This story has been published elsewhere on the Web, but this version is being edited, revised, and updated with new information from Muggle and Magical Historical Research.
Chapter Two - "Accio Magik!"
A/N - "Magik" - Olde Englishe Spelling.
Harry Potter was completely enthralled by the story of Mr. Ollivander's ancestor, Willen. The wand inventory the two were recording was proceeding apace. Had the old master maker of wands been less of a captivating teller of tales, it might have gone faster, but both were enjoying themselves immensely.
…back to our story.
Eirran the Seer shouted into the air for the guard. The guard entered with an irritated look on his face and every intention of pummeling the old man.
Eirran growled at him, "Look me in the eye, you fool."
Eirran's words increased the guard's fury, but the man's enraged expression only lasted for a moment. Willen had backed into his dark corner to avoid any stray punches from the angered guard. Therefore, Willen could not hear any of Eirran's words whispered when the two were face to face. However, in a few seconds the guard straightened up as if awaiting a command.
Eirran commanded loud enough for Willen to hear, "I want scrolls, quills, and ink." The guard gave a blank nod and went on his errand. "And remove this swill from our cell," Eirran continued, still giving orders to the man's retreating back. "Send to the kitchen for food that is edible, at least as good as you eat. No, better than you eat."
When the guard was out of earshot, Eirran spoke aloud as if the guard was still there and asked for a table and two chairs.
The guard and a boy brought in the table and chairs in a few minutes. While waiting, the former madman walked around the cell humming tunelessly. Willen hid in his corner. A good meal arrived from the kitchen about twenty minutes after the furniture. The steward who brought the food was complaining about bringing fare of such quality to the dungeon, but after Eirran had a similar whispered chat with the steward, he developed a similar blank look on his face and complied readily.
As they finished eating the guard arrived with a shoddy quill, a half bottle of ink, and one scroll of parchment. Eirran vibrated with fury.
"You! Go to your master's storeskeeper. Tell him that each week Eirran wants new quality quills and ink and two scrolls of parchment. You will deliver them personally."
The door to the dungeon closed and to no one in particular Eirran said, "And we are not to be disturbed unless I call."
And they never were again.
Having observed the subduing of the two in just a few minutes, Willen threw himself on the dirty stone floor and cried, "Sir, I will do whatever you say. Please do not steal my mind from me. I will obey as quickly as you ask but please spare me my wits, what little I possess."
"Boy, cease your groveling. I am not going to steal your mind and I did not steal theirs. I just convinced them, shall we say, that they should do as we ask, when we ask, and assume the posture of a servant when they come near us. Thirty feet or so from this cell they revert back to their miserable selves except in meeting our requests."
In the midst of Eirran's rough voice and rougher demeanor, it was lost on Willen for now that he was included in Eirran's expression, "...they should do as we ask, when we ask...." Though no one would be able to observe it, Eirran had taken an immediate liking to the young man and was being gentle and kindly towards him, in Eirran's own odd manner. Those who knew the old man well would have thought that he was positively doting on the youth.
Over the next nine moons, Eirran made requests and received everything he asked for, even if no one was near the cell to hear his demands. They ate well for prisoners and they were not disturbed once. (Once a prisoner was condemned to the dungeon for life, he was forgotten by all, save those guarding and feeding him.) The two were left to their own devices and to activities of their own choosing. That is to say that Willen did what Eirran wanted.
Eirran had created a simple one-teacher-one-pupil classroom that was well lit during daylight hours. (The two also ate at the table where they studied.)
The educational subject matter was broken into two basic categories of knowledge. The first thing that Eirran taught Willen was how to communicate, but the second subject he would teach would not be introduced for roughly four seasons.
Willen noticed that Eirran taught with a lot of "twos." He started by saying that the two things Willen needed to learn to communicate were reading and writing. Willen confessed that he did not know what reading and writing were. The old Seer exploded with anger but calmed in a moment and explained the concepts.
"Boy, you and I are talking to each other. It would be very difficult for me to teach you anything, or even say, 'Pass the bread,' if we could not talk and understand each other. That is communication - I speak and you understand; you talk and I comprehend. It takes the two. If we spoke different languages, we could speak and listen all day, but with no understanding, so communication needs a common basis of speaking and listening.
"Reading and writing are like speaking and listening across great distances."
Willen looked a little confused at this point, but Eirran was unperturbed by his pupil's reaction. He continued.
"Now if you are lying on your pallet and I am sitting at the table, and I want you to come to me, I just say, 'Come here.' But what if you were in another part of the castle or in the next valley? I could tell someone who could go to you and relay the message, but suppose I did not want the messenger to know what we're saying. What could I do?"
Willen shook his head in bewilderment.
Eirran took a quill and dipped it in ink. He brought the feathered part of the quill to his nose while he thought about it. After he sneezed, he drew a square on the scroll before him. A little more than a hand's width away he drew a circle and placed his hand over it.
"Let's say this square represents you. Every time you see one drawn like this in a message from me you know I am talking about you." He placed a hand over the square and revealed the circle. "Now, let's say that this circle represents me. Likewise, every time you see this circle in a message from me, you know I am talking about myself."
He let the scroll come together enough for the square and circle to be partially obscured. He drew an arrow. "Now let's say that this arrow does not represent an actual arrow, but it talks about direction. We use it to say that we want something or someone to go here or there.
He unrolled the scroll enough for his student to see all three symbols. "If I was in the next village over and sent this to you by a messenger, what would I be asking you to do?"
Willen stared for several moments. The square representing Willen had the tail of the arrow by it, and the head of the arrow had been drawn to point at Eirran's circle. He feared seeing the old man's anger again, but that was soon forgotten in the revelation that hit him.
"You are telling me from the next village that you want Willen to go to Eirran. You want me to come to you!" The joy of understanding was beaming on Willen's face for a moment, but before Eirran could finish his smile in return, a cloud covered Willen's grin. "But if we are condemned to live our lives here in this hole, what good will this be to us? If you want me, you need only call."
