The sorcerer looked up from his packing, his bushy white beard almost obscuring his wary smile. "Gentlemen, you just caught me. One more day and I would have been gone!"
"Gone? Slunk away, more like!"
"You were right, Jonathan! He was planning to pull a funk and leave us suffering this travesty of a life!"
His eyebrows rose at the anger he heard in their voices. "To what do I owe this rudeness? The last I knew, you were happily embarked upon a lifetime of eternal existence. Isn't that what you asked for? 'The freedom from worrying over our imminent death,' is how you put it, I believe."
Both men spoke at once, their words tumbling over themselves.
"We didn't want this! We didn't ask to be turned into a Vampire and a Werewolf! This isn't what we sought when we asked for the surety of long life."
"We're chefs, damn it! How the hell can I run a restaurant or season a dish when I'm on a liquid diet?"
"All we wanted was a normal life, eventually a wife and children."
The sorcerer crossed his arms and stared at the two tall men confronting him. He was impressed by their dogged determination in locating him again. After all, he hadn't made it easy this time around. "You did not seek normalcy. No normal man has the assurance of life. They all roll the dice and more times than not, roll craps."
"What you gave us was so far away from normal, the two cannot be compared! You cheated us!"
A resigned sigh lifted the slight chest of the elderly magicker. "Jonathan Jason Corelli, how have you lived this many years and still not learned who and what you are?"
Black hair, golden eyes, broad shoulders and long lean limbs -- the twins were more than identical, more than mirror images of the other. They were one. And they didn't know it.
"Your mother, whom I once knew and loved -- she's why I granted your first petition, by the way -- tried to tell you the truth. Your father wouldn't listen and allowed the doctors to perform that obscene operation upon you. Now, it appears you are as stubborn as he."
"Our mother," one twin snarled, "hasn't been seen since our tenth birthday."
"If we'd known you knew her, we'd have had nothing to do with you."
"Oh, you think to pick and choose between sorcerers, then? You know so many of us? Foolish mortal! You play with that which you do not know and cannot comprehend!"
"Please, just take the curses back."
"Curses?" The sorcerer couldn't believe the pig-headedness of the split person before him. "I granted you a boon. If cursed you be, it is of your own making. Still, you are not satisfied. Therefore, I will do this one thing for you... I will give you a spell to eat. When you partake of it, say the couplet I will teach you. No longer will you, Jonathan, be forced to live a life in darkness. As for you, Jason, the moon will no longer rule over your flesh."
He made them the potion and jotted the words down on a scrap of paper. The two read the poem and eyed the twin bottles askance. "Can it be this simple?" the Werewolf asked.
"Of course not," the mage laughed, glad to see they were not as simple as he had begun to fear. Perhaps they would solve the riddle and win their freedom. "To truly end what you deem your curse, you must find the one person who completes you."
"Is there such a woman in the world, who could mate with the two of us? If she exists, where would we ever find a woman willing to love a Werewolf and a Vampire and accept us both as husbands?" The gold of Jason's eyes shimmered with the tears he would not allow to fall.
"Oh, she exists, all right. She is almost ready for you."
"I suppose," snarled the Vampire, his face twisted in a sneer, "you'll have some obscure, arcane excuse for not being able to tell us where we should look for such a paragon."
"On the contrary, I can tell you exactly where you need to be."
It took the twins a moment to realize he didn't plan to tell them a thing.
"Well?" Jason asked finally.
"Well... what?" the sorcerer echoed, a wisp of playfulness causing him to tease the uptight duo.
"I thought you were going to tell us where we need to be."
"Actually, I said I could tell you, not that I would."
"I'm going to kill him, Jason!" The Vampire flashed fangs and rushed at the older man.
"I think not, young firebrand." A waved hand, a word of power rang out. Jonathan froze in place, one foot in the air, clawed hands outstretched toward prey he would never reach.
"No!" Jason's cry of denial rose above the spires of the mountain. "Release him!"
"In due time..." Tired of dealing with the two hotheads, he decided to end this current interaction. He had places to go and people to see. "Listen to me. I will give you the information you want in exchange for permission..."
Jason's eyes narrowed. "You've tricked us before. How do we know you won't do so, again?"
The sorcerer shrugged. "I have not tricked you. You simply didn't pay strict attention to the actual wording of your request or the exact interpretation I used in granting it." He waved away Jason's sputtered retort. "No matter. As of today, I am retired. The only thing I wish of you is permission to court your mother."
"What?" Jonathan's bellow penetrated the bubble of stasis erected around him.
Jason's voice was ice cold when he answered. "Our mother is a free agent. Father divorced her years ago in absentia. You don't need our permission or approval."
"Courtesy and tradition demand it." The wise man shook his head. "What is the youth of today coming to? Oh well, a bargain is a bargain. When the time is right, you will find your mate on Chimera Island."