The Watch Wizard

by Volentrin

Copyright┬ę 2007 by Volentrin

Fantasy Story: A wizard, hired by a city to work magic in the West End, is caught up in daily life and palace intrigue.

Tags: Fiction  


I woke, stretched and yawned. I sighed. Another day of spell casting for the city was in store for me. No, come to think of it, today was Seventh day, so I worked the mid-shift. I hated the mid-shift. Still a wizard had to do what a wizard had to do.

I spent a little time cleaning up, and glanced at the clock. It was five minutes to eleven. This meant I had a few hours before I had to report to watch command and get started on the days spell casting. Probably glyphs of warding again.

The problem with a warding glyph, was that they weakened very quickly, once you started using them. For example, say a citizen tried to attack a watchman. The glyph would kick in and protected him, but it had very limited strength, after that first use. I was constantly recasting protection glyphs on watchman's cloaks.

Normally, I would not be used for such mundane spell casting by the watch commander. However, my glyphs of protection tended to last much, much longer than the magicians who usually were hired to do them. It all came down to power, and I was a wizard, after all.

I was a Wizard Second Class. Only a Wizard First Class ranked higher among wizards. Then came Mage; and finally, Sage. While the watch had a mage or two on retainer, they could not afford more than one, full time. A mage was a very expensive hire. I was working my way towards that rank.

Since I was going to head straight to work after I ran my errands, I decided to dress in my uniform. My first errand was to stop at the coal vendor, and buy a cart of coal. It would supplement my firewood. I had cast for a 'seeing', concerning the weather. It was going to be brutally cold, soon. I wanted to be prepared. The cold weather was coming within a few days. I wanted to buy coal now, before the price went up.

I owned a small cottage that served me well. As a Wizard Second Class, I made five Silvers, every Tenday. This came to one Gold and five Silvers a month, which was good pay. I had always given the city of Coltron its due. They did not stint on pay for their magic users.

After dressing, I cast a reflection spell and checked myself out. Two silver staffs were embroidered on the collar of my tunic, indicating my rank as Wizard Second Class. I also had Silver trim on my uniform, as well as on my 'guard issue' cloak.

A single silver staff would be a Wizard Third Class. A single Gold staff denoted a Wizard First Class. Other symbols denoted the various ranks of the magicians and the regular watchmen's ranks, but I was not concerned about them. I was long away from those lower ranks. After checking myself out, I noted my boots were starting to need blacking, again. I decided to stop at the cobbler, and have it done today.

My trousers were in good condition as was my tunic. I put on my cloak, which topped off my uniform, and I was ready. I gestured with my left hand, canceling the reflection spell. I went towards to my door, grabbing my wizard's staff on the way. As I left my home, I cast a final protection spell on it, in addition to those that were already in place. It would take extremely powerful magic to break into and enter my home, now.

My first stop was at an Inn, to get something to eat. I had stew, and bread. An ale served to wash it all down. I waved to the owner on my way out, and he nodded. I ate free, here. The owner had asked me to do a major protection spell on his business, a few months ago.

After I ate, I bought the cart of coal. My purchase silently gave the vendor a warning of the cold that would be moving in. I made arrangements for delivery, for the next day. It had cost me nine Coppers, but would be worth it to supplement my firewood supply. Coal was expensive, and that's all there was to it. As I left, I noticed he shouted for runners to get his wagons ready to get more coal from his supplier. Apparently, a word to the wise was sufficient. I was a wizard, after all. People paid attention when we even hinted of such things.

I then stopped at the market, and placed several heavy orders, spending another Silver on food supplies and for delivery by midday, tomorrow. I did not want to go out too often when the cold hit, so I cast preservation spells on a lot of my purchases.

Yes, I knew how to cook! My mother had insisted all her children learn to fend for themselves, when we were younger. I thanked the gods I had listened to her, and had paid attention as I was growing up. I was a good enough cook that I could get a job at it, if I wanted to.

I finally made my way to the park located close to the merchant's quarter. I sat on a bench, as I had a little time to kill before my shift started. It was a nice day, for the most part. There was a slight chill in the air, but the sun was shining. I wanted to enjoy it while I could. The portents were not good after the end of this Tenday, according to the spell I had cast a few days ago.

I looked at the clock in the West End tower, and it still showed an hour before my shift started. I considered making yet another purchase, at the booksellers. He had a treatise on magic. I wanted it desperately, but it cost two Golds. While I had the money, that would eat into my savings by ten percent. I had been dickering with him for over two weeks now, and had gotten the price down as far as I could.

I finally decided to buy it. It would make for good reading, this winter. It had new spells for me to learn (well, new to me, anyway). It had been written by a mage long dead, who only wrote higher-level spells.

I got up, and made my way to the moneylender with whom I'd stored some of my money. I withdrew two Golds from him, leaving me three Golds, two Silvers, and eight Coppers on my account. He paid me a small bit for the use of my money. The rest of my money he had invested in various businesses and in a ship.

After getting the two Golds, I made my way to the bookseller. He nodded as I entered his shop, "Elias, The Scribner". I made my way to the counter, and told him I would purchase that book now. He nodded, and pulled out an already wrapped package. He handed it to me with a grin.

"Knew you would be back for it. I could tell you wanted it," Elias said to me.

I grinned back as I paid him, and took my book. I checked it to make sure it was what I wanted.

"You never know, I could have gotten a copy elsewhere, cheaper," I responded.

"Not likely," he said with a snort.

As I exited the shop, I noticed I still had twenty minutes until my shift started. I placed my purchase into an inner 'pocket of holding' that I had spelled into my cloak. I then made my way to the West End Watch Headquarters. It took me just five minutes to walk there from the Scribner's.

"Wizard Farnum, the Captain would like a word with you. He asked me to tell you to report to him, as soon as you entered," the desk sergeant said by way of greeting, as I entered the building.

West End Watch Headquarters was a long, low, ugly building. It had a dungeon, and a first floor, and was one and a half stories tall with a crenellated wall at the top, which could be manned for defense. It was made of stone, and was fortified. It could stand off a sustained attack for some weeks, if it came to that.

It had it's own well in the sub floor, where the dungeon was located. Also stored there, were rations for just such an emergency. A bunkhouse was located within the building for twenty-five watchmen. If it came down to it, we all had a place to sleep. The West End had over one hundred watchmen, of which, seventeen patrollers lived and worked out of the bunkhouse portion of the Headquarters.

I went to the Watch Captain's office, and knocked.

"Enter," a voice answered.

I entered his office to be confronted by the captain. He was a man in his forties, slim, and carried his authority well. Also present were the sorceress Valya, two officers from first watch, and two officers from mid watch. All four were lieutenants. Both of my shift magicians were there, as well.

"Good. Farnum, I want you to take over inventorying the magical arsenal. Repair what needs to be repaired, magically. Recast stale spells, and tighten the magical seals on all the spells so they go stale slower... you know the drill.

"In two days time, we are going to be inspected by the District Watch Commandant. I will not get my ass in a bind, like what happened, last time. Is that clear?" he asked with a no nonsense tone of voice.

"Perfectly, Sir. If Valya will give me the list of what she has done thus far, I will be about completing the inventory," I answered confidently.

He nodded, and Valya grabbed a parchment and walked to the door with a 'come on' look. We walked down the hall to the office we shared.

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