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  • Writer's pictureJon Huber

The Keepsake pt. 2

We find the old man in his usual spot, fused to his throne. The need to ever leave his seat, let alone the mountain, has been dismissed years ago by the man’s immense ability. He has no need for food or water, his body hasn't aged in many years and has reached a pinnacle which will serve him well for the remainder of his days. The man has the ability to quickly restore any medical shortcomings with ease. The elements are of little concern to him, and there isn’t a creature alive on the planet in which he resides that could pose any viable threat to him physically. His entire day is spent in deep thought, as he has nothing else to fill the time. He knows that if his mind sits stagnant it is surely to be lost, so all day he replays his entire life in his head. To forget his art, his alchemy, his craft is out of the question. Every day he studies his gift, from the first brew he learned to the last concoction he ever dared create. Once he finished, he would take some time to pace around his stone and ruminate, and then he would begin this process again. Besides this, the only other thing that keeps the man’s mind agile are his memories, he has been on the mountaintop so long that all else has escaped him. His thoughts drift to the memory of a man, a man that he knew many lifetimes ago. This memory is one that the wizard reminisces on often. To endure life on the mountaintop was beyond laborious and the wizard often leaned on this particular recollection for strength. A memory about the day he met the man who changed his life forever, the day he met the sorcerer who taught him witchcraft.

We join the wizard as a young boy, maybe eight or nine, eating breakfast at a large wooden table. His mother and father sit across from each other and eat their meals without a word. The young wizard sits, dressed in clothes usually only reserved for high-class festivities. He, too, is silent while slowly gnawing at a piece of toast that his mother had put out for him. The wagon that usually took him to school was often of utmost importance in the morning, yet this particular morning, it had already come and gone. The boy was usually fairly quiet, especially in the mornings as the banter between his parents often prepared him for the events to follow during the course of the day; but today the usual exchange ceased to take place. The room was completely silent, the air seemed to hold weight, as if there was some unseen mass weighing the boy down, pushing him into his seat. The silence is broken by a quick rapping at the door, five to be exact, the blows are stern but cheerful. As soon as the fifth strike makes contact, the door swiftly swings open at a well-mannered pace and slams against the stone wall. Standing in the doorway is a man whose appearance and demeanor demand attention and respect immediately. His frame is extremely slender and on it, he wears a suit which is tailored to perfection. The suit is a deep burgundy, which is quite a contrast to the canary yellow shirt he bears underneath. His shoes are jet black and carry the same crystal-like glaze that his thick rimmed glasses do. His hair is a lively white, and in much abundance, with the tips hanging directly behind his knees. His beard hangs down past his belt and is tied into two separate braids which swing to and fro with each of his steps. The man's face holds an air of kindness and the wisdom that he possesses can be seen in the deep creases and ridges that time has placed there. After a brief conversation with the young boy’s parents, the man shortly speaks with the child as well. The conversation between them is merely a pleasantry meant to acknowledge the boy’s presence and bring the man's visit to an end. Their time spent together in the future will be plentiful.

Over the course of the next fifteen years the man and the boy would spend countless hours together. The man’s knowledge of witchcraft and alchemy was unmatched in all the corners of the earth, he ensured this. Not only had he mastered spells and solutions that most capable sorcerers struggled with, but he was also actively creating potions and enchantments, a practice which many believed had died centuries prior. He took extreme pride in his work and was immensely satisfied with the legacy in which he was set to leave. The only known concoction that remained to be solved by the man was the resurrection elixir. This potion was notorious for being extremely difficult to construct, and the literature on it was incomplete. Although, it was not talked about in many of the social circles of the wizarding community as it was considered to be dark magic.

This aspect of witchcraft had not been readily accepted by the congregation of magic practitioners, as it had been condemned by the Gods. You were free to practice the dark arts, but they must never be performed or used in any way. Any wizard who chose to partake in the dark arts would be made known to the public, his friends, and family. The Gods would turn the person’s staff into a black chalky matter that would spread from their hands to their clothes, and finally cover their entire body with a dark soot. This is unfortunate, as a wizard must have their staff with them in order to access their abilities. Any wizard who dabbled in the dark arts would walk the streets for the rest of their lives covered in smudges and stains from head to toe. The blackness of their staff would serve as a reminder to the sorcerer of the black omen they cast over their soul when they chose to perform the forbidden arts. Fortunately for the man, he was never able to complete the resurrection potion, he chose to focus on his teaching instead. He intended to instruct the young boy and finish his spell book which he had yet to release, it being the accumulation of his life’s work.

Flashing back to the mountaintop we see the old man, standing with his chest open to the sun. Slowly, the massive star begins to disappear behind the horizon, the man is able to tell this as a ripple of coolness strikes him, beginning at his forehead. Another day has been granted to the wizard, and he saunters back to his chair to begin the long night. After planting himself in his chair, the man removes his hat and places it on the ground beside him. Removing his hand from his staff, which resists the temptation of gravity and stands perfectly on end, the man begins to rub his hands along the bottom of his robe. His hands are caked full or black resin, his fingernails are long and full of the black substance. Removing very little of it from his hands, the man proceeds to rub his eyes in a circular motion. Although the wizard was able to remove the need for sleep from himself, his body still fatigues, and his eyes still grow heavy. The man slumps back in his giant throne, rests his eyes on the ground, and begins his long wait for daybreak.

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