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Lucy Potter

By Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly

Adventure / Fantasy

Chapter 1

‘Lucy Potter’by Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly© 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Prologue David Potter looked at the dark lord, a feeling of dread within his stomach.  His brother and his brother’s wife had been killed by Voldemort.  Their son, Harry, had been thankfully and gracefully delivered, but David knew that he was in trouble.  He knew his time was short.  That morning he had sent Caroline safely away with his newborn child Lucy, and the two of them were now safe – beyond the dark lord’s reach.  But David knew, as he watched Voldemort menacingly approach, that his time had come.  Voldemort knew of Caroline, but would give her little thought, so David hoped.  She was a muggle – not given to the craft.  But his beloved daughter, young Lucy, she was certainly a half-blood.  She would have the gift.  She would have the power which Voldemort sought to corrupt.  But Voldemort did not know of her.  He would never know.  David would die before he shared that information with his hated enemy.  He would give his life over to the netherworld before he would betray his beloved child.  And as the power of the spell of ‘shados’ – the shadowlife - was placed upon David by his enemy before him, he knew at that moment that his daughter would be safe.  He knew his beloved Lucy would not fall into the hands of Voldemort.  That she, at least, would have a happy and safe life.  Away and hidden from the power of the Dark Lord.  Hidden in Australia, were wizards and witches from the old world did not greatly frequent. As the spell overcame him, he sank to the ground.  His spirit slowly departed his body and entered the shadow realm.  A place it would remain – trapped and beyond the ability of anyone to help him.  A slave to the Shadow Realm, were other tortured souls lived out their existence.  But Lucy was safe.  Thankfully she was safe.  And as he entered the darkness he was grateful for that one small mercy.
Part One
Chapter One ‘Young Miss Lucy Potter’ At 10 years of age, Lucy was a happy child.  Under her mother’s guidance, through the knowledge, if not skill, her husband had taught her, Lucy had learned from Caroline much of the ways of witchery.  Lucy, so talented at her craft, had excelled in the gift.  Caroline had shared with Lucy a little of her Father, David’s life, and said he had been a good man, and that she would have been proud of him.  But she had not shared those other secrets of his life.  Those other details, which she knew she must keep hidden from her daughter.  Caroline had once looked into the welfare of her nephew, Harry.  David had departed from the life of Harry’s father at a very young age, and had been presumed dead or missing by the Potter family.  But David had kept his eye on the Potter family from time to time – never revealing himself, but watching over their happiness.  With the birth of Harry he had been happy for them, but knew with Harry’s parent’s untimely death that he must avenge his brother.  Caroline had told David to stay out of the matter, certain it would only bring them harm, but David had been resolute.  The Dark Lord was to be confronted – and dealt with.  But of that encounter, Caroline had received word amongst the wizard community, and when David failed to return she knew her beloved had perished.  She had visited Hogwarts once only, in the company of a trusted witch-friend who occasionally visited the school of wizardry.  She had seen Harry, who was in the presence of a red-headed lad at the time.  She felt assured and encouraged that he was happy in life, and that things would look up for her nephew.  She felt, then, it was safe to leave him be and concentrate on the upbringing of her own child, Lucy. Lucy looked at the cat hovering in mid-air, very pleased with the success she’d achieved.  She had used the new ‘English’ spell ‘Hover’, which was based on the ancient spells, but had been spellwoven by her teacher, ‘Shelandragh May’.  Shelandragh had woven many spells around the Bunyan hutlet, and one of them allowed older spells to be now spoken in basic English.  She was a revered teacher of the craft in her region, and found it useful to start new beginners in their own basic language, before they moved on to the older tongue.  Lucy, her current pupil, lived just down the road in the hutlet of Chakola, just off the highway.  Lucy’s mother, Caroline, had approached Shelandragh and asked her, if she was willing, to teach her daughter the craft, as this was what her Father would have wished.  When Caroline had explained that they were from England, Shelandragh had made the comment that spiritual realities were different in the southern continent.  Older aboriginal spirits hovered here.  The lords of the dreamtime spoke with her in dreams and visions, and insisted on certain protocols and a degree or respect be shown the indigenous people.  But they had permitted Shelandragh to practice her craft in the Bunyan region, as long as such activities were within reason. Shelandragh had respected the dreamtime lord’s wishes and woven certain spells around bunyan to keep peace and harmony with the region, without letting any of the other nearby spirits be affected by her work.  She was of course, very careful about the region just to the north of her.  Under Canberra dwelt an old and ancient dragon.  A most fearful opponent.  A cave, hidden in the mountains of the Brindabella’s, lead down to an ominous cavern, were the beast dwelt.  An aboriginal tribesman had shown her the cave, but warned her not to venture into it.  But she, in her stubborn pride, had refused to listen to his words, and dared the cave.  The journey had been fearful and long, as she walked along eastward and then northward, coming into a huge cavern.  It was there she spotted an enormous dragon, dark black, with a golden ridge along his spine, sleeping and snoring loudly.  It was the largest dragon she had ever seen, and she was silently terrified.  She left, very carefully and quietly.  But she was satisfied.  She had seen with her own two eyes the beast, and had identified its breed – the ‘Golden Ridged Wyvvern’ – the largest of all the Wyvvern’s, which was not, technically, a dragon in the classification she knew of, but which the aboriginal’s probably would not know of.  Still, to her pupils she usually called the beast a dragon, when they were older occasionally spelling out its exact classification. Satisfied that the spell was working, Lucy looked around the room.  The cat, Shelandragh’s, was miaowing furiously at having been made to hover in the middle of the air, which the cat was finding most distressful.  ‘Calm down, Mushroom.’  Lucy said, speaking to the cat.  ‘I will let you down when I am satisfied.’  The cat, Mushroom, ignored her and persisted in her cries.  Lucy looked at a stack of books lying near the fireplace.  Old tomes of spells, she presumed.  Yes – they would make a perfect next subject.  She pointed her wand and spoke the word, again in plain English.  ‘Hover’.  The books, obediently, rose from the ground and settled in the air at about the same height as Mushroom, who was still persistently miaowing.  Lucy was overjoyed.  She turned to the vacuum cleaner near the wall and again repeated the spell, with again the same success.  Looking at the objects, Lucy was so pleased, that she did not notice Shelandragh who had walked into the room and was standing behind her looking at what her young pupil had achieved.  She smiled to herself, pleased that Lucy was showing the gifts, now, quite well.  But she came to herself and knew she had a demeanour to maintain.  ‘Lucy Potter!,’ she exclaimed.  ‘Heaven’s above.  What do you think you are doing, young lady?’  Lucy jumped, turning to Shelandragh, losing concentration on her objects, which dutifully fell to the ground.  The cat Mushroom screeched, running to the lounge chair, hiding underneath.  The vacuum cleaner smashed into the ground, the case coming loose with dust spewing everywhere.  Fortunately, for Lucy, the books smacked into the ground, but seemed to be otherwise intact.  Lucy froze.  ‘I’m sorry, Shelandragh.  I’m sorry, I’m sorry!’ she exclaimed.  Shelandragh looked at the mess the floor was now in.  She walked into the kitchen, and soon returned with dustpan and brush in hand.  She handed them to Lucy, tilted her head, and looked at the dust.  ‘Alright,’ moaned Lucy, understanding that her job at the moment was to clean up the mess she had caused. Shelandragh sat down on the lounge and picked up a tome from the table beside the lounge, seemingly looking through it.  She looked up at Lucy who was staring at her.  ‘Well.  Get to it.’ She said, waving her hand towards the mess.  Lucy, reluctantly, got down on her knees and started sweeping up the dirt.  When she had finished, she emptied the dust into the pile of ashes in the fireplace.  Shelandragh stopped reading the book she was holding, and placed it on the table.  She looked sternly at Lucy.  ‘Lucy Potter.  What, may I ask, were you possibly thinking of in casting that spell.  You know that it is not in our curriculum until next year.’  ‘Yes, Shelandragh.  I know.  But I borrowed one of your books over the weekend and was practicing it at home.  It was working, so I tried it again today.’  ‘I see,’ replied Shelandragh.  ‘Were there any other spells that you tried?’  ‘Uh, mm.  Ah no,’ replied Lucy, after much stuttering, which suggested to Shelandragh that her young pupil was not being quite so honest. Shelandragh, although silently pleased that Lucy was showing acceptable initiative, decided that she must caution her young friend.  ‘Lucy.  Magic is a responsibility.  It is not something to be tampered with, or taken lightly.  Many a foolhardy soul has perished believing himself or herself to be wiser than they actually were.  I would encourage you, young child.  Do not be one of them.  The spells I teach you, I teach you at the appropriate age.  You are still very young, being only 10.  But you have such maturity for such a young age, and so much talent, especially for a half-blood, that I am happy to teach you things beyond your normal years.  I knew a wizard, once.  Dumbledore was his name.  Many a tale he shared with me about the affairs of life and the things he had seen.  Great and powerful things.  But one thing he did share with me was the tale of Mallintor.  Mallintor was a master of Magic.  At 30 he was flowing in the craft, respected by all the good – feared by all the bad.  But Mallintor, one day, bit off more than he could chew.  He had been challenged by a supposed friend to defeat a dark wizard.  A wizard whose name was cloaked with fear and darkness.  Mallintor, in the pride of his youth and prowess, had accepted the challenge.  But he was not, so he had assumed, ready for the encounter.  His training had been appropriate.  His talent unmistakable.  But one thing cost him.  Cost him greatly.  Mallintor had become arrogant and believed that he could defeat any opponent.  No matter how great they claimed to be.  And so he had tackled this dark lord, but had come up short.  The evil one had captured him and cast a spell which deprived Mallintor of his power.  The dark one had then let him go.  He had called him a trifle, a thing of no consequence.  Mallintor had been humiliated.  Reduced to what, for him, was the disastrous life of a muggles.  And all of this because Mallintor believed he was something more than he was.  Pride had been the end of him.’  Lucy listened to the words, her young mind contemplating the fate of Mallintor, and at that moment resolutely deciding that such would not be her fate.  Whatever else, she would exercise caution, and be prepared for whatever life threw at her. ‘So you see, young Lucy,’ continued Shelandragh.  ‘You need to have a strong grip – a firm understanding – on your real capabilities.  To think more of yourself.  To go beyond your actual talents and what you have in that heart of yours, is to suffer the fate of Mallintor.  And that fate I would not wish on a child such as yourself, with all your talent.’  Lucy nodded again at her teacher’s words. Shelandragh rose to her feet.  ‘Well, young Lucy.  We have finished today’s lesson.  I was going to share one other thing with you, but your little incident has changed that plan.  Tomorrow, from 3 till 4, I will expect you as usual.  I will be in Cooma in the morning, so don’t come around expecting me early in the day.  But I will be back in time for our lesson.  Well, be off with you,’ said Shelandragh, shooing her young student out the door. Shelandragh watched her go up the pathway, up to the road, crossing over, and soon coming to the dirt track which led the back-road to Chakola.  Usually, Caroline came and collected her in her car, but Lucy had stated quite often she did not mind the long walk back to Chakola, and now knowing all the residents along the back road, she was quite safe in her trip.  Shelandragh admired such determination from someone so young.  But she also thought of Mallintor and wondered if life would ever bring any such challenge to her young pupil.  She hoped not.  She hoped most definitely not. *   *   *   *   * Lucy walked along the road, heading towards her home at Chakola.  The walk would take her probably 2 to 3 hours, but she didn’t mind.  She liked walking, seeing the countryside, and seeing the sheep and cattle which littered the fields on the back road to Chakola.  There were a number of gates which she had to pass, which she usually managed to open, but sometimes simply climbed over.  Although it was summer, and daylight saving time had began, meaning extended daylight, the light would gradually diminish as she neared home. Quite a while later, coming over the last sheep-proof gate, she walked down the dirt track between the place she knew of as home.  Old man Barry, who lived in the old home opposite hers waved to her as she opened the gate to her home.  She liked the Old man.  His oldest son had the same name as her father, David.  David worked on the farmstead of Chakola, although his wife lived up in Canberra.  David’s children, Madalene, Jayden and Georgia, came down to the farm often with their mother, Brigid.  Those three were Lucy’s best friends in the whole world.  So much in fact did they get along that Madalene, at her confirmation, had taken Lucy’s own name in her honour.  The four of them played all the time when they were at the farmstead.  In fact, Lucy’s home was being rented by her mother Caroline from David who was the owner.  It was an old home, which had been brought down from Sydney on a truck.  It was built adjoining an old school-hall, which had been the school for the Chakola area years ago.  And at the end of the school hall were extra rooms which had been added by David and Barry. Just down from the homes was the ‘Newmerella’ river.  It flowed most of the time, but droughts in their region were a factor of life, and it often was not flowing, with little water to be pumped onto the fields.  David often bemoaned this, as he did the life of a farmer, but it was the lifestyle he liked.  It suited him and his personality, and he did not really want to trade it for another. Across from the river were some of the main fields were David worked, as well as a couple of other farmsteads – one being neighbours, the other belonging to David’s family. Coming in through the door, Lucy was pleasantly surprised to see her mother standing before the fire, stoking the burning wood, talking with Madalene, Georgia and Jayden who were seated on the old tatty blue lounge.  ‘Lucy,’ yelled Jayden, pleased to see his friend.  Georgia got up and started showing Lucy some shells that the three of them had collected at the seashore were they had been that afternoon.  Lucy had forgotten about the trip, which she had been asked to attend, but she had politely declined, not wanting to miss her lesson that day.  Magic was now becoming very important to her, and she took it seriously now.  Quite seriously. She looked over at Madalene.  ‘How was the sea?’  ‘About the same.  We went to Tathra last year and hunted for some prawns along the coast then, as we did again today.  There weren’t many today, but it was fun.’  ‘Yeah, it was okay,’ said Jayden.  ‘Were have you been, Lucy?’ asked Georgia, in the faint voice she occasionally spoke with.  ‘We told you before, Georgie.’ Said Jayden.  Your always forgetting.’  ‘She is not,’ said Madalene, defending her younger sister.  Jayden and Georgia were still of an age in which they fought a lot.  Madalene, as belied her character in general, had begun maturing, and was starting to become a mature young lady.  ‘I have been at Shelandragh’s, Georgia.  It was my lesson today.’  ‘Go on, cast a spell,’ said Jayden.  ‘You probably want to, anyway,’ said Madalene, agreeing with her brother.  Lucy looked at her mother, who nodded consent.  Lucy looked around the room and spotted Tom the cat, sitting near the fireplace, all curled up and happily dozing.  Caroline looked at Lucy and were she was looking, and then firmly said, ‘No, Lucy.  Not the cat.’  Lucy shrugged, and continued surveying the room.  She spied an old book on the table and asked Jayden to place it on the floor.  Jayden did as asked, and Lucy, looking at it, concentrated and pulled at her wand.  After a few moments she said ‘Hover’, and, the spell unfolding, the book started rising up from the floor, a metre or so.  The three children started laughing, and Jayden grabbed the book.  ‘That was cool,’ said Georgia in her faint voice.  ‘You be careful with that spell,’ said Caroline, alarmed at the possible mischief her daughter could get into with such powers.  ‘Yes mother.  I’ll be careful,’ replied Lucy.  ‘Come on.  Let’s go outside,’ she said to the others, and they all followed her out the front door. The rest of the afternoon was filled with much yelling and shouting of the word ‘hover’, although only Lucy’s use of the word brought the others desired affect.  But of that afternoon, much fun was had by the assembled children, and as Lucy lay in her bed that night, looking up at the dark ceiling, she smiled at the adventurous day she had had, wondering what new treat the morning would bring her.Chapter Two ‘The Malevolent Grimlock’ Grimlock stumbled along the dirt track, hastening as quickly as he could manage, given the limp from his bad leg.  Tonight, the night of nights, the dark lord would speak with him.  His master, lord Darvanius, would instruct him of his new plan.  A plan he had recently brought to the surface.  Grimlock thought about Voldemort, who Darvanius often pushed to and fro in his plans.  Voldemort was, in the end, easy to use under Darvanius’ dark might.  Grimlock realized that he too served Darvanius’, much in the way Voldemort did so.  But he liked to think that perhaps he had more say in how he carried out his work under Darvanius’ instructions.  But he did not think that often.  Not often.  He felt the shadow of the dark lord upon him often, always there, silently eating away at him.  Rebuking him, and then, quite contrarily, encouraging him.  But all the time, so Grimlock felt, manipulating him towards the grand purpose Darvanius sought.  That much he did not like, but nevertheless he served his dark lord, eager for the reward that Darvanius often spoke of and said, one day, he would reward him with. Grimlock entered his small shack, nestled in the western hills of Tasmania, hidden from all.  This was his private place – his dark abode.  He resided, usually, in Hobart, were he had a small shop dedicated to the dark arts.  ‘The Dragon’s Lair’, he had called it, those many years ago when the shop opened.  Business had been slow at first, the community still fearing magic somewhat in those days, but gradually changing their attitudes.  But now, darkness was becoming popular – ever so popular.  To his great disdain, magic now had white witches and white magic.  Magicians dedicated to purity and goodness.  In his store, he held a number of such books, but they were only for show.  Primarily designed to ward of suspicious authorities, especially the ever curious ministry of magic, who occasionally monitored his affairs.  The Canberra bureau of the ministry operated under the sanction of the English ministry, a tradition established many years ago.  They had operatives in most of the major cities, including Hobart, and he knew the regular fellow from the ministry who visited his store.  Darren Merryweather – a dedicated wizard of the light.  He would browse the Dragon’s Lair from time to time, perhaps, so Grimlock thought, suspicious about the rumours in the community that Grimlock also sold, alongside the traditional fare, tomes of dark magic.  Forbidden, evil spells.  Darren occasionally inquired of Grimlock wether he had such books for sale, stating a curiousity on the matter, but Grimlock always denied any such books, claiming perfect innocence.  He knew that Darren probably did not believe him, but he would never betray himself.  He would keep his secret, and go on with the charade that had developed. He looked at the clock on the wall.  5.35 pm.  Darvanius would summon him around 9.00 pm – a usual time.  The Dark Lord would enter his room through his spirit guide and speak with Grimlock, instructing him on his new purposes.  Before then he would prepare his nightly meal, and study some of his texts he had brought with him from Hobart.  And he would wait – anxiously wait – anticipating the new directives from his dark master. *   *   *   *   * ‘So, Darren.  He remains insistent that he has no such books.  No such knowledge of the dark arts?’  ‘Yes, Alfric.  He maintains this position.  I have heard rumours and innuendo from many wizards and witches in Hobart and throughout Tasmania that he has been involved with shady gatherings and questionable activities.  But so far there is nothing substantial to justify any further investigation.  Perhaps, like a number of us, he has an interest in the dark side.  A curiousity.  A fascination.  But perhaps that is all that it is.  He has never hinted to me personally that he has any such knowledge, which is probably not true.  But he may simply be embarrassed about any such involvement, not wishing for his reputation to be sullied.’  ‘Yes,’ said Alfric.  ‘That is what the ministry has generally concluded.  At this stage, then, we will not proceed with the suggested detailed investigation.  Keep your eye on him, though.  But keep your distance as well.  We do not want your position with the ministry known about.  You are one of only three special agents doing this work in Australia, and they are not easy to train.  We can not afford your cover to be blown.’  ‘Yes, I understand, Alfric.  In the brief you mailed me, you stated that my work in Hobart was nearly complete.  What is this new mission you have been hinting at?’  ‘Ah yes.  Shelandragh May and the half-blood Lucy Potter.’  ‘Lucy Potter! Said Darren, the name catching his attention.  ‘Any relation to the English lad?’  ‘Yes, actually.  His cousin.  Few know of that, so keep it to yourself.  You will need to know because of your next mission, but the information is privy to only the top hierarchy in the ministry of magic.’  ‘I understand.  What is the mission?’  ‘Shelandragh regularly visits us here in Canberra.  She has been keeping Lucy’s progress in mind in her reports, and we feel it is time for Lucy to have another mentor in her progress.  She, for a half-blood, is showing tremendous talent and potential – far more than any Shelandragh has ever heard or read about.’  ‘That family.  The Potters.  It probably runs in their blood.’  ‘Deeply, I would say Darren.  And because of that, we of the ministry feel that Lucy has, given Shelandragh’s ongoing praises and comments, the potential to one day sit here in the ministry of magic.  The Half-bloods need a voice from their own community.  A beacon of light for them.  We feel young Lucy has the potential to fill such a role.  Your mission is to be, for now, indefinite in time.  Perhaps a number of months, but quite possibly a number of years may be involved.  We wish you to move down to Cooma and start associating with Shelandragh.  Introduce yourself to Lucy.  Get to know her.  Say you are an old friend of Shelandragh’s.  Children are innocent.  She will probably believe you.  And with the trust we expect you to maintain with her, teach her other lessons that Shelandragh does not.  Be the father figure she is missing.  Be an older friend – a confidante – someone she can look up to and respect.  I am sure that you will know what to say to her and to teach her as you get to know her and sound her out.  You are the most gifted in counselling amongst the ministry operatives, and these skills will be needed.  Remember, keep in mind you may be training a future member of the ministry of magic.  She will need to be responsible and up to the task if she is chosen.  So undertake, with the greatest of seriousness, the responsibilities the ministry is entrusting you with Darren.  In a sense, young Lucy’s future is in your hands.’  Darren nodded, taking those words in.  ‘When do I begin?’  ‘As soon as possible.  When you have wrapped up your business in Hobart, we expect you down in Cooma.  We have rented a room for you on the main street, and have had it furnished with appropriate furnishings and other articles of wizardry.  Touch it up as you see fit.  And please, take care with young Lucy.  She is a ‘Potter’ and as such we are in, in a sense, uncharted territory.  Now get to it.  I have other business to take care of, but I will see you off before you leave.  If you’ll excuse me then.’  Alfric got up from his lounge chair in the main lounge of the ministry of magic library, and exited the room.  Darren sat there for a few moments, contemplating his new mission.  He stood, walking over to the window, and looked out on the scenery of Canberra.  A new mission was always exciting, and this one, in particular, had the opportunity he had been waiting for.  To impart his knowledge and lore to another student.  That would be exciting – a grand new adventure for Mr Merryweather. *   *   *   *   * Lucy looked at the river in front of her.  She was standing at the crossing of the Newmerella river in Chakola.  She was sitting on the edge of the concrete crossing, the river flowing underneath the crossing just a metre or so below.  She looked again at the words of the spell in the book of both new and ancient spells.  The spell was, like the hover spell, set for her next year in the curriculum, but she felt that as she had already ventured forth into new waters, she would continue as such.  The spell was known by two terms – ‘Hydros Conflagius’, as well as ‘Aqaurius tempest’.  It was, from reading the description, meant to cause a raging rush of water – water being the necessary ingredient for the spell to work.  She had prepared for the spell by following the necessary meditations before hand that these particular spells required, to summon a water spirit of the river, which would then act on her request.  The spells were from a book that Shelandragh herself had composed, and worked on slightly different aspects of magic then Shelandragh had been taught in her younger days in her training to be a witch.  They were animistic spells, spells involving land, water, fire, air and animal spirits.  Late yesterday she had performed a spell on a nearby willow tree, summoning the dryad of the tree to cause the branches to grow.  After she had performed and completed the spell, the dryad had complained a little, suggesting that the willow had been happy and did not really want the disturbance.  Lucy had dutifully apologized, but had decided to try another spell anyway, hopefully one which would not leave such a disturbance.  The water spells seemed appropriate, so she had decided on ‘Hydros Conflagius’, which had also been named ‘Aquarius Tempest’.  Speaking the words, the water spirit appeared.  She looked similar to the dryad she had seen yesterday, but wore a blue dress, covered in watery designs, rather than the green one the dryad had been dressed in.  She was around the same size as the dryad, about 30 centimetres in height, hovering, wings flapping, just before Lucy’s face.  The water spirit, known as a sprite, looked at Lucy, a frown on her face.  ‘HYDROS CONFLAGIUS?!!   You can not be serious young miss Potter.  Do you know just how much trouble I will get into with my father if I allow ‘Hydros Conflagius’.  Lucy smiled at the little frown on the sprites face.  ‘How did you know my name? Lucy asked the Sprite.  ‘Oh, we all know you, young Miss Lucy.  We live here and see you all the time.  We have heard David’s children say your name often and knew quite well who you were.’  Lucy’s curiousity had been aroused by that statement.  ‘Just how many of you spirits live here.’  ‘Now that would be telling, young Miss Potter.  Perhaps when you are older we may, may, share that knowledge with you.  That is if you stop trying to cast spells like, ugh, Hydros Conflagius.  Now, I must ask you again, are you serious?  I am required, if you insist, to honour your spell – such is our responsibility.  But we are allowed to ask, especially inexperienced spellcasters, if they are quite serious in their intents.  Do you know what this spell will do?’  ‘What?’ asked Lucy, quite innocently.  The sprite looked at Lucy from the corner of her eye, a wicked thought having developed in her head.  ‘Well, if you must know, THIS!!!’  Suddenly a large torrent of water rushed up from the river next to the crossing, saturating young Lucy, spinning her backwards.  She let out a moan, and got to her feet, squishing the water out of her saturated pullover.  ‘Oh, thank you very much, you little sprite!’  The sprite hovered up to Lucy’s face and smiled.  ‘Your welcome.  But let that be a warning to you,’ she said as she started flying away.  ‘Such spells are not to be trifled with.  There is no telling how much harm you could do.’  The sprite then flew to the surface of the water, disappearing below surface.  Lucy looked down at the water, but could not see were the sprite had gone.  ‘I guess that is her home,’ she thought to herself. Picking up the book, wiping water of the leather-bound cover, she started trudging up to her home, just a hundred metres or so up the road.  Her mother was in Cooma at the moment, but Old Man Barry’s wife, Mary, who was looking after her in her mother’s absence, would surely have words with her.  But, perhaps not.  Mary was very kind to Lucy, treating her practically like her own daughter. Mary looked at Lucy as she came in through the doorway.  ‘What have you done,’ she asked the drenched Lucy.  ‘Umm.  I fell in,’ said Lucy, too embarrassed to share the real story with her.  ‘A likely tale,’ replied Mary.  ‘You better take that jumper off and put on another top.  I’ll get a towel so you can dry up.’  Mary walked into the hallway and grabbed a towel from the linen cupboard.  Handing it to Lucy, she motioned for Lucy to take her top off and dry down.  Lucy dutifully obeyed, and after a few moments of towelling herself off, put on one of her favourite T-shirts – the one with the Lion on the front.  ‘There, that’s better,’ said Mary, who had taken the towel and was now furiously drying Lucy’s her, much to her protestations.‘Your mother should be home soon.  There is some pumpkin soup on the stove, bubbling away.  Brigid’s recipe, which I know you like.  It might be a good idea to fill up on some of that, which will help you warm up after your dip.’  Lucy nodded and made her way to the kitchen, taking a bowl, and ladled herself some soup. Sitting at the Kitchen table, she looked through the spell book.  There were so many spells.  So many interesting and fascinating spells.  For the young Lucy, it was like a treasure-trove of delights.  Each new spell offering, potentially, a lifetime of use and delight.  Shelandragh had given the spell book back to her in yesterday’s lesson, after she had reclaimed it the previous day after the ‘hover’ incident.  She had said that, although Lucy was still young, her initiative needed to be rewarded and had thus allowed her young student to exercise her curiousity and study the tome of spells.  That allowance had been echoed by her old friend visitor, Mr Merryweather, who she had introduced to young Lucy.  Mr Merryweather was an old acquaintance who she had known for years, so she said.  He looked, to Lucy, in his mid 30s, compared with the late 50s for Shelandragh, which made her question just how many years Shelandragh had in fact known the said Mr Merryweather.  She thought that perhaps he was a former student, like herself, which meant she could potentially have known him for as much as two decades or more.  This type of thinking, working out details and being exact, was so common to the thoughts of young Lucy Potter.  She was the most precise of children.  This reflected her upbringing at the hands of her mother Caroline.  Caroline had been raised in a very traditional English home, and had seen to it that she herself would look to Lucy’s education, given their frequent travels around Australia in their younger days.  From 7 Caroline had pushed her daughter to use her intellect as much as she could.  She felt, so she had shared with her daughter, that most public and private schooling failed to really foster the talent within their students in the individual way they all, so desperately, needed.  Caroline had made sure that Lucy would use her wits to the best of her abilities.  She had taught her English and Mathematics lessons from a very young age, even introducing the concept of ‘algebra’ to Lucy when she was only 8.  Lucy, herself, was an intelligent and sharp young lady, suited to her mother’s training.  But she did know, compared with David’s children, that she was just as bright as them, especially Madalene who she looked up to, but also recognized the training of her mother, who constantly challenged her mind to think in new and different ways.  ‘Lateral thinking’ was a term she was very used to from her mother.  This constant training had sharpened the mind of young Lucy.  What, perhaps, would have been just another above average student in school, had become an intelligent and analytical thinker under the adroit training of her mother.  Caroline had once remarked to Lucy, ‘Nature and Nurture are interesting factors, child of mine.  But, I feel, nurture is, in the way they currently look at it, still greatly underestimated.  We have so much talent that is left unused.  So apply yourself, young Lucy.  Apply yourself.’  Lucy, only now, was beginning to understand the meaning of nature and nurture in the way her mother used the words.  She had looked them up in the dictionary to try and understand and now felt she perhaps was beginning to grasp what her mother was speaking about.  And in her mother’s encouragement, she had taken to her talent at magic, even more so than in her younger years, something which both her mother and Shelandragh had noticed in the young child. As the afternoon passed, and evening approached, Lucy had read through much of the book of spells.  She had concentrated, although many of the words she had difficulty in understanding, but was grasping some of the basic spells.  Perhaps, again tomorrow, after her lesson, she would try a new spell.  And perhaps a water spell again, as she felt she might want to have another encounter with that sprite who had played that trick on her.  But whatever spell she chose, for now she had had enough of magic, and had turned on the television, noticing that it was nearly 6.00 pm.  ‘The Simpson’s were on at 6, and she hardly ever missed her favourite show.Chapter Three ‘Lucy’s Lesson’ Lucy, standing in front of Shelandragh’s home, near the Monaro highway in Bunyan, looked at the clouds over in the west.  They were grey, full of water, and near ready to burst.  Lightning had been striking in occasional outbursts.  And Thor had been belting out his thunderous cries, perhaps a sign of a new war with Loki.  Asatru was, to young Lucy, a most fascinating and interesting spirituality.  The gods of Scandinavia were most intriguing and fascinating to read about in the new fiction novel she had been reading, entitled ‘Born of Thunder’, which was about the god Thor and his wars with Loki.  Valhalla had been invaded by Loki.  Many gods had fallen in battle, and only Thor with his child to Valeriel, Kadros, had been able to withstand the wrath of Loki in the final battle.  Thor had used the horn of Antharius and summoned the shadow-storm, which could only be summoned once every 1000 years.  The storm’s dark malevolence had overcome Loki and his minions, and the dark ones had been defeated. Lucy had been contemplating, having read through some of Shelandragh’s work on spell-creating, a notion of ‘Shadow-Storm’ as a possible spell she may, when much older, perhaps work on bringing into the spirit realm.  She, although still young, thought on challenging herself and aiming high in life.  Why should it be, she felt, that only older wizards and witches be allowed the rights of spell-creating and seeking out their own dreams and ideas.  This apparent rule of magic, which Shelandragh had insisted upon, she in her young pride seemed apparently at odds with. ‘Lucy.  Come inside.  The storm is almost here.’  Lucy gave the grey clouds a final look and, in response to her teacher’s summoning, entered the home of ‘Minoxxia’ – Shelandargh’s abode. *   *   *   *   * ‘Now Lucy.  What have you learned today?’  Lucy thought on Shelandragh’s question.  ‘Well, I understand that spells are based on energy.  Universal power within the spiritual and physical realms which, when we concentrate and become psychically aware, we can utilise for our own resources.’  Shelandragh nodded, pleased that her young pupil had been paying attention.  ‘And how do we become spiritually aware, young Lucy?’  Through connecting, in some manner, to the realm of the spirits.’  That is correct, young Lucy.  Let me elaborate on this.  For example, in the Christian religion, most Christians connect to Jesus spiritually, and often with saints and angels as well.  In the Jewish religion, Jews connect most often straight to God.  The same with the Muslims.  We witches and wizards often connect with various types of spirits.  Good witches and wizards often utilize spiritual energy which is available in the spiritual realm.  Sometimes through intelligent beings, often angels and other spiritual entities, often those who have passed on.  Dark wizards often connect with demons and the most bold and malicious try to connect with the dark lord himself.’  ‘You mean the Devil, don’t you?’  ‘Yes young Lucy.  The Devil.  That spirit is a most ancient and cunning of spirits, young Lucy.  I would caution you most strongly before you would ever contemplate tangling with the dark lord.  He has many servants and subjects and his motivations are rarely ever aimed at your good.  Most malicious and malevolent is the devil.  Other demonic forces constantly work throughout the spiritual realm, often at war with angelic beings and other divine forces.  This spiritual realm all flows from the source of our beginning – the creative energy of God.  God is, to wizards and witches, often very different in his approaches and affections than he is with religious people.  He is more honest and direct with some of us.  Sometimes brutally so.  A number of angelic beings have taught me that children of the main religions are God’s precious children – but that in many ways they remain that – still children.  Their growth and maturity is often stunted by overly judgmental beliefs, often great pride and division in their assemblies, and, although they often claim otherwise, an alarming amount of rejection and overlording towards those not within their assemblies.  They often fail to act in the love which they so often claim they do.  Yet, likewise, we witches and wizards are not perfect either.  I do believe that, regardless of the spiritual or religious condition of the soul in the heart of man, there are so many things common to each of us – our humanity – our love – our heart – which ultimately unites us all.  I feel, in the end, if we can exhibit grace, kindness and charm to all the children of Adam and Eve, this world could be such a better place.’ Lucy took in all of that information and asked her teacher a theological question.  ‘Are we all really descended from Adam and Eve?’  ‘A most interesting question, young Lucy.  I do not believe in evolution, but believe in creation.  That God created the universe and earth in 6 days, resting on the 7th.  All of the confusion regarding this issue is from the work of the Serpent – the Devil – in his confusion he sows into humanity.  In the Garden of Eden, the Serpent tempted our ancient ancestors to partake of the forbidden fruit.  The fruit contained knowledge – forbidden knowledge – which will not give the kind of life you need.  People, in their minds, believe all sorts of things.  All sorts of justifications and views to justify their own beliefs and their own actions.  So much of this knowledge is knowledge of evil – and because people often vainly cling to these beliefs, they, as God told Adam and Eve, die in the day they partake of the knowledge of evil.  I am not, as you may have presumed, in my late 50s.  I am 378 years old.  I have lived so long and healthily because I understand much of the type of knowledge which the early patriarchs, Adam, Seth, Enosh and all the way down to Noah, partook of.  That is, knowledge of good.  Knowledge of goodness – the fruit of life – leads to life.  It heals the bones, restores the mind, and soothes our hearts.  Yet, in the world we live in, so many people are preoccupied with knowledge of evil and hatred.  In the spirit of love, compassion, kindness and truth, eternal life – partaking of the tree of life – can be granted by our God and creator.  So, to answer your question, wether or not we are from Adam and Eve or another group of families also created in the beginning, the truth of Adam and Eve and the fundamental lesson in the Garden of Eden remains ever true.  Learn this lesson Lucy – learn the lesson of goodness and life – and your years may be long indeed.’  Lucy nodded.  Her teacher, so she felt, had just imparted a most important and fundamental lesson.  One which she believed in her heart would chart out her destiny in relation to God the creator – a being she knew not – but one who aroused her curiousity.’ *   *   *   *   * Elaine Belloc looked down through the portal of Zaphon, looking at the mind and heart of young Lucy Potter.  Elaine, now 17 years old, who had just the year before been returned to her true parents, Michael and Martina Rothchild, after having been raised by the Belloc family.  Elaine had discovered, upon her being taken up to heaven by the Archangel Raguel, that her parents were actually Angelic beings – Seraphim – from the Realm of Eternity.  Elaine had been welcomed to heaven, a place she was to be taught lessons for a number of years for her future responsibilities on planet earth.  She had been shown a number of places around the Realm of Eternity, seeing the major keeps of Zaphora, Terraphora, and the other realms.  Now she studied the Torah of the Seraphim in Zaphon library. At one end of the library was the ‘viewing portal’ which allowed the viewer to see people and lives being lived on planet earth.  With this portal she had often looked at her parents in their everyday lives, watching them with sincerity, devotion and love. The angel Raguel had suggested she seek out the child Lucy Potter, cousin of Harry who had been becoming popular in England, as the child had a special place in the heart of God and was a unique daughter of destiny.  Raguel had shared with her that Lucy would become a close friend of herself upon Elaine’s return to earth.  And because of this, Raguel had shown her how to view Lucy through the portal, and encouraged her to keep her eye on Lucy throughout the next few years.Elaine’s main concern was the servant of Darvanius – Grimlock – who she had been watching.  He, from the plans she had become aware of, was intending to move to Cooma to establish himself there and, it would seem, attempt to corrupt the young Lucy.  Elaine had asked Raguel what, if anything, she could possible do to thwart Grimlock’s agenda.  He had responded that the host of heaven, the angels of eternity, worked in humanity accomplishing God’s purposes and objectives.  He would, at times, pay special attention to particular people, and at others let destiny and life settle affairs.  He would intervene often – and often he would leave a situation alone to see how it would resolve itself.  But, so Raguel had maintained, if Elaine consistently sought out their Father regarding the life of young Lucy, he would intervene and respond to her requests in the way only God the eternal being of life could do so. Elaine had gone to the throneroom of Zaphon and spoken to the eternal flame burning upon the throneroom.  She had spoken nervously.  ‘Father.  God.  What will be with Lucy Potter?  The girl in Australia?  Harry’s cousin?’  Silence had responded to her for a number of moments, after which the eternal spirit of life responded.  ‘Dear Elaine.  Life has, in some ways, a mystery to it.  Plans can be made, and often, but not always, come to pass.  Destiny – an eternal spirit, being one of the endless of the 7 eternal children – influences and crafts out lives for many humans and angels alike.  Her child, Fate, also passionately seeks grand culminations and climaxes to events of life.  To often bring things to a grand and glorious conclusion.  Fates aunt, Death, often has the occasional suggestion, seeking resolutions to conflicts, often most passionately, yet often in the quiet and gentle way which the daughter of life often seeks to do.  These children – the eternals – have their hand on young Lucy, so I would encourage you to have no fear for young Lucy, dear grand-daughter.  Have no fear for her.’  The voice of eternity had then gone silent.  Lucy had found the answer, in some ways, to her question.  And, in summation, she sensed that God had simply told her, as perhaps so many had been told, to have a little faith. A little later, the dreamlord, one of the 70 eternals, approached young Lucy.  She had seen him in Zaphon from time to time and had wondered who he was.  She had known his name was Daniel, yet he did not seem the same as the others of the angels.  And then Raguel had told her that Daniel was one of the children of God – the eternals – who existed prior to the angels.  Who existed in a ‘heaven’ they had never been to or seen, yet who they, the angels of eternity, had known for many years as those eternal beings who watched over the angels.  ‘Elaine.  Daughter of Eve.  I would have words, if you are currently not otherwise occupied.’  ‘Yes, Daniel.  Please, sit down.  Elaine offered him the seat next to herself in the library of Zaphon.   Daniel began speaking.  ‘So, Elaine.  Talk to me.  Explain yourself.  What is in your heart.  Your head.  Why do you do what you do?  Why do you ask the questions you ask?  Why do you think the way you think?  Who are you in your heart?  Are you Elaine Belloc, daughter of the Archangel, or are you something greater?  Something grand and eternal?  Someone who is beyond reproach?  Infallible and Almighty?’  ‘What is that supposed to mean? asked Elaine, most annoyed at the tone in the query.  ‘Who are you that I should answer to you?’  ‘Dearest Elaine, who are you that you should ask me that question when I in fact asked you questions first.  Or is hostility to a gentle inquiry your first response to everything.  Perhaps, I would suggest, a little pride lies in thine heart.  A little pride in being the daughter of Michael.  Could I be, perhaps, correct in such a statement?’  Elaine softened.  ‘Well, yes, Daniel.  Point taken.  I guess perhaps living here in Zaphon has gone to my head a little.’  Daniel smiled.  ‘Well,’ he said, looking at her in a most strange manner.  ‘Well what? Asked Elaine, a little perplexed by the dream lord.  ‘Are you going to answer the question?  Or have I offended thine heart, for which, if I have, I must apologize – even if in word only, for as it is, the heart is such a cryptic maze of emotion and intensity.  Even, sometimes, in the most frozen and complex of lives.’  Elaine looked at him, a little puzzled.  ‘You’ve lost me, Daniel.’  ‘Oh well.  Never mind.  Perhaps, instead of a dialogue most irreconcilable with thine current preoccupations, we have a game of Chulara.  Have you been taught it?’  ‘No.  But, alright.  If you will teach me the rules.’ The daughter of Michael and the eternal dream lord, changing seats in the library, began a game of the oldest of strategic games within the Realm of Eternity.  Having gone through the rules, and the game have progressed for a little while, Daniel spoke.  ‘Lucy is a most intense and intelligent young lady, Elaine.  My sister, Destiny, has crafted many ideas and thoughts out for this child.  Father will not always reveal the work he does.  Often he will not speak at all, but remain in his mysterious self, a life he has chosen or perhaps, given our current level of understanding and behaviour on a communal average, understood that speaking with us more than necessary is not needed at our present age.  But of course, this is speculation.  In an eternal life, it would seem we have all eternity before us to understand and comprehend the spirit and nature of our eternal father.  But, as I assume he told yourself, have faith in young Lucy.  She will turn out alright.  Those opponents of hers, I am sure, will not prevail.  Her spirit – her love – will see her course her way through life to what she needs to be and become for herself and those around her.  I have known Lucy for so long now, which may surprise you, but I would tell you of that another time.  Suffice to say that I have faith in Lucy.  Life, strange as it may seem, often ultimately turns out for the best.’  Elaine looked at Daniel, then looked down at the Chulara board.  ‘I suppose, Dream Lord.  I suppose.’ *   *   *   *   * Lucy Potter sat in Centennial park, in the centre of Cooma, alongside David’s daughter Madalene.  Jayden and Georgia, along with Brigid, were up the road a little, swimming at the town pool.  David had just given them a box of hot chips which they were steadily making their way through, drinking coke as well.  David sat with his cousin, Houston, on a park bench a little away from Lucy and Madalene. ‘Lucy.  I have lived at Chakola all my life and have noticed something a little strange.  Shelandragh, ever since I can remember, never seems to have aged.  She seems the same she has always been.  Has she ever said anything to you about this?’  Lucy stopped munching on her chips, took a drink of coke, and looked at her best friend Madalene.’  ‘It’s a secret of life, Madalene.  A secret of life.  It is plain and most obvious to everyone, ultimately.  But most hidden and cryptic in some ways as well.  Yet, I think, all things will fall into place.’  Madalene looked at her strangely.  ‘What the heck do you mean, Lucy?’  ‘Oh, I’m just being dramatic Madalene.  Something Shelandragh emphasized to me often embellishes conversations.’  Madalene nodded, used to hearing various lessons which Lucy passed on from her teacher. ‘Did you see last night’s episode of the Simpsons?’  Asked Lucy.  Madalene smiled.  ‘Yes, it was funny.  I loved the bit were God showed to Homer Jesus swinging on a swing.’  Lucy grinned a little.  ‘Yes, that bit was funny.  God is really big, and Jesus is normal size.’  ‘But you never see his face.’  Said Madalene.  Lucy nodded.  ‘Very weird, Maddy.  Very weird.  Homer was lucky, though.  But, of course, it was just a dream.  Just a dream.’ The two of them munched on their chips, continued drinking coke, and the afternoon, as afternoons, usually and most regularly do, undertook their steady work of preparing for the evening. Chapter Four ‘Mr Merryweather’ ‘This, Miss Lucy, is Mr Darren Merryweather.  He is an old acquaintance of mine which I have known for a number of years now.’  ‘Pleased to meet you, young lady,’ said Mr Merryweather, offering her his hand.  Lucy shook it, and sat down on the seat opposite were Shelandragh and Darren were sitting.  ‘Miss Potter.  I am from Canberra, were I have lived a number of years, undertaking various responsibilities in magical fields,’ began Mr Merryweather.  ‘Shelandragh has asked that I acquaint myself with you to, in a sense, monitor your progress in the field of magic.  Apparently, although I could not possibly hope to understand why, yet apparently she respects my opinions on the issue of the magical arts.  So, dear young lady, if you would not object, I will sit in on your lesson today, silently observing.  Do you mind this?’  Lucy shook her head.  ‘That is ok, Mr Merryweather.’ Darren looked at Shelandragh who took one of the books from the pile of magical books, and opened it up.  ‘Lucy.  You have been taught a number of spells, mixing of reagents, spell preparation techniques, yet it has not escaped my attention that on the fundamental basics underlying the craft, certain things perhaps need explaining.  I spoke to you the other day regarding spiritual energies available in the spiritual realm.  It is from this realm which we draw the power to enable our spells purposes to be achieved.  This spiritual energy is, in many ways, very similar to the concept of ‘the force’ which is part of the Star Wars movies, of which I am sure you are familiar.’  Lucy nodded, as she had seen Star Wars often.  ‘As witches, with our connections to this realm, we are able to intuitively draw upon certain spiritual energies and utilise them for our own purposes.  There is a movie featuring Shirley Maclaine which has a scene in which she becomes spiritually alive and her spirit voyages out from her body.  This is one aspect which many psychics are capable of, with experience and training, be able to achieve.  My own craft, currently focusing around animistic spirituality, works a little differently.  It is in the mind.  The power of the mind.  It is done by sensing, within your body and spirit, the type or kind of spiritual energy you wish to attract to yourself and to utilise for the purposes you desire to achieve.  It is done by, from your spirit within, something like magnetic energy being focused from your mind, drawing spiritual energy to yourself.  And you can choose any type of spiritual energy your mind can possibly conceive of.  There is no limit.  However, this spiritual energy needs to be created.  Each human being is capable of creating this spiritual energy with their thoughts, and in fact do so.  What is called an aura reflects the spiritual patterns which have developed throughout our experiences in life.  Most people have a basic aura, but many have developed one through intense life experience.  This power of creativity is in the heart of each human and angel – it is born from the creative spirit which the ultimate creator birthed each of us with.  The first chapter of Genesis explains our nature being based on the creator and angelic beings, thus we also can partake of this energy, create this energy, and, with experience and persistence, utilise it for our own purposes.  Now, this energy can be created by yourself in endless patterns.  In the spiritual realm there are virtually infinite spiritual patterns available to us and, of course, we can create our own spiritual energy with our thoughts, beliefs, actions and words.  This aura within and without us – our spiritual being – comes forth from the central mind within – the soul, our true identity – which brings forth everything we hope for and believe in.’  Lucy nodded at all of that new information. Mr Merryweather spoke up.  ‘Now, Lucy.  This energy and its power and capabilities can and often are abused greatly by workers of the dark arts.  They, very often, work out on their objective of conquest and domination.  In the revelation of John, the false prophet works constantly within this idea, bringing forth fire from heaven with the power of the magic – the dark magic – that he has created.  Because of this, we who are gifted with the ability to utilise spiritual energy must always be alert.  So much harm and damage can be done, and has been done, by those whose wishes for humanity are not necessarily, and often opposed, to humanities best interests.  It is a grave and important responsibility, young Lucy.  With the flame of energy born within you, you must act responsibly, maturely and consistently.  The darkness which is alive in the world often seeks to corrupt and destroy those who are often known as ‘Lightworkers’ and children of light.  Wizards and witches who are not motivated by the power of the dark, but whose hope and belief is in goodness and love.  I hope you can understand and appreciate the gravity and importance of this fundamental lesson on spiritual energy and the law of life.’  Lucy, again, nodded.  This lesson was very heavy, even for young Lucy.  But she knew that, as her mother had constantly taught her, accepting the harder things in life – accepting responsibility – matured the soul and enabled one to accomplish the things in life which needed to be accomplished. *   *   *   *   * Grimlock stood in front of his new storefront, the Dragon’s lair, which he had just finished renovating in Cooma in the state of New South Wales, south of Canberra.  His master and lord, the dark one Darvanius, had given him his new agenda.  The young witch, Lucy Potter, was to be persuaded to come over to darkness.  To join the minions of the netherworld in their goal – to rid the world of the false promises of so called children of light.  This goal of Darvanius was not new.  It was ancient.  As ancient as the halls of eternity.  Darvanius was the Archangel Saruviel in human form, although he was not aware of that fact.   He was the 7th born of the male Seraphim angels of the Realm of Eternity. Prior to mankind’s creation, Saruviel had Fought the Archangel Michael and the heavenly host most aggressively and passionately in his attempt to establish, what he knew in his heart, was the true law of life – the true law of freedom.  In those actions, he had justified much behaviour which his eternal Father had rebuked him for. Now, as the dark lord Darvanius, who had been uniting the divided Christian church, his secret agenda – his hidden agenda – was to ultimately bring his own plan and ideology to dominate the world stage.  This plan rose up in his heart from his youth.  It seemed that the seed the Archangel Saruviel had sown all those years ago in the Realm of Eternity was bearing fruit now in the universal realm. And now, in attempting to achieve his objective, the dark lord was utilising one of his pawns – the malevolent Grimlock – to achieve his purposes with the cousin of what was becoming a most feared opponent – the wizard Harry Potter. In Lucy Potter, he would achieve his dark and glorious ambition.  He would claim the title – the power – the moniker – of divine monarch of the world.  The King, as it were, the first and most important and glorious King – of a united humanity.  In the pursuit of this goal he would be relentless.  He would not tire, not be persuaded to give up, never rest, until he had achieved all and everything that he desired to achieve.  And in that destiny he planned for himself, the young miss Lucy Potter could, he felt, play a most significant and useful role.  A most significant role indeed. Because of this, Grimlock served the dark lord Darvanius.  He worked under his authority to achieve his agendas as, so Grimlock had been often told, his reward would one day be given.  One day he would be given the justice he deserved for his fidelity to his dark master. Lucy Potter was to be corrupted.  To be persuaded to come over to the power of darkness – the power of wrath – the power of passion and intensity – the dark magic.  In this magic Grimlock took much and great delight.  It strengthened him, when little else gave him comfort.  It delighted his mind and heart with wicked and dark ideas.  Ideas which gave him much malevolent and sensual pleasure.  Yet Grimlock, in all the time had been training in the dark magic under Darvanius guidance, had noted something.  He had been attracted to the dark because of the power it offered, but in Darvanius he had found, while most definitely and continually a pawn of the dark master, yet found a quite consolation to some of his life’s difficulties.  Darvanius maintained, although he reluctantly used such terminology as it confused him with his opponents, yet he continually maintained to Grimlock that his agenda – his purpose – his goal – was not motivated by evil.  Not motivated toward harm, chaos and destruction.  These were, so he had shared with Grimlock, the domain of the darkest lord of all – the fallen Satan, with whom he had at one time encountered.  ‘Satan is the evil one, Grimlock.  His goals are in no way moral or intended towards the good of others.  Between him and myself there is a distinction.  A clear and eternal distinction.  Make no mistake of that fact, Grimlock.  For if you should ever be tempted to seek out the darkest of the lords of evil, my wrath you may suffer.  And my punishment towards evildoers is beyond the evil of the dark lord himself.  Forget that not Grimlock.  Forget that not.’ *   *   *   *   * Lucy sat at the kitchen table in her home, the schoolhouse, of Chakola.  The textbook which Shelandragh had given her that afternoon had been interesting reading.  A little predictable, in many ways, in the lessons it was teaching regarding ethics in witchcraft.  Lucy understood clearly her responsibility, now, but a part of her heart yearned to, perhaps, just be a little bit rebellious.  To go out and do her own thing in the magical realm, regardless of the cautions of her teachers.  She had, for the last hour, been trying to understand the concept of spell-creation and the necessary mind processes to create spiritual energy in the magical realm.  She had listened intently to Shelandragh’s word’s, and had been thinking them over in the last few hours.  The spell she had thought about creating before, the one which had been birthed from the Asatru novel ‘Born of Thunder’ – the idea of the spell ‘Shadow Storm’.  She had understood from various spell texts she had been studying that the ‘Shadow Realm’ was a place between the netherworld and her world, almost akin to the concept of ‘Limbo’ or ‘Purgatory’.  Perhaps, she thought, she may try to seek out the spiritual energy available in the Shadow Realm, and utilise it for the creation of the ‘Shadow Storm’ spell.  At this stage she was not quite sure how she would achieve this result, but with persistence and patience she felt she may be able to achieve, hopefully, some interesting results.  The only spells she knew to connect to the Shadow Realm were ‘Shados’, also known as the Shadow Life, as well as ‘Shados Redux’, which, apparently, returned something or someone who had been cast into the Shadow Realm to the physical realm.  She had, in coming up with a name for the Shadow Storm spell in the ancient spellcasting language, had researched an ancient character which the book of spells containing ‘Shados’ and ‘Shados Redux’ had been connected to.  An ancient wizard, who had first connected to what he later called the Shadow Realm, Shadorius, seemed to be an appropriate person to name the spell after in the spellcasting language.  She, having recalled the earlier water spell she had cast, known as Hydros Conflagius and Aquarius Tempest, had decided to name the spell using part of the name of one of these spells, deciding that ‘Tempest’ seemed the best choice.  So the spell which she would bring into existence would be ‘Shadorius Tempest’. She had been, in thinking about how to bring the spell into being, first studied the techniques for casting ‘Shados’ and ‘Shados Redux’ and then began studying ‘Aquarius Tempest’.  Perhaps it may be as simple a process as combining aspects of the ‘Shados’ spell, with the ‘Tempest’ part of ‘Aquarius Tempest’, that could achieve success in birthing the spell into existence. Having taken a notebook she began writing down the process for the ‘Shados’ spell, as well as, as best as she could understand, the ‘Tempest’ aspect of the ‘Aquarius Tempest’ spell. Of course, when she had the procedure for casting the spell worked out, it still seemed that it would require the necessary magical energy.  This, for young Lucy, was still a bit problematic, as she had not yet quite grasped everything Shelandragh and Darren had explained to her.  But she would think this over and persist, as her mother constantly encouraged her to.  Perhaps in a year or so, with some further questions to her teacher, she may understand some of the basics of spell creation.  Perhaps then she would have what was required to bring her vision into reality.  Perhaps then. *   *   *   *   * Madalene, sitting on the lounge in the mainroom of her families home in Calwell in Canberra, looked over at her brother as he was watching television.  Jayden was intently watching the ‘Ben 10’ cartoon, something which he had grown to like.  Madalene thought ‘Ben 10’ was a bit young for herself now, preferring ‘Home and Away’ and some of the comedies on television to what she thought was now ‘Kid’s stuff’.  She wondered if Jayden would also grow out of the cartoons.  She didn’t really care, though.  Kids liked cartoons.  That was normal for everyone.  But Madalene, looking at young Lucy, wondered if there were perhaps more important things in life.  Subjects which gave life a greater intensity.  A greater passion.  Magic seemed interesting to Madalene.  But she knew magic did not run in her family.  And, apparently, it was extremely rare for a child to develop the craft unless one of her parents had the gift.  Because of that she was a little jealous of her friend Lucy, envious of the talents and gifts that seemed to have been given to her.  Madalene, having take Lucy’s name in confirmation at her church, had sat in church one night, while her parents were outside talking with other members in the family after the baptism of her new cousin Amelia, had prayed to God asking him if she could also be given the gifts that Lucy had been given.  That prayer had been a while ago and nothing had really happened in response so far.  But, strangely, she had noticed a few things – strange things – which had been happening around her.  She had often felt shivers along her legs and her arms.  And she thought that she had, a number of times, seen a ghost in the hallway of her home, floating around late at night.  This worried her a little.  She wondered if the prayer she had prayed to God had been the right thing to do.  Perhaps God did not want her to be magical.  Perhaps it was not something that should be part of her life.  Yet, her curiousity remained and she had decided she would talk to Shelandragh about what, if any, magical abilities that Muggles may be able to achieve.  It certainly seemed to be worth at least asking her best friend’s teacher.Chapter Five ‘The Stoned Philosophers’ ‘The shepherd of the soul?  What the hell does that mean Looshy?’  Lucy laughed at the slurred voice Houston, David’s cousin, was speaking in.  She had shared with him a passage from Ezekicl chapter 34 about David the Shepherd of Israel and had compared him to the shepherd of the soul.  Houston, who seemed to be an agnostic with some sort of vague belief in God had been spouting out various philosophies on life, the other stoned philosophers being David and David’s dad, old man Barry.  These three wise men had been discussing the great and grand meanings of life and what it all meant for the last two hours, steadily and devotedly consuming their most fierce passion for life – the beloved Tooheys.  Lucy had been listening intently to the conversations, most intrigued by the wide variety of subjects which the three stoned philosophers seemed adroit at discussing and contemplating.  Houston had been discussing a conversation he’d had with David’s brother in law, Daniel, who lived up in Canberra.  Daniel had been preaching the Noahide faith to Houston, who found it interesting, but not converting material.  Yet it had been an interesting conversation and Houston was sharing with the other stoned philosophers the true grand meaning of life.  Evolution was discussed.  So were certain ideas regarding human sexuality which seemed to be, from what Lucy had noted since living in Chakola, a favourite topic of the stoned philosophers.  Her mother had reprimanded Lucy on one occasion for listening to the often quite brazen conversations of the stoned philosophers, but had after a while allowed her daughter to be exposed to their conversations. ‘King David is the Shepherd of the Soul, Houston.’  Lucy stated quite plainly.  ‘Shounds bloody good to me,’ said David, raising a toast to the ancient Israelite King.  Barry, who had a basic biblical knowledge, began recounting the famous encounter between David and Goliath.  The subject of Goliath’s actual size came up, Barry insisting that the biblical description was exaggeration, as the whole Bible quite obviously seemed to be.  The conversation was intense and most interesting for young Lucy to observe.  After Barry and Houston had settled the issue that Goliath was probably a midget, much to David’s annoyance, they had all taken yet another beer in what had become a standard Friday night occurrence. *   *   *   *   * Three other stoned philosophers were lying down in Centennial Park, gazing up at the sky, high on their drug of choice, the still illegal marijuana.  Bradrick, Jack and Marty, three of Cooma’s most disrespected lowlifes, were doing their usual Friday night routine of getting high and letting the usual mundanity of the terror of life pass on by.  They had been lying there that night, the subject of conversation one of their favourite discussion points, the scene of the desert in the ‘Doors’ movie, starring Val Kilmer.  This most inspiring scene had led the three lowlives to pursue, valiantly, the experience offered by man’s true best friend – their drug of choice – which helped them escape from what was often the hell and isolation of their solitary existences.  The three of them shared a flat up the road from Centennial Park, were they spent most of their days.  They lived on the Centrelink allowance, usually to zonked out on drugs to ever do anything really useful with their lives.  But, this life that, for many people, often came to such a harsh and bitter state of existence, was persevered with simply because of the money that came through regularly and the availability of their required pastime supplies from local distributors.  These three stoned philosophers were, in many ways, real blokes of Australia.  They adored the cricket, which they watched with passion.  They drank beer.  And they got high.  Every few months, Bradrick would drive them up to Fyshwick in Canberra to visit the ladies for that other necessary component in their harsh existence. These three philosophers, laying there, were oblivious to the malevolent Grimlock who watched them from behind a tree a number of metres away.  