Prompt: “You and your friends grew up in a small town far from any magic schools but managed to learn it eventually. You always pushed and challenged each other, unaware of how strong you were. Then one day a city mage happened to pass through town.”
There was always three of us that hung out in the small town of Havenwood. Dew was the oldest of us and was the biggest risk taker of us all. She wouldn’t turn down a dare no matter how dangerous and would eat almost anything for a silver coin. Once she swallowed a wasp and had to spend a week with the apothecary before her face and throat returned to the normal size. Then there was Fyre. She was a bit on the timid side but seemed to be most in tune with the world around her. She was a great judge of character and could smell a liar a mile a way. Fyre tried her best to keep Dew in line, but it was an impossible task. Then there was me, Willow. I was the youngest of the group, but only by a season. I was kind of the middle ground between Dew and Fyre. Adventurous but with a level head and I knew where the line was that we shouldn’t cross.
Three best friends growing up in Havenwood. We did everything together including going to school to learn things like reading, writing, and math. Fyre and I were pretty good in school, but Dew was hard to keep under control. She spent a lot of time doing chores around the school to make up for her bad behavior. Dew was supposed to do them by herself, but again, we did everything together. If Fyre and I let Dew clean up all by herself, it would take the entire night. So Fyre and I would show up and help her sweep the floor and clean the slate board. Fyre would always scold Dew and Dew would always argue back about how unfair she was being treated. I would just shake my head and laugh. That was our life for many years. Seasons would come and go and we would grow older, but we remained tied together. Best friends.
In our free time we spent time exploring the thick woods that surrounded the town of Havenwood. Our parents would warn us to not go too far from town, but Dew would always lead us farther and farther into the thick brush. There was always new creeks to wade through, creatures to capture, or trees to climb. During this time we also started to gain new abilities. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how it started, but Fyre thought it might have something to do with the natural world being very strong in Havenwood. This innate magic seemed to seep into all three of us. Dew learned how to take the moisture out of the air and form it into a dagger made from ice. Fyre held a leaf in her hand and it warmed until it burst into flames. I raised my hands and vines would grow quickly around the legs of both Dew and Fyre.
We learned how to use these basic abilities, but it did not end there. This magic seemed to drive us even further and we became competitive in our drive to best each other. One day Dew would use her powers to part a creek in two parts and the next day I would show off my ability to make a whip of thorny vines. Then Fyre would show off her ability to control large amounts of flames. Then Dew would make a fog cloud. I would shift the earth to create small tremors. Fyre would create a sword of fire she could wield and cut through the mist. Every waking second we had that we weren’t at school, we would be in the woods practicing these spells. We pushed each other to be better and better. Three best friends now equipped with the natural magic flowing through the woods.
Eventually we graduated from school and started our apprenticeships. Our paths deviated from here. Dew joined the town guard which protected the town’s borders and settled disputes between citizens. Fyre joined the Apothecaries and started to learn the skills of medicine. Helping people would get hurt or came down with sickness. I started working at the local store where we would supply townsfolk with a variety of goods including flour from the watermill, fresh lumber, and cloth for sewing. I was supposed to learn people skills and an education in business, but I mostly just staffed the front and helped customers find the goods they wanted. After work, we would still get together and talk about our days and show off any new things we learned. New spells were rarely discovered but we became better and better at honing the magic we already learned.
One day a traveling group of people from the large city of Peoria came into town. There was a scholar who wished to study the nearby area, there was a obnoxious musician dying to know all about the local gossip and juicy stories about our history. There was a merchant trying to sell a wide variety of jewelry and other objects he claimed to be good luck charms or protective charms that keep the spirits of the undead away. Finally there was a mage who seemed bored with the town. He had an attitude about him where he seemed to think he was better than the town.
As they came in, a crowd of townspeople formed and the city guard had to move them to the town square as to not block any of the roads through the town. People were clamoring to look at the new goods that had been brought in and get any news from the outside world. We were very secluded in Havenwood which led to large periods of times where we didn’t see many people from the outside world. Adventurers would stop every now and then in their pursue of some beast they had been tracking in the wood or people would show up bloody and in need of escape from political forces. So anytime people came into town making this much noise, the whole town stopped what they were doing and would pay attention.
After I got out of work, I rushed down to the town square to see what all the commotion was about. I met up with Fyre who filled me in on the group and told me to avoid buying anything from the merchant. Fyre called him a poison-talker which was the worst form of liar. A liar and a scammer who just wanted to take advantage of unsuspecting people. She also told me about the city mage who had arrived.
Now magic was a rarity in Havenwood. We had medicinal herbs and things that some might call magical, but the ability to summon fire swords or ice daggers was unheard of. So when we heard that there was a real life city mage in town, Fyre and I knew that this would be our opportunity to expand our horizons and learn more about our powers. We eventually tracked down Dew and dragged her away from the merchant selling jewlry and told her about the mage. That made her changer her tune and we wall went to track down the magic user.
