Interlude 2: Where All Magic Was Born

When Luella opened her eyes, the world around her was dark. The sky looked nothing like it did in Syeldell at night, though. Was it even night-time? She couldn’t tell.

Dandelion had stopped crying, but kept clinging on to her. Luella knew they couldn’t stay still. They had to find Simeon Silversweater. Whoever he was. A sage, her father had said. Luella wasn’t sure what that meant, and she didn’t want to think about her father.

She took Dandelion’s hand, and the two of them headed towards the large building before them.

Luella found herself feeling lost in the large hall they entered. There were no rooms this massive in Syeldell. And yet, the hall felt strangely claustrophobic. It had barely any windows, and the few windows around the place were made out of stained glass.

The princess was not used to any glass on windows, let alone glass you can’t see through. She longed for the openness of the tree castle. Even the throne room she always considered stiff had breeze coming in, and a view of the sea glistening under the golden sunlight. But it was gone now. The throne room, the tree castle, all of Syeldell…

The girl had no time to dwell on that, though. They were no longer alone in the hall. Three adults entered through an archway directly opposite them.

A man and two women. They all looked scary – though somehow, the women seemed scarier. Then again, her father did say it was a woman that caused Syeldell’s fate… One of Luella’s hands shot to the key on her chest, the other clutched on to Dandelion. Neither of the women had a key like hers, she reminded herself.  She had to stay calm, for her cousin’s sake.

“What brings you two dearies here?” One of the women spoke. Her hair was tied up into two buns and covered with ornate decorations.

Her tone seemed sweet, but Luella didn’t like it. She reminded her of children’s stories about witches that lure children far away from their families and eat them.

Then again, the other woman looked like someone who could turn people to stone just by looking at them, which was not a whole lot better. And yet, she had no choice but to talk to these people, did she?

“We’re looking for Simeon Silversweater.” Luella told them, her voice a little shaky.

“Is that so?” The man asked.  “Why would you be looking for the sage of practical magic? The magic realm headquarters is no place for children.”

He sounded less friendly than the woman who spoke first, and far more serious. But for some reason, Luella preferred that. It seemed more honest, perhaps. And her father was serious most of the time too, after all.

“My father sent us. Faerandil, the king of Syeldell. He said Simeon Silversweater would help us, because Syeldell…” She wasn’t sure how to finish her sentence. Because Syeldell was gone? Luella didn’t want to say those words out loud.

“Looks like we have a princess on our hands,” the woman who first greeted them grinned.

Luella nodded. “I’m princess Luella. And-“

“And I’m Simeon Silversweater.” The man interrupted her. “Will you accompany me for a walk, princess?”

“A royal visit in HQ, and you monopolise them?” The woman in blue pulled a face.

“The princess did come to see me, Haruka.” Simeon told her. He gestured towards the entrance. “After you, princess.”

Luella took a moment to evaluate the situation. So this was Simeon? His sweater was not even made out of silver…

She wasn’t sure she wanted to go anywhere with him. But she wanted to stay even less.

“I’m not going without Dandelion.” She pulled her cousin closer to her.

Simeon nodded. “Of course. If you could both please come with me.”

Luella felt the green-haired women’s eyes on her as they made their way out of the hall. It occurred to her this second woman hadn’t said a single word the entire time. So why was she watching them with such intrigue? Maybe Luella had been right about her being able to turn people into stone with her gaze alone.

Luckily, they made it out of the building as elves still, not as stone statues. The princess felt a surge of relief, in spite of everything everything around them being strange and unknown.

Simeon ushered them towards a large archway with some misty goo in the middle. Luella examined it cautiously. Did he really want them to walk through that? She didn’t particularly want to. But her father said she could trust Simeon. She had to.

She took a deep breath, and stepped ahead.

The sun rays greeted her on the other side. And flowers. A bubbling river stream. Felt much more like home.

“Where are we?” She asked Simeon.

