Authors: Christopher Williams
Ossendar: Book Two of the Restoration Series
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For Julie, the love of my life.
The Three Forms of the Mystical Arts
Magic is a learned art. All that is required to learn magic is a good mind. The magic user focuses on their need, and then casts the appropriate spell. Spells can be as simple as single words or chants, or as complex as multi-person rites and rituals. Magic is by far the most common of the three forms of the Mystical Arts.
Sorcery, unlike Magic, is something a person is either born with or not. It can not be learned. Sorcerers are born with the unique ability to control their spirit and use it to manipulate things in the world around them. Touching other people's minds and moving objects with just a thought are some of the more common uses of Sorcery.
Wizardry is the use of the elements to summon demons. Wizards use their will to control the demon and force it to do their bidding. Wizardry has been forbidden for two thousand years, ever since the destruction of the Demon Lord war.
Flare spent a sleepless night, tossing and turning. After leaving Telur as little more than a common soldier, he had been forced to take command of the defenses of Fort Mul-Dune. Against all hope, the fort had held out against the overwhelming numbers of attackers. He returned to Telur as a hero and received the welcoming he had longed for, but now it felt like he was returning home to Solistine. He almost expected to have his cousin Bantharuis taunting him after breakfast. Nightmares tormented him through the few moments of sleep, and the next morning he got up feeling more tired than when he had gone to bed.
After eating a hurried breakfast in his room, he prepared to visit the king. The feelings of nervousness grew as he waited patiently in his room for his escort. The feelings were not as bad as they had been last night, but they were strong enough to give him a stomachache. Sitting in the only chair in his room, he kept fidgeting and trying to pop his knuckles. He would notice it and try to stop, only to find himself doing it again a few moments later.
He shook his head at the strangeness of it all. King Darion had confessed he was Flare's father, but due to the political nature, he could not claim to be Flare's true father. The king, however, had decided to 'adopt' Flare as his own, thereby rewarding him but not taking ownership for his own actions.
After what seemed like an eternity, a knock came at the door. Flare quickly got up and found a young man in military uniform standing in the hall. The boy hardly looked old enough to shave, much less wear a uniform. He had dirty-blond hair, slim face and build, and a sharp nose.
“Good morning sir. I'm here to escort you to see King Darion.” The young man said, and then waited patiently for Flare.
“What's your name?” Flare asked.
The young man replied, somewhat nervously.
's nervousness caused Flare to smile. “
, lead the way.”
The castle was huge and
led them through a part of the castle that Flare hadn't been in before. While still decorated nicely, the hallways seemed to be less opulent than in the main areas of the castle. There were fewer decorations for the walls, and it certainly felt less lived in. They wound through hallway after hallway, until they stopped at a doorway at the end of a long deserted hall. There were several older style tapestries hanging on either side of the hallway, and several holders for torches. The torches were not lit now, since light was streaming in through several windows.
turned to Flare, “Sir, we're here. Just knock on the door and the guards will let you in.” With that, he turned and walked back the way that they had came.
Flare watched the young man until he was out of sight, then he paused briefly to steel himself before knocking on the door. He had almost been sick last night and this morning, but now he just felt numb.
The door was opened by a guard wearing chain mail. He looked Flare over, before stepping to the side and allowing him to enter.
Flare walked into the dimly lit room. The furniture and decorations were out of style and dusty. Papers and equipment were lying around in a cluttered and disorganized manner. Light seeped into the room through minor openings in the heavy and dark curtains that covered the windows. The stone blocks that made the floor were heavily worn and cobwebs were hanging in the corners of the room. There were several dressers and a table near the door, and there were several steps up to the far side of the room, where there was a bed, several chairs, and another table.
The guard stood off to the left still holding the door open, and Flare could see another guard stood to the right. Directly ahead of the entrance, King Darion stood waiting patiently. He was dressed comfortably and seemed to be in a pleasant mood.
“Come in, Flare.” The king said, smiling and motioning him to come closer.
Flare walked past the two guards and it was then that he noticed Duke Angaria was also in the room. The Duke was sitting in a chair off to one side, looking angry. Angaria stood up, glowering around the room.
Flare came to a stop in front of King Darion and nodded his head, “Your highness.”
Duke Angaria interrupted, “Your highness, this must not be allowed to stand. You must not adopt him; he cannot be your heir.”
The king's smile faded. “Angaria! We have already had this conversation, and I have made my decision.”
“But your highness, this is absolute foolishness. This will have major ramifications.”
“Enough!” The king shouted, making Flare jump. “I have made the correct decision and I will not tolerate any more comments about it.” The king paused, calming himself. “In fact, I think that I will continue this meeting without your assistance.”
A look of confusion came over the face of Duke Angaria. “Sir?”
In a calm and quiet voice, the king said, “Duke, you are dismissed.”
Duke Angaria opened his mouth to say something, but then closed it with a snap. He half bowed to the king and then turned on his heel and stomped from the room. He walked so fast that the guards almost didn't have time to open the door before he walked through it.
The king waited until Duke Angaria had left the room before speaking again. “Guards, wait outside the door.” The guards bowed and left the room.
