Nequmus Iniqus stood on the worn cobblestones that lined one of Acralis’ many canals. He’d been out taking a walk, as was his wont of late, when he had seen a happy couple and the sights and sounds of them had stirred something in the sorceror’s heart. He’d devoted the largest portions of his life so far to study, battle, and exploration, never stopping to form many friendships much less take any breaks for would-be lovers. He knew one couldn’t just walk out and pick a maid for your own delight, to live happily with for the rest of your days. Still, he wondered how it might affect things if he at least tried to make the effort. Perhaps not tomorrow, not next week, but surely sooner than if he’d ignored his fellow woman forever in lieu of books and monsters?
He considered his assets; he was not an ill-looking man, though he was a sorceror approaching middle age he held a noble and firm bearing. He was bald, but this lent his face seriousness it might have lacked otherwise. His beard and moustache, as well as the whisps of hair above his ears, were all rich burgundy and always carefully trimmed. His robes were fine exotic things won or purchased on his travels; he carried with him an exquisite sword of purple steel crafted by beings from another planet. He was not the most powerful wizard in town by a long shot, but he’d attained a fair degree of respectability and wealth in his time. Feeling that he should be considered a reasonable catch for a worthy lady, the mage adopted a stately, reserved pace and set forth too…too…
Well, how did one start?
Normally he simply did some research and simply conquered with sword and spell whatever beasts or men opposed him. He’d acquired much of his wealth by plunder, and had slain monsters several times his size and age. In some small villages he was a hero, and he had even ventured into other worlds. But he didn’t know the first step of this adventure. Where did one go? What would you say? The sorceror did not even have any friends to introduce him to potential partners, or any social events to attend. Well…he would walk about, look in at…taverns, the docks, and the market?
Where did women congregate, he wondered. If he found more of them at once, he might be able to talk to at least one…that was sort of like attacking goblin packs then, picking off one at a time. Wait- he shook his head- focus…
In the market was a crowd, an odd mixture of local peasants, traveling merchants, and exotic adventurers. Nequmus walked up to a man holding a large wooden stein and was about to ask him how to talk to women when he noticed that the man was indeed already talking to one, a comely lass that was reclining gracefully on the edge of the nearby fountain. The man waved the wizard away and went back to his conversation, saying something seeing the tavernmaster for beer.
He tried to bow before one fine woman, an adventurer of some sort dressed in foreign styled purple robes, but the woman just stepped past him and ignored him completely.
He tried to bow before a Raklai woman, trying to be tolerant of other races; she ignored his approach also.
He found a woman riding an emerald magic carpet, her face hidden in the darkness of a hood, apparently so intent on some task that she also ignored the wizard. Just before this a massive purple dragon had nearly knocked him and a cart of bread over. The marketplace was almost too hectic for the mage, more used to confined laboratories or dark dungeons.
Nequmus stepped into the coolness of the tavern, and saw that there were women in here in varying stages of inebriation. Some threw him coy looks, but he felt this didn’t seem like the place to get what he was looking for. Though, at least, part of what he was looking for. Maybe he’d be back here in the evening, if searching elsewhere didn’t pan out, he found himself thinking.
As it was, he retired to his tower at the end of the day, thinking, as many have before him and since, that Love was a much harder thing to attain than wealth, and women much more difficult to tame than monsters.