This is the 74th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.
Master and Teacher, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 13th February 2013
Word count: 514
“You must learn discretion,” the wizened old man told the impetuous youth. The old man was Enlee Erasdio the Fourth, grand master wizard of the Kingdom of Eglasia. The young man was his apprentice Badger, formerly a homeless orphan from the neighbouring village of the Grand Master’s Tower in the Eastern edge of Eglasia overlooking the sea.
“We have all the power though,” the apprentice said.
“Power yes, it’s true, and yes it’s important,” the Grand Master acknowledged, “But the wisdom to use that power, and more importantly when to use it, is what you need to learn. There are few others that have mastered fireballs over the centuries, as quick as you have… But a fireball won’t put food on the table. Understand?”
“I could shoot a rabbit with one,” the boy pointed out.
The Grand Master waved his hands, and a rabbit sprang forth, “Go on then.”
The youth thrust his hands out, and a swirling ball of flame impacted on the stone floor, the rabbit looked back.
“A coin brings food far more readily then a ball of flame. Plus you are strengthened by it, not weakened.”
“Why not conjure coins?” the apprentice asked.
“Coins are complicated, intricate pieces of magic all on their own. The belief people apply to them gives them protection. It is easier for a fraudster to make fake coins than a magician,” the old man said.
“What like this?” the boy waved his fingers and a gold coin appeared.
“That coin is an illusion, and that has draw backs. For instance, if the receiver of said coin didn’t check it, he would notice it missing later. You could spend as many of those as you liked, but you’d never be welcome in that town again. The same goes for most physical objects you might convert.”
“I hadn’t thought of that,” the apprentice said, “So what do we do?”
“Well, that’s when we sell things that we can conjure and conjure well, or we can sell our services,” Enlee Erasdio answered. “When I was a young apprentice, not much older than you are now, I went out into the world’s adventuring.”
“Like Incingo De Janeiro?’ the apprentice asked.
“Very much so,” the wizard said. “He amassed a fortune, and a lot of exciting tales in his time. And it was on his long hard journeys that he founded not one but two schools of thought within magic.”
“Is that what I’m to do?” he asked.
“That’s up to you,” the Grand Master said, “There comes a time in every students education when they believe there is nothing more their teachers can teach them. They’re usually wrong, I know I was, but the experience we gain outside of this tower shows what we know and what we don’t in stark contrast.”
“I’m not ready yet,” the boy acknowledged.
“No, not yet, but I fear it won’t be too long. But for now, let’s try some spells that will help you when you are ready.”