Wizard Magic

It was true that Kaelyn liked going to the wizards' workshop, but her reasons were only partially based on the young apprentice working there. In her home town the wizard had been an old man of questionable hygiene and an inflated sense of his own importance. He dealt closely and charged dearly for the things that only he could provide to the others in town. As a result, most people found a way to do without his specialized services, meaning he had less money and charged still more for his wares, and the cycle continued.

His workshop had been crowded with things he felt were “occult” or “arcane” but which looked, to Kaelyn's eye, to mostly be props. Nobody really needs a skull with a candle on it to do their art, and even when she was younger Kaelyn suspected that if you took that skull into good light it would be obvious how artificial it was.

In contrast the local wizard kept her workshop clean and pleasant. The workbenches were often covered in complex glassware, or the floor might be sketched out with arcane symbols in pursuit of some new spell, but these would be temporary measures. Soon the chalk or salt diagrams were swept up and the floor scrubbed, glassware was cleaned and stored, and overall the workshop felt orderly and well kept.

A small bell rang when she entered. Kaelyn found herself hoping that Mason was working the shop and then willed herself to breathe slower, to not blush. She was here for business, not to socialize. As she waited for someone to answer the bell she looked around the room. One wall had a series of shallow pans made of various metals, she thought she could see copper, gold, and possibly silver, but if it was silver it was cleaned regularly, as it shone brightly alongside its less corruptible siblings.

She smiled when Mason opened the door to the living quarters and entered the shop.

“Hello, Miss Kaelyn,” Mason said. He was a full head taller than her, and two years older, with a short black beard that he kept neatly trimmed and active green eyes under heavy brows. Kaelyn reflected yet again how his appearance matched his name more than his trade; he was built for outdoor work, but had chosen wizardry instead.

“Hello Mason! And I've told you, I'm just Kaelyn.”

Mason smiled slightly. “Yes, miss.”

She giggled and said “I need a few fire marble. Master Colm feels our current one is about to evaporate; I guess it is two years old.”

Mason frowned slightly. “Two years? My Magister's spells shouldn't wear out that quickly, unless it's being used very heavily...” He trailed off, reaching under the counter and pulling out a small metal box.

“Oh, the Master and Mama do share it. Master uses it in our work during the day and Mama uses it in the kitchen when we're not using it. We've never had any trouble with it, I assure you.”

Mason nodded. “That might account for it.” He opened the lid of the box, and revealed a bright glass bead, swirling with coruscating lines of gold and orange. With a small touch of pride he said, “I enchanted this one myself, and I feel that it's pretty solid work. Magister was pleased. But it's still an apprentice piece, so if you want I can give you one that the Magister enchanted, or you could have this one at a discount...” Mason said never quite making eye contact with Kaelyn.

“If you feel it's good we would be happy to pay the regular rate, Mason. Your word, and your Master's—”


”—and your Magister's word are good enough for me. What's the difference? Why 'Magister' instead of 'Master'?”

“A Magister is a teacher,” Mason said. “They aren't just a wizard who has mastered the craft, they have also worked to be good at teaching the craft.” Mason said, making eye contact for the first time. “And Magister Sonja has been teaching for as long as I've been alive. Wizardry takes a long time to learn, and sometimes Master wizards forget that not everyone is as wise as they are. It takes a special kind of person to be good at both performing wizardry and also teaching it.” Mason's pride in his Magister's ability was evident on his face as he spoke. Until he got to the end and realized how much he had been talking. He looked down again suddenly and started wrapping the fire marble, still in its box, in brown paper like a regular parcel.

“That's fascinating! I hadn't ever thought about the difference between being able to do something and being able to teach something,” Kaelyn said. Mason nodded.

“Are you hoping to become a Magister as well, someday?” She added and he looked startled, then smiled. “I don't know; I'm just trying to get to a point where Magister thinks I'm competent to go Sojourning. I'll worry about mastery when I get there. But what about you, Mi—Kaelyn? Do Healers have a special rank for teachers?”

“Oh, no, I think every Master Healer is expected to teach new Healers; it's part of the job description. A Healer accrues honor as their former apprentices grow in the art. Master Colm is one of the best, though, or so I hear. I'm hoping that I can start Sojourning next year, Daisy thinks we should Sojourn together.” Kaelyn said.

Mason looked startled. “Really? She thinks...you...you and I should Sojourn—oh. Oh! You meant she thinks you and she should...oh I see.” He looked flustered and Kaelyn again forced herself to breathe slowly and not to blush. She giggled instead. “That would be something, wouldn't it?” she felt just a little victorious when Mason blushed at that.

“How much for the fire marble?” She asked, taking out her wallet, still smiling in what she hoped was a friendly way.


“And is that the regular price?”


“I'm guessing the Magister would charge me twenty,” Kaelyn said and counted out the coins.

“You're quick,” Mason said, putting the money away in his strong box. Kaelyn put the marble in her bag and was about to ask Mason more about wizardry when the shop door opened again. A young boy ran in. Kaelyn recognized him as Eric, the son of the dry goods merchant.

“Miss Kaelyn! Come quickly! Brant was lifting a crate down from a high shelf and it fell on him! We need you now!”


© 2020-2021 Nathanial Dickson. Written during #NaNoWriMo 2020 Contact me on Mastodon