Xolandor managed to jump out of the way just in time, as another very angry ball of fire sped straight past his head.
“Watch what you’re doing! You could have scarred my beautiful face!” Xolandor, as Prime Wizard, had had many apprentices in his care over the last eighty years, but never one as inept at casting simple magic spells as young Borvin was.
“I’m sorry, Master, Xolandor! I’m so sorry!”
A year ago this Prime Wizard’s favourite staff had broken during a rather precarious experiment – the details of which he didn’t wish to discuss with strangers – and he had been lucky that the Blacksmith of Goldreach knew how to fix things like that. In his whole, long life Xolandor had never met a blacksmith who was quite as skilled at fixing magical items as Mr. Swifthammer was, and the good man had given him a discount, at that! Then, not one month ago, he had asked for a favour. Would Prime Wizard Xolandor not be able to take on his son, Borvin, as an apprentice? No one else wanted to give the lad a chance. Xolandor had trained many untalented wizards and sorceresses in his time, and hadn’t believed this one to be a problem, no matter the rumours. He also hadn’t believed he could be so wrong, but here he was, his face still hot from where the ball of fire had grazed his beard only seconds ago.
He mumbled something under his breath – something he really hoped the young lad didn’t hear – and nodded .”Try again. I’ll stand over here, and you try again.”
Borvin was trying, he knew, but if there was one thing he had learned in his life it was that often, simply trying wasn’t good enough. You had to do to get anywhere, and it was a sad fact that young Borvin wasn’t very good at actually doing.
This time, his ball of fire didn’t get near Xolandor. Rather, it was barely a ball at all. He could see on the lad’s face that he was focused, that wasn’t the issue. No, the issue was something else entirely, and it wasn’t something the Prime Wizard had ever come across. Given his long, well-spent life, this was saying something, and it was enough to peak his interest. It wasn’t laziness, for the lad was willing to work, and it wasn’t his lack of talent, not entirely. It definitely wasn’t newts, no mater how much Mr. Swifthammer insisted! Just why did people think that wizards and newts went together like- like – Xolandor couldn’t think of a comparison adequate enough. He hadn’t even worked with newts in over thirty years, they simply weren’t useful enough!
“Better, Borvin. Definitely… better.”
“You think so?”
He nodded, trying to think of a reason for this lad’s incredible lack of talent. It was there, somewhere in the back of his mind, but he couldn’t for the life of him remember where he had stored it. “Yes, my lad, you are getting there. Why not take a break? Make us some tea, we can talk universe theory while we sip away with some biscuits.” Borvin broke out into a grin, and hurried off to the kitchen.
Xolandor had never regretted taking on an apprentice. He sorely hoped he wouldn’t come to regret this one.
All of my 10-Minute stories are improvised, unplanned, and unedited apart from spelling and grammar mistakes. The idea is to kick-start the dreaded Monday with a short, creative exercise without thinking about it, and simply writing for the sake of writing.
For all other 10-Minute shorts, take a look here.