Ithanalin's Restorationby Lawrence Watt-Evans
- Despite several years of study, Kilisha, an aspiring young apprentice wizard, has much to learn. After gathering ingredients for a lesson, she returns home to find her master, Ithanalin the Wise, transformed into a statue. A tax collector interrupted Ithanalin while working on a spell, a magic mirror tells her, with the result that the wizard's soul has
- Despite several years of study, Kilisha, an aspiring young apprentice wizard, has much to learn. After gathering ingredients for a lesson, she returns home to find her master, Ithanalin the Wise, transformed into a statue. A tax collector interrupted Ithanalin while working on a spell, a magic mirror tells her, with the result that the wizard's soul has been distributed among the various household objects. "The dish had run away with the spoon" is literally the case here, as all the furnishings have become animated and escaped out the door. In her efforts to track down the runaway objects and restore her petrified master to his former self, a quest that will eventually take her to the Overlord of Ethshar's fortress, Kilisha first tries to involve the Wizards' Guild, but ultimately must rely on the few spells she knows and her master's spell book-as well as her own imagination, initiative and ingenuity.
- Wildside Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)
- Age Range:
- 13 - 16 Years
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By Lawrence Watt-Evans
A Tom Doherty Associates BookCopyright © 2002 Lawrence Watt-Evans
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe room was quietly comfortable, and not at all like the popular image of a wizard's workshop. There were no cluttered shelves, no steaming cauldrons, no mysterious books, just a few pieces of fairly ordinary furniture, most of it in need of a little dusting. It did not smell of strange herbs or exotic incense, but only of wood and cloth and sunlight.
But then, Lady Nuvielle told herself, this probably wasn't a workshop. This was the parlor where the wizard dealt with his customers; undoubtedly he had a workshop elsewhere in the house, and it might well be jammed with dusty books and mummified animals. The parlor furnishings were more mundane.
Still, some of the pieces appeared as if they might be rather valuable, she thought as she looked around with interest. The mirror above the mantel, for example, had no visible flaws at all, in either the glass or the silvering. Glass that fine must have come from Ethshar of the Sands, more than fifty leagues away, or perhaps from somewhere even more distant-possibly even Shan on the Desert, halfway across the World.
Or perhaps it had been created by magic; after all, Ithanalin was a wizard.
Wherever it came from, Nuvielle was sure it must have cost a goodly sum.
And beneath themirror there was the smallish velvet-upholstered couch, with its ornately carved wooden arms curling elegantly at either end. This was not ordinary furniture, but a unique item-Nuvielle had never seen anything quite like it. The velvet was an unusual and striking color, a vivid crimson, and was perfectly smooth, perfectly fitted. Whoever had decorated the arms and legs had been exceptionally talented with a woodworker's knife, and perhaps slightly insane. The very dark wood made it hard to see details, but she could make out some rather disturbing designs. If anything here had been made by magic, the couch was a likely candidate.
The little table beside the couch was of the same wood, and had apparently been meant to match, but the craftsman who made it had not had the same eccentric flair as the artist-or magic-that had carved the couch frame.
The mirror was very nice, in any case.
Lady Nuvielle knew that many people wouldn't dare leave the front door unlocked if they had such things on display, but wizards did not need to worry about ordinary thieves; only the worst sort of fool would steal from a wizard.
Other items, like the oval braided-rag rug just inside the front door, were nothing special at all-at least, not to her relatively untrained eye. She smoothed out a large hump in the rug with the toe of her velvet slipper and wondered idly if any of the furnishings might have unseen magical attributes.
It didn't seem very likely-though she wouldn't rule out the possibility in the case of the couch or mirror. The wizard's front room was a pleasant little parlor that could have belonged to anyone.
When she had spoken with Ithanalin before, she had summoned him to the Fortress rather than trouble herself to venture a mile across the city, but today she had been bored, and had come out to the shop on Wizard Street in person in hopes of seeing some entertaining magic while she was here. So far she had been disappointed. She hadn't seen much of anything, in fact. She hadn't yet seen the wizard, or the apprentice her messenger had reported lived here. All she had seen was this uninhabited room. She had knocked, found the door open, and walked in-and now she had resorted to studying the furniture, for lack of anything better to do. The room was small, with a single door and a single broad window opening on the street, and a single door at the rear; there were no books, no paintings, no statues to keep her attention.