“This is Glimmerbrook,” the sage told her. “A small village, inhabited mainly by spellcasters. But we aren’t stopping here. Please, follow me.”

“Has my father ever been here?” Luella wondered out loud. She had so many questions.

“To Glimmerbrook? No, but he has been to the magic realm.” Simeon replied. Was that why her father knew the sage, Luella wondered? Come to think of it, did her father even know Simeon?

“How did you meet my father?” She asked.

“He is my godfather.” The sage’s words surprised her. Simeon did look younger than Faerandil, but surely her father would not have been that much older…

He seemed to have guessed her thoughts. “Believe it or not, I was born the same year as you, princess Luella.”

“But you’re a grown up!” She exclaimed. The man smiled – first time she had seen his expression soften.

“You see, princess, humans grow much faster than elves do. Reach adulthood a lot sooner.”

How odd, Luella thought. “So you’re a human?”

“Not quite. My grandmother is an elf, but she married a human. You could say I’m a bit of both.”

He is part elf, Luella remembered her father’s words. “Your grandmother was from Syeldell,” she realised. “That’s why you knew father.”

He glanced at her, a hint of surprise in his face. “You are very clever, princess. Quite right. I can’t say I know your father well, but my grandmother did.”

“Why did she leave Syeldell?” The princess wondered out loud.

“She came here to better her spellcasting. And that she did. She was the sage of practical magic before me.” Simeon sounded proud.

Luella wasn’t sure what this practical magic he kept mentioning was. But she longed to see someone from home, in spite of never having met this woman.

“Is she still in the magic realm?”

Simeon shook his head. “She retired, left the realm and Glimmerbrook.”

Did she return to Syeldell? Luella hoped not. “Why?”

The sage sighed. “She did not want to stay after my grandfather passed away. Like I said, humans age much faster than elves do.”

“Oh.”

“She did leave something behind.” Simeon gave her a soft smile. “A retreat of sorts, somewhere for her family could seek refuge. And we’re almost there.”

He stopped in front of a colourful tree. “Do you see the passage in the tree, princess?”

Luella looked at him, puzzled. “Yes. But I’m not your grandmother’s family. I don’t understand.”

“You may not be her family, but you are kin, and the daughter of her king. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind you going in.”

Was this yet another portal? They have already travelled so much… But Dandelion did not share Luella’s hesitation. He ran straight to the tree. And so the princess followed.

The meadow the tree passage brought them to was the exact opposite of the magic realm headquarters. Bright. Glowing. Beautiful.

“Welcome to Sylvan Glade, princess.” Simeon said.

“It’s so pretty!”

“Yes,” he agreed. “More importantly, it’s safe. We can talk freely here. So tell me, princess, what happened in Syeldell, and why did your father send you to seek me out?”

Luella took a while to answer, taking a moment to watch Dandelion instead.

He curled up in the grass, falling asleep. He looked so content. He did not understand what had happened, what they escaped. Luella wished she could be the same. But unlike her cousin, she would never forget this day.

“Everything caught fire.” She managed eventually. “I’m not sure how. Father said it was because of some woman. Do you know who would do such a thing?”

“I’m afraid not.” Simeon looked solemn. “Was it only you and the boy who escaped?”

Luella nodded. “Father gave me a Glimmerstone. I took Dandelion. We… I… I think everyone else is…”

“You needn’t say any more, princess.” The sage stopped her.

He paused for a moment. “You and your little companion will be needing a new home.” He said finally.

“Are we going to live in the magic realm with you?” Luella asked, unsure how to feel about that. She could still feel the suffocating feeling within the walls of the hall. The woman that sounded like she was hiding something behind her smile. The other woman, with the cold eyes…

“No. It’s not been long since I ascended to my position, and I’m not sure how much the other sages can be trusted yet.”

The two women, Luella gathered. Seemed like Simeon shared her feelings about them, then.

“You’ll be safer here.” Simeon continued. “Only the pure of heart can see the tree passage to Sylvan Glade.”

