Bogleech.com's 2018 Horror Write-off:
Old Wizard Chyo
Submitted by John Sanders
The Wizened Wizard Whizzes Lizards. A common rhyme from the town of Wyrmshir.
Old Wizard Chyo came to live on the hill above the town one or two years after its founding. Those first few days were tense as his stone and skin cottage built and grew itself out of the ground. Wizards on the Dead Continent weren’t usually good for the non magical bystanders, but they also don’t usually settle down in a quaint, if mildly unsettling, home.
When the house was finished, the townspeople all watched in awe as a thin, very bearded man walked out, set a perfectly ordinary chair on his porch, and started smoking a long wooden pipe.The gawkers weren’t amazed by the breathing-ness of his house, or the way a small reptiles sometimes popped into of existence around him.
They weren’t even amazed by how deft his balance was on those awkward looking clogs of his, with long wooden projections keeping him about a hand off of the ground.
What amazed them was how normal he was. He clearly had the propensity for magic, but instead he awkwardly swung an axe like a wobbly old man, hunted for food with a bow, and when people stopped being terrified of him, went to the markets to trade. He became something of an artisan, carving wood and bone into sculptures he would give away to the townspeople.
He was so amazingly mundane, it almost made everyone forget the was a newcomer to the town, or that his inexplicable lizards occasionally stole food from his neighbors.
When some brave soul decided to ask why he came to live in the town, he smiled, and gave a rather simple reply.
“I left my own world to escape the wars, so when war broke out on the Western Continent, I settled here.”
Wizards are a mysterious bunch, with their ability to bend the world’s very veil, and their blood feud with the flesh gods. Chyo though, never seemed to warp space (except for a rumor he used it to shorten the distance between his house and the hole where he voided his bowels) What little magic he used seemed to be Flesh Magic, like the Goblins and Monasteries used. He was a wizard though, no rituals, no deific statues, not even fancy robes.
And of course, when an entourage of Wizards and Acolytes showed up asking for Chyo by name it was made pretty clear he had ties to the Western Wizards he detested. The small, bearded man approached the alien group with a smile and a wave. The Wizard at the front of the group, taking the form of a skinless woman with additional mouths for eyes walked up to Chyo, and held up a bone need to him like a knight presenting a sword to his lord. Chyo Tensed at the gesture, before gingerly picking up the needle. He looked to the wizard to his left, a perfectly ordinary young man if you ignore the impossible cube floating in a massive hole in the middle of his chest, then the faceless tiger on his right. The town watched as Chyo stared down the other wizards, shortly before one of the acolytes erupted with a rather disturbing cases of boils. Boils that burst to reveal small lizards and snake shaped things that quickly untangled themselves, bone and muscle and skin twisting and separating as it faded back into the red.
The view for the townspeople was briefly obscured by light bending in a spherical shape around the group. When all returned to normal, the bone needle was through the middle of the lead wizards head, the remaining acolytes were entirely absent, and four wizards had died of undetermined causes. A voice whispered in the eyes of the townspeople to get to the forest, and a massive slimy skinned serpent with four stubby legs materialized in Chyo’s hands. He wielded the creature like a greatsword and leapt at the other wizards. Further bending of light and even beams coalescing like lances and creatures being summoned made the battle a mess to watch, along with several events that were actually hard to watch as normal rules broke under the strain the duelling wizards put on the worldveil.
When the smoke cleared, the ash settled, and the field fully returned to normal space, an entity stood alone in the field. It looked like a shifting fractal of lizard parts, human arms, and less comprehensible features. The townspeople somehow new this was Chyo. The old man was just an act. A shape fell out of the middle of the shifting flower/snowflake of organs and limbs. It coalesced as the rest faded, and a small, withered and naked form stood up. His beard now reached the ground with a few feet to spare dragging behind him, and he was later discovered to have a variety of new facial wrinkles etched into his face. He walked up to his Cottage, and never emerged. When someone finally investigated, they found his body slumped over a pulsating desk, and a note beside it.
I apologize for any inconvenience my presence caused, but I sorted out the issue with the wizards. Your town is a protected area now, and my cottage will fade into the red (The Living Bits at least).
I am going to be staying in the Red for the foreseeable future,
Live happy Lives,
The note vanished after everyone had read it, and a small monument was erected to “Chyo, hero of this town, and excellent wood carver.” A day later the inscription changed to “Joe, fairly rad dude.” Whatever meaning this had was lost on the townspeople, but the lizard found curled around the base of the monument was a pretty clear gesture.
It was even more clear when the lizard vomited a swarm of alien snake-like creatures to defend the town from a small fæ raiding party.