Drawful the Awful is the ongoing series/novel in progress following the pursuits of the dragon, Drawful, who is awful at being a dragon, and his “kidnapee” the Princess Brooke. The full series can be found here.
The Sorceress Pam held a nice piece of real estate just a pair of easy miles outside of Hubrista, approximately seven from Beckenworth where Drawful and the Princess had enjoyed their brunch earlier.
Pam owned an expansive flat with rooms she used for her various “side hustles.” Like Haverly, she had attended the Academy for Wizards and Magical Arts and held degrees in General Magicks, Potions, and Enchantments. She handled most of her work as a Sorceress remotely by mail order. As for keeping herself busy during the day, she used the flat she had to teach classes in theater three nights out of the week (two nights of which Drawful and Brooke each attended for improvisational theater), cooking, dancing, and general group therapy and counseling.
The house was set in the vale leading up to a rolling green hill, into which Pam had contracted the construction of rows of benches, to turn it into a natural amphitheater for her local performances and shows. Today, she was inside the smaller classroom that these performances utilized as a dressing room with her one “student” of the day.
She was having trouble considering the disheveled man in a burlap sack a student since he knew everything she was about to say before she said it. Borrachor had just rattled off her counsel for how his negative self-image was directly correlated to his dependency on drinking before she could even begin the sentence and she winced in aggravation at the oracle and pinched the bridge of her nose to collect herself. “Why did you come here for counseling then?”
Borrachor reached under his seat for a travel mug the sorceress hadn’t noticed until then. He popped the top open and she could see the velvety foam of a dark ale. “It’s where I’d do best to run into him.”
“Hi-?” the word didn’t make it completely formed from the Sorceress’ mouth before a knock at her door interjected making her jump and feel a distinct chill at the oracle.
Magic, as has been covered in a number of other books, sagas and series you’re very likely familiar with, is more of a science than its name immediately lends credit to. Like any science, it has fixed and immutable laws as well as theorems being studied and tested by experts in the field. Also like science, it is routinely denied with vitriol by morons who ignore all plain evidence to the contrary of its existence.
Pam narrowed her eyes suspiciously at Borrachor who was busy taking a long draught of his ale. The knock issued once more and the oracle smiled with a wet moustache of the foam. Pam stood and went to the door, surprised that a young wizard was standing outside, holding the rein of a brown alpaca.
Haverly smiled politely and bowed slightly in greeting. “Sorceress Pam, I am glad you are home. My name is Haverly Lockwatch.”
“The spin wizard?” The Sorceress asked.
Haverly was taken aback and started slightly. “Yes.”
Haverly answered nervously, wondering if the sorceress were a graduate of the studying of divination. “I read about you in the alumni newsletter.”
“Oh.” Haverly answered dumbly, unsure what to say about it. He’d read the article they’d written about him once he’d gotten his job in the King’s cabinet. It had been a laudatory write up and he felt stupidly awkward having to acknowledge the thing and unsure how to do so without coming off as arrogant. “Thank you,” he settled with.
The sorceress crossed her arms and bobbed her head in the doorway. “Not often a wizard graduates with high honors in the chronosynclastic arts.”
“Although that has little to do with his punctuality here!” Borrachor shouted from inside.
The sorceress rolled her eyes and looked tiredly at Haverly. “You’re expected, apparently.”
Haverly was once more stunned but followed the Sorceress’ gesture to proceed inside as she stood back from the doorway. Haverly walked into the classroom with chairs stacked neatly in a corner against the wall, but found two sitting in the center of the room. One chair was already occupied by Borrachor.
Borrachor hefted his mug at Haverly, and grinned happily. “Young wizard, you’ve come for guidance seeking the Princess and dragon, Drawful. I’ll cut to the chase since I’ve got to get back to being rehabilitated.”
The Sorceress walked in past Haverly and took her seat once more. “You’re doing a fine job of dealing with alcoholism with a drink in hand.”
“Took my last drink of the story,” Borrachor countered adroitly. He held the mug out to Haverly. “Here, your favorite.”
Haverly accepted the mug and flipped the top open. A dark ale, it was indeed his preferred style of brew. He nodded pleasantly and looked at the Sorceress who hid her face behind her palm while Borrachor continued. “So, you’re here for me to prophesy.”
“Actually, I’m here for information on Drawful and-”
Borrachor tutted and shushed Haverly in turn. Waving a hand impatiently at the young wizard, Borrachor cautioned him. “No, dear boy, you’re not seeing things the way I do, which is the big picture. You’re focused on your little thread of this larger rope being woven. You’re here for a prophecy. That’s why I was waiting and it’s why you’re here at this very moment. You need to hold on a bit more loosely to the whys and wherefores.”
Haverly shut up smartly and held the ale at his chest with strict attention. Haverly, being well educated in magicks and other supernatural arts knew better than to try debating an oracle, because if they didn’t already know every argument a person would make, they certainly knew what was coming in the next day or two to prove them right after their opponent was convinced the debate had ended.
“Your quest ends in the Dire Bog south of Hubrista.” Borrachor sat back and crossed his legs, a pleased little smile on his face.
Haverly looked at the Sorceress who shrugged. “Is that it?”
Borrachor gave a tired sigh. “I knew you’d say that, but still hoped you wouldn’t. Everyone wants a bloody rhyme.” The oracle groused and rolled his eyes in a moment of thought. “The Wizard rides a long road, he carries a burdensome load. The lengthy slog, ends in the bog.”
Haverly’s mouth had barely opened and Borrachor spoke up before Haverly could form even a syllable in his throat. “Yes, I know the meter is a mess. I’m an oracle not a bard.”
Haverly could see the oracle’s mood had turned gloomy at the opinion he’d only been on the cusp of sharing. Haverly only murmured thanks before he raced out to Bob. Mounting the alpaca once more, he shared the good luck of having run into the oracle who had given him the short cut to find the Princess, not to mention a good mug of stout ale.
Bob the alpaca, for his part, expressed a bit of skepticism that Haverly might be giving import to the oracle’s prophecy that the oracle had not explicitly stated or intending. Bob was well traveled enough to know how these oracles typically loved answering people who imposed their own meanings on their prophecies with catlike grins of “did I say that?”
Bob the alpaca explained all this to Haverly as they trotted happily south together. As has been noted, Haverly’s alpacese was poor to non-existent. So Haverly took it for Bob’s enthusiasm at setting out once more and rewarded his companion with another sugar cube.
Bob promptly went quiet enjoying the sweet.
Back in the classroom, the sorceress tiredly asked her student for the day, “is there any point to carrying on the class?”
Borrachor smiled. “Yes, because the main reason I drink is because of how thoroughly unsurprised by anything and everything that happens.”
The sorceress furrowed her brow for a moment, feeling as if the response were obvious, then hesitating because she expected the oracle must know exactly what she was about to say. Borrachor nodded his head, signaling that- for whatever reason- he wanted to hear her say it. “Just because a thing isn’t a surprise doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable.”
Borrachor smiled and stood, taking the Sorceress’ hand into both of his and shook hers vigorously. “Thank you. Means much to hear out loud. I should get on with enjoying this thing called life instead of waiting on it to do something it simply can’t do.”
With that pronouncement, Borrachor walked to the door. “If you’ll excuse me, I have students to pass this new gospel onto. Thank you, Pam!”