The Summoning Goes Awry

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young witch, seeking to prove herself, practices a summoning ritual to obtain her own spirit guide with some unexpected results.

Submitted: August 13, 2012

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Submitted: August 13, 2012

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The moon hung full and bright in the starry sky, but she remained hidden behind the mountains, peeking ever so slightly over their snowcapped peaks, helping them to cast a shadow that nearly engulfed the forest below in total darkness. 

She knew she didn’t have long before the goddess of the night glided over the wood, she would have to hurry if she was going to accomplish her goal. The young woman floated between the trees towards the grove near the very center of the great forest.

Miriam was forbidden to come here by her mother and father over and over in her head she could hear them say, “You are too young for such advanced magic!” and “You’re not ready yet!” but she disagreed. She was only sixteen, and she had proven herself capable with the tasks that she had been given. They said that she lacked the thing that was necessary to begin learning and practicing more powerful forms of magic, but they wouldn’t tell her. “If we have to tell you then you can’t be ready,” they said.

Well, she would prove them wrong, all of them. She would successfully summon a spirit guide; and in doing so, she would prove that she was ready. She had carefully read the spell and memorized it from one of her mother’s books when no one was looking, and she was confident that she could perform the ritual correctly. 

The grove was an ancient place of power, known only to the witches of that particular bloodline. In the very center of the clearing sat a large boulder made entirely of garnet, surrounded by four smaller boulders placed in correspondence to the four watchtowers; a peridot placed to the north of the grove, fluorite facing the east, lapis lazuli facing the west, and tiger’s eye facing the south. Kadupul flowers covered the grove, and this night they had already began to bloom, spreading their intoxicating fragrance throughout the forest.

The entire area thrummed with unimaginable energy, it radiated into the surrounding wood willing it to grow and push beyond its present boundaries, an ancient power that was forgotten long ago, as if the gods themselves slumbered beneath the soil. It was this power that was utilized by the young girl’s family for generations, and what she would be tapping into tonight.

The moon was coming closer, illuminating the forest as she moved, the Kadupul was almost in full bloom, and the stars were shining spectacularly above the world. Tonight was the perfect night.

Miriam adjusted the shoulder bag and approached the garnet altar with a stride that spoke of confidence and determination, as if each step toward the great altar had a singular purpose. Her face was set in an expression that showed the utmost concentration, onyx-black hair hung down past her shoulders, moving occasionally when a slight breeze whispered by. Her skin was soft and tanned from spending many days under the warm summer sun, and her piercing eyes were the color of rich mahogany.

She reached the garnet stone and began to take various items from her Satchel and moved to place them on stones to which they belonged; she stacked three logs and several branches of an ash tree on the garnet altar. She placed a chalice on the lapis lazuli and poured a rich and fragrant blueberry mead from a wineskin, into the cup until it was completely filled. She placed upon the tiger’s eye, a gold pendant with a pentacle carved on its face. She moved to the fluorite altar and withdrew a feather from her bag along with a small wreath of lemon grass mixed with lavender; she placed the wreath on the fluorite and placed the feather in the center of the wreath. She approached the last of the stone altars, the peridot stone, she took a smaller sack from her shoulder bag and poured rich black soil into a pile on the altar, and then she took a small ash sapling from her bag and buried the roots in the soil. When she was finished she looked around to the stone altars and made sure everything was in order.

Miriam lifted her head to the sky, the soft moonlight illuminating her face. It was almost time to begin the ritual; the moon was now hovering over the altar; now was the time. She would wait no longer, and this would be the night that her life would change forever.

She opened herself to the energy of the grove, and let it fill her spirit completely. The amount of energy was unfathomable; as if she were a mere flea on the back of a dragon. It moved like water; constantly shifting, ebbing and flowing, swirling all about her. The power to sway the forces of nature; to grow forests, or to topple kingdoms: this was the power that was, for the moment, in the hands of a girl barely sixteen seasons old. 

