The SilveredBook - 2013
It began with the prophecy made by the Imperial Soothsayer, a prophecy that had Emperor Leopald's army bent on conquering the small kingdom of Aydori. For Aydori was ruled by the Hunt Pack--shape changers who took the form of wolves-- and the Mage-pack--masters of the six disciplines: air, fire, water, earth, metals, healing.
With its allies defeated, nothing stood between Aydori and the invading Imperials but its own troops, led by the Hunt Pack and aided by magecraft. What no one could have anticipated were the emperor's new weapons--from hot air balloons, to highly destructive long-range rockets, to guns loaded with the silver bullets so deadly to the Pack.
Even as his troops wreaked havoc on a broad front, the emperor sent a small group deep into Aydori territory to capture the six pregnant mages of the prophecy, using ancient magical devices that could nullify their powers, leaving them helpless prisoners. It should have been a foolproof scheme. Captain Sean Reiter and his squad of Imperial soldiers easily captured five women of the Mage-pack, including the wife of the Pack Leader. Yet the prophecy said they needed six mages.
So, while the majority of the squad headed back to the capital with their prize, Captain Reiter and a smaller group continued their search. And they came across Mirian Maylin.
A student at the mages' univeristy, Mirian had scored incredibly high in the testing, but all she had accomplished after a year of studying was to qualify at the first level in five of the six disciplines when she should have been achieving mastery in one. She was told not to return for further schooling. So when she witnessed the enemy capturing five women of the Mage-pack, Mirian had no choice but to head for the battlefront to report the kidnapping to the Pack Leader.
On the way, she fell prisoner to Reiter and his men. And it was only thanks to the intervention of the Pack Leader's younger brother, Tomas Hagen, that Mirian escaped. Tomas brought devastating news--news that sent the two of them on a desperate race to rescue the captured mages before they reached the capital.
But even as they pursued the squad, they were being pursued by Captain Reiter. While Mirian and Tomas journeyed through progressively more hostile lands, she worked relentlessly to improve her mage-craft and achieve control over her spells, leaving an all-too-obvious trail of incidents that could not be ignored.
The Mage-pack captives themselves were doing everything they could to escape before the emperor could implement his horrible plans for them and their unborn childrend, but time was running out. And even if Mirian and Tomas reached the capital before it was too late, what chance did they have against an ancient maic, the latest scientific advances, and a mad emperor's entire army?
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she sagged against the vine for a moment, and watched the bud closest to her hand swell and unfurl into a pale pink blossom. A few more, then a few more, until a spray of blossom bobbed up over the wall scenting the air with the promise of summer. First level Earth. Pretty, but useless and worse than that, unintentional. Given the way exhaustion ate away at her control, it was a good thing she hadn’t managed to learn anything more dangerous.
she leaned back against the tree and tried to become one with the night. It was a phrase from the last novel she’d brought home from the bookshop on Upper Cryss Road. The hero became one with the night when he hunted. Of course, in the novel, the hero hadn’t had to deal with a swarm of insects that tried to make a meal off any bit of exposed skin. Novels, she noted, wondering how much noise she’d make if she slapped at the back of her neck, were nothing much like real life.
she just wanted to talk to her sister. She wanted Lorela to make it right, like she always had when they were growing up. Lorela would sit on her bed, wrapped in a shawl, and explain that the world as they wanted it to be and the world as it was weren’t always the same place. Their mother’s drive for social advancement, their father always putting the bank first, that was how it was. A smart girl would figure out a way to work around it.
Even with limited exposure, Reiter could have said a number of things about the rest of the hangers-on, but he knew better than to open his mouth. The palace was just a better-dressed, better-fed version of a garrison town, and in a closed system, words always found their way to the wrong ears.
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