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Authors: James Eggebeen

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Foundling Wizard (Book 1)

BOOK: Foundling Wizard (Book 1)
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Foundling Wizard

 

 

(Book # 1 in the Apprentice to Master Series)

 

 

James A. Eggebeen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books by James A Eggebeen

 

 

Foundling Wizard

(Book #1 in the Apprentice to Master Series)

Wizard's Education

(Book #2 in the Apprentice to Master Series)

Wizard Pair

(Book #3 in the Apprentice to Master Series)

Copyright © 2012 James A Eggebeen

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 978-1477501283

ISBN-13: 1477501282

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

 

 

www.amazon.com/author/jameseggebeen

www.jameseggebeen.com

Twitter: @JamesEggebeen

Facebook: JamesEggebeenAuthor

email: [email protected]

Acknowledgments

 

 

 

I have to thank my wife, Maridel, for putting up with all my crazy hours and ideas. I can always count on her as my first reader even though she says it will take a long time to read this one.

 

I want to thank Sherri Jordan Asable who was my first beta reader. She had some great ideas that really helped. Sharon Pollock and Alexandria Constantanova provided invaluable insight that I really needed to tighten up a few loose ends.

 

Dixie Pieslack took my first cut on vacation and used her precious beach time to give me some great feedback. The rest of the Saturday morning writer's group including Mary Etta, David and Richard were great for feedback including cover selection.

 

Lastly, I want to thank Ella Medler who edited the final manuscript. She not only did a super job on the grammar, punctuation and spelling but was a great help in fine tuning the plot and action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Taking of Power

Vorathorm entered the secret chamber where he made his sacrifice. His movements sent a sparkling shower of dust motes swirling into the single shaft of sunlight that illuminated the bloodstained altar. He stood before it, fidgeting in anticipation, his bony hands itching to reach out and start the ritual. His eyes were focused on the advancing shaft of sunlight as it crept slowly downward.

A statue of a young woman dressed in ceremonial robes cradled the sacred blade against her throat. Beneath her, a small rabbit lay trussed upon the altar. Its legs were bound with a leather thong. It cried out in fear as it caught the scent of blood from its predecessors. Finally, exhausted, it fell silent, the only evidence of its struggle, its heavy breathing.

Vorathorm rested his hands on the animal to quiet it. He imagined that a young wizard was trussed upon his altar, not a field animal. He visualized himself performing that sacrifice. He’d pluck the knife from the arms of the maiden at the precise moment the sun struck the blade. He’d make one smooth, quick motion cutting a single slice across the boy’s throat.

The power of the boy’s magic would be his tenfold, to add to his growing personal reserve.

A shadow fell across the altar, blocking the shaft of sunlight, breaking his reverie.

Rage at such an act of desecration boiled up within him, as he turned to face the intruder. "How dare you interrupt!" he cried out. "Who could be so insolent as to disturb my sacrifice?"

The interloper stood there, calmly blocking the beam of sunlight. He was tall and thin; his shaved head highlighted the shape of his skull and accentuated the birdlike beak of his nose. His long black robes were trimmed in gold, swirling the dust motes into the air as he moved.

Sulrad was the only person who would dare approach the altar at such a critical time. He was also the only person who would be so bold as to spoil Vorathorm’s sacrifice without a hint of hesitation.

“Sulrad.” Vorathorm said slowly. “To what do I owe this honor?”

He controlled his breathing and slowed his heartbeat as he’d been taught. Sulrad would not have made the trip to Veldwaite needlessly, something extraordinarily disconcerting must have happened. Vorathorm was not sure he wanted to know, as it never meant good news for him personally.

“I have located a pair,” Sulrad said. He stated it simply, without a trace of emotion, as if it happened every day.

“A pair?” Vorathorm asked. A pair of wizards. One wizard, one sorceress. Discovery of a pair was the singularly worst news Sulrad could have uttered. Vorathorm stared at him unblinking.

“Yes, a pair. I sensed them some time ago. A boy and his sister… From what I could tell,” he added. “Very early.” He casually walked around the altar, looking down at the preparations Vorathorm had made for the sacrifice.

“What did you sense? Where are they? Who are they?”

“Slow down,” Sulrad said. He hopped up and seated himself on the altar, arranging his robes as he did. Only Sulrad would dare such a sacrilege.

“You must have a plan,” Vorathorm insisted.

“I have a plan, but it is you who will carry it out,” Sulrad said. “We can’t allow a pair of wizards to come into their power. Thank Ran that they’re brother and sister, at least we have that in our favor.”

As brother and sister, the pair would be somewhat restrained in their union. At least he hoped they would. Vorathorm shuddered at the thought.

“Where are they now?” Vorathorm asked. He secretly hoped Sulrad would allow him to take the power from both of them. That kind of power would send him to the top of the temple hierarchy. Maybe even above Sulrad himself.

“To your great fortune, they’ve already been separated. The boy is fleeing. The girl remains at home with her family,” Sulrad said.

He picked up the sacrificial knife and fondled it. He used it to trace arcane figures in the thick, dried blood staining the altar.

“What have you planned?” Vorathorm asked. He wished Sulrad would get to the point. There might yet be time to complete his sacrifice.

“We’ve captured the boy. Even now, he lies trapped, safely out of your way. You must act without delay. Kill the girl while he is helpless.”

