Friday, August 30, 2013

You’re never too young to fulfill your destiny

“You’re never too young to fulfill your destiny"

Those words echoed in Abigail’s mind, as she stood on the front stoop of Wizard Arhon’s humble abode. Rizon moved up to the door and lifted his fist to knock;

“Come in!” came a voice from inside.

We entered cautiously; and were greeted by the glow of firelight and a table set for dinner.

“I wasn’t expecting you quite so soon! Dinner isn’t ready yet, so you should have time to freshen up a bit before we eat!” The voice called again from the room adjoining us.

I looked around at our surroundings: small but comfortably furnished, outlandish tapestries hung from almost every wall. There was a large, well used plush chair in one corner of the large room, and a sofa across from it. There were two other doorways; the one closest to us led to the kitchen and the other to a bedroom presumably.

A moment later we were met by Wizard Arhon, who walked in from the kitchen drying his hands on a towel.

“Ah, let me have a look at you all!” he paused a moment and looked us over, his keen blue eyes told me that he didn’t miss much. “Very good, I think you might just stand a chance.” He continued “As you may have guessed I am Wizard Arhon, would you please introduce yourselves?”

“I am Rizon Kandarr, and this is…..”

“No, no, no! I know you’re names, who are you?” He asked again

My blank stare was mirrored on everyone else’s face too!

“Uh, let me reword that question. What is your gift? What are you good at that will help you during this quest?”

Again there was a silence as we each thought.

“Well, you all freshen up and think about it, and we’ll discuss it after dinner.”


On the circular dinner table was a large plate of steaming fresh vegetables, and several other smaller plates of various cheeses, meats and breads.

We ate our fill and then began cleaning up our plates.

“No need for that!” Wizard Arhon said. With a twist of his wrist and a hushed word or two, the table was cleaned off and the dished were polished and stacked on the china cabinet behind us.

We all moved to the living room, Arhon sat in the old chair, the girls took the sofa and I situated myself comfortably on the floor.

“Let’s begin with your talents Rizon.” Arhon said.

Oh swell! He would start with me!

“I’ve got this special talent that uh… makes my drawings come to life.” I said

His eyes shifted to Tallie

“Oh! Um, my talents” She said “I’m a good flier, and I’m very fast.”

“Lizzie?” He asked

“I don’t really know, I’m good at reading.”

He looked thoughtful, pursed his lips a little, and then nodded slightly. He looked at Abigail next.

“I’m good at using my knives and pretty good at sleight of hand.” Abigail said.

“Alright, thank you for your honest opinions about yourself. You all are probably tired so let’s get some sleep. We’ll start training tomorrow, bright and early.”


After breakfast we all gathered outside under the large willow tree, and discussed the rogue wizard’s fortress in detail. Then we practiced stealth movements, and self-defense. Arhon showed Abigail how to use a special mirror to create the illusion of either an empty road or a road full of armed warriors. Rizon was working on his spells, and Tallie was practicing flying maneuvers.

What do I have to contribute to this cause? I found myself wondering.

After lunch Arhon called us all together.

“I have good news and bad news. Which do you want to hear first?”

“The bad” We all said in unison.

“The bad news is that Wizard Martin is going to be moved to a different security facility sooner than we thought. The good news is this transport is a great opportunity to break him free.”

“When will it happen?” I asked

“It’s happening tomorrow morning Lizzie. That is also bad news because we won’t have time to train.” He paused “I think we can do it though, if you all use your gifts that I’ve observed you’ll do quite well, and the rogue wizards won’t even know what hit them! Rizon: You’re an exceptional leader, and a good apprentice wizard. You’re strong and courageous. Tallie: You are quick at flying and equally quick witted. You’ll do well at thinking on the fly….uh pardon the pun. Abigail: You are a good marksman and will do well with the sleight of hand- mirror trick I showed you. And Lizzie: You are good at planning; you’ll come up with a good idea for what to do. And you have more strength than you realize. That being said, we should discuss the plan of attack for tomorrow.” We sat at the table looking over the maps. Tomorrow would be the day! It was too late to turn back now, yet I felt a strange sensation of peace, I suddenly realized I wasn’t afraid anymore!

Saturday, August 17, 2013


“I believe a thorough explanation would be helpful,” Rizon stated, "especially one starting with who you are.”

The man chuckled. “Look around, my boy. Can’t you tell?”

Rizon gazed about the room, taking in every detail. Lumos lights, high wooden ceiling, ornate carvings around the doors of the room and the large fireplace, an intricately-carved staff leaning up against the wall…

“You’re a wizard?”

“Precisely. Wizard Quimbet, at your service.”

“Wow, I didn’t know that there was another wizard so close to us!” Abigail exclaimed.

“Neither did I,” Rizon admitted. “Do you know Wizard Martin?”

Wizard Quimbet tapped his chin. “That name does ring a bell,” he mused. “But if I do know him, I have not seen him in a very long time. Ever since the Driving Out of the Wizards, I have lived in this forest in solitude. I enjoy the peacefulness of it. But that, of course, was broken by your entrance and the appearance of that foul beast, which I have destroyed. I believe it is time for me to ask you few questions.”

Rizon shifted nervously. It appeared as if this wizard wasn’t a rogue wizard, but he did know that appearances were not all that they seemed. This wizard might not be a true wizard. They would need to be careful.

“Yes, you do need to be very careful,” the wizard said, breaking into Rizon’s thoughts. “Cautiousness will be essential to your mission.”

Rizon was shocked. “Wait-did you seriously just read my mind?!”

