Wandering Mages and Other Stories
Copyright 2016 Peter Thompson
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
Table Of Contents
by Peter Thompson
My day didn’t exactly start off the way I wanted it to.
Sofia and Jeris had fled from their master after he had tried to kill them. He said it was an accident. They knew better. The courts ruled it an accident since it wasn’t obvious to anybody who didn’t possess magic, but that didn’t mean that Sofia and Jeris had to stay and train with him. There were plenty of others around who knew magic.
“Jeris, what are we even doing at this point?”
“Staying away from Master Geron while finding a new teacher.”
“I know, but maybe we should stop looking and just…” She trailed off.
Jeris turned to look at her, and lowered the hood on his brown cloak that was two sizes too big. “You want to go back?”
“No! Not in a thousand years. But why are we still looking for a teacher around here? Everyone keeps telling us to go back to Geron, nobody will take students when they find out we were involved in the barn burning down-”
“Which wasn’t our fault,” Jeris interjected.
“But we need money to continue on to Whitehall. We left Raven’s Peak a week ago, we are halfway there, but our money is completely gone.”
“No thanks to you and your need to help everyone we encounter.”
“If we don’t do some good in this world, then why are we even training?”
“Sofia, its not like a job for two mages will just show up and declare itself.”
A wagon with an Imperial Crier rolled to a stop next to them.
“Attention, citizens of Huntingtown! Baron Emerius has need of more seamstresses and tailors. If you have skills in regards to clothing creation, you may report to the Citadel.”
The cart rolled on and stopped a few hundred feet away where the message was delivered again, but there were already women young and old pushing and shoving their way to the north to get to the Citadel quickly.
“Jeris, lets go!” Sofia took off, and Jeris struggled to keep up.
“Sofia! We can’t sew!”
“It can’t be hard to learn! We’re mages, we’ve studied much harder things than stitching clothes.”
“I just know I’m going to regret this,” muttered Jeris as they continued onward towards the Citadel.”
When they arrived, they were the only ones in the entry to the Citadel, but they went on in anyway.
Sofia walked up to a man who appeared to be a servant and asked him where they should report for seamstress and tailor duty.
“You know its been so long since anybody reported for tailor duty I don’t know. Ask Verena.” He pointed across the keep. “Tall, dark, and brooding. She’ll know where to take you.”
Jeris and Sofia strolled over to Verena who gave hem hurried instructions on where to report and off they were again.
“How are we supposed to learn to make clothes again?”
Sofia sighed. “Baron Emerius is sure to have more than one seamstress working here, and an entire host of tailors. This is the richest fief in the country. We can learn from them and it will be fine. In a couple weeks we’ll sneak out and be on our way again.”
“I don’t like this,” Jeris muttered.
“Oh I’m sorry. I must have missed the part where you had a better idea.”
They both stepped through the door at the end of the hallway and into a bloodbath being cleaned up by a crew of servants. The oldest one looked up at them and spoke.
“Sorry kids, haven’t quite got the blood cleaned up from the last pair who made the Baron his clothes. Head on back down the hallway and up the stairs to the second level. They moved everything up there.”
Jeris pulled Sofia out of the room and down the hallway right past the staircase.
“I might not have a plan, but at least we don’t get killed this way.”
Verena walked up. “There you are. I forgot to tell you that Baron Emerius actually moved your quarters up to the second floor. Less than ideal, I know, but he is excited to hear that such young folks will be making his clothing now. He loves to stay up on all the latest trends from Sundervale.”
“No problem. We were under the impression we’d be repairing his clothes though.”
Verena laughed. “The Baron never wears the same clothes twice, silly girl. That’s why he has such a need for experienced clothiers. That and he slaughtered the last few.”
Jeris glared at Sofia when she said, “No problem. We are the best in the land. Happy to help.” She dragged him up the stairs to their shared room.
“I don’t know where to start,” Jeris began.
“So we escape tonight. Big deal. We have more than enough magic to lick the guards in this place, and that’s if our cloaks don’t conceal us.”
