The Tale of the Inattentive Wizard
The wizard threw some more bog-monster dust into the broth. It would be ready in just a minute. It had to be. The pesky king’s men had figured out a way to break through his field of safety and were marching on the way.
Just a few correctly intoned words, and they would be stalled.
“Myglu-sveppur!” said the wizard, and had a look out of his tower window.
He turned away and, as he did, he heard rumblings outside. He hurried to the window again and saw a couple dozen green and scaly bog-monsters rise from the ground to fight the king’s men.
The king had a hundred men attacking, armed with swords, axes and spears. The bog-monsters had scaly bodies and some claws. Not fair. The wizard made the monsters attempt to flang the oncoming force, but to little avail. Half the men were slowed down in the killing, but the other half stormed the tower. After killing off all the monsters, the rest of the army marched on, leaving the two casualties to keep each other company till after the battle.
The wizard threw in his brew a handful of lizard eggs, shouting: “Belya au swedli!”
A huge puff of smoke blew in the wizard’s face, making him cough. judging by the rumblings outside, the spell had worked. The wizard stumbled to the window to see:
About twenty slimy looking frogmen were shimmering into existence behind the advancing army, armed with javelins. The flung their javelins at the group, until they ran out. By that time, the army was advancing on them from both sides, the section that had not fought the bog-monsters from the front, and the one that had from the rear. They made short work of the frogmen, and marched on.
The wizard cursed again, but saw that three lay dead and a handful were injured, so at least he had fewer to handle now. Pity he had used up the last of the lizard eggs.
The wizard ruffled in his cabinets, seeking some magical items he could use to summon fighting monsters. Nothing. But he did find a bottle he did not remember: it was labeled: “Munnskol,” and had a red triangle on it. He opened it and poured the contents into he brew, carefully selecting his words:
“Yeg er meth magasoure,” the most potent words in wizardry.
With that, time itself turned on its pace, and the wizard was flung back in time three whole days, finding himself before the king again, just before this whole mess started.
And the king, again, said to the wizard: “Wizard, I want you to give me something to settle my stomach before the ball tonight. I will reward you well if you can.”
And as before, the wizard nodded, still a little confused after his trip through time itself, but he seemed to remember having a remedy in his pouch. He reached for it, as he had done three days ago, but made sure to read the label this time. He did not want to feed the king laxatives... again.
Copyright © 2005 by Bewildering Stories on behalf of the author