The Philosopher (Continuous Scroll)


by Tao Writer


The Philosopher



Book One Of The Philosopher Series

6628fe7c 5bcd 43ab b9d5 6480bbb4456d

                                                       
Transformation Publications    



Dedication

The fact the story is in the realm of science fiction and fantasy is due to the first fantasy series I read and fell in love with, the EarthSea series by Ursula K Le Guin. Later I read J R R Tolkien and CS Lewis but Le Guin was the first. She was the one who instilled in me a love of dragons.

Thank you Ursula. This story is dedicated to you. A humble, fictional extension of the tale you created…

Character List

The Philosopher
The Wizard Baldwin Of SwanSea
The Wizard Elza, Princess Of Morocco, wife to Baldwin
Upashna – daughter of Baldwin and Elza
1st Gatekeeper Mingus
2nd Gatekeeper Free
3rd Gatekeeper Extor
Eno – Upashna’s cat, a familiar and shape shifter
Mars – an old wizard of the Other Realm
The Sorceress Sophia – wizard, creates and assigns familiars
Miranda – Sophia’s cat, familiar and mother of all familiars on the Other Realm
Ged Sparrowhawk – Wizard, Archmage of Earthsea, Dragon Lord
Anna – The Philosopher’s mother
Simone – The Philosopher’s familiar, dragon, and shape shifter
Morujiana – Ged Sparrowhawk’s familiar, dragon, and shape shifter


beb9192c 8ad5 4a42 b51d 11dc7ea611d3



Directory – The Philosopher

  1. The Search For Truth
  2. The Dream Path
  3. The Wizard Of SwanSea
  4. The Unexpected Journey
  5. The Night Before
  6. Enter The Labyrinth
  7. The First Gatekeeper
  8. The Journey Continues
  9. The Second Gatekeeper
  10. The Desert Labyrinth
  11. The Last Gatekeeper
  12. The Other Wind
  13. The Other Realm
  14. The Princess And The Dragon
  15. Currents Of The Sun
  16. The Vortex
  17. Samadhi – The City Of Wizards
  18. The Familiar And The Unknown
  19. The Known, Part One
  20. The Known, Part Two
  21. The Philosopher Receives His True Name
  22. Tao Sparrowhawk, Philosopher-Wizard of Havnor, Dragon Lord
  23. Tao And Simone, A Maiden Voyage
  24. The Void Between Dragons And Man
  25. The Time Is Near
  26. The Assembly
  27. Reigniting The Sun
  28. Epilogue


The Philosopher

1. The Philosopher – The Search For Truth

There lived some time ago in the village of South Port on the Isle of Havnor in the land of EarthSea a philosopher. The cerebral castle of his thoughts filled much of his life but existed only in the air. His kingdom lived in his heart. He was a good, generous, fair and just man. Although he had many who loved him, by his own choice he lived alone for most of his years. The Philosopher longed for only two things, truth and love. He asked the sun, the moon and the stars to send him a partner to share his remaining years and adventures before he died. Everyday he would walk along the cobbled stone streets to the local library and study the many volumes looking for truth. He searched everywhere for truth and in the eyes of every face he saw for love. It was these dream which fueled his life as much as music, poetry, nature and art.

The Philosopher was sitting in his small enclave as he often does looking out the window into the heart of the kingdom. He preferred small orderly spaces where his thoughts could easily flow without distraction. He felt lost and overwhelmed by the largeness of empty spaces. It was not the emptiness which overwhelmed him because emptiness could easily be filled. It was the largeness which seemed to him endless in all directions whose horizons could not be obtained no matter how far one would travel and being a philosopher he believed all horizons could be obtained by the mind.

He was at his desk pondering the thoughts of his own interior kingdom and the aching of loss and desire in his heart, writing down on paper the words to a poem when a breeze came to his window and stopped. Beyond his window he could see the trees swaying, the birds sailing upon the currents of air, the leaves swirling in a wind blown pattern in front of the window but prevented from coming in as if by an invisible barrier. There was no glass in his window to hold back the breeze or the leaves from blowing in and yet they stopped and would not enter his small enclave. 

The Philosopher stood up and approached the window when he heard a book fall from its place in his bookcase. He glanced out his window again, the trees had stopped their sway, the birds were now flapping their wings to stay afloat in the sky and the swirl of leaves was now floating to the ground with only the force of gravity controlling their movement. How strange he thought and went to return the book to its place on the shelf.

When he bent over to retrieve the book, he noticed it seemed perfectly placed as if it had not fallen but had been laid in place on purpose, but that would be impossible because the Philosopher was an orderly person. Order was a necessity in his small enclave and for his thoughts. He would never have left a book on the floor. The book was one he was not familiar with and he knew all of his books by memory and heart. It was bonded in leather which had been hand tooled so that the cover design was raised. He did not recognized the book but the design on the cover was a labyrinth. The Philosopher examined the spine. It was smooth and bore no title. He thought for a moment, searching his memory, but could not recall having ever borrowed such an elegant volume.

The Philosopher returned to the chair at his desk to explore the tome more closely. He opened the cover. The title of the book, The Search For Truth was written in perfect calligraphy apparently by hand as he knew of no font with such grace of style. There were no other markings. No author. No copyright date. Nothing. He turned the page. It was empty. The next page. Also empty.

He fanned through the pages. He could see writing on the pages but as soon as he attempted to focus upon or read the words, the print would disappear. At first he thought his eyesight was deceiving him but the pattern was repeated over and over as if by some magic. 

“Magic. That’s it.” He spoke to himself. “The book is under a spell and I must break the spell in order to find the truth.”


The Philosopher

2.  The Philosopher – The Dream Path

The Philosopher placed the book on his desk and studied the intricate pattern of the raised labyrinth on the cover. Once again he thought his eyes were deceiving him because the pattern of the labyrinth seemed to change when ever he peered too closely. He decided it might be best for him to get some rest and confront the issue of the book in the morning after a night’s sleep. He went over to his cupboard, took out a bottle of brandy and poured a small amount into his coffee cup, added some hot water and went to his bed. His bed hung against the wall during the day to provide a little more living space to his enclave. He pulled it down, set his toddy on the nightstand, removed his clothing and settled in between the cool sheets.

He took a sip of his toddy, set his mug back on the table, reached over to turn out the light and was asleep almost before his head even reached the pillow. That night he dreamed he was walking along one of the forest trails. It was a familiar trail which he had walked many times before. He knew them all like the creases and lines of his aged face. The Philosopher paid close attention to his dreams. They revealed to him solutions to problems, the next line to a poem he might be writing and always seemed to be in compliment with his life. Except his dreams would never reveal to him his next true love. He walked past the beaver damn and followed the creek to it source where he stopped to take a drink. As he lifted his cupped hands to his mouth, he noticed a path he had not seen before. It was well hidden by the overgrowth of brush but it was at least at one time a path. He looked at his reflection in the stream and then woke from his dream. It was morning.

The Philosopher walked into town to show his book to the local librarian. She had a photographic memory of every book written during the last hundred years but could not identify this volume. She agreed with the Philosopher that the book was under a magic spell, but magic had been outlawed in the country under the last governor for fifty years. She told the Philosopher of an old wizard who once lived near the head of the creek. The locals referred to him as the Wizard of Swansea. “But he must be dead by now,” she added. “That was years ago.”

The Philosopher thanked his friend and headed back home to his enclave. During his return journey he recalled his dream and the hidden path near the head of the stream. He wondered if that trail might lead him to the wizard’s home. After returning to his own home, he packed the book, some cooked food and a water canteen into his backpack, grabbed his walking staff and set out to explore the trail from his dream the night before.

His dream was true. He located the path near the head of the stream. As he began to walk along the path, he noticed a change in the temperature. It had cooled considerably since his earlier walk to the trailhead and the sky was much darker. In fact the sky appeared as early evening when it was only a little before noon. The Philosopher continued to walk for another three miles. He was not aware this part of the forest even existed before his dream last night. He comes to a clearing of the brush and sees the path more clearly. The sunlight is now bright again. The air is warm. He sees smoke coming from the chimney of a small cabin up ahead. He thinks this must be the home of the Wizard of Swansea and proceeds to the door which is partially opened. He knocks. Then calls out. No one answers.

He pushes the door farther open with his walking staff and calls out again. He enters the small cabin. Someone is obviously living there. There is a fire in the fireplace and a boiling kettle of water on the stove. On the far wall he notices dried herbs hanging from the ceiling and a table filled with apothecary jars. He realizes he has entered someone’s home uninvited and turns to leave when he is struck from behind and falls to the floor.


The Philosopher

3.  The Philosopher – The Wizard Of SwanSea

As he lay unconscious on the floor of the small cabin, The Philosopher dreamed he was in a different, far off land, a land of dragons where he was the only human who walked upon the earth. He felt a wave of water upon his face.

“Wake up! Wake up.” The distant sounding voice called to him. “Who are you? What are you doing in my home? Where did you get this book?”

The Philosopher was still groggy from the blow to his head. Another wave of water fell upon his face.

“Wake up. Wake up. Do you hear me?

The Philosopher now left his dream of the dragon kingdom and slowly began to focus on his current surroundings. He looked first for his staff in order to defend himself should he be attacked again. He saw it leaning against the wall over in the corner of the cabin. Then he searched for the door which was now fully opened. The bright glare of the setting sun coming through was almost blinding. He looked for his backpack but could not find it anywhere in the small room. He tried to move but could not. He was tied to the chair. He arms and legs completely immobilized.

“Why are you here?”

The Philosopher lifted his head and tried to focus on the figure standing in front of him but the brightness of the sunlight permitted him to only see a shadow. 

“What are you doing here? Where did you get this book?” The shadowy figure asked again.

The figure in front of him was holding the book which had mysteriously come into his ownership. As his head cleared, he was able to discern the figure from the shadow. She was a woman.

“Where did you get this book? What are you doing here? Answer me!”

“I do not know how the book came into my possession. Two days ago it fell from my bookcase. I had never seen it before that day. The librarian in the Village of South Port agreed with me that the book was under a spell. She recommended I search for the Wizard of Swansea. A dream showed me the hidden path and the path brought me here. I have never been to this part of the forest before. The door was opened. I called but there was no answer. I mean you no harm. I am The Philosopher.”

“The Philosopher.” The figure said out loud.

He felt his hands and feet being untied and slowly turned to see the woman standing behind him.

“I apologize for my intrusion. I should not have entered your home uninvited, but I mean no harm. You spoke as if you know me.”

“I only know of you. Some years ago my father went into town to return some books to the library. It was after the governor had proclaimed an end to all magic in the realm. My father did not know such a proclamation had been passed. We live here in the forest and rarely go into town. He was being accosted by a gang of thugs because of his wizardry when you came out of the library and with only your staff fought them off.”

“I remember that incident but after my encounter with his attackers, I could not find your father. He took off. I assumed he was frightened and did not wish to stick around.”

“He returned home and placed an invisibility spell upon the path so it could not been seen by anyone to keep me and our home safe from possible intruders.”

“Then your father is the Wizard of Swansea, the one I seek. Is he here?”

“Yes, my father is the one you seek and no he is no longer of this realm. I am his daughter Upashna. My father must have sent you this book and revealed to you the path to our home. How else could you have found me? But why?”

The Philosopher was now conscious and able to see Upashna fully. Although she dressed in the common robes of the local folk, he could see she was beautiful. She was in fact the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She moved with the grace, style and the lightness of a vision. Her eyes were two bright stars against a dark background of space. Her hair was the color of a full moon night with streaks of light and curls flowing over her shoulders and back.

Upashna returns to the book resting on the table. “We must find a way through the Labyrinth. Upon completion of our journey we will be in the other realm where we will find my father.”

“But I thought you said your father was dead.”

“No. He is not dead. Wizards do not die. They transform. My father is in the Other Realm. He sent you this book because he believes you to have a pure heart and therefore are the only one worthy of its message. We must leave first thing in the morning and complete the assigned tasks before the next full moon in three days. You must rest now. The journey ahead will not be without peril. You will need all of your strength. I am sorry I hit you with my staff. I took you for an intruder.”

“That is not a problem. I was trespassing. You have the right to defend your home.”

Upashna responded, “I have soup and fresh bread. We should eat and turn in early. Our journey begins at sunrise. I know you must have many questions and they will be answered along the way. I assure you.”

Upashna went to the pot hanging over the fireplace and filled two bowls with soup. Then divided the bread between them. They sat down at the small table and ate. The Philosopher had not imagined a book falling from his bookshelf would lead to such an adventure. Although he had been searching for his true love most of his life, he had never before seen a woman of such beauty as Upashna. After their meal, Upashna brought in some hay for The Philosopher to make himself a bed  near the fireplace. He wrapped the book and returned it to his backpack. That night he once again dreamed of dragons. Dragons everywhere.


The Philosopher

4.  The Philosopher – The Unexpected Journey

Upashna woke early before the sun and made a hearty breakfast of porridge, fresh, warm eggs from her hens and dates from the tree near the cabin. She rolled the leftover bread from the night before in a moist towel for later in the day along with some berries and herbs from the farm. The Philosopher was still asleep, dreaming he was flying on the back of a dragon. He knew he was dreaming but the dream was real to him. His face was wet with the moisture of clouds. His hands firmly gripped the spines on the dragon’s back so he would not fall off. Why am I dreaming of dragons? He wondered, before hearing Upashna’s voice calling him to wake up.

“Philosopher. Wake up. We must eat and prepare for our journey. Wake up.” The Philosopher woke as asked.

“Good morning Upashna. I was dreaming of dragons and flying and… Anyway, I am awake now.”

“Let’s eat breakfast and prepare to leave as soon as the sun rises to light our way.” Upashna said. “I packed some food and water for the journey. I have never gone to the labyrinth but my father told me many stories about it. We have a full day of travel ahead. Then we will camp and enter the labyrinth on the second morning. You can use my father’s bedroll. I already attached it to your backpack.”

The Philosopher walked to the narrow stream behind the house to wash his face. He was surprised not only by Upashna’s beauty but also with her resourcefulness and order and the fact that she lives in the forest all alone, unafraid. He wondered if she were a wizard also. When he returned to the cabin, Upashna had filled the small table with food and hot tea. The two of them sat down to eat. There was very little conversation as both were anxious to start the journey. The Philosopher had many questions but was in no great hurry to have them answered. They had a days journey ahead of them. There would be plenty of time for questions later. He fought with himself to keep his eyes from staring at Upashna but one time she caught his gaze with her own and held it for a few moments. Both were a little embarrassed as they laughed and returned to their food.

The Philosopher washed the breakfast dishes while Upashna put out feed and water for the chickens and her two goats. She had never left them alone before but felt they would do well in her absence. She thought the journey would be no longer than five or maybe six days at the most. They both did a final check of their backpacks, grabbed their walking staffs, closed the door behind them and headed out toward the sun.

It was late afternoon when they finally stopped for a rest and a bite to eat. The Philosopher was surprised at how well his body of seventy two voyages  around the sun held up along their journey. He had not ventured this far into the forest before but somehow the landscape seemed familiar. Once again he found himself staring at Upashna. Her small frame hid her true strength but there was nothing on earth which could camouflage her beauty.

“Was your mother a wizard also?” The thought had been on his mind but he did not wish to intrude into Upashna’s life. His asking the question caught him by surprise.

“My mother was a Moroccan princess who sought out my father to train her to become a wizard. In most parts of the world it is forbidden to train a woman in the art of wizardry. My father became an outcast because he chose to train my mother. That is why we live in the forest under a spell of invisibility. So no one can find us.”

“Is your mother still alive?”

“She transitioned shortly before my father. He joined her out of love for without her he could not live this life.”

“The book, The Search For Truth, which magically appeared in my home was sent from your father?”

“Yes. He sent the book to you from the Other Realm where it is one of the sacred texts. He needs my help. In your dream he showed you the path to find me because even his magic could not penetrate the shield around our home. No magic can.”

“So, I was sent to find you so you can help your parents who are in the Other Realm?”

“Yes. We should go now if we plan to reach the labyrinth before nightfall. We will camp at the entrance and enter tomorrow.” They both picked up their packs and staffs and started their unexpected journey.


The Philosopher

5.  The Philosopher – The Night Before

The sun was just beginning to set below the surrounding mountains when Upashna and The Philosopher reached the stone labyrinth. Above the entrance was a sign written in an ancient language. Upashna said the language was once used by the First Wizards. Her father had taught her to read and write the forgotten script when she was a young child. It said:

§ ALL MORTALS WHO ENTER HERE MUST BE PREPARED FOR DEATH, FOR THAT WILL BE YOUR FATE SHOULD YOU FIND NO EXIT FOR THE WAY OUT.

“My magic will not help us once we are inside the stone walls of the labyrinth,” said Upashna. “You are mortal. You do not have to do this. I must go. My father and mother need my help. You are the messenger they chose to contact me. Your part in this journey can end here, tonight. You can return to your books and the peacefulness of your enclave. You do not have to enter the labyrinth. Many mortals have died wondering around these catacombs. Their bones have become one with the soil here.”

“Then you are a wizard too?” He had wondered but did not ask as he was a guest in her home.

“Yes. I am. Only I have not had the coronation to receive my wizard name. My parents thought it would be too dangerous for me to travel to the Other Realm with them as my powers and skills were not fully developed at that time they transitioned but I am ready now. I must warn you. The journey ahead will not be an easy one. You have the most to loose.”

“You mean other than my life?”

“Yes. Once we are inside the Labyrinth and if we find the correct route, we will have to pass through three gates each guarded by a gatekeeper. I will be permitted to pass without question because I am a wizard, but you are mortal. You must pay the fee to pass through each gate.”

“But I did not bring any money. I started out two days ago for just a walk in the woods in the attempt to find the hidden path. I did not expect that I would need any money.” The Philosopher blurted out in a confused voice.