Grimlock had decided, against his dark lords wishes, to enhance his powers with the use of a spell which was most evil and deadly in nature.   ‘Parasitis Zoe’, a most vicious and awful of spells, literally sucked the spiritual energy out of its victims and brought it into the spiritual aura of the one casting the spell.  It was one of the ancient and most evil of spells and Grimlock had been at first reluctant to use it, given the attitude his dark lord would respond with should he ever find out.  But, in his pride, he had decided to cast the spell to draw energy into his vortex of Spirit, to give him the necessary means and powers to forward his own private and personal objectives.  The three philosophers would, so Grimlock felt, make perfect victims.  They were zonked – they would have no ability whatsoever to resist his dark might.  Carefully, he approached them, and began the works of the spell. A number of minutes later, Grimlock looked down on the lifeless corpses of the three stoned philosophers.  In his malevolent heart he pitied them a little, yet the reward which he now felt so strongly in his vortex was to great a reward to have passed up.  He looked around.  Nobody was present, but someone could appear at any time.  He had best leave the scene at once to ensure there was no connection between himself and the now lifeless corpses.  As he walked up the main street of Cooma, returning to his flat, he felt the new energy surge through his body.  The power within him now was extremely strong.  He sensed the natures and memories of the stoned philosophers, yet banished them from his heart.  He cared not for the memories of such pathetic souls, yet would delight in the dark power he now possessed.  It was delightful, so the malevolent Grimlock felt, to partake of such power.  To partake of and delight in the most evil of spells. *   *   *   *   * Jerry, Ty and Doug put the finishing touches to their new album.  ‘The Stoned Philosophers.’  The trio, known as the Xtreme Kings, were an established band in the metal scene of Cooma.  Although this was not necessarily the greatest of accomplishments as the Cooma metal scene consisted of the Xtreme Kings and a drunk guy up the road who let it rip on the guitar late at nights, belting out extremely bad Guns’n’Roses licks.  But the Xtreme Kings were determined to have success.  They had goals.  They were gonna ‘kick ass’ and ‘go for broke’ to get a name for themselves.  They were not just kings – but ‘Xtreme Kings’.  There new album, their second, following a most unmonumental first release, did seem to the band a vast improvement.  It almost, strangely enough, seemed like a reasonable metal album.  Perhaps not quite up to the standard of some of the legendary material they often covered by some of the classical metal artists, the production values obviously lacking due to their low budget.  But the riffs and melodies seemed to each of them quite cool.  They felt, if they were to ever have any impact in Australia in metal, this album would probably be there best starting point.  The album title had come from the three stoned philosophers who regularly hung out in Centennial Park in the centre of Cooma.  The Kings knew the guys and occasionally smoked dope with them, but not to the degree that the philosophers did. The album seemed good.  The first track was perhaps the albums killer track.  Entitled ‘Primal emotion’, it related the absolute savagery of the heart and human existence.  It was honest and, so the band felt, quite cutting edge.  It may even chart in Australia, if the record company agreed to proceed with their second album which was not guaranteed but an option which was in their contract with them. They had put the finishing touches to the album, when their part-time manager burst into their small studio.  ‘Guys, fuck, I mean.   Guys I have some fucking bad news dudes.  The philosophers are fucking dead.  I mean they are fucking dead.  Like totally and completely fucking dead.’  The Kings looked at their manager, a look of concern apparent.  Jerry spoke up.  ‘What do you mean their dead?’  ‘The police are at the Park and they have put up barriers preventing people from entering.  Everyone has been saying that the philosophers have karked it.’  Doug looked at the two other kings, and went over to a bench to sit down.  ‘Now that fucking sucks, don’t it.’ A little later on, having come to terms with the bad news, the Kings began work on a new track in homage to the philosophers.  Simply titled ‘Afterlife’ it would hopefully speak of the friendship they had developed with the departed souls, ones which had inspired the title of their album.  But the mood was sombre and the Kings could not finish the track.  A darkness had entered the house of the Xtreme Kings, and perhaps all throughout Cooma.  A darkness of ancient evil, most malicious and malevolent in its intent.  Most malicious indeed. *   *   *   *   * Darren Merryweather looked across the street at the shop which had just opened up.  He had noticed it immediately and looking at the sign reading ‘The Dragon’s Lair’ Darren felt that something he had previously feared was perhaps coming to pass.  His instincts told him straight away that Grimlock was inside the shop, having moved from his store in Hobart.  And Darren, almost instantly, knew why.  Grimlock would be seeking out the child Lucy for his own purposes, whatever they may be.  In Australia, the witch and wizard community was not that large, nowhere near the size of the established communities in England.  News of the cousin of the popular Harry had obviously reached Grimlock, who had obviously sought out young Miss Potter for whatever purposes he had in mind.  Darren felt, now, that these purposes were not aimed at the good of Lucy.  That Grimlock had perhaps shown his hand which had been hidden so far and confirmed the suspicions that the ministry of magic had in him. He walked over to the store and looked inside through the front window.  He spied Grimlock inside, working at the counter, and moved away quickly so as not to be seen.  So it was indeed him.  He wondered silently to himself wether Grimlock perhaps had some sort of association with the recent deaths in the Park in the centre of town.  If it were true that he was seeking out young Lucy, and that not for good, perhaps those three poor souls who had passed on had, in some way, come into contact with Grimlock and not for their good.  But, of course, this was only speculation.  Grimlock, in the encounters he’d had with him, seemed a wily sort of character, but did not really, in the end, seem given over to that kind of darkness.  The kind that would actually take the life of another’s soul.  Perhaps it was simply coincidence.  Perhaps that was all it was.  Yet Darren would exercise caution in his duties to watch over Lucy.  And if Grimlock ever came on the scene he would need to be prepared to respond in whatever manner such a situation called for, to the possible servant of the dark arts.*   *   *   *   * Alfric read through the correspondence he had received from Darren Merryweather, a letter received a few moments ago in the mail.  It seemed perhaps quite alarming that Grimlock had now moved to Cooma.  Darren’s suspicions and their earlier investigation, while halted due to lack of evidence, would most definitely now need to be proceeded with.  It appeared quite obvious to Alfric that dark forces were at work.  Dark powers were using Grimlock to accomplish malevolent and evil purposes.  Alfric, as head of the ministry of magic in Australia, had received regular correspondence from the various ministries worldwide.  In the last few years dark forces had been growing in their malicious activities and the passion for evil, once thought almost dead by the ministry, had reignited and was approaching, it felt, some sort of climax.  In the world today, Passion, was growing.  It felt that in so many ways in society and in the world, a grand and great plot seemed to be approaching its conclusion.  As if the powers that be had been steadily working towards a conclusion of things.  An ultimate climax to chains of events, perhaps, started in days of ancient times. Alfric had attended a number of seminars in Christian churches recently regarding the ‘end of days’.  The Schwarzenegger movie had been most intriguing when he had first seen it, but it had come and gone with little fanfare.  But, now it seemed, the dark spirits talked of in that movie were, perhaps, at work to accomplish their objectives and realize their ultimate goal of world control.  The darkest of all the lords of evil – the dreaded Antichrist – his fearful and most malicious work seemed to be steadily underway.  And this work Alfric worked steadfastly and faithfully against.  He was not, really, Christian in nature or belief in a fundamental kind.  Yet he did believe in the creator and felt that the themes and ideas of the apocalyptic literature served a purpose in the grand design.  The spiritual and magical energies of the universe worked steadily towards achieving their goals – and the prophetic realities of the biblical texts were born, so Alfric had concluded, of spiritual energy at play.  He looked forward.  He contemplated the future.  And he felt that, while there was still much goodness in the world, darkness was now drawing up its reserves and strengths.  Dark magic had been alive for aeons.  Good wizards had always been around, but the servants of darkness had fought and opposed them for countless centuries.  But now the power of darkness was spreading, infecting the souls and hearts of so many people.  A particular concern was the growing popularity of ‘death metal’ which emphasized hatred of God and goodness, practically preaching death and destruction.  He had seen many youths affected by such music, often causing quite severe psychological damage.  This music had influenced many dark magicians and wizards to practice their dark arts with even greater evil and hatred.  It seemed that portents of destruction were present in the world.  That the dark lord of ancient evil was at work and striving to achieve his most ancient of goals – control and domination of the entire world order.  The most disturbing aspect of the seminars he had recently seen was the theology regarding the mark of the beast – the power of the number 666.  The teacher of the seminar taught that a microchip implanted in the right hand or the forehead, which enabled a universal economic system to be completely controlled and buying and selling of goods far better organised, especially with security concerns, would quite probably appear in the world in the not too distant future.  This electronic mark was the mark of the beast.  Through it the Antichrist and the False Prophet could gain control over the new world order. All of this information was, to Alfric, most disturbing.  Most alarmingly disturbing.  The evil within the heart of mankind was coming to a head.  And an ending known throughout Christendom’s long history, yet recently gone quiet about, simply known as the ‘Great Tribulation’ was perhaps close at hand.  And that tribulation Alfric feared.  If it were to come, life as he knew it would cease.  The world he knew would fade away and be no more.  But, the good news was that the Kingdom would be born.  The eternal Kingdom of the creator would begin a millennial reign.  And the powers of light – the Christ and the Angelic host – would rule over a restored paradise.  If that were to actually eventuate, the tribulation, it would seem, would serve its purpose. Alfric looked out of the window of his office in the ministry offices.  Canberra life was steadily going through its everyday routine.  For now, all seemed fine.  All seemed fine and well.  But in the not too distant future what strange new ways awaited.  What strange new law beckoned for the world he knew as home. Chapter Six “The Dragon Attacks” Rhaemlius Tornanda Daverion, the Wyvvern of Canberra, awoke.  She was hungry.  Oh so hungry.  And with a passion.  The fire had awoken in her veins.  The fire of hunger for new blood.  New life.  New food. She had slept, as usual, a millennium.  This was her standard sleeping pattern she had established since the dawn of youth – the dawn of her creation – in the early days of life of Terra, from were she had emerged to come to the far lands, a place no Wyvvern or dragon seemed to be.  She had fed then, in those dark and early days, on the children of the dreamtime lord’s flesh.  The dark skinned ones whose meat fed her and sustained her in her lonely existence.  Last millennia she had mated.  Dracorion Tashnay Daverion, whose name she had taken, had given her seed.  And she had sensed within her body twins.  Two new wyverns for the community of wyvverndom.  She further sensed their sexes – a male and a female.  This was good news.  Most delightful and joyful good news.  When they had grown she would return to Terra and seek out Dracorion to display her pride, the new children of Rhaemlius. She emerged from her hidden cave, coming out into the trees surrounding the entrance to the cave, along the mountains which the dark skinned ones knew as the Brindabellas. She headed south, to the place she knew food would be available, not to far a flight for one such as herself, a place were she could gorge herself and enjoy the awakening time for a number of years before again returning to her slumber.  In those years she would raise and teach the children which she would birth later that day. Flying along she looked downwards.  A new and strange road seemed to have been made.  Perhaps it would prove useful to follow along.  She spied a number of strange structures, something which she had never really observed previously in her life.  Yet, they were a curiousity only.  Food was needed.  After a long flight, she spied a conglomeration of the structures.  And around them she spied the food she sought.  Although not the dark skinned ones, but rather pale skins.  Still, they would do for food.  One was as good as another. *   *   *   *   * Lucy, Shelandragh and Darren were sitting in front of Michelago general store, sipping on coke and eating through hamburgers.  Michelago was about 50 kilometres north of Chakola, south of Canberra.  Darren had suggested they travel up to the small town to spend some time simply enjoying life and to have a meal.  They would spend some time discussing magic in a new and interesting location. Lucy was enjoying her hamburger.  It was with the ‘Lot’ with extra bacon, which she always enjoyed.  She also had some hot chips, but she had not really bothered with them, only taking a few.  Darren was in conversation with Shelandragh, discussing basic animistic aspects relating to Michelago.  The spirit realm in Michelago was gentle and peaceful – soul-restoring and calmly refreshing.  This was often the spiritual energy which country towns in Australia had associated with them.  They had both noticed the presence of angelic beings and demonic forces who were engaged in a heated matter over by the Catholic Church up the road a little.  One of their, it would seem, regular wars for territory and power. Other spirits were present near them as well, especially a cheeky young Dryad who had made herself known to Darren to ask him who he was.  Lucy was now used to seeing various spiritual beings appear.  These were not usually noticeable by muggles, who were not gifted with the same spiritual awareness which those of the craft had been blessed with.  Earlier that morning, after having been asked some questions by Madalene on the concept of spiritual awareness, Lucy had been reading through the New Testament in various passages.  One of the gifts of God’s spirit was discernment of spirits which, she felt, if the spirit blessed further would give awareness of the spirit realm.  The idea of the gifts of the spirit of 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Lucy felt also had counterparts in the spiritual realm of witchcraft and wizardry.  The abilities of spell-creation, magic manipulation, animistic awareness and other such gifts were, it seemed to Lucy, also a gift from the divine spirit of life, something akin to the gifts which the ecclesia – the church – also possessed.  Darren had been talking about a Pentecostal church he had attended in conversation with Lucy earlier that morning.  He had felt spiritual beings present in the Assembly, often surrounding him with the spirit of love, but often spirits of passion and fire as well.  The experience had been uplifting to Darren, and he had asked God for an appropriate blessing of God’s choosing to be given to him in the Assembly.  Since then, he had felt the divine spirit of fire in work in his heart and mind, giving him new understandings and appreciation for the life of eternity which each human being was birthed with.  Further, it illuminated his mind to the truth that spiritual awakening, often known as the new birth experience within Pentecostalism, was entering the outside world beyond the realms of Christendom.  It was through such avenues as the New Age movement and even traditional witchcraft and wizardry that the divine spirit of life – the eternal fire – was entering the hearts of all the children of the eternal, renewing them and helping them overcome their own difficulties and problems in the spirit of love and kindness and respectful affection which the divine fire eternally displayed.  The fire within Darren had filled his mind with the idea of communicating this new reality –this spiritual awakening – within the hearts of the magical community to the great eternal creative source.  Other spiritual beings, which pagans and other religions sought out for peace, had slowly over the great number of centuries since the beginning of the great powers work of unification, been calling these deities to a place of peace, love and redemption.  Ancient Canaanite gods, who had once suffered the wrath and fury of the Almighty Father had been forgiven and had now accepted the authority of the eternal power.  These Canaanite gods had gone forth into the community of the ‘gods’ to bring the good news of unity, love and peace.  The God of the ancient covenant, the eternal ‘Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh’ had sought peace and grace in the reawakening amongst the spiritual communities of mankind.  One of his once fallen children, ancient Baal, whose priests had once been so savagely slaughtered by the zealous Israelite prophet Elijah, had repented of his rebellion against the Almighty, accepted the truth that his own authority could not and never could challenge the eternal creators spirit, and had gone forth to put his house in order.  Other Canaanite deities, such as Mot and Asherah had also fallen into line.  And the spiritual awakening had gone on throughout the realms of the gods.  Yet, of course, not without opposition.  The ultimate lord of evil, the dark power Satan, continued to reject the offer of resolution which the Almighty perpetually offered to him, instead seeking out the grand destiny of his own servants, the demonic forces, to accomplish his goal of world rulership.  Various deities, such as Zeus, Jupiter and Mars, and various others, had cautiously come into alliance with the Almighty, sensing the ultimate threat of the dark lord in the potential havoc he could unleash upon their dominions.  Ancient Greek and Roman gods, having been passive for many centuries under the authority of Jesus the Christ, had finally broken his yoke in the Tradition of Edom and Jacob, and been accepted again in their standing in the divine community.  And peace had ensued, yet, of course, the threat of the dark lord remained ever present. After sitting a while, Lucy noticed suddenly a large shadow pass over herself, Shelandragh and Darren.  Looking up she jumped when she saw, what would be, her first gaze upon a dragon.  Alarmed she shouted to Darren and Shelandragh to look at the dragon in the sky.  Shelandragh instantly identified the beast.  ‘It is the Wyvvern from Canberra, Darren.  The one who dwells under the city.  I fear it has emerged and is hungry.  We must capture it now.  This type of Wyvvern feeds on human flesh.  If we can communicate with it we must persuade it to partake of sheep and cattle instead.’  ‘And if it refuses?’ asked Darren.  ‘Then we will have to kill it Darren.’  Darren nodded.  Shelandragh looked at Lucy.  ‘Lucy.  You go inside the store.  It will not be safe while we pursue the dragon.  You could become a victim.  Now go girl.  Hurry.  Lucy dutifully obeyed her teacher, and entered the store, quickly going over to the side window to see if she could spy the Wyvvern. Darren and Shelandragh went to the car in which they had driven up to Michelago from Bunyan, Darren’s four wheel drive, and opening the back door, grabbed their broomsticks. A short time later, Darren and Shelandragh were slowly gaining on the dragon, who had been circling around Michelago, perhaps studying out a potential victim.  As they neared, the Wyvvern spotted them and opened its mouth, breathing fire in their direction.  Shelandragh yelled out ‘Hydros’, and a torrent of water went forth, extinguishing the blaze the dragon had bellowed out.  She yelled to Darren.  ‘This breed needs a number of minutes to replenish the chemicals to breathe fire again.  Our time may be short.  I will approach the Dragon and speak to it.  Go over to the side of it and be ready to strike if needs be.’  The Dragon, flapping wings, hovering before them considered its options.  These pale skins, it felt, could make suitable food.  She decided to attack the female who had come forward in front of her.  Before the attack though, she sensed the creature communicating with her mind.  ‘Golden ridged Wyvvern.  You must cease in your intentions.  Humanity has grown strong now.  We no longer fear dragons and are quite capable of fighting and slaying them.  We know you need food and suggest you partake of the sheep and cattle which are all over this region.’  The Dragon considered these words, before responding.  ‘Why should I believe you, human, when creatures such as yourself make such delicious food.  Nay, I think ye lie to myself.  A ruse to trap me and enslaven me to your desires.’  ‘I speak truly, dragon.  We are quite capable of defeating you.  We are ancient spellcasters, and have a long history of studying creatures as yourself.  Our arsenal of magical power can easily defeat and slay creatures such as yourself.  Of this being the case you can most definitely stand assured.’  The dragon looked at the creature but decided not to bother with any further conversation.   She was hungry, and this human creature would suffice for a beginning to her feeding.  She launched forward, ready to swallow the creature, which instantly flew out of reach. Shelandragh looked at Darren and yelled out.  ‘I don’t think our approach is working.  The Dragon does not care about what I have said.  It just wants to eat.’  ‘What do we do?’ Darren yelled back.  ‘I really don’t want to kill it.  This breed is extremely rare, but we have little other option at the moment.’  Darren thought on that.  ‘Perhaps if we try to capture it, a solution can come later.’  Shelandragh nodded.  ‘Okay,’ as she flew out of the reach of another of the dragon’s lunges. ‘Freefall’, yelled Shelandragh at the Dragon, in one of her own created spells.  The Wyvvern started flapping its wings a lot more violently in response to the magical energy which had come upon it, and slowly feeling the weight, began falling down to the ground.’  It hit the dirt with a loud thud, and lay there, apparently contemplating its next move. Darren and Shelandragh flew down and stood in front of the Dragon.  Shelandragh spoke.  ‘Creature.  I warned you about our powers.  We will prevail against you if you persist in your madness.  Cease, and accept our offer of sheep and cattle.’  The dragon looked malevolently at this cursed creature who was controlling it and, sensing it’s fire breathing chemicals now restored, breathed out quick, more ferocious flame, in Shelandragh’s direction.  This time, while Shelandragh was again able to respond with ‘Hydros’, the flames managed to burn much of her clothing, singing her hair and burning some of her scalp.  It hurt like hell.  She retreated a distance and, in a sudden moment of vengeance, screamed to Darren.  ‘Kill the creature, Darren.  It is the only thing we can do.’  Darren nodded and cast the spell ‘Magmas’ at the dragon.  A flame of fire came forth from Darren’s wand, burning a savage hole into the Dragon’s flesh.  It yelled in pain, screaming in agony.  Darren really did not like to finish the encounter like this, but sensed little other option. Shelandragh came over to stand next to Darren as the Dragon began its death throes.  Strangely, though, it managed to stand to its feet and began making a thrusting motion with its body.  Looking on intently, Shelandragh and Darren saw two large eggs, first one, then the other, emerge from the Dragon.  And then, after a final heave, the dragon collapsed on the ground, slowly sinking down to the halls of the dead. The eggs began shaking.  Cracks started appearing, and emerging from them came forth two young dragons.  They came forth, looking at their fallen mother, and puzzling over the two human creatures before them. Darren looked at Shelandragh.  ‘We can not kill them as well, Shelandragh.  I am afraid we will have to take care of them.  They are our responsibility now.’  Shelandragh nodded, still in pain over the singe, and in a state of anxiety over the now fallen dragon. Darren approached the dragons, who were around a metre in length each, and began the process of making friends.  The dragons looked at him in their fresh innocence, perhaps thinking him some sort of parent figure.  Darren, thinking over lessons of bonding he had learned, looked at the dragons, and started walking away from them, his eyes still fixed upon them.  In their first steps of life, the dragons began following him, like obedient young ducklings.  He spoke to Shelandragh.  ‘They’re following me.  If we can get them to the car, we can take them down to Chakola.  They should be safe there.  Shelandragh nodded, still wincing at the pain. They walked, carrying their broomsticks, the few hundred metres over the field they had been in, climbing over a wire fence and returning to the store.  A number of people from the store peered on with grave looks on their faces, not sure what to make of in the sudden appearance of dragons.  Lucy stood near the car, and Shelandragh and Darren, with the dragons following, asked Lucy to open the back door to the four wheel drive, which she did so in response.  Darren managed to lift each of the dragons into the back of the car, and the three of them got inside and very hastily made there way away from the store, heading out of Michelago, back down to Chakola. Chapter Seven ‘Goldie and Silver’ Lucy smiled at the two dragons as they played with each other, trying to bite each others ears.  They were both golden ridged wyverns, yet the female of the twins had a silver streak further down along her spine, going down along the tail.  Because of this Lucy had named the dragons ‘Goldie’ and ‘Silver’. Goldie was, in his youth, a savage and aggressive young Dragon.  He fought Silver most passionately and fiercely.  He would not relent or be persuaded from his attacks upon her until he had achieved his will.  Silver usually avoided Goldie’s attacks but often, when too greatly provoked, established her own space and responded to the often malicious attacks of the passionate Goldie. Lucy, with Shelandragh and Darren looking on, got on the back of ‘Goldie’ who cautiously began walking around the back yard of Shelandragh’s house.  ‘Do you think, when he has grown a little, he may be able to fly with myself sitting on his back?’  ‘Perhaps, young Lucy,’ said Shelandragh.  ‘Dragonriding is popular throughout Europe amongst many witches and wizards, yet we are very careful to make sure that muggles rarely, if ever, notice us.  There are certain spells we use to ensure privacy, which I will teach you one day, but not for now.  Goldie and Silver are still too young to fly, and won’t be able to for a while.’  ‘How long will that be?’ asked Lucy.  Shelandragh thought on that question, and turned to Darren.  ‘I’m not sure with Golden ridged wyverns how long till they can fly.  Have you any idea?’  ‘Dragons are not my specialty, Shelandragh.  Nor wyverns, for that matter.  I think, Lucy, that the dragons will fly when nature teaches them to fly.  Eagles when young are often nudged out of their mother’s nest to get them started, so the same may be true with dragons.  I am sure when they are ready, they will know what to do.’  Lucy looked down at Goldie.  ‘Well, Goldie.  Do you think you and me could one day take to the skies?’  The dragon, for the first time in its life, opened its mouth and spit out a few sparks of fire.’  Lucy jumped.  Shelandragh and Darren both grinned.  ‘Perhaps that was not the answer you were looking for, Lucy,’ said Shelandragh.  ‘As long as that doesn’t happen when we are in the air I won’t really mind, Shelandragh.’ The dragon started walking around the yard, Lucy on top, and began flapping its wings a little.  The Dragons wings, over the last few days, had grown quite rapidly.  Goldies wings were largely black like his mother’s, but there were streaks of Gold and Silver and a dark metallic greenish colour in various streaky patches splayed over the wings.  Silver looked similar, but she had dark blue, instead of the greenish colour on her wings.  Shelandragh had stated to Lucy that this trait was likely inherited from the dragon’s father, as their mother was all black, apart from the Golden spine.  Both of the Dragon’s tongues were bright red, common amongst that breed.  They ate the bales of hay that Shelandragh fed them by licking it up with their tongues.  Shelandragh also fed them various fruits and vegetables, for a balanced diet. ‘Can we have a go now?’ asked Jayden, who had been sitting with his sisters on the back porch, anxiously waiting their turn.  ‘Come on Lucy,’ said Darren.  ‘Its Jayden’s turn.’  Lucy nodded and got on Goldie.  ‘Come on Goldie.  Walk this way.’  Lucy led Goldie over to Jayden, who climbed up with a big smile on his face.  ‘Fly Goldie.  Flap your wings,’ said Jayden, anxious to see if the dragon would obey.  ‘She’s not going to fly, you dork,’ said Madalene.  ‘Shut up Maddie.  She can fly.  Flap your wings Goldie.’  Georgia pulled on Shelandragh’s coat.  ‘Can Goldie fly,’ she asked, in her usual faint voice.  ‘Probably not until she is older, Georgia.’  ‘You have 5 minutes, Jayden, then it is my turn,’ said Madalene.  Don’t forget I am counting.’  ‘Whatever,’ said Jayden. Half an hour later, after David’s children had each had a turn, the kids were in the loungeroom of Shelandragh’s house playing monopoly, while Darren and Shelandragh were sitting at the kitchen table, drinking tea. ‘Of course, Wyvvern’s can be quite dangerous as they get older.  Like all wild animals, they have a fierce spirit which is often difficult to train.’  Darren nodded at Shelandragh’s comments.  ‘Do you think this will possibly endanger Lucy?’  ‘Not yet.  Wyvvern’s are extremely intelligent and can communicate in any known language.  Their brains work intuitively to understand the sense of what is being spoken or said by someone or something approaching them.  They can understand every human language and all animal forms of communication.  They generally rival mankind in intelligence in this respect.  Because of this, we have the opportunity to teach Goldie and Silver while they are young.  If we can instil within them a sense of respect for human life, we can go a long way to taming their savagery.  They could, over the long term, prove very useful companions to Lucy.’  ‘How do they speak?’  ‘Their minds send out a form of psychic energy which the listener hears in his or her mind.  Dark wyverns and dragons can, if they so choose, use an extreme amount of willpower to almost control the mind and thoughts of their adversaries.  They are a most fierce opponent because of this.’  ‘When should we start trying to teach them?’  ‘I think in a few weeks they should be developed enough for our first instructive lessons.  Anyway, another cup of tea?’  Darren nodded and Shelandragh poured out for Mr Merryweather another cup of the finest Lady Grey. *   *   *   *   * Lindsay smiled at Lucy’s comment.  ‘Yes, Lucy.  I like the car as well.’  ‘It looks just like Herbie, Lindsay,’ said Lucy.  ‘Yes.  That was intentional.  The number 53 is Herbie’s number, so I thought I would decorate my bug in the same fashion as Herbie.’  ‘Are you really going to race it up in the festival in Canberra?’  ‘I don’t really know for sure, Lucy.  I was thinking of entering the car more as a funny joke or something humorous.  But the organizers didn’t mind, so I may show up.  I haven’t mind up my mind, though.’  ‘You really should enter the competition, Lindsay.  I think you could come first.’  ‘Come first?  Yeh, it would be nice to come first.’  ‘What do you call the car, Lindsay?’  ‘Well, Herbie of course, Lucy.  What else could I possibly call it?’ Lindsay was a friend of David and Brigid’s, who had driven out to Chakola to show her new Volkswagen bug to David’s kids and Lucy. ‘Can we have a go in riding with you, Lindsay?’ asked Jayden.  ‘Everyone get in,’ said Lindsay.  Lucy, Jayden, Madalene and Georgia all climbed into Lindsay’s Volkswagen.  ‘Remember to go as fast as possible,’ said Jayden.  ‘Shut up,’ said Madalene to Jayden.  ‘Don’t go fast,’ said Georgia.  Lucy, sitting in the front seat next to Lindsay, gave Lindsay a little grin and said.  ‘Go fast, Lindsay.’  ‘Hold on everyone,’ yelled Lindsay, as the bug pulled out of the schoolhomes driveway, belting down to the crossing.  ‘Too fast,’ complained Georgia.  ‘Don’t worry, Georgia,’ said Madalene.  ‘Lindsay is a good driver. The car crossed over the crossing and made its way along the dirt track towards the other houses in Chakola.  ‘Did David leave the gates open?’ Lindsay asked Lucy.  Lucy nodded.  ‘But we have to shut them on the way back,’ said Madalene.  Lindsay nodded, and the car zoomed up around a bend, steadily making its way up to Oak hill, were David’s caravan was situated. When they got to the caravan, Lindsay spun the bug around on the dirt track in front of the caravan a few times, the screams of the children indicating pure delight.  Eventually Lindsay brought the car up next to the caravan, turned off the engine, and told the children to exit. ‘There is some coke cans in the fridge in the caravan, as well as heaps of chips in the cupboard,’ said Madalene.  ‘I’ll get them,’ said Jayden.  Lucy, Madalene, Georgia and Lindsay sat down on the benches alongside the caravan.  Shortly Jayden returned with 5 cans of Coke and some packets of crisps. ‘What do you do in Canberra, Lindsay?’ Madalene asked Lindsay.  ‘Oh, different things.  I have a couple of part-time jobs.  One in MacDonald’s, and another in a café in Barton.  The rest of the time I am studying.  ‘What are you studying?’ asked Jayden.  ‘An arts degree.  Not sure what I will concentrate on yet, but an arts degree for now.  I might study something else later.’  Georgia, who was over by the front of the caravan, suddenly yelled out.  ‘Look.’  She soon came to the others, holding a croaking toad in her hand, covered with dirt.  ‘Ooh, gross,’ said Madalene.  Lucy looked at it.  ‘It’s a frog, isn’t it?’  