Regar and the Potion
The light from the fire was just bright enough to illuminate Regar’s desk. The parchments were rolled up onto each other, the wet ink smearing at the corners. The fire also shone an orange light onto the other fixtures of Regar’s home: the tall bookshelf filled with every magic book under the sun, potions that had been passed down from masters to apprentices for thousands of years, specimens that seemed to move when just out of eyeshot, a rusty kettle atop an old wooden end table, a thick shaggy coat that hung on the wall beside an intricate walking stick, and, finally, a musty cot, taken from an abandoned cabin and covered with moss to add comfort. This little cot was where Regar rested, the uncomfortable bed the place he laid his head to collect his thoughts.
Regar was old. He had taught many wizards and wizardesses over the years, and his antiquated teaching methods were becoming less and less sought after. These days, everyone wanted to be a ninja or a pirate or—Fyora forbid—a beauty contestant. Regar didn’t quite understand when the world had changed, but it did—and it was sudden, inexplicable, unforgiving. Time used to morph and bend at Regar’s will, but now it couldn’t quite seem to give him a chance to catch up.
However much of a bother it was, Regar never actively thought on these changes and didn’t let it get the better of him. Since he hadn’t had an apprentice in a few decades, he continued to focus on his studies, staying vigilant to the craft of magic. He was currently working on a potion that could do unbelievable things … a potion of forgiveness. Regar knew there was nothing like it in Neopia; Kauvara didn’t own a jar, Kayla’s shop was void of anything similar, even Hagan in all his wisdom couldn’t recreate the masterpiece in Regar’s hands.
But for now, the soft glow of Regar’s fire warmed the room, allowing him to sleep peacefully until tomorrow called. And when it came time for the sun to rise, there would be work to do …
Regar’s morning rituals erred to the side of tradition. Although it’s rather silly, Regar always awoke before dawn to ensure Neopia’s ancient magic was at its peak; he believed when the rest of the world was asleep, all the old magic came alive. The twinkling stars, the dancing Lightmites, the soothing calm of night … there was a mystical beauty to it all, and Regar wanted to capture it. In fact, he had once, and that magic moment slept quietly on his bookshelf.
After ensuring he would wake just before dawn, he would give thanks to the good Queen Fyora, for her kindness; to the good King Altador, for his leadership; and to the fearsome god Mumbo Pango, for his power. Regar firmly believed giving thanks would not only enrich one’s life, but improve the quality of magic they produced—for if magic comes from within, might as well make where it’s coming from good.
He would then move onto the small shrine he had set up in honor of his master, and the masters before them. Regar would also pay his respects to the well-known wizards and wizardesses of Neopia. He kept this shrine outdoors, so the dusk magic would bless those he respected.
Then the spellmaking, potion brewing, scroll reading activities would commence. Regar would improve one spell a day (making his total improvements at around 290,000), as well as brew two potions a week. This changed after he found the recipe for forgiveness; once that happened, he dedicated a good portion of his life researching it, then the latter part of twenty years perfecting it. But how could he know when it was finished? How could he possibly see it would work? What if it was brewed too long, had too many ounces of Springabee pollen, or was pure Cobrall oil?
Quite simply, he just knew. As a wizard for a very long time, Regar could tell when a potion was just right. That’s the power of magic; there’s not always an easy answer.
The soft chirps outdoors complemented the sun’s warm, the yellow light glowing bright through Regar’s doorway. The fire had burnt itself into small, crumbled embers. The ink of the scrolls dried, smudged and illegible—but that would be okay. Regar slept soundly, his old and tired body getting much needed rest. Today, Regar did not wake up to see the magic. Today, he did not follow his rituals, give thanks, or visit his shrine. Today, Regar had work to do … he just needed some extra time.
When Regar finally did wake, he wasn’t worried about the time he had lost. In fact, Regar had a spell somewhere that could reverse time—but he wasn’t interest in that. He was intrigued by the sights and sounds that were happening just outside his hut; he had never slept in this late before, and was usually occupied with brewing or studying at this point. What were those flighty creatures pecking at his window? He smiled to himself, and got out of bed.
He grabbed the scrolls that lay on his desk and carefully placed them into the desk drawer. Taking his time, he put on the shaggy coat. He was given the coat a long time ago from a young Bori named Rasala, the current leader of a small band of wizards known as the Order of the Red Erisim. She gave him the coat after he turned down her offer of joining the Order, and said with a solemn smile, “Let me at least extend my warmth in the form of this coat—may you always feel our protective hearts upon you.” He smiled at the memory. He then grabbed his walking stick and ran his hand along the knotted wood, chuckling as he recalled how the Aisha Thieves gifted it to him as an apology for attempting to get their hands on one of his most illustrious potions. After Purrow managed to gulp down the entirety of a decoy potion, turning himself into a Meowclops, Meesha begged Regar to change him back with a promise of never targeting him again. Regar complied, and the walking stick was left on his porch the next day with a note tacked to the door—“you upheld your promise, so we upheld ours. P&M”.