Wizard Quimbet chucked. “A few of us, myself included, do have that capability, although we do not always use it. Now, I want to know who you are and why you’re here. That monster is not an inhabitant of this forest. It’s a foul creation from the pits of the rogue wizards’ dark fortress. The only reason it would be here, is if it was searching for something. Or someone.”

There was a dreadful silence. And then Tallie voiced what the others were already thinking.

“Could it be us?”

“But how could it be?!” Abigail cried. “We didn’t tell anyone! How could they know about us?”

The wizard glanced from face to face. The tension was high. “You can trust me,” he stated quietly. “Tell me everything.”
The knife struck the board with a loud thump. Another perfect hit. But Abigail wasn’t paying attention. Although she usually was thrilled over every perfect hit she made, it didn’t matter to her currently. Her mind was too distracted by other matters. The conference with the wizard had been anything but encouraging. Abigail strode to the board and yanked the knife out of the wood.

Rizon had explained everything. There was nothing that he had left out. Then the wizard proceeded to inform them of the foolhardiness of their mission.

“The fortress is heavily guarded with at least a hundred guards at any given time. These guards are trained to handle anything and everything and are ones you would not stand a chance against. Especially not if it was just the four of you,” he stated straightforwardly. “Secondly, each of these guards has been bestowed with incredible farsightedness. You could not get within 10 miles of the fortress without being seen.”

He sure did a great job of trying to discourage us, Abigail growled. With all of the details concerning fortress protections, rogue wizard skills, and much, much more, he made it sound like an impossible mission.
I’m sure this mission is worthy and all, but I don’t know if I’m up to the task. I don’t have many skills that will aid in fighting powerful, bad wizards. Sure, I can throw a knife well. But I doubt that a wizard will have a hard time deflecting a blade. Will I really be of any use to this mission? Abigail gritted her teeth in frustration as the thoughts wrestled in her mind. Then she let the knife fly.
Lizzie wasn’t fairing much better. She sat on a log in the forest, trying to sort through her own thoughts. Tallie perched beside her.

“You know, when we left, I never really thought about what all this would include. All I wanted was an adventure. I was tired of being stuck in our little part of the forest and never being able to leave. I never stopped to consider what it would cost. Tallie, I don’t think I can do this. I’m scared of what could happen. I don’t think I can handle it. I’m not courageous, at all.”

“Lizzie, having courage isn’t being fearless. It’s taking action even though you have fear!” Tallie encouraged her. “I doubt any of us really think we can do this. But we promised to help Rizon rescue the wizard. We gave our word, and we need to keep it. The wizard is in great danger.”

Lizzie sighed. “You’re right. As always.”

“Who knows? Maybe you’ll find some courage you didn’t know you had!” Tallie exclaimed. “And I’m sure it will definitely be an adventure.”
Deep thoughts seemed to be common among all of the team members this afternoon. Rizon sat in the dirt outside of the cottage, absent-mindedly drawing in the dirt. Suddenly, a movement caught his eye. It came from the picture! Rizon had been drawing a stick figure of his master as he mused over the whole situation. Suddenly, it began moving. It was crawling across something. Various other items began to appear around the figure. Shackles appeared around the figures’ feet. And a thick wooden door fabricated in front of it.
Rizon screamed out of complete shock.
Apparently he had also fainted, because he awoke to find Wizard Quimbet sprinkling water over his face.

“Whoa, what just happened?!” Rizon spluttered.

“Apparently you were quite shocked by the manifestation of one of your talents,” the wizard explained.

“The manifestation of one of my talents??!”

“Yes, my boy. Didn’t Wizard Martin explain it to you? It is a rare talent. Especially rare for an apprentice.”

Quimbet helped Rizon sit upright, as the boy was feeling rather weak from the shock. “You were drawing a figure as you thought about the Wizard Martin. Consequently, it became Wizard Martin. Rizon, you can see anything you wish as long as you draw it, and focus hard enough on it.”

Rizon just stared at the wizard, speechless.
Abigail paced back and forth in front of the huge fireplace. A door slamming made her look up. Rizon strode into the room with Lizzie and Tallie close on his heels.

“I’m calling a meeting,” he announced, placing himself in one of the armchairs. Abigail remained standing at the fireplace and the two other girls perched on the couch.

“You all heard Wizard Quimbet’s description of the rogue wizards, their fortress, and the dangers involved. I’m sure I was not the only one who was feeling incompetent to handle it.”

“You said ‘was’,” Tallie noticed.

Rizon nodded. “I did. But we have a new weapon.” He explained his gift and how it worked to the girls. The room was silent as they began to process this new information and its benefits. “This can aid us a lot. Wizard Martin needs my help, and I intend to give as much as I can. I would greatly appreciate your help, as well.”

“I’ve done a lot of thinking, and I think that I can say that, as of now, although I still have some doubts, I’m in and willing to see this through,” Abigail said. Lizzie and Tallie nodded together. “That’s great that you have this gift, Rizon. But it will only be able to help us a little bit, since you can only see things that you’ve seen before. We’re going to need a lot more if we’re to succeed.”

“And we’re going to get a lot more,” Rizon promised.
“Are you sure that he will be willing to help us?” Lizzie asked.

“Wizard Arhon is a fine man, Lizzie,” the wizard assured her. “He will be able to give you all of the training that you need for this mission. I’ve given Rizon a letter explaining everything. If I know him, and I do very well, he will not turn you away.”

“Thank you so much, Wizard Quimbet!” Abigail cried. “We are completely in your debt.”

