A dead wizard holds the only key to unlocking the mystery of his own death.
| Words 29,504|
To Kill A Wizard
The city of Warlock sat against the background of Moonstruck bay, a natural harbor, bringing with it ships and cargo from the four corners of the world. Moonstruck Bay was so named because on any given night one could look out their window and see the moon reflecting on the bays smooth surface. Resting on the far side of the bay stood two statues carved from black onyx. A man and a woman dressed in long robes, their eyes all aglow, casting beams of light out into the ocean, lighthouses leading ships safely to port. The lights were beacons of hope, bringing husbands, sons and brother home, even through the worst of storms.
The lights were more than just beacons. They also kept pirates at bay. When any number of ships slipped through the mouth of the bay, they passed by the tall figures of stone. The beams of light would scan each ship with scrutiny. The League of Wizards had given each ship a figurehead in the shape of a mermaid. The figureheads’ eyes held a glimmer of magic, one in which could not be copied. Oh, there were times pirates tried to trick the lights by trying to copy the magic. All failed the skeletons of both man and ship lay at the bottom of the bay, burnt beyond recognition, their bones bleached white by the sea.
Warlock grew up in steps, leading up from the docks, so everyone had an ocean view. Along the east side of the city sat the port and the many warehouses, short two story stone and wooden structures. Men and woman of different races were seen working the dock area. They moved the heavy crates and cages from the ships to the docks. From there, they were loaded on horse drawn wagons and taken to their respective warehouses. Almost every sea captain had one such building to store his wares, a place where family, friends or the occasional shop owner could come to shop. South of the warehouses were the many shops who opened early in the morning and closed late at night.
Five wizards, brothers in arms, each with their own special talents, their own way of working magic ruled the city. No one broke the law in Warlock. The five brothers kept things in balance.
After one of the five wizards checked each shipment over carefully, and gave it his seal of approval, the shipments were taken to their respected shops or warehouses while the things which were special ordered were taken to the owners’ residences.
The cobblestone streets were lit by mage lights on tall iron poles shaped like small trees. Just before the sun set into the bay, the five wizards would walk along the city streets, turning on each light with a flip of the wrist. During these times, children of all ages followed close behind them, mimicking their every move. Sometimes, a wizard would give a child enough magic to turn on one of the lights, learning if he had the mind, and will to someday become a wizard themselves.
There were times when gifted children would not need the wizard’s help. Those children were quickly taken to their respective homes, where their parents were told of their amazing abilities. They were then placed in magic school until they were old enough to become wizard’s apprentices.
Tonight the city was silent; the streets were all but deserted, except for a few last minute shoppers making their way home, their arms full of baskets and bags. The clip clop of hooves striking the cobblestone streets from the horses pulling the many wagons grew still until the next morning when they would once again make their rounds. The city guards knew their duties for the night, the paper work signed and filed away.
Jack Cole, the captain of the day guards, decided this night would be used for a time of leisure, a chance to prop his feet up, to lean back in a chair at his favorite watering hole and relax. Being the day captain of the elite guards, he needed time away from work to wind down, to relax. But he was always on call— twenty six hours a day. Eight days a week.
The Gargoyle Tavern was just such a place. He could drown his cares away and possibly find a little peace. Sitting near the center of town, it was always a hub of activity any time of the day or night. There, no one bothered him, except one of the lovely barmaids who served food and drinks. There, he would find peace, solitude and the best ale and spiced potatoes anywhere in town. Some said it was the sweet water running under the establishment. A well so deep the water came up ice cold and clean. The brew master and cooks used it to make the ale and boil the potatoes, causing both to taste so good. Others were heard to say the League of Wizards made everything taste so sweet, by magic. No matter what caused them to have such a robust flavor, the tavern remained filled to captivity.
This night was no exception.