She waited for a few moments, expecting some response to her entry-surely, the wizard must have known she was here! Didn't magicians all have mysterious sources of knowledge to keep them informed of such things?
Eventually she got sufficiently bored to call out, "Hai! Is anyone here?"
Almost immediately, a young woman's head popped through the doorway at the back. Her face was unfamiliar, but Nuvielle assumed this was the wizard's apprentice-though she was not wearing the formal gray apprentice robes.
"You must be Lady Nuvielle!" the supposed apprentice said. "Please forgive us; we hadn't expected you quite so soon. I'll be right out."
"That's quite all right," she said in reply, but the girl had vanished before the visitor had completed her sentence.
She smiled wryly, then settled cautiously onto one end of the well-made couch, only to discover that its upholstery of fine, oddly hued crimson clashed horribly with her own forest green velvet gloves, skirt, and slippers. Always aware of her appearance, Lady Nuvielle spread her black cloak over the cushions to provide a neutral buffer between the two colors.
This was a major reason she wore the cloak despite the late-summer weather-a vast expanse of black cloth could be very handy for adjusting appearances, even in the lingering heat of Harvest.
She was still straightening her skirt when the young woman reappeared. This time she entered gracefully, stopped a few feet away at the far end of the couch, and curtsied politely.
"Hello, my lady," she said. "I am Kilisha of Eastgate, apprentice to the master wizard, Ithanalin the Wise."
Lady Nuvielle smiled with a polite pretense of warmth. "And I am Nuvielle, Lady Treasurer of Ethshar of the Rocks." She nodded an acknowledgment of the formalities. "Where's your master?"
"In his workshop, my lady, finishing up the spell you ordered. He should be out in a moment."
Then there was indeed a workshop, as she had suspected. "And the spell succeeded?" she asked.
Kilisha hesitated. "Well, to be honest," she said, "I'm not really sure. My master has not informed me of the details. You wanted an animation of some sort?"
"A pet," Nuvielle agreed. "Just a pet, to ride on my shoulder and keep me company. Something out of the ordinary, to amuse me."
Kilisha smiled with relief. "Then I think it's succeeded," she said, "and I think you'll be pleased."
"Good!" For a moment the two women stared silently at each other; before the silence could grow awkward, Nuvielle asked, "How is it I didn't meet you before, when I summoned Ithanalin to the Fortress to take my order? Shouldn't you have accompanied your master?"
"That was a sixnight ago? Oh, I was running some errands for Ithanalin-for my master," Kilisha explained, with assumed and unconvincing nonchalance. She glanced about nervously, and tried to unobtrusively use her skirt to wipe the worst of the dust from the square table that stood beside the little sofa.
The truth was that Kilisha had been left to baby-sit her master's three children that night, as their mother Yara had been visiting a friend in the countryside somewhere. Kilisha suspected the timing of that visit had been deliberate, to keep her at home where she would not risk embarrassing her master in front of the city's elite.
Sometimes she thought her master didn't need her to embarrass him. Kilisha hoped that Lady Nuvielle hadn't noticed the dust on the furniture-and in particular, that she hadn't noticed the footprints visible in it. Kilisha recognized them as spriggan tracks, and some people thought spriggans were disgusting, unclean creatures.
Kilisha thought those people were probably right-but spriggans were attracted by wizardry, and keeping them out of the shop was almost impossible. They seemed to be able to get inside no matter how carefully doors and windows were closed and locked-Ithanalin's children thought they came down the chimney, and Kilisha was not ready to rule that possibility out.
Warning spells could announce their arrival, but none of the wards and barriers Ithanalin knew-which was admittedly not many, as that sort of magic was not his area of expertise-could keep them out, any more than locked doors could. Spriggans ran hither and you almost unhindered, and one of them had clearly run across the end table.
