Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The City Lost in Time



Alcazar was on his death bed. He had turned a five hundred last week, and he knew it was time to retire. Icarus sat on a low stool beside his bed. He was the son Alcazar never had. Alcazar handed him a rolled up parchment that had browned with age.

"What is it, Sire?", Icarus' quizzical tone had a hint of surprise. He unrolled the parchment. A wave of amazement passed his countenance. It was empty!

"It's too early, my son. You shall know when time comes", Alcazar smiled.

Icarus tucked away the rolled up parchment into his blue and gold robe. He was morose today. The thought of being away from Alcazar was not a happy feeling. 

As the night ended, Alcazar transformed into a sparkling silver star and shot up to shine the brightest in the sky. Icarus felt heavy at heart.

"The greatest sorcerer of all times", he murmured.

******

Something tossed and turned inside his robe. Icarus woke up with a start. He pulled out the parchment; it was quivering furiously, as he unfurled it with rapid hands. Still blank. Puzzled, he threw it away. Suddenly he saw red letters appearing on the sheet. It looked like Alcazar's writing. Tiny, neatly printed letters, with all the As curved, the tittle of the Is missed. 

"With the mid-day's chime,
Turn the Sands of Time.

P.S - Never let go of me,
I'll guide the way for thee."

"Sands of time?"wondered Icarus.

Icarus picked up the parchment as the letters disappeared. Thoughts ran helter skelter across his troubled mind. He stormed into his study and reached for the Ancient Book of Sorcery. Flipping through its yellowed pages, he hunted for "Sands of Time". He needed to find it before noon. The parchment had said, "mid-day's chime".

******

The room was the way Alcazar had left it. His silver cloak with gold stars was neatly folded on his bedstead, his books of sorcery scattered on his desk, cauldrons of all shapes and sizes, some filled with magical potion were at their positions. Icarus knew every object of the room. He had been an apprentice to Alcazar since he turned sixteen, and now with Alcazar gone, he was the rightful owner of his belongings. 

Scouring the room with a hawk's eye, Icarus noticed something new. A small black trunk under the bed. It was old, and sturdy but not locked. He opened the lid and gasped. There it was a big sand-glass, with the sand trickling down from the upper bulb steadily. Now Alcazar's words made sense.

******

There was only a minute to noon when Icarus placed the sand-glass on the table.The cuckoo in the old clock chimed to announce the mid day.

"NOW" thought Icarus, as he turned the sand-glass. And almost instantaneously, he felt his surrounding turn sublime.He was dragged forward with an immense force. Before he realized, he found himself in a land he had never been before.

He had landed in the most beautiful garden he had ever seen. The trees had shiny emerald leaves with red ruby flowers. There was a small silver pond in the center, where sapphire lotuses lay afloat. A fountain at one end had two stoned dancing figurines, gurgling out spurts of water. Thin gold creepers interlaced the wooden archway. The surrounding was an enchanting. But Icarus felt something uncannily eerie about the environment. It did not take him long to realize that it was mysteriously quiet. Everything seemed hushed up. No leaf was rustling, no bird was chirping. Suddenly he felt the vibration of the parchment. Icarus pulled it out in a hurry.

Blank. And then the words appeared -

"Ten yards towards the east,
You'll find a big, black beast.
Fight it out to find a key,
That will wake this sleepy city"

Icarus rushed.. 

"Ten yards... tens yards...", he kept mumbling to himself. He drew his wand out in case he needed to use his powers. He could see no sign of life, leave aside a big, black beast. After what he assumed to be nearly ten yards, he reached an open place. It was a beautiful, lush green meadow. At the center of the meadow was a huge black stone. "Big, black beast", mumbled Icarus. He moved towards it and with one swish of his wand he turned the big, black beast into dust. Icarus' eyes caught a gleaming golden key in heap of dust. 

The parchment shook again. Letters appeared - 

"Down south, steps are four,
Come young man to a wooden door.
All you need is a sprig of thyme,
To recover the city lost in time"

Icarus took four steps towards south, cautious and slow. The colour of the meadow was slightly different at there. He identified the sparse growth of Thyme between the long blades of grass. He plucked few and kept it safe. The ground shook slightly, and there appeared a door on the ground. On turning the key, the door opened to reveal a flight of steps going down. He ran down the steps and reached what looked like the courtyard of a grand palace. He wandered around for sometime, waiting for the parchment to speak again. 

The palace was aesthetically decorated with pearls and emerald engraved on the walls. But not a sign of life. Icarus wondered why Alcazar never mentioned him about this place. The whole episode was just leaving him more baffled.

"How is it that there is such a big city and none knows about it", Icarus almost spoke aloud. "And why is there no inhabitants in the city?"

As he was deep in thoughts, the parchment came to life again. Icarus unfurled it, with building excitement. Once again, Alcazar's neat letters showed up.

"Dip the thyme in wake-up potion,
To get the city up in motion

"Ahh...finally!" Icarus pulled out a small cauldron from his robes, tore a bit of his hair, put the thyme twig in it, swished his wand to get a small cloud pour some water and mumbled his magic spell. The liquid in the cauldron started gurgling, thick fumes emanated out of the vessel and diffused all over. In no time, the red rubies from the trees, the green emeralds from the branches, the green blades of grass, the sapphire lotus, all turned into men and women. All of a sudden the place seemed to switch from a land of dead to the land of joy. People had faces beaming with the joy of liberation. Mothers got united to their children,  husbands with their wives, lovers with each other. It was a moment of jubilation among all. 

