Read Magician Prince Online

Authors: Curtis Cornett

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

Magician Prince (9 page)

BOOK: Magician Prince
6.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

“This is the man who stabbed your mother,”
Sane whispered.

Byrn nodded, but made no action. Donovan was
too close to Kaleb. Byrn could not react quickly enough if Donovan
decided to kill the boy and any rash action could prove to be
deadly. “What do you want?” Byrn asked.

Donovan pounded his boot on the floor in two
quick strikes and several doors flew open in response. Kenzai
flooded out of the rooms until the hallway on both sides of the
magicians were thick with them. “I want your immediate surrender
for the boy’s life. Throw down your staves.”

Byrn removed his cloak and let it fall to the
floor. Holding his arms out to the side so that Donovan could see
clearly in the dim light, Byrn told him, “I am unarmed.” He looked
to Sane and the elder man held out his arms in the same fashion,
but did not remove his cloak. The wand was safely tucked back into
his sleeve while all eyes were on Byrn.

“I am as well,” Sane told Donovan.

“You have done well,” a voice behind Donovan
told him in approval before stepping out from the shadows. “I would
expect no less.”

“Kellen.”

Sane pushed his way past Byrn into the room
to confront his former friend. For three decades Kellen and Sane
had been among the closest of friends. They fought together during
the Magi Rebellion in the Mainor Mountains and were instrumental in
securing a peace with the dwarves that lived there, but their
friendship ended when Kellen chose to side with the kingdom over
Sane and delivered the sorcerer into the hands of Warlord Nightwind
who then sent him back to Mollifas and Prince Janus. Ever since
then Sane lived as a slave and served the kingdom as a seer and
trainer of Janus’ magician army in between the prince’s torture
sessions. “Would you put me back in chains so soon, Kellen, after I
just escaped them?” He made no attempt to hide the indignity that
could be read in the shine of his one good eye in the sparse
moonlight, the way he held his chin high in defense, and the
tensing of his muscles in the baggy clothes Byrn had provided. The
old sorcerer was ready to fight and may have even welcomed the
opportunity.

“Sane? By the goddesses what have they done
to you?” The knight’s hand reached out to the gaunt figure that
stood before him as if he were a ghost or some twisted dream
brought to flesh and blood, but he pulled away at the last moment
unable to touch Sane and confirm that what he was seeing was
real.

“They did what you allowed them to do when
you handed me over without a second thought.”

“You were planning treason- murder of Prince
Janus,” Kellen sought to explain, but the words were hard to find.
“I was honor-bound-”

“Do not speak to me of honor! Any honor you
held was bastardized long ago. Or is it honorable to take a little
boy as a captive to use as bait?”

“Lord Kellen is a great man,” Donovan
protested putting himself between his master and the sorcerer, “He
owes no explanation to the likes of you, old man. You complain
about your treatment, but you admit to being a traitor as if it is
a matter to be proud of. You deserved death for plotting against
the prince and you may have had it if not for this man.” He nodded
to Kellen over his shoulder. “He spoke on your behalf to Warlord
Nightwind and again to King Kale and begged that they keep your
head off of the chopping block.”

A gentle hand was placed on the Kenzai
apprentice’s shoulder. “That is enough, Donovan,” Kellen told him
kindly, so that Donovan would know that the fault was Kellen’s and
not his, “Set the boy free. He has no place in this.” To Sane, he
inquired, “What do you intend to do from here?”

“I will follow where Byrn leads.”

“And I will be going to the Collective to
entreat them for peace on the kingdom’s behalf,” Byrn answered
without waiting to be asked.

“An easy enough story to verify,” Kellen
responded. “Send one of our couriers to the castle-”

“If you do that, then Sane will be a slave
again before the sun rises,” Byrn warned him, “I have my father’s
backing. Sane does not. His only hope is to join the Collective and
treat with the king for peace.” Byrn entered the room slowly and
held his closed fist out to Kellen. The crow signet ring could be
clearly seen in the light from the window.

“I would sooner die than go back to that,”
Sane called magic to him. Whether or not he was doing it
consciously was difficult to tell.