Regar used the walking stick to guide himself towards the bookshelf. He waved his hands in circular motions and murmured something in an ancient language. Blue sparks flew from his hands and, out of thin air, a small bottle appeared on the ledge of the bookshelf. Regar smiled warmly and cupped the potion—the liquid forgiveness—tight. He stuffed it into his pockets, patted it affectionately, and headed out the door.
The destination was a very well-known monarch by the name of Skarl. Regar had known the Skeith since he was a child—though, with the confusion of time portals and such, not even Regar could accurately give a numerical guess. He never gave much thought to the concept of time, since he could do with it what he willed; he felt that, when the magic was at its peak, it would let you know—whether that was during the rise and fall of the sun, through a puff of green smoke from the cauldron, or a few ill-spotted wrinkles here and there. It had only been recently that Regar began to reflect on his life, and all those he had come to meet through his adventures and teachings. Skarl was one who had stuck out in his mind most of all, for Skarl had approached him for help during the infamous Meridell Famine. Regar had advised Skarl to seek other means of assistance and, as a result, the Darigan’s orb was stolen and a war broke out. Regar still felt the twinge of guilt. If he had simply put away his potions and spells for a few moments and offered Skarl guidance, everything with Lord Kass and Lord Darigan could’ve been avoided—it should’ve been avoided.
Regar steadied himself with his walking stick, shaking his head. He was getting older, and needed to take things slow—especially his thoughts. He coughed a few times and continued on his journey, confidence waning.
Regar reached the castle in a few hours. He may or may not have had some help from some magic imbedded deep within that gifted walking stick, a soft glow illuminating from the tip. The old wizard trod up the drawbridge and nodded towards the guards, who stood tall and dignified. He continued up towards the king’s throne room, where a tall yellow Skeith clad in gold armor dropped a heavy, gilded sword short of Regar’s nose.
“Where d’ya think yer goin’?” the Skeith hissed, beady eyes shining bright. He guard squinted a bit, then laughed boisterously. “Well, I’ll be darned! If it ain’t that ol’ coward Regar.” His laughter ceased as his face twisted into a sneer, leaning in close to the wizard. “What gives ya the right to step in front of our king, ol’ man? The same king ya rejected? Left fer fodder?”
Regar lowered his head humbly, and murmured, “I can never expect an audience with the king. But I am old, and I am losing time, and I am interested in speaking with him.”
The guard cackled. “Well, it’s yer lucky day. I’ve been feelin’ pretty bored of seein’ folks come in and try their hand at comedy. I’m fixin’ to see a real fight today.” The guard lowered his sword and bowed. “Off yeh go, Sir Coward.”
Regar nodded his thanks and, propped against his walking stick, made his way into the throne room. Skarl was coughing violently, as a flu had erupted through Meridell and no one, not even the king, was free from the sickness’s grasp.
Skarl finally took notice to the wizard and ceased coughing. His eyebrows contorted several times, ranging from confusion to shock to anger. He settled on the latter and howled, “YOU!” He began kicking his feet and pounding his fist, throwing Neopia’s greatest temper tantrum. “Get out! Get out! GET OUT! Guard! Guard!!”
Regar cleared his throat and shouted, barely matching Skarl’s squeals, “Your guard allowed me entry, sir.”
The king huffed violently, staring at Regar with an intensity that would startle the toughest of warriors. He glowered. “You have a lot of nerve showing up here, Regar. You best be headed out before I get real angry.”
“I won’t stay long,” the wizard said. “I wish to give you something.” He pulled the small bottle out of his coat, and waddled up to the king. He held the potion out at arm’s length and, after a moment’s consideration, Skarl nabbed it up quickly.
Skarl held the potion in his hand. Confused, hangry, and feeling a bit under the weather, he asked, “What’s this?”
“Forgiveness potion, my king.”
The Skeith king felt anger bubble up inside him, and though he was half-tempted to toss the glass bottle across the room, he instead gripped it tight and growled, “Forgiveness? Why would I ever accept a present like this? Why would I—you expect me to forgive you? You abandoned us in our time of need! You gave us no choice! You did this! All the suffering our kingdom has endured, all the pain, all the—”
“No. Not for the war.”
“You DARE interrupt me?!”
Regar, still kneeling, chuckled humorously. He gazed up at the Skeith, whose eyes read a story far beyond a simple rejection. “Skarl—”
“You have no right to speak to me as if we’re friends! No right, Regar!”
