The Wizards of Rumpelstein

Wizards are like cats, in that they don’t care what others think and like to be up high. So they build towers and string their hammocks on the top floor. Sometimes, when the weather is nice and they don’t have any enemies known for flying, they even sleep on the roof of the tower, which is why Wizard towers are flat topped and have tall crenelations, fit for hanging hammocks from.

All Wizards sleep in hammocks. It took them centuries to accept that mattresses were for sleeping on. At various times they had been supposed to be a sort of backless coach, an indoor trampoline, and a place to store money.

Though there is the occasional deviant, most Wizards prefer spending most of their time alone in expansive rooms poring over spellbooks at sit-stand desks. But they do require occasional company to keep from going even madder than Wizards are supposed to be. When faerie is rough and wilder than usual, and there are pretty tyrants abroad, the Wizards uproot their towers and walk them to some large hill where they can huddle together.

One such huddle had called itself a town, because doing so dispensed with certain tax liabilities under the rulership of Titania, the then Fairy Queen, and had named the town Rumpelstien, but it had really just been 50 or so towers all in the same area.

There had been attacks by bands of bogles and ogres, and twice a tower had been breached. Apprentices who didn’t have a flying charm ready and weren’t handy with broomsticks had been effectively treed at the top of the tower, and the Wizards had responded by linking the towers with narrow, easily collapsed skyways.

Then someone (no one would admit to who) had proposed the library. Certainly none of the Wizards would ever let any other Wizards see their personal, secret spellbooks, but the basic ones that everyone had? They were important too, and took effort to reproduce, and when you loaned them to your apprentice, they tended to come back with coffee spilled on.

So the library had begun, quite small, and with only the most basic, (that is, fundamental) spellbooks and books on magic, and a lot of the Knightly Romances then sweeping Renaissance Europe. But usually, when a new spell or spellbook was discovered, it was put in the library. Then, when Aduraxi the Fingle was nearly banished over her animated wall dresser beating Derrick the Red with a hat stand, she got back into the community’s good graces by donating copies of three of her personal spellbooks to the library. It dawned on the Wizards all at once that political capital could be bought by putting stuff in the library, and before long all the Wizards had written up a bunch of drivel about magic and put it in the library, which immediately needed additional shelves, then additional stories.

But still, Rumpelstein had been just a bunch of towers and a single squat library till Thithothex the Thanked had come back from a long walk with a trio Ethiopian refugees driving a wagon full of pots and spices, with a wood fired cooking range strapped to the back. The first night half the Wizards had come out of their towers to investigate the smell. The second night, all of them did, and Crawnberry Bhintle donated the set of tables, chairs and outdoor umbrellas that had been cluttering the third story of her tower, establishing seating. But it wasn’t till Thithothex came back from another long walk with a family of refugees from Southern China that the Rumplers built a long, single story building with a high vaulted roof, put the Ethiopians at one end, the Chinese at the other, and called it a Dining Hall, that Rumpelstein had really coalesced into a castle.

The Chinese put chopsticks out, which is why all Rumplers to this day eat with chopsticks.

But even after centuries of renovation and expansion, Rumpelstein still looked horribly haphazard, as if Jackson Pollock had been the lead architect. The Wizards preferred it that way, saying you should be able to see the history of something when you looked at it. Actually, they were just lazy.

The Skies over Rumpelstein

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One thought on “The Wizards of Rumpelstein

  1. Pingback: The Skies of Rumplestein | fingers to keys

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