Sunday November 29th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the wizard and his robot.

The inspiration for this one is long and not particularly interesting, so I'll save you the details. So I shall say instead: I'm glad this prompt came to me and I think it should be a lot of fun to work with.

We had some friends and their three year old daughter (the one born four days after Max) over for dinner this evening. Lots of chaotic fun. And now I am tired. So...



The wizard, sat behind an oak desk nearly as wide as the cluttered room he called his library, looked up from the open tome he had been studying. His expression remained neutral as he watched his robotic servant wheel into the room with soft beeps, trailing clouds of steam behind it.


"You forgot two of the ingredients you need for the spell you are working on." The robot placed two foul-smelling bundles side by side on the only part of the desk not already covered by something else. "Two pounds of fish intestines and half a pound of pickled unicorn horn."

"Ah, yes, of course," the wizard said with a shake of his head. "I have been so absent-minded of late, haven't I? So silly of me. I can hardly believe all the things I've misplaced and mislabeled in the last week alone! And now... this!"

"Have no fears, Master. I won't let you forget anything important. That is, after all, why you created me."

"Indeed, indeed. Thank you very much for fetching and delivering these for me." The wizard eyed the new arrivals on his desk with an unreadable expression (even for robots) on his face. "I know better, I think, than to ask where you got the horns from."

"Also why you have me, Master. I will be down the hall if you need anything else."


The wizard watched the robot exit the room and then roll out of sight to the right. He scratched his tangled white beard, then arranged the sparse hairs attempting to cover his scalp. He almost returned to his book before remembering the ingredients that had just been delivered.

He took a bundle in each hand, making sure the two packages did not touch each other, then placed the fish intestines in a black sack before placing the unicorn horns on a shelf high enough that he had to stand on a small stack of books to reach it.

Satisfied that the two items, which emitted a toxic gas when they came in contact with each other, were a safe distance apart, he returned to the open tome on his desk. He forced himself not to hurry, but the desire to find a way to destroy the robot he had created had intensified tenfold after their most recent encounter.


Greg said...

Wizards and robots sounds like the product of that evening with all those children :)
Hmm, I guess I robot has a number of advantages over a animal familiar or a magically created living servant, so I think I can see what might have made the wizard think it was a good idea initially. I can't see the problem with the robot myself: it seems helpful and efficient and just the kind of person who would annoy the hell out of you with its constant corrections and solicitiousness :) Which description should tell you how much I enjoyed reading your story!

The wizard and the robot
"I don't think I like this place much." Dave's face was thankfully hidden by a silver-painted cardboard box, or his look of supercilous disgust would almost certainly have gotten them both thrown out. "Everyone's... weird."
"It's a convention," said Vince patiently. He was wearing robes and a pointy hat and carrying a staff that was not-quite brushing against the ceiling of the conference centre. "Everyone's dressed up as things they like about comics and films. They're not weird, they're just–"
"Effed up."
"Enthusiastic," said Vince. He sighed. "Look Dave, you wanted to come and chase this woman. You picked the costumes. You're the robot for God's sake, I'm the one people keep coming up and asking if I'm Saruman." Dave muttered something that Vince decided he didn't want to try and hear. He looked around.
The room they were in was a kind of ante-chamber to the "Merchant's Hall" where the various games companies, comic book publishers and independent artists and Kickstarters had set up stalls. There was a steady flow of people, dressed as witches, wizards, robots, superheroes and (for some reason) My Little Ponies. He'd even seen a Bob the Builder stroll past ten minutes ago.
"What's she dressed as again, Dave?" he asked.
Dave mumbled something, and Vince had to press his head against the cardboard of the robot's head to hear him. "What?"
"One of the mushrooms from Mario Kart," said Dave, sullenly. Vince suppressed a chuckle.
"I thought you said that was just a one-off," he said, and then ducked as the robot swung a cardboard arm at him. "Ok, ok, Dave. It's your... thing. Looking for a mushroom. Got you." They strolled back out to the foyer, where Dave swung around, staring at everyone that went past.
"'Ere," said a small voice, and Vince looked down to find a three-year-old boy tugging on his robes. "Are you Casper?"
Vince smiled, trying not to show his puzzlement. "No," he said. "My friend wanted me to be a wizard and got the costume for me."
"So who are you then?"
"I'm the Grand Wizard," said Vince, his hand hiding the triple-K monogram.

Marc said...

Greg - surprisingly, it had nothing to do with the kids. Again, though, too long to tell the actual inspiration. Sorry :)

My actual line of thinking for mine was that the robot had (somewhat recently) begun trying to kill the wizard 'by accident' but the wizard had figured it out and was trying to destroy the thing (which he could only research while the robot wasn't around, obviously). I might need to revisit this and give it some more room to breathe...

Oh my goodness. I can easily imagine how much fun you had writing this one. Terribly satisfying ending :D