When he had finished this despairing statement, Willen realized that this was the type of thing that might anger the old man. So be it. Willen decided he could go back to his dark corner and spend his last days in misery, pining for Constantia.
But Eirran's reaction was not what the sad youth had expected, although the old man did not answer Willen's question. The Seer said with a degree of tenderness (for him), "Trust me."
And, even though Willen's question had not been answered, hope began to grow in his heart.
Vanch the Cooper was manufacturing effective arrows in a few days. The children of Loundon's Towne found it easy enough to gather branches of the proper thickness. As to the final straightening needed, (no branch is naturally straight enough for an arrow to remain true in flight), a cooper's work is to force wood into the exact shape needed to produce leak-free barrels. Producing perfectly straight arrows was no test of Vanch's skills at all.
Creating an effective bow was a different matter. Barrels are produced with soft woods that swell with liquids to seal any gaps. A bow must be made with an extremely hard wood for strength, yet it cannot be brittle. When being bent under the burden of setting an arrow to flight, a bow must be very strong and flexible enough, but not too flexible. The knowledge of which woods to use and how to prepare them was beyond Vanch's training and initially beyond his comprehension. He experimented with every type of wood within miles of London's Towne. He almost gave up until he heard Daneel the (board) Cutter talking about using the heart wood boards for the parts of buildings that touched the ground.
Daneel had been not consulted on the bow and arrow project initially. He was mourning the loss of his brother Felden to Porto's olive wood stick, and had already left the Faire with Felden's body when the discussions of "What shall we do to defend ourselves?" occurred.
Daneel and Felden had been twins. They'd never married and had spent their years together sawing boards and completing each other's sentences. Fortunately they had an apprentice or construction in Loundon's Towne would have come to a complete halt after Felden's demise.
The remaining Cutter had been a shell of a man from the harvest faire until early the next spring. His apprentice took him out to work and Daneel meandered to an appropriate log and started cutting boards. He ate what was put in front of him and drank when given drink. The apprentice dealt with those wanting boards, Daneel seemed to always know what to cut and when.
Daneel had rejoined the community, in more than body, in the early spring after his brother's death. One day he walked up to the men working on the fortress wall. People were used to him walking around as if in a daze, sawing and delivering boards, but not talking at all. "How deep did you sink the foundation beams, Torban?" Daneel asked gruffly.
Hearing his friend, who had not spoken in so many moons, startled Torban so much that he dropped a beam on his foot. Between yelps of pain he expressed his delight to speak to his friend again.
Daneel ignored Torban's welcome. "I asked, how deep do the foundation beams go? And please tell me you put stones under the beams at their base."
Torban had stopped jumping up and down, but he still held his hurt toes. He said, "They go down about a man’s length. No, we did not put stones down there. We hit very hard dirt and thought it would make a good base." He let his foot drop to the ground and winced at the pain.
"How high do you want this wall to go? I guess it is going to be some sort of fortress wall?" Daneel continued.
Torban blushed. He had not even considered how high it would go.
"Well, I am glad we are back," stated Daneel. "Felden and I will help you with this. I am glad you have not done too much. This has to all be torn down. Felden says that when our Da was an apprentice, he helped your Gran-Da Loundon build his fortress wall. I never paid that much attention to him when he would talk about it but be grateful that Felden did.
"We have to tear down all of this but the boards you gathered will be of use later. Felden says that you need heart wood beams twice that big, and you need to sink them down at least two man lengths and put stones under them. He also suggests we build it about two and a half man lengths high..."
Daneel froze in place. He had been pacing around Torban as he nursed his foot. The Cutter stared out into the distance and Torban had feared that his friend had gone back to wherever he had been for the last nine moons.
"You are building this to protect us from that unmitigated son of a cow dropping that killed my brother, aren't you?" Daneel did not wait for an answer, but began pacing around Torban at a greater speed in the opposite direction.
"Torban, I am going to need two more apprentices at least, and we will need the help of men in the late afternoon to assemble what we cut. With four of us, we can cut the boards we need to build the walls and for everything else. What? ...Oh, yes. Felden says we need six men now that he cannot help. I was thinking about Loundon's Towne as we exist today, but Felden reminded me that we will grow over the next two years, and we need to plan a bigger fortress."
Daneel froze in his tracks again for nearly a minute.
"Felden also suggests that we should decide how Loundon's Towne should grow. Our growth thus far has been random. We should not turn away anyone who wants to join us, if they are reputable, but we must intentionally recruit people with the skills we will need for the future. You should go out and find those we need and encourage them to come. Felden says that we need to plan to be a bastion against the evil that is coming our way. Funny, he never used to use such big words. Have we heard from Willen, yet?"
Once more Torban and the crowd that had gathered around the one-sided conversation were stunned into silence. Meala had joined them and was heart-warmed by Daneel's recovery and heartbroken by the way he "talked for" his dead brother.
Caedric the Fisher had not gone out that day. There had been storm clouds at first light and even though they had cleared, Caedric had stayed ashore, sticking his nose into the workings of the community. Before anyone else spoke, the lazy fisherman butted in. "We have a new madman in our midst and he proves it by asking of the dog-boy, Willen. What does your dead brother tell you, madman, about the unlucky orpha...Ouuff!"
Daneel struck Caedric in the stomach hard enough to knock the wind out of him. He stood over the gasping man and spoke in a cold voice, "I know my brother’s dead. I'll take good advice from whatever source. That young man, Willen, had the right idea. You fight fist-to-fist and knife-to-knife. If Willen can bring back olive wood and give us an even chance against that murdering pile of nose snot that killed my brother then I pray for his safe and speedy return.
"Now what are we doing to give ourselves an advantage over those evil walking piles of pig dung?"
