“You’re a wizard, Nutsy.”
Pat Fenlon was in his third term at Tolkwarts, and he still got a lump in his throat when he recalled those words. Headmaster Ollibus Byrnelbore –Grand Wizard of the Order of the Three Castles - had spoken them and they had changed Nutsy’s life forever.
Olbus had told Nutsy about his destiny, how he had been born to counteract the evil Lord Dolanmore, and lead Tolkwarts into a glorious Golden European age full of plum ties against classy opposition. Nutsy had scarcely believed it, but it explained the mysterious pain in his backside whenever he sensed Lord Dolanmore was near.
Nutsy remembered the many battles he had had with his arch-enemy over the past three years. Though Dolanmore – Nutsy’s friends still blanched whenever they heard the name – was infinitely more powerful, still Nutsy, through cunning and tactical nous, had managed to overcome him on many occasions. Even when the evil Lord had summonsed all his most dastardly magic to trip Nutsy up, still Nutsy had fought back valiantly, and his “Sad man perplexed by Shels” thrust had struck Dolanmore a fearful blow, from which he had been forced to withdraw.
But today, the common room at Tolkwarts was rife with hurried whispers and hushed conversations. You Know Who had been toppled from power and banished from the kingdom of Munster. His wand had been confiscated and even now the fearsome Dementors were escorting him to Prison at Limerick, though even they were loathe to give him the fateful kiss that would suck all the joviality from his body.
“Looks like you’re safe now, Nutsy,” said his pal, Eamonn, slapping him on the back. Nutsy liked Eamonn, although he had once lived in an absolute kip, that even the rats had abandoned.
“I wouldn’t be so sure, Eamo,” Nutsy replied to his impetuous friend. “Remember the time Ollibus thought he had him trapped and cornered by a registered envelope, and he changed into a snake and wriggled free. I imagine he’s out there somewhere, licking his wounds and plotting his revenge. Mark my words, Eamo, Dolanmore will be back in some shape or form.”
“I heard a rumour he’s going to join forces with the great Hufflepuff himself at Rovers,” announced a fresh-faced student, turning on a sixpence and beating five lunging defenders.
“Come, come, Wes,” said Eamonn. “They could never work together. Besides, the Hufflepuff isn’t half the man he thinks he is.”
Unnoticed in the melee, Ollibus Byrnelbore, the wise and great headmaster of Tolkwarts had slipped into the room, carrying a large plastic bag. Widely loved by all the students, it was rumoured that he had been at the school for nearly seven hundred years.
It was Nutsy who noticed him, as he tried to push his way through the exultant mass of students, who had broken into chants of “You Know Who is gone.” Worried at Byrnelbore’s demeanour, he edged closer to the older man. As he did so, he felt a slight twinge in his backside.
“Good morning, Byrnelbore,” exclaimed Nutsy breezily, planting himself squarely in front of the burly figure.
“Oh, good morning, ah, Nutsy, isn’t it?” replied Byrnelbore distractedly. “Run along there now. Must prepare for our next game, you know.”
Nutsy watched him disappearing out of the door on the far side of the room, and felt a sickening in the pit of his stomach. He barely noticed Eamonn coming up beside him, was not conscious of his friend’s penetrating stare.
“What’s wrong Nutsy?” asked Eamonn. “It looks like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Nutsy scratched his scrotum thoughtfully and said, more to himself than to Eamonn,
“Pies. The bag was full of pies.”
Eamonn looked dumbstruck. “Pies?”
“Yes, pies. Maybe Dolanmore’s defeat down in the village is not all it seems. Maybe he’s going to try a different tack at destroying Tolkwarts. From within!”
“Rubbish, Nutsy,” countered Eamonn. “Old Byrnelbore would never join forces with You Know Who. He loves Tolkwarts too much, for a start.”
“Maybe not willingly,” retorted Nutsy. “But perhaps Dolanmore has some kind of hold on Byrnelbore, perhaps he’s put him under a spell. Come on, Eamonn, we must follow him!”
“I’m not so sure,” said Eamonn. “Follow Byrnelbore? It’s unheard of. Besides, I’m getting bored with this story, and can’t think of a way of ending it.”
Nutsy shrugged. “Yes, you’re right,” he said resignedly. “I think we should just finish it off in the middle of a”