Origin of Magic

Chapter 3

By: Winters of Despair

Had Artemis been a normal teenager by any definition of the word he would have spent the day entirely unfocused and absentminded. His mind was too sharp for that, he knew, but it didn't stop him from feeling the anticipation all day long.

Tonight was the night of the full moon.

Artemis had plans for tonight. The great commune of magical creatures was as much of a bard's tale as anything that had ever been associated with a bard; and one of the most common things associated with the old profession of storytelling was music.

Half an hour before moonrise Artemis made his way down to the music room, glad it wasn't particularly close to any of the bedrooms. He wanted to play for as long as the moon was up. It would be a test in endurance certainly, but he never slept on these nights anyway. And instead of trying to block out all of the voices swimming in his head, this time he wanted to flow with them. Playing instruments had a wonderful way of floating him away to a higher plane. Long before Artemis had ever learnt of the People's existence, some part of him instinctively knew that music was a kind of… raw magic.

He ignored a majority of the collection of instruments in the music room (though he could play most of them), heading straight for the well-tuned Steinway grand piano. He lifted the lid and performed a few warm-ups, starting with the simple ones before gradually building in intricacy.

He stopped, hands hovering in place as he waited. When the first voices began to resonate in his mind he gently pressed down on the keys, starting the first chord of many that were to follow in a symphony of magic.

Artemis Sr. was tired. The novel he had been reading was engrossing. He blinked at the wall clock of the sitting room to find he had stayed up longer than he originally intended, though he could pass that off to the mystery he was reading.

He marked his page and set the book aside on a small table, yawning as he stood up. He flipped the light switch off, pausing a moment to stare out the window. Moonlight drifted down on the Fowl grounds, bathing everything it touched in silver light. It was reminiscent of a scene he had just read about in his book.

A soft tune reached his ears while he walked through the hallways of the manor. He chuckled softly. His imagination was working in overdrive tonight it seemed. Music was a key part of the mystery novel as well, although the song he was hearing wasn't the same he'd been recently reading about. It was Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, he mused, the third movement.

He stopped at a cross between hallways. His room was straight ahead a few doors, but the music room was some distance down his left; and he had just realized that the piano music he was hearing wasn't a figment of his imagination.

Curious, he turned away from his room and treaded down the left hallway. His son (for he realized it must be him) was up at this late hour playing music. It reminded him that he hadn't heard Artemis play in years so he decided to take the opportunity that was offered to him. A smile tugged at his lips as he gauged how much Artemis had improved.

The door to the music room was open, and the music easily audible. When Artemis Sr. stood in the doorway though, he found something he did not expect to see.

As might have been predicted, Artemis was dressed as though he planned on performing for an important audience. His suit and bow-tie were perfectly set and a polished right shoe tapped on the pedal when the occasion called for it.

All of this might have been considered normal were it not for the energy that visibly snapped in the air. Little blue sparks, similar to the ones he thought he had seen Artemis produce on occasion, floated freely through the room. They swirled and danced in time with the music, leaving impressions of intricate designs in their wake.

A stray spark made its way over to his arm. It connected and flickered out, but he was surprised to note that the sensation he had felt was not unpleasant. It tingled a little in a good way, and it left him feeling warm.

Artemis Sr. had suspected it for some time; but now he was absolutely certain that his son had some kind of special gift. What else could possibly explain what was going on in front of his eyes? He stepped further into the room, feeling comfortable with the gentle embrace the blue sparks welcomed him with. He stood there through the next five songs. When it was clear that Artemis had neither noticed him nor planned on stopping any time soon he stepped back out again.

Strangely he felt a bit more energized, in both body and mind. But perhaps it was not that odd, he thought while slipping into bed beside a sleeping Angeline. All the same, this was the opportunity he had been waiting for. Perhaps he and his son could use this to get around the roadblocks in their relationship. He would talk to Artemis tomorrow.

The final note of Claire De Lune lingered in the room as the moon went down again and the voices faded from Artemis' head. It was probably somewhere around five-thirty in the morning, but somehow Artemis couldn't bring himself to care.

