Today, I present the second chapter of my Yden short story, The Temporary Wizard of Locklynn. If you missed Part One, go HERE.
Cry Me a River
Ilene accompanied Mayor Henryr into the rustic Spinning Wheel Tavern, where they discussed the town’s priorities over a mid-day meal. The lamp-lit tavern was so dark inside that Ilene was obliged to fashion a small everlasting orb in order to see her chicken potpie properly. She hoisted the shining sphere upward until it came to rest underneath one of the heavy wooden beams overhead.
“I daresay my wife would enjoy an everlasting orb at our house,” the mayor said, impressed. “It’s so difficult for her to knit by lamplight after both Yden’s suns have set.”
The Mayor bent over to scribble that task on the top of what was proving to be a lengthy list. Ilene’s spirits rose; her stay in Locklynn seemed assured⎯at least for the near term. At minimum, she’d be able to count on Mayor Henryr as a reference. If the town’s wizard remained absent, perhaps the job would continue indefinitely.
After the lunch crowd thinned out, the mayor beckoned Gert over. “Ilene, allow me to introduce Gert, the owner of this fine establishment. Gert, this is Ilene of the Eagle Clan.”
“We’ve met.” Gert gave Ilene a broad smile. “I’m glad you didn’t let Natty chase you away. He bleats a lot, but he’s harmless.”
“Do you have a room to rent to our temporary wizard?” Mayor Henryr asked.
“Aye,” Gert replied. “But instead of payment in gold, I’ve got a great many tasks that need doing around here. I’d even throw in meals.”
“Done,” Ilene said. “I’ve never had better chicken potpie.”
“Good.” The mayor rubbed his hands together. “I’ll let you settle in today, but I’ve got a mountain of work for you bright and early tomorrow morning.”
The man left, and Gert showed Ilene to her room on the second floor of the tavern. The space was clean, but a trifle cozy. In fact, the bed was wedged underneath the steeply sloping roof. Nevertheless, the room received a lot of natural light from the window opening onto the town square. Ilene dropped her knapsack on the bed and gave Gert a smile.
“I like it.”
“I’m sorry it’s so small. Don’t sit up in the middle of the night or you’ll hit your head.” Gert glanced at Ilene’s knapsack. “Is that all the luggage you have?”
“Actually, my bag holds a lot more than you’d think. There’s an enlargement spell on the inside.”
Gert peered at the bag suspiciously, as if it were about to explode. “I don’t mind admitting that magic sometimes makes my head whirl. I can’t wait to see more of your work.”
“Well… you don’t mind if I make some minor adjustments in here, do you?” Ilene asked.
“Be my guest,” Gert said.
Ilene magically raised the roof several feet, and extended the walls out until the room was spacious. Gert gasped and her jaw dropped.
“Don’t worry, there’s no visible change from the outside of the tavern,” Ilene said quickly. “I’ll remove the enlargement spell, if you like, when I leave.”
“I’d rather you didn’t,” Gert said. “In fact, you can enlarge my room across the hall next.”
The rest of the afternoon, Gert kept the temporary wizard busy working spells. Ilene’s magic ensured that the bread oven would always be the proper temperature for baking and the casks of ale would remain icy cold even on the hottest days of summer. Ilene magically repaired the fabric cushions that covered the benches and chairs, and changed their color from a faded, stained beige to an attractive clover green. To Gert’s delight, Ilene enchanted the decorative spinning wheel in the corner with a perpetual motion spell. Just for fun, she also added an illusion spell that made it appear as if the device were producing spun gold. The end product rather resembled her landlord’s long, blonde locks.
Gert stared at Ilene’s handiwork in amazement. “Not only are you a real wizard, but you’re creative, too. I would never have thought to enchant that spinning wheel. I bet once word gets out, folk will come in just to watch it spin.”
“I hope you don’t mind if I try new things.” Ilene tucked a strand of her black curly hair behind one ear. “Wizards are tasked with making life easier for people, but it doesn’t have to be dull.”
“I welcome new things. Can you put a spell on my Tavern to keep it full of customers?” Gert asked, only half-joking. “Locklynn is dying, I’m afraid, and my business with it.”
“I’ll do my best to spruce up the place in the time I’m here,” Ilene replied. “Locklynn is halfway between two big towns. In top form, it’ll be a charming place for travelers to stop. I can already see its potential.”