Lindsay looked at it, ‘I think it’s a toad, actually.’  ‘If you kiss it, it will turn into a handsome prince, Lindsay.  Go on kiss it,’ said Jayden.’  ‘That’s disgusting, Jayden.  Why don’t you kiss it, Gayden.  I am sure you would like a prince to kiss,’ said Madalene.  ‘Shut up, Maddy.  Don’t call my gay.  I’m not gay.  I’m straight.’  ‘Jayden’s gay, Jayden’s gay,’ teased Madalene.’  Lindsay looked at the two children, a little shocked at such language.  ‘Don’t worry about them, said Lucy.  They talk like that all the time.  Brigid calls them ferals.’  ‘A very suitable title, I think,’ said Lindsay. Later on, after Lindsay had left for Canberra, Lucy and the kids were watching Star Wars episode I in the schoolhome.  Lucy, thinking on Lindsay, thought she was a pretty young woman and admired her maturity.  Thinking on Queen Amidala, Lucy thought Lindsay and Amidala were alike in some ways.  Both grown up and responsible.  It was something, hearing so many lessons from her mother and Shelandragh, that she felt a little inspired to try to grow in to as well.  It would be wonderful to be all grown up like Lindsay.  To be in charge of your own life and to live as you pleased.  Hopefully she would grow up into a mature young lady like both of them. *   *   *   *   * Doug looked at the gravestone of Bradrick, one of the Stoned Philosophers.  Their deaths had saddened him.  The Xtreme Kings had been close to the philosophers.  They, in a strange way, looked up to the dudes.  They were older than them and had trodden through paths of life, perhaps, from Doug’s perspective, paths they shouldn’t have trodden.  But the philosophers had shared the wisdom they had gleaned from life and had encouraged the Kings to learn from their mistakes.  Doug, particularly, had learned from the Philosophers much about boozing and drug use.  He remembered a conversation with Bradrick.  ‘Doug.  Lad.  You can call me a hypocrite, which my loving fans often do, but lad, don’t get into the drug scene.  It will fuck you up in the end.  When I was younger I made mistakes.  I didn’t learn what I should have – what my parents taught me.  Me and the philosophers are bastards, in many ways.  But we are wise bastards.  Not rich bastards – fuck em all – but we are wise bastards.  Don’t make our mistakes, lad.  Don’t make our mistakes.’ Doug had thought on the drug thing.  He had smoked it a little, against Bradrick’s advice, but had given it away.  He had thought on the issue and decided, with his potential in music, the drug scene could perhaps cost him some of his success.  Dudes who could have made it were too fucked up by drugs so much of the time that they never got their act together and achieved what they could have.  There were exceptions – that was true – but old fashioned sobriety usually ruled in the land of success.  That idea, Doug felt, was the probable truth. ‘Rest in peace, Bradrick.  Rest in peace, dude.’  Doug threw the flowers he had bought down on the grave of Bradrick and taking a last look, made his way over to Ty and Jerry who were hanging over near the fence of the cemetery.  ‘Did what you needed to?’ asked Jerry.  ‘Yeh,’ said Doug, sombrely.  ‘Come on, lets hit maccas,’ said Ty.  ‘This place is depressing.’  As the three Xtreme Kings made there way up to Mittagong Road, Doug turned to look at the cemetery.  Such is life and death, he thought to himself.  Such is life and death. *   *   *   *   * Jayden, against Shelandragh’s strict warning, had creeped into the backyard of Shelandragh’s house late one Saturday afternoon, having walked all the way from Chakola on his own, to see if he could in fact achieve his dream of flying on one of the Dragon’s.  Nobody was in the back yard, so he climbed the fence, and walked over to the pen were the two dragon’s were caged.  He undid the gate, and carefully encouraged Goldie to follow him out into the garden.  He closed the gate, so Silver could not get out, and got onto the back of Goldie.  ‘Giddy-up,’ he yelled to Goldie, encouraging him to start moving.  ‘What are you doing, Jayden?’  Jayden jumped, and looked around.  He did not see anyone anywhere, but a voice had spoken to him.  Was he hearing things, he thought to himself.  He yelled giddy up again, and the voice spoke again.  ‘I suppose you want me to fly, don’t you?’  Jayden looked down at Goldie.  ‘Are you speaking to me Goldie?’  ‘Who else?’  ‘How do you do that?’  ‘No idea.  Just seems to happen.’  ‘That’s awesome,’ said Jayden, amazed at the new phenomenon.  ‘Well, can you fly?’  ‘I don’t think I can do that yet.  I have tried a little, but can’t quite manage it.  But soon I should be able to.  I should warn you, young man, that I sense Shelandragh looking at us.’  Jayden looked to the back window of Shelandragh’s house, and noted Shelandragh staring at him.  He gave a little smile, and shrugged his shoulders.  Shelandragh looked at him for a few moments more, and closed the curtain.  He waited for the back door to open, but after a minute or so, Shelandragh had still not appeared.  Perhaps she didn’t mind him playing with Goldie, so he decided not to worry about it. He rode Goldie around the back yard for a few minutes, when the back door opened and Lucy came outside.  ‘Hello Jayden.  Shelandragh told me you were out here.’  ‘What did she say?  Am I in trouble?’  ‘She didn’t say anything like that.  She just said you were in the back yard.’  ‘Oh,’ said Jayden.  ‘I guess she didn’t mind me riding the dragon.’  ‘She’s probably used to the kind of things kids get up to.’  Jayden nodded, puzzling a little on that statement.  ‘Were is Maddy and Georgia?’  ‘Back in Canberra.  I came down with dad for the weekend to stay at the farm.  We got here just before lunch.’  ‘Oh, right.  Oh – just wait a second.’  Lucy went back inside and returned a few moments later with a camera.  ‘Smile Jayden.’  Jayden gave a big grin, and Lucy took a few photos on her digital camera of Jayden riding the dragon around the yard. Later on, Jayden shared with Lucy the news of the dragon speaking to him, which Lucy had said had also happened to her.  ‘I don’t think they are quite ready to fly yet, J.  Perhaps in a few week.’  Jayden nodded.  ‘Hopefully I will be the first to fly them.’  ‘Not if I beat you to it,’ said Lucy, smiling at her friend. The two of them spent the rest of the afternoon playing some boardgames in Shelandragh’s living room, Mr Merryweather joining them.  Jayden found himself really happy around Lucy and Shelandragh.  They were friends in his life which he at his young age had really needed.Chapter Eight ‘Grimlock’s Agenda’ Grimlock knocked on the door of ‘Minoxxia’ which was the home to Shelandragh May, the teacher of the half-blood Lucy Potter which he had been assigned by his dark lord to corrupt.  He had sent Shelandragh a letter earlier that week giving her news of his new store and requesting an audience with one of the local witches.  Shelandragh had responded positively, glad to see the opening of the new store and had invited him for Sunday afternoon tea. After a few moments, the door opened, and the appearance of Darren Merryweather gave him a startling shock.  ‘Mr Grimlock.  How pleasant to see you.  You seem to be quite a fair distance from home.  What brings you to Bunyan?’  Grimlock thought quickly on a story to explain to his adversary.  ‘Umm.  Yes.  Well, I grew up in Cooma and have decided to move back here to open a store here on the mainland.  The Hobart scene, while steady, has become dull.  Cooma seems a much more interesting spiritual climate to pursue my trade in.  I feel business here will be far more enjoyable.  I have been aware of Miss May’s notoriety for a number of years, and have requested an audience, to which she has most graciously acceded.’  ‘Of course.  Well, come in Mr Grimlock.  Oh, just a thing.  I have never actually asked you what your first name is.  Do you mind if I ask?’  ‘No.  I don’t mind.’  Darren looked at him for a few moments, waiting for the name, which was not forthcoming.  ‘The name,’ he urged Mr Grimlock.  ‘Oh the name.  Yes, will, it is Grim.’  Darren looked at him strangely, considering that name.  ‘May I come inside, Mr Merryweather?’  ‘Certainly.’  Darren stood aside, and Grimlock entered the abode of Miss Shelandragh May. Grimlock walked down a short hall, coming to the main lounge-room, were who he presumed was Shelandragh May was talking with the probable young Lucy Potter.  Darren, who had followed him, spoke to Shelandragh.  ‘This is Mr Grimlock.  Mr Grim Grimlock, I think.’  Grimlock gave him a strange look, which unsettled Darren.  Shelandragh got to her feet.  ‘Mr Grimlock.  Please, come in.  Sit yourself down.’  Grimlock sat down on a vacant lounge.  ‘Hello Mr Grimlock,’ said the young Lady.  ‘My name’s Lucy.’  ‘Lucy.  What a wonderful name.  It is my great pleasure to meet you, young lady.’  Lucy smiled, happy at Mr Grimlock’s kind words.  ‘Mr Grimlock.  Would you care for some tea or coffee?  I have some assorted spirits if that is more your thing.’  ‘Tea would be fine, Miss May.  Whatever you have.’  Darren sat down on a single lounge seat near Grimlock.  ‘Lucy.  I have known Mr Grimlock for a while now.  When I was working in Hobart I used to visit his store.  It is a small world, though, having him turn up here in Bunyan.  Very small indeed.’  ‘What do you do?’  Lucy asked Grimlock.  ‘I am, like Miss May, who I presume is your teacher, a master of the arts.  I have opened a shop, the Dragon’s lair, just recently in Cooma.  I am making myself known to the local magical community.  I was actually raised here, just up the road a little, but left at an extremely young age, so remember next to nothing of the place.’  ‘I thought you grew up here,’ interjected Darren.  ‘Oh, yes, in a manner of speaking.  I left when I was 5 years old, and have only dim memories of my childhood.  I think, though, that still qualifies for growing up here.’  Darren nodded, although the look on his face belied the obvious suspicion that Grimlock felt Mr Merryweather now must surely have towards himself. ‘Tell me, Lucy.  What have you learned from Miss May?  What areas of magic has she educated you in?’  ‘Different things, I guess.  Probably the same as the other student’s she has taught.’  Grimlock nodded at that information.  ‘Yes, I imagine she would.  Miss May is known in the Tasmanian community for her innovative work in animistic wizardry.  This field is most old, but has been untouched by the greater magical community for a while now.  Dark powers, you see.  Dark powers often are attracted to animistic wizardry.’  ‘Why is that, Mr Grimlock?’  ‘Well, as I assume your teacher has taught you, Animism involves spirits.  Not all magic is based around living spirits – in fact, in practice, very little these days.  Dark wizards, however, do often employ demonic forces to assist them in their endeavours.  Our culture is replete with such legends, of which I would assume you may have seen some old movies involving such things as incantations summoning demons.  Lucy nodded.  ‘Yes.  Supernatural on TV goes on about stuff like that.’  Grimlock nodded, also aware of the television show.  ‘Well, the animistic spirit realm has many dark spirits inhabiting it.  When magic is involved on a regular basis, word is often carried to the darker powers.  It is a reason why such an area of magic is often shied away from in our modern culture.  But, nonetheless, it is there, as it has always been.’  ‘Shelandragh has never talked about any problems around here involving dark spirits?  It has not been a problem for me?’  ‘Yes.  I have noticed that myself.  I have sensed that this immediate area for a number of kilometres is enveloped in a spiritual haven, as it were.  There are forces – binding spiritual forces – which make the outer realms unaware of the activities here.’  Darren nodded at that information.  ‘I am surprised you have noticed that, Grimlock.’  ‘Yes.  I was aware after a few days of living in Cooma.’  ‘So we won’t have any problems with these dark spirits, then?’  asked Lucy, innocently.  ‘No.  I would imagine not, young Miss Lucy.’ Shelandragh entered the room, carrying a tray with 4 mugs and some biscuits upon them.  ‘I have made tea for each of us.  I have not added the milk, but you can add that yourself.  It is in this jug.’  ‘I thank you kindly, Miss May.  Your hospitality is most appreciated.’  Shelandragh nodded at Grimlock’s words.  ‘How is your store coming along, Mr Grimlock,’ Shelandragh asked him.  ‘Oh – the usual fare for a new store.  I sell many candles, charms, and much jewellery items, which was my usual source of income in Hobart.  Most customers like magical iconography rather than taking a great interest in the arts themselves.  Although I have sold a number of books on magic as well.  Mostly introductory texts.’  Shelandragh nodded.  ‘Well, I will most definitely be visiting your store quite soon.  Probably tomorrow morning, if you are open at that time.’  ‘Yes.  I live in the flat above the store, and am often downstairs early in the morning.  I am quite happy to welcome people if I am up.’  Grimlock took a sip of tea from his mug.  ‘Mmm.  Is this earl grey?  It tastes a little different.  A little softer.’  ‘It is Lady Grey, Mr Grimlock.’  ‘Lady Grey?  They have Lady Grey?’  ‘Yes.  For quite a while now, actually.’  Grimlock nodded.  ‘I will have to make a purchase of some.  Is there any available in Cooma?’  ‘I order mine from England, but there are usually packets available in Cooma and Canberra.  I have a spare box if you would like to take some.’  ‘Thank you kindly, Miss May.  That would be most appreciated.’ Grimlock turned to Lucy.  ‘Lucy.  Are you a full-blood or a half-blood?’  ‘I am a half-blood, Mr Grimlock.  My father was gifted in the art, but mum is a Muggles.’  ‘I see.  In the old world there is still some discrimination towards half-bloods.  Most primitive, in my view.  We should be grateful for all those who develop talent in the arts, whatever their lineage.  I, myself, am a half-blood also.  My father was a gifted wizard, but not given to much in the way of actually practicing his art.  He settled with mother for a regular life, coming out to Australia just before I was born.  He has passed on now, and so has mother.  He did not make much of a fuss over magical things, but did explain my giftings to me when I was 10.  He had never intended me to pursue magic as a career, but I felt drawn to it in my teens.  And now it is my major preoccupation.  Something which fills in most of my time.’  ‘Tell me, Mr Merryweather.  Are you married?  Do you have any children?’  ‘Er, no.  Not married.  I did have a wife, once.  But she died a few weeks after our marriage in a car accident.’  ‘Oh, I am so sorry, Mr Grimlock.’  ‘Thank you.  Yes, Matilda was dear to my heart.  She was a muggles, like mother, but kind and sweet.  My better half, for those few days.  My better half in so many ways.’  ‘I pray she sings with the angels, Mr Grimlock.’  Said Shelandragh.  ‘I do hope you are right, Miss May.’ *   *   *   *   * Later on, while the four of them were in the back yard with young Lucy riding around on Silver’s back, Mr Grimlock excused himself from his conversation with Darren and Shelandragh to go and speak with Lucy.  ‘So, Miss Potter.  How do you feel you are developing in the arts?  How do you feel your talent is coming along?’  ‘Alright, I think, Mr Grimlock.’  ‘Have you actually cast any animistic spells?’  ‘A few.  I cast Hydros Conflagius at my home a few weeks ago.’  ‘Hydros Conflagius,’ said Mr Grimlock, his eyebrow tilted.  ‘Yes.  And a little sprite gushed water all over me.  It was very embarrassing.’  ‘I could imagine,’ said Mr Grimlock.  ‘Has Miss May given you any knowledge of the dark spells?  I assume with someone your age she would have only mentioned them.’  ‘Well, actually, I have been thinking about creating my own spell.  I have learned about spell creation, and though about creating a spell called Shadorius Tempest.  It is based on an idea I got from an Asatru book called ‘Born of Thunder’.  ‘You have read ‘Born of Thunder’, said Mr Grimlock, a spark in his voice.  ‘Not all of it.  I am nearly finished, though.’  ‘Mmm.  I guess Shadorius Tempest is somehow based on the Shadow Storm?’  ‘Yes.  That is were I got the idea.  How did you know?’  ‘Oh, I read greatly on pagan mythology.   ‘Born of Thunder’ is a very popular new work in the pagan community.  So tell me.  How would you go about creating such a spell?  Are you aware of the basics of spell-creation?’  ‘Well, Shelandragh has shared with me the basic idea for how it is done.  How to create spiritual energy in the spiritual realm and harness is.  I have the books with the ‘Shados’ and ‘Shados Redux’ spells, which I think if I combine with the ‘Tempest’ part of ‘Aquarius Tempest’ I should be able to create the spell.  Grimlock nodded, quite impressed by the obvious well thought out logic the young lady had shown.  ‘Well, Lucy.  If you would like, I could help you to create that spell.  I have created a number of spells, myself, and would be most willing to help you to create this one, if you so desire.  I would only be so happy to assist such ambition as you have shown.’  ‘Well, I guess so.  But when?’  ‘Mmm.  Well, I would not want to interfere with the lessons between you and Shelandragh.  But if you would like to visit my shop in Cooma sometimes, we could go upstairs to my flat to work on the spell.’  ‘Well if my mum says its okay, then sure.’  ‘Oh, of course.  Naturally I will introduce myself to your mother so that she can get to know me.  I tell you what.  Why don’t I come and see your mother when you have finished here.  I am free for the rest of the day and night, so it will not be a problem to me.’  ‘Okay.  Mum will pick me up at 6.00 tonight.  You could introduce yourself to her then.’  Grimlock nodded, satisfied with that information.  ‘That would be most ideal, young Lucy.’ A little after 6.00, Caroline arrived at Shelandragh’s place.  Grimlock introduced himself and inquired into the possibility of also teaching Lucy some principles of magic.  Caroline had inquired of Shelandragh wether this was alright.  Darren had voiced some minor concerns, but Shelandragh had stated that Caroline was the one to decide on such an issue.  But she had stated that she had no objection to Mr Grimlock likewise teaching young Lucy.  Caroline had asked wether Lucy would like to study with Mr Grimlock as well, to which Lucy had nodded in the affirmative.  ‘Well, okay then.  That’s alright with me.’  Lucy had smiled, pleased at the news.  Mr Grimlock had smiled also, seemingly also pleased with the news.  Quite pleased. *   *   *   *   * ‘I think, Alfric, that more caution is now needed.  Grimlock has been successful in gaining lessons with Lucy, and although we still have nothing concrete on him, there is really no telling what he could teach her.’  ‘And these lessons are to be a private affair, Darren?  You could not possibly sit in?’  ‘Perhaps.  I don’t think Lucy would mind, but Grimlock may object.  And I am not really in a strong enough position to influence Caroline on the issue yet.  I am not quite sure what to do about the issue.’  Alfric paused before continuing.  ‘Perhaps a few subtle, but mind you subtle, words to Lucy to be a little cautious about Grimlock.  Suggest to her that with new teachers it is important to be careful and sound them out.  She will probably think you are advising of ‘beware of strangers’ or some such similar lesson.  I am sure she will listen to what you have to say.’  ‘Yes, that sounds like a good idea.  I will go with that then.  Thanks.’  ‘Well, keep in touch.  I will call you on your mobile again in a few days for an update.  And, finally, now that Grimlock has moved to Cooma and is teaching Lucy I feel that your tenure with young Miss Potter is to be as I said previously of an indefinite nature.  You can probably write in at least 5 or 6 years worth of living in Cooma into your diary.  We want to keep our eyes on this lass.  If Grimlock has any negative influence, she will have to be nurtured away from those elements.  It is your responsibility, Darren.  A young lady’s future is at steak.’  ‘Okay, Alfric.  Talk to you later.’  ‘bye.’  Darren placed his mobile phone back in his pocket, and continued driving along the highway back to his flat in Cooma. Pulling into the long driveway up to his flat, he thought on his ward, young Lucy.  She was a bright young lady, so mature for someone so young.  And intelligent too.  But Shelandragh had stated that much of this was to do with her mother’s influence and careful teaching.  Lucy had potential.  Great potential.  One day, as Alfric had stated, she may indeed find a place on the Australian Ministry of Magic, if she so desired.  What appeared to be her fine grooming by her mother, and obvious personal abilities, spoke of potentially one of the ministries early heroes.  The ministry in Australia was not old.  Not even a century.  And as such it was still establishing itself in a sense.  Young Lucy had, if she wanted it, the opportunity to establish herself in the halls of fame amongst the magical community of Australia.  Too be one of the more memorable and prominent figures in the lore of Australian magic.  And as a Potter, if her lineage ever became well known, fame internationally as well. Climbing up the white steps to his flat, and taking the door on the right, Darren entered his abode.  It was pretty basic.  A main living room, with an adjoining kitchenette.  Also a single bedroom and bathroom.  There was a laundry around the back of the flats, but Darren had been using the local laundrette just a little walk down Sharp street from his flat. After having a basic microwave meal, Darren picked up one of the books he had been reading.  It was a book about the Cooma region he had bought from a shop on Vale street.  One of the shop attendants, Hugo, had suggested it when he had been looking for books about Cooma.  He had been reading about the history of the town, which was known as the gateway to the snowy mountains.  Lambie street was the oldest section of Cooma, just down the road from where he lived.  He had visited an art gallery on that street a couple of days after arriving.  Opposite his flat when looking out the main windows was nanny goat hill.  He had climbed the hill a few days ago, and noticed a concrete nanny goat near the lookout at the top.  He wondered to himself just how many kids had played with that nanny-goat, which was the kind of thing he would have done as a child. The hill, being in the centre of town, also seemed the kind of place were youths of the town might go on Saturday nights to drink beer and get wasted.  Although, the pubs seemed to service most of this, he suspected that under-agers might occasionally frequent the place.  He actually found himself liking Cooma quite a lot.  It was similar to many country towns throughout Australia, typical for its region really.  The general animistic spirits for the region seemed appropriate and not out of place.  A nice fresh feel.  The kind of place, he felt, were family could be safely raised.  Away from some of the more savage places like Sydney and Melbourne, which were often a challenge for some people.  Most of the suburbs were okay, but the inner cities could often be dangerous, especially at night.  He doubted that Cooma really had any such great problems.  Of course, the incident in the park was alarming, but through conversations he’d had it seemed such events were rare, life usually going on at a steady country-town pace.  Yes, perhaps one day, if family came his way, Cooma might make an ideal place to raise family.  He had a girlfriend, sort of, in Sydney, who he saw every few months.  She was single and said she didn’t need a lot of male companionship, but enjoyed his company whenever he turned up.  Carol was very preoccupied with her career at the moment, and was not ready for settling down to family.  She was in a large carpeting company, which had a number of storefronts around Sydney.  She worked in the main office, just under the Area manager.  It was busy and demanding work, and she worked very hard to keep her job and the good pay packet that went with it.  Darren’s pay packet was not that substantial in comparison.  The ministry was funded partially private by the magical community, and with a secret government fund as well.  The Prime Minister and certain other secret personnel within the Government and its agencies had knowledge of the Ministry, but it was on high level intelligence status, protected by various confidential information Acts.  A great deal of funding, due to the necessity to keep the ministries affairs away from prying eyes was not really possible, but with the other income, it was still a reasonable wage.  In a sense, working in the ministry was a calling or a devotion.  It was not a job to make huge amounts of money.  In the private market, magic, to the right customer, could earn quite a deal.  But for those in the arts who valued the sense of tradition and importance that magic brought to the community, a more serious occupation was often sought.  It was such an occupation that Darren, after a number of stints at various things in his early twenties, had eventually gravitated too.  And it seemed that it had security, which was always appealing – as well as long term prospects for advancement.  It was, for Mr Merryweather, a sensible choice in occupation, and one in which he found calm satisfaction.  Often eventful but, yes, calm satisfaction.  Chapter Nine ‘The Secret Chamber’ ‘Well, fortunately the spell worked.  Nobody disturbed the Dragon’s body after I cast the ‘Vanishos’ spell, and when I saw the body this morning it was all intact.  The remains are here in this vase.’  Shelandragh showed to Darren a black vase, quite big, containing the ashes of the Golden Ridged Wyvvern.’  ‘What are you going to do with the Ashes?’ asked Lucy.  ‘I think, Lucy, out of respect for our fallen foe, we lay them to rest in her home – the cavern were she slept under Canberra.’  ‘Oh.  Can I come?’  ‘If your mother does not mind.  We will go tomorrow morning.  If you are here before 8.00  we will head off then.  Do you want to tag along Darren?’  ‘Should prove interesting.  My new book is progressing slowly, so I often have free time.  I can come.’  Lucy smiled, pleased at Darren words.  Darren had told Lucy that much of his work involved writing, which was not technically a lie, as he was in fact slowly working on a book of magic, which was, however, used as a ruse or excuse to Lucy to explain how he spent his time.  ‘I have a lantern in my flat.  Is the journey long?’  ‘About 15 kilometres, there and 15 back, and only by foot.  It will take us all day, and much of the night.  However, once we get into the heart of the cave, about a kilometre of travelling down, the going is alright.  Not too difficult.  We will need a few lanterns, and many wicks and kerosene.  I will prepare a packed lunch for all of us, which we can eat when we arrive in the main cavern.  I want to spread the ashes and pray a short prayer when we get there.  Lucy, it will be okay if you look around the main cavern a little.  But there is probably not really anything to look at.  Wyvvern’s, this kind anyway, do not really collect any possessions, so there will probably be a bunch of bones and little else.  But you are free to look around.’  Lucy smiled, looking forward to the morning’s adventure. *   *   *   *   * Standing in front of Minoxxia, Lucy looked at the early morning traffic.  Bunyan was a small hutlet, just out of Cooma, but many travellers left for Canberra from Cooma each morning along the Monaro highway.  It was just a little after 7.00, her mother having just dropped her off.  Shelandragh had asked her to stand outside and wait for Darren, who had rung her to say he would be arriving at a quarter past seven.  There were no clouds in the sky that morning.  It would probably be a warm day, as spring was nearly over with, and Summer was approaching.  Australia had many hot places in Summer from what she remembered from her early days travels, but Bunyan had reasonable weather.  It wasn’t too hot in Summer, although the winter’s could be chilly, as they were near the Snowy mountains were it snowed in winter.  But it suited Lucy to live in Chakola, which was just a little away from Bunyan. She heard a car horn honking, and looked up the road to see Darren’s four wheel drive pulling up.  ‘Shelandragh.  Darren’s hear,’ she yelled.  Shelandragh appeared a few moments later, with a large hammock, and some lanterns.  Darren got out of the car and opened the boot.  ‘I have a few things packed for our trip, Shelandragh.’  He pushed some bags towards the back seat, making room for Shelandragh’s hammock and lanterns.  ‘I would like to get some petrol at Bredbo, and you can get a drink there if you like Lucy.’  ‘As long as its Coke.’  ‘As long as its Coke,’ Darren repeated. *   *   *   *   * Lucy sat on a bench in Bredbo park, drinking her Coke.  Bredbo was up the road from Chakola, before Michelago.  It was a bit larger than Michelago, but not a big town – more of a village.  She had been there a number of times, usually with her mother, who had a friend who lived there.  The village was called the city of Poplars, as a large number of Poplar trees were scattered throughout the village.  It was a quiet town, which suited Lucy, something which living in Chakola she had grown accustomed to. ‘Come on Lucy, time to go.’  Lucy got up in response to Shelandragh’s call, and made her way over to the car.  When they had gotten under way again, Shelandragh began explaining how they would get to the cave.  ‘We can take the back road to Tharwa, just at Williamsdale, and there are number of tracks we can take from the Tidbinbilla tracking station.  I don’t think we will be seen, but I think much of the land leading up to the Brindabellas is private property.  We will have to walk the few kilometres from the tracking stations as I don’t know of any roads we can take.’  Darren nodded, taking in that news.  ‘Whereabouts is the cave?’   ‘About halfway up the Brindies.  They are not a big mountain range, as you might know, and are not difficult to climb.  The cave is likely well known these days, and is probably a popular destination for cavers.  I haven’t really looked into any established ways for getting to the cave, but I don’t think we need to worry about a one-off visit.  If anyone catches us and asks what we are doing we will simply say we are visiting the cave.  I’m sure it will be okay.’  ‘It’ll be fine, Shelandragh.’ *   *   *   *   * ‘Of course, when I first visited the cave, it was still generally a secret chamber which only the aborigines knew about, as it was hidden by many trees.  But it has become known about for a number of years now.’  The three of them had just started climbing up the Brindabellas, heading for the once secret chamber.  Shelandragh had been sharing with Darren and Lucy her tale of her first visit to the cave a number of years ago.  Lucy had been listening intently, especially to the part were Shelandragh had come upon the dragon.  ‘We will be all day, of course, travelling to the chamber and back, but we will rest every hour Lucy.  I am sure, while you will be exhausted by days end, you will not regret the journey.’  ‘I am sure I will be okay, Shelandragh.  I walk a lot to Chakola from Bunyan, and am used to long walks.  I can make it.’  ‘Let’s hope so, young lady,’ said Darren, who was dreading the thought of carrying an exhausted young Lucy back when she was too tired to walk on. About 20 minutes later they had arrived at the entrance to the cave, which was quite large, but hidden by a cleft in the mountain.  Shelandragh readied the Lantern’s, lighting them, and handing one each to Darren and Lucy.  She placed the hammock she had been carrying down near the entrance to the cave and removed items of food and drink from them.  ‘If you carry these in your backpacks, it will be easier for all of us,’ she said, handing to Lucy and Darren each of the lunch-packs she had prepared.  Lucy and Darren placed the lunches in their backpacks, Lucy taking a sip of water from her drink bottle.  ‘Well, lets get going.  Darren, if you will.’  Darren led the way down into the cave, and their day’s adventure began in earnest. *   *   *   *   * After a couple of hours of stalagmites and stalactites, and even the occasional bat, Lucy was getting tired.  ‘It is a long trip, Lucy.  But I am sure you will be grateful for it one day.  It will prove a valuable memory for yourself.’  Lucy nodded, encouraged at Shelandragh’s words.  The trio broke for a 5 minute rest, and then started again.  Lucy thought on the day’s walk ahead of her and momentarily regretted her decision to join Shelandragh and Darren.  But she changed her mind and thought that, as Shelandragh had said, it may prove an interesting memory one day. About 7 hours later, they finally arrived at the cavern of the Dragon.  There had only been minor caves on their journey, the route usually pretty easy to follow.  Darren had inquired as to why nobody had ever found the dragon, as he had assumed the cave would have been explored regularly.  ‘Actually, I am guilty of that not being well known.  When I first found the dragon, I placed a spell at the entrance of the cave later to show a deep abyss and a solid wall across from the abyss.  It took me half a day of solid witchcraft to prepare all the necessary deception spells to confuse any potential investigators upon finding the abyss.  I have never noted any one talk of the dragon on the news, so it would seem my spells were successful.’  ‘But Canberra has been settled for a number of years now.  Exactly how long ago did you cast these spells,’ asked Darren, his curiousity arisen.  ‘Mmm.  Perhaps you should ask Alfric about that,’ said Shelandragh, giving Lucy a little wink. Entering the cavern Lucy began exploring.  As Shelandragh had stated, there were a number of bones around the cavern, perhaps Kangaroo, and perhaps even human, so Lucy thought.  But nothing out of the ordinary.  The dragon had made a nest out of old branches which she had presumably carried into the chamber.  ‘It would have probably taken her a few days worth of work to build this nest, Lucy.  But I guess she would have preferred the privacy of the cave for her long slumber.’  ‘Yes, they sleep a millennia, don’t they?’ asked Lucy.  ‘That’s right.  This is mostly peculiar to this breed of Wyvvern, and some other magical creatures as well.  Certain breeds of Cockatrice often sleep near 2 millennia, so I have been told.  ‘Aye.  2000 years!’ exclaimed Darren.  ‘2000 years of Grand finals to catch up on,’ he said further. ‘Not to mention the soaps.’ Said Shelandragh sarcastically, in response, which made Lucy smile a little. I guess we can have our main lunch-break now, and then I will scatter the ashes and say a little prayer.  The three of them sat down near the nest, and opened up their backpacks.   Munching through a Nutella sandwich, drinking on her orange juice, Lucy thought on the giant nest and the dragon it would have homed.  Of course, it was Goldie and Silver’s mother who nested there.  Sleeping for a whole thousand years must have brought her so many dreams, Lucy thought to herself, if Wyvvern’s ever dreamed.  She knew from her mother’s education that bears hibernated through winter, so she assumed this was something similar for Wyvvern’s.  ‘In case you were wondering, Lucy, Wyvvern’s metabolism slow down to virtually non-existent during their long hibernation,’ said Shelandragh.  ‘They digest their food extremely slowly, which is stored in fat cells throughout their body.  