A Wizard Scorned
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by Patricia White
Category: Fantasy/Romance Preditors and Editors Reader's Poll Best Fiction, EPIC eBook Award Finalist, Affaire de Coeur Reader/Writer Poll: Best Up and Coming Author, Sapphire Award Winner
Description: Jane Murdock doesn't believe in magic, wizards, or any other matters arcane, but that doesn't stop her from running afoul of a wizard and feeling the full brunt of the old adage: Hell hath no fury like a wizard scorned. Will, an untried wizard, is only trying to take wizard-order brides back to his home world when he, too, finds trouble can wear a beautiful face. The trouble can be very bad, for him and the brides, especially when the pretty face belongs to the evil, love-struck wizard Cordelia, who has been scorned by unicorn rancher, Max Farrel. Cursed and forced to wander the worlds as a great silvery-eyed cat, Sojourner was once a man and a wizard, but he can never regain his human shape until he finds That Which Was Lost. [Cover art by Dirk A. Wolf]
eBook Publisher: Hard Shell Word Factory, 1998 Hard Shell Word Factory
eBookwise Release Date: April 2002
48 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [381 KB]
Reading time: 254-356 min.
"An absolutely marvelous tale of the realistic and the romantic, of the magical and the mundane. Ms. White's storytelling skill equals her imagination, and is surpassed only by her gift for drawing the reader into the heart of the story and the characters. 4-1/2 Stars!"--Affaire de Coeur
"A Wizard Scorned is written in Ms. White's trademark style, a poetry and mastery of words, movement and emotion, fascinating twists and turns, and a creative imagination that's truly 'out there'. Welcome aboard, readers. It's going to be a wild ride! Very Highly Recommended!"--Under the Covers Book Reviews
"A WIZARD SCORNED is a vigorous tale. The story's humans are poignant in their need for a quest, a structure for their lives, a meaningfulness in the midst of a harsh frontier where magic and nature collide, and mere men can be crushed without effort. The wizards are full of frailties and pettiness. They, like the quarrelling gods of Homer's Iliad, set into motion great big wheels of causation, wheels that crush and maim. Hard Shell Word Factory has done it again. A WIZARD SCORNED is a supremely enjoyable read, and very hard to put down (I know, I tried). I mean, hard to shut down. (If electronic books become more prevalent, we're going to need a whole new set of metaphors to describe reading.)"--Tom Meyer, SF Site
The huge cat stretched, yawned widely, showing an impressive set of fangs, and rearranged his wealth of sleek, black fur, and an even sleeker wealth of underlying muscle, on the dark, sun-warmed surface of an old lava flow. He did it all, and with great deliberation, before he even attempted to answer the young man's question.
"Since, this once, you have the brain to ask my advice before you end up fire-dancing in your bare-feet, I'll give it. Youth, they say, is curable by time and experience; if rash acts don't do you in beforehand. But, it would seem to me, and my motives may not be the same as yours, that you'd be making a very large mistake if you do not accept the task these men have offered you. You have the knowledge and the magic to see it to its end."
The cat's words were plain in his mind, as they always were. The wizard took a deep breath, tried to marshal and somehow dispel his doubts, to rationalize his fear that the task was beyond his doing. That the men who had offered him gold had somehow twisted their words, had let their dreams and needs speak louder than the truth. He couldn't.
To others, Sojourner, the great cat that must forever wander, might be a myth, a winter tale told when the fire was burned to ashes and embers and the wind sang a sad lament outside the walls. But not to Will. Will knew the truth; or as much of the truth that could be known. And if this deed was important to Sojourner, then it had to be -- if Will could make it so.
"Your quest?" Will asked, leaning against the side of the stone, pushing his fingers through his disordered hair, trying to fight off the memories Sojourner, probably without malice but certainly with purpose, had invoked. It was a useless battle.
The hot sun blazed in the summer sky, but Will shivered with another cold. The icy cold of a small boy who stood in the snow and watched, young and helpless, tears of sorrow freezing on his gaunt face, as his world ended in a roaring fire and the screams of his dying parents. And the great, silver-eyed cat, coming from nowhere, curling around the child, warming him, guiding him, saving him from...
It had happened long ago, but was eternally bright in Will's memory. It was all there, the grief and the fear and, above all else, the debt he owned Sojourner. A debt that would not be paid until That Which Was Lost could be found or Sojourner was somehow freed from the terrible burden he...
"Young wizard," the big cat's rumbling voice, audible only in Will's mind, sounded infinitely weary as he said, "time runs too fast. It must be soon or all will be for naught."
"And me fetching the brides will help...."
* * *
There was no real answer to the wizard's hesitant question. So many paths spread before them, but only one would lead to Sojourner's freedom, lifting the dark spell that made him both more and less than he had been. He sighed.
"Young wizard, all was tangled at my changing, my magic and my memory were torn by the spell. I cannot see clearly, but, yes, this much I know: the off-world brides have a place in what must be. One of them is terribly important. How that can be, I know not. Only that she..."
Laying his massive head on his forepaws, he closed his silvery eyes. Sorrow was heavy around him, but Sojourner was a cat. That, too, was his eternal bane. Grief was a raw and bleeding wound in his soul, but cats do not weep. They cannot.
"I know not the outcome, young wizard," he said softly," but whether it be for good or ill, this bride fetching must be done and very soon. That much I can see, well and truly."
It was Will's turn to sigh, but the wizard didn't even try to argue.
Copyright © 1998 by Patricia White