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The Ring: The Making
“M-ma-master, here is y-your t-t-tea,” squeaks a tinny voice from a corner of the small stone room.
“Bring it here!” He commands, making his voice bounce off the walls. The small man shuffles quickly to where the wizard sits, bowing and holding the tea up to him. His hands shake.
“Ahhh...” The wizard sighs, sipping the steaming liquid. He turns to his servant, still bowed.
“Well? Leave me!” He booms into the ear of the man, making him cringe. Just as quickly, he shuffles back to the doorway in which he came, shutting the heavy wooden door as quietly as possible. Now alone, the old wizard sets his still-piping hot drink on the windowsill in front of him. Immediately, the glass starts to fog up.
Stroking his long, white-as-snow beard, the ancient man contemplates the possibility of his death. Every one of my servants hate me, as does everyone else in the world. It would be quite easy for a country to arrange an army to surround him with swords, spears, bows, and magic. There was even a small chance that he would perish because of it. I must create something to prevent my death, he decides. A ring, perhaps.
At that moment, the wizard watches a bolt of lightning touch down on a tall tree in the forest just outside of his dirty and grimy window. The wizard practically sees the wave of sound reach him, and feels his whole body vibrate with the resounding crash. On a dry day, a fire would have ignited from the tree, but the pouring rain put a stop to any possible sparks.
I have found the thing from which I shall forge my ring. Hurrying down the spiral staircase leading from his tower, the wizard grabs a large trenchcoat and wrenching open the tall front door to his small castle, he steps out into a black night. Using a special tracking spell, the wizard quickly locates the same tree that was struck by lightning just moments earlier. Running a hand over it's now completely black surface, the tree sizzles where his hand touches. Steam rises from behind his fingers.
He glances up, cursing. Blasted rain. Gets in my eyes. Quickly drawing a long and thin white piece of wood, he wields it, murmurs something into the tip, and it begins to glow silver. Drawing a ring shape in the tree's side, the wand makes the bark glow and shine wherever it touches. The wizard tucks his wand back into his coat, and then plucks one long, wiry, silver hair from his head. As the man winds it around his finger several times, his lips form words in an ancient language. His hair begins binding itself to each coil, and though it was getting quite hot the wizard's hand is immune. He places his finger inside the tree, making the ring-outline touch his hair-bound finer. More sizzling erupts from inside the tree – the ring is becoming bound to the wizard's finger. Spells and Incantations as old as time are being uttered from the wizard's mouth.
Finally the process is finished. The wizard pulls his finger away from the tree, to find a petrified wood ring with a silver cord wound around it in a spiral. It glows a little, and then the glow retreats from it gradually. Triumphantly, the wizard raises a fist to the sky. He is now immortal, as long as he wears this ring.
Halfway across the world, a very different situation took place.
Outside her window, Janell Lande spots a flash of lightning out of the corner of her eye, and feels the boom of thunder in the same second. The lightning lit up the entire sky outside the glass, making each heavy raindrop a line in the sky. Inside the sleeping chambers, a different kind of storm is taking place.
“Mistress, you must push!” yells the midwife, Sandra. She is positioned at the foot of Janell's bed, leaning forward from a stool.
Janell lets out one last scream, knowing it echoes throughout the castle walls. Her castle walls. Finally, the pain starts receding. I did it, I gave birth to a baby. she thinks to herself. Janell lifts her head and starts to rise into a sitting position, ever so slowly. Randall, her King, is standing to her right, looking pale and frightened but smiling. Sandra, Janell's most dearest friend, now places a weeping baby at the edge of the majestic bed, wraps the other in swaths, and then-- wait, there's two? I gave birth to twins? An overwhelming proud feeling comes over Janell.
“Sandra, bring my children to me.” She says quietly.
Sandra walks carefully, trying to quell the babies' crying. “They're both boys, Mistress.”
“Which was born first?” Janell asks, curious. Sandra pets the head of the boy now cradled in her left arm. “Randall darling, come here, we must name our children.” Janell turns and looks to where her husband was standing, to see a hideous creature clutching his neck and waist. There is a knife in the thing's hand.
As if it had read her thoughts, the monster sp in a squeaky, raspy voice, “I am The Gypssy Ichabod. If youu do not ssacrifice the older of your sonss, your husband will diee.”
“Janell, don't give either of them up. Don't give in,” whispers Randall. He was choking, turning slowly blue.
Janell weeps, divided. “Sweetheart, I love you...” she utters through her tears.
Randall has stopped struggling against the gypsy. One last time, he rasps, “Don't give them up,” and then Ichabod screams. The jagged knife is thrust into Randall's throat, making a splatter-crunching sound, and crimson blood spews onto the gypsy, the bed, and floor. Janell turns away from Ichabod, shielding her baby boys from seeing the horrifying scene. Her back and hair is dampened with her love's blood. At that moment, the Gypsy Ichabod and King Randall disappear behind a veil of fog and smoke, leaving behind not a trace.
The older son, in her left arm, begins to cry but makes no noise, as if sharing his mother's depression. His younger twin squirms slightly, lets out a sharp cry and is silent.
Tears have sprung to Sandra's eyes, and are now cascading down her dark cheeks. “M'lady... Oh, M'lady...” she whispers through her hands. Sandra suddenly stands and rushes to the bedside of Janell, taking her and the babies inside her arms and holding them.
The four stay still for a moment, before Janell breathes deeply, and states, “We need to alert security. My boys are in danger.” There is a tone of resolve and something else in her voice, something hardened over.
Sandra regains her composure. “Yes, M'lady.” Before Sandra reaches the heavy wooden door to the stairwell leading to the front hall, Janell says, “Sandra, I release you as my servant. You may now stay or go as you please, and if you stay, I will see to it that you are paid. You have already provided me services in which no one else has.” Sandra curtsies politely and quickly before rushing out to find the head of security in the Grand Castle.