It was all my half-baked sorcerer brother’s fault. He’s the strongest magic user in our family, the only boy and our parents spoilt him rotten. They still do. One by one we girls moved out either to marriage or simply on our own but he stayed ensconced in the room at the top of the stairs. Mum even still did his washing.
The rest of us had to get jobs, don’t get me wrong, I like my job, but he never had to. My parents continued to support him as he set up as a consulting sorcerer. The problems with that: not very experienced; not very powerful; and not as good as he thought he was. To keep himself occupied he started going to deceased estate auctions and bidding. He turned out to have a good eye for value and I hoped he’d become some sort of dealer. But then he bought the jars.
They came from the lab of a dead mage and all that was left of the blotched labels read, “Slurry.” It wasn’t even clear that they all held the same stuff.
He used the man’s way of finding out what it was – he built a magic circle designed to make things do what they were supposed to do and poured the contents of two jars of matching colour into two pans in the circle. Then he powered the circle up. I said I though he should try restoring the labels first, but I was just his sister over for lunch and to take Mum to the movies afterwards. He was showing off by doing this in front of the three of us.
When the smoke cleared there were two naked people in the circle. They went to embrace each other, recoiled then walked out of the circle. Let’s just draw a discrete veil over the next part, shall we?
A month later we had a joint wedding. I married Barrett, my brother married Tai-Tai. It seems the late mage had had a whole collection of dubious objects and better minds than mine were working on the problems the auction had uncovered. There are still four jars left.