An Ordinary Day at Bob’s Place
Eli Tragedy, my master, was busy writing on a parchment with a quill pen. He did a lot of writing, that one. He claimed that he didn’t like writing magical script, especially with a quill pen made from pigeon pin feathers. Yet, he was writing morning, noon, and night whether he really needed to or not. And he wouldn’t use any pen but a pigeon quill.
“Bob, be a dear and pour me more of that head-straightening potion,” Eli said as he held out his mug made from an acorn shell.
“Master, the slow ones you stole that from call it coffee.”
“Of course, they do. The giant piffle-brains never name a thing for its actual usefulness, now do they?”
“No, sir. Of course, they don’t, sir.”
“Bob, you call me sir way too much. You need to vary it up some.”
“What else will I call you, sir?”
“How about Gloriously Majestic Magic-Master Tragedy? Or the Most Powerful Mage of Tellosia?”
“Yes, sir. I shall try, sir.”
“I guess that’s the best I can hope for, isn’t it?” the master said in the grumpy voice he always used before he had enough of his stolen head-straightening potion.
The master, of course, told me regularly that I was not very smart. And being the master, he was, of course, right about that. But I thought it best not to contradict him in any case. After all, I was only a stupid Sylph boy that had to be reminded to wear pants every day. I never actually forgot my pants before being reminded by the master. But I regularly took his wise directions anyway. He was a wise and famous Elf Sorcerer known far and wide amongst the Fey Children throughout the countryside. And I was his apprentice. He was going to teach me real magic one day.
“When will you teach us real magic?” complained Mickey the Wererat. He was in the tub near the stove, bathing himself by the master’s orders, trying to remove at least some of the stench of being a wererat.
“I am teaching you real magic now. Use that magical stink-removing potion on yourself. Every bit of your furry little stink-factory body needs to be covered with the magical lavatory potion.”
“The slow ones you stole that potion from call it soap, master.”
“Of course, they do, Bob. You are so good at reminding me of the English name for all the little things we borrow. Now if only you were not so dumb all the time…”
It didn’t pay to argue with a sorcerer. Especially not one who could turn you into a frog, newt, or grasshopper. I had been a grasshopper for a week once. Once is enough.
“I just wish you would teach me a spell to allow me to control my were-form so I wouldn’t always be a half-rat boy all the time,” complained Mickey, scrubbing furiously at black rat-fur. His body always seemed to naturally morph into the form he was trapped in at the moment. He had a mouse-like face, the naked body of a regular Sylph boy covered in black-and-white fur, a rat’s tail, and paws instead of feet. We would’ve called him a “weremouse” if it weren’t for the fact that he got lycanthropy from the rat-bite of Augustus the Gut, wererat from Suchretown.
“So, when are you actually going to teach us real magic?” That question was a central theme to Mickey. I wanted to learn magic as badly as he did, but I had also learned that asking annoying questions only got you one of two answers.
“Stop complaining. Magic is a volatile thing and must be handled with great care. You should be grateful that I am making you master slow-one magics like coffee and soap first. It keeps you from blowing yourself up with a fireball or freezing yourself with a winter-wind spell.”
So, there was one of the two answers.
“Or shall I turn you into a newt? Newts smell better than wererats.”
That was the other possible answer.
At that moment, Anneliese the Storybook came in through the castle passage into our tower rooms. Now she was a fine-looking young Sylph. But, of course, she was way out of my league. Storybooks are immortal Fey magically created when a human storyteller writes down actual stories that happened to the actual fairy.
“Hello, Eli. Hello, boys.”
She had a rare Germanic beauty about her. I was told that she had once been a human girl, put to death by evil Nazi humans in the slow ones’ years of the 1940’s. And her mother brought her back to life with human witch-magic. Her mother. Gretel, was also a Storybook Sylph now, and served as our castle cook-witch.
“You have gingerbread for us, Anneliese?” asked Eli while slyly looking over her bare-bodied beauty. Some Storybooks wear clothes. Anneliese and Gretel did not.
“You know I do. Mutter knows you have a taste for it. And it is fortified with magic to make you healthy, strong, and wise.” She put the basket she had brought for us down on the table.
“Bob, can you bring me my pants?” begged Mickey from the tub. Mickey was shy. He was like a tree with no bark on it when he was naked in his rat form, and he didn’t want the beautiful girl to see his naked personal twig. I grabbed his little blue lederhosen from the chair where he left it. I looked briefly at the two yellow buttons he always wore on the front of his pants. No suspenders to attach, but buttons there anyway. He snatched the pants from me and put them on while still wet. Then he was out and greedily sorting through the basket to find his favorites before I might take one.
“You are very kind to your brother apprentice, Bob,” Anneliese said to me. “And I am amazed at the way you always seem to notice everything,”
“I am teaching him that. One must be very observant if one is to succeed at the ancient arts of Sorcery.”
“Yes, I see you are teaching him by example, Eli.”
She had him there. She was fully aware of the parts of her that the old Elf was looking at. Probably aware that I was trying not to look at those parts as well.
My master wasn’t evil or anything. But he did appreciate girl Sylphs and fairy beauties.
I liked the fact that Anneliese came by at least twice a week. I wanted to see her even more often. But I could not for the world summon up the magic it took to talk to her on purpose and tell her how I felt.
But the moment ended with a gingerbread boy coming through the door.
“Ah, Pavel, what brings you to my tower, cookie-man?” the Master said to him in a joking manner, managing to hide any embarrassment he might’ve felt in front of Anneliese.
“You are to come right away! The castle is under attack by a second bone-walker!” said the animated cookie.
That, of course, immediately had us rumbling out of the tower door to do our magical duty. Necessary implements of magical firepower were all well in hand.