“Is he that strong?” Pairs were so rare that he didn’t know what to expect. He feared that these two were developing rapidly. They would soon be a threat if they weren’t stopped.

“He is,” Sulrad said.

“Strong enough to stop us?” He didn’t want the boy interfering as he drained the magic from the girl.

“Yes, he’s that strong,” Sulrad said. He placed the knife back in the hands of the statue. “Don’t worry about the boy; he’s safely out of your way. Once you finish your part, we’ll deal with him as appropriate.”

“What am I to do then?” Vorathorm asked.

“Travel to their homestead outside of Mistbury, and dispose of the girl. Once you’ve done that, come back and report to me.” He gestured to the knife cradled in the arms of the statue. “Don’t forget your knife,” he said with a smile as he turned and walked out.

Vorathorm looked at the sunlight just about to illuminate the rabbit. He would have just enough time to make his sacrifice. He smiled and approached the altar with a renewed sense of purpose.

 

Vorathorm anxiously waited until early in the afternoon to begin his mission. The men would be in the fields, preparing to drive the kine back from the high pasture for the winter. The house would be empty, except for the girl and her mother.

Vorathorm carefully prepared the traveling spell that would take him to their homestead. He’d faithfully built up his reserves in preparation for a chance like this. He executed the spell flawlessly. The temple disappeared to be replaced instantly by the farm, where the smell of manure and swine almost overpowered him.

He made his way to the house, quietly pulling the door open. He stepped quickly into the kitchen.

A middle aged woman labored over the stove, with her back to him. She had a towel in one hand, and a large carving knife in the other. The smell of freshly baked bread still lingered in the air, overlaid with the scent of just-cut onions that was just beginning to fade into the rich aroma of the evening’s meal.

Vorathorm rested against the heavy wooden table and cleared his throat.

The woman turned with a start. “What are you doing here?” she spat. She raised the knife menacingly and took a step toward him.

“I’m here for your child,” he said. He gathered the magic to drive the spell he’d begun weaving for her.

“He’s not here,” she said, relaxing somewhat. “You’re too late. He’s already gone, you filthy swine.”

Vorathorm laughed. “I’m not here for the boy,” he said. “I’m here for the girl.” He was confident that the girl was in the house. He could sense her magic.

“You’re not touching my daughter!” she said. “Onolt, run!”

She took another step and swung the knife at him. He stepped back and raised his hand, moving his fingers to make the final sign that released the spell. She was too quick for him as she swung the knife. His arm erupted in pain as she slashed through his heavy robe and into his flesh.

He backed away from her, trying to complete the spell as she advanced once more. “It won’t do you any good,” he said, trying to sound calm and in control. “I’ll get you in the end.”

“Not before I slice you up like a prize swine.” She slashed at him once more, this time narrowly missing his chest. He threw himself back and grabbed a chair, thrusting it between them for protection. She was easily as strong as he was, and fueled by rage. He ducked beneath her as she took another swing at him before he finally completed the spell he had been preparing.

Her arms fell limp to her sides as the spell took effect. Vorathorm stood and faced her directly as she tried to speak but could not. He raised his hand and hit her with all his might, the slash in his arm throwing blood spatters across her dress. He struck her repeatedly until she would not have been able to speak even if he released the spell.

He pushed her into a sitting position next to the table. He took the towel from her hand and used it to bandage his bleeding arm. Once that was done, he went looking for the girl. He knew the homestead had only one door. She was still inside; he could feel her magic like a light violet mist directing his search.

He quickly located the girl hiding behind the door in the bedroom. She held onto the bed post and screamed as he reached for her, but he soon dislodged her. He dragged her back to the kitchen and stretched her out atop the sturdy table. He bound her hands and feet securely before leaning back to admire his handiwork.

Satisfied that she was properly bound, he passed his staff over her. He smiled as she responded to the pain that followed the movement of his staff.

“You, my dear, are an emerging young Sorceress,” he said. He could sense her magic through his staff. He pulled the memories of her brother out of her mind and laughed out loud.

Lorit had turned his sister into a sorceress by infusing his own magic into her. He’d inadvertently set in motion the very thing that was about to get her killed.

The girl struggled against her bonds. “I’m no Sorceress,” she said. “I’m just a girl.”

He passed his staff across her once again. If only he were allowed to take her to the temple. There, he could prepare her properly. He would take her magic for his own and then, later, her brother’s to add to it.

“If only I had you on my altar,” Vorathorm said wistfully. “We could watch the sunrise together, and then I could take your powers for my own.”

Vorathorm felt it would be a waste to kill her, but Sulrad had insisted that she be removed as quickly and efficiently as possible. He couldn’t transport her back to Veldwaite by magic, and the boy might escape and interfere if they undertook the long journey overland. He resigned himself to wasting her magic.

He pulled the sacrificial knife from within the folds of his robe. “If I can’t take your magic, at least I can take a little pleasure from you.” He pressed the edge of the knife against her exposed skin and drew a long, thin red line with the blade.

The girl screamed in pain.

Vorathorm smiled in satisfaction.

After a while, he stepped back to admire his work. The symbols he’d carved in her flesh matched those on his altar. He coveted her magic; a clean fresh power like hers was rare. It was a pity to waste it. Maybe there was another way. He pondered that thought as he resumed his ministrations.

 

 

 

BOOK: Foundling Wizard (Book 1)
7.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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