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, releasing the tight hold on my bunched-up polo shirt. I eased him back into the bed. “Yes, I will do what must be done.”

“Bring it to me.” He said. The powerful command spun my body like a top. I steadied myself and walked toward the roaring fire. “And don’t forget to use the gloves.”

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 provides for me. The greatest benefit is my learning the ways of 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 and shuddered as their icy coolness ran up both arms. My mind settled while the constant chill permeated deep into my chest. Even with the proper protection, I felt the heat of Wordfyre as I lifted the glowing artifact from its crucible. It appeared as 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 owned it. “It’s not the only one in existence,” he mentioned, “but it’s one of my favorite.”

“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 I knew it to be true. Afterward he instructed me on the importance of a watchful eye and shut mouth.

“Parchment,” he shouted, then paused while releasing a slight cough. “The Wayshrines ones. Now, sit and take my words.” He lowered his voice in a soft and more accommodating tone, “You will not need the gloves much longer.”

I selected a sheet of the enchanted paper and took a seat. His dictation lasted a fortnight. In between his frequent breaks I would tend the fire, serve Elderberry tea, or grab cold cuts and cheese from the fridge. Soon I was able to handle Wordfyre with my bare hands, just as he predicted. Its essence flowed throughout my body, and its ink never ran dry.

After revealing the 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.

♈✫♑