Upashna laughed and in that moment The Philosopher knew he would give up all he owned to share time with this beautiful creature standing before him. Even his life if necessary.

“O’ my Philosopher. The moment my father sent you his book, he placed in motion a change which will affect the rest of your life. Whether you enter the labyrinth with me tomorrow morning or not, your life has already been altered. It will never be the same again. You will not need any money but at the entrance to each gate you will be asked to surrender something of value to the gatekeeper. I cannot tell you what that might be as I do not know.”

“Why did your father pick me as his messenger? Was it because I rescued him from those bullies in front of the library some time ago?”

“I cannot say. My father only told me your name and that you helped him avoid injury after he was attacked. When you showed up at my cabin and told me how you had received my father’s book and your name, I knew he sent you to find me else you never would have seen the hidden path and our home. I must reiterate. You do not have to venture any further upon this unexpected journey. You can return to the village tomorrow without judgement or shame. You have done what my father asked of you,” Upashna replied.

“A great scholar once said to me, ‘We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.’ This might be that life… The night will be cold and there is no moon. I will gather wood for a fire,” said The Philosopher.

While The Philosopher searched about for fire wood, Upashna went down to the small stream they had crossed earlier to fetch some water for hot tea. While filling her jug, her father’s face appeared to her reflected in the water. 

“Upashna, my loving daughter, you received my messenger?

“Yes father. We will enter the labyrinth in the morning and will arrive in the Other Realm as soon as we can.”

“Then The Philosopher will be joining you?”

“Yes father, but I fear for his life. He is mortal.”

“My dear daughter. I can see you care for him but do not worry he is much more than he appears. Hurry, your mother and I need you both. Remember to keep true north,” said the Wizard and his image disappeared.

Upashna returned to where she and The Philosopher had made camp. The fire was burning hot and The Philosopher had placed their bedrolls near each side of the fire for warmth. She removed the bread and herbs from her pack and placed the water in a pot to boil. That evening under a moonless sky they shared the bread and herb tea but very little in the way of conversation. The Philosopher was deep in thought. That night he dreamed of his father and dragons but most of his night was spent in restless thought.


The Philosopher

6.  The Philosopher – Enter The Labyrinth

When Upashna awakened the next morning, The Philosopher, his bedroll, pack and staff were not to be seen. Her heart felt a sudden emptiness in his absence. He was a man she had only met two days ago but she was inspired by his joy, his views of life, his vitality and love for his world and all it contained. She heard a crack of wood and quickly grabbed her staff to defend herself from whatever it was behind her.

“Wait,” called The Philosopher. “I experienced the sting of your staff once before and have no desire for a repeat performance,” he laughingly said.

“It is just that you move so quietly. I was startled. When I did not see you upon awakening, I thought you had chosen to return to the village.”

“I did not sleep well last night so I went down to the stream early to wash and fill our water jugs. I caught a couple of fish for our breakfast and found some wild herbs for tea. I would not leave you to go forth on this adventure alone and besides I wish to return the book to your father. Perhaps he will show me the words. I have been a seeker of truth for the greater part of my life.”

“I am sure my father will share with you the wisdom of the sacred text but we must first get through the labyrinth and to the Other Realm.”

“Well,” said The Philosopher. “I will stoke the fire and prepare the fish and tea while you gather your things. Then we will enter the labyrinth. Does that sound good to you Upashna?”

“Yes it does Philosopher. I am a bit hungry. While you prepare the food. I will go down to the stream to wash.” Upashna gathered her staff, folded her bedroll, picked up her pack and walked to the stream as The Philosopher watched the sway of her body from the corner of his eye.

Upon her return from the stream, a breakfast of fried fish, herbal tea and potatoes that The Philosopher had brought with him when he set out from his encave two days earlier. As they ate their meal, Upashna asked The Philosopher what had kept him awake the night before.

“My thoughts of life and death have heightened since I decided to accompany you through the labyrinth, a dream I had of my father whom I never saw or knew but in the dream I knew he was my father, dragons and you.”

“You did not know your father but what of your mother.”

“I did not know her either. She died giving life to me. I was raised by my maternal grandmother. She taught me to read and to write at a very young age and arranged for me to attend the University. She died soon after my graduation. There was nothing more she could do for me. She had taught me everything she knew. It is her home in the village that I live in now. It is a simple dwelling but it serves me well. I have been on my own most of this life learning, teaching, and searching.”

As the rays of the morning sun reached the opening of the labyrinth, Upashna realized it was time for them to leave. They both quickly rinsed their dishes, and checked their packs. The Philosopher put out the fire and stacked the extra firewood under the tree for the next traveler who might come this way. He believed in leaving his encampments in better condition than he found them when he could. He took one more look at the sign above the entrance to the labyrinth.

§ ALL MORTALS WHO ENTER HERE MUST BE PREPARED FOR DEATH, FOR THAT WILL BE YOUR FATE SHOULD YOU FIND NO EXIT FOR THE WAY OUT.

He then turned to Upashna in whose eyes he saw enchantment and the bubbling up of dreams and life. He had only seen such visions once before in the eyes of the woman he loved as much as his own life. He remembered the words she said to him in a visitation dream the night she died. “You will love again as great as that which we share,” and he wondered.

“Do not fear.” He heard Upashna’s voice say to him pulling him back into the present moment. “We will make it through, together.”

And with those words the path of The Philosophy and Upashna became crystal clear. They each took that first step into the labyrinth and their new adventure.


The Philosopher

7.  The Philosopher – The First Gatekeeper

“We must complete the journey through the labyrinth within the next forty eight hours. It is imperative that we arrive in the Other Realm by the third night of the new moon. My father told me to keep due North whenever possible,” said Upashna.

“Our only choice right now is to go either west or south as east is behind us and will return us to the entranceway. To the north is a solid wall. It is your choice Upashna. I do not have much experience with labyrinths. I know only the labyrinth on your father’s book had one way in and one way out,” said The Philosopher. “Whenever I travel I try always to stay true to my course. If I am heading north, I do not waste time by going south even if sometimes staying true to course is the more difficult route. What if we keep to true north as your father told you?”

“But the north is on the other side of the twenty foot wall to the right of us!” Exclaimed Upashna.

“Exactly,” said The Philosopher. He placed his pack on the ground and pulled out a piece of cord. “I know it does not look like much but it is thirty feet long and will support my weight.” He cut a small hook shaped branch from a nearby tree and tied it on one end of the cord. Then he threw the cut branch over the wall and pulled it with his full weight until the branch hooked itself on the other side of the wall. “If this works, we can keep heading north and not risk getting lost in side trips,” he said.

“The Philosopher was not only handsome and wise but also creative. I see why my father chose him,” Upashna thought to herself but did not speak out loud.

The Philosopher climbed up the thin rope using the rocks of the stone wall for foot and hand holds. When he reached the top of the wall he sent the rope down to Upashna. She quickly tied their staffs and packs to the cord and The Philosopher pulled them to the top of the wall. Then he sent the rope down for Upashna. She tied the cord around her waist and climbed the stone wall as The Philosopher pulled her up.

They looked over the top of the labyrinth which seemed to go on for miles. “We could have been wondering around those catacombs forever. Now we can separate but remain in sight of each other while we look for the three gates and their gatekeepers. The top of the wall is wide enough for us to walk on as long as we are careful. This is a brilliant idea Philosopher.” In her enthusiasm she wrapped her arms around The Philosopher and gave him an embrace. This was the first time they had touched one another and during the brief embrace The Philosopher felt a stirring both in his heart and his loins which he had not experienced since a time when…

“Excuse me Philosopher. My excitement got the best of me. Please accept my apology if I offended your honor or person.” Upashna’s head was bowed and her eyes lowered as she spoke these words.

“You have in no way offended neither my honor or person. In fact you honor me with your enthusiasm and acceptance of who I am as a person.” He placed his two fingers under the chin of Upashna’ bowed head and lifts her gaze to meet his own. Looking directly into her mysterious colored eyes he repeats, “You honor me with your embrace.” They both smile and turn to pick up their packs.

“North is that direction. Even though we can see our way, we must still cross through the three doorways in order to reach the Other Realm. If you walk along the wall twenty feet to the west and I twenty feet to the east we can visually cover more territory. We are looking for a door guarded by a gatekeeper,” Upashna called out as they moved apart parallel to each other and both heading north.

The Philosopher was still in somewhat of a trance as he quickly transversed the top of the stone wall. He saw the bleached bones of others who attempted this journey below in the catacombs and pondered his own fate when he heard Upashna calling.

“Over here. I found the first gate. Come quickly,” she said.

The Philosopher pulled his thoughts together and moved toward Upashna. He lowered her down the wall, then their staffs and packs, and then himself. He released the rope and returned it to his pack.

They approached the first gate guarded by a rather burly man with a double edge spear and a patch over his right eye. “My name is Mingus. Who are you and why do you wish to pass through my gate?” asks the large man.

“I am Upashna, Daughter of The Wizard Baldwin of Swansea and The Wizard Elza Princess Of Morocco,” Upashna replied. “We are making the journey to the Other Realm at the request of my parents.”

“And who are you the gatekeeper asked starring directly at The Philosopher.” The Philosopher had no lineage of wizards. In fact he had no lineage at all.

“I am The Philosopher,” he replied. 

“Are you a wizard, philosopher?” the gatekeeper asked.

“No, I am not sir.” The woman who raised The Philosopher, his grandmother, had always stressed to him the importance of respect for those in authority. The Philosopher was being respectful of the gatekeeper and his position to permit passage through the gate or deny passage.

“Then you must pay a toll to pass through this gate. Let me see what do I want from you?”

The Philosopher interjected, “I have with me nothing of value sir.”

“Yes you do. You just do not know it. For you to pass through my gate you must give me something you have had your entire life. You have ten minuts to determine what this toll to me shall be or passage will be denied.

The Philosopher pondered, “What have I had my entire life that I must surrender for passage through the gate?” He thought of the possessions which he has had the longest. His staff he received on his twelfth birthday from an unknown stranger. Most of his book had been donated to the library or given away. There was the shaw his mother had knitted for him before he was born but that was still in his home in the village. Then he remembered a line from one of his favorite poems. “Nothing is truly mine except my name.” He remember his grandmother telling him on the day he was born and his mother died his father before leaving town registered his name in the Hall of Records as The Philosopher.

“My name is the only thing I have had all my life. Will you accepy my name for payment of your toll.”

“You must realize the cost of this toll is no one will ever recognized you by your name or think of you again by that name. You will retain all of your memories but no one will remember you except for these times shared by you and your travel companion in this realm. The life you knew as The Philosopher will disappear, and your name will be removed from the Akashic Records,” said the gatekeeper.

“I understand,” answered The Philosopher. “My past or who remembers me is not longer of any importance. My name is now yours.”

“You may pass,” said the gatekeeper.


The Philosopher

8.  The Philosopher – The Journey Continues

The Philosopher and Upashna were through the first gate. They felt a sigh of relief which soon faded when they looked up and realized the stone walls which formed the walls of the labyrinth before were now a forest of trees.

“The unchanging factor when traveling in magical realms is that they are always changing,” said Upashna.

“We made it this far and through the first gateway in a short amount of time. A forest of trees will not stop us now. As you said ‘There is no turning back once we entered the labyrinth .’” added The Philosopher.

Upashna appreciated the positive attitude of The Philosopher as he had the most to lose on this adventure. “Thank you for your sacrifice Philosopher. I know it could not have been easy for you to give up the name you have had all your life and that others, your friends and family know you by. I appreciate your offering.”

“I have no family to forget me and although my friends may not remember me by name we have each influenced the life of the other. That influence cannot be taken away nor forgotten. It is part of who we are. What we shared is by far greater than the name of the person they shared it with.” said The Philosopher. Then added, “That gate keeper takes his responsibility seriously. I am glad I was able to give him something he wanted.”

“He would have made you return to the entrance if you did not give him what he asked and would have cut off your head if you resisted in any manner. Most of those denied passage end up wandering the catacombs until they die from exhaustion or hunger. The gatekeepers of the labyrinth are here to protect the entrance to the Other Realm. They all are from the same clan of Vikings and are sworn to their duty for life. In their culture it is an honor to be chosen for this position.” Upashna gathered her staff and pack and headed north through the forest. The Philosopher followed.

They had only walked a short distance when Upashna tripped on a partially hidden tree root and fell to the ground. “Are you alright?” asked The Philosopher.

“Yes. I am okay. I was in too much of a hurry and was not paying attention. I think I sprained my ankle.”

The Philosopher removed his pack and bent down to take a closer look. “Yes. Your ankle is already beginning to swell.” He removed a pouch from his pack which contained a small jar of ointment which he applied to Upashna’s ankle. Then he took out a piece of cloth and ripped it into strips and wrapped them around the swollen ankle. “Try to stand up and see if you can put weight on your leg.” He instructed Upashna. She tried but could not stand on the ankle.

The Philosopher remembered a small stream a little ways behind them. After hiding their packs and Upashna’s staff in the bushes, he picked up his own staff and then Upashna in one well executed move. We must  soak your foot in cold water to stop the swelling. “We don’t have the time Philosopher.”

“We have no choice,” he replied. He carried Upashna for a few hundred meters back to the stream and lowered her feet into the water as he sat her down on a soft patch of grass. “You stay here. I will go back to retrieve the packs and your staff. Hold on to mine for your protection until I return. Please do not try to walk.”

I will do as you ask Philosopher,” answered Upashna. “Please be quick.” The Philosopher gave her a smile of reassurance and left.

Upashna’s ankle was already beginning to feel better. The heat from the ointment and the cold water of the spring were like magic for her bruised bone. While waiting for the Philosopher to return she noticed the carving on the head of his walking staff. It was very intricate. It was a fire dragon similar to that on the head of her own and her father’s staffs only each was slightly different. When The Philosopher returned with her pack she asked him how he had come into ownership of this walking staff.

“Curious you should ask because I noticed a similar design on your staff when I picked it up. Our staffs were obviously made by the same wood carver. I received the staff from an unknown person on my twelfth birthday. It was left outside the door or my grandmother’s home. It has become a part of me. I do not leave my enclave without it. It is very sturdy and has assisted me in a few skirmishes with would be thieves.” The Philosopher told her. He continued, “I have good news. On my return trip to retrieve our packs I must have taken a wrong turn but as it turns out I found the second gate. It is about a thousand meters from here. Do you think you can make it?”

“I may have to lean on you for support but I believe I can make it.”

“We still have plenty of daylight left. Why don’t we let your ankle soak in the stream for another twenty minutes while I make a brace for your foot.” The Philosopher looked around for a particular wood and twine he was familiar with which would shrink when soaked in water and dried. This wood brace he thought would provide enough support to Upashna’s ankle for her to walk.

As The Philosopher weaved the wood he had shaved from a branch with his knife and the twine he found hanging from a tree, Upashna’s mind began to wonder about this stranger who has come into her life, sent by her father, who has no known family of his own, obviously well learned in the literary arts and trained in the healing arts as well, and who carries a staff with carvings known by her and her family. She once again asks about The Philosopher’s father. 

“I think you mentioned before you did not know your father.”

“Yes that is true. I only know what my grandmother told me but that was very little. My father loved my mother more than life. On the day I was born, she died giving me life. My father was deeply depressed and could not bear to be with me. My grandmother would never confirm this of course but why else would he record my name as The Philosopher rather than giving me his family name. I think it was because he did not want me to be able to trace him in any manner. I know nothing about him. Even the marriage certificate between him and my mother disappeared from the Hall of Records. There is no record of either of them having ever existed. I do not even know his name. I grew up in the village where I was born but no one in the village apparently knew my parents. I lived in my grandmother’s house which she left to me when she died and it is where I lived until two days ago when I left to follow a dream to find your father for an interpret of this book I carry. You are the only good in this adventure so far. I would do anything just to be near you.”

“Philosopher, your words cause me to blush.”

“They are true Upashna, daughter of the Wizard Baldwin of SwanSea and the Wizard Elza Princess of Morocco.” He lifted her foot from the stream and wrapped the wooden brace around her ankle. He tied it tightly with the twine. This will dry and provide support until your ankle can heal on its own. We can make it to the second gate before dusk.”

Upashna smiled with her whole heart and the changing colors of her eye but she did not know what words to say.


The Philosopher

9.  The Philosopher – The Second Gatekeeper

The Philosopher, who no longer knew himself by that name nor responded to it except when call by Upashna for they met in the realm of magic where he sacrificed his name for passage through the first gate,  picked up their two packs placing one across his chest and the other on his back. He then set his and Upashna’s staffs in her arms and once again with the skill of the martial artist he lifted her body from the stream where her foot was soaking into his arms and proceeded to carry her to the second gate.

Upashna was quick to protest. “You do not have to carry me Philosopher. I am sure with the brace you made for my ankle I can walk.”

“You will have ample time to walk after we gain passage through the next gate but for now I am going to carry you to give the wood of your brace enough time to dry and form a strong bond with your leg. Besides I do not have many opportunities to carry a real wizard.”

Upashna was beginning to like the Philosopher more and more but she knew she should not because he was human and the Council Of Wizards would not permit another such union. The marriage of her mother, Princess of Morocco, to her father, the Wizard Baldwin of Swansea was the last wizard union with a human but that was only after he had trained her in the ways of wizardry. 

They soon reached the second gate where another viking like figure awaited them. The Philosopher set Upashna down on the steps to the gateway. Once again Upashna because she is a wizard was permitted passage without dificulty. Then the gatekeeper turned his attention to the Philosopher.

“Who are you,” he asked in a deep rolling voice.

“I am no one,” replied the philosopher. “I have no name. What is it you want for my passage?

