The Master's Chair (The Chronicles of Terah)

BOOK: The Master's Chair (The Chronicles of Terah)
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The Master’s Chair

 

By

Mackenzie Morgan

 

Since the beginning of time, two sister worlds, Earth and Terah, have coexisted in different planes, surrounded by an immense field of energy. Long ago, magical and non-magical creatures lived together in harmony on both worlds, but as life on Earth evolved in the direction of science and technology, the use of magic deteriorated and soon magical creatures and sorcerers became the subject of myths and legends. Meanwhile magic flourished on Terah, and as sorcerers became more powerful, they became more influential, and soon they were the heads of government. The Council of Sorcerers became the ruling body, with the chairman, the Master Sorcerer, the highest human-held position on Terah.

The position of Master Sorcerer comes with many enemies, so many that when Badec’s only son and heir is born he sends the baby to be raised on Earth.

His son, Kevin, grows up to be a nerdy accountant, more comfortable with computers than people. So when he suddenly finds himself transported to Terah, where magic is the norm and technology is unknown, it’s a bit of a shock. A bigger shock: Kevin discovers that Badec is his father, and that he’s a sorcerer himself.

But Badec is dying. Kevin has less than a year to learn everything he needs to know to take the Master Sorcerer’s place. If he doesn’t, he may lose both the Master’s Chair and his life.

Welcome to Terah.

 

 
 This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, places, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author.

 

Copyright © 2010 by Mackenzie Morgan

 

Cover Design by John Ward

 

All rights reserved.

No portion of this book may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, electronic or mechanical, without the written permission of the author, except where permitted by law.

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Maps

Chapter 1        August, 24 Years Ago

Chapter 2        Pallor Investigates

Chapter 3        The Search Begins

Chapter 4        Plans and Preparations

Chapter 5        March 15, Three Years Ago

Chapter 6        Saturday, March 3, Present Day

Chapter 7        Tuesday, March 6, Present Day

Chapter 8        Another Search Begins

Chapter 9        Pallor’s Plan Comes Together

Chapter 10      Wednesday, March 21

Chapter 11      The Next Day

Chapter 12      The Tellurians

Chapter 13      Thursday Night, March 22

Chapter 14      Specialties Emerge

Chapter 15      Palladin Arrives

Chapter 16      Reality Sinks In

Chapter 17      The Journey Begins

Chapter 18      A Night Off

Chapter 19      Sunday, April 15

Chapter 20      Theresa’s Role as a Sister

Chapter 21      Taelor Joins the Group

Chapter 22      Kevin’s Dream

Chapter 23      Taelor Pitches In

Chapter 24      Trouble in the Night

Chapter 25      Sunday, May 13

Chapter 26      Evelyne of Abernon

Chapter 27      Blalick Arrives

Chapter 28      Rainbow Valley

Chapter 29      Settling In

Chapter 30      Glendymere

Chapter 31      Things Start Looking Up

Chapter 32      The First Month

Chapter 33      Saturday, June 30

Chapter 34      Long Days of Summer

Chapter 35      North Amden

Chapter 36      Fall Settles Over the Valley

Chapter 37      Duane’s Invitation

Chapter 38      Practical Applications

Chapter 39      Looking Ahead

Chapter 40      Tyree Arrives

Chapter 41      War Games

Chapter 42      The First Chills of Winter

Chapter 43      Magic Duels

Chapter 44      Final Preparations

Chapter 45      Time for Good-Byes

Chapter 46      Back on the Road

Chapter 47      More Surprises

Chapter 48      Milhaven

Chapter 49      Duty Calls

Chapter 50      The First Week

Chapter 51      Saturday Evening, March 23

Chapter 52      A Brief Respite

Chapter 53      The Sorcerer of Camden

Chapter 54      The Master Sorcerer

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

August, 24 Years Ago

 

Milhaven, Camden

 

He had never heard of Charles Dickens but Badec would have agreed with him. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

Earlier that evening, his wife, Yvonne, had told him that she’d had a vision. She had seen herself giving birth to their son. She had smiled as she’d told him that she had suspected she might be pregnant, but now she was sure, and since she’d seen blooms on the camellia bushes in her vision, it was her guess that their baby was due sometime around the middle of March.