“You’re very welcome. I hope all of you succeed and wish you the best on your journey. I only wish I could go with you. But I have too many responsibilities here in the forest to tend to.” He led the four over to a shimmering portal in the wall. “As soon as you enter the portal, you will come out in Glowen. Ask around until you find William Arhon. Please be very careful with what you say, as the people there are not aware of his wizardly-identity. He has done his best to keep it secret.”

“We will be caution itself,” Lizzie promised.

Goodbyes and expressions of gratitude were exchanged, and then the four stood together in front of the portal.

Rizon looked from face to face. “Are we ready?” he asked. The girls affirmed that they were. “Alright, then,” Rizon said. He took a deep breath. “Let’s go.”

They stepped through.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

No paths led to a wood, I decided to take it. The following story is what happened when I did . . .

The next day, we all woke up to a raucous cawing in the distance. Thick foliage obscured any sight of what was causing the annoying disturbance. My first instinct was to go check out what it might be, but Lizzie was firm, "Whatever is out there might not be overly friendly to four, inexperienced adventurer. And if we had to run from whatever it is, we couldn't run far with Abigail's injury."

"No really, guys, it's just a scratch. I could run if I had to. But we might want to know what is disturbing the crows over there. Innocence is bliss, but ignorance can lead to  destruction."

Tallie cocked her blue head sideways, "That was very profound, Abigail."

I calmly weighed the decisions in my head. "There couldn't be any harm in checking out whatever was over there. It could be harmless, but if it wasn't and we were in danger, wouldn't we want to know? But if we weren't in danger and going over there would put us in danger, I'd rather not of course. But whatever you decide, I'll agree."

Then I realized that the rest of the company was watching me, waiting for a decision. I repeated myself, "I ... ahem. . . am willing to accept whatever decision you come to. Myself, I'm divided."

They peered curiously at me. "Couldn't you just do some of your wizardry to turn yourself invisible and check it out? Isn't that what you've spent your whole apprenticeship doing?"

I sighed. Great, so now I'm supposed to be a full-fledged wizard? But hey, I sure wasn't about to go destroy my obviously high image, so I played along. "Psshaw, sure I can. Vanishing is a simpler act, but a smokescreen, now that takes skill." I smiled bravely, "Believe me, I'll go check out this creepy disturbance and hone my smokescreen skill in the process." Oh, well done, Rizon. Rather well done. You've only heard the words for the smokescreen spell from the wizard Martin. You've never even done it. It could knock you out, and who knows how long you could hold the spell.

But I'd promised, and the girls were looking expectantly at me. I was in for the test of my whole apprenticeship. And I'd never done anything close to it before. I was a total nube at efficient spell-casting. A single wrong word and my total life force could explode like a dynamite-filled cow. Of course, that was the best way to go. There were countless other painful methods of dying from a spell gone wrong: sucking every last drop of moisture from your body, filling your bladder with natural gas until it exploded with intense pain also rupturing other organs, spewing a purple acid into your lungs, growing fungus from every possible pore on your body, and even your brain matter expanding through every possible space in your body until you suffocate.

This spell could take many more, and if I could do it successfully once, there was no guarantee that I could do it again.

But with that synthesized smile still plastered onto my paling face, I marched into the ring of trees surrounding the clearing. As I drew nearer to the sound of the crowing, my heart rate tripled and every footstep was as loud as a herd of elephants. But that's how it's supposed to be in all the adventures, right?

The foliage was thick about my legs and often entangled the lower half of my body in such a complex web, that my progress was greatly hindered. But gradually, my eyes adjusted and I was able to avoid the entrapping tangles of vine and bush.

The sound of crows soon filled my head. I took a deep breath, mentally preparing myself for the physical torture I was about to endure. I closed my eyes . . . and recited what I hoped was the proper incantation. Surprisingly, the words were easy upon my tongue and seemed to be nothing special, but that sensation was directly contradictory to the terrifying possiblities underneath.

"Ula, cum lauda, sancta clorifique onoytiar!"

Rizon tensed, expecting to find some torturous species invading his internal organs, eating him from the inside out. . . . he nearly jumped out of his skin when his stomach rumbled. He stared in horror as it made some liquid-y sounds and then fell silent. This was the end, he just knew it. He clenched his eyes shut and swallowed hard. Just as he thought that he could die any second, he heard a loud, crystal-clear laugh from somewhere nearby.

Rizon's eyes snapped open, abruptly scanning his line of vision for whoever had laughed at him. And good thing, he opened his eyes, because a low snarling came from off to his left. He could hear the underbrush flattening under something heavy coming at him.

Frozen in fear, he fixated his eyes on the point where it would emerge; somewhere in the back of his mind he realized that the crows had stopped cawing. Then he saw it . . . a huge, snarling menace emerging from the shadows, it's head was contorted and twisted into fantastical nightmarish proportions. It was not unlike a large, mutated wolf. Long fangs dripped saliva and something else . . . like blood. It stalked toward Rizon on long shaggy legs, a steadily advancing terror.

It was nearly upon Rizon, he couldn't run for fear, but thrust his arms up to protect himself as it lunged with a excited growl at his throat. In the exact instant before, the dripping fangs latched onto his arm, he dissolved into a wisp of smoke. Rizon felt himself being pulled away from the hideous appartition, as some unseen force dissolved him and reassembled him a different point in the forest. The wolf mutation -Rizon had decided to call it the Salivator- appeared surprised as he vanished from before him and reappeared some distance away.

