Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C.
A Harry Potter Fan Fiction by Aaran St Vines
Disclaimer---What belongs to J K Rowling is J K Rowling's. What belongs to anyone else is theirs. Everything left is mine, I guess, but remember the old adage: "There is nothing new under the sun."
Thanks go to Ozma, beta extraordinaire. You would not believe what she went through to help me with this chapter. Please see the Ozma Note at the end. - - A St V -
Chapter Two - Willen's Luck
After Harry and Mr. Ollivander had been working for over two hours, the door chime interrupted the story. The tinkling sound caused the two to look up from their inventory to see Marcie Polkind, a waitress from Florean Fortescue's.
"'ere's the refreshments you was a ordering, Mr. Ollivander, sur. Two ice cold butterbeers and a tin of nut chocolate chip biscuits, hot out of the oven. Baked 'em meself, I did. Will ye be wantin' anythin' else, sur?"
"Nothing else, Miss Polkind." Ollivander had quickly risen to his feet and was taking the tray from Marcie before Harry had realized it. "Here is the remuneration and a gratuity."
The girl looked a bit flustered by his words.
Ollivander smiled and said, "This should cover the cost of this snack and your tip. Thank you for bringing it, and please thank your employer for me also."
Marcie Polkind's vocabulary may not have been on the same par as Mr. Ollivander's, but she instantly calculated her share of the money she had received. The delight in her eyes expressed just how generous the older gentleman had been.
"Thankee, sur; thankee most kindly. If you will be needin anythin' else please send word and we will gladly be at your service."
Ollivander and Harry spoke little as they stood and ate, other than to comment on the refreshing taste of the iced butterbeer and their mutual appreciation of still warm baked goods.
"Now where were we, Mr. Potter?"
"This row of wands here, sir. We still have a few left in this stack before we go to the next counter. Oh, and thanks for the refreshments... my throat was pretty dry."
"You are most welcome, Mr. Potter. I thought butterbeer rather than tea. It is warmer than usual and the dust we have stirred with our rearranging of the wands has parched my throat as well. And yes, we mustn't forget these last few, all from 1901, I believe... no, one from 1943. But I meant where were we in the story?"
Harry smiled. In the last hour he had wondered why he'd ever thought Mr. Ollivander frightening. He was most polite and considerate. Harry had not realized just how thirsty he was until Marcie appeared. Harry let his smile fade as he remembered why he had been uncomfortable the first time he'd met the wand maker. It was the first time anyone had told him anything about Voldemort himself. The idea that his parents had been murdered had been less than a day old when Ollivander had said that Voldemort had done "terrible, yes, but great" things. After two years in the wizarding world, Harry now knew too well that the Dark Wizard had great power and was beyond terrible.
With a slight shudder, that the older gentleman saw but ignored, Harry said, "Willen had just walked out of Loundon's Towne towards the sea, trying to reach the southern coat of Gaul. That is France, isn't it, sir?"
Harry continued, "And I guess Torban is going back to those still at the harvest faire to discuss other ways to defend themselves against Porto the evil wizard and Bonderman, his strongman."
"Quite right on both counts, Mr. Potter. Let's finish this last stack of wands and move on. We are making good progress, much better than I had managed to do by myself. I am grateful for your help."
Harry smiled a bit shyly. He was glad to help the gray-haired wand master. Once again he was glad he was beyond his initial fears. There was a gentle nature to this man who was a captivating storyteller.
"Well, let's proceed. Seven and three quarter inch birch with a unicorn hair core half way, made in 1943. We were in the middle of the war with Grindelwald. He and his minions were causing troubles everywhere. Disrupting supplies was one of their specialties and we tried to conserve materials wherever possible. None of these ever picked a witch or wizard, or worked very well for that matter. Where was I again...Oh, yes."
On with our tale.
Willen's Luck held. He knew the coast was roughly in the direction that the sun comes up. He knew that in the summer the sun comes up in a different direction than in the winter. He never did remember which way was which so he headed basically in a northeasterly direction. Had Willen followed the Tameas River instead, in three days he would have reached a place where sea-going fishing boats were available. This was perhaps one of the most fortuitous examples of Willen's Luck.
Willen's Luck. Though Willen did not call it by this name yet, he had noticed that quite often, a series of bad, maybe even painful events, usually ended up somehow to his benefit. He was not sure he wanted luck like this but it was better than regular bad luck.
