Emery wandered down the crowded streets of the marketplace, his brother close behind. Their first stop would be to get wands to use for basic spells. Certain spells required special wands – made of brass, silver or specific woods. They would learn those spells later in their schooling. For now, they each needed a basic service wand.

Though the shops and stand they passed were fascinating, they had limited funds to spend on school supplies and, for once, Emery didn’t allow himself to be distracted. It was especially hard not to pause at the books store. Emery promised himself that they would save that tempting shop for last. Then they would have enough money for the school supplies they needed. If they had any left over, they could splurge on one or two books.

Meanwhile, they reached the wandmaker’s shop. Emery hesitated only a moment before heading inside.

“Hello,” a man of indeterminate age greeted them. “First year at the Academy, I presume?”

“Yes, sir,” Emery acknowledged. He stepped forward and held up his left hand. The man took if firmly and tutted over it for a moment.

“You’re quite gifted,” he said after some time. “All the magic you’ve been doing without a wand. When you get one, you’ll be shocked at how much easier it is to conduct magic.”

“Father said that it was best to start off wandless,” Emery said almost defensively. “That way we can conduct magic energy without a tool if need be.”

“Your father’s right,” the man agreed. “Starting too early with a wand can lead to a high level of dependence on it, contrary to how the Academy works things. But you’ve enough experience that it should hamper you any.”

He rummaged in one of several drawers that were labeled with the names of different woods. “Alder” the label read. Just when Emery would have begun fidgeting, the man draw out a simply carved wand of about medium length and handed it to Emery.

Without even stopping to think, Emery took it in his left hand. He felt the wand draw his energy through it instantly. What amazed him wasn’t so much the ease with which the wand conducted the energy, but the purity of the energy that emerged from the tip. “That’ll do you,” the man said with a firm nod. “See how it purifies your energy… makes it whole?”

Emery nodded and said, “That’s what it’s meant to do. When I choose a specialty wand, that’s what I should look for.”

“Indeed,” the man said. “Now for the younger brother… He’s an alder too I warrant. Born at nearly the same time, are you?”

“His birthday’s ten days after mine,” Emery said with a grin. “The following year, though.” He didn’t hear the man’s reply, he was so focused on the energy flowing from his wand. That something so pure could come out of him was almost awe-inspiring.