Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wizard's Reunion

Note:  This is an entry into The Friday Challenge.

The man was short, wearing gray robes with a wizard's cap.  He was chewing on a cigar.  He muscled the cart into the ballroom, swearing under his breath.  Once it was through the door, he pulled a wand from his pocket.  One quick flourish, and the tables and chairs scattered themselves across the room.  A banner floated up the wall and hung itself from hooks--"Welcome!  Reunion!  Class of 204!" it proclaimed.

His work done, he snapped his fingers; a flame appeared at his fingertips, and he lit the cigar from it.  He let out a deep sigh, knowing the kind of mess he'd have to clean up when this was all over...

Albus frowned at him over the top of his brandy snifter.  "You changed your name?"

"That's right," Emrys said.  "Too many legends and conflicting reports.  Everyone wanted to know where the damn sword ended up at.  I didn't have the heart to tell them the kid traded it for a night with that Irish redhead."

"Ah," the old wizard nodded.  "Believe me, I know how kids can get carried away.  Some of the stories I could tell you..."  He glanced around the ballroom.  "Do you know if any of the other wizards will make it?  G, maybe, or Dubya?"

"Gandalf?  I don't think he'll be able to make it.  The last message I got from him was really garbled, but it sounded like he was running a business on a white cruise ship selling magical jewelry to the Elves.  Way too busy being successful for this.  And I haven't heard from Dubya eighties, I think."  Emrys glanced across the room.  "Is that who I think it is...?"

The evening had barely started, but the man slumped in the chair looked like he had already had more than enough to drink.  Emrys strode over, pulled up a chair, and sat quietly.  "Everything okay with you, Vermithrax?"

He looked human, but the oversized, slitted eyes gave him away when he looked up.  "Peachy," the dragon said, taking another drink.

"And how's Mel...?" Emrys asked, though he was pretty sure he knew what the answer was going to be.

"Maleficent dumped me," he said.  "Workaholic.  She just wanted to run things, no matter who she had to step on to get there."

"Damn, man, that's too bad," Emrys said.  "I always thought you two were the perfect couple--dragon who could turn into a man, woman who could turn into a dragon, just totally beats all that inter-species thing, you know...?"

Vermithrax sighed.  "Yeah, I know.  I thought so, too."

Emrys tried to change the subject.  "I always wondered why dragons and wizards didn't get along better back in the day."

The dragon raised one oversized eyebrow.  "How so?"

"The enemy of my enemy," Emrys said.  He gestured towards the far side of the ballroom, where Beowulf was telling a story about killing a dragon with one arm tied behind his back.  They heard women giggle as he hit on a particularly gruesome point.  "The whole geek vs jock--I mean, hero vs wizard thing.  You'd think dragons and wizards would get along better."

"If we had it to do over again," Vermithrax said, "maybe things might go a little differently...?"  He took another long drink, and Emrys wondered if he'd still be conscious by the time they closed the hall.  He shook the proffered hand, and strode back over to sit by Albus again.

"The more things change," Emrys said, watching Hercules and Thor put on a juggling show involving flaming swords, barbells, three battle axes, two bowling balls, and a running chainsaw.  They were attracting a crowd, mostly giggly young (appearing) women, who made a big deal out of dodging the various flying implements.

"...the more things stay the same," Albus finished, with a flourish of his cup.  He pointed to the juggling act, and the blonde ponytail bouncing in time.  "Do you remember when Thor was a redhead?"

Emrys chuckled.  "Yeah, that was a blast, watching him rage around campus with curly blonde locks!  He obviously never got it to go back to red, but he did get rid of the curls.  Who pulled that prank?  Avatar?  Loki?"

"Nah, that was Dubya!  He accidentally let it slip to me one day about a year after, and then told me how he did it  Two part curse--one ingredient in his private mead stash, another in his shampoo."  Albus couldn't help but laugh at the memory.  "Dubya found it hilarious that Aphrodite refused to go on a date with a guy with better hair than she had."

Theseus walked by, Arwen on one arm, Liv on the other, babbling something about fighting an army of minotaurs.  "Do you envy them?"

"Nope.  Got over anything like that a long time ago.  Happily married for years; I'll take Milady over any of these superficial, plasticine, zombie-proof--"

"Hi, Guys!  Sorry I'm late, did I miss anything?"

"Dubya!" Albus exclaimed.  "Glad you could make it!"

Steve Wozniak pulled out a chair, reached for a drink, and smiled across the table at old friends.