Being young is generally considered the worst and, indeed, the most difficult part of one's life. It’s only considered that by adults, of course, children are generally keen to rebel and do so by enjoying themselves immensely.

The thing – if you can call it a thing – about being young is that everything is very new. Ideas burn through the twilight of the brain like supernovas and alter the fabric of the landscape below. Young people are very good at learning; indeed, it is the best time to do such frivolous things before settling down to the serious business of making money and being old.

(Being old, by the way, is a pastime that should be kept purely amongst those who have time for it. I myself have no truck with it and refuse to take any part in it; there is simply too much to do to be old.)

Being young, as I said, is difficult. New ideas present themselves all the time, and they are eagerly taken on board. I am quite sure that every one of us looks back and groans inwardly at the foolishness of youth – my own sin was a room painted black, wall-to-wall. It depressed me within a day. Within a week I had repainted it to reflect my new found love of – well, something. It was all a terribly long time ago, and even if it were yesterday, I shouldn’t much care to relive it because it was terribly boring. Boredom is the worst of all sins, and boring one’s audience worse. (If you ask why it is worse than a sin, it is because it is rude, and rudeness – unlike sin – cannot be forgiven).

And so we come – at last – to the premise of this tale. It may or may not be true, but truth is an ugly reason to tell a story. It is entertaining and at certain points quite beautiful, and that is quite reason enough. Beauty is often enough its own reason, and those that say otherwise are plain, and probably quite dull.

The reason behind this story is Love. I hope you don’t mind.

If you do mind then I beseech you to leave at once; your time has not been long wasted and I am sure that you have other things to do. Read another story, by all means; some of them are exceedingly good. Some are exceedingly terrible, but there is no great harm in that - it is better to write something bad than not to write anything. Words, when caught up inside one, tend to go slightly bad, like fine wine turning to vinegar in the bottle. Drink of your words. And fill the bottle once more.

But as to this story - I offer you a tale of Old Magic, of youth, of a future that you know but sadly they do not. It may not be true and it may not be what you believe - but it is only a story.

Enough of this foolish prologue. To the tale.

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