“I see you’ve met my brother Mingus. He likes to collect names and the histories of people, but I am different. My name is Free I collect desires, but because desires are not as easily transferred as names, I also require tangible proof that you will give up the search for your desire. Tell me what is your greatest desire. As before you have ten minutes to make an offer for passage. If I do not receive an acceptable offer within the time frame, you will be denied passage. Do you understand?”

“Yes. I understand sir,” The Philosopher replied.

The Philosopher knew his desire for truth was what the gatekeeper was looking for but he had no tangible evidence to prove he would give up his search and gain passage. He had the tome which fell from his shelf and started this adventure but the book was not his to offer. It belonged to the Wizard Baldwin Of Swansea. The Philosopher saw Upashna waiting but she could not help him. He closed his eyes. 

“The Book. Give him the Book,” a voice from nowhere said. He opened his eyes. The gatekeeper and Upashna were still waiting patiently. They had not heard the voice. It was meant for him. Again the voice spoke, “Philosopher, as you already know the only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself. There is no universal truth. I will explain later but give him the book. We need you and Upashna here as soon as possible.”

The Philosopher opened his eyes. I will give you my desire for truth and to prove the release of this desire from my being l offer you this tome, a guide book of truth from the Other Realm. The Philosopher could see the uneasiness in Upashna as he went to his pack, removed the text and gave it to the gatekeeper. “Will this payment provide passage for me through your gate?”

The gatekeeper examined the text closely. The empty pages The Philosopher had previously observed were now filled with printed words. At first he thought he might had been tricked by the voice but breathed with a sigh of release when the gatekeeper accept his payment. 

“This is acceptable you may past under the condition that you promise to give up your search for truth,” said Free.

“I agree to your terms gatekeeper. I will from this moment forward forgo my search for truth.”

“You may pass.”

The Philosopher closed his pack now empty of the reason for this journey,  picked up Upashna in his arms and carried her through the open gate. Although she spoke not a word, The Philosopher felt her uneasiness with his choice and spoke first. “If we are going to survive this journey, we must both have absolute trust in each other Upashna. Your father told me to offer the tome in exchange for passage.”

“My father…”

“Yes. His voice told me to use the text for payment. It was important for us to reach the Other Realm as soon as possible. I did only as he instructed. I would not have given up the sacred text for any other reason.”

“I understand Philosopher. My fear was that you would abandon me as your main reason for this journey was to have my father translate his book. You do have my complete trust which is something I have not given any other man except for my father,” Upashna said.

“You are correct Upashna. In the beginning all I could think about was having a translation of the truth but that all changed after sharing this time with you. I am here because I want to be with you and assist your family in whatever way I can.” He could feel the heaviness drifting away from Upashna ‘s body. His eyes were fixed on the terrain before them. They were in a desert of hills of sand without any walls, trees or landmarks of any kind. This he thought was the ultimate labyrinth.


The Philosopher

10.  The Philosopher – The Desert Labyrinth 

“Philosopher.”

“Yes?”

“I think I can walk now. You can put me down,” said Upashna.

“O’ I had grown use to your being in my arms but if we are to get through this desert labyrinth we will each do better under our own power.”

This desert had four suns and it looked as if each represented a point on the compass so there was no way to tell which way was north. The suns did not rotate so there were no shadows just brightness all around them, and hot dry moist less air.

Upashna spoke, “Fortunately I filled our water jugs while I was resting at the creek but we have no more food and we must find the third door and reach the Other Realm before midnight tomorrow. We could cover more ground if we separated but in this desert it would be too easy to loose sight of one another. There are so many dunes and they all look the same.”

“Perhaps we should pick a direction and stick with it until we find the last gate or some directional sign,” said The Philosopher. He turned to look behind them to see if the second gate they just passed through might offer a lead but it had already disappeared and nothing but dunes of sand filled the horizon as far as the eye could see.

“When we reached the second gate we were heading north so let’s continue straight ahead. I do not think we have a better choice,” said Upashna. She then stepped forward a few steps and as she suspected as soon as she lifted her foot from the sand the print of her foot quickly refilled with more sand. “We have no way to mark the trail to prevent us from walking in circles. This is a labyrinth to be sure.”

“How’s your foot? Are you able to walk?”

“Yes. I can use my staff for support. Do not worry. I will be fine.” Upashna replied.

The two of them took off but did not talk in order to save energy and moisture. They each remained within their own thoughts. Each had many questions for the other but neither wanted to intrude. The philosopher wanted to ask Upashna about the Other Realm. Where was it? Why are they needed there? Who lives there? All these questions he kept to himself. There will be time to ask, but this is not that time. He thought of his minimalist home, his books and his favorite chair next to the fireplace where he would sit each evening and read the ancient texts in his search for…. He could not remember. What was I searching for in all those books. What am I doing here in this god awful desert? In the god awful heat. Why are the four suns? He turned his head slightly and saw Upashna’s to his right. Her determination and strength inspired him. She would do anything to answer her father’s call and The Philosopher would follow her anywhere to be at her side.

Upashna was thinking about this man beside her who lights up at her every word. Why did her father send him? Who is he? Why is he willing to sacrifice his life on this unexpected journey to a place he did not even knew existed until I mentioned the Other Realm where my parents are. He thought they were dead.

They had been walking for hours with no sign of the third gate. They thought the darkness of night would enable them to search the stars for directions but the four suns never moved, never set. It was as if they were mounted in place in the endless blue sky.

“Look.” The Philosopher said in amazement. He was looking up into the sky. “Is that a sparrow hawk? What is a sparrow hawk doing in the middle of this nowhere desert?”

Upashna looked up. “We must follow it. I am sure it is a sign from my father.”

The sighting of the sparrow hawk gave the weary travelers renewed energy and they followed its flight over a nearby dune and saw the third gate in a small oasis shaded by a a few dozen palm trees. The gatekeeper was asleep in a hammock swaying between two of the trees but he awakened at their approach. The two travelers looked up once more as if to give thanks to their avian friend but he had already disappeared.

“Welcome Upashna, daughter of the Wizard Baldwin of Swansea and the Wizard Elza Princess of Morocco and also to you with no name. I am Extor. My brothers Mingus and Free told me I might have visitors but very few ever make it to this final gate. The desert labyrinth breaks the spirit and bodies of most but you two are here. Please sit down, refresh yourselves and join me for a bit of food. I know Upashna you wish to continue your journey but you have almost a full day before the third night of the new moon. Time within the three labyrinths is not the same as time outside. So please join me.”

“You are correct Extor we are in a hurry to reach the Other Realm before the third night of the full moon but as you mentioned, there is time. So yes, Upashna and I will be very happy to join you for food and drink.” The Philosopher looked over at Upashna with a glint in his eye and she knew to follow his lead. Upashna was not accustomed to some else speaking for her but she remembered The Philosopher’s words, “We must completely trust each other,” and she did trust him.

“Extor. Since we are going to join you for some food and drink, might I refreshen myself in your pond before dinner?” asked Upashna.

“Why of course. There is an extra tent the two of you may use to change and a private pond where you may bathe over behind those two trees,” said Extor. “Food and drink will be waiting upon your return.”

Upashna had not seen a tent or bathing area before but there was one now. The fields of magic are always changing. The tent appeared small from the outside but once they entered it was very spacious with two private changing, sleeping and bath areas.

“Upashna,” said The Philosopher. “I appreciate you following my lead. It is not my custom to speak for another and especially someone as intelligent and wise as yourself. Thank you.”

“What is wrong Philosopher? You seem heavy with worry.”

“I am Upashna. I am worried I might not be able to pass through the third gate with you. I have nothing else of value to give and I would give all I have to continue this journey with you.”

“I know you would Philosopher.” She places her hand of the side of the Philosopher’s face. “Please do not worry yourself. Let’s bathe and put on a change of clothing, share food and drink with Extor. Then we will have him tell us what he requires for passage. We are in this together my dear Philosopher.”

They each move to their side of the tent where water, fruit and fresh clothing had been arranged on soft billowy cushions. The hot desert wind briefly blows the thin veil separating their two areas and The Philosopher once again is momentarily held spellbound by Upashnas beauty.


The Philosopher

11.  The Philosopher – The Last Gatekeeper

After Upashna and The Philosopher refreshed themselves and dressed in the fresh clothing provided by their host Extor, the third gatekeeper of the labyrinths, they meet each other at the entrance to the tent which Extor had also provided for their use and comfort.

“A cool bath in the pool and a set of fresh clothing can make a world of difference in one’s demeanor and outlook upon the world,” said The Philosopher but he stopped in mid sentence as he looked up and saw Upashna. “You are a beautiful woman Upashna.” He caught himself saying out loud.

“Philosopher. You flatter me with your words. Thank you. Are you still concerned with what the gatekeeper will require for your passage?”

“No Upashna. That is no longer a concern. Those hours in the sand and sun were a toll upon my thinking. I do not know what the gatekeeper will ask of me but whatever it is … I will have to wait and see. Extor seems more pleasant than his two brothers. Let’s partake of his offer of food and drink. Then we will be on our way. Do you agree?”

“Yes Philosopher. My sense of urgency seems to have dissipated somewhat now the we are at the third gate. We made the journey in a much shorter time than I thought we would. Yes, I agree. Let’s eat. I am starving even after demolishing the bowl of fruit in my chamber,” said Upashna.

“I also ate all the fruit in my chamber and I am still hungry,” said The Philosopher.

“Greetings Princess and he of no name.” They both looked up and saw their host Extor seated at a table filled with fruits, various meats, potatoes and green salads. “Please join me.” Extor filled the wine goblets as the two made their way to his table.

“Where did you get all of this food and the lavish tent Extor? Are you a wizard,” asked Upashna?

“No, I am not Princess. My brothers and I are from the Whale Isles in the North Reach of EarthSea. We were selected by the Council of Wizards to be gatekeepers for the entrance to the Other Realm. Your father has provided this feast for the two of you in anticipation of your arrival here. He wanted you both to eat well in preparation for your journey into the Other Realm in the morning if he with no name pays the toll. It is also meant as a thank you to he with no name for accompanying his daughter this far if he chooses not to pay the toll,” explained Extor. “If it is your choice to not pay the toll, the Council of Wizards has made an exception for you because of your assistance to the Princess. You will be returned to your encave in South Port and this adventure will only be remembered as a dream.”

“Princess. You are a princess Upashna,” asks the somewhat bewildered  Philosopher? “I can return to my home? Princess? This is all a bit confusing. Am I dreaming?

“Please forgive me Princess if I have spoken out of turn,” says Extor.

“No Extor. It is alright. Do not fret,” answers Upashna. “Yes Philosopher. I am Princess Upashna of EarthSea daughter of the Wizard Baldwin of Swansea and The Wizard Elza Princess of Morocco. I have not received my coronation as wizard yet from the Council. I did not tell you because my title is not a matter of concern. I wanted to be treated as a woman and not a princess. My title as was my magic made no difference in the labyrinth. My individual strength and your support mattered most of all.”

“You are the Princess of EarthSea. Then you are also the princess over Havnor where I grew up in the village of South Port.” The Philosopher stood up and the quickly bowed down on one knee. “My Lady. I am ….” The Philosopher paused as he no longer remembered his name. “My Lady. I am at your service.”

“O’ my Philosopher. Please rise.” The Philosopher obeyed. “You have already served me well. You protected me and healed my ankle. You even carried me when I could not walk. I ask you to continue to treat me as your friend and not your Princess,” said Upashna.

“Yes, my Lady,” answered The Philosopher.

“Yes Upashna,” the princess asked?

“Yes Upashna,” answered the Philosopher. Then they all laugh and started to eat the feast set upon the table before them. Extor shared stories of he and his brothers growing up in the Whale Isles and how they met a young wizard archmage who convinced them to become guardians of the Gates of the Other Realm. They have never looked back. They serve the Council of Wizards and in return their needs are provided for.

“Thank you Extor for your hospitality and this feast. My regards also to your brothers Mingus and Free, but we should be on our way to the Other Realm.” Upashna was anxious to get going.

“I mean no disrespect Princess but your father provided your quarters and this feast. He also instructed me to have you remain here until sunrise which is the best time to catch the currents of the other wind. It is now midnight in the Other Realm. There is only darkness on the other side of the gate,” said Extor.

“I understand,” replied Upashna. “In that case I can get some sleep and we will meet again in the morning.

“I thought the use of magic was forbidden in the labyrinths. How was your father, the Wizard Baldwin of Swansea able to provide this feast and send a sparrow hawk to guide us here,” asked The Philosopher?

“Magic can only be provided from outside the labyrinths. Magic cannot be used inside the labyrinth and no life forms are permitted inside the labyrinth other than vegetation or humans. I cannot explain the sparrow hawk. Perhaps it was an hallucination from the heat,” replied Extor.

“I thought it was sent by my father but he would not break the rules of the Council of Wizards so it must have been an hallucination,” says Upashna.

“I do not know,” says the Philosopher. “I am tired, my stomach is full and if tomorrow is anything like today I am going to need some rest. Thank you for your hospitality Extor. I gave your brother Mangus my name and your brother Free my desire. I do not know what you will ask of me but it will have to wait until morning. I am too tired to decide anything else today. Good night Princess Upashna.” He realize his departure was a bit abrupt but he was having difficulty with knowing Upashna was a princess. He looked upon and liked her as a woman.

“I must tell you he with no name. Not many of us get to know who or what we are,” said the gatekeeper. “A glimpse is usually all we get. Your decision tomorrow will determine the size of your glimpse.” 

The philosopher makes his way to the tent and to his bed. He starts to fall asleep while thinking quietly of Extor’s words and trying to digest Upashna being the Princess of EarthSea.

“He is the spitting image of his father,” says Extor.

“He does not know. He never knew his father,” replies Upashna.


The Philosopher

12.  The Philosopher – The Other Wind

That night The Philosopher had many dreams. They swirled around his head like a kaleidoscope. Upashna, The Princess of EarthSea. The gatekeepers, Extor, Free and Mingus. The stone walls of the labyrinth, the forest of trees, the desert with four suns. He could no longer remember who he was or what he was searching for. The tome falling from his bookcase.

“THUMP!”

“My love.”

He heard a familiar voice call to him. This could not be. I must still be dreaming he thought. What is happening to me? My dreams have always provided insight into my life. From where does all this confusion come?

“My love, awake.”

The voice called again, but The Philosopher could not awaken. He was deep into the dream he was dreaming but the voice he thought he heard was from Kara, his love, lost at sea almost eighteen years ago. He often dreamed of her but her voice sounded so close as if she were standing next to his bed.

“My love. I am here. Wake up.”

The Philosopher forced his eye to open using his hands and saw a figure much more than a dream image of Kara standing aside his bed.

“My love. I know your thoughts are confusing to you. I am here to help. I am always here.” Kara said.

“Kara. What are you… It does not matter. It fills my heart to see you once more but by what nature are you here,” asks The Philosopher?

“My love. You must listen. We do not have much time. I am here because in a few hours Extor, the gatekeeper of the third gate, will require you to give him all the memories of your life before the moment the tome dropped from your bookcase. Because of our love and the promise you made to me on the night of my death to remember me always, you will refuse and be denied passage. Then you will wake up in the home where so many of our memories were made and continue your life as if the events of the last few days never happened.”

“I will never give up the memory of you and the times we shared. Those memories are the only reason I am still alive today. I will never let go of my memories of you, of us.”

“I know my love. That is why I am here,” spoke Kara. “Remember when we would stroll hand in hand down the cobbled stone streets of South Port and I would jokingly pick out other women for you to pursue in the event of my death? I know you took it as a game and played along but if Upashna had been in our small village during those times, she would have been the only one I would have chosen for you. Our time was brief but it was as full as all the other years of my life combined. Your destiny is beyond this realm and with her, my love. You must give up your memories of us in order to fulfill the destiny you were meant for. You must do this for me, for you, for us and for the rest of mankind. My love. I will always love you. You must now forget me.”

“She is a princess, Kara. I am a …,” says The Philosopher. He paused for he no longer knew what he was, having already given up so much of who he thought himself to be. He stood up to embrace the image standing next to his bed but when he reached out his arms she disappeared.

“Philosopher. Wake up. Extor is waiting at the gate. Wake up.”

“Kara. Don’t leave me again. I can’t lose you again. Please. Don’t go,” screamed The Philosopher but his words fell into empty space.

“Philosopher. Are you still dreaming? The affects of a little too much wine last night, no doubt. Wake up. Extor is waiting,” said Upashna.

“Princess. Upashna. I am sorry. I was dreaming. Please give me a few minutes to gather my thoughts. Please a few minutes,” said The Philosopher.

Upashna could see The Philosopher was visibly shaken most likely by some dream but she had too much respect for him to intrude. She knew he would soon be confronted with a difficult choice. “Of course my dear Philosopher. Take the time you need. I will wait for you outside the tent.”

The Philosopher gathered his few things and placed them inside his pack. He cupped some water into his hands from the bowl on the night stand and splashed it upon his face, rinsed his mouth and picked up his staff. “Good morning Extor. Please accept my apology for keeping you waiting. What is it you ask of me?”

“There is no rush he with no name. Would you like to have some breakfast first?”

“No sir. I am ready. What do you require of me for passage through the third gate and into the Other Realm,” asks The Philosopher?”

“For passage into the Other Realm, you are required to surrender all of the  memories of your life prior to the moment you entered the hidden path and the realm of magic,” said Extor.

“No. This is not fair,” shouted Upashna. “Mangus took his name. Free took his desire and now you want to take his memories. You ask too much of him!”

“Must I remind you princess you are not permitted to interfere in any way,” says Extor in a stern voice.

The Philosopher then speaks. “Please Upashna. I appreciate your concern but the weight of this decision is mine.” Then he confirms Extor’s request. “I must surrender all the memories of my life up until the moment I entered the hidden pathway seeking the aid of the Wizard of SwanSea. Is that correct?”

