The Black Wizard: The Pit

If you haven’t yet, read this first. It might make the stuff below more sensible. No promises.


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Martin sighed. He stuck his head out of the window, looked down at the knight standing just beyond his fence, and spoke softly: “Good morning. Wait there.”

It was not an incantation or a clever trick of the mind, just a request, but Sil lowered her javelin all the same. She was surprised to see that the Black Wizard was – by chance, no doubt – also just black. A black, Black Wizard. She wondered if – but no, she shook her head, planted the base of her javelin on the floor, and waited.

Martin closed the window doors and asked the pierced wood to repair itself if it didn’t mind. As he walked towards his desk he rubbed his eyes, trying to massage the sleep out of them. He donned his jeans and white tunic, looked around at his barren room and yawned, grateful that at least this one was not as barbaric as some of the others. He sat down, opened his ledger, and filled in the lines of his log.

Time:                 Morning of the fifth day
Party of:           Knight and young page
Disturbance:   Spears, javelins, etc against window

He lifted his pen and briefly looked over the last several entries. No one had battered his door down in nearly half a year. That’s nice, he thought, and started writing again.

Notes: Babble of darkness. Knights Suspended. Appears amicable.
Conclusion of event:  _____________

Martin placed the pen in the middle of the ledger and headed downstairs.

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“Martin the Black Wizard,” Sil began when she saw him open the door and, to her discouragement, lean lethargically against its frame. She held her javelin in both hands and stood ready in a charging pose. “I have come to -” she stopped, losing some of her rigidity as she noticed his legs. “What are you wearing?”

“These are jeans. I believe a man named Denim owned them, but since appearing on my rug, they are now mine. They’re quite nice.”

Sil looked at her page, slightly at a loss for words, then shook her head and started again. “Martin the Black Wizard, I have come to -”

“Stop.” He cut her off, “Listen to me. My name is Martin, and I am black, and I am a wizard. These are separate notions. I understand that the combination of my skin color and profession has a misleading connotation, but I assure you I am not some performer of foul magics, out to cause havoc and bring blight to the land. My parents were also black, they were scholars, and after I consumed their souls to gain my powers I swore to never harm another human.” He paused expectantly, and when he saw Sil’s face fill with horror he quickly added “That was a joke. I was joking.”

But Sil was no longer listening. She had abandoned thinking and reverted to her base charge first, revel in glory later instincts. Martin rolled his eyes, straightened his stance, and grabbed the staff leaning on the door frame. Before Sil could make even half way to him, Martin asked the ground to please cause the charging knight to fall.

It was not an arduous demand. A stone formed, limbs flailed, and at the accompaniment of her chainmail’s metallic rhapsody, Sil fell.

Still blinded by adrenaline, horror, and a generally misguided motive, she grabbed her javelin as she got up and started running again. Martin asked the spear to set itself down on the floor, and when it didn’t he tensed up for a second, but then corrected himself. Sorry, javelin – please be on the floor. And it was. And like a fish caught on a hook, Sil went soaring down after it.

Though she grunted and jerked to tug her javelin free, it would not budge. Eventually she gave up, unsheathed a sword, and began walking towards Martin, each step fiercely determined to avoid falling again.

“Oh stones and birchwood, enough!” Martin said. Sword, rise. Please. And even as the sword floated upwards, Sil refused to lose another weapon and clung on, tugging at it while her legs kicked emptily in the air. By the time Sil’s rage leveled, she was hanging fully in midair and realized she had lost the choice to let go. Her page started running towards her but stopped when Martin stared at him.

“If you disturb me I will drop the sword and your Lady will be unwell for it.” Martin turned right and started walking. “You may follow.” And with that, he led the page and the sword-Sil around to the back of his house.

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Generally, knights came to Martin’s house, their heads full of their own asses and their asses full of their heads, Martin thought. But not only knights. Sometimes rogue soldiers looking for redemption, or proper assassins on a job, even fledgling wizards with no formal education who actually believed in soul consumption. But generally it was knights.

Most knights were downright good people, and Martin had no particular urge to harm them. Still, he also had no particular urge to be roused out of bed against his will. To counter this inconvenience, Martin had kindly asked a patch of ground behind his house to make a large pit. Any knight that came by since then ended up in the pit.

Now, Martin was a black wizard, but he was not a Black Wizard, and he had no intention of amassing rotting bodies in the pit. Every knight was free to leave, but Martin had asked the pit to hold on to any piece of metal that came in.

“But I assure you, my Lady Sil,” Martin enunciated as he lowered her to the bottom of the pit, “that if you come for me again I will ask the bones of your little toes to rid themselves of your wretched foot,” he paused, “and it will not be pleasant for you.”

Sil lay amongst a heap of abandoned armor pieces and dirt covered weapons, her chainmail stuck firm to the ground. “Martin!” she yelled, “Even now you use your black magic to hold me captive, but I will end your evilry, mark my words.” Martin groaned, but before he could reply Sil’s page spoke up.

“Mmm, m’Lady Sil, if I may,” he began.

“Flinch?” Sil asked, not being able to see the page as he had kept his distance.

“Yes, m’Lady.”

“What is it boy?”

“Well it’s only that, you see, I reckon Martin’s – ”

“Martin the Black Wizard,” she snapped.

“Yes m’Lady,” he approached the pit and continued, “I reckon he’s not really using black magic, you see, on account of black magic being to do with the dead generally, and, well, what with you still being alive and all, and him only making natural and physical magics, so far’s I could tell, what with the stone that made you trip and -”

“Quiet! Stop jabbering. I’m thinking.” As Sil struggled against her chainmail, Martin tapped his fingers on his staff and watched the page curiously. “Martin,” Sil said after giving up on getting out with her armor on. “Are you a Black Wizard?”

Martin looked back at Sil. “Yes,” he replied shortly.

“I mean, do you perform black magics?”

“No.”

“What about the stories of the town of Trebon burning during the night?”

“Never been, heard it was a dragon.”

“And the plague that wiped out thousands across the land?”

“Rats.”

“Right. Well. Do you, um, make, uh,” she hesitated, drawing on the only other story she could think of, “do you really make potatoes come out of your, um, arse?”

Martin blinked. He had answered questions about the burning town, the plague, folks disappearing, and other fancies more times than he could count, but this one was entirely unexpected. Without meaning to, his lips spread into a wide grin, and he burst out laughing.

“What?!” he choked out as he dropped his staff and clenched his stomach, his laugh rolling freely. “Potatoes? Out of my a-ha ha ha, oh sweet rivers, right, yes.” He wiped a few laughtears from his eyes while catching his breath. “Ha, good morning indeed! Flinch, help her out. I’ll be back.” Martin turned and went back to his house, muttering and laughing to himself.

Flinch climbed down into the pit and helped Sil out of her chainmail. When Martin came back he had an iron pot full of water and a burlap sack. He was still grinning.

“Good, you got out.” He gestured at a small circle of stumps surrounding a smaller pit, fit for a fireplace. “Please, sit down.” The three of them sat, and Martin set the pot in the middle of the pit, indicating for the boy to start a fire. He pulled a potato out of the sack and handed it to Sil.

“Um,” she began, wary to take it from him.

“I assure you,” he chuckled, “this potato did not come out of anywhere less savory than the ground on which we walk.” He took out another potato and a small knife, and began to peel. Sil, still unsure what to think of Martin, pulled out a small bone dagger from her boot and got to peeling as well.

“So,” Sil started after Flinch had finished making the fire, “would you really, um, tear the bones out of my toes?”

Martin grinned widely, “I haven’t the faintest idea how.”

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

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