Fiction Writing Friday: Magus Magister


Originally posted 2015-12-18 08:00:41.

There is a gross misconception that my kind are unholy, profane, and outside of the love of

God.  This is very untrue.  There are further sentiments that all of us who practice the arcane arts

have no true reverence for what is holy and good, and that we are unchristian and blasphemers.

You can thank Torquemada for that one.

 

You see, we were actually the first ones, other than his parents and the shepherds, oh,

and that one little boy with the drum, to greet the Child when he came to our world.  Well, not all of

us, but three of our best known were there, even if most people can’t remember their names.  They

saw the signs in the sky, the animals, the world around them.  They knew the prophecies of the one

who would bring salvation and enlightenment to the world was coming.  And those three wise men,

friends and brothers by deed and by spirit, set their houses in order, and set out for Bethlehem,

where their reading of the stars told them the Christ Child would be.

 

One night, those three men, Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior, began their travels.

It was damned cold out, Melchior thought.  Gaspar sat smugly on his horse, riding through

the Judean night.  He was from lands north of here, and it is said his land saw snow for a good

quarter of the year.  Melchior snorted at this and chuckled softly, astride his camel.  Their other

friend, a large man dark of skin, sat happily astride a horse just like Gaspar’s.  The three had

journeyed far already, having met north of here in Athens.  The sea had still been warm there,

instead of the cold air here in Judea.

 

“I tell you, this bodes well.  Herod’s madness, as we have heard, has already claimed

uncounted innocent lives.  This cold will keep his men indoors more than out.  Less chance of that

mad Israelite taking the life of the Anointed One.”  As usual, Balthasar’s deep-timbered voice carried

just under the breeze.  Both Gaspar and Melchior nodded at this.

 

They had just set foot on the south-eastern shores of the sea when word had come to

them of the butchery of Herod.  It seems the Hebrew king had been told by a soothsayer that his

kingdom would fall to a son born amongst his people this winter.  In his addled paranoia, he had set

down the edict that the first born male child in ever house must be killed.  All three magi had been

appalled to hear this.  Not only could this murderousness claim the life of the prophesied child, but it

was infanticide on a massive scale.  Innocents were dying, all because of the greed and paranoia of

one man.

 

With haste, they had their animals disembarked from the ship and set out as soon as they

could.  That had been a week ago, and they neared Bethlehem.  All the signs they had been able to

read had said the child was either just about to be born, or had been a few days previous.  In either

case, all three magi knew they had to hurry.

 

Balthasar seemed agitated.  Gaspar knew this was never a good sign.  The large Nubian

man was known to get garrulous when agitated, and tended to become almost intolerable at times.

His anger was never directed at anyone in particular, but it made him insufferable to deal with.  As

for Melchior, well, he was always quiet as a stone, a whisper.  He rarely spoke, but when he did, it

was always with great meditation and aplomb.

 

They topped a rise.  Balthasar sucked in his breath.  Melchior stayed silent as ever, but

Gaspar…

 

* * * * * * *

 

Gaspar could not help but exclaim, “Wonder of wonders…”

 

Looking out on the little town of Bethlehem, with eyes clear and focused in a way most

mortals can never know, they saw the truth.  A shaft of pure, white light beamed down from the

heavens, lighting a little manger, just outside an inn.  Around the circle of the inn, the he saw a

gathering darkness.  It roiled and billowed, and from his vantage point, it seemed alive and hungry.

The light kept the darkness at bay, but each of the magi knew what the darkness was.  It

had come, not to harm the child, for it could not touch Him.  No creature could bring harm to this

child, especially not one who had once known Light, but chose Darkness.  But it could keep those

destined to meet the child from doing so.

 

The three friends, brothers by deed and spirit, looked at one another.

Balthasar was the first to speak.  “What do we do?  You know his reign is one of peace,

and for us to use violence on this night of all nights… Well, it could be disastrous.”

“We can defend ourselves, but we cannot attack.  We cannot risk tainting ourselves by

acting out of anger, even righteous anger.  But at the same time, we must bring to him the gifts, he

must be anointed,” Gaspar stated.  The pale-skinned man’s face was screwed up in frustration.

After a moment, Melchior, always quiet Melchior, spoke.

 

“We gather about ourselves our own Light, and we ride through it slowly.  We are not

children of God, in the way this child is, but we have been given a Light of our own.  Most men deny

it, and that is why this child is born.  But we, we three kings among men, known for our wisdom,

must also have faith.  This will not be easy, my brothers, but it must be.”

 

The three magi looked up at the night sky, and marveled at the stars, particularly the one

that had drawn them towards Bethlehem.  They saw that the Light came from the stars, especially

the one.  It flared with brilliance as the three men drew in soft breath, and gathered themselves.