Rizon stumbled as gravity returned to him, and had but a few seconds as the Salivator spared no time in rushing full-speed towards him, the rage at being foiled evident in his predatory eyes.

But just before it's jaws closed upon his throat, it disappeared in a wisp of smoke, just like Rizon had, with the exception that this time Rizon couldn't tell where the Salivator had disappeared to. He peered cautiously around in an attempt to discover the wolf's whereabouts.

"He's gone, kiddo. For sure, as I'm Helvester Sakcloat." The speaker stood upon a protruding rock a ways away. He was an unimposing type with muttonchops and a very independent set of eyebrows that punctuated nearly every syllable.

"Who in the dragons of Roastok are you?" Rizon gazed open-mouthed at the strange figure.

"Tut-tut, my good man. Open mouths lead to flies in the respiratory system and that is definitely not a good thing. And just on a side note, save your open-mouth adoration for objects worthy of it: example being a extremely large collection of valuable artifacts, an extremely beautiful girl, and of course a magical or physical feat of pure awesomeness, similar to what I just did for you. Now come in before your companions get tired of waiting." Without another word the strange man disappeared straight into the ground.

Rizon struggled wearily over to where the odd man had been standing and as he was about to cry out in frustration, he found himself plopped in the middle of a sitting room. To be more precise, on the middle of a table, in a bowl of nuts. Abigail had just been reaching for one such nut, but seeing Rizon's posterior firmly situated over the bowl, thought better of it and withdrew her hand.

Helvester stood off in a corner, leaning on the fireplace. He was smiling into his elbow, a poor attempt at concealment. "There is an art to teleportation, and it would do nicely if you removed yourself from the refreshments table."

Glaring at the man, Rizon rose from the table and seated himself with a sigh of relief on a nearby padded chair, next to the rest of his company. "I believe that you, sir, have a good bit of explaining to do for yourself. How about starting with what you did to me in the forest? and what you did to the wolf-creature? and what it was? and who you are? and what we're all doing here? and why should we trust you?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Chapter 5

“Oh swell!” Abigail said the sarcasm thick in her voice. She looked at her companions; “Any ideas?” she asked hopefully

“Let me fly up and take a look!” Tallie suggested, she flew up quickly and gracefully.

“There are a few stones loose up here, I’m going to try and push them free” They heard a faint grunt which was followed the sound of stones falling against stone.

“How’s it going?” I asked

“I don’t think I can get enough loose to let us out!” said a disgruntled Tallie

“At least we’ll have more air circulating” Abigail said, trying to hide any sign of stress in her voice.

Tallie floated back down and landed in between Abigail and I.

There was a long pause, while we all thought of what might be done to get out of this predicament.

I looked around our surroundings, my eyes adjusting to the darkness. For the first time I noticed a long passage way, the other’s followed my gaze.

“I didn’t notice it being there before!” Tallie said

“Me either” I said.

Abigail stepped forward and examined it carefully.

“With the lack of dust here, I’d say that it was closed in and the earthquake must have reopened it.” She said

We looked at each other, seeming to read each other’s minds. Silently we picked up our things and cautiously began and trek down the dark unknown.



I wandered the forest, trying to clear my head and search for firewood.

How are we going to find the rogue wizards? What will we do even IF we find them? How can we free Wizard Martin? All these questions flooded my mind, seeming to drown me.

“What would Wizard Martin do if he were here?” I wondered aloud. I sat down on an old oak stump to think it over. Just as I did there was a sudden shift in the wind, almost undetectable, an instant later the earth shook so hard I thought it was going to come apart under me.

The first thing that came to my mind was: I’m too young to die! I waited for it to escape from my mouth, but I couldn’t make a sound!

Then as soon as it had started it was over. The forest was still and quiet……but the peace that had been there before was gone!

I slowly picked myself up off the ground and looked around, I didn’t notice anything or anyone out of the ordinary. This earthquake was definitely stronger than the last one; we must be getting closer to the source. WE! The girls! I darted back the way I had come, dodging trees and nearly tripping over a tree stump. I burst into the clearing…..nothing!

“Lizzie?! Tallie?! Abigail?!” I cried. I scanned the clearing for any sign of them, then; my eyes fell on where the opening of the cave had been.

OH NO! I ran to the cave “Girls!!! Are you in there? Are you alright?”

Never in my entire life had silence ever been so loud!


The tunnel was musty smelling and the occasional drip would land on us, but we kept going. We rounded the corner

“Ouch!” I exclaimed

“Are you alright?!” Tallie and Lizzie asked in unison

“I’m fine. Be careful, there’s a large rock or something there!” I laughed it off, trying to hide the pain in my voice. I felt my shin, it was wet. I held my hand closer to my eyes to see it better; it was red! I picked myself up and we continued; there was nothing to be done now anyway.

“Is it me or is it getting cooler in here?” Tallie asked

“I do feel a slight breeze coming from ahead!” I agreed

We subconsciously quickened our pace. It was getting lighter in here. We turned the next corner and were a few feet from an opening. The fresh air greeted us like an old friend!

Suddenly Lizzie exclaimed “RUN!” and she shoved us toward the exit.

We stumbled out of the exit a moment before an avalanche of stones closed off the opening.

As the dust and pebbles settled I looked over at Lizzie

“How did you know that was going to happen?” I asked

“I…I don’t know. I just sensed something was wrong, that was my first instinct.”

“Well…..Thank you! I doubt we’d have gotten out in time if it weren’t for you!” I smiled at herJ.

I looked back at the rocks, and let out a low whistle. That was WAY too close!