Several hours later…
“Let’s recap, shall we. “ Verena had just left the room after delivering the Baron’s instructions. His eye was twitching. “Baron Emerius is insane. He never wears the same clothes twice, if a pattern is too similar to one he has worn before he throws it out and the tailor receives a whipping. He only wears purple every fifth day, but he must wear green every other day to show his loyalty to the king. Oh, and he has killed EVERY SINGLE person who has EVER made his clothes because they weren’t good enough after a time. Did I miss anything?”
“That he has armed guards posted at the door and if I hadn’t cast a containment spell on the door to keep you voice inside this room you’d most likely be dead.”
“There goes your invisibility plan.”
“Yes, escape is impossible.”
Jeris threw his cloak across the room and pushed up the sleeves on his tunic as he paced. “I remember the teleportation theories that Hathar taught me before I was apprenticed to Master Geron. I’ve never done it to myself before, much less another person.”
“Jeris, we’ll be fine. I don’t want you killing yourself to get us out of here. That completely defeats the purpose of an escape.”
“But we still don’t know how to make clothes.”
Sofia grinned, thin lipped.
“Don’t tell me you got the wolf transformation down before we left. Because that would be handy.”
“What if we don’t make clothes, we just make noise.”
Jeris stopped pacing right in front of the bed.
“You want to do the same thing we did that time with the farmers in Kenken.”
Jeris was silent.
“I think it could work, Jeris.”
“Or at least long enough for us to get away.”
“We will need to put on a convincing show.”
“I’ll be the best fake tailor you’ve ever seen.”
The next few days were a blur, literally. Jeris and Sofia took turns sleeping and eating while the other worked their magic. Literal magic. Lots of fireworks, noises, flashes of light and odd noises at all hours of the night.
“Do you think this will be worth it in the end?” Jeris asked one day.
“If we don’t make it out alive, we will have had the best few days of experimentation with magic that anyone has ever had. If we do, we just made up enough spells and got in more practice than we ever would have with Geron, and that’s saying something.”
Jeris fell back on the bed and grimaced as his joints popped.
“You ready to do this?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be.”
Sofia opened the door and informed the guards that they would need an escort to the baron’s dressing chambers, and that he could join them there at their earliest convenience for his new wardrobe.
Jeris cast a quick hover charm on the mannequin and threw his cloak over it as well and they made a big show of whispering words over the door to their room as they left.
When they arrived in the baron’s dressing room they were surprised to see Verena there.
“I assume you have an appropriate set of clothes for the baron completed under that drab cloak.”
“No actually the cloak is what we have,” said Jeris.
Verena’s eyes widened and Sofia stepped in.
“Apologies mistress. He hasn’t slept much the past few days and he loses all sense of decorum when he doesn’t get enough rest.”
“I was more worried for myself. If I handed that over to Emerius, I’d be dead before I knew what had hit me.”
Sofia’s eyes could have burned holes in Jeris’ back as he went to place the mannequin by the mirror when Baron Emerius walked in.
Short, wiry, a crop of red hair on top and wisps of grey in his matching beard, he looked every bit the political enforcer he was supposed to be.
“Baron Emerius, sir. These are the two mages who have been working tirelessly to create your latest wardrobe.”
“We brought but a sample with us today for you to wear, but we are certain you will enjoy it.”
“I’d better.” His voice was surprisingly smooth. “If not, you’ll be dead within the hour.”
“Allow me, sir,” said Jeris. He whipped the cloak off the mannequin and beamed at his benefactor.
“There’s nothing there!” cried Verana.
“You owe me dinner for that one, Sofia. I told you she wouldn’t be able to see it.”
“See what? There’s nothing there,” Verana said.
“Oh but there is,” said Sofia. “You see, only those of pure heart or noble birth are able to see the material. We spent lots of time imbuing it with every ounce of magic it would hold.” She turned to the Baron who was squinting at Jeris. “We would have had it sooner, but the fabrics we were using weren’t up to the stress of holding such enchantments. Next time, we’ll be able to do much better if we were in on the cloth making process from the very beginning.”
Jeris’ eyes darted to Sofia.
“Yes, I do see it. That fabric is truly wonderful.”
Verana’s eyes couldn’t have gotten wider if she’d pried them open with forks.
