See, wasn’t that a nice transition to the next part of the story? I knew you were wondering when I was going to talk about Theo the Mage. But I didn’t forget. It’s called narrative tension. So let me give you the rundown on our other protagonist.
Theo began his life much the same as Albi. He started as a baby, progressed his way through boyhood and adolescence, and ended up as an adult. Along the way, he discovered he could harness magic. He demonstrated this skill to the ruler of his kingdom, who promptly and appropriately gave Theo the title of Head Mage. He was then tasked with the challenge of slaying the dragon, the same dragon that was harassing Albi’s kingdom. Theo gladly accepted.
Now, dear listener, you might be wondering why Theo was a mage instead of a wizard. You’re not wondering that? Well I’ll tell you anyway. It’s a cultural thing. In the realm of magic, they are exactly equal. However, in the eyes of the citizens of each kingdom, each regards the other title as subservient. There was no basis for this bias, but a prejudice it remained. That was why there was so much conflict when Albi and Theo first met.
Speaking of the two magicians’ first meeting, let me tell you how they made each other’s acquaintance. Albi had been tracking the dragon for three days. He traveled over, under, and in between deep rivers, through, apart from, and outside of rocky ledges, and on top of, next to, and behind frightening forests. But no matter how far Albi traveled, the dragon was always one flight ahead. Meanwhile, Theo had discovered the dragon’s feeding ground, so he tried a different approach: waiting. He had waited for three days, but the dragon had not come to hunt.
On day four, Albi decided that he would return home if he didn’t catch up to the dragon that day. Theo also gave himself an ultimatum that he would return home empty-handed if the dragon did not appear. Luckily (that was their perspective), neither of these things happened. All at once, the dragon entered the feeding grounds and Albi stumbled into the same area. Theo only took notice of the more frightening, fiercer, and dragon-like of his two visitors. Immediately, Theo released a torrent of magical fire at the dragon. Simultaneously, Albi spotted his scaled enemy and sent a bolt of lightening toward it. However, instead of the magic attacks striking the dragon, they interfered with each other, rendering both harmless. Upon noticing it was under attack, the dragon flew from the scene. This was the moment when both Albi and Theo realized there was another magician in their midst.
Each put aside his dismay that the dragon got away and focused his attention on the other wielder of magic. Albi was curious about this other magician’s identity. Theo wanted to know with whom his magical competition rested. Both wanted to assert his superiority. Theo stepped forward first.
“Who are you?” Theo boomed, in the most mage-like voice he could muster.
“I could ask the same of you,” responded Albi like the wizard he was.
An awkward pause ensued. Even magic folk cannot stop these strange, otherworldly events from occurring. The pause was followed by silence. Not the type of silence you or I would associate with quiet, but rather a stillness that could only be forged by the forces of magic. Nothing stirred because nothing could stir. Albi and Theo were so focused on each other that if there were a graph displaying the magic radiating into the air, it would be off the charts.
Albi broke the spell. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am Albi, the Head Wizard of the Kingdom.”
“Ah, you must come from the other kingdom. For I am Theo, the Head Mage of my kingdom.”
“So you only have mages where you come from,” said Albi with a hint of condescension in his voice. Truth be told, it was much more than just a hint.
“At least we’re not wizards,” retorted Theo. “Why are you here in this field? I have been here for four days, but you have not made yourself known until now.”
“If you must know, I was following the rampageous dragon. I suppose that was who you were waiting for?”
“Indeed. And I would have killed it, if your magic had not interfered with mine.”
“On the contrary. I would have succeeded in my mission if your powers had not gotten in the way.”
Another silence ensued, but this time it was just the normal type, caused by the awkwardness people so often bring in their interactions.
“I suppose we have come to an impasse,” said Theo.
“I can at least agree about that,” conceded Albi.
“What do you propose we do now?”
“The way I see it, we have two choices. We can part, pretend we never met, and continue with our separate hunts of the dragon. Or we can team up, combine our magical powers, and take down the dragon together.”
“Both are interesting proposals. Perhaps we should ask our kings?”
“I think that sounds like the best plan.”
Unfortunately, magicians’ powers do not give them insight into the future, thus rendering them as incapable of making decisions as the rest of us. With the wizard and mage having come to a temporary solution, they gave each other a slight nod and parted ways.