We walked back around towards where we thought our original camp might have been; it was growing quite dark by now. Half an hour later we entered the clearing. There sat Rizon, a warm fire crackling in the middle. I can honestly say it was the most welcoming sight I’d ever seen!

“It’s about time, any later a dinner would’ve been ruined” Rizon said, he almost managed to hide the sound of relief in his tone. Almost!

We lounged around the fire eating vegetable stew and exchanging our stories.

“Your leg” Rizon said

I looked down; my left pant leg was stained brown. I’d completely forgotten about it being cut.

I opened my pack and found a compress and bandage.

“At least I know how I got this cut. I’m usually bleeding and don’t know how it happened!” I laughed. Soon we were all joking and laughing.

Somewhere out in the darkness an evil force was planning something, but for the night it was enough to be laughing with friends around the fire!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Chapter Four: What Am I Doing?!

Once again there was a knock on the door. Rizon quickly rose to answer it. But before he could open the door, it opened on it's own and the girl from yesterday strode inside. Apparently she had discovered that it was unlocked.

"Alright, what's going on with this weather? Spit it out," she demanded.

"Excuse me?"

"This weather. I came yesterday to find out what was causing it, remember? Well, the wizard wasn't able to answer our question because he left in such a hurry. So what do you know about all of this?"

"Um...well, I uh..." Rizon hadn't intended on telling anyone of what the wizard had told him, but... "it's because of a group of wayward wizards. A little experiment they did. And apparently there's much more to it than meets the eye. Something dangerous."

"Dangerous?! What type of dangerous?"

"Well, I'm not sure. The wizard isn't quite sure either. He just knows it is. There's no specifics yet, though."

"Is someone going to do anything? If it's dangerous, and in the hands of criminals, it needs to be stopped! What's the wizard doing right now when this is going on?"

"Um, he went to scout out the rogue wizards' center and got captured. He's sitting in a prison right now. Very happy place, I'm sure."

"Wait, how do you know he's in prison? Were you there?"

"No, he appeared to me using one of his wizardly tricks," Rizon admitted. There was a small moment of silence, and then,

"Well, what are you going to do?" the girl demanded.

"What am I going to do?!" Rizon exclaimed. "Now wait just a minute! I'm no wizard. I'm just a wizard's apprentice. What can I do?"

The girl was just about to answer, when there came yet another rap on the door. Rizon stepped over and opened the door.

"Hello, again!" a sweet voice greeted him. It was the little mouse maiden and her bird friend. Also from yesterday.

"Oh, hi," Rizon said. "Come on in."

"Lizzie! Tallie! Hi!" the girl exclaimed.

The mouse maiden smiled shyly. "Hi, Abigail."

Abigail quickly got the two new visitors up to speed as Rizon stood there, wondering what the rest of the day was going to look like...

"You need to do something!" Lizzie exclaimed, jerking Rizon out of his thoughts. Apparently the comment was directed at him, because all three girls were looking at him. Shoot, he thought. Here we go again.

"Look, like I told the girl-"

"It's Abigail."

"Okay, like I told Abigail,  there's nothing I can do. I'm no wizard. Wizard Martin only told me to go fetch the other wizards from Kamden." He wasn't about to say what else Wizard Martin had told him. He knew that he needed to keep it completely secret.

"But by the time you get the wizards, something could have happened!" Tallie squawked in frustration. "We need to do something now-before it's too late!"

These girls seem awfully hasty...Rizon thought. Mighty rash, they are.

"Girls, please, you have no idea what you're getting yourself into! This is not a job for girls."

Abigail raised an eyebrow. "Is that so?" Her hand went to her belt. Rizon now noticed a small sheath hanging from it. He watched as she drew forth a very sharp dagger and then jumped as she flung it past him, quick as a flash. It landed in the opposite door, in the exact center with a loud thud. "I'm very accurate," Abigail stated. "Care for me to demonstrate more?"

"Uh, no. There are no more demonstrations necessary. From anyone." Obviously he had underestimated her talents, and he wouldn't be surprised if the mouse and bird also had daggers hidden on themselves. He was hesitant about going after the wizard himself, but he wasn't wanting to argue with this dagger-throwing girl. It could cost him dearly, he feared.

"Well," he began slowly, "what do you all propose we do?"


Two hours later, they were on the road.

What am I doing?! Rizon thought. These girls know nothing about quests! And aren't their parents going to wonder where they are? This seemed bad all around. But of course, he wasn't about to argue.

"So, we're headed west to the Derzak Plains where these wizards are located. When we get there, we'll scout around the area and make a plan about how to rescue the wizard and we'll figure out what these rogue wizards are up to and stop them before it is too late. Sound good, everyone?" Abigail looked around.

"Sounds great," Rizon replied, rolling his eyes.

"A wonderful plan!" Lizzie exclaimed. "It's going to be just like it is in the books! We'll be spies!"

"It is not going to be just like it is in the books. It never is. Sorry to be a rain cloud, but this quest is no game." Rizon rolled his eyes again for the hundredth time and strode ahead, eager to be alone with his thoughts.


When it became dark, Rizon persuaded them to stop for the night. He found a cave in the side of a canyon along which they had been traveling and moved them all inside. Abigail could have gone on for a while more still, but she figured the others needed rest. Rizon moved towards the mouth of the cave.

"I'll be back in a few minutes," he said. "I'm going to go collect some firewood."