“Yes,” replies Extor.

“Then, I will retain the memories of meeting Upashna, camping at the entrance to the labyrinth, meeting your brothers Mangus, Free, and you, Extor?”

Extor was surprised by The Philosopher’s question but from his interpretation of the guidelines given him by the Council Of Wizards all memories before his entrance into the realm of magic must be surrendered. “Yes. Based upon the guidelines I have been given, you will retain memory of your experiences after your entrance onto the hidden path. If you decide not to pay the toll, all memories after entering the field of magic will be forgotten but you will retain all of your memories prior to the moment the tome fell from your self.” Replies Extor.

“Will I remember the dreams I had during the nights after I entered the realm of magic,” asks The Philosopher?

“As far as one can remember their dreams and if the dreams occurred after you entered the realm of magic, then they can be remembered. Yes,” says Extor. “You have ten minutes to decide.”

The Philosopher looked over at Upashna. Then he walked over to her and held her the way he held Kara the first time they embraced in front of the library in South Port on the Isle of Havnor. Once again he experienced that same feeling of foreverness he experienced with Kara that first day. He heard Kara’s voice, “Thank you my love. You will always remember me from your dream last night. Remember also the time I said you will find another love as great as that which we shared. You have found her. I love you.” Then the voice ended.

Upashna was surprised by the embrace of the Philosopher. She thought he was saying good bye. She had the experience of never wanting to let him go. The same experience The Philosopher had when he first held Kara and now when he held Upashna. “Please do not leave me Philosopher she whispered into her heart.”

The Philosopher looked into Upashna’ multi colored eyes. “Are you ready my princess. The Other Wind awaits.”


The Philosopher

13.  The Philosopher – The Other Realm

Extor was surprised by The Philosopher’s willingness to forget all memories of his life but he was not surprised by his attraction to Upashna, the Princess of EarthSea, for she was an intelligent and most comely figure of a woman.

“Well then my good man and Princess Upashna you are both permitted to pass through the third gate and into the Other Realm. I must go find my brothers and collect on our wager. They did not believe you would surrender all three measures of whom you thought you were as toll for passage through the gate,” said Extor. He was full of smiles as he opened the portal. He was happy for The Philosopher and Upashna.

Upashna was still standing on the same spot amazed and speechless. She too was uncertain if The Philosopher would give up all that defined who he was, his name, his desire and his memories to pass through the gate when she heard Extor’s request, but she was pleased with his decision. They both quickly gathered their belongings and entered the portal. The Philosopher looked back toward Extor, extended his hand and Extor extended his.

“Extor. Thank you for believing in me and offering me the opportunity to widen the glimpse of my life. I am curious. If I might ask, what made you wager against your two brothers.”

Extor answered. “I did not place my wager until last night.” The Philosopher and Upashna were now in the vortex of the gate and the fields of magic are quickly changing but he and Extor are still bound in their handshake. “You have your father’s eyes,” he said. The portal closes.

They were through the third gate. The Philosopher was still lost in Extor’s last words that he had his father’s eyes.

“Be careful my Philosopher,” Upashna called as he stumbled and almost fell into the dark abyss surrounding three sides of the small plot of land upon which they both stood. The gate which they just passed through was now a wall of rock climbing up above them for as high as the eye could see. On three sides above and below them was nothing but dark star filled sky.

“So this is the Other Realm,” says The Philosopher. “It is not quite what I imagined Upashna.”

“Philosopher. Thank you for coming with me. Your sacrifice is a great one. I appreciate your offering,” said Upashna. “I was not sure you would agree to the toll.”

“The thought of waking up in my… there is no before this time for me any longer is there?” The philosopher could no longer remember where he would be if he chose not to be here, now.

“No Philosopher there is no before now for you anymore. Your memories have all been erased except for our time in the realm of magic and the labyrinths. You have no memories of your past. You came into existence only a short time ago. You are free to become who you are meant to be,” says Upashna.

“That is easy for you Upashna. You are a beautiful woman, a wizard and a princess. Your parents are wizards. We are in the Other Realm to assist your them. I do not know anything about me. I do not know who I am. Extor said I had my father’s eyes so perhaps that is at least a start. You call me ‘Philosopher’ but I am known by that name only to you. Was I a philosopher? Do you know my father or my mother?”

“Yes, that is true,” replies Upashna. “It is easier for me. My being is more defined by my lineage and my memories. You have a lineage too but you do not know what it is and all your memories have all been removed. You have just been born into existence. Your new life awaits you my Philosopher. And yes, you are a Philosopher although that is no longer your name. The wisdom you acquired through your life cannot be erased. That is still yours.”

“It is an on going life unfolding in layers as I move through it in the same manner you became known to me.”

“What do you mean,” asks Upashna?

“Well, I first only knew you as the woman who knocked me out with her staff and tied me to a chair, then as Upashna, the daughter of the Wizard of SwanSea, although I can no longer remember why I was in his home. Later I learned both your parents are wizards in a place called the Other Realm where we are now. Then I learned you are also a wizard and a princess. I gave up who I was and the life I lived to enlarge the glimpse of the life waiting for me and I did all these things because I love you. I suppose some things do not change no matter what realm one is in,” says the Philosopher.

“I wish your first memory of me was not my knocking you out with my staff but it is a little funny and makes for an interesting story. Wait. Did you say you love me? You did and that is why you are here. Philosopher. Your words still cause me to blush. We have much to discuss. Indeed, but now is not the best time. We must catch the Other Wind and travel to the Other Realm. My parents are waiting there for us. We must leave now. I promise you we will continue this conversation after we arrive. I promise.”

“I understand Upashna. We must leave. How do we reach the the Other Realm? I thought we would be there once we passed through the third gate.”

“No my Philosopher. This is merely a landing station. The Other Realm is on the other side of the sun,” Upashna tells him.

“Now I am really confused. The other side of the sun? How do we get there.”

“Do not fear Philosopher. Remember at the second gate when you gave Free my father’s tome. You told me we must trust each other completely if we are to complete our journey?”

“Yes, I remember. It is one of the few memories I have because it occurred within the realm of magic,” answers the Philosopher.

“I must now ask you to trust me completely and to follow my instructions without question. All will be explained in time. You must trust me. Please.”

“I trust you Upashna.”

“Then there is one more thing I must share with you about who I am,” says Upashna.

She backs up a few meters from the Philosopher. Takes her staff and strikes it three times upon the ground and closes her illuminist eyes. Within seconds her body is completely consumed by fire. The Philosopher jumps to assist her but is told not to touch her. He backs away and watches the fire grow larger. A long neck appears thru the flames. Then two wings and a tail.

“My god Upashna. You are a dragon too!”


The Philosopher

14.  The Philosopher – The Princess And The Dragon

”Wow. This is amazing. In my wildest imagination I could not have imagined this. Upashna! You are a dragon! A beautiful dragon,” exclaims The Philosopher.

“Please do not be afraid of me my Philosopher. I will bring you no harm. This form is the only way we can ride the currents of the Other Wind to reach the Other Realm and my parents before the third night of the new moon.

“I am not afraid Upasha,” says The Philosopher. “I know you will not harm me.”

“Thank you for accepting me in this form. I was concerned you might reject me after giving up everything your life held dear at one time. That would have brought much pain to my heart. You have now seen me in all my dimensions and all of them are facets of who I am. Woman, daughter, wizard, princess and dragon. They are all parts of me, Upashna.”

“The woman, the daughter, the wizard, the princess, and the dragon. I accept completely all of who you are Upashna. Completely.” The Philosopher pauses for a moment. “I hear your voice inside my head and not in my ears. How are you speaking to me? I did not know dragons could talk.”

“Dragons are the First Creatures. We were placed here as a force to maintain the balance between man and nature. We are guardians of the planet and the planet is in danger. We communicate and receive communication telepathically. You hear my thoughts directed toward you and I hear your thoughts directed toward me. But we must go. The currents of the Other Wind are starting. Please climb up my wing with our packs and hold on tightly to my neck.”

The Philosopher did as instructed with his staff and their packs in tow he climbed up Upashna’s wing and gripped the two spines coming from her neck. She stood up upon her sturdy hind legs, lifted her wings and took off into the darkness which surrounded the small landing platform. She rose straight up into the darkness reaching a blue stream of air currents which she entered. “We are now in the Other Wind. This will take us around the Sun and to the Other Realm and we will meet my parents,” Upashna communicated to The Philosopher.

“Are they dragons also?” asks The Philosopher.

“No, you will meet them in their human forms. They lead the Council of Wizards.” The Philosopher was still in a state of amazement as he looked out upon the skies of the Universe. From his position he viewed the many stars and constellations and knew most of them by name but did not remember how this information had come to him. The Other Wind was a sky blue current in which Upashna traveled and maneuved as the captain steers a ship. Her glide was as graceful as the air itself. She did not need to flap her large expended wings at all. The philosopher remembered the dream he experienced his first night in the home of the Wizard of Swansea. This was that dream. He is riding on the back of a dragon, the wind against his face. He heard Upashna’s voice.

“Philosopher. I am curious. May I ask a question.”

“Yes.”

Upashna continues. “The morning I came into your chambers at the third gate to awaken you for breakfast, you were still dreaming and you called out a woman’s name.”

“Kara.”

“Yes. That is the name you called. How do you remember her as your memory before the realm of magic was surrendered to Extor for passage?”

“Yes, Upashna. I remember her because she visited me that night in my chambers and she brought to me all of the memories we shared in life stored in that dream. She told me I must be willing to surrender the life I had lived up until that moment so as to embrace the life waiting for me and I must forget her to do so. She relieved me of the promise I made to her the night she died.”

“So that is why your asked Extor if the dreams you dreamed during your journey through the realm of magic would remain as part of your memory. You did not want to forget her.”

“Yes, Upashna.”

“Will you share with me your story, unless it is too private? I do not wish to intrude. It would help to pass the time of this journey.”

“We met in the library where I occasionally worked on Sunday afternoons to give the regular librarian a day off. Kara and her husband were regular patrons. I was very attracted to her but hid my attraction out of respect for her married status. She was older than me, always properly dressed and very attractive. She would often stand on the other side of the desk and converse with me while her husband researched various books. I learned later she was interviewing me as a possible match for her daughter who was much younger. 

I left South Port for about five years to travel and visit some of the other islands of EarthSea while I was still young and travel would not be a burden. When I returned to Havnor, I heard she and her husband had parted ways and she was single once again but had moved to the Isle of Eskel. At this point I had forgotten about her and moved on with my life.

Some six months later I am on my way to the library for my Sunday work when I see Kara coming toward me from the opposite direction. Although the years had been very kind to her, I did not know if she would recognize me. She did and begin to move toward me and I toward her. We embraced for the first time. I did not want to let go but when I did, I looked up and we were standing in front of the library where we had meant six years previously.

She had only recently returned to South Port and we started to share time together. Although we lived in separate homes, we shared most of our hours and started to make plans to share a common home and life when she returned from a trip to Derhemen to visit her daughter. She never returned as the sea claimed her. At that point we had spent only eighteen months of the rest of our lives together, but those months were full of love and the joy of living. Looking back I realize the only time wasted during those months were the times we were apart.”

“She was there when you embraced me before we passed through the third gate. Did you feel her presence? She was there to wish us happiness together. I felt no jealousy, only love and respect for her. She said for me to follow my heart and to let it fall in love with you and not to worry about the council.”

“What did you answer?”asked The Philosopher.

“I told her I had already fallen in love with you and I had no worries at all.”


The Philosopher

15.  The Philosopher – Currents Of The Sun

Upashna knew her heart was true but she did have one worry she did not share with The Philosopher nor Kara. The Philosopher was not a wizard. Wizards were not permitted to marry non-wizard humans. The marriage between her father the Wizard Baldwin of Swansea and the Princess of Morocco was only permitted because the Wizard Baldwin had already trained her in the wizard arts before presenting his request for marriage to the council. In most instances wizards were very solitary and had no family. As far as Upashna knew the wizards on the Council of Wizards were all wizards of true power and except for her father were all celibate.

It was in fact her mother Elza who convinced the council to permit her marriage to her father. She told the Council of Wizards they had two options to either lose another valued member of the council or to gain an additional member to serve the council. My father had already notified the council of his decision to leave if his request for marriage was denied. It was not intended as a threat. My father loves my mother more than anything else the world had to offer him and would be with her wherever she chose to be.

It was only a few years earlier the Council of Wizards lost one of their most valued archmages when the council denied Ged Sparrowhawk permission to marry a non-wizard. He left the council and no one has seen nor heard from him since. My father learned from this experience and trained my mother before presenting her to the council. There was no way the council could deny his request. Now my mother sits in the head chair of the council and my father sits on her right.

They lived a commoner’s life on the farm where they raised me for many years but the planet is in trouble and they were called back to lead the council. The planet needs our help once again. “Thank you Philosopher for joining me on this journey. Your companionship is very much appreciated. I am not sure I would have made it without you.”

“It is my pleasure princess. The sky is so full of stars that the darkness struggles to find space. This beauty is dulled only by the brightness of your eyes. I have not in my existence seen a creature more beautiful than you my princess. Even as a dragon,” says The Philosopher.

“Please Upashna, remember? Philosopher, your words still bring my cheeks to blush. Be careful, I will remind you of your words one day when youth no longer fill my body and my face reflects the leaves of Autumn as it is beginning to do now.” Upashna pauses. “Listen. Chofu!”

“Chofu,?” Asks The Philosopher.

“Yes,” replies Upashna, “Chofu is wizard speak. It means listen to the wind. The air is motionless here. We are creating the wind by moving through stillness. The sound is music to a dragon’s ears.”

“I can hear it now Upashna. It must be coming through you for I am not a dragon. It is beautiful. As beautiful as any sound I’ve ever heard. It sounds like a baby’s breathing.”

“I have only listened to the breathing of baby goats and chickens but the sound of Chofu as you say is similar to breathing. I love the way you see things Philosopher. You have a great way with seeing and with words. I was never formally educated but from my parents I learned to read and to write, Latin, Greek, Astronomy, herbology, math and science and of course wizardry. I can hold my own with those having more traditional schooling. My father would travel into town every few weeks to bring new books from the library. You met him on one of those trips if I recall correctly.”

“Yes. I did. He appeared to be strong but chose not to fight the men who were bullying him. I don’t know why. So I jumped in to help. Unfortunately he disappeared before I could ask him his name. Now I wished I had learned more about him knowing he is your father.”

“Wizards and people of magic are often bullied and challenged to use their wizardry to defend themselves but most have given a vowel to not use magic in defense against humans. Humans do not realize it but we are here to protect them and the planet.” Upashna sighs. “We are almost about to reach the back side of the sun. Because the earth rotates on an axis around the sun it always faces the same side of the star. No human has seen the far side of the sun until now my Philosopher. You will be the first.”

“I have experienced many firsts with you Upashna. Although, I must admit I am a little overwhelmed. I have never imagined my life to be where I am now, at this moment, flying around the sun on the back of a dragon who is also the woman I love.”

“Humans restrict their imagination and limit their dreams to what they think they know and what they fear. Fear is their biggest immobilizer. You overcame your fear of the unknown to be here with me. I am… No. No. No. This is why my parents summoned me. The far side of the sun is completely dark. The sun’s fire is going out. The Earth and The Other Realm are in danger.


The Philosopher

16.  The Philosopher – The Vortex

Most of the far side of the sun is dark like the darkness on the new moon. There is only a glowing outline where there was once a bright burning sphere. Upashna had heard stories in her youth of this event happening before but had never imagined the possibility in her own lifetime. She steered closer to the darkness for a better look. She could see the new moon directly overhead and a little further away was the Other Realm, a large habitable astroid in orbit directly opposite the earth. It is dependent upon the sun for its warm light filled seas and skies as is the earth. The vegetation is undisturbed except by the natural elements of nature. The only structures are six connected building which houses the Council of Wizards, the Wizard’s Center and the Library. Within the courtyard of the massive structures are housing for the wizards and their apprentices, the medical center and laboratories where the wizards perfect their healing and medical practices.

Upashna is still in awe as she observes the darkness and for a moment loses sight of her direction as she watches the blue sky of the Other Wind being drawn like a funnel into the sun. On the dark surface she can see a huge crater which she does not remember being there before. The Other Wind seems to be disappearing into the crater along with Upashna and The Philosopher.

“Upashna,” The Philosopher calls. “We must escape the pull of the sun on the Other Wind.”

At the same moment The Philosopher spoke, Upashna realized they were stuck in the gravitation pull of the crater, moving closer and closer to the sun’s dark surface. She lifted her huge wings and brought them downward again and again trying to free them from the gravitational pull. She told The Philosopher to hold on as she twists sideways to lessen the exposed surface area of her body. This too was of no avail. 

“Upashna,” called The Philosopher. “We are running out of time. You must trust me. Rather than trying to pull away, fly parallel to the surface and when we reach the outer rim of the vortex, fly straight up with all your might.” Upashna did not believe this was a good strategy but she and The Philosopher had learned to trust each other so she did as he instructed. 

Upashna straightened her body and extended her large wings as far as she could. They started to drop faster but eventually the gravitational pull of the crater lessoned as they approached the rim of the vortex.

“Now Upashna. Now!” The Philosopher screamed.

Upashna pointed her head toward the Other Realm. She exhaled a huge breath and pulled upon her wings with every ounce of energy her body contained. Again. Then on the third time she and The Philosopher escaped the the vortex and once more were gliding in the Other Wind headed for home and the Other Realm.

“Philosopher. How did you know… ?”

“I do not know how I know what I know. I am only happy it worked. Thank you Upsahna for your trust.”