As Torban lay down on the straw mattress next to his wife that night, he sighed with satisfaction. Daneel had re-energized the community in its fight against Porto and Bonderman. Neither had come to the community since their first appearance. There was a hope, fanned into life by Caedric, that they would not return. Torban figured that if not them, then someone else would come one day with similar demands or worse.
Two young boys of near apprentice age had volunteered to work with Daneel. He knew of two other strong youngsters on a farm not to far away that he intended to visit and invite to be a part of the Loundon's Towne community. Vanch the Cooper had been in an animated discussion with the returned board cutter about bow wood possibilities. There were plenty of volunteers that offered to give the time equal to start of work to morning break, each evening to building the fortress.
"Yes, my lovely Meala?" He turned to her eagerly, hoping to enjoy the delights of his wife.
She chuckled, "You bull, I want to speak to you."
He stopped with his hand on her midriff. Their hut had no windows, but during the dry nights of summer it was customary to leave a portion of the roof open. There was enough moonlight for Torban to look into Meala's eyes as she spoke.
"Daneel's idea about planning the growth of Loundon's Towne was a good one. People have arrived and we have put them to use but we need to be deliberate in our growth. We never realized what we had in Willen. We could use more than four more apprentices for Daneel if more people begin to arrive. We will need a new Miller for grain and probably a master builder. Oh, and Egorn the Potter is working well into the night to meet the needs of our village. If his wife did not have the Touch for mending pottery we would have a substantial shortage."
"You are right, my beautiful wife." Torban's hand was now moving again, but his actions were a comforting stroke and a part of his thought processes, not an attempt to interest her further. "I have decided to talk to all of our original settlers and a few others about Daneel's planning ideas. There is a war of some kind brewing out there; I can feel it in my bones. We must prepare. We must be intentional in our growth.
"And it makes sense to plan even if this struggle were not before us. We have the water, land, and resources to be a great town, not merely a village. What's the word? ...City? That's it. We could be one of those cities if we plan for it.
"However, next week Caedric is leaving on one of his rare long fishing trips. He will be gone a four or five days or more. We will wait for him to leave. Erm... I don't trust that man."
"You are wise, my husband. I hadn’t completely thought out my opinion about him, but the truth of what you say is clear."
They both paused in thought.
She giggled, sprang up on her elbow, and kissed his ear wetly. "Was there anything else on your mind before we sleep, my handsome strong husband?"
From his simple example of the usefulness of a written language, Eirran quickly built a foundation for the elements of reading and writing.
He taught Willen by example that a picture-based written language had a number of problems. "Boy, we have used two symbols for ourselves, a square and a circle. If there were a hundred people in a village, or five hundred in a town, you would run out of symbols for each one and they would all be hard to remember." Then he taught Willen how a character-based language, one with an alphabet, could be used to more easily represent words. Of course he also had to explain what a "word" was.
"There is one more obstacle we must overcome in order for me to teach you what you need to know. It's the reason you and I were lead to this cell in the first place. Our present language, what we are speaking now and what most people have spoken to you on your travels thus far, has no reading or writing. It uses a few symbols for rudimentary communications but it will never serve our needs for the future.
The old Seer looked up and off into a distance that he could not see in their cramped confines. He sighed and said, "Boy, our future lies beyond simply talking to those we see each day in our home communities and the few travelers we meet. Those of us with what you call the Touch have a responsibility to lead our nations into the future. Great and wonderful and quite often terrible things will happen over the centuries and millennia to come. We stand between anarchy and order, prosperity and wanton ruin. We must stand between good and evil themselves.
"We must fight fate to achieve our destinies."
In an instant Willen forgot that he did not know what the words, "nation" and "millennia" meant. It was as if Willen was struck by the idea of fighting fate to achieve his destiny. Eirran was looking away so he did not see Willen draw his hand instantly to the carving of Constantia around his neck. The small piece of holly log had used virtually the same words. "I must fight fate to achieve my destiny." Before Willen could ask about what it meant, Eirran went on.
"Our common language as it is will not meet the needs of the future. You cannot see it but it’s already dying. A new language is coming out of the South; you will probably meet it in your travels. It is called 'Latin.' To my ears Latin sounds barbaric. However, it is a strong and robust language with 'room to grow' for lack of a better way to put it. Latin will dominate the world and be the universal language so to speak for the next two thousand years or more. It will influence if not be the basis for every spoken language in what we call the known world."
Willen noticed that Eirran was speaking in a strange manner. It occurred to him that the Seer must be speaking "as a Seer" - he was foretelling the future. Willen had been paying attention, but now he concentrated even more. He had an excellent memory when he paid attention. Now was the time.
"Learning Latin will provide you with two advantages that are crucial to the future of your home, boy. If many in your community know Latin, it will help them thrive instead of perish in the invasions your land will face over the next 1400 years. But more important, you will use Latin to convert the Touch into Magik."
Eirran started coughing as if choking and Willen moved to his side to pat his back.
"Boy, I was just speaking from a trance wasn't I?"
"Yes, sir. You said that..."
"No! Don't tell me now. Remember it all for the future. I may remember it as well when we need it. Let's get back to Latin, a barbaric language to my ear but a robust language for the future, your future and mine."
Eirran taught Willen a basic vocabulary in Latin. They spoke in short sentences about simplistic things. He used these simple words to introduce the Latin alphabet. The alphabet became words and the words became sentences, and with sentences, Willen learned of the ideas of nouns, and verbs, and other parts of speech.
Willen found he enjoyed learning, if for no other reason that it distracted him away from his depression about never seeing Constantia again. He was a quick study. His dexterity with a blade and precise carving helped him with his quillwork. And his ability to "see" into wood helped him see ahead of time what to write and the meaning of what was written.
There was adequate light in their dungeon to read and write a little over eight hours a day. In the evenings Eirran and Willen used what he had learned in actual conversation. At first they had silly little chats because his vocabulary was so limited, but as Willen commanded more words and a better facility of their usage, the two had conversations on a wide range of topics.
