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Phoenix and Obsidian Part 1

A story of the cross-quarter mages

By Meredith HarmonPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 30 min read
Top Story - May 2023
A pathetic mage kit.

Gerala knelt underneath the hollow shell of a sevanda tree, under the baking sun. Here in the desert, at mid day, there was nothing to see - except the shadow of two hopeful vultures circling high above. Well, they can wait a while more, she thought. I can do this.....

She propped her pathetic kit in front of her. Broken feather, once a griffon's, or so she'd been told by the seedy merchant she'd bought it from. But even to her senses, it smelled of something different - she couldn't place it, but she'd never earned one of the special passes to let her see the magical creatures kept in the mages' zoo. Quartz rock, with a tiny vein of gold running through it. It should be a full nugget of gold, but she had not enough rock sense to ever find her own. Vial of spring water from the Oracles' Grove, where her oh-so wonderful brother had spent his Journeyman vacation. That Mama had paid for, of course, though Gerala was the one that starved so he could go. She'd just gathered enough dead wood from the shreds of the tree above her to use the tiny lens-crystal to make the fire.

It caught quickly; making a fast and hot fire out of almost anything was one of her few consistent skills. She sat back on her haunches, clenched her fists, then released them - cramped fingers made for spells that ended badly, if they ended at all.

The spell took little time, and she was surprised that she came to the end before the fire had died. With a slight slowing of breath, she made the final cupping gesture, then released her hands.... as if she were letting a fragile butterfly free from a prison. She sat back, and waited for something to answer.

And waited.

And waited some more. She sighed - what had she expected, really? - and scooped feather, rock, and vial back into her tattered bag. She stood up and turned to leave.

And something exploded out of the soil where she'd been kneeling a moment before. She dove out of the way, with the long years of experience she had for dodging blows. She twisted around, and what she could see out of the sun's brightness left her gasping.

A fire-phoenix rose on its own tail, slowly turning on the sun's rays. It had stalled five feet above her head, twirled in the baking heat. Gerala could see each feather reflecting prismatic rays; not a fire-phoenix, then. An air-phoenix, cousin to the self-immolating species. Air phoenixes were crystal clear, and shimmered in the heat. No fiery orange or red feathers for these birds, only direct sunlight could make them visible unless you had some gift.

Which made no sense - Gerala only had fire and earth! How could she see an air creature, unless....?

She moaned. Now her years of fruitless mage study made sense. She wasn't just a halfie, her gift was split between three of the four elements! She must have just enough air to channel away a third of her power, and there was no way to retrieve it.

She sat down hard on the baking sand, not even noticing she still wasn't burned. Above her, the air-phoenix danced on heat waves, directing the rainbows its prismatic feathers refracted to wash over her.

A week later, Gerala found herself in the rundown tavern just steps off campus grounds. She was seriously considering the relative benefits of suicide over her sixth pint of cheap ale when Neval bounced over. Neval was one of those students every one hated: good looking, friendly, and talented as hell. All his power was in the air quadrant, and he was teacher's favourite in seven of eight subjects. The perfect student, destined for tenure and great things, and Gerala's best friend. There were days she wondered if Neval picked her as another of his many projects, or if there was something in her that actually intrigued him.

Both hands were busy - one clutching the ale, the other curled over some things that clicked quietly on the rough wood tabletop, like ivory dice - or she'd have held up her hand to stop him. As it was, she was too drunk to be kind. "It's over, so don't even try. I begged the provost, and I begged the dean of second-years, and both laughed at me. I even actually got down on my knees to beg the Professor of Magic Objects, and called him by the pet name he's been having me try to call him for two years. It was almost worth it to spit in 'Fluffy's' face when he called them worthless, though I knew enough not to leave a sample behind, though he begged me. It all comes down to the same thing - no one will teach a threesie, there's no point to it. No one will craft spells when they go so wrong for even a halfie. I'm finished, and I quit before the provost called the guards to officially kick me out. It gave me just enough time to get my good stuff out of the dorm before the gang of juniors trashed the rest."

Neval sat down without bouncing. Gerala was impressed. And he was quietly serious, which was even more impressive. "That's it, then? No way out?"

"None. I burned my bridges when I slapped 'Fluffy' for calling me a threesie to my face. And I spit on the dean when he called me a mage-whore. I'll either find a way to work the three magics alone, or find another line of work, it's not like I wasn't trained for it...."