Badec had been thrilled. They were going to have a child. In only seven short months, their son would draw his first breath. The only time in his life that he’d been happier was the day Yvonne had promised to marry him.

Then, after they had planned the announcement party, made a list of people to invite, and picked out a name for their son, she had quietly told him about the rest of her vision. Yvonne had also seen her own death, less than a week after the birth of their son.

The bottom fell out Badec’s world and the despair that swept through him was darker than any he’d ever known.

After Yvonne fell asleep, Badec slipped out onto the balcony and stared through the moonless night. He could just make out the mountains to the east, but the river that ran behind his castle was completely lost in the darkness. The only night sounds were the gentle footsteps of the guards as they patrolled the roof and grounds.

Nothing he had ever experienced could compare to the desolation he felt. He had always known that, barring accidents or assassination, he would outlive Yvonne. The elven blood that had come from his grandmother would extend his lifespan by more than a hundred years, so he had expected to be the one left alone, but it shouldn’t have come so soon. They should have had at least another fifty years together. She should have lived long enough to see her son grow up, to see him become a man.

As Badec thought of his son, his heartbeat quickened and a ray of warmth flickered through the deep cold that had settled over his spirit. His first child. His son. His heir.

A sudden chill ran through him. If Yvonne was right, if she did die, this child would be his only child, the one and only heir to the Master’s Chair, the most powerful position on all of Terah. His son would be a target for every sorcerer who wanted to take the seat away from the House of Nordin. How was he going to protect him? Where could he send him? Who could raise him? Questions swirled through his mind as the stars slowly made their way across the heavens.

Gradually, as the night wore on, he came to terms with everything Yvonne had told him, and as the pale light of dawn crept over the mountains, Badec turned and left the balcony. He still had no idea how he was going to live without his wife, but at least he had figured out how he was going to protect his son.

~ ~ ~ ~

When Badec reached the office that morning, he greeted his pages, picked up his messages, and headed towards his private office as usual. As he passed Laryn’s desk, he asked her to join him for a few minutes.

Laryn picked up some paper and a quill pen and followed her brother into his office. She and Badec were close, closer than most brothers and sisters, closer than the best of friends. She was his confidante, his advisor, his right hand.

Laryn was the only one of the brothers and sisters who had been born without the gift of magic, but what had seemed like a weakness at the time had turned out to be her strength. Instead of spending her childhood with non-magical foster parents like her siblings, she had lived at the castle with their parents. During those years she had watched, and she had learned.

When Badec reached his twenty-fifth birthday and began his training as a sorcerer, he asked her to be his assistant. She quickly agreed and was at his side everyday, encouraging, bullying, cajoling, always driving him to be better, stronger, quicker. When their father died and Badec assumed his role as the Seated Sorcerer of Camden and the Master Sorcerer of Terah, he asked her to be his second, his second-in-command. She didn’t even hesitate.

Laryn was also one of the few people in the world who could tell when something was bothering her brother, and before she even closed the door to his office, she knew something was wrong, very wrong.

Badec was already at his desk, thumbing through his messages absent-mindedly, when Laryn sat down at the small desk across the room from him. Without looking up he said, “I need to send some messages. The first one goes to Duane. As far as I know he’s in Crinsor Run, but if he isn’t, they’ll know how to reach him. Ask him if he and Xantha can be here Saturday afternoon. I need to meet with them.”

Laryn frowned. “Do you want me to send it or take it?”

“Send it,” Badec answered, looking up. “Why?”

“Today’s Thursday. If we send it, the earliest he could get it is late tomorrow afternoon. I guess they could probably leave immediately, but even so, it’s a long way from Crinsor Run to Milhaven. Xantha’s fast, but a pegasus can only fly so far in one day.”

Badec hesitated and then nodded. “You’re right. Make it for next Saturday, the sixteenth. One week won’t really make any difference and it’ll give us a little more time to get everything else set up.”