Willen learned about the history of the world, philosophy as it had developed to this point in time, and the basic geography of what would eventually be known as Europe. The different peoples and their customs and practices both interested and quite often appalled Willen. One group of people would be warm and loving and friendly to strangers, and then once a year practice human sacrifice. Another tribe would be genuinely excellent neighbors until there was some small offence, and then they would kill every person and head of livestock in the nearby village in the following war.
This contradiction of kindnesses and cruelties perplexed Willen. It frightened him as he thought that he might be meeting such folk on the rest of his travels. And this thought brought back his despair.
He was condemned to this dungeon for the rest of his life. Now that he was being well fed, that life looked to be longer than the year the guard had first mentioned to Willen. (Willen was actually gaining weight and getting a little fat in the cell with its limited opportunity for activity.) However, Willen soon learned to hide his depression because when Eirran saw it he would become angry.
When Willen asked about the future or the people Eirran came from, the old man's fury made Willen wonder if he was a madman after all. So Willen learned to keep his own counsel regarding anything outside their prison walls, regardless of whatever Eirran said or wanted to teach him.
Two winters after Willen had left Loundon's Towne, Eirran began teaching Willen the second subject that he had originally alluded to. In addition to Latin, Eirran taught him how to keep records of the items he manufactured, the materials and products he bought and sold, and who had received what in these transactions. (Eirran did not acknowledge that Willen was without a clue about why he should learn this, and the young man remained silent about his ignorance.) This was an early form of bookkeeping. Underlying the actual mechanics of record keeping, Eirran taught Willen about value and worth and the ideas of profit and loss. He kept speaking about fair trade and long term planning to maintain capital.
All of this was at first meaningless to Willen until one day he asked a question about the responsibility of those who had succeeded to foster success among others.
In a flash both Willen and Eirran realized they had been having a very advanced discussion about developing a responsible society and Willen had been an active part of the conversation. Willen understood it all!
The two started laughing. They went into hysterics. They were in tears with the joy of the realization that Willen had acquired quite an education in a short period of time. They howled with laughter.
Throughout many parts of the castle servants, soldiers, and others shuddered and touched their medallions or lucky pieces. There were now two madmen in the dungeon.
Daneel had been rushing the last few days to tell anyone who would listen what needed to be done to build a better city and how to plan for the future. He would become extremely agitated when he mentioned Porto. It was Daneel who took Willen's discovery of the species of wood Porto held in his hand and started calling him Porto the Olive Hand, along with every other expletive he knew and could make up.
One day Torban saw from across the center square that Porto and his band of ruffians had returned to Loundon's Towne after their long absence. Before the thought of the potential calamity had entered his mind, he heard Daneel's near hysterical voice.
"Murderer. MURDERER! You evil spawn of a cross-eyed toad and a poxed sow. You killed my brother and I will kil..."
"Avada Kedavra!" and Daneel joined his brother Felden in side-by-side graves.
Porto killed Daneel as he came into range. The verbal assault came so swiftly that Bonderman and his cronies had little time to react. But Bonderman was off of his horse, sword drawn, and roaring at the villagers.
"How dare you attack us! I will kill you all. Where are the leaders of this town? I will start with them. Where are the parents of my bride to be?" The incongruity of this last statement was lost on Bonderman.
Torban was there, and Meala was there. And it was obvious as he turned their way that Bonderman recognized them. But salvation came from an unexpected quarter.
"Great Keeper of the lands near and far!" The one who shouted this address had appeared on his knees in an instant between Bonderman and the rest of the villagers.
"Surely your eyes that see everything recognize the distraught twin brother of the one killed by Porto the Olive Hand at the last harvest faire. He has been a madman ever since and we have kept him with us for pity's sake. Had we known you were coming, Great Keeper, we would have gagged him and tied him in a hut so as not to disturb your visit."
It was Egorn the Potter kneeling, in the way, temporarily blocking the path between Bonderman and the ones he intended to kill. Had he not called the large armed oaf by such words of honor, Egorn would have been the first of many beheadings.
"Our towne leaders help us produce more so you will have more tribute. Look, they have encouraged us to build a large storehouse for your portion of our crops and goods. It is bigger than you expected, we hope. If you deprive us of their leadership we will be weak lambs, lost, and unable to produce the homage you deserve."
Bonderman liked the sound of this; finally someone recognized his important role in this enterprise. The large warrior smiled, curled the ends of his mustache, and looked around to see if the girl of his dreams, Constantia, could see him receiving such acclaim in his powerful position of Keeper.
It was a mercy that Constantia and her friend Naelly were out in the woods gathering mushrooms. She would have been petrified by the threat to her parents' lives and might have acted rashly to protect them.
Porto was off of his horse and pushing Bonderman aside to address the kneeling Potter. "You called me Porto the Olive Hand. I have been called that in one other village and they told me that they heard that title in this community. Where did you hear of the type of wood I hold?" Porto felt sure that he had only mentioned olive wood to one other person since coming to the island of Albion, and he had killed that miserable boy himself. He knew that he had not used the words "olive wood" in front of his hired thugs.
"But-but, sir...erm...we have heard from many travelers...erm particularly Fishers who come here to sell their catch, of powerful ones like you who come from the sea, who have the Touch, and carry the sticks of olive wood." Egorn did not know that he could be such a quick liar, but he was grateful for this dubious gift. He just hoped it worked.
Porto had had his olive wood stick in his hand as he walked up. He began to slowly raise it. He heard the gasps of the onlookers. He saw the fear and bravery in the eyes of the one kneeling before him. He thought he should kill one so willing to stand there and die if need be for the good of his community. Then he realized that that would only draw more attention to the importance of the composition of the stick in his hand.
Porto concluded that the information made little difference; the south coast of Gaul was too far away. Besides, it wasn't just any old olive tree that produced the power concentrators. No one in this village, even this foolishly brave one kneeling before him, would ever consider such a journey or be lucky enough to find the right trees. Then he had another idea, one that would serve him even better than removing the words "olive wood" from every mind present.
