Meeting the Archmage, a story (Of the Circled Plain) for the Giraffe Call

To Skan’s Prompt

“Hello? Hello, Archmage? I’m Tad, I’m here for my apprenticeship…”

The cabin was, the way things were, a hermitage, stuck halfway up the side of a mountain. Tad’s family had dropped her off this morning at the base of the stairs, if you could call them stairs. Once she stepped on the first uneven cut of stone, she was no longer theirs. She belonged to the Archmage now.

Except that the Archmage was supposed to be here, in this cabin, and as far as Tad could tell, there wasn’t anyone here. The fire was still going in the stove, but you could do that with magic, couldn’t you? “Hello? Archmage, sir, ma’am, ix?”

“Here.” The voice was coming from near the fire. From the fire itself? Tad had heard of those who got devoured by the Flow, but not like… not like that, surely? “Look down, child.”

Tad looked down – and jumped back, grabbing for a shepherd’s crook she no longer carried. There was a mountain lion staring at her from the fire-rug.

The mountain lion yawned. “Surely you have seen a mountain lion before?”

The cat… was talking to her. Tad slapped her forehead with her palm. “Sir-ma’am-Ix…” Was that what she would become?

“Sit down, child. The Flow changes everyone differently, and there are many stories I will tell you about that, as our years together continue. But at this moment, I want you to tell me a story.

“Archmage, sir-ma’am-ix?”

“Ma’am will do. I haven’t thought about it in a while… so tell me, Tad, how you got old enough to be an apprentice with a name as short as Tad.

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