-PROLOGUE-The James Family Mr. and Mrs. James were doting parents. They loved their son, George, more than anything in all the world. It was no surprise they believed he was special, most parents believe this about their children; most parents are delusional. In the case of Mr. and Mrs.
James, however, they couldn’t have been more the opposite, if anything, they had no idea just how special George truly was. For, on his eighth birthday he began displaying unusual abilities of the supernatural sort. In a fit of incoherent excitement for a present, he’d just received he accidentally sent his father flying across the room, crashing into the wall opposite to where little George stood. At first, they were all frightened by this, who in their right mind wouldn’t be? Mrs. James was particularly concerned about his newfound powers, she didn’t understand them and she certainly didn’t know the full extent of what they could do or what might become of her son with such great power.
Everybody knew well the stories of sorcerers who went bad after being totally consumed by their unlimited power. As it turned out he was the first wizard in the family in seven generations. The gene originated from his father’s side and was believed to have been eradicated, but George was proof positive they’d been greatly mistaken. They soon got used to their son’s abilities and George quickly grew accustomed to his new way of doing things. It wasn’t long before he was able to purposefully send items flying across the room and have them gently land wherever he wanted them to. This practice was most helpful in the accomplishment of chores, he always managed to finish faster than all the other kids in the village and they suddenly became much more fun. Some parts of magic were easier to grasp than others and George got a handle of his powers rather quickly, however, this didn’t eliminate the possibility of things getting out of hand. One day, George was sent to chop firewood.
He walked into the nearby forest with an axe over his shoulder and began chopping at a tree so thick it had been hours before he even made a dent. Unable to lift his arms, after a while, he decided to use his magic just to move the job along faster. This turned out to be a big mistake. In a matter of seconds an entire row of trees fell and crushed a neighbor’s house. The remnants resembled toothpicks. Fortunately, nobody was injured when the house was decimated, but that didn’t keep the owner, Galawen the One Eyed, from being rightfully furious. George was so shocked by what he’d just done he completely forget to toss the axe aside and wipe the guilty expression from his face. Galawen spotted him instantly with the evidence in hand and charged at George with a murderous rage.
He wanted to use magic to defend himself, but thought better of it as he didn’t want to risk making matters worse and he truly felt like he deserved what he was coming to him, even though it was an accident. Galawen, the One Eyed, was enormous and about two-hundred pounds heavier than George. There were rumors that he might’ve had some giant blood in him. Every punch he threw was like a sack of rocks.
The eyepatch over his right eye made him look ten times scarier. There was no way twelve-year-old George had the tiniest chance of fighting back and even if he’d tried, a punch from him would’ve felt like he’d thrown a feather to Galawen. It took eight full grown men and several oxen to pull Galawen off the little boy and by that time George was bruised and covered in blood, there wasn’t a mark on Galawen. A calamity such as a row of trees timbering onto a house and the brawl that ensued were not things the villagers of Alduin could ignore. The ground shook so violently, first from the trees and then from Galalwen’s thunderous footsteps as he lunged at George, that a gaping crack, measuring about twenty feet long and forty feet wide, formed on the surface.
Nobody dared to find out how deep it was, but by the look of it, it had to have reached all the way to the core of the Earth. The men who worked for Mr. James at the forge refused to continue doing so if he and his family stayed in town landing all the work on Mr. James’ shoulders. The wives were particularly disrespectful to Mrs. James and the children, on instructions from their parents, wouldn’t play with George anymore.
After two months of this treatment Mr. James decided it would be best for his family to leave town. They packed up their belongings in the dead of night; by dawn they were gone never to be seen by anybody from Alduin ever again. It’s said that when the Aldians awoke that morning to find the Jameses house empty they celebrated for two whole days. They made their fresh start in Harnten, an outlying village of Camelot with no more than ten families. It was difficult for George to have so much power at such a young age and not being allowed to boast about it, children do love boasting. The thing is, with the chaos of Alduin and the new King Ambrose, they learned magic was something that had to be used in only the most dire circumstance and maybe not even then.