Laryn looked up and raised her eyebrows. “Get what set up?”

“I want as few people around here that day as possible. I’d like none, but I have a feeling that’s not going to happen.”

Laryn agreed. “The guard’s not going anywhere.”

“I know, but I want to get rid of as many of them as possible. And I want the staff out of here too, the kitchen staff, the groundskeepers, the grooms, the pages, everyone.”

“All right,” Laryn said slowly. “Have you come up with a cover story or do you want me to?”

“Tell them that we’re having a big party the next weekend, on the twenty-third. Yvonne and I made out the guest list last night. We’ll get the pages started on the invitations as soon as we get done in here.”

Layrn nodded as she made notes.

“Tell the staff that the preparations are going to take a lot of work and I want everyone well-rested before we begin, so everyone is to take two days off before it all starts. Half the staff can take Friday and Saturday and other half can take Saturday and Sunday. We can fend for ourselves for one day.” Then, after a moment he added, “With luck, no one will notice the overlap. Some of the grooms might, but if they do, tell them that we’ll tend to the horses on Saturday. And as for the ones who live here, tell them to find somewhere else to be that day. They can visit some of their friends or relatives, go to Milhaven, or just go for a walk.”

Laryn cut her eyes up to her brother without raising her head. “And I’m supposed to tell them all of this without making them suspicious?”

“You can do it.”

“Right,” Laryn mumbled. Then she cleared her throat and said, “You do realize that some of the staff feel like we can’t survive even one day without them and they’ll come in to check on us no matter what you say.”

“I know,” Badec said with a sigh. “Just do the best you can. We’ll plan to meet around 2:00. That will give them time to check us out and see that we’re still alive and well. With luck we’ll be able to get everyone out of here by lunch.” He paused and thought for a minute. “I know you won’t be able to get all of the guards to go, but try to have as few here as possible, and only the most closemouthed and loyal.”

Laryn frowned. “If you’re that concerned about privacy, why not hold the meeting somewhere else?”

Badec shook his head. “I considered that, but I really want to hold it here.”

“Is there anyone else you want at this meeting?”

“Kalen, the dwarf.”

“The Gate Keeper?”

Badec nodded. “And Pallor, but I’ll take care of notifying him. Oh, and tell Kalen that I’m going to ask Pallor to go by the Gate House to pick him up.”

 “All right. How long should I ask them to be prepared to stay?”

“An hour or so. The meeting won’t take long. Of course Duane and Xantha are welcome to stay the night, or longer it they want to, before they head back.”

Laryn grinned. “That’ll make Shelandra happy.”

“Shelandra?”

“You know, the elf who’s been helping out in the kitchen so that she can learn more about how humans prepare their food. She and our cooks have been exchanging recipes for months. Anyway, she has a bit of a thing for Duane, and I’m sure I saw his eyes light up when she brought him a mug of scog the last time he was here.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t the scog that put that light in his eyes?”

Laryn rolled her eyes in answer.

“Then why hasn’t he done something about it?”

“He’s too shy, but if he hangs around here very much, she’ll take care of it.”

“Poor boy,” Badec said, shaking his head.

Laryn chuckled. “Anything else?”

“Not as far as the meeting is concerned, but I’d like for you to personally send the party invitations to the family. I’d like for them to be here by Friday afternoon and stay through Monday if they can. Tell them we’ll pick them up if they want us to.”

Laryn nodded.

Then Badec handed her the list he and Yvonne had made the night before. “Here’s the rest of the guest list. I’ve put stars by the ones who’ll probably need some place to stay. After the invitations have been sent, have the pages get to work on the housing, and send one of the pages into town to hang up signs inviting everyone in the area to the feast that Saturday.”

Laryn nodded and gathered her notes.

“Oh, and one more thing. Send a message to Glendymere. I’d like to talk to him about something when he has a free morning.”

Laryn stood up to go but hesitated before opening the door. She turned back to her brother and asked, “Is everything all right?”