While Willen began his circuitous march to the sea, Torban walked purposely back to the harvest faire.
In the few minutes he had spent outfitting Willen for his journey, many of the crowd had gathered their goods and wares to begin the trip back to their farms and homes. Over fifty people had moved to Loundon's Towne since the last faire. Fewer than twenty would move there this next year. Even that would change, however.
As Torban walked back he heard Egan the Potter talking. "I say we must prepare to fight them. If we use cunning and stick together we can succeed with only a few losses. It is for the good of the community. I do not want to die any more than anyone else does, but if we stick together and have a plan, we can limit our..." Egan paused as he caught sight of Torban. "And maybe," he continued, "Willen will return with..."
"You fool!" shouted Caedric the Fisher. "You are a fool to hope we would only lose a few. Do you volunteer to be one of those losses? You sit by your wheel and your kiln and walk two hundred paces for your supplies. Few of you know about the state of affairs throughout Albion. You Potters are always too brave for your own good."
That remark made Harry feel both pleased and a bit insulted.
Caedric was just beginning his tirade. "I travel far in my boat, as you know, and I talk to other Fishers who travel all up and down the east coast and even some who go to the west coast of Albion and to the coast of Gaul. People coming in to take over towns and villages, like Bonderman, are often talked about in whispers. Accounts of such stealers of land are causing fear-filled rumors wherever they are told. They are not like Torban's Gran-da Loundon, carving out a Keep to be developed, or like us, peacefully founding a village worth living in. They show up at established communities and take over by threats, death, and destruction.
"I am sorry I never mentioned the deaths from olive sticks. No one ever mentioned what type of wood it was before. I heard a few outlandish claims and dismissed them as the rants of weak women."
Several women in the crowd bristled at this expression, including Meala.
Caedric continued his spiel, unconcerned with whomever he might offend. "And you are a double fool if you expect anything good to come from Willen the Dog Boy. I was not overstating the dangers or distances. A traveler wise in the ways of the world would do well to get back two harvests from now. We have to survive until then. But that stupid, useless dog boy..."
"Caedric, that is enough about Willen." Torban did not shout but the authority in his voice spoke louder than mere volume. Caedric was not a part of Torban's original band of settlers. His services as a Fisher were valuable and he made a good addition to the economy of the community as well as the benefit of their diets. But Caedric had never quite thought that Torban was a better leader than anyone else, say, himself.
"Torban, you know he is unlucky and useless and always in the way. He is a dreamer if he thinks he can survive such a journey. Why he is nothing but..."
"Caedric!" Torban called sternly. He was now close enough to lean over the Fisher, uncomfortably reminding Caedric that Torban was over a head and a half taller than he was. "Willen has dedicated his life to saving this community and my daughter. You will not speak badly of him, either in my presence or out of it." Torban won the short staring match that followed. It was no contest. "Tell me what you suggest to help solve this crisis?"
"Well, I...er. That is.... I guess we should construct the storehouse Bonderman demanded. How can we overpower such a killing force?"
"That's how you would have us respond? Acquiescence? I like Willen's plan better." The derision dripped from Torban's words. "At least his response was brave. Even if he never comes back you will respect his sacrifice for all of us."
Torban turned to address the crowd. "Everyone, we need ideas, we need a plan, or plans. Obviously we must prepare to fight them if we can. Perhaps, if we are fortunate, not too many of us will die before we overpower them. Besides Caedric, who else will volunteer to attack first?" The sarcasm was clear.
Meala spoke. "We do need to build the storehouse. But we should also plan to build a fortress of some kind. Porto waited until those of you that advanced on him were very close to kill Feldin, God rest his soul. If he cannot kill at a greater distance, then fortress walls may protect us. Does anyone have any other ideas?"
Someone suggested digging a moat, but with the flooding of the Tameas River on occasions, they did not want to give it a reason to permanently flow into their village. Several others thought that hiring their own ruffians might be a good idea. That was forgotten when Bengt the Miller pointed out that there was nothing to stop the ruffians they hired from taking over as Keepers themselves.
Pandan the Tiller had the only other idea that was considered worth pursuing. "Why don't we fashion bows and make arrows? We could all try the bow to see if we have skill. Such weapons are easily hidden if need be. We could fire them from a distance if Porto has to be close to kill with the Touch. Who would be best at fabricating such things, Vanch the Cooper?"
Vanch spoke out, "The barrels I produce are of soft wood that swell when wet to stop leaks. My jigs and most of my forming tools are not created for such work. Does anyone have experience with hard woods?"