All the altars began to glow and pulsate with the color of their stone, and the contents on each began to disappear. The chalice on the Lapis stone turned crystal clear and melted like water down the stone, the pendant on the Tigers eye lit up in cherry red flames until it was no more, the wreath and feather of the fluorite flew up into the air and vanished in the wind, and the sapling on the peridot crumbled like dirt until there was nothing left on the stone. Then the ash branches on the garnet altar lit up in flames of every color imaginable, as if someone set fire to a rainbow, and it continued to burn throughout the ritual.

She closed her eyes tight, and allowed more of the energy to flow through her as she worked the spell, but she kept tight control over how much energy she allowed into herself, if she lost concentration, even just for a moment, her life force would be overwhelmed and her body would erupt into a pillar of flame. Yes, there is great risk in performing this kind of ritual, under normal circumstances a witch would take up to a year researching and preparing, mentally and physically before performing magic this dangerous. It is even recommended that the witch meditate for a certain length of time before going through with the ritual. Miriam was impatient however, and she believed with absolute certainty that she could handle any complications that might arise. She pictured the animal that she wanted to summon; short brown fur, large golden eyes, sharp claws, big teeth, and a sleek muscular body. She put all of her focus into that picture and, in her mind; Miriam could clearly see an image of a large puma.

Miriam manipulated the energy in her body forcing it into her mind, and she imagined the puma moving into and melding with the energy. Once the image and energy were completely bonded she forced the power out of her body and into the forest in a large concussive blast that originated from the garnet stone and pushed out into the forest beyond, knocking her to the ground and driving the wind from her lungs.

When she regained her senses she slowly pushed herself off of the grassy floor and onto her knees and looked around the grove; there was hardly a leaf out of place. She was surprised that there was no visible damage done to the woods with the force that had knocked her down. Everything was in its proper place as if nothing had happened.

Miriam looked around and listened to see if the ritual had worked, but nothing came out of the trees, no sound no movement, nothing. She waited as time ticked by, and still there was nothing, something was wrong and the ritual failed, even after everything she had done nothing had happened. She ran through every part of the ritual in her head over and over again trying to find some answer to explain what had gone wrong; she listed the ingredients, she analyzed how she used the energy, she pushed her mind to find the answer, and yet she could think of nothing. 

 She hoisted herself back onto her feet and moved to grab her bag, she was so angry with the whole situation that she never looked at the garnet altar until she felt a slight pinch in the back of her mind. She then began to hear the thoughts of the animal that she summoned, each thought coming at lightning speed and they seemed to be random. It wasn’t the thoughts of a predator that she heard, for this creature wasn’t focused at all.

She then turned to the garnet altar, and sitting on the top where the ash logs had been was a small little black squirrel. “What the….? How did this……happen?” she said in a small panicked voice.

“I don’t know. You did the spell, “oh intelligent one”!” it shouted in her head

“But I didn’t summon you! This shouldn’t have happened!” she screamed back, causing some birds to evacuate a nearby tree.

“And yet here I am!” argued the furry creature sounding very angry. It sat up on its hind quarters and started to physically growl at her, trying to sound as menacing as it could be causing Miriam to take a few steps backward.“ And now I have been cursed with intelligence, and chained to you for the rest of your miserable existence” grumbled the squirrel walking back and forth on the red stone.

Miriam watched the little creature put on its display, just as disgusted with the situation. She was bonded to a squirrel! Of all creatures in the entire world, she never would have imagined a furry rodent, no matter how cute, being her spirit guide. Now she racked her brain trying to remember if she read anything about undoing the spell.

The squirrel stopped its pacing and cocked its head in her direction, “you might as well give it up.”

“Give what up?” She asked looking anywhere but at the squirrel.

“I can read your thoughts just as easily as you can read mine, girl” it said sounding insulted, “you can give up on any idea of undoing the damage you have done this night.”

“What damage could I have possibly done to you? Your intelligence has increased a hundredfold, you can understand and speak my language fluently, what is your problem?”

“What is my problem? Really?” the squirrel gave her a look of utter disbelief, “what makes you think I wanted any of that in the first place.” It threw its little arms in the air exaggeratingly. “And what makes you think that squirrels are not intelligent creatures to begin with? I knew all I ever needed to know to get by in my life, and now I am stuck with you.” It wagged its little finger in her direction. “There is absolutely nothing that you could have that I could ever possibly wan….” It stuck its nose in the air and began sniffing vigorously “Blueberries!” it shouted as it darted off the stone and into her bag. The bag shook and pulled on her shoulder as the little animal rummaged around the remaining contents of her satchel.

