"Draw your chair up close to the edge of the precipice and I'll tell you a story." ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

20 November 2010

The Master Wizard

Euroin’s black cloak swirled in the still room, whipped around by an invisible force. The Wizard stood in the north tower of the castle, a tower seldom visited. This tower had imprisoned the True Wizards prior to their executions, binding them in a web of powerful spells none of them had been able to untangle fast enough. Only when all of them died had the web suddenly snapped, leaving in its ruins the remnants of dark and dangerous magic. Though the Royal Wizards were quick to use any powers available to them in their service to the King, through the years none had called upon the dark magic created out of the murder of the three True Wizards. Tonight, though, Euroin planned to do just that.

The room he stood in was small but ornate. It had once served as the meeting place for the King and the Wizards, and marble statues stood against each wall. What once had been beautiful likenesses of the creatures which roamed Tundyel had taken on menacing appearances the moment the True Wizards died. Regal cougars now looked like ravaged, starving hunters intent on the kill; mother bears that had been protecting their cubs were now ready to devour them. The room was filled with an evil you could feel even before stepping over the marble threshold.

Since the Healer had first escaped the castle, Euroin had been focusing on finding her. He had been searching across the kingdom but had not been able to detect the girl’s presence anywhere. The only explanation was that she had been hidden by magic, so Euroin had begun searching through every trace of spells in Tundyel, sifting through the layers to find what had been hidden underneath. Despite all his best efforts, Euroin had found nothing more than the simple spells cast by his fellow Wizards to cover memories of King Simann’s atrocities or the complex webs made to hide the ruins of some village or farm the Royal Guard had destroyed. Nowhere could he find a spell covering the young Healer. Before now, anytime Euroin wasn’t able to find someone he concentrated on was because that person was dead. This time, though, Euroin knew this was not the case. He had not been able to find either the Healer or the prisoner since they had left the castle. As much as Euroin despised the idea, the Wizard had been forced to admit that some more powerful form of magic was hiding both traitors. To Euroin, this meant there was only one thing left to do. That was what had brought him to the North Tower.

His eyes closed, Euroin watched as strange remnants of magic swirled around him. Many of the spells were utterly foreign to the Wizard, spinning in colors and patterns he had never seen and couldn’t name. Throwing his arms out wide, Euroin called the spells to him and felt the dangerous magic coursing through his body. It took all his strength to keep the magic from overpowering him and destroying him where he stood. The dark magic battered the Wizard, tossing him about the room and crashing him into the many statues. The strange new power sent shock waves through his body as Euroin struggled to regain control. His mind was completely empty of all else--the only thing he could see was the swirling magic. As he was being thrown around the tower, Euroin blocked the pain out and tried to concentrate on finding the right spell. He couldn’t find the Healer, but the Wizard was determined to stop the girl. Suddenly he fell to the floor, the malevolent magic leaving him in a heap on the cold stone.

For a moment Euroin didn’t remember what had happened. He looked around in a daze for the marble statues, most of which had been knocked to the ground while the Wizard was being thrown around. Confusion spread across his face when he saw that some of the animals were gone. The confusion changed to satisfaction as understanding dawned on him. The young Healer would soon face an unimaginable challenge, one she had no chance of surmounting on her own.

10 November 2010


Smothering the curse under her breath which threatened to escape through clenched teeth, Syndria pushed herself up out of the unladylike heap in which she had landed. Though the moon shone brightly high above the trees, the ground underneath was dark. This was not the first time the Healer had tripped over some hidden root in her haste, and Syndria could feel the throb of a sprained ankle. The pain didn’t bother her--she had dealt with much worse in her years of healing--but the limp caused by her injury frustrated her. Though a Healer had the ability to heal any injury in others she could not use her gift on herself, so Syndria just kept moving. She knew the sprain wouldn’t be able to heal naturally unless she gave her ankle a chance to rest yet there was no choice but to keep moving. If she stopped this close to Caron it would be only a matter of hours before King Simann’s Royal Guard was upon her.

“Yeah!” she scoffed, “As if I have much more than hours anyway. I’m certain the King has his Wizards following my every move, biding their time. After all, King Simann wouldn’t want to waste any energy having his guards follow me if they can just wait until I stop somewhere.” Straightening her shoulders and lifting her chin, Syndria brushed aside all her negative thoughts. “So, I just keep moving until I find someone, anyone, to help in my cause. Men are taken to the castle weekly for questioning and torture--surely I am not so blind to the intentions of others that I cannot find the men who oppose Simann’s cruelty. If any of the Ancient’s gift for reading people rubbed off on me through the years, now is when I need it.”

Dusting off her beautiful gown, hoisting the pack to her shoulder, and taking a deep breath, the young Healer picked up her pace. Looking around in the moonlight she took in the trees, the bushes, the flowers just starting to peak out. Somewhere above her an owl hooted, and a brook babbled in the distance. At the base of a tall oak Syndria spotted sticks and twigs leaned up against the trunk, undoubtedly the workings of some child erecting what his mind’s eye saw as a mighty fortress. This land was what she must fight for, its people her master. If they could not see Simann for the tyrant he truly was, it was the young Healer’s duty to open their eyes to the truth. She would fight to free her people, even if the battle seemed futile. If needed, Syndria was willing to sacrifice her own life to see the good people of Tundyel freed form Simann’s oppression.