Abigail nodded her acknowledgment and set to work unrolling some blankets. Her work was suddenly interrupted by a violent shaking of the ground. She collapsed, unable to balance herself. Overhead, a large rumbling sound began. Abigail glanced at Lizzie and Tallie, whose eyes were wide with fear. It was an avalanche. The three huddled together as rocks tumbled down the mountainside, landing in front of the cave. Finally the avalanche stopped and the girls opened their eyes. What they found horrified them. The mouth of the cave had been completely filled up by rocks!

They were trapped.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Chapter 3: Or is there?

Rizon Kandarr gulped. Three people at the door – girls, to be specific – what could they possibly want? He cautiously opened the door wider.
“Come right in, the wizard shall be with you in a moment. He stepped aside as they entered through the archway into Rizon’s home. They stared around as they stumbled further inside, into the large entryway. He took silent satisfaction in their incredulous looks as they absorbed the fantastic place he had the pleasure to call home.
The tall girl was the first to speak up, “So do all wizards live in trees?”
“Well, we, me and the wizard, do,” Rizon had quite forgotten that their house was built into the base of a large, ancient tree. The inside appeared quite normal; in fact it was rather deceptive in that the simple outside appearance of a tree disguised the elegant furnishings within. Polished wood was everywhere, plush pillows adorned the long couches, and a grand, polished marble fireplace sat off to one side. And this was only in the front room, the rest of the house would take too long to describe.
“I don’t really know any other wizards, so I couldn’t really . . . “  Rizon trailed off, unsure how to finish answering the question. But the girl didn’t notice, instead she was wandering about, examining the detail on the marble fireplace. Instead the mouse maiden spoke up,
“How do you clean all this? With magic?”
Rizon lowered his gaze, “No, the wizard won’t teach me the spell for cleaning yet; he believes that I must learn to do it the hard way in order to truly appreciate the magic.”
The mouse smiled apologetically, “That’s too bad, but it’s still pretty impressive to clean all this by hand.” Rizon met her warm, friendly eyes, and found not disappointment in his lack of wizardly ability but rather friendly acceptance.
He looked over towards the tall girl and saw her gazing longingly at the pillows on the couch.
“You know you can sit on the couch if you want.” She thanked him and slowly leaned down to perch on the edge of the couch, as if it might break at any moment. Rizon laughed, and dared to make a jibe, “Is that any way to use a couch? I know you want to do it!”
She cocked her head, as if contemplating what he was saying. But a flying object blocked Rizon’s point of view as it flew through the air and rebounded off the couch, only to get back up and flounce back onto it. The mouse maiden giggled as she sank deep into the couch only to spring back up again.
Abruptly, the wizard swept into the room, long cloak billowing furiously around his figure. He went straight to Rizon. “There are some matters of most important consideration that I must attend to. This blasted strange weather has started some wheels turning in my old head. If all goes well, I should be back within a day or two, and if I don’t return within a fortnight you must seek lodging in the village for I shall either be captured, being tortured, or all-together dead.”
All of these possibilities seemed equally problematic and not at all comforting but that was just how the wizard was, straight to the point. Rizon merely nodded, what else was there for his to say. He could protest, refuse to be left alone –for this was the first time – but that hardly seemed something that the wizard would expect from his exemplary apprentice, so Rizon kept a lid on all his feelings. The wizard was gone out the door in a few fleeting moments, no time for goodbyes.
“But . . .” the blue sparrow cried out, “We didn’t get to ask him our question.”
Rizon apologized for the unexpected change of plans. He informed the trio that they would not be able to get any answers that day, but if they came back in a few days they might be able to receive an audience with the wizard on whatever matters they desired to request of him.
As he ushered them out of the house, he hesitated, unwilling to forget the friendship he had felt with them. But then in that brief moment, they were gone. He peered out of the doorway, watching with some regret as their figures slowly receded into the deepening twilight.
He closed the door, and immersed himself in various obligations throughout the house: feeding the animals, preparing dinner, taking care of the dragon egg, and then just overall straightening up. A hour or two passed by, and then he sat down to dinner. A plump, roasted flatebird caught in one of the air-traps was a little overdone but that didn’t bother Rizon. It would’ve definitely bothered the wizard- who might have proceeded to “entertain” him with a long lecture about the more particular nuances of cooking. But the wizard wasn’t there, so Rizon enjoyed the respite from his never-ending learning.
The deepening twilight swiftly turned to pitch black outside the windows of Rizon’s empty manor. Undressing quickly, he was in bed within minutes of securing the premises. The sheets were cold but quickly warmed up, especially after he closed his still-open window. Drifting off to sleep, Rizon’s dreams took him places he could never hope to aspire to.
Rizon woke to a soft light playing over his sleepy face. He realized he hadn’t turned off the oil lantern by his bedside before succumbing to the dreamworld. Through his drowsy eyes, he managed to distinguish a wavering figure between him and the light source. Slowly his eyes adjusted, and he realized that the figure was the wizard Martin. He jerked to attention, his lethargic movements clumsy. J
