Court of Sorcerers

Court of Sorcerers

Photo by Mert Kahveci on Unsplash

Elyscia rolled off the plush bed, donned a robe, and poured herself a goblet of water. After she had gulped down half the contents, she offered Nicolaus the rest. He took the goblet from her hand, but before he could take a sip, she gestured to stop him. 

“You know better than to drink anything without the protection of your amulet, Nicolaus.” 

“Even around you, my love?” 

Elyscia was glad of his trust, but she tossed the stone to him. “I never want you to have cause to doubt our love.” In fact, her plan depended on it.

“You’ve missed your calling, my dear. You should be a poet.”

She tosses his pants at him. “Then hurry and get dressed. I’ll never become a poet if my reputation is ruined.”

“On the contrary, everyone knows the best poets have sullied themselves many times over.”

Elyscia laughed lightly. Life with the Duke would surely be amusing, even if he didn’t truly love her. What mattered was that he believed his devotion to be genuine. 

She knew eventually he would doubt his feelings, and his own mind. They all did at some point in this court of sorcerers and alchemists. And she knew he would look back on this moment to reassure himself when the doubts crept in. For none knew magic that couldn’t be warded against by the stones. Well, none except her. But who would suspect the first to discover such a magic would be a woman?

Elyscia worked in the back room of her small shop, adding a dash of powder to her cauldron, which caused a flash of light. She smirked. I’d like to see Renout’s face if he found out that I was a step ahead. Elyscia’s smile faded. Now matter how far ahead and how much smarter she was, she’d never be accepted as a court magician. That’s why her plan had to be executed flawlessly.

She had to think about what to do with the new magic she had created. She couldn’t let knowledge of it spread. For the value of this type of magic was that the enchanted and manipulated never suspected a thing. The courtiers would have a false sense of security with their little gems. So she had to be careful who she shared the knowledge with.

One thing she knew was that she would need proof to attract a buyer. Hence the man. What better proof than a nobody becoming the wife of a Duke, all the while him swearing that he never consumed anything in her presence without the stone, until after their wedding day. 

The chime on her shop door sounded, and she left the workroom, closing the secret door behind her before stepping into her storefront. A man wrung his hat in his hands, hurrying forward at the sight of her.

“It’s my wife. She’s having a hard time of the labor,” the man said.

“I’ll come at once,” she responded.

One thing a woman with an affinity for magic could do was be a midwife, and she was the best. Sought after by the rich and poor alike.

“The payment…” he started.

“Does your wife still keep her garden?” she asked while gathering up the items she might need.

The man nodded.

“After I have helped her, I’ll take a walk through the garden and pick a few herbs that I can use. We’ll call that well and even.”

“Oh, tha–” his gratitude stuck in his throat.

“No time for that now,” she patted him on the shoulder. “Come along.”

“Miss Elyscia Sely, will you do me the honor of becoming my Duchess of Devonshire?” Nicolaus asked from down on one knee under the gazebo. Beautiful blooms surrounded them in the royal gardens.

“Oh, Nicolaus, I’d love nothing more, but are you sure? You know what people will say,” Elyscia responded. 

“I don’t give a damn what they will say. Our happiness is all that matters.”

Elyscia beamed at him. “Yes, I’ll be your Duchess,” she said.

As Nicolaus picked her up and spun her around, she almost felt bad for enchanting him so. But everything was working out so perfectly, that she couldn’t help but share in his joy. And Nicolaus would make a wonderful husband…as long as he never found out the truth. 

He grabbed her hand and pulled her toward the palace. “We must share the news.”

Elyscia cleared her throat. “The ring, my love?”

Nicolaus laughed and looked down at the small box clutched in his hand. “Oh yes, I’d forgotten.” He slipped it on her finger and kissed her gently. “Now can we go tell everyone?”

Elyscia admired the ring for a moment with a glint in her eye.

“You’re already trying me, and we haven’t wed yet!” Nicolaus joked.

“I’m only testing your patience, to see if you have the right temperament for a husband,” she said with a serious face.

Nicolaus rolled his eyes. “Come now, I cannot wait a moment longer.” With that, he scooped her up and carried her up the steps to the palace. 

Whispers followed them through the gilded antechamber, as word had quickly spread of their engagement. Her ears caught the word ‘sorcery’ many times, as courtiers clutched their amulets close, but she paid them no mind. It was true, after all, but they would never prove it. 

Elyscia had been in the palace before, but never into the King’s receiving rooms. Elaborate architecture of marble and gold surrounded her, forming pillars and arches of immense beauty. Courtiers lounged on plush seats, took turns playing music, or flirted in a far off corner. The King was at the head of the room, in an opulent red and gold throne.

“Duke Corrigan,” the King called out. Heads whipped to attention around the room. “Introduce me to the future Duchess of Devonshire. I’d like to see what has you so enamored with her.”

Women covered their gasps behind handkerchiefs or fans. The men stared in open curiosity. Some looked Elyscia up and down, as if they knew exactly what had the Duke so enamored. She stepped forward with her head high and bowed lowly to the King, as Nicolaus introduced her. 

“Your Majesty,” Elyscia said, looking up from beneath her eyelashes.

“You may rise, Miss Sely,” the King said, after a pause of appraisal. 

“And how did a midwife come to know the Duke?” the King asked.

“As you may know, Your Majesty, I’ve helped deliver many babes in the palace.”

“She is quite an accomplished midwife, trusted by many members of the court,” Nicolaus added.

“Yes, she is quite successful as a midwife; it is a wonder that her ambitions aim even higher,” a man in a dark robe says from beside the King, eyeing Elyscia with a smirk.

“Speak plainly, Renout,” the Duke called him out. “Do you mean to insult my fiance?”

“On the contrary, I pay her a compliment,” he said with a sneer that said anything but, “It takes quite a…confident woman to imagine that she could become a court magician.”

Elyscia eyed her rival coolly. A lifting of Nicolaus’ eyebrows was the only indication of his surprise. 

“Truely?” the King asked.

“It is something of a fantasy of mine,” Elyscia admitted with mock shyness.

The King laughed wholeheartedly. “She is charming, Corrigan,” he said, “and quite a unique woman.”

It was then that a bold and dangerous idea occurred to Elyscia: she could sell her new magic to the King, himself.

What do you think of the story, so far? Do you think she is wrong to enchant the Duke? Click here to read more!

Thanks so much for reading!

-Clever & WTF

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