Her voice trailed off into a faraway look, and Neval held his breath. She shook her head slowly. "I always had dreams about magic, did you know that? I've dreamed of the college since the age of five, when I thought I could fly from the old Air Tower. When I tested out to be Earth and Fire, I had them test me again, and again, because I thought they must have made a mistake, I had to be Air because of the flying dreams...." Tears were running down her face, but she didn't notice, and he wouldn't mention them.

Neval let out his breath quietly. Maybe she was ready to hear it...."You might want to take a walk down by the merchants-"

Oops. Gerala went from sad to snarl in a moment. "Each and every merchant can skleth off twice, they've not helped me all these years! Not once! And they should have, after Father's accident. They can take their so-called 'kindness' and shove it crosswise, I'd rather turn Bakken's whore than suck up to those leeches!" She scooped up her clicking things, shoved the tankard at Neval, and stormed out of the tavern. Neval knew she wasn't coming back - at least he had enough thought to send a small elemental breeze after her, to keep tabs.

Something glinted on the table. Curious, Neval picked it up - it was one of Gerala's clicking things. It looked like a smooth nugget of smoky quartz, but very clear, and not in the shape of a crystal. It hummed in his hand, and at its core, a tiny seed of flame flickered in and out of vision. As he stared at it, the flame got a little brighter.

All thoughts of returning the nugget fled his mind, and his shaking fingers slowly closed around it possessively.

Two weeks later, he was celebrating at the same tavern with his year mates on successfully graduating from mage school, getting through final exams and demonstrations of spells and defending with magic and calling allies and anything else they could quite literally think to throw at him - and it hit him with a thunk when another mug of ale was shoved in his hands. Gerala. Two weeks ago, she was here, and she had no place to go.

He was instantly sober. He summoned the air elemental he'd asked to keep an eye on her-

And it didn't come. He tried again. Nothing.

He glanced at his mage focus, hanging from a fine chain - a gift from his proud parents. It glowed brightly, so he had more than enough power to do this, why wouldn't it come?

He tucked his mage focus deep into his shirt, and eased his way out of the pile of celebrants. They were mostly too drunk to notice, but this may be serious work, and one thing he'd learned from Gerala: if you're going to slink about, do it right.

He completed the no-see-me gesture as he closed the door to the tavern. Most everything wouldn't even see him now, and the things that did, he could deal with. He hoped.

He summoned another air elemental, a little air sprite that liked him. It bobbed brightly and led him away, and down, to the seedier part of town.

Uh-oh. He turned cold. I said I was her friend, then abandoned her for two weeks. She could have starved, or turned whore like she threatened, and I did nothing but study and pass my exams. Lord and Lady, I owe her!

He hurried. The sprite bobbed along faster.

He couldn't believe the state of the alley. It looked like several taverns used it as their personal dumping ground, and it hadn't been cleaned in - whew! What was that reek, week-old clingfish?

He tried to pick his way around most of the worst, but gave up his clothing for good when he slipped and landed on both knees in - something he'd rather not name. His mind chanted in fastidious terror: Please, Lord and Lady, a hot bath, and more soap than this side of the city has seen in decades, and mint oil shampoo and bitter orange perfume...

His heart broke when he found her, two-thirds of the way down. Only her head and a hand were visible; she'd obviously covered herself with garbage for protection. He could still see the strap of her pack near her neck. A carcass nearby showed what she'd needed to do to eat.

He almost vomited his contribution to the filth. I was eating fine meals for two weeks....

He picked her up, pack and all. She was too weak to fight him, though she tried.

And he could carry her out of there easily, and back into cool moonlight. She was far too light.

The apothecary tore strips out of him for hours after he dosed her for the third time.

"She was already on the edge of starvation two weeks ago, and now her body is fighting itself! She has worms and a deeper infection I can barely touch, I need to get food in her to help her body fight it from within! I can't do that without more help!"

"You tell me what to do, and I'll do it!" I owe her... I owe her everything...

"You think this is a spell you can just magic away? A clever conundrum to match wits with? She's dying from neglect! Which you contributed to! Some friend you are! Is this the change you're trying to accomplish?"

"Whatever I need to do, just name it."

"You poor fool. There is only one thing, and you're not willing." The apothecary pointed to a table, and there were only two things there. A flask and a dagger.

Neval paled. "But... my father will disown me..."

"Just so. Disownment, or living with skewed magic because you quite directly cost this one her life. Choose."

He grabbed the flask and the dagger. "Show me how to do it, then give me till tomorrow before reporting me. I have.... affairs to put in order before I'm cast away."

Gerala woke slowly, to a gentle rocking. A voice was urging her to drink, but it smelled awful. She tried to push it away, but she was too weak, and the voice was insistent. Strong hands helped her sit up, and drink, then clean her mouth to get rid of the taste, then helped her to the necessary and back.

