We Have A Winner!

Well, I don’t know if we have a winner or not. I’ve never made a post with a poll before. Since I had to schedule this post ahead of time, I don’t know exactly what it will look like. If I made a mistake, and all you can see is the poll with no results, I will have results as soon as I can. You can always click ‘View Results’ at the bottom.


Vote for Your Favorite Student Version of Chapter Three
<span style=”font:9px;”>(polls)

 

Relive the entire experience:

Intro and Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter One
Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Two

Student Versions of Chapter Three

Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5
Group 6
Group 7
Group 8
Group 9
Group 10
Group 11
Group 12
Group 13
Group 14
Group 15

Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Three

Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Three

While you decide which student versions of Chapter Three have earned your votes, here’s the version I wrote as it appeared in the book. Enjoy!

If you like what you’ve seen and what to read the rest of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud, Muse It Up Publishing and Amazon both have it on sale for $2.75 (USD). It’s $5.50 everywhere else.

Here are the links to the other posts involving this project:

Intro and Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter One:
Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Two:

Student Versions of Chapter Three

Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5
Group 6
Group 7
Group 8
Group 9
Group 10
Group 11
Group 12
Group 13
Group 14
Group 15

Voting open from September 18-24

Winning submission(s) announced September 25 (Link will go live on the 25th)

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Chapter Three
Wizards

The thick forest surrounding Innes Village blocked out any moonlight. An owl screeched in the distance, as if it were mocking the inevitable use of magic. A wolf howled again, much farther away than the last time.

“Listen here, wizard!” Owen snapped. “I will not be learning any magic.”

Cedric walked on. “Of course not. That’s why I had you bring your sword. Diversity—the key to many of life’s challenges.” Cedric turned his head, his brow furrowed and his eyes narrowed leaving slits as black as the surrounding woods. “But I’m not a wizard, and I would appreciate you not calling me one. I have denounced them and their ways. The Wizard Rebellion tainted the word for all those using magic for good purposes.”

“Diversity may be key, but magic has caused me more pain and hardship than it will ever aid me.”

What good could come of magic? Owen didn’t like the idea of depending on magic to survive the desert, regardless of who cast the spells.

Cedric’s voice called out from deeper within the woods, “The hour draws late, and I can scarcely see in this forest. If my memory holds true, a clearing lies just ahead. We can set camp and build a fire there.”

When Owen caught up, Cedric had already started gathering firewood. Owen helped, happy to end the conversation about magic. The trees parted above the clearing, and the sky shown bright with stars and the waxing gibbous moon. The huge star that had shown through the window in the dining hall, much brighter than all other heavenly bodies save the moon, now twinkled just over the tall peaks of the western tree line.

They piled the wood, and Owen went in search of food. He returned with three frogs from a nearby stream, their backs speared by his blade. Another trip to the stream resulted in a full lambskin canteen. He came back to find the fire roaring.

Cedric spun the frogs on a skewer made from a small branch. He removed the meat from the fire and distributed portions. “I know you hold magic responsible for what happened to your mother. You’ve made no effort to hide your hatred of magicians. It’s no secret you blame me. I can tell you what really happened the night your mother died, if you’ll listen.”

Owen almost swallowed the frog’s leg bone from which he sucked the meat. “No! I’m not talking about that with you. If not for you, she would have never learned magic. If not for you, the Wizard Rebellion would have never shown up at Innes Castle. If not for you, my mother would still be alive!”

“The Wizard Rebellion would have attacked Innes Castle had I been there or not.” Cedric pressed his palms against his eyes. He shook his head, and hair fell over his fingers. “Owen, there’s so much you don’t understand. Magic is neither good nor evil. Evil people using magic, and their intentions, are what instill magic with evil. If you won’t let me tell you what happened when your mother died, at least let me explain the Wizard Rebellion. You need to know how they began.”

Owen thought about Cedric’s offer for a moment. Without knowing where they needed to go or how long it would take to get there, he guessed several days constituted a conservative estimate. He may as well let the crazy old man tell his story. The magician wouldn’t likely let it rest until he did. He took the last piece of frog meat from the skewer and poked the fire with a long branch before adding it to the fire. Embers sparked and floated away in the zephyr, burning out one by one.

“All right,” Owen said. “Tell me about the Wizard Rebellion.”

Cedric leaned back on a tree stump and talked. Owen listened with rapt attention to the story of how the Wizard Rebellion really started.

* * * *

The pitch black of the starless night sky violently erupted with lightning. The humid air had felt electric all day with the pending storm on the horizon. Now, nature would release all of her fury in a matter of hours. Trees would fall, and lands would flood. A gust of wind blew in through the cracked cabin window, snuffing out the lantern for the third time.

Tired of relighting it, as well as struggling to keep his newly acquired fire magic under control—a singed wall and scorched cuff on his robe accompanied the first two relights—Cedric fell back on easier magic. He took up a staff with a small sphere at the end, and he made the sphere glow a brilliant white-blue twice as lustrous as the lantern.

The light gave a purple hue to the face of the man sitting at the table reading a letter. Shadows formed in his sunken cheeks. He was lean but not unhealthy. The trick of the light made him resemble a skeleton. He ran a hand through his short hair.

“Thank you, Cedric,” Argnam said. “I think I’ll soon retire for the evening. Follum says the Western Domain passed a law restricting magic users to practice only within the confines of their own homes. He says he will journey to their land to discuss the foolishness of the law.”

