These past five days have found the Shambles to be relatively clear and beginning to warm, hinting at the possibility of an early Spring. This is a welcome respite from the short but intense winters normally experienced by those living upon this continent. Nearly everyone is still enduring the heavy winter clothing as protection against the biting cold of the breezes which continue to float around here and there, and which gain some of their chill from lapping at the still frozen earth.
Feeders are just beginning their attempts to turn the soil, with great effort, in anticipation of soon planting the beginnings of their crops. Trees remain skeletal but appear to be awakening from their deep sleep. In only a few short weeks they may once again be donning the beginnings of their Summer finery for display to the birds and insects which managed not only to survive The War, now more than a century past, but to multiply and thrive despite the following long years of bleak landscape. Over the past eighty years a slow but steady return to lush vegetation is occurring after those first decades of damaged earth and fouled air. Time has allowed that fouling to become fertilizer which now causes the land to once again become productive much as it had been several centuries previous to mankind’s hostile attempts at control of the planet’s resources.
As we look over the forests, recently grown, we see bushes and untouched fields soon to again be lush with fruits, vegetables and other vegetation now no longer harvested by mankind but readily available to the wildlife, once again thriving, much to their joy. We may see an occasional deer, fox or other smaller animals visiting in search of early season meals. In the distance there is smoke rising into the generally calm air, occasionally dispelled by a gentle, if cold, breeze. That smoke hinting at human habitation shunned by the animals. The human sounds, also causing alarm and flight of the animals who dare approach too near, present themselves at the edges of this newborn forest.
One of this continent’s largest towns, if one may consider a population of 3,000 to be large, throws out sounds of human voices and laughter unlike that of the denizens of the forests and fields. These sounds soaring up into the air for the birds and flying insects to hear. They in turn pass the information to those of the forests, that they may know to avoid this area claimed by these, the human races.
As we approach closer to the edge of this city, we may hear the sounds of human habitation. Voices, Smithing, Commerce, and eventually metal upon metal leading us to find nearly four dozen young men in the practice of their skills on the training fields of The Scearnvale Academy. Young men grateful to once again be out of doors and in the cool but clearing air. Happy still to be in the sunshine despite their long hours of training and the heavy winter clothing which is restricting their movements.
"Keep your sword up. Battle does not stop because you have a headache," Weapons Master Liam admonishes Andrew, his prize pupil. The young man, as a result of these past 8 years of training, has become proficient both in Tactics and in Combat of all kinds.
"Have you forgotten everything? When I come at you like this, then parry to the left so you have the opportunity to cut past my guard. Watch out for the dagger in my other hand. Remember you have only your sword while I have two weapons. We have missed only three months of practice and you act like a new recruit?"
Andrew, who stands shorter by nearly twenty centimeters than nearly every other senior cadet in training, corrects his maneuvering and manages, somehow, to avoid yet another lump the Weapons Master attempts to administer.
"That was better. More like what I expect from my senior cadets. A few moments ago I would have thought you were a feeder, not a warrior. All right, go get cleaned up and have supper. Rest the remainder of this weekend. We'll continue Monday morning at eight."
Weapons Master Liam smiles as he watches Andrew depart the training field. Young Andrew is, by far, superior in skills and knowledge to any who have previously passed through the Academy. Liam is considering retaining him to teach others and to possibly replace himself as Weapons Master for the Academy when that time comes. The Scearnvale Academy of Weaponry and Tactics is the Premier Combat Training Center of the Continent known as The Shambles, if not the remaining world, and Andrew could be the one to see that it stays that way.
If only his headaches would stop. Liam makes the decision to contact the Sorcerer's League for a healer to come and check Andrew. The headaches are new, having started only a few weeks ago, but now they are something about which Liam must be concerned as they are throwing Andrew badly off his stride.
‘Hopefully the healers may determine the cause and cure the problem. Otherwise, I stand to lose an extremely adept cadet and the Shambles will lose a fine Warrior’, Liam shivers as the breeze rushes past despite the heavy clothing, armor and exertion just completed, 'Must be getting old. I never used to feel the cold like this'.
His attention momentarily touches upon the other young men training around him, correcting one's stance here and the application of skills there before he dismisses them for the day to go clean their weapons and armor and to prepare for supper. Liam shakes his head at the thought of this year's crop of warriors as he also begins his walk back to the Academy buildings and to his office which awaits him with the papers and duties he wishes he could foster off on someone else.
Andrew returns to his room where he strips off his armor and removes his now filthy and sweat soaked winter tunic and trousers, washing himself clean of the layer of perspiration and grime which has coated him.
As he examines the bruises from the training of these past few days, he winces at the thought of the new ones which, despite the protection of the armor and heavy clothing, will join them from the session today. How the Weapons Master may reach past the armor and strike him underneath it is still cause for thought. A few of the Weapons Master's tricks have been learned but even after eight years there are some which continue to remain elusive.
Andrew's thoughts now turn toward the cause of the headaches which at times have nearly blinded him. Visions which have preceded those headaches by mere moments. Visions which last only seconds but allow the headache to remain for many hours or days after that Vision has faded. Finally clean himself, he settles down to clean his armor and prepare his filthy clothing for washing in the Academy’s laundry.
Finally he dresses in clean trousers as he continues to ponder the visions of these past few weeks. Were he ten or twelve years younger these Visions would have meaning, indicating he is to be a Sorcerer. It is those individuals who typically begin to experience their Visions as they approach but 10 to 14 years of age.
Visions which initially take the form of looking through the eyes of another human or animal. Sometime through those of someone of the opposite sex, for this is how those of magical talent first come to know of their soul-mate. A soul-mate is one with whom problems, answers, triumphs, and failures may be shared, although at afar. Seldom does a soul-mate also become the breeding mate. Were this always the case then all the world would soon be Sorcerers and Sorceresses.
While these Visions are appearing very late in his life they must, even so, be reported to the village elders. Anyone to be found to possibly have magical aptitude must be tested by a Sorcerer or a Sorceress, sometimes both. To possibly find such powers so late in his youth is troubling and he wonders if he is simply imagining it all.
Nearly complete in his training as a Warrior, and with only a few short weeks until graduation he will initially be assigned to the fields where the practical application of Liam’s teachings may complete his training. There, the newly graduated Warriors, will continue the tradition of providing protection for the Feeders working the fields, off which everyone lives, from the wild beasts which frequently appear in search of free or easy meals. Perhaps, also, from bandits who seemingly are becoming more bold of late. If, however, these Visions continue then he may now find it necessary to begin training in the use of Magic.
Training with, possibly, another eight years of intensive study.
