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"Ollivander it is, then." You decide after a moment, and Alistair nods, leading the way.
The shop you arrive at is much more well lit, though still somewhat gloomy, and is lined with rows and rows of shelves set with boxes, each displaying a single wand.
"Good evening, miss." An old-looking man says from your side and slightly behind you, shortly after you enter. "You are rather older than the schoolchildren that are my normal customers."
And wasn't that statement more correct than the man could likely realize. You shrug absently.
"I am here to purchase a focus." You say.
"To be sure, to be sure, else you wouldn't have come here." Ollivander replies disinterestedly. "Hm... as I recall, you haven't been a customer of mine before. No doubt your previous wand was from a foreign competitor, was a poor fit, and you are only now realizing the sheer lack of quality inherent in their work. Possibly it simply fell apart in your hand mid-spell."
"Such a theory is not outside the realm of possibility." You allow, not bothering to actually confirm or deny anything. "In any case, I will buy a wand."
"Yes, yes." Ollivander says again. He lifts a tape measure, waiting patiently, and you narrow your eyes. After a moment, he sighs and sets it away. "I suppose we can cut through the theatrics and ritualism that the children so enjoy. Here, give this a flick."
He sets a shaft in your hand. With the slightest twitch, it explodes into Fire, flinging charred splinters of wood in every direction as shrapnel. Ollivander's eyebrows rise.
"Rather an extreme reaction." He says, with sudden undisguised interest. "Unusually volatile. Oak and dragon heartstring is usually something of a more sedate combination."
.... Dragon heartstring, was it? How crass, to mis-label product so blatantly. If that had had any portion of a Dragon involved in its crafting, she much doubted the man would have been willing to sell it in the first place, for any offered price, and he would no doubt have been significantly distraught over its destruction, rather than intrigued. No doubt it had really been cut from some lesser Drake, barely cognizant of its own existence, or from a Wyrm of the more shallow caverns, or a slavering Wyvern, or Linnorm, or some other simple beast grown into a shape mimicking that of a Dragon, and thus confused with the genuine article.
"Perhaps it's simply the combination. Here, try this one: Willow." Ollivander says, confirming your suspicion. There is no possibility that a second absurdly rare treasure would be offered up for destruction within moments of the first's demise, after all. You twitch the wand... it sparks a little at the tip, then attempts to drip water out of itself and erupt in flame at the same time. Ollivander shakes his head and gingerly plucks it away from you. It goes out as it leaves your hands, but continues to drip for a few moments, and it's clear that the focus has partially melted.
"Curious..." Ollivander muses, interest piquing. "Perhaps we should simply set those with heartstring cores aside for the time being. Hm, perhaps unicorn... Yes, let's try, say... Mistletoe and unicorn tail hair, that might-"
You don't even have time to twitch the wand as it's set in your hand, before it tears itself apart in a screaming whirl of winds, launching pieces of itself in every direction.
"-... hm. Or, then, perhaps not. No matter. I do love a challenge, though you are proving remarkably incompatible, I must say."
"The nature of your wands is at fault." You state, without accusation. "Thus far, I have seen at most two affinities linked to a given focus, but I habitually use a set of seven elements. As those matching resonate, the others attempt, and fail, to respond similarly. This discordance cascades rapidly, leading to the self-destruction of the focus as it fails to sufficiently compensate for the other elements."
"Yes, that does seem to be the problem, when it comes down to it." Ollivander admitted dryly. "Though your confirmation does take something of the fun out of determining the exact issue at hand, I had determined that elemental disparity had something to do with it. This is why children aren't supposed to practice magic before they have wands of their own, it always makes things more difficult to locate a proper match if they've managed to grow into magical habits or quirks already. My word, though, seven elements. Hm, a magically significant number, it would be a powerful and diverse wand indeed, to represent such a number equally. Especially when considering that a wand must be made of one type of wood, and contain only a single core... yes. I am uncertain as to whether such a feat would be within my ability, to be quite frank, depending on which elements you practice with..."
"Eastern elemental system." You reply succinctly. "Sun, Moon, Fire, Water, Wood, Metal, and Earth."
"... Hm. Well, I suppose anything at all would do nicely for 'wood'." Ollivander considers. "I wasn't aware that was considered an element, to be honest. A capstone... hm, or a metallic sheath at the tip, would nicely encompass either earth or metal, assuming the second doesn't carry the first with it as well. That leaves whichever of those is left out, fire, water, and... sun and moon, to be represented. Ah, you'll have to forgive me, I'm afraid I've no idea where to begin qualifying those last two..."
"They are less simple elements than the others." You agree. "However... parts from a phoenix would neatly embody both the elements of Sun and Fire."
"Hmm..." Ollivander muses, then starts. "Ah. I believe I begin to understand. Would I be right, then, in suggesting that cores crafted from portions of, say... a vampire, or werewolf, just for example, or a dementor or lethifold, would qualify as placating your 'Moon' element?"
"That is not an unreasonable supposition." You respond, and the wandmaker chews at his lip, deep in though.
"Fascinating combination." He murmurs aloud. "Yes... a very intriguing mixture indeed. Although, miss, I should be hesitant of revealing such information too freely. Yes, I do believe that would turn many heads indeed. In any case, hrm, it's an interesting puzzle to fit together. Yew springs to mind immediately for 'moon', of course, but that's too simple, surely I can do better than that... yes, this will have to be a masterpiece, if it's to work at all. Hawthorn... that simply won't do, no, if phoenix feather is already Fire..."
