"I will ask you one more time. What good is a one-handed wizard to me?"
The maimed wizard lifted his head and returned the gaze of the overlord who had been his master his entire life. "My lord" he begged. "I am still of use. My ability to attack directly may be greatly weakened, but I can still summon and conjure. I can still devise potions..."
"Silence!" commanded his master. "No more!"
The wizard lowered his head again and tried to persuade his superior. "I can still conjure..."
"Silence I said! If you can conjure so well then why not conjure another hand? How about two more hands? Perhaps with three you could actually win a duel!"
This time the wizard didn't respond.
"I sent you to retrieve the cloak that the wench stole. Instead you let her also steal your hand. Did she use the cloak against you? Is that how you were defeated?"
"Master it is my belief that she still does not know the cloak's true power. She doesn't know how to use it. The girl never tried. Not even once."
"Then how were you so easily defeated?"
There was a long pause. The master used this time to study the wizard. His tall lean body seemed weaker. His skin was so thin it was almost transparent. His hair was a whiter shade of pale. The wizard was defeated, drained and beside himself in shame. He was humiliated, hurt and haggard.
"She is crafty. She used a portal spell to attack me. Who could have dreamed..."
"You could have. You should have." lectured the master.
"This witch is different. She doesn't specialize in potions or charms or encantations. Somehow she freely moves from one method to another with an ease that belies her years". The wizard hadn't completely realized these facts until he found the words spilling from his lips.
The master pondered the idea for a moment. "A person with this kind of ability should not have my cloak. A person with these powers cannot stand between me and the final assembly."
"I know what I have to do"
"Then do it. If that cloak is not returned before the solstice there will be hell to pay. Consult the oracle and get back on her trail. Do not return until you have the artifact. I need the cloak."
"By your command" pledged the wizard as he exited the room.