Magic is awakening in the Five Kingdoms. For one young wizard and his friends, his magical discovery will change the world.
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In the Realm of the Five Kingdoms, magic is strictly controlled by a small group of powerful wizards who call themselves the Torr. Throughout the realm, magic lies dormant, sleeping, almost forgotten until Zollin discovers that he is a wizard. While he revels in his new powers and the realization that his life has purpose, malevolent wizards from the Torr, led by the scheming Branock, tirelessly seek him out. When at last they discover Zollin, a confrontation will ensue that will change the five kingdoms forever. Zollin is forced to flee his home and, with a small group of friends, find a way to survive until he can learn to use his powers to protect the people he cares about. Wizard Rising is a coming of age story that dives headfirst into a realm where magic is about to reawaken. So buckle up and hang on; the action comes fast and you won’t be able to put it down.
“I sense a blossom opening,” said the Wizard.
He wasn't talking about a flower.
“We have felt it,” said another Wizard. This man was younger, although still well along in years.
“The power is rare,” declared the first Wizard, whose face was hidden beneath the dark hood of his robe.
“Yes, much like your own.”
“We must begin our search,” said the first Wizard, who was obviously the master.
“The child was probably only just born,” said the younger Wizard.
“Yes, but it would be best to find this child before he discovers his power. We need to train him in his early years to ensure he will never betray us.”
“It could be a girl,” said the second Wizard.
“Yes, and if so we must destroy her.”
The second Wizard bowed his head. Wars had been fought over women, kingdoms brought to utter ruin. A woman with power could destroy the Torr, and so if this new sense of magic was found in a girl, she would be killed.
The first Wizard noticed his companion's hesitation and said, “Do not forget your own loyalty, Branock. The Torr must not be divided over senseless moral concerns.”
“In time we will rule the Five Kingdoms of Emporia and our power will be unstoppable.”
“You are right, of course,” said Branock.
“Now, begin your search. This new one must be found and dealt with or we may have to wait another lifetime to secure our hold on Emporia.”
The Wizard Branock bowed and left the room. The first Wizard moved to the window and looked out over the city far below. He could see the King’s palace and the garrison which represented the kingdom’s power. Osla was the largest and most influential of the Five Kingdoms. The Wizard looking down from the Torr stronghold could have reached out and destroyed the garrison. He controlled such power and could have caused the roof to cave in or the walls to topple, but such a feat would turn the populace against him. He had spent years convincing the people that the Wizards of the Torr served to protect the Five Kingdoms. In reality, he had merely consolidated his power and destroyed any Wizard who would oppose him. And he knew that the people scurrying about their lives like ants in the dust below needed their illusions of power, so if he destroyed their army they would have no security and the other kingdoms would turn against him. He could defeat them, he was confident of that. His power, along with the power of the other three Wizards of the Torr, could destroy the combined might of the Five Kingdoms, but he had no wish to rule over a land of anarchy. When he took his place as High King of Emporia, he wanted peace and stability. And now, when they were so close, the only thing that stood on the horizon between him and his destiny was the strange bloom of power.
Wizards could sense the magic in other people. If the person was close enough, they could isolate that power, feel it approach or move away. When the members of the Torr were together their power overlapped and allowed them to sense magic at great distances. This new spark of magic was rare in its brightness. The Wizards couldn’t locate the bloom of power, but they could feel it, as if the clouds had parted, and although they couldn't see the sun, the light would shine through. At first that warmth and brightness was pleasant, even exciting, but the Master Wizard knew that before long, just like the sunlight, that feeling would turn to discomfort and eventually to pain. The Master knew that if this powerful person, whoever it was, continued to grow in strength, he or she could eventually challenge the power of the Torr. He would not let that happen. On the other hand, if this new bloom of magic, this flower in a field of grass, could be added to the Torr, then the Master would have his executioner, a Wizard loyal only to him with the power to keep the other Wizards in line and perhaps even allow the Torr to extend their power.
