Lessia has always wanted to be a mancer, one of the great magic-wielders of Eluramance. Her wish comes true when, in an act of desperation, she performs her first act of magic and is granted admission to the Academy of Magic.
There, she learns the skills and discipline to use her gifts for the sake of good. Upon graduation, Lessia intends to dedicate her life to the study of magic. But when her class is killed by demons and her best friend taken, Lessia is instead thrust into the war between Eluramance’s forces of good and Zavus’ evil army of demons.
Each of the races of Eluramance brings their own unique prowess to the field of battle. For the dwarves, their strength; the elves, their wisdom; the orcs, their might; the humans, their drive, and the Drakonics, their ancient connection to the powers that forged the world, and the magics of those ancient ones. As for Lessia, a seeming no-one caught between these dangerous powers, what can she possibly wield to protect her home from the forces of evil?
Discovering her place in this battle for existence, Lessia journeys through the distinct—and often dangerous—provinces of Eluramance, fighting Zavus’ deadly lieutenants on the path to facing the Dark One himself. With the help of powerful allies, she will battle for the soul of her country—and uncover the true nature of her own exceptional ability.
Excerpt Chapter 10
Light And Shadow
Vaelik stood over Lessia, his evil smile wide. “Stupid girl,” he said. “Your friends sent you here, never intending for you to succeed. They sent you here to die.”
“They would never!” Lessia said with as much defiance as she could muster.
“And yet, here you lie, barely alive and helpless to prevent me from ending your life,” Vaelik said. “However, there is a way for you to not only keep your life but to become so much more powerf—”
Lessia didn’t allow him to finish speaking instead, she spat a globule of blood into his eye. “Keep your offer, demon collaborator,” she said. “I would rather die a thousand times over than become Zavus’ plaything.”
Vaelik’s eyes narrowed. He drew his arrow back, aiming directly at Lessia’s heart.
Suddenly, the green darklight torches extinguished, bathing the chamber in inky darkness. Lessia heard a soft sound, like fabric drawn over a surface, and then a clash of arms, followed by a brief shower of sparks that illuminated Vaelik and his hooded opponent.
On an instinct fuelled by adrenaline, Lessia lashed out with her armoured boot and connected with what felt like a leg, knocking one of the two people to the floor. Someone grabbed her leg. The sensation of displacement without motion overwhelmed her dazed senses for a moment but cleared quickly.
Vaelik yelled a foreign word, and the darklights flared back into existence. Lessia found herself behind one of the crates on the opposite side of the room, next to a hooded woman carrying a curved black short sword.
“Who are you?” Lessia asked softly.
“Like you even have to ask,” the woman said. She pulled her hood down, revealing Marian’s grinning face. “Let’s kill this bastard first,” Marian whispered, holding a hand up, stalling Lessia’s stream of questions. Marian placed a hand on her shoulder, and Lessia felt energy flow into her body, fortifying her.
“I don’t have a weapon,” Lessia said. “I…broke it.”
“Just distract him and cast me some shadows,” Marian said.
Lessia nodded. “Cover your eyes.”
Marian pulled her hood back up and readied her blade. Lessia let out another blinding flash of light, even brighter than before, causing Vaelik to cry out. Lessia stood up and saw Vaelik cringe, so she yelled at him. He blindly launched an emerald green bolt of lightning at her, which she evaded easily. As she rolled away, Lessia emitted a constant aura of light, casting shadows off all the various objects in the room.
As soon as the shadows appeared, Marian rolled into the nearest one and vanished in a puff of black smoke.
“Maneuver it closer to him,” Marian whispered in Lessia’s mind.
“Be ready,” Lessia replied. She peeked around the corner of her cover. The shadow Marian was hiding in was about ten feet away from Vaelik. She knelt and rolled across to another cover, a bolt of lightning missing her by inches.
“Come out, Luxmancer. I promise you won’t suffer,” Vaelik said.
