Moments in Magical Modernity: X


X.

Pixie-small feet find terra firma as a mother warns against flying on the public sidewalk. On the baseball diamond in the park, there are complaints against winking from third base to home in a kickball game and the rules are changed to keep things fair all round. Starlings swarm and meld into eccentric shapes at the turn of a childish finger, the tiny birds eager to please an equally tiny artist.

Nemiah, the park’s caretaker, watches with appraising eyes as his young students imagine unruly hedges and bushes into lovely topiaries for the Children’s Garden, coaxing the plants into the shapes without every clipping or snipping a single leaf. Animals, geometrics, knights on horseback, and shapely towers materialize under the fruitful imaginations of nature-sensitive children.

Leina leads her prenatal yoga class in her studio of soft blues and whites. She guides and transitions her class through the movements in soft, soothing tones, the sound of water pouring and rushing through her dulcet voice. Together, they bathe souls and bodies weary with the work of fostering and growing life in consolation, commiseration, and calm.

A young satyr blushes from his horns to his hooves with joy as a lovely, rosy redhead accepts his invitation to the Solstice Block Party and Dance with a pretty smile.

Childhood and growth are as full and varied and joyful and tumultuous as it can ever be. Babyish “I love you’s” still give way to the intermittent “I hate you’s” of adolescence and puberty. New life is celebrated profusely and milestones. First steps, first words, first flights, first shapeshifts, first discoveries of hands, feet, tails, wings. Lullabies are sung over cradles, midnight feedings stumbled and whispered and sleepily cooed through. Children grow and learn. They make friends and attend school. Magic does not separate them. Rather, it pulls these little ones together in a world sewn together by Magic.

A little girl is awoken in the deep night, sensitive ears catching the sound of crying through her open window. Peering out, she spies the neighbor boy weeping in his darkened bedroom with only the silver of moon to witness. Weeping for fear of the shadows.  A bit of paper folding, a silvery bit of flame whispered on a breath, and the little Mrs. Darling nightlight floats across the hedge barrier to rest on the boy’s window sill. There the paper lantern sits to cheerily flicker away throughout the night and assure him that he is not alone. Never alone.

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Photo Credit – Pinterest

[Wizarding World] Ruby-Slippered Magical


The stars twinkle and wink, flirting with the hazel-eyed woman who watches them ever so closely from below. She used to imagine the constellations wheeling and spinning to make themselves shine all the brighter, each trying to arrest her attention away from others. She peers through her telescope, noting placement and brightness for her charts, color and orientation, before mobiliscopium’ing the telescope carefully back into its cupboard. She hates leaving it out to the elements and human clumsiness, however shielded the castle may be. Once the beautiful instrument is tucked away, she makes her way from the observatory, her apple-shiny crimson stilettos sounding along the slat boards of the floor before hollow echoes give way to solid clicks as wood concedes its place to stone when she enters the castle proper again. Seating herself on the bannister of the winding stair, she outdoes the storied nanny-witch Mary Poppins as she slides all the way down to the base of the tower. Why walk when one can glide?

“Professor Penuryst is magical!” a first-year, a flash of muted yellow at her skirt, whispers to her companion as they flatten themselves back against the staircase wall at the woman’s jolly “On your right, mamselles!”

“Well, of course she is, you git! She is a professor.” The second-year, badge emblazoned in emerald, rolls her eyes.

“No. I mean, she’s, like, ruby-slippers magical!” the awed Muggle-born sighs.

Of course, her pureblood classmate had not the foggiest notion of what she was talking about, Dorothy and her yellow brick road not being overly common bedtime fare for witchy children.

“And those shoes…!”

The woman hits the floor moving, never breaking stride as she manoeuvres through the night-shadowed corridors. A few students scurry about from the library and study groups, off to their common rooms and dorms before curfew chimes throughout the castle and she hurries them along their way. Making her way to a wing off-limits to students, the female professor draws out her rich cherry-wood wand, waving it succinctly at an unremarkable door in the hallway. It swings open and admits her to a comfortable parlor, the fire in the grate leaping up into life and causing the handsome barn owl perched before it to ruffle his speckled feathers and preen.

