Red Writing Hood Face to Face Challenge: Did You Read It?

“Of all the foolish things – what in Wune’s name is wrong with you, boy?!!”

Slammed against the wooden wall of the inn, his jacket ripped on a wayward carpenter’s nail, the wizard released him, stepping back.  His wild, grey beard bounced with every muttered curse word as he paced back and forth on the dark lawn.

Nyal stood up straight, acting like the man he wished he were instead of the boy he really was with fitful, scared tears still in his eyes.

He had thought the wizard was going to kill him.

Not an auspicious first meeting.

“One does not stride into any inn and boldly ask the only wizard in the room if he knows anything about the Legend.  It was foolhardy.” the wizard shook his head, staring into the night. “Unless you want to die. Be glad it was me you found.”  He turned and strode off.

Nyal followed the wizard. He had remarkable speed for someone his age.  “You’re with the Guild?”

“My name is Melmidoc, and yes,” Melmidoc said, stopping them with a hand and glancing both ways down a side street before motioning them on. Nyal spoke in a hurried whisper.

“Then I’m safe in talking to you. The Guild – you’ll protect us from the Fae. I knew that, approaching you.”

“You’re wrong.  Not even the Guild is safe anymore.” Melmidoc stopped them once more at the mouth of an alley. He waited a moment, staring into the dark, watching something only he could see. After a second he continued forward into the dark, and Nyal rushed behind him.

Melmidoc kicked in a rotting doorway before grabbing Nyal unceremoniously by his vest and forcing him into the room.  The room was filled with old furniture and tapestries and wiggling spiders. Nyal avoided one as Melmidoc sent glittering silver spells in all the corners. Nyal’s ears popped, and he grimaced.

“We are safe for a short time.” Melmidoc turned, acting for all the world like it was a regular meeting and they weren’t standing in a back alley slum that was home to gods knew what.  “How does a young boy come to know about the Legend?  How old are you, anyway?”

“Old enough to know about such tales,” Nyal said, “and enough to know that some tales have a bit of truth.”

“Did you read it?” Melmidoc leaned forward, and the air was filled with the scent of cloves and smokeleaf, and the burnt tang of magic.

“Yes…” Nyal said, and more softly, “Yes. I’ve read it.”

“Then… what do you believe?”

The boy hesitated for a moment, and then he told him.

~*~

This story is backstory for my original fantasy series, Ebony.

This was in answer to this week’s challenge on Red Writing Hood: “Face to Face” tell about a face to face meeting that doesn’t go as planned…there is a longer version linked here.  If you liked this, please go read it.  It explains things a little better, although it’s not as fast paced.  I tried SO hard not to cut some things out, but in the end… yeah, it’s a good sampling nonetheless.

Hope you enjoyed!

~JM

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