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Copyright© 2017 by Jon Franklyn; First edition 2017

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ISBN 978-0-9994505-1-2

Written by Jon Franklyn



Editing and Interior Design by Nita Robinson, Nita Helping Hand? www.NitaHelpingHand.com

Exterior Design and Marketing by Kent Garland


Be sure to read Chapter 1 of Book II at the end of this book – you don’t want to miss what’s coming in Book II, being released April 2018!


I would like to express my gratitude to the many people who willingly gave their support as I wrote this book. To those who tirelessly talked things over, read, wrote, offered comments, allowed me to pester them about ideas, and especially those that freely gave their opinions and assisted in the editing, proofreading and design. There are too many to list them all… just remember that I appreciate all you did.

To Nita Robinson of Nita Helping Hand? who can be reached at Nita@NitaHelpingHand.com, for the many hours she labored to put the final touches on the manuscript and design of the book. She took my story and helped me make it into a book that I am proud to share with you.

To Kent Garland at Kent@GoMarketingUSA.com for his support, ideas, designs, website, social media, and commitment to this project’s success.

Without these two individuals, you may never have had the opportunity to read this book.

Finally, I would like to thank Julie. Without her love, support and faith in me, I would not have had the courage to move forward. I would get all gushy here, but it would only embarrass her – so it is best to say that she is the light in my life that I write by.

To write any more would just take time away from you starting to read the first book in this series.

I hope you ENJOY!!!!

About the Land of Carbynarah

Arutras: (Ar-u-tras) Yemenite – People’s champion fighting in the championship games in Caprena representing the commoners.

Benflyn Dor: Plateau with cliffs reaching up over 400 feet from the prairie floor. The defensive position where the citizens of Carbynarah defended themselves from the attacks of Lord Malkanard during the Shadow Wars.

Brelyah: (Bree-lI-a) Hawkrider captured by Yron. Became his traveling companion.

Carbynarah: (Car-ben-ar-a) The land in which this story takes place. It was created as a world filled with magic, where all life could participate in the use of magic.

Casfur: A magic orb forged by the Keepers of White Essence that allowed designated people to communicate with each other over long distances.

Celest: The soul of an individual.

Darmuth: Yemenite – Prince Darmuth, second son of King Timon, 17 years of age.

Essence Magic: Magic that comes from the Essence of the White Tree. The pollen from the flowers of the White Tree creates the ability for all living things on Carbynarah to use and/or perform magic.

Familiar: A magical enhanced companion to a Wizard; the attributes of the Familiar can be manifest through the Wizard to which the Familiar belongs.

Grand Council: Governing Council of Mankind. Membership includes the Grand Master of each recognized Guild, Kings of the Human Kingdoms, and appointed Ambassadors.

Grand Master Glemmic: Wizard who fought Lord Malkanard to his death in the Shadow Wars. After Lord Malkanard’s death, Glemmic was responsible for eliminating Malkanard’s physical existence so he could never return to life. Grand Master Raajanaar was his Maiggii.

Grand Master Raajanaar: (Raj-an-ar) Yemenite – Also known as “Raaj”, Grand Master of the Wizards’ Guild, Grand Master of the Grand Council. Previously served as Grand Master Glemmic’s Maiggii.

Havendar: Member of the Rangers’ Guild, assigned to the Kingdom of Yemenite and King Timon. Was captured and turned into an Arena Slave, partnered with Tarrie. Maiggii of Noblem, the future Grand Master of the Ranger Guild.

High Plains: Located in the North Central region of Nimarah, along with 247 other Kingdoms that all fall under the reign of King Timon. Benflyn Dor is located on the High Plains, and is the site of the final battles of the Shadow Wars.

Inset: An inset item is magically created when the skill and knowledge of an individual (their Inset) is captured and inserted into an item at the physical death of the individual.

King Holben: Leader of the Kingdom of Holben just East of Yemenee, one of the 248 Kingdoms of the High Plains.

Lord Baintor: (BAn-tor) Yemenite – Lord commanded by King Timon to lead the first portion of the Yemenite army to protect the citizen’s retreat from the castle at Yemenor. This army was ordered to move quickly to provide protection for the fleeing citizens until the main army could arrive.

King Timon: Historically his family was the King of all Carbynarah. Through the ages, many kingdoms have broken off until he presides over the High Plains and rules over the day-to-day activities of Yemenee. Children include Prince Purstar, Prince Darmuth and Princess Sartura.

Lord Canter: Lord that lead the Yemenite dressed as Shakarine that attacked the Warteen during the battle at Holben.

Lord Capnar: Yemenite – Lord commanded to lead the main army to provide relief and protection for the people fleeing from the Yemenite castle.

Lord Fanver: Yemenite – Commander of the Yemenite cavalry, wounded and presumed dead.

Lord Kimberlee: Yemenite – Captain of the Guard of the Yemenite castle, lead the exodus of the people to Benflyn Dor.

Lord Malkanard: Natural Magic user that attempted to conquer Carbynarah. The War referred as the Shadow Wars, was Lord Malkanard’s attempt to reign over Carbynarah.

Lord Myningar: Yemenite – First Knight to King Timon. General of the Yemenite army.

Lord Og: Yemenite – Commander of the Engineers, responsible for the construction of the defenses of Benflyn Dor. Lead the second wave of Yemenites to Benflyn Dor.

Maiggii: (Mag-I) A title given to a person who has accepted training to become a Guild member. While a Maiggii, after the training period, may test to become a member of the Guild and obtain the title of Master, Maiggiis of a Grand Master of a Guild replace their Grand Master after their Grand Master’s death.

Natural Magic: Magic that is in the DNA of an individual. Only 5 or 6 people have the ability to use Natural Magic on the planet at any given time; most have no idea they possess that power.

Noblem: Grand Master of the Rangers’ Guild, serves as a member of the Grand Council and on the Executive Committee of the Grand Council.

