So some of you are aware that I am participating in National Novel Writing Month again this year. I am working on an urban fantasy story currently called The Magician, though that name is just a placeholder at the moment. I can’t come up with a better name yet.
The setting is a modern day world with a twist – some have magic. It’s been fun telling this story.
I normally DON’T share my WIPs with the world, but thought you’d like to read the first section. I spent some time polishing it up, but it’s still kind of a rough draft.
The magician stretched his hands far and wide, closing his eyes to conjure that which he saw in his mind.
A rainbow of colors flowed from his fingers, each stream a different hue as he channeled the spell. The magic washed the stage, painting a picture of a beautiful vista as he continued to keep his eyes closed. He was creating a scene of wonderment. He was creating a masterpiece.
The audience was impressed by his magic as the colors came to life on the screen. There were animals of splendor, vegetation that was so vibrant it looked alive, and a sunset so breathtakingly glorious that some in the crowd cried from the sheer beauty of it. They were astounded by the creation.
As the music from the orchestra that accompanied him continued to play, he continued to channel the spells. He swiped at the scene and it became a sea in the midst of a storm. A solitary ship rocked back and forth as waves dashed it. The wind could be heard howling as the instruments played. There were bolts of lightning that flashed, illuminating the stage. There were shrieks of surprise from some in the spectators, for the bolts seemed so real though they were just part of the scene. The clouds that swirled through the sky were dark and ominous, adding to the fervor of the crowd as they watched the storm.
Scene after scene flowed from his hands as the music played, but as the ten minute piece began to wind down, the scene began to fade until it was just a single picture, black upon the white screen, a single line drawing of a rather large oak with one broken limb, its leaves falling gracefully to the ground, The music behind it was a solitary violin playing a bittersweet tune. As the music faded and the magician dropped his hands, the image disappeared into nothingness.
The applause was deafening as it filled the hall. The magician stood, watching the crowd with an emotionless face as he blinked, exhausted from his conjuring.
The man caught movement from the wings and saw his manager, who was frowning at him, giving him a look of disapproval. The magician remembered his manners and bowed with a practiced flourish twice, the black and white beaded necklace that usually sat about his collarbone flashing into view as it fell against the starched collar of his white shirt, the top button unbuttoned. The curtains of the stage were drawn about him, obscuring him from the crowd.
His manager walked towards him, his own hands clapping and a facetious smile gracing his face.
“Well done, Ignace,” the manager declared, clapping the magician’s shoulder. “I know you want to rest, but there is no time for that! Now, we must attend to a more private audience.”
Ignace Godding gritted his teeth as Kaspar appeared to be guiding him through the wings backstage. In reality, the manager was making sure Ignace followed every instruction he was given, as usual. Lorenzo would not be pleased otherwise.
Ignace sighed. He hated the private shows that Lorenzo arranged, but he had no choice. Lorenzo had made sure of that in the bindings of his contract.
The private showing that night was for Baroness Carolina von Radtke and her entourage. They were visiting the heart of the old world from their own country, enjoying all of the trappings that the capital had to offer. They had paid good money for the magician’s light show as well as this private showing. They were expecting to be wowed.
Lorenzo Malatesta met Kaspar and Ignace outside of the lounge in which the Baroness and her retinue waited. The director’s eyes looked over the men, coming to rest on Ignace’s face. He smiled coyly.
“The Baroness has requested a new performance, so you will play for her what you practiced yesterday,” he said sternly.
“That one is not ready for performance yet,” Ignace said coolly.
The director frowned, showing displeasure for the answer. His retort was harsh.
“You will perform it, nevertheless. It has already been promised.”
“And if I refuse?” Ignace said, a hint of defiance in his voice. He knew better than to make his defiance outright, though. But despite his situation, he still tried to push the limits.
“You already know the outcome should you try,” came the admonitory reply as fingers pressed into the medallion the director wore about his neck.
Ignace held Lorenzo’s gaze with insolent bravado, despite knowing it was futile. He would do as Lorenzo requested. He had no choice. Lorenzo had taken precautions years ago to ensure his submission.
Ignace’s second performance of the evening was as brilliant as his first. The smaller audience oohed and ahhed over the colors as Ignace painted them, ignoring the perspiration on his face and the unsteady way he moved his fingers. This act tired the magician like no other did, for it required more stamina than he actually had to keep the pictures moving.
Regardless of the situation, Ignace managed to hold on to his composure as he finished the piece, the music that had been blaring through the speakers of the stereo beside him coming to silence. He bowed twice, watching Lorenzo out of the corner of his eye.
The theater director’s countenance appeared stolid, but Ignace knew better than to think the man was emotionless. There was a slight twitch of the eye and a line in the jaw that told him otherwise. After twenty years of working with Lorenzo, Ignace knew there would be trouble later.
He plastered a cavalier smile on his face nevertheless. It was, after all, expected of him.
The Baroness came up to greet him. Her eyes were ablaze with excitement as she met the magician who had just made most of her ladies weep. She reached out to grasp both of his hands and greeted him with a kiss.
The beaded necklace about his neck bobbed when he leaned down to allow the baroness to kiss him. Her eyes landed on it and she smiled.
“What a beautiful piece of craftsmanship,” she remarked.
Ignace brought his hand up to his collar to hide the beads once more before running a hand through his graying blond hair.
“Thank you, your ladyship,” he remarked gently. He smiled the carefree smile once more as he did so, though the emotion did not reach his smoky gray eyes.
His eyes met Lorenzo’s again. Though the director appeared phlegmatic, Ignace could see the twitch again.
Ignace knew better than to press his luck too quickly tonight.
“I have another pressing engagement to attend to, my lady,” he said adroitly, pulling away from her. He made another dramatic bow and walked towards the theater director.
Lorenzo was making the rounds, giving a few excuses as to why he could not stay as well. This surprised Ignace, for though he was not allowed to mingle with his audiences often, Lorenzo usually thrived on it. The director not wanting to rub shoulders with the nobs of the old country tonight meant one thing.
Ignace knew there would be hell to pay.
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