By: David K. Montoya
The aged wizard jumped up from the desk and quickly scanned his chambers, until his gaze fell
upon his young apprentice, who was snuggled up to a tome of spells that had been laboriously
written by hand more than two hundred years before.
“Come, Jubee, we must speak with the king,” the old man said as he pulls the tattered cowl of
his well-worn robe over his lengthy white hair.
“What is the matter, Master?” asked Jubee, as he closed the old, leather bound volume.
“I must inform the king of a vision I have seen.”
The two exit from their quarters, to find themselves in the main hallway that snakes its way
throughout the weathered castle. Without another word being said, they rush down the hall at a
brisk pace, until they arrive at the throne room.
The pair push past the double wooden doors and are met by two guards armed with halberds,
poised to strike.
“Sturbious the White, here to speak with the king on urgent matters!” he calls out.
The two guards remain lodged in front of the man until a voice calls out, saying, “Let the wizard
through, but the pup must wait outside.”
The mage turned to his ward and saw the disappointment in his eyes, for he had never seen the
king, nor ever been in the throne room, until that day.
“The law be the law, lad. Only royalty or servants to the crown may enter,” he said. “Now go
and wait for me,”Sturbious added with a slight smile. “ I must speak with the king.” With a
small nudge Jubee headed for the exit, and Sturbious moved forward to greet the king, who is in
the midst of his evening meal.
“What can I do for you, Master Sturbious?” asked the King.
“I have come to give warning to you and the kingdom, my lord.”
“Aye, my lord, “ replies Sturbious. “I have envisioned a great host of enemies heading toward
the Kingdom of Terrence.”
The King looked up from the freshly cooked leg of lamb that sat before him, to get a better view
of the wizard. “You know as well as I do, nothing can get pass the great wall,” the King said just
before he took another bite.
“You do not understand, my lord,” responded Sturbious.
The king once again looked up from his meal, but now with an unpleasant look for Sturbious. “I
do understand. You are old and only half sane. Now, be gone with you!”
There was a long period of silence, but it came to an ear-stinging end when a loud crash rang
throughout the King’s chamber, as Sturbious the White slamed his Staff of Elders to the cold
flagstone floor. The king uttered no words as he glared at wizard, until he had finished chewing
“Wizard, no human can pass the great wall of Terrence,” the king said as he waited for his
steward to replace his now empty trencher with a new bowl of decadent fruit. “And for god
sakes pick up your staff. You are, after all, a white wizard. There is no need to toss the symbol
of your rank to the floor,”said the king as he reached over to the silver bowl to pick up a shiny red apple.
Sturbious stood and watched in disbelief as the king attacked the fruit as if he were some kind of wild animal. The wizard fumed; never in all his years had he laid eyes on such a gluttonous being. This monarch was nothing like his father, who was a knight of honor and believed in the ways of the old code. The former King had once fought off hoards of enemies that had charged the castle, many years before the great wall was built.
Years later, before the old King of Terrence passed on to the other side, there was an attack on the then capital, now known as Ruin City. It looked as if his adversaries had won. They destroyed the commonwealth as well as the castle, and were on their way to slay the king. Once in the throne room they were confronted by the King’s guard and destroyed by the last standing royal knight, known as Nivike the Courageous. The Sovereign was so grateful to the one remaining knight who saved his kingdom, he named Nivike as his only kin and heir to the throne.
Yet Nivike never saw the crown, as Eric appeared a few days before the king’s death, announced he was the bastard son and therefore rightful heir to the throne.
“Eric, I am telling you, the Nomads from the Na’ Tu desert have somehow obtained power over the dragons of the dawn, as well as the other winged beasts in the east. I have seen this in a vision. Please, we must send arms to the wall to meet these most unwelcome visitors,” Sturbious pleads.
The King slowly rises from his majestic throne, wiping the juice of the ruined fruit from his beard and makes his way down the marble stairs until he was face to face with Sturbious. He locks his eyes with the wizard and at that moment a thought of striking the old mage flashed through his mind, but he knew that would be unwise, for even though Eric was angry, he still had a great respect for the old wizards powers.
“You will refer to me as your King and I don’t give a damn about your dreams!”Eric snaps. “You are not the man you once were wizard. When I finally reach the age of five and a half decades, I hope and pray my father has me join him in his higher kingdom,” the king says in a low voice, as he turned and slowly moves away from the white wizard toward his throne.
”They are also accompanied by a Master of the Black,” Sturbious says to the King’s back. “We are all doomed if you do not act now,” he insists, then bends down to collect the Staff of Elders.
The king lowers himself back down onto his throne and places a hand over his face as he leans his head back. “Fine. I will send a party to meet with this approaching company. Will this please you, wizard?” the king asks with a growl.
“Indeed.” said the wizard .
“I am glad to know this for I will send you, Sturbious, and I will allow two others to accompany you to meet with these dreamed creatures,” giggled the king.
“Three of us? That will not be enough to battle the forces that are coming,” Sturbious said with a lump in his throat, knowing full well that the king is sending him off to his death.
