The Doubting Wizard

It was early evening when the Sky King finally returned to Castle Castellanus, along with his oldest friend and adviser, Eideard Sleet. The two tired and saddlesore Skyfolk trudged wearily along the restricted corridor leading to Kevin Galwynn’s workroom, to complete one last task before a disastrous day’s end.

Mage Eideard Sleet was old and thin and always looked as if he was sucking lemons. Informally, he was known as the “Doubting Wizard,” although he seldom practiced elaborate magics in public anymore. The Doubting Wizard’s job was to help his king make good judgments by being both a knowledgable adviser and a sharp skeptic. His function was similar to that of the Land King’s court jester, who—besides entertaining the court with japes, jokes, juggling, and song—also mocked folly and ego, and thus helped his king keep grounded.

King Cirrus, Eideard Sleet, and a few trusted stargazers and seers had left Castellanus to consult the hermit sages who preferred to dwell in the gray-black caves at the heart of the most ominous hurricanes, cyclones, and tempests. They preferred their choice of abodes because it tended to discourage casual visitors. 

However, the Sky King and the Doubting Wizard were not casual visitors. They had come to consult the hermit sages because the seers said time was running out for Sky and Land. The end of the world was nigh! 

Unfortunately, the hermit sages could offer no words of consolation to the Sky King other than the cryptic advice, “Your best hope is the wisdom of a clever man.” 

“What does that mean?” said the Doubting Wizard, belligerently.

“It means what it means,” said the hermit sages, placidly. Suddenly, a raging gale arose around the hermit sages, roughly buffeting both king and mage, and then disappeared as abruptly as it had appeared. When the savage winds died down, the hermit sages were gone. 

“I think our audience is over,” muttered King Cirrus, in high dudgeon. As the Sky King and the Doubting Wizard gloomily returned home, cloud banks of doubt and hopelessness scudded across their pale blue faces.

“We’ve had a long, hard day,” said Mage Sleet, vastly understating the obvious. “Are you sure you want to conclude it with a visit to the Landfolk?” The Sky King was imposing and robust, while the Doubting Wizard was thin as a rail. The two made an interesting contrast as they trudged side by side, down the restricted corridor.

“No offense to Master Galwynn, mind you,” said Sleet, “but we’ve spent the day consulting with the most learned minds in all of Sky, and they can see no escape from the wrath of the gods. So, spending more time with the Master of Enlightenment seems as though it might be…a waste?”

“Perhaps so,” said King Cirrus, “but part of my responsibilities as monarch is to keep my pledges, even when I’d rather be in bed. Master Galwynn sent word that he had made some sort of progress and wanted to share it in person. Maybe it’s nothing. It probably is nothing. But I’ve come to trust the Land King’s judgment, and the Land King trusts his Master of Enlightenment. 

“Perhaps my diligence will be for naught, Eideard, but I wouldn’t be much of a king if I didn’t continue to hold out hope. So, even at the end of a long, hard day, I will allow Master Galwynn to have his say.”

Previous page | Next page