Porto shouted, "Yes, I am Porto the Olive Hand. I stand by Bonderman the Keeper to back up his mighty arm with my power. Anyone who serves us well, and any like your leaders who encourage you to greater production and tribute for us, has nothing to fear.
"But cross me and there will be a triplet in the grave beside these two stupid twins." The venom in his voice shook everyone, especially Caedric the Fisher who was hiding behind a stack of firewood.
"This fool's death is doubly foolish. I am one of those coming from the sea with powers beyond this olive wood stick in my hand. When you see me or one like me, realize that we cannot be killed. We are of a powerful and mighty race, and the wise ones, the powerful ones that look like me and carry these olive sticks, are impervious to death. I killed him where he stood to prevent startling the horses."
It was a bluff, but he had heard that others of his kind had used it and that it had worked to quell rebellious and murderous crowds. A few claimed that it was indeed true, but Porto never planned to be in a position to test the veracity of the boast. It was a part of his plans to be thought of as all-powerful, but being thought of as invincible would also have its advantages.
"You. Stand." Porto addressed Egorn and called out to the crowd, "Where are the other leaders of this towne?"
Torban and Meala came forward and Porto led the three and his ruffians towards the walls of the fortress under construction. Many of those most involved with building this defensive structure followed the seven.
"You are building a fortress wall. You intend to defy your Lord and Keeper, Bonderman. I should kill you where we stand."
Torban moved to stand in front of the others. But this was not a protective move alone.
"Great Olive Hand." Porto noticed that Torban tried a little of the flattery so successful with Bonderman, but as he continued he ceased its use. Such faint praise did not faze Porto. "This is not a defensive structure. The river along here floods and causes damage to our village, particularly in the heart of our towne square. Three springs ago we had to rebuild half of our huts and barns. We build this wall to reroute the direction of flooding."
The floods had occurred, and there was soil erosion from three years ago to confirm Torban's claim. "We are almost finished and have no plans for two other sides to create a fortress."
Porto did not believe this for a minute, but he had seen flooding do more damage than this elsewhere. The structure was two-sided, and it was about the length of the towne square on its short end and almost three lengths of the square at its longer end. It was not quite two man lengths high. Though taller than needed, Porto silently conceded that it would redirect any flooding away for the heart of the community.
"Well, if it is not a fortress with four sides, what do you call this...this, thing?"
Meala reacted quickly. "Sir, if it pleases, because there are only two sides we combine the word "dia," for two and the word "gon" for wall. We call it the "Diagon."
Porto stared at her for nearly a minute. There are too many quick-witted people in this village, he thought. They bear closer watching.
Porto raised his olive wood stick and everyone, including Bonderman, shrank back. But he pointed it at the nearest end beam of the Diagon and muttered something incomprehensible. What looked like green lightning flashed from the end of the Olive Hand and marked a huge burn scar in the wood. The procession followed him to the other end where he repeated the procedure.
Porto turned to proclaim, "The Diagon goes no further." He mounted his horse and left with his followers. While leaving Porto did not bother to act as though Bonderman was the leader.
Egorn, Torban, and Meala all commented after their departure that Porto indeed had to get within about two man lengths range to use the spell he'd cast.
Willen had stopped asking why Eirran was teaching him what he taught. Though he did not go into a rage anymore, Eirran would now stop after such a query and stare at him for almost a minute before he chuckled and went on. The look was an odd combination of amazed disbelief and knowing too well about the future. This bizarre combination of looks made Willen long for the anger or madness. Unknown to Willen until much later, the quickness of his mind and the depth of his understanding had caused Eirran to begin to consider the young man as almost a peer, as he hoped Willen would someday truly be.
At the end of what was two moons beyond a four season cycle in the dungeon, Eirran announced that he had finished teaching Willen what he would need to know about keeping records and about the Latin language. Eirran had patiently answered any question that would help Willen's understanding of the subjects he'd been taught. It had been almost four moons since Willen had asked "why" Eirran was teaching him these subjects in the first place. But such a question was screaming in his brain.
"You now know what you need to know. You may leave and go home to accomplish your destiny."
Had Eirran slapped Willen he could not have been more stunned.
There was a degree of perturbation in his voice. "Eirran, I cannot go home. I have only begun my travels; there is still a great distance I must go. You know nothing of my quest and I know nothing of what I am supposed to manufacture. Why help me be ready for commerce when I have no plans in that direction? How can any of this, except the chance of meeting someone who speaks Latin in my travels, be of assistance on a journey that you do not begin to fathom?"
Willen glowered at Eirran for several moments more and then realized he had been rude to the older gentleman. The Seer, though demanding, had treated him with a growing kindness over the past few seasons. He had ensured that Willen was warm and well fed under horrible circumstances.
"Eirran. I'm sorry. I..."
"You have a quest? I heard nothing of a quest." Eirran used the word 'heard' not in the normal way, but as a Seer hearing the future. "Why have you kept this from me? Well, spit it out. There may be more I need to teach you beyond what I have heard."
All this time Eirran had been teaching Willen what he had foreseen to teach. Eirran had assumed that Willen had traveled so far in order to learn. Eirran had imparted a great storehouse of knowledge to the young man in an incredibly short period of time. The youth's ability to absorb his teacher's lessons had convinced Eirran that he was teaching Willen exactly what the boy had been seeking to know. It would remain a mystery to him to his dying day why he had not asked the youth earlier about his reasons for his journey. Even at this early date in Willen's travels, he had gone farther than all but a handful of those born on the island of Albion. And Eirran had not inquired into any of this.
