The Braddock Wizard and the Hikers

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Eduardo Sure; Braddock Wizard and South Mountain Witch, 2016; Watercolor on Paper
Years ago, a wizard was known to live in western Maryland. No one knew his name, so the people who knew of him called him the Braddock Wizard. The wizard drew his magical powers from nature. He was able to draw power from the mountains, the trees that grew on them, and the streams that flowed down them. He could also draw power from animals, but he avoided that. Taking magic from animals had an effect on them that he did not like. Many people enjoyed the outdoors where the wizard roamed. That was good for him because all of those people joined together to protect and preserve the environment where he roamed.

One day, the wizard came across a group of people hiking through the woods. He could hear them talking, but it was not the topic of their conversation that drew his attention. The conversation had an odd note and did not sound right to his ears. One of the people was especially agitated. The wizard could feel how nervous and troubled the person felt. That stayed with him. It reminded him that he had seen hikers crying earlier that month. He also saw hikers that had come to the area with a group only to break from their group and continue walking alone.

The wizard wanted to know what was happening. He traveled to the edge of the area he roamed and waited for some hikers. Two thru-hikers came along. He could tell that they were thru-hikers because they had stronger magic than people ordinarily carried with them. People hiking a very long distance built within themselves magic from being in nature and from their effort to hike so far. The wizard could sense the magic. The pair was made up of a man and a woman.

The wizard followed the pair as they traveled along the trail. He followed them all day unseen, but nothing happened. When the evening arrived, the hikers stopped and set up their camp. The wizard stayed with them. The sun went down, it became dark, and the hikers went into their tent to sleep. The wizard sat near them out of sight and kept watch. At midnight, the wizard felt unusual movement among the trees.

The wizard used magic to see clearly in the dark. He saw the South Mountain Witch. She was not a good witch. She prepared to attack the sleeping hikers. The wizard used magic to create a swarm of leaves and sticks from those that were on the ground. The leaves and sticks flew at the witch like a swarm of hornets. The witch used magic to build a ball of fire around herself and burned the swarm. She then used rock debris like bullets and shot them at the wizard. The wizard moved fallen trees in front of himself as a shield. Then, the wizard called water from a nearby stream and sent a powerful spray at the witch. Having seen it coming toward her, the witch immediately disappeared into the darkness.

The Braddock Wizard saved those hikers from the South Mountain Witch’s attack. The wizard thought that she must have figured out how to take magic from people. He thought that might have been the reason that he saw so many unhappy people recently. The witch did not care about the effect that stealing magic had on them. To help hikers, the wizard cast protective spells on them as they came through the area. However, some hikers arrived from the north and others from the south. Unfortunately, he could not be at both ends of the trail at once. The witch would surely find unprotected hikers and steal magic from them as they slept.

The End

Star Princess

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Eduardo Sure; Star, 2016; Photography
One night, three princes looked up at the night sky and wished upon a star that they could have a princess with whom to share their kingdom. One prince was from the Kingdom of the East, the second from the Middle Kingdom, and the third was from the Kingdom of the West. A star heard them and responded that she would be interested in being their princess because she had wanted for a very long time to live on Earth.

So each prince, for his own reasons, hosted a ball for the star on a night that she would come to Earth. The star could be present at all three balls at the same time, but would only choose one prince.

When the star arrived at the ball hosted by the prince of the Kingdom of the East, the prince and all of his guests were in awe of her beauty. Everyone gathered around her because, in addition to her great beauty, she was charming and affectionate to all. She was as friendly to the servants as she was to the royal family. However, as the night passed so did her beauty. So the prince from the Kingdom of the East lost interest in the star.

Guests at the ball hosted by the prince from the Middle Kingdom were also enchanted by the star. When her beauty faded, the prince was satisfied by her ability to charm everyone. However, as the night passed, she became shy and withdrawn. As the guests found other ways to entertain themselves, so did the prince. He left the star alone.

When the star arrived at the ball hosted by the prince from the Kingdom of the West, she marveled the guests with all of her fine qualities. As time passed and her beauty faded, the prince took the star aside and told her that she was beautiful. Later that night when the guests were no longer gathering around the star because she became quiet and shy, the prince took her out to dance. After many dances, the star pointed out her lack of beauty and charm to the prince and asked him why he was still interested in her. The prince replied that she was the same now as when he had met her.

When the sun rose the next day, the star was gone for the princes from the Kingdom of the East and the Middle Kingdom. The star chose the prince from the Kingdom of the West and all of her beauty returned when she accepted his marriage proposal. She knew that as her human form aged, that she would always shine the same for him.

The End