You are cordially invited to a wizard’s conclave and dinner party.
Fizban the Fabulous and Dalamar: Dragonlance Series
The Trio- Harry/Hermione/Ron : Harry Potter Series
Harry Dresden: The Dresden Files
Pratchett: The House Elf
Why did I agree to do this?
OK, I locked everything that runs on electricity in my closet upstairs. Hired a house elf to do the cooking and have plenty of candles.
Research, yeah, that’s why I did it. Sounded like good idea when I bought those blue stones from the crazy old lady’s yard sale. “They will make your dreams come true,” she said.
And what I did wish for? To meet the most powerful wizards of the ages.
OK, maybe they are not all the MOST powerful mages, wizards and whatnots of all time, but all that magical power under one roof…I just hoped nothing went wrong. At least I bought ice to keep the drinks cool.
Oh, where was I, yes, the wish. I was bored, there was nothing on TV, so I grabbed a stone and made wish. Nothing, at first, then the owls started arriving, three to be exact. Followed by something, rather large (I only saw the shadow) that dropped a package on my front lawn. Then I saw a few glowing runes appear a few inches in front of my face and finally I got a call from Chicago saying that “Yes, I’ll grant you an interview, just make sure that you secure all electronic devices,” said man on the other side of the line.
“Why is that?”
“Because magic is like water, it doesn’t mix well with electricity.”
“Good to know.”
And so it went.
It was a good thing that Pratchett popped up when he did. The House Elf took care of everything, from cleaning, cooking and setting up the table. The only thing he didn’t do was touch the “Muggle things” as he called them. Still everything seemed to be on track and ready for the party. The diminutive elf brought a plate of chocolate chip cookies. Each one had chocolate chunks so large most candy manufacturers would charge individually for each piece. “I don’t know if they are going to like cookies, Pratchett?”
“Who doesn’t like cookies, Master Ralph?”
“Should I start with the ale, butterbeer, elf made wine or brandy?”
“Ah…errmm, I don’t know. Why don’t we wait to see what everyone…” I got distracted by a loud whooshing sound that came from the backyard. “What the Hell?”
“Sir, Pratchett doesn’t mean to be rude, but I don’t think that would be appropriate language around guests.”
Beware wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
“Another excellent point, Pratchett.”
The little creature beamed with satisfaction. “I’ll go check on the roast, Sir.”
I peered through a window to the backyard. “Yeah, you do that.”
The dragon, because it couldn’t be anything else but a dragon, yellow scales were faded and cracked in a few places. Its leathery wings ripped at the edges and it was as long as the house was tall. Fizban slipped from the dragons back and landed hard on his behind. He didn’t seem so Fabulous to me, just as old as the poor beast he rode on. The wizard straighten his pointed hat, the tip of which bent to the side. Before I could ask him if he was alright, somebody rang the doorbell. A ginger haired teenager stared back at me through the peephole. “Nobody’s home Hermione, we better go.”
I flung the door open. “Hello, welcome. Come right in.” I shook hands with the trio.
The young man with glasses and unruly hair made the introductions. “Hi, I’m Harry, this is Hermione…”
“Hello,” said the bushy haired girl.
“And this is my friend Ron.”
Ron walked right past me and into the house. “Blimey Harry, I’ve never been inside a Muggle house before. Dad would go crazy if he saw all of this.”
“What are you talking about, you went to the Dursleys to pick me up, remember?”
“Oh yeah, but that was different, we were on a mission for the Order. I never been invited as a quest, big difference.”
The other two exchanged exasperated glances but kept their mouths shut. As they went inside a beat up discolored VW Beetle parked right on the street in front of the house. A tall man, a head taller than me stepped out wearing a a shirt, some jeans an a duster as beat up as his car.
“Must be the other Harry.”
His handshake was firm. “Harry, Harry Dresden. Chicago’s only official wizard. I’m on the book.” The friendly banter covered the fact that he refused to look me straight in the eye. I sensed he had his reasons.
A yawning oval hung in mid air. The young man who stepped out of the portal wore billowing black robes that matched his dark hair. His pointed ears marked him as an elf. “Dalamar, My Lord.”
In spite of his handsome features, or because of them, he didn’t look like someone to be trifled with.”Welcome Master Wizard, come right this way.”
With all the guests assembled the small talk began. Harry Dresden and Dalamar eyed each other with a mixture of curiosity and weariness. Ron asked a hundred questions about each detail of the house, which Hermione tried to explain too no avail. Pratchett came out of kitchen carrying a large plate loaded with thin slices of venison. Fizban came right behind him sucking the tip of his fingers. “Most delicious,” said the ancient wizard.