King Ambrose ruled over Camelot, he was an ignorant, arrogant, tyrant of a man who cared for no one but himself. He felt magic was an evil plaguing his great kingdom and tarnishing its good name, therefore it must be eliminated. Under the guise of protecting his kingdom, but really to mask his own fears, he outlawed all forms of magic. The offense of which was punishable by the pain of death. That went for anybody caught or accused of possessing magical traits, harboring or consorting with sorcerers, sympathizing with sorcerers, or helping sorcerers in any way knowingly or unknowingly. Even creatures conjured from magic: dragons, mermaids, giants, unicorns, and the like were all to be exterminated. These creatures, though some cleverer than others, never became extinct despite Ambrose’s best efforts because as magical beings, of course, they had the ability to become invisible and only those with immensely strong magic could ever really see them.
George grew up concealing his magic, only daring to use it in the privacy of his own home and never in public where anyone could potentially see him and report him to the king for a large reward. By the time he was twenty-three his powers were merely something he used when the situation absolutely demanded it. He saw them more as a sword, one doesn’t use a sword for everything, but when necessary a sword can be extremely useful. One day, a large storm flooded the river and washed away the bridge. The only way to cross the river and get into town was to walk an extra two miles to where the water was more shallow and easier to wade through whether on foot or on a horse. George thought this was absurd and inconvenient so he took it upon himself to build another bridge without the use of magic, of course. He enjoyed the challenge of manual labor.
His parents feared he would make the same mistake again, but after assuring them he wouldn’t use his magic they relented. After gathering all the required supplies needed for building a bridge from scratch he began chopping down trees. He twisted with the ax in hand to bring force down upon the wood. His muscular torso sweating in the burning sun as he continuously made longs logs of wood, occasionally wiping sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand. He picked them up one by one, placed them in a row, then used the opposite end of the ax to hammer in some nails and large posts into the ground.
It took several long hours, but he finally finished, as he stepped back to admire his work, a young boy with a limp walked by leading a goat with a dog following them.”Hello, George.” said the young boy cheerfully. “What are you doing?””You’re just in time,” said George triumphantly.
“For what?” asked the boy.”You can be the first to cross,” George said.The young boy, who couldn’t have been older than seven and was named Edward, looked at the bridge uneasily. It looked sturdy and expertly made, but he knew an untested bridge was not to be trusted.
George picked up on his hesitation and put a hand on his shoulder.”Don’t worry, it’s safe,” he said reassuringly.”It’s not me who’s scared… it’s Millie,” Edward said petting his goat gently on her head.”Of course, smart goat.
Never cross a bridge that hasn’t been tested.” George said supportively. He mounted his horse, whose reins were tied to a nearby tree, and went across the bridge watching as Edward’s shoulders gradually relaxed.
“See? I don’t think Millie has anything to worry about,” George said.”Thanks, George,” Edward said.”Give my best to your father,” George said.Edward patted his thigh to get his dog’s attention, he’d taken to digging a hole while all this transpired, and the three of them crossed the bridge without a problem. He stopped at the other end, gave one last hearty wave to George, and was on his way. Sometime later, George was sitting on the ground cooling off under the shade of a large oak tree sharing an apple with his horse when he heard leaves rustle in the distance. Startled, he stood up, gave the rest of his apple to his horse, and took up his sword.
He peered between the trees ahead of him and saw a flash of violet, a woman appeared to be running not far from him. George couldn’t help but find this behavior odd yet there was a lingering inexplicable connection with her he couldn’t put his finger on. She ran fast and hard, glancing over her shoulder as she ran.
George looked to his left and saw four soldiers, who he recognized as Ambrose’s soldiers, chasing after her. Without knowing this woman he ran, too. She ran through the trees, the soldiers getting ever closer to her.
