An elderly man in a WW2 aviator cap and a steampunk, scientist-like monocle, bent over his oak Victorain era desk. Garbed in Carolingian leather jerkin, chainmail, and 19th century era trousers, he scribbled with a swan feather quill pen.
Naacen Rems, former science, arms, self-defense and alchemy professor of Unis val Zurren.
On top of everything, my pupils are still showing defiance. Seriously, my wife, Tierrias Von Coleoptera, a renowned entomologist from Austria, turned Fantastical creature historian and curator of rare artifacts, has posed as a victim of our young thieves-in-training. She was a conspicuous looking woman in a Caribbean blue, gold embroidered cloak, with a satchel slung over her left shoulder, perhaps a female magician from the Dark Ages. Why aren’t children in Earth’s modern elementary schools reading Hans Christian Andersen, or The Brothers Grimm or C.S Lewis or even J.R.R Tolkein, for this dimension’s sake? Those one of a kind authors would be rolling in their graves or mausoleums. However, I doubt the twenty-first century developed tastes for classical literature, or are hungry enough to retain some of the drier material.
Anyway, during one of my lessons, I recall a young boy, around seven or eight, making the first move. I think his name is Gideon Davidson- yes, now I remember. A reckless little one to be sure. Anyhow, he stealthily crept up behind my sweetheart and followed her steps.
Carefully, the boy removed a glass, tubular jar from his pocket and uncorked it. A European orb weaver, half the size of my thumbnail, pittered out and onto his index like a pet dog. Gideon whispered coaxing words to the arachnid and watched it turn round and raise its thorax high. Spews of barely visible, silken threads floated in the air, coalescing and lengthening to nearly three meters! My wife had just caught the first thief by the ear, when the spider’s threads caught in her black locks, getting in her face.
Gideon blew and launched his pet, watching it float along his breath and reel itself in–right up to my wife’s face. Amidst her deafening screams, young Davidson sprinted and unbuckled her satchel, pulling out a cherry wood stick, a foot long, carved with stars and laurel leaves. The etchings are painted with cobalt and gold metallic paint.
He had succeeded. That boy had achieved at a young age what so many of my students couldn't. He had finally stolen a magician’s wand, even though it was a fake, but he had actually done it! That is, until I noticed his oversight as a novice to this profession and intervened, first tending to my poor wife and setting the spider down in a cobweb ( an old English eighteenth century barn was our training room or dojo, in this case thieves' dojo.)
“Young man,” I began in a solemn tone of voice, patting his head. “I congratulate you for your resourcefulness and clever tactic that nearly gave my wife a heart attack, but you still missed something that would have cost you your life.”
Gideon’s disappointment on his face was evident. He had put all of his expectations and dependency on one plan. Yes, he was merely a child, but it was time to teach him a little self-discipline.
“Elduane’s mage and alchemist division would certainly show no mercy, if you solely relied on one strategy.``
“What is a strategy again, Mr. Rems?”
“A well organized plan, Gideon, which you did not have.”
“Ah-uh, none of that!” I scolded sharply.
“Lady Von Coleoptera posing as a magician kept her left hand hidden in her cloak. Do you know why?”
“I thought she was cold, sir.”
“You thought?” I repeated, raising an eyebrow. “Or you carelessly assumed? Any conjurer is bound to have a reservoir of tricks there. Do not underestimate them, young thief. They have been robbed before or almost robbed, so they are always prepared for them.”
Gideon nodded, disappointment evident on his precocious face. But he retained a temperate attitude.
“What would a real Lady magician have done if I actually blew or dangled a spider in her face?”
The whole barn, even my wife, laughed to tears at his question.
“Heh-heh, well, she wouldn't have taken it as kindly as my wife just did–please apologize to her after our discussion– and most likely turned the spider against you, or worse, she’d summon up a swarm of yellow jackets or even an ant colony to track your scent down like coon hounds. Female wizards or magicians are far less forgiving and lenient than male conjurers are when provoked. Do you understand?”
Gideon smiled. “Yes, sir.”
I knew then and there that the conflict was far from over. Not outside in this world, but within its children. The future generation.