One stormy night I opened the creaking door of Mordren’s dungeon and in the glare of a lightning storm, I saw the old wizard bent double over his desk, rolling beads frantically across his abacus. His magic wand was thrown casually on the table, across the cloth of his blue cloak, threaded with the silver stars, as though he had cast them there on return from a magic show.
“How can you see? It’s almost pitch black in here. I meant to bring you a new light bulb… but I forgot. What are you up to anyway?” I said nosing over his shoulder.
“You and your stupid questions boy. What the deuce do you think I’m doing? I’m doing my budget, of course. You know I do it at the end of every month!”
Mordren’s black cat blinked a rheumy eye in my direction, and yawned. “Of course you know what’s going to happen don’t you?” she said.
“I bet you regret casting the spell to make her talk, don’t you Mordren?” The old wizard raised his eyes to the ceiling and shook his head in despair.
The cat whined on “He’s going to find there’s no money in the kitty.” She paused for laughs, looking expectantly at us, but there were no guffaws. “For cat food??? Oh well, never mind, I’m here all week.” She put her chin back down on her paws, closing her eyes.
I walked over to Mordren’s desk and heard my feet squelching in the primaeval mud of the floor. There were so many footsteps on it they’d never be able to pick mine out, in the event of the old curmudgeon’s untimely death… would they?
“Come outside with me Mordren. I’m practising orienteering with my new compass. Bring your metal wand will you? We can use it as a navigational aid in this storm.”
“Eh?” said the old duffer, frowning over the beads.
“Yes, I’ll just need you to hold it high in the air.” I’d put the first part of my dastardly plan in motion.