Authors: Donald Wigboldy Jr
Battle Mage: Dark Mage
Donald L. Wigboldy Jr.
Copy write April 2014
For World Maps and More Go To:
Other books by Donald L. Wigboldy Jr.
From the Tales of Alus series:
Battle Mage: A Tale of Alus
Battle Mage: Winter’s Edge
Battle Mage: The Lost King
Battle Mage: Dragon Mage
Battle Mage: A Hero’s Welcome (Fall 2014)
The High King: A Tale of Alus
The Emperor’s Shadow War
Voran the Night Guardian
The Mermaid’s Chest
180 years ago
Silver light shone all around as Liev hurried towards a gathering throng. Excitement could be felt by everyone around the boy, though for some of the onlookers being kept back by the storm troopers of the emperor, there was also disappointment to be found.
Looking around excitedly, the brown haired, young warlock failed to notice the hard broad back of a troll in front of him.
“Whuff!” the boy released a gasp as he bounced back off the irritable troll; though he would have been pressed to find any other kind. Trolls were one of the most ill-tempered beasts locked in the silver world with the emperor after all.
It turned on Liev with a growl attempting speech in a rough version of the common tongue of the emperor’s creatures.
“I-I-I I’m sorry,” the boy started worriedly. He was a wizard, but only an apprentice to his brother rather than a full warlock. A fight with a beast like this, which had resistance to many different types of magic, was hardly the best idea Liev could have had. Why hadn’t he kept his eyes on the road before him?
Growling something about teaching
him a lesson that he could barely understand, the troll raised his hand threateningly and Liev scrambled back. Other soldiers in their black armor had taken note, both those before him and coming from behind. Unfortunately for the boy, while mercy and gentleness were words that would also have been unlikely to come from a troll’s mouth, they were also unlikely to come from any of the dark army’s other creatures either. Man and beast alike, they had become hard in the silver world under the emperor’s hard hand.
“Enough!” a tall man in black strode between the two putting a hand up in front of the looming troll. A shining, black, breast plate covered his chest and a sword was belted to his side, but even the armored man looked fragile before the great beast. Black, inhuman eyes caught the troll in his gaze, however, and it was the beast which recoiled back from the man practically half his mass.
Voices murmured a name, Lord Devolus.
Casting his dark gaze at the others
, who looked disappointed that they had missed out on a troll ripping a man in half, the warlock in black ordered, “Get to your units for the exodus. Now!”
His words took all of them in: troll, orc,
goblin, human and other beasts serving the emperor. As the crowd scattered following the warlock’s demanding tone, the elven man in his black uniform looked down on the boy with a frown. “Get up, Liev, before you get left behind. It’s time to leave this prison. If you’re not careful, you’ll be left behind with the rest of the useless chaff.”
Liev glanced around at the stone and earth buildings around him
. Another mass of earth and stone hovered several hundred feet above them. It was just one of hundreds of floating islands in the silver world. Once, it was said, there had only been silver light here; but when the emperor had been driven from their home world his power had drawn all that he controlled into the void with him. Now to be free of this place, the emperor was giving up much of what had been tied to him.
Revenge had been taught to all the descendants of those first brought with him. The creatures of the world they were about to invade were already being taught the pain of defying the emperor. They were going to make them all pay and take over this new world for their emperor. No longer would they be trapped in the silver world that had bent to the dark lord’s will.
“Hurry up, boy.”
“Yes, brother,” the thin young man who still needed to finish growing replied with a nod as he quickly followed the warlock to the appointed space.
Screams began. Sacrifices were cut with knives in hundreds of areas on hundreds of islands. Those dying had found usefulness in death that they wouldn’t in life, Liev thought even as he turned white at the sight of blood from those dying near him. The necessity of their deaths was soon apparent as glowing doorways dozens of feet wide began to appear everywhere.
Before anyone could move a cloud of darkness appeared swirling and shifting in the silver void between the islands. A voice spoke from the darkness, “Come and let us destroy the creatures of this new world!”
Through one of the glowing portals the cloud passed and, for just a moment, Liev thought he saw a thin man dressed in black robes within the shadows.
- Resurrection Man
The world was filled with the cacophony of war. Steel and iron weapons clashed with opposing armaments and shields giving rise to all forms of sounds from weapons clanging to the sickening sounds of flesh and blood being torn. Screams of the dying and shouts of the vengeful intermingled within the stone confines of Windmeer’s castles as the horde of the emperor’s beasts roamed the halls fighting the surprised defenders in the night.
While men weren’t the only ones to lift up weapons to save themselves, too many women and children were defenseless before the onslaught of the enemy coming up from the depths of their castle. There had been no warning from the sentries at the wall because this attack never physically passed the great wall separating Southwall from the dark horde roaming the northern plains and living in the mountains. Soldiers didn’t stand manning the walls to defend the castle. They faced into the keep, their supposed sanctuary of safety against the death that came for all men.
Palose strode through the halls of his former home alone for a time. The warlocks forming his trio had stayed behind to finish off the battle mage that had been his friend, until he had died. No sadness arose within the dark mage’s chest for the death that was imminent, instead the man dressed in black returned to the depths and the portal he had created with the help of the others.
A rattle of chainmail rushing out of a room as one of the Windmeer defenders happened upon him surprised them both.
Coming up a little short seeing the young man dressed in black, the soldier held his weapon ready to attack as he decided if Palose was a foe. “Who are you?” was the man’s question as Palose stopped before him.
