Flornor pulled his cloak tighter around his shoulders and cursed his fellows at the Secret and Covert BrotherHood of the Adept. He'd drawn the short straw when drawing for guard duty that evening. Kevin had told Flornor that the other guys went to one of the witches who had been invited to a party the previous night and explained that Flornor was the one who had conjured a toad in the punchbowl. Her broom had contributed the straws.
Flornor couldn't believe it. The third guard duty that he'd pulled that week!
The breeze coming across the water made the fire sputter, so Flornor leaned his staff against the rock and threw another log into the fire. A shower of sparks flew into the air and floated along on the air currents from the west. He could see the candles and lamps of the city of Wick glimmering on the other side of the bay, backlit by the great, ever-burning fires of Wickwood, tended to by the pyromancers. Flornor wondered why he needed to keep guard tonight. Nobody in their right mind would be out. It was far too cold. Those pyromancers keeping the fires of Wickwood burning had it right. They'd be downright toasty, that close to the inferno.
Every night, a wizard watched the Plug, set into place to keep the magic of Orb from leaking into Globe. Flornor didn't remember why. He must have dozed off during that lesson. The older wizards used to guard the Plug themselves, dozens every night. The other students said that's why their hair had gone silver while most wizards kept their youthful appearance.
An unreal creak drifted across the water. Flornor turned from toasting his eyeballs in the fire, and turned to look out across the water, away from Wick.
A glow over the water gradually replaced the red and purple splotches in his vision from the dancing flames. That was strange, as the Plug was normally invisible.
The glow described a large, shimmering disc. Flornor had seen it illustrated in tomes as a flat disc. Now it bowed outwards and looked like the enormous lenses that the natural philosophers used to light each others' boats on fire on sunny days.
The creak became a low, long groan that reminded him of his father-in-law complaining about the cheap quality of staves nowadays and how Flornor should not have joined the Secret and Covert Brotherhood of the Adept after he'd gotten married.
Flornor felt the wind reverse direction. The fire began to sputter again. He felt something warm on his back.
"Hot!" Flornor yelled. The sparks from the fire had caught the back of his wizard robes on fire. He danced around the fire, and that was the only thing that saved him.
The Plug popped with the sigh of a contented husband who had just emptied a bottle of laxative into the wine of his wife's lover.
The aftermath for both the lover and the Plug made similar sounds.
Flornor's flaming clothes were the only thing that had saved him, as he'd danced behind a pillar and, instead of being sucked into a swirling tornado of air, the vortex only bounced him off of the rock by the face.
"That old bastard of a father-in-law is going to use this against me," Flornor thought as he blacked out.