He is concerned about this for he cannot see what effect this will have upon the careful plans made by both his father and himself. He was to finish this Warrior's training and return home to make preparations for that which they both see coming at them like a runaway avalanche consuming everything unfortunate enough to get in it's path.
As a potential Sorcerer, the control of magic would be of great value, but the cost in time may be too high. He has heard that adept Sorcerers never really finish their training, continuing to collect or create spells and gain knowledge throughout their lives. However, should he be found to be a healer then the training could have great merit and be a welcome pairing with his Warrior’s talents.
He considers also the woman, a glimpse of whom he obtained from the mirror which stood before her during one of the Visions, wondering if she might be shorter than is he. The women of this village are his own height or greater, and the other males his age are nearly 18 cm taller. This has caused him some difficulty through the years, either as the brunt of his friends jokes, or due to the occasional traveler thinking this young Master of Combat to be an easy target for a drunken brawl despite the muscular appearance of his slight body.
Whenever confronted by one who seemingly is looking for an easy target, he usually manages to talk his way out of the situation. His friends also attempt to convince the offender that the idea is a foolish one. Occasionally, it becomes necessary to engage in the humiliating pastime of defense against a drunken fool. This forces him to actually engage in some form of brawl and trounce the instigator. Whenever this occurs, Andrew accomplishes it quickly and without anger, withdrawing the moment the danger is past and without permanently injuring the individual. He has learned enough over these past years that he may incapacitate while leaving the offender mostly intact, an ability greatly appreciated by the Healers, if not the recipient of the actions based upon his skills.
He continues to ponder the meaning behind the Visions and the possibility of now commencing training to become a Sorcerer. Many of the villagers of Scearnvale believe his life originated here, so adapt is he at integrating himself into his surroundings. Scearnvale, which always desires the prestige of producing another with the Magical Talent, will embrace this possibility without too much investigation as to his origins. Perhaps one in a thousand shows the aptitude and only one in ten of those actually survives to completion of their training. Scearnvale proudly boasts seven such. Seven in less than fifteen years who have completed such training and gone on to assignments elsewhere on The Shambles or The Survivor.
Seven! Most ‘cities’ produce but one male or female in a decade. If he also receives and survives such training then they will believe him to be the eighth. This will once again bring Scearnvale to the attention of those who govern this continent fondly known as The Shambles, and possibly endanger his carefully cultivated, but temporary, role of a simple feeder's son.
Sorcerers, Sorceresses and Magic were, prior to The War, severely hidden and diligently written of as mere myth, however they did exist. Magic now, once again, is slowly is coming into it's own. Since so few inhabitants exist, most of the Doctors and other Professionals are gone. Gone with those very large cities which once had dotted the landscape in ever increasing numbers and which vanished in mere moments during The War leaving behind only remnants to remind anyone foolhardy enough to look, that once there had been a large thriving civilization here. Medicines likewise were rapidly consumed leaving no 'modern' assistance available for future difficulties. The businesses which produced those medications gone, like all of the other companies which concentrated around the cities and which required clean air, electricity, and knowledgeable individuals to operate them.
Magic and Herbology continue to find their way to a new prominence as the primary sources of assistance in the maintenance of health and well being. Magic too, has found it's way in replacing some of the conveniences which previously existed and which were so energy consumptive. Energy which had been used without replacement for more than two centuries and which had been approaching an extinction of it's own had not that War interceded.
Indeed, it was energy, or the lack of it, which had finally triggered that long awaited holocaust. A holocaust completed by Nature herself. Awakened by the tremendous energies unleashed due to the weaponry of that War and the century or more of human contamination of the planet, Nature ravaged the lands and seas for more than a year. A year which nearly found the extinction of all living things on the face of the planet.
As the seas calmed and the winds slowed, the skies began to clear of the debris which had been thrown into the air and which became a shroud covering the planet. That debris caused a massive drop in temperatures before beginning to allow them to rise slowly back toward those found many decades earlier. Weather remains yet fickle, with sudden winters or summers occurring much as if someone rapidly builds a large fire and then suddenly throws bucket after bucket of water upon it.
Magic has come, once again, to be the means by which the Human, and other races, survive. While it may not provide all of those conveniences which previously proliferated, it does provide small assistance to everyday life. The constraint being the numbers of individuals who both have the aptitude and the training necessary to use that magic in ways beneficial to those around them, if not to the executor of the Art. While magic was increasing in potency and the number of practitioners of the Art also increased, the remaining stockpiles of chemical fuels continued to slowly deplete. With far fewer users the stockpiles should have lasted decades, however the chemical fuels slowly were breaking down into those unusable for many purposes.
Within eight years those fuels were nearly useless. Magic had not reached sufficient potency to fill the gap so we again lost numbers to illness and poor diet with no means to cultivate or distribute foods in sufficient quantities to everyone in need. It was nearly two decades before magic and the few nuclear batteries and the wind machines, which continued to function, were able to provide sufficient help to halt the losses. The corner was turned, Mankind was once again being provided enough support to ‘flourish’.
Now magic has apparently discovered Andrew. Who, if he does nothing about this unwelcome development, may soon be incapacitated or even killed by that magic. The bright side of this unforseen event may be his ability to control magic as well as possessing the skills of a Warrior. Skills which, due first to the training from his Father and those Tutors hired by him, has now been carefully tuned and shaped by Weapons Master Liam. Thinking of these many years he has been away from his home, he again regrets the loss, however brief in the scheme of things, of the nurturing warmth he had so taken for granted at his childhood home. He badly misses his Father and Mother and, during his initial years here in Scearnvale, he thought he might never see them again.
Reminiscing about home and his mother brings the Visions and the young woman back to mind. There is something slightly familiar about her but he can't quite place it. Shrugging off this strangely haunting memory, he considers the clothes she has worn these nearly dozen times he has seen through her eyes. Fine clothing and too, the rooms he has seen are like those one would expect to find in the home of someone who is highly placed in society's hierarchy of financial manipulators, such as his father has become, or of it's Statesmen. The other person he has occasionally seen through her eyes also reminds him of home.
A decision reluctantly made, Andrew dons a clean tunic, combs his hair and departs his room bound for the Weapons Master's office as he reflects upon the reason Weapons Master Liam himself is training him and of the three cadets he accidentally injured, fortunately not severely, during recent training. Even though the weapons are blunted, an impact may still render some injury as his own body attests to those strikes so recently and accurately placed by the Weapons Master.
