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by Cindy Davis, John Richters
Category: Young Adult
Description: A mysterious trunk leads Narle and Laan into dangerous territory. The legendary magician Kaen, long thought dead, awakens. Young magician Narle and his healer friend Laan are swept up in the chase to prevent the Elder mage from reclaiming her Talisman and unleashing its terrifying potential. Powerful forces block their way and the huge mercenary, Ramadar, seeks death for all magic users. Narle tops his list. The Desert Magic Trilogy concludes in a clash of forces amidst the crumbling ruins of Kaen's castle.
eBook Publisher: L&L Dreamspell/L&L Dreamspell, 2009 Spring, Texas
eBookwise Release Date: October 2009
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [455 KB]
Reading time: 270-378 min.
Inside the castle's tumbledown walls a spark of awareness flickered.
What was left of the black stone gleamed, slick with moisture and mold from the breakers that crashed in from the sea, brutal waves defying any living creature to venture outside. They beat against the wall of stone that was Mount Gris, sometimes sweeping away small children hunting for arrowheads among its obsidian rocks.
Using only her mystical vision, Kaen studied the rough-carved stones. Much of the connective mortar had flaked away and many blocks had tumbled around her feet. The roof had vanished, some of it blown away in the relentless storms, some littering the floor. Centuries must have passed. Otherwise, how could so much mortar have disintegrated? How could her entire castle be demolished? How could she not have noticed? Rolling her eyes upward, Kaen peered at the sky--thick with gray clouds, wind and lashing rain, so like that awful day of long ago. An icicle blocked one eye; in attempting to brush it away she found she could not move.
Kaen guessed she was soaking wet and probably frozen, but she felt nothing, not wind, not rain, not cold, just a ponderous ache somewhere deep inside, which her nostalgic nature, if she had one, might have attributed to loneliness. She wondered why this small semblance of consciousness had returned, and cast about with her meager perception to find the cause, drifting in and out of awareness as she did. A thing that had once been hers, an artifact she had long ago created, came slowly, dimly, to mind.
The Talisman of Kaen. Her talisman.
Internally, Kaen smiled with pride. Her legacy. The smile died. She'd no one to pass it to. No descendants; no children, no offspring at all. The thought of a husband brought a second smile. She'd seen love many times but, alas, never married. All her suitors were so ... inferior.
But there was an equal. A sister.
Kaen's smile returned only to vanish again. Dorea, her twin, identical in outward appearance; inside, poles apart, as different as salt and pepper. Once close, as though physically joined, they'd grown more distant than sun and moon.
Why had Kaen awakened now? And how? The situation required considerable deliberation. She was a magician, she knew that. Yet the legion of spells she'd invented remained elusive. A great sigh wracked her unmoving limbs as she realized her body's natural magic was missing. Without it, how had she come awake?
Eventually she understood. She didn't know why or when this realization struck. No bolt of lightning had discharged the truth, no magical spell had been cast. This was a certainty. The only thing Kaen knew for sure: her talisman had brought about this scant wakefulness. Her talisman, now inexplicably loaded with an enormous amount of magic.
Kaen concentrated, reaching out for its power with feeble wisps of her talent, but could not touch it. She tried instead to get a sense of what had changed; what strange craft brought this about. Why her talisman, which she had thought destroyed, still existed, bulging with power.
In this she also failed.
Things must have changed during her slumber. Try as she might, she could discern nothing of them. She hated surprises, wanting--needing--to be prepared at all times. She shivered and thought a lock of her dark hair might have fluttered in the wind; out the corner of the unobstructed eye there had been a sensation, a gentle whisper of movement. One thing was abundantly clear--if she were to do anything useful, or even move, she needed the energy the talisman now possessed.
But it was far away. So very far. As exhaustion set in, she sniffed out the distant orange magic.
West. Its call came from the west.
Kaen focused every fiber of her being on the energy it contained, but still could not draw on its power. Her spirits sagged as her minute energy waned. After centuries in oblivion, what else could be expected?
A spark of dread speared her. If she still lived, so, perhaps, did Dorea, seeking, as always, to avenge an ancient wrong. She struggled against the confining bonds of darkness.
East, she commanded, come east.
Something told her nothing she had ever done before had been this important. Had she been truly alive, sweat would have streamed from every pore.
East, she demanded again. East! In the end, something responded, though she could not fathom what. Kaen shut her eyes and then her mind. For now, she'd done all she could. Time would tell whether it was sufficient.
And time was something she had plenty of.