Cedric moved around the table to better see the note over Argnam’s shoulder. Over a year ago, he had suggested they try establishing communication with those fearful of magic, but his mentor hadn’t thought they would listen. “Have you changed your mind about reaching out to non-magic users?”

“Nay, Follum believes fear spawns from ignorance, and he thinks people can learn to trust magic. I don’t share that optimistic world view. I’ve used my magic to heal fatal wounds, just to have the recovered person spit in my face for using magic on them.” Argnam finished reading the letter. “Follum is right about one thing, we have to do something to stop the persecution of wizards. I’ve thought about organizing a rebellion. Give me another night to think on it, and we can discuss some ideas I’ve developed tomorrow.”

That night, Cedric dreamed of a great battle. Older, and now a true magician, he fought for his life. Others fought in the battle as well; some of whom he knew well, others he didn’t. Yet in the surreal world of the dream, he knew everyone. And he understood where his loyalties lay.

A blue flash of light hurled toward Cedric. He jumped aside just in time. The magic slammed into the interior castle wall, causing it to crumble. In mid-dive, he charged his staff with strange magic he didn’t yet understand. He rolled to his feet and propelled his staff like a spear at the familiar wizard who stood before him. The spear landed home and pierced the center of his former mentor’s chest. Argnam had time to look down at the staff embedded in his chest before the staff exploded, killing him.

The next day, Cedric told Argnam of the dream.

Argnam fixed Cedric with a gaze that seemed to penetrate his inner spirit. “You know some wizards are dreamers. They can see the future in their dreams, but you’ve never had a seeing dream before, have you?”

“No.”

“Then I wouldn’t worry about it. I’ve never heard of a dreamer gaining the power as late in life as you.”

“I’m only twenty-four,” Cedric said.

“Yes, but you’re almost ten years older than the typical age. Only once have I heard of a seer gaining the gift as late in life as sixteen. It just doesn’t happen.”

“I started my training in magic later than most. Do you think that could affect the onset?”

Argnam placed his hands on Cedric’s shoulders. “Listen, I’m not going to worry about it, and neither should you.”

Cedric closed his eyes and shook his head. “I’ll try, but the dream seemed so real.”

Argnam released the young man and took a seat. He gestured for Cedric to sit as well. “I’m sure it’s nothing. Now I’d like to tell you about my plan.”

They discussed forming a band of wizards with the purpose of traveling the world, seeking more wizards to join their ranks and attempting to convince non-magical people not to fear those who could wield magic.

As he thought over the plan, Cedric scratched at the stubble of the beard he had decided to grow a week ago. It itched so much. He didn’t know how long he’d be able to keep at it. “And how do you suppose this…what should we call it, this Wizard Rebellion, should convince those who fear magic to trust it? I know you don’t believe in talking sense into them like Follum does.”

“We could hold demonstrations, public displays of magic. We could hold mass healing ceremonies. Anything to show people what good can come from magic.”

Cedric shook his head. “When people hear wizards are banning together, they will pass laws to make our congregations illegal.”

Argnam stretched his hands behind his head. A smug arrogance washed over his face, making it look more rigid than normal. “I’ve thought of that. We’ll have to organize the wizards in secret. Keep our presence as quiet as possible. When we emerge in numbers, they won’t have time to make laws.”

A vision of Cedric’s dream flashed in his head. He blinked to shake off the memory. “Some people may become violent. Fear is a great motivator.”

Argnam rose and walked to a window. “If anyone raises a hand against us, we can use our magic to defend ourselves. Of course, a non-magic user couldn’t do much to defend against one wizard, let alone many. So we’d have to be careful. Use our defensive spells sparingly. If anyone were to get hurt, it would set our cause back a great deal.”

Thus the Wizard Rebellion started. The next day, Cedric made the first recruit when Necrose came to see if they, too, had received the letter from Follum.

A year passed. Many wizards in the Western Domain and Southern Domain joined the Rebellion. Argnam wanted to gain an alliance in the Eastern Domain before moving into the Northern Domain, due to the Northern Domain’s geographical isolation. He intended to leave the political juggernaut of the Central Domain for last.

“Cedric,” Argnam said, “the time has come for your Endeavor.”

Cedric’s mouth fell agape, and he dropped the goblet of water he carried. He had hoped to take on his Endeavor soon, but the mentor always determined the time, place, and event.

“I have received another letter from Follum. Remember a year ago when he went to the Eastern Domain to convince them their laws had to change? Well, it appears they prosecuted him, and he has spent most of the last year in prison. Your Endeavor is to rescue him, and, of course, find new recruits for the Wizard Rebellion while you’re in the east.”

Cedric made haste from the swamplands of the south to Echion, the capital city of the Eastern Domain. Once there, he bypassed the barracks and headed for the rocky cliffs of the seashore. One of the wizards he met along the way, and successfully recruited for the Rebellion, informed him the prison stood on a plateau that hung over the ocean.

Looking at the fortress, Cedric thought escape was too easy for a wizard. The rocky cliff and the ocean would deter a normal person from breaking out and leave them incapable of breaking in. With magic, he scaled the rock wall and made his way to the top of the prison, only to find it completely unguarded.

Inside, he didn’t know where to start looking, but he didn’t have to wander long. He held out his hand, and a fireball ignited and floated just above his fingers. The illumination showed an elderly man on a bunk in the cell straight ahead. Follum. Cedric extinguished the fire and charged the end of his staff. The faint glow it gave off reminded him of a dream he had forgotten long ago. What had the dream been about? Had he used his staff to kill someone? He snapped back from his memory and used the staff to pass the energy to the bars of the cell. They each gave off the same glow. He stepped back, and the bars exploded.