The Master Wizard turned from the window and sat down at the desk which occupied the center of the room. The walls were lined with thick books on everything from anatomy to astronomy. There were treasures from each of the Five Kingdoms and from across the oceans. Some of the books were so old that only the Master’s magic held them together. They represented his power which was vast, and as he looked at them, he saw his dream, his destiny, to line up the people of the Five Kingdoms around him like the books, all in their proper place, all serving him, the Master of the Torr. Chapter 1
Zollin sat on the post that was to be the corner support for the new Inn that was being built in Tranaugh Shire. He wasn’t very good at carpentry and being so high up in the air made him dizzy. The Inn was to be a two-story building, one of the biggest in town. Quinn, Zollin’s father, rarely asked Zollin for help, but a two-story building needed multiple hands, and so Zollin sat atop the post, waiting for his father’s apprentice, Mansel, to hand up the connecting beam.
“Here you go,” said Mansel as he hefted a stout oak log that had been cut and shaped into a square beam.
“I just hold it?” Zollin asked.
“That’s right, son,” came his father’s gruff voice, and Zollin thought he detected a note of frustration in it. Zollin had been his father’s apprentice for five years, but he just wasn’t skilled with his hands. Nor was he strong enough to lift the heavy beams, which would have made the job pass more quickly. Instead, he would hold the beam while Mansel lifted and raised the far end up to his father.
“It’s going to be heavy, but whatever you do, don’t drop it,” his father instructed. “If it splits, it’ll have to be milled again and we can’t afford to waste good timber.”
Zollin nodded. He hated the pressure of being put in such a position. He had stopped wondering why he had to work with his father. Every man in the village had to earn a living. Most sons learned their father’s trade, and at 16 years old Zollin should have been able to work on his own, but as hard as he tried, Zollin just wasn’t a good carpenter. Mansel was two years older than Zollin, and he had been Quinn’s apprentice for three years. He was the youngest of a large family and although his father was a master tanner, Mansel’s four older brothers were already working in the tannery and so his father had found another profession for him.
“I’ve got it,” Zollin said as he gripped the rough timber beam.
“Brace yourself,” his father said.
Zollin wrapped his legs around the post he was sitting on and strained to hold the beam as Mansel lifted it.
“Uuhhhggg,” Zollin grunted, straining to hold the unruly beam.
“Steady, Zollin!” his father barked.
Zollin felt a stab of resentment but ignored it. He was determined not to drop the beam.
Mansel was helping to hold the beam steady and Quinn, with a rope around the beam, was pulling it up. Once the beam was high enough, Quinn stepped on a long iron spike he had hammered into the post he was sitting on opposite Zollin. He set the beam on the post and looked at his son.
This was the moment Zollin had been dreading. He would have to stand on his own spike and place his end of the beam on the post. Then, once the log was in place, he would need to swing around and sit on the beam so that he could secure it by nailing it to the post with two of the long iron spikes. It was a difficult maneuver for Zollin, who preferred to keep both feet on the ground. But the beam’s weight helped to steady him and he managed to set the big oak timber on the post without much fuss. He then sat on the beam and threw his leg over, turning as he did so that he faced away from his father, who was already hammering at his own spike with steady blows that vibrated through the beam and up Zollin’s rigid spine.
Now that he was in place, all he needed to do was to nail in the spikes. He looked for his hammer and nail bag. It was hanging from the spike by his foot. He should have retrieved it before situating himself on the beam but it was too late now. As he leaned down for it he could see Mansel smiling up at him, smirking actually. And after a joint-stretching second he knew why – the bag was too low to pull off the spike. He would have to turn back around and get on the spike again to get it. He was so angry he wanted to scream. It wasn’t his fault he wasn’t any good at carpentry. He assumed he was more like his mother than his father, although he had never known her. She had died while giving birth and Zollin didn’t even know what she looked like.