“What does that mean?” It seemed everyone was determined to give Luella riddles today.

“It means that those who wish to harm another can’t reach you here. There is no place more secure, at least not one I know of. My grandmother’s magic was powerful. She did not become a sage for nothing, after all. Now, you will need a home, of course…”

He uttered some kind of spell, and a house appeared in front of them. A tree house.

“I have never been to Syeldell, so I’m not sure I got this quite right, but I hope it is to your liking.” Simeon smiled at her.

“How did you do that?”

“Practical magic, of course. I will teach you, over time. For instance, there is a spell that allows you to conjure meals. We should focus on that one first, to make sure you two get fed. Until you master the spell, there is a garden within the glade, with magical fruit that-“

 “Actually, I think I know that spell.” She jumped in, feeling a little bit proud of herself. “Well, sort of. I know how to conjure pancakes.”

She couldn’t tell if the sage was impressed or amused. “Why don’t you show me?” He prompted her.

“Not bad,” Simeon acknowledged once the plate appeared on the ground. “I suppose I should get a wand for you.”

“What’s the difference?”

“I’ll explain some other time. You should get some rest now.” He was leaving, Luella realised. “I will visit you as much as I can.”

He was about to set off, but stopped. He cast another spell, and suddenly, he was holding a violin.

“I know you are in pain, princess.” Simeon said quietly. “Music has always helped me when I felt sad. It might help soothe the little one, too.” He gestured towards Dandelion.

“But I don’t know how to play.” Luella felt helpless. There were so many things she didn’t know how to do. She was not ready for all this. But she had to be. Dandelion didn’t have anyone. And neither did she.

“You will learn.” Simeon told her. “I will be back soon. I promise.”

And then he was gone. All the distractions were gone. The meadow fell quiet.

It was unbearable.

The sound of her violin playing woke Dandelion up. He started crying. So much for soothing him. She had to get better at this. She had to get better at everything, fast.

“Shh, it will be ok, little sprout.” She tried to console him. “Sylvan Glade is beautiful, and we have a tree house of our own, that is fun, isn’t it?”

He looked into her eyes. It was working.

“We will be fine, you know. More than fine! There are no grown ups to tell us what to do. We can have pancakes for dinner… every day, if we want to! We’ll have such a good time…”

She lay down next to him, holding his tiny hand until his breathing became deep and slow. He fell asleep again.

It was only then that she allowed herself to weep.

22 thoughts on “Interlude 2: Where All Magic Was Born

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  1. Ah the sadness 😦
    I confess, my first thought upon realising Lulu was most likely a survivor was “is she Dandy’s uncle shapeshifted?!?!” Not my best moment. This works much better.
    I wonder why Dandy and Lulu started drifting apart. Just time? Maybe some resentment mixed in? Lulu being too focused on sage-ly things?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I mean, that’s a pretty cool theory, I like it! But yes, it was slightly simpler than shapeshifting 🙂 I mean, you guys always come with the wildest ideas, makes me feel like the actual story is far less exciting than what you make up 🙂

      Ah yes, how did they drift apart? There’s 5 more interludes before we return to the present timeline, though I’m not promising they’ll answer your questions.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Poor Lulu 😢
    It is a big responsibility to have to take care of herself and a smaller cousin when she is only a child. She has just lost her entire family and her home and Simeon barely has time for her. What a rescuer! Grrr! 😒

    Toddler Dandy is so cute. You can not get enough of looking at him and you just want to protect him from all evil. Lulu is going to do a really good job and without him she would probably be completely lost.💔

    Ugh! The previous sage for untamed magic. She really does not look nice.😟

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, definitely far too much responsibility for a child. I don’t imagine Simeon was neither anticipating nor aspiring to be anyone’s rescuer.

      You’re right, on one hand, having to look after Dandy is a mammoth task for Lulu, but on the other hand, it gives her a purpose when everything is hopeless. And yes, as far as we can tell by what present-day Dandy is like, she did do a really good job.

