Oh yeah, another new thing! This thing has been a long time coming for me. I’ve had the idea of writing a story about a wizard for a long time but never made any of those ideas concrete. But now I’ve got most of the story down! Starting with this prologue, though this is more so written like a first chapter, but I don’t consider this to be chapter one, so I’m calling it a prologue. Since I have a handful of other things to write on my plate, I don’t know when I’ll actually write chapter one. Anyways! Read on and enjoy and shit.
Bubbles and fizz hit the back of Golan’s throat as he gulped down his second cocktail in one go. The liquor tingled the back of the man’s throat, just as it always had. A long sigh escaped his chapped lips. Golan held out the glass as the waitress passed by. “Another.”
The waitress blinked as she processed the request. “This was you second blue curacao mix,” she began in a monotonous yet slightly chipper voice. “This drink is highly alcoholic and will usually inhibit mental functions in less tolerant species, like yourself.”
A groan seeped out of the man. “I know, I know… Just give me the drink.”
“But sir, a third blue curacao mix will have adverse effects for an older human such as yourself.” The waitress took the glass from Golan, placing it in the middle of a silver tray held in her other hand.
“You calling me old?” The graying man muttered, slouching in his seat and furrowing his brow as he looked over the female before him. Or at least she was made to appear female. A medium bust, slender waist, and rounded hips; all shaped out of metal. A thin white top, short black skirt, and an apron were the only things covering the waitress’ metallic body. People usually gave their droids synthetic skin to make them seem less like machines. Seeing a robot in its natural state walking around in regular clothes was slightly off-putting.
“I’ll just get the damn drink myself…” Golan whisked the glass away from the robotic waitress then grabbed his staff leaning against the table, using it to ease himself out of his chair, his hand tightening around the gnarled wood.
In the back of the bleak bar, a tall and lanky man was wiping off the bar table, moving his rag in small, continuous circles. The table was spotless though. Only a handful of people had come in that day and the few patrons that had stuck around were sitting at the tables. Business had gone down lately. It had gone down a lot. Kristo ran the rag across the table once more before folding it and tossing it under the counter. His sunken eyes looked up at the man coming his way. He was the only “usual” customer, and even he didn’t come around all that often anymore.
“You know Golan,” the bartender began in a scratchy voice, “she’s right…”
Golan tapped his glass to the table, twice. An elongated sigh was his response. “Does she have to do this every time though?”
Kristo took the glass away from Golan to refill it with the same bubbly, blue liquor mix. “Well, I mean I could tell ‘er to just letcha drink yerself to death…”
“And would that be so bad?”
A grunt broke though the air. “’Would that be so bad?’” Kristo muttered to himself as he cupped his hand to his forehead, rubbing slightly before sliding his hand back, the few bristle hairs on his head scratching his palm. “Look, you’re a friend. A longtime friend. Least I can do is not letcha die… S’what Lela would want…”
A moment of silence passed. Golan mumbled something under his breath as he swirled his glass around, peering into the bubbly liquor. “Yeah, yeah…” He finally said right after downing his third drink.
The waitress walked up to the counter, taking three empty glasses from her tray and placing them in front of Kristo. The bartender gave his robotic employee a nod of thanks. The waitress smiled and returned the nod before going on her way.
Golan scoffed. “She’s just a bot… Why do you give her nods?”
Kristo shrugged, “Cause it’s polite.” He pulled out a new rag from under the counter, ran the faucet over it and started cleaning out the glasses. “Robotic or not, she’s an employee. Gotta treat your employees with respect.” The jingle of a brass bell pulled Kristo’s attention to front doors of his bar. “Can’t treat your employees like servants…” He said while motioning to the three men that just walked in.
Golan turned his head, peering at the men headed towards him. “Golan,” the dark man in the middle said with exuberance. He stood on the shorter side in a finely tailored suit, a leather fedora placed on his head and a devilish smirk plastered on his face. The two men behind him weren’t men at all, but large and imposing stone-faced golems in gray suits matching their gray, rocky skin.
“Rydan…” Golan replied with lethargy.
“So…” Rydan began, gazing at the bartender. “Shall we chat at a table?”