If there were only some way to make the little pests useful, Kilisha thought-but then she pushed the thought aside and tried to concentrate on Lady Nuvielle. Ithanalin always told her to focus on the customer-magicians were paid for pleasing their patrons, not just for working magic.
And pleasing the Lady Treasurer, who happened to be not merely a top city official but the next-to-youngest of the overlord's several aunts, was especially important. Kilisha could not help being aware that she was in the presence of high-ranking nobility.
Lady Nuvielle noticed the girl's nervousness and smiled again, debating whether to try to put the girl at ease, or whether to tease her and enjoy her discomfort. Still undecided, she asked a neutral question.
"Ithanalin is an unusual name. Is it Tintallionese?"
"I don't know, my lady," Kilisha replied. "I'm not sure it's any known language. Wizards often take new names, for one reason or another." She shifted nervously. She was shading the truth; she knew her master had taken his name from an old book he had read as a boy, and the book was not Tintallionese in origin.
"I take it you have not dealt with many of your master's clients?" Nuvielle asked.
"Well," Kilisha said, shifting her feet, "I have assisted Ithanalin with his customers for a few years now, but none of the other customers were as ... as distinguished as yourself, my lady."
Nuvielle knew exactly what Kilisha referred to, and that it wasn't just her office of treasurer for the city of Ethshar of the Rocks. She grew suddenly bored and annoyed with the apprentice's unease-she was tired of being feared because of who her brother had been, and who her nephew was. "Oh, calm down, girl," she said. "Sit down and relax. I'm not going to eat you."
"Yes, my lady," the apprentice said, settling cautiously onto a straight-backed wooden chair set at an angle to the couch. She tucked her brown wool skirt neatly under her as she sat.
Nuvielle looked Kilisha over. She was a little on the short side, and plumper than was entirely fashionable just at the moment. Her hair was a nondescript brown, pleasant enough, but utterly dull, worn long and straight and tied back in a ponytail. Her eyes were hazel-not brown flecked with green, or green flecked with brown, either of which might sometimes be called hazel-but the real thing, a solid color somewhere between brown and green, neither one nor the other. Instead of apprentice robes she wore a plain wool skirt a shade darker than her hair, a pale yellow tunic that came to mid-thigh, and a stiff leather pouch and a drawstring purse on her belt. A leather-and-feather hair ornament was the only touch of bright color or interest anywhere about her, and even that was something worn by any number of girls in Ethshar of the Rocks. Her appearance was absolutely, completely, totally ordinary. The city held thousands just like her, Nuvielle thought.
Though most, of course, weren't apprenticed to wizards. What sort of a future could anyone so boring have, in so flamboyant a profession as wizardry? This girl looked utterly dull.
The noblewoman watched Kilisha for a moment, then turned away, determined to ignore the poor little thing until the wizard arrived.
For her part, Kilisha was admiring this gorgeous customer-or rather, client, as the lady would have it. The long black cloak, the rich green velvet, the white satin tunic embroidered in gold and scarlet, the long gloves, the black hair bound up in an elaborate network of braids and ribbons, all seemed to Kilisha to be the absolute epitome of elegance. When Nuvielle turned her head, Kilisha marveled at the graceful profile and the smooth white skin.
Kilisha had always thought that Yara, Ithanalin's wife, was just about perfect, but she had to admit that that common soul's appearance couldn't begin to compare with Lady Nuvielle's.
And Kilisha's own looks, she thought, weren't even up to Yara's.
Then, at last, before she could pursue this depressing line of thought any further, Ithanalin finally emerged from the workshop, his hands behind his back.
"My apologies for the delay, Lady Nuvielle," he said, with a sketchy sort of bow. "I wanted to be sure everything about your purchase was perfect."
Kilisha grimaced slightly, unnoticed by the others. The real cause for delay had been the need to change clothes, from the grubby, stained old tunic that Ithanalin wore when actually working to the red-and-gold robes he wore for meeting the public. It wouldn't do for customers to see the wizard as dirty and unkempt as a ditchdigger.