      We do know very little about the previous sage of untamed magic at this point, apart from that little Luella found her scary, and that Morgyn is not particularly fond of her. We will learn a bit more about Aine in the other interludes, I’m sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Aww. This is so heartbreaking and a bit too close for comfort so I’m keeping my comments short. I like that we get to see this snippet into Faba/Dandy’s past. Am surprised at Simeon entering Sylvan Glade, but its reassuring to know that one of the Sages can enter the area. Toddler Dandy is adorable and so is Faba. This makes me wonder if Simeon brought Morgyn here too or did they stumble onto this place by themselves as they lived in Glimmerbook from the start.

    Hmm so Haruka chose LFaba as her next in line, Sage-whom-I-forgot-her-name chose Morgyn (forced maybe). I wonder who Simeon would choose. If there’s a Glimmerbook school, did either of them attend. Haruka mentored Faba so she got to hone her skills. What about Dandy?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I promise the next one is not as heartbreak-inducing as the last few!

      I guess technically we saw two of the present-day sages enter the glade in this chapter 😊 It sure would be a cruel twist of irony if Simeon couldn’t enter the realm his own grandmother created for her family. Who knows where Morgyn fits in… there are some hints in the wordless memory portion of chapter 30, if you’re curious. Though I’m sure you’ll find out sooner or later regardless.

      That’s a good question, Simeon was the youngest of the sages her and does enjoy a slightly longer life span thanks to his elven heritage (though nowhere near as prolongued as the actual elves), but he’s rather old in present day, so he should really think about a successor. Maybe he has. I do want to include at least a couple of his POVs in season 2.

      There is a regular school in Glimmerbrook (the one Hawthorne went to), not a magic school per say, though perhaps they do cover some magic since most of the kids are spellcasters. Whether Luella and Dandy will go there is unclear. Magic-wise, yes, we do know that Haruka became L Faba’s mentor later on, and in this chapter Simeon tells her he’ll teach her some practical magic. Dandy has mentioned in the past that he doesn’t really know many spells, if that’s any indication of how much magical training he’s had.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh okay. Cordy is human. Bt her mom did absorb some elven magic. Wouldnit make her age slower? So far it hasn’t any effect on her. Or at least it isnt drawn to our attention.

        Y know, this means that all of the present day sages were able to enter the tree at one point of time. I wonder if simeon has kids. Will his kids be his successor? 😄 lfaba seems single.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well… according to Silveril, the people of Gibbs Hill claimed Annaliese herself came out of the wishing well, so I suppose Cordelia being strictly human is up for debate, since we don’t really know what exactly Annaliese was. But yes, we have seen Cordelia age at a completely human-like rate, regardless.

          We know Morgyn is aware of Sylvan Glade existing, whether they have been there is unclear 🙂 Poor Simeon has had very little screen time, so who knows. Like I said, I’ll try to focus on him a bit more next season, though don’t expect to get Keeping up with the Silversweaters 😀

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  4. Thanks for making me cry in the bath, Plumbob.

    Right, words. Yeah, I’m not sure I’d trust Haruka or the woman who’s name I can’t remember, but who looks like an older, more tan version of me. His sweater isn’t even made of silver! I agree! Stupid name. Stinkysweater is way better. Ah, so Simeon is part elf! And now my brain wants to know which part of him is elf and thus grew slower… his foot?

    Everything caught fire and little Dandy just totters around and has a little sleep, oblivious. Bless. I know Simeon probably didn’t have many options, but leaving a little girl in charge of a toddler in a place that has loads of stairs for him to fall down, non-edible things for him to put in his mouth and a pond to drown in is pretty dumb, so I’m going to therefore assume it’s his brain that is his elf part. Oh, he’s casting another spell. What will it be? Baby gate? Flotation device? Oh… a violin. Yeah that’ll help. She can use the bow to help her fish Dandy’s floating, sugar-loaded corpse from the pond. You sod off back to magic HQ, Simeon. Thanks for nothing.

