Read Magician Prince Online

Authors: Curtis Cornett

Tags: #curtis cornett, #epic, #magic, #fallen magician, #dragon, #fantasy, #rogue, #magician, #prince

Magician Prince (27 page)

BOOK: Magician Prince
12.1Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

“And I am Byrn,” said the younger human
placing his hand on his chest. Then he waved to the elder magician,
“This is Sane.”

“It is… a pleasure,” said Sane.

“Byrn and Sane,” mused Southernstar, tasting
their names, “I would know the origins of your names, if you do not
mind.” She bowed her head down to eye level.

Byrn and Sane looked at each other and
shrugged.

“How odd,” commented Southernstar, “to go
through your lives without knowing who you are.”

“Much of human existence revolves around
discovering who we are as a people and as individuals,” Sane
answered.

“That sounds… messy.”

“It can be,” agreed Byrn.

“If I may be so bold, how is it that you
speak without moving your mouth?” asked Sane.

“It is an ancient art of mind to mind
communication known as telepathy. All dragons can do it and without
it we would not be able to converse. Our throats cannot make the
same sounds as yours, nor can your voice make any noise that we
would consider our language.

“I would know more of humans, but I doubt you
came here just to speak with me.”

“We have come here seeking something,” Sane
told her, “It is said to be an ancient grimoire that could help us
to defeat an evil man.”

“Evil might be a little harsh,” bristled
Byrn, “We all have our reasons for doing what we do.”

“Evil is subjective,” Southernstar nodded,
“Eldar’s teachings say that we must be wary of judging our friends
too kindly and our foes too harshly.”

“What would you call someone who would
destroy all life in Aurelia?”

Southernstar thought on it for a minute
before answering. “I do not know of your Aurelia. Perhaps you’re
enemy has a valid reason for wanting to destroy it.”

Byrn laughed and Sane shot him a nasty look.
“I thought you would take this more seriously. Xander still plans
to use you as a weapon somehow.”

“Believe me, I am keenly aware of the
situation,” countered Byrn, but he still had to suppress a smile.
To Southernstar, he asked, “We seek the black grimoire of Hazer
Necros. Can you take us to it?”

“You may not take it,” warned Southernstar.
Her words were calm, but she arched her back defensively. “We will
not allow the vast knowledge that we have collected over millennia
to be taken so that other races may use them to wage war on one
another.”

“Perhaps we could just look at it,” suggested
Sane.

Southernstar considered the idea although her
expression remained impossible to read. Finally, she said, “You may
speak with Eldar and he can decide.”

“That sounds like a fine idea,” said
Byrn.

“The city is far from here. You may ride in
my claws, if you like.”

“Wouldn’t it be safer to ride on your back?”
Sane asked innocently, but the red dragon did not care for the
idea.

“I am not a…” she searched for the word,
“horse. No creature may ride on my back. You may ride in my claws,
but no more.”

“I beg your pardon. I meant no
disrespect.”

Southernstar bowed her head to one side in
acceptance of Sane’s apology. “I would know more of your race if
time permits.”

“And I, yours.” Sane smiled.

“Then let us be off to see Eldar.”
Southernstar moved between the magicians and sat up. She put one
claw in front of each of them and they tried to sit as comfortably
as they could as Southernstar closed her talons around them.

The beat of her wings was nearly deafening as
she took to the sky and quickly turned toward the far off dragon
city. However, once they were aloft the flap of her wings became
more infrequent as they rode on gusts of wind to gain altitude.

Sane tried to ask the city’s name, but found
he could not speak out of a heady mixture of fear and exhilaration
as thick clouds and snowy mountain peaks passed below. Occasionally
there were holes in the cloud canopy and he could see the ground
far below in brief glimpses of green and brown. Dragon’s Peak was
located in the southeastern region of Aurelia and the mountains
extended far beyond the borders of the kingdom. Those mountains,
which they flew over now, were believed to be cursed and that was
enough to keep most explorers from delving too deep into them, so
no one knew just how far they extended. It occurred to Sane that
the dragons’ kingdom could be larger than any that existed in the
world below.