A gravelly sigh escaped from Kristo. “Good to see you too, Rydan.”
“Pleasure as always…” he replied, the same wide-mouthed smirk still coating his face. “Just gimme a beer.”
Kristo raised and lowered his bony brow, his gangly arms moving on to clean the third glass. “Coming right up.”
Rydan wrapped his arm around the gray haired man, leading him to the nearest unoccupied table. As he sat down, he took off the leather fedora placed on his slick, dark green hair and flung it back at his men. The bulky golem on the right caught the hat in the air and simply held if for the man.
The older man slouched in the chair across from his younger boss, his focus on the two golems standing in place. “Do those things need to be standing right behind you?” Golan questioned, resting his staff against the same table he had just left.
“Those ‘things’ have names.”
“I’m not calling those clay abominations names…”
“Russo and Marx feel very offended.”
Golan put his hand to the back of his neck, rolling his head around his shoulders. “They don’t have feelings. They’re just clumps of earth in the shape of men.”
Rydan chuckled. “I’m the one connected to them, you know. Who’s to say I can’t tell what they’re feeling?”
“Those things don’t anything but alchemy keeping them together. You need a soul to have feelings.” Golan waved his hand over the golems then pointed his thumb to the android walking up behind him. “And clay has as much soul as metal.”
The waitress tilted her head at a slight angle and gave an automated greeting to Rydan. “Hello sir, I have your drink.”
“Technically, my golems have souls… Pieces of my soul, but still.“ Rydan replied as he grabbed his drink from the waitress.
Golan snapped at one of the golems, causing it to look at the man. They held each other’s gaze for only a second; the golem sensed no harm from the old man and returned the gems he had as eyes to whatever he was looking at beforehand. “Amazing. You put your soul into a rock and somehow made it even more lifeless.”
The dark man growled, barring his sharp and jagged teeth. Golan looked blankly at his boss before chuckling, angering Rydan even more. “And I had some good news for you…” Rydan muttered as he took a swig of his beer. His words seemingly fell flat as Golan’s attention was elsewhere
“Good news, huh?” The older man finally said, though his eyes were looking over the other patrons in the bar. “Haven’t heard any good news for quite some time.”
Rydan rubbed his thumb against his glass mug, wiping off the water droplets dripping down the side. “Well then this will be great news…”
Golan glanced at the other man with his eyes half open then moved on to a game of blackjack being played at another table. “Please tell me I’m being fired…”
“No, nothing like that,” Rydan answered with a coarse laugh. A moment of silence passed. “Well actually… You might have a chance to get out early.”
Apprehensive curiosity bubbled within Golan, but his gaze was still fixed on the nearby table. “Explain.”
Rydan gulped down half his glass before speaking. “I’m sure you know about my important meeting with the other division heads on Friday. Well one of the… fun topics we’ll be discussing is the building conflict between the major world powers. Not just the conflict itself, but things pertaining to it as well.”
“Okay, but what does this have to do with me?”
“I’m getting to that…” Rydan mulled over his words as he finished off his beer. “Look, uh… My higher ups gave me a bit of information about a recent discovery that could be connected to all the conflict. The news is about something… related to our Division.”
Closing his eyes, Golan let out an elongated sigh. “I don’t like where this is going…”
“Well you won’t like what I have to say next…” Rydan sat up in his seat, leaning forward to rest his arms on the table. “This recent discovery was made in a place you know all too well, Amberlyn.” Golan whipped his head around, his gray eyes peering into Rydan’s all black eyes. “I wasn’t told much so you won’t be able to read me.”
“I don’t need to… I can tell where this is headed.” Golan muttered as the looked deeper into the dark man across from him. “Since whatever this discovery is falls under the Division of Magic, they want me to deal with it, right?”
“And this is supposedly good news?” Golan gripped his staff, causing a dim light to slowly seep out of the gnarled top. The man then squeezed his temples, forcing energy into the sides of his head, doing little to stop the dull ache from rising. “I need another drink…”
“That’s not what’s good about this. This is good news is that, well; I did some… negotiating with my superiors. Because whatever you’ll have to deal with will be incredibly important, upon your successful return, you’ll be let go. Your sentence will be cut by ten years. For you, I’d say that’s great news.”
