On Ordeal: Mamvish fsh Wimsih
Once upon a time there was a lizard who wanted to be a wizard. (Eventually…)
Newborn child of a saurian species trapped by its own Choice on a world that the Lone Power has cruelly punished for rejecting It, Vish may just be a hatchling, but she knows that the world is badly broken and needs to be put right. To make this happen she begins a quest that will crisscross her huge, bleak planet and finally bring her face to face with the powers that rule her world.
As Vish lay by a great boulder at the edge of a rocky plain some days away from Ashmesh’s old lair, the Clever One said to her, It would seem to me that what you should do now is seek out wizards.
She stretched and yawned, and then lay still again, for she was just beginning to get past the satiety that had come of doing right by Ashmesh, and it was in her mind that another of the flying predators would taste good about now. “And what might wizards be?”
They are Tauwff with power, Ashmesh said. I once did justice to a wise one from the eastern stonehills who had eaten a wizard. He said that her mind had been full of astonishing things, as well as a strange language that no one had ever heard; and she used it to speak to stones and moss and water and air, and even the very sky.
“That doesn’t seem like much use,” Vish said. “I can speak to those whenever I please.”
But the wizard could hear them speak back, said Ashmesh, so the wise one of the Stonehills told me. And the dead things of the world would obey the wizard’s commands, after she had spoken to them a while.
“That might be of more use,” Vish said.
The most interesting thing, however, said Ashmesh, was that all wizards, apparently, come to meet the One who made the Doom and laid it on the world. They face that One in combat, and best It if they can.
“And how do they best it,” Vish said, unimpressed, “if the world is still as it is?”
The wise one couldn’t tell me, Ashmesh said. And the wizard he had eaten would only laugh at him, and would not tell him more.
“That seems rude,” Vish said. “Well, it seems that I must, as you say, seek out wizards. I will make them young within me, and they will tell me their secrets of how to meet the One who Made the Doom and discover how it may be unmade.”
That may not be enough, said Ashmesh, if the ones you make young are as stubborn as the one the Wise Tauwff of the Stonehills ate.
“If things turn out that way,” Vish said, “then maybe what’s needed is for me to become a wizard. If one wants to be a wizard, what does one do?”
The Wise One could never tell me that, said Ashmesh, nor could anyone else I’ve ever eaten.
Vish scowled in annoyance. “Then I will have to find out,” she said.
And as for the Power Vish will not meet… the tale of how that happened (or did not) is here revealed.
On Ordeal: Mamvish fsh Wimsih is a 30,000-word canonical work in the Young Wizards universe. It is also the second of three tales of the wizardly Ordeals of major characters in the series — each one unique (as is every Ordeal), each one revealing something unique about the person who undergoes it and comes out on the other side of the experience in possession of that singular gift that can be conferred only by the Powers that Be: wizardry.
Caution: contains culturally consensual* cannibalism.