Willen began his tale. He told of his begrudging acceptance in Loundon's Towne, which had been more welcoming than any other community had been before. He told of the kindness of Meala and Constantia. Willen's face lit up when discussing the young girl and the old gent did not have to be a Seer to see what was in his heart. Willen told of that fateful day at the harvest faire. He spoke with conviction of his quest for olive wood. He even told the strange tale of the piece of holly around his neck. He gave examples of the perversities of Willen's Luck. He recounted how he had meandered across the sea with Stellan the Fisher, how he had been delivered to the dungeon where they were sitting, and of his failure to help all those he knew and loved. He punctuated the end of his narrative by hanging his head in despair, frustration, and shame.
Eirran sat still for what seemed an interminable time, but was probably less than three times the time it takes to hard boil an egg. After Willen looked up from his agony and had brought his desire to cry under control, he noticed that Eirran was in some sort of trance, or at least a baffled fog. He had not fallen asleep, and he was not having a seizure. Willen had learned patience after so many disappointments, and this was one more opportunity for the young traveler to practice what was, perhaps, the most difficult of virtues.
The first thing Eirran said when he stirred was, "Willen's Luck." He spoke this phrase and did not speak again for several moments. He then turned to the youth.
"What darkness has meant for ill, providence has turned to good. Had you not been thrown off course and taken passage with Stellan, you would have not ended up in this dungeon. You would have forgone our most propitious meeting. I do believe I "see" a part of your future in this quest. It is different from what I first assumed was your mission." Eirran paused again, turned to pace, then whirled around and said, "This was very providential indeed. This should work out even better! You have been a quick study at Latin and the other concepts I have taught you."
He stared at Willen for a long moment and then said slowly in awe, "You just may be the one!"
Eirran suddenly moved near, his face was within a foot of Willen's. The closest thing to oral hygiene in this era was using twigs to rub the film off of the surface of teeth and out of the gaps between them. Some would chew herbs such as parsley after eating to give a fresh taste to their mouths. There was nothing in the dungeon to help the smell of Eirran's breath as he blasted these words in Willen's face.
"You must not lose this knowledge! You must take all of these pages with you as well as quills and ink and blank scrolls. You must practice writing and reading! You must speak Latin every day so you will not forget how it sounds or how to sound it out! You will understand why this is vital in due time. You must be prepared!"
Those were the last words Eirran spoke for the rest of that day. Apparently he wanted that message to sink in. In silence they ate the gruel the guard brought because Eirran had not spoken "into the air" and asked for anything better.
Willen came out of the fog of sleep the next morning with a start. Eirran was standing over him, rousing him a bit roughly, and at first Willen feared a beating of some sort.
The guard was standing there with a good breakfast (no more gruel) and a branch from a birch tree. Without a word Eirran took the branch and set it aside. The guard left and they ate. The silence continued from the evening before.
Finally Eirran spoke, "Willen, today we begin to prepare you for your quest. There is not a lot I can teach you, if you are who I suspect you are, ...but I can set you on the path to what you need to know, ...and on the path towards your olive wood."
Eirran was quiet for a few minutes as he cleared the table of food debris and brought the stick and placed it on the table as if on display. Willen used this time to ponder this turn of events.
First of all, Eirran had never called him Willen before, only "Boy." And yesterday Eirran had indicated he was finished instructing him. Now there was more to learn, evidently because of his quest. Willen wanted to ask (but didn't), "Why did you teach me Latin, and what did you mean by 'if you are who I suspect you are'?" Throughout the rest of his association with Eirran, he would never receive a straight answer to those questions, but many, many cycles from now he would believe he knew.
"Willen, you have seen people use the Touch, I believe you called it, to start fires and such. Have you ever seen anyone use the Touch to call an object to them?"
Willen tried to recall such an act. "Bengt the Miller can breathe a certain way and then push around huge bales of grain, too large for one man, but I haven't seen any call anything to themselves." He went on to tell the Seer about the various acts of the Touch he had seen.
Eirran pushed the birch branch to the side and placed a quill in the center of the table. From the edge of the table he pointed his open palm towards the quill, closed his eyes, and concentrated. Nothing happened. He moved his hand closer and closer, trying, and finally, when his hand was less than a palm's breadth away, the quill shuddered and moved towards his fingers.
"Now you try, Willen."
Willen sheepishly followed his example, but the quill never moved. Though he had never attempted any examples of the Touch he had ever seen, Willen had not considered that he had any gifting. This was proof. He hung his head. He felt that in some way he had failed his village and Constantia again.
"Don’t be disappointed, Willen. The Touch, as you know it, is very specific. You’ve only seen individuals perform a single, specific feat with the Touch. But let me show you something encouraging."
Eirran placed the quill back in the center of the table and picked up the birch branch. He stripped the twigs and leaves from it so that it was bare. It was not quite as long as his arm and was as thick as his index finger at the thinner end. Grabbing the thicker end he pointed it at the quill. He waved it and nothing happened. He spoke an odd garble of words, "Grendenee Krandubor!" Nothing happened.
"No movement, I know, but watch this." Eirran picked at the cuff of his filthy smock and tore it a little further at a frayed spot. He slowly pulled out two thick silvery strands of hair that seemed to glow in the half-light of the dungeon. He carefully tied one hair to the thinner end of the stick and wrapped it tightly around the length of the stick all the way back to within a hand's breadth of the other end. He positioned the thicker end of the stick in his right hand and placed his thumb on the hair, holding it tightly wrapped.
He stood five feet from the quill, pointed the wrapped stick at the quill and repeated, "Grendenee Krandubor!"
The quill bounced and then jumped to Eirran's hand.
Willen was wide eyed. Before he could speak, however, the old Seer continued, "That may seem impressive, but let me perform two other demonstrations."
Their dungeon cell was roughly rectangular. It was about an arm length more than a man’s length in width and over three man lengths long. The table was in the center of the dank room. Eirran placed the quill at one end of the table and stepped to the other end of the dungeon away from the quill.
The quill quivered and moved perhaps the width of a finger towards the spell caster, but it stopped in place.
"You will note, Willen, that those words can only pull a quill a short distance. But let me show you something I discovered shortly before I came here to wait for your arrival."
