Hello! It's time again for a Story a Week. It's a day late, but the funny thing is that I actually finished the story Thursday. Yesterday we spent the day out of the house and I barely touched my computer all day.
Anyway, here it is. Enjoy!
Cuddlington pulled a wand out of the minotaur's pouch and handed it to Melbrid. "Figger this out," the dwarf said gruffly.
Melbrid took the wand and nodded. He sat down cross-legged and concentrated on the wand for a moment. He began to sift through the emanations of magical energy that he could see the wand giving off. First, Melbrid saw that there was some basic protection on the wand to prevent non-magic users from accidently activating the wand. Next, he saw something strange. The spell was new to him and obviously crafted by a powerful wizard. There was some effect masking the true powers of the spell, but it was quite obvious to Melbrid that it was a teleportation spell of some sort. Considering their surroundings, Melbrid guessed that it was designed to teleport the group over an extremely long distance, a feat that was risky using the normal teleportation spells available to most wizards.
A voice brought Melbrid out of his reverie. "Melbrid, ye figger that wand out, yet?" Cuddlington asked him.
The young half-elf nodded uncertainly. "I think so," he said, "I've never seen anything like this wand before. It's some kind of teleportation wand, but it doesn't use the traditional teleport spell. It's pretty unique."
The dwarf gruffly shrugged back at him. "So? Can ye activate the blasted thing?"
Melbrid nodded back and Cuddlington turned to where Rixi and Meentha were standing. "Lasses, ye all ready to move on?"
They both nodded, so Cuddlington waved them over to where he and Melbrid were standing. When the four of them were all standing together, the dwarf nodded to Melbrid. The sorcerer mumbled some mystical words and waved the wand over their heads, closing his eyes as the spell built to a crescendo.
When he opened them, he was immediately confused. He found himself standing outside the wizard school in Gadenz, the capital of the province where Telquirk was located.
Melbrid glanced around, but didn't see anyone around. He suddenly remembered the last time that he was standing outside this particular building. He ran inside.
The first door opened easily for him, but the doors on the inside of the entry wouldn't budge. He heard someone clear their throat to his right. Melbrid glanced over and saw a bored looking student worker sitting behind a service window rolling his eyes. "Can I help you?" the student asked.
Melbrid quickly went over to the window and said, "I have an appointment with Head Wizard Munic concerning admittance."
The distaste that the student obviously felt for Melbrid's presence was obvious as he replied, "Your name?"
"Melbrid," was Melbrid's reply.
"Melbrid..." the student said condescendingly.
Melbrid sighed and said, "Melbrid Thatcher."
Melbrid knew the reaction he would get from his lower class surname and wasn't surprised when the student mumbled, "Uh-huh." The student nodded to himself as if Melbrid had confirmed something he had already surmised.
The student looked down at something on his desk. He grudgingly nodded and grabbed a wand from somewhere out of sight. He waved the wand at Melbrid and said in a bored monotone, "Welcome to the Gadenz Wizard School. Your presence will be tolerated for two hours at which point you must either leave, or have an authorized wizard renew the spell I have just cast on you. The door will open for you, now."
Melbrid quickly said his thanks and ran through the door. He hesitated in the hall for a moment, but then started up the main stair that went up through the center of the tower. If he remembered correctly, the Head Wizard's office was at the top of the tower. Several minutes, and many, many flights of stairs later, Melbrid arrived at the top, out of breath. He gave himself a moment to catch his breath before he knocked on the door that stood at the top of the stairs.
"Enter, Melbrid," he heard an elderly, yet strong, voice say.
Melbrid nervously stepped forward and opened the door. He saw a man sitting behind a desk reading a thick tome. The man was obviously quite advanced in age, but exuded a powerful presence all the same. The man, without looking up, gestured for Melbrid to enter and take a seat.
Melbrid tried to exude confidence as he entered, but the memory of this event plagued him. He still didn't understand why the wand had somehow transported him ten years into the past, but he could figure that out later. If he was stuck in the past, perhaps he could change his future today.