“Thank you Philosopher for saving our lives,” replies Upashna.

They are now back in the currents of the Other Wind and The Philosopher is better able to see the Other Realm. He had no expectations or dreams of what the Other Realm would be like but he would have follower Upashna to the ends of any realm. He has found his heart’s desire. He was concerned with meeting her parents, both of whom are wizards, and Elza, Upashna’s mother, is head of the Council of Wizards.

“Do not worry Philosopher. My parents will love you because I love you and they will see how happy I am with you. Not to mention you saved our lives with you intelligence and quick thinking.”

“I forgot as a dragon you can hear my thoughts. I was a little worried but not any longer. Thank you Upashna.”

“We will soon land at the Council Center but first I want you to see my beautiful home,” says Upashna. She tilts her right wing and gently glides over the astroid paradise. 

From his perch upon Upashna’s back the Philosopher sees green forests, mountains, rivers and lakes before he beholds the city built into the side of the mountain. The city of wizards, Samadhi.


The Philosopher

17.  The Philosopher – Samadhi – The City Of Wizards

Upashna tilts her wings to a forty-five degree angle and she and The Philosopher glide gently down to a grassy site on the outskirts of the Great Hall. She telepathically tells The Philosopher to climb down her left wing. He grabs their packs along with his staff and does as instructed. Then he steps away a few meters and once again experiences Upashna’s transformation only this time from a large fearless dragon into a slim beautiful, fearless woman. 

Upashna, the Princess of Swansea, rushes over to The Philosopher, wraps her arms around his neck and for the first time they kiss. The kiss is sweet and tender but all too soon interrupted by approaching footsteps.

“Father, Mother. I am so glad to see you both,” says Upashna as she rushes over to greet her parents. While the three of them embrace, The Philosopher watches from a distance. He likes to observe before direct contact. This is his nature. He quickly recognizes the Wizard of Swansea from their previous encounter although the wizard appears more youthful and handsome than the man he rescued outside the library in South Port. Upashna’s mother, the Princess of Morocco, is a beautiful older vision of Upashna. She has the same colorful eye which cause The Philosopher to wonder if she is also a dragon. Her skin is golden like Upashna’s but unlike Upashna she has all white silky hair. 

They are accompanied by three other men who also appear to be wizards. All are dressed in light grey hooded robes which cover their bodies from head to toe and each carries a wooden staff similar to the ones carried by he and Upashna. The Philosopher notices six black cats which appear to follow the wizards whenever they move. One of the cats sit perfectly still which is very much unlike a cat and does not remove its gaze from Upashna. All the cats are black except for a small white spot where their third eye would be and all appear to be from the same litter. Upashna, now released from the embrace of her parents moves toward the solitary cat.

“Hello Eno. O’ how I missed you. Have you been a good girl in my absence?” Upashna picks up the cat and rubs its face next to her own. The cat purrs with obvious delight. Upashna then turns toward The Philosopher and motions for him to join the group. He places their packs on the soft grass and gently walks toward the assembled party. The Philosopher kneels and first greets Upashna’s mother.

“Wizard Elza, Princess of Morocco, I am at your service,” says The Philosopher.

Elza smiles. “My kind man. We have no titles here but I am grateful for your show of respect. It is I who should kneel before you for you have escorted my daughter Upashna through the three labyrinths, along the Other Wind and home to the Other Realm. It is I who am at your service Sir. We watched from the Observatory how your quick action saved our daughter and yourself from the gravitational pull of the vortex. I am deeply and forever beholden. Please rise.”

The Philosopher stood and Elza placed a kiss upon his cheek. “Thank you my kind man.” She repeated again.

The Philosopher turned to the Wizard of Swansea and the three other wizards who were in attendance. They all nodded their acknowledgement and acceptance as the Wizard of Swansea extended his hand to the Philosopher.

“My dear man. For reasons I will explain later I did not stop to thank you for your intervention on my behalf in front of the library some years back and now I find myself doubly indebted to you for the safe conduct of our daughter Upashna back home. I want you to know now you were not randomly selected for this task. I made the right choice in sending the tome to your attention.”

“Forgive me sir,” says The Philosopher. “I offered your tome to the gatekeeper Free in exchange for passage. I know the text was important but I thought I heard your voice telling me to give up the tome. I so wanted to… I am sorry Sir. I do not remember why I wanted the text.” 

“It was not my voice you heard dear man. My powers only permitted me to communicate with Upashna, but still there is no reason to fret. The tome I sent you was a prop which served to gain your interest and will keep Free busy reading for some time to come. The Sacred Text of Truth remains safe in the library here in the Other Realm. I will share its content with you if you are still interested.”

“Thank you but that will not be necessary as I no longer remember why I was interested in the tome, but I appreciate your offer,” replies The Philosopher.

“Baldwin,” calls Elza. “Upashna and her guest have completed a long journey. I know you both have many questions but please rest first. Our scientists tell us we have until the full moon to complete the tasks at hand. So we have more time than we initially thought. Please join up for dinner this evening and we will attempt to answer all of your questions at that time, but rest first.”

“Thank you mother,” says Upashna. “I will have Eno show our guest to his quarters and escort him to the dinning chamber this evening. We will both rest until then. I am so glad to be home again.”

Upashna turns toward The Philosopher. “All is well my dear philosopher. We will meet again at dinner. I know my parents want to know more about our journey and they have much to share with us about the darkening of the sun. Please go with Eno. She is my familiar and will stay with you through the afternoon until dinner. You are safe here my philosopher. Thank you once again for sharing this journey with me. I love you.” Upashna places a soft kiss upon the lips of The Philosopher. Then turns to her mother. “Mother may I have a word with you in private please.”

First Elza speaks to Baldwin and the other wizards. “Gentlemen. Please join me in the Council Room at 4:00 this afternoon. Now that we have more time perhaps we should change our strategy for relighting the sun.”

“Yes Elza,” replies Baldwin speaking for all those present. “We will be there at 4:00.” He turns to the other three wizards and they continue their discussion.

“Upashna we can talk privately while we walk to your chambers,” says Elza as the two women leave the group. Upashna gives one more glance of reassurance to the Philosopher before leaving with her mother.

The Philosopher has many questions but has learned over the years to be patient for the answers. He walks over to Eno. “Well little buddy. I guest it’s you an me. Lead the way.”

“It will be my pleasure Sir. Please follow me,” says Eno telepathically.

“Wait a minute,” says the startled philosopher. “You are speaking to me telepathically as Upashna did when she was a dragon.”

“Yes sir. As Upashna’s familiar, I can speak telepathically with her and because she asked me to be of service to you I can also speak telepathically with you for as long as I am in your service.”

“I have so much to learn about this world and its customs,” The Philosopher says to himself and he picks up his pack and staff from the grass lawn and follows Eno to his chambers.

“Excuse me sir,” calls one of the three wizards in conversation with Baldwin. “Might I ask. How did you acquire your staff?”

“O’ it was left at the front door of my grandmother’s house on my twelfth birthday,” replies The Philosopher as he hurries to catch up with Eno. Cats walk much faster than humans.

Mars, the oldest of the wizards in the group, says to the others, “Did you notice he has his father’s eyes?”


The Philosopher

18.  The Philosopher – The Familiar And The Unknown

The Philosopher finally catches up to Eno, while a bit out of breath, he feels much stronger and youthful than his seventy two years normally felt like. “Normal. That is an interesting word to use as I no longer seem to know what what normal is anymore,” he says to himself.

“Well sir, if I may offer an insight…” Eno starts to say before The Philosopher continues his thoughts out loud.

“I keep forgetting you can receive my thoughts without me speaking. That ability is normal for dragons and familiars but back home in… see what I mean? I no longer even know where home is anymore but I had to have lived somewhere before the tome fell from my bookcase and changed my life.”

“The important thing to remember Sir is you are now in the Other Realm and your life will never be the same again,” say Eno.

“That is exactly what I mean Eno. You tell me my life will never be the same again, but the same as what? Upashna calls me The Philosopher and tells me I am a philosopher but who am I. No one else identifies me by that name. Is there more to me than just the last three days? Why am I here? Can you tell me that Eno? O’ god. I am talking to a cat!”

“I am a familiar Sir in the form of a cat. I am here to assist you in whatever way I can. I am sorry I cannot answer your questions but I am positive they will be answered in time. Please be patient. May I bring you some food sir.”

“I am hungry. Shall I come with you to carry the food?” The Philosopher asks.

“Thank you sir but that won’t be necessary.” Then in a somewhat less dramatic way than Upashna changing into a dragon, Eno changed into a human male . He wears a full hooded cape like the wizards but his is black matching the color of his fur as a cat. “I shall return shortly sir with food and drink. While I am attending to your food, please make yourself comfortable. This is you chamber. If there is anything else you require I am here to serve you. I know it all feels confusing at this moment but I am certain things will become clearer soon.” Eno opens the door and leaves the Philosopher to his own thoughts.

The Philosopher places his staff by the door and looks around his room. A large cast iron boiling pot hangs from the ceiling by a molded iron chain. It holds a mixture of thick oils which are heated by a fire coming out of the floor to provide warmth for the space and to heat water for cooking and bathing. The Philosopher learns later from Eno that the pot and chain were forged by the heat of a dragon’s breath and took three days to cool because the breath of a fire dragon is the hottest fire known next to the fire of the sun.

In one corner is a single bed. In the middle of the room a work counter with various books and vases. At the far end is a book case but none of the books or authors are familiar to The Philosopher. The walls, floor and ceiling are  all from the astroid’s stone supported by polished wooden beams. In front of the window is a sink and counter for bathing.

Soon Eno returned with a platter of fresh fruits and herbs, some dried fish and a jug of wine. After placing the plater on the central work table, Eno asks permission to revert back into his more common form.

“Yes,” replies The Philosopher. “I like cats very much, but tell me how do you all look the same and how are you chosen to be the familiar of a particular wizard?”

Eno replies telepathically while The Philosopher pours some wine and eats the fish and fruit. “Each wizard world has its own familiar. Some realms have birds, others reptiles and in this Other Realm the familiars are cats bread by the Sorceress Sophia on the western tip of the astroid. She provides the familiars for all the wizards of this realm but we each get to chose our own wizard and are bound to him or her until our death or the death of the wizard. You will seldom see a wizard without his familiar near by. The familiar will give his life for his wizard. If the wizard is the first to die, the familiar will join him by going to sleep and never waking up.”

“Tell me please Eno. How did you become the familiar for Upashna?” 

“Upashna first came to the Other Realm with her parents around age three to be tested for the wizard’s gift. Her mother, the Princess of Morocco, was a non-wizard by birth. If both parents are Wizards, no test is required. The Sorceress Sophia came to the village to perform the test at the request of Baldwin and determined Upashna to be a wizard. At this point a single drop of blood was drawn from Upashna’s heel and fed to Sophia’s cat Miranda who in seventy two hours time birthed me. The familiars of the wizards all have a white spot on their foreheads in the spot commonly known as the third eye. Miranda, our mother, is solid black. She is the familiar to the Sorceress Sophia and does not have a white spot.”

“I understand Eno but did you not tell me the familiar chooses the wizard and not the other way around?”

“Yes, that is true. If the familiar is not born within seventy two hours, another drop of blood is drawn and the process repeats until a familiar forms a connection the the wizard’s blood and is born. That is how the familiar choses the wizard.” Eno rose onto all fours and looks toward the double entry door. “Someone is approaching.”

On the other side of the courtyard, Upashna and her mother, the Wizard Elza, are walking arm in arm to Upashna’s chambers. They appear like two young schools girls playing hookie from school more than the two princesses they are.

“Mother. When did you know you were in love with father? I mean. Did you know right away or did it take some time? How much time?”

“Slow down Upashna. Obviously you have deep feelings for this young man who accompanied you here. I knew the moment you transformed. I could not tell which was brighter, the flame of your transformation or the flame in your heart when you saw him. You failed to introduce him by name. Is that a result of your meeting with Mingus?” Elza asks.

“Yes mother. I know him as The Philosopher but he no longer owns that name. He gave it to Mingus for passage through the first gate. He was raised by his maternal grandmother. He never knew his father but…”

“Wait a minute. That is why your father showed such interest in this person. He is the one who assisted your father outside the library a few years back. Now I remember. Please forgive me darling. In my sudden awakening of thought I interrupted you. Please go on with what you were saying. The Philosopher never knew his father but…”

“… But mother. He carries a wizard’s staff which he tells me was left outside the door of his grandmother’s house on his twelfth birthday.”

At the chambers of The Philosopher, he rises from his meal to answer the knock on the door. It is the Wizard Baldwin.

“Please excuse my intrusion kind Sir. Might I have a moment of your time?”


The Philosopher

19.  The Philosopher – The Known, Part One

“Mother,” says Upashna, “l do not care who or what he is. I want to share my life with him and I am concerned the Council of Wizards might attempt to prevent our being together as they tried with you and father. I need your help to prevent that possibility from happening.”

“Upashna. Your father and I are but two members of the Council of Wizards. There are ten others, all wizards of high esteem who have remained celibate their entire lives. They do not know love the way we do. It will be difficult to convince them to permit your union to a non-wizard but we will do our best,” says Elza.

“Thank you mother. I feel much better now. I am going to rest and change for dinner. I will join you and father then. I am so happy to be here.” Upashna hugs her mother and enters her chambers.

Elza is concerned. She knows the Council of Wizards only approved the marriage between her and Baldwin because they were afraid of loosing Baldwin. She also knows Upashna is strong of will and if denied the approval of the council will surrender her wizard status before her coronation on the next full moon. “First things first. We have a sun and planets in great need of our assistance,” she tells herself.

At The Philosopher’s chambers, Baldwin enters. “Please has a seat sir. I was just enjoying some food and wine. May I offer you a glass of wine? I am afraid I was famished and have already eaten most of the food,” says The Philosopher?

“I would appreciate a glass of wine,” says Baldwin as he moves toward the table and takes a seat. He reaches over to Eno and pets her gently on her head. Eno purrs.

The Philosopher is surprised. “That is the first time I heard her purr like a cat. I usually hear her in my head talking. She was just telling me how she became Upashna’s familiar and about the process involved.”

“As Upashna’s familiar she only communicates with Upashna and at Upashna’s request Eno also communicates with you but for everyone else she is just a cat. No offense meant Eno.” Eno purrs again. Baldwin takes a sip of his wine. “I realize Mingus took your name but before that event I also knew you as The Philosopher from our brief encounter at the library where you intervened on my behalf against some local thugs.”

“Yes, Wizard Baldwin. I thought we had met before however I do not remember much. I do remember our brief encounter but you left before we could talk. You looked much different then. You appear much younger today than years ago.”

“Yes. For safety reasons we wizards often travel incognito. But more to the matter at hand. When you came to my defense, I noticed some markings on your staff and wanted to do a little research. In my rush I failed to introduce myself and to thank you for your assistance. Is that your staff near the door? May I have a closer look?” The wizard asks.

“Yes. It is.” The Philosopher retrieves the staff and brings it to Baldwin. “It was left on my grandmothers doorstep on the day of my twelfth birthday. I take it everywhere with me. I noticed Upashna’s staff had a similar but slightly different carving. Were they made by the same craftsman?”

The Wizard Baldwin examines the staff and replies to The Philosopher. “Well, not the same craftsman but a similar craftsman.”

“I do not understand Wizard Baldwin,” replies The Philosopher.

“This is a wizard’s staff. It can only be formed and carved by a wizard. You see these markings?” Baldwin shows the head of the staff to The Philosopher. “Those markings are the signature of the wizard who made this staff. This staff was made by the Wizard Ged Sparrowhawk, Archmage of Earthsea. He was the most powerful wizard of his time and he was my best friend. He restored the peace to EarthSea by reuniting the two halves of the ring of Erreth-Akbe. During this time he met Tenar a high priestess from the Tombs of Atuan. Tenar left the wizard life and her position as high priestess to live more simply. She had two children with a farmer on the isle of Gont and later after her husbands death healed and adopted an abandoned, burned female child whom she name Tehanu. Ged was made the Archmage of EarthSea and was asked by Arren, the future King of EarthSea to assist him on a journey to stop the lost of magic from the realm. You have no doubt heard these tales?” Baldwin asks.

“Yes sir. I know of some of the tales you speak but please continue.” The Philosopher is completely enthralled by actually meeting a wizard who was the best friend of the legendary Wizard Ged Sparrowhawk.

“Well,” Baldwin continues. “Ged and Arren went on a journey to mend the wall between the living and the dead. In an epic battle between good and evil, Ged surrenders his wizard powers in order to defeat another equally powerful wizard named Cob who had opened the wall separating the living from the dead in his quest to gain immortality. This separation in the wall had caused a decline of magic in EarthSea. No one knows for sure what happened after that but the tale goes on. Ged was near death when the dragon Kalessin brought him to Tenar. She heals him and they live together in Ogion’s old house on the isle of Gont. Ogion was Ged’s teacher in the ways of wizardry and had left Tenar his house when he transitioned.”

“Transitioned. What does that mean?” The Philosopher asks.

“Well Philosopher. Wizards cannot really die. We merely transition into other forms of energy. We become a part of the force which is the common connection between all life. Ged would be close to a hundred years old by now if he is still in human form. He would have been about your age when I heard he and Tenar were living in Ogion’s old home and went to visit them. The house was empty but there were signs he had lived there. The town folk referred to the dwelling as the old mages’ home for two old mages had lived there. Ogion and Ged, but if a wizard does not wish to be found, no one will find him.”

“Thank you Baldwin for your insights into the life and tales of The Archmage of EarthSea? I heard tales of this powerful wizard before but not directly from someone who knew him. I still have just one question, why would he leave a wizard’s staff on my grandmother’s doorstep?”