“I must attend to the ceremony this afternoon, sir. Excuse me.” She dashed from the room.
“Sir, you must keep in mind that the only way for this particular fabric to remain functional to others who aren’t noble or pure of heart is to behave in such a way as to offset their lack of kindness.”
Sofia and Jeris helped the Baron into his new robes.
“How do you mean?”
“You must compensate for them. Be especially kind or gentle when wearing it in public, or just save it for special occasions.”
Jeris chimed in, “This fabric is so light it practically feels like it isn’t there, am I correct, sir?”
“Yes, indeed you are. I must wear this tonight to the feast! I shall be the best host of all time in this robe!”
Sofia and Jeris met gazes.
“Sir, we must attend to the rest of your collection. Shall we move it in here?”
“Indeed. And rest assured, these will be the only thing I wear from here on out.”
“Then you shall be known as the kindest baron in all the kingdom from this day forward my liege, I assure you.”
There was a bright flash and Sofia and Jeris were gone. The baron was kinder from that day forward, but after his passing he became known as the Naked Baron. He still holds that title posthumously to this day.
by Peter Thompson
“Doug, where are you?”
Doug raised his head from his desk and checked his clock. “Eight in the morning.” He leaned towards the door. “In my study dear. I’ll be right up.”
Doug rose from his desk, grabbed his rumpled suit coat from the back of his chair and made for his bedroom. Theresa met him there.
“Were you in your study all night again?”
“I guess I was. Work has been crazy lately.”
She walked up and placed her hand on his chest. “Doug, I know you aren’t working on any of your accounts right now. What has you so obsessed?”
He sighed. “It’s nothing dear. Really. Just a hobby that is taking more time that I originally planned.”
“Well if you hobby affects your work much more you might have to let it go.”
Doug shook his head and held her close. “I’ll be fine.”
His wife moved into the closet and began getting dressed while Doug hopped in the shower.
Through the steam he called, “By the way, honey, Chuck and I are having an early lunch at the club today and are going for a round of golf this afternoon. Care to join us?”
“I’m meeting with Valerie to go over the designs for the beach house remember? It’s a lunch date.”
“Alright. Shall we just keep in touch today?”
“Yes. That sounds good. Have fun at the club, I’m off to see Gwen before lunch.”
She left while Doug was still in the shower.
“I really need to just find him and be done with it.” Doug grabbed his golf gear and headed down to his study again. He spent a few more minutes poring over his files, but was interrupted by Chuck Sanford walking in.
Sanford walked over to Doug’s cell phone and picked it up.
“Oh good, it is working. I thought maybe you’d broken it again.” He turned to look at Doug. “Maybe you should try picking it up some time.” He tossed the phone to Doug.
“I’m sorry, Chuck. I guess I didn’t hear it.”
“What is going on with you lately? You’ve been this way for weeks.”
“I’ve been searching for something. Someone.”
Chuck spread his arms, waiting.
“Care to share with the class, Doug?”
“I’ll explain on the way.” He grabbed his gear as they both exited and slid into Chuck’s car.
“Loaner. Mine’s at the dealership getting the oil changed. Now spill.”
Doug leaned against the passenger window and raised his hand to his forehead.
“I’ve had a couple of private investigators looking for somebody for me. I’ve been comparing their reports for weeks now, and they are both coming up with the same results.”
“And what are these results?”
“Seriously, Chuck. Nothing. They haven’t found a thing. I don’t know what to do. I’m at the end of my rope.”
“Well, who are you looking for?”
“Quit evaluating me, Doug. We’ve been friends for years. Just spit it out.”
Doug sighed. “My son.”
“I thought Will was at boarding school.”
“My other son.”
Cars whizzed past.
“Your other son?”
“I didn’t know you had a son,” said Chuck.
“Neither did I.”
“How did you-”
“You remember right before I left for Germany, I was dating Katrina.”
Doug sucked in his breath and held it. “I think she might have been pregnant when I left. In fact I know she was.”
“Ok, assuming you’re correct, how do you know it was your child?”
Doug whipped his head at Charles, eyes wide.