Follum sprang from the bed much faster than seemed possible for a man of his age. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Rescuing you,” Cedric said.

Follum didn’t act old at all as his tongue tore into Cedric. “You can’t be serious. I am a master wizard. You are an apprentice. Do you think me incapable of breaking out of here if I so desired.”

Cedric stood confounded.

Follum approached him with anger in his eyes. “I’ve remained to show the people of this land that I respect them and their laws. I hoped in time they would come to understand that I intend them no harm. Did you even face any guards getting in here? I bet not. And they moved me to this cell earlier today. Someone set you up. Let’s go. We have to leave now!”

Cedric stared dumbfounded as Follum walked away. How could he have fallen for such an obvious trick? He followed Follum, and the two men hurried down the cliff wall and back toward the village.

“We’ll follow this path toward Echion and hide in the forest.”

Cedric still pondered who could have set him up. “Argnam sent me to rescue you as my Endeavor. No one else knew the plan.”

“Congratulations! You’re one of the craft now. You saved me.” Follum turned on Cedric. “You’re also a fool. He must have sent word of your coming. Let’s take this path and hide in the forest.”

Cedric felt like a fool. He thought he needed to explain himself. “We formed a rebellion to fight the injustices wizards face. We want to show people that magic can help them. I had hoped you would join us after I rescued you.”

“Peaceful demonstrations have been tried before. They never work. At some point, they get out of control. The peace turns to violence, and the original cause looks worse than it did before the demonstrations. No, I will not join you. Argnam should have known I would refuse. I think your whole Endeavor is a test of your loyalty to Argnam.”

Could Argnam have set me up to test my convictions?

Just before they reached the canopy of trees, countless soldiers emerged from the forest.

Follum made no effort to take a defensive stance. “An hour of judgment has come. Decisions made now will determine not only our fate, but the fate of all magic users in the eyes of the people of the Eastern Domain. I am prepared to wait out my days in prison. Yet we have come this far, and I will aid you in escape if you so desire.”

Cedric considered his options. He could stand down with Follum. But he’d have to spend time in prison. He didn’t share all of Follum’s beliefs. While a fight could set back what little progress had been made over the past few years. “As long as we don’t kill any soldiers, I say we fight. I don’t believe rotting in prison will convince anyone to trust magic.”

Cedric waved his staff, and the front line of soldiers flew back, knocking over the next two rows. Follum joined in the attack, and the two wizards worked their way into the forest and out of the Eastern Domain.

* * * *

By the time Cedric finished, the large, bright star in the west had progressed east to light the night sky directly overhead. He claimed exhaustion and settled down to sleep.

Owen lay awake pondering the tale. The information confounded him. This fool just told him he started the Rebellion, yet the rebellion from the story didn’t seem at all like the one he remembered. Cedric even gave the Rebellion its name. And helped recruit new members. I wonder how many of the members he recruited were involved with the bombardment of Innes Castle?

To clear his thoughts, he reminisced about his mother while he watched shooting stars burn across the clear night sky. Before long, his eyes grew heavy. Sleep overtook him.

****

Want more of Owen, Cedric and the rest of the characters from Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud? Find the link to your favorite retailer here.

Vote for Your Favorite Student Version of Chapter Three

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It’s time! You’ve read fifteen different versions of Chapter Three written by groups of high schools students in Nantes, France. Now you get to tell us what you think. Voting ends on September 25. If you leave a comment as to why you liked the one(s) you picked, I’ll hold a drawing for someone to get a FREE copy of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud. If you win and already have Unveiling, I’ll upgrade the prize to The Squire and the Slave Master when it comes out.

Find the submissions here:

Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5
Group 6
Group 7
Group 8
Group 9
Group 10
Group 11
Group 12
Group 13
Group 14
Group 15

Thank you for your time and consideration in reading all of these stories. We’ll take a break from posts tomorrow, and on Sunday, September 20 (my birthday) you can read the version of Chapter Three from Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud.

Chapter Three by Group 15

Welcome back! We’ve made it to the final student version of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud Chapter Three. But the fun doesn’t stop here. Starting tomorrow, cast your votes for the stories you liked the best.

I’ve altered the line spacing to make them easier to read on WordPress, otherwise they are exactly as the students wrote them. I’ve copied the files from Adobe to Word to WordPress, so I hope I got the formatting as the authors intended. I take full responsibility for any errors in that regard, and I hope you’ll choose your favorite(s) based on content, not formatting. Please keep track of the ones you like the best. Voting begins September 18!

If you’ve stumbled upon this and have no idea what’s going on, get the details here:

Intro and Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter One:
Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Two:

Student Versions of Chapter Three

Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5
Group 6
Group 7
Group 8
Group 9
Group 10
Group 11
Group 12
Group 13
Group 14

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Group 15 Chapter Three

After one straight day of walking, Yara, Owen and Cedric found an inn in Goblinshire, where they could sleep, eat and have a drink. After drinking a little too much, Cedric, Yara and Owen had become the best friends in the world.

“I don’t know how I could sleep with the awful smell”, said Cedric unconsciously.

“Yes, I won’t feel safe knowing that those thieves are hanging around”, Owen replied.

A few goblins at a neighboring table were looking at the three friends in an offensive way.

