Hill of Sidh
Novelist : Judit Elias
The chamber was staggeringly white. From
the wall to the elegant great round table and intricate chairs, everything was
ivory marble, punctuated by a few pink veins. The stone shimmered where it
reflected the bright starlight coming through the large windows behind the
arcades that skirted the round wall. The sun had already set and the sky was
navy blue. A full moon was visible through the crystal dome above her head. The
golden lamps were already alight. She could hear the sea, even from that
height. Other than that, the silence was almost unnerving. Finally, they
started to arrive, one by one, at a solemn pace. The great wizards sat down. Some
crossed their hands, staring into the infinite; others greeted their
acquaintances. Only when all the seats were filled did one of them rise and begin
“I declare this meeting of the emergency council
open,” he said.
He was neither the head nor the ruler, as
all were equal in the Wizardry, but it was customary for the eldest present to
start the conclaves.
“I will now hand over to the summoner of
the meeting, the sorceress Nari.”
Nari rose from her seat. She was one of
the youngest amongst them and this was in fact the first conclave she had
summoned. She hadn’t been a member of the council for long and it was uncommon
for new attendees to hold meetings. She took a deep breath, tucked some of her
long black hair behind her ear and adjusted the small glasses that covered her
slanted dark eyes. She took a package, wrapped in linens, from her satchel. She
placed it with care, almost reverence, on the table. With trembling hands she
uncovered the contents: one perfectly oval egg. The shell was a pale creamy
colour. However, most striking of all were the painted marks. Unknown runes of
different tones of grey had been drawn all over the egg’s surface. Some of them
had been partially erased by the passing of time, for they looked very old.
“This, my fellow wizards, is the reason I
have gathered you here.”
There were gasps of surprise. The Wizardry
only held meetings for truly important matters.
“I will get straight to the point,” said
the girl. “I have reasons to believe this is a dragon’s egg.”
Some members could no longer contain their
“A dragon’s egg?”
“What nonsense, dragons don’t exist!”
“Nari must have lost her mind!”
“Silence! Order!” cried the eldest. “We
would not be entities of reason if we were not open to the ideas of others!”
Nari looked at him gratefully. She pointed
to several of the books that were already on the table. Every single one of
them was written in a different language, but all of them had strikingly
“As you may know, legends and stories of
dragons, great flying beasts with inconceivable power, exist in all the
cultures of this universe. Although no one has proof of their existence, some
of us believe them to have been more than myths.”
Nari took one of the books, a large
leathery old tome, and flicked through its pages.
“This particular information was found in
Mithos. The natives there hold a strong belief that these creatures not only
existed long ago, but are due to return one day.”
She stopped at one page featuring the
drawing of an egg, very similar to the real one she had just uncovered. Nari
caressed the warm surface of the shell, adjusting its position so the rest of
the wizards could see it better.
“This egg may be alive and ready to hatch.
However, I believe some sort of magic will be needed to open it.”
“I see,” murmured the eldest wizard. “So
you’ve come to us seeking permission.”
“The code that governs the Wizardry is
just and reasonable. We can use our magic in order to help those around us but
only as far as we employ the knowledge the natives already possess. Although I
am convinced this egg belongs to a dragon, I do not have the proof of it.
Therefore, if I use magic to hatch it and the creature is not magical…”
“That would constitute a breach of the
code,” finished the eldest.
“Yes. I wish to ask for a special
exemption for this case.”
“Such an important matter…” the man said,
stroking his long beard. “I believe it should be put to a vote.”
“You have heard my opinion,” said Nari to
the others. “If this is, indeed, a dragon’s egg, it would be one of the
greatest discoveries of our lifetime. We would be bringing back a species that
might have been widespread long ago. Think of what we could learn from them! It
is our role as the Wizardry to protect the diversity of the universe.”
The girl took a deep breath and continued.
“If the creature is not a dragon I will personally
ensure it is returned to its original habitat. I vote yes.”
She stretched her arm out over the table
with her palm facing upwards. A small white orb appeared and floated to the
centre of the table.
The next to rise was the sorceress Lillie.
Nari smiled. She knew what Lillie’s vote would be even before she said
anything, for she had known her since they were children. Lillie was one of the
few wizards who believed in the existence of dragons without reservations. She
had even devoted a lifetime of research to them. She would vote yes.
“My good wizards,” Lillie said. “Nari has
made a very valid point. Yes, if the egg is indeed a dragon’s egg it would be a
great discovery for us all. However… I wish to draw your attention to another
aspect. What is the likelihood that this egg is really a dragon’s?”
Another member of the council stood up.
“My thoughts exactly! That egg could be
from any creature!”
“What do we know about its provenance?”
continued Lillie. “Our dear Nari has not explained it. Perhaps she would like
to share such privileged information…”
There was something in her tone of voice.
Envy? No, Lillie would never be jealous. Nari knew her too well. She should be
overjoyed, jumping at this opportunity. Of course she would like to know the
origin of the egg, but she would never have asked this way.
“Why do you want me to share this?”
“I have my reasons,” answered Lillie. “What
selfish motives do you have for not sharing it?”
“I am sworn to secrecy,” Nari answered,
for it was the truth.
“Sworn to secrecy,” repeated Lillie
sneeringly, twisting her long blonde braid between her fingers.
“So we have an egg, who knows where from
and who knows what from. And you ask us to break our most sacred rule to open
it,” she laughed. “Well, I vote no. The Wizardry has much more important things
to do than going around opening eggs, Nari, you should know that.”
Lillie stretched out her arm but with her
palm facing downwards. A small black sphere joined the white one in the centre
of the table. Nari felt her blood freeze. Something was obviously not quite
right. How long had it been since she had seen her friend? Long enough to
justify such a change in her?
“Does any other wizard wish to add
anything further?” asked the eldest.
No one replied.
“We cast our votes, then.”
Black and white orbs floated to the centre
of the table. All of the sorcerers counted. There was exactly the same number
of each. It was a draw.
“As is customary,” continued the eldest,
“we will proceed with a mind duel. Nari, I believe you will fight for the yes.”
When a council vote was a draw, two
wizards would volunteer to represent each decision and would fight in a
non-mortal magical duel.
“I will,” said Nari, confident of her
“Who will fight for the no?” asked the
“I will,” answered Lillie immediately,
casting a cold steely gaze towards Nari.
For the first time since the meeting had started,
Nari felt less certain of victory. The eldest wizard carefully held the egg and
covered it. With a swift movement of his hand, the table and chairs disappeared
and all of the members stood by the wall, leaving the centre of the room to the
Mind duels were a tradition amongst
wizards. They were a safe way to test one’s powers without causing any major damage
to the environment. It wasn't the first time Nari had duelled Lillie. In fact,
she had done so on countless occasions, as it was quite normal for young
wizards to duel amongst friends while in training. The members of the council
stood around them, their eyes closed shut, and began chanting a complicated
Two large comfortable chairs appeared and Nari
took a seat on the one closest to her. She relaxed her body and emptied her
mind. She would need all her concentration. One of the wizards approached her
with a cup, full of a clear blue beverage. She took a sip, noting the sweetness
spreading inside her mouth and feeling the immediate cloudy somnolence taking
hold of her. She leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes as she saw Lillie
being offered the cup at the other end of the room. She could hear the rest of
the wizards chanting. The choir of high and baritone voices resonated in the
White Chamber and, suddenly, all sounds faded away.