“I’m playing devil’s advocate, Doug, nothing more. I knew Katrina almost as well as you did. It hurt me too when she dropped off the radar. Are you sure, the baby was yours?”
“Yes. I’m positive.”
“Fine. How do you know she had the baby?”
“Do you think she got rid of it before it was born?”
Doug shook his head. “No. Not Katrina. All she wanted in life was to be a mom. At nearly any cost.”
“So she took advantage of you?”
“No. Nobody tricked me. I was completely willing.”
“So you have another kid, how do you know it’s a boy?”
“I’ve got a buddy that works in the records office. He snuck into the birth certificate files and confirmed that it was a boy. No name though. She said she was undecided.”
“Can she do that?”
Chuck pulled into the country club and they both got out of the car.
“Do you want to table this conversation until tee time?”
“Sure. I’d rather not discuss this with other ears around.”
The two spent the next hour dining, enjoying each other’s company, and perusing the pro shop.
“You gentlemen feel like making any purchases today?”
Charles chuckled. “Look Doug. You’d think the club was paying them on commission these days.”
“Not so, gentlemen. I just want to learn as much about this as I can, and two men as successful and popular as yourselves would probably have the best taste in golf gear.”
“Well,” Doug checked the clerk’s nametag, “James. I think that your flattery has just won you a chance to caddy for me. Do they still do that? Let people bounce jobs?”
“For two men such as yourselves, I bet something could be arranged.” James grinned.
A few minutes later Charles, Doug, James, and another caddy, Ian, were out on the fairway.
“So, boys,” Charles began. “I trust you two can keep the following conversation to yourselves.”
“Absolutely,” they both replied.
“Good. Silence from here out would be a wise move boys.”
“So, Doug. Where were we?” Charles teed off.
“I have a bastard son, and I can’t find him.” Doug whistled at his friend’s swing. “Good shot. Great way to start the day.”
“Right. So what do you have from these PI’s?”
“They found Katrina, which is where everything started.” Doug took a strong swing and drove the ball straight down the middle of the fairway.
“So where is she? Nice swing.”
“She’s working as a realtor. Virginia.”
“Good for her.”
Doug looked at Charles while they walked. “Yeah. I’ve been thinking about reaching out to her. Might speed this process up.”
“I have my own reasons for saying you shouldn’t do that, but what has stopped you so far?”
“I want to meet him for myself. I want to see what he is like without any stipulations.”
Charles chuckled. “You want to just run into him on the street don’t you?”
“Why the sudden rush though?”
“What?” Doug lined up his shot and swung. Bank left.
“Sand trap. Bad luck.” He turned to Doug. “I mean why now? You’ve been back for years.
“Sixteen years. My son is sixteen years old and I have never met him. That’s why I’m so impatient.”
“How did you find out, anyway?”
“How did I find out about my son?”
“Yes. What prompted this sudden obsession?”
“You remember Reggie Baldwin, right?”
“Yeah. His dad was in charge of the marina where we all learned to sail. I haven’t heard from him in years. How’s he doing?”
“Terrible. He died a few months ago.”
“What? How? Why didn’t I know?”
“I read it in an obituary. We were kids when his family moved away, its no big surprise we weren’t invited to the funeral service, but still.”
“What does Reggie have to do with anything?”
“He died. He left a son behind. But Reggie was working so hard to provide for him that his son barely knew him.”
Charles gave him a look.
“I talked to him after the service. Went to New York to meet with his family. His son was more angry than I have seen a young man since you thought I stole your date to the winter formal during junior year.”
Charles ignored Doug’s chuckle and asked, “I was angry because I was jealous and heartbroken. Why was his son angry?”
“Because he didn’t know his dad. He had done so much work outside the home, that he was never at home.”
“Ok, so he was pissed at his dad. So what?”
“I don’t want my son to hate me for never being around. I didn’t know about him until I started digging, trying to find Katrina again. I don’t want him to hate me for abandoning him.”
“Doug, as soon as you meet him, you’ll be able to explain that. You and Katrina are both reasonable people I’m sure he’ll understand. Besides, you have Will and Theresa now, why spend all this energy on a lark?”
Doug shook his head. “I don’t want to risk him finding me later in life and resenting me.”