“Gawain, you’re supposed to be in the Owlery, or, better yet, out hunting,” she chides, to which the owl only clicks his formidable beak and settles once again on his now-warm perch.

How on earth did the witch expect him to be out hunting when he knew he would be delivering missives near and far for her once she completed her charts? Even an owl needs his sleep.

Delorah Penuryst merely chuckles and proceeds into her study from the parlor, setting down her scrolls and wand. Twisting up her abundantly unruly hair into a bun, which she then secures with said wand, she settles down with journal, fresh stationary, and fountain pen (yes, she was a fan of a few more modern epistolary devices than just quill and inkwell and parchment). She then goes on to compose several different letters, one of which to be delivered just over the hill. But, in that particular case, letters were far safer than face-to-face conversations, as she didn’t wish to get Firenze into trouble with his herd after all.

The night deepens as Delorah writes, first the letters and then in her journal, taking in the sweet silence of the night, with only the crackling fire in the next room for company. She writes not only to Firenze but old friends, colleagues, and mentors. She writes to the head of the Magical Creature Rehabilitation Conservatory in Wales, the mother of her best childhood mate. She writes in German to her grandmother, currently serving on the Board of Governors of Beauxbatons Academie of Magic. Delorah writes until the paper bullets in her brain run out. Letters enveloped, sealed, and addressed, they wait in their parcel stack for when Gawain awakes in the pre-dawn, ready for work.

Delorah, meanwhile, rises from her desk and makes her way to bed, weary of mind and body but utterly content. There is nowhere she would rather be than where she is right now, at home in Hogwarts, teaching the art and science of Charms and Astrology to rising young witches and wizards. No, nowhere else in the world. Freeing her abundant curls, she settles beneath the covers of her bed, a threadbare and oft-kissed rag doll at her side. Tomorrow will be here soon enough for this “ruby-slippered magical” woman. Giving the wand one more flick, Delorah bids the world sweet dreams and good night.

“Nox.”

 

Moments in Magical Modernity: VIII (or, The Silver Lady’s Acolyte)


Author’s Note (2/22/17):  The idea that this piece belongs with the rest of the Magical Modernity entries has not let me go, not since I first published it. And so I am succumbing to it and will now count this lovely moment amongst my other glimpses into a world where magic is everyday but still so very…well…magical.

VIII.

The sun blazed its way to its cradle in a conflagration of amethyst, coral, and rose, stark and dragon-breath bright against the indigo of the coming night. This breath of celestial fire found her bathing in a lake on a ridge. The water ran in rivulets over soft skin and rained in droplets from fingertips as gold spread over the surface of the lake. As the burning gradually died away and the indigo velvet cloaked the sky, the stars found her amidst the trees. The blue-white light spilling from the Silver Lady’s train lit on firm, supple skin, a graceful curve here, a soft roundness there. As the light scattered over her, she basked in it, breathed it in like oxygen itself. She could feel the gold begin to shimmer in her hair as she basked in the blessing of the Silver Lady. She began to move through the woods, the scent of spring blossom thick and heady in the early spring night.

As the Kitsune moved, picking up speed along the forest floor, moon-spangled skin gave way to golden softness. Pale fingers became strong black paws, five gorgeous flowing tails trailing out behind her. Scents and sounds became sharp and heady, the very scent of moonlight filling her nose to the point of euphoria. As large as a direwolf, with a coat that splashed sunset fire and paws that threw up stars where they met earth, she ran and yelped, howled and leaped, stretching her nose and fanning her tails in obeisance and for the Silver Lady’s delight.

The first spring full moon, the air full of blossoms and new life, the many-tailed fox ran free in the blue-white light.

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Moments in Magical Modernity: V


V.

Winter can be hard on beings who draw their power from the warmer aspects of Nature but many have developed coping mechanisms akin to those who deal with SAD. Dryads’ homes are often filled with warm light and UV lamps/bulbs to help warm them through the months. The satyr-run brewery has daily specials on warm, sit-in-your-belly meads and ales throughout the entirety of the winter season. And the Hollow keeps its summer-stoke fireplace going constantly; you’ll even see some dryads start to blossom under its enchanted light.