"Willen," said Constantia absentmindedly. She blushed and explained herself. "He was gifted with all types of wood. I never saw him start to make something without making it quickly and beautifully."
Looking directly into Caedric's eyes, Torban said, "Well, I am glad we were so good at discovering how useful he was."
Finally, it was agreed that the idea of making this type of weaponry was worth pursuing. Several would take on household chores for Vanch the Cooper to give him extra time to try to discover the proper ways of making bows and arrows. Most would like to help Vanch in any way they could, but knew little about how to do so.
Meala, Torban, and a few others made an effort to personally thank those who had come from far away, and who still lingered, for attending the faire. All were invited back the next year but no one readily agreed.
Willen continued north and east instead of the easier route due east along the Tameas River. The extra travel added nearly two fortnights to his trip.
At this point Willen's Luck reared its mischievous head again. When he entered a small village a dog bit him. The dog's owner took pity on Willen because he'd refused to kick at the dog. Willen was given a warm meal and allowed to sleep in the dog owner's barn with the cows during the rain that night. The dog bite became infected and he had a fever in the morning. The farmer's wife took pity on him and fed him and attended his wound. She had a bit of the Touch when it came to healing herbs and was able to stop the infection. Otherwise, Willen might have lost the leg, or even died. The dog's owner told him to ask for Stellan the Fisher if he wanted to go to Gaul. Willen's Luck would really come into play when he met Stellan.
In the summer it grew so hot in the windowless huts of Loundon's Towne that several community fires were kept burning outside all night long so everyone could sleep comfortably and have a flame and hot coals to use for cooking first thing in the morning. And so, in the sultry weather only a couple of moons before the harvest faire, Willen had been at work gathering firewood in the forest near Loundon's Towne when he'd had an unusual encounter with a holly tree.
This holly tree had been guarded by bowtruckles, little stick men who were quite shy unless they thought something was threatening a tree under their protection. (Willen had encountered bowtruckles once before, three seasons earlier, also guarding a holly tree. He still had a scar on his thumb from that encounter.)
Willen liked trees, just as much as he liked working with wood. He could often hear the trees speaking to him. The trees seemed fond of Willen as well. He never cut down an unwilling tree. Most trees seemed glad when Willen trimmed their dead or unruly branches, or gathered up the dead wood that had fallen around them. Willen knew that most trees liked to be kept tidy. Trees knew their purposes. There were trees that were willing to be firewood, or boards for building, and many other uses as well. Willen knew that all he had to do was listen.
Willen knew that his ability to converse with trees was not ordinary. He had learned through painful experience not to mention his particular gift to anyone. Willen had noticed that people, unlike trees --who were usually sensible-- often reacted strangely to things they didn't understand. Willen knew that most other people thought he was odd. He'd learned not to mind this too much, although he didn't want to be thought of as mad or dangerous. Willen was even more unsettled by the possibility that his strong affinity for trees might get him revered as some sort of visionary. Willen had heard that there were people coming to Albion from the seas who venerated trees, oaks in particular. He had first heard of them from a peddler of water skins in the community where he'd lived before he'd come to Loundon's Towne. More recently, he'd heard Caedric mention the tree-worshippers.
The idea of worshipping oak trees honestly baffled Willen. The oaks he'd known weren't terribly bright, although they were certainly sturdy and hard working. Like animals and humans, trees had faults and weaknesses. Willen thought of trees and people and animals as creations. To Willen, it made sense to worship the higher being, the Creator, rather than a part of creation. He thought creation was made for appreciation rather than adoration.
Lost in thought, Willen almost did not see the bowtruckle-guarded holly tree. He came to a halt only five feet away from it. He could see that the tree had plenty of fallen branches, which would be useful for making fires. But he did not want to be attacked by the vicious little guardians.
This particular holly tree was calling to him. It knew his name, something that had never happened before. (Willen remembered that the first bowtruckle-guarded holly tree had also called to him in a strong voice, telling him that its branches would be very useful. But Willen had not been able to understand exactly how. The first holly tree had tried to explain further, but the explanation had sounded like gibberish to Willen. He had been able to gather branches from other trees nearby without angering the bowtruckles, but when he'd got too close to that particular holly tree, the little creatures had swarmed at him.)