No one spoke as Donovan untied Kaleb and the
boy ran to Byrn’s side. More than a dozen Kenzai stood on either
side of the magicians with their swords held at the ready. They
only awaited Kellen’s command to act. Byrn squeezed Kaleb’s
shoulder to reassure him that all would be well.

“If you truly want to help Sane, then he must
come with me,” Byrn told him sincerely, and hoped that the knight
would agree.

“Do you have horses?” Kellen finally asked
and the sorcerers breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Byrn shook his head, “We would be
appreciative for any assistance.”

Donovan was unbelieving, “Lord Kellen, we
can’t just let them go. They are magicians! They probably killed
Sari too!”

“Sari is fine, you dolt,” Sane told him
unkindly, “She is back with her people.”

“Follow my orders, apprentice. The
consequences will be mine to bear.” Kellen called forth one of the
other Kenzai and told him to make ready with three rested mounts.
Then he turned his attention back to Byrn. “Get out of Mollifas now
before I change my mind.”

 

***

 

Grass was trampled under hoof as Byrn, Kaleb,
and Sane rode towards the rising sun. Kaleb was an impressive rider
for such a young lad and Byrn caught himself wondering if he was an
apprentice courier as Byrn had once been for what seemed like a
lifetime ago. There were more than a dozen towns and cities between
Mollifas and Wolfsbane. Surely Byrn could find a caring home for
the boy in one of them. Mollifas was no place for a ten year old to
be left to fend for himself.

“What do you think will become of Kellen?”
Sane asked tearing Byrn away from his thoughts of his little
friend.

“It depends on the story he decides to tell
and whether his men will back him up,” Byrn guessed, “If he leaves
you out of his report, then he may not be punished at all. However,
if he admits to letting you leave, he could end up in the palace
dungeons in your place.”

“I am truly unsure how I feel about that.
Tonight I saw some of my old friend in him, but that doesn’t erase
what he did to me,” said Sane. Changing the subject, he wondered,
“If we would have been forced to fight, do you think we could have
won?”

“Kellen was the only real threat and I could
have handled him easily enough once Donovan stepped away from
Kaleb.”

“Then why didn’t you do something? Why let
the conversation play out?”

Byrn rode a while longer before answering as
he relived his adoptive mother’s final moments and his own rash
actions afterwards. “Years ago before Avelice died, she taught me a
spell to summon a person’s spirit from the underworld. When Sari
and I escaped from Silvering with my mother’s body last year, I was
consumed with my own grief and drunk on the vast power that I
suddenly found out my disposal. My brain seemed to be working on
its own and I knew that I could weave several necromancy spells
together to bring her back to life. I summoned her spirit and was
about to reanimate her body when I saw the look of sadness on her
ashen face and couldn’t go through with it. It was then that I
understood that magic should not be the crutch I had made it into
and that it should serve a greater purpose than fulfilling the
desires of its wielder. For years, I spent so much time focusing on
being a magician and living that life that I forgot how to be a
man. Somewhere along the way all of the lessons my parents had
taught me about how to live honestly and doing the right thing got
lost in my desire to live freely. It was selfish of me and I think
I lost myself for a time, but I know now that what I need to be
doing is helping to bring about an Aurelia where we can all live
together in harmony and I think that can be better done through
talking than by throwing around fireballs.

“As extreme as Janus is, there are people on
the other side that are just as bad or worse. For a time I thought
that I had to be like them or that I had to pick a side, but I do
not. I will forge my own path and let it take me where it
will.”

Sane considered Byrn’s words for a while and
decided there was much wisdom in this young man. He wondered if he
was using his own power for the greater good or was he simply
consumed with the need for vengeance for his sister’s murder. He
already killed the assassin who took Avelice’s life and that had
not made him feel any better. Before that he had served the kingdom
willingly as a free magician and sentenced many of his own kind to
imprisonment in Baj or a domain, and that did not feel right
either. “I am too old to find a new path,” he muttered.

Kaleb, who had been riding near Sane, perked
up at the old man’s comment. “No need. We are heading the right
way,” he told the sorcerer and pointed to the road ahead.

Sane smiled, “Right you are, Kaleb.”

