He always wore a red cloak, lined with the finest silks and gauzes. He stood proud and tall, long flowing black hair brushing past his shoulders. His bright emerald eyes sparkled in the sunshine, of which he was rather impartial, as did the silver pentacle, which always hung around his neck. The symbol of the Necromancer. He was more a creature of darkness and shadow, but not on this occasion! As he lifted his left arm in an elegant manner, elevating his palm up to the sky, he called out to the spirits “deliver me! Bring me the strength to conquer the mighty Bosphorous, in search of my lady love.” The universe responded with a sudden crash of lightning, in the midst of a clear blue sky. The forest green resonated like an inland sea, like a wave of bucolic algae, it washed down over his head. He drifted off into a momentary hallucination, of colors and shapes and summertime shadows, looking for answers. He found them written in code on the back of a leaf, an alchemists’ glossary, written in symbols, ancient scrolls on nature’s parchment. After a brief respite, he began the long journey, first by way of the pedestrian, then by way of the sailor, to the distant shores of Mesopotamia. To this end he hoped to find the woman he’d deemed as his ‘Sheba;’ the dark beauty who’d haunted his dreams, the woman he foresaw as his future bride. For all of her dark locks and penetrating coal black eyes, she was the light to his darkness. She always wore a gown of white, a band of silver twisted through her hair.
Full of the warmth and the glow of the sun, her smile illuminated the dark wizard’s heart. She was always forgiving, and taught him the ways of kindness and love, through her subliminal visits. She always spoke the truth, amidst his lies and subterfuge. With her, he always felt complete, whole and somehow delivered from the evil forces at play in his magic circle. He could leave the darkness with her help, and he was determined to do so.
As he cast his last spell, he justified himself by claiming it was for good purport; to find “her.” A sort of cosmic tracking device was placed upon her pretty head. He never questioned if she was truly real; he’d had enough visitations to know she was not of spirit entity; she was a living, breathing woman, trapped in an ivory tower, across the great river, and he knew it would require all of his strength of will to rescue her.
She lay among the fig trees, watching ships swaying gently in the breeze, blowing off of the sea. It was calm sailing weather today. How she longed to escape on a craft, raising the mast towards the Aegean! For there was a wanderer from this land with whom she wished to meet; someone who had cast a spell upon her. She tried to forget him, blocking out the visual and aural memories of their last subconscious encounter, yet she could not. Like the after effects of her many potions, her daydreams became more and more elaborate, and felt more real. Could he truly be more than a mere figment of her imagination? He certainly felt very real; his warm embrace and soft kisses enchanted her as she slept. Yet in the bright light of day, she questioned herself. Perhaps one day they’d meet in the marketplace; many visitors from distant lands traded spices and exotic wares every week; their ships carrying cargo across the Bosphorous, to lands as far away as Africa and Asia. She’d met many of them, as a merchant’s wife. Yet, her guilty pleasure was never to be seen here. She often doubted his existence. She’d married young; traded off like chattel by an unscrupulous uncle, once she’d lost her parents in a boating accident, as they crossed the Nile, towards the mighty Euphrates. Her husband was a brute of a man, and a letch. She bore him two sons, with whom he showered all of his affection and attention, saving none for her. She dreamed of escape plans, and devised schemes in her mind, yet did not act on them. She remained the dutiful, but soulless wife.
Yet, this man, this haunting sorcerer, was like no other. She’d never seen eyes so bright, and full of color! She looked forward to his nocturnal visits with great anticipation, often shunning her husband’s clumsy advances in favor of sleeping in solitude, but rarely, if ever, in total peace. For he caused great upheaval upon his arrival; bringing a tempest of emotion and desire with him every time; causing trouble. She was convinced he’d cast a love spell upon her. The last time she saw him, he promised to find her, and steal her away in the night. That was but a fortnight ago. Where was he?
His cloak switched from red to black, to conceal himself in the darkness, the sorcerer slipped past the trees, hiding behind bushes and even under bracken to go undetected. Escaping the forest was one thing; escaping the magic circle was to put oneself at great risk, though they often traveled alone. They always sensed one another, and he must therefore take great pains to conceal his identity, lest he should be found and dragged away, to be made the object of one of their many rituals; to what end he knew not, for once you were found as a deserter you simply vanished.
He evoked a concealment incantation as he pulled the hood of his cloak over his head, and walked as quickly as his feet would carry him, towards the sea, and a waiting boatsman.
