This isn’t exactly an excerpt from Kendra Kandlestar 5—but almost! This is a story that Uncle Griffinskitch will tell Kendra about half way through the book. Of course, Uncle Griffinskitch will tell it is his own words; this version is the one that you would stumble upon in the history section of the Een Library . . .
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The Wizard Who Fell
Long ago, in the Second Age of Een, there lived an Een wizard of incredible talent. He possessed the power to make the stars dance in the skies and the trees bow along the forest paths. Yet, with this power, came an insatiable hunger for fame and notoriety. Most of all, he desired to be nominated as an Elder of Een and take a seat alongside the other great magic-makers inside the Elder Stone.
But the Elders refused the wizard. “One does not earn a seat on the council by simply being talented,” the Elders decreed. “You have not yet attained Arazeen.”
The wizard was enraged. He was not interested in Arazeen, the mystical Een concept of enlightenment, in which one discovered inner wisdom and peace. No, the wizard was too obsessed with his stature. He decided to take another path in order to impress the council.
He was soon in luck, for it came to pass that a golden Phoenix came to take roost in the mountains south of Een. When the wizard heard of the magical bird, he decided to seek it and snatch one of its eggs. He was certain that such a feat would cause great sensation. Surely, the Elders would not be able to refuse him!
And so the wizard travailed to the south, across the River Wink, through the shadows of the Shivering Wood, and into the towering Mountains of Thune. For several days he climbed those treacherous peaks, and at last he found his prize. There, lying amidst a nest of ash, was the most beautiful egg he had ever seen. It glowed red, like a hot coal in the fire, but the wizard, in his greed, did not consider this. He reached for the treasure, only to have it burn his hand so severely that he leaped back in pain and surprise. But one cannot leap back from a mountain precipice—and so the wizard fell, tumbling countless fathoms and crashing into the rocks below. His bones were shattered, his body broken, and there he lay in anguish and agony.
Now the arrogant wizard might have died there, but for his old master, the sorceress who had trained him as young Een. Powerful in her own right, she had dreamt of her former pupil’s precipitous fall. Hurrying to the Mountains of Thune she discovered the mangled form of the arrogant wizard. Employing all of her magical arts, she nursed the wizard back to health—and yet he would never be the same again. Left hunched and crippled, the wizard who had once imperiously strutted the streets of Faun’s End was now forever doomed to hobble them bent nearly in two, as if permanently captured in a state of obeisance.
Now, the wizard began to lose his arrogance. For many months he closed himself from the world. He meditated beneath the night skies. He whispered to the moon. And he sent his dreams on the wind. He learned to cope with his pain and shame, and at last, in his humility, he began to understand the mysteries of Arazeen.
Then the day came when he was called before the Elders of Een.
“You looked to the mountain tops for a treasure,” the Elders declared. “But the true treasure was buried within you.”
And so the wizard became an Elder of Een. Despite his bent and gnarled body, he undertook many adventures and became a worth hero of Een, that tiny land tucked between the cracks of here and there.