I lamented for several days over how I was going to ask (tell?) my father and mother about my decision to apply to be Holgast's apprentice. The problem was this: I was a Woodson, and we had been loggers/carpenters since time and memoriam. I was the eldest son and was expected to fulfill the duty of taking over the family business when my own father became to old. My father had many more good years left in him, but I had already been taking over some of the financial duties of the business, and father had also been giving me other, adult responsibilities.
Knowing all that, I made up my mind. I had to be honest with my family; it was how we were all raised, and how we had always gotten along. The responses were not what I had expected. My father began chuckling when I started searching for the right words, and my mother looked over at me and smiled.
My father laughed and said, "Did you think all these years your mother and I didn't know you were studying magic in your spare time? I found the spellbook, the ring, and the wand in the woodshed. I knew you would never steal, so there must have been another reason you received them. We'd really like to know the story."
After I recovered from my shock, I told my parents how I had come to possess the items, and how I learned with them afterwards. My father sighed and said, "It seems Gaea has a purpose for you that is beyond our own. I am not given to quarrelling with gods, so," and here father sighed heavily, "I give you my leave to pursue magic as a vocation."
I grinned from ear-to-ear, but father did say this: "The only thing we ask is that you remember your family. If we are ever in need, you must return home and care for kin. The Woodson family line must go unbroken, and we must prosper." I, of course, agreed.
Holgast found me to be an apt pupil, and took me into his tower. For the last two years I have learned things I never expected…like Holgast likes to sleep. Holgast likes all his tower swept once daily. He also doesn't like to share a lot of magical knowledge. The other apprentice is an idiot, and I really learned almost nothing in two years.
My frustration was nearing an absolute end when one day the Mayor of Kassen announced the City was in need of new heroes to go to the Crypt of the Everflame. It has always been a coming-of-age ceremony, an old tradition in which young adventurers retrieve a piece of the eternal flame burning in the tomb of the town’s founder: Kassen. Well, I was definitely ready to go! I was shocked when Holgast agreed to let me.
And so I, and three companions, set-out from Kassen on a cold October day. We went south into the Fangwood, guided only by a crudely-drawn map, supported with standard supplies from the town, and encouraged by the titilating taste of adventure!
What I got a taste of was not what I was expecting…
(TO BE CONTINUED)