“It would be great if it were anywhere other than Amb…” There was a pause. “Kristo,” Golan called out without looking over at the bartender. “Give me another one.” The graying man let out a heavy breath before readdressing Rydan. “You know what happened last time I was there. And we both know what will happen If I run into… him. There is no way I’ll let him get away from me again.”
“Yes, I’m well aware of your history. With him and with Amberlyn. All of your allegations against him were never proven though, so it all means nothing to the higher ups. Besides, it’s unlikely that he’s even apart of this. But like I said, I wasn’t told much. During the meeting I’ll get all of the information, about the discovery and about your involvement.”
“And If I choose not to get involved?”
“Either they’ll find and send out somebody nearly as capable as you to deal with the issue, or you’ll be forced to do it anyways. Without the little prize at the end that wasn’t easy to get you in the slightest!” Rydan took a breath, gripping his fist to crack his knuckles. “But because no one in our division could ever possibly compare to you, I’m positive you’ll do it either way. And I don’t get why you’d ever refuse the chance to get out ten years early.”
The robotic waitress appeared before Golan with an all too pleasant smile. “Hello sir,” she said with a slight tilt of her head, “I have your drink.” The smile faded once she realized just who the drink was for. “Sir, a fourth blue curacao mix is…”
Golan snatched the drink off of the android’s silver platter, shooing her away with his free hand. “I don’t need to hear your automated spiel again! A fourth drink won’t kill me on the spot…”
“A fourth…?” Rydan questioned. “What even is this blue thing you’re always drinking? You order it every time I’m over here.”
“It’s alcohol… Strong alcohol,” Golan replied before pouring the liquor down his throat. “Strong enough to inhibit the mental functions of less tolerant species as I’ve been told.”
“Geez… You’ve been drinking something that isn’t intended for humans to drink for how long now?”
“How long have I been working for you?”
Rydan gave his older employee a minor chuckle. “About to come up on ten years, halfway through your sentence. And potentially the end of your sentence…”
A strained groan escaped from Golan as he ran his finger around the rim of his glass. “Whatever this finding is must be major… The Division is not only sending me to very country they caught me, but also offering to let me go after the fact?”
“Don’t forget that the discovery could be apart of all the conflict between the major world powers. I’d say this is certainly major.”
Golan scoffed and looked away from Rydan, turning his attention to the large tube TV hanging in the back corner of the bar. Faded color and slight static obscured the face of a woman sitting behind a desk. “God, you keep calling this all conflict… This is a hell of lot more than just a conflict. Countries are threating each other with means of destruction worse than anything magical or otherwise.”
Rydan said nothing as Golan continued to watch the woman on the screen report on finances. “Yeah, well…” The dark man finally said, standing up from the table. The golem on the left pulled the chair from underneath Rydan as the one on the right placed the leather fedora back on his head. “No country has directly engaged with any other, so this isn’t anything more than conflict.”
“…yet,” Golan quipped.
A sigh was Rydan’s answer. “I’ll see you in my office after the meeting.” Rydan shot his usual deviant smirk at the gaunt bartender in the back, the corner of his mouth revealing the jagged teeth lining his jaw. “Try not let him drink himself into a comatose, ‘kay?”
Kristo muttered a foul response under his breath as he poured two different bottles of translucent liquid into a small cocktail shaker. “I’ll make sure he does just that…”
“It’s a pleasure as always,” Rydan responded, turning to leave the sparse bar, his golems ambling behind him like overgrown toddlers. “And Golan,” he said right before walking out into the overcast evening, “You have my condolences for tomorrow.”
Golan took his eyes of off the trivial information being broadcasted on the television and looked into the top of his staff, at the pure white crystal gleaming faintly within. Steps came up behind the man followed by the sound of metal sliding on wooden planks. Kristo pulled a chair up to Golan’s table, dropping his bony body beside his longtime friend. Looking away from his staff, Golan eyed the glass set before him. It was filled with a clearish, murky liquid. He picked up the glass to swish its contents around. The liquid was thick. “I’ve only had four drinks,” he grumbled.