The world needs Winter, Nature its rest, and, with it, Winter brings its own particular brand of Magic. Frostlings and winterbroods make sure the sidewalks stay safe and those who work at the local DOT make sure roads stay passable and clear with a little charm here and a special mixture there  (not salt, though. We did away with that a long time ago. Too corrosive and harmful.) They do not tamper with the Weather itself but rather merely mitigate its results. Ponds freeze solid for skating. There’s an extra diamine shimmer on the morning and moonlit snowfalls, courtesy of local creative frost fairies. Holiday pictures taken out of doors are always perfect if set up/arranged ahead of time. Snowflakes stay frozen in mittened hands long enough for their myriad shapes to be inspected. Sleds whoosh along only to avoid obstacles and thunk safely into snowbanks. Fairies’ wings sparkle with snowdust, that subtle, delicate shimmer that is all but undetectable without the sun filtering through the sky just so on an icy day.

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Jessamin, the frost fairy barista, always perks up immensely and helps Kingsley whip up all kinds of wintry treats and special drinks for the Hollow. A favorite is the Winter Apple—a spiced cider that starts warm and then, at some point between tongue and tummy, gives you the most delicious sweetness of a late fall apple just touched through with frosty cold. You can positively see the bright red of the apple glowing beneath its icy dusting.

In the winter, Sophie always comes around more often and stays for longer despite her always-busy schedule, basking in the hominess of the Hollow and its rejuvenating warmth. Humans like her linger longer over their coffees and pastries, slowing down a bit from the frenzy of life. They seem to take in more, feel like they notice and think more. In Winter, the world grows slower, steadier, for human and magical being alike. But Winter is not without its own brand of Magic, if one will simply slow down with it enough to see its beauty.

 

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Moments in Magical Modernity: III


III.

“It’s Waxing Day! We are going to be slammed. Make sure you call an order into the Hollow and coffee up!” Della smiled as she reminded her newly awakened brother.

Shawn ruffled already-messy hair and yawned: his only reply.

“And we are closing at five, receipts and inventory by six. The Running’s at seven!”

“I know!” Shawn growled, “I know the routine. Thorns, you’d think this was my first Cycle.”

His big sister just chuckled and headed downstairs to their shop: Della Luna Furriers.

This was not your typical furriers. They didn’t sell furs; they stored them. Della Luna specifically catered to werewolf furs. During the moon’s cycle, werewolves often shed their pelts like cloaks to avoid any…unpleasantness before the full moon. So they stored them at Della Luna until Waxing Day, the full moon.

On Waxing Day, Della Luna was busier than ever, everyone came to claim their pelts, cleaned and aired, from the vault for the Running. The Running was more than just a gathering of werewolves; it was a celebration of their species and an upholding of their history and culture. Every city’s pack gathered, Turned, ran, hunted, and celebrated together. Children of age had their first Turning in the safe company of their parents and family instead of facing the shock, pain, and elation alone. New mates would often choose Waxing Day to start their family together. Young werewolves often began flirtations in the fur that carried on into the flesh the next day. Older wolves received the respect and support their greying muzzles warranted, as well as first bite of any spoils of the hunt, as was right. The Running was a time of community, family, and friendship, but, sometimes, also of reckoning. Wolves who had issues could choose to fight it out in the fur (though never to the death, that just smacked of old-world barbarity) and the affair would be considered forever settled.

Della threw open the shades, unlocked the doors, and turned on the lights. Della Luna’s was open for Waxing Day business!

She gladly handed over the pelts of the Bondariches, including a glossy black one for their daughter Sienna. Tonight would be her first Turning. Children’s pelts could be separate from them as early as three and kept until their coming of age at thirteen.

The Connors came by. Lovely couple, just married this past Yule. Lilian had a kind of glow about her as she accepted her grey and white pelt, and Della wished them good luck and silver blessings with a knowing smile.

Shawn soon returned with their order from the Hollow. Pearla had thrown in some of her famous breakfast sandwiches as well as scones with saguaro cactus blossom jelly (the blossoms having been picked at the midnight of their single day of bloom) to help them through the undoubtedly busy day.

