Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wednesday Briefs: Resolution part 2

Lysand rode to a stop at the gates to the talentless city, his horse flicking its ears nervously. A large dog with a bright white pelt barked, and recognition dawned. He had known that hound when it was a pup.

 “It’s me, Liro! It’s Lysand!”

            Silence reigned from the watchtower, before someone’s voice boomed. “Lysand?”
            “Wait there!” someone else called. A whistle pierced the night air. Soon enough, a form emerged from the watchtower, jogging over to where Lysand sat atop his horse. The man was dressed in slacks and a ragged coat, a long gun strapped to his back. His dog loped by his side.

            “Lysand, it is you! You left a year ago!” Liro stopped a few paces away. “What…what are you doing here?”

            Lysand took a deep breath, hopping down from his horse. “I’ve come for the anniversary of the founding. I promised my mother I would.”

            Liro stared, and for a moment Lysand thought he might draw his gun. His stomach tightened. “Please--”

            “Sure, I’ll let you in. This used to be your home, after all.” Liro waved to the other guard, and the gate began to swing open. Lysand’s heart began to beat faster. He hoped this hadn’t been a mistake.


            “So…how is it? Studying magic?” The snow crunched under Liro’s heavy boots as they walked. His white dog padded quietly at his heels. He had gotten huge since Lysand had seen him last. “I mean, you always screwed up any engineering project you tried, so…”

 Lysand looked away from the streamers and baubles that decorated the houses they passed. He had missed them. “It’s going well. I’m good at spells. The aether is.... I understand it now.” Lysand patted his horse when his old friend stayed silent, leading the animal around a puddle of mud. He tried to ignore the stares he was getting, and he wished he had thought to at least dress like a talentless.

            “Far cry from blowing up a generator the first time you tried to make one. And the second time. And the fifth time.”

            Lysand smiled. “Don’t forget melting several bars of silver.”

            “And cracking every table in the room.” Liro laughed, his voice deeper than Lysand remembered. He had never imagined his friend would become a city guard. Years ago, he would have been a soldier. “So…that was all because you had magic, huh? Or, uh, the aether?” His laughter faded.

            “Yes. I guess I…I wasn’t meant for this life.”

            “I figured that’s why you left. I mean, when your dad died…I never thought…I never thought you’d come back, though. As a mage.” He cleared his throat.

            “I’m not going to forget my home.” Lysand met Liro’s gaze. “I’m still a…” he almost said talentless, but that wasn’t true. “I still have my friend ands family here.”

            Liro smiled. “Sure.” He sounded like Henry. “Well, I’ll see you at the festivities tonight. Got something to hang on the founding tree?”

            Lysand patted his bag. “Of course.”

            Lysand waved as Liro left, before tying his horse by a post and heading up the stairs of the festively decorated apartment. He hoped his mother hadn’t moved.

            The key fit in the lock, and the door to the apartment creaked as he opened it, the sound bringing back old memories of his sneaking back home after late nights spent studying. “Hello?”

            “Lysand?” His mother’s voice brought a lump to his throat, and he stared as she came down the hall, still wearing the thick gloves she always wore from work. “Oh my word, you really did come back.”

            Lysand spread his arms. “I promised I’d come back for the founding, didn’t I?”

            His mother felt small, almost frail, in his arms, the scent of engine grease and smoke interspersed with the scent of home. “I feared I’d never see you again,” she whispered.

            “I’m not…I’m not going to forget my home.” Lysand let her go, his mother looking up at him with concern.

            “I know. But the way the other boys treated you, and the war and your father’s death…I wouldn’t have blamed you if you didn’t.”

            Lysand wanted to protest. He had always had Liro, and things hadn’t been that bad. His decision to leave and embrace the magic in his blood, to take advantage of his skills, hadn’t had anything to do with the bitterness of the war, or of the opportunities for magi. He just…wanted to prove he could do something.

            He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. I’m here now. C’mon-let’s go celebrate the founding of the city and see the festivities.”

            His mother smiled. “That sounds wonderful.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Wednesday Briefs: Resolution part 1

Two years after the war

            A distant explosion lit the night sky, red light illuminating the shapes of the swirling snowflakes. The magi’s horse whinnied in fear.

            “Calm down, girl. Its just fireworks from the festival, a long way off.” Lysand clucked his tongue, and his horse pushed on through the snow as he called to the earth beneath her hooves. Work never ceased in winter, when the cold winds drove out the warming flames the mages put up, and he desperately wanted the next day off. On top of that, it was his first time casting the spells to keep the lanterns lit throughout the city, and he didn’t want to mess it up.

            “You’re doing well,” his supervisor called, his magic amplifying his voice. “At this rate, with your power, we’ll be able to take the day off tomorrow.”