In moments he realizes he is standing before that office door, having walked from his room all this way without noticing, his mind deep in concern. The years of walking these halls day in and day out have removed the awe with which he first held them. The many decades of student recruits polishing and cleaning the floors and walls to a lustrous shine eliciting that revered awe from those even newer students, fading away with time to eventually bring an indifference to this previous fascination. The Academy is now much like any other building except it has become home, at least for the present. At the Weapons Master's door he pauses, takes a deep breath, then knocks.
"Enter," a curt command given to any who place their knuckles to this door. Andrew opens the door, enters, and closes it, presenting himself to the Weapons Master awaiting his acknowledgment. The Master looks at him in momentary surprise as though expecting another, then acknowledges his courtesy and questioningly, "Speak."
Andrew summons his courage and begins his tale, "Weapons Master, I think I know why I have been having these headaches."
He begins telling his tale, starting with a few short weeks ago and the subsequent continuation of the Visions and headaches. "The Visions never change except for locale. They always involve the same young woman."
As Andrew continues, Liam's face moves from puzzled concern over the arrival of this cadet to one of careful consideration of the information being presented. Completed, Andrew waits for the Master to digest the information before the onslaught of questions will necessarily begin.
"You are certain of these 'Visions" then?"
"Certain? That is something of which I have given great thought. These Visions are troubling to me."
Elaborating no more than that and allowing Liam to draw his own conclusions as to why they might be troubling. At the next question and thinking to lead Liam down a false trail, Andrew continues, "Her hair is golden and her eyes are green just as are those of most of the women of this village. I know this for I have seen her for a few moments in a mirror which was before her. She appears to be about my age. Her clothes, however, are very fine material with some fur added for warmth. Her companion is a very large upright cat with paws more like hands, and a face more nearly human than cat though still covered in fur. It is wearing a skirt and blouse with a travel pouch and weapons strapped around it's waist. Each time I have had one of these Visions it has been accompanied and followed by one of those severe headaches which have plagued me these past three weeks."
The Master scowls at the mention of a Feline. Few still exist now numbering, perhaps, in the low thousands. The race of Felines were genetically engineered by mixing the DNA characteristics of a Jaguar and that of Human 'donors'. The Race of Humans which occupied the third, now nonexistent, landmass were extremely advanced in the Genetic sciences. Well beyond that of those of any other continent although their advances were unusually provocative, thereby eliciting outcry of many of the peoples of the other continents.
The remaining Felines, who originally were designed as very effective warriors for that Human Race, have now become Mercenaries or Protectors employed on the two surviving landmasses. Few Felines are found in The Shambles as their need for a warmer climate and shorter winter months has naturally caused them to gravitate to The Survivor where they frequently hire out as protectors of family members of prominent individuals.
Family members who might otherwise become victims of those who are seeking the opportunity of rapid increase in wealth, without the requisite expenditure of time or self energy, such that they may pursue some grand agenda of their own without regard for any others. The victims of those kidnapings would likely be killed despite any payment of the required funds. This would occur because the identification of a gentleman bandit by someone who is dead is extremely unlikely to occur. Liam considers all he has been told and his eyes turn reflective as he considers, too, the loss of his prize pupil to the Sorcerer’s Guild.
"Very well. You are to halt all practice and studies until you may be tested. I shall notify the Elders and Sorcerers immediately and request the test. You say the Visions have been clear and the woman was aware of your presence?"
"Yes, Master. She seemed aware of me, turning her eyes around the room as if to allow me to see everything."
The Weapons Master's eyebrows rise then fall as he muses this answer.
"Did either of you speak? Did you tell her anything? Anything!"
"No, Master. The few times I actually managed control she would look at something which would cause me surprise and I would lose concentration. The Vision would then fade."
"Good. Hold yourself ready that at any time you may be tested. Dismissed."
"Yes, Weapons Master."
Andrew provides the courtesies required of even a senior cadet and departs the office as the Master rings a small bell, summoning a new recruit to his office. This, presumably, to send a message. Andrew's thoughts turn inward and he begins to ponder both the woman and her companion. I wonder who she is? The feeling of slight recognition still haunting him but elusively floating past before he may grasp it. As the range of such a gift is known to be low, perhaps a few kilometers, she must be somewhere nearby.
That would mean she is likely the daughter of one of the Statesmen who reside near the capitol of The Shambles, located only five kilometers distant. I may have seen her sometime in town. This strange and unintended contact is remarkable as most never find their soul-mate due to the short range offered by such Visions. The longest distance of which anyone has made mention, in awe of the feat, has remained less than twenty kilometers with most in the low to mid single digits.
If no soul-mate is encountered then the Visions seem to turn more to the surroundings, sometimes flickering through friends or animals. The more powerful purveyors of magic have found their soul-mate. It is this link which somehow allows greater resources from which each of them may draw when performing their magic. Just how this is so no one has explained, although perhaps those who train in the magical Arts may know.
Such Visions, even for one who is trained, seldom have much clarity being described by most as seen through a haze or fog. Without training they seldom occur with precision, frequently flitting about from one to another as the young Sorcerer, or Sorceress, finds their mind looking out from different eyes. Andrew, therefore, wonders at the possibility that he has had nearly a dozen Visions through the eyes of the same woman and, as yet, from no others. The Visions have been short, usually less than five seconds, no more than thirty, but extremely clear.
Of late, they have been lasting longer and longer with the longest being nearly thirty seconds, the one time he was able to hold his concentration before being distracted. Now the woman also becomes aware of him, almost instantly, whenever the Visions occur. She seems to welcome them and appears to be trying to help hold the link.
Finally noticing a rumbling sound he first casts about looking for it's source and then decides it is his stomach reminding him it is nearly supper. Subconsciously he has been walking in the direction of the meal hall and he spies some of his friends who are about to enter. Andrew joins them adding his voice to their discussions of their various exploits and the bruises acquired that day on the training grounds due to errors in their performances.
"You seem to have received more than your usual share of lumps at the hands of the Weapons Master today. Finally found a pretty girl to distract you?"
The others laughing at the question, for they know he has had little to do with the girls of the village. They often joke about this, ‘Andrew is a confirmed Bachelor, he is petrified a woman might speak to him’.
"Indeed. Yes, I have." he replies to the surprise and varied responses of his friends.
"It's about time."
"You? Never! Are you going to invite her to tomorrow's Music festival?"
"Who is she?"
"When did you meet her?"
"I hope it isn't my Fran with whom you are taken."
Accepting the good natured jibes, Andrew pauses a moment and then smiles, "No. It isn't Fran. I don't know her name. I haven't met her, just seen her in passing."
"Ah, love at first sight," the romantic of the group exhales, "that is best way. I know."