One of the soldiers shot an arrow at her, she ducked to avoid it, but lost her footing and went tumbling down a hill. She picked herself up quickly and continued to run. But was suddenly stopped when she came upon the precipice of a tall cliff face. Nowhere to go, but down.
And a long way down it was with jagged rocks at the bottom eager to meet anyone who collided with them. The soldiers had their swords drawn and the archer had his crossbow loaded and pointed at her. “Nowhere to run now, pretty girl,” said the lead soldier, Destrian, menacingly as he and his men crept slowly closer to her.He brought the sword level with her eyes as she watched helplessly. He raised the sword high to bring down the killing blow. She leveled her right hand in front of her face threateningly even though she had no weapon. “Stay back!” she cried.”Shoot her.
” demanded Destrian.The archer pulled back his arrow to release when George tackled him to the ground. The arrow flies through air anyway in the direction of the woman, but she managed to dodge it just in time.
George positioned himself between the woman and the soldiers.”Leave her alone,” George said.”You’re making a mistake, boy. This girl is dangerous,” Destrian said warningly.
“Seven armed men against one defenseless woman? From the look of things I’d say she’s the one in danger,” George responded.”You don’t know what you’re talking about, son. Get out of the way,” said Destrian.George stood his ground, even more defiant than ever, his sword drawn. The men refused to back down, too, and seemed to think two victims made no difference as long as they got the one they wanted. George and the woman backed up as the men moved forward until they couldn’t back up any further without falling off the edge of the cliff. They were in a predicament with no way out, George figured this had to constitute as the kind of situation that warranted the use of magic. He sheathed his sword and slowly raised both his hands as though he was surrendering until they were level with his shoulders.
“Erë,” he said casually.Instantly his gray eyes flashed red and a powerful gale shot out of his hands. The three men on either side of Destrian were swept backwards through the air, landing unconscious on the ground. “There, now the fight is fair,” George said.and thrust his sword at him. At the last moment George moved aside catching the blade in one hand and pushed the pommel into his head knocking him out. He rounded on the woman.
Getting up she He took up his sword once more. Destrian advanced on him, they struggled; neither one could get the upper hand on the other. Their struggling brought them closer to the edge. Destrian thrust his sword at him. At the last moment George moved aside and caught the blade in one hand. The woman had to move to keep from being trampled in the scuffle. George brought Destrian to his knees and he looked up at him with terror.
Suddenly, the blade still in hand, George pulled his arm back then jamed the pommel into his head, knocking him out. George looked around quickly to make sure nobody else was going to attack them. The woman slowly got up, getting too close to the edge while doing so. Her foot slipped and sent rocks falling to the bottom. Just in time George grabbed her by the arm to keep her from falling to her death and pulled her to safety. That’s when he felt it. A wave of electricity surged through his entire body taking the form of goosebumps that covered his arms and legs. Suddenly George knew what was happening, the woman had magic.
People with magic can always sense when others have magic, they have a kind of kinship with one another that could be considered stronger than that which they might share with their actually families.”Why were these men after you?” George asked. “I have magic,” The woman said.”Your hand is bleeding,” George said.The woman looked at her hand and noticed, for the first time, it was indeed bleeding.
George tore a piece of fabric from his shirt and wrapped it around her wound. She winced as he tightened it.”Is there a reason you didn’t use it just now?” George asked.”I’ve been a prisoner in King Ambrose’s castle for five years.
He has a room lined with Accrillion Stone to drain the magic of sorcerers who enter it.” She explained.”I didn’t know that was possible.” George said.
“It’s not really. A sorcerer can’t fully be drained of their powers, not when they’re born with them that it, because it’s something that runs through the very core of their being. The moment they leave the room their powers return, but the longer they’re in there the slower that happens. I managed to escape with two others, they were killed within seconds,” She explained further.George didn’t know what to say to this news.