The Voice of Prophecy (Dual Magics Book 2)

 

 

The Voice of Prophecy

Dual Magics Book 2

 

Meredith Mansfield

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2014 Meredith
Mansfield

Kindle Edition

 

Cover Images:

Background Image: Copyright
Cappan
|
Dreamstime.com

Figure: Copyright
Nomadsoul1
|
Dreamstime.com
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

The Story So Far From

Chapter 1: Thunder on the Plains

Chapter 2: Transformations

Chapter 3: Burn Out

Chapter 4: Betrayal

Chapter 5: The Shaman

Chapter 6: Avaza Again

Chapter 7: Plains Crossing

Chapter 8: Homecoming

Chapter 9: Questions but Few
Answers

Chapter 10: The Harbinger

Chapter 11: Plots

Chapter 12: Settling In

Chapter 13: Trouble

Chapter 14: The Shield

Chapter 15: Opportunity

Chapter 16: Confrontation

Chapter 17: Aftermath

Chapter 18: Consequences

Chapter 19: Family Matters

Chapter 20: Defense

Chapter 21: Revenge

Chapter 22: Birth

Chapter 23: Forgiveness

Chapter 24: Archery and Madness

Chapter 25: Reconciliation

Chapter 26: Brothers

Chapter 27: Unwitting Informer

Chapter 28: Family Reunion

Chapter 29: Miceus

Chapter 30: Contingency Plans

Chapter 31: Zeda

Chapter 32: Discontent

Chapter 33: Visit

Chapter 34: Fear

Chapter 35: Ritual

Chapter 36: Eagles

Chapter 37: Recruiting

Chapter 38: Home Again

Chapter 39: Miceus Lost

Chapter 40: Final Plans

Chapter 41: Winter’s End

Chapter 42: Springing the Plot

Chapter 43: Attack

Chapter 44: Kidnapped

Chapter 45: Bound

Chapter 46: Rescue

Chapter 47: Savara

Chapter 48: Nothing Goes According
to Plan

Chapter 49: Open Seat

Chapter 50: Change in High Places

Chapter 51: Guild Council

Chapter 52: The Voice Speaks

Chapter 53: Exorcism

Excerpt

About the Author

 

 

The Story So Far From

The Shaman’s Curse

(Or What You’ll Need to Know if You Didn’t Read The Shaman’s
Curse)

 

On a forbidden adventure to the river, fifteen-year-old
Vatar and his friends were caught in a flash flood. Vatar's uneasiness and
insistence on leaving saved three of them, but his best friend, who happened to
be the only son of the tribe's shaman, was swept away and killed. Vatar was
badly injured trying to save him. The shaman, Maktaz, unjustly blamed Vatar and
the other two boys for his son's death.

In order to avoid the shaman's vengeance, Vatar's parents
took him away to Caere, a city on the sea coast. Caere was the main trading
partner of the plains-dwelling Dardani and also the original home of Vatar's
mother. While there, Vatar showed an affinity for working with iron and steel.
Vatar's Uncle Lanark offered to train him as a blacksmith—which would make him
the first Dardani to know how to work iron and steel. Vatar stayed in Caere and
his cousin, Arcas, went to the plains with Vatar’s family intending to improve
trade with the Dardani and assure his future as a merchant.

In Caere, Vatar discovered a family secret—his mother’s
Dardani husband was not Vatar’s true father. His father was one of the
Fasallon, the ruling class of Caere who used magic to bolster their reign. The
Fasallon’s greatest fear was based on a prophecy of a ‘Fasallon who is not a
Fasallon’ who would end their rule. They’d never allowed a half-Fasallon child
to grow up outside their control—and now they’d discovered Vatar. But Vatar was
already grown and a member of a powerful guild, so they merely kept a close
watch on him to assure themselves that Vatar had no inherited his father’s
Fasallon magic.

However, Vatar grew up indoctrinated in Dardani
superstitions. The Dardani believed that all magic came from Spirits. The magic
conferred by their connection to their totem spirits was considered
good—although it wasn’t called magic. They believed all other magic came from
Evil Spirits. He denied having any trace of Fasallon magic. He even dismissed
his occasional brief visions of a girl with hair the color of flame as mere
daydreams.

Vatar was called back to the plains early because his mother
was ill. She survived thanks to a Healer Vatar’s Fasallon father sent to help
her. Vatar stayed until his clan went to the summer gathering of the clans at
the Zeda waterhole, planning to return to Caere from there. When his clan
arrived at Zeda, they discovered that a pair of forest tigers (think
saber-toothed tigers with the hide of a rhinoceros) were terrorizing the summer
village. The tigers were not only raiding the herds; they’d also attacked
several people around the waterhole. The Dardani had never hunted tigers
because they were too dangerous and too hard to kill.

