In the first half of the third chapter of “On Ordeal: Mamvish,” WIZARDS!!! Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
I am very much blown away by how much time passes in this short story. It’s not the sole reason this feels so surprising, but it’s definitely a big part of that. After the important development in chapter two, Duane drops u into the next part of Mamvish’s journey, and it brings us ever closer to her Ordeal. Indeed, this is the first time since the beginning of this that I’ve gotten the first inkling of what that Ordeal might look like. Even then… holy shit, how is this going to be resolved in less than twenty pages???
So, let me back up a bit here. Mamvish’s quest takes her on one of the longest stretches of time before success. Like, A REALLY, REALLY LONG TIME. More than a decade, it seems??? That’s just… y’all, I can’t even fathom dedicating myself to finding just one kind of person for that long. But Mamvish does it. She journeys to find the impossible. At least, it seems impossible. Wizards on this planet aren’t like they are in Wellakh; they feel like a myth, as if they are ancient legend that’s evolved into nothing but a rumor. Seriously, every story that Mamvish hears makes them seem fake, you know??? In what’s a recurring theme, though, Mamvish refuses to give up. And sure enough, she finds Podrist Short-Tail, AN ACTUAL TAUWFF WIZARD. At that point, she’d been searching for one for like… what? Fifteen years, if my count is correct? So, after trying to find something for FIFTEEN MOTHERFUCKIN’ YEARS, this is her exchange with the Tauwff who knows where a wizard is:
“So tell me, if you will: are there wizards hereabouts, and if there are, which way?”
“No—“ said the old red Tauwff.
So annoyed was Vish that she was choosing the best of the maledictions she had learned in her years of wandering when the old red Tauwff said, “Not wizards, impatient traveler.” And it stared at her in annoyance. “Just one.”
Okay, I kinda get why this Tauwff reacted as it did, and I’m somewhat understanding of why Podrist claims that Mamvish was “impatient” as well, but may I submit for evidence the fact that Mamvish searched for this person for FIFTEEN YEARS? I’m gonna suggest that that is the very definition of patience. The fact that Mamvish is eager to find her goal after fifteen years doesn’t really make her impatient, does it? It seems like a little callous of a judgment, though in the moment, I get it. The first Tauwff that Mamvish speaks to doesn’t know her journey. And when Mamvish does meet Podrist, Podrist speaks in a very intentional manner, setting up the brutal fight that allows Mamvish to ultimately win and consume Podrist. It’s an intense sequence, sure, and then it becomes OVERWHELMING.
Because Podrist’s death brings something to Mamvish’s life that neither she nor I were expecting: knowledge of wizardry WITHOUT THE MEANS TO EXECUTE IT. Which makes a whole lot of sense now that I think about it. That’s how Tauwff biology works, so there’s no reason why that wouldn’t be the case here. So, the Speech floods into Mamvish; so does the awareness that the Universe is alive; that there are other worlds; that there are other peoples; that THIS IS ALL NOT WHAT SHE THOUGHT IT WAS. And yet?
“And as we go, tell me how you think we might best proceed.”
I could have told you that a whole fight and half a hundred breaths ago if you’d asked, Podrist said. But when I waited for you to ask the next question, you didn’t, and so I couldn’t answer. So that fault is on you.
Y’ALL I AM SCREAMING AT HOW BEAUTIFULLY PETTY THIS IS. I mean… again, I get why Mavish didn’t ask. Fifteen years! Cut them some slack! But at the same time, intention matters so much to wizards, and I feel like this is such an important lesson for Mamvish to learn right from the start. She needs to learn to be direct, to speak the truth, and to approach situations without a one-track solution. (In this case: fight and eat Podrist.) So there’s this fascinating conflict within the story now: the solution to Mamvish’s “quest” is within reach, but she can’t get it because she does not have the ability of enacture. AND SO BEGINS ANOTHER TWENTY GODDAMN YEARS OF JOURNEYING WITHOUT ANY SOLUTION. Twenty!!! All the while, she’s tormented by this weird disparity between her ability and her knowledge. Which is so unexpected! I assumed that she’d just get her wizardry and then approach her Ordeal, but NOPE. NOT THE CASE. So how? How does this work if she doesn’t have wizardry? Is that going to be her Ordeal? THIS IS SO NEW, I’M EXCITED.
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