ASK THE WIZARD – On-The-Job Training
A cold wind blows through my tower, rattling the grand cobwebs that the giant spiders have constructed and scattering the ashes of my animated furniture further afield. It is the wind of change. Sweeping through to wipe away the old and bring in the new. It rustles my beard now and then and I remember the first time I felt it upon my lined and haggard face. Before the quests and the dragons and the long lifetimes of wielding the power arcane as lesser beings would brandish a sword.
What shall the future bring for me? I dare not even glance behind that veil, but the future of you petty mortals… that is a different proposition. I can read the weft of your fortunes readily. Let me guide you to your fate, mortals. Bring your miseries and troubles to lay at my door and I shall give you the answers that you seek. There is nothing in your life that I cannot improve with my immense wisdom. All that is required of you is to give me the opportunity.
Dear Wise One,
My parents are proud innkeepers and come from a long line of such noble folk. I want to be more. And not just another “adventurer” as always comes through our inn and wrecks the place on the start of their “quests.” Truly, my heart’s desire is to become a Wise One, such as your magnificence. I applied to the Academy in the Capital but was denied due to my extreme lack of magical prowess. Still, I remain undeterred.
Pray tell, how does one begin on the path to becoming a Wise One?
Trembling at your magnificence and might,
The Innkeeper’s Son Who is Only Loosely Relevant to the Plot
P.S. Do I *have* to grow a beard for this whole thing? Does it help with the magic? Seems like it’d get in the way when doing… well, pretty much anything.
Dear Sweet Boy,
Finally, I am receiving the level of respect that I should expect from those communicating with me. This is the manner in which I am accustomed to being addressed and it would benefit all who write to me in the future to adopt this same simpering tone. I am power made flesh, and you are nothing but a gnat. A please and thank you would not be amiss.
It matters little whence you came, for all can change in but a moment. Indeed, it is traditional for your parents to die horribly at the hand of some terrible tyrant or monster to launch your education in magic! In that moment of crisis, I am certain that your henceforth untapped potential will come to light and you will unleash some spell to drive off the evil before cradling their broken corpses in your arms. You lucky mite! I am so envious of you. It is quite the experience. One that I never had the joy of experiencing myself, sadly. Though three of my room-mates had their own tragic backstories with a surprising amount of cross-over.
My dear child, just because you have been rejected by a single institution of magical learning, that does not mean that you are devoid of magical prowess! If it is your destiny to be a wizard such as I then no force in the cosmos will be able to stop you. Least of all the administrators of some den of quill fanciers!
Adventure is where you learn the arcane arts the best. Trying your powers against the mightiest of foes and besting them all. So kick off the mop head, find a vaguely pointed hat and get yourself a large meat-shield of a man to cower behind when you finally realise that you can only cast your spells a limited number of times while goblins can chew on you infinitely.
As to the matter of the beard, while it is not essential, it is highly recommended. You do not want to walk into a tavern – like the one your soon-to-be-deceased family operate – and be mistaken for an enchanter, necromancer or acolyte of the divine. The beard can be inconvenient, I admit, but it is a small price to pay in exchange for the correct recognition.
If you cannot yet grow a beard for yourself then have no fear, I offer an array of potions that allow for rapid facial hair growth at a very reasonable price. When they aren’t being stolen by racially confused goblins.
Having relationship issues? Need career advice? You name it, our ‘Agony Ant’ can help!* Email your problems to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘Ask the Wizard’, or leave a comment below.
*Disclaimer: All answers are provided for entertainment purposes only. It may not be in your best interests to follow advice provided by a 1794-year-old man who lives alone in a tower with nothing but the distant memories of past glories for company.