“Fine. You’re a bleeding heart and always have been. But why are you losing your mind over this?”
Doug sighed. “I can’t help but feel like I’m missing something though. Like if I just spend a little bit more time looking for a clue, I’ll find it.”
“Doug, you have a master’s degree in finance. Not criminology. Quit beating yourself up. Let the professionals do their jobs.”
Doug sighed. Again. “You’re right. You’re totally right, but I still feel empty. Like I need to be doing something in order to make up for time lost.”
“Don’t lose time with Will over this. You’ll never forgive yourself if you push him away looking for this other son.”
“Don’t worry. I won’t.”
“Then practice what you’re going to say to him every time you want to look at those files. Think up questions; figure out what you want to know about him. Just don’t look at those damn files.”
“You know, Charles. For a lawyer, you do a pretty good job of putting it to me straight.”
Charles laughed. “I may be a lawyer, but I was your best friend first. Never forget that, Doug.”
“Believe me, I won’t.”
“Good. So what have we learned today, class?”
“Ok, enough Doctor Harrison impressions.”
“Not till you answer the question, young one.”
“I need to cool it. That’s what we learned.”
“And being a manic obsessive doesn’t help anything.”
“So what are you going to do about this?”
“First, I’m going to kick your ass in golf.” Doug lined up his shot in the sand pit. “Then I’m going to read the reports as they come in and not look at them any more.”
“Are you going to tell Theresa?”
Doug swung and sand went everywhere, but the ball stayed on course. “No. Not till there’s anything definitive to tell her.”
“Your call on that. Its your marriage.”
“Yes. It is.” Doug squinted into the distance. “I suppose I should spend more time with her instead of just transferring my attention from one aspect of the search to another.”
“Keep your eye on what’s in front of you,” Chuck said.
“And never let it go,” Doug finished. He chuckled. “Harrison would be so proud.”
“Now I feel like dying.”
They both laughed, and the caddies just looked at each other. One had an odd feeling in his stomach. He’d only caught snippets of conversation, but what these two had said had been very interesting.
“You okay, Garmin?”
“Yeah. Yeah I’m fine.” James trailed after the two older men.
by Peter Thompson
Kris smiled upon entering the Fit4Life gym. Tall ceilings, weights clanging on racks and banging to the floor, sweaty bodies, hot chicks and mirrored walls. At six foot five and bulky as hell, he stood out at the gym, and he knew it.
Damn it, he’s still here.
Kris knew a rival when he saw one. He had several friendly rivalries already, but this was different. An arch nemesis in the making. How dare he?
“Hey New Guy!”
The recipient of Kris’ summons turned his face, but he kept his wrapped hands going in their pattern of strikes; he was slim, dark hair, yellow tank, and a too perfect tan.
“What’s your name?” Kris asked.
“Herc.” He faced the punching bag again.
“You need to tone it down a bit, man.”
“Explain.” Herc didn’t shift his gaze.
Kris spun him around by the shoulder. “Showing up and getting down to business, not a problem, but picking up girls in my gym, that’s when I start hating you.”
“The girls here must have good taste.” He sized Kris up. “Or just slim pickings.”
Kris ignored him, “Yeah. Sure.” He stepped close again. “So when you gonna get wise and leave, huh?”
“Tell you what, nimrod. How about you step off, now, so you don’t make a fool of yourself, and we go back to doing what we were doing, okay?” Herc returned to the bag and raised his fists.
“Hey, we aren’t done here.” Kris tried to grab him again, but Herc was ready and pivoted around the bag. “You need to leave.”
“I paid, weirdo. Fuck off.”
“Fine. Sparring match. The guy who gets tagged 3 times loses and gets to decide whether you stay or not.”
“You box much?”
“Hell no, but you need to leave, and if I beat the tar out of you I bet you will.”
“Why do you think you stand a chance?” Herc asked. He shook his head. “Why am I even arguing with you, buzz off.”
Kris stepped around the bag, close. “I can still make your life a living hell.”
“What’s your problem?”
“You’re my problem.” Kris inhaled deeply.
“Fine, let’s get this over with,” Herc stormed of to the front desk. Kris followed.