Eirran took the quill to one end of the dungeon and placed it on a narrow outcropping of rock in the wall. He walked to the opposite end of their cell and Willen automatically moved to a wall to allow a clear visual path between the old man and the quill.
"Willen, if I want to command someone to come to me, what word in Latin would I use?"
Without a moment's hesitation Willen said, "Accio, which you could follow by the person's name if he did not know you were talking to him."
"Correct. Now watch this. "Accio Quill!"
Instantly the quill shot straight to Eirran's open palm.
"Eirran!" The amazement was evident on Willen's face. His questions, half-spoken, fell all over each other. "I do not understand. What...? That's not olive wood, it's birch. What type of hair...? Could I fight Porto with...? Is there...."
"All in good time, Willen, all in good time. Though there is not nearly enough that I can tell you. Let's start with what to call all of this.
"What you call the Touch is a display of power that is manifested by those who could do so much more with the proper tools and training, if the tools and training even existed. Do you remember the first time you ever used a blade to carve what you imaged you "saw" in a piece of wood?"
Willen nodded. "It was a small stag. It wasn't very good as I view it now, but it was exciting to me at that early age. I had only seen five summers."
"That illustrates my point perfectly. You had a basic ability. You probably carved better than any other child of your age. Even at that you had the proper tool, the blade you used. With the proper tool and practice, and perhaps while watching others carve and asking questions, you took your Touch for carving and developed it into quite a talent.
"The Touch is sort of like that, but it is so much more. You see someone who can start a fire or move a huge burden and to those around this seems like the person's Touch. Each particular Touch is an indicator that that person has much more power they could use, but it lies dormant, untapped, and unavailable. Everyone who has demonstrated a simple use of the Touch is like what you would have been if, after the first time you'd carved that stag, you had never used a blade for carving again. They have a small talent that has never been developed beyond its simple start.
"How do I explain this? Willen, I can use this common birch branch...," the old man dithered in his explanation. "No, it is not olive wood. I have heard of the power of olive wood but it is rare among my kind. However, I have discovered that using this unicorn hair... but I digress.
"Great day in the morning! How do I...? Willen, forget the type of wood and the hair for a moment. It is merely a tool, and really not a very good one, at that. I can use this tool, with the right words, to call objects from varying distances depending on their weight. I can start fires. I can open and close doors and gates. I can hurt people if I have a mind to. I can cause others to obey me if I do not ask them to do anything too out of character. Of course I have been coercing the guards and cooks to provide for us without this stick, but I caused that before I allowed myself to be captured."
Willen was distracted briefly by the fact that Eirran had allowed himself to be captured. But it was a fleeting thought because the old gent was still speaking.
"I was trained for all of this, and I have developed a tool, this stick and hair, to help me. Porto has had the same training, or similar enough. He and I have never met but I know many, far too many of his kind....
"In our language... well, let's not discuss that. You need a new word to replace the Touch. You are a forerunner, perhaps the forerunner of the New Ones." These last sentences were muttered, for the most part, as Eirran turned to pace again. But Willen heard every word.
Eirran paced for almost a minute and whirled around and dropped into the other chair beside Willen. "Latin it is, so Latin it will be. I have not taught you the Latin word 'magicae.' It is a word loosely similar in meaning to the Touch. Let's shorten it to the simpler word 'magik.' That will work well in Albion if you are the forerun... Well... it will also work elsewhere if...."
Eirran was staring off into nowhere again. This worried Willen. Since he had told Eirran of his quest and the events leading up to it, the Seer had quite often been staring off blankly and talking to either himself or to someone who was not there. The youth hoped he had not said something to bring back the madness.
"Magik it is! There is a lot more to magik than you have ever imagined with the Touch. A person of magik starts with a degree of power. Some will be more powerful than others. It is strong in you, but incredibly untapped as of yet." The old man stopped talking again and stared into Willen's eyes.
Willen barely noticed the stare. He thought, "The Touch, or rather magik, strong in me? I never did any..." Now Willen was thinking in half sentences. "Sure I can carve wood, but I cannot do... But Meala and Bengt and Torban... Even Constantia had more...." Such was the startling nature of this revelation that for the first time, Willen thought of his lady love and did not dwell on her in any way.
"Willen," Eirran said in a quiet and gentle voice. "You stand on the threshold of a new world. You have showed me the carved piece of holly around your neck with Constantia's face on it. You told me the image took longer than any other to appear to you, but when it did, you told me it became your most beautiful work. I agree that I have never seen a more realistic face carved in a piece of wood.
"That piece of wood had to fight the fate of burning to achieve its destiny. You have fought the fate that wanted to kill you that day at the harvest faire. Fate would leave you in this dungeon to die. Fate will try to stop you from achieving your destiny in any other way it can. You must fight fate to achieve your destiny.
"I can help you in some ways, but you must do most of the work."
Willen pondered this for a moment. "Can you teach me this magik you speak of?"
"I only know the Old Way, the way that you will have to fight before too many more seasons will have passed. Magik is a new word for the New Way that you must discern and develop. I can only teach you about how to fight the Old Way, the way of Porto."
"Is fighting Porto, my destiny?"
Eirran smiled what was a sad smile at first. But it turned into a genuine heartfelt smile. "No, Willen. Porto is a major battle against fate standing astride the path to your destiny. Nothing is assured. You could lose to him. Tomorrow a guard could kill you, for that matter. But by wit and cunning, by learning and hard work, by bravery and strength, you WILL defeat fate's attempts to thwart you. You WILL fight Porto, and you will probably have to kill him, I am sad to say.
"But I believe in you, Willen. I see in you all that is necessary, and more, to be victorious and achieve a destiny many would envy, and perhaps fear. But I believe in you."
The two were silent for several minutes, deep in their own thoughts.
"I still don't see why you can't teach me magik."
