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?