His back felt stiff from sitting so straight for hours on end, but as soon as he paid it thought his magic swept the discomfort away. He didn't feel tired; in fact, if anything, he felt less tired than when he'd begun. It was a nice contrast from the draining sleepless nights he had spent previously on the full moon.

Not seeing an immediate need to retire to his bed, Artemis instead decided to change out of his formal wear into something more casual. Since he was due to perform the ritual he took a carefully preserved acorn from its hiding place in his room to plant in the east rose garden. He would put it right where his mother had always talked about planting an oak tree: in the very center. If it took to the soil and grew well, he would let her think it was a happy coincidence.

The cool night air felt refreshing on Artemis' skin. He realized that he hadn't so much as gotten a twinge of a headache through the night and grinned. He would consult the Book later and try out some spells.

"Son," Artemis Sr. said by way of greeting when he walked into the kitchen. For all his lectures on becoming more of a family he wondered why it was so hard for him to drop the formalities around his firstborn.

"Good morning father," Artemis said, sipping his tea. He had an absent expression on his face, Artemis Sr. noticed. The kind that said he was miles away while his brain whirred at several hundred kilometers a minute.

Artemis Sr. sat down at the table, casually reaching for the paper Butler must have brought in first thing this morning. "I heard you playing last night."

"Oh?" Artemis came back down to earth, focusing in on their conversation.

"You have improved."

"I had a lot of time to practice."

There it was, the thing that lurked in the background hindering their relationship: Artemis Sr.'s disappearance.

The older man pushed the subject to the side of his mind for the time being. It was something that would bring itself up when the time was right. Currently he was dealing with more pressing issues. "I watched you for a while you know. I don't think you noticed me."

"You did?"

Artemis Sr. nodded. "That was some light show," he remarked off-handedly.

Artemis' forehead creased with confusion. "Light show? I don't know what – "

"Blue sparks Artemis," he interrupted, "floating all over the room because of your music. I don't pretend to know what's going on," he continued as Artemis moved to speak, "although I have suspected for some time that you did have some special sort of gift. I just want you to know that you can talk to me about it and I'll listen. I'll always be ready to listen."

They sat in silence for some time after that. Artemis Sr. flipped open the newspaper and pretended to read while his son thought. Butler came in with breakfast and unobtrusively sat two plates on the table. The manservant's eyes flitted back and forth between father and son, but he said nothing. Over the top of his paper, the head of the Fowl household saw Artemis nod toward Butler. The man left without a word and Artemis Sr. wouldn't have put it past him to know that the family members needed some time alone.

The omelets were delicious, as always. This detail was left unremarked upon in lieu of the bubble of silence that seemed to encompass the kitchen table. Twenty minutes passed without a word. Plates were emptied and taken away. Artemis Sr. turned the page of the paper he had 'returned to reading' (how could he read with so much on his mind?) and birds chirped somewhere beyond the boundary of the manor's walls.

Artemis took his first plunge only when Angeline joined them. Not sensing anything amiss, she entered the room with a cheerful demeanor, wishing them both a good morning and remarking on the fact that the twins were still asleep. She sat next to her husband, settling into a comfortable silence while pouring herself some tea.

"I didn't know what to make of it at first," Artemis said, mostly speaking to his father. It was clear he didn't mind his mother's presence though or else he wouldn't have said anything at all.

Artemis Sr. lowered his paper, ignoring the ads his eyes had only been glossing over.

"It started out as the smallest of things: a paper cut. It wasn't a big deal at the time, but it became one when the wound sealed itself up with a small flash of blue light." Artemis settled back in his chair some, having become more comfortable with the idea of sharing this with them… or so Fowl Sr. assumed. Something was a little off about the situation though. He examined his son's face and found… nothing. No anxiety, not even resignation. They could have been discussing the weather for all Artemis' body language portrayed.

Next to him, Angeline was paying attention to Artemis too. She didn't know what was going on, but her maternal instincts told her to wait it out. So she did.