The blond haired, young man smiled looking innocent enough. His blue eyes held humor in them at the soldier’s appearance. He had obviously only been able to pull together the barest protection in the mail thrown over his upper body. The sword was still clean, however, so Palose knew this man had managed to avoid any actual combat despite his location so close to the portal.
“Falcon Palose Rosaren,” he answered with a nod hoping to look confident and helpful at the same time. “I was cut off from the others I was fighting along side, soldier. Have you seen anyone else other than these damn orcs and goblins?”
Noting blood on the boots of the man as well as spatters marring the clean look of the black cloak and pants, the man with the sword noted Palose’s weapon in its scabbard. Remembering that this was a battle mage, someone who could use magic; the man, appearing to be of middle years and heavier than Palose realized at first, realized that he had probably used magic to fight instead of the piece of steel. “I am no soldier, mage. I am Lord
Selven. You are the first person who I have seen since I left my family in the protection of my guards. Do you have any idea of what is going on here? I heard all the commotion and awoke to help defend the castle.”
Palose wondered at the man’s words. If anything, Lord
Selven, a balding , slightly overweight man, a touch below average height, was more likely running away from the combat he had heard. These halls led deeper into the castle and away from the sounds of battle. “It seems that a traitor managed to summon a force of orcs and goblins into the castle. I have been trailing the source and it appears to lead in this direction. Now that I have found you, perhaps we can go together and destroy whatever is bringing these beasts into the castle!”
Instant fear leaped into the man’s eyes. As Palose had supposed, this lord was like too many of his kind, boasting of his prowess but a coward in the face of true danger. Shaking his head, Lord
Selven replied quickly as he sought to save face, “If you are correct, then someone should go find more help! You continue on, but avoid fighting too many while I bring help. I’ll brave the enemy this way, while you continue.”
The pudgy lord indicated the way the battle mage had come.
“Oooh,” Palose shook his head in dismay, “that is probably not wise. There was a mass of orcs and goblins lead by a pair of warlocks in that direction,” he stated telling the actual truth. Palose had been with them and found his old friend, Sebastian Trillon. With a mass of the green and brown skinned beasts to help, a trio of trolls and the two warlocks he had left to finish the scrappy mage; they were likely to have finished with the lone man by now. They might choose to return through these tunnels and follow Palose back to the portal, however, since they could assume the rest of their assault team had fallen.
This attempt at destroying Windmeer had failed. Already the defenders, reinforced by a large force sent north of the wall days before, had managed to destroy most of the vanguard that he had brought into the fortress. It had been a test of the human defense set by his masters and, though they had killed a large number of humans over the last hour, it was time to escape back to Ensolus on the other side of the portal.
His attention returned to the lord as new fear crossed his face. Palose was beginning to grow bored with the ruse, but decided it could play out just a little longer.
Glancing back the way he had come, Lord
Selven nodded as he came to a decision, “If that way is blocked, then I will return the way I came. I can try the stairs and cut back across to look for help for your mission there.”
“But I think we will find the traitor who summoned them this way. We can’t let him escape,” Palose teased though the man didn’t know that.
Waving his free hand before him, the lord shook his head, “It is too risky. You said it yourself. Why don’t you follow me this way? We can find more defenders and return.”
“When it is safe?” Palose added to the lord’s words. His comment made the man frown even as his feet shuffled with worry.
“No, boy, safety isn’t my worry, but it isn’t worth throwing your life away for nothing, is it? Come on. I can use your magic to back me up and we’ll find some help this way.”
The older man turned to leave deciding the argument was over and his mind was decided.
“Fireball,” the dark mage ordered sending a large ball of flame after the lord. Selven turned wide eyed thinking that Palose had spotted an enemy in the hall. As the fire engulfed the man, he screamed in pain stumbling back. A clang sounded as he dropped his clean sword in his pain which was joined quickly by a heavy thump as the burning lord collapsed to the stone floor.
“Oh, I found the traitor, my lord. It’s me. Oops, I should have warned you,” the dark mage said with a mirthless laugh.
His bit of amusement over, Palose hurried his steps to the next set of stairs heading deeper into the castle’s bowels. It wasn’t far as he had told Selven. A storeroom more than forty feet square was sparsely filled with boxes and sheet covered furniture with a cleared path to the far wall from the sole door into the room. Two bleeding servants lay bound to the stone walls on either side of a glowing doorway. Their lives were nearing an end, but it was their sacrifice that had opened the portal to Ensolus and the waiting army which had been used to attack Windmeer.
Two other men in black stood casually whiling away the time as they held the door open from this side even as another pair stood beyond the light holding their side.
“Palose?” one of the men questioned. Appearing middle aged, the warlock frowned at the younger man and continued, “Why are you here? Shouldn’t you be helping the others to fight or leave the castle? You have a mission to perform.”
“Atrouseon, the main plan has failed. The army that was supposed to be destroyed north of the wall appeared and is destroying our forces as we speak. Erdeeth and Kerlorish were finishing off a battle mage along with about thirty of our soldiers. They will blend in and escape the city later to form a new gate to begin bringing more of the emperor’s armies south of the wall.”
The sorcerer did not look happy to hear his answer. “I didn’t bring you back to life to fail the emperor. Windmeer was supposed to fall tonight. Without this city to guard the center of the wall, we could destroy this portion and flood the south with trolls, orcs and goblins.”