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Authors: James Maxwell

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Fantasy, #Romance, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Epic, #Two Hours or More (65-100 Pages)

Seven Words of Power

BOOK: Seven Words of Power
3.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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S
EVEN
W
ORDS OF
P
OWER

 

By James Maxwell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Copyright © James Maxwell 2014.

 

All rights reserved.

 

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the copyright holder. The characters and situations are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

Cover design by Marc Forbes.

 

www.JamesMaxwell.com

 

Map

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Seven Words of Power
The Discovery
The Builder’s Mark
The Attraction of Metal
The Sins of the Past
Splice
The Inheritance Test
Novels by James Maxwell

 

Seven Words of Power

 

Master Zoran summoned Evora Guinestor, along with his other two apprentices, to a mysterious meeting in his workroom at the Academy of Enchanters.

As Evora, Jostin, and Barrick sat in a circle of chairs around Master Zoran, Evora caught the sidelong looks as her two rivals assessed her. They all knew only one of them would be named Master Zoran’s successor, and the competition between them was fierce.

“The time has come,” Master Zoran said, his eyes regarding them from under bushy grey eyebrows, “to name my successor.”

Instantly the three apprentices straightened. Evora took a breath to calm her nerves. She had worked hard and her fingers were calloused from holding a scrill, but she knew the other two had worked just as hard as she had. By this stage each apprentice knew each other's strengths and weaknesses, just as Evora knew her own. Perhaps in the end it would come down to temperament, in which case Evora's hopes would be dashed. She and Master Zoran worked well together, but their successes were the result of contention. They fought, and although the final product was better than either could have made alone, neither enjoyed the process.

“There is one among you I have my eye on, one I think might be ready, but I am going to give the other two a chance to convince me otherwise.”

Evora couldn’t help but look at the reactions of Jostin and Barrick. She knew she had little hope of Master Zoran choosing her. Jostin looked pleased.

“So,” Master Zoran continued, “I am going to have something of a contest.”

Jostin’s eyebrows shot up. Barrick gripped his knees. Evora tried hard to unclench her fists and relax in her chair.

“In three days you will give a demonstration in the Great Court. Your task is thus. The apprentice who performs the most powerful enchantment with the fewest words to call forth its power, I will name my successor. You will be master when I retire, and you might even be named High Enchanter or High Enchantress one day, if the Lord of the Sky is kind.”

Each apprentice digested the information.

“Master Zoran, what about essence?” Barrick asked. “What are the limits?”

“You may each use a quarter-measure of essence,” Master Zoran said.

Evora drew back in surprise and she saw even Jostin’s eyes widen. Master Zoran's expression was grave. With that much essence at their disposal they could create something truly powerful. He really did mean to name his successor based on this contest.

“You may go,” Master Zoran said. “I expect not to see you until three days’ time, on the Great Court at noon.”

The three apprentices filed out and the door to their master’s workroom closed behind them. Evora found herself standing with the two young men. Their serious green robes contrasted with Evora's supple dress, though they all proudly wore the badge of apprenticeship on the breasts of their garments.

Jostin glanced at Evora. He was slim and affected a pointed beard. “You might as well give up,” he said. “Master Zoran prefers to work with men, and his successor will be spending a lot of time with him.”

“Then why did he choose me as an apprentice?” Evora asked.

“I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but the other masters made him take on a woman.” Jostin leaned forward and tugged on the glossy silver hair that flowed to Evora’s waist. “Which, if I’m not mistaken, you are.” With a grin, he left before Evora could respond.

“Is that true?” Evora asked Barrick. “Did they really make Master Zoran take me on?”

“Don’t worry about him,” he said. Barrick was broad-shouldered and looked more like a smith than an enchanter. “He’s trying to rattle you. Just do your best." The great timepiece at the top of the Green Tower pealed in the distance, reminding them of the passing moments. "I’d better get to the library. I’ve got an idea, but I need to research Argon’s enchantments.”

“Thanks for not treating me the way Jostin does.”

“It’s simple logic.” Barrick shrugged. “Unlikely as it is, if you were a master you’d have the power to end my apprenticeship. I’m quite happy where I am. Can we make a deal? I’ll keep you on, if you keep me on.”

“Well,” Evora said, “if I were a master I'd have other apprentices competing against you, and...,” she stressed the words, “unlikely as it is, they may be better than you. It would be wrong not to give them your place.”

Evora felt Barrick’s glare follow her as she walked away.

 

~

 

Evora needed something impressive to have a chance at being named. She knew she should start working right away, rather than spend her time searching for something special, but her mind kept returning to the seven words of power.