“Because Philosopher, The Wizard Ged Sparrowhawk, Archmage of EarthSea is your father.”


The Philosopher

 20.  The Philosopher – The Known, Part Two

The Philosopher drops his wine glass and it shatters on the stone floor. Eno reacts by springing straight up into the air at least two meters before running and jumping out the open window. The wizard Baldwin takes another sip of his wine and moves to the sink counter to fetch another glass for The Philosopher.

The Philosopher regains his composure and accepts the new glass of wine Baldwin pours for him. “Are you sure Baldwin? How do you know this? This staff could have been left on anyone’s doorstep. How can I be the son of Ged Sparrowhawk?”

“Yes,” replies Baldwin. “Before Ged had the adventures you heard about and became a very powerful wizard, he was just a young talented wizard and a member of the Council of Wizards. During his travels he met a beautiful woman and fell in love. He had not yet taken the wizard’s vow of celibacy. He was strong willed and believed he could not take a vow to not do something he had never done. Her name was Anna. Your mother’s name was Anna. She was a non-wizard. Ged came to the Council of Wizards and asked their permission to marry her but his request was denied. The members of the council believed it was necessary for a wizard to remain celibate in order to channel his true powers. Because Ged had already had shared intimacy with Anna, he was removed from the council. In his frustration Ged vowed to the council that one day they would need him and he would not honor their request. But some years later they did need him and called upon him to help reignite the sun and he answered.”

“I understand Baldwin, but how do you know he is my father?”

“Because I was there at your birth,” Baldwin responds. “The council labeled Ged an outcast meaning he could not have contact with any council member. Ged was my best friend so when he asked me to be a witness at your birth I went to his home in South Port. The home you grew up in.”

Ged continues, “Yours was a difficult birth. You seemed to not want to be born, somehow bound to your mother. You continued to hold on even after the midwives administered an herbal potion to induce you to come into the light. The strain was too much for your mother to bear. Your father, the most powerful wizard of his time, was helpless to stop the life from leaving your mother’s body.”

“Afterwards, the young midwife heard your heart still beating in your mother’s womb and your father cut open the woman he loved most in the world in order to give you the life taken from her.”

“I was responsible for my mother’s death. That is why my father left me. He could not bear to see my mother in me?” The Philosopher asks

“No. You were not responsible. After your father cut open your mother and you were removed, a dark growth was found inside your mother which had blocked your entrance into the world and was responsible for your mother’s death according to the midwife.”

“Your father was very distraught. With all his powers he could not save the woman he loved. Your grandmother agreed to raise you but only if your father and the teachings of wizardry were not to be a part of your life. Your father experienced a crises of faith and agreed to your grandmother’s request. This is why you did not have his name and all records of him and your mother were removed from the town’s history. A memory spell was placed over the village of South Port so that none would remember your parents. The young midwife who attended your mother became your wet nurse. Her own child was stillborn a few weeks earlier and her breast were full of milk. She lived in the home with you and your grandmother until you no longer required nursing. Everyone in the village assumed she was your mother. Once you no longer needed to be nursed, she left you and your mother to marry a man on the isle of Pendor and raised a family of her own. Only your father, the midwife, I and your grandmother know the truth of your birth. Your grandmother made a promised to your father not to reveal his identity to you in exchange for allowing her to raise you as a non-wizard human.”

“So I am the bastard son of the Ged, the Archmage of Swansea, but I am not a wizard. I am seventy two years old. I have no powers. I struggle to get out of my bed each morning.” The Philosopher exclaims. “I am only a…. “

“You do not know who or what you are. At this point no one does. I was acting upon intuition when I sent you the tome. You have proven yourself a bright and capable being. Whether or not you are a wizard can only be determined by the Sorcereress…”

“Sophia,” says The Philosopher. “Eno told me of her. Where is Eno?”

“Eno was spooked when your glass shattered and jumped out the open window. Do not worry she is in no harm. Most likely she will find Upashna who will comfort her.”

“It is a bit confusing for you and Upashna to refer to Eno as a female but when she transformed, she was a male.”

Baldwin answers. “All of Miranda’s familiars are female cats but they transform into the sex of their wizard. So for Upashna Eno would transform into a handmaiden and for you a manservant.”

“I have so much to learn.”

“Our home is an astroid,” says Baldwin, “limited by physical dimensions, size, mass, length, width, etc. but the universe my friend is limitless in dimension and full of new and wondrous experiences and yet, it is no more vast nor wondrous than the human mind. If we limit one, we limit the other. Now is not the time to limit your possibilities Philosopher, now is the time to expand upon them.”

Baldwin was now more certain than ever the man sitting across the table sharing wine with him was the son of Ged and a wizard of high caliber. “It is time for the council to meet. I must go. Please come to the chamber in an hour where the test for wizard blood will be performed and we will know. After seeing your resemblance to your father Mars sent a carrier pigeon to request the presence of the Sorcereress Sophia. She will determine you bloodline. We will talk again in the chamber. One hour.” Baldwin leaves and The Philosopher looks for a broom to sweep up the broken wine glass.

“Where is Eno?” The Philosopher wondered to himself.

On the other side of the complex, Eno hurries through his cat door into Upashna’s chambers. “Hello there my sweet Eno. Is The Philosopher with you? I do not like to admit but I miss him already.”

“No mistress. He is not with me. He and your father are in his chambers having a glass of wine and…”

“I am glad you are here Eno. I am having trouble tying the knot to hold my hair. Would you mind lending my a hand?”

“Why of course mistress.” Eno then transforms into a lovely handmaiden and moves toward Upashna who is sitting at her dressing table. “I am so happy to be able to wear robes again, clothes are to restrictive. So tell me Eno what are your impressions of The Philosopher?”

Eno responds. “He has many questions mostly about you. He is intelligent, kind and a very gentle man. I enjoy his friendship.”

“Thank you Eno but I already know those things. Tell me something you learned about him I do not know.”

“Well Upashna your father believes him to be the bastard son of Ged Sparrowhawk, the former Archmage of EarthSea.


The Philosopher

21.  The Philosopher – The Philosopher Receives His True Name

Upashna immediately left her chambers to visit The Philosopher. Although she had a feeling something was afoot when she studied The Philosopher’s staff and again when Extor mentioned The Philosopher having his father’s eyes she had never imagined the man she loves to be a wizard.

After The Philosopher finished sweeping up the broken wine glass. He dressed in the white robe provided for him and prepared to meet with Baldwin and the Council of Wizards in less than an hour. His mind was ablaze with rambling thoughts. He at no time second guessed his fathers decision to leave him at birth but he had wondered about the reason. Now Baldwin has provided an answer. He remembered Extor’s last words to him. “You have your father’s eyes,” and quickly went over to the mirror for a more detailed look. He was not a man of vanity and was surprised by his face in the mirror. He was more handsome than he remembered being as this was the first time he had seen himself since entering the labyrinth but he did not remember how he looked before. It was his face, with as far as he could tell the same lines of age, but his eyes appeared different. It is as if he is seeing them for the first time. They seem to have a green, golden ring around the iris. He steps back to see himself more fully, but his train of thought is interrupted by a gentle knock on the door.

Upashna did not wait for The Philosopher to answer the door. She rushed into his chambers and into The Philosopher’s arms. “My love. After being your constant companion for the last three days even my chambers across the courtyard are too far away from you. Eno told me of the conversation my father had with you. I suspected something but had no idea of the scope of that expectation. How do you feel about the news. Are you content with the possibility of your being of wizard’s blood?”

“My princess, my Upashna. The only matter certain to me at this moment is my great love for you and my desire for us to share the rest of out lives together. Everything in support of that dream I consider a blessing. I am repeatedly reminded of Extor’s words: ‘Not many of us get to know who or what we are. A glimpse is all we get. Your decision tomorrow will determine the size of your glimpse.’ In my most vivid imagination, I did not come even close to imagining this. The view I had of my life, of the world, of the universe was small. You have enabled me to broaden that view. Because of you my princess the heart which beats in this body in larger in its capacity to love and to take in the world. I can never imagine my life without you.”

“My sweet Philosopher your words send chills down my spine.” With those words the two lovers kiss and feel the arms of Kara surrounding them. They hold each other as closely as two bodies can share a single space. The steeple bells chime four o’clock. 

“Upashna. What happens if I do not have wizard’s blood?”

“Nothing in this or any universe can change how I feel toward you and about us. Even before I learned you might be Ged’s son, I asked mother to intercede with the Council of Wizards on our behalf. We will be together no matter what. I promise my Philosopher, my true love. We must go. The Council is meeting and we should be there. Upashna slowly backs away and as the sunlight captures her in its rays of colors and light coming through the window, The Philosopher is more certain than ever of his love for this beautiful woman.”

Eno is waiting outside the door to The Philosopher’s chambers and the three of them walk to the meeting hall. Inside the hall, the wizards are all seated and Elza, Baldwin and Mars are seated in front of the congregation. When Baldwin sees Upashna and The Philosopher both adorned in white robes and looking like royalty from some far land, he stands and announces the entrance of Upashna, Princess of EarthSea. All the wizards stand to welcome her arrival to the Other Realm. They had watched her grow up but his is her first appearance on the Other Realm in many years. The little girl they knew is now a woman.

Then with the suddenness of a space wind, in a cloud of purple and red vapor the Sorcereress Sophia and her familiar, Miranda, arrive on the stage behind the three council heads. Sophia although not a wizard herself always liked to make an entrance in a fashionable manner to remind the wizards of her equal status. In private the wizards sometimes referred to Sophia as a witch but none would call her that to her face for each knew she could make life very challenging for those not held in her good grace. There was a mutual level of respect between the wizards and the sorcereress and besides she was the one responsible for providing their familiars.

Mars spoke first. “Good afternoon Sophia. Thank you for responding so quickly to my request for your council. There is a man here I would…”

“Thank you Mars. I know why I am here. Good afternoon Elza and Baldwin. Greetings Council of Wizards. Yes, the man with no name known to Upashna as The Philosopher is the bastard son of Ged, the Wizard of EarthSea.” There was a gasp in the council chambers for all the wizards except for Baldwin were celibate and some were not familiar with Ged’s request of the council to approve his marriage to a non-wizard many years ago. “What you wish to know if whether or not he has wizard’s blood.” Sophia was a member of the Council of Wizards but she preferred the solitude on her part of the astroid and only attended council meetings when called upon.

Elza stood and spoke.”Please be seated.” All sat. “Welcome Sister Sophia. You are correct. The Council asked you here to determine if the son of Ged has wizard’s blood. Upashna, please bring your guest forward.” Upashna and The Philosopher were not expecting things to happen so quickly but they stood hand in hand and walked to the front stage. Upashna sat down in the front row and The Philosopher approached Sophia.”

“You have your father’s eyes,” said Sophia, “but I require a drop of your blood to determine if your are a wizard. And if so are you ready to awaken to and embrace the fullness and wonder of who you are and who you are becoming each and every moment of your life for the rest of your life?”

“Yes. I am Sophia.” The Philosopher holds out his hand. The Sorcereress Sophia removes a needle from her potion bag and pricks The Philosopher’s middle finger, places the drop of blood onto a small flat stone and feeds the blood to Miranda, her familiar. Sophia turns toward Elza.

“Sister Elza. I will return in three days with your answer. Good day council members.” Sophia then turns to pick up Miranda but Miranda is shaking and transforming and within a few seconds a perfect clone except for a green tuff of hair where the third eye would be appears standing next to Miranda. The clone immediately runs to The Philosopher and stands by his side.

The chamber erupts with chatter for no one has ever witnessed such a rapid transfiguration before, even Sophia cannot explain what her eyes just saw. Upashna runs to The Philosopher and holds him as tightly as she can. “My love. My love.”

Elza stands and asks everyone to sit down and remain quiet. The Philosopher, Upashna and his familiar are standing center stage in front of the full Council of Wizards. Upashna leaves The Philosopher and sits down. The chamber becomes silent again and Sophia speaks. “Yes, the man before you has wizard’s blood. He is an extremely powerful wizard and must receive his true name in order for these powers to manifest.” Sophia reaches into her potion bag and pulls out a rune. She places the rune in a burning candle and as the rune begins to smoke she announces The Philosopher’s true name. “You are Tao Sparrowhawk, Philosopher-Wizard of Havnor.”

In unison, the council speaks his true name three times. “Tao Sparrowhawk, Philosopher-Wizard of Havnor. Tao Sparrowhawk, Philosopher-Wizard of Havnor. Tao Sparrowhawk, Philosopher-Wizard of Havnor.”

“Wait!” Sophia calls out as another plum of smoke flows out from the rune. “I have not seen this in over a hundred years. You are a Dragon Lord.”


The Philosopher

22.  The Philosopher – Tao Sparrowhawk, Philosopher-Wizard of Havnor, Dragon Lord

Many generations ago dragons and humans lived together peacefully in the world until man became greedy and demanded more land and resources from the dragons. The dragons had no use for the land and its resources and asked only for a small parcel of land to raise their young and to call home. They travelled on the other winds to many far off lands and planets.

The human were jealous of the dragons and envious of the vast resources in their homeland and attacked the dragons. The dragons easily defeated the advancement of the humans because a dragon can only be killed by a wizard, another dragon or a fireball from the sun but the human act created animosity between the two groups. As the dragon lord, Ged Sparrowhawk reestablished the peace between the human and dragon worlds almost a century ago. Now his title and the responsibility of the position has fallen upon is son Tao.

All the wizards except for Baldwin were surprised by the announcement from Sophia. He saw great things in this man long before he sent the tome to his home in South Port. Upashna also saw his greatness but took her vision to be out of love for the man to whom she had given her heart. The other wizards now called out his new name three times. “Tao Sparrowhawk, Philosopher-Wizard of Havnor, Dragon Lord. Tao Sparrowhawk, Philosopher-Wizard of Havnor, Dragon Lord. Tao Sparrowhawk, Philosopher-Wizard of Havnor, Dragon Lord. Salud. Salud. Salud.”

The Sorcereress Sophia turns her attention to the clone offspring of her familiar Miranda who has not moved from Tao’s side. She is identical to Miranda except for the green spot in the area of the third eye. All the other familiars produced by Miranda have a white spot there. She also notices faint green and gold highlights in her solid black fur. Then Tao addresses the Socereress Sophia directly. “Sophia, will I be able to transform into a dragon like Upashna?”

“No Tao. Your are a Dragon Lord and will be able to communicate with all dragons in their Old Speech language. You will serve as the ambassador between dragons and man in maintaining peace in the realm but you do not have dragon blood and therefore will not be able to transform.” Tao was visually disappointed and at the same time greatly honored by his status as a wizard and Dragon Lord. 

“I am to follow in the footsteps of my father.” He says quietly to himself. He looks over at Upashna who is beaming with joy and love.

The Sorcereress Sophia speaks again. “We must now conclude the ritual with the naming of your familiar Tao. Have you thought of a name.” Tao had not considered a name because everything has happened so quickly. His familiar is female and someone with whom he will share the remainder of his earthly days, his thoughts and conversations. Only one name came to mind. He would honor the name of the woman who raised him, educated him and loved him beyond all else. His maternal grandmother Simone.

“Yes, he answered. “I wish to name my familiar Simone.” Baldwin smiles for he knows the name of Tao’s grandmother and nods his respect to Tao.

“Then the familiar of Tao Sparrowhawk, Philosopher-Wizard of Havnor, Dragon Lord is this day given as Simone.”

“Simone.” The assembly calls in unison.

The Sorcereress Sophia continues. “Simone is the first offspring of Miranda’s to have a green spot. I believe this difference is very significant to the question you asked concerning your not being able to transform into a dragon young Sparrowhawk. There is no need for you to transform. Please Tao strike your staff three times against the ground, but first move a few meters to Simone’s left,” Sophia requests. Tao does as instructed and moves away. Simone remains steadfast on the same spot. Tao strikes his staff three times against the ground. Simone bursts into the flames of transformation. 

Simone is a dragon. A beautiful golden green dragon with a strong scaled body and wings, stout hind legs and the goatee of ancient dragons. 

“You must establish the bond of blood now with Simone your dragon as you did with the giving your blood to Miranda to produce Simone your familiar.” 

The Sorcereress Sophia retrieves the needle from her potion bag and again punctures Tao’s middle finger. Tao slowly walks toward Simone and extends his hand. She licks the blood from Tao’s finger and lowers her left wing for him to mount her.

Tao glances over to Baldwin, Elza and Mars. They nod their approval. He slowly mounts Simone. She bucks. “Talk to her Tao. She needs to link with your voice telepathically,” calls Sophia.

“Okay Simone. This is a new venture for both of us. Just relax and we will get through this together. I am Tao, your wizard. I named you Simone after my maternal grandmother who cared for me from birth. I do not know what adventures lie ahead for us but we are a team and together we will discover and face our destiny. Are you ready to fly?” Simone nods her head, spreads her wings and kicks off from the stage of the assembly hall. Baldwin points his staff at the huge doors at the end of the Great Hall and they magically open. Tao looks for Upashna who has already started her transformation. She joins Tao and Simone and the three of them fly out of the Great Hall and into the evening sky.

The Sorcereress Sophia addresses the heads of the Council of Wizards. “Sister Elza, Baldwin and Mars. The events you witnessed here today are the beginning of a new era for all wizards and humans. My work for now is finished. With your permission I shall return home.”

“Thank you for your time and gifts Sister Sophia. You are free to return home.” Elza says while Baldwin and Mars nod approval. Sophia picks up Miranda and the two disappear into a cloud of red and purple smoke which flies out the large wooden doors of the Great Hall and up into the sky to fly along side of Upashna, Simone and the wizard Tao. Sophia addresses Upashna first telepathically. 

“Daughter. Welcome back home. Love this man for I know he loves you. Protect and care for him as he will protect and care for you. Your future together is written in the stars. I am here should you ever need me.”