We entered the local pub and noticed the mage up at the bar putting back a mug of ale. The rest of the place was abandoned as the patrons had joined the crowd outside.
“Hello, are you the mage from the city?” Fyre asked.
He took another swig of ale and set the mug down on the counter.
“If you’re here for some kind of magic trick or some miracle healing, you are talking to the wrong person,” He grumbled.
“Not at all, Sir. We’re here because we want to learn about your magic,” I said.
“I guess magic is something that blows your mind, huh?” He laughed to himself.
None of us laughed. We just exchanged glances with one another.
“Here,” He said waving his hands.
Small globes of lights spun around him lighting up the pub. They danced through the air and changed colors.
“Impressive, huh?” He asked.
“Not really,” Dew said as she crossed her arms.
The mage turned to face us.
“Oh that’s not impressive to you? Well what about this?”
Again he waved his hands and muttered a few words. He opened his hand with his palm turned upwards. A ball of fire ignited before him and he held it in his hands.
“What about this?” He asked with a smile on his face.
“What? Create fire? Fyre could do that when she was ten,” Dew said. “Can’t you do anything impressive?”
“Dew!” Fyre nudged her in the side.
“What? I thought this guy was legit,” Dew said.
“Wait, what? You can do this?” The mage looked at his hand which was still holding a ball of fire.
Fyre took a step back and summoned fire in her hand just like the mage, but hers seemed to grow bigger and glow brighter.
“Woah,” The mage said as he extinguished his flame. “What else can you do?”
Dew stepped up.
“You think that’s impressive, watch this,” Dew said.
She raised up her hands and the mage’s mug began to rattle. The ale left over rose from the mug and it hung in the air. Dew moved her hands in small circles and the ale formed into a sphere of ale.
“Wow,” The mage stared with eyes wide open.
“I too have abilities,” I said not wanting to be left out.
“Yeah, Willow, can move the earth and talk to the plants,” Fyre said. “It’s very cool.”
“All three of you have these magical abilities? Is everyone in the village like this?” The city mage asked.
“Oh no. Only us,” Dew said putting the ale back in the mug and Fyre extinguished her flame.
“Who taught you?” The mage asks. “Were you trained in the city?”
“No, we are kind of… self-taught,” I said.
“All three of us learned together out in the woods,” Fyre said. “We gained these natural abilities and then expanded on them.”
“You don’t have any proper training?” The mage asked again.
“No, not at all,” I said.
“Impressive, huh?” Dew said spinning an ice dagger on her fingertip.
“Very,” The mage said. “I’ve never seen people do the things you’re doing or at least claiming to do.”
The mage turned to me.
“You can move the earth? Grow plants?”
“Come on, follow us to the woods,” Dew said. “We can show you what we can do.”
The mage nodded and all three of us lead the mage out to the woods. We easily slipped past the preoccupied crowd of people and made our ways back to our normal training grounds. Same fallen log over the creek. Same mossy rocks. Same burnt ground where Fyre dropped her flaming blade by accident.
“Go on, Willow. Show him what you can do,” Dew said.
I nodded and raised up my hands. I took in a deep breath and I could feel the earth breathe with me. Small tremors started below me and rocked the ground around us. Vines grew up from the cracks and covered the forest floor. The dirt wrapped around my body turning to a solid rock coating, covering me in an earth-like armor.
“Good enough?” I asked.
The mage was bewildered.
“That’s incredible,” He said.
“Thanks,” I smiled and shook my body as the dirt crumbled around me.
“And you haven’t been trained by some kind of mage or read a wizard’s tome?” He asked.
“Reading books? You don’t know Dew very well,” I laughed.
“Hey!” Dew protested.
“We have no formal training,” Fyre repeated. “But you do. You have training from the city right?”
“Yes, of course. But I can only do this,” The mage raised his arms and summoned the globes of lights again.
“What about combat magic?” I asked.
“Well I can use summon lightning bolts,” The mage said.
“That’s cool,” Fyre said.
“Don’t tell me that you can do that too,” The mage looked at her.
“No. No. My specialty is fire magic,” She said summoning fire on her fingertips.
“Yeah you seem to be better at that than me,” The mage sighed.
“We are all good at some things and not as good as others,” I said placing a hand on his shoulder. “I can move the earth, but cannot summon fire. That is what Fyre is good at. I can make plants grow, but cannot move the water. That is what Dew is good at. Do not fret. I’m sure you will learn to do more impressive things.”
“Thanks,” The mage said but he did not seem to be cheered up.
DONG DONG DONG
All of us turned towards the sound of large bells being struck.
“That’s the bells of Havenwood,” Fyre said.
“Those are warning bells. Let’s go,” Dew said standing up.
“What’s going on?” The mage asked.
“I’m not sure, but if those bells are going off, then it’s not good,” I said pulling him to his feet. “We better head back, now!”
Header Photo Credit to Magdalena Świderska on Art Station
Writing Prompt submitted to r/WritingPrompts by u/boa_con