All hail your majesty! May the gods grant you a long and fruitful life --
Don’t waste my time, wizard. You requested this audience. What do you want?
It’s not what I want, you highness, but what I can do for you.
Your late father. I specialize in resurrections.
Do I look like a fool, wizard?
Oh, no, your majesty!
Then why would I pay to have my father resurrected?
Er…you misunderstand my motives, your majesty. I have not come to ask for a reward if I resurrect your father. Rather…I’m offering you my pledge not to resurrect him.
Are you insane?
The possibility has indeed been broached, sire.
Why would I pay a charlatan like you to perform bogus rituals over my father?
To answer the second part first, you would not -- as you say -- be paying me to perform certain rituals. Rather, you would be paying me not to perform them. And to answer the first part: I am no charlatan.
I could have you killed for your insolence!
You could…but you won’t, your majesty. Look, it is a very straightforward matter. Your father, despite his age, was a very vigorous man, and extremely popular with the peasants and landed gentry. His sudden sickening and death are…well, let us say “puzzling”?
Are you implying --
That you had something to do with it, your majesty? Heavens, no! As your own father would attest …if I brought him back to life.
You keep making that claim without proof.
What proof do I need, your majesty? Either I can or I can’t. If I can -- and if I do -- then your father may have an interesting tale to tell; resurrected corpses often do. Hopefully the experience of dying would not cloud his memory, lead him to draw false conclusions.
I could have you killed in an instant.
Without a doubt, your majesty. But then you would have to wonder if I alone possess this technique, if I alone am capable of reviving the dead, or if any of my fellow wizards could do so. Imagine how awkward that would be: Two resurrected corpses casting aspersions on your integrity, your honesty, your loyalty, your filial duty.
Perhaps. But one way or another it will cost you to find out.
I only have to do it once.
You’re a faker.
Is that your final say on the matter, your majesty…?
…what do you want…
I’ll send a bill in the morning.
text (c) Buzz Dixon art by John Bauer