    Oh but those last five screenshots. Man. I can’t even type, it’s just so sad with her plate of pancakes and her violin that makes me irrationally angry and the tiny little body who’s now completely dependent on her and, oh Luella. I’ll weep with you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Um… it’s basically bath salts, right?

      Haha, perhaps Aine will share how she keeps her skin so tan and dewy. Must be all the natural sun in the magic realm. Yes, Simeon’s sweater is disappointingly regular. He did grow pretty in proportion (lol), but he does actually age slightly slower than a human would, though is nowhere near as long-lived as elves. I really wanted to mention that in the chapter, but Simeon is not one to ramble about himself extensively, so I couldn’t.

      You’re right, Simeon is pretty clueless when it comes to kids. On the bright side, pretty much everything in Sylvan Glade is edible. Though if Dandy’s current dietary preferences are much to go by, they did likely end up eating pancakes most of the time.

      Things can only pick up from here, right?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Toddler Dandellion is breaking my heart, especially the last two screenshots. I love how you explained her name. It’s so sweet that she chose the name he gave to her.
    Your version of Simeon is much cuter than the original!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, in a way she named him and he named her. Though as far as we can tell, she’s still refering to herself as Luella at the minute, so who knows when and why she started to use Faba 😊

      I know, I wasn’t too keen on the original Simeon and L Faba, so I got gallery versions that were meant to resemble the original trailer versions, though both of them got makeovers as they got older (and younger, haha).

      Like

  6. Oof, Aine gives me the creeps. Morgyn is bad enough, but at least I don’t see them doing something to children. Aine, though… Yikes. All the bad vibes and she hasn’t even said a word.

    So it was Simeon that conjured that elven house for them. On the one hand, he gave them a safe place, a roof over their heads and someone to look out for them. But on the other hand, he then left Lulu, a traumatized child, alone with a toddler and nothing but a violin and pancake-making abilities to keep them both alive. That’s…. dude. You better move in with them and look after your kin properly, at least until one of them is a teenager. Gah, he won’t, will he? That picture with a sleeping Dandy and Lulu holding the violin and looking at the pancakes… it’s so heartbreaking T.T

    I wonder how Lulu went from maybe learning practical magic from Simeon to the master of mischief magic. Haruka must have had a hand in that. Did Lulu get so wrapped up in playing pranks and messing with people and turning them into gnomes that she forgot to check on Dandy more and more? Current Lulu doesn’t seem like the type for that, though… hmmmmm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, give Aine a chance, maybe she was very nice! As you mention, she hasn’t said anything yet 😄

      In fairness, Simeon can’t move to Sylvan Glade, since all sages have to live in the magic realm to sort of stop it from exploding, but even if he could, his job has long hours so he’d still be away a lot regardless. He could move them to the magic realm with him, but that’s probably even more dangerous for them to hang out unsupervised, and he doesn’t hugely want them around the other sages who he does not trust, so… I guess he could quit, but he doesn’t have the most quitable job, since he says he only just became a sage recently so it’s unlikely he has a successor lined up. That is, if you think Simeon would really give up his dream job for these two kids he’s never seen before that have a vague connection to his grandma.

      In all honesty, the best thing he could have probably done for them would have been finding them a nice home in Glimmerbrook with another spellcaster family. Which he may have intended to do, though judging by the fact Dandelion still lives in Sylvan Glade now, he probably didn’t end up doing.

      Good question. Maybe we’ll find out 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, now that I’ve finished sobbing my eyes out. Seriously! This was so good and I feel like I was waiting for this moment but I didn’t even know I was waiting for it. Gah! Alright, let me try to organize my thoughts (I decided to write one long comment here like a crazy person, so I’m sorry in advance for this novel):

    When this story first started, it was clear that Cordelia saw something she didn’t understand when she was a child. And because she didn’t understand it, she took the lesson she learned as a little kid and carried it with her throughout her life. She never adjusted this observation when new information came along, like for example, the sprites were not bad/evil omens. And she never made any attempt to investigate what she observed (like her daughter) so she could get valuable information that might help her make better decisions.