The others of the group all laugh at his statement, poking fun, for the young romantic has been 'in love' now with nearly half the young women of the nearby village. Some day one of them will captivate him completely and then he will learn what love is all about. Until then, the company of a young woman at his arm as he goes about town is the extent of the 'love' he is experiencing.
From another, "Andrew when will you learn you must first speak with a woman if you want meet her?"
This decidedly new and adventurous topic continues to be followed during the supper hour. Andrew is besieged with questions and comments throughout the meal. Finishing supper they invite him to go share a pint of brew in town but he declines with thanks, returning to the seclusion of his quarters. As a senior cadet, in his eighth year, he has quarters which he need not share so there he may find some peace. Peace, if the Visions do not return as he attempts to rest.
Sometime during the night he suddenly awakens. His mental clock telling him it is still evening, although past dusk. Again he is experiencing a Vision of a room occupied by that young woman. Her companion sitting at the table which appears to be just before him. An increase to the severity of his headache just beginning make itself known. She is looking at the Feline even as he, mere moments later, hears, "Who are you?"
The words which appear to be spoken in his room as though she is standing next to him asking the question, cause him to jerk around looking for her. Her voice a melody of sound invoking in him the desire that the room might not be empty and she may be there with him so they may talk, thus allowing hin to continue to hear her voice. He imagines he may smell her perfume and the candles which fill her room. For a Vision to be accompanied by sound is amazing enough but to be able to smell that which is around her causes him to again doubt the validity of the Visions were it not for the splitting headaches which accompany them. Another, more sinister thought surfaces. 'What if I'm going mad?'
Thinking back to all of the things he has heard about these Visions, he does not remember any mention of sound or smell being a part. But then he recalls Master Liam's question, 'Did either of you speak?' That tells him sound may be a part of the Vision. Possibly then, smell may also.
Once again, his attempt at concentration has been broken. Her question surprising him and causing him to direct his thoughts in a different direction rather than attempting to hold that tenuous link. His already splitting headache now doubling in intensity and nearly blinding him as he attempts concentration of something, anything, which will distract him and allow him to drop into a fitful sleep.
A knock at his door interrupts his dreaming. Trying to decide if he heard the knock, or if it was a part of his dream, the decision is made for him as another knock occurs. The window remains dark, offering no clue to the hour.
A new recruit carrying a candle lantern opens the door providing the courtesies to which he, as a senior cadet, is due. The recruit then conveys with some curiosity, "The Weapons Master and Sorcerer Gabriel request your immediate presence at the Master's office."
The time has come, and his heart is in his throat but, "Please tell them I shall be there within a few minutes."
Again the necessary courtesies occur before the recruit rushes off to deliver his answer. Andrew's thoughts slowly collect themselves as he again dons the clean tunic preparing to leave his room. Strange thoughts pounding through his head as he attempts to make sense of the impressions he has noted each time the Visions have occurred. It is almost like walking down a road unraveling many balls of twine while simultaneously winding in others. Twine which is fastened to that woman's power at her end and somehow attached to his unsuspected power. The twine never runs out and he has noticed too, other lines attached to things with which he is familiar. As he moves from one place to another, he allows many rolls to unwind while tightening others as the objects, people and animals to which they are attached approach, only to unroll again as they retreat from him. Shaking himself fully awake, Andrew pulls on his boots then leaves his room in search of that elusive answer to the question, 'Who, and what am I to be?'
The hour is unusual, as is the speed with which a Sorcerer has responded. Further, Sorcerer Gabriel is the head of the Sorcerer's League and, while it is not unusual for him to respond, his presence portends some as yet unknown circumstance, giving Andrew more pause for thought. Andrew recalls a number of others who have gone through the testing and seldom has there been less than two or three days between the request and the arrival of either a Sorcerer or Sorceress to perform same. Then again, it may simply be that Sorcerer Gabriel was free at the moment and decided to pursue this possibility of a new Sorcerer himself.
Minutes later Andrew is standing outside the Weapons Master's door.
Before he may knock, the door is opened by Sorcerer Gabriel, "Enter."
Reporting mechanically to the Master, he relates this most recent encounter with the lady. Instructions follow, and he is told to accompany the Sorcerer to a room which has been prepared for the testing. The Sorcerer leads the way in silence and Andrew follows with numerous questions beginning to form next to or in spite of his headache. Once in the room Gabriel wards the entire room; floor, walls, doors, windows and ceiling. The candles on the table and in the sconces on the walls suddenly extinguish as a blue haze begins to form over the table slowly brightening until the entire room is bathed in the pale blue haze and shadows flee.
"Sit on the chair."
Andrew complies still uncertain of what to expect as no one other than those immediately involved ever have known what events are involved in a testing.
"Look at me. Concentrate on only me and look nowhere else for any reason. Whatever occurs here, you are safe so long as you concentrate only on me and you remain seated. Do you understand?"
"Yes, I am..."
"Silence. Answer Yes, or answer No, but do not provide explanations, nor questions. Do you understand these instructions?"
"Yes," somewhat angrily at being treated like a four year old.
Gabriel continues his muttered chanting and 'things' begin to become visible in the haze. Concentrating upon Gabriel is quite difficult as these 'things' fly across Andrew's vision and brush up against him. Slowly he finds himself concentrating solely upon Gabriel's face and those things become less and less discernable. Suddenly the Vision is present again. Again of the room previously seen, but without the Feline anywhere noticeable. The woman’s gaze slowly turns to rest once again upon the unbroken mirror standing full length before her.
"Does my appearance please you?"
The question floats in the air just as though she is present in the room. Immediately the haze vanishes, the candles light and the Sorcerer staggers. At the same time Andrew falls out of the chair, unconscious. A few minutes later he is once again awake with the Sorcerer assisting him.
"Do not speak. Follow my directions implicitly. I am going to summon others to assist so I shall depart the room for a few minutes. Do NOT for any reason depart this room. NOT for ANY reason. Do you understand?"
"No. What is happening? Why am I to remain here? What if there is a fire or other problem? I cannot just stay here."
"Silence! You will remain here on pain of death by magic. After I depart the room it will be sealed. You shall be completely safe here and my colleagues shall arrive within the hour. Your test is only just beginning. We shall continue it upon their arrival. Speak with no one, not even the woman in the Vision. If a Vision appears again, break away from it. Do you understand? Yes or No."
Angry, Andrew is about to give a portion of his mind to this Sorcerer, Gabriel or not. Just as he opens his mouth to speak, Gabriel raises his hand and more gently, "Do not be worried. You have done nothing. The Vision is unusual, especially so, since you may project it and it may be accompanied by audible words and scents. I need others to help me contain this should that individual be a powerful Sorceress. I do not yet know if you have the gift or if she is simply projecting upon you. Be at ease. We shall find out more before the night is out. Meanwhile this small spell shall help relieve your headaches."