“Thank you Sophia. I love you as I love my mother.” Upashna answers.

Then Sophia telepathically addresses Tao. “Tao. You are a wizard of great power. And with great power comes great responsibility. Use your power for the good of all life to maintain balance in the forces of nature. Your father was a close advisor and trusted friend to me. I ask your permission to address you as ‘Son.?’”

“I am honored and pleased you feel such kinship with me Sophia. You may refer to me and address me as your son.” Tao answers.

Sophia adds, “Simone comes from excellent stock. She will serve you well in all of her capacities. Takes good care of her and especially good care of Upashna. She loves you Tao.” The red and purple smoke streams ahead and disappears into the eastern sky. “Farewell my children.” Sophia calls out from the ethos.


The Philosopher

23.  The Philosopher – Tao And Simone, A Maiden Voyage

Tao riding on the back of his familiar, Simone, in her transfiguration as a dragon and with them the dragon transfiguration of Upashna are flying high above the small hamlet of wizards, Samadhi.

“I love you my philosopher Tao. I am pleased you chose to share this life and eternity with me. There is no moment of happiness in my life to compare with this moment here flying with you and Simone,” speaks Upashna telepathically.

“How is it my princess, my love, I can hear your voice but I am not riding you as when we rode the other wind?”

“You are a Dragon Lord my philosopher. You can communicate with and hear all dragons,” answers Upashna. “Simone will obey your every command. Your thoughts become her thoughts. You are one when you are flying. You are not only connected telepathically, you are also one energy. Her energy protects you and allows you to breathe and your energy protects her. You are her wizard. She is your familiar. I am you devoted princess, Upashna.”

Tao addresses Simone, his familiar. “Simone. Thank you for choosing me as your wizard. I will do my best to honor your choice. Tell me. Are there others like you?”

“I know of only one before me. Her name was Morujiana who was also cloned over a hundred years ago from Miranda and not born as the other familiars of the Sorceress Sophia. She was also capable of transfiguring into a dragon. She was the familiar to your father, Ged.”

“There is so much I have to learn. How do you know what you know Simone?” Tao asks telepathically.

“Because I am a clone sire of Miranda. I know all she knows. And because Miranda is the familiar of the Sorceress Sophia, Miranda knows all that Sophia knows. The familiar and the sorceress share a common knowledge. Their shared knowledge has been passed on to me so I might serve you with full knowledge of who you are sire.”

“How can you know all about me when I do not know who I was before I entered the realm of magic,” asks Tao?

“It may take some time sire for you to regain your memories but because you are a wizard, all the sacrifices you made for passage through the three gates are returned to you. Although your true name is the one you shall be known by from this day forward, Mingus has returned your name. Free has returned your desire, although he will keep the text you gave him and Extor has returned your memory. That is how you were able to remember your grandmother and to name me after her. As you need them your memories will be recalled.”

Tao asks, “Why did Sophia ask is she could address me as her son? Before today we had never met?”

“The Sorceress Sophia was the first woman to graduate from the famed Wizard Academy on Roke in the same class as your father. They were close friends in college and continued their friendship when they came to The Other Realm to advance their wizardry. Unfortunately at that time even though Sophia had wizard’s blood, women were not permitted to be wizards. Sophia was the love child of an unnamed wizard and the witch Hazel of Obb. Initially she was not permitted to be a part of the Wizard’s Council but as her skills and abilities increased she was asked to remain on The Other Realm and was later invited to be a member of the Wizard’s Council. Sophia accepted their invitation but rejected the title of wizard and took the title of Sorceress in honor of her mother. She also preferred to live alone on the far side of the astroid and shunned the Council sessions until Elza arrived and she found a like sister.”

“Sophia loved your father but never told him for she knew love, marriage and even sex were not permitted between wizards. Each was the confidant and friend of the other until Ged left The Other Realm on his own and found Anna, your mother.  Your father in his youth was a rebel. He thought the Council of Wizards was old in their thinking and ideology. It took his leaving for the council to realize he was right. You sire are the son Sophia always wished to share with Ged.”

“So the Sorceress Sophia has know my father longer than anyone else on The Other Realm. I would like to spend some time with her at a later date.”

“The Sorceress Sophia told me sire that her home is always open to us.”

“I have another question of you my familiar,” says Tao.

“It is my purpose to serve you sire,” responds Simone.

“The Sorceress Sophia said I have wizard’s blood, but does that make me a wizard. I have not had any training or education in the craft. I do not know the language of wizardry or spells. How can I be a wizard?”

“You received a wizard’s staff on your twelfth birthday carved by your father, Ged. In it he placed all his knowledge of wizardry. So each time you picked up your staff over the last sixty years, your father’s knowledge was passed to you. When you need it, all his knowledge will be available to you. As he was the greatest wizard of his time so you are the greatest of your time.” Simone turns her head and looks directly into Tao’s eyes. “It is my honor and pleasure to serve you sire.”

“And mine to travel this existence with you,” adds Upashna. “My father told me through a visitation before we entered the labyrinths how he believed you to be much more than you seem. And you are my love. My Dragon Lord. You have proven yourself this day. Please follow me.”

Upashna dips her right wing and glides down to a flat spot of grass next to a roaring high waterfall. Simone and Tao follow. Upashna immediately transforms upon landing and awaits her companions. Simone gently glides into her landing and drops her left wing for Tao to disembark. The two lovers embrace passionately and kiss. Simone remains in her dragon configuration and stands to the side.

Upashna tells Tao this is the spot she came to with her parents when she made her first journey to The Other Realm at the age of five and invites him to use it whenever he needs to get away from the other wizards and the politics of Samadhi. The sounds of the falling water helps to clear the mind and to free the spirit for clear thinking. It reminds her of the farm where she and The Philosopher first met. A quiet place in nature where the rest of the world does not matter. She reaches into a bag hidden behind some rocks and pulls out a kettle and two cups and fills the kettle with water from the falls. She then gathers a few near by herbs for tea.

“Unfortunately,” says Tao. “I do not have the makings for a fire with me.”

“No need to worry, my love. If I may have permission to address your familiar, Simone.”

“Why of course.” Tao replies. Upashna closes her eyes and speaks with Simone telepathically and asks Simone to heat the kettle of water. Simone lowers her head and blows a small stream of fire from her nostrils. In a few seconds the water is boiling and the tea is ready. “Simone can breathe fire!”

Tao asks in amazement.

“Yes,” replies Upashna. “Dragons are the only creatures who can produce a fire hot enough to reignite the sun. That is why we are here.” Upashna pours the hot tea into the cups and sits down next to Tao. The two of them in their own thoughts together, on a patch of grass next to a waterfall on The Other Realm floating as an astroid on the far side of the sun watching the clouds change colors.


The Philosopher

24.  The Philosopher – The Void Between Dragons And Man

“We had best be getting back love. Look.” Upashna points to the darkening sun. “The darkness grows larger. We will have to time the reigniting of the sun when it is almost completely dark on this side to reduce any possible injuries.”

“Any possible injury to whom?” Tao asks.

“To the dragons who are selected to enter from the surface and fly to the sun’s center to reignite the lava core,” replies Upashna.

“Have dragons died during the reigniting process Upashna?”

“Yes. Except for another dragon or wizard, the only other element with the ability to kill a dragon is a fireball from the sun. When the reigniting occurs, the sudden change in temperature can result in fireballs exploding out of the core. If one strikes a dragon, the dragon will most likely die.” Upashna gathers the kettle and cups, returns them to the satchel and hides them from the animals behind a rock. “They will be here if you ever need to come alone. Do not worry, Simone knows the way. Familiars remember everything their wizard does and everyplace their wizard travels.”

“Does the sun need to be reignited often?” Tao asks.

“O’ my philosopher Tao. I know you have many questions and they will all be answered when the Council of Wizards convenes again. Do not fret my love. Everything will be explained. The scientists have been working on this issue for a while now. They will explain the safest and most rapid entrance and escape routes.”

“Please forgive me Upashna for being the inquisitive schoolboy. All this wizard stuff is new to me. A few days ago I was a philosopher living in South Port with my books in the comfort of my small home and today I am a wizard and a Dragon Lord with a familiar who can turn into a dragon, a cat or a human transfiguration. I just need a little time to figure this all out.”

“I understand my love. Do not worry. I see your memory is returning. Are you having any second thoughts about the choices you have made?” Upashna seems concerned.

“No my princess. My Upashna. Nothing else matters in my life except being with you. I trust everything else will work it self out. I trust you Upashna. I love you my princess.”

“That’s The Philosopher I love.” Upashna places her arms around Tao’s neck and they passionately kiss.

“One more thing my love. I noticed on the way here you were holding your staff with one hand and Simone with the other. On Simone’s right wing is a slot pocket next to her third rib for your staff. If she ever has to make a quick change of direction it would be best if your are holding onto her with two hands. Unless you choose to direct her, she will handle all navigational duties. I love you my philosopher Tao.” Upashna strikes her staff three times against the ground and begins her transfiguration. 

Tao climbs up Simone’s wing, slides his staff into the slot on her right wing and speaks to Simone. “Okay Simone. Let’s go home.” Simone pushes off with her strong hind legs, open her wings and they are airborne. Upashna joins them in flight.

The two dragons land and transition outside the Great Chamber Hall. It takes a moment for Tao to now see his familiar Simone as a cat having been with her as a dragon for the last few hours but she tells him all is well and he adjusts. Tao and Upashna walk hand in hand into the Great Hall where Baldwin is waiting. “Excuse me Upashna but may I have a moment alone with Tao?”

“Why of course Father.” She turns to Tao, places a soft kiss upon his lips and departs. “I will see you later love. Have Simone bring you to my chambers after you and father talk.”

“This has been an unbelievable day Baldwin.”

“I see Upashna is very taken with you. I hope you feel the same toward her Tao.”

“I do sir. I would like your permission to ask for her hand in marriage.” Tao replies.”

“Upashna has already discussed the possibility with Elza and we both support your union, but we have a more important issue at hand right now. During your flight, you must have seen the darkness of the sun is getting larger. The scientists believe tomorrow’s full moon will offer the best opportunity to reignite the sun. I know this is all a bit overwhelming for someone who has just learned his father’s identity, declared to have wizard’s blood, and also to be a Dragon Lord but the council has asked me to ask if you would lead the mission tomorrow.”

“Me? I am only a wizard in name. I have no training to lead such a mission.”

“But you do Tao. The last time we had to reignite the sun some seventy years or so ago, your father Ged and his familiar Morujiana led the mission. Two more dragons from this realm accompanied them but failed to make it out alive.”

“If Tao is going. I am going father.” Upashna calls from the alcove.

“So, you have been listening my daughter?

“Yes father. Forgive me. Tao is my life. If he put himself in harms way to save humanity, I will be right there by his side doing whatever it is I can do to assist him.”

“I understand Upashna, but it is not me you have to convince. Your mother stands in your path. You must convince her,” says Baldwin. “For now I would like the two of you to go to your chambers with Simone and determine if she can share anything with you which might help with your mission tomorrow. I will speak with Elza on your behalf Upashna.”

“Thank you father.”

Upashna, Tao and Simone walk to Upashna’s chambers where they find Eno patiently waiting. Tao fills the kettle with water while Upashna freshens up and changes her gown. When she is finished Tao does the same. Upashna had already arranged for Eno to bring a change of robe from Tao’s chamber. The familiars, both spawn from the familiar Miranda play together like the two sisters they are.

“That is unusual,” says Upashna. Eno never takes to another familiar in such a manner. Yet she and Simone are enjoying each other completely. Look. Eno and Simone are sleeping in Eno’s bed together.”

“I wish to establish a Bond of Common Knowledge between us and our familiars” says Tao. 

“That is a sacred wizard’s vow Tao. How do you know of it?”

“I think the wisdom from my father’s staff is being released to me as I seem to know more things than I knew before. I hope it is in time to be of service to us tomorrow.”

“You father would not permit you to take on such a mission without the necessary preparation. I am certain. We will be prepared. We need to wake Simone to see if she has any information about your father’s last mission. I am sure Sophia must have shared the story with Miranda and Simone is Miranda’s clone except for her green third eye spot.”

“Excellent idea,” says Tao. He walks over to Eno’s bed where the two familiars are sleeping and picks them both up into his arms and take them over to Upashna’s bed while Upashna pours the tea and joins them.

“Unbelievable,” says Upashna. “She has never let anyone but me pick her up before. Even my parents are permitted no more that a pat on her head.”

Tao communicates with Simone telepathically and includes Upashna and Eno in the conversation. “Simone. Is there anything you can tell me about my father’s mission to reignite the sun some seventy years ago.”

“Yes sire. The mission was successful in reigniting the sun’s core but the dragons Flo and Fi lost their lives inside the sun. They did not make it out because they disregarded Ged’s instructions. Although connected telepathically, Ged failed to asks for a Bond of Common Knowledge from the dragons and his navigational instructions were ignored. The other dragons blamed Ged for the death of Flo and Fi believing Ged was headstrong and glory seeking. The dragons also did not understand why they should have to rescue man for his own destruction of the planet. Man’s greed puts out the sun. The sun dies when its rays are not reflected back and returned to the core. Due to man’s pollution of the oceans, the continued use of fossil fuels, the blatant destruction of the earth’s forest and the stripping of the planet’s natural resources the rays are reflected back in reduced numbers and strength. It took many years before Ged was able to regain the dragon’s trust again. But during that time all the dragons left The Other Realm and promised never again to reignite the sun’s core for mankind. For that reason no other Dragon Lord has been appointed until now.”

Simone continues, “A year or so after the deaths of the two dragons, Ged approached the Council of Wizards to ask permission to marry a non-wizard, Anne, your mother. When they rejected his request. Ged left the council and no one has seen him since. Even his closest friends Baldwin and Sophia have not heard from him though they searched most of EarthSea.”

“Is my father still alive,” Tao asks.

“No one knows for sure. I can tell you, because we are all connected, his familiar Morujiana still breaths but I do not know from where.”

“Thank you Simone. Now I know why the information on the Bond of Common Knowledge came to me. I think the four of us should make that bond now,” says Tao.

“My love. My philosopher. It has been a long and eventful day for you. We can make the bond in the morning before our mission.” She reaches around Tao’s shoulders and pulls him gently on top of her. “Besides,” Upashna continues, “I want to make a different kind of lasting bond tonight.” She blows out the candle. The two familiars, Simone and Eno make their way to Eno’s bed.


The Philosopher

25.  The Philosopher – The Time Is Near

Upashna woke early the next morning while Tao continued to sleep. Eno also woke to be with his mistress and Simone jumps upon Upashna’s bed and curls up besides Tao. Upashna and Eno leave quietly to visit her parents’ chamber on the other side of the courtyard.

“Mother,” asks Upashna. “Did father speak with you about my decision to assist Tao with reigniting the sun?”

“Yes he did my daughter. Although it brings pain and fear to my heart to think of your departing upon such a dangerous journey. I know there is nothing I can say or do to stop you.” Elza is visibly shaken as tears begin to form in her eye but she knows her words are true. Upashna wraps her arms around her mother and the two embrace. Baldwin enters and embraces the two women, his wife and daughter, standing in the center of the room. All are quiet until Upashna speaks.

“It must be done to save our realm and the planet. There is no other choice. All the other dragons left the realm after the last reigniting of the sun. I must go with Tao but do not worry, I will return. We both will. The earth will be safe again, at least for a little longer, until greed corrupts the humans once more.”

Baldwin asks, “Where is Tao?”

“He and Simone are still sleeping. I did not wake them. They will both need their full strength later,” replies Upashna.

Elza adds. “Our scientists tell us the best time will be early evening during the strong tide of the full moon. I would feel much safer if you had a third dragon to accompany you. Mars is the only other dragon wizard but he is too advanced in years. I know he would go if I asked.”

“No mother. Do not ask him. His years will be a burden for us,” pleads Upashna.

“I understand,” replies Elza.

Baldwin steps in to add. “There were rumors some years ago of a few dragons living on the underside of the astroid but it was never substantiated. As Dragon Lord, Tao could put out a call. If there are any dragons in the area, he will receive a reply.”

“I do not know if any will come to aid us but it is worth a try father. I will make the suggestion to Tao,” answers Upashna.

The three agree to meet in the Council Chambers later that afternoon with the scientists to plan the best approach to the sun’s core. Upashna and Eno leave to wake Tao and Simone.

“Philosopher. Philosopher.” A voice calls. “I am your father. You must listen to me. Today the scientists will tell you to form your advance to reignite the sun’s core directly at the core’s center. You must act as if you agree for them to save face but you must not advance upon the core’s center. Those instructions led to the deaths of Flo and Fi. I tried to have them change the navigation plan and light the core from its edges but they would not follow my instructions and perished when the core’s center erupted.”

“My father? Where are you?” Asks Tao from a sleepy daze.

“I am here my son. I have always been here. Watching you grow into the wizard you are destined to become. That is why I left the staff on your doorstep for your twelfth birthday. I am why you ran into Baldwin at the library. I wanted him to watch over you also and to invite you here at this moment to fulfill the prophesy of the ancient ones. I sent you the sparrow hawk in the desert labyrinth so you would not waste time wandering the dunes of sand. I have been with you your entire life. I am with you now as I will always be. You must put out a call for other dragons. Only two will answer but you will need no more. Do so now, my son. I have spent this life learning how to choose to do what I had no choice but to do. Such will be your course also. It is the course for all who follow their destiny.” 

“Tao. My philosopher. Wake up. We must prepare to reignite the sun. Tao. Wake up.” Upashna calls.

