He was tired, the old wizard in his small house with only a familiar for company. Once, long and long ago, he had made a vow in the way of wizards, and such oaths could not be rescinded nor broken without shattering the feeble magics he still claimed as his own. Some days he had almost broke the vow in the bitterness of his despair, but his apprentice had pulled him up from it or hope waved toward him like a strumpet displaying her legs, and he had rallied himself for another quest, dug out musty grimoires and spoken ancient spells.
All for nothing. In the end, all for nothing, leaving behind an old man with rotting teeth, a back stopped from long toil and no power to show for it. He had worked wondered in this time, but his greed – oh, his greed had been greater than they. He could see that now, with eyes that scarcely saw the world.
“I worked wonders once,” he said, though there was no one to speak to. Scruple the apprentice had left long ago, stealing books and learning and fleeing for new masters. Not that the old man could blame him: he had done the same in his time, for lower reasons by far. And his familiar – well, Azrael had been dead for some time, even beyond all his skill at magic to return.
“I know.” He hears her voice, soft, gentle as he made her. “I was one.”
“Yes.” He turns his head slowly to the voice. “Yes, you were.You are the only one who could get past my wards.”
And he is old, but not feeble-minded, and something in her voice: there is something in her voice. “Why are you here?”
“You made me, and sought to kill the rest of my kind. Do you know why, father?” she says, and the word is only to wound.
“I sought to turn them into gold. To a meal fit for kings to win a place on the high council. To destroy them, in the end. Many things. Many things,” he says, and he is tired. “They are with you, then.”
“Some are,” she admits, and he can here them moving. Small as mice, the little people, and the sounds of metal scraping metal.
“I will ask why you are here,” he says, though he knows. Oh, how he knows.
“You tried to eat us,” one explains, in a voice rough with old wounds. “So many times. It’s only fair we return the favour and see how you taste.”
“Ah,” the old wizard breathes. “I could stop you. I have words. Powers. There are bargains.” He does not move. Some come closer, his greatest creation, and the small people with her.
“Do you have last words?” she says. “Gargamel, do you have words before we eat you?”
And he draws up what magic he can to see clear one last time. His gaze falls on the smurfs, and some quail back even now. But he turns it on the cat on his counter, stuffed gently by his own hand. “Oh, Azrael, I miss you so,” he says, and nothing else at all.
Not even when they begin cutting.