Perhaps…, he thought.
He tried it.
Yes! There was something, definitely a tingle in the fingers.
Or was it something else? RSI? Cramp? Blerg was no longer sure.
He looked down at the crudely hand-printed sheet with the impressive drawings of wizards in pointy hats and robes. All wielding their staffs with sparks and lightning bolts manifesting creatures and smiting enemies.
Of course, it didn’t look quite as impressive as the small advert in the back of his newssheet had hinted at. Still, it looked quite good later on. If only he could get the hang of the basics.
He stared at the cover illustration of the well-endowed – very well-endowed – princess (you could tell she was a princess by the discreet crown almost lost in her flowing locks). She was about to be rescued by a handsome and well-built young wizard battling with the fierce dragon that had kidnapped her.
On the whole, Blerg was not sure how many princesses needed to be rescued from dragons. Nor if his magical talent – or, at the moment, possible magical tingle in the fingertips – would be up to rescuing a princess anyway.
He turned back to lesson one and tried to get his hands into something resembling the illustration. He took up the stance: Right leg forward, right hand above the head as though he was bowling a rather effete spinner to a batsman standing less that a stride in front of him.
Then he did the thing with the wrist that the instruction said. He tried it slowly at first, then faster and faster.
There was something there.
Blerg did the final flourish and his candle fell over.
He’d done it.
Or had it been a draught from the window? Or a cart passing by in the street below?
His wrist ached now, if anything even more than when he couldn’t stop thinking about his landlord’s daughter. Or – rather more disturbingly – the landlord’s overly-buxom wife with her filthy laugh and loudly-voiced fascination with male anatomy… well, with parts of it anyway.
Blerg righted the candle and had a glance at Exercise Two, which seemed to involve a lot more strain on the wrists than Exercise One.
He decided to try it.
He concentrated on getting the spell right under his breath, practising it over and over again. Then he tried the hand gestures. He’d read the warning at the start of the correspondence course about not doing the gestures and the spell together at the same time until he was ready, but he didn’t think that mattered.
There was a scream outside the window and the sound of a cart crash.
Blerg turned in mid-gesture as the last syllables left his lips.
He could do magic.
Although, he realised with a sudden jolt back to reality, he would have to pay for the damage to the curtains. First, though, he should really see about putting the fire out before the whole inn was ablaze.
But he could do it!
He was a wizard at last.