Cedric decided it was the best thing to do to insult Indicus, brother of Sativarius, King of goblins. After one minute, the tavern was a real wrestling ring. The strength of Owen, the intelligence of Yara and the magic of Cedric, allowed them to win the battle in no time. But only one goblin escaped: Jack Horror. He told king Sativarius, who decided to form a small army of thousands of the best creatures of Goblinshire. Aware of nothing, the three friends continued their route to the great wizard through the arid desert of Kussland. But the journey was long and the weather was hot and it was now at three days of walking when they arrived at the magical city of Frisianton. They were running short on provisions and the goblins were close to arriving in the town. That was when things started to be bad.

“Oh!” Cedric said.

“What is the problem?” replied Owen

“Goblings are heading to Frisianton from the east and will be there in a few days, we have to move faster. What’s the problem with a few goblins when we have beaten a hundred!” said Yara, joking. And what if there are thousands of trolls, ogres, orcs, goblins and a Sonarian dragon?”

In a second, their material was packed and the friends moved to Frisianton as fast as possible to form their own army and fight fiercely the vicious goblins. After walking for two and a half days they finally arrived at a billboard indicating that they were close to the city, creating a release for the three young adventurers, but it was nothing compared to what they were about to discover…

****

Thus ends our student projects. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. But we’re not finished here! Come back tomorrow to start voting. We’ll take the day off tomorrow, but come back on September 20 to read the version of Chapter Three that appeared in the book. The results of the contest will posted on September 25. (All links go live at midnight Central Standard Time on the date in parentheses.)

 

Let the voting begin! (September 18)

Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Three (September 20)

Voting Closes and Winners Announced! (September 25)

Chapter Three by Group 14

Welcome back! Today we continue with the student versions of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud Chapter Three.

I’ve altered the line spacing to make them easier to read on WordPress, otherwise they are exactly as the students wrote them. I’ve copied the files from Adobe to Word to WordPress, so I hope I got the formatting as the authors intended. I take full responsibility for any errors in that regard, and I hope you’ll choose your favorite(s) based on content, not formatting. Please keep track of the ones you like the best. Voting begins September 18!

If you’ve stumbled upon this and have no idea what’s going on, get the details here:

Intro and Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter One:
Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Two:

Student Versions of Chapter Three

Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5
Group 6
Group 7
Group 8
Group 9
Group 10
Group 11
Group 12
Group 13

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Group 14 Chapter Three

Owen and Cedric were silently walking in the night. Owen, knew that his task was very hard. However he was the only one who could do it, as the king’s son. He had to unveil the most deceptive shroud of magic to save his father and the kingdom, and only he could accomplish this mission. Cedric was walking next to him. Silent as a ghost, fast as a shadow, but Owen could only be delighted that the old magician was by his side. He was a pleasant road companion who never forgot what they were supposed to achieve. However, Cedric was strong and did not want them to stop in their way. And Owen was tired.

“Can we stop, Master Cedric? My legs cannot carry me anymore.”

“Your father won’t take anything anymore if we stop now. Think about the Kingdom.”

Owen did not answer; he knew Cedric was right. He had to save the Crown.

They crossed a small, dark forest. The sunbeams could not go through the thick branches and their leaves. Owen did not know what time it was and where they were. The position of the stars and the shadow of the moon could have helped him, if he could have seen the sky. Owen was weakening.

Suddenly, Cedric straightened. He was looking tense and watchful. Owen, weak and tired, stopped walking. He asked loudly:

“What is the matter, Cedric? Are you gettin’ tired too?”

“Shhhh! Listen!” Cedric answered curtly.

Owen concentrated on the smooth sound of the leaves’ light touch. Then he heard it: footsteps coming from their left.

“Whoever it is, they are coming from the East”, asserted Cedric.

Owen wondered how he knew that, knowing that the sun was invisible. Then he remembered that Cedric was a wizard.

Then they heard voices. They became louder and louder, as the origin of the noise came closer. They did not have time to hide. A massive shadow emerged from the darkness. It was undoubtedly a soldier, with an enormous sword hung from his belt. Then a second soldier appeared, and another one again, then ten others…

Fortunately, Owen was in the shadow of a huge tree. However, Cedric could not hide. And unluckily, the morning seemed to strike. The sun was starting to pierce through the boughs. Now there were hundreds of dirty, stocky men armed to the teeth. Their eyes were a shadow under their prominent foreheads.

They could not miss Cedric. He was in their way.

A very strange thing took place. The army did not seem to notice Cedric. He was standing quietly in a sunbeam. Owen’s heart was beating so loud that he thought the men could hear it. They finally passed their way.

It was as if Cedric had been wrapped in the sun.

“Were you afraid, my dear Owen?” asked the wizard, amused.

“Who were they in the name of God!”

Cedric became serious again.

“I do not have the slightest idea”, he muttered. We will see tomorrow now…We shall sleep. You were right. We can only accomplish the mission if we get to sleep.”

“You, you are very wise, and tomorrow will be another day, full of surprises.”

****

Come back tomorrow for the final student written story. Don’t forget to vote and check the results. (All links go live at midnight Central Standard Time on the date in parentheses.)

Group 15 (September 17)

Let the voting begin! (September 18)

Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Three (September 20)

Voting Closes and Winners Announced! (September 25)

Chapter Three by Group 13

Welcome back! Today we continue with the student versions of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud Chapter Three.

I’ve altered the line spacing to make them easier to read on WordPress, otherwise they are exactly as the students wrote them. I’ve copied the files from Adobe to Word to WordPress, so I hope I got the formatting as the authors intended. I take full responsibility for any errors in that regard, and I hope you’ll choose your favorite(s) based on content, not formatting. Please keep track of the ones you like the best. Voting begins September 18!