“I know, and I promise you won’t either,” Lessia retorted. She rolled away again and saw the shadow reach Vaelik. Marian reappeared and stabbed her blade into Vaelik’s abdomen, thrusting her face in front of his.
“Light and shadows are never without the other,” Marian said, ripping the blade out and then impaling it up through Vaelik’s chin and through his head, piercing out the top of his skull.
Vaelik’s green eyes dimmed instantly, and his body went limp. Blood poured from all his various stab wounds. Lessia extinguished the bright aura she had produced and conjured an orb of light that floated just below the ceiling. She looked at Marian, who retrieved her weapon from Vaelik’s corpse. Marian grinned, and the two embraced.
“I’m sorry,” Marian said.
Lessia looked at her. “For what? You just saved my life.”
“For trying to kill you, all those months ago,” Marian said. “I just…”
Lessia shushed her with a hand. “I know you weren’t yourself, you had one of Zavus’ demons in you, controlling you. You aren’t to blame.”
“No, Lessia, that is not how it works,” Marian said, on the verge of tears. “The demon spirit doesn’t control you; it enhances whatever attribute your magic has. And as you know, Umbramancy is aligned with pride, and it was that pride that drove me to seek vengeance on the light and you.”
“She speaks the truth,” a voice said. Marian whirled around, her blade ready to strike, but neither she nor Lessia saw anybody.
“Oh, come now, Lightless, you would recognize my voice anywhere,” the voice said. Vaelik’s body suddenly raised, as if it was a puppet on strings. “She wanted so badly to spill your blood that even if I hadn’t told her to do so, she likely would have on her own.”
Marian screamed in frustration and anger, throwing her blade at Vaelik’s possessed corpse, impaling his left eye.
“You defile the very air that carries your words, Zavus,” Marian said, her voice full of venom.
Using Vaelik’s own body, Zavus pulled the dagger from Vaelik’s eye, tearing bits of flesh with it.
“How rude,” Zavus said, “and to think I was going to keep the two of you alive for my experimentation. But I see you’re far too much trouble.”
Two things happened simultaneously. Zavus conjured a black flame tinted with red and green, and Marian grabbed Lessia. Just as the flame fully manifested, Lessia’s vision went dark, and she felt the same odd sensation of displacement without motion.
A split second later, Lessia found herself back in the Temple of Aero, surrounded once again by Zethras and the Drakonics.
“See?” Zethras said. “I told you I could still feel her life force, despite passing from my sight.” He then looked at Marian. “I am, however, surprised to see you. How did you manage to find Lessia where we failed?”
Marian grinned and grasped something hanging around her neck on a silver chain, removed it, and tossed it to Zethras, who caught it.
Zethras opened his hand, revealing a polished silver ring which, upon close inspection, was very faintly sending out a gentle pulse in a particular direction—towards Lessia.
“How…?” Zethras asked. “This needs to be paired with…”
Lessia reached into one of the small pouches on her sword belt and removed Marian’s silver ring, which Morgaen had retrieved for her from the site of the ambush at Mount Lainor. She held it up at eye level between her fingers, and a look of recognition crossed Zethras’ face.
“Evelyn found these rings on one of her early adventures before we met,” Marian said. “They were on an island covered with ancient Elvish ruins. They bear an inscription that reads ‘Meyu-das-shyn’, but neither Evelyn or any of her crew could translate it.”
“Beacons of the heart,” Zethras said. “It has been a long time since I have seen one of these, let alone a bonded pair that still work perfectly.” He looked up from the ring in his palm. “It is an ancient type of Hemomancy that, like so many other things, has been forgotten by most. For the last ten thousand years, elemental magics have become more and more prominent, and Hemomancy has faded into myth and legend. There has not been a new Hemomancer in nearly a thousand years, ever since the Red Twilight tragedy.”
“I recall that name,” Lessia said. “It was in one of my history books, but only as a reference point to other events. What happened?”
“I had learned of a rumour that one of my disciples had been dabbling in a forbidden form of Hemomancy, commonly known as blood magic,” Zethras said.
