Once upon a time, flowers lived long lives. They are now known to be fleeting, for the most part. They bud. They bloom. They grace the world with their beauty. And then they die. But it was not always so. They lived long lives indeed. Longer than creatures with many legs. Longer than creatures with four legs. Longer than creatures with two legs. And sometimes, even longer than the long-lived beings of the deep.
When my grandfather, the humble and ordinary wizard Caducus, first heard the whispers of the afterworld summoning him, he decided to heed the call, but only after achieving his last wish.
Six fools ran from the dragon’s fire, but only one of them was her husband.
There was the wizard in blue robes with a green-jeweled magic staff. There was the armored knight who bore a shield that guarded against flame. There was the jungle barbarian and the mystical fire-cat. There was the sprightly archer. And then there was the mustachioed scoundrel, who had assembled them all. His beloved wife had been lost to an enchantment, an enchantment that was impossible to break. Impossible, that is, for a single man, even if he were a devoted spouse.
“There is no cure,” the baker said as she peered into the mage’s eyes.
The first sound that either one of them heard as they woke was the scraping of a chain on the stone floor. After a few heartbeats of stunned silence, they both remembered what had happened to bring them there. They both looked at each other. The erpon spoke first, believing that the human child would need some comfort.
There is a potion that can be made from the bright yellow mushroom that grows in the vales beyond the blue grasses. The potion must be made in a certain way or it would contain no power at all. The potion had to be made twice, once at sunrise and once at sunset, of the same day. So in truth, it was two potions. Whatever the potion made at sunrise did, the potion made at sunset could undo.