"Butler and I did some research. It took a while and we only recently obtained results, but what we found stands as solid fact."

"Butler knows about this?" Artemis Sr. asked. He had told himself he would stay quiet through the explanation being given to him, but this was important too.

"Yes, he was there when it happened."

Artemis Sr. nodded, shoving any vague traces of jealousy away. For now. He would have to deal with that on his own later.

"There are people out there, a whole world-wide secret community of magicians," Artemis told them, "though they prefer to be called witches and wizards. They use their magic every day, and they even have schools they teach their art in. The nearest is a boarding school called Hogwarts. I was thinking of enrolling."

Angeline spoke up. "Oh, do you have to leave us Arty? Can't you learn… magic," she stumbled over the word slightly, "here at home?"

"If Arty has a gift," her husband said in an informatory manner, "he should learn to use it in the proper environment." He looked at Artemis. "Only if he really wants to though."

"But," Angeline protested, "magic? I'm sorry dear," she told Artemis, "I don't disbelieve you, but it is rather difficult to take in. I stopped believing in magicians when I was ten."

Artemis answered her by holding out his palm and gathering a handful of sparks to create a glowing blue light. Even under the scrutiny of the morning sun it shone with its own power.

Angeline muttered a soft, "Oh," and stared at it. "Magic?" she repeated again.

"No tricks, no illusions," Artemis confirmed. "You can even hold it if you like. It's not harmful unless I want it to be, and it will go out only when I want it to… or if my magical reserves drop significantly."

She looked a little hesitant, but held out her hands anyway, determined to trust her son with this new aspect of the universe she didn't understand. Artemis deposited the light into her palms, watching her carefully.

"It's… warm," she finally admitted, switching it between her hands experimentally, "and beautiful."

Her expression transformed and Artemis Sr. rather thought she looked like a child who had discovered the wonders of Christmas. She held it out to him and he took it slowly in one hand, allowing it to float a few centimeters above his open hand. "A magical light?" he inquired of his son.

Artemis nodded and the light faded away. "One of the first things I learned how to do."

"What else can you do?"

"So far? Not much. I can mold the light into different shapes." He demonstrated by calling forth another bunch of sparks and molding them into the form of a rose. "I can create fire," a flame suddenly appeared in front of him, like the flame of a candle, minus the actual candle, "but it takes more effort than just calling forth the sparks. I can basically become invisible and I can heal," he admitted. "Other than that, it seems music affects my magic in some way too, but I don't know what that can be used for." He looked at them. "You seem to be taking this well."

"So do you," Artemis Sr. pointed out. "You're okay with this then, this new ability you just found out you had?"

"I'm still adjusting, but yes. I think it's wonderful."

Angeline looked like she was going to tear up. "Oh Arty, you always make me so proud."

It wasn't until this moment that Artemis Sr. realized his son had, in fact, been somewhat nervous. Muscles that were barely tense relaxed, and suddenly his expression wasn't so blank and guarded. The head of the Fowl household caught himself feeling vaguely bewildered at the thought that maybe Artemis had been seeking approval, or acceptance perhaps? He was only seventeen after all.

Were his attempts at bringing his family together again actually working?

While Artemis would have agreed that the Fowls were starting to resemble a normal functioning family (according to standards psychologists had set) he would have also pointed out his father had assumed some things which were not true.

Ever since Artemis Sr.'s disappearance and his mother's consequent ignorance of the existence of her only child, Artemis had never sought after anyone's approval. He was an entirely self-reliant individual and he saw no need to regress to childhood tendencies just because he had both of his parents back. He sought no one's approval; acceptance wasn't something a person strove for in the criminal mastermind business.

Lying was a different story. He found it difficult at best to knowingly tell a false story to his mother anymore. He spent the twenty minutes he had been given in perfect silence, coming up with several different ideas of how to explain his magic away while still weaving key elements of the truth into his story.

He breathed a mental sigh of relief when he was done, knowing that his parents had bought it.