Payleen: Magical horses that leave no marks on the ground because they do not touch the ground. They have incredible endurance and speed, only serve one master, and are used exclusively by those Wizards lucky enough to obtain one. The Wizard Payleen are hybrids that evolved over thousands of years from the horses used by the Warteen.

Prince Purstar: Yemenite – Eldest son of King Timon, seriously wounded by an ancient Inset Sword at Rankor Thor.

Ranker Thor: Located in the Northeastern part of the Yemenite Kingdom, it is known for the high walls on the mountain pass which provided a perfect position to defend the northern part of the kingdom.

Sartura: (Sar-tu-ra) Yemenite – Princess, daughter of King Timon.

Shadow Wars: A war lasting almost 200 years between the forces of Lord Malkanard and the Kingdom of Timon. The final stages of the War was fought at Benflyn Dor, on the High Plains, where the people of Carbynarah retreated to make a final stand.

Shakarine: (Shak-a-reen) Located north of the High Plains, the kingdom was plagued by a tribal structure until recently when one of the tribal leaders was able to unite all the tribes under one banner. The Shakarine and their allies have mounted an attack on the Kingdoms of the High Plains.

Tamar Wayne: The only entrance to Benflyn Dor.

Tarrie: (Tar-ee) Warteen – Warteen Princess, former Ambassador to Shakarine, sold into slavery as an arena fighter and teamed up with Havendar.

Treaty of Carta: Treaty signed between the citizens of Carbynarah and the Wizards’ Guild preventing the use of any magic that could be used to kill individuals. The treaty was signed after the Shadow Wars to prevent Wizards from ever using magical warfare again.

Tristina: Yron’s Payleen. Bay mare with two black socks on her front feet and a black streak down her nose.

Valkreen: Island off the west coast, only accessed by the port City of Trysdar. It is the meeting place of the Grand Council, and the Wizards’ Guild. Hosts a library that is only accessible by the members of the Councils and Guilds that meet on the island.

Verser: Raaj’s Payleen. Black coated stallion with a long grey mane and tail, with a grey mark on its forehead.

Warteen: Kingdom south of the High Plains. Women dominated society allied with the Shakarine.

Yemenee: The Northwestern-most Kingdom of the High Plains, ruled by King Timon, the Kingdom covers the entire Western plains of the High Plains.

Yemenite: A person living in the kingdom of Yemenee.

Yemenor: the city castle of Yemenee.

Yron: (Iron) Maiggii of Grand Master Raajanaar, orphan which Raaj selected from a Mascar to be his apprentice/heir.

To learn more about the people, characters and lands of Carbynarah,
go to www.JonFranklyn.com/glossary

Book II, will be released in April 2018.

The Carbynarah Chronicles

Narrative of the Times

The Shakarine armies, led by their Warrior Wizard, had reignited the ancient tension between the members of the Wizards’ Guild and the citizens of Carbynarah. It had been a thousand years since the Treaty of Carta eased the tension caused by the Shadow Wars. It took several more years for the citizens’ desire to eliminate all members of the Wizards’ Guilds, their families, and any others that used magic, to cease.

The Wizards and their Warrior Spells had been responsible for most of the dead and wounded on the battlefields. Their magic had indiscriminately killed and maimed several generations of men who fought in the battles during the Shadow Wars. It was not uncommon for battlefield widows to discover that they had lost not only their sons, but grandsons as well, in the same battle and on the same day they had lost their husband.

It was only after the citizens of Carbynarah hired mercenaries and members of the Assassins’ Guilds to hunt down and kill or imprison all Magic Users and their families that the Wizards’ Guilds finally relented to public demand and entered into negotiations that led to the signing of The Carta.

The signing of The Carta preserved the Wizards, their families, their Guilds, and all who used magic. The treaty forced the Wizards’ Guilds to cease all use and teaching of Warrior spells.

The treaty had worked – the signing of the treaty known as The Carta brought a thousand years of peace. Time had become a healing balm for the Wizards’ Guilds. The Guilds focused on magical research to develop spells that would benefit humankind, allowing Wizards to become an integral part of society, responsible for providing better lives for the people of Carbynarah.

Magically enhanced crops grew twice the food, and magical items – like warmth rings – helped those living in the North Country keep warm during the cold winters. Every part of society had grown to rely on Wizards’ Guilds.

But the old fears began to manifest themselves when rumors of a Warrior Wizard leading the Shakarine forces against neighboring Kingdoms in the north spread across the land. Magic users, their families, their Maiggii, as well as other magical users and their apprentices, were being hunted down and killed or imprisoned. Crops that relied on the magical enhancements were failing, and food shortages were becoming a problem in many of the Kingdoms of Carbynarah. These rumors, and the refugees escaping from the war-torn part of Carbynarah, forced the leaders to call an emergency meeting to deal with rekindled fears.

The Shakarine attack of the High Plains, led by their Warrior Wizard, was the fear of the day. Many of the Kings representing Kingdoms across Carbynarah were unable to attend the Executive Committee Meeting of the Grand Council because they were defending their Kingdoms from the Shakarine and their allies’ attacks.

It was during this meeting that King Timon, High King of the High Plains, via the Casfur, contacted Grand Master Raajanaar, the leader of the Grand Council. The Casfur, a magic orb forged by the Guild of White Essence that allowed designated people to communicate with each other over long distances, glowed softly. The activation of the Casfur caused the council members to silence their discussion. All eyes focused on the lightly lit orb that rested on the table next to Grand Master Raajanaar.

“Grand Master!” screamed King Timon as even Grand Master Raajanaar turned toward the Casfur and looked into the King’s face that appeared in the small orb, “HELP! We are…” the King shouted with tears streaming down his face. He then took a deep breath before continuing, “My youngest son has been dispatched to your home. Be there when he arrives.” Suddenly, the Casfur went dark.