    Now we come to Lulu (SOB), who is really struggling with the same thing. She gets some information as a child that she doesn’t understand. She takes the information very literally and never adjusts her point of view in light of new information. Cordelia is so obviously not her grandmother. She doesn’t know anything, but rather than get to know her and find out that the cycle was broken, Lulu does the opposite. Actually, she ensures that Cordelia remains an antagonist who doesn’t really trust magic, save for the existence of her daughter.

    Two characters who have made the same mistake because something traumatic happened to them as children–and they are connected through the one person who sees them both for what they are.

    Honestly, this was just beautiful because I completely understand why they got this way. I mean, I can’t imagine the plotting and planning that was involved to make this pay-off really land. BRAVO. BRAVO. BRAVO.

    (okay I didn’t make this too long right?)

    (GAH THE SCREENSHOTS WERE GORGE)

    (I LOVED SEEING THE ORIGINAL SAGES)

    (SO MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT AGING!)

    okay now I’m done I promise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, there are surprisingly many parallels between Cordelia and Lulu! They both lost their homes and families when they were very young and were left with very little information to come to terms with that. I’m sure it would be hard to overwrite whatever truth you constructed in your mind to cope after such a long time. For Cordelia, she saw her mother die and the sprites involved, so of course, that was a clear fact that happened in front of her very eyes. As for Lulu, the first time any new information emerged was with Cordelia’s arrival, some 50 odd years after Syeldell’s fall, and finding it out would have taken a huge leap of faith towards Cordelia on Faba’s part, something she just wasn’t capable of. It’s so tricky, and as you say, it does keep propelling that cycle, so true!

      And yes, Dandelion’s role in this is interesting too. His open-mindedness is only possible because he doesn’t have the previous biases of these two. Which funnily enough was a conscious choice on Lulu’s part, to keep the past away from him. I wonder how he would have reacted to Cordelia had Lulu shared everything she knows. Another difficult thing – was it right or wrong to keep all of it away from him? He had a right to know, but at the same time, Lulu did have the most influence on the person that he is today, and managed to raise him without him inheriting her biases, something that’s quite rare to achieve. So… who knows.

      Thank you! I don’t know if the plotting and planning was that complicated – my biggest struggle was to stay away from showing L Faba’s thought processes, and generally avoiding featuring her too much, even though I was so invested in her. But I get to make up for that with these interludes that are all basically one big Luella-fest 😀

      And thank you! We still have more to see of the old sages 🙂 And the aging is giving me headaches, haha. Feel free to ask any questions about it, though I will share the aging chart at the end, in case anybody likes looking at a bunch of random numbers for some reason 😀

      Like

  8. Simeon looking so plain and normal next to those two fabulous flashy women makes me giggle. No practicality in frilly dresses, eh? 😏
    But looks under that non-silver sweater beats a heart of gold. He’s so calm it’s a nice contrast to all those other rather noisy characters so far 😀 but then also we didn’t get a chance to look inside *his* head lol

    I feel so sorry for Luella. Not only has she possibly lost her home and family, but she also has a toddler to take care of. I admire that she’s trying her best to be strong for her cousin, but it’s like a double edged-sword, on one hand he’ll help her to move on, but on the other she kinda lost her childhood too to a degree.
    Good that Simeon is also taking care of both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha frilly is definitely the last thing Simeon is, that’s for sure. He’s quite happy for the ladies to take the spotlight. Yes, there probably is more than meets the eye like just about everyone, but he’s definitely more subdued than most of the others. He’s had zero POVs this season, something I’d like to change in the next one for sure 🙂

      You’re right, Luella is in a horrible situation – though as you say on one hand having Dandy there gives her a reason to go on, it also makes everything significantly more difficult. Her childhood definitely ended when Syeldell burnt down.

      But yes, without Simeon they would not have survived, I don’t think.

      Liked by 1 person

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