Chapter 8

 

 

 

All of the guards in the palace were trained
in Kenzai anti-magic techniques. A third of them were masters in
the discipline. Yet not one, but three magicians managed to escape
from the palace without any serious resistance. The only proof of
their attack and escape was a gaping hole in Prince Janus’
bedchamber and the accounts of his personal guards who were nearly
useless in protecting their charge.

The sun rose in the east, illuminating the
prince’s room with morning light. The calmness of the day did
little to settle his nerves following the attack that nearly
resulted in his death.

The rotund Warlord Velaren Saberhawk surveyed
the damage along with the prince and a retinue of generals. “We
must strike back,” the warlord told Janus. “If this assault goes
unanswered, then it will only embolden the magicians to strike
again with more force.”

Janus could not help smiling. Perhaps the
large warlord was more useful than he had given him credit for at
their last meeting. “Yes, of course,” Janus agreed. “I need you to
send word to the warlords of the south. Tell them to assemble their
armies and begin marching towards Wolfsbane within the week.
Together we will ensure that the magician threat is put down
swiftly and with extreme prejudice.”

“At once,” Warlord Saberhawk answered, “only…
and I hesitate to bring this up, because I do not wish to show you
any disrespect, my lord, but to assemble all of the kingdom’s
forces and move them across the country will leave many of the
warlords’ territories unprotected. Such an act will require the
word of the king.”

“Then we will speak with my father. Surely he
would not allow an attack against his only heir to go
unpunished.”

 

***

 

King Kale was gripped by another coughing fit
as Janus and Saberhawk waited patiently for it to pass. It was
common knowledge that the king had become very ill over the last
month and seemed to be continuously hovering near death. However,
only a few men knew that Janus had been using his personal wizard,
Kennath, to poison the king in order to keep him weak and infirm so
that Janus could take command of the kingdom’s forces in his stead
and do what his father was unwilling to do- crush the magician
rebellion, but that was all over now that Kennath was gone. Kennath
had to reapply his spell on a daily basis to maintain the desired
result of keeping the king bedridden, but not putting his life at
risk. King Kale was already starting to recover after missing the
magician’s last treatment this morning.

“This attack within our walls is surprising,”
King Kale said once the coughing had passed. He dabbed at his chin
to wipe away some spittle. “But I believe that we have the
situation well under control.”

“Then what would you have us do?” Janus
complained, “If we do nothing, then we wait for their next
assassination attempt and the one after that until they are
successful and you and I are both dead.”

“Sane will be dealt with for his attack
against you,” his father assured him, but the words were slow in
parting from his dry lips. Kale sipped some water and let out a
short cough. “Likewise your personal magician will have to be
found. He is still a criminal, after all.”

“And what of the third magician?” demanded
the prince. “I believe it was Byrn Lightfoot that freed them.”

“Your own guards said that the third magician
was an old man,” Kale reminded him.

“And some of the Kenzai who were supposed to
capture Byrn Lightfoot last night also said that there was an older
magician with him. One that Kellen let go. Who could that be if not
Sane?” Janus crossed the room to stand at his father’s side and
looked him in the eyes. “They also said that he had a signet ring
of the crow.”

“Byrn
Aurel
is now working to aid the
kingdom and his family. He has been granted leave to pursue a
peaceful solution to this rebellion.”

“You have met with him in secret,” Janus
guessed and his father nodded. “Father, how can you think of
believing that magician’s lies? How can you be sure that he is not
using his magic to manipulate your thoughts?”

“Because Byrn is my son and a parent can
forgive much when it comes to the failings of his children.” Janus
ignored the barb and let his father continue. “Succeed or fail in
his endeavor, if he returns to us and wishes to be part of our
family, then your mother and I have decided to welcome him and
acknowledge him as a member of the royal line. What we did to him
as a baby- it was not right.

BOOK: Magician Prince
6.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Out of the Storm by Kevin V. Symmons
Famous by Blake Crouch
All Over You by Sarah Mayberry
Josey's Christmas Cookie by Kleve, Sharon
Nicholas Meyer by The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (pdf)
Stick by Elmore Leonard
Alpha One by Cynthia Eden
Capitol Conspiracy by William Bernhardt