Focus! Enter the Wandering Mage: William Chillsworth!
Bently sits by the window of his room at a small inn just as the sun rises, it has been three days since he met Hammy in the forest on the outskirts of Lovela Kingdom's territory. Hammy has been staying with the villages alchemist, the only resident with any medical knowledge, who has been treating Hammy's injury. News of the attack on Hammy's village had already reached the town before their arrival and many of the people have whispered fears that they are spies sent by the Empire to scout prospective towns to raid. As Bently watches the sun peek out above the now distant forest his eyes close and his mind wanders to a day that seems so long ago.
"Congratulations Captain!", was shouted repeatedly from all around the Great Hall as King Leon presented Bently with a shield decorated with orange jewels scattered across its highly polished surface. "Sir Bently of Foxxton, in honor of your many achievements and years of service to my kingdom I hereby bestow on you the title of High Commander and this Reflector. May it serve you as well as you have served me.", the older fox bowed his head as he stepped back and Bently strapped the shield to his arm and held it up. Later while walking through one of the garden corridors a shadowy figure appeared ahead of him, "You know, Bently.", Bently stopped as the figure drew closer, "That philosophy of yours is going to end up costing you everything.". As the figure stepped into the light Bently recognized him as Sir Riddick, Captain of the Lance Corps, "Sir Riddick, I appreciate your concern but I wish to not hear you speak in such a manner.", Bently replied. "Whether you want to hear it or not doesn't matter. It's ridiculous for a soldier to refuse to kill the enemy of his King. But for a High Commander to, is insane.", Bently quickly returned, "There is nothing ridiculous about wanting to preserve life! All people, even those who wish us harm, have every right to live just as we do! Who are we to decide whither a person lives or dies?". "Would you still say that if you watched your men die? Would you show mercy to the merciless?", Riddick grabbed Bently's tunic and shouted "If the kingdom were to crumble would you stand by with your sword sheathed!? Would you stand by as all that we work to protect is devoured by flame?!".
Bently's eye open with a trace of sadness in them, "Perhaps I have been too idealistic.", he picked up his sword and pulled it from the scabbard revealing its smooth wooden blade, "If I had not gone to Drowsy Oak to claim this sword then I could have led my men.", he returns the sword and argues, "Even if I had, would it have made any difference? I'm afraid not even the presence of a High Commander would have meant much in the face of the Empire's war machines.". Bently slips on his boots and walks out of the room only to meet with the innkeepers daughter, "Oh! Good morning Mr. Foxxton!", she smiles warmly as Bently sneaks a flower from a nearby vase and presents it to her, "And good morning to you, fair lady.", he takes her hand and lightly kisses it causing her to blush deeply. "Oh! Mr. Key sent a messenger by, he says that little boy that was with you is better now so to come by as soon as you can.", Bently bows his head in thanks as he makes his way out to the street.
As Bently walks to the alchemists shop he picks up on the whispers he has heard since arriving in town, "That him? Yea, that's the guy that came from the same direction as that village that was attacked. I hear he's working for the Empire, helping them find helpless towns to pillage.". He simply ignores the gossip and soon finds himself at the back alley shop the old alchemist calls home. The old man's grandson is outside sweeping the cobblestone path as Bently turns the corner the child greets him with a smile and opens the door. "Ah, I see you received my message Sir Foxxton.", the elderly hound turns from the small cot where Hammy lies still sleeping, "I managed to heal the fracture but I'm afraid I don't have the right ingredients to take care of the swelling. It can be treated with a bit of wet cloth but he won't be able to walk on it before days end.". Bently nods quietly as he sets a few copper pieces on the alchemist's mixing table, "Send another messenger as soon as the boy is fit to travel.", he whispers as he turns and leaves.
As Bently rounds the corner back to the main street he finds that some of the villagers have gathered around someone, he is unable to hear what they are saying but has no doubt they are also accusing them of aiding the Empire. He rushes over as he notice one man pick up a large rock and raise it above their head, "Now see here!", he shouts as he breaks through the crowd, "What's all this about then?". Bently makes it to the middle of the crowd finding a young boy already a little beaten lying on the ground as he turns to confront the group a woman screams out, "'E's one ov'em! Get'em!", Bently sees the man ready to bring the rock down on him and quickly reaches under his cloak pulling out something that creates a blinding flash of light. As their eyes adjust the man drops the rock as they all see the light was created by a highly polished shield, "It's a Reflector. That's a Commander's shield.", the group murmurs as they step back. The woman who accused Bently earlier steps forward, "We's sorry gov'. We dinna know 'e wuz wiff you, dat we dinna.", she pleas while bowing in apology. Bently returns his shield under his cloak before taking the boy in his arms and making his way back to the inn.
