Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rod and the Mackerel - Part 2


Calm brown eyes stared back at me, sunken into the old leathery skin surrounding them. I was on my back with a terrible headache. He was proud of surprising me, a blithe old man with the iron focus of a stalemated soldier. Reaching his gnarled hand forwards he grabbed hold of my hand and propped me up, patting the dust off my shoulders.

Hell of a spill you took,” he said glancing at his rod, still propped up in the crevasse. “Very fortunate... very much indeed...”

I looked at him. Smiling back at me without pretension, I had no reason to fear him. Something stirred in me defiantly. Stories of shadowy figures and trickery loomed in my mind and, for a moment, I wondered if he would eat me.

What's on your mind, lad?” He said incredulously, leaning back, “Think me a demon do you? There are worse things to be.”

I shook my head immediately, looking around. I had undoubtedly slept, yet the sun still loomed overhead as if not a moment had passed in my unconsciousness.

What magic is this?” I could not pry my eyes from the orb above. Certainly the man knew what I meant because he scoffed louder than anyone I had ever met.

Humbug... you lads and your magics. Stuck in the past that's what. Not a man in the world that takes to sophistication, reason...”

He stood up completely, shielding the sun from my eyes, looked me hard and walked back to his pole, taking a seat near the waters with his paper. A small voice declared to me that it was proper for me to go, yet I lingered, curiously focusing on the man. He wanted me to go, tail between my legs, run off, run far away. So I arose as well, edging myself towards him curiously.

Reaching out his hand the man beckoned me near, hanging his head low in a sigh. In the same breath a chair materialized out of the air, and I gasped in awe of it. I knew him always to be a warlock, and my heart leaped for joy. To learn the arts at such a young age was a privilege. I was never offered it – that was my luck – but an initiation? I could scarcely believe it.

So you are a mage?” I said, feeling the raw leather hide embossed on the armrests, “Or perhaps a wizard? Are you the only one in the region?”

Humph! Wizards and mages,” he spouted indignantly, “Is that what he thinks? Stuff and nonsense! You have the soulful naivete of an idiot child. Thinking me a magician...” His voice trailed away into incoherency.

Well,” I said, feeling rather hurt by his rudeness, “then what am I to make you to be?” Setting down his paper he looked me hard once more, irritated, inconvenienced.

A lucky bastard and fool of chance,” he barked. “Now can a man fish in silence?”

Some moments passed then. I felt rather peculiar, incapable of leaving until the curious man divulged his secrets. After an hour the paper was finished. Folding it primly into a thin rectangle, he set it down and nudged it towards my hand. Assuming he desired to entertain me I reached out for it, but my hands drifted through it like it was made of mist. Dumbfounded I looked at him. He was grinning like a mad man.

Are you privy to new secrets boy?”

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