The Black Wizard

Martin was a black wizard. That is to say, he was black, and a wizard – none of that black magic nonsense. But of course, word of mouth travels much farther than sight of eye. As it were, even though Martin had never so much as spared a fly’s life (never mind resurrecting one), folks from several horizons away had heard dark stories of The Black Wizard of Melrah.

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Melrah was a small town with the usual establishments you would expect to find at the time: an inn, a town-hall, a couple of mills, and a gas station the people used in lieu of the now abandoned stable.

When the gas station first appeared, Melrah’s townsfolk were – justifiably so – taken aback, and inexplicably nauseous. Once Martin explained it was nothing more than a fluke of an irreproducible bit of chronological warping caused by his inebriated attempt at streamlining the passing of his head aches, however, the older Melrahns nodded gravely; stroking their beards and mumbling about “logics” and “streams”. By the time the older folk had grunted enough to assert approval, the other townspeople came around as well.

After a few days and the odor had passed, the folk found the gas station to be much more conveniently located than the stable, and its material much more sturdy, until it became an odd thought to leave your horse at the stable at all.

Though Martin had gone under the drink again since, and even tried in earnest sobriety to recreate his accidental time magic, he never managed. Once, though, a pair of loose, sapphire blue jeans appeared on his rug. After deciding definitively that they were, in fact, meant for wearing, he found them much more comfortable than his plain brown pants. When folk saw his new attire, they fixated instead on his altogether more familiar white tunic, and mumbled some more about “blue streams” and such.

Not long after the gas station incident – certainly not long enough for word to have spread – a knight fully clad in chainmail arrived at Melrah looking for Martin. She rode atop a massive grey horse, and was attended by a page on a small pony carrying a far too varied assortment of weapons.

“Martin! Martin the Black Wizard of Melrah, I have come for your head in order to end your reign of black sorcery which sullies this lan -”

“Oh shut it,” one of the nearby townsfolk cut in, “Martin’s ‘ardly ever out. If ‘ees awake at all ‘eel be in ‘is ‘ouse makin’ ‘taters come out ‘is arse.”

Though the knight was startled by the old woman’s crass interruption, she shifted her horse to face her and pressed on.

“Good madame,” the knight began again, “I am on an urgent quest to rid us of Martin the Black Wizard, before any more devastation befalls this land.”

“Devastation?!” the old woman began with exaggerated incredulity, “well it’s right good you came then. We ‘adn’t even noticed all the devastating s’been goin’ on!” The woman threw her thumb over her back as she began to walk away, vaguely pointing at a large house at the outskirt of the village. “You make sure to get good and rid of that devastatin’ now, y’hear?”

The knight stared at the old lady for a while as she walked off, leaving confusion and determination to wage a little skirmish in her mind.

“Uhh, umm, uhh, mmm, m’Lady Sil?” stuttered the page.

“Out with it, lad” she replied as she noticed the gas station for the first time.

“Well it’s only that, you see, it seemed as if the lady wasn’t terribly bothered,” he started rapidly, as if each word were racing the other, “that is, she didn’t understand the gravity, by which I mean, um, it’s just that perhaps what we heard on our way over about Martin not bein-”

“Martin the Black Wizard”, Sil cut him off, pulling her glance back to the page, “and you best remember that, lest he enchant you to believe otherwise.”

The page lowered his head and spoke to the ground, “Yes m’lady.”

Sil put an abrupt stop to her thinking, which seemed to have become a bigger nuisance of late, and led the way down the road towards Martin’s house and, she misguidedly hoped, glory.

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ThumptwangKlankThump, thud.

Martin woke grudgingly to the sounds of something battering at his window and outer wall. He climbed – that is to say, made a half-hearted roll – out of bed and dragged his feet to the window with the jaw-clenching resolution of a man resoundingly aching to go back to sleep.

Martin reached the window and began opening its left door just as the tip of a spear skewered the right one. He peered tepidly out the window and saw a boy handing a halberd to a knight wearing full chainmail. Martin rubbed his eyes hoping he had mis-seen, but the klank of steel on stone suggested otherwise.

“Martin the Black Wizard!” bellowed the knight, “I am Lady Sil of the Knights Suspended, and I have come to rid this land of your meddling with the darkness!”

Oh stones, Martin thought numbly with limp exasperation, not again.

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If you gotta know what happens next, head over here.

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