You know in those Star Wars movies that you like, the one were Han Solo is frozen.’  ‘Yes,’ Lucy nodded.  ‘Well it is perhaps something similar to that idea.  They are quite okay when in their long hibernation.  It is a time for them to refresh and recharge.  They come alive for about a decade in between hibernating, and that time they are savagely preoccupied with the things of life – hunting and eating, mating and whatever other things Wyvvern’s get up to.’  ‘Were are Wyvvern’s from?’ asked Lucy.  ‘From Terra, Lucy.  That is were they originate from.’  ‘Were is Terra,’ she asked again.  ‘Oh, I had thought I had told you that.  Terra is an ancient name for the earth, which many people from the old world identify as the great central land mass on our planet.  Africa, Asia and Europe all actually form one great land block.  It is, sort of, one really big island.  I have often known it to be called ‘Terra.’  ‘Yes,’ said Lucy.  ‘I have often thought that all of those continents were really just one big island.  Australians often say that Australia is the biggest island in the world, but those three continents together are really an island, I think.’  ‘It depends on the technicalities of your definition of an island, Lucy.  But for a land mass totally surrounded by water, which is a common definition for an island, it does seem to fit.’ A little while later, after they had finished their lunches, Shelandragh took the black vase out of her backpack, and undid the cork plug which was in the top.  She looked at Lucy.  ‘Would you like to scatter the ashes around the nest?’  ‘Oh, okay,’ said Lucy a little nervously.  She took the vase and looked at Shelandragh.  ‘What do I do?’  Just tip the vase downwards and spread the ashes around the nest a little.  When you are finished I will pray a short prayer to God.’  Lucy tilted the vase downwards slowly, and ashes started pouring out.  She carefully clambered through the nest, spreading the ashes, and when the vase was empty, she returned to Shelandragh.  ‘Try placing the vase in the nest.  It may be a suitable memorial stone.’  Lucy did so.  Coming back and standing next to Shelandragh, Lucy asked, ‘Should we bow her heads?’  ‘Yes, I think that is a good idea.’  The three of them bowed their heads and a short while later Shelandragh began praying.  ‘Father God.  We ask you to welcome the soul of this Wyvvern to the place where she is supposed to go.  Assure her we had no ill feeling toward her and that we only did what we felt we had to in the circumstances.  Bless her in her new home and let her know we will be taking care of her children.  We sincerely pray this.  Amen.’  Lucy opened her eyes, and looked at the nest.  ‘Hopefully she is resting happily,’ said Darren.  ‘Hopefully,’ agreed Shelandragh. *   *   *   *   * Later on, Darren’s arms aching from the sleeping Lucy in his arms, having occasionally remarked to Shelandragh his new possible occupation as a prophet, having predicted to himself the girls later complaints of exhaustion, he and Shelandragh finally arrived back at the Tidbinbilla tracking station.  ‘Look, Shelandragh.  I know it is only an hour’s drive down to Chakola, but we may be able to spend the night at Alfric’s in Deakin.  That is much closer, and I am sure he will not mind.’  ‘If you think its okay, Darren.  I wouldn’t want to bother the minister though unannounced.’  ‘I am sure he won’t mind.  And it may actually be a good opportunity for him to meet Lucy.  That is, if she gets up in the morning.’  ‘Well, okay.  It is fine by me.’  Darren nodded, and carefully placed the sleeping Lucy in the back seat, buckling her up. About 20 minutes later they had arrived at Alfric’s place, which was in the suburb of Deakin in the heart of Canberra, very near Parliament House.  The porch light had come on when they had pulled up, and shortly after Alfric appeared, dressed in pyjamas and a dressing gown.  ‘Darren, is that you?’  ‘Hey Alfric.  We have a sleeping Miss Potter, and we didn’t fancy the long trip back to Chakola.  Is it okay if we spend the night here.’   ‘Of course,’ replied Alfric.  ‘A very good idea, actually, as I would greatly enjoy making acquaintances with young Miss Potter.  Hello Shelandragh.  Good to see you again.’  ‘Hello Alfric.  How is Esthelle?’  ‘Happy as ever.  She is still up, watching the tennis.  She will be happy to see you again.’  Darren, carefully carrying the sleeping Lucy in his arms, walked up the short rampway to Alfric’s back door and entered the house.  ‘This way, Darren.’  Alfric led the way down a hall to a bedroom with 2 single beds in it.’  ‘This should be fine for Lucy and Shelandragh.  There is another guest room were you can sleep, Darren.’  Shelandragh opened up the quilts on the bed, and Darren carefully laid the sleeping Lucy down.’  ‘I will leave all of the undressing business to you, Shelandragh.’  Shelandragh nodded knowingly, and closed the door behind the departing Darren and Alfric. Walking down the hall, Alfric brought Darren into his den.  ‘I won’t disturb Esthelle.  She can see you all in the morning.  Your room is just opposite Lucy’s.  There are towels in the cupboard along the hallway if you want to shower.  I am sure you know were the bathroom is.’  ‘Down the hall to the left, as I recall.’  ‘That’s right.  Well, why are you here tonight?  Been out partying?’  ‘Not really.  We spent the day travelling to the Dragon’s cavern.  Lucy spread out the ashes of the dragon which Shelandragh had collected, and Shelandragh prayed a short prayer to send the spirit of the dragon of to whatever afterlife dragons’ believe in.’  ‘That is pleasing.  Of course, as you probably know, we have very little magical creature folk in Australia.  Some Bunyips and Yowies, and a few other notable creatures.  But Dragon’s rarely frequent this place.  I am glad this particular beast did not cause too many problems.’  ‘Yes, it could have been difficult.’  ‘Well, I will let you get some sleep, Darren.  I am sure you can look after yourself.  Good night.’  Alfric patted Darren on the back, and exited the room, making his way back towards the television room he had come from were, presumably, Esthelle was still watching television. Darren walked down the hall, took a towel, and knocked on Shelandragh’s door.  She opened a few moments later.  ‘I will have a shower now, if that’s okay.  I won’t use all the hot water.’  Shelandragh nodded.  ‘Okay.  Sleep well Darren.  Good night.’  ‘Yes, good night,’ echoed Darren. A little later, Darren having gotten into the single bed in his room opposite Shelandragh, he thought on the day’s walk.  He was exhausted, but the memories for young Lucy seemed also worth his exhaustion to him, as well as Shelandragh and, hopefully, young miss Lucy.Chapter Ten ‘The Azkerbahnian Prisoner’ ‘So you see, Miss Potter, the Ministry of Magic is of grave importance to the Australian wizard and witch community.  The responsibilities we undertake ensure a harmonious magical community were each wizard and witch can carry out their craft secure in the knowledge that the guild, as it was often called in days of old, is looking after their welfare and ensuring a continuation of the much enjoyed status quo.’  Young Miss Potter, sitting eating a piece of toast, occasionally sipping on the glass of orange juice in front of her, intently listened to Master Alfric’s words of education and encouragement regarding the Ministry of Magic.  He had explained the basic purpose the ministry served, that of overseeing and regulating codes of behaviour, rulings on laws of government relating to authorized use of magic, maintenance of the positive role of white witchery and wizardry and a number of other such matters.  It had given Miss Lucy a better understanding of how she, a young witch learning the craft, fitted into the bigger world picture.  And inspired her a little as well, thinking on the possible opportunities her education could one day give to her. ‘Tell me, young Lucy.  Have you given much thought to your future?  Have you yet considered a possible future occupation.’  Lucy thought on that for a moment before responding.  ‘A bit, master Alfric.  Mum suggests that I study some sort of degree when I am old enough, but has left the choice of degree to myself to consider.  She said if I want to do anything in magic, it is up to me to work out for myself.’  Alfric nodded, happy with the words.  ‘Yes, life these days does have so many opportunities.  For a young child so dedicated to education as yourself, there is no limit to the kind of occupation or career you could choose.  However, should you choose to pursue a career in magic, I would have you know that we at the Ministry of Magic would strongly consider offering you a position in the Ministry at a suitable age.  That is if you were interested.’  Lucy looked at Shelandragh a little startled, and looked back at Alfric.  ‘Work in the ministry!’ she exclaimed.  ‘Gosh.  That would be awesome.’  ‘Mind you, young lady.  You would have to be most dedicated to your studies.  We do not like slouches here in the Ministry of Magic.’  ‘Oh, Lucy is far from being a slouch,’ said Shelandragh.  ‘A little rebellious at times – or perhaps more strong willed – but not a slouch.  Far from being a slouch.’  ‘Quite true,’ echoed Darren.  ‘She is a very dedicated soul,’ stated Mr Merryweather.  Lucy blushed a little at all the apparent flattery.  ‘But I have a lot of study in front of me first.’  ‘Quite true, young Lucy,’ said Alfric.  ‘A firm education is the foundation for an excellent life.  Success is achieved through knowledge.  Without a good education you will not often go that far.  There are exceptions, naturally, but the highest levels of success in life are achieved through a sound education.  It is an undeniable truth of our culture.’ Later on, travelling down the highway back to Chakola, Lucy thought on Alfric’s words.  Education was a major preoccupation for her mother in raising herself.  She pushed Lucy constantly to achieve as highly as she could.  Lucy knew, as she had known from a young age, that it was how success was achieved in life.  And she had chosen to stick to her studies and continue with them as best she could because, whatever else life may offer, having success in it seemed at least as good as an approach as any other.  So felt young Miss Lucy Potter. *   *   *   *   * Grimlock looked at the white-haired freak before him.  Long hair, beard and moustache, a long scar running down the left hand side of his face, and what could only be described as a manic expression on his face.  And although Lucifer Malfoy was an ambassador of his dark Lord, the just escaped Azkerbahnian prisoner made him enormously nervous.  Secondborn of a set of identical triplets, Lucifer was one of the most hated warlocks from the old world.  He had been sentenced to life in Azkerbahn for wicked deeds which even shocked the Malevolent Grimlock, and he was most disturbed finding Lucifer now in his presence.  ‘The steak is good.  More,’ Lucifer grunted to Grimlock.  Grimlock went to his kitchenette and using a fork skewered another piece of fried steak and came over to were Lucifer was sitting, placing it on his plate.  Lucifer, finishing off the piece he was eating, took a drink of the beer in front of him, and started the next piece.  When he was finally finished, he burped and wiped his mouth with his shirt sleeve.  ‘My, we have good manner’s, don’t we,’ mocked Grimlock savagely.  ‘Fuck you, Grimlock,’ replied Malfoy.  ‘Temper, temper.  You must really watch that.  However, as you are already an escaped prisoner I assume you may not even care,’ said Grimlock.  ‘So you better watch yourself, bastard,’ replied Lucifer.  Grimlock sat down opposite Lucifer at his table.  ‘So for what godforsaken reason could you possibly have for coming all the way here to Australia.’  ‘Best place not to be seen.  I don’t think they will recognize me here.  Good place to hide.’  ‘Perhaps.  But there is a ministry of magic worker who lives here in Cooma.  If he recognizes you, your cover may be blown.’  ‘What’s his name.  I’ll kill him.’  ‘Yes, you probably would, wouldn’t you.  As bad as Lucius is, I must really say you make him a saint in comparison.’  ‘Fuck off.’  Grimlock continued unperturbed.  ‘In fact, you are probably the black sheep in the family, which for a Malfoy is saying quite a lot.’  Lucifer grinned at the comment.  ‘Yeh. Yeh, I reckon I am probably the black sheep.  Suits me, though.  Lucius is a pretty-boy.  Always carrying that fucking pretentious cain.  Something’s up his butt.’  ‘Most affectionate towards your older brother, aren’t you.,’ said Grimlock.  ‘Fuck off.  Yeh, I suppose.  Lucas is the only normal one of the three of us.  Hates me and Lucius for our dark ways, of course.  Buggered off to America years ago, wanting nothing to do with us.  Got a letter before I was sent to prison from him.  Told me all was well – usual bullshit.  But its his life.  He can live it as a candy-ass yankee if he wants.  Don’t bother me.’  ‘Candy-ass yankee?’ queried Grimlock.  ‘Ah, the yanks are full of it.  Always think they rule the world.  Power mad, Americans are.  Power mad.’  ‘Perhaps an exaggeration, I think, Lucifer.’  ‘Nah.  Just what I see.  So were does this ministry man live.  I will pay him a visit.  Have a few words.’  ‘Mr Merryweather lives just up the road a little on Sharp street.  But he is usually out at Bunyan or Chakola with a young Miss Lucy Potter, who the dark lord has asked me to turn to the darkside.’  ‘Right.  Bunyan, Chakola.  Were are they?’  ‘Oh, just out of town on the road to Canberra.  Quite easy to find.’  ‘Addresses?’  Grimlock took a pad which was sitting on the table in front of him and taking a pen from his pocket wrote out the addresses to Shelandragh May’s house and Lucy’s address.  ‘I would stress, Lucifer.  Do not kill Lucy.  Our master would be most displeased.’  ‘Sure.  I’ll just have some fun with Mr Merryweather.’  ‘Have your pleasure, cretin.  Have your pleasure.’  ‘Fuck you.  I am mostly out of cash.  Have any?  I will taxi it to these places.’  Grimlock walked over to a cupboard and took out a number of hundred dollar bills.  ‘Here.  Take these,’ he said, handing Lucifer 7 hundred dollar bills.  ‘It should be plenty to last you a while.  If you need more, come back.  The master has practically limitless funds available, as you probably know.’  ‘Yeh, thanks.  Any brothels nearby?’  ‘Mmm.  Yes you do appear to be the type.’  In Canberra there is a number of establishments.  I am sure you and your manhood will be able to find them.’  ‘Yeh.  Me and my manhood like finding a piece of flesh.  What the hell else is there in life anyway.’  ‘A very good question, Mr Malfoy.  A very good question.’ A short while later, Lucifer had left Grimlock’s abode, much to Grimlock’s relief.  Lucifer had smelled quite bad, not surprising given his state of dress.  He’d probably had little chance to change since escaping from Azkerbahn, and had not seemingly showered since.  Thankfully, though, the cretinous soul had now left.  But he was useful.  If he did in fact manage to eliminate the bothersome Mr Merryweather, Grimlock would be silently pleased at an irritating adversary in his master-plan removed.  It would make his agenda with young Miss Lucy Potter much more achievable.  Much more achievable indeed. *   *   *   *   * ‘So what is your name, dear sprite.’  ‘Minxy,’ said the water sprite which lived under the crossing of Newmerella river in Chakola, in reply to Darren Merryweather’s question.’  ‘Minxy?  How original?’  ‘Ooh.  Sarcastic are we.  Father warned me about men like you.  Watch out for those ones.  You never know what they might do?’  ‘Oh, you have nothing to worry about with me, Minxy,’ replied Darren.  ‘I am above board.’  Lucy looked at the sprite dressed in blue, which Darren had summoned with a spell.  ‘Well.  How many of you live in this river.’  The sprite looked at Lucy, a little grin on her face.  ‘Mmm.  I believe I have already answered that question, young Lucy.  It is for me to know and you to find out.’  ‘Well, how will I know if you don’t tell me?’  The sprite considered that.  ‘Good point, Miss Potter.  I will have to consider that.  Perhaps if you ask my Father, he may answer you on that question.  But I won’t.’  ‘Were is he?’ asked Darren.  ‘Oh, he lives upstream a hundred metres or so, just near the bend.  His favourite place of the river.’  ‘Shall we go and ask him?’ Lucy asked Darren.  ‘I guess so.’  ‘Let him know his daughter sent you.  Minxy, remember.  He rarely visits me down here, and I don’t like swimming upstream.’  ‘You swim?  Why not fly?  Can’t you do that?’  Minxy looked at Lucy, thinking on the question.  ‘Well, yes, actually.  But only when we are summoned.  And only if our summoner asks us to.  Otherwise we do not have permission.  If I am to visit Father, I have to swim upstream.  And for a sprite such as me, 100 metres is a long way upstream.’  ‘Oh,’ said Lucy, now understanding. Darren and Lucy trod along the sand along the river, making their way up to the bend.  After a few metres, they heard the sound of a vehicle stopping at the crossing behind them.  Turning around, Darren noticed a blonde man slowly walking towards them.  ‘I wonder who that is?’ said Darren, a mild look of concern on his face.  As the stranger neared, Darren started to worry a little.  The face seemed familiar.  He was not sure if he could exactly place it, but he sensed a spirit of darkness associated with it.  A darkness which seemed quite unpleasant.  As the stranger neared, he spoke out to them.  ‘Are you Mr Merryweather?’  ‘Yes, that is I,’ nodded Darren.  The stranger pulled out a wand and pointed it at Darren, yelling ‘Magmas.’  However, Darren had sensed the attack very quickly, as belied his training in the ministry of magic, and had cast a Defensive spell to shield him and Lucy from the bolt of flame.  ‘Darren.  I’m scared,’ Lucy stuttered, the lass trembling beside him.  Darren himself was also in a state of fear.  And he had now recognized his opponent from the Ministry of Magic files.  It was one of the most malicious dark warlocks of all – the dreaded Lucifer Malfoy.’   ‘Lucy.  Listen carefully.  Listen very carefully.  I will cast another spell on you, and you cross over the river and hide in the house.  No, better yet, get Barry and tell him to bring his rifle.  And tell him to load it.  Shotguns often work best in situations like this.’  Darren eyed Lucifer who was standing about 10 metres away, hand on chin, considering his next attack.  Darren muttered a few words, and yelled at Lucy to run across the river.  Lucifer watched the girl go, but didn’t care.  Merryweather was his objective.  Having crossed the river, Lucy looked at the two men.  Darren was standing, ready for whatever came next, while the white haired man seemed to be considering her next move.  She was still trembling, and very scared – but at this distance she felt a little safer.  Suddenly she had an idea.  The man had probably forgotten about her.  If she cast a spell on him, perhaps he would not be ready to shield himself.  She thought as quickly as she could, and instantly one of the spells from Ultima IV – or to be precise, a spell which was similar to one from that game – came to her mind.  She pulled out her wand, pointed it at the man, and with every ounce of willpower the young, terrified, Lucy Potter had available to her shouted ‘Relocate.’  Blue and white light emanated from her wand, sprouted forth and, finding its target, undertook its objective.  A few moments later the man had disappeared.  Darren, noting the light and the direction it had come from, turned to Lucy.  ‘Bloody hell Lucy.  What the hell was that?’  ‘Relocate.  It was all that I could think of.’  Darren walked over to were the man had been standing, punched the air to make sure nobody was there, and trudged across the river to Lucy.  Despite his also apparent shaken state, he had one of the biggest grins Lucy had ever seen on Mr Merryweather.  ‘You are a Potter, aren’t you dear Lucy.’  ‘Uh, yeh,’ said Lucy, still trembling somewhat.  ‘Come on.  Up to the house.  I have to phone Alfric.  I know who it was, and he will need to notify some people.  Do you know were you sent him?’  Lucy shook her head.  ‘I just cast the spell as quickly as I could.  It was the only one I could think of.’  Darren nodded.  ‘Mmm.  Well, wherever he is, I do hope there is not a happy welcoming for him.  Hopefully a swamp, or some quicksand.  Not a pleasant soul, that one.  Not in any way pleasant.’ The two of them trudged up to the schoolhome, and after Lucy had calmed down and been given some of Brigid’s pumpkin soup, Darren called Alfric.  Hours later Lucy was still jumpy, but had calmed down somewhat.  It had been an experience.  An intense experience.  But one she would most definitely not like to repeat if she had any say in the matter. *   *   *   *   * Lucifer Malfoy screamed.  Obscenities directed at Lucy Potter were gushing from his mouth.  There he sat, in a prison cell.  But not any prison cell.  He was back in his cell in Azkerbahn.  The very same one he had escaped from.  The Potter girl had cast ‘Relocate’ on him, sending him back to were he had come from.  It was a most unfortunate encounter.  And as one of the guards, finding their missing guest now returned to them grinned madly, Lucifer Malfoy plotted in his heart the most evil of vengeances on young Miss Lucy Potter.*   *   *   *   * ‘Lucy.  This is not always the most pleasant of worlds.  I am sure that you can recall a number of lessons I have taught you about dark wizards and warlocks.  They are the darker aspects of our craft.  An aspect which has oft ruined our reputation.  But they are not the heart of our craft, nor ever will be.  This character, I am afraid young child, may not like you that much at this present time.  Wherever he is, he may be planning an attack on you.  Now, I will need you to sit down in a circle later on, for I have a great number of protective charms I wish to cast on you.  And, despite your young age, there are now spells I feel obligated to teach you.  If this character ever returns, you may find yourself having to face him alone.  It is horrible for such a young girl to ever have to face this.  But evil exists, and not everyone is motivated by goodness.  So you will need to be prepared, young Miss Lucy.  You will need to be prepared.’ Later that night, Shelandragh, receiving news from Alfric about Lucifer’s reappearance in Azkerbahn, thanked the powers that be.  A weight, an enormous weight had been lifted from her shoulders.  She was so relieved.  She thought on Lucy and felt that the lass was probably having a sleepless night, and knew she must share this news immediately.  Ringing Caroline, she apologized for the late hour of the call, and asked for Lucy.  Lucy had indeed been sleepless and she could feel the real relief in Lucy’s voice when the news of Lucifer’s recapture, as it were, had been given to her. Later on, Shelandragh thought on the nature of her craft.  It had always had it’s darker elements.  From ancient days, dark wizardry had been practiced which had corrupted the Lightworkers craft.  But she did believe, ultimately, that the power of good and the power of those who were good within her craft would ultimately be seen.  On that issue, Shelandragh May had some faith.   Chapter Eleven ‘Lucy the Hero’ Morning had broken.  The afternoon sun was shining forth, strong and bright, as Lucy flew on the back of Goldie, following the highway below, headed for Cooma. This was intense.  Goldie had flown with her on his back just yesterday.  And today, without Shelandragh’s permission, she had taken Goldie and decided to go off on a grand and exciting adventure.  Too see what was out there.  First she had flown the dragon to Chakola from Bunyan, and rested the dragon near the crossing.  She had summoned the sprite Minxy with a spell to show her the dragon, who had exclaimed, ‘Yikes.  A Dragon.  Shoo.  Shoo.’  Lucy had laughed at the Sprites animated behaviour.  Minxy had, so she now started to suspect, been acting deliberately cheekily towards herself.  She felt the sprite had been having a little fun with her.  She was not sure if all sprites were like that, but Minxy was certainly a most passionate sprite regardless. Leaving the crossing, she had decided to fly the dragon into Cooma to the main street to show off.  That would probably displease Shelandragh greatly, but Lucy was in a rebellious mood that day.  A mood which was far from regular for the young miss Potter, but not unknown of.  She had decided, in her infinite wisdom, to fly to centennial park to show the people of Cooma the dragon.  It could make her quite popular which, again, was not the most regular of attitudes for young Lucy. Flying along, she soon passed by Monaro High School, just on the right-hand side of the highway on the northern side of Cooma.  Her mother had told her that she would most likely send her to that school from probably year 8 or 9 onwards.  It would round off her education with the necessary teaching to prepare her for later university studies if she so desired them.  She had never explored the school, not being allowed to roam around Cooma very often, but she had seen it from the road and thought, when she was older, making new friends there could be a great experience for herself. Soon she flew over the big water tank on one of the hills of Cooma.  The big square steel one, surrounded by some bush and what looked like a church.  The park lay in the centre of town, just a few hundred metres down the hill.  She soared down, the dragon gliding dutifully, and soon she hovered above the park.  Almost instantly a number of people started yelling and pointing at her.  It seemed she had already attracted the attention that she desired.  She decided to show off a little.  She had been very careful sitting on the saddle that Shelandragh had made in the weeks before the dragon’s could fly.  She was tightly strapped to the saddle with a number of straps, which made it impossible for her to fall off the dragon.  They were made of hardened leather, and were quite thick and strong.  She decided to test them out. She flew the dragon in a great nose-dive downwards and then zoomed right up again into the sky.  This brought the desired cheers from the gathering crowd, who had come from everywhere to see the spectacle.  It worked well so she decided to do it again, with the same desired effect of cheers coming again.  She flew around in circles for a few moments, thinking over her next feat.  The straps did in fact appear to be holding without any problems, so she decided to do something bold, if the dragon could possibly manage it.  Communicating to the mind of the dragon, which she had instinctively been able to do with the dragons after a couple of weeks, she asked Goldie if he would like to do a loop.  ‘I am not sure, Lucy.  If you weren’t on my back it would probably be easy.  But with you it may be a little more difficult.’  ‘Well, okay.  But do you want to give it a try to see anyway?’  ‘Well.  Alright.  I will give it a go.’ The Xtreme Kings, who had been having lunch in the park, munching on burgers and soft drink, had been enthralled by the sight of the dragon.  They had grown up with stories from the old world rumouring that dragon’s did in fact still exist.  These were often compared in the papers to stories with the same credibility as the existence of aliens.  But now, seeing what only could be described as a young girl flying on a dragon, the Kings were enthralled.  Ty, Jerry and Doug looked on as the Dragon again zoomed downwards and then soared up again in a circular style and, to their great surprise, doing a complete loop.  ‘Fucking hell,’ said Jerry, blown away by the sight of the dragon doing the loop.  ‘Bloody intense, this is,’ said Ty.  As the Kings watched on the Dragon and its rider did a few more loops and various other acrobatic manoeuvres. Hugo, upon hearing the news of an apparent dragon doing tricks above centennial park, had rushed down from the bookstore, to see the sight.  There it was.  A dragon.  A real dragon.  He had read a number of books about the existence of dragons, taking a great interest in the subject.  He hadcome to no definite position on wether they actually did exist or not.  But seeing what could only be a real dragon with a girl flying it confirmed what he had only guessed could be true.  Someone standing near him said to him, ‘Its probably really some sort of super-jet.  A hi-tech super-jet made to look like a dragon.  I bet its really fake.’  Hugo looked at the dragon.  ‘I don’t know.  That sort of technology is very hard to come up with for something that size and with a girl riding it.  And you don’t see any thrusters burning flames or anything.  Nah, I think it’s the real thing.’  The bloke speaking to him, nodded.  ‘Yeh, I suppose.  But bloody freaky isn’t it.’  ‘Very,’ agreed Hugo, standing there staring up at one of the most intense things he had ever seen. Eventually, after a parade of various acrobatics, Lucy decided to land in the park to let the gathered crowd actually see and pet the dragon.  They probably deserved that much. She spoke to Goldie and he slowly descended, coming to rest near the concrete walkway along sharp street, next to the Snowy Mountains Monument, alongside the park.  The gathered crowd slowly approached.  ‘Is the dragon dangerous?’ a voice asked.  ‘No.  He is harmless.  He is still very young and has grown up around humans.  He won’t hurt any of you.’  The gathered crowd, seemingly relieved at those words, came forward.  Young kids came and petted the dragon and anxious parents looked on, often expressions of caution and concern on their face.  ‘What’s its name?’ a young girl asked.  ‘Goldie.’  Said Lucy.  ‘He is actually a golden-ridged Wyvvern, and not a dragon.  They are very similar animals.’ A number of questions came forth from various people, filling up the next 20 minutes or so.  Lucy sat there, beaming joy.  This was awesome, she thought to herself.  It got the exact reaction she had hoped for.  Really cool. Just across from the monument, on the other side of the street at the St George Bank, Jeremy Bludstone, wearing a balaclava, had just exited the now robbed bank, with a bundle of cash in a backpack.  He had walked in, and before the protective screen doors over the till could close, he had place a metal stand between the counter and the screen doors.  When someone quickly pushed the button, the screen doors quickly came down, but became jammed on the metal stand.  He thought the tactic would work, which it had.  He had pointed his rifle at the cashier who, the fear on her face apparent, had fill the bag with a bundle of a hundred dollar notes.  And then he had skedaddled. Lucy, having looked around, spotted the man exiting the bank, wearing a balaclava, with a rifle and bag.  She thought, instantly, that he had robbed the bank.  Instantly she thought to herself – Magic.  Speaking to the mind of Goldie, the dragon lifted from the air and rushed over to were the man was, having taken off his balaclava and running up the street.  She ordered Goldie to fly quickly and he came up in front of the man, who came to a standstill.  She pulled out her wand, pointed it at the man, and yelled.  ‘Drop the money.  Crook.’  Jeremy looked at her, startled for seeing a dragon for the first time in his life.  He quickly came to his senses, though.  ‘This is a joke, right?  You have got to be kidding me.’  Lucy continued staring at him, and decided to bold again.  ‘I said drop the money.  This is a warning.’  Jeremy looked at her, and a grin formed on his face.  ‘Little lady.  What the hell can you do to me?’ he asked, a smirk on his face.  Lucy looked at him.  Her mind, surprisingly, was calm.  After the encounter with Lucifer, she was suddenly not overly bothered by a man with a rifle.  She was a witch.  She could handle it.  ‘This is your last warning, robber.  Drop the money.’  The man looked at her.  She was young, and he didn’t really think he wanted to have a murder rap placed on him, so decided to point the gun at her to scare her instead.  In those few seconds, as Jeremy Bludstone slowly raised his rifle with the intent of pointing the gun at Lucy, Lucy yelled out with all her strength, ‘Freeze!’.  A bolt of pure white light shot forth from her wand, and the robber, soon encompassed by light, soon froze like a block of ice. Lucy came up to the man, and touched him.  Yes – he was frozen.  He was okay, though.  The freeze spell in her arsenal had preserving qualities.  The man would be frozen, but his body would be okay.  He would unfreeze after a while. A short while later the sound of sirens could be heard.  After a few moments, three police cars pulled up along sharp street, and a number of police officers quickly exited their vehicles, and cautiously approached Lucy and the dragon.  Lucy looked at the police and spoke, ‘I cast a freeze spell on the bankrobber.’  One of the officers looked at the robber, and touched him.  He was indeed frozen.  He looked at the animal that Lucy was sitting on.  ‘What is that?’ he asked.  Lucy smiled.  ‘A dragon, officer.’  He shook his head, not sure what just to make of the situation before him.  ‘Whatever!’, he said after a few moments. *   *   *   *   * ‘Lucy the Hero.’  Shelandragh read the headline from the paper in front of her.  She looked at Lucy, sitting in front of her.  ‘Heaven’s above, Lucy.  Heaven’s above.’   She said, smiling, looking at her young student.  Lucy just grinned back.  ‘I am not sure that being a superhero was what your mother and Shelandragh had in mind in teaching you magic, young Lucy,’ said Darren, seated opposite her.  ‘Oh its alright.  You cast spells.  Fight crime.  All in a day’s work,’ said Lucy, the spirit of mockery and cheekiness having come alive in the last few days.  Darren shook his head a little at the cheek of the girl.  ‘Well, at least if that Lucifer ever comes back, he will have his hands filled,’ said Darren to Shelandragh.  Shelandragh nodded, knowingly.  ‘That dark devil is way too much for Lucy.  But, yes, I see your point.  Our young lady is probably ready for the challenges life could throw at her.’  ‘If Lucifer comes my way, I’ll zap him,’ said Lucy.  Shelandragh looked at her young pupil.  ‘Yes.  You’ll zap him.’  ‘Well it better be a good zap, young Lucy.  A good zap indeed,’ said Darren.  Lucy just continued grinning. *   *   *   *   * Lucy looked at the medal of heroism the Cooma town mayor had presented to her.  It was goldish looking, and reminded her of an Olympic medal.  It read, ‘To brave young Lucy Potter.  The citizens of Cooma are forever in your debt.’ She placed the medal back on the shelf, next to her bed in her room in Chakola.  It had been an eventful week.  Perhaps the most eventful in her life.  This year, so far, had been freakish for young Lucy Potter.  She had met sprites, seen dragons, fought warlock’s, and caught a bank-robber.  And the year was still not quite over with.  What the next year could bring, she could only wonder.  But if it was as exciting as this one had been, it would be a year to remember.  A year to remember indeed. Getting back into bed, she pulled up the sheet covers.  She lay there, looking up at the ceiling.  Staring at the luminous dinosaur stickers who shone back at her.  Who knows what next year may bring, she thought again to herself.  Who knows. A little later on, the sounds of snoring coming forth from the Lucy’s room, an owl sat outside Lucy’s window.  It ‘hooed’, as owls hooed, and the night slowly passed.  It slowly passed by, going through its allotted and most regular of duties. 