If you’ve stumbled upon this and have no idea what’s going on, get the details here:

Intro and Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter One:
Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Two:

Student Versions of Chapter Three

Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5
Group 6
Group 7
Group 8
Group 9
Group 10
Group 11
Group 12

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Group 13 Chapter Three

After a day of walking through the dark forest, we finally arrived at the limits between the different lands. The piece of wood, hanging on the last tree we could see for miles, informed us that we were about to enter death desert. I looked at Cedric to ask him, one last time, if all of this was necessary. If I had to risk my life to find a wizard whom I didn’t know, following another one whom I didn’t trust. He looked right back at me and said:

“For the king, we must”.

This answer made me stagger. It seemed as if he had just read my mind. Doesn’t he have any limits to his powers? Well I guess I knew the answer. And so did my father.

The land was arid and cracked on the surface. After a few hesitations I was ready to go ahead when Cedric stopped me violently.

“Did you really think you could enter death desert without being protected by magic?”

“I don’t want any more of your magic. I am a soldier, I don’t need any of your tricks to survive.”

“Go ahead then, show me.” Cedric replied with a hint of challenge.

I then decided to prove him wrong and without hesitating I crossed the invisible line. Suddenly the temperature was 10 times warmer than a second ago and I started to feel an incredible pain in my arm. I pushed up my sleeve and what I saw scared me to death. My arm was literally burning. I suddenly felt the same intolerable pain in my leg and in my back. Horrified I took a step back and fell on the ground next to the rock.

Cedric didn’t say anything but looked at me in a way that said a lot. He healed my wound still looking at me as if to dare me to object. He then pronounced some incantation and my body started to glow. I suddenly felt a great cold take possession of me.

“We now are ready” Cedric said.

And without further ado we entered death desert.

Every step I took, I could feel the fragility of the ground, as if it was ready to swallow us both. After two hours of wandering in the desert we finally decided to set up camp. Cedric had stopped in the middle of the desert, in the flattest place of all. I could not understand this twisted logic. Here, we were vulnerable. Our potential enemies could see us from miles.

“Why are we setting camp at this very location? This is flat. I don’t know if you are aware of the soldier techniques but this is very bad strategy…”

“I am, actually. More than you know. But don’t worry, nobody will be able to see us or touch us during the night.”

“And how will you do that?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

Cedric did not reply but smiled and sparkles started to come out of his hands. Slowly, all the sparkles surrounded us, like a beautiful colored shield. With one movement of the hand, the shield seemed to disappear into thin air, as if all of this was just an illusion, as if it had never been here in the first place. The atmosphere, though, was different, heavier. I had trouble breathing. I could feel the magic surrounding me and I felt even more vulnerable than I had before. I spent the night staring at the stars trying to find some rest, in vain.

The second day of our journey was the most difficult part of all. The sun was high in the sky and even with the spell that Cedric had cast to protect me from the temperature, I could still feel the warm sun trying to burn my entire body. I had not drunk since we had left and my throat was as dry as the ground of the desert. I would have done anything for a sip of water. I could have asked Cedric, but I knew that the “water” he would give me would have a magical origin. And I’d rather die than use more magic than I already had.

We kept walking and walking through the desert probably for days. The truth is, I had lost track of time. Every inch of my body was screaming for rest.

”We must not stop“ Cedric said without me even asking. So I kept walking, losing, step by step, the hope of ever seeing my father again. With that terrible thought omnipresent in my mind, it took me some time to see the little house burning in front of us and the dragon fleeing the scene.

”That must be his house” said Cedric gravely.

****

Come back for the rest of the adventure! (All links go live at midnight Central Standard Time on the date in parentheses.)

Group 14 (September 16)
Group 15 (September 17)

Let the voting begin! (September 18)

Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Three (September 20)

Voting Closes and Winners Announced! (September 25)

Chapter Three by Group 12

Welcome back! Today we continue with the student versions of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud Chapter Three.

I’ve altered the line spacing to make them easier to read on WordPress, otherwise they are exactly as the students wrote them. I’ve copied the files from Adobe to Word to WordPress, so I hope I got the formatting as the authors intended. I take full responsibility for any errors in that regard, and I hope you’ll choose your favorite(s) based on content, not formatting. Please keep track of the ones you like the best. Voting begins September 18!

If you’ve stumbled upon this and have no idea what’s going on, get the details here:

Intro and Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter One:
Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Two:

Student Versions of Chapter Three

Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5
Group 6
Group 7
Group 8
Group 9
Group 10
Group 11

****

Group 12 Chapter Three

Cedric had said that it would take less than two days to arrive at the desert. If they could find horses… They had walked half a day when they arrived at the first village. Cedric turned to Owen and handed him money.

“Go and find two horses. We shall meet right here in an hour.”

“Where you are going?”

“I have certain personal matters to attend to” replied the magician “Just go buy horses, this is our first priority “. Owen pretended to go to the ranch to buy two horses.

“Personal matters” repeated the Prince to himself “and you thought I was going to let you attend to your personal matters without reacting!” Owen raced after Cedric.

He was hiding in the crowded little shops along the street. Suddenly the magician turned left into a dark alley. He entered a little red door on the right. Owen waited a short time before walking into the alley. After a moment he came to the front door. A weird symbol was on it, a spiral within a circle. He tried to listen by putting his ear on the door. No sound came out. He, then, went to the window. The color of the window was the same as that of the door. At first Owen glanced in the house. He saw two men speaking to each other. Then, stealthily, he took a second look, for more details. The first man was Cedric, he was talking to a young man, maybe the same age as the Prince.