After a few moments, the man looked up at Melbrid and smiled. "As you know, I am Head Wizard Munic."
Melbrid nodded and replied, "Thank you for inviting me here, Head Wizard. I was pleased to get the invitation. It was unexpected."
Munic nodded. "Yes, this I am sure of. As I'm sure you're aware, being a wizard has become an elite position in our society. Only aristocrats and their brats have the power and money to get into any wizard school in the Bortan Empire. I aim to change that as much as I can." Munic paused. "When I attended the wizard school in Bortan City nearly two centuries ago, tuition was cheap and there was no acceptance process to speak of. Everyone was accepted and if they couldn't hack it they were excused, that was all."
Munic stood and paced behind his desk for a few moments. He stopped and faced Melbrid. "My point to all of this is that I know that you're interested in attending our school, but I'm also aware of your family's standing and financial situation. To be blunt, neither you nor your family can afford to send you here and you frankly don't have the political pull to have the administration reduce your tuition."
Melbrid was still surprised by the old man's frank attitude, but he nodded all the same. Munic nodded back at him. "Good, you at least acknowledge your situation. If you'd argued it, I would have put you out on your ear, which is still a possibility, mind you.
"There is something that I've found out about you that concerns me, Melbrid," Munic said as he started pacing again.
After a few moments, Munic didn't elaborate, so Melbrid said, "What is that, sir?"
Munic sighed and said, "I've been informed that you've begun training yourself as a sorcerer. Is this true?"
Melbrid remembered this part of the conversation from the last time that it happened. He'd tried to downplay his training as just an eagerness to be familiar with magic and his skills were only at a novice level. Munic called him out on that and kicked him out. 'Things will be different this time,' Melbrid thought to himself.
Steeling himself, Melbrid said, "Yes, sir. I have been training to become a sorcerer. I..."
Munic turned suddenly and silenced Melbrid by slicing his hand through the air. "Enough! I know about it, but that sort of behavior will not be tolerated in my wizard's school!"
Melbrid was confused. Last time Munic had kicked him out for trying to hide his activities, now he was angry just because of them. "I d-don't understand, sir," he stammered out.
Munic seemed to calm down as he explained, "You see, Melbrid, magic isn't meant to be 'dabbled' with. It's too dangerous. Wizards practice magic with scientific precision through experimentation in controlled situations and documenting our findings. Sorcerers arrogantly claim that they 'understand' magic better through some hokey innate control. All wizards know that this control is a fallacy. Sorcerers don't understand the basic principles of magic enough to..."
It was Melbrid who cut Munic off this time. All the old wizard's rant did was to anger Melbrid, not show him the error in his ways as Munic has obviously intended. "You're the one who doesn't understand!" Melbrid blurted out.
Munic stared at Melbrid with astonishment that quickly turned to anger. "You dare?!? You're as insolate and arrogant as the typical sorcerer! I will not have you in my school! Get out!"
The door behind Melbrid's chair slammed open. Melbrid stood slowly and said, "It's really wizards who don't understand magic, Munic. You use it like a tool while sorcerers embrace it as a part of us and everything around us. We are the will of magic, you are its abusers."
Munic's face flushed with anger now. "Out!" he screamed at Melbrid. "Out before I show you how deadly my 'tool' is!"
Melbrid turned his back on Munic and slowly left the room, slamming the door behind him. Things definitely went differently this time, but the result was the same. Melbrid found himself smiling all the same, which was also different than last time. He had been so disappointed before, now he found himself beaming because he knew his path was the right one. He smiled at the gruff, tough looking students who met him at the first landing. They looked at each other quizzically; they'd never seen someone happy about not being admitted into the school before.
Melbrid had always regretted how things had gone at during his interview, but now he knew better. He closed his eyes, savoring the moment. When he opened them he was startled to be in an unfamiliar room. Standing in front of him was the wizard Yif.