 

***

 

Twilight was upon them and the glittering
dragon city of stone and glass known as Grandraco lied just below.
Southernstar told them that they had traveled over two hundred
miles once they descended. The city, which was just a gleam on the
edge of the sorcerer’s vision earlier in the day, now loomed all
around him. As they came closer to Grandraco the number of dragons
increased dramatically, so that they were now surrounded by the
strange, new beings wherever they looked.

Some of the dragons, the larger and older
ones, took little notice of the two humans walking among them, as
if seeing humans was a normal occurrence, but the smaller ones and,
therefore, younger like Southernstar would stop and stare at the
little humans as if to marvel at what they were. Sane felt
fortunate that none of them had decided to act aggressively towards
Byrn or him, because he held little hope in winning a physical
confrontation with even the youngest of the magnificent species if
he were pressed to do so.

Southernstar led them through the streets
pointing out places that she thought might be of interest. There
were libraries, museums, temples, and schools, but they lacked
other basic structures that human society had grown to rely on
especially in large cities.

“Where are the markets, taverns, and inns?”
Sane asked at one point.

Southernstar looked at him out of the corner
of her eye, but did not stop. Moving at the human’s slow pace,
where she only needed to take one step for every half dozen taken
by Sane or Byrn must have been annoying, but she showed little sign
of it. “What are these things you speak of?”

“They are places where you buy things,” Sane
explained. “At a market, you might buy-“ he was about to say
clothing, but the dragons wore none. He looked at Southernstar’s
claws and knew that she had no need of a weapon. Finally, he
settled on, “food.”

“We hunt and farm in the grasslands below us.
As you can tell from my teeth, we do not eat vegetation, but we
grow it to keep the population of animals healthy so that neither
they nor us starve.”

“What about taverns? Where you would go to
drink and socialize. Or inns? Where you go to sleep when you have
traveled far from home?”

There was silence for a minute while
Southernstar tried to guess whether or not the sorcerer was making
up these things, but deciding that he was not she answered with a
question, “Are humans so frail that they cannot function on their
own?” However, her question sounded genuinely curious in Sane’s
mind and he chose not to be offended.

“Look at Southernstar’s scales,” said Byrn.
“They protect her from the elements, so she has no need of an inn.
Like their bodies, their minds are so far ahead of our own that
they probably choose to gather in the places of learning and
knowledge rather than a tavern to socialize. Since each dragon is
self-sufficient they have no need of money either.”

“I can hardly fathom how such a city works
where no one needs anything from anyone else,” admitted Sane. This
was a place where there was no struggle or strife of any kind. This
was an ideal that the noblest of humans held so deep in their
hearts that it could form the core of a man’s being, but the
feeling that Sane got as he marveled at the city was just how
foreign it was from everything that he knew.

They came to a building made of glass that
extended many stories into the air. It was not the largest
structure in Grandraco, but was no less spectacular for it. It had
carvings into the glass of various dragonic figures interspersed
with runes that Sane never saw before and he could only guess at
what they did. There was no door, like every other structure in the
city, and he could see a dark green dragon twice as large as
Southernstar lazing about in the reflected dying light of the
day.

“This is the home of Eldar, oldest and wisest
of the dragons,” Southernstar told them. The reverence in her
mental voice was unmistakable.

“Eldar, like elder?” Sane asked. “That is
what we call our old, wise men down below.”

“Why does that surprise you? Your people
adapted the name from this most ancient of dragons to honor those
among you who are considered wise for their experiences.”
Southernstar again gave him a toothy smile. “We did not always hold
ourselves separate from the other high races, you understand.”

“Let us meet, Eldar,” Byrn cut in, anxious to
be on with their business. Unlike Sane, he was remarkably uncurious
about the dragons and their world.

They entered the home of Eldar with a human
on either side of Southernstar. She stretched her forelegs out and
bowed before him and Byrn, followed closely behind by Sane,
followed suit by kneeling on one knee. “Greetings, Eldar, I am
called Southernstar and I bring before you two human magicians with
a request.”

“Rise, Southernstar. We have met before have
we not?” Eldar spoke telepathically so that the humans could be
included in their conversation. His telepathic voice was deep and
almost overpowering in its intensity.