“Rizon. How many times have I told you to secure all the premises? This lamp was strictly forbidden to be left on past your own bedtime. But what has been done has been done, and although I wish you would have heeded my counsel, I am thankful for such a forgetful, and irresponsible apprentice like you.”
Rizon experienced several emotions during the duration of the wizard’s dialogue; at first, shame; then, regret tempered with resolve to prove his attentiveness; and finally, utter confusion. “But wizard Martin, how could my mistake be something to be thankful for? I clearly disobeyed your command and you are thanking me for it?”
“Why? My boy, use your eyes. I am not in my usual form. Your eyes can reveal volumes to you if you only know how to use them. Tell me, what have I done? Why did I do it? How do these solutions resolve your first question?”
Rizon focused on the wizard’s wavering, shimmering form – wait, a minute, wavering? Shimmering? Aha, Rizon had found variation in the wizard’s form, but what did it mean? Why was it wavering? It was almost like the wizard was a pool of water that some little kid relentlessly continued to poke, spreading ripples throughout the entire pool. The form was wavering, sometimes substantial, sometimes almost like a ghost, like he wasn’t all the way –Rizon perused his mind for what the technique was used for. Surely the wizard had told him this sometime during a lengthy speal.
Wizard Martin studied Rizon thoughtfully all the while he was racking his brain to find the answers to the wizard’s questions and Rizon’s own.
Rizon slowly fitted various pieces of information and observation together to form a thesis. He finally managed to get into word-worthy proportions and was planning to give his answer, when a notion appealed to him that would allow him to test his theory. In a swift fluid motion, Rizon’s hand swooped down, grabbing the pitcher of water by the bed, and in a continuous upward motion Rizon flung the contents directly at the wizard’s face.
The wizard flinched and lifted an arm, as if to shield himself, but the water passed harmlessly through him to splash onto Rizon’ bedstand, wetting the wood and dousing the flickering oil lantern.
“Oh well done, young apprentice. You’ve succeeded in discovering the answer to your questions and eliminating my light source. Would you be so kind as to replenish the light you so thoughtfully doused.
Grinning from ear to ear, Rizon fumbled around in the darkness for another lamp, which he proceeded to light and set upon the damp bedstand. It’s brightness illuminated the entire room, much to Rizon’s disappointment.
“Oh dear, it seems to be a day for reprimands,” remarked the wizard sourly, as he gazed at the pile of soiled clothes that had collected in the vacant corner.
Eager to forestall any possible lectures or additional chores, Rizon forged ahead in the conversation. “But surely you didn’t come here in your spirit form to merely chastise me for a solitary lantern and a microscopic little pile of unwashed laundry. What has prompted your current state? What danger are you in?”
The wizard turned his head to face Rizon’s. “I’ve distracted myself with your faults when this is a time to encourage you for your strengths. I need your help. I gravely underestimated what I was up against. This weather lately, it was no mere wizardly accident. It was the experimental work of an extremely talented group of rogue wizards.”
Rogue wizards? Where had Rizon heard that before? Ever? Not that he could remember. Rizon stared questioningly back at the wizard.
“Ah, that’s right. I apologize. I have kept you shielded from the more hostile factions of our powerful group. The wizards are powerful, with magic that can be used for both good and evil. And since no one is more powerful than a wizard we came together and devised what is now known as the Wizard’s Code. It defines certain moral lines that shouldn’t be broken without severe punishment. All wizards are subject to them. Whoever crosses any of these lines is immediately banned from our presence and declared a rogue wizard, a direct enemy of all steadfast wizards. Now that you have heard our standing in a nutshell, without any of the more tricky scenarios and political scheming, I can explain my situation . . .
The wizard talked for what seemed like a good hour or two, describing what Rizon must do to free him from the prisons of the rogue wizards, in addition to all the backstabbing politics of the High Council of Wizards. Rizon found himself listening attentively, enraptured by the drama of all that had been going on without his knowing about it; he also found himself wondering just how much the old wizard had kept from him and maybe was still keeping from him.
Abigail feverishly scoured the big black cooking pots from the Royal Dragon outside the aforementioned establishment. Her thoughts were immediately centered on the unusual occurrences of the day before when she had gone to see the wizard. Something was up, she knew that much. The weather, the mysterious departure of the wizard, it was all pointing to . . .? Grrrr.  Why didn’t the wizards just say, “The weather is perfectly natural, so don’t worry about a thing. Oh, and I’m just going to go outside to check on some of my gardenias.” Nope, of course that was not what had happened. Instead, the wizard had appeared all dramatic and gave a bleak list of what might happen to him, along with instructions for his apprentice, should something actually happen. But although she might enjoy adventures and risk, she hated to be aware of an adventure but not have even an idea of what it was about. That very minute she resolved to return to the wizard’s house to pry whatever the apprentice knew out of his head and then if she was still in the dark, to . . . uh, finish scouring the pans.
Not far away, a mouse maiden and her companion blue sparrow were consulting each other, and coming much to the same conclusion that Abigail had. The wizard’s departure was extraordinary and they loved a good story. Life was a wee bit boring just then, so a bit o’ shakeup would be extremely therapeutic.
A tall, shy human girl, a mouse maiden, a blue sparrow, and a wizard’s apprentice all are about to realize just how lucky they are. Or are they?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chapter 2