You listen with interest to the craftsman's mumblings, pleased to have the opportunity to watch a master ply his trade, as he bustles about a desk off to the side, withdrawing lengths of wood from drawers before setting them to the side, scribbling intently at a sheet of parchment for a few moments, then stopping, crumpling it, and throwing it carelessly aside before beginning anew. He repeats this steadily, over the course of an hour, sinking deeper and deeper into his work as he struggles to find a combination that works. A thought strikes you, and you cough to draw his attention. He turns to you, brow furrowed.
"Let us say." You begin. "Simply out of curiosity, that I were able to produce a substance which related directly to no less than five of my elements, in its own right."
"I would call you a liar." Ollivander answered. "But if such a thing were to exist, it would certainly make the crafting of a wand a rather simpler matter indeed, though I have no doubt that I shall eventually find a suitable combination nonetheless."
You nod, and focus, eyes drifting closed. This is something of a more difficult task than simple creation and manipulation of Earth or Metal, and were you only a little less healthy than today has left you, you would already be heavily sweating and panting for breath from the effort. Much less than that, and you doubt it would be possible at all, without consigning yourself to bed-rest for the rest of the day. You wobble slightly as you complete your efforts, though the wand-crafter doesn't seem to notice, and Alistair has long since drifted to slumber, leaning against a nearby wall.
You remove the stone from the inner pocket you formed it in, the size of one of your fingertips at most, and display it before the puzzled craftsman.
"... My word. I... don't believe I have ever seen such an item, in perfect honesty, and yet... and yet, I have this nagging sense of familiarity. How curious. But yes... the elemental conflux nestled within its form is... goodness. I wouldn't have believed it if I weren't seeing the thing itself. Yes, this will do very well, though... no, I do not think a capstone at the tip would be proper. Shaping it seems... wrong, somehow. No, it will have its own compartment in the base of the wand."
He holds out a hand, and seems to realize only belatedly that it is trembling slightly. The shivering motion ceases almost immediately, and you set the stone in his palm. He caresses it tenderly, with a single outstretched finger.
"After this wand... yes. I do believe, after this wand is crafted, my death could come at any time, and in any form, and I would meet it a happy man." He says wistfully, before shaking the sensation off. In any case, that leaves... hm, sun and moon. ... Silver Fir. Yes. That would be the most appropriate casing of this wand, I believe. As for the core... no, phoenix feather simply won't do. It will unbalance the entire thing far too strongly to fire, and the entire effort will be a waste. But hm... unicorn, yes, I was on the right track before. A being of purity and light... tail-hairs won't do, oh no, but I think I have something. Yes. Bone of unicorn... I've been near-trampled and gored by the creatures more than a time or three in collecting hairs, but it was the time I was not looking, simply enjoying an outing in nature, that the truest prize came. An elderly unicorn approached my campsite, and there simply laid down and died. It was the most remarkable sight... terribly sad, of course, yes."
He continued rambling idly to himself as he hauled and shifted boxes, gathering equipment, and settled down at his desk. He first sawed away at the bone, separating it into thin rectangles, setting aside those pieces that were too deformed by the spaces where marrow had once been, then took one of the most suitable and slowly ground it down to a smooth cylinder. Then, inspecting it closely, he carefully set it aside and began work at a single block of wood, sawing it into the appropriate size. From there, he took more delicate work, carving carefully at the remaining stick until it fit the appropriate dimensions, then sanded it smooth. He took great effort in properly shaping the handle. That done, he carefully inspected the wood, and used an odd device to carefully slice out the interior of the handle, and from there drill slowly into the front of the wand. Upon completion, he slid the thin shaft of unicorn bone inside of the wood, inspected it, and nodded, then drew it back out. He measured carefully and sawed off a small piece, then slid it back in, and it filled the drilled hole precisely. That completed, he carefully carved a hidden receptacle for the stone into the piece he had removed from the handle, and set it almost reverently into place. That done, he replaced the wood and carefully rubbed in a sealant, to hold it in place and fill what empty space it might. You nod in approval as he sets in to apply the finishing touch, varnish.
"Never seen a wand-maker at work before." Alistair remarks, having roused himself at some point. "Had always assumed... well, that they used magic, to craft their wands."
"Are not the hands of a master craftsman a magic of their own?" You chide, and he shifts awkwardly as the wand-maker chuckles.
"Yes... a moment more, to dry, and I do believe this wand is complete. I do not believe myself mistaken in saying that it is my proudest achievement to date."
"Then the only question remaining is reimbursement." You reply.
"Payment? Pah." Ollivander replies. "There isn't enough gold in the world, and I should be the one to pay you, miss, for the opportunity to craft such a work of art. Thank you, for bringing this old man that brief joy."
You bow slightly, a show of mild, but sincere respect, and he offers up the wand. You take it hand. It seems to shift slightly, before settling in place, and as you move it you can almost year a deep thrumming... of acceptance? How interesting. Such simple means, though unusual materials, and yet the focus crafted seems almost to already have a mind and soul of its own.
"And now." Ollivander says wearily. "I do believe I must lie down. Far, far too much excitement in one day for an old man such as myself."
[ ] What do you do?