Other than knowing his name, this holly tree did not try to say anything specific such as "My branches will start a fire quickly," or "This limb will make a good beam for a fence," or even "Chop me down, I am destined to be a house." It simply called to everything in Willen's being that it was destined to be very useful.
Willen was relieved that the bowtruckles were not attacking him. He noticed that they were massing to eat a mound of tree lice. Curious, he moved closer. Willen's curiosity often got him in nearly as much trouble as Willen's Luck, but this time he was fortunate. He was able to gather several branches and one small log without any interference from the little stick-figure sentries.
As soon as he was out of the forest, Willen began to break up the holly branches for kindling. These branches had been unusually quiet when he'd gathered them, but now they screamed that they were not meant for firewood. Willen did not understand when they tried to tell him what their true purpose should be. Finally, he left the branches at the edge of the forest. He would have put the small log down beside them, but the log insisted that it was its destiny to come with him.
Tired and hot from his walk through the forest, Willen returned to Loundon's Towne and set the small log down near a woodpile off to one side, well away from the firewood stack for the nearest communal fire. Then he stumbled off in search of some supper.
That night Willen heard something call his name in a blood-curdling scream. Hurrying out of the stable, he ran towards the fire. He saw the sufferer, and realized to his dismay that it was the small holly log. In spite of his precautions, it had been tossed into the fire. Now the little log was in agony. Willen burnt his fingers as he pulled it out of the fire. As he rescued the log, he felt grateful that no one else was near to see either his actions or his sorrow. Caedric wouldn't have been the only one to think him mad.
Willen brought the log back to the stable and put it in a bucket of water. He could hear the log moaning quietly. It asked him to cut off the burnt end. Willen complied. Holly is a hard wood but this piece cleaved easily at the burn, even though Willen was chopping against the grain. It was as if the log had helped him use the ax to cut away the severely damaged part.
Willen tended to the burnt log the same way he tended to his own burns, by soaking it in goat's milk and honey. He was grateful that he still had some goat's milk left from his supper and that he had not eaten the small bit of honeycomb which Meala had given him that evening. He knew that the wood would be all right with a few hours soaking.
Although he could sense no life in the burnt part of the log that he'd cut off, Willen decided against tossing it back into the fire. Out of respect for the log's courage and its suffering, he later buried the burnt piece at the edge of the forest.
The part of the log which survived was a cross-section of the wood, oval shaped, about four inches in diameter. The end that Willen had cut with his ax was flat. The other end was rounded as if someone had sanded it with a rough stone to create a smooth surface. From the rounded edge to the cut edge, the log measured less than three inches. All the bark had been burnt away. It was very lightweight, much lighter than holly usually was. Willen knew that it was a very special piece of wood.
The piece of holly had an unusual sense of its purpose, even in Willen's understanding. Usually, when a piece of wood that knew it was meant for the fire had been used as a board to build with instead, it would just snigger as it rotted away too quickly. And, when a piece of wood that knew it had been meant to be a fence beam had been used for firewood, it could be heard chuckling to itself about the foolishness of wasteful humans. The oval of holly wood was different. Willen, who listened to it as its pain began to lessen, did not understand much of what it was trying to tell him. But he distinctly heard it say that it had been "fighting fate to achieve its destiny." That phrase stuck with Willen.
Willen thought that there must be others who understood wood as he did. He'd seen others carve fine wooden figures and fashion other devices. But when he'd asked them about "seeing" the purpose of the wood, he'd been treated as though he'd bayed at the moon. Most people would have found the events of that night very strange indeed. The "conversation" that Willen had had with the small piece of wood was odd, even in the strange world of Albion, and all of what would eventually come to be known as Europe.
In fact, Willen's talent made him unique in the entire known world.
Willen was thinking about these two experiences with bowtruckles and holly trees as he lay in the hay. The last vestiges of the fever from the dog bite still caused him to shiver from time to time. He had dreamed about the small log burning and calling to him. He brought the cutting of holly wood out of his carrying sack and stared at it. He had seen the "eyes" in the wood the moment he'd first taken it out of the milk and honey. The piece of holly had not spoken to him again since that night, but Willen knew that the eyes would lead him to the wood's purpose in due time. Usually he saw exactly what needed to be whittled away in seconds. But this special piece of wood had had such a traumatic time, and had fought so hard for its destiny, that it must be special. So to Willen it only seemed proper to let the wood take its time to reveal its purpose.