Later in the day Holly let herself back into his office, returning from a voyage to a sacred tree. She was buzzing with energy, having planted her acorn sometime that morning and couldn't seem to keep a smile off her face for longer than five minutes. "It's been a while since I last performed the ritual," she admitted. "It feels great."

Artemis decided not to mind when his papers fluttered a little as she glided around the room on her Dragonfly wings. They were both waiting for another call from Foaly. Being in the same room together for ten minutes without arguing once was a record for them and he wasn't going to break it now by talking. She always managed to find fault with something he said.

Eventually something occurred to Holly. Her expression became thoughtful and she stopped flying around the room, hovering three feet off the ground.

"Artemis," she said, "what do you do on the nights of the full moon?"

"What do you mean?" he asked, looking over his half-finished design with a critical eye.

"Well," she explained, "fairies doesn't sleep on the full moon. We share our history through our magic. Every magical being takes part, but everyone has their own way of celebrating the past."

Artemis set his pencil aside. He swiveled his chair to give her his full attention. "And how do you celebrate?"

"If I'm not working, I go flying. But other fairies do other things. Some dance, some have parties, and some just spend it in the company of their families." She shrugged. "It's not a structured celebration."

Artemis thought about the previous night. He supposed he had been celebrating in a way. "I play music," he said simply.

Whatever he had been expecting, it was not the reaction he got: an open mouth and widened eyes. Suddenly he found himself being pulled out of his office and down the hallway.

"Holly," he began calmly, "what are you doing?"

"You are going to show me," she said. "Where is your music room?"

"Downstairs, second door on the left," he replied automatically. "I don't understand why this is so important."

She stopped walking abruptly and he almost crashed into her. "Music, she said, "is a magic in itself. It is very powerful though, and most can't harness it beyond the mesmer. The ability to wield the power of a musical instrument takes a great deal of mental discipline." She looked at him almost accusingly, as though it was his fault he might have a power he didn't even know existed. "As you might imagine, most fairies don't have the patience to learn such an art, but you might have a natural affinity for it."

"You didn't answer my question," he pointed out. "Why is this so important?"

"A Musician," she began, looking as though she would rather not be telling him this, "is an extremely powerful individual. On par with a warlock, and they can do almost anything."

"Almost anything?"

"As far as I know, manipulation of time is out of a Musician's reach."

"Of course," he nodded as though he had known this all along. "That would require the Musician to have a stronger will than Time itself."

"How did you know?" she demanded.

He blinked. "It was obvious, wasn't it?"

She shook her head and muttered something unintelligible under her breath. "Anyway, the point is, Musicians are rare. If you are one, then you need to learn all you can."

Artemis smiled; he rather liked the sound of that. He led the way to the music room. "Where do we start?"

Minerva McGonagall enjoyed sending letters to first year muggleborn students. They had more natural curiosity about the way magic worked and were generally a pleasing bunch to teach. They were always eager to cast spells and learn something new. In short, they were every teacher's dream students.

She always got around to writing their letters last because she would then have to visit the families to explain about the wonders of Hogwarts and their child's new found powers. She smiled a little as she scanned the list of names and ages. Abigail Beckham was a beautiful name, she thought absently, the little girl was ten years old. Minerva paused when she reached the 'F's.

'Artemis Fowl II' the registry read, '15 years old.'

She frowned and headed off to Albus' office. She wasn't aware that there could be such late bloomers where magic was regarded, but if it wasn't some kind of mistake then there were preparations to be made. Though she doubted that this particular teenager would be strong (for that must be the only explanation for such a phenomena), every magical child deserved a chance at education.

The deputy headmaster of the official magic school in Ireland couldn't have agreed less with Minerva. He took one look at his registry, stared, shuddered and promptly crossed Artemis' name from his list. Who would be insane enough to place magic in the hands of the heir to the criminal Fowl Empire?

Albus Dumbledore looked at the name Minerva had given him and smiled reassuringly at her. "We send her a letter of course."