The Vile Ones gather a terrible army to the east, planning to attack the Five Kingdoms, while a mysterious mage sets out to obtain one of the world’s greatest magical objects…
The Talisman of Delucha is a continuation of the story that began with The Moon’s Eye. Times have grown darker, as the Vile Ones continue in their preparation to release their evil master from his prison of flames. However, hope has not yet been lost—a small group has come together to resist this threat to freedom and life. Among these is the mysterious Ravin, a man gifted with extraordinary magical power, who is on a personal mission to obtain the Talisman hidden beneath the palace in Delucha for the queen he serves.
The city was full of noise—the sounds of celebration, the cheering of a distant crowd of people that watched the parade, music, laughter. Never had Delucha seen such a celebration in the lifetimes of its residents.
Ravin walked along a street that led up to the palace, as far away from the noise and commotion of the parade as he could get. This street was also full of people, most colorfully dressed and some even dancing, despite the coolness of the afternoon air. Spring was still sometime away.
At the heart of the city was the royal palace, a large, but low building constructed of dark gray stone. The palace had no towers or spires, and relatively few windows—it had been built to endure sieges, not to be pretty. It was a place that Ravin knew well.
Ravin was a tall man of fairly slight build. His hair was very dark and cut short, but his most distinguishing feature were his eyes. His eyes were a golden color, the like of which few had ever seen. It was his eyes that kept people at a distance from him—he had endured many years of insults such as “demon” or “phantom”.
He did not mind these remarks much any more, for he had grown accustomed to them. He was also unafraid of people in general; he was incredibly strong in the Ability, and could easily perform magics the like of which few could even dream of.
On this particular afternoon, he was making his way to the palace; he had been invited to a feast to honor those most pivotal in protecting Delucha from a recent invasion attempt, though he dreaded going. The young Deluchan Queen had, until recently, been of great concern to him—he had worked as her advisor and teacher in the ways of magic, and had also promised to aid her in defending the city. Then he had learned the truth regarding her ascendancy to the throne, and his loyalty to her had dissolved. The only reason he was going to tonight’s feast was that it had not been she who had invited him, but her husband.
Ravin had also been invited to join the parade, but he had declined that offer. He disliked crowds and he disliked noise. The others were there, however—the soldiers, the boy wizard, the Sword Bearer, the Scorpion Men. He would see them all in the palace when the parade was finally over.
A shadow passed over him as he neared the palace walls, and he looked up to see several Dragons flying overhead. They, too, were to be honored at the feast, though they would be confined to the palace’s inner courtyard and had declined to take part in the meal itself—the Dragons preferred to hunt for their food.
Ravin entered the palace grounds not far ahead of the first ranks of the parade. Servants were rushing about the compound, hurrying between smaller storage buildings and the palace itself. There was a fountain just outside the main doors leading into the palace’s great hall; the doors were open, and inside he could see the long oaken tables were set with the Queen’s finest dishes. Guards stood to either side of the doors, watching the scurrying servants with some degree of interest.
The guards straightened to attention as they noticed Ravin’s approach. “Good day, sir,” one of them said as he passed.
Just inside the doors, the slightly overweight and balding palace Chamberlain, Dasnin, stood with a sheet of parchment in his hands. He smiled as he saw Ravin.
“Good, you’ve come!” he said, obviously relieved. “I was fearing that you would not. I know it was some business between you and the Queen that caused you to resign as her advisor, and you both seem so bitter about it…” he trailed off, and sighed. “I am glad that you have come, if only for Lord Jasom’s sake.”
Ravin sighed. “It is only for him that I came, truly. I do not think Her Majesty will welcome the sight of my face here tonight.”
Dasnin nodded knowingly. “I fear you may be right.” He sighed again. “Well, it looks as though the parade is nearly finished. I’ll show you to your seat, before I become bombarded with the others.”
Ravin nodded, and followed Dasnin to the table at the very front of the room—it was the same table, in fact, where the Queen and Lord Jasom would be sitting. Ravin was surprised, but did not show it.
“Lord Jasom insisted that you be seated at this table with the others,” Dasnin explained without Ravin asking. “Her Majesty was against it, truly. Here you are,” he said, pointing to a seat near one end of the long table. “Truly, Ravin, I am glad you have come.”