They never spoke it aloud, but each uttered a prayer to “He Who Is”, the one many call

God, and gathered their will unto themselves.  None of the three asked for protection, for

benevolence, for blessing.  But what they did pray for was that they would be able to do what was

needed, what had to be done.  Without a spoken word, a Light gathered unto them as well, lighting

them from within.  No stars shown down on them as they did the child’s first home, but the Light

came from their hearts, from their faith, and their love.

 

With confidence, they rode through the town.  None watched, none viewed, and none

spoke up to the three men as they traveled.  Each step of their horses was a trial as they entered the

darkness.  Within that cloud of blackness, there lay madness.

 

Each magi faced demons, and not the ones depicted with wings and pitchforks.  These

were the demons within each of them.  Balthasar saw his wrath, his pride, his envy laid before him

and beckoning.  Melchior was treated to his pride as well, and his desires.  And Gaspar saw his own

envy laid bare.  They were sorely tempted by visions, and all efforts were made by this darkness to

pull them from their path.

 

They did not realize they had clasped hands together, and rode silently, hands clasped

tightly in fear and in brotherhood.  No magic was wrought by them, no spell spoke or sung.  Just the

simple faith that all men have, but so few give credence to.

 

They neared the manger, and before them arose one last specter, this one taller and more

terrifyingly beautiful than all others.  This one had once knelt at the voice of “He Who Is”, and carried

his commands to all the others of the Host, the ones magi call “Elohim,” or “Shining Ones.”  What

words he uttered, they did not even hear.  The sound passed to them, and filled their ears, but

smiles creased their lips, and their faith made them deaf to his temptations.

 

They rode through the apparition, and into the circle of the Light.  Their eyes cast around,

and they saw something they had not thought possible: within the edge of the circle of darkness

stood men, simple shepherds.  Their shepherd hooks shone just as the stars did.  They stood

sentinel, watching out over the rolling darkness, and held it at bay, protecting the their flocks, and the

child.  Simple men, common men, powered only by their faith.

 

One of them, with grey in his beard and his hair parting from his scalp, looked at the three

and bid them greeting.

 

“We have stood all night, waiting for you.  The Child is just inside; meet him, and fulfill your

prophecies.”

 

Balthasar, Gaspar and Melchior knew then that this Child would be a Shepherd among

men, tending his flock, and keeping them from the predators that would consume them.  They

stepped down from their mounts, and gathered the gifts.  They entered the Manger, and saw before

them a carpenter and his wife, and the Child, swaddled in an old blanket, lain within an empty

trough.

 

“Such ignoble beginnings for one so great,” spoke Balthasar.  Gaspar couldn’t help but

“No, it is not.  It is the way of all things, that greatness comes not from riches or palaces,

from advantages or privilege.  Greatness comes from simplicity, and with it comes hope.”  Melchior

stepped forward and opened the vial of myrrh.  The three wise men knew that this Child’s life was

destined to end, not in the way men’s lives end.  Melchior’s thumb dabbed into the thick resin and

placed a mark upon the child’s head, a cross.  A single tear dropped from his eye as he did so.  You

see, myrrh was used to embalm the dead, and all the prophecies the three men had read spoke of

the death of the child, and how it would seal a new agreement between man and Creator.

 

“Welcome to this world, Child.”

 

The Child’s mother spoke, “Yeshua.  We have named him Yeshua, as we were told to do.”

Melchior nodded.  “Welcome, Yeshua, to this world.  In times yet to come, you shall be

called Christos, Anointed One.  And to you, shall the gift of faith be given, so that you may give it to

others.”

 

Balthasar lit a bit of the frankincense, its smoke wafting through the manger.  He did not

speak, but tears coursed his cheeks.  Here was the chance the world so dearly needed, within the

body of a small, innocent child.  He felt an injustice there, that one so small, helpless and innocent

should have to bear this weight.

 

But Gaspar, he stepped forward.  “To you, his parents, we give this gold.  First, to

recognize his dominion over all men, although he will never use such power.  But more, the gold is

to remove you from this land in the morning.  Herod still seeks the firstborn children.  And we shall

stay until morning, and with us you will come, until we know you have safely left Bethlehem.”

All three magi stood then, and bowed before this simple, quiet child.  In the corner, a boy

sat and played his drum, powerful and rhythmic.  Outside, the Shepherds stood their watch, keeping

at bay the darkness of both night and damnation.  And somewhere, above, the Elohim and the

Creator watched.

* * * * * * *

                As you can see, we take no credit for any great bravery as it is known today.  In fact, we

give all credit and honor to those Shepherds, men who had no idea of the truth of the Darkness they

faced, but did so without flinching or shirking.  They stood that night, from beginning to end, and kept

at bay those that were lost already, and did not wish to come home.

 

So when you hear that song, when you hear your priests, deacons, pastors, and ministers

speak of the three “kings” that came to Bethlehem to greet the Child, remember that they too, while

learned and powerful, were just men before Him.  Remember that all on this Earth are just men.

And within that lay a power beyond which even the Darkness cannot face.

 

And may you have a Merry Christmas.

chalybsanimus