“So, you used to be famous?”
Marle could hear the excitement in her Granddaughter voice. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt as much as she expected it to. It had hurt when her son had found out, aged fifteen, but then he had known enough about the world to know how different his life could have been if his mother had still been the highest mage in the land. They would have lived in castles instead of hovels, and suited to a life of one of the most powerful families in the Regions.
Marle smiled, at her Granddaughter.
“Yes, for a while, Lizin” she said, reaching up and touching the edges of the fabric that Lizin currently wore around her tiny shoulders. Marle had no idea where Lizin had found her old cloak, she had hidden it away for good keeping. But Lizin had a lot of her father in her, and liked to go exploring.
Lizin’s eyes grew wild as she looked down at the cloak.
“This was yours?” she said, pulling the fabric close over her. The emerald green stitching had faded over time, but Marle could still make out the shape of the dragon that had once wrapped around the shoulders of the cloak. Renak, the most powerful of the dragons. An old friend.
“Why aren’t you famous anymore?” Lizin asked. She was just curious, a child looking for an answer.
But there was no easy answer. How could she say because I was pregnant with your father as her reason? Or the King I served at the time was my lover in secret. He had wanted her to stay, but her Council had voted her out as soon as they knew. The Council of Mages had to remain separate from the Kingdoms, otherwise to have one unifying both could overthrow the entire political infrastructure of the kingdom.
So Marle settled on the same lie she had told her son when he had asked, with rage in his eyes.
“Because I wanted to do something different in my life,” Marle said, “help out the villages away from the court politics.”
Lizin’s eyes narrowed slightly, knowing that her Grandmother was lying to her but too young to work out exactly what she was being lied to about.
“Can you still do magic?” Lizin said.
Marle smiled again, the difficult question avoided, as she reached forward and pulled out a flower from behind Lizin’s ear.
“I think we can do a little magic for you,” Marle smiled, handing the flower to Lizin. A small enough spell, no one would notice the use of magic out here. A far cry away from the storms and fire she had once brought down on the Southern Armies in a Battle that Lizin would once learn in her history book.
Lizin took the flower, grinning up at Marle.
“Thanks, Grandma,” she replied.
Photo Credit: Andreas Strandman on Unsplash
The prompt for this flashfiction was one of my Writing Prompts from my newsletter Writing on Caffeine!