James’s Note: In this episode, I will admit to a bit of introductory exposition, but hopefully it is fun and witty exposition. We also learn a little about what a Witcher Man is, although it’ll be a few more episodes before we learn what it really means to do this job.
The look Damien gave me indicated that he thought I was a waste of money, but he was too loyal to Wolfgang to contradict him out loud. To be fair, my rates are pretty high. At least when I make people pay in cash, anyway. In my defense, a lot of times I don’t make people pay at all, so the jackasses I don’t like have to pick up the slack.
The wolves would be paying in cash because they had plenty, and besides, they already owed me a couple of big favors. Their money came from the tithe the pack members had to pay to the alpha. The favors they owed me came from a couple years ago when one of their pack had gotten into a tiny little altercation with a local vampire and sorta cleaved his head in two with a piece of scrap iron. This rendered the admittedly foolish vampire into an odd smelling pile of dust, and almost started a war.
With the vampires howling for blood (both puns intended), Wolfgang asked for my help. With a judicious application of bribery, calling in favors and my knowledge of archaic vampire customs, I was able to make peace. The transgressing werewolf got off light, only having to make a very generous blood donation to the vampires, since werewolf blood seems to be a little like vampire meth.
“Alright, you talked me into it,” I said jauntily, popping up like a jack in the box and grabbing the keys to my Mini, “but I’m driving. No offense, but wolves either drive like old ladies or NASCAR drivers on crack, so I’ll follow you.”
Damien stared at me for just a second, before shaking his head in resignation. “Fine,” he said, “I’ll text you the address on the way.” He turned and was almost out the door when I shouted, “You know you really shouldn’t text and drive.”
He stopped, almost visibly had a small brain aneurysm, then proceeded out of the office without turning. Feeling quite pleased with myself, I whipped around my office, gathering everything I might need to bring along. Most of it was already in my messenger bag, which I grabbed. It contained all the bits and bobs I needed to do magic, as well as a few gizmos and concoctions I had prepared so they’d be ready to play rock and roll.
The contents of the bag were pretty varied, considering the wide variety of magics I practiced. That’s sort of the defining characteristic of a Witcher Man. I’m a magical generalist who studies everything from alchemy, shamanism, and druidism, to demonology, necromancy, and blood magic.
It’s those so called “dark arts” that give Witcher Men their fearsome reputation. Even though the “big bag of tricks” magical style is what screams “Witcher Man” to most people, it’s not really what the job is all about. I learned to be a Witcher Man from my father, and he taught me that what makes the Witcher Man is having an answer for every situation. It might not always be the best answer, but Witcher Men always find a solution. That’s why we are sort of the all around problem solvers for the supernatural world.
Sometimes, it also means we’re the last resort.