Maktaz, the shaman, announced that the Spirits had decreed
that the manhood test for that year would be to hunt the tigers—and that Vatar
must take part in the hunt. Vatar remembered a story he’d heard in Caere about
one of the early Fasallon who killed a sea dragon with a spear. So he and his
friends planned a strategy and Vatar set to work forging spears for all the
boys who would be forced to participate in the hunt. Without realizing it, he
sang power into the blades. With these spears, the boys succeeded in killing
the tigers, earning themselves hero status within the tribe.

This won Vatar the attention of Avaza, a beautiful young
Dardani girl. This was a new and intoxicating experience for Vatar. After a
whirlwind courtship, Avaza returned to Caere with Vatar as his year mate.
Dardani marriage customs required that year mates practice birth control using
an herb that was readily available on the plains. At any point, year mates
could split up with no shame on either party.

Avaza wasn’t happy in Caere, where women had far less
freedom and respect than among the Dardani. In Caere, birth control was
available only from the Healers and normally only for medical reasons. One of
the Healers gave her difficulty over it. After that, she put off her visits to
the Healers. Vatar, used to much stronger women, was frustrated with her
dependence on him even for the simplest things. Their relationship began to
fracture. Then, Avaza got pregnant.

When they returned to Zeda the following summer, Avaza left
Vatar and returned to her own clan. Their twins—a boy, Zavar, and a girl,
Savara—were born a few weeks later. This put Vatar into a quandary. The twins
belonged to his clan—the Lion Clan—but they needed to be with their mother.
However, Avaza was Raven Clan—the same as the shaman. And he was afraid to
leave the twins within Maktaz’s reach once the clans split up in the autumn. In
the end, he convinced Avaza to go with his clan on the condition that he would
return to Caere for the winter.

Vatar and Arcas formed a partnership to manage the trade
with the Dardani and the more isolated Modgud tribe. Arcas would do the actual
trading. Vatar would make the metal goods and do the repairs. They bought a
derelict farm outside the city walls where Vatar could set up his own forge.

When the partners returned to Zeda the following summer,
Avaza was forced to leave the twins with Vatar. Resentful, she allowed Maktaz
to persuade her to tell him about Vatar—things like his other father in Caere.
The shaman wove these innocent facts into a tissue of lies in order to persuade
the Dardani that Vatar had been possessed by an Evil Spirit. Maktaz wanted to
work them up into demanding an exorcism—a violent ritual that used pain to
drive out the Evil Spirit and one which would put Vatar completely at Maktaz’s
mercy.

Vatar’s stepfather tried to convince him to return to Caere.
Vatar refused. Maktaz’s accusations impacted the twins as well. The only way
they could be free to live among the Dardani without fear was for him to find a
way to put an end to this vendetta.

Things came to a head when unusual atmospheric phenomena
persuaded a significant number of the Dardani to Maktaz’s contention. First,
spirit fire (St. Elmo’s fire) was seen above Vatar’s forge. Then, when Maktaz
prepared to accuse Vatar, ball lightning exploded between them, causing Maktaz
to suffer a small stroke.

Vatar saved the situation by denouncing Maktaz’s actions and
challenging him to an Ordeal. Maktaz was honor-bound to accept—or else admit
that Vatar’s charges were true. Maktaz’s Ordeal was set as spending a year
alone in the Northern Wilderness. Vatar’s was harsher: a year alone in the
Great Forest—the place Dardani fear most. The Ordeals also required that both
men be severed from their clans and the protection of the totem spirits.

Arcas rode to the related tribe, the Modgud, where he had
friends, to ask them to provide a temporary shaman for the Dardani and to train
a new shaman to take Maktaz’s place. He also arranged for a couple of the
Modgud to help Vatar learn how to survive in the Forest. When Arcas returned,
Vatar’s stepfather asked him to ride back to Caere and let Vatar’s real father,
Veleus, know what was going on.

Veleus asked for the details concerning the Ordeal. In
response to his questions, Arcas revealed that a brother may choose to share
the Ordeal. On learning this, Veleus called in two of his other sons. Orleus,
the Captain of the Guard in an outpost town who was an avid hunter in his spare
time. His skills might prove useful in the Great Forest. And Cestus, the only
one of his half-brothers Vatar had met and become friends with. They set out to
catch up to Vatar, who was already somewhere in the Forest.