Part Two
Chapter One 5992 SC The eternal Dreamlord, unnoticed, entered the throneroom of Zaphon.  He had time to spend with the God of the Covenant.  The eternal Father of Glory.  He approached the throne.  The flame of the eternal spirit of God burned brightly, as it had always done, above the throne of glory.  All his life Daniel had known that flame.  He had, from time to time, studied the flame – the spark of the Glory of God.  It flowed through, in endless random patterns and variations, all the colours of life.  Often, for days at a time, a persistent streak of a colour would radiate from the flame above the throne, and then suddenly change without notice.  At other times the flame flickered bright sparks, sparks of red and orange, blue and green, and even dark black on various occasions.  No angel – no eternal – not even the humans Enoch or Elaine understood the purpose of the flame or why it did what it did.  And, so it was felt, to guess the eternal mind of their eternal God – a creature beyond the fathoming of even the greatest minds of eternity’s realm – seemed, while not perhaps pointless, certainly beyond the greatest of endeavours the community of God’s angels could ever consider. The Dreamlord spoke.  ‘Father.  Are you there?’  Nothing answered the Dreamlord’s question.  Nothing immediately, anyway.  He looked at the flame for a few moments more and decided, as others often did, that God perhaps was unwilling to speak to them at that time.  Silence often responded to many angelic inquiries. The Dreamlord turned, walking back towards the doors to leave the throneroom.  He looked at the benches alongside the walls of the throneroom and decided to sit down momentarily, reviewing his thoughts. After a few moments, having seated himself down, the voice of God spoke.  ‘Yes.’  Daniel looked at the flame.  Cautiously he began with his request.  ‘Father.  The child of David Potter.  Lucy.  My eternal sister from Azaphon.  I have a request regarding her welfare.  Elaine Belloc, Michael’s daughter, has shown a great interest in Lucy.  She desired Lucy’s protection.  Her safety and welfare.  I understand, of course, that in life – in this human life you have planned for each of us your children – that innocence is often destroyed.  Often unjustly and brutally evil triumphs over good and darkness prevails.  Yet I also know that your eternal spirit of justice always rights wrongs.  That the truth and love of God always prevails.  However, in relation to Miss Potter, on behalf of Elaine I would likewise request your special intervention.  Your special favour.  Your hand of protection.  I would, heavenly father, if you were to accede to this request of mine, be most grateful.’  The Dreamlord left off speaking.  Silence answered his request.  Yet, after what was perhaps a moments consideration by the eternal, a word of God came forth.  ‘Life.’  The Dreamlord sat there, thinking on that.  ‘Life.’  Now what kind of answer was that?  Life.  Hmmm.  He looked at the flame, a quizzical look on his face, but decided to let it go.  He stood, and said, ‘Thank you Father.’  He turned to leave and, just as he was about to exit the throneroom another word was spoken, seemingly, seemingly at the back of his mind, yet seemingly from the throne of God as well.  It was, again, one word.  ‘Destiny.’ The Dreamlord turned to look at the flame.  It burned, as it always had.  It burned, suddenly turning from red to bright orange, and a few sparks coming forth.  He looked at the flames, considered that word, and turned and left the throneroom of Zaphon of the Realm of Eternity. *   *   *   *   * 5992 SC Lucy looked at the cat, once again, miaowing furiously in the air of Shelandragh’s living room.  ‘Mushroom.  Control yourself.  You know full well I will not let you down until I am finished what I have intended to do.  Yet Mushroom, as belied Shelandragh May’s favourite cat in her long sojourn through life, persisted miaowing at her female opponent.  The cat, quite sick to death at being the pawn in one of Lucy’s many spell attacks, decided to hiss at her.  Perhaps that would work.  She let out a ‘hissss.’  Lucy looked sternly at the cat.  ‘Mushroom.  Watch your temper.  For that I will punish you.’  She pointed her wand at mushroom and said a single word.  ‘Tailfreeze.’  A white light came forth from her wand, and Mushroom’s tail dutifully froze up.  Mushroom, in response, screeched and hissed furiously at Lucy.  ‘That is for your temper, Mushroom.  Now, keep quiet.’  Lucy, having today been working on various spell combinations, which was combining elements of certain spells together to produce unique and original results, thought on her next spell.  She looked at the grandfather clock against the wall, and decided on one of the new spells she had been thinking of.  Pointing her wand, she spoke, ‘Chronos Reversus’.  However, instead of a light coming forth from her wand, something different happened.  Something like a spiritual bubble started wrapping around her.  Soon she was totally enshrouded by it.  Looking at mushroom, she noticed the cats’s tail unfreezing as quickly as it froze.  And a few seconds later, the cat started descending to the floor, in the same manner as she had used the hover spell.  Lucy was puzzled.  What, exactly, was going on?  After a few moments, Shelandragh entered the room.  Yet, as bizarre as it looked, walking backwards, and in a most strange manner sitting down as if she was getting up from her chair in reverse.  She looked at Shelandragh for a few moments and then it occurred to her just what was going on.  Time was flowing backwards.  The spell she had cast, Chronos Reversus, while only intended to affect the clock on the wall, had affected the whole area she was in.  She thought on what she needed to do and tried one of her new spell combination ideas.  ‘Chronos Cease.’  Instantly everything froze.  Nothing was moving.  The fire in the fireplace did not flicker.  The cat did not move, nor did Shelandragh.  And the clock on the wall was not moving.  Very interesting, Lucy thought to herself.  But how did she get things flowing again.  She thought on that and then the obvious spell came to her.  She pointed her wand and said, ‘Chronos’.  Instantly the bubble departed, and everything started again.  Shelandragh was actually speaking.  ‘….so if you will excuse me, I will get myself a cup of tea.’  Shelandragh got up from her chair, as before, and left the room.  Watching her go, Lucy realized that time had restored itself.  But now, in a strange way, she was living in the past.  Yet that was only for a few moments.  She would catch up shortly. She sat down, thinking over the new spell.  It could prove interesting, to say the least, to use the spell in certain situations.  But, perhaps, that would not be the right thing to do.  It was like cheating, she thought to herself, if she used the spell unfairly.  But, in a dangerous situation – a situation were the use of the spell was appropriate – well, that would be alright. Shelandragh came into the room holding a cup of tea, and sipping from it slowly.  She looked at Lucy, noting the puzzling look on her student’s face.  ‘Is something concerning you, Lucy?’  Lucy looked at her for a few moments before replying.  ‘Uh.  No Shelandragh.  Well, yes.  But I don’t think I can talk about it.’  ‘Well whatever it is, I am sure it can wait until later.  For now we have one last thing in today’s lesson to concern ourselves with, if that is okay by you?’  Lucy nodded.  ‘Now,’ continued Shelandragh, ‘you have learnt the runes now, and know each of them.  Ancient Celtic runic witchcraft is barely remembered in the old world of Terra and Britannia.  Today I will teach you your first spell in an ancient Celtic language.  The spell is called (Fire in the Water).  This spell can make even water burn as fuel.  Now, here, take this cup,’ said Shelandragh, handing Lucy her cup of tea.  ‘Careful, it’s hot.’  Lucy took the cup, holding it by the handle.  ‘Best if you place it on the table, Lucy.’  Lucy did so.  ‘Now take your wand.  Point it at the cup and say (Fire in the Water).’   Lucy did as Shelandragh asked, and immediately a bright flame started up coming from the tea in the teacup.  ‘Wow,’ said Lucy, happy at her success.  ‘The flame will continue until all the liquid is used up, basically like kerosene or wax, but it should last quite a while.  As always, I trust you will only use this spell in appropriate circumstances.’  ‘Yes, Shelandragh,’ said Lucy, very used to the oft-spoken lesson. *   *   *   *   * 5992 SC ‘Ooh.  Back again are we.’  ‘Why yes, Minxy.  It is I.’  The sprite of the crossing of Chakola, in response to Lucy’s summoning, was hovering just in front of her.  Lucy, over the last few weeks since the incident in Cooma and becoming Lucy the Hero had slowly been growing in confidence.  She had been speaking to Minxy, carefully though, to learn as much about life that the sprite could teach her – to learn the lessons she felt she needed to know.  She had come to know that Minxy’s sprite family had come from much further upstream, up near the source of the river.  Near the head, as in many rivers, congregations of sprite families often lived and had their communities.  Going downstream, as it was called, was rarely practiced as, quite often, the quality of the water deteriorated through use, especially, so she had learned, in some of the larger rivers of the world.  However, the Newmerella river was most usually extremely clean and good water.  Of course, animal matter often floated downstream, as the river flowed past a number of farms.  Yet, usually, the river was still quite clean and good to live in. Lucy had been asking Minxy about life as a sprite and the kind of things she thought life was all about.  Minxy seemed wise.  She was, as many sprites were, quite old.  Over 300 years Minxy had been living at Chakola, and about 1000 years more upstream at the head were her old family still resided.  Lucy, as children her age usually did, quite enjoyed Minxy’s cute humour.  She was oh so sarcastic.  She teased Lucy, often, quite shockingly.  She suggested certain sexual activities that Lucy may want to consider very soon, often, to Lucy’s surprise, quite brazenly.  Once, when Jayden was over working with David just in the paddock a little away from the crossing, Minxy suggested to Lucy that she should shag him when he gets a little older.  Lucy had been most embarrassed.  She really viewed Jayden as more of a brother than a potential boyfriend.  But he had been growing a little cuter over the last few years she had known him.  She would remember Minxy’s words, though, and consider Jayden in a few years.  Perhaps around 14 or 15 when she planned on having her first boyfriend. ‘So what do you want to know today, Lucy.  Hey.  Huh.’  ‘You really do have an attitude, don’t you Minxy.’  ‘Lucy, Lucy, Lucy.  What is life without a spark?  So many people are sooo bloody boring.  Like David, for example.  The intelligence of a farmer indeed.  Sheer the sheep.  Fix the fence.  Plow the field.  Oh, exciting.  Now that looks like fun.  Don’t ya think.’  ‘Well someone has to do it, don’t they Minxy?’  ‘Mmm.  Whatever.  I suppose.  I guess I have my work as well.  But the life of a sprite is far more interesting, I dare say.’  ‘Why do you say that Minxy?’  ‘Well, I shouldn’t let on.  Really, I shouldn’t.  But there are regular sprite and dryad gatherings we hold around here.  We do all sorts of things.’  ‘Like what?’  ‘Wouldn’t you like to know.’  ‘So you are not going to tell me?’  ‘Maybe when you are older, Lucy.  Maybe when you are older.’  ‘Go on.  Please tell me.’  ‘Well, seeing as you asked.  A lot of S-E-X.  Pretty much a hell of a lot of S-E-X.’  Lucy looked at Minxy, a little embarrassed.  ‘Oh, I see.’  ‘Oh, shocking aren’t I.  Whatever will they think of next.  Huh.  Huh.’  Lucy looked at Minxy and decided that was about enough of that for the day.  She felt, perhaps, a little too much of such conversation could lead to things that young Lucy was not quite ready for.  ‘I must leave now, Minxy.  Umm.  Things to take care of.’  ‘Whatever,’ Minxy said in return, and dutifully flew back down to the riverbed.  Lucy left the crossing and slowly walked back up to the schoolhome, the thoughts of Minxy’s words on her mind. *   *   *   *   * Lucy looked at the pamphlet her mum, Caroline, had handed to her upon walking through the doorway of her schoolhome in Chakola.  ‘Cooma Fair.  Centennial Park.  February 14.  Be there or be square.’  Lucy, very quickly, decided she didn’t want to be square, so assented to her mother’s suggestion she attend the fair with David’s children.  She read through the pamphlet, looking at the activities for the day:  The band ‘The Extreme Kings’ would be playing at Mid-day and at 9.00pm.  There were various markets with traditional fare goods.  Also, other standard show attractions appropriate to the park.  However, what caught Lucy’s eye, was the tent of magic which was to be set up.  She would have to speak to Shelandragh about this as soon as possible to let her know.  Shelandragh, Lucy felt, would be most interested in that attraction. Later that night, having finally finished ‘Born of Thunder’, the Asatru spiritual epic, Lucy thought on that subject Minxy had mentioned.  It was her 11th birthday very soon.  February 13th, in fact.  The day before the fair.  Perhaps, on her 11th birthday, which such an age might warrant, she would look at one of those magazines at the newsagent.  The new ones with all the pictures of men through them.  She had never noticed them before, but when she was last at ‘Percy’s newsagent’ she had noticed, looking through the ‘girlie’ magazine section, a couple of magazines which were apparently filled with men.  She was, of course, far to young to think such things.  But, perhaps, at 11, having a look through might prepare her for the boyfriend she planned at a later date.  Give her the necessary exposure and understanding to know what she needed to know on such issues as S-E-X.  It should prove an interesting study, young Miss Lucy Potter thought to herself. *   *   *   *   * 5992 SC Grimlock, sitting in his abode on Sharp street in Cooma, sat looking at an old photo of his late wife Matilda.  Grimlock and Matilda had known each other briefly.  The romance had been quick – sudden really.  In terms of looks, Grimlock was average, or so he thought.  Yet Matilda had claimed that he did have a certain charm to his looks, more noticeable with experience.  Matilda, Grimlock felt, was a bit beyond what he deserved.  She was, while not a stunner as in those magazines, certainly above average in looks.  She had been non-magical – a muggles.  And she had taken no interest in the subject when he had brought it up.  However, what he felt she had seen in him, having reflected on her words over the years, was a basic sense of stability and competence.  She had once said that he was not, really, a flakey type of a person.  Quite sure of himself, she had thought.  Grimlock considered this often.  Her words had influenced his life since that time.  He did, considering himself, generally agree.  He did not really devote much time to the ‘stupid’ passions of the muggles.  Simplistic idiots.  Better off dead, which he had in fact arranged for the three philosophers in particular.  In relation to the issue of human life, Grimlock was not quite moral in his judgement.  He did not think that life, for a muggles, was really worth much.  That they were, in a way, less advanced.  Less evolved.  His idea of human life and its origins were based around a spiritual power of passion and fire.  Through evolution the fire of life sought out those with spirit to advance them to the next level of human development.  In his beliefs, the work he undertook as a human could change his genetic structure over a life-time, further affecting his seed.  He had, as a full-blood, the power to evolve to the next level.  To become a ‘force’ of life.  A will of indomitable strength.  To succeed in this war of survival of the fittest, were only the strong survived, the weak were eliminated.  If necessary, killed and destroyed.  Best to do away with the weaker elements.  Let them die out, as they served no great purpose in the game of life. Yet, occasionally, he was convicted.  He had, once, been to church.  A Baptist one.  The pastor had spoken to him personally and shared the basic message of the Christian faith.  It had confused him.  It offered a perspective not quite like his own.  A sense of morality – of decency – of kindness – which was not how Grimlock knew the world to work.  It was idiotic, ultimately, to Grimlock’s judgement.  To the truths he understood.  Yet, they were enticing.  They were enticing.  And the bible which sat in his bookcase he had read, rarely mind you, but read from time to time. The idea of the ‘God’ presented in the bible Grimlock did not really relate to.  It was a personal god.  A being which, apparently, cared for mankind.  This seemed to be the way it was presented.  Grimlock did not, really, believe in this god.  It was at odds with his own views.  But he did seem interesting.  Interesting.  Perhaps his beloved Matilda was somewhere in the universe.  Perhaps in the ‘heaven’ which Christians went on about.  He did like to think that would be nice.  Yet perhaps just entertaining a fantasy about life.  A fantasy of what the meaning to it all was all about. Chapter Two  5992 SC ‘Yes Lucy.  I do know of the magic tent.’  ‘Will you be getting involved at all with it Shelandragh?’  ‘Nothing directly planned, Lucy.  Naturally I will visit the tent.  Alfric informed me that it is being organised by some witches from Sydney.  They have a more established network up there – more resources to organise such affairs.’  ‘Has there been anything like this in Cooma before?’  ‘Not that I can recall.  However, in recent years these sorts of gatherings have become more and more popular.  Much of the time wiccan witches are involved.  However, those of the older traditional craft, before such things as wicca became mainstream, are often involved as well.  The Ministry oversees affairs in the traditional witch scene, however the newer wiccan movements are often quite independent, more flexible to the passions and desires of today.  Not, Lucy, so steeped in tradition.  As a case in point, I have had relations with a particular wiccan witch from Perth who calls herself the ‘Wiccan witch of the west’ – I am sure you get the reference.’  Lucy nodded, but the reference was actually lost on her. ‘She is, for a witch, extremely outgoing and passionate.  Not in any way of the dark side as our adversaries are, but, rather, dedicated to the fires and passions of life.  In fact, quite passionate from my observations.  Have you yet seen the ‘Craft’?  Lucy looked at her, a little confused.  ‘The Craft?’  A movie from a number of years ago about modern witchery.  An American movie of teenage girls experimenting in witchcraft.’  ‘What was the movie about?’  ‘Dramatic teen witchery – typical teen drama for Hollywood, really.  Yet the dress code of these witches seems, from what I have noticed, to have had a dramatic impact on the dress code of many teenage girls in society.  Witchcraft is now, thankfully, becoming socially acceptable.  This particular witch friend of mine from Perth was infatuated with the movie.  She models herself on their ways, and pushes witchcraft to be accepted.  Of course it has not always been as such.’ Lucy, having grasped a little from Shelandragh of the difficulties witches used to face, asked her a question.  ‘Witches haven’t always been accepted.  Have they?’  ‘No Lucy.  Not until recent years.  In fact, witch trials and witch hunts, with witches often having been put to death for very simple magic, litters our history.  There have been dark witches in the past, but often from my memories and my own experience we were simply attracted to some of the ideas of magic and rebellion against the establishment.’  ‘The establishment?’ queried Lucy.  ‘The life and values our society has developed over its history, Lucy.  For example, the old testament teaches that witches and magical people should be executed.’  Lucy reacted quite strongly to this information.  ‘That’s not right.  It shouldn’t say that.  Madalene has never said anything like that too me.’  ‘Lucy, Madalene probably does not yet know of this teaching.  Many people in the church do not read the bible in any great detail.  It is, in a way, a fading text.’ ‘But why does it say those things?  Why does God hate witches so?’  ‘It was, really Lucy, a misunderstanding amongst the early chroniclers of Jewish law.  They were reactionary against their slavery and the oppression they had suffered in Egypt.  They took out their vengeance in introducing malicious death penalties to wipe out their enemies.  They were, in truth, motivated by revenge and hate, rather than forgiveness and love.  However, certain biblical passages justify the murder of witches and wizards when demonic beings are involved.  This is, in a way, less problematic.  We – you and I – as witches need to be dedicated to the light.  People will always remain interested in magic and spiritual energy, and it should never be forbidden their knowledge.  Yet caution is required.  The darker forces in the magical realm often interfere with Lightworkers activities, bringing disrepute to the reputation we actually deserve.’  ‘But they shouldn’t kill witches just because they contact demons?  That is mean?’  ‘I understand were you are coming from, Lucy.  But remember, the nature of evil is vengeful and dark.  Full of maliciousness and hate.  Those who corrupt their hearts and give themselves over to the dark side have, in truth, already started on the pathway to death from were they will improbably return, perhaps as Solomon says in his proverbs.’  Lucy nodded, but uneasiness was in her heart.  She hated the death penalty.  People needed to be allowed to live.  They needed to know that they were loved and could be forgiven.  This was, in the heart of young miss Lucy Potter, a most fierce and decided passion.*   *   *   *   * 5992 SC The Xtreme Kings looked at each other, a little nervous.  Jerry tapped on his drums a little, while  Ty started plugging in some cords to a Marshall amp.  Doug began riffing on his Bass guitar, some new ideas coming through.  In front of the concrete stage, with a curved roof overhead, the various citizens of Cooma were busy enjoying the fair which had started that morning at 9.00.  The Xtreme Kings had begun setting up at around 10.00 and their first show was to start at 12.00 mid-day.  They had performed in the pubs in Cooma from time to time, but this was their first major gig.  They had 7 songs in the morning set and 7 more in the evening set.  They had selected their best material of the thirty or so pieces they had finished, and hoped for good things. Their second album, the Stoned Philosophers, had been picked up by Warner Brothers records in Australia.  This one, they hoped, would be their breakthrough album.  They had different sounding material on this album – not like their first.  It was laced with religious elements, a popular topic of conversation for the Kings.  The first song, ‘In the New Age’ was an intense musical rush.  Extremely condemning of the ‘New Age Movement’, which they had decided to have a go at.  Of course, the killer track on the album was the second one, their best song, ‘Goldilox’.  This was an intense musical melodrama of forlorn love.  A heart devoted to a lady, so hard to get.  Almost out of reach.  It was, for the kings, their purest moment.  They had initially decided to call the Album ‘Out of the Silent Planet’, and had designs of multiple earths on the cover.  But they had ultimately decided on the ‘Stoned Philosophers’, in honour of their fallen friends.  Warners had suggested a band-name change to ‘Kings X’, but the band had decided to stick with the name ‘The Extreme Kings’. The other killer track on the album was ‘Shot of Love’, which was a rewritten version of ‘Afterlife’.  The music was the same, but they had decided to change the song title to reflect the heart they had for their fallen friends.  They had sent the philosophers, in their heart, off to God – off to heaven – and prayed a spirit of love from God to come to them to inspire their hearts. They decided to start with those three tracks in that order, and choose the rest as they went along. *   *   *   *   * 5992 SC George Daley, aged 55 – the Cherubim Saruviel - Brigid’s brother and David’s brother in-law sat with Hubert in front of the stage were the Xtreme Kings were warming up.  Elizabeth, George’s wife was seated next to George.  A friend of Hubert’s, Kylie, was sitting with them.  George began speaking.  ‘My brother Daniel has their debut CD.  He is a big fan.’  Hubert nodded.  ‘Yeh.  We have a few copies in the shop.  They sell occasionally.  A bit different, but there ok.’  ‘What type of music do you like Kylie?’ Elizabeth asked Kylie.  ‘I like Eminem.  S Club 7 are ok as well.’  Elizabeth nodded.  ‘I have never really listened to Eminem, but George has an S Club 7 cd.  The first one.  They are really good.  Very positive.  Funloving.  I like them.’  ‘Who do you like Elizabeth?’ Kylie asked.  ‘Jewel is one of my favourites.  As well as Delta Goodrem.’  ‘Yeh, I like Delta,’ said Kylie. Up on the stage Doug announced they were about to begin.  The kings were, now, extremely well experienced at their craft.  They were by no means a young band.  They had been playing music for years, and now in their middle-age.  But they had gained passion in recent years and were now ready to really push.  They were sure they were on the verge of a breakthrough for themselves. The music began.  An introduction flowed out in the most original and unique of sounds.  And then the lyrics.  ‘The Riddle of the Ages is the New Age of the End, when the souls and hearts of mankind no longer call God friend.  The Riddle of the ages is the New age you will find.  Were they follow riches vainly, and unto God they are so blind.’  The song continued on with ever more complex lyrics, yet this didn’t really bother the audience who took it as standard rock metal. The kind of stuff they were used to. They finished the song and the audience reacted quite positively.  They had seemed to like it.  Doug steadied himself, prayed a quick prayer, and began his soulful melody.  ‘I wish you were here with me, my heart in yours, devotedly.  I wish my soul was joined with you.  Forever pure, forever true.  I say these words, they are my soul, to sweetest love who makes me whole.  Be with me, forever mine, and I will love you for all time.’ At the end, the audience was quiet.  It had taken them by surprise.  It was, musically, different.  Decent.  Kind.  Some hearts had softened a little, and slowly people started clapping a bit.  Doug looked at Ty, who nodded.  He looked at Jerry who nodded also.  He gave a little grin, and started on the next track. *   *   *   *   * Lucy sat with Madalene, Jayden and Georgia a distance away from the stage, all of them eating chips.  Lucy looked, nervously, so as not to show it, at Georgia’s new scar.  Just the previous night Georgia had been with Lucy at the farmhouse with Jayden and Madalene.  Georgia had been outside for around half an hour, and Caroline had suggested Lucy go off looking for her.  She had found her down by the stream, having apparently fainted.  And, seemingly, she had hit her head, as a wound, hauntingly in the shape of an ‘l’, now graced her forehead.  Right between here eyes.  Georgia could not remember how she had gotten the scar.  In fact, she had said she could not remember anything since leaving the house.  Caroline and Brigid both assumed that what was probably a bump to the head had made her forgetful.  Brigid, Georgia’s mother, had taken her to the hospital in the morning to have her checked out.  The doctor at emergency advised caution, but said she seemed generally ok.  They had glued the wound together, rather than stitching it, which was a newer treatment. The ‘l’ haunted Lucy.  It seemed as if it was an ‘l’ named deliberately after herself.  As if Georgia had gotten herself entangled in something and taken the ‘l’ in Lucy’s honour – as her friend.  They were strange thoughts for Lucy.  Paranoid really.  But after the incident with Lucifer Malfoy, she still worried a little. Unknown to Lucy, though, was that Alexander Darvanius II had sent one of his henchman, Brax, to place a spiritual ‘bug’ upon young Georgia – one through which he could watch over and keep his eye upon young Lucy Potter.  Brax had grabbed Georgia down by the forge of Chakola, and placed the spell upon her.  And, to complete the spell, Brax had taken out a pocket knife, carving the slightest ‘l’ mark into her forehead, not to damaging, to appear as if she had hit her head.  Yet that mark, the ‘l’ for ‘Lucy’, enabled Alexander Darvanius II to trace young Miss Potter, so as to be aware of her whenever he needed to. Alexander Darvanius II had studied witchcraft and was adroit, like many masters, in the ways of witchery.  He was attuned, in particular, to the dark side of magic, yet, in his redeemable way, Saruviel was not ultimately evil.  Perhaps, if anything, misunderstood.  The mark he had born in his youth, for a short few years, the birthmark of 6 6 6, was undoubtedly the work of prophecy.  Alexander himself knew nothing of the mark, as it had faded before he had known about it, and in this respect he was as much a pawn of prophecy as anyone could possibly be. Yet the father of Glory, long ago, had planned out a destiny for his son Saruviel.  Lucy Potter, the lastborn of the children of Heaven, was key in that destiny.  Lucy, with the aid of many others, would in time defeat Alexander Darvanius II and his attempts to rule Christendom and the world.  For soon, just ahead in the years of life for young Lucy Potter, the Taheb – The Seraphim Angel Davriel of the Realm of Eternity – would come into prominence, making Israel’s great declaration before the children of mankind.  And then, Darvanius empire – his glorious New World Order – would begin forming in response to his bitter opponent, the Taheb.  Yet, Darvanius would be defeated, and the Taheb would emerge triumphant.  The Taheb – the Son of God – and the first Messiah would emerge and fulfill his rulership for 400 years, the allotted time prophetically for the Messiah’s rulership in writings of Esdras. *   *   *   *   * 5992 SC ‘Yeah, whatever.  But Herbie’s better.’  ‘Herbie.  You call that piece of junk Herbie?  That’s a joke, right.  Herbie.  Ha.’  ‘Watch it, creep.’  That said, the creep who had been pestering Lindsay and boasting about his Ford Falcon, walked away.  Lindsay, grateful to see the pest leave, said to Herbie, ‘Ignore that creep Herbie.  He has no idea what he is talking about.  You’re going to win, alright.  You’re going to win.’  In response to that encouragement, Herbie let out a honk on his horn, which gave Lindsay a puzzled look.  Lindsay was at the Canberra Dragway, having entered Herbie into a dragster competition.  The organisers had thought, looking at the car, that while they understood the practical joke Lindsay was playing on them in entering the competition, they decided to let her enter anyway for comic relief.  She was now, though, ready to put Herbie to the ultimate test.  She’d had Herbie fitted, at her grandfather’s great expense, a jet engine specially designed for a bug.  Her father had said she was a nut, but she loved Herbie and decided to do it anyway.  And now she was ready to put Herbie to the ultimate test. The creep who was her opponent in the next dragrace had mocked Herbie, but she knew she could win.  She was going to come first, that was certain.  ‘Well, Lucy.  The race is set to start shortly.  You had better get back to your seat.’  ‘Good luck, Lindsay.  You’re going to win.’  ‘You bet.’  Lucy left the race track and returned to her seat next to Shelandragh and Darren, who were both anxiously looking on.  Shelandragh turned to her.  ‘Is Lindsay nervous?’  ‘No, I think she is okay, Shelandragh.  I think she is determined to win.’  ‘What was all that with the other racer?’ asked Darren.  ‘Oh, he was having a go at Herbie.  But Lindsay told him to go away.’ The announcer came over the loudspeakers declaring that the next race was about to begin.  As Lucy watched on, Lindsay drove Herbie up to the starting line.  ‘Good luck Lindsay,’ Lucy whispered to herself. Inside Herbie, Lindsay started pushing some special buttons – buttons which she had not told the organisers about.  The Jet engine propulsion system started charging up, and out the back of Herbie panels rolled back and orange fiery flames started shooting out.  The people in the stands started yelling and shouting, pointing to the flames.  Lucy looked at them, and wandered just what Herbie was now made of. One of the race organisers came over to speak to Lindsay.  ‘Just what the hell is in your car?’ he asked.  Lindsay gave him a cute look and said, ‘An engine.’  The organiser went to look at the back of the car and stared at the flames for a moment.  He came back to Lindsay, shook his head, saying, ‘Yeah, well.  Good luck.’  ‘Thanks.’ The track cleared, and the crowd started its usual tumultuous behaviour.  Lindsay looked at the lights.  They suddenly started on red.  ‘Okay Herbie.  Here we go.’  The lights went through their colours and when they hit green, Lindsay pushed the accelerator to the floor and Herbie belted away. The race was over in a flash.  The two cars started together, but after a split second, Herbie flashed like lightning as the jet engines power pushed the bug to the limit.  And then, when Herbie passed the finish line, well in front of the creep opponent, Lindsay yelled out, ‘Herrrbiieee.’  The crowd, as such crowds usually do, erupted.  Cheers were everywhere.  Lindsay slowed Herbie down, and the bug eventually came to a stop.  She got out of Herbie and raised her hand to wave to the crowd.  ‘The cheering was intense and Lindsay had won.’  Sitting in the crowd, Lucy had a big smile on her face.  ‘Way to go Herbie,’ she said softly. Chapter Three 5992 SC Lucifer Malfoy sat in his cell on the island of Azkerban, off the northern coast of Scotland – an island hidden from mankind by the spells of the Ministry of Magic – brooding intensely.  In his heart one idea had permeated thoroughly – vengeance on the witch child Lucy Potter.  Having escaped his prison cell of Azkerban the old fashioned way, a way not thought to too closely monitor by his Ministry captors, simply by digging an escape tunnel with a metal spoon he had stolen from his dinner room, Lucifer had been sent by his brother Alexander Darvanius II to monitor Lucy and associate with Grimlock. For reasons Lucifer knew not, Alexander feared the young witch – feared her greatly.  Lucifer had suggested they simply kill her and have done with it, but Alexander had recoiled greatly at the suggestion – alarmed almost.  No, it would simply be best if Lucifer worked under Grimlock’s authority, and that had meant eliminating Mr Merryweather, even if Lucy became aware of whom Lucifer was.  But the little witch had cast a ‘Relocate’ spell on him, without specifying a location and, now, he had been taken to the point such a spell had last been cast upon him, to his cell were the Ministry of Magic had sent him, through the same spell, to live.  And since then he had brooded. He had a gut instinct that Alexander would get him out.  Most of the work Lucifer undertook for the family was, in a way, out of kicks.  He liked being the bad guy in the family – it suited him – and doing the dirty work was not a problem.  But, like Alexander, he had the long term goal in mind and as the ‘Western Alliance’ grew in power under his brother’s influence, and his father, Alexander Darvanius I completed his work in uniting Christendom, it would soon come one day in which is family, and the other head families of the Illuminati, ruled the world.  Yet for now he would have to patiently wait the freedom his brother Alexander would bring him. *   *   *   *   * ‘Yes Lucy, she said yes.’  Lucy smiled, ever so happy at the good fortune of one of her mentors from the Ministry of Magic, Darren Merryweather.  Darren’s girlfriend in Sydney had said yes to Darren’s recent proposal, and was now in the process of arranging a permanent transfer down to Canberra in the national carpeting company she worked for.  Fortunately the company had been scratching around for a new area manager for the Canberra district, and Carol Davidson seemed the perfect choice, or so she’d told Darren that her supervisor’s had claimed.  They had set the date for early January 2023, just a year from then.  Lucy was pleased and delighted that Carol had said yes, and as Carol was planning on coming down to Cooma for a few weeks, Lucy looked forward to meeting her for the first time. That day Lucy was with Darren at Alfric’s house in Deakin in Canberra.  They had been studying various textbooks on magic lore, and then Alfric had announced that, beginning 2023, if Lucy would accept the offer, she could begin studying under a Ministry sponsored scholarship at ‘Zeraxxus’, the school for wizards and witches in Sydney, hidden in the ‘Rocks’ area of Sydney. Lucy had been overjoyed at the news and looked forward to telling Shelandragh and her mother when she got home.  Of course, her regular schooling could continue in either Cooma or Canberra, or even Sydney if she wanted to, but the magic school would run through the regular school terms holiday times, which would mean a very full year of study for young Miss Lucy Potter. ‘Well, dear young Lucy.  What have you learned today.’  Lucy, sitting at Alfric’s table, staring through the window, was lost in thought.  Darren looked at her, waved his hand, and said ‘Lucy’, but with no response.  He turned to Alfric.  ‘She must be off with the fairies.’Lucy turned to Darren and said ‘Very funny’, at which Darren and Alfric smiled.  ‘I have learned lots of things,’ she responded.  ‘Another grand day of witchcraft.’‘I only hope you are saying that when you are my age,’ replied Alfric.‘How old are you anyway, master Alfric?’ queried Lucy.Darren looked at Alfric, curious as well.  ‘A good question Lucy.  I wonder what the response will be.’ Alfric looked at both of them, sat down at the table, and took a drink from the glass of juice in front of him.  And then he began, ‘Age is not so important as you may presume, younglings.’‘Younglings?’ queried Darren, slightly taken aback being called as such for a grown man.‘Yes, younglings,’ continued Alfric.  ‘Yet as I was saying, despite my many years, which by modern comparisons are vast indeed, age is not everything.  It seems to me, from personal observation that wisdom – true wisdom – can lie in a soul at a bear 10 years of age, often vastly contrary to the wisdom which should be there for someone 100 times that age.’‘Your not a thousand are you?’ asked Lucy earnestly.‘I could only wish, young lady.  Nay, I am yet to reach my millennial year, but it beckons, as do the days of older age.  But I did know a man, once – a fierce wizard of a man – who had crossed the threshold of a thousand years, but by no means by the grace of love and life one would, or should expect, for such an accomplishment.  Yet Voldemort was not living, nor seemingly ever had done, for the pleasures of goodness towards his fellow mankind.  His long age, I fear, has been gained from the vampiric like soul-sucking of his wizard and witch victims.  For this dark lord sucks their very souls, killing them quickly, yet extending his own manifold.  For such is the evil of this foul lord.’Lucy looked at Darren, who nodded to her.‘This is Voldemort?  Who sent Lucifer?  Isn’t it?’‘The one and the same, young Lucy.  Of course, Voldemort, while being an ancient evil, is not the one we should fear the most.  Believe my words when I tell you that, dear child.  You may have heard, these days, of a certain Alexander Darvanius.’  Darren nodded, ‘The great ecumenist.’‘That is him, Darren.  Well, from my incantations and peering into the pool of knowledge, I have discerned a great evil associated with this man.  Not him, directly – I mean not him, personally – but associated with him.  Most definitely associated with this man.’‘And what evil do we speak of, Alfric,’ queried Darren earnestly.‘The most ancient of evils, Darren.  The most ancient.  The one spoken of in John’s Apocalypse.  The final child of wrath who will usher in the end of the age.  The one we of the west have feared for millennia now, whom is finally approaching.’Lucy looked at them, a little familiar now with biblical concepts.  ‘Do you mean the Antichrist?  Like in the Omen?  I saw that two weeks ago with mum.  It was really scary.’  Alfric looked at her, and just nodded his head.‘So we are living at the end?  The end of days?’Alfric looked out the window for a moment, and then looked at Lucy.  ‘Jesus taught the church to know the time of the end, Lucy.  