I have always known war.Since my tenth year, I have joined the other
mages as they ride into battle, casting destruction.Blue flame flickers over my blue skin,
signifying my strengths in fire and death magik, but the potential for all
forms flows through my veins.
a child, I focused on honing my abilities along with the green boy and yellow
girl.We were taught our sorcery beneath
the castle of our Master.The green boy
and I would practice various strategies of magik and the yellow girl would heal
us.Our elder, yellow also watched us
while our sires attended to matters of the court.She was stern and not above chiding us,
something I learned just before my first march.
tell me about the aura-popper,” I demanded from where we stood in the practice
yard, my focus on a small flame as it danced across my fingertips.
are called ‘auralplorers’ and you are not to worry about them and I am not
‘Ello’,” she snapped as she monitored the green boy, whom I called “Rock”,
while he dug a tunnel below us.“We are
not to be named and you know this.”
what am I to call you when we ride with the others,” I whined then closed my
fist and extinguished the flame.
will call me as everyone else does!Yellow!”
how will the old yellow know that I am not calling him?” I placed both hands
above my head to start a fire in the air above.
will call him Healer, as is his rightful title.”
when will you earn that title?”
frowned.“When I have been found worthy;
may that be many a day away from now.”
day did come and my day came with it.It
was my fourth march, perhaps fifth—all have blended together into a single,
never ending event.I was still young,
but Ello had grown into a fine assistant for the adult yellow Healer.He and a red Battlemage, the woman who bore
me into this world, set us to work.
raise a wall around the Master and his personal guard,” commanded the
Battlemage.“Blue, rain brimstone on the
enemy archers to allow our men a chance to flank them.Yellows, be ready for the wounded!They will be here shortly.I must report to our Master.”
sphere of colored wind carried her away moments before arrows pelted us from
above.I blasted flame above us in an
attempt to burn them away, but I was not fast enough.Two arrows cleared the blaze.One lay on the ground, singed.The other protruded from the arm of the
Healer.Ello immediately moved to pluck
the arrow from the wound, but the Healer stopped her.
your energy for the fight.I can tend to
myself,” he ordered.“Remember how I
instructed you.Certain wounds can wait
for others that are more pressing.Look.The Battlemage returns.”
fight pressed on.I concentrated my
efforts on killing the archers.Anger at
myself for not being fast enough boiled in my veins.I pushed the anger into my hands, let it fuel
my blue flame.Molten lava formed a
perfect sphere above the archery group closest to us and plummeted down into
their screaming ranks.Chunks of
brimstone followed, finishing those that remained.
Master’s Horsemen rode through the newly created gap.They slashed and skewered our enemy.Spears of rock skewered up out of the ground
in a pattern I knew well from training.I searched the field for another group to target and a new sensation
began to rise in me.My stomach seemed
to plunge down past my feet as sour bile pushed up into my mouth.A deep pit seemed to open within my body and,
inside it, an emptiness called to me.
closed my eyes, swallowed, and tried to banish the feeling.The more I concentrated on the abyss growing
inside me, the stronger I was able to feel them; all the dead from the
battle.They were gathered as though they
awaited orders from a Commander.I stood
before them in the void, just beyond arm’s reach.One of the men was familiar and I recognized
him as a guard from my Master’s castle.My hand reached out toward him—
eyes snapped open to see the battlefield I stood on, my hand throbbing with
pain where I had been struck.
not!” The Healer hissed in my ear.He
gestured toward the enemy across the field.“They cannot know the full range of your abilities!No matter how strong the urge may be, now is
not the time to wield your power over death.”
did you know,” I asked, my voice trembling.“This is the first time I’ve seen them.”
know who you were born of,” he said then stepped back and motioned to the few
remaining skirmishes before us.“The end
is nigh.Assist where you are able.”
walked away, weary.I stayed where I
was, unable to move as I looked over the fallen.Some of them had been under the command of
the Master, others were from the ranks of the enemy.All of them had been waiting for my mandate
in the void.When the Master gave word
that we were to return to camp, I still had not moved.It was Ello’s pleading voice that brought me
out of my fog.
me care for you!”
is no need,” the Healer wheezed.“I have
dealt with myself sufficiently.”
you are not well!”
course I’m not well!” the Healer countered harshly.“I’m dying.The arrow that pierced my flesh had been poisoned.Achieved, no doubt, by an orange mage.”
to me, Rock stood, his face lowered, allowing a glimpse of it to none.He placed an arm around the Healer.
Fa—Healer.I will see to your resting
Healer paused and turned to myself and Ello.Upon her, he bestowed the title of Healer and ordered her to report to
the Master immediately.Her despair was
clear, but she bowed her head and started for the castle.The Healer asked Rock to give him a moment
with me.Rock reluctantly agreed.Once he stood out of earshot, the Healer
regarded me with serenity.
are the successor to a very powerful line.Refine your abilities, but do so in secret.You saw, didn’t you?You understood?All who have fallen in battle await a Leader,
one to pledge their allegiance to.That is a dangerous power to wield and have
been known.You must be careful.When it is time, you must rise up and control
the armies of the dead as their Battlemage.”