            Lysand grinned, summoning up more reserves of strength. That was the exact reason he had worked as hard as he had for the past week.

            “Excellent work, Tremith.” The governor, his hands covered in gem-studded rings, shook his supervisor’s hand. “I can sense the magic, warmth laid well. They’ll be lit for days, regardless of the weather!”

            “Thank my young employee. He has been here barely a year, but his work ethic is astonishing.” Tremith shoved Lysand forward, and the young man’s face heated.

            “Then it’s you I have to thank.” The governor clapped him on the shoulder, the rings heavy. “A new employee of Tremith’s, eh?”

            “Yes milo…sir.”

            “You’re too old to be calling me sir, and I’m no noble-it’s Yitsin.” The governor strode back to his desk, sitting down in the plush red chair. “I thank you again for your work. People have told me we should be using electricity to keep the city lit, but who wants to work with talentless? Hostilities with have ceased for now, but who knows when they will begin again?” Lysand looked at the floor.

“I heard their war machines again-fire in the sky. Festivities, they call it.” Tremith sniffed.

“Its just fireworks. They aren’t effective in battle,” Lysand said quietly.

“Of course, of course.” The governor waved him away. “Don't worry about such things, especially not with your skills. Go, enjoy some time to yourself. Such opportunities are rare this time of year.”

            Lysand stepped toward the door, pausing when Tremith did not follow.

            “Go ahead. The governor and I have things to discuss--things you will be privy to when you have worked for me longer. We have high hopes for you.”

            Lysand nodded before heading out the door, his steps light. A day off tomorrow, leaving him with just enough time to prepare this evening. Snow dusted his robes.

            “Where are you rushing to?” Lysand stopped short as Henry waved to him. Henry’s fine robes swayed as he strode up to him. “More lanterns to light?”

            “No, that work is done…for now.” Lysand shifted from foot to foot. He wanted to prepare for his trip, but he couldn’t be rude, not to Henry. The other mage had always been kind.

            “Oh? Wonderful! I though you lot got worked to the bone during this time of year. Have to keep the magic flowing in the city and all that.”

            “Usually, but I worked hard.” His face heated. “I mean, we all did.”

            Henry tilted his head and laughed. “There’s no shame in being proud of yourself for hard work. Especially if they insist on making us use magic. Sometimes I think electricity wouldn’t be so bad, talentless be damned.” Lysand just nodded.

“So you’re free this evening? Or tomorrow?” Hope entered his voice, and Lysand’s stomach sank. Why did he have to show interest now, of all times?

“I…I wish I could, but…” Henry’s face fell, and Lysand cursed inwardly. “I may not have work, but I have to…keep studying. You know how it is.”

“Sure.” Henry couldn’t keep the disappointment from his voice. “I understand. Your school in Draknea wasn’t the greatest, right?”

“Right. I have to keep up with the fast curriculum here.” He didn’t like lying to Henry, and his stomach twisted. “But don't worry. I’ll keep working hard, and I’ll get another free day soon, I promise.”

“I’ll look forward to that.” Henry waved, heading away toward the store, and Lysand frowned. Henry hadn’t sounded very convinced.

There was nothing for it. Lysand had to make the trip.


He wished he didn’t have to wear his robes, but he didn’t have any other clothes anymore. Lysand headed away from the gates of the mage city of Grenington, waving to the guards as he did. The path was familiar to him from the many times he had traveled it while he lit the lanterns and strengthened the magic around the city, but soon enough he went beyond the boundaries into the unkempt, wintry forest

He rode faster then, urging his hose to a canter, and then to a magically induced frenzied gallop, trees and bushes whizzing past them. His horse whinnied in eagerness, glad to run after being walked around the city every day. Lysand held on, the cold wintry air bringing blood to his cheeks as he rode for hours.

As the forest growth turned into a rutted track and he passed the logger’s shack, the steam powered logging machine sitting idle, he slowed, resuming a fast canter. The gates of the talentless city of Sceptre loomed above him. They were rusty now.

      “’Ware! Magi at the gate!” Voices shouted as he approached, forms racing back and forth on the watchtower, and Lysand’s heart flipped.

They had already forgotten him.

Friday, August 5, 2016

New Release!

Buy from Extasy Books!

Set during Kenneth and Thorn’s college days, a tale that explores their budding relationship, and the hardships they faced, before they became Enforcers.

Kenneth is thrilled to have found a lifemate in Thorn, who doubles his magical power just by being close. When his new power becomes difficult to manage, Kenneth and Thorn take their relationship to the next level. Kenneth will live with Thorn for a week, in order to help Kenneth get his magic under control.

But Thorn is a poor man with no magic, and Kenneth is a noble mage and the son of a war mage who fought against Thorn’s people. Not everyone approves of their relationship, and Thorn must face his fears of what a relationship with Kenneth will mean for his future.