He passes his hand across Andrew’s eyes as Andrew then sags in relief. For the first time in many days he feels he could sleep without pain as he begins to relax before slumping in the chair, asleep.
When he again awakens, he find himself alone in the room and the headache gone. Within moments six individuals walk into the room, each attired in the robes of a Sorcerer or a Sorceress. Three each, male and female including Gabriel, who guides them to specific locations surrounding him at the chair. Again, he gives instructions to watch his face and only his face as the candles abruptly go out, the blue haze replaced by a red one. Testing began anew.
" ‘Who am I?’ Alex, are you addled? OH! Is it that Sorcerer again?"
SaVannah instantly switched to high alert and while interested in this continuing contact is concerned as well for her friend and charge. The concern is due to her frustrated inability to protect Alexandra from a Vision despite all her Warrior’s training and the centuries of hunting and fighting bred into her through the blood of her varied ancestors. Blood counts for a lot in her race. The inability to act becoming ever more frustrating to her despite finding herself standing within arm’s distance of her Human friend. Missii makes herself a promise that if this Sorcerer manages to harm Alexandra in any way, somehow she will find a way to make her anger of his actions known to him. He will find this Feline to be more than he could ever think of handling. She considers her possible actions and is determined she will make him regret any harmful actions he might take over many days tearful contemplation of same.
Even as Missii is considering all this, Alexandra nods her answer to the question posed even as she continues her concentration, attempting first to help hold and then to regain that fleeting connection with the unknown male who repeatedly has reached out to her. She continues casting her thoughts about the area, frowning as the connection is lost despite her best efforts to hold it. Again, as in each time over these past three weeks, she is unable to locate any trace of him once the link is closed bringing her own frustration, once again, to the surface.
“Each time it seems his concentration wanders and the link becomes unimportant. What could be more important than finding your soul-mate?”
Alexandra has, fortunately, long since sought relief from these new headaches which, while greatly reduced from those of the first manifestation of magical ability, have resulted from this contact. Once that relief had been achieved shortly after the first vision she has not been plagued by that detrimental aspect of these contacts. The only difficulty now is her frustration at the Sister’s inability to quickly locate the young Sorcerer who apparently is to be her-soul mate. The individual reaching out to her is male of course, that is beyond question. She is not aware of how she knows his gender but she is certain of it.
"Yes,” she finally answers still halfheartedly searching, “he is gone now. He must be a very powerful Sorcerer for the Visions to have such clarity. I also know he must be somewhere nearby for such Visions have very limited range. The furthest anyone remembers is less than ten kilometers although there have been unconfirmed reports of distances up to nearly twenty. Perhaps he lives in the city."
Again she casts out to try to find the source of these Visions. That she had never found her soul-mate before beginning her training had resigned her to the probability that no matter her skill, she would never have that additional power which comes from the pairing and thus her actions would never reach the potential they might. Now the possibility finally is presenting itself in a most unusual way.
While excited at the chance of producing a sustained connection and the many new doors it could open in her training and subsequent power, she is also apprehensive that this male may be many years her junior. This would mean he will benefit far more than she from the pairing. Unable to find the flavor of that contact anywhere nearby she is puzzled and concerned. She continues to muse over all she has perceived in these brief contacts with the elusive male. Also of concern is the strange difficulty that he is not a student at the Sorcerer’s Hall in Percoin. That was the first place the Sisterhood checked. Could it be he is more powerful than most and therefore has a greater range? That would explain her inability to find him after a contact but... That is so near unlikely as to be absurd. How could a new practitioner be so powerful as to be able to outdistance one who has had years of training?
"I am unable to locate him. How may he hide like this? There must be a way to hold this link, if I but had more power I could do much more to prevent it from closing. We must be at the very edge of his range. I cannot believe he has enough power to reach me and yet he might be beyond my own."
SaVannah listens as Alexandra talks out her frustration. She has become accustomed to the tendency of Alexandra to talk things out, rather than the ways of most Sorceresses who seemingly reflect inwardly.
"I know the following things, just how this may be I am as yet uncertain. First, he is male. Second, he is a Sorcerer of some power. He is young, perhaps my age or, hopefully, slightly older. I think he is my height, I have had nothing against which to compare him but I have received that impression from him. He is muscular but not muscle-bound for I have seen his arms, and he seems kind and shy. I wish he would look into a mirror then I would know what he looks like. He seems confident of himself, perhaps too much so, like he may protect himself without needing to consciously think about it."
"Alex, are you falling in love?" SaVannah reprimands her, "You know your father has plans for you, else why would he have hired me as protector for you?"
"Oh Missii, must you always remind me of that? We have become friends and that is how I wish to remember us, not that you are some hired Soldier of Fortune or Warrior."
"I know we are friends. A truer friend or ‘sister’ a Feline never had. But the fact remains, I am your hired protector."
"Well, don’t protect me from love, figurative or literal. I have no intention of following the footsteps my Father wishes to dictate."
They both smile and continue their discussion eventually lapsing into the subject of males in general, the likelihood of either of them ever finding one who might meet with the fantasized requirements each of them has evolved over their few years together. These fantasies have been drawn out occasionally going so far as to include the hair and eye colour of the potential males of their dreams. Missii has even decided the degree of the training and prowess the male she will consider as a mate must have completed. Of course, if he is handsome then it is an added bonus which she hopes to attain. Perhaps someone with golden fur like hers.
At some point in their reverie a liveried servant knocks at the door then, at Alexandra’s command, enters the room bidding on the behalf of her father for her to come down to the study for a few moments. She turns her head toward SaVannah rolling her eyes upward as they both smile conspiratorially before they go down together to see what mischief her Father has been up to this day.
As they approach the study they note a woman is present within. Alexandra reaches out her mind to find she recognizes the woman as a Sister who has provided training to her several years in the past. Alexandra’s talents have refined, in most ways, well beyond those of this Sister. At only twenty-one, Alexandra is nearly twice as far along in the training as any of those who have sought it at the same time. She has even surpassed that of many who began their training quite a few years prior to the start of her own. Alexandra has found that she excels at virtually anything she sets her mind to.
"Good evening, Alexandra. It is good to see you once again. How are your lessons going?"
"Quite well, Sister Ashley. Thank you for inquiring. My final tests occur these next three weeks. After that it is up to me to find my own path. For some reason, however, I don’t believe that is why you are here. What may I offer?"
