A Wishology Storycoin
Fantasy & Magic
To my guard:
The first thing you need to know is that the king died last night, as I am certain you have by now heard. Indeed, for our mighty kingdom, this will be tragic news. He was a merciful king, a kind king. May the king rest peacefully.
Of course, not everyone held a fondness for him. Consequently, his fate has been prematurely dealt by the hands of those who would see this beautiful kingdom reduced to ashes. May the king be avenged!
There are at least three members of the court who know the truth of the events I am about to describe — the royal physician, the queen, and myself. Although, neither the physician nor the queen is aware of the knowledge I possess. If there are others, each will be guilty of a great conspiracy and defensive of this secret to death. Trust no one, save for the bat that hangs from the royal bedchamber’s windowsill, should you learn to speak to it. Her name is Henrietta.
I am due to be released upon sunrise today, as you well know. However, with the king’s death comes my own. On the day of my imprisonment, 137 days ago, the queen told me I would never see daylight again, and I fully expect she will be true to her word now that our beloved king’s reign is at an end. In a matter of moments my head and my body will no longer be one. I fear the kingdom’s fate is worse yet.
Do not weep for me. I am not an innocent man. I was accused of practicing magic, and magic I proudly practiced. I only hope that you will have the courage to see that the transgressors in the following tale are delivered a swift justice.
From this cell, I have had a unique vantage point these 137 days. My window, small though it is, provides an unobstructed view to a newly replaced stained glass window in the adjacent tower, still clean and remarkably reflective. (I believe this is why Henrietta prefers to hang in front of it, but you would be wise to make no mention of it.) Mirrored upon this magnificent surface is the large window of our king’s bedchamber, which is where the monstrous scene took place. Shackle yourself into my position here once I am gone, and you will see that I speak the truth.
Around midnight last night, I witnessed the queen and the royal physician entering the king’s bedchamber, whereupon the queen approached the open window and looked out at the kingdom she new would soon be hers. Then, and it pains me to say it, the physician cast a spell that cursed our king unto his death.
I know this spell very well, sadly. Once it is cast, the victim takes the final breath of life. It is in every way the actual breath a person would take at the end of his or her life, and so Life’s Final Breath is undetectable by common medicine. It is an exceedingly advanced spell which requires impressive magical ability to perform. Had I known Life’s Final Breath would end the life of our king, I never would have authored it.
You must believe me when I tell you that I was unaware the physician possessed any magical ability. You must also believe me when I tell you that anyone capable of performing this spell is not to be trifled with. I am afraid my death will usher in your doom.
However, I must die. I say again, I must die. It is for your sake that I give my life. Were I to escape, and I assure you that I could do so with little effort, you would be killed for losing your prisoner. I cannot allow you to die in my stead.
Something else I wish for you to know and leave for you to ponder: Our meeting was not one of chance, as I led you to believe. I chose you.
For the last 100 days of my imprisonment, you have been my most promising apprentice. I leave you earlier than intended, but I do not leave you ill-equipped. Continue to conceal your gift of magic and practice what I have taught you. Never have I seen such raw power in a student. You are poised for greatness.
Do not give in to arrogance, though. Your abilities are growing, but your mind is not yet fortified by experience. You have knowledge but not wisdom. If you attempt to challenge the physician at this time, you will be destroyed. If your stubbornness brings forth your own destruction, I will make certain you regret the folly in your afterlife. Do not doubt my ability to do so, for the current undertaker and I are old friends and he owes me a multitude of favors.
Be patient, my student. Wait in the shadows. Search and be unseen. It is necessary that you allow the queen to occupy her throne and the physician to play her right hand for a time. When you are ready, many years from now, I will help you. Look for my letters in the meantime, for I will send you instructions from the Spirit Realm.
I leave you now to take my place. Your path will not be easy, and it is uncertain. Even I cannot see your future, which reinforces my belief that you have a great destiny unlike any the world has ever known.
I also leave you my cloak, my staff, and my spell book. They will find you when they feel you are ready, except for the spell book. It has a tendency to wander and 137 days is plenty of time for it to have found a cozy cave or a pretty witch… My spell book was always spellbound by pretty witches.
Finally, and this is essential: I have trained others. Find them. Lead them. Win them over to your leadership before they kill you.
Forever watching you from the Spirit Realm,
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Featured illustration by Ryan Rehnborg