’s real! “It’s fucking real!”
Langston looked at him and smiled, a sheen of sweat across his face. “It’s called Oriceran.”
Charlie stepped closer and felt the warm air on his face as the smell of blossoms filled his nose. He cautiously put out his hand and felt the bark of the tree. “That’s an elm…” he said in a hushed tone.
“Who goes there!” A loud, angry voice shouted from somewhere in the depths of the forest. Charlie quickly pulled back his hand as the Gardener of the Dark Forest appeared in front of them, his four pupils all focused on Charlie. The Gardener saw the spinning wheel and leaned out of the portal toward the desk.
Charlie froze where he was, unsure for once in his life what to do. Langston quickly hit the sides of the wheel again, sending a shower of gold sparks as the portal shrunk in size, sucking the Wood Elf back to Oriceran, and closing with a loud pop.
The wheel slowed its spinning, finally coming to rest as Charlie came closer, scrutinizing it over and over again, saying nothing.
“You had it half right,” said Langston. “It’s magic but it’s not a trick.”
“Can’t be magic. Has to be science! Why didn’t your grandfather mention this?” Charlie was stunned, his mind spinning.
“Because I never told him. He would have told the world before they were ready. Something like this has to be handled correctly or it could cause panic. I knew you were the right person. All of your connections. I mean, your company stretches across the globe. You know every important politician, every foreign leader. You could help tell the world.”
“Langston, what you just did… I’m not even sure what I just saw…”
Langston smiled and shook his head. “Sorry, I do that. I get so excited I forget to fill in the details. But I knew I had to show you before I told you or you would have kicked me out of here. That hole that you saw just hanging there in space? It’s called a portal and that tree you touched is in another world, in another dimension. They call it Oriceran. Over there magic is commonplace. It’s more like a form of energy that runs through everything that lives on the planet.”
“In one of your emails you mentioned something about that place. How do you pronounce it?” Charlie walked across the rug where the portal had opened up. There’s nothing here. His mind worked to hold onto the idea. It’s like bad mushrooms. Never liked being high either. No control. Fuck.
“Or-i-sar-en. I found all of these ancient writings that talked about gates and portals inside of a large vault, along with that wheel. “Think of it this way. The same way electricity revolutionized this country… another kind of magical energy at the time… take that and multiply it by a thousand. That wheel…” He pointed at the wheel, his face flush with excitement. “It’s like a battery.”
“It holds this energy…” Charlie was taking in shallow breaths fighting to maintain his composure.
“Exactly! The last time the gates were closing the ancients poured their energy into it to store for later use. The missing capstone from the top of the Great Pyramid in Egypt? A crystal artifact that someone else got to first. You see what I’m saying? These artifacts are everywhere.” Langston’s voice cracked from the excitement.
“Who’s taking them?” Charlie sat down in his leather chair, trying not to let it show how fast his heart was beating.
“There’s lots of theories. Foreign governments. Large corporations. Treasure seekers. There are thousands of these artifacts so probably all of those theories are correct.”
“How did I not know?” Charlie muttered to himself. He was always prepared, always watching the bigger picture, but this got right by him.
“It’s not too late. Only a small fraction of what’s believed to be out there has been found.” Langston’s face lit up and he smiled, his eyes shining. “It’s not even the best part.”
“There’s more.” Charlie gripped the sides of his chair, doing his best to give his trademark smile, showing every pearly-white tooth.
“Here’s the only thing that really matters. Every 25,800 years there are these gates that are much larger than that small portal you saw. Huge gates! These gates open and stay open for thousands of years.” Langston waved his arms over his head. “The last one was over thirteen millennia ago and magic was just as commonplace here on Earth.”
Langston pressed his hands down toward the floor. “That Golden Year takes thousands of years to get here. But the gates will start to open in just a few more years. Slowly at first, but with each slight opening more of that energy we call magic will pour into Earth.”
“That’s a lot of information.”
“The ability to transform and create using a pure form of energy that comes from within is coming back to Earth. Magic. But we need to be ready.”
“I’m going to need more proof, Langston.” I’m all in. I can use this. Transform the economy.
“I thought you’d say that and I brought along a little more to show you.” Langston reached into his backpack and pulled out a wooden goblet, placing it on the desk. “Doesn’t look like much. Take it in your hands and hold it. Go on.”
Charlie looked up at Langston, hesitating. Not his usual nature. He slowly picked up the goblet and held it in his hands, the smile fading from his face, replaced with a sense of awe. A warm feeling of peace rose up through his body, settling in his chest. It was a new feeling for Charlie and unsettled him. He put the goblet back down and looked at the red glow in the palms of his hands.
Langston smiled at Charlie and shook his head. “It’s like it can teach you to be happy or something. I’m pretty sure that’s not what it was intended for but I can’t figure out anything more. According to what I’ve read, there are some artifacts that require you to be magical to access their powers. Like it’s part of your DNA or something. Can you imagine? But even still, it gives off this cool vibe.”
“Is it your plan to gather artifacts and relics and just wait for the gates to open? Is this some kind of negotiation tool when the beings from Oriceran walk through the gates?”
Langston laughed and shook his head again. “I did it again. Left out an important detail.” He slapped his leg in excitement. “That’s not necessary. It says it throughout all of the documents I’ve found. They’re already here. Thousands of them, living right alongside all of us. Most of them stayed the last time the gates closed. We can negotiate with them now. Think of the problems we might be able to solve, but we have to get to the artifacts first.”
“I see your point,” said Charlie, rising out of his chair. “Let me cancel my golf game. We need to talk.”
Charlie Monaghan liked to be prepared and he was already a little behind. First order of business, look for a way to harness the new energy, he thought as he texted the Country Club of Virginia to start without him. They’ll just have to understand. There’s a deal on the table. And it’s going to be mine. “Do we need to keep calling it magic? Seems like we just found some new kind of oil but this one is in a lot more places.”
“You can call it whatever you want but most call it magic. Using the laws of physics from within the biology of the practitioner in new ways to alter the environment.” Langston shrugged. “Magic.”
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