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A Wizard Like You

Baston had been walking most of the morning. With every step, grass collected on his dew covered boots. The forest was quiet this time of the year. Spring had just finished and everything was preparing for the long winter, even him.

There was no path to follow on this trip. No road. No trail. It didn’t matter. He kept a brisk pace through the trees. That was, until he tripped on a rock.

He laid still for a moment staring face down at the forest floor. He laughed, and spit a pine needle from his mouth. “That’s a first,” he said. “The Great Wizard of Pendon taken down by a common forest stone.”

He flipped over, sat up, and took a long look at the offending rock. It looked remarkably like the shell of a tortoise. He reached over and ran his fingers across the grooves in the stone.

His fingers tingled with a static energy. He had felt this kind of energy before. He ran his hands back and forth again, just to be sure. It was a binding spell of some sort he suspected. Amateurish, but enough to hold this animal in stone.

This wasn’t a common after all, this was magical!

He stood up, brushed forest off his clothing and placed both hands on the statue. He whispered some words under his breath. The grey stone began to melt away revealing a brown and green shell. The head of the tortoise started to wiggle and move about. Baston smiled as he saw the animals feet shake and shutter with life.  

“Thank you kindly, Great Wizard of Pendon,” said a slow, deep voice coming from the tortoise.

The wizard stepped back a bit and said, “Well, then. Not common. Not common at all.”

“You are most welcome Mr. Tortoise. And while you now have the gift of gab again, can you tell me how you came about being under my foot today?,” the wizard said.

The tortoise took a step or two forward and stretched its long neck out into the forest air.

“I startled a young apprentice of magic at this spot. In return he conjured me into stone. I can’t remember if he didn’t know how to change me back, or if he didn’t care. But, he left me here at this exact spot,” the tortoise said.

“That is both unfortunate and fortunate for both of us. Will you join me for lunch and tell me more?” asked the wizard. 

“I think I would like to eat. It has been a long time time,” said the tortoise.

The tortoise devoured the wizard’s breads and greens. It was obvious that he had missed eating. The wizard didn’t mind. They drank some wine and talked late into the evening.

The tortoise had lived a long life and told the wizard many stories. His voice was given to him by a lonely wizard who wanted a companion. The tortoise outlived his companion and moved on after he died. He traveled far and wide, slowly of course. Sometime he would speak, but most of the time he would just be a tortoise.

They each shared stories of their adventures. Like the time the tortoise took to the sea. He was the pet of a eclectic captain, who found him to be great luck. The tortoise was fond of the sea, as was the wizard.

The night grew long. The wizard snuffed out the fire and laid out his bed. The tortoise finished his wine. He realized how much being alive had made him tired. “I like wizards,” he said. “More so than the others. And to be honest, I’m not even mad at that apprentice.”

His head sunk. And as he slowly retreated into his shell he mumbled, “I wish I could become a wizard, a wizard like you.”

“It is the least we could do my friend,” said Baston.

And that is how the wizard tortoise came to be. How he came to power is another story….

Published in Fiction