Inexperienced Mage (Reawakening Saga) (4 page)

BOOK: Inexperienced Mage (Reawakening Saga)
2.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

He gave out a light chuckle. If only he had practiced his magic before going hunting the day before, he would have met with much better success. As his meal cooked, Mark began to read where he had left off the previous night

One’s ability to mold magic is not infinite and there are limits to everyone’s ability. Like a muscle, the more you use magic the more your body will be able to handle. Still there will be a point at which one will reach their full potential. It is best that you test your strength at least once every season. The easiest way to do this is to cast a spell and hold it until you can no longer hold your focus. As is known, different spells take more focus than others. I always advise using the same spell every year, as well as using a spell with which you are comfortable. Use a spell just strong enough to have an effect, hold it for an hour. Then double the spell’s strength and repeat. Do not be disappointed if you cannot hold it for the full hour the first time. First attempt success is rare. Rarer still is making it past the second doubling.

Mark knew for the best measurement he should perform the test without having preformed any magic but he eager to see how he measured with this test. He decided after he ate would be as good a time as any to do the exercise. 

His belly stuffed with the leftover venison of the fawn, Mark wrapped the remains in leaves to carry with him for later. He took a seat on a comfortable moss-covered rock and prepared himself for the exercise. With little effort, the magical ball of fire sprung to life. Within half an hour the front of his shirt was drenched in sweat and his head was throbbing from the strain of maintaining the focus needed to maintain the spell. Not long after Mark’s focus faltered and the spell fell apart and the flame dissipating into nothingness.

Collapsing on the ground, Mark found he couldn’t move. His whole body ached as if he had taken a long run up a mountain. Even with the pain a smile crept onto his face. If he
understood the book correctly, his magical power was fairly strong. Too tired to move, Mark let his eyes closed taking the opportunity for a short nap.

Within a few days Mark had read through the entire book of magic. While it offered a lot of ideas for spells, most of them were simple or variations of ones he had already performed. He had read all the stories the academy had to offer on knights and magic, and he was sure that he had only scratched the su
rface of what he was able to do.

The fact he would have to figure out the rest without guidance was daunting but at the same time refreshing. As far as he was concerned he had no limits. Maybe he would even outstrip the mages that had come before.

Now that he had a fair understanding of magic he decided to take another look at the book on enchanting. The book was fairly thick but after flipping through it, he learned that it mostly contained information on metals, woods, gems, and crystals and how best to use them with enchantments.

The basic idea was to put a spell on an item and have it collect and store magic to be used at a later time. One needed two basic things to enchant - a gem or crystal, referred to as the core, to store the magic. The other item, referred to as the body, was to be of wood or metal. This item was to hold and direct the spells into the core.

He really wanted to try enchanting something but without a core it was impossible. He decided it was time to leave his little sanctuary and find his way back into the world. As a male he knew he would be seen as a second class citizen and unable to own land. With only the most basic jobs would be open to him and if he wasn’t careful, he would most likely find himself again as a slave or worse.

When his head began to throb he switched to whittling on a large piece of oak that he had picked up in the forest in the attempt to make himself a new practice sword. He had worked tirelessly over the years to hone his skills but the queen's guard had shown him he was still had a long way to go, and he did not want to let the edge he had to disappear.

After six days of working with the wood, the sword was finished. It was slightly off balance and the blade curved a little more than he wanted but it was still better than nothing. With his new blade in hand he went through his normal warm-up routine. Even though it had not been long since his last battle, he felt slow and sluggish.

While he practiced a though
t occurred to him, what if he could strengthen and sharpen the wooden sword with his magic. In a fight against an armed opponent he would be at a disadvantage and in a fight where he didn’t want to draw attention to his magic it could be extremely useful.

Mark found a young tree that could eas
ily be felled with few quick ax strokes and began focusing. He envisioned the magical mist wrapping itself around the blade of his sword coming to a hair-thin edge and then he swung the sword at the trunk of the tree.. He felt only minimal resistance and for a moment thought in his haste he had missed the mark. Suddenly the tree fell over! Letting go of the spell he looked down at his sword to reassure himself that it was still there. It had worked a lot better than he could have imagined.

The next day he saw a small farm off in the distance and changed his direction toward it. He was running out of food and hoped he could replenish his stocks at the nearby farmhouse. He wasn’t sure if it would work but, as he hadn’t seen any game since leaving the forest, he had to try.

As he drew closer he noticed the main house was much nicer than it had looked at first sight. It had dark brick walls and a roof of tile instead of thatch. While it wasn’t a mansion, the show of limited wealth caused Mark to hesitate. Anyone with money had power and if they branded him no one would take the side of a lone male, but with little food he had to risk it so he forced himself to continue on, fingering his sword nervously as he knocked on the door.

A portly lady, easily in her late fifties, with dark brown hair answered the door. She looked him over then let out a light chuckle. “Boy, what in the nine hells happened to you? You look as if someone strapped you to a horse and let it drag you over half the Queendom!”

Mark stared blankly at the woman, his mouth hanging agape as he mentally kicked himself. Did he think he would just walk up and ask to trade labor for supplies? He knew he had to try something but he couldn’t think of an explanation for his current condition. Before he could think of anything the woman gave him a scathing glare and his mind shut down. “Well come in. No reason for you to stand outside catching flies all day.”

Mark obediently followed the woman to a fairly large dining room with a large solid wooden table that could easily feed fifteen people at the same time. When the woman disappeared from the room he tried to think through his options.

