Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wands & Staffs

In both fairy tales and fantasy, wands (the fairy godmother’s wand in Cinderella) and staffs (Gandalf’s staff in The Lord of the Rings) are used to call and/or invoke magic. These talismans usually serve as conduits for magical energy, and their linear shapes direct a spell or other enchantment according to its bearer.

Don’t you wish you had a magic wand … that would leave your home sparkling from top to bottom with a flick or a wrist?

Or maybe a powerful staff that could freeze time … while you figure out your next best move?

I won’t post a spoiler about how Hermes’ Wand is used in Daughter of Light, but I will share a snippet of its creation from Isolt’s Enchantment:

The dwarf god possessed as much skill over wood as he did over metal. He cut a branch from a towering white oak.

The spirit of the tree emerged. Crimson stained her fingers. She staunched the flow of blood from a gash in her side. “You bereave me with no consideration?”

Vulcan fumbled for words. His glance darted between the wood in his hand and the tree spirit’s wound. “I didn’t know you were alive.”

“Your lack of awareness is apparent.”

He held out the branch, to return it to her.

“No. It is like a child. Once born it cannot re-enter the womb. But know this: It will retain memory of the roots that birthed it.”

“I meant to use it for a gift.”

“Do with it what you will, but don’t steal from me again.”

“And your wound?”

“It will heal in time.” The tree spirit re-entered the white oak.

Hoping to appease her outrage, the abashed god whittled and scraped the wood with care. He risked a glance at the oak when he was finished.

The tree remained silent.

Vulcan admired the smooth and slender staff in his hands. The pale wood required no adornment. And yet, he desired his gift to be impressive. He called upon his cousin, Hermes. “Perhaps you could endow the rod with some contrary magic?”

The nimble messenger god hefted the staff. “You could crack a head with this.”

Vulcan flinched when his cousin smashed it against the stout trunk of a tree. When Hermes threw the rod to the ground and jumped upon it with both feet, Vulcan shouted, “Enough!”

I just finished reading Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter. A spinoff of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the story weaves just about every supernatural creature that you’ve ever heard of into an intricate and contemporary cosmology. Within the first few chapters, the reader discovers that Prospero has gifted each of his nine children a unique magical staff with distinct powers. These staffs are central to this intriguing story.