“Isn’t that redundant?” Lessia asked, confused.
“No,” Zethras said firmly. “Hemomancy, at its most basic level, enhances life energy and then uses that creative force to accomplish a task. Because life itself is not restricted to a single form of thought, that energy can be made to do nearly anything.” He scowled. “Blood magic consumes life energy as a fuel, instead of enhancing it. Blood mages cut themselves, spilling their blood and draining the energy from their bodies, or through sacrificing another. It is the most unholy act one can do, as it desecrates the gift Hemo gave us so many ages ago.” Zethras turned and looked out the window.
“So, I travelled to the Temple of Hemo, which lies in ruins today. I found all but one of my students lying dead, arranged in a circle, drained of all their blood. The murderer spoke to me in a calm tone, saying Hemo had come to him in a vision, that he wanted his followers to join him in his realm. He was to send them to Hemo, for Hemo had chosen him as Hemo’s Scion.”
Scion. The word rang in Lessia’s mind. She remembered what Vaelik had called her—the Scion of Lux.
“What does that mean, Scion?” asked Lessia
It was Morgaen who spoke. “Sometimes, when a child is born with magic, it forms a different kind of bond with them. Ever since the Seven passed from Eluramance, a portion of their power remained, to forever be passed down in the spirits of those who follow their path. These individuals are called Scions. Even though they are not bound to a dragon’s soul like we are,” she said, indicating the Drakonics, “their powers are immense. To complement this, they wield their respective fragment.”
“How often do they appear?” Lessia asked.
“One hundred years after the previous one dies,” Zethras said.
“When did the last Scion of Lux die?” Lessia asked, expecting another specific answer. What happened surprised her.
Zethras stood very still, almost unnaturally so, and a red aura surrounded him as if wreathed in flames. He glanced over his shoulder, and Lessia saw his eyes dim and narrow.
The four Drakonics raised their weapons and Zethras looked at them. He closed his eyes and shook his head, like a bear trying to disperse a swarm of bees. A portal opened beneath his feet and he fell through it, closing it as he passed through.
“Did I say something wrong?” Lessia asked cautiously. The four Drakonics looked at each other.
“Emotions run deep within the Blood Lord,” Conleth said. “He was wed to Grand Paladin Zelwynn, the most recent Scion of Lux.”
“Until she died,” Morgaen said, “killed during a mission just over a year ago, trying to prevent all this from happening.”
“How did…” Lessia began to ask, but Conleth held up a hand to silence her.
“It is not our place to tell you,” he said. “In time, he may tell you himself. But the memory is still too recent, too fresh.”
“Is that what that was?” Lessia asked.
Marak spoke this time. “For as long as we can remember, Zethras has always had two sides. The eternal protector who fights for every life that is and will be is the version of him that everyone knows, either personally or through the legends he leaves scattered through the long winding path of history.” He touched the glowing orange Dragonstone in the centre of his chest plate. “Our bond-mates were still comparatively young when Zethras was born, and he has—according to our ancestral memories—not changed at all since he’s known them.”
“But, like all things, he has a darker side,” Morgaen said, “When painful memories come back to him, if they are powerful enough, he can lose control. We have come to know it as the Blood Fury.”
“You have seen the craters and gorges of the canyon lands to the south, yes?” Conleth asked, to which Lessia responded by nodding, “That was him, last year. I am sure you felt the quakes too.”
As if on cue, another portal appeared, and Zethras reappeared, his features having returned to normal.
“You know, a thought just occurred to me,” he said. “How could you have possibly known that Zelwynn died?”
“Vaelik said his master told him the Scion of Lux would be sent to stop him and reclaim Raizoth,” Lessia said, “and that was his chance to acquire something he called ‘the beacon of hope.’”
“That is impossible,” Zethras whispered to himself, then held out a hand to Lessia. “Come with me.”
Lessia took his hand, and he opened another portal.
“Where are we going?” Lessia asked.
“To see if the impossible has changed.”