Abigail stood outside for a moment longer, then reality sunk in. The animals! Hiking up her skirt she darted toward the barn. She barely made it in when a lightning bolt struck right where she had been standing. “Hey watch it!” she wanted to shout at the sky. The thunder seemed to be reading her mind, for right then it boomed in response! She shuddered and quickly battened down the barn windows and secured the animals. Abigail fought against the wind to close the barn doors. “Ugh!” She exclaimed as the dead bolt slid into place. She ran across the yard and into the kitchen of the Royal Dragon.

“Abigail, where have you been?” Her mother asked “I was getting worried about you.”

 “I was just taking care of the animals in the barn. How are things in the dining room?”

“Okay, other than some broken plates and spilled food. Would you grab a broom and start cleaning up, please? I’ll start cleaning things up in here.” She motioned toward the pots and pans that were spilled all over the floor and counter.

“Yes Mama.”

She picked up the fallen mirror in the dining room, and looked at herself briefly. She stood 5’ 5” in her socks, was average in build with wavy brown hair and vivid green eyes. She once overheard someone say she was “Plain to the point of forgettable”, which was fine by her. Abigail hung the mirror back on the wall, fixed her tousled hair and returned to straightening the room.

As she swept, her mind buzzed with a hundred questions, foremost among them was “What in the world is going on?!”

Tomorrow she would go and see Martin. If anyone would know what this thing was Wizard Martin would!


“Lizzie?!” Tallie called across the ruble of trees in what was once a clearing. The earthquake had brought some of the old trees down around the mouse family’s home. “Lizzie?!” Tallie called again.

“Here I am!” Lizzie stood up from behind a fallen tree. Her parents and siblings followed.

“Are you alright?”

“I….I think so. How about you? What just happened?” Lizzie asked

“Oh I’m fine” Tallie smiled “I’ve never seen anything like that before!”

“Well, is there anything we can do?” asked Lizzie

Suddenly Lizzie began hunting around under the fallen tree, gradually becoming more frantic in her search.

“What are you looking for?” Tallie asked

“My book! I can’t find my book!” Lizzie exclaimed.

“Let me fly up and see if I can find it.” Quick as a flash Tallie was in the air, her keen eyes searching the rubble for the book. “Aha! I see it.” She swooped down and plucked it up in her beak.

“Thank you! I’d hate to lose it, I haven’t finished it and the ending seems quite promising!”

Tallie laughed gently. If there was one thing her friend was known for other than being shy, it was her passionate love of books! Lizzie joined in the laughter; they often knew what the other was thinking! Their inside joke was interrupted by Lizzie’s father.

“Lizzie! We’d best be getting into the house, it’s late and starting to turn cold!”

“Yes dad! I’m coming, right away!” Lizzie replied.

Tallie and Lizzie said their goodbye’s and each went to their own homes. Tomorrow was a Saturday and they agreed to meet then.

The next morning after chores and an early breakfast Tallie and Lizzie met beneath the large willow tree near the river, Gorm Domhain, The Deep Blue.

“Last night’s events were so strange” Lizzie was saying. “I keep thinking about what it might have been!”

“I was also!” After a moment of silence Tallie said “I’ve heard there’s a wizard of incredible wisdom who lives near the edge of the forest. Perhaps he would know what it was?”

“Perhaps... You weren’t thinking of going to see him, were you?!” Lizzie asked.

“Not me….US!”

“I’m not sure about this!” Lizzie said. She was becoming more uneasy about this whole idea the closer they got towards the Wizard’s house.

“I’m not comfortable either, but this may be our only chance for an adventure! And I’d like to at least have one!” Tallie replied.

As they walked along the vague path toward the house, they were startled by the sound of rustling leaves to their right. Suddenly a girl appeared.

“Oh!” She exclaimed. A slight smile emerged on her face “Good morning! I’m sorry if I startled you.”

“Good morning” Lizzie replied timidly. She recognized the girl from around the village; she was the tavern keeper’s daughter.

After an awkward moment of silence the girl spoke again “My name is Abigail. What are your names?”

“I’m Tallie and this is Lizzie!” Tallie said quickly, having finally found her voice.

“Nice to meet you! Where are you off to this fine morning?” She asked

Tallie and Lizzie exchanged glances. Should they tell her? Very well, their look seemed to say.

“We’re going to see the Wizard!”

Abigail looked quite shocked “I am also! Would you mind if I walked along with you? I don’t get many chances to talk to people my own age, especially girls!” She laughed lightly.

So the three of them continued on their way to Martin’s house, unaware of what their futures had in store for them.


“Rizon Kandarr!” Master Martin’s booming voice seemed to echo off the walls of Rizon’s small room! It was amazing to Rizon how a man as small in stature as the Wizard could be so loud!

“I’m coming!” He answered groggily.

“I expect you to be dressed and down for breakfast in three minutes or I shall be forced to return!”

Rizon was out of bed like a streak of lightening. The last time he had over slept Master Martin had come into his room with a very hard stick, which found itself squarely on his…. Well, he didn’t wish to relive that!

He was dressed, bed made and at the table in record time; under two minutes!

“Well done Rizon! I hope you shall keep up this discipline in the future!”

After Master Martin blessed their food, Rizon dug into his hot porridge. Master Martin was not the best cook, in fact he might be one of the worst Rizon had ever encountered, but he made a wonderful porridge!

“What are my duties today? What will we be studying? Will I be able to do any real wizarding?” Rizon asked between spoonfuls of breakfast.

Rizon didn’t see the old wizard roll his eyes towards heaven.

“Yes, as a matter of fact you will be learning one of the most important things an apprentice wizard will learn!”

Rizon’s eye’s brightened. After 4 long months of monotonous schooling he would finally be learning something fun!

“What will I be learning today?” he asked with obvious excitement.

“You will be learning………..” he paused for effect….. “the difficult job of learning to NOT TALK WITH YOUR MOUTH FULL!”

Before Rizon could come back with a “cunning” remark, there was a knock at the front door.

Rizon and the Wizard looked at each other.

“Well... answer the door!” Martin said at last.

Rizon begrudgingly got up from his seat, slid the latch from the door and opened it. To his surprise there stood three girls; a three foot tall white mouse, a blue sparrow, and a human girl.

“We’ve come to see Wizard Martin” Abigail said. “Is he here?”