“I know.” Kristo replied in a monotone. “Four drinks too many.”
Golan brushed Kristo’s comment away. “The way I see it, you need the commerce. Even if it’s just four drinks…” Golan gulped down the syrupy drink anyways. While the thought of being handed a refresher didn’t sit well, he wasn’t going to turn down a free pick-me-up. “Why even waste a special elixir on me?”
“Cause you need it.”
“Giving an expensive drink to an old man who’s not even paying for it is a waste,” Golan muttered, squeezing tightly on the empty glass.
A thick grunt came from Kristo’s throat. “I’m 20 years older than you, ya know.”
“Your kind lives up to 150 at the least, while humans usually die by the time they’re 70… Being that I’m closer to 70 than you are to 150, I’d say that makes me a damn old man.”
A moment of silence passed between the two men. The waitress came up to the table, politely taking the glass from Golan’s hands.
Another grunt broke though the air. “And about wasting an expensive drink… Look around this place. I ain’t selling jack anyways cause no one comes ‘round no more.” Kristo spoke up before Golan could respond, adding, “And you don’t come nearly as often as you use to.”
“No one comes around, yet it seems like more people are drinking these days…”
“Drinkin’ alone, too ‘fraid to leave their own homes.”
Golan leaned back in his chair and reached into his pocket, pulling out a small, rectangular device. “Well they all have a good reason to be afraid,” the old man added as he pressed his thumb to the base of the device. A light blue, LCD screen lit up, displaying a federal emblem along with three letters underneath, D.O.M., Division of Magic.
Golan stared blankly at the glowing badge in his palm. “The increased federal power, all the political bullshit, and now the possibility of war? What’s worse is that I’m apart of all of this now… I used to be my own man, remember? But now I work for the very people I hated when I was younger. The once renown Golan the Wizard is now just Golan the representative…”
Kristo responded with a gravelly chuckle, reaching his lanky around Golan’s shoulder. “You’ve sure grown grouchy over tha years. Guess it’s a sign of old age,” He quipped with a tight smile.
“You know I hate it when other people call me old…”
“Just like when you were younger, only you can insult yerself, huh? Yer still the same ol’ Golan.”
“Yep, I’m the same as ever, just minus a wife and friends and a life…” Golan shook Kristo’s arm off his shoulder as he slipped his communicator badge back into his pocket.
“Well I’m a friend… And you could very well getcha life back after this mission.”
Golan smirked, “you overheard?”
“You know me, always hearing what I shouldn’t.” Kristo chuckled once more, getting to his feet to stretch out his long back. “Come ‘ere Friday, after work. I’ve got somethin’ to give ya. Now get outta here and get some rest you old man!”
Golan grabbed his staff and smacked Kristo in the gut, knocking the air out of the gangly man. While Kristo’s sharp wheeze had transitioned into a stiff laugh, his android employee rushed up to him, sensing distress. “Sir,” she began, slight worry in her automated voice, “Are you okay? Are you having trouble breath…”
“Bekah, Bekah, I’m fine. I was just hit in jest, s’all.”
“Isn’t that sweet, the robot is worried about you…” Golan mumbled as he stood up, using his staff to support his weight.
“Well I wouldn’t wanna get a bot that didn’t care about my wellbeing, now would I?”
Golan stepped to his left and kicked his chair under the table. Using his staff as a walking stick, he took a few steps towards the doors before turning around, glancing at the bartender. “I’m just a crotchety old man though. Ain’t got no knowledge ‘bout caring for others.”
Kristo groaned, waving his friend off. “Just get outta here! Don’t like yer kind.”
“Same goes for you, you scarecrow.” Golan looked away, a small smile upon his lips as he left the bar, stepping out into the now rainy night sky. The smile immediately faded. “Should have brought my jacket…” He said aloud with a sigh, his gray eyes up to the similar gray clouds. Stepping out past the overhang, Golan held his staff up by his side, a cone of magic spreading from its top that dispersed the rain above his head like an umbrella. “Ah, I should get some flowers before I go home…”