I was there when the great wizard cast his strange sorcery upon the land.

A happenstance it was, for certainly I had no part in his cryptic plan. I was yet a journeyman, in town to pick up a hogshead of ale for my master. I had stopped for a hot pie in the square, when the light afternoon crowd seem to part, and through the people strode a tall dark figure in gray robes, burdened with a large sack over his shoulder.

All eyes soon fixed on this figure, and the town square became all at once most silent and still. He strode slowly and silently but with a force and sense of power such that by the time he stopped in the very middle of the square, he stood in an empty circle, all having yielded to him and edged away.

He swept his gaze upon us all, his piercing eyes showing no emotions. When those cold eyes fell upon me, i felt as though my soul was bare to him, my very thoughts there for him to read. It chills me still to think of that instant.

With all eyes watching, the wizard, for what else could he be? slung the jute bag off his shoulder and upended it on the cobbled stones with a single fluid motion. When the tangled mass dropped from the sack, the crowd let out a soft gasp.

I did not share in this mass expression of consternation, for my mouth was still filled with pie, but in that instance my mind did of it’s own accord conjure many foul imaginings of the possible horrors now loosed from the enchanter’s bag.

What did fall to the square was nothing of my nightmares, but showed itself to be a mound of clothes. And what clothes! Finely woven wool, shimmering satin, and snowy yards of the softest linens. buttery leathers and shear stockings. Every garment seemingly tailored by the finest clothsmiths and threadmasters. Brocade and embroidery at the collars and cuffs, piping and cloth of gold at the seems. Layers and layers of lace and gossamer, tiny buttons, tiny clasps, drawstrings and zips.

All eyes bounced between the dark figure and the wardrobe at his feet. The silence was complete, thick and unending. The pie in my mouth was tasteless and dry, but i dare not move, even to swallow.

It was not clear when the wizard had started up a soft chant, for his lips hardly moved, but it built slowly in the eerie silence. the sound grew and grew and seem to come from the souls of my feet and rattle the marrow of my bones. The strange language was flowing and harsh, monotone and polyphonic, familiar but completely without meaning. I can remember none of it.

His hands flew out to either side and started twirling and gesturing as if in an outlandish and grotesque dance, forming a strange counterpoint to his sounds. The words now came from his mouth in a shout, his face contorting as it built more and more.

Silver lines like liquid metal started to radiate from the pile of finery, pulsing in time with the chant. Wider and wider it reached, running under the feet of the gathered people. As it drew closer, I thought I could just make out flowing symbols mixed into the shining light as it emanated outward along the ground.

The chanting suddenly hit a crescendo, bizarre words repeating themselves in short phrases now, then in single syllables, again and again, louder and louder, the veins of magelight pulsing rapid and bright.

My eyes were blurry and my vision vague, but now they refocused on the wizard, as he suddenly cut off the chant, his arm shot up into the air, and with it all the light in the world, blinding my vision but for the thing that now was held in his hand.

It was a thing of curving lines as if made from melted wax, and the uncolor of congealed fats. It looked much like a clog or maybe an ill formed sandal, but of bizarre design and made of a strange soft material with no substance, as it warped in the wizards grasp. the top and sides were studded with many small neat holes, and a single strap was attached to the back.

Though I was many paces away, my vision of this thing was strange and sharp. In the unnatural light, i could see a single word spelled out on the object: “crocs”

Suddenly the wizard thrust the thing down onto the pile of clothing with a crack of lightning, and the square exploded in my vision. and then nothing.

An unknowable time later, perhaps an instance, perhaps an hour, my mind came back with sluggishness. I opened my eyes and was surprised to find myself still standing, for I was sure I had been blown off my feet from the impact.

All around people started to came out of the peculiar stupor, a murmur raised and heads turned this way and that.

The wizard still stood in the center of the square, looking now small and worn. The pile of clothes gone. the strange shoe gone. The cobbles unmarked by pattern or scorch marks.

Then turned to leave. None stopped him, nor asked his business. I swallowed the pie.

None seem to know the motives of the wizard that day, nor the effect of his fantastic spell, and soon the memory of it all started to fade from those witnesses.

There does now seem to me that there is something missing, or perhaps subtly changed in the world. Something that was perhaps important or fascinating to me, and now is a mere trifle. I have tried to tease this particularity out, but the task results in nothing more than a headache and confusion.

I can add little to the mystery, as even in writing this account, I start to doubt my recollections. However one small detail stands out in my mind, as some trivialities often do in a time of fear and awe. A small gesture of normalcy in the midst of such wonder, and that is this:

Several times during the mysterious conjuring, perhaps twice or thrice, in the midst of his vigorous arm waving and symbol binding, i could have sworn the great wizard’s hands broke with the beat of the spell to reach back behind his neck for a brief scratch, before returning to the weaving.

And one other small detail, perhaps nothing, perhaps everything. As the mysterious man seemed to gather himself and turn to leave, he did happen to pass quite close to me. Though the fiber of my being cried out to keep my head down and not risk the wrath of this unknown power, my curiosity did summon a thread of courage, and as he passed, I looked towards his neck and saw a small white square of fabric rising above the collar of his road stained robes.

Upon that square, i could just make out three small words before the figure merged into the mist and was seen no more:

“tumble dry low”