After a short time the boy regains consciousness, "W-where am I?", he looks around and sees Bently's warm, smiling face, "Do not worry little friend, you are safe now.". The boy looks at his bandaged wounds and spots his patched clothes on the stand beside the bed while rubbing his head. "You are lucky I arrived when I did, any longer and you would have more than those minor injuries.", Bently states as he turns back to a peice of wood he has been carving. "But why did those people attack me? I didn't do anything!", the boy whines as his sits up Bently motioning for him to lay back down, "They are scared. The Empire has been moving further out into this area recently and they must have assumed you were a spy.", Bently paces a moment and looks at the boy, "Where are you from anyway, lad?". The boy sighs as his eyes fill with sorrow, "My name's William, William Chillsworth. I'm from Artikia, a city far north from here, where I was training to be a mage. But the Head Master threw me out when I failed my first test. I've been traveling ever since trying to find a new teacher.", he turns away from Bently and wipes the tears from his eyes. "Far north? You mean you came all the way from the Frozen Continent?", Bently asks only to see the boy nod, "I see, so you are a Guin. No wonder the villagers were afraid I doubt many of them have even heard of your kind before let alone seen one.", the boy balls up under the blanket and Bently wipes a bit of sweat from his forehead as he goes back to whittling.
The hours passed turning to dusk and once more Bently returned to that time. It was late afternoon and the sky was bright orange as the sun slowly sank behind Lovela Palace. Bently had just returned from a three day journey to claim the sword 'Dream Master' from Drowsy Oak. He remembered climbing the grassy hill and gazing at the silhouette of the palace in front of the sun and thinking of Princess Rubeline, he remembered how forceful she had been when he first joined the Sword Corps demanding he promise to make the rank of High Commander so she could marry a decent man. He had laughed about how he had once wanted nothing to do with her but over the years she had become his closest friend and the object of his affection. His fond thoughts were suddenly broken as he heard a thundering blast and watched as smoke rose from the castle. Even running as fast as he could it was over by the time he reached the gates. All of His Majesties Royal Corps had been thoroughly defeated and the castle itself was burning.
Bently's eyes quickly open trembling with fear as he turns to the window, realizing he actually heard an explosion. Looking out into the street peoples were running in fear as twenty Porkers rush into the village, using their magic pots to set each building on fire. He dashes to the door but is stopped by the boy, "Wait! Don't leave me!", he cries as Bently turns, "Look, I cannot sit by and allow more lives to be ruined by the Empire. If you want to become a mage I suggest you seek out Alabaster, but doing so will mean facing many perils. If you want to find Alabaster you must first find the courage to face whatever danger presents itself. If you cannot.", he begins to exit the room with his final words, "Then I suggest you continue to cower!". The innkeeper's daughter crashes into Bently as he rounds the bottom of the stairs, "Oh sir!", before she can say another word Bently shouts, "Get out of here now! Don't try to hide else they'll smoke you out!", he turns as he hears the door crash in.
At the Alchemist's shop Hammy groans in his sleep as sweat rolls down his face. "Oh dear....", the old terrier dips a rag in a bowl of water then places it on Hammy's forehead as his grandson watches, "It would seem the boy's come down with a fever. This isn't good, we have to find a safer place for him.". Back at the inn two Porkers go flying through the window into the street both unconscious and badly beaten. The others in their group watch in shock as a fox less than half their size steps out and blocks the groups path down the road, "No more.", Bently raises his head his eyes showing his determination. The captain of the group lets out a high pitch squeal signaling the other four to charge as Bently quickly dashed forward, passing through them and stopping on the other side of them with his sword drawn. The Porkers stand motionless for a moment then fall to the ground fast asleep as Bently stood upright, "This ends here villain, I will not allow you to ruin more lives.", he spoke sternly as the captain trembled.
"That's some big talk, coming from such a little man.", Bently turns to find a much larger Porker looming over him he quickly dodges to the side as the Porker's massive hammer crashes into the ground, forming a deep impression in the road. "When did he.." Bently's thought is interrupted by his attacker, "You're not the only one who can use Quick Foot. I may be big but don't think I'm all brawn, I never once neglected to work on my speed.", he smiles and quickly closes the gap between him and Bently, destroying the road as he drags his hammer before swinging it upward. The fox quickly lunges to the side, rolling to his feet, as he pulls out his shield, "Quick Foot eh? I never heard of that.", he stands holding his shield in front of him. The Porker lets out a loud, snorting laugh, "You mean you're using a technique and never knew its name? How stupid can you be? I bet you thought you created it on you're own didn't you? BWA!HA!HA!HA!", Bently grins as he aims his shield, "No... You see, my technique..", the light from the afternoon sun reflected of the shield strikes the Porker directly in the eyes causing him to squint and try to block out the light, "Isn't limited to just my legs!", Bently shouts as he lunges forward and strikes his foe nine times with such speed they feel like one blow.
The massive pig falls to his knees, trying to fight off the pending sleep brought on by Bently's sword, "My technique is called Rapid Movement. It allows me quick bursts of speed with my legs to close a distance or my arms to allow me to strike an opponent multiple times. And as you are undoubtedly feeling it's fast enough to make all the strikes connect at once.", Bently puts his sword away as the Porker gives in and sleeps while still on his knees. Bently looks toward the side road where the alchemist's shop is located and notices a new pillar of smoke slowly rising from the general location. His heart races a bit as he quickly makes his way there his mind filling with regret about not staying there in case of an attack.