Sister Ashley smiles as she remembers the intensity and directness Alexandra exhibited while training under her care. An intensity and longing for the purity of the knowledge of Magic and of the need to fill her life with something that would give her a sense of self purpose.
"I am here representing the Sisterhood, of course. We have been unable to locate this Sorcerer of your Visions. I would again hear more of your Visions that we might again redirect our efforts. Have you attempted to reach out and find this male who has contacted you? Has he contacted you again? Are you able to perceive a direction from which he may be reaching you? Perhaps the architecture of the building may lend us a clue to his location."
"I have tried to reach him many times, but each time I do it his presence is not detected. It is almost as though he contacts me as he knows he is going beyond the range such a link may be maintained. Or, perhaps he is beyond my ability to reach him. I continue to believe him to be about my age and the Visions remain clear as crystal indicating, strangely, that he must be highly placed in his training. I received that contact again just minutes ago while up in my rooms. I asked him who he is but the contact broke again before I received a reply. I think my question startled him."
Her father produces a slight scowl at the reminder of the gender of the individual contacting his daughter. His inability to do anything to prevent it also aggravates and worries him. The scowl deepens as he gives the matter more thought while the Sister continues her discussion with his only child.
"Alexandra, the next time it occurs, insist that he look into a mirror and tell you his name. We should like to find him. If he is nearing the end of his training the two of you could benefit from a more constant link and, thereby, increase your power in your skills many fold."
"I know Sister, I have given this a great deal of thought during the past week. He seems almost shy. As if he is uncertain of himself around a woman. What is strange is my impression that he is North of us rather than West into the city."
"North? There is little North of us for a hundred kilometers or more. That is unlikely. The range of such a Vision especially in these first contacts, however much training one has had, seldom reaches beyond ten kilometers. The furthest recorded contact has been only eighteen, quite insufficient to reach any of our Northern cities.” She pauses to consider, “We shall intensify our search in that direction but I think it to be more likely we shall find him in the city itself West of here. If you are able to obtain any other information please contact us immediately that we might pursue it. Thank-you for seeing me. Statesman Beaumont thank-you for your hospitality and for allowing me to speak with your daughter. I shall return now to redirect our efforts to find this Sorcerer."
"A pleasure, Sister. Feel free to come again. I shall be pleased to find an end to this mystery."
The Sister gives him an amused look, "The end is yet many years away. What we seek... is the beginning." Giving a small dip of her head to him by way of courtesy she turns and walks to the scanner alcove despite it’s inability to be used due to the lack of energy to operate it. Once in the alcove she makes a small motion with her hand and vanishes.
Jason Beaumont turns to his daughter, "What did she mean by that?" he commands.
"Simply that the purpose of finding this Sorcerer may be that he and I may spend a great deal of time studying together thus more rapidly improving our skills and power in the Magical Arts."
"I have never liked this course of study for you." he complains, "I have a path for you to follow and it does not include that sleight of hand practiced by these Witches."
"We are hardly Witches, Father," with a slight upward motion of her hand, "We have powers which once fully trained are equal to any Warrior on the Battlefield."
She dramatically drops her hand and every fire in the room goes out, Candles, fireplace and lantern, cold as though never lighted. The bricks in the fireplace cold as well. The temperature in the room also drops instantly to well below the warming winter temperatures found outside the house. She turns and departs the room, rapidly followed by SaVannah who is suddenly shivering.
Her father scowling at this demonstration of her power, watches the trailing flow of her skirts. The frost created in the air as he exhales and the bitter bite as he inhales the cold air attesting to the power she commands. His scowl shifting to resignation as he shrugs his shoulders in his defeat by a daughter he loves more than a son. A daughter who helped him retain his sanity after the death of his wife at the hands of bandits. Bandits who were wiped out to a man by the small army of Felines he hired to avenge her.
Alexandra, while understanding and commanding well the tasks of a woman in a household, and keeping this home running smoothly so he need give it little thought, also pursues many avenues usually only tasked to males. She has received weapons training, which she absorbed with a relish rapidly advancing in her abilities and quickly reaching a level that few males have completed. She also may ride astride a horse with complete control, again surpassing most males in the ability. She is adept in her studies of the Magical Arts advancing rapidly beyond most others. It is this which most infuriates him, if he may be angry with a daughter who is so devoted to helping and protecting him.
"At least allow me my heat, my daughter," he says into the empty room.
The fireplace roars back into full flame as though never halted. Heat once again radiating from the bricks as though nothing had happened, penetrating to a small degree into the now chill room. Plucking a small twig from the carrier, he ignites it in the fire then goes about relighting the candles and reading lantern. The chill of the room beginning to slowly rise toward that of the frigid night air outside the home so typical of the short winters approaching spring experienced here.
He returns to stand before the fire as the cold air nearest the fireplace becomes almost comfortable again and the room begins to slowly warm toward it’s previously comfortable condition. He considers placing a warm cloak about him as he rubs his hands together before the fire while waiting for the heat to bring the room back to a tolerable level. Finally he reaches out for the book he was studying and turns to allow the light of the fireplace to illuminate it as are the candles and lantern nearby.
Back in her room, Alexandra takes pity on her father and over several minutes slowly raises the temperature of his room back to that more tolerable level. She then touches upon him to determine if the brief period may have caused in him some possibility of illness that she might whisk it away before it can gain foothold. She loves him very much despite his difficulty with her choice of roads to follow.
"I shall never allow him to marry me off to that idiot he has chosen for me." An unusual response for her.
Just then she recoils in shock as she feels that Sorcerer again reaching out to her. The image she is receiving is that of a man surrounded by a blue haze. A man who she is certain is not the one linking to her but someone who is observing. Slowly she turns, gazing past SaVannah and around the room until her eyes rest upon the mirror two meters away.
"Does my appearance please you?"
She is about to ask him to look in a mirror so she may see his appearance but the contract is, once again, broken. This time it is so abrupt that the recoil of the energies involved throw her to the floor, a brief and muted scream escapes her lips at the shock of the event. SaVannah is at her side in an instant, helping her to regain her feet. Alexandra shakes her head regaining her balance now that the energy flux has subsided.
Piqued, "Well! That was not very polite of him."
"Alex, what did he do? Are you all right? Do you need the servants or your Father?"
"I’m fine Missii. Thank-you. Just the recoil of the sudden loss of energy contact but still... unnecessary. That contact was very strange. I had this image of a face shrouded in blue mist. He was there, but the face I believe was someone else. I am now even more certain he is to the North. Well, enough of this, I think I shall make ready for bed and consider it further in the morning. I have tests to complete on the morrow."
