The Wizard’s Inn had never appeared in the ‘Top 50 Pubs of Norfolk’ published annually by the Norwich Gazette. It had never featured in the local tourist guide or any Good Food guide. The ale was bitter, the atmosphere musty, the decor dated.
Yet despite this it served a loyal band of regulars day in, evening out. Regulars who travelled from all over the world to take advantage of the solitude offered in its dark corners and quiet simplicity. Most didn’t even have to order from Larry, the proprietor, who worked behind the bar every night. He knew them all well, and they all wanted more or less the same thing – a pint, a pie and some peace.
The men would enter, place their pointed hats on the hat stand, hang their cloaks by the door and find a suitable seat. Most sat alone, although the odd group of friends may huddle round a table occasionally, catching up on the latest global events, from this world and others. The atmosphere was like a church or a library rather than a drinking establishment, with the wizened, grey, balding heads bent over in contemplation, furrows crinkled in memory of great magical battles and demons defeated.
Of course Larry had had to move with the times somewhat. He catered to vegetarians and vegans, although much of that food ended up being eaten by Horace, the adopted local stray black cat. A shelter for those that wished to smoke pipes had been erected to the rear of the establishment. And of course women were now welcome. The latter was merely a change in law which had little effect on The Wizard’s Inn, because the profession itself was almost exclusively male.
That was until Harry had come along. Bloody Harry. Now everyone thought they could be some sort of wizard. Kids, adults who should know better, and worst of all, women. Harry had revealed too much of the secretive world to the common people, filled their heads with ideas that they might have magic in their fingertips too. It was all made up of course, a complete fiction, but unlike the other made up wizards – your Gandalf’s or Rincewind’s or the guy from Oz for example – people seemed to treat Harry like some sort of religion.
Common people flocked to The Wizard’s Inn, even though it was no relation to the story of Harry Potter (‘not even a proper wizard name!’ bemoaned The Great Ondoprix). Larry had to remove the famous sign of a wizard’s hat, and replace it with a monkey playing a drum to keep the ‘Potterers’ away.
Eventually Larry had to concede defeat. He had always loved the spot he had found for the pub, but once it had been discovered and overrun by the tide of tourists it lost its main charm, namely its anonymity. So he called on the help of some of his loyal customers.
It took a group discussion among some of the oldest and wisest of them, but eventually it was Ulzaflyn The Magnificent who had found the correct spell in a weighty tome he carried around under his cloak, and it was he who settled the debate on the new location. At the appointed time Larry watched Ulzaflyn begin incanting the spell.
Now The Wizard’s Inn has never appeared in the ‘Top 50 Pubs of Cornwall,’ but the regulars are happy once more. Order in the Universe has been restored, and St. Ives is lovely in the summertime.