The inside of the house was pretty simple, on the left was a table, with two chairs. Behind the table, was a big chimney. The walls made of stone were all grey with no decorations. A tiny movement on the right of the room captured his eye. He saw a rat, flying to the young man who was talking to Cedric. “Wait, a rat?” A small gasp escaped Owen’s mouth as he was trying to figure out what he had just seen. He looked back through the window. The two men weren’t there anymore. Owen guessed that they had left through the back door.

After a small hesitation, he stood up and walked to the little red door. Very slowly, he opened it and stopped right there in his tracks. He even stopped breathing. Owen went back to the window and then back to the door.

The room did not look the same. As the room seen through the window, was small and simple, when you entered the house, it was the total opposite. The place was big and messy. All around the chimney, on the walls, were shelves. An incalculable number of bottles were lined on them. On the right side of the room was a huge bookcase, full of what looked like magic spell books. In the middle of the room, there was a huge and round wooden table.

Owen walked in, noiselessly, keeping all his senses in alert. At first he walked along the walls looking at the different bottles. They were full of varied liquids and each had an inscription on them. The young man took a bottle, then a second one. It was written that one had the power to heal instantly and the other ones the power to explode. He hated magic but thought that it could only be useful to him. He saw a book already open on the big round table. It was written in an unknown language and was illustrated with paintings representing demons, witches, death and black horses. Owen took a step back. His heart started beating faster and faster. What sort of place was that? Why had he followed Cedric? And where had the two men gone? Owen turned around to the back door. Where was the back door? He walked backwards, tripped on a pile of books on the floor and banged his head on the bookcase. He stood up, rubbing his head as he heard a noise behind him. “No…. ept…. Certainly!… You?” The young prince put his ear closer to the bookcase. The voices came from behind the walls.

“Cedric, my friend, you can have it but you know it is dangerous.”

“I need it Theodore! I will have to be able to kill him afterwards.”

“I know but remember he was your friend.”

Owen stood there without moving. His eyes wide open and his heart beating as it never had before. It took a moment to understand that the two men were about to go out. He took a step backwards, turned around and rushed to the door. Just before going out he stopped, looked at all the bottles, took a third one and ran to the stable.

“Hello, I would like to buy two horses please. It is for a long journey.”

As he was waiting for the man to bring him the horses, Owen took the third bottle out. The liquid inside was transparent, as clear as water. The young prince opened the lid and smelled the potion. It had no smell but Owen’s head started turning. He quickly closed the lid and looked at the label.

****

Come back for the rest of the adventure! (All links go live at midnight Central Standard Time on the date in parentheses.)

Group 13 (September 15)
Group 14 (September 16)
Group 15 (September 17)

Let the voting begin! (September 18)

Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Three (September 20)

Voting Closes and Winners Announced! (September 25)

Chapter Three by Group 11

Welcome back! Today we continue with the student versions of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud Chapter Three.

I’ve altered the line spacing to make them easier to read on WordPress, otherwise they are exactly as the students wrote them. I’ve copied the files from Adobe to Word to WordPress, so I hope I got the formatting as the authors intended. I take full responsibility for any errors in that regard, and I hope you’ll choose your favorite(s) based on content, not formatting. Please keep track of the ones you like the best. Voting begins September 18!

If you’ve stumbled upon this and have no idea what’s going on, get the details here:

Intro and Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter One:
Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Two:

Student Versions of Chapter Three

Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5
Group 6
Group 7
Group 8
Group 9
Group 10

****

Group 11 Chapter Three

Wandering into Death Desert

He was about to knock the smug grin of his face for suggesting the use of magic in their quest, but he quickly remembered the reason they were embarking upon this quest, to save his father, and decided to put aside his own concerns. They had been walking for hours when they noticed the darkness had started to engulf them. Cedric, judging it unsafe to continue, offered to stop for a while and set up camp for the night. Owen objected at first, not wanting to waste any time in saving his father, however Cedric convinced him that he needed to rest to gain all his strength back for the rest of the adventure and that it would be incautious to continue, oblivious of the possible dangers lurking in the darkness ahead. He went to fetch some firewood to keep warm overnight however when he returned where they had settled, he found Cedric had already started a fire. It irritated him that he had just been scavenging for the past half hour for nothing, but what annoyed him most was that he had obviously used magic, as if to mock him. Owen, not wanting to give Cedric the satisfaction that he apparently sought, just decided to lie down onto the ground without a word and closed his eyes.

The next morning he awoke in a mist of confusion and surprise, briefly forgetting where he was, but he quickly remembered when he looked around to see Cedric’s sleeping body a few meters away from him and the burnt out fire remaining from the night before. Owen sat up and threw a sizeable stone at him to wake him, yet not big enough to injure him. He grabbed his belongings and immediately set off, leaving Cedric to quickly scramble his affairs together and catch up with him. They had only been walking for a few hours when they suddenly halted at the foot of a mountain.

“And how do you suppose we pass this, Cedric oh mighty one?” asked Owen sarcastically.

“Climbing of course!”

“It’s really done.” he pronounced in a matter-of-fact way.

He lifted his staff and answered the wizard with a slight grin.

“After you.”

They gruelingly hiked up what seemed the never ending mountain until they reached the top where they stopped to drink water and have a break. They were about to make their way down the other side of the mountain when they heard a loud groan behind them. They turned around and saw a massive bear-like creature. Owen started to pull out his sword but Cedric had other plans.