"As I said, magik is new, Willen. It is yours to discover. To be perfectly frank I do not know magik; I cannot do it. I have tried, but other than the Accio spell that called the quill, all I have been able to learn is a few useless tricks. I can only teach you about what magik should be and some methods that may help you in your explorations. Perhaps you will be able to teach me magik someday."
Willen could not see himself teaching Eirran anything, instead he said, "You say that you know the Old Way that Porto uses to accomplish his evil acts. Can you teach me this Old Way to fight him? I already know the words he used to try to kill me. He also used the same words to kill Felden. He said, 'Avada Kedavra.'"
Eirran gasped and shuddered. "Willen, you would do well to forget those words. Just saying them out loud without using them to kill is bad enough. If you ever kill with them when you find olive wood, you will be forever condemning your soul to be plagued by the use of such evil."
"But you said that I will probably have to kill Porto."
"You probably will. But use the blade Torban gave you, or a club, or strangle him with your bare hands if need be. Just don’t use the Killing Curse he used. And please don’t consider try to develop a curse in Latin that kills. Using the Old Way and using magik to kill will blight your life. Blood on your hands is bad enough, when necessary. Blood on your soul you will never wash away."
It did not even occur to Willen in this bizarre conversation to ask about Torban's blade, which he thought long gone.
"Willen, I could teach you the Old Way, but I do not want you to think like Porto. I cannot say it often enough, magik will create a New Way, a clean and better way of using power for good. For the most part, too much of the Old Way has degenerated into power for selfish use. Though many of us still call for a more beneficial use of our powers.
"I will only teach you enough about the Old Way so you can recognize it, counteract its selfish uses, and fight against it if need be. You’ll have to discover how to fight as you develop and understand the power of magik."
"Eirran, you speak of this Old Way with such personal knowledge. Though you do not know Porto, you talk with familiarity about his Killing Curse and his methods. How can this be?"
Gone was the smile from the old man's face. He looked older than Willen had ever seen him. He sighed.
"I know the Old Way of Porto because I am of the Old Way. Porto is a Druid and so am I."
"Mr. Ollivander?" Harry interrupted, "Weren't the Druids a group of witches and wizards who lived in Ireland a long time ago? One of my first Chocolate Frog Cards was of Cliodna the Druidess. She was a healer, I think."
"Yes, she was a very good woman who used her magical birds to heal people and who spent her life trying to discover other ways to help those who were ill," Mr. Ollivander said, with a nod. "But the Druids did not live only in Ireland. To understand the Druids, it would help you to know more about the Celts."
Harry grinned. "Seamus Finnegan goes on about Celts sometimes, as if the Irish saved the world."
Mr. Ollivander nodded again. "It could be said that at one time the Irish did save Western civilization... but that is a different story. At one time the Celts covered most of Europe, not just Ireland. They came from northern and central Europe and migrated in several waves, between 600 B.C. and 300 B.C. They were known by different names in different places. In France, in Willen's day, and for many centuries afterward, that country was referred to as Gaul because of its people. In Spain, the Celts were called "Celtiberians", a name that is remembered today only by historians. The Celts even migrated as far as Turkey.
"The histories of the Celts and the Druids are completely intertwined. Though not kings or rulers, the Druids were leaders, teachers, healers, priests, magicians, councilors, and arbitrators among the Celtic tribes, although only those who lived in what would eventually become Great Britain and Ireland were known as Druids.
"And the Celts in Ireland were very different from those in Old Albion. Those Celts that migrated to what we now call England came directly from the Celtic homelands in Northern Europe, starting in Willen's time. Those that would become Irish Celts had been in Spain for over two hundred years before Willen's journey. The Spanish Celts traveled to Ireland by sea over thirty years after Willen's travels. They were quite removed from Porto and his like."
"Porto was obviously bad," Harry said. "But all the Druids in England weren't bad, were they? They couldn't be."
"You are correct, Mr. Potter, no people are all bad or all good." Then the wand maker's manner became grave and somber. "Unfortunately, greedy and cruel people exist among all types and all nationalities, magical or Muggle. However, when a group of such disreputable people bands together, even greater infamy results. It is the innocent ones in any society who suffer the most when the dastardly conspire together. From Willen's accounts onward, the records of my ancestors tell how in nearly every generation for over four hundred years, both magical folk and Muggles in the communities of London were engaged in staving off invaders and usurpers who were usually aided and accompanied by the Druids of Old Albion."
Harry pondered this for just a moment. His left eyebrow raised and he said, "You said that they fought for over four hundred years. What happened to end the fighting?"
"That, Mr. Potter, is not a part of the history of the founding of Ollivanders. But Willen's travels and the rest of his life set the stage for me to briefly tell of the ultimate clash between our magical predecessors and those who followed the ways of Porto."
"So, they fought for centuries, and eventually had a final battle." Harry's voice trailed off as he spoke this. He was lost in thought for a few moments.
The senior wizard intently watched the lad's eyes for any indication of what he might be thinking.
"Mr. Ollivander," Harry finally said, "Eirran taught Willen lots of things, but not how to fight. How was Willen able to discover his own magic?"
The wand maker smiled. "We were just getting to that part."
Actual Known History of England in the Fourth Century B.C. - What can be substantiated about England in this time period is sparse but fascinating. The history in Mr. Ollivander's explanation regarding the Celts, etc., is as accurate as research can discover. Only the founding date for London is far off in this tale. Though villages are believed to have started and failed on the spot, it was not until the Romans invade in 43 A.D. did what they called "Londinium" become a permanent settlement.
So history says. We will see.
Disclaimer--- What belongs to J K Rowling is J K Rowling's. Everything left is mine, I guess, but remember the old adage: "There is nothing new under the sun."
Thanks go to my beta readers, Ninkenate and Ozma. Please read Ninkenate’s new one-shot story on PhoenixSong.net. I believe it is very clever. Also, you may want to check out Ozma’s Squib Tales on SugarQuill.net. This is her author’s page: http://www.sugarquill.net/index.php?action=profile&id=394 - A St V -