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Shadow on Concrete Wall

Withered
Wizard

This is the sixth book in an eight book fantasy series. The 6th novel is available through Kindle Unlimited, or can be purchased on Amazon.

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Back of book cover

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On a medieval planet, the Four Crowns have been split into three groups. Grand Wizard Preem goes south toward Lowmouth to prepare for a wizard's battle. Wizard Brodia goes north to weaken the wizard's academy. And Jisana goes east, where she'll find a kidnapped prince.

Meanwhile the enemy, Grand Wizard Quon uses his Academy of Wizards to create students trained in the art of a wizard's battle so he can swamp the Four Crowns.

This book is now available on Amazon

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Tropical Leaves

A Girl in Need

 

In the fourth kingdom of planet Vosj, in the sixth year of Queen Foliana’s reign, young Denizia’s nightmare would soon be over.

Meanwhile, the sudden summer shower whipped around Wizard Preem as he walked along the cart trail leading to Otanmouth thirty leagues ahead. Few people traveled this path, allowing him to avoid all human contact before the port city. The strong breeze swept over the clifftop thirty paces to his right, causing the rain to cut into the group of three travelers. Preem used his blanket like a shawl to keep the biting droplets from his black face. Of course, using magic to protect himself from what the Gods decreed was abhorrent to him.

Beside him, tall Ibun walked in the righthand cart track with Preem’s nephew, Sarn. In six years as his apprentice, Ibun had developed into a worthy wizard on the cusp of becoming a grand wizard. He only needed to find how to shimmer his magical fists before taking his own apprentice. Little Sarn was only twelve, too young to use magic, but events intervened two days ago to circumvent Preem’s long-held beliefs. So now the boy strode between them with the brown cap, woven by his mother, pulled down to shield his ears from the shower. This was their first full day as a team, and Preem was satisfied with their progress away from Clovermouth.

Preem imagined the wind-whipped rain blinded his two companions, so he used the magic from the d’dec hidden in his boot to perceive the pathway, keeping them safe from the clifftop’s edge. No amount of rainfall could blind a blind man. He used that same perception to scan half a league ahead to ensure no other travelers were nearby. All day, his scans revealed a deserted trail, but this time, he sensed individuals approaching from a distance.

“Six people approach,” he said. “I don’t detect any d’decs.”

Ibun gave a simple acknowledgment of the unexpected information. He was a talented student, calm under pressure while fast to action when needed.

Preem noticed the shower easing off as they walked. Soon it passed over them, followed by the sun warming his skin again. The travelers approaching them were a quarter league away now, leaving them ten minutes to prepare for the meeting.

“The fishing villages use this route to cart goods to or from Otanmouth,” Preem said. “Normal travelers don’t walk this way.”

“Should we hide?” Ibun asked. The forest was forty paces inland on their left. “We can disappear into the trees.”

Preem had grappled with this question since he first detected the group approaching them. He was debating with himself over hiding when his back-of-neck itch began. The Gods must want him to meet these travelers. “No. We will bid them a good afternoon before moving on. I sense something intriguing about them. However, we should suspend using magic until we are past them. Guide me, Apprentice Sarn.”

Preem took Ibun’s ornate walking stick fashioned in the shape of an eel climbing a stout stick. He rubbed his fingers over the realistic eel’s head carved by Ibun on the top. Days ago, Ibun had removed his d’dec from the eel’s head, hiding it in his boot like Preem.

Sarn hooked his arm inside Preem’s elbow. As they trudged along, Preem wondered how this must appear to his nephew, who had lived a quiet life in a fishing village just days ago. The boy confessed to wanting adventure, and here would be his second episode after escaping from enemy soldiers by falling off the cliff two days ago.

Since then, Preem asked Ibun to begin the boy’s training to become a wizard’s apprentice. Ibun professed his uncertainty about teaching the young boy, but Preem reminded him about his first lessons. “Do the same as Brodia did to instruct you,” Preem suggested. Two days later, Ibun enjoyed guiding the boy to improve his awareness of his surroundings. Each evening, Ibun helped Sarn prepare for that initial magical breakthrough.

The young boy was getting close to entering the mysterious cave that existed only in a wizard’s mind. The imaginary cave was the only way into Ibun’s d’dec that Sarn must hold six inches from his head. So far, the heavy curtains continued to resist his efforts to penetrate the cave. Preem smiled when he recalled Ibun’s nickname for his nephew. Squirt was becoming a traditional name for a novice. Brodia gave the same name to Preem’s second apprentice, Roon, who was killed during the collapse of Kefnu Palace six years ago. So much had changed since then, yet much remained the same. Harpin was still his enemy, with Harpin’s grand wizard, Count Quon of Broditch, his mortal adversary.

Of course, Preem asked no questions about Sarn’s nightly progress after practicing with Ibun on the beach, as it represented the start of the sacred bond between teacher and student. Meanwhile, Preem continued Ibun’s training after Sarn fell asleep. He taught his apprentice how to communicate through the d’dec, a new skill developed by Preem’s five-year-old daughter. So far, Ibun could only manage ‘yes’ or ‘no’ through his d’dec. However, it illustrated a worthy beginning that would help Ibun discover the shimmering spearpoint.

Whenever Preem thought of his young daughter, Tresela, a melancholy wrapped around his heart. He missed his precocious daughter, who he may never see again. She was with her mother, Brodia, who was venturing north into Harpin. So it fell to him to attract Quon’s attention so she could ambush the fiend.

As he walked with Sarn’s guidance, Preem wondered who else would travel this route near the edge of the cliffs. He chose this route to avoid individuals; perhaps the six travelers did too. If they were rebels, he might get help to reach Lowmouth. He asked several times if Sarn’s young eyes could see the strangers.

The news was disappointing when Sarn admitted to seeing blue dressed individuals in the distance. The color of Harpin’s military. Ibun again suggested finding a hiding place, but Preem said that option had passed.

“Be careful, young Sarn; remember I am Jastur. You two are my sons, taking me to Otanmouth to live,” Preem told them. “I believe the Gods want us to meet these soldiers, though I don’t understand why.” Sarn continued guiding Preem as Ibun confirmed it was four Harpin troops with a boy and a girl.

When Ibun stated that the teenage boy wore a bright yellow sash, Preem warned them not to react to any feelings of magic. “This apprentice has no d’dec to protect himself, so I cannot fathom his mission.”

Ibun expressed his concern, “Jastur, these soldiers may be searching for the mysterious blind man.”

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