Writing: Wizards & Work, Part 5

Still scribbling my silly little character studies! (Standard disclaimer: very very loosely based on people at work, and not intended to be a comment on anyone at all!)

You can also read Part 1Part 2Part 3, Part 4 and Part 6.


He was not the maniacal-laughter type, but it was generally agreed that amongst the Evil Villains of the world, he was ranked pretty high. He was extremely good at his job; knew when to put a finger on the scales to tip the balance, and when to give a subordinate enough length to make their own bad calls. The clear eyes would look at you and judge you useful, or not; but that simply allowed him to use or discard resources for the project’s best interests. And the chastisement for failure was never extreme; but it left the subject with a pit in their soul, a chip on their spine, and the feeling that they had somehow failed beyond any measure of redemption.


He is always cold; his elegant bones hidden under sweaters and scarves, long fingers wrapped in woollen gloves. He drinks his tea steaming-hot, bringing a brief flush to sallow cheeks.

“Your wind is chill,” he says, even though the air is still today. “And it sings with strange voices.”


He was a Knight of the old school; he wore his sword on his hip and a smile on his face, ever-polite and ever-vigilant. He often came in with bruises, and spoke of his endless fighting practise; his daughters were being brought up in the old tradition, and he would grumble about their results on his limbs. But his horse was a roaring dragon; his skill with a pen as swift as that with his sword; and his smile brightened every conversation, despite his increasing scars.


“As old as the sea!” he says unexpectedly over a jar of potion in the kitchen.

“As old as the stars,” as we’re wrangling an imp back into a box.

“As old as the stones,” is his comment when the HR manager corners him to update her files, a folder floating at her fingertips expectantly.

“So how old are you?” I ask curiously as we’re taking a break from a piece of spellwork knotted beyond all recognition.

“Well, put it this way.” He scratches his head. “If I live this long again, I might stand a chance of seeing those builders finish my bloody conservatory.”


He stomps around, shaking the floor and rattling pens across desks; he doesn’t take up much space, but his small frame seems to carry twice as much weight as one would expect for his size. His emotions, too, are heavier; he can crack his craggy facade into a smile if you amuse him, but more often it is scored into the deep lines of a frown, settling down into the rocky crags of grumpiness with the ease of an eons-old fault line.


“OhmySTARS your DRESS!”

“It’s great, isn’t it? It has pockets! Custom portable mini dimensions, I can fit two elephants and still have room for my crossbow!”

“And aren’t those KillSheathe Sparklies? They look amazing! Have you tested them?”

“Only on watermelons, but I can split one with a single kick!” She twirls to show off the heels with their metallic stripes and glittering edges, and brushes a lock of blonde hair back into its twisted knot on her head, pinned with something that looks suspiciously like a narrow dagger.

“I didn’t know footwear could be weaponry,” one of the younger designers says, bewildered.

The tiny pixie spins with a happy smile, her dress swirling out despite the multiple items apparently residing in the pockets. “Anything can be weaponry! It’s getting it in fashion that’s the hard part.”

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.

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