Today’s writing prompt was inspired by a picture of a mage’s room. It’s basically the Jess’s Mess of mage rooms. It’s definitely what my room of spells would look like if I was a mage. Except with more cats.
This wonderful piece of art was created by DareDevilDante and posted on Deviant Art. You can view more of his talented artwork by clicking on the image above.
I saw this image and the words, “Where is that boy?” popped into my head. From there it flowed pretty quickly… for once. This story doesn’t have any action, and not much dialog. It’s mostly a moment in time of, what I feel, is a bigger story.
As always… I wish I had more time to work on these. There’s always more trying to come out. More detail, more revisions, more story! Unfortunately, I am very limited on what I can possibly do in the amount of time I have to work on the blog. Maybe some day, this can become more than just a hobby. Then again, full time writers probably still have the same thoughts… more detail, more revisions, more story!
Speaking of the story… no warnings needed for this one, it’s rated E for everyone. Enjoy!
Writing Prompt: The Mage’s Apprentice
“Where is that boy?” Groaning, Osadus slowly climbed down from the tall stool where he spent most of his time. He ignored the creaking in his joints, but it was harder to ignore the stiffness in his back. The closest stack of books wobbled precariously, and he reflexively waved a hand to send a column of air to steady it.
He worked his way past several stacks of books, a table laden with a mass of parchment, an urn he kept a couple lucky coins in, and a bookshelf filled with everything but books. The glowing nimbus of light he used to read by, floated above his head, following him and lighting the way in the growing gloom of dusk. Just as he huffed his way past a sleeping Horace – his ancient (and cranky) orange tabby – the door to his tower flew open, inches from his long nose.
Straightening his mussed beard, he looked up, and up, into the startled face of a young boy with a shock of red hair, and currently an equally red face. It annoyed him when he had to look up at the boy, or anyone for that matter. Everyone was so very tall, and he was so very… short.
His annoyance with the trek through the room, and at being short, made him a bit cross with the boy. “Amon! Where the devil have you been?!”
A look of shock quickly melted to one of shame for being yelled at. Slouching slightly, Amon tried his best not to stand over Osadus so much. Staring at his feet, he stammered incoherently; something about a dish cleaning spell gone wrong, and Melinda, their cook, beating him over the head with a broom.
Waving away his words, Osadus turned back into the room to make the laborious journey back to his seat. Amon followed close behind, scampering left and right to keep a hovering hand near his old master – who had the unfortunately tendency to stumble on his robes upon occasion. The boy was still going on and on about the dish cleaning spell, trying to work out where he had gone wrong. Osadus could just tell him. You don’t clean dishes with a spell! You just wash the damned dishes! But some things one has to learn on their own.
After struggling a bit to get back on his stool – with some assistance from the boy – Osadus waved a hand, activating the large Orb of Knowledge that was his life’s work. A bluish light illuminated the surrounding area, revealing hundreds upon hundreds of books stacked around the orb and his stool. This is where Osadus worked, day in and day out.
He had decided many, many… many years ago, that he would transfer as much information into the orb as he could before he died. Centuries of knowledge had already been absorbed by the orb. He hoped it would come in handy to those who came after him.
All anyone would have to do was speak the invocation to activate the orb. Once activated, you just had to ask simple questions, or give the orb one or two words, and a list subjects to choose from would appear in silver lettering in the air above the orb. Choose the subject you want to know more about, and whatever Osadus had copied into the orb on that subject would then appear.
He put anything and everything into the orb. History, spells, recipes, trade practices, royal decrees, animal husbandry – everything! He left nothing out. If it was in his books it went in the orb.
But he was getting older. He only had a century or so left. Three at the most! And so he had taken Amon on as his apprentice. There was so much knowledge in the world, and more was being created every day. He needed someone to take over his work after he was gone. The boy was clumsy, but he was very intelligent. In fact, he reminded Osadus a lot of himself!
Amon retrieved books for him, moved stacks out of the room when they were no longer needed, fetched him whatever was required, and learned. Most of all, the boy learned.
Osadus sighed heavily. The next few days would be pretty hard without the boy. But he knew one did not learn just from books. One had to get out into the world too. A few centuries ago, Osadus himself had been quite the adventurer. It was time Amon explored a bit of the world.
Something small to start with though. No need to rush the boy.
Looking up from a dusty piece of parchment, red hair in disarray, Osadus had a sudden vision of the strong man the youngster would someday become. He blotted the unexpected wetness from his eyes. Clearing his throat, he gruffly beckoned the boy closer.
Taking a piece of paper from one of the many pockets inside his robe, he handed it over. “I need you to go to Estrix and ask Maven for the items on that list.”
Amon’s face drained of all color, making his freckles stand out starkly. “Ma… Maven? I… I…”
“I nothing! I’m too old to make the journey, Eric is still out collecting ten bear pelts, and it’s only a two day trek! I need those items for visual references in the orb.”
Nodding, clearly nervous at the thought of visiting the local witch’s warren, Amon nonetheless folded the list away into his own robes. “Wh… when should I leave Master?”
“Tomorrow morning at first light. But go see Garith tonight to collect gear – armor, weapons, a bag of holding – and also see Melinda about food for the journey.”
Amon nodded, but stood where he was uncertainly. Feeling a little sorry for the lad, and for himself, Osadus softened a bit. “You’ll be fine son. You’ve been training a bit with offensive and defensive magic… and, hey, I heard you cleared the cellar of all the rats! That’s got to mean something right! Those things are big… and mean!”
A small smile began to emerge on the boy’s face and he nodded. “Aye Master. I cleared the cellar several nights in a row. And yer right. I’ve been training with Torrund in magical combat. I haven’t accidentally set fire to a training dummy in a fortnight!”
“There now.” Osadus dismissed the boy with a wave. “It’s all settled then. Go pack your bags and make way at first light.”
He listened to Amon’s receding trek through the cluttered room and felt his smile fade a bit. Aye… things would be a little harder on him over the next few days. He’d have to rely a bit more on his spells to move books and fetch items… but there were no spells that could assist with loneliness. For that he’d just have to wait for the boy return.
Wiping away another errant tear, he shook himself out of his maudlin thoughts and pulled another orb from another hidden pocket. This orb was smaller, and fit in the palm of hand. It was an orb of seeing. He left it dark for now, but would make sure to fire it up in the morning. An orb of seeing allowed him to view anyone he had placed a tracking spell on.
And he had made sure to place one on Amon a few years back when the boy had gone missing for half a day. Everyone had been in a panic – including Osadus – thinking something tragic had befallen him, when instead he had been asleep in the hayloft of the stables where he had been playing with a litter of kittens. Though Osadus had scolded him severely, and forced extra chores on Amon as punishment, it had shown him how attached to the boy he had become. Hence, the tracking spell.
He glanced from one orb to the other. One glowing softly, the other dark and silent. A thought occurred to him. Amon was about to start off on his first adventure. The first of many. What was a Mage of Knowledge to do?
Record history, of course.
I hope you enjoyed this short story! Please feel free to leave comments below. I do welcome constructive criticism in the comments, but please give me more than, “I didn’t like it”. Don’t be afraid to tell me it sucked, but tell me why you think it sucked! And, of course, if you did like it, I would like to know that too.
And if you liked this writing prompt, and feel inspired to write a short story of your own, please feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to highlight your story in a post of it’s own!
Please don’t mind the mess.
If you enjoyed this post, I’d be grateful if you’d help me by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!