The old wizard raised his hand in defeat, and said, “Of course, my King. But I ask that you listen—and after my story, you will not have to listen more.”
Skarl, with a shaking hand and quivering voice, growled, “Go on.”
“Long ago, a young boy wandered into my forest. He was a funny lad, though a bit expectant. He found me on a day I was doing my morning rituals. He asked me what I was doing, and I explained to him the secret magic of the Neopia—richest in the morning, when the world was still mid-slumber. This young boy then followed me into my home—as I said, he was a bit expectant, and wanted to see me perform magic. I told him that if he wished to see, he would have to come again some other day, as magic can be shy around newcomers, you know.”
Skarl swallowed hard. “Where are you going with this, Regar? You think I’m going to listen to you retell my childhood, try to use my innocent against me?”
“I’m not done,” Regar quipped. “Allow me to finish my story. This boy came every single day, but the magic never appeared to him. When he had grown taller than I, he finally asked me—‘if magic isn’t real, why do you spend so much time pretending it is?’ I laughed and told him that magic is real—you just need patience, sometimes. He looked me in the eye, and said, ‘if magic is real, then promise me this—you’ll make me a potion. A potion that will make my brother forgive me.’ I promised I would. He handed me a letter, written for his brother, then disappeared. The next time I saw that boy was years later, when he grew taller still, and wore beautiful robes, and carried a beautiful sword, and asked me … he asked me for help, and I refused.”
“Is this supposed to make me pity you? You never helped me—not once. This forgiveness potion … it’s snake oil, that’s all. I don’t want this gift, and I don’t want you in my presence.”
Regar nodded. “I understand. I hope that someday you will once again believe in the magic you sought to see, and you will believe in the abilities I was too hesitant to show you. If you are ever within Hagan’s reach, I hope you will give my potion a try.”
“How do I know this even works?”
Regar smiled. “Simple magic, of course. I don’t tend to give away my secrets, but I took that letter you wrote for your brother and … well, like I said, I don’t give away my secrets. Thank you for listening.” He leaned against his walking stick and headed out towards the drawbridge, waving at the Skeith guard as he passed.
Skarl came bounding out of the throne room and grabbed Regar by the shoulder. The guard shook his head in disbelief, holding his sword in one hand and medicine in the other.
“Why now?” Skarl asked, panting.
Regar closed his eyes. “I never forgave myself for letting you down. I thought it would be best to not meddle in the business of others, but—well, all of life is bits and pieces of meddling, isn’t it? I was cleaning my desk one day and I found that letter—the letter you wrote for your brother. The letter you entrusted to me. I put my foot down and spent a very long time working on that potion, and perfecting it. It’s the least I could do … no, it’s what I had to do.”
“Will … are you sure it’ll work?” Skarl asked, eyes bright. He was gripping Regar’s shoulder tight. He looked like an excited child—the same child that watched Regar mix potions for hours on end.
Skarl bit his lip. “But how do you know?”
Regar smiled. “Magic. You just have to believe.”
“What do I even do with it?”
Regar patted Skarl’s arm and tapped his walking stick. “Have faith, Skarl. It’ll work.”
Regar didn’t hear back from Skarl for a while. He continued his rituals, waking up early and giving thanks; but after completing his forgiveness potion, he wasn’t quite sure what to do next. He had spent so long on the forgiveness potion that nothing else interested him. Growth potions, revival potions—those were things any ordinary wizard could make. Anyone could purchase vials of those from Kauvara or Kayla.
After reviewing old scrolls for a few hours, Regar heard a faint knock on the door. Curious as to who could possible be visiting his home, he ambled over and peered outside.
The rough and tough guard from Meridell Castle was standing tall, his sword hanging off his belt. Regar opened the door, surprised. “Guard—what are you doing here?”
The guard was chewing some type of roasted Negg. He finished it all in one bite, wiping his hands on his pantleg. He pulled out a papyrus scroll from his pocket and, clearing his throat, began to read:
I didn’t believe you. But still, I carried the potion with me.
I ran into Hagan after meeting with Lord Darigan. We made small talk, when Hagan then laughed and asked if I recalled the time I accidentally destroyed his favorite philosophy book.
I told him that I did—and more than that, I remember his anger and disappointment. I even admitted that I felt guilty and always wished he could’ve forgiven me.
He laughed and patted my arm, saying, “Well, destroying that book gave me the inspiration to begin writing down my own philosophies! It made me who I am today. I suppose my forgiveness is long overdue. Never fret, brother.”
After he left, I grabbed the potion from my pocket. It had dwindled a bit, but there’s still some left. It got me thinking.
Do you have time to visit me today?
I have some apologizing to do. I hope you can forgive me.