Chapter 1

The thunder created by a lightning bolt streaking across the sky brought Yron out of his bed. Magic, he thought. Something was wrong; the bolt was too far away from the barn to be one of Master Raaj’s practical jokes. Yron grabbed his cloak as he ran down the stairs that led from his room in the loft of the old barn to the stable below.

By the time Yron reached the door to the barn, two more lightning bolts had flashed across the sky. The thunder followed immediately, and its echo rattled throughout the valley. The idea that magic could create lightning was something Yron was still trying to grasp. After all, it was only two days ago that Raaj had introduced him to the concept of magic as a weapon. This went contrary to everything Yron had learned as Raaj’s Maiggii over the last four years, as well as the two years before that when he served as Raaj’s apprentice. Raaj had taught him that magic was developed solely for the benefit of mankind, to make life easier.

On the hill above their homestead, Master Raaj was preparing to cast another spell. In his left hand he held his Wizard’s staff which pointed skyward. He could see Raaj was searching the clouds for something.

“Ojernof!” Raaj shouted as another lightning bolt shot out of the fingertips of his outstretched hand, striking a dark shadow hiding just within one of the clouds. Unlike what Yron would have expected, the lightning bolt was a light blue, unlike the white of natural lightning. It branched out from Raaj’s fingers traveling many directions at once rather than directly toward the object of Raaj’s attack. Some of the tips of the lightning bolt struck nearby trees or the grassy knoll on which Raaj stood, but unlike natural lightning, when it struck objects other than what Raaj was aiming at, it did no damage, it didn’t even ignite the dried grass which covered the knoll.

Yron watched Raaj, taken aback that Raaj was casting spells without hand gestures or chanting. Raaj was using a single word to cast his spells. There was nothing in Yron’s training, nor anything he had read, to indicate that such magic existed.

Master Raaj was casting the ancient Forbidden magic spells only two days after telling Yron about the existence of the forbidden Warrior Wizard spells. Raaj had explained to him that these spells were not just forbidden to be used by any Wizard, but The Carta forbade him from casting the deadly spells as well.

Yron watched, in awe, as Raaj cast the forbidden spells. He saw the attack spells knock their burning targets from the sky and crash to the ground, finally understanding why the citizens of Carbynarah forced the Wizards’ Guilds to sign The Carta.

Yron instinctively knew he was responsible for being at his Master’s side, and began running up the gentle slope to where Raaj stood. While he had no knowledge of Forbidden magic, Yron knew that lesser spells could be cast against non-magical beings to provide some protection against whatever Raaj was fighting.

“Protect the King’s messenger!” Raaj shouted as Yron reached his side, pointing down the slope where someone on horseback had entered the clearing where they lived.

Yron could see the young man on a horse charging up the path to the courtyard where they lived – now he began to understand why Raaj was using the forbidden spells. The Hawkriders’ attacks were focused on the young rider. If Raaj had not used the Forbidden magic they would have succeeded in their attacks against the rider.

Yron ran down the path to intercept the messenger. His horse was exhausted, its hoof tips dragging across the ground with each step. Yron could hear the screams of the rider encouraging the horse onward.

The messenger was slumped across the neck of his horse, an arrow stuck in his back. The dried blood on the horse’s hindquarters indicated the three arrows that were stuck in the rear of the horse had been there for a while.

Off to the side, Yron could see a Hawkrider preparing his bird to attack the rider and his horse. The Hawkrider tucked his head in behind the bird’s neck as it folded its wings and dropped from the sky. As the rider passed him, Yron stopped and turned toward the diving hawk. Beginning the chant for the Darkness spell, Yron performed the hand gestures necessary to complete the spell. Once the spell was ready to be cast, Yron waited until the Hawkrider was within range before he shouted, “Darkness!” which completed the spell.

The piercing scream of the hawk as it neared its prey had the exact effect intended; the horse, paralyzed in fear, stumbled and fell to the ground, but the Hawk was unable to make any last minute adjustments in its attack because of the Darkness spell. The spell caused the hawk to fly over its intended target, crashing into the ground not more than ten feet ahead of its intended victim. Had the horse not stumbled and fallen, the hawk, though it was blinded, would have struck a deadly blow to the horse and its rider.

Hawkriders, Yron thought. From what he had read, the future Hawkriders and their Guild stayed in the south. Yron could remember the stories Raaj had told him about the Hawkriders and the beautiful sheer cliff where the untamed Giant Hawks flew. From what Yron could remember, the Hawkriders would kidnap the wild hawk eggs, and the Hawkrider’s Maiggii would raise the newly hatched hawk until it was ready to ride. Unlike the test that many guilds use to determine membership into the guild, the Hawkrider Guild’s test requires the Maiggii and hawk survive the first flight of the rider on the hawk’s back.

From what Yron understood, after that, very seldom if ever, does the hawk fly without its rider. Yron had watched many young birds leave the nest for the first time with disastrous results; he was glad he didn’t have to ride on that first flight.

The screech of another hawk preparing to attack forced Yron to look behind him. Above, Yron could see several other Hawkriders preparing to attack. Two of the riders were firing arrows at the rider from their perches as they circled the meadow where Yron was standing. Yron knew he had to get the rider under the trees. That was the only way he could protect him from the arrows. This is going to be difficult, he thought. The trees are more than 50 feet away.

The rider had used his belt to tie himself to the horse’s saddle. Pulling his Crowl dagger, Yron cut the belt that held the messenger to the saddle. As Yron attempted to pull the man free, one of the messenger’s legs was still pinned under the horse. Perhaps if I pull when the horse struggles to get up, I will be able to release the leg, Yron thought. Each time the horse attempted to get up, Yron pulled on the rider, but nothing happened. Something else must be holding the rider to the horse, he thought.

“Sleep,” Yron commanded as he cast the next spell on the horse, causing it to go limp.