“You know the elves and dwarves and all those mystical creatures,” said the king as he bites into a ripe cherry tomato and the juices erupt to find home on the kings mouth and chin.“You know them well, from what I have heard. Have them join you in your quest to the wall,”
Sturbious moved forward until he was in front of the marble steps that lead up to the king. “Why would they want to help in this crusade?”Sturbious demanded with the power back in his voice.“After all, you are the one that ran them off deep into the woods.”
“That, my dear wizard, is none of my concern. Do you have any idea what the blood of an elf does to a sword? If bathed three times in elven blood, the weapon took on magical properties. It can turn aside the strongest attack, pierce the stoutest armor and the metal becomes unbreakable. Any warrior would pay good money for that sort of advantage in battle. If people understood how the world works they would understand the necessity of sacrificing a few, for the benefit of many. Besides I did not make them run; they decided to flee,” said the king as he bit into another cherry tomato.
“May I pick the others that will accompany me?”Sturbious asked in a dark, deep voice that echoed throughout the chamber.
“Very well, you may have who you wish,” said the King.
With those words ,Sturbious turned away from Eric and slowly walked toward the portals that led from the chambers. He paused at the entry way for a moment, then turned back toward that avaricious king.“My Lord” he said in a rather gentle voice.
“WHAT!” the king shouted. “What do you want now?” he demanded as un-chewed fruit fell from his mouth.
“Know this, Eric. When I return, and I promise I will do so, you better have every man in your army protecting you, because if I get hold of you, you will be placed next to your father in a cold and dark grave,” Sturbious said, and the tone of his voice made the king lose control of his bladder. After loosing his threat, Sturbious the White Wizard turned back toward the old wooden door, waved his hand before it and the massive hatchway opened without physical assistance. He then entered the dark passage to take his leave of the king’s chambers.
Eric watched as the body of the wizard was completely engulfed in darkness, then he heard the voice of Sturbious, say, “Heed my warning King Eric. Your death will be at my hands!” As the last words were spoken the door slammed shut, causing the king to shudder.
Once he could no longer hear the footsteps of the wizard, he lept to his feet and shouted, “No Sturbious, it is not be my grave that will be dug, but your own!”
The sound of Sturbious as he bellows out in anger vibrates down the corridors and halls, echoing finally fading as young Jubee, came upon his master moving swiftly down the castle’s hallway.
“Master, what did the king say?” Jubee asked with a excited quiver in his voice, since this was Sturbious’ first vision in almost a half a year.
“He does not believe in my dreams.” explained Sturbious “But he has allowed us permission to challenge the invaders as they come upon the wall.” He said.
“Well, that’s good news, Master. Who will he be sending out to the wall?” the young apprentice asked.
The two exit through a wooden door, to find themselves outside, on top of the highest tower and from that vantage point, they could view the entire kingdom of Terrence. The Wizard leaned into the low opening between two merlons, his eyes drift off into the night and with a deep sigh he turned toward his pupil with a sour look of grief. “Jubee, my lad, what do you see when you look off into the night?” Sturbious asked.
Jubee takes a moment to ponder, for Sturbious was known to ask trick questions. Once he had a definite answer, he turned to his mentor and said, “The kingdom. I see the kingdom of Terrence, Master Sturbious. What do you see, Master?” he asked. The great white wizard turned his attention back to the heavens before answering the question as if he was getting the answer from god himself. “I see death. I see the past and I see the future, which resembles the dark past,” he said and turned back toward his young pupil with an even more dreadful look then before. “We will be going to the wall. I will gather more able hands as we journey to Sesor Forest, and once we arrive at the wall of Terrence, we should have the men that will be necessary for battle,”Sturbious explained with another deep sigh and turned back to face the night sky.
“We have been granted but two others to accompany us,” he says as he continued to fixate on the stars that illuminated the sky.
The young boy slowly turned away from his teacher after hearing his words, and he wondered, how could this be. How could the king be so cruel? Then a small glimmer of hope entered his thoughts and the boy quickly turned back toward the wizard.”Who will be the other two, Master Sturbious?”
“At daybreak, we will Journey within our city of Yret and find a former pupil of mine by the name of Imia, and the following morning, we will travel to Spouk and find Nivike. As I recall, he settled there sometime back,” Sturbious sayed in soft voice.
“But, Master, will Nivike be willing to assist us in our quest, since it was King Eric himself that turned him away from knighthood?”Jubee asked.
Sturbious released his gaze on the stars to meet Jubee’s question with a small smirk. “Come child, enough questions for the night. We will find all the answers at sun rise,” the White Wizard said as he turned his student and guided him to the doorway.
About the Author
David K. Montoya has been writing for nearly 15 years and during that time has produced some 200 underground comics, including “M-Team,” “Ayot Nom,” “The Hunters-Xydus,” “Lifesigns,” “Smash,” and continues to work on the upcoming graphic novel, “Underground to Nowhere.” Along with producing his current run of poems, short stories and serials, he also did the artwork and dialog for the soon to be released, “Smash, Special Edition.”