by Michael Adam Robson
A cruel winter wind raged outside the crooked hovel, battering its empty boarded up eyes and howling through its broken stone teeth.
The wizard could hear their impish laughter in that wind, out there in the dark, and he shivered in his bed. They used to keep their distance, whispering and scurrying away like vermin, but they didn't run anymore. He was old and toothless now, no threat to anyone.
The fire was dying, it needed to be fed. He hobbled across the cold stone floor to the bookshelf and opened a moldering tome of magic. Fevered scribblings of a madman, in a language he'd long forgotten. Was it a careless spell from a book like this that had conjured the blue devils up? He tossed it into the guttering flames.