“I'm sorry Flare. Unfortunately my announcement last night did not meet with the approval of all my advisors.”
“Excuse me sir, but didn't you expect them to disapprove?”
“Yes, and for a while they will resist the notion of you as my son, but they will come around.” The king smiled, “You see, Flare, they have no choice.”
The king motioned him to come closer. “Duke Angaria was here for some other business, he does not have anything to do with why you were brought here.” The king took him by the arm and led him up the steps. “Allow me to introduce you to another of my advisors. His name is Eul-Dagan, and he has been one of my advisors longer than any other.” The king pointed to an old frail-looking man sitting quietly in one of the chairs next to the bed. Flare had not noticed him before.
Eul-Dagan rose to his feet, swaying somewhat in the process. “I am honored to meet the hero of Fort Mul-dune.”
Flare bowed toward Eul-Dagan. “The pleasure in mine, honored father,” He responded. The old man's eyes seemed to twinkle at the use of the title.
“Flare, I have asked Eul-Dagan to teach you the history of Telurian nobility. Also, he will teach you the correct way to interact with other members of the royal court. It will be vital for you to know how to behave without negative consequences.” The king looked toward Eul-Dagan for input.
After a moment the old man volunteered, “It would be my honor to impart my limited knowledge to the new prince.” Eul-Dagan said, slightly bowing his head.
The king smiled, “Don't be deceived by his humble words. He knows more about this court than I do.”
“I will do my best to become familiar with the court,” Flare said, the words sounding false in his own ears. How do you talk to a king?
“Good. Now, I will leave you two to get to know each other.” The king said, starting toward the door. He then stopped and turned back, “Flare, I want you to join me for dinner. It will be a small group of people. In fact, I think it will just be you and the rest of my family.” The king paused briefly, as if in thought, “I will have
sent by the tailors to pick up the second military dress uniform and deliver it to your room.”
Flare's spirits sank. He was so looking forward to having dinner with his close friends; friends that he trusted. He actually dreaded meeting the king's other children, as he was sure they would have some anxiety toward their new 'brother'. But how do you refuse a request of the king? He put on his best fake smile and said, “Yes sir. I will see you then.”
The king hardly waited for the response; instead he was already heading toward the door.
Flare waited until the king had left, and then turned back toward Eul-Dagan. He was surprised to see the old man staring intently at him.
“Judging by the look on your face, I would guess that you do not want to attend that dinner?” The councilor said, half smiling.
“It's going to be an uncomfortable evening, Eul-Dagan” Flare responded. “The rest of the king's children have to view me as a threat."
“I would say that your assessment is probably understated to say the least, but please call me Dagan.” The old man said, moving over to the chair nearest the bed.
Flare shook his head, “I didn't want this, I didn't ask for this.”
“Sometimes our destiny is chosen for us,” Dagan said. “But, let's start talking about how to act tonight at dinner.”
Sighing, Flare moved over and took a seat next to the old man.
Trestus stopped and looked at the stairway that led up to the small apartment over the seamstress shop. It was early evening with the sun just going down. He could see lights in the windows upstairs, but the shop below was dark. His mood darkened at the thought of climbing those stairs. He loved his mother dearly, but dreaded seeing her now that Callin was dead. He stood there for several moments, before sighing and then heading up the stairs.
The door was opened by a little middle-aged woman with gray hair that was pulled back in a bun. She wore a faded blue dress and a white apron. Her face lit up when she saw Trestus and she opened the door wide. “Trestus! Oh my goodness! Come in. Come in.” She backed out of the doorway to let him through.
The door opened onto a room that served as both a common room and a dining room. The right side of the room had a bench and a couple of chairs, and the left side of the room had a simple wooden table. Swinging doors led directly into the kitchen. The walls were dark brown, but the room was lightened by the colorful curtains. The floor was made of wood and showed years of use. Being so focused on seeing his family again, he barely even glanced around the room.
Trestus' younger sister, Marla, jumped up off of the bench as he entered the room. “Trestus!” She squealed, running over and throwing her arms around his neck. “I'm so glad you're okay.” She was just fourteen with long brown hair and a slimness that showed her age. He noted that she was maturing quickly.
He choked up, a tear running down his cheek. “Mom, I'm so sorry. I tried to protect ..” He couldn't finish the sentence as the tears turned into a flood.
His mother's face softened and she stepped over and hugged him, joining Marla who was still hugging him. “Oh Trestus, I know you did your best. When you both became soldiers, we knew that something could happen to either one of you. Callin died a hero, saving lives. I'm sure there was nothing you could do.”
They stood there for several moments, hugging and all three crying. The tears finally subsided, and they each wiped the tears off of their cheeks. Trestus' mom, Aileen, stepped away from the group toward the kitchen. “Trestus, sit down and I will finish getting dinner ready.” She didn't wait for an answer.
Trestus watched her go, feeling like he had failed her. “Marla, how is she doing?”
Marla wiped another tear off of her cheek and said, “Probably about as good as she can. She misses Callin, as do we all, but it's still tougher for her.” She turned to look back at Trestus and punched him, “How are you doing?”