As he sat in the hay the eyes in the wood winked at him and he paid more attention. He felt like he was closer to finding the wood's elusive purpose. Finally the wood smiled at him and showed its rosy cheeks. He missed Constantia. He dozed.
The next day he awoke and looked at the piece of holly wood in his hands. No wonder it was such a special piece of wood. Two hours later the carving of her face was almost as perfect as her face was in reality. It was Constantia. Willen was even able to fashion a drilled out hole to allow for a strip of leather to be pushed through. Constantia's likeness now rested around Willen's neck. He now felt he knew the purpose and destiny of the piece of wood. As it happened, he only knew half of it.
Willen finally arrived at the coast and asked for Stellan the Fisher as the dog's owner had suggested.
Stellan the Fisher had turned out to be a thief as well. He took too many of Willen's gold pebbles for passage and decided he wanted all the gold and all of Willen's goods to boot. He gave Willen a nice billet on the lee side of the boat so when he slit his throat, Willen's blood would drain away from the bedding.
Moving slowly and quietly Stellan had the knife almost to Willen's throat when he noticed the design on Willen's blade. Torban had a mark he put on his metal wares and the mark, a "vee" shape, was the same mark on the metal bar that Stellan used to raise the sail on his boat.
During a storm four years earlier, Stellan had been driven up the Tameas River until he'd reached Loundon's Towne. That feat was amazing in itself because boats in storms usually go aground quickly in rivers. Stellan did not have Willen's Luck. Everything and every talent needed to fix his boat existed at the village.
Vanch the Cooper had just found a new, much larger than usual selection of wood to cut into barrel staves. However, this wood had been perfect for the repairs the boat needed. Several of the women of the settlement had helped with sail repair. Stellan had little metal on his boat but when Torban had seen the methods used to raise the sail, he designed a capstan and metal bar to help with all the lines and rigging. The bar had Torban's "vee" on it and so did Willen's blade.
Stellan had told the villagers that he had no money to pay them, but he'd promised to return with payment within two moons. Everyone in the village had agreed with Torban to accept Stellan's terms, everyone except his fellow Fisher, Caedric. Caedric grumbled that you couldn't trust people who fish for a living, and it took him several moments to realize what was so funny. He quickly added that you couldn't trust those who fish until you got to know them. The people of Loundon's Towne knew Caedric, but they trusted Stellan anyway.
Even though Stellan was a thief, he could not bring himself to cheat the people of the village. There had been something about Torban's trust that he could not bring himself to damage. That debt was the only one he had paid willingly, and the only one he had paid on time.
Now this young fool with more gold than good sense and a number of worthwhile possessions was right here under his blade and he couldn't bring himself to kill him.
"Willen, WILLEN! You were snoring."
Willen roused a bit fearfully. He had been lulled to a deeper sleep than usual by the rocking of the boat and had not remembered where he was. "What, what...what is it? Is everything well?"
"You were dreaming and snoring and shouting, come to think of it. You had drawn this blade halfway out and I did not want you to cut yourself in your sleep. That is a nice blade. Where did you get it? Steal it off someone?" Stellan hoped he could still make his theft and get away with it.
"This blade was made by Torban Loundon of Loundon's Towne. He outfitted me for this trip." Willen went on to relate everything starting with the harvest faire. Stellan had heard of the harvest faire and had wanted to attend this year. Now, hearing about Porto, he was glad he hadn't. Stellan had heard about these new invaders that took over villages by force and killed with a stick and it frightened him. But as Willen's tale went on, Stellan felt hope.
Perhaps this young lad could do what he said. He seemed forthright enough. Stellan was not put off by Willen's lazy eye. His father had had a lazy eye and he had lived to a ripe old age. That was saying something for a Fisher who had sailed on the seas and not the rivers. Stellan had referred to Willen as a fool because he had seemed so gullible at first. But the conviction and passion in his voice about his quest for olive wood was stirring. Perhaps there was hope.
Of course with Willen's Luck he was extremely seasick the entire voyage - and it was the smoothest sea Stellan could remember in all of his years afloat. Stellan took it upon himself to try to educate Willen as to the tricks of dishonest folk. Stellan, being one of them, knew whereas he spoke.
"Willen, you must always take care to sleep where you can hear if someone comes to attack you."
Willen retched over the side for the umpteenth time this morning and muttered incoherently in agreement.
"Put dried leaves or pieces of broken pottery, or something down that will make noise when someone gets near. Better yet, put a trip line out with a slip knot that will release and pull on your leg in warning."
