The Cave Mouth


Well, it is something, I suppose, Brenkin thought. ‘Not much of something, though,’ he said to himself as he edged closer to it. He gave the… thing, what was left of it, anyway, a prod with the toe of his boot. He jumped back in case it turned out to be not as dead as it looked.

It stayed dead.

Very dead.

Brenkin gave it another experimental tap with the toe of his boot, carefully because boots were expensive, and because deadly – or rather, former-deadly – creatures may still be dangerous.

Mordon once said Brenkin had learnt nothing, but he’d learnt caution.

So, it seemed he’d, at last, got the knack of the fireball spell. Well, to some extent at least. There was a singed, burning smell in the air Brenkin recognised as the smell of his eyebrows burning off… again.

He stepped around the remains of the beast that had flown at him from the cave. He edged closer to the cave mouth, peering in at the darkness.

He looked back at the still very dead creature. What manner of beast it was Brenkin had no idea. All he knew was that it had some very impressive teeth and claws and it had not been happy to see him, not happy at all.

Since he’d began wizarding over three years ago, as it happened, it appeared that there were a lot of things – usually with razor-sharp teeth and claws – that were not pleased to see Brenkin. They were not shy in trying to do something about it either. This, to Brenkin, explained why he was getting so proficient with the lightning bolt and fireball spells. Although not quite proficient or controlled enough to risk trying to grow another beard yet… not after the last time.

As Mordon has said – several times – a wizard’s beard shows he has confidence in his own abilities. No-one would hire, he claimed, a beardless wizard or even worse one with a singed beard. Brenkin supposed Mordon had a point, which made him wonder why Daggor the merchant had been so keen to hire him, a new wizard, to go and fetch some merchandise he’d left in this cave.

Now he stood at the cave mouth, his hand still tingling with the aftermagic of his spell. Brenkin wondered if there was a reason beyond mere parsimony why Daggor had hired a cheap newly-qualified wizard for what was basically a piece of straightforward courier work. If so, just what was doing all that heavy breathing deep in the darkness of the cave?

Knowing that if he wanted to live to be a wise old wizard, the best thing for him to do now would be to turn and walk away. Brenkin hitched up his new wizarding robe, brushed non-existent dust off it and stepped into the cave.


Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

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