“Hey! Get out of there now!” she moved dumping the remaining items and the rodent of her bag with the wine skin that contained what was left of the blueberry mead.

It landed on its back but had still managed to get the cork off and guzzle what it could get before the girl ripped it out of his hands. “Hey!” it screamed, “that was just plain rude! How would you like it if someone ripped things out of your hands you little brat”

“I don’t care!” she screamed and stormed off to get whatever else that might have been left behind. She could not think of what she did wrong or what god she had angered to get this kind of punishment.

With the rest of her belongings packed up, Miriam began stomping out of the grove; her face tight and red with anger and annoyance. She could just hear her parents now, “we told you so!” She didn’t prove that she was ready to move on, if anything, she proved that she was still lacking something in her education, but what she could not say.

She had made it to the edge of the grove when she heard movement behind her. She whirled around and looked to the ground, where the squirrel was walking behind her. It stopped a half a foot from her and looked up, and they stared at each other as time ticked by.  She gave the furry creature the coldest stare that she could, and he stared right back. After what seemed like an eternity passed the squirrel twitched its tail, then it twitched its ear “What?”

“Don’t you what me!” she screamed, “Why are you following me?” The squirrel stood there for a minute and then suddenly flipped onto its back and started chattering loudly. She wondered if she scared it to death, then she understood what it was doing. “Stop laughing at me!” she screeched.

The squirrel rolled back on to its feet and took a deep breath, “Well, at least you are quick enough to get the meaning of that, you had me worried that you were completely incompetent.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

He through his paws in the air and shook his head dramatically like he was disappointed. “Did you not hear me the first time?” he said in a scolding tone. “We are bonded together, ergo we are stuck together.”

“Well I release you from your bondage…. so, shoo,” she waved her hands at it, “Go on home squeakums.  Go play”

Please refrain from treating me like a little lovesick puppy,” it said in as menacing a voice as possible. “Just because we are bonded that doesn’t make it okay for you to treat me like a pet!” It spat the word at her. “I may be cute and I may be fluffy, but I am also your spirit guide. And as such I will receive the proper respect from you; can I make myself any clearer?”

Miriam looked down at the squirrel in disgust and put her fists on her hips. “I was supposed to be bonded to a puma!” she shouted stomping her foot, “not an annoying furry little rodent like you! What could I possibly want with a damn squirrel!?” She turned around and began to take a step as the little creature silently mimicked her with exaggerated movements.

In about the time it took her to turn her body half way, the ground began to shake violently, the wind picked up and roughly pulled at her clothes, stirring her hair all around her face. The wind then moved in one direction, pushing and pulling her back to the altar, and as soon as she was close to it, the wind gave a final show of force, and lifted her of the ground and slammed her back onto the ground facing the stars, her head just inches away from the garnet stone.

The moment she hit the ground the world stood still, and nothing moved. The girl just laid very still in the center of the grove, not daring to move or even breathe. He heart was threatening to beat out of her chest, her skin prickled and the hairs on the back of her neck and arms stood on end. Fear gripped her very soul, wondering what had happened. After seven agonizing minutes she picked her head up looked all over the place to see if there was anyone else in the grove that would have attacked her like that. She looked and looked, but there wasn’t another human soul in the grove but her , she moved to sit up, but before she could move an inch her spirit guide leaped on to her and crawled all over her with exceptional speed, as if inspecting her from head to toe.

Miriam pushed him off and began to stand up, “What are you doing?” she asked as the squirrel bounded towards the altar and jumped on top of it.

“I am making sure you are alright, you were just dragged a couple of yards and tossed on your ass, ya know.”  His ear cocked to the side and his voice took on a scolding tone mixed with a little sarcasm.

“Why?” She couldn’t understand why this little squirrel was so concerned about her. After all, they only just met, and she had been nothing but rude and contemptuous to the little creature.

