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)

****

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.

Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud $0.99 Sale!

For a short while, Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud, winner of the Literary Classics Award for Best First Novel, will be on sale across all online retailers for $0.99 (USD). That’s a savings of 82% off it’s cover price of $5.50. Scroll down for links to the most popular eBook retailers.

Read more about the Literary Classics Awards HERE.

Literary Classics Best First Novel

Literary Classics Best First Novel

Blurb:

As the only son to King Kendrick, Owen despises the idea of being king one day. Magician may be the only career he’d like less. He has dreaded the days leading up to his fifteenth birthday, when his father will certainly declare Owen heir to the throne. But at the birthday celebration, his father falls ill. The only person in the kingdom that may be able to save him is a magician–the very same magician Owen holds responsible for the death of his mother.

Owen and his companions will have to travel the continent of Wittatun in search of the cure for King Kendrick. On the journey, they will battle strange beasts and harsh climates, befriend extraordinary magicians, and meet a dragon before returning to Innes Castle–where much has happened in the days since he departed.
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About the Author:

Eric Price lives with his wife and two sons in northwest Iowa. He began publishing in 2008 when he started writing a quarterly column for a local newspaper. Later that same year he published his first work of fiction, a spooky children’s story called Ghost Bed and Ghoul Breakfast. Since then, he has written stories for children, young adults, and adults. Three of his science fiction stories have won honorable mention from the CrossTime Annual Science Fiction Contest. His first YA fantasy novel, Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud, received the Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval and the Literary Classics Award for Best First Novel.

Yara Learns of King Kendrick’s Fate

The following originally appeared on Lorrie Struiff’s blog on Monday, June 10. It is the third in a series character introductions/profiles from my upcoming novel Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud, and the second in a series of teaser scenes that are not excerpts from the novel, but additional scenes that show the thoughts and actions of characters just before they become major players in the book. To read the first teaser scene, click HERE. Enjoy!

Even the crickets seemed to wait in anticipation as the winded woman tried to catch her breath. The crowd around her remained silent anticipating the story. Yara inched closer to make sure she heard every word.

The woman put a hand to her breast as she heaved one last time. “I’m sorry. I ran here as fast as I could. It’s King Kendrick. Something’s happened to him. He’s sick or something. I thought for sure he was dead.”

Yara stiffened, but she didn’t interrupt.

The woman continued. “Owen ran to his side. So did the magician who’s always lurking around the castle, Cedric. I think that’s his name. I couldn’t see what happened for a while. After a bit the king’s body lifted into the air and floated out of the room. Magic I suppose. The magician and Owen followed the king.”

A short man with round spectacles asked the first question. “What did you do then?”

“Well, there wasn’t much I could do, was there? The Sentry showed up and barred the doors. They said we couldn’t leave until a proper investigation was conducted. I don’t know how properly we were investigated. I didn’t see the guards asking anyone questions. We just waited.”

She put her hands on her cheeks and pulled them down, giving her plump face an elongated look. “Just when I had made my mind to confront a guard, Cedric came in and whispered to the King’s Shield. Then he left, just like that.” She snapped her fingers. “He didn’t even stay long enough to talk about the weather. In, whisper, gone.” She snapped her fingers again.

A tall, skinny man spoke up. He wore a bushy, long moustache concealing his lips. He annunciated as if he were trying not to get a mouthful of hair. “How did you get out? Where’s the king now?”

She grabbed a tuft of her graying, wavy hair. She let go leaving a mound of hair. The western breeze blew it back into place.

She shook her head and stared at her audience. “I don’t know how the king is. Not well, I suppose. We stayed in the dining hall a while longer until Queen Andrea came in. She told us not to panic. She said everything would be fine. She would be in charge of Innes Castle, and the Central Domain until King Kendrick recovered. She said Cedric and Owen had to leave to get an herb needed to cure the king.”

More questions followed, but Yara didn’t stay to hear.

Anger made it hard to think. How could he leave without telling me? I would have told him if something happened to one of my parents? And where did he go? As the furry subsided more rational thoughts came to mind. He may need my help. If I leave now, I may be able to catch them.

She sprinted to her hut. The familiar smell of coal cinders greeted her at the door. She grabbed her bow, a canteen, and threw some clothes into a pack. As her fingers wrapped around the door handle she hesitated. Mom and Dad will panic if I’m gone in the morning.