When things begin happening, like he taught, he encouraged the church to know that the end was at hand – and I fear, now, the end is at hand.’‘Madalene is in the church,’ said Lucy innocently.  ‘But I have never been baptized.  Should I be baptized Alfric?’  Darren listened to that question with interest, as he had begun taking more of an interest himself in Christian religion, and had been considering the baptism question.  Alfric raised his hands apprehensively, ‘Of God and truth, and baptisms and covenants I cannot answer you Lucy.  I am aware that, by birth, you are under the covenant of the Rainbow – the covenant of our father Noah.’  Lucy looked at him squarely, and brightened.  ‘That is what Brigid’s brother Daniel goes on about.  The Noahide covenant.’  Alfric looked at her, curiousity piqued.‘The NOAHIDE covenant,’ he queried, most interested.‘Yes.  Noahide means child of Noah.  And Daniel is the head of a fellowship called ‘Haven Noahide Fellowship.’  Alfric looked at Darren.  ‘Do you know anything of this fellowship?  I am asking because, well, I am not strictly speaking a Christian, but have long abided by the Rainbow as the sign of our covenant with God.  It actually surprises me that a religion exists based on this covenant.’‘I am not really sure about it myself, Alfric.  But I have met Daniel and will have words with him.  Perhaps you two could get together and have discussions on the subject.’  Alfric nodded, seemingly quite pleased to have gained this information. Lucy got her bag and took out the Bible she had with her.  Finding the passage in Genesis which Daniel had shown her, she began reading: ‘And God blessed Noah and his sons. And he said to them: “Increase, and multiply, and fill the earth. And let the fear and trembling of you be upon all the animals of the earth, and upon all the birds of the air, along with all that moves across the earth. All the fish of the sea have been delivered into your hand.And everything that moves and lives will be food for you. Just as with the edible plants, I have delivered them all to you, except that flesh with blood you shall not eat. For I will examine the blood of your lives at the hand of every beast. So also, at the hand of mankind, at the hand of each man and his brother, I will examine the life of mankind. Whoever will shed human blood, his blood will be poured out. For man was indeed made to the image of God. But as for you: increase and multiply, and go forth upon the earth and fulfill it.” To Noah and to his sons with him, God also said this:“Behold, I will establish my covenant with you, and with your offspring after you,and with every living soul that is with you: as much with the birds as with the cattle and all the animals of the earth that have gone forth from the ark, and with all the wild beasts of the earth.I will establish my covenant with you, and no longer will all that is flesh be put to death by the waters of a great flood, and, henceforth, there will not be a great flood to utterly destroy the earth.”And God said: “This is the sign of the pact that I grant between me and you, and to every living soul that is with you, for perpetual generations.I will place my arc in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the pact between myself and the earth.And when I obscure the sky with clouds, my arc will appear in the clouds.And I will remember my covenant with you, and with every living soul that enlivens flesh. And there will no longer be waters from a great flood to wipe away all that is flesh. And the arc will be in the clouds, and I will see it, and I will remember the everlasting covenant that was enacted between God and every living soul of all that is flesh upon the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This will be the sign of the covenant that I have established between myself and all that is flesh upon the earth.’ She stopped reading, and then quoted the chapter and verse, ‘That was from Genesis 9, 1 to 17.’Alfric nodded, familiar with the passage, but it was mostly new to Darren. ‘The Death penalty for murder, I see,’ said Darren.  ‘But I guess such was the era in which the text was written.’‘Yes,’ nodded Alfric, although having a slightly different perspective on how important that principle of the covenant was. ‘So someone who follows this is a ‘Noahide’’, stated Lucy.  ‘I guess that makes me a Noahide then.’  Alfric looked at her, somewhat consoled at such a statement.  He put his hand affectionately on her shoulder,  ‘I guess it does dear Lucy.  I guess it does.’ They chatted on for a while longer, before Darren announced that the day’s lesson was finished, and that it was time to return home. Driving back to Chakola, Lucy thought on the Rainbow.  Really, it was a nice sign to have for her covenant with God.  Perhaps, now that she had decided what her religion was, she could also speak with Daniel and look even more into what was apparently her religious birthright.  It would, she believed, prove a most enlightening experience. Chapter Four Grimlock, looking at the portal in front of him, eventually gave up.  ‘Bah.  A waste of time,’ he said to himself.  And while monitoring Lucy Potter from the viewing portal contained in the scar on Georgia Bridges forehead was allowable from time to time, mostly Georgia was pre-occupied with the simple things a girl her age was pre-occupied with.  Yet, in this task he had no great choice.  His master Alexander Darvanius II required this of him.  He was to monitor Lucy personally whenever he could, and when he could not do that, ensure he would check when and were young Georgia was in the witches company.‘There will be useful – information,’ Alexander had once said, almost cryptically, and had thereupon insisted on Grimlock’s devotion to the task.  And so every night, from his habitation in Cooma, Grimlock surveyed Georgia’s activities, rarely bothering to listen, yet waiting for whatever adventures she had with her friend Lucy to gain any pertinent information were and when he could. Yet tonight to no avail.  Georgia was at home in Canberra, currently in the bath with her brother Jayden, and they were acting their ages.  Nothing interesting for Grimlock to be concerned about. Taking a seat on his lounge, he picked up a dark leather tome from his table next to him, opened it, but paid no close attention, lost in thought.  His master was looking for key information with Lucy – key information.  He had spoken, vaguely, to Grimlock that one day Lucy would confront himself and there would be an encounter which would decide destiny in a most strange way.  Unless Alexander was prepared for that encounter, and he felt only by close observation of Lucy could he know for sure how to be ready, that it would not go in his favour.  And so he had assigned Grimlock to monitor Lucy, and had arranged for the viewing gem, very tiny, to be placed in the scar in Georgia Bridges forehead. For Grimlock, though, while he served his master faithfully, he was ultimately in it for the reward promised to him.  One day, so Alexander had said, they would rule the world – literally.  And in the new commonwealth of glory they would find themselves in, opportunities for positions of power and authority would abound.  It would, for Grimlock, be a most satisfying lifestyle, one in which he could exercise all of his most luxurious decadence. And so, with that motivation, Grimlock served Alexander Darvanius II for the hoped reward that would one day, most certainly, be his. *   *   *   *   * ‘Urrh.  Grrr.  Urrrgh.  Arrhg.  Bloakins Belt!’Lucy, hearing the noise, queried the sprite as to what it was.‘Oh that is just Theodox.  Look out – here comes now.’  And then, coming into view at the bend of the river where it turned eastward, the most foul looking of creatures, barely three feet tall, dressed in an ancient looking leather tunic, stumbled onwards, continuing to make the most abrasive of noises.  ‘Urrhg, horrr, grrr, drrrdd.  Bloakins Belt!’  From what Lucy could notice, the creature was looking downwards, perhaps in search of something.  When it finally arrived at where Lucy and the Sprite were sitting on the edge of the Newmerella River, it stopped, looked around the ground for a while, and then, grumbling, raised its head to look at them.  And then it spoke.‘Grrr.  Bloakins Belt?  Grrr.’  Lucy was perplexed.  Just exactly what was Bloakins Belt?’  Minxy, though, seemed to know.  ‘So you have lost Bloakins Belt again, Theodox.  He must be most upset.  You know you really need to get your own when you want to go swimming to keep your togs on.‘What is Bloakin’s Belt,’ asked Lucy innocently.‘Bloakin is Theodox’s brother.  Trolls live in families and Theodox is in the habit of borrowing Bloakin’s belt to keep up his swimming togs when he wants to go swimming.  He loses the belt often, though.‘Theodox is a troll!’ exclaimed Lucy.  Theodox looked at her, grumbled and said, ‘Grrr.  Bloakin’s belt?’  Minxy responded.‘It is alright Theodox.  This is Lucy Potter.  She and I will help you find your brother’s belt.  Come on Lucy – it must be along the river somewere.’  Lucy gave the troll one last cautious look, and joined in with Minxy to scout the riverbank in search of Bloakin’s missing Belt.  Minxy went on to relate that a family of trolls lived not far upstream, and that swimming in the river was often a pastime they engaged in.  ‘But they rarely come down this far, Lucy.  Probably why you haven’t seen Theodox before.  Oh, and he is magical, so the others probably won’t be able to see him unless he allows it.’  Lucy nodded, having grown a little more comfortable around Theodox, who genuinely seemed quite harmless. Eventually Lucy, finding a leather belt lying on the riverbank just 100 metres downstream, yelled to Minxy and Theodox.  Theodox grabbed them in the manner of trolls, delighted to find his brothers belt.  ‘Grrrr.  Grrrr.  Bloakin’s Belt!’, he exclaimed, ever so happy.  And then, much to Lucy’s shock, gave her a hug.  Lucy was nervous at first, but reassured by Minxy’s encouragements, placed her arms around Theodox.  ‘It is alright Theodox.  You now have Bloakin’s belt.’  Theodox pulled away from her, and did a little jig in front of her, celebrating the finding of Bloakin’s belt.  And then, putting up his hand in a farewell gesture, started making his way back upstream.  Lucy and Minxy gradually walked back to the crossing and watched as Theodox turned the bend and disappeared out of sight.‘A Troll!’ exclaimed Lucy.  ‘Whatever fantastic creature could possibly come next.’ *   *   *   *   * The ride was thrilling – as exciting as any adventure Lucy had been upon.  Seated upon the back of Silver, with Jayden on the back of Goldie, the two of them were flying over near Numerella, following the river to the place they intended to go for a swim, just east of Numerella village about 5 kilometres.  Jayden motioned for Goldie too once again skim down and fly his feet along the water, upon which Jayden lowered his feet also and let out a huge ‘awesome.’  Lucy just laughed. When they spotted their destination, Lucy yelled for Jayden to land, and the two wyverns came down and settled on a rocky beach of the river, just near were the water gushed down in a tiny waterfall of a metre high, were at the bottom the water gurgled furiously. Taking off their T-Shirts, Lucy was dressed in a bikini and Jayden in just his board shorts.  Jayden took a sip from his drink bottle and Lucy put on some sunscreen – another layer – just to be safe.  It was so hot in Summer.  She looked across the river to where the opposing hill face, all rugged, ran up to the top of the hill.  It was a steep climb opposite them, but it had been climbed by those in the family in earlier years. ‘Shall we climb that later?’ Lucy asked Jayden, pointing to the steep incline.  ‘Sure.  But after we sunbake, ok.’‘Ok.’ The two of them, with the wyverns watching intently, made their way to the river were the tiny waterfall rushed into the gurgling basin.  They climbed in, and both of them came and stationed themselves beneath the rushing water.  Jayden turned his face up to the water a few times, and they had great fun feeling the water as it rushed over them. They stayed in that section for around 20 minutes, before making their way over to the deeper lagoon section, were they swam for another half an hour.  Eventually they came to the set of large rocks which seemingly had been made for sunbaking, and rested, both facing downwards. Lucy listened intently to the sound of the Australian bush, and loved the feeling of the sun soaking into her flesh.  Really, she was in bliss.  They laid there for around half an hour, before Jayden stirred.  ‘Shall we still climb that hill?’ he asked.‘Yeh, ok,’ said Lucy.  They put their shoes back on and carefully made their way, jumping over the river rocks, to the opposite side of the river, and stared upwards.  It would be a challenging climb, but they felt safe enough, despite the warning from David not to climb the hill. Halfway up the incline Lucy looked over the outskirts of the river to the east and the west.  It was a tremendous sight to behold and nature seemed to come alive from were she was clinging on.  They pushed on and in a few minutes made the top of the incline.  Before them was mostly more bush and trees, Canberra about 100 kilometres to the north of them approximately, being roughly level with Cooma on latitude. They walked around for a while, noticed an old campfire were some broken beer bottles were sitting, and looked over the river from their high up view point. ‘This is cool,’ said Jayden, and Lucy could only but agree.  Eventually they came down, and after crossing the river, returning to the wyverns who had been eating grass, Jayden suggested they fly a little further to the east just to see what lay beyond.  However Lucy said the day was starting to get on a bit, and they wyverns would probably tire out, so they agreed to travel on home. As they flew, following the river, heading for home, Lucy thought just how lucky she was to be able to fly on the back of a young wyvern.  Of course, very soon she would be learning to fly on a traditional broomstick – and while that would be so very exciting, it just didn’t seem to have the excitement of riding on the back of a dragon. They made home in an hour, after stopping once for Jayden to go to the toilet, and they wyverns settled into their paddock in Chakola, just to the north of the school-house home of Lucy’s. After dinner, and when Jayden left with David for Canberra, Lucy sat watching TV thinking on life.  So much had happened in the past few months, and now the new school year was about to begin with her mother having now enrolled her for the first time after home-schooling her in her younger years.  It would be an exciting time indeed for young Miss Lucy Potter. *   *   *   *   * Lucy sat obediently in the front row, were her desk was located.  She was in Mr Jones class, in year 5J, at St Patrick’s Primary school in Cooma.  That morning she had gotten to know a few of the girls in year 5, being shown around by the teacher, and now classes had begun.  The students generally knew Lucy was a witch in training as the incident late last year had not been forgotten, despite the best efforts of Alfric and the Ministry to try and play down the incident, not wishing magic and magic creatures to become general knowledge in the community, a worldwide attitude of the Ministry of Magic. After they had done some basic English lessons on grammar, which Lucy found incredibly easy with her mothers strict tutoring, the class was given some free time to do some colouring in, funnily enough of a stencil of a witch and a cauldron, given to the whole class.  Some of the girls giggled, whispering to Lucy that she should be good at this.  But such was the nature of children. Lucy spent an hour working on her picture, after which little lunch was called, and Mr Jones marched the class out to the playground were the rest of the school had gathered and little lunch began.  They had to eat their meal first, and then a second bell went off indicating their playtime. ‘So you’re the witch, huh?’ said a young redheaded lad to Lucy, who was sitting on her own at the edge of the playground, reading one of her books on magic.  Lucy looked at the kid.  He had very bright red hair, was average size, a little overweight.  She was not sure if he was a popular kid or not, but was not really worried about that issue.  ‘Yes, I am a witch,’ responded Lucy.  ‘Wow,’ said the boy.  ‘That is amazing.  My name is Michael.  Michael Bradley.’  Lucy nodded, responding, ‘It is nice to meet you Michael Bradley.’‘What are you reading,’ asked Michael.  Lucy showed the cover of the book to him.  ‘It is a book on spells.  My teacher, Shelandragh, gave it to me to study.  It is part of my curriculum for this years study.’‘So it pretty serious, huh.  Witchcraft I mean.’‘Yes, quite serious.  It really makes you grow up but.’‘Amazing,’ said Michael again.  ‘Can I have a look at the book.’‘Well, ok,’ said Lucy.Michael came over and sat next to her and Lucy handed the book to him to let him look through.  Michael looked at the first spell in the book, and began reading the words.  The spell was a basic fire spell, for lighting fires.  After he had spoken the words, Lucy was amazed at seeing a few sparks come off his fingers.  Michael jumped back, shocked.‘Wow,’ said Lucy.  ‘You must have reservoirs of magical spirit energy.  You could possibly be a young warlock.’Michael held his fingers up to his face, and looked at them cautiously.  ‘A warlock?  What is that?’‘Like a male witch, or a wizard.’‘Oh,’ said Michael, still a little shocked.They talked for the rest of little lunch, and Lucy suggested that Michael might like to meet Shelandragh.  ‘Perhaps you could have lessons as well, Michael.’‘Yeh, perhaps,’ said Michael, who was not to sure. Over the next few weeks at school Lucy didn’t really make any other friends, but Michael sat with her every little lunch and at lunchtime, and spent time with her after school before her mother picked her up.  After 3 weeks Michael told Lucy that he had spoken to his mother about Lucy and Shelandragh and his mother had said it would be ok for Michael to visit Lucy and Shelandragh this weekend if he wanted to.  Lucy was naturally excited, and looked forward to seeing her new best friend on the weekend. Chapter Five ‘Yes Lucy.  It does appear as if Michael is gifted in the arts.  He seems to have some point in his life, perhaps instinctively, built up his own personal reservoirs of magical energy and used it by nature when speaking the words to the spell you told me about.  I have spent all afternoon with him, going through some of the more introductory lessons on witchcraft, and the young lad is definitely of the craft – he has natural talent.’Lucy smiled; ever so pleased at the news Shelandragh was sharing with her.  It would make her new life at St Patrick’s so much more pleasant to be able to – hopefully – have someone to talk to about her magical craft.‘Mind you, he is new.  And if his parents decide they want his gift nurturing, he will need a lot of encouragement and guidance.  And I think, if they do, you may be able to provide that encouragement.’Lucy nodded, pleased at being given responsibility at such a young age.‘Do you think Michael’s parents will allow him to have lessons?’‘It is hard to say.  They may be religious, sending him to Catholic school, and religious people often have concerns about witchcraft.  But leave it with me.  I will talk to his mother when she gets back and we will see.  But remember what I always tell you – don’t count your chickens.’‘Before their hatched,’ finished Lucy.  ‘Yes I remember, Shelandragh.’‘Very good.  Now why don’t you go and play outside with Michael.  I am sure he has been looking forward to some play time with you.’Lucy got up, ran to the kitchen were Michael was sitting watching TV and drinking a soft drink, and dragged him out to the back yard. From the kitchen Shelandragh watched her pupil and her potential new pupil.  Of course, she had a few other students besides Lucy in the Cooma region, from which she gained a small income going alongside the pension she had earned from work in earlier years.  In her long years of life – far longer than most others – Shelandragh had acquired a large fortune, and had a number of overseas bank accounts with strong interest rates which she maintained for any potential future need.  Really, if she chose, she could have lived a far greater quality of life in a far more beautiful and pleasant house, with servants and all the accoutrements of a grand life.  Yet her heart was for magic, and those in the craft which life brought to her.  It was for children like Lucy, and possibly even the new Michael Bradley, that Shelandragh devoted to herself, believing in her heart she served some sort of higher purpose in the work she was involved with.  Like the head of the Ministry of Magic, Shelandragh held to something akin to the Noahide faith.  While she had been baptized at a few months old, which had been the practice all those years ago, she had foregone strong church attendance long ago, and drifted from mainstream Christian faith – so much so that she no longer felt comfortable identifying as a Anglican Christian. But she kept faith in God, having her own understanding of what religion ought to be about, favouring love and mercy rather than any strict devotion to a set of rules.  This, of course, seemed necessary with her practice of witchcraft, yet in truth she felt that, perhaps, the wizards and witches of the days of Moses were not quite like herself.  True, like them she practiced magic.  Yet from what she had read of biblical literature on the subject, the wizards and witches of those days were devoted to demonic idols, and often had ill intent in the practice of their wizardry.  So, she assured many who often had questions on the subject, white witches of today were simply not like that and, as such, the practice of their craft was quite acceptable.  There were, of course, numerous darker witches, whose spellcasting was not always for the benefit of all.  But many of these were not really evil – not in the traditional sense anyway – but more of the darker side of life.  Yet, also, there were the children of the devil, whose dark practices she had not escaped unscathed from herself.  Voldemort she feared the most, but the new evil which Alfric spoke to her of worried her greatly.  The great and final dark lord, the dreaded Antichrist.  God forbid that either herself or Lucy should ever find themselves entangled with such a one.  God forbid. With the kettle boiled, Shelandragh poured the hot water into the teapot, and covered it to simmer.  She sat their, gazing at the children, occasionally wondering why she really never had any of her own, and just hummed quietly to herself.  It was a pleasant and happy afternoon.  One of many which the good lord had blessed his beloved daughter, Shelandragh May, with. *   *   *   *   * As the year passed, coming to its conclusion, Lucy spent much of the time with Michael at weekends, whose parent’s had consented to his lessons.  Like Lucy, he showed promise in the arts, and Shelandragh had her hands full answering all of his many questions. When the school year concluded just before Christmas, Lucy was excited and looking forward to her first year at Zeraxxus, the school of witchcraft and wizardry she had been sponsored by the Ministry to attend during summer holidays, having gained permission from her mother Caroline to attend. On January the second 2023 AD (or 5993 Since Creation (SC) in the Taheb’s calendar), travelling by train to Sydney with her mother Caroline, Lucy was glancing out the window of the train for most of the trip.  Darren had dropped them off at the train station, telling Lucy he would visit her at the school in a couple of weeks and encouraging her to try to make new friends in her first year at Zeraxxus. The school was the oldest seat of regulated witchcraft and wizardry in Australia, nearly as old as the country itself, having been established in Sydney’s early years.  They had moved a few times, finding their present location in the late 1890s, having not moved since.  When Lucy arrived late in the afternoon of the second of January, she gazed up at the two story building, situated in Randwick in Sydney, amongst a grouping of other similar looking homes.  From what Alfric had shared with her, the school was housed in 3 adjacent homes, having been purchased, and the brick walls between them having been eradicated to make way for new doorways.  There were rooms for up to students at any one time, with most sharing a room.  Lucy had been paired up with another young witch around her age, a certain Belinda Jamieson. Coming to the front door of the school, Caroline encouraged Lucy to knock on the door or to push the buzzer.  Lucy looked at the gargoyle with the buzzer on it, but decided to try the rather foreboding looking doorhandle instead.  She gave three loud knocks on the heavy knocker, and they patiently waited.  After a few moments the door opened, and what appeared to be a student, a male around 16 or so, greeted them and let them in.  ‘Hello, I’m Mark.  Mark Ash.  I’m a student here.  I’ll go get someone, ok.  If you just wait in the waiting room here, I’ll get someone.’  Caroline and Lucy followed Mark into the adjoining waiting room, and sat on comfortable lounged waiting for who they knew not. Lucy looked around the room.  A television was playing, noise right down, situated below the front window.  There was a fireplace against one wall, and a grandfather clock against the other.  They were seated near the entrance to the room, Caroline having picked up a magazine and leafing through it.  Lucy stood and walked over to the mantelpiece surrounding the fireplace, and picked up one of the bronze soldier figures to look at it.  ‘Careful Lucy.  Don’t drop it.  It probably costs a fortune.’  Lucy looked it over and then carefully put it back on the mantelpiece.  There were other assortments on the mantelpiece, and at the end a number of what appeared to be Spell-books, which Lucy was instantly drawn to.  Looking through them, she picked an appropriate volume and set back down to look at it.  No sooner had she sat down than Mark Ash returned.  He turned to Caroline.  ‘Are you Caroline Potter?’‘Yes that is I,’ responded Caroline.‘Good.  Well, you can leave if you want.  I will look after Lucy and show her to her room.  The elders have decided that they would rather not introduce themselves to you personally as it is mainly policy to see the students alone – privacy reasons to do with magic, if you know what I mean.’Caroline nodded, not unfamiliar with such goings on.‘Very well then.’  She turned to Lucy, who had returned to looking at the Spell-book.  ‘Well, daughter of mine.  This is it.  Remember, you are a Potter.  You are my daughter, and your father would be oh so proud of you today.  Do your best and always remember I love you.’Lucy smiled up at her mother.  Caroline gave her one last hug, and followed Mark to the door.  Outside on the pavement Caroline looked at Lucy through the window, gave her one last wave, and hailed a taxi which had magically shown up.  Lucy watched the taxi leave and thought to herself, ‘Well, here we go.’ *   *   *   *   * Walking alongside Mark Ash climbing the stairs, Lucy decided to ask him some questions.  ‘Well, Mark.  How many boy and girl students will there be this year.’Mark looked at her, and pointed out one of the loose steps.  ‘Mind that one Lucy.  Old Peter cast a temporary spell so it wouldn’t come loose, but we really need to nail it down or get it fixed professionally.  Yet he never has the time, so he says.  Anyway, we have 5 boys and 5 girls to answer your question.  Each of the girls and boys are 2 years apart, going from the youngest girl, yourself, at eleven, to Narelle at 19 this year.  And the boys ages are roughly the same.  Our school is the most prestigious in all of Sydney, but believe me it is very old fashioned.  Almost the ‘establishment’ of wizard schools in Australia, if you know what I mean.’  Lucy nodded, vaguely familiar with the idea.  ‘So there are other schools in Sydney?’ Lucy asked Mark, who was knocking at a door at the top of the stairs.  ‘Yes Lucy.  Many, actually.  I would have personally rather have gone to one of the new modern ones – they teach a lot of edgier spells, and even talk about the darker side of magic from time to time.  And some of the teachers are really cool – first class witches and warlocks, totally wicked, if you know what I mean.’‘Sounds awesome,’ said Lucy.  Just then the door opened, and Mark urged Lucy to go inside.   ‘I will get your bags, Lucy, and take them to your room.  Peter will show you to your room after introductions.  Ok go on in.  Its ok.’Lucy smiled at Mark nervously, who was retreating down the stairs, and peered into the room.The room of Peter Daley, head wizard and headmaster of Zeraxxus school of wizards and witches, was crammed with, perhaps, every major magic book known to the magical community.  There were literally thousands of them crammed along three walls of bookcases going up to the ceiling, and many in piles all over the floor.Just then a voice spoke.  ‘Come in.  Come in fair maiden.’  Coming out from behind a desk were, presumably, he had been engaged in his craft, old Peter Daley came out to greet Lucy, giving her a friendly hug, and placing an affectionate hand on her shoulder.  ‘Greetings young Lucy.  Greetings.  I have heard from Alfric so much about you.  He says you are a great child of promise indeed.  Perhaps one to be on the board of the Ministry one day in the future.  I myself am an honorary member on the board of the Ministry, but take no real part in its every day functioning.  I mainly correspond with Alfric in Canberra to keep up to date with affairs in the world of witchcraft.’  He motioned for Lucy to take a seat next to the small table near the burning fireplace, and resumed his chatter.  ‘Well Lucy.  In choosing to come to Zeraxxus you have chosen to come to a fine institution indeed.  As you may know, we are the most established of such a school in Australia.  Oh, there are many new modern ones – especially ones aiming to cater to the new trends.  Unwholesome trends, mind you.  Far too much dabbling in the darker side of wizardry goes on I fear in some of the newer schools.’Lucy spoke up.  ‘Yes, Mark was saying that as well.’‘Mmm.  Well it is not really anything for you to concern yourself with.  Oh, you will probably meet some wizards and witches from some of the other schools in your time here at Zeraxxus but, if you pay attention to your lessons, I am sure you will see for yourself the vast difference in not only the quality, but the type of education we offer in comparison.  And I do stress the word ‘type’ dear young Lucy.’‘I am sure I will,’ responded Lucy confidently.‘Well, your first lessons begin on Monday.  We have 4 weeks of solid magic ahead of us, in which you will be reintroduced to many of the lessons you would have learned already, especially in the first week, before we go more in depth in week 3 and week 4 before your final exam.  Let me stress something to you about Zeraxxus.  If we accept a student it is because they have been thoroughly sounded out already.  As such passing the exams will not prove that difficult to you, as you will find your own magical abilities quite competent already in this respect, and I am sure you will handle the theory component from reports I have heard.  Essentially, even more than imparting knowledge to our students, we aim to impart one very important thing -  an attitude.  Believe me Lucy, many wizards and witches can do extraordinary things with their craft – but to gain respect in our craft, maturity of mind – knowing when to use the craft and when not to – is the general rule of thumb in when to gain respect.  In this sense it is more important to know why you are using magic, rather than how powerful your spell can be.  You see Lucy, we teach ‘quality’ of magic, here at Zeraxxus.  Quality as opposed to quantity.  As an example, one spell, carefully chosen, may solve your situation, rather than a hundred mis-chosen spells.  So I stress to you, young Lucy.  Seek excellence.  Seek quality.  It is not, so much, what you do my dear young pupil, but how you do it.’Lucy nodded, familiar with such teaching from Shelandragh.  Peter resumed.‘Well, we have 5 teachers here at Zeraxxus. 4 fulltime, 3 of them witches, and 1 warlock, and myself.  Yet you will not see me teach very often.  However I will be testing you for your finals, so best be prepared.  Your keep has all been paid for by the scholarship, and you will be given a small allowance for weekend ventures with your classmates.  Until you are 15 you will not be allowed out without someone at least of that age present with you, and that is a strict rule.  But as long as someone who is at least 15 is present you may leave at will.  At 15 we deem our students responsible enough to manage their own affairs to a degree.  You will be boarding with Belinda Jamieson, who arrives later on tonight from Brisbane.  You will be given some textbooks tomorrow morning, but tonight I will show you to your room and you can find your way down to the main meal room yourself.  It is in the adjoining building, just through the open doorways downstairs on the ground level.  You can’t miss is.  Your room is just below us, facing the backyard.  It is a very pleasant room, specially suited for girls, and I am sure you will find yourself enjoying your stay here.  Alright then, dear Lucy.  Any questions?’Lucy thought on it.  ‘No thank you.’‘Very well then.  Follow me.’Peter made his way out of the room, and proceeded down the stairway, Lucy following him.  He showed her to her room, which contained two beds, a large set of cupboards, two study desks, and a small television and stereo.‘I know young people love their music, but try to keep it low alright.  On weekends before evening you can have it quite loud during the day, but not during weekdays which is for your studies.’  Lucy nodded, understanding the rule.‘The bathroom is just upstairs, opposite my room.  You will find it very easily.  The school rooms are in the centre building.  We have one large main room, were a number of students may be studying at any one time, and two other private chambers upstairs for one on one mentoring and teaching.  The library is also in the centre building.  The other end building is were the boys reside.  And there is a living room in the centre building downstairs were everyone can relax.’  Peter pointed to the cupboard. ‘I dare say you have brought much of your own linen, but everything you need can be found in there, including towels if you would like to shower.’  Lucy looked at the cupboard, taking that information in.‘I suggest you have a shower, get changed, and go introduce yourself to some of the other students.  I am sure they will love getting to know you.  And they are all friendly, young Lucy.  You will feel right at home.’  Peter looked the room over, and, seemingly satisfied, started out of the room.  Holding the door open he spoke some final words.  ‘Remember Lucy, you are most welcome here.  But remember, you are here to study and learn.  It is still what a school is all about.  Well, I will be in my room if you need me.  But I think you can find your way around.  And don’t be too shy.’  He gave her a final wink, and left. Lucy sat down on the bed, next to her bags which Mark had placed on her bed.  ‘This should be interesting,’ she thought to herself.  Chapter Six The full role call of students at Zeraxxus school of wizardry and witchcraft, alternatively known as the Zeraxxus school of witchcraft and wizardry, neither sex being given the premiere position in the name of the school, consisted of 5 boys ranging from 11 to 19, and 5 girls ranging from 11 to 19.  The boys were, Jason Peabody at 11, Frederick Turner at 14, Thomas Armstrong at 15, Mark Ash at 17 and Ken Chiu at 19.  The girls were Lucy Potter at 11, Genevieve Dupre at 13, Belinda Jamieson at 15, Nancy Carter at 17 and Narelle Kurston at 19. At dinner that night Lucy met 8 of them, and later on as the evening was passing, hanging out with her new school-friends in the common room watching television, her room-mate Belinda Jamieson showed up, with Ken Chiu due to arrive in the morning. Mark introduced Lucy to the gang, but it was Genevieve, just a little older than her, with a faint French accent, who befriended her quite quickly, smuggling her into her room after Belinda had shown up.  Genevieve shared her room with Nancy Carter, who remained in the common room with the others. Genevieve quizzed Lucy for over an hour, asking all sorts of questions about her and were she had come from.  Lucy, in turn, softly asked Genevieve about her own life, learning the girl had emigrated from France with her family when Genevieve was 7, coming to live in Sydney in the western suburbs, her father gaining work in central Sydney in Parramatta with his French firm’s Australian outfit.  Genevieve, like Lucy, was an only child, having been shown talented at the craft from an early encounter with French Gypsies.  When they arrived in Australia, Genevieve’s mother had made careful inquiries about the magic scene in Australia, learning of Zeraxxus and deciding to send Genevieve there when she turned 11. This was Genevieve’s third Summer at the school, and she dutifully informed Lucy that the school’s posh reputation was truly well deserved, and that Lucy was in the upper class of witchery because of it.  Lucy herself, despite the fact that such a distinction in class seemed suitable to her new friend, was simply grateful to be taught in such a quality establishment.  The reality of the class system, which her mother had often commented was stronger in England, was less noticeable in egalitarian Australia.  Yet for the private schools there was still an edge of the old world’s attitudes. ‘So tell me Lucy.  Do you have a boyfriend.  Have you had your first kiss?’Lucy, having gotten more used to the idea of the birds and the bees from her conversations with Minxy the Sprite of Chakola, still blushed a little, yet to receive her first kiss.‘Maybe young Jason.  He might be the first for you, oui?’Lucy just rolled her eyes and looked the other way.‘Oh, so you are shy are you?  That does not surprise me.  English girls are always shy from my experience.’‘Well I am Aussie as well, you know,’ responded Lucy.  ‘I became a citizen this year.’‘Oh, no, you are definitely English.  You have all their mannerisms.  Believe me, I have noticed.  It comes with you when you are born, you know.  Like your birthright.’‘Maybe.’‘Anyway, perhaps Jason is for you, or perhaps not.  I think this Jayden you speak of may be the first for you.  He sounds ideal.’‘Jayden.  God no.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love him like a brother.  It’s just that that is really it.  He is more of a brother to me.  I don’t think it could really ever be anything more than that.’‘Oh well.  I guess you know best.  Still you have your whole life ahead of you.  You will find someone.  You are quite pretty, for an English girl.  You will find a man.’‘Thank you Genevieve,’ replied Lucy, who was starting to sense a bit of an attitude in her French friend, perhaps not surprising given some of the things she had already said.  ‘Well, I don’t know if I should ask, but have you had your first kiss.’‘Oh yes,’ replied Genevieve, but said nothing more.  Lucy looked at her intently, but Genevieve simply zipped her lips with her hand in response.‘So I guess you know the other students quite well by now,’ continued Lucy.‘Oh, Jason is new, as yourself.  But yes, I know all of the others.  They have been here for the past three years since I have been attending.  I am sure you will get to know them and love them, as I do.  Ken, who will be hear tomorrow, is very noble.  Very respectful and polite in what he says and does.  Very excellent mannerisms for a Chinese Australian.’‘I suppose that is their culture, though,’ responded Lucy, used to such attitudes from Asian students she went to school with.  ‘Indeed it is, Lucy.  So unlike Aussies in comparison.  Most of them are such an uncultured people, you know.  So rude and aggressive.’Lucy nodded, now quite used to the brazen language which many Aussie males talked with, especially Barry and David from time to time.  Yet she knew they had a softer side as well, and that such a thing was mostly cultural as her mother often reminded her.‘I supposes the French are the masters of culture, hey Genevieve?’‘Oh, the English are very cultured as well.  While we French are the people of love, which our language speaks so very well, English people are so very, how can I put it, ‘Traditional’, in how they present themselves.  A very ‘Straight laced’ people, the English.  In a good way, I mean.  Honest, not difficult to understand.  