This is late...but it is for Voronda of A Believer's Journey WATW (Worth A Thousand Words). My story is 1, 296 words long. By the way...sorry, my poetry is no good.
Dalia, the Great Enchantress was dead. A new Great Enchantress from her apprentices must be chosen. And that is why Amana was sitting among the twelve girls from Aria’s household in Basheer’s cave.
Basheer was the elder of the clan. Even he had more power than Aria had had. But in these evil times, he must not use his power, for the other tribes would guess right away that their enemy was the leader of the Asinbowlder tribe.
The person to help Baksheer and replace Dalia must be a girl. That is what Baksheer had decided because their enemies would less likely guess that the Asinbowlder’s source of power came from not a male, but a female.
And she must practice her magic in secret, always in secret. She must dress in rags and pretend to be a cripple, as Dalia had. She must go to the most dangerous parts of the land to find berries and roots for potions, if need be. She must be always on hand to go where Baksheer decided to send her, even if it be to battle.
Amana was, like the eleven other girls, an orphan. Baksheer and Dalia had decided this to be the most appropriate, for it is hard and cruel to make a parent give their daughter, perhaps their only daughter, away at birth to be brought up in the ways of good magic by Dalia. Baksheer and Dalia also knew that orphans were not like other children - they had more potential towards magic, and had something special about them.
All twelve girls were very excited and nervous. Excited, that they had a chance of becoming the most important Enchantress in the Asinbowlder tribe. Nervous, that they could lose their chance to one of her friends, now competitors. Nervous also because if either of them became the Great Enchantress, the task would be hard and dangerous. No other thing could prove this fact better than that Dalia had been killed yesterday in one of the great battles.
But their greatest battle was coming soon, and so Baksheer had ordered (but not unkindly) the girls to dry their tears and make ready for the Test.
The men were out in battle against the enemy, who were now unleashing fires upon them. All the woman and children in the village looked up to Mount Destiny with hopeful eyes.
Baksheer winked at the girls, trying to make them feel better. “I suppose we are on a mountain because the air is clearer and we can think better.”
The girls did not feel any better, but they tried to smile and Amana spoke up, shyly, “But we are on the smallest mountain because all the others have been taken from our tribe.”
Heads swiveled in her direction, and Amana ducked her head and wished she could disappear.
She was the only girl among the twelve, who did not have a friend. The girls mostly ignored her, but one or two of the girls (particularly an older girl named Zelda) had been mean to her on some occasions. Amana supposed it was her own fault that she had no friends, that she was too shy.
“It is now time for the Test,” Baksheer announced, and eleven heads quickly swiveled back towards Baksheer. Amana raised hers more slowly, and when she did, she saw Baksheer looking at her, patiently awaiting her concentration. Amana blushed because she had kept her Elder waiting and nodded to let Baksheer know she was ready.
“There have been many things that Dalia taught you,” said Baksheer facing all twelve girls now. “But there are also many things that Dalia did not teach you. The first, and obvious, reason is that she left us before she could teach you all the things that she had planned on teaching you.”
One of the girls sniffed.
Baksheer gave a comforting smile. “I know this is all very hard on you, and I am so sorry to have put this strain on you.” He cleared his throat, and went on.
“The other reason, which is not so obvious, is that Dalia wanted to make sure that you would not know how to complete this test.”
A few of the girls gasped, and all looked uneasily at another. Why would Dalia not show them how to complete this test? It is such an important test, so why would Dalia want them to fail?
“I see you are confused,” said Baksheer. “Let me enlighten you. The purpose of this test is to draw upon your old knowledge to make conclusions in order to gain new knowledge. This is a skill that all of you, not only the special chosen one, will need to use as enchantresses.”
A younger girl named Marlia spoke up. “But what if none of us figures out how to complete the test?”
The older girls all snorted with disgust at this statement, which they considered pure foolishness.
“One of us will figure it out, and that one certainly won’t be you,” Zelda muttered under her breath.
“A very good question,” Baksheer said, smiling and nodding in Marlia’s direction. “One of you will be able to figure out how to complete the test because if none of your minds can think up a way, the Mighty One will tell you how to do it.”
“Now, are you ready for the test?”
The girls nodded hesitantly.
There was a long silence, and Baksheer said, “Make the universe appear in your hands.”
Most of the girls sat back and looked baffled. However, Amana remembered right away a spell from Delia’s old spell book - a spell for making illusions. Delia had said they may look at it, but all the other girls had seemed uninterested.
Zelda must have looked at the old book, for she suddenly stood up and cried out:
Lost things may disappear
And to find them again
You may make them appear
She spoke the rest of the spell in a mutter, and then cupped her hands together. Nothing happened.
Zelda stamped her foot impatiently and tried again. Still nothing happened.
“Amana,” Baksheer said quietly. “Would you like to try?”
Amana stepped up to the middle of the room, and in her quiet, shy voice, she repeated the spell. But she also added an important lesson from Delia - “Always ask the Creator, my girls, to help you in your needs. For without Him, you can do nothing.
Amana spoke in a louder voice then she had spoken the spell in, “I pray to You, O Mighty One, to help me.”
She cupped her trembling hands together and repeated her plea to the Creator again and again in her mind.
A faint glow appeared in Amana’s hands and all twelve girls gasped at once. Then the glow became bigger and bluer, and white streaks that were stars came into focus.
Amana was straining to keep the universe as long as she could in her hands. Beads of sweat rolled down her forehead. Five seconds passed, and the universe in Amana’s hands disappeared all at once.
Then the eleven girls, who had ignored her all the years of her life were crowding around her and congratulating her. Even Zelda clapped her on the back and told her that she did marvellously.
Behind them all was Baksheer. He nodded at Amana and his eyes said, It is time.
“Excuse me, everybody,” Amana said. She felt braver then she ever had in her whole life. “But we have an army to defeat.”
And as all the girls scrambled to put on their cloaks and follow her out of the cave, Amana felt as if the universe was inside her. And outside the cave, it was raining, diminishing the fires of the enemy.