Looking up, Yron knew there wasn’t enough time to pull the messenger out from under the horse and drag him to cover. Another hawk was preparing a dive attack. When the second hawk began its dive, Yron knew that even if it were blinded, because they were stationary and in the open, they would be unable to escape the talons of the attacking bird.

Wind! I need a gust of wind. Looking at the treetops, Yron figured there was just enough wind to cast the spell. Yron had learned that the intensity of his chant would dictate the intensity of the spell, but it was not until the wind had knocked him from his feet that Yron realized he had been yelling.

The wind not only pushed the hawk off course, it also caused the men circling above to release their bows and grab onto the saddles attached to their hawks to prevent themselves from falling. The attacking hawk was knocked off course by the Wind spell as Yron immediately cast another Darkness spell.

As the hawk adjusted its dive at the last second to prevent crashing into the ground, the rider lost his balance and fell from the hawk as the bird pulled out of the dive and sped away from the ground.

The Hawkrider had bounced across the ground and was not moving, but Yron couldn’t take the chance that he could still get up, so he cast a Sleep spell on the downed rider. The territorial nature of hawks caused the riderless hawk, now free from the control of a rider, to attack the other hawks in the sky.

By casting a Levitation spell on the downed horse, Yron was able to lift it high enough to see why he had been unable to pull the rider to safety. The rider’s leg was pinned to the horse by an arrow. Reaching under the horse, Yron broke the arrow shaft off, pulled the messenger free then dragged him to safety under the nearby trees.

Removing his cloak, Yron placed it over the injured messenger. The magical attributes of the cloak should provide camouflage by blending into the surrounding terrain, which would protect the messenger from any additional aerial attacks.

Inspecting the wounded rider, Yron knew if he attempted to remove the arrows now he would have to deal with the bleeding. He didn’t have time for that. Casting a Rest spell on the rider would cause him to rest comfortably. Once Yron knew the rider was safe, he headed up the knoll where Raaj was still battling with the remaining Hawkriders.

“Are the messengers safe?” Raaj asked Yron as he arrived.

“Messengers?” Yron questioned. “There was only one.”

“No! There were two messengers; an escort and the King’s courier,” Raaj explained.

“I saw both riders when they entered the clearing, over there.” Raaj pointed to the place where the trail through the woods entered the clearing, “Go and find the other messenger.”

As Yron ran down the knoll toward where the trail exited from the trees, he could see the bodies of several hawks and their riders scattered across the ground. Above, the remaining Hawkriders had pulled back and were flying over the trees just out of reach of Raaj’s spells. The sky didn’t have rain clouds, which puzzled Yron because from what Raaj had told him, you needed moisture created from rain in the clouds to cast a Lightning Bolt spell.

An arrow hit the ground twenty feet ahead of Yron, causing him to refocus on the situation at hand. Looking back, Yron could see a Hawkrider chasing after him. Yron stopped long enough to cast a Flash spell, hoping the magical light flash would temporarily blind the rider and give him time to hide.

But the spell didn’t work; either he had gotten the chant or the hand gestures wrong. There wasn’t time to attempt another spell, so Yron sprinted for the tree line which he believed would protect him from the Hawkriders and their arrows. Behind him, Yron could hear Raaj’s lightning bolt strike the Hawkrider that had attack him.

As he reached the tree line, Yron climbed one of the trees hoping it would give him a platform high enough to find the other messenger. From that height, Yron could see the downed horse of the other rider, but there was no indication of where he had gone.

Several Hawkriders circled over the second downed horse, making it obvious they were searching for the missing rider as well. One hundred and fifty feet to his left, Yron watched two Hawkriders land their beasts and secure their harnesses to stakes which they had driven into the ground. Once finished, they began searching for the missing rider on foot. Drawing his Crowl, a magical dagger given to a Wizard Maiggii when they obtain the rank of Maiggii, Yron dropped from the tree and crawled through the high grass toward the staked hawks. As he cut the hawks’ harnesses staked to the ground, Yron cast the Boo spell he had developed. The spell startled the hawks and they immediately took flight, heading south and away from the fighting.

As the two Hawkriders on the ground rushed back toward where their hawks had been staked, Yron crawled down the slope toward the wounded horse. Perhaps he could find a clue as to where the rider had gone. Back on the top of the knoll, Raaj had stopped casting spells. Most of the Hawkriders were downed or out of range. Instead, he focused his attention on the two Hawkriders that were stuck on the ground. Yron watched as Raaj cast another spell, one that was like a lightning bolt, but raced along the ground, striking the two downed riders.

Yron could see from the blood splashed on the ground that the second rider was wounded as well. From his hiding spot, he could see a blood-smeared path that led back toward the trees. By following the path, Yron quickly found the other messenger. As another arrow fired from one of the circling Hawkriders struck the ground near Yron, he regretted leaving his cloak with the other rider. The magical properties of the cloak would have been helpful now.

Above, Yron watched as Raaj attacked the Hawkrider that had just fired the arrow at him. Even though Yron couldn’t see any other Hawkriders, he decided to wait until the sun that was beginning to set dropped further below the trees before venturing out from his hiding spot. He knew it wouldn’t take long for the shadows from the trees to provide him with the cover he needed to make it unseen.

There, against one of the trees, Yron could see the other rider. It was obvious by the way he was slumped against the tree that he was dead. Yron could see the emblem of Yemenor on the sleeve of the rider’s armor. This must be the courier sent by the King, Yron thought, but sent to whom? Did these riders just stumble upon the hidden path into the woods that led to Master Raajanaar’s homestead as they hid from the attacking Hawkriders? Or did they...? Were they here for Master Raaj?

The last thought made the most sense to Yron. Raaj had been unsettled when he returned from the Emergency Executive meeting of the Grand Council; it was obvious from the way he kept checking the Alert spells that he was expecting someone. Yron realized that if he had accepted Raaj’s invitation to attend the meeting, he would have a better understanding as to why Raaj was acting the way he was, but he was working on his Inset box and didn’t want to take the time away from his research.