What story would most likely allow him to continue on without landing him in trouble? Nothing came to mind so he figured the best he could do was tell as close to the truth as he could while leaving off some of the facts. The lady reappeared and sat a small tray of smoked meat, cheeses, and bread in front of him. There was also a cold glass of juice that was sweet with just the barest hint of a bitter undertone.

In an animalistic fashion, gulping down huge bites and washing it down with the juice, Mark wasted no time tearing into the small feast that had been placed in front of him. Looking up he noticed the woman was watching him with a large smile on her face. Swallowing a mouthful of food he suddenly felt childish. “Thank you for the food madam.”

She let out a barking laugh. “No reason to call me madam, I would much prefer if you called me Joan, as that is my name. As for your thanks, I would much rather hear why you have come to my farm half-starved and looking as if you had been raised in the wilds.”

“I’m not sure where to start. You see, I was just hired to work on a ladies estate and was in transport to the location when were set upon by bandits. The bandits took little notice of me so I ran into the woods. I was left without anything to my name and abandoned in unfamiliar territory. I started walking hoping to find my way to my employers and was about to give up
hope when I came across this farm,” Mark said, trying to make his voice sound as helpless as possible.

Joan looked at him letting out another small laugh. “So basically you were just sold into slavery, and in transport to your new
master’s home you were set upon by robbers and you ran away, got lost, and finally made your way to my farm.”

Mark nearly jumped out of his seat at the way she saw threw his story and
instinctively gripped the handle of his wooden sword anxiously.

Joan walked over to him laying a gentle hand on his shoulder. “I wasn’t born yesterday, but the main hint was that no ladies hire someone that doesn’t live close to their residence. Second, you left the road. If you hadn’t run you wouldn’t be anywhere near my house. Now don’t you
fret. Not everyone believes that males should be traded like livestock. I promise you’re safe as long as you’re here, you have my word on it.”

Mark let himself relax, hoping that she was telling the truth. After his meal, Joan brought him some worn but clean clothing and showed him to a washing area behind the house. The water was lukewarm from the sun and felt great on his tired and weary muscles. Seeing no one around, he let out a small spell to heat the water even more and
laid back closing his eyes thoroughly enjoying the bath.

He was unsure how long he had lain in the bath but he was stirred from his respite by a gruff voice. Looking he noticed a large bald older man with bulging muscles standing by the tub. “Well boy, the wife is almost done with supper so it’s about time you dried yourself off and made your way back into the house. Make yourself quick about it, don’t need one of the girls spotting you half nude out here do we?” The man’s voice was deep but held a hint of laughter in it, making Mark smile as he quickly got out of the tub

Inside the house he was greeted by Joan and ushered to the dining room where eleven others of varying ages already sat. He was placed between a girl with light blond hair that looked a few years older than him and a young boy around his own age. The young boy whose name was Peter was interested in Mark’s practice sword and quickly began peppering him with questions.

Mark was amazed to learn they were all family members. George and Mercy were Joan’s and Robert’s children, each married with kids of their own. They all lived and worked on the farm. They owned no slaves but allowed other families to work their land for a share of the profit from the crops’ sell. As the meal was winding down Joan began to inquire as to what his plans for the future were.

“I plan to make my way to the nearest city and find some work. But first I will have to get some provisions for the road. That’s what brought me to your house. I was going to ask if there was some work to do in trade for food.”

Robert gave Mark a calculating glance. “Well, planting season has just started and we could use some help. We normally hire a few extra hands, if they’re available at a decent wage.
There should be more than enough to help you on your way, but it will be some hard work boy and if you don’t pull your weight, you’ll find yourself out on your ass.”

The room rang as Joan landed a heavy slap to the back of her husband’s head. “I’m sure you will do just fine Mark. Don’t let my idiot of a husband bother you.”

After dinner Mark went outside followed by Peter and Jonathan, a sandy haired ten year old. The two boys watched as Mark went through his routine. The two quickly found sticks and tried to mimic Mark’s movements with varying levels of success. When Mark finished, he heard clapping from behind him and turned to find George sitting in a wicker chair. “You look quite handy with that sword kiddo! Where did you get it?”

“I made it sir.”

“Well, if you can see to make some for the boys there, I might see clear to finding
an extra silver or two for you. I doubt me and my wife, Maggi, will hear the end of it until Peter has one of his own,” George said, giving Mark a hardy slap on the back.

The next morning Mark was awoken by Peter gently pushing on his arm. The sky was still dark and sunrise still looked to be few hours away. As with dinner, breakfast was eaten by the whole family, then everyone headed off to perform their jobs. Mark was led around by Peter who showed him what was needed. The work wasn't complicated, mostly plowing the fields. Through years of weapons practice Mark had honed his body into sinewy muscles and he responded well to the plowing. However, his hands were quickly covered in blisters from the rubbing of the plow's worn handles.

Clair, the young lady who had sat beside him at dinner the night before, brought his midday meal. She wore a light blue dress with pink flowers around the hem. Her blond hair was tied back behind her head, showing off her slightly plump face and her exotic light grey eyes. Mark thought her very pretty not like the queen but in a simple fashion. She laid out a small blanket and called for him to join her.

Mark dusted his pants off, took a seat across from Clair and picked up one of the sandwiches she had set out. He noticed that her eyes never left him as she ate, her face turning a bright red when he caught her staring. At first her reaction puzzled him until he remembered that he had taken his shirt off and hung it over a low branch a few hours before to keep from staining the only clothes he owned.

“I’m sorry. It was hot and I didn’t want……..” His words trailed off as his face turning a bright red.

BOOK: Inexperienced Mage (Reawakening Saga)
2.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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