She lie with the baby in her arms, the young boy child, not yet two years old. As he played with her hair, she wandered into another realm, watching a mysterious man, clad in black, as he embarked upon a ship, to a destination unbeknownst to her. She said a little prayer to the Goddess for his safety, and drifted off to sleep, in hopes of meeting him beyond the waking realm.
The wind howled, whipping through the masts of the ship. The deck swayed to and fro, rocking the passengers, leaving a trail of sickness and fear. “Why must purposeful travel always be so perilous?” He thought to himself. He hid the pentacle beneath his tunic. He did not wish to be so easily-identified, yet his clothing and demeanor all bore the telltale marks of the Arkadian traveler; the mystic from the land of idyllic pastures and mountainous landscapes. There were many legends of the great sorcerers of Arkadia, who dressed as common shepherds when the cover of darkness escaped them in daylight. They were thought of as great men, messengers of light, yet this sorcerer knew better. With great power, there is always the risk of corruption, and his sect certainly veered off into this realm, for many years now. As he pulled his cloak tighter around himself, trying to fight off the feelings of seasickness, he recalled his younger days, as an apprentice magician. He believed the sect could do no wrong, and he initiated himself into their ways wholeheartedly. Yet, as he matured, he became disillusioned and wary. He tried to withdraw. But one must swear allegiance to the sect for life. So he fulfilled his duties while secretly developing an escape plan. And then the enchantress walked into his life, and it compelled him all the more to run away, towards the fertile plains of Mesopotamia.
The enchantress first caught his eye one summer night after an incantation ritual was performed. He’d had encounters with many women before, lovers, and the like, but none like her. Her eyes perfectly matched his in intensity. She bore holes deep within his soul with those eyes, yet he’d never seen her in the waking world. She was all but a mystery to him. Yet, if he saw her standing before him he knew he’d recognize her instantly. That look of warmth, devotion and love for the ages sparked an insatiable desire within him. More often than not, they’d meet by the river, bathed in moonlight. They’d immediately devour one another, merging into one being, one soul; inseparable, timeless, beyond guilt or shame. Then they would lie within each other’s warm embrace, sharing hopes, dreams and thoughts, without uttering a single word. He had an intimate knowledge of his love just through shared thoughts alone; not a single syllable ever passed his lips. Language differences never came between them, for they spoke from the heart, the soul and the mind. The last time they met, she told him to wait for her on the banks of the Bosphorus, by the village of Eden. She told him she would go there every night until they met again. He packed his belongings that very same day, and departed in the moonlight the next day, with a hope and a prayer: to find her, to be with her, to save her.
There is never such a longing as there is when two ardent lovers are separated by distance or by circumstance. As she milked the cow, made the cheese, fed the chickens, harvested the vegetables, washed the linens, fed the children, made the bread, swept the floors and darned her husband’s garments, she drifted off in to a reverie, wondering if her lover had made the passage across the river safely. She prepared to escape the nest that night, for a stolen moment by the river, in hopes that she’d meet him there. She wore her best gown, bathed and placed flowers in her hair, and kissed her babies goodnight and perhaps goodbye, for she knew not what fate awaited her that evening. She shed tears, but remained resolved to go to the river as promised, to await her love.
The boat rocked and swayed violently along the passage towards the Bosphorus. Silent prayers were said. “I am sorry, my love if I do not meet you again. I was forever true in my intent.” He whispered, as the boat nearly lost its keel several times. There was little explanation for the violent waves. The weather was reasonably calm, if a little windy. He could only attribute it to the ill intent of those who wished to keep him apart from his heart’s desire. This included several scorned priestesses, along with sectarians, who wished him harm. He continued to evoke a protective spell to combat the negative energy, until the boat finally reached the port with a powerful crash, sending all of its passengers straight into the cockpit. He stood, head spinning, and nearly fainted, but regained his composure as he stood up, in a very wobbly fashion. “Excuse me, captain, but where are we?”
The captain smiled, shaking his head, “miraculously, we are ten miles due south of Eden, on the banks of the mighty Bosphorus. If you walk in that direction (he pointed northwards) you should reach Eden by sunrise. May the gods and angels be with you, sir!”
The Necromancer gathered his satchel and, shakily started the long distance sprint towards the village which held his dreams; Eden, so aptly named, for the origin of love did live there.