Master Raaj was the Grand Master of the Grand Council, but in the four years Yron had been a Maiggii, no one had ever sought out his Master here in the valley where they lived. In fact, Yron couldn’t remember of a single time when he was told of any member of royalty contacting Master Raaj outside of the Grand Council chambers.

Yron searched the clothing of the young courier for a message, but found nothing. It wouldn’t be right to leave the body here, so Yron marked the location of the body and hid it under some brush that stood along the edge of the clearing.

He needed to get back to the first rider. Yron knew that saving the other rider’s life would be very important to Raaj. Sneaking along the edge of the clearing where the shadows from the trees provided protection, Yron made his way unnoticed to where the other rider lie.

From his vantage point under the tree, Yron could see Raaj was still defending the clearing from the invading Hawkriders. He would have to wait until sundown before it would be safe to move the wounded messenger. While Yron knew a couple of healing spells, the wounds caused by the arrows were beyond his ability to mend. Raaj would need to heal these wounds.

After checking on the messenger under the tree, Yron headed back to the homestead. He would need a cart to transport the injured rider. With the help of Raaj’s manservant, Maw, Yron was able to hitch the cart to one of the horses in the stables, and together the two men headed out to the tree to fetch the wounded rider.

Tonight, the moons would rise late. If they were going to fetch the rider while it was still dark, they needed to move now. Upon arriving at the tree where the rider was hidden, Yron and the manservant slid a blanket under the messenger, picking him up and placing him in the cart. The rider couldn’t be more than seventeen or eighteen years old. Once in the barn, Maw helped Yron clear a place for the boy messenger to rest until Raaj was able to arrive. The only thing they could do for the wounded King’s messenger was to make him as comfortable as possible.

“We are safe for now,” Raaj announced as he entered the barn a few moments later. “I suspect they will be back tomorrow, though.”

Running his fingers through his short salt and pepper hair with concern, Raaj turned his attention to the wounded messenger. The rider had been lucky; none of the arrows had penetrated any vital organs, but it would take a few days for his wounds to heal completely, even with magical aid.

Yron watched as Raaj carefully dug the arrows out of the rider’s back and calf, listening carefully to the chant Raaj was using. Mimicking in his mind the words, once he got the words synced and the cadence right, casting a healing spell would be easy because there were no hand gestures; the caster only had to place their hands over the wound. When the healing spell was completed, Raaj indicated to Yron that it was time to talk. Yron followed Raaj out of the barn. While he did so, he knew Raaj would want a report that the other rider had died and was hidden under the brush near the clearing.

As Yron told Raaj about the other rider which carried the markings of Yemenor, Raaj shook his head, “That is too bad. This is not something I want to tell the king.” The tone of his voice told Yron this was not a time to ask questions.

“We will need to decide what to do about the Hawkriders. It is obvious by their persistence that they will be back in the morning,” Raaj declared.

“You stay here with this young servant, and I will be back in the morning,” Raaj continued. Once Yron understood, Raaj left the barn.

This is going to be a long night, Yron thought as he placed one of the chairs in the barn so he would be able to watch over the messenger while he slept. In the corner a small distance away, Ky, Yron’s devoted half coyote mutt Familiar, lay on a small bed of hay. Yron could hear the even breathing of his sleeping dog as he sat pondering all that had happened.

Chapter 2

As the early morning sun’s rays stretched through the cracks in the siding, Yron placed his arm over his eyes to shield them. He tried to clear his mind from the deep slumber that he was experiencing, his mind racing to determine the meaning of the dream he had just experienced. The more he focused on the events of his dream, the more he came to an understanding that the memories he was dealing with were not a dream, but the reality of the previous day’s events.

The internal quarrel of dream verses reality was interrupted by the sounds of an approaching horse that hadn’t caught Ky’s attention. Interesting, Yron thought, normally Ky is the one that draws my attention to unexpected noises. Yron got out of the chair he had been sleeping in to get a better view of the approaching rider. Looking between the cracks in the barn wall, he could see it was Maw coming down the road that approached the homestead.

The horse was exhausted; it stumbled as it entered the courtyard, scattering chickens that cackled their annoyance at being interrupted from their morning routine. As the horse came to an abrupt stop, the road dust clouded and drifted over the entire courtyard. Yron watched as the rider dropped from the horse to the ground.

“Master Raajanaar!” the Maw shouted. “Master Raajanaar! Master Raajanaar! Master Raajanaar!” With each cry, Maw’s voice became more desperate. He ran to the small house in the middle of the clearing and pounded on the door. Grabbing the handle, he attempted to force the door open. Yanking frantically on the door, Maw continued to shout for Raaj. The more he tried to open the door, the more frantic he became. Exhausted, he collapsed, dropping to his knees. He shouted for the Master again and again, looking for someone… anyone… anything… something.

The snow-chilled northern wind sliced through the walls of the barn and gusted against Yron's thin body. Yron grabbed his jacket, wrapping it tightly to his chest. He slipped on his pants, tying them at his waist.

Before dropping from the loft onto the main floor of the stable, Yron checked in on the wounded messenger. All was well so he lifted the barn door and dragged it open. Yron headed out of the stable to address the desperate man. Turning, the Master’s manservant begged Yron to tell him where Raaj had gone,

“King Timon’s son, there are people that are trying to kill him,” the manservant finally shouted to get Yron’s attention. “The Master sent me out last night to scout beyond the forest to see what I could learn about the Hawkriders…“

“The Master knows,” Yron replied with a youthful superior attitude. “I haven’t seen the Master since last night.”

As Yron headed back into the barn, he noticed that the young messenger was no longer resting on the straw bed. Ky, knowing what his master was searching for, lifted his head and looked toward the small door in the back of the barn, which was slightly ajar.