"It's ready, then?" Nuvielle asked.
"Oh, yes," Ithanalin said, bringing one hand out from behind his back.
There, standing on his palm, was a perfect miniature dragon, gleaming black from its pointed snout to the tip of its curling tail, with eyes, mouth, and claws of blazing red. It unfurled wings that seemed bigger than all the rest of it put together; they were black on top, red beneath. It folded back sleek black ears, hiding their red interiors, and hissed, making a sound Kilisha thought was very much like little Pirra's unsuccessful attempts to whistle.
Nuvielle leaned forward on the couch and studied it critically.
"Does it breathe fire?" she asked.
"No," Ithanalin replied. "You hadn't said it should, and I judged that fiery breath might be unsafe-a spark might go astray and set a drapery aflame."
"Does it fly?"
For answer, Ithanalin tossed the little beast upward; it flapped its wings, then soared away, circling the room once before coming to land on the arched arm of the couch by Nuvielle's elbow. It wrapped its tail under the arm, securing itself to its perch, and then stared intently up at its purchaser.
She stared back.
"What's it made of?" she asked.
"Glass, wood, and lacquer, mostly," Ithanalin said, stepping back. "I'm not certain of everything, as I subcontracted part of its construction. My talents lie in magic, not in sculpture." Noticing something, he turned and surreptitiously kicked his heel back, straightening the rag rug, which had humped up again.
"It will never grow?" Lady Nuvielle asked.
"No. That's as big as it will ever be."
"Is it male or female?"
"Neither; it's an animated statue, not a true living creature."
Nuvielle nodded slowly. For a moment she was silent. The dragon lost interest in her and began studying the crimson fabric of the sofa, the black of her cloak, and the carved wood beneath its talons.
"Can it speak?" Nuvielle asked at last.
"Only a few words, as yet," Ithanalin said, apologetically. "I thought you might prefer to teach it yourself. I also didn't name it, but it responds to `Dragon.'
Excerpted from Ithanalin's RESTORATION by Lawrence Watt-Evans Copyright © 2002 by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Meet the Author
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Lawrence Watt-Evans has been a full-time writer and editor for more than twenty years. The author of more than thirty novels, over one hundred short stories, and more than one hundred and fifty published articles, Watt-Evans writes primarily in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and comic books. His short fiction has won the Hugo Award as well as twice winning the Asimov's Readers Award. His fiction has been published in England, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Poland, France, Hungary, and Russia He served as president of the Horror Writers Association from 1994 to 1996 and after leaving that office was the recipient of HWA's first service award ever. He is also a member of Novelists Inc., and the Science Fiction Writers of America. Married with two children, he and his wife Julie live in Maryland.
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In Ethshar of the Rocks, apprentice wizard Kilisha returns to the shop after collecting ingredients for her next lesson when she realizes a disaster has occurred. The shell of her mentor Ithanalin the Wise lies perfectly still as if he has been turned into a statue. Using a magic mirror that absorbed much of Ithanalin¿s memory she learns what happened to her teacher. He was working on a spell when someone knocked on his door. When he went to answer, he tripped over a spriggan and lost control of the spell sending his essence among the nearby inanimate objects. The knocker opened the door letting out the fleeing rug and much of the furniture. Kilisha begins an effort to gather up the animated inanimate objects so that she can get help from the Wizards Guild in performing a restorative spell. However, because of rebellion elsewhere, Kilisha receives little aid from the guild so she must depend on her own resources to gather the now living artifacts, amuse a spriggan that just wants to have fun, and hopefully with fingers crossed bring back her teacher to his former self. This amusing fantasy is a delightful tale that showcases Lawrence Watt-Evans¿ ability to cast a spell on his audience. The entertaining story line is an action-packed journey into wizard-hood that teens will especially like, as there is plenty of cotton candy to sweeten the tale. Kilisha is a wonderful heroine who faces the responsibilities thrown on her with trembling fear, but performs her duties majestically. The support cast, especially the spriggan, adds to a gentle frolic for genre fans. Harriet Klausner