Evora’s hero was Maya Pallandor, the greatest enchantress in the history of the Academy of Enchanters. Maya was the inventor of armoursilk, and the youngest ever – man or woman – to be named High Enchantress.

Many of the principles that enchanters and enchantresses followed to this day were from Maya Pallandor’s teachings, and her unconventional exploration of new rune arrangements had led to an explosion of knowledge. A marble statue of her stood tall in the centre of the Academy’s gardens, and her famous diary was kept in a glass case in the Green Tower’s display room, overlooking the Great Court.

Evora had read everything there was to read about Maya Pallandor, although of course she’d never held Maya’s diary in her hands. If she ever became High Enchantress, she planned to take Maya’s diary out of its case and read it from cover to cover.

As Evora thought about Master Zoran’s test, she wondered if perhaps there was a place in the diary’s pages where Maya mentioned the seven words of power.

Years ago, when Evora was just a student, fumbling her way through lore classes and generally getting into trouble with the masters, she'd been searching the dusty shelves at the back of the Wrenright Library when she'd come across an old book. It was a text, written in an archaic hand, and the subject was speculation about Maya Pallandor’s most powerful creations.

The young Evora’s attention was drawn to a place where the book mentioned Maya once giving a demonstration using seven words of power. The next page was missing, but evidently Maya’s enchantment had astonished all of the masters at the Academy.

Evora wondered why she hadn’t read about the seven words of power anywhere else, but the author of the old book, an enchanter who died a hundred years ago, also mentioned in a different section that Maya sometimes hid her scrolls outside the walls of the Academy. Eccentric and paranoid, Maya hadn’t trusted the Academy’s security. She'd wanted the lore to stay secret.

Evora could understand the need. She herself had broken into restricted rooms in the various libraries more than once; a skilled enchantress could find her way through most locks.

Evora had read the old book years ago, but the story of the seven words of power had stuck with her. She had always wondered what it was that had so impressed the masters of the Academy. It must have been something powerful.

She decided it was time to finally read the diary of Maya Pallandor.

 

~

 


Silunara-ailieri
,” Evora whispered.

The silver symbols woven into Evora’s silk dress lit up, before once more becoming dark. Slowly the green fabric of the dress moved through darker shades – from emerald to forest green, then the dark green of marshland, finally moving through to black. It was one of many sequences she had enchanted her dress with; there were times when it came in handy.

Evora crept through the shadowed arches and columns that lined the Great Court. The Academy of Enchanters was deathly silent so late at night, but as a master’s apprentice, Evora knew there were wards in the most unlikely places.

She already knew the words that would open the heavy lock on the door to the Green Tower; it was a secret she’d pried from Barrick over a year ago, just in case she might need it one day.

Once inside the tower, Evora crept up the thickly-carpeted stairs, her ears pricked, listening intently. At the second floor she left the carpeted landing and walked through a doorway into a spacious gallery, the soft soles of her shoes sounding like the patter of rain on the hard floor.

The display room in the Green Tower held nothing powerful or dangerous, merely mementos accumulated over the long years of the Academy’s existence. Standing just inside the room, Evora ignored the pedestals and shelves, her eyes instead drawn to the display case taking pride of place in the centre of the room. Within the case rested the diary of Maya Pallandor.

Evora stepped slowly forward, but while still a dozen paces away, she reached into her pocket and withdrew a ring, slipping it onto her finger. It had taken her hours to create, and now, after a brief prayer to the Skylord, she put it to the test.

Evora spoke some words and activated the ring. The tiny runes she’d inscribed on the metal glowed softly against the dark of the room with colors of gold and sapphire.

Immediately Evora could see red lines where protective enchantments guarded the glass case. One crossed directly in front of her knees – a single step further and the alarms would have sounded. With her ring revealing the wards, she carefully lifted one leg, and then the other over the line. The next was diagonal, and she was able to duck under it without too much difficulty. Finally, after passing three more of the wards, Evora stood in front of the glass case.

As Evora reached forward to touch the case, her ring turned red and she froze. She frowned, then crouched, looking underneath the pedestal the case rested on.

There were runes on the pedestal’s underside. Knowing she had little time, Evora swiftly deciphered them, searching for the activation and deactivation sequences.

Ah, there they are.
The enchanter who had done this had obfuscated the sequences, but after she stripped the meaningless symbols away, Evora knew she could unlock the case.

Taking a deep breath, Evora whispered three words. The ring shifted hue back to gold and she breathed a sigh of relief. Returning to her examination of the glass case, she leaned forward and lifted the edge of the glass, tilting it on its hinges until the ancient book was revealed in the glowing light of her ring.

Evora removed the diary, and gently set the glass back down.

BOOK: Seven Words of Power
3.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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