Willen retched again and somehow made Stellan understand that he did not have any rope or line and knew no knots, slip or otherwise.
"I'll teach you."
They were completely becalmed and Willen was even sicker as the boat stilled. He had stopped his dry heaves because there had long been nothing in his gullet. He was nauseous and dizzy and was only able to pay attention to the knot tying lessons by lying down and keeping his head against the deck of the boat. He had stared up at Stellan's hands and had learned the knots from the bottom up. He had paid attention to everything Stellan was telling him. He knew there were many things he did not understand about the world and this journey did have him fearful. He was going to persevere and save Constantia and the village, but he admitted to himself his concerns for what he faced. All of his life Willen had learned things that helped him later. And with Willen's Luck, he needed all of the help he could get.
Stellan chided him for taking the wrong direction from Loundon's Towne to go to Gaul. "Had you followed the Tameas River east, you would have been at a port for a number of seagoing fishing ships. I am glad you have three harvests to get back to Loundon's Towne. Your side trip and illness has lost you over three moons."
While becalmed Willen slept during the afternoon and late night. Stellan taught him knots and the ways of disreputable people. He had assured Willen that these calms were rare but common enough for each seagoing ship to carry rations for an extra week at sea beyond what was needed normally.
Three nights in a row Willen stared at the stars. He could do little else with his head on the deck to keep from falling over. Stellan got tired of talking down at him so he had assumed the same position as Willen. This naturally led Stellan to talking about the stars and telling the tales of the different constellations. Three nights in a row, Willen had noticed that all the stars moved across the sky, except one.
Stellan had pointed out the large pot shaped formation with the long handle. Willen had noticed near it was a smaller constellation with a similar shape. Willen pointed this out.
"Stellan, I have been here staring at that these stars for three nights. I have observed that all of the stars and constellations move across the sky except for the bright star at the tip of the little ladle. It never moves."
"Ah, you have noticed, Willen. They are called ladles on shore but we sailors call them dippers. The constellations are very interesting and the stories made up to go with them can be as fascinating as a good storyteller can make them. But the most useful thing in the night sky is that one star that never moves. It always points north. And if you always know where north is, then you can always tell where you are going. Keep the direction of the sun in mind with the time of the day, and keep your eye on that one bright star at night, and you can keep from sailing in circles on the sea, and pretty much follow a straight path on land, mountains and rivers permitting."
The winds finally came and a small storm arose. Willen's stomach settled with the wild actions of the boat in rough waters. (Willen's Luck would give him an upset stomach on a calm sea and the choppier, more violent the seas, the happier his insides.) Stellan informed Willen that he would sail to the west coast of Gaul to poach the fish from Baldet's coast. The coast along this particular stretch was brimming with fish, so of course the local tyrant did not want anyone fishing it. Stellan loved a challenge and poaching was the next best thing to stealing. Though talking to Willen and thinking about Torban and the good people of Loundon's Towne was causing him to re-evaluate his life, poaching from Baldet, who claimed what was not his, caused Stellan no remorse.
Stellan had told Willen how to avoid Baldet's guards and how to get to the south coast of Gaul. Of course Willen's Luck held up.
Stellan unintentionally dropped him off right in the lap of Baldet's guard detail patrolling the coastal road. As Willen walked up from the shoreline and reached the edge of a wood, he tripped over the spear of a guard who had walked off the path to drop his breeches. (As of yet, no one had figured out that eating a half-cooked pig would make you sick.)
As soon as Willen was brought before Baldet, he began asking about olive trees and telling his story. Baldet was not a bright man. He solved most confusing issues by killing those involved. Thinking too much gave Baldet a headache, and there was nothing like a good killing to cure the headache. Baldet took a mighty swing at Willen when Willen wasn't looking. Willen, who had noticed Baldet's dog, had been bending down to pat it at just the right moment. Therefore, Baldet's blow did not kill Willen, it only knocked him unconscious. Baldet felt bad about nearly killing a fellow dog lover. He decided to show Willen some mercy and ordered him sent him to the dungeon for the rest of his life instead.
"The boy talked a bit balmy, put him in with the madman. They may get along well enough."