“You have a house elf?” Hermione said scandalized.
“Don’t start Hermione,” Ron warned.
“But it’s an outrage!” she shot back. She turned to me, her face flushed with indignation. “You pay him, don’t you?” She looked ready to put a hex on me.
“Pratchett is payed very well, Mistress. Master Ralph offered the equivalent of 20 galleons, but Pratchett talked him down to 15. Pratchett is not greedy, miss, not at all.”
Dalamar sniffed the air in indignation. “That’s no elf. Looks like a goblin to me.”
“Pratchett is too an elf, hard working and proud of it!” the house elf shouted back in defiance.
Fizban, sat down to eat. “Of everyone here Dalamar, I would think that you would have a measure of understanding if not compassion for Pratchett. You once wore shoes very much like his,” the pointy hat wizard said.
Dalamar face screwed in anger, but he bit his retort. “Once,” whispered the dark elf, “and never again.”
“Fairies clean my place. They work for pizza,” Harry Dresden said.
Ron jumped at the words. “Pizza, isn’t that the Muggle food we ate in London the other day, Hermione?”
Hermione shot an angry look at the two of them. Harry Potter just drank from his butterbeer, trying hard not to choke on it.
“So, please, go ahead. Lets start. The reason why I brought you all here is because I have a few questions about magic, in general.”
Harry Dresden spoke up. “You’re a writer, right. At least that’s what the message I got said.”
All eyes turned on me. “Yes, I write speculative fiction, you known science fiction, fantasy, and stuff like that.”
“You’re one of those,” Dalamar groaned.
“I met many a writer in my time. One of my best friends is a writer. He writes down everything that happens, past, present, future. I’ll told him he would die on his desk and you know what he almost did, once,” Fizban said waving his fork around.
“Reminds me of the mental things Dumbledore would say, kind of looks like him too,” Ron whispered between mouthfuls. Harry Potter elbowed him on the ribs.
“It seems, at least to us, normals, I mean Muggles, that you can do just about anything with magic,” I said.
“Not so,” said Dalamar. His tone change from bored to didactic. “Magic requires concentration, discipline and training.”
“Pointed ears or not, he sounds and looks more like Snape,” said the lightning scared boy to his ginger friend. Hermione shot them a dirty look.
“So it is not an innate talent?” I asked the table at large.
Hermione answered, “As far as we know one is born with magical abilities, but without training to hone it, it is useless.”
“If not downright dangerous,” said duster wearing Harry. “It can cost you your life, as well as the life of those you love.” Fizban drew a line across his neck with his index finger. Look more like he was going to shave his long white beard off instead of conveying a sense of imminent doom.
“So its not enough to be born with it, eh? How about limitations?”
“No bringing back people from the dead is a big one. I mean you have your spirits, ghosts and poltergeist, but that’s about it,” Harry Potter said.
“Not without a heavy price,” the other Harry added.
“Agreed,” said Dalamar. All the others nodded sagely, except Fizban who was too busy gobbling another slice of meat.
“So forget bringing out your dead then,” I took a sip from the elf made wine. “How about free will? Can you control people with magic?”
“You can,” Hermione and Harry Dresden said in unison. Hermione blushed when she caught sight of the other tall wizard looking at her. Ron choked down a piece of pie. The tip of ears burned a bright scarlet but he kept his mouth shut. Harry Potter merely shook his head.
“What I mean is that it is an intrusive and corruptive act. To intrude in someone mind like that, even if your trying to help them tends to push you into the dark side. It nearly cost my apprentice’s head and mine for that matter.”
The conversation continued until half past midnight. As the guest filed out I caught Fizban with armful of cookies about to mount his dragon. “I couldn’t help but notice that you didn’t answer many question, Sir.”
His eyes fixed of mine. Any trace of the befuddled mage dissipated into icy pools of absolute authority. “I did not come to answer your question, Master Ralph, only too keep the others in line.” Then he flashed a grandfatherly smile. “Lovely home you got here, Master Ralph. I’ll make sure to visit again sometime. Remember, you have two more stones left.” He kicked the dragon awake. “Come on you overgrown flying lizard, time to go home.”
The dragon turned it’s enormous head toward me as Fizban climbed on his back. “Wizards are wonderful pets, but a bit unruly. Take care young one,” the dragon said in a deep baritone. With those words the dragon took off into the night.
By the time I came back in, the house was as clean as if were brand new. There was not sign of Pratchett. Only an old box, opened, with two large, egg shaped stones within.
Two more wishes left.