The Keep

The wizard’s eyes bulged as he clutched at my throat with elderly hands. “It’s almost time. Can I trust you will continue my work?”

I clasped my hands over his. “Yes, I will do what must be done.”

He released his grip on my bunched-up Polo shirt as I eased him back into the bed. I filled a cup of water from the sink and brought it back. Instead of taking it, he waved a small gesture to make it hurtle across the room. The time before it was a cup of hot tea.

“Bring it to me.” He said. I steadied myself at the powerful command and walked toward the roaring fire.

“And don’t forget to use the gloves, ya dimwit.” He added.

This wasn’t my first rodeo. Being Dwoolindor’s apprentice for the last thirty years, I have shouldered all that goes along with the thankless job. It’s a simple relationship. I care for my master and he schools me in the arts few have mastered. All in all it’s been a good run, but sometimes he can be a real pain, if you know what I mean.

I donned the silver-lined gauntlets. Their icy coolness ran up both arms until causing a quick shudder across the back of my neck. Even with proper protection, I felt the dangerous heat of Wordfyre as I lifted the glowing artifact from its crucible. It resembled a typical sixteenth-century writing quill, except for the weight as if it were forged of solid gold.

Dwoolindor once told me that William Shakespeare had used this very same device. “There are more of these things?” I had asked, back in the days when I talked way more than I listened. He did not answer, but later I learned it to be true. There were more of these creations, but they took on a variety of guises. Some were used for good, pushing mankind toward an ever higher path of existence, while other of these artifacts were taken into hand as a great counter-weight to crush the rising awareness. After I had asked way too many questions, he instructed me on the importance of a watchful eye and shut mouth.

“Parchment,” he shouted, then released a slight cough. “The Wayshrines ones. Now, sit and take my words.”

“As you wish,” I replied.

“Let it cool…but first finish your incantations. Go on, pick it up with your bare hands already.”

Did I mention how impatient a wizard may get when he knows the time is near? I sat at his rough-hewn oaken table and placed the pulsing quill into a dark glass inkwell, then tapped a light ball and followed his instructions. Each enchanted paper I selected glowed briefly with the phrase .ssenkraD on eb nac ereht ,thgiL si ereht erehW then faded away until only white space remained.

In between his frequent breaks from dictation, I would tend the fire, serve Elderberry tea, or grab cold-cuts and cheese from the fridge. Wordfyre’s essence flowed throughout my body, and its ink never ran dry.

After revealing the history and inner-workings of Wordfyre only to me, Dwoolindor left this realm in his own unique way, as wizards tend to do. His departing was epic and not to be told herein. You may, however, read this collection of Wordfyre sightings if you seek to know more.