Yron headed toward the open door. As Yron peered outside, he could see the young messenger heading toward the clearing where Raaj had battled the Hawkriders. He healed fast, Yron thought. I wonder where he is going, Yron questioned himself in a whisper.

Hiding in the shadows, Yron followed the young messenger as he headed toward the knoll where Raaj had defended the valley from the attacks from above. The messenger was wearing a leather shirt and pants. He must be a squire to some nobleman, Yron thought. Normally, squires don’t travel far from their masters. He must be looking for the other rider, Yron figured. Perhaps the other rider was more than a courier… perhaps one of the sons of one of the king’s knights? he questioned to himself.

On the far side of the courtyard, all had calmed down. The chickens were quietly harvesting seeds that lay next to the haystacks encircling the courtyard. The exhausted bay horse was nearby, grazing on the green grass that grew near the water trough. Limping on its right rear leg, it lifted the sore leg slightly as it grazed.

Scanning the courtyard, the young messenger took notice of Yron following him. It was then that Yron realized he had underestimated the lad. It was because he wasn’t using his shadow skills that he had been spotted. That was stupid, Yron thought to himself.

“Where is Master Raajanaar?” the young lad questioned.

Considering his options, Yron decided it was best just to step out and greet the young rider.

“Where is Master Raajanaar?” the lad asked again.

Yron approached the young rider without answering.

“WHERE IS Master Raajanaar? Tell me now! Are you deaf? Where is Master Raajanaar?” the lad became more insistent.

The young rider looked around, searching for the old Master of the homestead as he rushed toward Yron. Grabbing him by the shirt, the lad began to shake Yron and shout in his face, “WHERE IS YOUR MASTER?”

The sudden movement that followed caused even the bay horse to snap its head up just in time to see what was happening. In a split second, the young messenger had landed on his back with Yron’s foot pinning him to the ground by the neck.

“Don’t move,” Yron warned, staring down at the young messenger.

Unable to look away, the messenger stared back into the face of his captor.

“Yron! Let him up,” a voice commanded.

Yron looked up to find Master Raajanaar standing less than ten feet away.

The sudden appearance of Master Raajanaar startled the young messenger almost as much as his unexpected meeting with the bare dirt, but Yron had gotten used to the Master appearing and disappearing without being noticed. In the early years, Yron thought that Raaj was using magic to appear and disappear.

Ever since Yron had participated in a cross training program with the Ranger Guild, Raaj’s sudden appearances didn’t startle him as much. The program was designed for Wizard’s Maiggiis to learn skills from the Rangers, which taught them survival skills, and in return the Wizards taught the Ranger’s Maiggiis some basic magic like Warmth, Light, Magical traps, and Alert spells.

Yron removed his foot from the messenger’s throat somewhat reluctantly.

“They are gone,” Raaj explained, referring to the Hawkriders, “But I do not expect them to be gone for long.”

Turning toward the Master, Yron started to speak, but before he could utter a word, Raaj ordered him to be silent with a glance. Yron had learned the secret unspoken language of the Wizards years ago – one of the privileges he was entitled to as Raaj's Maiggii.

Using facial expressions – the width of an eye opening, the direction one may look, lip movements or facial muscle movements – all were a part of an unspoken Wizard-speak language. Wizards could send short messages to each other so long as they were within eyesight. This allowed them speak to each other without anyone else being aware.

The language was developed so Wizards could communicate with each other without casting a spell. Casting a Mind Talk spell or other magical communication spells, required the Wizard to chant; there was no secrecy of communications if a Wizard is heard chanting a spell. Thus the Wizards, over time, developed a language known only by the Wizards and taught only to their Maiggii, which ensured its continued secrecy.

Scrambling to his feet, the messenger moved menacingly toward Yron, “You got the jump on me. That will never happen again.”

“We don’t have time for this,” Master Raaj stated as he turned toward the homestead, the small building that had two windows on the front and a well-worn door off to the left. Two massive trees grew on each end; the trees may have been a good thought when they were planted years ago, but now each tree rubbed tightly against the homestead’s walls. If the walls had ever been painted, there was no sign of it now, and even before you could see the wisp of smoke trailing lazily from the chimney, you could smell it.

When Raaj turned his back to head toward the homestead, the messenger feinted as though he was going to strike Yron, trying to make him flinch and intimidate Yron. Yron smiled, turned, and followed Raaj confidently. The messenger ran to catch up.

“We need to talk,” the Master stated to the young man without looking back.

“Yes we do,” the messenger stated with an air of disrespect for Yron, “but we don’t need your servant.”

“Maiggii!” Master Raajanaar corrected. “Not servant, and where I go, he goes.” Raaj chose not to explain that as his Maiggii, Yron would one day take Raaj's position and all his responsibilities, but the significance of Yron's presence was heavily implied.

Nonetheless, the messenger began to protest.

“No exceptions,” the Master raised his hand to silence the messenger.

The homestead door opened of its own accord as the Master approached, and all three men entered. Yron was used to the untidy appearance of his abode, but he could tell the messenger was visibly taken aback by the chaos. Papers, bottles, rock pieces, dried plants, and flower petals were scattered everywhere. A thin layer of smoke hugged the ceiling. Plant leaves and flowers hung from drying racks, and crucibles with crushed minerals were scattered on tables that took up the entire room.

A small path snaked through the maze of tables. On the wall, shelves were stacked with bottles, some two and three high, some filled with colored liquids, others with clear liquids and peculiar objects floating in them. Sticks supported several of the shelves, keeping the weight of the bottles from causing the shelves to collapse.

On a small round table in the corner by the fireplace was a black bowl. In the center of the bowl, a nearly invisible flame flickered so slowly that it appeared not to be moving at all. The flame continued to burn even though the bowl seemed to contain nothing to fuel it.