“Put that away Owen, watch how chanting incantations but before he realized what was happening, the animal pounced on him. Cedric struggled underneath this vicious beast; Owen pulled out his sword again and stabbed the vile creature through its back. It fell to its side revealing a cowering Cedric.

“I believe that’s ‘how it’s done!” said Owen sharply whilst striding off.

****

Come back for the rest of the adventure! (All links go live at midnight Central Standard Time on the date in parentheses.)

Group 12 (September 14)
Group 13 (September 15)
Group 14 (September 16)
Group 15 (September 17)

Let the voting begin! (September 18)

Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Three (September 20)

Voting Closes and Winners Announced! (September 25)

Chapter Three by Group 10

Welcome back! Today we continue with the student versions of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud Chapter Three.

I’ve altered the line spacing to make them easier to read on WordPress, otherwise they are exactly as the students wrote them. I’ve copied the files from Adobe to Word to WordPress, so I hope I got the formatting as the authors intended. I take full responsibility for any errors in that regard, and I hope you’ll choose your favorite(s) based on content, not formatting. Please keep track of the ones you like the best. Voting begins September 18!

If you’ve stumbled upon this and have no idea what’s going on, get the details here:

Intro and Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter One:
Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Two:

Student Versions of Chapter Three

Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5
Group 6
Group 7
Group 8
Group 9

****

Group 10 Chapter Three

The beasts’ encounter

“To use magic”. The sentence echoed in his head. A few hours earlier he was in a rage against Cedric for using magic on him and now his life and his father’s relied on that magic. He no longer had a choice; magic seemed to be his only chance to save his father. Owen glanced at the sorcerer and asked “What kind of magic?”

“Light magic, white magic. You won’t feel anything and you will be on the other side of the desert without noticing anything.”

“Alright,” was the last word Owen said before leaving this part of the country. Cedric took his hand, closed his eyes and they disappeared. When they touched the ground again they were in the middle of nowhere. Owen came back to his mind and observed the landscape around him. There was only sand to be seen, sand and the horizon. The sky was blue and the sun was as bright as ever. It took a minute and a half before they started feeling the heat of the place. Cedric seemed lost. He took Owen’s hand again, closed his eyes but nothing happened. Owen looked at him with anger. He never trusted any sorcerer or any person using magical powers and he remembered just why at that moment. These people were always creating trouble. Cedric’s eyes caught Owen’s. Owen pulled out his sword stealthily and Cedric threw his hands in his direction to cast a spell. Nothing happened. The sorcerer tried again but in vain. Cedric had lost all his powers. Owen quickly realized that the sorcerer was powerless and put the tip of his sword on his chest. He whispered “I have trusted you because my father used to. I have followed you to save him and you’ve lost your magic in the middle of the most dangerous desert in the kingdom. You had better have an explanation and a solution or my sword will get deeper.”

“You should lower your weapon. If I die your chance of saving your dad will be close to zero.” After a brief reflection Owen dropped it.

“I have known your dad since our childhood. We were always playing together until I discovered I had magical powers. When his dad heard about my powers he forbade his son to play with me again. I didn’t see your dad for many years. When his father died he called me back to the Castle because every king needs a sorcerer by his side. I have tried to help him defeat the wizards but my powers were too limited. Your father trusts me because I am on his side. You should trust me too.”

Owen put his sword away and sat on the burning sand. A tear dropped from his eye. After a few minutes he raised his head.

“I shouldn’t have attacked you.” he admitted.

“My father trusted you and I will too.”

Cedric offered him his help to stand up. As he got up something caught Owen’s eyes. Some odd creatures were coming in their direction. He swiftly pulled out his weapon and pushed Cedric behind him. There were four. Four enormous creatures. They looked like wolves and lions in one single body. The beasts were approaching slowly. They were about five meters away from Cedric and Owen when the first one jumped in their direction. Owen stabbed it in the stomach and it fell to the ground which strongly trembled, with a heavy thump. Another one came running fiercely towards them. The fight with this animal was tougher, its claws scratched Owen several times and he felt blood flowing down his back. He finally pushed it away and drove his weapon into its eyes. The creature went crazy and ran away. Two were left. They were coming closer very slowly and suddenly jumped. Owen was prepared for the fight but suddenly, the two beasts stopped, motionless, hung in the air. Owen turned back and saw Cedric, arms raised in the direction of the two creatures. A light green smoke was coming out of his hands and circled the animals. He lowered them slowly and left them lifeless on the ground. Cedric fell down as the animals touched the ground. Owen threw himself beside the sorcerer and searched for his heart beat. As he felt it Cedric opened his eyes. The use of his magical powers had exhausted him but he somehow managed to stand up. They looked at each other, their eyes filled with gratitude. Cedric took Owen’s hand to try to travel by magic again. The sorcerer closed his eyes and they disappeared.

****

Come back for the rest of the adventure! (All links go live at midnight Central Standard Time on the date in parentheses.)

Group 11 (September 13)
Group 12 (September 14)
Group 13 (September 15)
Group 14 (September 16)
Group 15 (September 17)

Let the voting begin! (September 18)

Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Three (September 20)

Voting Closes and Winners Announced! (September 25)

Chapter Three by Group 9

Welcome back! Today we continue with the student versions of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud Chapter Three.

I’ve altered the line spacing to make them easier to read on WordPress, otherwise they are exactly as the students wrote them. I’ve copied the files from Adobe to Word to WordPress, so I hope I got the formatting as the authors intended. I take full responsibility for any errors in that regard, and I hope you’ll choose your favorite(s) based on content, not formatting. Please keep track of the ones you like the best. Voting begins September 18!