He reached one more time, straining with all his might. The strap was so close, but he couldn’t get his finger under it. In his mind he could see his finger wiggling beneath the strap but the bag was too heavy and only tore at his fingernail. Come on, he thought to himself as he willed the bag to move. And suddenly it did.
The strap lifted about a finger’s breadth off the spike. For an instant Zollin didn’t move. He just sat there staring at the nail bag. Then, something heavy was pulling at his mind and the strap started to quiver. The movement propelled Zollin into action and he slipped his fingers under the strap as the bag’s weight pulled his arm. And then, with a gentle sway he felt himself starting to fall. His heart leapt in his chest as his left arm wrapped around the roughly hewn beam to steady himself. He lifted the bag and waited a moment to let his heart settle back into a normal rhythm. He still hadn’t moved when his father shouted at him.
“Zollin, get those spikes nailed down, we haven’t got all day.”
“Yes sir!” Zollin called back over his shoulder. He was glad that his father couldn’t see his face and he deliberately avoided looking at Mansel. He wiped the sweat that had suddenly sprung out on his forehead and began nailing the spike through the wood. Yet even as his arm and shoulder moved, even as he felt the wood shake as if in pain from the spike smashing through its flesh, all he could think about was how he had moved the nail bag. It was magic, there was no doubt, and in that moment something connected within him, something strong that was at the core of his being, as if it had always been there and now suddenly it had come into alignment. And the magic began to flow out.
The rest of the day progressed more easily, and they had just finished the heavy framing as the sun began to set. The Inn was on the edge of town, just down the hard-packed street from a stable where several of the more wealthy citizens kept horses. Zollin’s home, the house his father had built for his mother, was just outside of town. Quinn was giving Mansel instructions for the morning as Zollin started for home. He usually had a fire going by the time his father arrived. Quinn was on the town Council and habitually stopped at several houses at the end of the day to visit with friends and people who wanted to talk. Zollin made his way up the small hill that their house was built on and looked at the wood pile. It was getting low and his father would want him to cut more soon. He gathered enough for a cooking fire and headed inside.
The house was had a low ceiling and was hot inside. There were big windows that were shuttered with thick pine wood planks set on leather hinges. Zollin pushed them open to let the rapidly cooling evening air in. The fireplace was getting thick with ash and Zollin knew his father would want him to clean that too. He hated the little chores his father gave him, even though he knew they were necessary. He felt resentment rising up in his chest like a river overflowing its banks during flood season.
Blast the stupid ash, he thought vehemently to himself. And suddenly, the ash burst into flame. The heat and light rose up so quickly before him that Zollin fell back onto the sturdy wooden table his father had built in the middle of the small kitchen. The flames flashed and crackled and then just as suddenly as they had appeared, they winked out.
Zollin looked at the fireplace, but it was too dark to see anything, especially after his eyes had been dazzled by the light of the fire. He lit a candle and looked into the hearth. It was empty, and not even a trace of ash remained. Zollin was so surprised by what had happened that he took no notice of his heart racing and the stifling sense of fatigue that settled in on him like a heavy quilt around his shoulders.
How did I do that? he thought to himself. There was no doubt that he had caused the flames to burn up the ash, just as he had somehow summoned the nail bag to rise up off the spike. He decided to try an experiment. He placed the candle on the counter and then placed an apple beside it. He reached his hand out toward the apple but nothing happened. He concentrated, visualizing the apple moving into his hand. Suddenly there was a rush of something hot inside his body like wind on a summer day, and the apple leapt into his hand. This time he felt the sag of spent energy, felt the heaviness of his arms and the rapid beating of his heart. He was suddenly very thirsty and sat on a stool to eat the apple. It was cool and sweet and he sucked the juice from the meat as he chomped into the fruit.
After a few minutes he began to feel better. He made supper and wondered if he should risk telling his father. Quinn was a good man. He was kind and a very hard worker. Zollin had never seen his father shirk a task, and he had scolded his son for such behavior often. Still, Zollin didn’t feel that this was something his father would approve of. He decided to keep his newfound ability a secret.