The world is fraying at the edges. Humanity has failed to follow the teachings of Isandir and so have forgotten magic.
Well, forgotten is perhaps not the correct word, but forgone. Magic has been put aside, reduced to children's fantasies and butchered by spiritualists. Granted, humanity seems to be getting on well without it. Their own wonders and miracles, muted versions of their magic counterparts, are more widely available than magic ever was.
Reliability is an advantage to the new methods. Spells and rituals could achieve the spectacular, but often proved touchy. With a ten to twenty percent chance that any given spell could fail, Edna wasn’t that surprised that humanity moved on. Still, it was a loss.
Edna made her way as a prophet and an oracle. Small sects were still dutiful to the old ways, and each was eager to know the future. When she went out on business, Edna occasionally left her powers at home. They were a heavy burden at her age and besides, vague appeasements seemed to please as well as the truth.
On this particular morning, she didn’t have any appointments. Edna took her time getting ready for the day. When she was a girl getting up simply meant brushing and braiding her hair. Now, there were veins to rub, creams to apply, stray hairs to pluck, and rituals against aging to be murmured. That reminded her, she’d have to pick up some more virgin’s blood today from that little back room in the
local Whole Foods.
Edna rose to leave, but paused at the door, deciding whether to bring her powers with her or not. She shrugged to herself and gathered them. Her hip wasn’t too bad today, and you never know when a little premonition might come in handy.
Not that her foresight had a perfect track record. Nearly perfect, but not quite. One prophecy - the only one that mattered - was still unfulfilled. Edna mulled on her life’s work as she shuffled quietly down the halls of the dojo she shared with others of the old faith.
The chosen one, hero of the ages and merger of the modern and ancient worlds had been foretold. Visions of the beautiful world they would restore haunted Edna for nearly a decade before any concrete clues were given about who might fill the hefty role.
When the visions began Edna knew that she would play a part in the chosen one’s life. The hero would be great, but teachers in all disciplines would be required to reach their ultimate goal. Edna worked tirelessly to gather the best practitioners of the magical and modern arts, creating a dojo of skilled teachers to help the chosen one when they came.
When a concrete vision arrived Edna was ecstatic. The chosen one would be at the Rift of Ascension on the vernal equinox. So it was foretold, so it should have been. Edna vibrated for weeks in anticipation of the equinox, turning down dozens of dinner invitations for the big day. No. She would say to rolled eyes and uncertain smiles. I’m going to meet the chosen one.
When the time finally came she climbed and clambered for three days and nights, crossing in and out of four countries, three realms, and at least two and a half dimensions to reach the remote rift. The equinox came and went and Edna waited. She sat alone at the rift for a full week before quietly packing her campsite and reversing her journey.
That had been sixty years ago. In the time since, she held the dojo together, offering free rent for the other teachers to encourage them to stay. Even in the magical pockets of the world, free rent in a city like Vancouver was nothing to sneeze at. They passed the years teaching each other, so if something happened to one, the others could train the chosen one. Edna learned spells, languages, combat, and how to use a smartphone, but still the chosen one didn’t come.
She came close a few times. Once, Edna had followed a rumour all the way to Bangladesh, and into the realm of the Raksasha people. Word was spreading that a young man from one of the local villages was climbing the Peaks of Prophecy. The mountains, Edna knew, were home to great eagles; birds of fate who could foresee great acts and grand potential.
Edna hurried after the boy, hoping to witness his meeting with the eagles. But she arrived too late. After a grueling climb she came across the body of the young man. Shredded by talons and still clutching a crude musket. The birds hovered above, wings beating slowly with fatigue, the odd drop of blood falling to the stones from feathers and talons. One of the magnificent birds was so tired from their battle that it landed on Edna. Having seen what damage the birds could do she shook it off and fled down the hill, disappointment trailing her.
“Overstuffed turkeys.” Edna grumbled to herself, opening the dojo’s faded blue fridge and scanning for breakfast.
She could hear the others waking, their shifting weight making the dojo creak. She bought the building in the fifties, and changed little since. It would collapse in a few years, she had seen it, but she was content to watch it age until then. Maintenance was invasive and the buildings value was in the land, not the crumbling foundations.
She decided on toast, popping the bread in the machine and pouring herself a glass of orange juice as she waited. The butter was rock hard, the chill of the morning making it unspreadable. Edna stared at it for a moment, then sat down to eat her toast dry. She would pick up some margarine with her virgin’s blood. She spun the clean knife between her fingers, watching the light bounce off it as she took her first bites.
The champion’s sword was her most recent attempt to find the chosen one. It was a relatively small weapon, shorter than Excalibur and only a fraction of the weight of Mjolnir. It was forged as the chosen one’s sword, hidden away to be discovered when the time was right.
After half a century of waiting, Edna’s frustration led her to find the weapon herself. Since then, she had moved it every few years, making it easier and easier to find, trying to lure out the hero of ages. From its original resting place in the sixth circle of Hell, Edna took it to the lake that had done so well for Excalibur. When no one came by she changed it to the old garden of Eden, then Mount Everest, then the pocket dimension where left socks go. Currently, it sits in the display window at the New York Macy’s. Untouched.
Edna allowed her head to sink to the table, releasing a groan of frustration. Sixty years late and counting. At this rate she’d need to find an apprentice to take up her vigil. Someone young, with plenty of patience.
The chosen one was worth waiting for, Edna assured herself. Though the thought was beginning to ring hollow. She’d spent her whole life thinking up positive changes the chosen one could make. Reforms, policies and diplomatic gestures that could unite magic and technology: burning auras instead of coal for the ultimate renewable energy, teaching the hivemind techniques of the Hivashi to provide a level platform of communication and understanding, even introducing microwaves to the other dimensions.
There was so much to be achieved, but no chosen one to do what was needed. Enda huffed to herself. Kids these days, always tardy.
I always liked this spin on the unreliable psychic. Someone so caught up in trying to realize something they'd seen that they didn't even notice that they fit the bill perfectly. Poor Edna, she could have been great!