Most Wizards were and still are obsessively and compulsively neat. Row upon neat row of dustless jars labelled in the same neat script with even strokes of the quill, every label facing forwards. On closer inspection they were categorised according to the content and then alphabetised within their categories. Brooms, cloths and feather dusters patrolled the room as if propelled by invisible arms, sweeping, dusting, wiping.
Thick oak chopping boards lean against the white painted wall, an array of shiny stainless steel knives from scalpels to huge chopping blades are lined up next to a porcelain sink in order of size, each one looking cut-throat sharp. Golden old fashioned weighing scales with an assortment of weights sit next to the knives. But unfortunately this was not the case for Zolton Magnus.
He was not the best Wizard by any Wizards standards at all and his home was a complete and utter mess. His home smelt like a dirty old rag, the floors spilled with steaming puddles of potions he never attended to, shelves packed with glass jars filled with repulsive ingredients like sheep intestines, pickled lizard brains, rabbits eye balls, snake tongue and rats ears.
There was an assortment of hats in various stages of repair on a coat stand, casting a shadow like a crazy castle across his disgusting floor. Every kind of cloak from double lined, velvety, fur trimmed winter cloaks, to light linnen summer cloaks dropped in a crumpled heap by the thick oak front door. Several cauldrons bubbling and steaming with self- stirring spoons. Home bigger on the inside than the outside.
From the outside it looks like an oak door leading to nowhere with grass in front and behind with the chill early winter wind whipping around it. Not exactly a pleasant place to visit much less ask for something magical to cure anything. Most of the town folk had learned from previous indiscretions and almost fatal accidents to give Zolton Magnus a wide birth because his magic could not be trusted and everyone thought he should change his profession from Wizard to grave digger instead.
Now don’t get me wrong, Zolton went through the Wizard Academy and only just passed his exams and this was because he was so easily distracted when it came to concentrating. To be a really good Wizard of any merit you have to concentrate really hard to make things vanish, appear out of nowhere, start fires, create ice, cure sickness and a whole host of other Wizard stuff that other Wizards were really good at.
Zolton was the laughing stock of the town and shunned from entering any competitions in the Wizard World because invariably he would only do damage, not only to himself but to the townsfolk as well by way of causing things to explode or become so badly damaged they were unrecognisable to the onlookers who survived his antics. His success’s were minimal at best and hardly worth mentioning in conversation except if you needed a laugh while at the pub knocking back a few cold drinks with your friends.
Every time Zolton came back to his home he was even more depressed than the day before because he just couldn’t make things realistically gel to a place where he could be happy and content and get a firmer grip on things magical that he loved more than anything. His diet was atrocious, his clothes reeked and basically he was on his last legs. He could procure some food but it was never that edible, he could make a candle light itself but some times it got away from him and he almost burned his home to the ground. Nothing seemed to work out right at all.
The final straw came when his landlord asked him very delicately to move out because the smell from his room was upsetting the other tenants. He tried cleaning spells and they always backfired on him and made the place even more of a disaster area than it already was so he just gave up.
He slept on the floor in his bedroom and tonight just as in other nights the sadness got to him that he started to cry because he was in so much physical and emotional pain. Nothing he did turned out right. He was a blemish on the Wizard World with no prospects and no future.
Zolton decided to leave this town that had ostracised him continually so the very next morning he packed what he needed to survive, and trust me that wasn’t much at all in a small back pack, spent the morning and afternoon cleaning EVERYTHING he had accumulated out of the building he was in and put it in the rubbish bins out in the backyard. The was much sadness in seeing his personal items descend into the bowels of the rubbish bins and there were many tears in the marching up and down of the stairwell from his studio to the backyard. It took all day to clean the stuff out and much of the next day as well but finally he handed in his key to the landlord and walked out into the street where he had lived for quite some time.
It was a sunny day as he stood on the foot path looking up at the windows where he used to live but that would change in the afternoon when mother nature decided to rain cats and dogs down on him as he walked dejectedly out of town for destinations unknown and he really didn’t care anyway he just wanted to be away from there and keep practising his magic to see if he could actually make it as a better Wizard...somewhere else.
His clothes were soaked to his skin as lightening criss crossed its way through the heavens above him like a skinless boney hand massaging the clouds. Every now and then he would look back to see the township getting smaller and smaller until finally the heavy fat rain blocked all view of the town from his vision totally.
Now he was alone.
He didn’t really care he just wanted to be somewhere warm and try to sleep. He was so tired from cleaning his building and getting rid of his stuff that just sitting under a tree with enough foliage to shelter him from the rain would be enough for him to rest under.
Zolton put down his back pack dejectedly and slumped down under a huge pine tree. It didn’t totally stop the rain from hitting him but it did give him some shelter for the time being and something to lean back on to rest. He looked at the ground near his feet and the mud that could take in no more rain and there was a new river, one that would be dry by the morning. This new river collected debris in its path and even small stones and pebbles along it way. The soil that was baked so hard during summer was now soft with the constant falling of the rain water.
What was pale brown is dark, what was tarnished green is virescent. With the heavy clouds comes life and after the deluge the sun is always at its brightest so Zolton closed his eyes after covering his head and fell asleep with the night sky blacker than a coal miners handkerchief and so low it felt small and close. There was a mutter of thunder from the blackened sky as the wind tore leaves from the trees. The rain lashed down, torrential and unforgiving.
Zolton shivered as he slept under the pine tree completely oblivious to the fact that he was not alone. He wasn’t being watched by anyone in particular because he blended into the tree bark he was leaning against quite convincingly but where he was sitting was directly in the path of two beings that were chasing each other, one trying to escape and the other one trying to kill and Zolton was about to be woken up very violently and his life would be in the worst kind of danger.