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  • Writer's pictureJon Huber

The Keepsake pt. 3

The scene we are presented with is much different than usual. We aren’t on the mountain top but in the musky gray streets. We see a group of people standing around a man in an exquisite suit who is laying on the ground. There is a charred hole that has been blown into the man’s chest. The clothing that once covered his frail torso is torn to shreds, and he is left with only seared flesh and bone. The man lies slumped against the wall, his hair tossed in all directions and his staff thrown out of reach. The people that surround him fail to act as the wound is deep and his breathing is faint. Every breath he draws brings him closer to his eternal sleep. The blast with which the man was hit, not only vaporized his suit and the flesh of his chest but tore into the tissue of his lungs. The air which he draws in quickly escapes out of the holes in his chest. We recognize this poor soul to be the wise professor, the mentor of our wizard.

Not much can be done for him unfortunately, his fate was sealed by the person who struck him with the fiery blast. Although we feel for our poor instructor, the man who attacked him did so with good intentions. The magic community was upset with the professor’s work, deeming it to be unethical. These warlocks formed a council and beset principles and restrictions on what a wizard could and could not do. A wizard was not to practice any new sorcery or conjure any new concoctions, as the union felt that all that needed to be discovered, had been. Nonetheless, the professor thought much differently and fought the outdated group of wizards his entire career. He openly constructed new potions and even passed his knowledge of witchcraft to his one disciple, our friend, the lonely wizard.

The professor had intentions of releasing his life’s work in a book he had almost completed. However, this struck the professor with much fear, as the body of warlocks regularly threatened his work along with his life. They felt as though if he were to release this material, a thousand-year oath formed between the warlocks of times past would be broken. The professor not only feared for his life but for the sanctity of his years of work. He also refused to physically document any of his work, out of the fear of thieves or usurpers staining the sanctity of it. A potion which increased the reserves of one’s subconscious memory was ingested by the professor, and he kept all his work in the deep, dark confines of his mind. The strike that the man received to his chest not only put his life in question, but a lifetime of work and possible advancements for the magic community of thousands of years. The significance of his work was immeasurable and for it to be lost forever would completely change the course of the world.

Suddenly, our faithful wizard enters the scene. Dressed in his brown and beige garments, his long brown hair flowing behind him, attempting to keep the man’s brisk pace. When he arrives at the professor’s side he drops to his knees and takes the man into his arms. If it were not for his mentor’s willingness to share his abundance of knowledge, our wizard would be a worthless, mortal man. Tears run down the wizard’s face as he can feel the life begin to leave the body of the man before him. They lock eyes for a second and a small grin grows on the professor’s face, as he takes his final breath. The crowd watches in silence as the wizard sits with the professor’s lifeless body in his arms, weeping for his fallen teacher.

The wizard remains kneeling in the streets as the crowd grows, gathering to gawk at the mutilated body of the deceased mentor. A million thoughts race through the wizard’s head at this moment; not only is he disturbed by the loss of his friend, but by the injustice served to the world with the loss of his professor’s teachings. In a trice, the expression on the wizard’s face changes from that of despair to a blank stare, as he falls into a deep trance of thought. Slowly, the man digs into the cloth around his collar, revealing a small vile that he wears around his neck. He wraps his hand around the small glass tube and drives his fist towards the earth, breaking the strap which holds it in place. He holds the vile in front of his face, allowing sunlight to pass through the creamy blue liquid, which he thoroughly studies before removing the cork. He produces a small wooden instrument from his robe and dips it into the liquid. Delicately, he dabs the concoction on the man’s temples, then places a single drop on the tip of his teacher’s tongue. Running his fingers over the man’s eyes to persuade them to softly close, the wizard then places his fingers under the professor’s chin and carefully shuts his mouth. As soon as the deceased man’s lips meet, the flesh of his chest begins to slowly close. Beginning with his lungs, then with his rich white rib bones, the professor’s chest begins to materialize before the eyes of the probing mob. Slowly, the man’s chest repairs itself down to the last stitch of skin, leaving his exposed chest precisely as it was before the blow.

When the final flake of skin takes shape, the man’s eyes shoot open, and his lungs fill with life. The crowd sits in disbelief as the professor attempts to straighten out his thoughts. One deep inhale after another, the man’s memory slowly returns to him, giving him a clearer picture of what transpired. As the professor presses his frail body against the wall, attempting to return to his feet, our faithful wizard retrieves his staff and turns to face the professor. At that moment, the bottom of the wizard’s staff clings to the ground, as if it had grown roots. Starting from the ground up, the beautiful staff slowly becomes overwhelmed by a dark chalky crust. Once the darkness overtakes the wood finish, a burst of light erupts from the jewel, as the rich green glow fades from it. The wizard removes his hand from the staff and turns his palm to the sky to reveal a thick layer of black residue. After placing his eyes on the wizard’s chalky hands, then moving them slowly to his exposed chest, the scene fully materializes before the professor. His eyes heavy with fear, fill with tears as he blankly stares into the wizard’s eyes, not only does he harbor dread for himself, but for his young disciple as well. The entire crowd stands silently filled with anticipation and disbelief.

The professor retrieves his staff and scans the crowd with wide eyes, stopping at the wizard, tears now steadily flowing. The fear leaves his eyes, and his stare becomes empty; he raises his gaze to the clouds. Placing his staff in front of him, the professor releases his grip and allows the staff to defy gravity, as it stands perfectly still under its own will. Raising his hands to the heavens he then utters the words no wizard should ever speak. As the last syllable leaves his lips, the professor simply disappears. His suit falls to the ground in a pile, while his staff remains standing for a short period of time, before too, toppling over.

With this action, the crowd disperses in fear and confusion from what they had just witnessed, leaving our wizard to grieve alone in the street. He sits for hours, filled with bewilderment and uncertainty, gazing into his hands which are completely covered in soot. The world as he knows it changed completely that day, it not only lost one great sorcerer, but two.

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