Her parents had to be awake early, so they had already gone to bed. She grabbed a piece of parchment and a quill and scrawled a quick not. She told them what she knew of King Kendrick, she said she had to leave, and she’d probably be gone a few days. They’d still be angry since she left without permission, but the note would help.

She strung her belongings on her back, her bow over her solder, and took one last deep breath. The smell of the blacksmith shop would always be home to her, no matter where her travels took her.

 

12 Random Facts

If anyone missed my 12 random facts when they appeared on Erin Albert’s Blog Wednesday, June 5, here they are again.

1.       My first name isn’t Eric; it’s Stanley. I’m not sure why my parents decided to call me by my middle name (I don’t know if I’ve ever asked them), but I certainly feel more like an Eric than a Stanley. I’m surprised by the number of people I’ve met who go by there middle names. But it does make for confusing conversations.

2.       Maybe it’s from my own confounded name, but I put great care in picking names. Both for my children and the characters in my stories. I didn’t want week names for my boys, so I named them after rulers. I have an Alexander (after Alexander the Great) and a Marcus (after Marcus Aurelius). I later learned Marcus was derived from Mars, the war god. And with his occasional catastrophic temper tantrums, I wonder if more research could have helped. Their middle names are Richard and David: family names, but also famous kings. We call them by their first names.

3.       I have donated close to four gallons of blood at blood drives, but I’m sure I’m well over ten gallons if you count what mosquitoes have taken from me without asking. For some reason they love me. I can sit around a campfire with ten other people, and I’ll be the only one with bites. My luck is exactly the opposite when it comes to fishing.

4.       This brings me to why I do everything I can to avoid killing spiders, snakes, and cats. They eat things I do not like.

Cover of "Bull Durham"

Cover of Bull Durham

5.       I watch Bull Durham at the start of every baseball season. And I agree with Crash Davis: “I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter.”

6.       I think the World Cup is the most important sporting event. One of my greatest accomplishments came during the 2002 Cup in Japan/South Korea. I adjusted my sleep schedule to watch the games live. To stay awake during the downtime between games, I decided to check out the first four books of this series called Harry Potter everyone was raving about—maybe you’ve heard of it. I enjoyed it and the cup.

7.       I am a recovering comic book addict. Now I satisfy my fix with The Walking Dead and Locke & Key. I get them from the library to avoid buying them, which leads to collecting, which is the true problem of the addiction.

8.       I am also a recovering video game addict. This was easier to get over than the comics. The financial and time commitment required phased it out when I started college. I’ve had occasional relapses, but for the most part I can control it if I limit my play time to Lego Star Wars with my sons, and maybe an occasional hit of The Legend of Zelda.

9.       At the end of my senior year of high school, one of my teacher gave everyone in the class a certificate with a single word on it he felt best described the student. My word was “DREAMER.” To this day I’m not sure if he meant it as an insult or compliment.

10.   If you count summer elective courses, it took me four colleges and six years to get my bachelor’s degree. I don’t have a degree in English, creative writing, or anything else which may be useful to an author. I majored in biology. I would have had enough credits to minor in chemistry, but the college I finally graduated from didn’t offer a chemistry minor.

11.   I’m a self proclaimed technophobe. Eventually society catches up with me, and I’m forced to give in. Although I have found the practical value of things like Facebook, Twitter, and smart phones, a part of me still believes the internet is inherently evil, and social media, games, and apps are time wasters developed as part of a deep, dark conspiracy to retard our sociological advancement. But maybe it’s just me. I have started using an eReader. I thought it appropriate as my book will be released as an eBook. I’ve found it helps me stay focused on what I’m reading, which brings me to my final point.

12.   I have a strange attention problem which makes it difficult for me to complete a book. I struggle reading just one book, so I tend to read eight to ten books at a time. I’m working on the issue. I try to limit myself to one book of fiction, two of nonfiction (a biography/history/etc. and a book about writing), and one of poetry. I don’t completely understand poetry, but I’m learning. Sometimes I’ll slip in a short story or two just to feel like I’ve accomplished something. So far my attempt at “limiting” myself seems to help. I read Katie Carroll’s Elixir Bound last week without stopping to read anything else. Katie is the content editor of my book, Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud, at MuseItUp Publishing. I recommend it to anyone looking for a young adult fantasy not about vampires. Do I hear crickets? Please, don’t let me hear crickets! I don’t have anything against vampires, it’s just YA used to be about so much more, and it will be again. It will. I promise.