“Hey Ashlyn,” Kris leaned on the counter when they got there. “Can pretty boy and me get into the sparring room?”
“All booked,” said the fit looking receptionist.
Kris stiffened but flashed a winning grin. “Oh come on, is this because I didn’t call you back last week?”
“Oh honey.” She adjusted her gaze. “Hey Herc.” She waved. Kris reddened.
“You know this jerk?” he asked, cocking his thumb over his shoulder.
Two slim blonde men walked out from deeper in the gym and dropped some sparring pads off at the desk. “We’re done in there, Ashlyn,” the short one said. “Gotta go buy a wedding gift because somebody forgot about our weekend plans.”
“I told you I was sorry,” said the tall one. “I’ll cook dinner every night next week.”
They walked off, arguing.
Ashlyn sighed. “Well, if you guys want their last half hour the rest of their slot is open.”
Kris grabbed some sparring pads and walked off.
“What’s his problem?”
“He thinks he’s God’s gift to women everywhere,” said Ashlyn. “You’re better looking and he knows it.
“Dick.” He walked back to the sparring rooms.
“Any particular rules,” Herc asked as he stepped inside the door.
“Three tags, no kickboxing moves or holds. Everything else is fair game.”
Herc slipped the pads on over his workout gear.
“Easy enough.” Herc lunged forward and landed a solid hit.
“You little shit,” Kris growled and began a rapid combination of feints and varied punches. Herc blocked most and ducked the rest. He fired back with a few of his own. Duck, swing, miss. Punches, fists and arms colliding, amateur hour at its finest. A one-two combo from Kris had Herc rocking back on his heels and Kris moved in for the final blow. Herc flung himself against the ropes and came back with a leaping wallop.
“You cheat,” Kris cried.
“That’s two each, bitch.”
Kris tucked his arms in. Herc swung wide, lots of power. Kris ducked, no blocks, only jabs. Herc switched to one handed blocks and barely leaning out of the way.
“Come on, do you want me out of here or not?”
Kris grunted, looking for an opening.
“Maybe I’ll take Ashlyn out for a nice dinner after you lose.”
Kris drilled him in the gut, and went for a swift uppercut while Herc was doubled over. It worked, but Herc fell right on top of Kris before he could regain his balance. Kris’ ankle twisted too far out and his left arm bent back at an unnatural angle as he landed pain lancing through his shoulder.
“Somebody… Help me here.”
Shortly, Ashlyn moseyed in and found Herc and Kris tangled in each other.
“Having fun, chief?”
“Get down here and help me,” Kris said.
Ashlyn wagged her finger.
“What do you say?”
Kris neared his boiling point.
“Ashlyn,” he said, voice uneven. “Get your gorgeous butt down here and help me move him.”
She tsked him but managed to pull Herc off. Kris had trouble standing, so he balanced on one foot and winced at the pain in his arm again.
Herc came to. “Some fight, stupid.”
“You lost. You have to find a new gym,” Kris sneered, back to himself.
“Unless you own this place, I’m not going anywhere.” Ashlyn brought ice for Kris’ shoulder. “You remember me every arm day when you can’t use that thing for the next few weeks.”
“What do you mean?”
“You dislocated your shoulder.” Herc rose and sauntered over. “I’m a nurse.” He snapped Kris’ arm back into place. “You’re a jackass.”
“You’re welcome. Ice that tonight.” Herc left. Ashlyn drove Kris home after her shift.
“Some hero you turned out to be, huh?”
Peter Thompson is a logistics clerk and student at Full Sail University. He has broad experience with video games and has been studying video game writing since 2011, and he is continuing to do so. He has worked on several collaborative film projects, none of which finished production. He spends his extra time pursuing entrepreneurship, mentorship, and developing content for his online tech blog, which can be found
Wandering Mages sees Jeris and Sofia on the run from their homicidal teacher. What are they willing to do to survive and find a new master to teach them? Establishing Bloodlines shows that Doug has troubles of his own when his past starts to catch up to him. Will confronting his troubles head on actually work? Knockout pits Kris against an unwilling foe for the affections of the gym girls at Fit4Lyfe Gym. Are the babes worth it?