Straightforward, if you know what I mean.  Very European in their own ways, even if slightly set apart.Lucy nodded, finding Genevieve’s sociological observations quite entertaining, wondering to herself if much of this was Genevieve’s parents talk rather than their precocious daughter’s.‘Do you want to go back to France?  One day I mean?’‘Oh indeed,’ replied Genevieve.  ‘Once I have finished my training here at Zeraxxus and perhaps finished a degree at the University of Sydney, I will quite possibly move home to France to find work and love.  I know my parent’s have fallen in love with Sydney and the Australian climate, but I miss home.  I do.  Australia is not ultimately for me, I fear.’‘I will be sorry to see you go.’‘Oh thank you madame-moiselle.  How very thoughtful of you.’  They chatted on a while longer, before Belinda came in to see when Lucy wanted to go to bed.  ‘I’ll be there shortly, Belinda.  I won’t be long.’  Belinda nodded.  ‘Well Genevieve, I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.  Perhaps you can show me around some more.’‘Oh, I think you have seen the place already.  But I will give you the official tour if you like.’Lucy smiled, and left for her own room.Unlike Genevieve, Belinda was more down-to-earth and easy to relate to than her new French friend.  Belinda explained the basic house rules, and encouraged Lucy to follow them.  ‘Oh don’t mind loud music on the weekends, as the rules allow that, but try to keep it quiet the rest of the time, ok.  I work hard at my studies and need quiet time to concentrate.’‘Ok Belinda.  That won’t be a problem with me.’‘We should get along fine, you know.  We might be room-mates again next year, so best we get along.  And you can call me Lindey if you like.  It is what I am usually known as.’‘Alright Lindey.’‘Good.  Well, I am quite tired as it has been a long flight.  Have you had a shower?’‘I had one just after I arrived.’‘Ok.  Well I will have one shortly, then I would like to get some sleep if you don’t mind.  But we can chat in the morning.’Lindey excused herself after a while, and Lucy took the opportunity to get into her night garments. Later on, as Lindey was snoring softly, Lucy stared at the ceiling.  She found, often, staying at a new place was like a refreshing experience – something new which she seemed to instinctively drew new feelings from.  And this place already felt like home.  She was sure, certain really, that she would be right at home within a week.  It certainly seemed like the right decision for her to have made. *   *   *   *   * Two weeks into her studies, half way through, Darren Merryweather and his fiancé Carol Davidson came to Zeraxxus to visit Lucy.  Lucy gushed out all the new things she had been learning.‘In the first week we went over some of the spells I already knew, as well as being introduced to the basic principles of magic and magic energy creation.  It is what I learned early last year with Shelandragh.  And then we started learning in the second week more on the ethical usage of magic and when it is the right time to use magic and when not, and the more appropriate spells to use in a given situation.  We also learnt about Animistic Spiritology which I found very interesting.’‘Yes, they teach that here I have heard,’ commented Darren in response.  ‘A more recent understanding in the wizarding community to become more official than it was in the past.  Seemingly accepted as fact now, rather than as superstition it was once held with.  But it ties directly into the field of spell creation, something which witches had often wondered were the power came from to form their spells.  You see it worked intuitively to begin with, but now we are gaining a better understanding.’‘That’s right Darren,’ said Lucy in response.  ‘That is exactly what my teachers are saying.’‘And how are you finding your teachers?  How are they compared to Shelandragh.’‘Oh, they are as wonderful as Shelandragh.  Miss Modafferi is so knowledgeable in how traditional herbs and minerals and things integrate with spell energy.  While a lot of the time we draw the energy for spell creation form our own auras,’ said Lucy, putting her hands up around her head as if to indicate an aura, ‘Common herbs and minerals and things can be used to draw energy from as well.  The magical ingredients have special energy fields of their own which are used in spell energy creation.’‘Yes, I understand the theory,’ replied Darren.  ‘It is similar to much of what I was taught at magic school as well.  But a bit more advanced these days it would seem.’‘Were did you go to magic school anyway, Darren?’‘A few different places, actually.  I had lessons with both Shelandragh and Alfric growing up, and spent one year hear at Zeraxxus, before going to a school in Sydney’s southern suburbs.  A more modern school.’‘Oh,’ said Lucy, thinking on what she had heard about some of the more modern schools.‘Peter says some of the modern schools have an edgier look at the dark side of magic these days.  Was it like that when you attended.’‘In truth, it was beginning to go that way.  The school was still quite traditional, but was starting to look at ways of broadening its appeal to the emerging marketplace.  Yet, fortunately, for those used to the traditional methodologies, Zeraxxus, much like Hogwarts in England, follows the traditional teaching methods.’‘I think that is what is probably best suited to me,’ said Lucy in response.‘Yes, I think so to, Lucy.  But I fear that you are still young and that some of the other schools may appeal to you later on in life.  So be careful in your life choices, young Miss Potter – I encourage you on that. Later that afternoon Lucy, Genevieve, Carol and Darren were at a nearby Ice Cream parlour, going through its various flavours at Darren’s expense.  Lucy, while she had missed home, had found a new exciting home with the students of Zeraxxus and would be sorry to leave them.  Having Darren show up for the day was still a pleasant surprise, but she was sure she would see him soon enough when she returned home.  Lucy knew Darren worked for the Ministry of Magic, as an associate member of the board, actively involved in monitoring or policing the work of the wizards and witches in the Australian community.  Technically, the Prime Minister was aware of the work of the Ministry in this policing effort, although he never made such information publicly available.  The Ministry received a small stipend from the government to ensure that magic practices never got out of hand, and Darren was one of the key workers involved in that activity. Lucy understood that she herself was being groomed for work one day, perhaps in a similar role to what Darren undertook.  From the words Darren had commented to her, working for the Ministry in his work needed the right type of person.  Not just a wizard or witch talented at the craft – but an upright, honest and decent person – someone with integrity and a sense of ethics, morals and even spiritual awareness.  There were other, almost intangible qualities they looked for – but Lucy had been told often enough that she seemed to fit the bill for what they were looking for in the future and, if not already, seemed to have decided that if she could gain acceptance into a position like Darren’s, then that is what she would aim for in life.  Naturally she would persevere with her civil schooling, but ultimately being a witch is what Lucy Potter found herself, perhaps irrevocably, destined for. *   *   *   *   * Like so many other things in life, good things come to an end, and Lucy passed her exams with very high grades, something old Peter commented on.  Before leaving, though, Peter spoke to Lucy on a number of things, especially an ancient Gem which had been lost in the school somewhere over a hundred years ago by a visiting wizard from England.  Known as the ‘Zaxxon’ Ruby, which rumour had it contained magical powers, Peter set a task to each returning student to see if they could find the Ruby the following year.‘Believe me Lucy, many a student has been through my entire bookcases on a many an occasion to no avail.  I feel, perhaps, if it is still hidden here it is waiting for the right person to find it.  Maybe that will be you, dear young Miss Potter.  Maybe that will be you.’Lucy smiled, ever so hopeful for the following year. When her mother arrived, she greeted her with a big warm kiss and hug, and farewelled her friends.  It had been an eventful four weeks, and she now looked forward to getting back to Chakola and catching up with Madalene, Jayden, Georgia and Michael.  Chapter Seven In a cell in Azkerban, unknown to his jailers, with the aide of a solitary metal spoon with which he had been digging passionately for 12 months, with the aide of the meagre sparks of spiritual energy he could muster given the magic dampeners in the room, Lucifer Malfoy had finally managed to dig through the metres of rock to the outskirts of the jail.  They were fools, he believed.  His hosts were fools, for they gave him his food under the door which never opened, yet never checked his cell.  And due to this mistake on his captors part, Lucifer had dug.  And now he was free. Coming to the edge of the island, escaping through the woods, he knew he had time.  But he needed it not.  In a few hours he would have recharged his energy and would cast the relocate spell to his brother’s location in New York.  And one thing screamed furiously in the mind of Lucifer Malfoy – Vengeance on the girl Lucy Potter. *   *   *   *   * While Michael Bradley had continued with lessons with Shelandragh in Lucy’s absence, his parent’s had come to the conclusion that such lessons were not for their son, and had withdrawn him from Shelandragh’s tutelage.  Still, all year 6 that year Lucy spent most of her time with Michael, sharing with him her own knowledge and helping him to develop his own talent.  While his parent’s had not strictly forbidden him to practice witchcraft, they had made it known it was not what they truly wanted for their son, despite the way it had started becoming popular in recent years.  So, while they had withdrawn Michael from lessons, Lucy was allowed to share her own gifts with him. As the year approached its ending, Mr Grimlock spent a Saturday visiting Lucy at her Chakola school-house home.  Lucy found him quite odd on this occasion, wondering if it was just him finding the magical climate of Chakola uncomfortable for some reason, seeing as he had rarely been like this at Shelandragh’s were she usually met him, or in his store in Cooma, to which she now visited practically every day after school whenever she could. Darren had advised her to be cautious about Mr Grimlock, but he was now living in Canberra with his fiancée Carol, and she didn’t really keep his warning in her mind.  Mr Grimlock was a little bit scary and strange in some ways, but she liked him well enough and he was in the craft like herself, and that meant they had to stick together as far as Lucy was concerned. Many a day after school Caroline found Lucy and Michael at Mr Grimlock’s magic shop on Vale Street, just down from their school a few hundred metres.  For the small Cooma market he sold all the traditional magical spell-books, as well as tarot cards, gothic posters and figurines, especially of dragons, necklaces, fantasy novels and all the other paganistic mythological items which many other more mainstream stores sold these days. Grimlock, at the farm that Saturday afternoon in November, spoke generally with Lucy and shared with her how business was generally quite profitable, not that that was a great issue.  When she had asked why money didn’t seem to matter to him that much had had informed her that he had other sources of wealth if he needed them and that the work was simply to pass the time, as it were, while he contemplated other goals in his life.  She had asked him about those other goals in his life, but he had remained strangely quiet, refusing to comment. She introduced Grimlock to Minxy the Sprite of Chakola, who was her usual self, being very sassy with her latest acquaintance, as she was with everyone.  And then, seemingly satisfied, he had left, and Lucy had gone to her dinner. As all years do, though, this one too passed, and Lucy again found herself for her second year at the Zeraxxus school of Magic.  There were no new students due this year, but Ken and Narelle were in their final years, the school not progressing any further with students after 20 years of age. Caroline did not take her this time as Darren had offered to drive her up, and when they got to the school they were ushered in quickly and quietly.  Old Peter gave her a similar introduction as he had done the previous year, wished her well, and welcomed her back.  And then her studies began again in earnest. *   *   *   *   * ‘Well Madame Moiselle?  Shall we then?’‘I don’t know Genevieve.  I mean, I have a lot of study to do and nobody has ever found it.  We could be searching all weekend and no luck.  Why waste our time?’‘We could be the lucky ones, Lucy.  Go on – live a little.’Lucy looked at Genevieve slightly frustrated, but in the end shrugged.‘Very well.  Were should I start?  Perhaps under the couch?’ she said, the subtlest hint of sarcasm in her voice.‘My dear Lucy.  If we are going to find the Zaxxon Ruby, I hardly think it will be under the couch.’Lucy smiled.  ‘Well it might be.’‘Then you go look.’‘Well, ok then,’ responded Lucy.  Lucy got to her feet and went to the main living room to move the couch.  Sure enough, it was not underneath it.  However, in moving the couch, she had also moved the old rug, exposing the polished floorboards.  Looking at the floorboards momentarily, just underneath were the couch had been stationed, she noticed something.  The floorboards had a pattern to them, but in the section of the floorboards just under the couch the pattern had been altered ever so slightly.  Perhaps to slightly for anyone to ever really notice unless looking at it directly.  She got down on her knees to look at the pattern.  It seemed as if it was in the shape of a small square.‘Genevieve.  Come – bring a knife,’ she yelled.‘A knife,’ yelled Genevieve.  ‘Whatever for?’‘Trust me.’Genevieve soon appeared with a sharp knife and handed it to Lucy and, with all the noise, 4 other students, including Ken Chiu, had appeared to see what the fuss was.‘Whatever are you doing Lucy,’ exclaimed Ken, now alarmed at the digging motion Lucy was making on the floorboards.  Old man Peter had quietly entered in the room, and was at the corner watching on silently.  He smiled to himself.  She was a bright one, as had been rumoured.  Lucy persisted in her digging around the edges of the design and after a few moments removed the wooden floorboard.  She looked down and, spying a box, placed her hand in the hole to bring forth a small wooden box.  Everyone in the room gasped.  Genevieve chuckled.  ‘That was under the couch, wasn’t it Lucy.’  Lucy just grinned.‘Well go on then, Lucy,’ said Ken.  ‘You may as well open it.’Lucy, triumphantly, opened the box and smiled.  Lifting out her prize she showed to the room a large ruby, hanging on a chain – a pendant.‘The Zaxxon Ruby’, gasped Genevieve.  Ken nodded, and the others all shouted ‘well done Lucy’, one of them racing to tell the rest, yelling ‘Lucy has found the Zaxxon Ruby.’Soon all the students were gazing at the Ruby which Lucy held up triumphantly.  And then Peter came forward and asked to see the Ruby, Lucy obediently handing it to her.Closely inspecting it, he said, ‘Yes, this is it.  I recognize it from the design in my book.’  He handed it back to her.  ‘Congratulations Lucy.  You have found the Zaxxon Ruby.’‘What are its powers,’ Lucy asked Peter.‘Nobody really knows, Lucy.  But it is rumoured that when you are in a life threatening situation, the Ruby will help you when you need it the most.  So hold on to it dear young Miss.’She nodded, ever so happy. Later that afternoon, after everyone had fawned over the Ruby, Lucy was alone in her room studying.  She glanced at the Ruby on her desk from time to time, gave a little smile, and happily returned to her studies. *   *   *   *   * ‘No, Lucifer.  You may NOT kill Lucy.  I stress that again.  You man NOT.  The girl is key in prophecy.  If she dies our claims will fail – that is inevitable.’Lucifer Malfoy looked with unhidden hostility at his older adopted brother Alexander, yet bit his lip.‘Very well, Alexander.  Have it your way.  But I will have my vengeance, you hear me.  I will have my vengeance.’‘But you will not kill her.  Now leave me.  I have much to think about.  Oh, and go get Voldemort out of whatever stronghold the Ministry has him in.  I am sure you can manage that.’Lucifer shrugged.  He may as well go and free Voldemort.  It would give him something to do – kill the time.  Besides, he was still mad at the Ministry as well and could hopefully knock in some heads in freeing Voldemort.  It would certainly be a pleasant enough way to spend the next few weeks. *   *   *   *   * In England, at Hogwarts School of magic, Harry Potter, Lucy’s cousin, whose parents had been killed by the dread wizard Voldemort, was looking at the letter in his hands.  So he was not alone – he had family.  An aunt and a cousin in Australia, Caroline and Lucy.  When Voldemort had killed his parent’s, Harry had been alone and had felt it.  But now – now – he had family again.  And so, he adjusted his plans.  He would finish the year at Hogwarts and, with the funds his parents had left him, go and visit Caroline and Lucy in Australia.  He would see his family and enjoy their company.  It would be a blessing in his life – a blessing young Harry was now grateful for. *   *   *   *   * In the Shadow Realm, David Potter sat alone, thinking.  His Centaur friend had disappeared and he was alone again.  But he had found what he felt was a vortex – a doorway out of the Shadow Realm.  In his shallow existence he found it difficult to move the knobs on the gate to the vortex, going through what would probably be a million different combinations to unlock the key to open the vortex.  But time was on his side – he had nothing else to do.  And so, every day walking to his water reserve, David returned and went through the combinations on the control panel, carefully remembering and marking off in his mind the combinations already done.  He would be free again, he was sure of it.  He would one day again be free. *   *   *   *   * In Chakola Caroline Potter sat reading the letter Harry had sent her.  He thanked her greatly for telling him of her existence, and promised to come and see her at the end of the year and meet Lucy. Caroline regretted, often, separating from Harry.  But she had known that the dread power of Voldemort would have hunted her down if she had made herself known, and so had stayed hidden in Australia, raising Lucy as best as she could.  It had been a sacrifice to go without Harry, but one which had to have been made.  But now, with Voldemort imprisoned by the Ministry according to what Alfric had shared with Shelandragh, who had told herself, Caroline felt it now safe to speak with Harry.  It was now time for her family to be whole, and she was silently thankful things were now working out, despite the loss of her husband. *   *   *   *   * After finding the Zaxxon Ruby and being the flavour of the month in Zeraxxus, Lucy was again looking forward to coming home, and starting year 7 – high school.  When she did arrive home her mother gave her the news almost immediately that they would be staying with the Bridges family in Calwell for a short while before getting a place of their own somewere in Canberra.  Caroline had been successful in gaining employment at Australian Quarantine – a department of the Public Service – and they would now be living in Canberra.‘But what about Shelandragh?’ Lucy had moaned.‘Oh you will see her often enough.  It is just that opportunities like this do not come around very often, and I have to take it.  It is for the best.  You will see that.’Lucy nodded, reluctantly, but accepted her mother’s decision. *   *   *   *   * ‘Gemma Watkins.  How very rude.  Go see the principal at once.’  Gemma Watkins, who Lucy had quickly worked out seemed to be a girl who liked the guys, had been flirting with one of the guys at the back of the class in her Year 7 classroom at Melrose High School in Pearce in Canberra.  And she had just gotten into trouble for it.  Lucy watched her leave, glad it wasn’t her getting in trouble on her first day.  After the interruption, the class continued as usual, and some of the students whispered from time to time, pointing at Lucy and calling her a witch, something which may have been known from her Cooma encounters.  The picture in the paper a few years back must have circulated, she felt, and her cover was now blown.  Perhaps they would avoid her, because of it, which had been the usual problem at St Patrick’s in Cooma.  Still, she would cope as she had always done. At lunchtime, sitting alone at the canteen, she noticed a small group of girls, including Gemma Watkins, watching her.  Eventually, at the suggestion of one of the girls, the group of three came over to were Lucy was sitting.‘So you’re a witch, huh?’ said Gemma.Lucy just tried to look embarrassed and not answer.‘Hey, it’s ok,’ said Frances Jones.  ‘You have to be who you are, and if you are a witch that is ok.  Don’t stress it.  Isn’t that right Justine?’Justine Atkinson, the conservative Christian in the group of three, did her best not to answer, but did manage an ‘I guess,’ despite not really agreeing with Frances.Gemma spoke up.  ‘Justine reckoned you would probably be lonely, being the new girl, and that we should be friendly to you.  So you can join our group if you like.  Well, do you want to?’Lucy, silently very pleased to be making friends again, nodded.  ‘Thanks Gemma.  And thanks Justine.  It would be awesome being friends with you girls.’ And so, friendships which would last forever began that day, and Lucy Potter came to know probably her three best friends in the world, apart from the Bridges children and Michael Bradley, at the beginning of her first year in the capital city of Canberra. Chapter Eight ‘So what is it like being a witch?  I mean do you cast spells on people and ride broomsticks?’  Lucy noted the subtlest of smiles on Gemma Watkins face, showing she was not being quite serious, but decided to answer honestly anyway.‘Well, yes actually.’‘So you do ride a broom,’ commented Justine.‘I have done.  But not very often.  Usually it is a dragon that I ride.’Frances, in total unbelief, commented, ‘Yeh right.  She’s having you on.  Everyone knows witches have no real power.  It is all hocus pocus – tricks and foolery.  I’m right aren’t I Lucy?’ said Frances looking straight at Lucy.‘Uh, sure Frances.  Whatever you say.’ The light banter continued that lunchtime, near the end of Lucy’s first week at Melrose high school.  The four of them, now, had almost become a tight-knit group, almost a little clique of their own, to which Lucy was actually quite grateful, not having to endure being the loner. As the year wore on the four of them became closer still and Lucy found a little haven at school, moreso than she had known in Cooma at St Pats.  When the school formal came around near the end of the year, Lucy was nervous, as she had been asked to the dance by one of the boys in year 8.  While he was cute, she was not looking for anything serious, and so would just dance with him.  Frances had been asked to the dance by Freddie Bulsara who seemed to like her a lot.  He had bucked teeth, and listened to the band ‘Queen’ a heck of a lot, which Frances also seemed to really like.  They seemed suited to each other, so Lucy privately thought. After the formal, things for the year were being wrapped up after the exams, and Lucy began preparing again for her third year at Zeraxxus.  But before that could occur Lucy was greeted with the most pleasant of surprises from her homeland, England, in the form of a cousin she had never been told of, a certain Harry Potter. Harry arrived in Australia near the end of Lucy’s fourth term at Melrose that year and coming home Caroline introduced her to her cousin, David’s brother’s child. Lucy made all sorts of fuss over Harry, telling him everything about her witchcraft, instantly learning that he had been studying at Hogwarts School of magic in England, and that he, like her, was incredibly gifted in the craft. They spent a few days at Alfric’s house with Alfric and Darren, and the Ministry officially welcomed Harry to Australia.  Alfric spoke praisingly of Harry’s father David, who had been well respected in the Wizarding community, and encouraged Harry to follow in his father’s footsteps, something which he pledged to do as faithfully as he possibly could. Just before starting at Zeraxxus in the New Year, Harry left for home, but left Lucy with these words.  ‘You are a Potter, like me Lucy.  And we have a reputation for excellence.  In all that you do, do well.  And remember, we are family.  I will always be there for you.’  After that she hugged him, and her family seemed now complete. *   *   *   *   * Lucy was now 13 years old and with Genevieve, who had turned 15, they had permission to go out on weekends from Zeraxxus School of magic, as long as Lucy was in company with  Genevieve.  They had been invited by a student, Jack Black, from one of the more modernish schools of wizardry, to one of the most old fashioned of witchcraft activities – a séance. Four of them, Jack, his girlfriend Kirsty, Lucy and Genevieve were in the basement of Jack’s parent’s home in Sutherland in Sydney’s east.  Jack welcomed them, giving them Cola and some chips, and then they retired to the basement, lit the candles and got things under way. ‘Who are we calling on,’ asked Genevieve naively.‘You’ll see,’ responded Jack. The séance got under way and Jack cast certain binding spells on the pentagram circle, with candles at each corner, to ensure the dark spirits which he intended summoning did not escape that boundary. Jack began.  ‘I call upon you, lord of darkness.  I call upon you, ancient angel of dread.  I call on you, dark lord Saruviel.  Answer my call.’Lucy instantly shuddered at that name being mentioned, but said nothing.Instantly a howling began in the ether of the room – as if a shrieking moan from the pits of hell – and a dark image, cloaked in black, appeared before them.  It spoke.‘A child?  A child summons me?  When I find you child, you best beware.  You will know my wrath.  Now, cancel the summoning at once, or you will dearly regret it.’Jack continued unperturbed.  ‘Dark lord Saruviel – we four command that you do our bidding,’ said Jack, indicating those present.The figure cloaked in darkness looked at the four students and then, noticing Lucy, paid particular attention to her.Lucy shuddered, with the firelit eyes staring, almost, into her very heart, her very soul, reading her most intimate of secret thoughts.  It spoke again.  ‘You.  You are Lucy Potter.  You are Lucy Potter are you not?’  Lucy remained silent.  It spoke again.  ‘I will meet you, Lucy, one day.  I will meet you and we will have words.  And I will speak to you of the power of darkness – a power, I ensure you, you will find most comforting.  Most comforting indeed.’  And then the voice stopped, and the image was gone, but not before lashing out a short spark of lightning which caught on Jack’s hair, singeing it instantly.Jack stamped it out and, looking at the group, and especially Lucy, all he could say was, ‘Fuck.’    Later that night, Lucy had nightmares.  Dragons – horrible black dragons – were crawling all over her, luring her, tempting her, promising her all sorts of rewards if, and only if, she would accept their offers, accept their temptations, and come to the darkness.  If she did, so they promised, if she did, the world would belong to her.  Yet Lucy, as befitted a Potter, refused their temptations and, as the night wore on, the nightmares departed, and Lucy awoke in a cold sweat.  She drank some water from the glass beside her bed and sitting up, looking through the window at the full moon, promised herself to never again go to such a séance with Mr Jack Black.  Not even if her life depended on it. *   *   *   *   * ‘Remember Lucifer, do not harm her.  And Voldemort, when you have finished with your temptations and spells, leave her be.  Ultimately she must make the decision to come of her own thoughts.  So let your words be as cunning and as tempting as possible.  Now begone.’With those words said, Lucifer Malfoy and the Wizard Voldemort, just freed from a Ministry prison, left the offices of Alexander Darvanius II.  Brax spoke up.‘Shall I go with them?  Keep an eye on them.’‘No.  As sick as they both are, I trust them to handle this properly.  They may be decrepit servants, but they usually handle their responsibilities.’  Brax nodded, saying nothing.‘Leave me Brax.  I have things to think upon.’  Brax left the office of his master, Alexander Darvanius II, and headed off for a drink. Alexander sat at his desk, contemplating Lucy Potter.  Prophecy – ancient Catholic prophecy – taught him something.  One day, when Lucy confronted himself, she would make a choice on his own destiny when confronted by Destiny herself.  She would be given certain options and Lucy – this young child – would choose the fate of the dark lord.  And so all he could hope to do was tempt her and lead her to the dark side.  Otherwise, knowing the potential fate in store for him, woe and thunder would only come for the dark lord Saruviel. *   *   *   *   * ‘Alright Lucy.  Can you make the flame rise 1 metre.  And be precise.’  Lucy, thinking on Peter’s words, concentrated on the fireball rising from the fireplace in the back yard of the school of magic.  She was being tested today, and handling the element of fire was in her exam.  She spoke some words silently, concentrated, and the flame of fire in the form of a ball, rose from were it was about 1 metre right upwards.  Peter placed a tick on a box on his paper, and thought about giving her a challenge for extra points.  ‘Ok, Lucy.  You will have to be imaginative for this.  Can you divide the fireballs into 7 separate fireballs, and then make the dance in a circle.  It will be very tough, but lets see if you can do it.  This is for bonus points.’  Lucy looked at Peter, a little perplexed, but returned to the task.  She thought on an appropriate spell wording, concentrated, and spoke ‘Magmas Separatus Septarius.’  Instantly the fireball separated into 7 smaller fireballs.  Peter gave a little tick.  ‘Now see if you can make them dance in a circle.’  Lucy thought on that, and decided to ask Peter if he would mind her using an English spell.  ‘Can I use English?’‘As long as it works.’And so she pointed her wand at the fireballs and yelled ‘Merry-go-round’.  At once the fireballs started travelling in a circle, going up and down as if on a merry-go-round, and music from a fair started playing.  Peter looked on and smiled.  She had earned her bonus points. Looking on from the back window, Genevieve smiled at the sight of the fireballs doing a merry-go-round.  That was just like the talented Lucy. Lucy again passed her exams that year, this time with flying colours.  She was being deemed a young prodigy by Peter for her creative imagination and the other students all praised her saying ‘well done Lucy’.  Life in the school of magic, for Lucy Potter, was proving wonderful indeed. *   *   *   *   * During year 8 at Melrose High, Lucy resumed her friendship with Gemma, Justine and Francine and spoke of her time at Zeraxxus, much to the doubts of Francine who seemingly dismissed it as a fantasy from Lucy’s imagination.  Eventually Frances challenged Lucy to prove she really was a witch and do something magical.  While she was eating an apple, Lucy pointed her wand to Frances apple and said ‘Grow’.  The apple quickly tripled in size in front of the girls and Frances said ‘Enough.  Ok I believe you.  Bloody heck.’  All the girls were slightly shocked at seeing such an open display of magic, and none doubted the talents of young Miss Lucy Potter ever again. *   *   *   *   * Grimlock sat in his apartment, finishing off the fried steak for his two guests, Lucifer Malfoy and Voldemort.  Voldemort rarely spoke, but usually just leered, and Grimlock served him is steak and fried tomatoes without a word. ‘So what do you plan on doing, Lucifer,’ asked Grimlock.  ‘The master has sent Voldemort to tempt the white witch.  But I will have my fun first.’‘And what exactly type of fun is that, dare I ask it.’‘Ah.  Wait and see.  It will spoil all the fun, otherwise.’‘Yes, I could imagine.  Well Mr Merryweather is having his wedding up in Canberra this weekend.  Perhaps that might be an opportunity to speak to young Lucy and do what it is you will do.’  Voldemort nodded, taking in that information.Lucifer spoke, ‘Sounds like the perfect opportunity.  Were is the wedding?’‘A Church in Gowrie in Tuggeranong.  I am sure you will find it.’Lucifer skewered the steak, taking a bite.  ‘And I am sure I will find young Lucy.  You can count on that.’  And then he took another bite. *   *   *   *   * ‘So you are happy enough being a bridesmaid together with Madalene?’ asked Darren to Lucy.  ‘I would be honoured Darren.  And thanks for choosing Madalene.  She is really grateful, believe me.  ‘Carol didn’t really have anyone in the family who was suitable for the job, and Madalene is such a close friend of yours I felt her a suitable choice.  Carol will see you tomorrow with the bridesmaid dresses.  Now the wedding is, of course, at Corpus Christi in Gowrie.  Carol was brought up a Catholic, and that is the church in Canberra she attends, so it was the ideal choice.  Now you have all the details, and I look forward to seeing you there.  I’ll be off now, but I will see you at the wedding.’‘Sure thing, Darren.  And remember, break a leg.’‘Thanks, Luce.  Thanks so much for being a kind friend.’  He gave her a hug, and left Caroline and Lucy’s house, headed home. Lucy had known Darren Merryweather for a while now and really looked forward to his wedding.  He had been such a close friend and mentor that she valued him highly and had been greatly honoured when Carol had chosen her to be one of her bridesmaids.  It would be a wonderful wedding, and she was ever so nervous with anticipation.  It would be a weekend, she felt, to never forget.  A weekend to remember for all time.  Chapter Nine Lucy was nervous – ever so nervous.  The wedding was set to begin in about 30 minutes, and she was in the presbytery opposite the church with her mother and Madalene’s extended family whom Darren had invited.  Also there were Darren’s parents and 2 sisters from Sydney with their husbands and children, and the whole Davidson entourage of Carol’s family.  It was a truly hectic time. Carol was at home with her mother and sister, waiting on the limousine.  It had been decided for Madalene and Lucy to meet Carol at the church, and then the service would begin. Madalene looked nervous and said to Lucy, ‘I’m so nervous I could pee.’‘Well don’t ok.’‘Maybe you should cast a spell on me just in case.’‘I don’t think I know one for that,’ replied Lucy.‘Oh well.’  Beside the church, in Grimlock’s ratty old Holden Commodore, Grimlock, Lucifer and Voldemort were watching on intently, the dark glass of the car windows shielding people from knowing their identities.  Grimlock spotted the two girls, Lucy and Madalene, come out the front of the Presbytery to talk, and then Madalene went back inside, leaving Lucy all alone.  She seemed to be praying. ‘Ok Lucifer.  I will talk with her first, and then do what you will.’Grimlock got out of the car and approached Lucy.  Lucy looked startled.  ‘Grimlock.  What are you doing here?  Did Darren invite you?’Grimlock spoke.  ‘I have come to ask you a question Lucy.  A most important question.  Your life may depend on your answer.’‘Whatever do you mean?’ responded Lucy, perplexed.‘The darkness.  The power of the Black Dragons.  The power of Saruviel.  Have you decided to give yourself over to these powers – have you made the right decision, young Miss Lucy Potter.’Lucy stared at Grimlock and just then all the many warnings Darren had given her about him hit home.  It was true – he was part of the power of darkness.‘I trusted you Grimlock.  I trusted you.  And you are not good at all.  You are evil.  Go away, now.  Go away.  I am going to tell Darren.’‘Probably not,’ spoke a voice.  Lucy jumped.  It was the voice – that voice – which had confronted her so savagely at the Newmerella River.  The one and only voice of the dread Lucifer.  She turned to see her nemesis standing a few metres from her, a dread look on his face.  He began speaking.‘Hello Miss Potter.  I haven’t forgotten our last encounter, you know.  Believe me on that.  And I don’t think you will ever forget this one.’‘Be quick about what you are doing,’ said Grimlock.Lucy was cornered, but before she could do anything Lucifer had come forward, grabbed her, and put his hand on her mouth.  And then, dragging her across the road, to the Fadden Pines Park, down to the narrow valley like section with nobody about, Lucifer started disrobing Lucy from her expensive bridesmaid dress.  She struggled.  God knows she struggled, as she told herself reassuringly many times years later, but he was too strong.  And the viscious and vile Lucifer Malfoy proceeded to rape Lucy Potter, having his final and satisfying evil vengeance. When he had finished Lucy was sobbing silently.  Her virginity had gone, and in the most horrible of ways.  And then Lucifer had left. She lay there on the grass, sobbing for a few minutes, before another voice spoke.  ‘Greetings Miss Potter.  I knew your father.  I cast him into the shadow realm, and killed your uncle.  I, however I fear I can no longer call you fair maiden, but I fair maiden am Voldemort.  And I have come to make you an offer.  Serve me – serve the power of darkness – or I will cast your soul into the shadow realm.  While your body will inhabit this earth, you will be as if a living zombie, unable to have any real life.  Oh, you will think and act normally most of the time, but it will be a half life.  A shadow life without your soul.’All Lucy could manage in response was a ‘Go to Hell.’  She reached inside her dress to try and bring forth her wand, but instantly a spell was cast on her, denying her of her powers.  And she felt completely helpless. ‘Fear not, Miss Potter.  Your powers are useless.  I have cast a spell on you negating all of your spiritual energy.  You are at my leisure.  Now, tell me again of your answer.’ Lucy struggled up and just then remembered something Peter had said.  When she needed it the most, it would help.  And she was wearing it around her neck for the wedding.  She grasped the Ruby, pointed her wand, and yelled ‘Relocate!’  And just as suddenly Voldemort was gone, back to wherever he had come from. She got to her feet and looked for Lucifer and Grimlock, but they had already gone.  Perhaps she had given them the answer they needed to hear. She had stopped her sobbing.  But the pain was in her heart.  Yet she remembered words of encouragement often spoken to her and faced something.  ‘What is done is done, and can’t be undone.’  And so she tidied herself up, and walked back to the presbytery. Inside Madalene looked at her, annoyed.  ‘Lucy.  What a state your dress is in.  Come quickly, and I will fix it up.  We are beginning shortly.’  Lucy obediently came over to Madalene, who patted of the grass clippings, and tidied her up.  After a few minutes of careful grooming she looked alright again, and Brigid said she would be fine.‘Whatever happened to you?’ asked Madalene.  Lucy just looked at her, frozen.  She couldn’t say.  She wouldn’t say.  She was too embarrassed.  For something which had been in no way her fault, she was too embarrassed.  And she was to strong a person – to strong in character – for this to affect the wedding.  No, she would go through her duties, and let the incident be forgotten.  But she would never forget Lucifer.  She would never forget him. *   *   *   *   * It was later on, down in Bunyan, the following week, that Lucy was at Shelandragh’s.  And she was in the lounge room and began crying.  Shelandragh asked her whatever the matter could be, and Lucy spoke of the rape.  Shelandragh took her, cradling her in her arms, and the two sobbed silently.  And Shelandragh, calling on her powers, said ‘Forget Lucy.  Forget.  Forget.’  And for a number of years after that Lucy Potter did forget her rape at the hands of Lucifer.  She did forget the vengeance he had shown her. But over time, she recalled the incident, with less dramatic horror now, but she knew, one day, she would again confront Lucifer.  And it would be a day of reckoning.  A day in which issues between Lucy Potter and Lucifer Malfoy would be resolved once and for all.  THE END

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