Accidental Archaeologist - Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure
High Wizard Vey levitated the giant cauldron into the centre of the room, careful not to spill the boiling water inside it onto the floor. Flicking his shoulder-length black hair out of his eyes, he set it down and pulled out a handful of strange plants from the pockets of his sapphire coloured robes.
As he sorted through them and separated them out into specific piles, Thordric, who was watching from behind, frowned slightly. He was quite the potion maker himself and so knew some highly unusual plants, but he had never seen any of these ones before. One in particular he wasn't even sure was a plant; it looked as though it had been carved out of stone.
Vey smiled as he saw Thordric staring. 'It's been petrified,' he said, handing the plant to him so he could have a closer look. 'It's like a fossil, though I had to use magic to speed up the process. It has to be like that for the potion to work.' He laughed and shook his head. 'Honestly, you should have seen the time I used it fresh. It turned my hair and beard into feathers.'
Usually Thordric would have laughed too, but today all he managed was a weak smile. Vey raised his eyebrow.
'So, what exactly is this potion supposed to do? When you've got it right, I mean?' Thordric said, avoiding Vey's gaze.
Vey had been instructing him for three years now, ever since Thordric had become the youngest member of the Wizard Council at only fifteen. That was after Thordric had solved the mystery of the previous High Wizard's death and Vey had taken his place.
The Wizard Council had been very different back then, not just in the products it produced but also its policies and prejudices too. Only full wizards, which meant those who had been born from a family with no previous wizards in them, could become members of the Council. Half-wizards like Thordric and, unknown to everyone at the time, Vey, had been looked down upon as having weak and dangerous magic. No-one trusted them and as Thordric had discovered, the previous High Wizard had wanted them all stamped out for good.
Vey grinned, the movement making his short, tufted beard part down the middle. 'It's supposed to create a feeling of weightlessness. I started developing it for mother, actually, since she's starting to get arthritis. I thought it would help her move around more easily. If it works for her, I may even put it on our product line so that all older people can use it.'
Thordric blinked. He had never thought of Lizzie, Vey's mother, as old. She had been the one who had first taught him how to control his magic, though she had no magic herself.
That was one of the unsolved mysteries of magic; there had never been a single woman who had been born with it in all the history of the land. Thordric thought that was a terrible shame, for Lizzie would have made a wonderful job of it.
'But Lizzie's not old enough to get arthritis,' he objected.
'Mother is very deceptive in her looks, Thordric. I assure you she is no less than sixty. But arthritis does run in our family. It doesn't just affect the elderly though, my grandmother developed it at the age of thirty five.'
By this time Vey had carefully cut up the important parts of each plant and placed them in the cauldron; creating a greenish mixture that stood bubbling away quite pleasantly. A light blue steam began to rise from it as Vey stirred alternately clockwise and counter-clockwise. That was the trick to potions. They all had such strict ways of stirring that Thordric thought he would never master some of the more advanced ones. Then again, as Vey always reminded him, he had never believed he would be able to master any of his magic.
'It should be done in a moment,' Vey said after about twenty minutes. 'Would you help me drain it?'
Only the liquid part of a potion was ever used, sort of like making tea, so all the bits of plant had to be sieved out before it was drinkable.
Thordric picked up a large, round mat of weaved rushes and put it over the cauldron. Then he found a large cooking pot and levitated it across the room so that it stood next to the cauldron, ready for the liquid to be poured into it.
'Right,' Vey said, his brow sweating slightly from the steam. 'You tip and I'll make sure the mat stays in place.'
Without touching it, Thordric tipped the cauldron gently over while Vey stuck the mat to it like a lid with his magic. The liquid, now blue like the steam, came pouring out and into the cooking pot. Once it was done, Vey fetched two goblets and filled them both with the potion.
'Care to have a taste?' he said, offering a goblet to Thordric.
Thordric eyed the goblet warily, remembering what Vey had said about ending up with feathers instead of hair, but quickly put it out of his mind. Vey had been working on this potion for three weeks now, nothing like that should happen again. He took the goblet and drank it all in one gulp, feeling as if he had just swallowed an entire stagnant pond.
'Why is it that all good potions taste so awful?' he complained, realising that his body really did feel lighter. It was so light, in fact, that the breeze from the open window was pushing him back slightly.
Vey tugged at his beard as he too found himself being pushed back by the gentle breeze. 'Hmm, I suppose I'll just have to work on it a bit more. It won't do any good to have people being blown away by a simple puff of wind.'
He sighed and went to tip the potion away, but then Thordric called out to him.
'Wait, Vey. It seems to be settling down now. The feeling is still there, but I'm not being pushed back. It just needs a few minutes to work properly, that's all.'
Vey realised it was true and sighed, his muscles relaxing with relief. 'Would you like to come with me to mother's and see what she thinks of it?' he asked.
Thordric thought of Lizzie being pushed around her garden by the wind. He couldn't resist.