In the Forest, Vatar discovered that he was not alone. He
saw signs of others, but didn’t encounter them until one day he went down to
the stream for water and found a pair of red-haired girls bathing there. He
turned away to give them their privacy, but stepped on a twig. Three red-haired
boys immediately surrounded him and challenged him about spying on the girls,
which he denied. Following this, the boys harassed Vatar with various small
malicious pranks in an attempt to drive him out of the Forest.

Things came to a head when Vatar attempted to kill a deer.
His arrow missed the buck he was aiming at and instead glancingly struck a
white stag. Vatar immediately knew there was something wrong about that stag.
He went back to his camp, but the boys followed him there—except not as boys.
They were in the shapes of a bear, a wolf, and the wounded white stag. They
attacked Vatar and in the melee he stabbed the stag in the gut with his spear.
As the stag fell, it changed back into one of the boys. The others rushed
in—back in their true, human forms—and carried the wounded boy away.

Vatar knew that the wounded boy would die and that the
survivors would come after him once that happened. Four against one—and using a
magic he couldn’t counter. Since he couldn’t leave the Forest in the direction
of the plains, Vatar packed up what he could carry and headed deeper into the
Forest, hoping to escape in that direction. His progress across the Forest was
stopped by a mountain range. He turned along the mountain range, seeking a
pass.

He found the pass just as the others caught up to him. They
used more magic to cause the stones of the pass to rise up and strike him.
Vatar tried to battle through, his mind repeating “Help!” over and over again,
but a rock struck him on the head and he fell unconscious.

A group on the other side of the pass—actually, teachers
wondering why the group of five graduating students hadn’t returned yet—heard
his mental cry for help. They reached the top of the pass just as Vatar fell
and drove off the former students attacking him. They carried Vatar over the pass
to get him to a healer.

Orleus and Cestus failed to catch up to Vatar before snow
closed the pass, so they return to the Dardani for the winter.

Vatar woke in the valley beyond the pass to find that the
red-haired woman, Thekila, he’d daydreamed about for years was real and one of
his rescuers—and she was just as curious about him as he was about her. During
Vatar’s recovery, they became close friends.

The place was called simply the Valley and it was the home
of the Valson, a group of people in some ways very similar to the Fasallon.
They had magic similar to that of the Fasallon, too. Specifically, he’d been
brought to the Academy, where young Valson were taught to use their Powers.
Thekila was a teacher at this Academy.

Meanwhile, Maktaz cheated on his Ordeal. He sneaked back
south where some sympathizers left a shelter and supplies for him. But he
wasn’t careful enough and he was captured and held for judgment by the whole
tribe when they next met at Zeda. Still determined to strike against Vatar, he
persuaded some of the young men that Vatar’s children were a danger to the
tribe and incited them to kidnap and murder the two-year-old twins.

Vatar sensed his son’s panic during the attack. Thekila
coached him through use of a form of magic called Far Sight in order to
reassure himself that his son was all right. He saw the children safe, but that
his stepfather was wounded and that Cestus and someone else (Orleus) were
there. Unable to deny his magic any longer, Vatar consented to train until the
spring melt opened the pass so he could return home. 

As spring neared, the four former students who had harassed
and attacked Vatar return. One of the girls had overused her alternate shape—a
white antelope—and was stuck, unable to return to her true human form. The
other three were brought before the Valson Council, where they were judged to
have broken the Tenets by which the Valson lived. They were exiled. Enraged,
many of their family members chose to go with them, but first they made it
clear that they blamed Vatar for everything that had happened.

Over the winter, Vatar and Thekila grew closer. When it was
finally time for Vatar to return, Thekila went with him as his wife. Her best
friend, Quetza chose to go along, too, just in case any of the exiles tried to
make good on their threats. As they started across the Forest, they were
followed, but not by the exiles. Thekila’s younger brother, Theklan, was
determined not to be left behind.

Trev, the temporary shaman provided by the Modgud, examined
Vatar prior to his re-entry to the tribe, drawing out a full account of what
had happened. Where a Dardani shaman would have ostracized Vatar for his magic,
Trev seemed to take it in stride. Vatar was returned to the tribe and allowed to
rejoin the Spirit of the Lion, his clan’s totem.

Maktaz, on the other hand, was sentenced to be exiled for
cheating on his Ordeal. He couldn’t resist one more attempt to get revenge on
Vatar. He grabbed Vatar’s own knife and tried to stab him with it. Thekila
prevented this with the Valson ability to manipulate inanimate objects with
their magic. Thwarted, Maktaz attempted a dying curse. Vatar used his
newly-learned magic to project an image of the Spirit of the Lion to distract
the ex-shaman, intending to take up the discarded knife and kill him before he
could complete the curse. The image startled Maktaz into a massive stroke,
killing him.

Vatar and Thekila declared themselves life mates before the
tribe.

 

 

 

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