And here is the excerpt from Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud included with the original post:

Chapter One
The Festival

The setting sun glared in the young warrior’s eyes. Squinting, he could just make out his opponent’s outline. His ever tightening leg muscles cried for a reprieve with each step; yet he continued to circle, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. After a long day of sword dueling, with little downtime between rounds, Owen’s whole body needed a rest. But he wanted nothing more in the world, at this precise moment, than to win the championship bout.

Owen knew Edward must also be tired. They had each fought four previous matches, and every contestant entered in the tournament presented a worthy challenge. Edward, Shield of the King—the commander of the King’s Sentry, the strongest army in all of Wittatun— received continual praise for his skill with a blade. Owen, already defeating two Sentrymen earlier in the day, hoped to beat one more. But to overcome the King’s Shield would require more skill than besting a Sentryman.

The fighters continued to circle one another. Sunlight gleamed off Edward’s brilliant metal chest plate and helm. Now facing the westering sun, Edward squinted; Owen saw his opportunity and sprung. He feinted a slash attack toward the commander’s shield hand. When Edward raised his shield and braced for impact, Owen redoubled his attack.

He spun and sliced his blade at his opponent’s neck. The loud clang of steel on steel resonated throughout the courtyard as Edward raised his sword to parry. The vibration transmitted up Owen’s arm, but he finished his compound attack by kicking the Sentryman in the chest plate. The judge blew a whistle to signify the landing of the first blow in the best-of-three veney.

Edward wasted no time mounting his counterattack by gaining the measure and reestablishing just distance. He made several quick jabs at Owen’s head and chest, which the defender parried away with ease. Owen countered with a testing jab. Edward sidestepped, moved back in line, and raised his sword to the en garde position. Owen noticed Edward’s shield drop ever so slightly. The tiny gap in defense may have provided the opening needed to finish him.

Owen lunged. But his forward motion could not be stopped when he recognized the move as a mistake. The tip of the sword slid between the hinge where the chest plate met the shoulder guard and dug into the muscle. Sharp pain shot through Owen’s left shoulder, and he barely heard the judge blow the whistle through the anguish. Edward lowered his shield as an invitation for Owen’s attack. When the younger fighter took the offering, the elder’s stop-thrust found the only week point of the armor.

Owen, large for his age, still stood six inches shorter than Edward. The Shield’s muscular forearms resembled Owen’s thighs. The chainmail armor on his forearm, formfitting on most solders, clung tight to Edward. His muscles rippled as he pushed the sword tip a little deeper into the meat. A thin stream of blood trickled down the blade and dripped to the ground.

Edward sneered as red drops splattered the trampled grass. “I wish we fought to first-blood. I hope the king doesn’t put me to death for injuring his son.”

King Kendrick and the Surprise Guest

The following is the second in a series character introductions/profiles from the upcoming novel Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud, and the first in a series of teaser scenes that aren’t excerpts from the novel but additional scenes that show the thoughts and actions of characters just before they become major players in the book. Enjoy!

“Andrea! I’m so glad you could make it.” King Kendrick said as he entered the receiving hall. “And Weylin, welcome to Innes Castle.”

Weylin stared at the wall over Kendrick’s shoulder. His unfocused gaze seemed to penetrate the wall and proceed to the throne room beyond.

“Please forgive him, Kendrick,” Queen Andrea pleaded. “Weylin doesn’t travel well, and the Northern Straits were terribly rough. I’ve never seen them so churned up without a storm.”

“I’m just thrilled you’re here. Now this celebration can be a great surprise for Owen and all the people of the Central Domain.”

Kendrick led Andrea and Weylin to the dining hall where stewards hustled about making the final preparations for the evening’s banquet. The three of them sat at the head of the table.

“Your letter said you didn’t know if you’d make it due to the trouble with some rogue magicians,” Kendrick said. “Did everything get resolved alright?”

Andrea’s eye’s flickered and darted to Weylin. He still seemed dazed and unfocused.

“Yes,” she said. “All is well.”

“It wasn’t a resurgence of the Wizard Rebellion as you feared?”

“No. I think it was just some troublemakers with some basic magic skills looking to start a ruckus.”

“I’m so happy you and your people are safe,” Kendrick said.

He grabbed Andrea’s hand and held it tight, thinking of the love he lost at the hands of the Wizard Rebellion. He stood and pulled her in tight for a kiss.

“I love you,” he said.

“I love you, too,” she returned. A smile graced the corners of her mouth and lit her eyes.