The squirrel cocked its head to the side and looked at her like she might have hit her head on something. “Because I am your spirit guide, I am here to aid and advise you in whatever capacity that I can, regardless of our feelings towards each other.”

At that statement the wind picked up again, but this time it was soft, warm, and gentle. It blew and caressed her face. Then, an ancient and powerful force came upon her and flowed into her, filling her once again with a huge amount of energy, the same energy that she used to power her spell.

The energy flowed through her feet and up to her mind, where it swirled around and took control of her body and kept her pinned to the spot where she was standing. The power of the grove began to whisper in the back of her mind. The summoning gives you a spirit animal that is a reflection of who you are, not what you want to be. The squirrel represents the best qualities of your soul; resourceful, gifted at solving problems your own way. You are indeed a gifted young woman, and you have great potential; however, you also have a remarkable tendency to leap without looking That kind of attitude may have its uses, but has no place in practicing magic. You read and memorize the spells, you practice them, but you do not think to understand them; you ignore the knowledge of your elders passed down since the founding of your family. Only fools ignore the wisdom of others as completely as you have, and a fool you are this night, for if even one element of this spell had misfired, it would have ended very badly for you in ways you cannot possibly fathom.

Years upon years of practice and perfection, and all you see magic as is a means to an end. You do not wish to understand how magic works or why it works the way it does. If you had taken the time to consider the summoning ritual, then you might have understood that spells of this type do not give you what you want or expect, it gives you only what you need.

You must pay heed to the laws that govern magic more closely before you attempt a spell this complex again, or you will end up reaping the consequences of your actions. You were fortunate this night, however, the next time you close your eyes and jump, it might be off of a very steep cliff.”

 

The power slowly flowed out of her until it completely left her, leaving her with a feeling of emptiness. Her mind raced with many questions that she thought she had the answers to. Could everything she knew about magic be wrong?

Her spirit guide climbed up on her shoulder without her even noticing “Are you ready to go?” it asked yanking on her ear in an attempt to snap her out of whatever she was thinking about.

“Ouch! Stop that!” she screamed, reaching up to rub her ear.

“Well, you were just standing there, and it’s almost morning.” said the squirrel sounding justified. “I am sure your mother is wondering what’s become of you.”

“Whatever you say, Squeakums,” she said shifting her tone to make it sound like she was talking to an infant.

The squirrel’s ears twitched and stood straight up. He rotated his head very slowly until his mouth was right next to her ear and he said in a tone that conveyed an attitude of dead seriousness, “You are never, ever, under any circumstances, allowed to call me Squeakums again!” he shouted. “Do you hear me?!

“Whatever you say… Squeakums,” Miriam giggled, as the two of them moved out of the grove and back into the forest.

It had certainly been a long night, and she was very tired. She couldn’t fathom what it was that spoke to her in the grove, nothing about the entire night made any sense to her right now. Maybe the entity was right, she had a long road ahead of her to travel, and just maybe at the end of it she would come across the answers that she had to find. And it looked like she was going to have the furry little pest along for the ride, so she might as well make the most of it and deal with it, they might not be friends now, but things change over time.

The girl moved swiftly though the forest towards home, she sure that her parents are very aware that she left. And now she thought about how she was going to explain all of this. Maybe they would see that she had indeed gained some wisdom, in a way at least. She continued to move along as song birds and other animals of the forest were beginning to wake up and preparing to start the new day. The Squirrel skipped along beside her silently, running through the bushes and over dead logs.

As she walked out of the woods, her home came into sight. The squirrel jumped up on her shoulder and made a whistling sound, “Nice place.” It looked at the old cabin surrounded by a small stone wall, in a large field with the forest on one side, and the mountains on the other. And waiting for her at the door was her mother; her hands balled up into fists, her arms crossed over her chest, and her gaze bore into her daughter and Miriam could feel the anger that emanated from the older woman. One thing she knew dead certain, was that she was in an enormous amount of trouble. She started walking slowly towards the imposing figure muttering under her breath “please don’t turn me into a bird,” a prayer she reserved for certain times when she knew she was going to receive a witches punishment.


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