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The Lives Within Books: The Sorceress and her Apprentice Part 2

Updated: May 31

“A thousand worlds live in this room, maybe more. Do you know how that could be so?”

The young lad shuffled awkwardly on his feet. It was a beautiful day outside, yet his tutor kept him squirrelled away in this room: probably filled with dust, definitely, in his opinion, filled with boredom.

He observed the tutor’s robes carefully as if to find the answer there somewhere. Splodges of ink stained the cuffs, chalk dust peppered it grey.

“As a wizard, could you conjure up a doorway, one that could lead us to worlds joined to this universe?” The boy replied.

The wizard smiled thoughtfully, “That I could, but then they wouldn’t be in this room now. Try again.”

The boy frowned and slid his eyes to observe the tutor’s fingers clasped together, elbows resting on the desk and chin resting on hands. They had splodges of violet ink, and several metal rings. The wizard tutor spoke again.

“Why do you look at me when you could easily find the answer about you?”

The boy startled and looked into the purple eyes of his tutor. As he stared, it was as if the purple eyes engulfed him, tides swirled around him, and the universe itself twinkled there. Somehow, it was as if this wizard knew all boundaries of the universe, and could hold power over anything she wished. Why did such a person stay in this room teaching him when she could be doing so much more?

A smile crossed the wizard’s lips.

“There are many books in this room. I don’t believe I have counted them, but there must be a few thousand. "Each book brings its own world to life: its own people, rules, stories. Someone who enjoys reading could live a thousand lives, explore everything that is to be explored, everything that is impossible to explore (beyond the rules of our world), and see the world through many perspectives and eyes. "You could learn one person’s humility and another’s pain. You could learn love, greed, ambition, and how some even tie together, when those feelings may not be something that you usually feel. "Have you ever sailed the oceans on a pirate ship, boy?”

The boy shook his head, eyes widening.

“Have you ever traipsed across a desert, hunting the bones of a giant sand scorpion from many millennia ago?”

Again, the boy shook his head, but he edged closer.

“Have you climbed atop a large volcano, staring down into its flaming mouth, daring to steal the treasures of the creature that dwells there?”

“What dwells there?” The boy dared to whisper, leaning closer still, hands resting on the desk, on tiptoes in anticipation.

The wizard’s mouth flicked in amusement as she saw the boy’s interest peaked.

“You wish to discover these things? Live these lives?”

The boy nodded.

“But wouldn't you rather be running about outside than bravely fighting off mercenaries that raid your home village? Doesn't swinging in the trees excite you more than trekking through an ancient jungle to find the lost talismans of long-dead sorcerers?”

“NO!” The boy yelled, then caught himself, “No, ma’am…”

The tutor raised an eyebrow. “You wish to learn these things?”

“How? How can I?”

The tutor raised from her chair and started to meander around the room. The boy trotted beside her.

“Do you hear them whispering their tales to you? Are there any that draw you to them?”

The boy looked at her gesturing hand.

Did she mean the books?

“Stop and listen, lad. They will tell you all you need to know.”

Was this the secret to her knowledge? Was this why she had the universe in her eyes?

“Choose one.” She encouraged him, quietly.

He looked into her eyes once again and saw a glittering. A glittering you only had when you’d experienced many adventures. The boy knew he wanted to go on those adventures too. He chose a book a few feet away from him, on a shelf shoulder height and easy to reach. He plucked out the green item and saw a dragon resting on the front.

“The story of a dragon has drawn you to it? You will experience a wonderful life within those covers. An excellent first adventure,” she praised.

He felt his heart leap. “But, will it not interfere with my studies, if I went on this adventure?”

The boy looked anxious. His father would punish him for skipping out on his studies. The life of a future mage, after all, was important and involved much learning.

“A great mage and great intellect knows the importance of learning, experience, and adventure. How can you help people if you do not have many life experiences to do so? How can you sympathise with the many, if you have lived only the life of one? "Live as many lives as you can. It is a part of your learning, a part of life. These books will help you. And I promise you’ll find it fun.”

What else will the boy learn in his adventures as the sorceress' apprentice?


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