Less than two hours later her barely acquired sleep is interrupted as that elusive contact with the young man once again intrudes upon her. This time she carefully keeps her eyes directed at the foot of her bed while attempting to communicate with him.
"You owe me an apology! That was very rude of you to break the contact and throw me to the floor like that. Why do you continue to contact me if you do not wish to try to communicate?"
She senses the male is startled at her comment and again she sees that face, which is not his, shrouded this time in red mist.
"Go on, speak with her." the face says, "She may hear you just as we hear her. The additional spells attached to your own will help hold the link."
‘They’ may hear me? He must be a very powerful Sorcerer.
"I, What should I say?" His voice is young but mature. She smiles, now certain he is shy.
"Why don’t you tell me your name? Mine is Alexandra."
"I... I am Andrew. You are very beautiful. I saw you in the mirror."
She smiles, "Thank you. Do you have a mirror? I would like to see you also."
His eyes sweep across the room, "Uh – No, there is no mirror in this room. I know how I look, maybe you might be able to see that if I imagine it?"
"I don’t know. I have linked before, but never like this. Your contacts are very different. May I know which city you are from? The Sisterhood is trying to find you so we may study together."
"May I tell her?" He obviously is asking the face in the mist.
"Who is he? That face at which you are looking?"
"Sorcerer Gabriel. He is here to help my headaches and to test me."
Gabriel attempts too late to tell Andrew to reveal nothing.
"Test you?!" dismayed at the now near certainty he is half her age, "You are not yet in training?! How are you able to reach out so well contacting me with obviously so much power when you have had no training? Here I am nearly twenty-one and you are just a boy?!"
Indignant, Andrew cannot allow her challenge to go unanswered, "I am hardly a boy; I am twnety-two and have just completed, well nearly, my training as a Warrior. I only began having these Visions and headaches a few weeks ago."
He is my age! Warrior training? Then he IS to the West.
"So you are in Percoin? I could swear my senses say you are North of me."
"Percoin? No. I am in Scearnvale of The Shambles."
Again Gabriel is unable to prevent Andrew from providing information which might be more valuable to hold back.
"The SHAMBLES? All right, whoever you are, stop this joke. No one may Vision that far. Have you friends there helping you to reach out further than I so I cannot find you when the link is broken? I don’t appreciate the joke. I was beginning to like you, but now you tell me lies. The Shambles indeed."
She attempts to sever the link but fails. This surprises her as few young purveyors of Magic may accomplish this, "What are you doing? Why can’t I sever the link?"
"Milady," says the disembodied face, "a moment please. Our additional spells are momentarily preventing the dissolution of the link. Would you be so kind as to allow me to explain? Then should you desire to break the link we will allow it."
Alexandra while only slightly angry at the possibility of a joke, by now is furious. SaVannah has heard her talking and enters Alexandra’s room going over to sit on the bed beside her while looking at the face in the mist and listening to the conversation. "All right, go ahead, but don’t think I won’t report this to the Sisterhood."
"The Sisterhood knows," a woman’s voice penetrates the mist. "You said the city of Percoin is nearby? That means you live in the Southern reaches of The Survivor?"
"Obviously. As you all well know," the anger beginning to turn to confusion at hearing the woman’s voice.
"My dear, this is unheard of. We are WELL North of you. We are in The Shambles, near to it’s heart. This young man has been reaching out across that distance without assistance from any other. This warrants far greater examination. My dear, I shall message the Sisterhood in Percoin and ask them to contact you. Are you receiving training from them?"
Now more calm and becoming interested both in the possibility of training with someone who is possibly the most powerful Sorcerer in the world, and the knowledge that the Sisterhood is also represented,
"Yes, I began my training when I was but eight. I am now about to graduate at level twenty."
"Level twenty? And you are... twenty one now, I believe you said?"
"That is correct. Next month. Why"
"Gabriel, we have two who are unbelievably gifted. At all this distance, and a projection at this end as well. My dear, we sense someone there with you. Are they able to see and hear our end of the conversation as we may see and hear yours?"
"I don’t know, just a moment. Missii, have you been able to hear them, may you see them?"
"I hear them, but I cannot see them for the red mist. Just that one face."
"Gabriel this is astounding. We must bring these two young people together to allow them to study."
"Yes, Kaitlyn, I agree. Alexandra, I believe you said your name is Alexandra, thank-you for allowing us this intrusion. We shall contact you through the Percoin Sisterhood. You may break the contact now if you so wish, we are going to leave and discuss this."
"No! Wait! I want to talk with her for a minute. Alexandra I am thinking of my appearance, are you able to see me?"
"No, Not clearly, it is shimmering too badly and like looking through a thick fog. You need a mirror, that which I see through your eyes is like crystal. Will you contact me again, Andrew?"
"I suppose so."
He supposes? "That is a strange answer."
"I... I have great difficulty attempting to control this gift. It has a mind of it’s own."
"But to reach out so far and have no control?"
"I’m sorry Milady. I have received no training as yet. As I said before, I am a Warrior. These Visions have only just begun to occur."
"Andrew. Andrew you are fading." He is gone. He is not a Sorcerer? He still seems shy, I didn’t imagine it. "Well Missii, what do you think?"
"I think it is as I said earlier. You are in love."
"Not that! I mean about reaching out so far to me here and not being a trained Sorcerer."
"I think nothing about it. He must be a Sorcerer to have the gift and even those with him seemed surprised at the distance. I know little of the ways of Magic so I have nothing against which to compare. I do know the heart, however, since I have one also. You are in love and you know nothing of him, not his appearance, nor his attitudes. You don’t even know if he may breed well."
"Missii!" shocked and blushing at the remark given to her by her friend. In less than a minute that elusive contact is again brushing softly against her, ... "Alexa.." ... "Alexandra?" ... "Alexandra."
"Alexandra, I’m trying... e the gift. I’m sorry I’m not good at this. Can you see?"
"It, It’s hazy. Concentrate, concentrate on me and I shall concentrate on you. There, it is becoming... OH. Is that you?"
"I found a mirror. Can you see me?"
"Yes! You are handsome."
"Andrew. Andrew you are fading again. Andrew!" she is concentrating to the North attempting to hold the contact which slips away once again. "Well, that was interesting." Alexandra smiles as she gazes out the window at the stars and moon. Barely able to make out the trees and shrubs which are beginning to show hints of Spring despite the cooler temperatures.
Thinking of the effort Andrew just made to reach her, "For one who has no control of his gifts he is certainly making the most of them. He IS shy. Telling him he is handsome caused him to lose control. This training may prove interesting, despite his problems with control. Perhaps he may show me how to reach out so far and then I may surprise him once in a while."
