This is an entry for the @freewritehouse’s We-Write contest, which you can find at the following link:
The prompt for this week’s Partner We-Write is — wizard!
For this story, I wrote Part One and @ntowl finished it with an amazing Part Two! As she is one of the sponsors for the contest, her half of the prize will be going to the @freewritehouse if our story wins. 😁 ~ You can find her post of the story here:
The image I used for my header is CC0 and courtesy of Pixabay!
The wise and wizen wizard glared over his spectacles, rendering me as frozen as a frosty iceflake.
“How dare you question me,” he hissed. “I have lived for countless millennia and you are but a mere child.”
“But, sir,” I cleared my throat. “Raspberries… they’re berries! Sweet and delectable. They can’t be added to a grogre elimination mixture.”
“They can and will!” the wizard declared. “Now go forth and get me three baskets of the blasted things, and no dawdling or your hair will sizzle.”
As though to illustrate his point, he aimed a gnarled fingertip at me and three strands of my luscious gold ringlets shrivelled, leaving an acrid burnt odour as they vanished.
“Y-yes, sir,” I stuttered, backing out of the room before my head went up in flames.
The walls of the dark hallway loomed over me, the ceiling so far up I could barely see the faint glow of glimmering candlelight, and I wrapped my shawl around my shoulders as I hurried to the overgrown gardens.
Berries. Raspberries. It was preposterous, simply preposterous — Grogres *liked* berries! How could we possibly eliminate the vile cretins by showering them with things they enjoyed?
The wizard may have lived for ‘countless millennia’ but perhaps he had lived for one millennia too many, perhaps he was getting a bit addled in the brain, perhaps he was working *with* the grogres.
‘Don’t dawdle,’ his voice hissed through my mind. Rolling my eyes and my sleeves in the same swift movement, I headed to the berry bushes.
The short walk didn’t give me much time to fathom the wizards weirdnesses, or his penchant for singeing my hair when he was angry or annoyed with me. I trembled to think what he’d do to me if I came back without them. The imposing garden gate consisted of dark stone and eerie black iron that looked more like snakeskin than hard metal. It opened on its own and I walked to the far corner where we grew our medicinals. I looked at the berry bushes, bright green leaves waving slightly in the breeze, without a single berry on them. Over and over I went up and down the rows of bushes. Every berry, every one, was gone. The grogres had gotten to them already.
I looked back over my shoulder at the grey stone castle and shivered. I knew I couldn’t go back empty handed, even if using berries in the mixture was asinine. The opposite corner of the garden had a smaller, hidden gate that led out to the forest. Wild berries wouldn’t be as large, juicy or as beneficial as the ones we grew, which is why the grogers love them so much. I hoped I could find a few bushes quickly and get this disaster of a brew over and done with while I still had hair.
Light barely filtered down to the forest floor. The darkness unsettled me, though I knew the way to go. The berries grew in a small clearing about a half mile away from the castle. I’d gone there many times to gather other items for the wizard. Ahead the light shone a bit brighter, and I quickened my step, ignoring the noises from the darker parts of the forest off to my left.
There they were! I spotted the berries across the clearing and rushed to get them. I pulled my cloak to make a small bowl and filled it as fast as I could, pretending not to notice the thorns ripping small slits into my skin.
“Ohua! Ohua!” Thump, thump. I knew that noise. Grogers. I turned and saw no less than eight of them oogling me, pounding their misshapen fists into the ground. Their mouths dripped red, the fur on their arms and neck stained a shade of pinkish purple. Oh yes, these were the berry eaters from the garden. Silently I cursed the wizard and wished he’d simply made the mixture properly, without the berries.
Beside me I heard a loud snap. The wizard appeared, eyes wide behind his spectacles. “Berries!” he yelled, yanking me closer to him. Using his mouth, he ripped the top off a clear vial and poured a thick, goopy, foul-smelling liquid over the berries. He grinned at me when he was done, “Drop them and step back.”
Gagging from the smell, I did as he said, moving away as fast as I could to avoid vomiting. The grogers rushed in, paused and smelled the pile. One of them grabbed a bunch of berries which kicked off a frantic feeding fest where they fought each other for every last one. Content for the moment, the sat or fell to the ground.
Then, the first one to grab the berries when poof! Just disappeared into a cloud of fine dust. Then the rest of them poofed one by one until the wizard and I stood alone in the clearing, nothing left but a pile of red mush and light covering of white powder.
“Now do you see why we needed the berries?” the wizard asked.
“No. It didn’t add anything to the mixture.”
The wizard sighed and shook his head and mumbled under his breath. I didn’t hear it but I think it was something about “wasted youth”. He raised his finger to me again and I braced for another session of curl destruction. Instead, my cloak wrapped around my face, the part that held the berries and the eliminator mixture plastered to my nose. This time, I couldn’t help it. I vomited.
I heard the wizard chuckling.
“Now do you see?”
“Yes Master,” I said gathering myself back together as the cloak released its grip. “Groger elimination mixture tastes awful!”
“That’s it!” he said and disappeared with another pop. I trudged back to the castle, wondering how I would ever get my cloak clean.