“Yes, we met briefly long ago.” If she could
have blushed, Sane thought that she would have. “It is an honor
that you remember me.”

Eldar tilted his head to one side and nodded
at her. “And who have you brought before me?” he asked, his
attention shifting to the miniscule humans.

“I am Byrn and this is my friend, Sane.”

Eldar sniffed at them, first Byrn and then
Sane. “I believe we have met before too, Byrn, although you were
called something else then. How long has it been?”

Byrn gave a sidelong glance at Sane before
answering, looking like he was making up his mind about something.
“I think it has been more than two centuries since I last knelt
before you. Back then I was known as Hazer Necros.”

“Xander?” Sane’s voice was barely a whisper,
but through their mental communication they all heard it.

“Yes,” Xander’s smile curled into a smirk.
Sane’s vision had revealed that Xander planned to control Byrn in
some manner, but he never would have guessed this.

“What have you done with him?” Sane shouted.
He leveled his staff at Xander and sent a wave of icy daggers to
impale him, but they hit an invisible wall and fell harmlessly
before him. He tried to cast another spell, but found that his body
was unable to move. He struggled to lift his arm or even twitch his
finger, but it was like powerful hands held every inch of his body
in place.

“This is a place of peace,” boomed Eldar. “No
violence is permitted in the realm of dragons.”

“Of course, Eldar.” Xander bowed his head. “I
only wish to visit the temples and commune with my patron, Kassani,
as is my right. However, it seems that my former friend is more
intent on fighting. Oh and he wishes to take my old grimoire from
one of Grandraco’s libraries back down to the world of man.”

“Visiting the temples is indeed your right,”
admitted Eldar, “purchased long ago with the addition of your book
to our library.” To Sane he said, “You may not take Hazer Necros’
grimoire. It is far too powerful to be left in the hands of humans,
especially one so prone to violence as you are. You will wait here
until your friend returns for you.”

“This man is not my friend! He stole the body
of another magician and I need that grimoire to help the real
Byrn,” said Sane. The grips of Eldar’s magic did not loosen around
him at all.

“Might we allow him to read from the grimoire
as long as he does not take it?” Southernstar suggested. “It is not
our way to deny knowledge to those who wish to use it to help
others and I believe that this is Sane’s desire.”

“I believe he showed his true nature when he
tried to attack me,” interrupted Xander.

“The words of Hazer Necros hold merit. My
decision stands.”

Once more Xander bowed down to one knee.
“Thank you, Eldar,” he said and left with the ancient dragon’s
blessing.

Minutes that felt like hours passed as Sane
stood like a statue in Eldar’s magical grip. His mind ran wild as
he tried to think of something that might convince the mighty
dragon to release him. Furthermore, Learion directed him to find
the black grimoire and give it to Byrn. That was not going to be a
problem when he thought that Byrn was traveling with him and he
could simply read the grimoire while in the dragons’ realm, but now
that he knew that Xander was walking around in Byrn’s body he would
need to take the grimoire with him and find the true Byrn.

“That is a quandary,” said Southernstar,
encroaching on Sane’s thoughts. “Have you tried speaking with…
Xander Necros, and trying to sway him to your way of thinking?”

“Xander is very nearly a monster. Among my
people I am considered a seer and I recently had a vision where
Xander took control of my friend, a very powerful, but young
magician, and used his body to wipe out all life in Aurelia. That
is where I am from. He has already killed thousands upon thousands
of innocent people as an old man and now the first part of my
vision has come true. He already has my friend’s body.”

“A seer?” asked Southernstar. “So you are a
disciple of Learion like us.”

“I think I am more of a tool,” Sane said
sarcastically. “I have begun to think that my visions have been
directed by Learion solely to further his own ends.”

“We of the higher races are not tools,”
corrected Eldar, “In each of us exists the capacity to make our own
choices, to find our own paths. The gods may try to steer us as
they will, but ultimately our fates are our own to determine.”

BOOK: Magician Prince
12.1Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Mesmerized by Lauren Dane
Never Close Your Eyes by Emma Burstall
The Harder They Fall by Jill Shalvis
Jordan County by Shelby Foote
Once in a Blue Moon by Kristin James