The guards all agreed that Willen had been given a fate worse than death. The madman never shut his mouth without the help of a good clouting. Willen's Luck
Baldet's chief guard immediately took Willen's large blade for himself - he recognized the quality of it. Therefore, they never looked for his small carving knife. No one had two blades. They took his water skin and what little was left of his foodstuffs. They confiscated his blanket and water resistant covering and the chief guard wore Torban's cloak with pride. Perfect fit. Because Willen was drooling down his front and talking incoherently by this time, the guards did not check down the front of his shirt. The carving of Constantia was safe around his neck, as was the small gold pebbles pouch.
The madman in the cell of Baldet's dungeon was one of the raving kind of madmen who talked constant nonsense unless he was asleep or had been clouted into silence by one of the guards. Willen learned to sleep whenever the raving idiot slept. When he was ranting Willen sat in a dark corner. Of course it was easier to brood in a dark corner. He was sad beyond belief. Here he was, four moons into his quest to save his fair love and his friends, and he had been sentenced to live out his meager life in this dank hole.
Three weeks into his life-sentence down in the dungeon, Willen took out his smaller blade and carved the picture of Constantia's face that he could see in the wood of a crossbeam right in front of the madman. When the guard had brought in their daily gruel - extra chunky gruel today - the old lunatic had pitched a fit and was bludgeoned into unconscious silence. The old man had been chained at his ankles only, and Willen was afraid to get within his grasp. When he slept he might be faking and lunge at Willen. Seeing him brained into submission gave the young snoop his chance to enter that last unexplored part of their cell.
Willen saw Constantia's face in simple relief and it took only a few minutes to release it from the beam. It had never occurred to him that as soon as the crazy old man awakened he would be face to face with his love. Willen dozed off after he was finished with the likeness.
Not quite an hour after falling asleep he heard a voice calling through his dream of Constantia. "Are you a see-er, boy?"
At first Willen thought that a third prisoner had been brought in during his nap, and was addressing him. No, it was the madman talking coherently.
"No, sir. I have never seen the future. If anything, I probably see what will not happen in the future."
"No, boy, not seer," the madman said in exasperation. "A See-ER! Can you see things as they can be in wood or other materials, and then know how to use a blade to bring them out of the wood with little effort?"
"I guess," said Willen. "I have never thought about it. I just do it."
"Have you ever gotten mad at someone and had them fall down or burn themselves in a fire a little later?"
Willen nodded in shame.
"Can you find what no one else can find? Can you occasionally go right to the place and find what you seek even though you have never been there before?" The old man was getting more agitated and louder as he talked. "Can you automatically identify a possible way to do something that others think daft? Do you know instantly what people should be doing if they do not? DO YOU, BOY?"
Willen shrank into himself as he meekly nodded agreement to each of these questions. He had been driven out of numerous villages for seeing and speaking out loud these very types of things. He just thought that no one liked a busybody. That is what the people called him when he stated what was obvious to him but invisible to the others. Little did he know they were almost all embarrassed that this lad who was so young and new to the various communities could see the solution to problems they had cursed for days or even years.
"What's your name, boy?" the madman nearly screamed. After Willen told him the madman straightened, lost the wild look, and spoke in a most rational yet irascible voice. "Well, I am glad you finally made it. I have been expecting you but I did not know who would come. My name is Eirran and I am a seer. No, not a see-ER of the things like you see. I foresee things. I saw someone coming to this cell. You are lucky to be a prisoner here."
Willen was in shock. He had a life sentence to this dungeon where the guard told him few lived past a year. He would never be able to save Constantia from Bonderman, and he was stuck here with a madman regardless of how rational he now sounded.
Please review. Thanks.
Ozma Note -- Please let me recommend the fanfic stories of my beta, Ozma. You may not think that stories about Argus Filch sound interesting. Please let me tell you, these tales are outstanding, captivating, and sooooo well written. I have to ration her stories so I won't run out.
Author's Notes -- To my Reviewers - -
To Norwegian Blue, seamusisevil, beck, dilly, Mrs's_Norris's_Mouse, and Jen - Your kind words of encouragement mean a lot to me. Thank you. I hope you enjoyed this second chapter. I believe I am just getting into the "good stuff." The story should become more interesting after this.
To Incognito - Thanks for the complimentary review. I plan to use Harry sparingly throughout the story since it is not really about Harry at all - except at the very end. He is a literary tool for this tale.
To McGonagall's Cat - What anachronisms? I was a history major and I try to keep "real" history in mind with anything I write.
To well wisher - Loving my story is pleasing. Loving my writing turns my head. And yes, I am probably one of the oldest on this site. I am 48, but 48 going on 16 in so many ways.