Badec waffled his hand. “I’ll fill you in later. For now, just get those messages off.”

~ ~ ~ ~

After lunch on the sixteenth, Laryn carried a pitcher of scog back to the office to wait for Duane, Pallor, and Kalen to arrive. The castle was so empty it felt spooky. She had never heard it so quiet. Even in the dead of night you could hear footsteps as the guards walked their patrols, but today there were only two guards on duty, and they were both outside. 

Duane and Xantha had flown in on Thursday, but the August heat was too much for the elf, so, much to Shelandra’s dismay, he and Xantha had flown up to one of the nearby mountaintops and set up camp.

Duane had promised Laryn that they would get back before two, and at half past one, he walked through the office door. “I don’t see why in the world Badec doesn’t move his castle to the top of a mountain somewhere, some place where you can breathe. This heat’s stifling.”

Laryn smiled and asked, “Would you like some scog?”

Before Duane could answer, the air shimmered and Pallor and Kalen materialized. They made an odd looking pair. Pallor was almost a carbon copy of his cousin Duane: over six feet tall, thin as a rail, with pointed ears and diamond shaped eyes. Kalen, on the other hand, didn’t quite come up to Pallor’s waist and he was about half as wide as he was tall. Like all dwarves, he was incredibly strong, but not very agile.

After Laryn greeted Pallor and Kalen, she stepped back behind her desk, out of the way. The three men had been friends longer than she’d been alive, and she knew she wouldn’t get a word in edgewise for the next few minutes. While she was waiting for things to settle down, she poured three mugs of scog and handed them out.

When her guests had finished their scog and caught each other up-to-date, Kalen turned towards her and asked, “What’s this all about, Laryn?

“I don’t know,” she answered with a slight shrug. “He told me to ask you to come, but he didn’t tell me why. I imagine we’ll all find out in a few minutes.” Then she turned towards Duane and asked, “Where’s Xantha? Badec wants him to be at this meeting, too.”

Duane’s eyebrows twitched, but he shrugged and said, “I left him out at the stable, with his head in a bucket of oats. I assume he’s still out there somewhere.” 

“Well, I guess it’s time,” Laryn said. “Badec and Yvonne are waiting for us in the garden.” She led her guests out of the office, through the castle, and out the back.

Laryn was so nervous that her palms were damp. Badec had never kept anything from her before. Over the past week, she had given him several openings, but her brother hadn’t told her what was wrong, and she knew that something was, something major.

When they reached the stable, Xantha was standing near the water trough.
“Are you sure he wants me at the meeting? I’ll be more than happy to wait out here,”
he asked telepathically, as his eyes slid away from Laryn and over to the half-empty bucket of oats.

“I’m sure,” Laryn said with a weak smile. She reached up and scratched Xantha between his ears. “Come on. I’ll get you some more oats after we find out what Badec wants.”

With a longing look at the bucket, Xantha fell in behind the others.

As Laryn led them toward the garden gate, the two guards who were on duty that afternoon stepped to the side to let them pass and then resumed their positions blocking the entrance.

In the middle of the garden was a small circular clearing bordered by four benches and backed by a wall about three feet high. Yvonne was seated on one of the benches and Badec was standing behind her, with his hands on her shoulders. After everyone was settled in the clearing, the wall began to glow and electrical sparks danced along the top. The air above the wall shimmered and a dome of bright light formed over their heads. Then Badec nodded to all of them, sat down beside Yvonne, and took her hand.

Laryn looked closely at her brother and his wife. He was a solidly built man, about forty years old, handsome in a rugged sort of way, with intense, dark eyes. She was slim, in her mid-thirties, with a delicate beauty and large, soft brown eyes. Usually there was a happy glow about them whenever they were together but now they both looked tense, and whatever was causing the strain had added years to their faces. The knot of apprehension tightened in the pit of Laryn’s stomach.

“A little more than a week ago, Yvonne had a vision,” Badec began, and then he paused, not sure what to say next.

BOOK: The Master's Chair (The Chronicles of Terah)
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