“I’m so glad you’ve come, Ilene. We all love Kipp of the Bear Clan, but he hasn’t been around very much since he lost his wife,” Gert confided.
“So I heard,” Ilene said. “How long has it been?”
“Oh, I think we’re coming up on three turns now.”
Turns were roughly equivalent to years on Ilene’s native Earth.
“The wizard is still unable to work after all this time?” Ilene asked, taken aback. “He and his wife must have had a long marriage.”
“They were married less than a turn, but Kipp was inconsolable when Ferra left.”
Ilene was confused. “Left? The mayor told me she died.”
“Out of respect to Kipp, we all pretend that’s what happened,” Gert said. “Ferra was a very attractive girl, and she had ambitions that couldn’t be satisfied in a small town like Locklynn. Kipp can’t quite get over her.”
Ilene’s sympathy for the Bear Clan wizard was rapidly dwindling. “Forgive me for saying so, but Kipp sounds like a big baby.”
Gert stifled a laugh. “You’re right, of course, but he’s our big baby.”
“This romance nonsense is more trouble than its worth,” Ilene said. “I don’t think I’ll ever marry.”
“Why would you say a thing like that? I’ve already had several good-looking lads ask me about you.”
“I’d never consider seeing a man unless he was the best of friends with my twin brother, Ian. And in the second place, it would take more than a comely face to make me fall in love. Kipp of the Bear Clan must be daft.”
“It probably seems that way, but don’t be so very hard on the man. In his defense, Ferra was extremely beautiful.”
“Looks aren’t everything, Gert.”
“You’ll want to remember that when you meet Kipp.”
“He’s the most handsome man I’ve ever seen.”
Come back tomorrow for Part Three!
Visit the world of Yden:
The Last Great Wizard of Yden
Jon Hansen always thought his father’s tales about the magical planet of Yden were fiction. When his father is kidnapped by an evil wizard, however, Jon is forced to dig deeper. His investigation uncovers magical artifacts that will unlock another dimension—if only he can gather his courage to make the journey. On his quest to Yden, Jon encounters wizards, Cyclopes, and a warlord who seem to want him dead. Fortunately, he’s got friends by his side, as well as the ability to draw things to life. Can he and his friends defeat the most evil wizard the magical world has ever known, or will Jon become the latest addition to the Wolf Clan wizard’s gruesome collection of trophies?
Dragon Clan of Yden
While balancing the rigorous demands of regular schoolwork, Jon eagerly begins his magical training on Dragon Isle. At the same time, the Dragon Clan starts to search for other Earth-born sons and daughters of Yden’s wizards. Using a purloined map, however, the Fox Clan has already begun recruiting the children of Yden for their own sinister plans. Jon soon discovers Guinn of the Fox Clan is searching for a magical artifact called the Portal Key — and he’s more than willing to kill for it. Worse, Guinn’s desire to settle an old score puts Jon directly in his sights. As Guinn’s schemes fall into place, Jon is forced to hurt a close friend to protect her. Can he learn enough magic in time to thwart Guinn’s ambitions? Will he find the inner strength to survive injury, bitter betrayal, and horrendous loss? The fate of Earth and Yden hangs in the balance.
Secrets of Yden
As Jon Hansen begins his senior year in high school, he and his friends are focused on the future. Unfortunately, a past skirmish on Yden is still having repercussions. Bailey of the Shark Clan is out for revenge, and he may have secret support in the Executive Council. Worse, time is stopping on Earth for increasingly long intervals, and only Jon’s ankh sets him apart. An unstable portal is the cause, but his search for answers uncovers an ancient prophecy that seemingly spells his doom. Can Jon repair the hole in the universe before time stops forever, or will he have to sacrifice himself to save the world?
Kira: The Yden Trilogy Prequel
Poisoned by an enemy, Kira struggles to find an antidote before she succumbs to enslavement. At the same time, she’s desperate to save Dorsit, a Leopard Clan wizard whose youth and magic has been stolen by a murderous wizard on a rampage. As Kira’s homeland is invaded by bloodthirsty legions, Kira flees across the country in a bid to reach the Mirrum Mountain nymphs and a legendary cure. Hunted by shadow hounds, an army of Cyclopes, and an evil jinn, will her wits and skill as a warrior be enough to survive?