“Upashna. Where….?” Tao looks around the room. Simone awakes and purrs while seeking Tao’s hand to rub her head. “Sorry my love. I must have been…” Tao get up from Upashna’s bed. “My love. Last night was the fulfillment of a dream I have had all my life and wish to experience with you for the rest of my life.” Tao gets down on one knee. “My princess, my beautiful Upashna. I love you. Will you honor me by being my wife and the woman I wake up with each morning for the remainder of this life?”

Upashna was shocked. Not at the request for it was her desire more than anything to share her life in marriage with The Philosopher but at the suddenness. She gets down on her knees facing the philosopher. “My love. It will be my honor to be your wife and to wake up with the man I love for the rest of my life.” The two embrace and kiss.

“Sire. Please forgive my interruption,” says Simone telepathically. “There is something around my neck. It was your mothers. Your father Ged empowered me to hold it for you until this moment. It is now yours to give to Upashna.”

Tao breaks the embrace with Upashna and turns to see a crystal ring hanging from Simone’s neck. He removes the ring and places it upon Upashna’s finger. It is the color of light in which every color is visible and shines like a heavenly star. “This ring was given to my mother as a symbol of my father’s love for her. I give it as a symbol of my love for you.”

Upashna is in awe of the ring’s brilliance and curious by its arrival but she so loves the man kneeling beside her that her questions seem not to matter. Tao finally breaks a long silence between them. “Upashna. As Dragon Lord, I will put out a request for any remaining dragons on the astroid to answer my call and to assist us in the relighting of the sun.”

“”That is an excellent idea my lord, but there are no more dragons in this realm,” replies Upashna remembering an earlier conversation with her father.

“There are at least two,” answers Tao.


The Philosopher

26.  The Philosopher – The Assembly 

While washing his face, Tao telepathically communicates with Simone. “Where did you get the ring.”

“I do not know sire. It appeared when you asked Upashna to be your wife. I received the transmission of its story from the ring itself and passed it to you. I did not have the ring this morning when I woke.”

“What is even stranger is last night or rather this morning I had a dream of my father. He told me as Dragon Lord to put out a call and at least two more dragons will appear to assist.”

“Sire,” replies Simone. “I know of one. Because I am a clone of Miranda, the Sorceress Sophia’s familiar, I know Sophia is a dragon, but this information has just become known to me. It was previously hidden. Perhaps the knowledge was triggered by your need. All dragons swore an oath to your father when he restored peace between man and dragons to respond to his call. The dragons left the Other Realm so they would not be called to reignite the sun again for mankind rather than disregard a call from the Dragon Lord. A dragon cannot refuse the request to appear when summoned by a Dragon Lord.”

“Sophia is a dragon?”

“Yes sire.”

“Does anyone else on the Council of Wizards know Sophia is a dragon?” Tao asks.

“I do not believe so sire. This information was deeply hidden.”

“Thank you for your help Simone. You are a very well informed familiar. Are you ready for the fireworks today?”

“Yes sire. I am here to serve you. I am ready. Did you wish to perform the Bond of Common Knowledge before we leave?”

“Thank you Simone. I did not forget. I will perform the Bond of Common Knowledge when the other two dragons arrive.”

“As you wish sire. Are you sure there will be two?”

Just then Upashna enters. “What are you two doing? I have tea and bread waiting and milk for you Simone. We still have a little time before we have to meet with the council.” Upashna holds up her hand in front of Tao. The brilliance of the crystal ring temporarily blinds him. “This my love is the most beautiful gift I have ever received. I have been looking at it all morning. It holds so many stories. We will read them together when we return.”

“Upashna. Today could be very dangerous. I wish you would reconsider.”

“Would you reconsider if I were Dragon Lord and asked you not to go?”

“No my princess. I would not. I understand. Please at all times follow my lead and stay close.”

“I will my love. I promise. Now let’s eat. I am hungry. You can not ignite the sun with an empty stomach.”

“Okay but first I have to make a summons to all dragons on the astroid.” Tao grabs his staff. Knocks it once upon the stone flood and enters a brief but deep meditation.

The scientists, Mars, Baldwin and Elza are outside in the courtyard making final calculations for the mission to relight the sun. True to Ged’s words, the scientists are advising a quick, direct approach to the cord. Baldwin suggests a more staggered approach from the sun’s core circumference but is quickly overruled. Elza speaks, “I want them in and out as quickly as possible. There are only two of them. I do not wish to lose either and one is our daughter.”

Mars looks to the eastern sky and everyone else follows his eyes. The red and purple smoke streams of Sorceress Sophia are fast approaching. “Did you summon Sophia, Elza?” Mars asks.

“No I did not. Did you Baldwin.” Asks Elza.

“No. I did not but it must be something important. I have never seen her travel so fast,” but before Baldwin could think another thought the red and purple plume carrying Sophia and her familiar Miranda lands in front of them.

Sophia addresses the council members, “Sister Elza, Baldwin, Mars and council members. I wish you peace.”

Elza steps forward and takes Sophia’s hands into her own. “Welcome my sister. You came with lightening speed. Is all well? Did someone summon you?”

Before Sophia could answer, the attending group sees Tao, Upashna, Eno and Simone coming across the courtyard.

“I did Elza. I put out a call for all dragons to come here in haste speed,” says Tao.

“But Sophia is not a…”

Sophia releases Elza’s hold of her hands and turns toward Tao. She approaches him, bends down upon one knee. ”Dragon Lord. How may I serve you.”

“Sophia is a dragon?” Exclaims Elza in disblief.

To relieve any possible doubt, Sophia moves away from her Dragon Lord, strikes her staff three times upon the earth and transitions into a fiery flame before turning into a beautiful very rare solid white dragon. Everyone except for Tao is shocked and amazed. Sophia then transitions back into the beautiful Sorceress Sophia and approaches Upashna.

“My daughter, I see you added a sparkling crystal to your finger.” In all the excitement no one had noticed the crystal ring on Upashna’s finger. Now no one could remove their eyes from the sparkling gem. “Then it is time.” She reaches into her medicine bag and pulls out an identical ring to the one Upashna wears. “My son, your father instructed me to give this ring to you when the other half made its appearance. He made the two rings from a crystal he found while exploring a mine on the underside of the astroid. She gives the ring to Upashna who places it upon Tao’s finger. 

“My love. May this ring be a symbol of the love I give to you.” Upashna says in a flood of joyful tears. The two have but a moment to kiss before they are surrounded by all those assembled. Elza and Baldwin are ecstatic for Upashna. The scientists cannot believe the brilliance of the two rings. Tao brings Sophia aside. 

“My mother. Is Ged still alive?” Tao asks Sophia.

“I do not know. I can only tell you Morujiana, your father’s familiar who like Simone is a dragon, awakened this morning and is on her way here at this moment.”

“Then there are four dragons,” replies Tao.

Baldwin looks up to give thanks to the Universe for this glorious day. “Look. Another dragon.” Standing out against the blue cloudless sky flew a large black dragon.  

Having flown many times with Morujiana and Ged on excursions around the planets, Sophia knew immediately who the dragon was. “It is Morujiana. The familiar and dragon of Ged Sparrowhawk.

The black dragon lands and drops its left wing. A elderly bearded man climbs down. The Sorceress Sophia who has secretly loved Ged for all the time of their lives together runs to meet him. They embrace for a moment before Baldwin, Elza and Mars finally recognized the man they have not seen for more than seventy years and run to his side. Tao and Upashna remain still, holding hands, just observing, something The Philosopher likes to do.

After he greets his old friends, Ged takes Sophia’s hand and asks her to introduce him to his son and future daughter. They both approach Tao and Upashna. Sophia wonders about the introduction and if she should use their true names, Ged Sparrowhawk, Wizard, Archmage of Earthsea, Dragon Lord this is Tao Sparrowhawk, Philosopher-Wizard of Havnor, Dragon Lord. When they reach Tao and Upashna Sophia simply says, “My son Tao, this is your father Ged. Ged, this is your son Tao and my daughter Upashna.”

Meanwhile Morujiana transitions back into a feline familiar and runs off with Eno and Simone to catch some mice and leave still-warm marsupials on their wizard’s doorsteps.


The Philosopher

27.  The Philosopher – Reigniting The Sun

The father and son embrace for the first time since Ged cut Tao from his dead mother’s womb to give him life. Everyone watched in absolute silence, standing perfectly still. It was as if there was a private transmission of heart, soul, energy and time going on between the two wizards. All of The Philosopher’s questions were answered. All of Ged’s dreams were fulfilled. They made a wizard’s bond to make what had to be done something they would do together. 

“My son.” Ged whispered. “Forgive me.”

“Father.” Tao whispered. “There is nothing to forgive. You did what you had to do in order to fulfill your destiny after your dream of family was destroyed. I understand.”

The two men separated from their embrace. “Father. This is my future bride Upashna, Princess of EarthSea, Dragon Wizard and the woman who holds my heart and love.”

Ged turns to Upashna. He manages to get his aged body down on one knee and takes Upashna’s hand. “My Princess. I am at your service.”

Upashna takes Ged’s hands and gets down on both knees, bows her head and says, “No Archmage. It is I who is at your service. For you have faithfully served the land and citizens of EarthSea for all these years with honor and truth.” Following Princes Upashna’s example, all those in attendance bow down on one knee to honor Ged. The Princess then stands and helps Ged to his feet. Sophia offers her assistance and the two long time friends embrace.”

Sophia whispers to Ged. “My friend, my confidant, my love. It has been so many years but I never gave up the hope of seeing you once again.”

“It has been this dream of seeing you my friend, my confidant, my love and meeting my son which kept me alive in the mine on the underside of the astroid in suspended sleep awaiting this day to arrive.” Ged tells Sophia. “I told Tao in his dream to put out a dragon call knowing it would awake Morujiana and she would awaken me to fly her here. My powers as a wizard are few but we fly together again this day, my lifelong friend.”

“I love you Ged. I have from the moment we met in Roke all those years ago.

“I know Sophia.” Ged replies. “The times were different then and we dared not act upon our feelings.”

Baldwin and Elza come over and again embrace Ged, Tao, Upashna and Sophia. Elza addresses them. “As head of the Council of Wizards it is my supreme honor to welcome you here as wizards, friends, dragons, sorceress and family. The earth and the Other Realm are and will be forever grateful for your services today.”

Tao then speaks privately to his father Ged. “Father. Baldwin asked me to lead the dragons to reignite the sun’s core today but I ask you because of your experience to lead us instead. Please accept.”

“Thank you Philosopher. It will be my honor to lead this group, but first I would like for us to make the Bond of Common Knowledge so that each of us knows exactly what the others are doing and thinking. This bond is not to be taken lightly as we will have one common mind between us. Do you understand”

“Yes Archmage.” Tao, Upashna and Sophia reply in unison.

Ged stands as erect as he is able for a man of his age facing west with his staff in his right hand and strikes it twice upon the earth. Sophia faces south, grabs Ged’s staff with her left hand and strikes her staff held in her right hand twice upon the earth. Tao faces east and grabs Sophia’s staff with his left hand and strikes his staff twice upon the ground. Upashna faces north and grabs Tao’s staff with her left hand and strikes her staff twice upon the ground. 

Before Ged grabs Upashna’s staff to complete the bond he waits for Simone, the dragon familiar for Tao, and Morujiana, his own dragon familiar to enter inside the circle. Sophia invites her familiar Miranda and Upashna telepathically invites her familiar Eno to also enter inside the circle. Miranda and Eno will remain behind but it is important for a familiar to be a part of its wizard thoughts and actions. Once the four felines are inside the circle, Ged grabs Upashna’s staff with his left hand. A sudden swirl of wind and electricity  surrounds the group of eight to complete the bond. They become of one mind. All communication between them from this point forward is done telepathically. The swirl of wind and electricity stops.

Ged opens the circle. Morujiana leaves and transforms into Ged’s black dragon. He mounts her via her left wing, stows his staff and waits for the others. Simone leaves the group and transforms into Tao’s golden green dragon. Tao mounts her. Sophia and Upashna each transform into their dragon beings and give last instructions to their familiars. The four fly off in unison.

“Safe travels my daughter, my friends,” Elza calls out before they disappear into the evening sky.

Ged advises the group to enter from two tunnels on the east and west sides of the sun’s core. Relight the core with two dragons flying eastward going clockwise around the core, Tao and Upashna, and two dragons flying westward going counterclockwise around the core, Ged and Sophia. At no time should anyone fly toward the center of the core. He transmits.

Ged tells Tao and Upashna to follow the vortex of the Other Wind. Only this time to permit the gravitation of the vortex to pull them into the sun’s core and not to fight it as they did during their previous encounter with the vortex. He and Sophia will enter on the eastern side where another vortex had developed. They all will all use the gravitational pull of the full moon to help pull them out from the sun’s gravitation during their escape.

“Upashna. You pull up and leave first, on my signal. Tao will follow you. Then Sophia, followed by me.” Ged tells the group. “Remember once the core is reignited, head out as quickly as possible before the sudden temperature disrupts the magnetic core and sends fire balls to the surface.”

Upashna and Tao follow the pull of the vortex and upon reaching the circumference of the core begin their clockwise fight releasing their powerful dragon fire upon the core. Sophia and Ged fly westward at the top of the core’s circumference releasing their fiery dragon breath upon the core as it starts to glow.

“Okay Upashna. Pull up and fly straight out toward the moon.” Upashna obeys and pulls her wings back as rapidly as she can to counteract the sun’s gravitation. “Tao. Make one more sweep on the near side. Then follows Upashna path. Good job my son. I love you my little Philosopher.” Ged and Sophia complete their counterclockwise sweep and he tells Sophia to fly out.

“Okay Ged. I will see you at the exit.” Sophia communicates telepathically.

Ged starts his journey out from the core. The core is reignited and everyone is safe, but Ged and Morujiana are both feeling their years and Morujiana wings are not as strong as they once were. The core’s gravitation starts to pull them back toward the sun. Upashna is out and Tao is close behind when they receive a transmission from Sophia. “Ged and Morujiand are in trouble. I am going back to get Ged.”

Tao seeing Upashna safely outside the exit turns to go back to help Sophia and his father. “Upashna continue home. I will join you soon. Please, my love, do not reenter.”

“Sophia. Tao. Do not come back for me. I have lived my life. I am ready to transition. Let me go. Please. Tao. Think of Upashna. Do not come back for me,” pleads Ged.

“Tao, my son. Go back. I will get your father.” Sophia says.

As the sun’s core heats, the magnetic energy dislodges three large ball of fiery lava toward the dragons. Tao is still heading toward Sophia and his father but remains some distance away. Sophia sees the lava balls and transitions into a red and purple smoke stream permitting her to travel faster than she can as a dragon. Ged sees the lava balls coming fast behind him and spreads out his wings as far as possible to receive them and protect the others. “Sophia. Tao. Upashna. I love you. Now get out as fast as you can.” Ged again pleads.

Sophia’s smoke stream reaches Ged and surrounds him. “I love you.” Sophia says just as the three fire balls hit them and explode.

“Go my son. We are stars.”


The Philosopher

28.  The Philosopher – Epilogue 

 A month later… It is the Coronation for Upashna, the Princess-Wizard of EarthSea and her wedding day to Tao. The Dragon Lord has invited dragons to return to the Other Realm with the promise to never call upon them again to reignite the sun. 

Humankind must begin to take responsibility for their actions as members of the Universe. What humans do today affects the Universe forever. The dragons will no longer rescue  humankind when his greed, wasteful use of resources and pollution of the earth’s atmosphere and seas result in the loss of the sun’s energy upon the planets.

Proclaims Tao, the Philosopher-Wizard, Archmage of EarthSea, Dragon Lord and son of Ged Sparrowhawk wrote in the proclamation after the transitions of his father, Ged Sparrowhawk and The Sorceress Sophia.

It is a glorious day for the young couple. They plan to return to Havnor and the city of South Port with Simone and Eno to live the life of normal citizens in the Philosopher’s home until a time when their services are required again by the Council of Wizards. 

Unbeknownst to them, The Philosopher’s small home in South Port has been expanded to include the attached dwelling next door. It was apparently owned and lived in for many years by a hermit whom no one ever saw. When they enter the building for the first time upon their return, they will find Ged’s staff in the corner by the fireplace. The Palace of EarthSea will be converted into the Library of EarthSea for all the inhabitants of EarthSea to use. 

Elza and Baldwin will return to their small farm in the hidden forest and make journeys into South Port to borrow books from the library, sell their eggs and visit with Upashna and Tao. Mars will be in charge of the council. A new sorceress, Samantha, will assume the responsibility of providing familiars for the new wizards inhabiting the Other Realm. She has chosen to live in Sophia’s chambers on the far side of the astroid where Miranda is buried.

As Upashna and Tao prepare to leave the Other Realm for their honeymoon, one of the scientist approaches the newly wedded couple. “We found them sire,” he says quietly.

Upashna, Tao, Baldwin, Elza, Mars and the other wizards all head to the Observatory. “It took this long for their light to reach us sire,” says the astronomer. “They are far out in space in the same region as Flo and Fi. Their stars were just seen this morning.” Tao looks through the large telescope of the Observatory and recognizes the red and purple star of Sophia and the white star of his father, the heart and head of the constellation.

“They are all in the Constellation S-2531 sire,” says the scientist. Upashna takes her turn and looks thought the telescope. 

“The constellation looks like a bird,” she says. “Ged forms the head. Sophia, the heart. Flo and Fi are the wings. “From this day forward Constellation S-2531 shall be known as “Sparrowhawk.”


beb9192c 8ad5 4a42 b51d 11dc7ea611d3

The Is the conclusion of Book One Of The Philosopher Series

Book Two of the series, The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration may be read Here

This site is affiliated with Transformation Publications and the Diary Of Señor Tao

Thank You

The Philosopher

Image credit for The Philosopher: Bertram Winter