Near the fireplace on the dirt floor, a patch of dirt cleared of debris extended an invitation for the three men. The Master motioned for the two to sit. Yron and the messenger sat down on opposite sides of the opening, each still wary after the other's behavior. But as Raaj approached, Yron read from the expressions on his face that his disagreement with the messenger was now over. Sighing, Yron moved next to the rider. The rider glanced at Yron with an obvious look of disdain as Raaj sat down and settled his gaze on the messenger.

“All right, Darmuth, what happened?”

The messenger looked at Raaj, then back to Yron, “Not with him here. Perhaps we can go outside and talk while your servant fixes us something to eat.”

Raajanaar’s glance again warned Yron to be silent. Yron understood. “Darmuth, you have been assigned a great responsibility and I would assume that it did not include you to be disrespectful to me or my Maiggii. With that said, and understood, we will attribute your indifference to your youth.”

Darmuth bowed his head submissively. Turning to Yron, he reluctantly muttered, “Excuse my youthfulness.”

Before Yron could comment, Raajanaar’s facial expressions explained to Yron that Darmuth's words were the best he could expect for an apology. The conversation so far between Darmuth and Raaj had made it clear to Yron that the young rider was much more than he seemed to be.

The winds gusted against the tightly corked walls of the homestead and filled the air with sound. Occasionally, the sound of the trees rubbing against the old homestead drowned out the gusting wind.

Raajanaar was the first to speak. “Darmuth, you are here for a reason.”

“Yes,” Darmuth whispered, “Prince Purstar was wounded in a battle at Ranker Thor. It is a mortal wound. A Pretender wielding an ancient Inset sword attacked him from behind. I was sent to get you. Our Healer believes she can keep Prince Purstar alive until you arrive, but we must make haste. My father is requesting you to cast the Inset spell on my brother.”

Darmuth’s words hung in the air. It had been over seven hundred years since the Inset Spell had been cast on anyone other than a Wizard. The practice of casting an Inset spell on a warrior was part of the Forbidden magic ways that were no longer practiced in this world.

Raajanaar gazed toward the ceiling and stroked his beard, thinking to himself.

Even if he wants to help, there isn’t time, Yron thought. Raaj doesn't have any Plithim crystals.

Yron knew what Raajanaar was thinking. King Timon of Yemenor was one of Raaj’s dearest and most trusted friends, and it would be hard for Raaj not to grant him this request. Unfortunately, they had used the last of the Plithim essence on the Wizard from Yormar at the last Grand Council meeting. If they were going to make more, the Plithim crystals would have to be mined by either Raaj or himself, as they were the only Wizards to know the secrets of the Inset.

Of course, crystallized Plithim was hard to find. On occasion it could be found on the very top of a vein of Plithim ore. Once located, the crystals had to be magically mined. They could then be heated and magically forged into a single crystal by use of an Earth-Flame before being crushed into Plithim essence. This could only be done during a full blue moon, which happens only when a month has two full moons. The last blue moon was three months ago – the next one wouldn’t occur for another two years.

The Earth-Flame is a fire elemental that is captured by a Wizard immediately after being ordained a Wizard. To capture the elemental, the young Wizard must descend into the Great Labyrinths and enter the Channel of Life. Darmuth broke the silence, “My father said you would know what that meant.”

Master Raajanaar nodded, still stroking the two braided columns of his beard. It would take him months to mine enough Plithim crystals, even if he paid the dwarfs to do the mining. Two years ago, when the dwarfs had unearthed the large Plithim vein in the mountains above his homestead, Raajanaar discovered the rare crystals needed to make Plithim essence in small cavities that occasionally formed on the top of a Plithim ore vein.

Shortly after the discovery of the vein, Raajanaar dismissed the dwarfs because he claimed he could no longer afford to pay them for their mining services. Yron had begged him not to let the miners go, but Raaj had no choice. While he had attempted to explain to Yron, on several occasions, that it was the Grand Council that was opposed to further development of new Plithim mines and that the dwarf’s dismissal was unfortunate but necessary, he could never quite find a way.

Without the dwarfs mining the Plithim ore in the mountains above the homestead, Raaj hadn’t been able to access any more crystals to make into Plithim essence. Sure, the dwarfs had been expensive, Yron thought, but if Raaj had just allowed him to continue to make rings of warmth, wands of light, broaches of charisma and other magical baubles to sell to the magical shops found in the magic districts of most major cities, they would have had plenty of money to pay the dwarfs to continue to mine the ore.

Raajanaar never shared with anyone but Yron the existence of the Plithim crystals discovery in the mountains above their homestead. The knowledge of the existence of Plithim crystals was something that less than a handful of people even knew about. After the death of Grand Master Glemmic, Raaj was the only person on Carbynarah to know how to use the crystals. That was until Raaj shared with Yron the knowledge of how the tiny crystals were used in the casting of the Inset spell. In time, Raaj had planned on finding other uses for Plithim essence, but for now the Inset was the only known use.

The Inset spell was the same; no one but Raajanaar, his former Grand Master Glemmic, and now Yron knew how to cast the new Inset spell, and only Raajanaar and Master Glemmic had ever actually cast it. Yron had witnessed the casting of the spell on a few occasions, and with that knowledge, Raaj was sure Yron would be able to cast the spell if he had the elements needed.

The old Inset spell captured a portion of the Wizard’s Celest that had cast the spell and trapped it within the Inset item, only to be release when the item was destroyed. Depending on the strength of the Inset, the caster using the old Inset spell could fall into a coma after casting the spell. The new Inset spell relied on the magic from the crystals of the Plithim ore, and thus had no physical effect on the caster.

This change was important because the Celest, which is the spirit or life’s essence that resides within an individual, was considered sacred because it is the Celest that leaves the body and travels to reside in heaven.

Only when it was discovered after the Shadow Wars that Lord Malkanard had enslaved many of the rulers of the Kingdoms by capturing their Celests and forcing them to go against their free will and align their Kingdoms with his cause, did the Wizard’s Guild spend the resources necessary to change the way the Inset spell was cast.

