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The shadow cast by the crucifix danced in the flickering light provided by candles. It rested on a wall above the doorway, accompanied by the most celebrated of quotes by the martyr who had made it famous:

'Not even the gods fight against necessity'

Minister Roy was one of the few men gathered clandestinely there that early morning. The rest spread out in a semicircle, faces hooded in the dark, waiting for the ceremony to begin. Tonight the greatest and bravest of the government's internal workings would occur; the ritual that provided the state with a new leader. The draw was only minutes away as M.P Roy lent back against the wall. His stomach fluttered with nervousness. Soon...

His ascension to power was inevitable, scripted by the most powerful magicians in the land. At this very moment they exercised their power- though whatever ancient rites they performed, he was not privy to. As they had been for years, the 'powers that be' were employed to maintain the rightful balance in the state by the wealthy few.

A gong splash drew him from his reverie.

It had begun.

A cloaked figure emerged from the blackness of the room and made its stately way towards the central table. In its hands sat the object that would decide his fate. The tattered bowlers hat, out of which the name of the country's leader would be drawn, was placed in view of all there. Roy's intake of breath was echoed by the gathered cohort as the bearer's hand snaked into bowl of the hat.

He imagined his magicians, divinely guiding the hand of the bearer from afar, setting into motion all the events he had been promised. Roy stood, head tilted back and arms slightly stretched, palms facing outwards, waiting for the announcement.

With great finality the bearer removed one slip of paper, holding it up to the light. Roy waited.

As words formed on the lips of the cloaked figure, he felt his elation melt and his mouth open in surprise.

The magic has failed! The magic has finally failed!


The End

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