Old writing: Wizards

More of a character study than a story; I think these figures have made their way into other stories, or are waiting to come out!

The room was large, with several wide windows looking out over the landscape around the castle. Bookshelves lined the walls, holding ragged volumes and assorted dusty ornaments. A desk was placed in the middle of the room, with three chairs around it. A stern-looking woman with short grey hair sat on the other side of the desk. Her calm face broke into a smile as the two entered.

“Polly, Zaain. I’m glad you could come.” she said. “Please sit.”

The two took seats and glanced around the room again. There were several other pieces of ragged furniture, obviously well worn, and tables with assorted odd-looking things on them.

“I see you’re still your cheerful self, Merle.” Zaain said blandly. “Why did you summon us, then, if we’re getting straight to the point?”

“I wanted to see you because of a young wizard we have here.” the woman said. “You two…well, I’d like you to meet him. You have contacts all over the lands, and you might be able to suggest something.”

A knock came at the door, and as Merle called “Come” a young wizard walked in. He shut the door and walked over to stand in front of the desk, ignoring the two seated there.

“Zaain, Polly, this is Kar.  He’s one of our students here.” Merle said neutrally.

Zaain ran a quick professional eye over the youth. He was about sixteen, and had neatly combed brown hair and brown eyes. His expression seemed to be a permanent sneer, and his eyes were cold and ruthless. Zaain assessed him as arrogant and self-important, and wondered if that was the problem. Clearly it was.

Kar turned to the two and looked down his nose at them. “I’m pleased to meet you.” he said with coldly barely concealed disdain. Polly concealed a smile.

“When did you start training?” she asked politely.

“I was born a wizard. I came here a year ago.” Kar said. “I haven’t learned anything that I didn’t know already.”

Zaain raised his eyebrows, politely sceptical. “And where do you come from?”

“The North. My parents are the Duke and Duchess of Robane.” Kar said arrogantly. “Was there anything else?”

“Yes.” Polly said intently, leaning forward. “You have the marks of magical talent. Do some magic. I want to see how powerful a wizard you are.”

“I know I’m a wizard.” Kar said irritably, treating Polly to a scornful glance. “I’m the best wizard there’s ever been. I don’t need some rag-tag person who looks like they’ve just walked out of the caves telling me that. And I don’t need to show you that I am either. I don’t do party tricks.”

And with that he turned on his heel and walked out of the room, his ornate robes swirling around his ankles. Merle gave Polly an “I told you so” look. Polly met Zaain’s eyes and tried not to smile.

“So that’s the problem?” Zaain said.

“Yes. He has got talent…just not as much as he thinks he has. We can’t train him because he thinks he knows everything, and we can’t send him away because we have to train his talent. He could do untold harm if it isn’t controlled.” Merle said in despair. It was so unlike the calm and competent leader that Zaain and Polly knew that they both stared, surprised. Kar really was a problem, then.

What could they do about it?