‘It was all part of the game’ that was what the Ombus, the god of magic in the middle of the Primelands, a flat oval-shaped world, told them. He was the keeper of the Sacred Chronicle of Sentinels and a god so he would know.
Doyrin, one of the graduate wizards of Eternal Synergy was her final quest. The quest for power, how to get it and how to keep it. All the candidates had started out with the same level power, a package of food and a lucky charm. After just two circuits the wizards had become separated and had varying success.
Doyrin, the youngest and only female of the current batch of graduates, stared at her charm, an effigy of the headwear Ombus was often portrayed wearing. Do gods really wear hats I hear you ask? Clearly, on Primelands they think they do. The effigy was supposed to bring great fortune to its bearer, so far it had failed to do so.
It would seem Doyrin’s fortune was far from great. Her power levels were all but depleted after she had run into some trouble in a village on the Eastern Edge of Primelands. A rough part of the world, where the land was of low value, and the communities lacked any community spirit. In a quiet voice, she whispered at the silver charm, ‘bring me some luck, just get me going again.’
As she travelled onward, the road turned west, as it wound its way along the Great South Rim. Doyrin was hungry and could see a lowlands town in the distance. Maybe this was her chance. On arrival, she greeted the townsfolk and asked for somewhere to eat and rest. She offered to pay back any hospitality by working.
Here the folk seemed better off than the folk on Eastern Edge, their crops were at least filling the small barns and silos. She was shown to a tavern by an elderly gnome, ‘don’t worry, missy, you can stay here for nothing, we don’t charge.’
The gnome sat with her, chatting away as she ate. ‘This is so different to the last place I was at, thank you’
‘Got it a bit rough on the Eastern Edge did you, missy?’
‘A bit, yes,’
‘They don’t like the wizard folk, that’s why. They blame the Eternals for all that’s wrong with their lands. The fact the winds blow something terrible and damage everything is neither here nor there, of course. All they have to do is move their settlements back beyond the low hills and things would be so much better’
‘Has no one told them this?’
‘We’ve tried, missy, they want magic solutions not practical everyday ones that require a bit of hard graft.’
‘I will try and remember that dear gnome, it could be useful’
The gnome left and shortly after Doyrin was asleep. She awoke to sunshine with a gentle breeze on the Great Southern Rim. Same as every morning in that part of the world, just enough heat from the sun to need a breeze.
The gnome appeared as if he knew he was needed. After a filling breakfast, he handed her a tightly packed parcel of food. ‘You’ll need that on the West Rim, bit hoity-toity they are, think the rest of us mere mortals are beneath them.’
Doyrin hugged and thanked the gnome for his kindness. She even dared to peck him on his bearded cheek. In doing so she felt a surge of energy rise through her. ‘Hmm, showing gratitude is good for my magic then’ she thought.
As the road turned on to the West Rim she had only gone a short way when a gut of wind lifted her blowing her rapidly across the centre of Primelands. She landed with a thump a short distance from the Great Eastern Edge road. Once again Doyrin walked south until she came upon a village. Certainly, it wasn’t the same village as before, but the folk were similarly unwelcoming.
‘Go away wizard, you are bad luck, we don’t want you here’
One went to take Doyrin’s belongings. Doyrin stood tall, ‘STOP’ she said. ‘Now tell me, why you think wizards bring you bad luck?’
The group of dwarf folk, all started talking at once. ‘Our crops fail because of wizards,’ said one. ‘Our homes get thrashed by endless winds because of the wizards,’ said another and on and on they went, one thing after another.
Doyrin listened patiently as each dwarf voiced an opinion. She sat down and beckoned them to move closer. ‘What if a wizard had a way of helping you?’ she said calmly ‘would that be cursed or bad luck?’
‘No, but you won’t, wizards never can be bothered to help us, you all want to get on the North Plains because you think everything is wonderful there.’
‘It is beautiful there, that is true, but one has to be both rich and powerful to stay there. I am neither, I am just a wizard new to the craft, but I think I can help you. In fact, I know I can, I will need your help and it will be demanding work, but I will use what magic I can to make it easier.’
‘What do you want us to do?’
‘Well it will be planting season soon, am I right?’
‘Yes, you are right there, wizard’
‘And your growing grounds are those over there?’
‘Where does the wind come from?’
‘Over the edge, and flattens everything’
‘So, the growing lands need shelter, don’t they?’
‘What if we plough lands further west a bit, say behind those hills over there?’
‘That would stop the wind I suppose’
‘So, go get your ploughing equipment and we will go plough the land over there’
The rest of the day was spent ploughing new land ready for planting. Afterwards, everyone was hungry. The dwarves had little in the way of food. Doyrin opened her parcel from the gnome, plenty for one young wizard but still hardly enough for the group of hungry dwarves with her. Doyin set out her food and waved her hands above it reciting an incantation. With a flash, more food appeared, and everyone ate well, with plenty left over for the next meal.
Again, Doyrin felt her energies rise. Silently she stood up and raised her hands again. Another flash and a low building appeared just set back from the growing land. ‘Now you have a building safe from the winds too’
The dwarves just sat in stunned silence, until one stood up. ‘Wizard, you have shown us you are not bad luck. We mocked you, threatened you, and you showed us kindness. Thank you’
‘I am not done yet, my good dwarf. Tomorrow we will rebuild your village.’ She said. ‘I ask one thing in return.’
‘Name it and we will do it’ the dwarf said.
‘Share what you have learned with the other folk on the Eastern Edge, let all of you prosper from it.’
That night as she slept power surged into Doyrin, ready for the magic that lay ahead.
©JG Farmer 2018