Short Story: A New Sorceress on the Council

Waldorf ran his be-ringed fingers over the rough gray stubble on his chin. Just a moment ago, it had been a rather magnificent beard, falling in waves to his belt. Scissors had made short work of it, and now he could comfortably run a razor over what remained. His magic could have done the job well enough, but after two hundred years, Waldorf knew better than to try doing anything that close to his face with magic.

Gazing into his scrying orb, the wizard examined his jaw line as the razor glided through the cream on his cheeks. How had he forgotten his weak jaw line? His neck looked like an iguana's. Shaking his head, Waldorf pushed the orb with a stream of golden magic, adjusting its angle of observation to better see what he was doing.

Waldorf could hear his wife moving about the tower beyond the stout wooden door of the washroom he stood in. Here a stair squeaked, there a cupboard opened, then shut. He glanced surreptitiously at the thick iron lock, not knowing exactly why he was nervous. He was only shaving his beard after all... perfectly normal thing to do. The blade nicked a wattle on his skinny neck, and he grimaced. Slapping a handful of greenblane on the tiny cut, he moved the razor onward, working away at the scruff on his upper lip.

Several minutes later, Waldorf looked at the shaven lizard staring back at him in the scrying orb and sighed. Something needed to be done about his hair. This dirty gray just wouldn't do. An idea occurred to him. He glanced around, located his staff, and taking it in hand pushed open the window. A brisk summer breeze blew his long wispy hair about as he thrust his head outward, peering down the long tower wall to the second window down. His wife had a magical crock of dye down there in her sewing room, and it would be just the thing. Muttering some boring words, Waldorf waited a moment before reaching out to grasp the newly arrived stone crock that floated in front of him.

Smoothing his purple robes, he lifted the lid and sniffed the clear liquid inside, recoiling slightly at the scent. Bleh. The staff went back to leaning against the wall, and the crock was set upon the wash basin as Waldorf thought about what color his hair would soon be. Purple was obvious, it matched most of his robes. But would The Council laugh? Most likely. Brown was probably the safest color, it was what he had been born with.

Snipping carefully with the scissors, Waldorf cut his white hair short, hoping that he hadn't missed any strands on the back of his head. Any chunks of uneven hair would be covered by his wizarding hat wouldn't they? Best to not worry about it.

Now the unpleasant task of applying the dye to his head. Surely it would work, even if it was a bit unconventional. After all, his wife colored her new dresses however she liked. Removing the lid with distaste for the smell, Waldorf glanced around, wondering how to best get the magic liquid from the crock to his hair. Was there a ladle? Did he just pour it on? No, that sounded rather sloppy.

In the end, he decided to simply dip his fingers in the watery substance and rub it quickly into his hair, imagining a handsome color of brown all the while. That step was very important, requiring steady, controlled thoughts to get the desired results. Waldorf closed his eyes as he worked, the acrid smell of the dye burning his nose and throat.

Finally he opened them and gazed into the scrying orb. There was still a shaven iguana gazing back him, only this time it had a mop of jet black fluff on its head. Apparently the dye was "Extra Strength" or something. Waldorf peered at the crock dismally. A label saying so would have been nice. Still, this black was better than wild white hair and a massive beard wasn't it? Looking objectively at himself once more, he supposed he did look younger, more... dashing.

Someone cleared their throat and Waldorf jumped and glanced around, startled. His wife Delores stood in the open washroom doorway, her hands planted on her ample hips. Waldorf glanced at the treacherous iron lock, then back to his wife's eyes. Oh my.

“Delores...,” he said weakly, “I didn't know you were about....”

Waldorf's wife stared at him with blue eyes like disapproving ice cubes until he wilted. Shoulders slumped, Waldorf handed her the crock of magic dye as the black faded from his white hair. Several more moments of squinted displeasure, and Waldorf's wife slowly swung the door shut, leaving the wizard once again alone in the washroom.

He knew exactly what she would have said if she hadn't chosen the "cold silence" route: 

"Walforf you old goat! Just what do you think you're doing? You look ridiculous! Is this because of that new young thing on The Council? Well I have news for you, you besotted old fool, no twenty-year old sorceress is going to look twice at the likes of you! Now fix your hair and get to work on that weak chin of yours!"

Waldorf cringed at the thought and ran his be-ringed hand over his smooth chin as he looked in the scrying orb. It looked as if he would be growing an entire beard tonight, and by the look in Delores's eyes, he was to remain here until it was finished.

The two-hundred year-old wizard snatched up his staff as he plopped onto a stool in the corner, and settled in for a very long night.

1 comment:

  1. Ha :) I think this will remain one of my favorite things you've ever written for a really long time.