The magician


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The Magician walked the winding mountain road towards the village, passing into the shadow of the towering volcanic peaks and observing out of the side of his eyes the commotion his arrival was causing. He walked on slowly towards the centre of the village, aware that by now one of the children would have run ahead to announce the presence of a stranger. Curious eyes peered out from the windows of the houses on each side and a few hundred meters later a small group of men stood in the middle of the road, their arms folded across their chests.

‘What are you then? Priest? Thief? Not a warrior, surely…’ they sneered, sizing up his slender frame.

‘Magician, actually.’

‘Then where’s your wand? Your spell book?’

‘Give me your hand,’ the Magician said by way of answer as he removed a feather and bottle of ink from the pocket of his cloak. With a series of quick flicks of the nib, he sketched the image of a butterfly onto the rough, calloused palm of one of his challengers.

‘Yes, very pretty, but not exactly magic, is it?’

The Magician sighed patiently and lifted up the man’s palm to blow onto his drawing. He was saved a punch in the mouth in response as the butterfly glowed, rose up out of the skin and then took off, fluttering around the company before disappearing off into the trees. Waves of astonished cries filled the air and the next thing the Magician knew, he was being led into a tavern and sat down at the best table in the house where jars of ale, and plates of meat and bread were already being set out for him.


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