Hawthorne adored her trips to the magic realm with Morgyn. Today’s was no exception. She was a little disappointed that they didn’t spend much time at the headquarters, but it made sense – aside from Morgyn, the other sages didn’t seem particularly fond of her. Especially after last time, when she fell into that cauldron and couldn’t get out…
Still, everything in the realm was exciting.
Morgyn took her to a place called Caster’s Alley, a large square filled with shops that sold the strangest things.
But what was even more interesting that the items on sale was the magic folk all around – some casting spells, some shopping for brooms, some even duelling – there was a spark of magic in the air wherever Hawthorne looked.
She spotted a boy about her age. There was a strange creature fluttering above him. At first, it reminded her of Dandelion’s sprites, but this was way larger.
“What is that?” She motioned towards the boy.
“Oh, I believe that’s a glowfrog,” Morgyn said casually.
“A glowfrog?” She repeated. Morgyn didn’t get a chance to elaborate further – the boy had noticed Hawthorne and came over, with his strange creature.
“It’s my familiar. He protects me.” The boy explained. “His name is Crispin. And I’m Ollie.”
The boy’s parents joined them. Morgyn knew them, the girl realised.
“Darrel, Emilia, what a pleasure to see the whole family on an outing.” The sage was smiling, though Hawthorne noticed it wasn’t the same kind of smile they usually gave her.
“Morgyn.” The man, Darrel, nodded. “I assume this is your…” He struggled to finish the sentence.
The way the man looked at her seemed odd. Hawthorne wondered if he’d eaten something unpleasant.
“My goddaughter Hawthorne. She’s my pride and joy.” For some reason, Morgyn’s eyes narrowed as they spoke.
“Uh, yes, I’m certain she’s… distinct.” The man said stiffly.
The woman beside him seemed to be his polar opposite. “Nice to meet you, Hawthorne.” She smiled at her warmly. “Perhaps you could come over to play with Ollie and Crispin some time?”
“That would be neat!” The boy on her side exclaimed.
“I’m sure that would be delightful,” Morgyn cut in. “But don’t let us keep you from your family fun day.”
“Have you read my proposal, Morgyn?” The man asked.
“Afraid I haven’t had a chance yet. I do want to make sure to give it my undivided attention, you see.” Morgyn replied pleasantly. “Now, if you excuse us…”
She couldn’t help but look over her shoulder. A magical boy. With a strange family.
“That man is a little boring, isn’t he?” Hawthorne asked Morgyn as they walked up the alley.
Morgyn gave her a proud look. “More than a little, I’d say. He’s not worth your attention…”
“But you were nice to him.” She pointed out.
“Painful side of being a grownup.” Morgyn sighed. “This way, through the portal.”
She followed behind them. “What does a familiar do?”
“As the boy said, their main purpose is protection. It’s common to have one for spellcaster children.” The sage explained.
There was so much more Hawthorne wanted to know. “So the boy, Ollie, he knows magic? Like you?”
Morgyn let out a laugh. “Definitely not like me. I’d be surprised if he really knows any spells yet. But yes, no doubt there’s magic in his veins. Long line of spellcasters in the Charm family.”
“We don’t have that.” Hawthorne frowned. They walked through yet another portal, one that lead to a greenhouse of some kind.
“It’s not how many spellcasters were before you that matters, Hawthorne. That’s why I brought you here, actually.”
“Where are we?” Hawthorne asked.
“The main gardens.” Morgyn told her. “I used to come to the gardens when I was young.”
She looked around the gardens surrounding them. It seemed too unexciting of a place for the Morgyn she knew.
“Why?” She asked, puzzled. “There’s nothing here.”
“That can sometimes be a good thing.” Morgyn said after a while. “There’s a freedom you can only get when no one’s watching. Time for me to just… be myself, think.”
That made very little sense to Hawthorne. “Why couldn’t you do those things when people are watching?”
But Morgyn didn’t answer her question.
“You know what else is good about this place?” They said instead. “The view. You can see most of the magic realm from here. Just look past the edge…”
They weren’t wrong. The realm was huge. Beautiful. Even Sylvan Glade was no match for it in Hawthorne’s eyes.
“The whole realm… All of this will be yours one day.” The sage told her. “So don’t you worry about the Charms.”
Hawthorne thought of the spellcaster boy. Of his father that looked at her as if she was smelly.
“Why one day?” She looked up at Morgyn. “That boy from earlier is a spellcaster already, and he didn’t look older than me.”
The sage didn’t seem to understand. “Oh, you’ll be far more powerful than him.”
“But why do I have to wait till I get magic?” Hawthorne repeated. It made no sense. If she was as brilliant as Morgyn always told her, then why wait?
The sage hesitated. “Because you get to enjoy being a child without having to worry about setting the world on fire.” They said eventually.
The girl’s eyes widened.
“I would never do that!” She cried out.
“Of course you wouldn’t.” Morgyn nodded. But then their tone changed. “Although one day, you’ll have enough power to do so, should you choose to.”
Why would she ever want to do anything like that, Hawthorne wondered? Her head was spinning.
The sage seemed to have moved on already. “But for now… let’s see. Perhaps I could give you a little bit of magic.”
Hawthorne cowered at the sight of the bird that appeared above them. It was covered in flames. Did Morgyn really summon that?
“Morgyn? What is that?” The girl pointed at the creature.
“It’s a phoenix.” The sage said. “Possibly the only creature in the world that’s managed to defeat death. They cannot die, you see. At least not forever. A worthy familiar, don’t you think?”
Hawthorne’s eyes widened. “That… that’s a familiar too?”
“Your familiar.” Morgyn nodded. “You didn’t think I’d make you settle for something as boring as a glowfrog, did you?”
She turned her eyes away from the majestic creature for a moment, beaming at Morgyn.
“You’ll always have magic, Hawthorne.” The spellcaster told her. “You’ll have anything you can dream of. I promise.”