The Inset, on the other hand, which consisted of the individual’s abilities and knowledge including everything from walking to the use of a sword to knowledge of magic, could be transferred to create a magical item which others could use.

The difficulty of collecting the Plithim essence and the life of solitude Raaj had led caused him to wonder once again, Did I make a mistake? Should I have forgone the research of the Inset spells and made a business out of forging Insets like his Master had done?

Raaj’s thoughts were interrupted when Darmuth again broke the silence, “Master, we need to be leaving.”

Yron knew his Master’s thoughts. Looking at Raaj and using his Wizard-speech, he suggested, Master, we can try the Inset Capture spell I have been working on.

Raaj responded quickly and forcefully, so much so that even Darmuth noticed the expressions on his face, Using it on rats, squirrels and birds is much different than on a human, let alone a Prince.

Turning toward Darmuth, Yron stated, “We have no Plithim essence from which we can forge the Inset. There is nothing we can do.”

Darmuth just looked at them. It was obvious to him that the two had a disagreement, but were afraid to voice it aloud. Wizards, he thought to himself, Even when they live together they can’t get along.

Yron attempted again to get Raaj to at least try his Inset Capture spell, What if we explained the situation and ask Prince Purstar’s father? Yron continued, using Wizard-speech.

Raaj cut him off by turning away from him and facing Darmuth, “We don’t have the ingredients we need. We can’t get them in time. I am sorry. There is nothing we can do.”

“But, Master…” Yron pleaded, this time vocally.

Raaj cut him off. “There is nothing we can do.”

“He is my brother.” Darmuth pleaded, “He is my brother. You can’t let it end like this.”

Raaj stood and walked out the door. Yron and Darmuth stared at each other in silence. A wave of guilt washed over Yron. I should have known better, he thought. Raaj is right; I never look to see the whole picture before I react.

“I am sorry for knocking you to the ground out there,” Yron whispered. “I know what it is like to lose a brother.”

Chapter 3

Once the door had closed behind Raaj, Yron began to rethink whether it was time to leave Raaj and the homestead. He had heard of other Maiggii that had left their Masters. As he thought about it, Yron couldn’t think of anything he did that seemed to be of any value to Raaj or earn any of his respect. Except fetch wood or feed the Payleen.

I just can’t do anything right, Yron thought. Maybe at the next Mascar I should see if I can find a new Master to train me in Wizardry. Yes!!!! he reflected, That is what I will do. I will bide my time and find a new Master at the next Mascar, maybe one from a different Wizards’ Guild. But to do that, he knew that he would need to move to the far south.

Yron’s mind continued to jump from topic to topic as he sat staring into the flames. Damn, if Raaj wasn’t so stubborn, the dwarfs would still be mining in the Plithim mines. I am willing to forge baubles to earn money so the dwarfs can be paid. Yron’s mind raced on. Didn’t I promise Raaj that I would not neglect my studies and would do the forging only at night? But, Noooo!!!! that wasn’t good enough for him. He ended the conversation, if you could call it that, by telling me it was a waste of my time. Even in winning, I disappointed him, Yron recounted. I can’t do anything right in his sight. Never have!

“I am good at making baubles,” Yron mumbled to himself. “In fact, I like making them. After all, I won five of the six bauble competitions at the first Mascar that Master Raaj took me to. I was even crowned the champion at the Wizard’s fair.”

During the two week ride home from the Mascar, Raaj only spoke to me once, Yron remembered. ”A competition for fools,” he had said. “Dignify yourself, boy. Get rid of those ribbons. I never want to see them again.”

That was the last Mascar that Yron was able to compete at. At the next Mascar that Raaj took Yron to, he made the mistake of asking his Master about competing in the Wizard’s fair. Raaj was so mad that Yron was not allowed to leave their campsite for most of their time at the Mascar.

The door opened, catching Yron off guard, and Raaj entered.

Raaj looked around the room. Darmuth was lying on the floor, the exhaustion of his ride had overwhelmed him; the warmth of the fire relaxed his weary body and helped him to fall asleep. Raaj noticed that Yron had not moved since he had left, his eyes still focused on the flickering flames. Raaj knew he was angry and frustrated. He knew if he didn’t give Yron more freedom to grow he would lose him, and that scared Raaj all the more. Yron had become like a son to him. If he left, he would miss him.

It wasn’t just that – Raaj had spent hundreds of years looking for the right Maiggii. He had hand-picked Yron for a purpose of which even Yron was not aware. Someday Yron would replace him and take over his responsibilities, but most importantly, Yron was to carry forward the knowledge of the Forbidden magic.

As Raaj reflected on his experiences teaching Yron, he realized just how easily he forgot that this sixteen year old boy had only four years of Maiggii training. A simple lesson almost always turned into an in-depth conversation about the most complex of magical principles. An hour discussion with his young Maiggii was more mind stimulating than a marathon debate from one of the Wizards’ Guild meetings. Raaj had to admit, even to himself, that Yron was brilliant.

The boy’s Inset Capture spell was incredibly insightful. It was perhaps the most inventive spell created in the last five generations. Last year at the Mascar, Raaj had suggested to the Guild members present, the possibility of researching such a spell, volunteering to his contemporaries that he would oversee the research if they would allow his Maiggii to lead the research team.

The laughter of his fellow Wizards had embarrassed him. They mocked and teased him. The pain of their harsh words still echoed in his heart. In general, they believed a spell like the one which he suggested would take a team of Wizards and Maiggiis a century to develop, and they weren’t willing to expend the time or resources.

As Raaj looked at each of the members of the Council of the Wizards’ Guild that day, he knew it wasn’t time. He didn’t dare tell them his Maiggii had successfully developed the spell and that, even more impressively, in his pocket was the amazing end result: a box that contained the Inset of a squirrel. Next year he would schedule the time during their annual meeting to have Yron demonstrate his work on the Inset Capture spell.

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