Just as Bently make it to the beginning of the side street the alchemist and his grandson come rushing out, carrying Hammy on a makeshift stretcher, "Sir! Dear me, thank goodness you're alright!", the old man huffed as they drew closer to one another. "It's not safe to stop, you need to get out of the village while the Porker's are still trying to smoke everyone out. Once they get the slave carts in they'll have every exit blocked!", Bently begins to lead them out by the main road only to see the Porkers have caught up with them. "You not going no wheres! Boss hog give give reward we catch fox man, so we catch, you work in mines!", the Porkers all let out a loud snorting laugh as then move in closer, encircling their four intended victims. Just as they are about to snarl their prey a shaky voice calls out from behind, "Hey!", everyone turns their attention to the voice and there stands William shaking in fear as he tries to put on his best brave act.
The Porkers chuckle, "He nothing, you two get him.", the Captain commands as the other turn back to Bently and his group. The two closest to William move in ready to grab him only for the penguin to squirm between them and tumble along the ground as he avoids their greasy hands. As they turn back around William places his palms on the ground and strains to the point he sweats as the area around his hands begins to freeze over and a dozen three inch tall copies of himself made from the ice begin to march toward the Porkers. "Peng! Peng! Peng!", they all shout as they inch closer to the pigs who can't help but laugh at the little trick. "Ok! Pengu Attack!", the boy shouts he pumps his fist as the copies leap into action still shouting "Peng!" as they swarm over the two pigs, punching, biting, and kicking wherever they can. The Porkers pull and flick the Pengu off only for them to continuously fight back like mosquitoes. Only a few moments into their attack the Pengu begin to slow down as they slowly melt making it easier for the pigs to pull them off and smash them against the cobble stone road.
Bently struggles against the Porker holding him, unable to draw his sword, as he notices William struggling he grunts a little in frustration, "William!", the boy quickly turns his attention to Bently as the fox worms an object from his pocket and kicks it toward the boy. It lands only a few inches from him, it is a simple wooden wand, William picks it up and looks at Bently still frightened, "B-but, I'm no good at magic! How is this-", Bently interrupts the boy, "That's no ordinary wand! It's the..the.. Ice Weaver Wand! It's tuned specifically to all manner of Frost spells! Even someone with no talent like me can use a Frost spell with that! Surely you can do something!". William looks at the wand a moment then quickly turns as he remembers the Porkers behind him, he remains frozen in fear as they draw closer but just as they are about to grab him he waves the wand with a fear filled scream.
All the commotion on the street has fallen silent, William slowly opens his eye and looks toward his would be captures, finding them both frozen solid in a thick sheet of ice. "Did..Did I do that?", the penguin asks in sheer wonder his attention turns back to the main group as words of encouragement drift toward him, "Haha! I knew you could do it William! With that not even the entire Porker army could stand against you!", Bently shouts still held in the Porker Captain's flabby arms. The others drop their captives and slowly back away, "Uuuuuh...Captain...wot we do? wot we do?!", the Captain drops Bently and slowly joins his subordinates as William moves a little closer, "Hey, I've got an idea.", the boy smirks. "Ye-yea?", the Captain gulps nervously as William raises the wand above his head, "Why don't you guys.", he thrusts the wand in front of him, "Chill out!", as the last word leaves his beak a powerful, cold wind blows through the street as snow comes from nowhere. The Porkers all lose their nerve and run away as fast as they can as the blizzard plows after them.
Bently pats William on the head with a smile, "See? You have the makings of a great wizard, you just need to believe in yourself.". William shakes his head, "No...if it wasn't for this wand I would have never been able to do any of that.", Bently chuckles warmly, "Oh that thing? I carved it from a fallen branch I found after taking you to the Inn.". William looks up to Bently confused, "I was going to make something else from it but after talking to you I realized the reason you didn't fight back before is because you lacked confidence in your own skills. Even if they don't know any practical spells anyone with magical talent can summon even base forms of their element. But, a wizard's power doesn't mean anything if they don't have any confidence in the spell they're using.", Bently tells the boy as he walks him over to the old man and his grandson. Willaim stomps his foot, "You didn't have to lie to me!", Bently coughs a little, "Well...would you have believed me if I had just told you?", William looks at his feet,"No, I guess not.". The alchemist is examining Hammy when he calls to the other two, "Sir Foxxton! You may want to see this.", they all look on and watch as Hammy stirs in his sleep then slowly wakes up, "Huh? Where am I?", he asks weakly. The old terrier laughs, "I bet this little blizzard our friend whipped up brought on enough of a chill to bring down you fever. Not just that, but the snow is taking care of the fires too.", he puffs on his pipe a little, "Still, they Imperials did a lot of damage in such a short time.". "It's the magic they use, the fires spread quickly and are hard to put out. I was too late to save the village, but hopefully the people here can enjoy peace for just a bit longer.".
A few days pass while Hammy continues to recover from his injury with some help from William providing plenty of cold rags while Bently lent a hand rebuilding some of the houses destroyed in the attack. Once Hammy was ready the trio bid farewell to the villagers and make their way toward Sleeping Woods to find some clues for Willaim as to the location of the master wizard, Alabaster.
To be continued...