Elf Boy's Friends - IV

by George Gauthier

Chapter 3


Within the month and in the presence of his proud parents Dexter and Hannah Wilde, Axel was granted letters patent that raised him to the knighthood. Henceforth he would be styled Sir Axel Wilde. Not bad for a youth not yet twenty.

Not long afterwards, the same two "Sisters", the healers who had helped to transform Liam, joined Dahlderon in enhancing the vitality of the newly minted knight. At their direction Axel disrobed and lay down. As the trio invoke their magic a pearly effulgence engulfed them and their subject, its color cycling from pale white to light green and back three times then died away. Axel didn't feel any different but he mages assured him that he would stay young and cute and sexy for centuries, the same as his closest friends. Axel admitted that his greatest fear had been that of eventually losing his circle of friends as he aged while they stayed young.

Axel gave his folks a tour of their suite at the residential hotel. Besides the sitting room, bathing chamber, and water closet Axel, Drew, and Liam all had huge beds in their chambers.

"My goodness Axel, that bed of yours is large enough to sleep three at once and with room to spare." Axel's father Dexter said.

"And sometimes it does just that," Karel pointed out, making Axel blush furiously. His mother Hannah just shook here head and clucked.

"Boys will be boys." she said equably.

"The beds are sized to accommodate Finn Ragnarson when he sleeps over." Jemsen added helpfully.

You are trying to shock us, young man, aren't you?" Axel's mother admonished the twins.

"It is just a bit of good natured teasing among close friends." Jemsen answered.

"The twins can't help themselves when the mischief is upon them," Axel explained, "but they mean well. I love these boys with my whole heart."

Karel opened his mouth to add "And with his whole body" but subsided under Jemsen's glare. The older twin had intuited just what his brother was about to say.

"I am just glad our Axel has such a worthy circle of friends." Dexter Wilde said. "Your names are known to us and not only from Axel's letters. The famous twins Jemsen and Karel, the prize winning journalist and author Drew Altair whose books we ourselves have read, and the war wizard Liam, honored as a Shield of the Commonwealth. Actually, all of you are genuine war heroes. Not to mention that large friend of yours who is an avatar of a thunder god. It is quite a step up for the son of a porcelain manufacturer."

"Porcelain eh? Do you make dishes or perhaps figurines?"

"No, we make plumbing fixtures like those in your bathing chamber and water closet."

That brought smiles all around.

"Our Axel has come far despite only modest magical gifts."

"Gifts are what you make of them." Jemsen noted. "whether magical or not. Look at me and my brother. Our original magical gift was that of Unerring Direction. We put it to good use as hunters, explorers, archers, scouts, and mapmakers. Our invention of contour lines won us our knighthoods and appointments as Masters in the Honorable Guild of Cartographers."

"The twins are much too modest," Drew interjected, "so let me point out their non-magical gifts of intelligence, curiosity, and courage. And a talent for making friends and picking the right people to befriend."

"And let me add," Liam interjected," that Axel has more than a few gifts now, both magical and natural. Axel can Call Light, but his balls of illumination persist for hours. That was the basis of his successful street lighting business. Axel also has the gift of Unerring Direction which makes him the perfect guide for a certain navigationally challenged war wizard. Then Axel is blessed with a type of eidetic memory. He never forgets anything he has read or written down and retains almost total recall of the spoken word too, for long enough to transcribe what he has heard."

"And now he has the magical gift of enhanced vitality which is not a single gift but a whole collection: long life, prolonged youth, acute senses, fast reflexes, doubled strength and stamina, greater healing powers, and resistance to disease. All of us share those gifts now thanks to druidical healing magic."

"So what is next for you boys?" Hannah Wilde asked. Her son answered.

"We are part of a task force considering how best to use flight in military operations. Liam is our consultant on naval combat working with Admiral Van Zant at the Bureau of Ships.

"Sir Willet and I work on standard equipment and tactics for army flyers. For instance, from the tests it is clear that flyers go so fast they need goggles like those grinders use to protect their eyes from the airstream. We need ways to signal between flyers and the ground. Should scouts go out alone or in pairs? Should flyers go up in certain kinds of weather? And what about formation flying for mass attacks. V shape like geese or line abreast or columns or what. We also need to devise standard loads of caltrops and fire globes too and gear for dispersing them upon release."

"Another question is how to counter enemy flyers if, or should I say when, we confront a foe with flyers in his armed forces. My first thought is to wield those discus shaped blades the Navy uses to cut the rigging of enemy ships."

"It sounds gruesome." Axel said.

"And for the Navy", Liam added, "I will probably recommend flying in pairs in case something goes wrong while away from the ship. The flyers should also wear cork vests for flotation. All these things and many more have to be worked out in consultation with the Army. That is why I have been assigned to work with Sir Willet and Admiral Van Zant on ships, weapons, and tactics."

"We are at the beginning of a revolution in military affairs. And none too soon, if you ask me, what with the threats from trolls, barbarians, and who knows what lies beyond the horizon."

"On that cheerful note," Drew said," let's adjourn to the patio for supper. I have ordered a special dessert: strawberry flavored iced-cream. Scrumptious is the only word to describe it."

"Sounds like a plan." Liam said in an exaggeratedly deep tone, though still only a pale imitation of Finn Ragnarson's bass rumble.

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