Della happily accepted her peppermint mocha, skim milk, three sugars, no whipped cream, sipping it with a melting sigh. Thus invigorated, once more unto the breach! The day passed quickly, busily, and soon the sun was threatening along the autumn horizon. The lights of Della Luna’s melded into a warm glow behind the locked door as Della and Shawn quickly and lovingly did their inventory and receipts, setting things up for the return of the pelts on the following day. Quietly, Dell noted the names that had been carefully crossed out in the recording ledger, those wolves who had passed beyond the moon within the past year, as well as smiling softly at the new additions to the ledger.

When the books were balanced and ready-made for tomorrow, Della then headed into the vault, fetching her own brownish red pelt and Shawn’s grey-tipped brown and, together, they shut off the lights, locked up the shop and, arm in arm, headed off to join their family, friends, and neighbors, just as the bright, full Lady Moon raised her domed head above the horizon to greet her Children.

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Moments in Magical Modernity: II


He narrowly avoided the frazzled human who barged through the door of The Hollow Bean (affectionately known by regulars as just The Hollow), keeping his chameleon-spiced chai safely out of harm’s way. Bryan Banebridge breathed a sigh of relief as he made his way out the door and into the city streets. He immediately took a deep sip of his chai and its fortifying additive. Being in the city always set his nerves on edge, as it often did for most Earthborn Elementals. His missed his acreage but it was the cost of doing business, and his investors were mostly city-fold sheeple (what he privately called humans, while maintaining that most of his actual sheep were more intelligent) who were wanting to diversify their portfolio with the now-popular “Gaiorganic”. He rolled his eyes nearly into the back of his horned head, a cold, autumn breeze rustling his russet hair as he wrapped the slightly-fraying green scarf with its hand-knitted pattern of fauns cavorting around a lamppost a bit tighter.

Fairy-run coffee shops were his favorite (perhaps only favorite) thing about the city. The baristas always seemed to get him and know just what he needed at any given time. Since fairies were Talented, they were tethered to any particular Element and so seemed to understand…well…everything a bit better than anyone else. Especially Pearla…

Bryan felt the tips of his ears warm and cursed himself for a foolish kid. Crushing on a fairy, not to mention a city barista fairy, is nothing short of soul-stupid. Especially for a country farmer faun.

Making his way downtown, Bryan rode up to some obscenely high floor in some obscenely tall crystal-plated building (crystal being fifty times stronger than glass and cheaper to manufacture with an in-house alchemist in your R&D). Stepping out of the elevator, he was greeted and ushered in by a pale portly man. Short, squat, and fat he was, with a mop of white hair atop rounded his pate. His eyes were beady, his nose pert, and he really did look entire too much like a sheep for “sheeple” not to float through Bryan’s head. This man wouldn’t last a day’s work on Bryan’s “delightful Gaiorganic operation”.

The meeting was long and arduous, the men attempting to haggle, but fauns are nothing if not built of stronger stuff and with the endurance and patience of growing grass. Eventually, stuffy, sweating with the exertion and pining for their dinners, the men gave in. They congratulated Bryan on his business acumen and the latter, his next three years’ investments secure in writing, made his grateful exit. All he wanted was his beat-up pickup truck and the cold country air.

Maybe one last stop at The Hollow before making his way back upstate in the autumnal night…

Moments in Magical Modernity: I


She barreled into the café, nearly knocking over a gnomish couple on their way out. “Sorry! So sorry!” she bawled as she made her way up to the counter.

“Softly and gently, Sophie, lamb,” said the fairy barista behind it, her words punctuated with a flutter of her sun-sparkly wings, her apron dusted with a sparkle of a different kind: glamourized sugar.

“I’m late and I…my presentation!” panted the aforementioned distraught Sophie.

“Gotcha covered, lovely,” Pearla replied before producing a drink just ready-made with a flourish. “White chocolate caramel latte, skim milk, easy on the foam, with a shot of charisma for that extra boost of confidence and pizzazz. Just what the alchemist ordered!”

“Pearla, you’re my treasure!” Grasping the cup in both hands as if for dear life, Sophie took a sip, careful not to tingle her tongue too much as she drank gratefully.

Pearla, on the other hand, just smiles softly. “I know, darling. Now go kick ass,” she encourages, fluttering herself up to lean over the counter to drop a kiss on her best friend’s forehead for good luck before sending the now-charisma-armed Sophie off into the fray.