In all this exultation, Icarus was unnoticed, till a burly man, in a violet robe and a golden crown on his head, ran and embraced him tight. Icarus realized this man was the King. He was carried inside with pomp and grandeur. A surprised Icarus had a stream of questions racing through his mind.

"What is it all about, Your majesty," Icarus was gradually getting restless.

"I am King Balthazar, the ruler of this land of Elridge", smiled the King. "I shall tell you everything after we have lunch. I am hungry after fasting for three hundred years now," he laughed.

******

"Your father, Alcazar was my younger brother. I too was a sorcerer, but never as good as him. It was a peaceful and prosperous kingdom until an evil sorceress, Morgana tried to take over my kingdom. Your father was away on a magical tour, when he received the news of the kingdom being taken under siege. Alcazar rushed back to help only to find me and my subjects had been turned into stones and used as adornment for the city. With his most powerful spell, Alcazar vanished the complete city of Elridge, before Morgana could capture it as her own," Balthazar sighed as he relieved the past.

"Morgana's spell was to last three hundred years, Alcazar could not override that with the strongest of his spells. And with he gone, he sent his most trusted apprentice as the saviour," smiled Balthazar. 

"Is there no way you can come up to the world and lead life the way it was before?"

"No, my son, a city once vanished, remains vanished forever. And my kingdom is a bountiful one. A land of prosperity. Me and my subjects are happy here."

******

Icarus bade goodbye to King Balthazar and his subjects and returned back to his room. Balthazar had made him promise that he would visit them often. All he needed to do was turn the sands of time.

As Icarus was  about to retire for the day, the parchment quivered again. Surprised, Icarus opened it up. 

"It's only pride that I have for thee,
Of evil spell you let them free,

A sorcerer you have been, 
The best the world has ever seen.

With blessings and wishes so true,
Alcazar bids you adieu"

The parchment burst into flames, as Icarus sat still.



This post has been published by me as a part of IBL; the Battle of Blogs, sponsored by WriteupCafe.com. Join us at our official website and facebook page.

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26 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Captain!! KKW is always the major inspiration for me to try something beyond my league.

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  2. Nicely done, it has a good flow to it,it has nice scene construct.Enjoyed reading.

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    1. Thanks GyanBan! welcome to my blog. Glad you liked it!

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  3. Wow....this was truly exciting, filled with relevant mystery, secrets, and redemption....a wonderful piece, Apala...
    A winning piece!!!!

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    1. PanchaliDi... thanks so much! I was very apprehensive about this whole piece! you are always so encouraging :)

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  4. That was a really well constructed piece of fantasy. Given the word limit, I think you did a really great job.. A lovely read...Just like the ones in the book.. :) :)

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    1. Thanks Sayantan! But the book part was too much! :P

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  5. Beautiful verses, and nicely threaded together to make the story an easy read! Looks like we're looking at a potential J. K. Rowling here!! Am following thee!

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    1. Wow Nirvana! Thats too much of a compliment! This is my first shot at fantasy. Was easy, but enjoyed thoroughly!

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    2. And yeah, thanks for following :)

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  6. This is a beautiful narration , All the best Dear !

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  7. I felt like I was reading harry potter, and I am such a huge fan! I loved this, beautiful build up. Magical, just as you intended it to be. Loved the names of the characters!My imagination unwittingly fails me in that department!
    Great work, all the best!
    Anjali
    Team Pune Blogin

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    1. Am so glad you liked it Anjali. And for the names, tey have been inspired from certain movie characters! Am bad with names too :P

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  8. Wow! Fantasy replete with magical verses! Wonderful Apala!

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  9. Great! You have all three, imagination, vocabulary and control. Why aren't you published? Or are you? Either way, happy to find this blog. You are on my follow list, and blogroll. Would you like to be syndicated on my fb page through networked blogs? I have some friends who would like your writing...

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  10. Hey Sandy! thanks for your encouraging words. am glad you liked it.
    I am not published! This blog is just an outcome of a newly developed passion. Thanks much for adding me to your blogroll i would definitely like to get syndicated to your fb page... :)

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    Replies
    1. Alright, I'll set it up. Thanks!

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  11. There’s a surprise waiting for you, Apala. Please check the link.
    http://panchalibolchi.blogspot.in/2012/07/a-gift.html

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  12. interesting ... i loved it ...the choice of words ....the choice of names are fantastic...you must have put in a lot of effort in bringing this one up cheers...

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  13. Urs is one of beautiful blogs, I have been following. Here is something for u...

    http://ashi-streamofconsciousness.blogspot.in/2012/07/embracing-it-all-my-first-blogger-award.html

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  14. SPLENDID! You have totally done the topic full justice. I loved the story, the characters you made and the description of the city was amaaaaazing. The magical effect was very well done. you say "He drew his wand out" and i INSTANTLY think of Harry Potter :D congrats over the scores! :) :D

    PS: sorry was late in reading this but got busy with admissions and stuff.

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