If you’ve stumbled upon this and have no idea what’s going on, get the details here:

Intro and Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter One:
Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Two:

Student Versions of Chapter Three

Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5
Group 6
Group 7
Group 8

****

Group 9 Chapter Three

The legends of Death Desert

Owen walked in silence a bit behind Cedric. He didn’t understand clearly what was going on, and being with a wizard was making him uncomfortable. He was trying to clear his mind: his dad had fallen because of a magic spell, the wizard used his magic to protect his dad, and now they were walking towards Death Desert. What was going on? They had rushed so quickly to leave the kingdom that he had not had time to say goodbye to Yara. Furthermore he did not know if he would ever come back.

There were some legends about Death Desert. All was in the name. No one had ever come back from it and there were rumors, but how to discern the truth from the lies? Some people said that a dragon made of sand was sleeping in the middle of this wide and huge stretch of sand. Others were saying that there was a huge castle which attracted people and then they were lost, imprisoned forever. Those thoughts were scary but living in a world without his father was even scarier!

He turned around to look at Owen. He saw the light in his eyes and felt bad for the poor kid.

“But what about the dragon of sand? Or the immense castle? What about them? Aren’t you scared of never coming back? I may be a knight but I have fears and you do too” he paused and searched for his words but nothing came.

The wizard continued to walk and Owen thought he could go back, but the second he turned around, Cedric was in front of him.

“They don’t exist. That’s it. They are just stupid rumors that parents tell their children so that they will not run away, so now stop being a child and come with me! We have a long way to go and if we stop every five minutes, I can assure you that we will never get there!”

Then he went back on his path and walked. The landscapes were regular ones for the time being; it was a typical forest you could have found in fairy tales. It wasn’t a dark forest or a tropical forest or anything; it was just some trees and a path in the middle of it. Cedric was looking at the plants, had even stopped to take a sample of a big green and yellow leaf which was growing up on the trunk of a dead oak tree. He told him.

“This leaf is rare nowadays, when you see one you have to take it carefully, if you break the cells it won’t work. This plant has the power of transportation if you use it well. Oaka nalamor: try to remember that young man!”

Owen was going to ask him if it was the name of the leaf, the name of the tree, the name of something at least. But instead he just followed. He did not know why the wizard was telling him all of that when he hated magic.

He had never liked this wizard, but the longer he was with him, the more he realized that he wasn’t so bad. He didn’t know if trusting him was a good thing or not, and he didn’t know if he should continue his quest, but for now, he was learning a lot of new things about wizards. Every morning Cedric would wake up, stand up, and repeat the same words again and again ‘Aloara Asemana Tretana’. Then he would count how many leaves he had in his bag. How many potions he had. How many rocks he had. Owen was watching him every day, analysing what he was doing while sharpening his sword. And every day Owen was wondering what Yara was doing, what Queen Andrea was doing and what her son Weylin was doing, what was his father thinking or dreaming about in his coma.

Time flew by faster than he thought and after a few weeks they finally arrived on the edge of Death Desert. At first, Owen didn’t recognize the place his father had described so many times, while telling him the stories of famous knights crossing the desert. He had imagined it differently. Less scary. It was so big that he couldn’t tell where it ended. The earth was dry and red. That was the only thing they could see, miles and miles of dry earth. They arrived in the middle of the day, when the sun was at its highest and the scorching heat made it hard to walk. They decided to wait for nightfall before starting to cross the infinite desert.

As the temperature started to get colder and the sky darker, they started crossing. The cold was soon unbearable but Owen would rather face this cold than the day’s heat. As they walked, neither of them talked, to save their energy and make it through the rough night. The silence was oppressive and the darkness forced Owen to concentrate to see. He was thinking about how much he missed his father and Yara. He would have done anything to hear her laugh one last time, he would maybe never see her again, and he would probably not survive the long road with Cedric. This thought frightened him and he tried to get it out of his head. They had been walking for hours now, and he still couldn’t see the end of Death Desert. In fact, he could only see the wizard, in the dark of the night. The empty lands stretched out far in front of him, endlessly. Owen thought he might even freeze to death before he could reach his goal. At last, Cedric suggested they should rest a bit.

They set up their camp around a small fire and he tried to sleep as the wizard was taking the night’s first watch. Cedric stood near the fire his face still and hard, looking deep into the flames. When he was a small boy, Owen used to start fires in the bowels of Wittatun and stare at the flames pretending they were dragon fire. He was fascinated by dragons. Even though they had been extinct for over a century, he had always believed they would come back somehow. He had always dreamt of having a dragon of his own. He remembered the stories his nurse used to tell him about dragons:

In the darkness of Death Desert, the first dragons were born. People say that a part of the sun fell in the desert and at night, these creatures came to life, which is why they breathe fire. They swept over cities and kingdoms. No army could stop them, they were wild and merciless. Women would run away to protect their babies while men would try to kill the dragons. Eventually, after every land was destroyed by their devastating fire and only a few men remained, one day came and the last dragon was killed.

****

Come back for the rest of the adventure! (All links go live at midnight Central Standard Time on the date in parentheses.)

Group 10 (September 12)
Group 11 (September 13)
Group 12 (September 14)
Group 13 (September 15)
Group 14 (September 16)
Group 15 (September 17)

Let the voting begin! (September 18)

Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud: Chapter Three (September 20)

Voting Closes and Winners Announced! (September 25)