"Well, I don’t think your Father will be pleased with all this." SaVannah brings Alexandra, blushing, back to the room from her momentary daydream of a handsome young Sorcerer to be.
"I won’t be pleased about what? Alexandra, at whom were you shouting? It sounded like you were calling a man’s name."
"Father, I’m so glad you’re here. I just met my soul-mate. It’s all right, we were chaperoned by Missii and several Sorcerers and Sisters of Magic. The one Sorcerer was Gabriel himself."
"You’re joking, Gabriel? I thought he had returned to The Shambles. Missii is this true?"
"Yes, Statesman. They were all there. The Sisterhood of Percoin will undoubtedly be contacting you concerning this. Your daughter apparently has a very rare gift."
A knock at the outer door of her suite of rooms has Alexandra grabbing for the covers of her bed, pulling them up to cover her nightgown. SaVannah dashes back to her room. As this occurs her Father, unthinking, bids to whomever it might be, "Enter."
One of the servants comes into the outer room so far as to be near to the door of her bedroom and informs them that several Sisters are awaiting them downstairs.
"That was certainly quick of them. They must have given a message to Percoin even as we were communicating in the Vision," Alexandra tells her Father who, startled, looks at her face and for the first time begins to contemplate losing his daughter to the needs of his country. He feels a pain of loss even before knowing it might occur. SaVannah returns now in a top and skirt then she stands next to Statesman Beaumont.
Slowly he reaches out caressing his daughter’s face, "You remind me a lot of your Mother. She too had green eyes and golden hair. Long ago I bought her from a trader who obtained her as an indentured servant in The Shambles. I was so taken with her that we married. A choice I never regretted."
Tears slowly finding their way to his eyes at the memory of someone lost too soon. Glancing over, he notices a melancholy look upon SaVannah’s face and reaches out placing his arm around her shoulders, "Of course, if Missii here had been around and my age, it might have been quite a difficult choice."
The young Feline has become over the last five years as much a daughter to him as is Alexandra. The two women both develop smiles and begin laughing softly, Alexandra at the actual tenderness so frequently exhibited by her Father and SaVannah at the possibility that she herself might some day find the happiness of being a loved wife, raising a pride of children. Jason Beaumont takes a deep breath releasing a sigh, "Get dressed for travel, daughters. Somehow I don’t think this is just a social call."
He takes one more look at his daughter’s face and turns, walking out of the room to go down to his study to receive the Sisters.
"Greetings Statesman Beaumont. We hope you are of good health."
"Greetings Sisters. I take it you are here to remove Alexandra to the Sisterhood’s Conclave in Percoin?"
"That is true. We have been notified of the discovery of your daughter’s soul-mate and additional training must occur under our close supervision that their powers may increase many fold. Would you ask her to make ready to journey?"
"She is preparing now Sisters. Her protector, a Feline, must go with her."
The Sisters look at each other in surprise and quickly decide to contact the Sisterhood telling them to make ready a second room next to the one Alexandra will occupy. Statesman Beaumont offers refreshments which the Sisters decline.
"Alexandra is unlikely to be ready to travel for perhaps an hour. Would you care to wait or should she contact you when she is ready to depart?"
Musing this, the Sisters decide they will return in an hour and together they walk over to the decades unuseable scanner in it’s alcove where they vanish returning to their Conclave.
Statesman Beaumont turns and goes to his study where he pours himself a brandy. While he seldom indulges, and has but few bottles remaining, he has need of the mind deadening effect which may help him survive the contemplation of the loss of his daughter.
He sits and muses over the strange turns life may take and of the thought that perhaps the young Sorcerer may become more than Alexandra’s soul-mate.
"I hope he is of a good House and not some illiterate fool. Alexandra deserves fine things," crying into his half finished glass.
© 2010 by Rénae Dúmas. This work may not be replicated or presented in whole or in part by any means electronic or otherwise without the express consent of the work’s Owner (copyright holder), with the exception of the private and non-commercial viewing by the reader who is also the end purchaser. ALL Rights Reserved, including but not limited to ownership of Characters, final content decision, and more. This is a work of Fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this story are fictional and any resemblance to real people or incidents past, present or future is purely coincidental. Any and all images which may be shown within this work are taken through license under Corel. Sketches by be provided for the work by Terry Volkirch. No affiliations, involvement or gender assignations through the use of these or any images of the subjects contained within those posted images is to be implied, intended or inferred
An Aldoennetti Original.
Previously Posted Chapter Two Comments:
My only regrets
Submitted by Faraway on Sun, 2010/01/31 - 3:44am.
Are that I did not read the story earlier when it was being posted, and that comments from that time are missing.
On rights of free advertisement:
Big Closet Top Shelf
Where you can fool around like you want to and most you get is some bemused good ribbing!
Submitted by terrynaut on Mon, 2010/02/01 - 3:16am.
Earlier comments are missing? That's a shame. I'll just have to leave more.
I really enjoyed this story. It was so different from anything I've read before. I like variety. The background and settings seemed so real, even with magic. Teddi had a way of making magic seem plausible.
I hope more people can get into this story and appreciate Teddi's wonderful imagination.
Thanks again to Renae for posting this.
Tranquility-Sorcerer/ Sorceress C-02-37
Submitted by stanman63 on Mon, 2010/03/22 - 10:13am.
Is just a good a story as Air Force Sweetheart, and My Fair Lady.
May Your Light Forever Shine
Lo and Behold
Submitted by terrynaut on Thu, 2008/12/04 - 11:29am.
Two soul-mates meet in the mist of the mind. It sounds romantic. *sigh*
They both already have much in common. I look forward to seeing their relationship and magic blossom. :)
Thanks and please keep posting.
Submitted by Maggie_Finson on Fri, 2008/12/05 - 3:54am.
you decided to keep posting this one here. There are more than a few non-TG stories on the site from authors people like to read.
Though I may get impatient here and go to Fictioneer to read all that you have about these two. It's irresistible! Two people -- far apart in distance, close in mind and soul, and the possibilities when the pair really manage to connect on a more permanent basis boggle my mind.
Thank you for this one, it is starting out like one I'd read in one sitting if I didn't fall asleep reading it.
Submitted by stanman63 on Mon, 2008/12/08 - 4:57am.
Is a very well crafted story. You have me waiting to see what happens next.
May Your Light Forever Shine
Thank you for continuing this
Submitted by J-Lynn on Sat, 2008/12/20 - 1:56am.
story. It is a most interesting read and as a SCI-FI and Fantasy fan, along with Romance novels, I am enjoying it a lot.
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