Wait, didn't this happen before?

"Many times, and will continue. You're very sick, but you're getting better. Just rest, and let your body heal. You will have strange dreams. Remember, you're safe." Her eyes weren't working, but a hand stroked her hair, and she snuggled into soft covers and slept.

After many too many repetitions of this, she finally blearily looked up while sitting on the necessary. And her eyes focused on - "Uhh, Neval? What?"

"Oh, you're finally coming back to the world! Welcome back!"

"Neval, I'm naked!"

"So? I'm almost naked." He pointed to the fact he was only wearing a loincloth. "We're even. Almost."

She tried to hide, but he gently grabbed her shoulders. "Gerala, I've seen you naked for the better part of a month now. You just didn't know. It's fine. Relax. All right, fine!" He yanked on the tie-knot, and the loincloth was gone. "See? Now we're even. On to more important things - hurrah, I don't have to clean you anymore!" He reached aside of her, handed her a scrap rag. "More are in the bag hanging there, soap is there, sink is there, towels here. There's enough if you want a quick wash up, but don't use too much water, we're on a boat and it is salty. But you'll feel cleaner. I'll be out there with some clothing and answers. But I'm keeping the curtain open, you're still weak as a kitten and I'll not have all our good work undone because you want a bit of privacy."

He stepped out of the door, but true to his word, he waited on the other side. She finished her business, and did a slow wash-up at the sink. She did feel a bit better, but was very shaky.

Neval pointed to the clothing when she came out - tunic, trousers, loin wrap. "Would you like some fresh air, and a bit of food?"

"Air, yes! Food, I don't know."

"Fair. Come, I'll help you upstairs." And he did, staying one step behind her so she could use her hands on the guide ropes.

She stepped into a glorious sunset, and Neval guided her wobbly legs over to a bench. Someone immediately came over and clipped a platter covered with nibble food to the edge of the bench, with a cool beaded goblet of spiced cider for each. The goblet got pressed to her forehead, to stop the raging headache of blood rushing to places where it hadn't been in a while.

"It will pass soon. You haven't been upright for a while, so your body complains in the only way it knows how."

"So, how long was I... bedridden?"

"About as long as you were on your own. Over two weeks, towards three." He looked incredibly guilty. "I'm so sorry, Gerala. I abandoned you. I got caught up in studies, I forgot how the world works. How the real world works. It wasn't real. Still isn't."

"Can you explain a bit better?"

He put his face in his hands. "To do that, I must tell you everything, and you will hate me no matter what. So be it, I still owe you." He took a deep breath. "So. I know your past, how you were cast onto the streets after your father's accident, that put your family in poverty. How hard you worked to get into the school of magic, and how you were treated by people of privilege."

"Except you."

"Well. I didn't help, either, and I could have. I should have." He shook his head. "It still wasn't real, even when I saw the jackals hound you across campus, try to steal your things, that you worked so hard to earn. I could have stopped them, given you money. I was focused on my own selfish goal, making my father proud." He looked at her in the light - frail, and the sunset colors made her a bit transparent. "So, while you were just trying to find enough food to live, and getting sicker, I was studying and passing my tests with flying colors."

"Then congratulations are in order."

"Hardly. I forgot you existed. Until I was in the same tavern, celebrating. And even then, it took me a while to realize you weren't there for me to celebrate with. Too long." He stared at his goblet. "Gerala, do you still have those nuggets of whatever-it-was that you picked up in the desert?"

"The strange rocks? They were in my pack."

"Your pack's in the hold. I brought it with, and only cleaned the outside. I didn't want to mess with the insides." He made a face. "You left one behind when you left the tavern. I picked it up."

"Uh, thank you?"

"I can't return it. I can only pay you for it."

"Um, all right. How much is it worth?"

"My life." She gaped, and he stared at her steadily. Then he reached inside his clothing, and pulled out the chain. He held it out to her, and she stared at the fire and radiance spilling over his hand.

"As soon as I picked it up, it bonded to me. It's my magestone. Passing my classes were a breeze, quite literally."

She didn't know what to say.

He didn't either, but he tried. "Once I realized what an incredible fool I was for abandoning you, I went to find you. I tried to summon back the air sprite I send to you to find where you are. It refused to leave you. Still does. It hovers about you protectively, and will most likely never leave you. I had to summon another to have it lead me to you, and only one responded, that has been with me since I was a child. The rest have abandoned me."

"Why?" Gerala still wasn't understanding where this was going.

"Because I owe you blood debt, now many times over. You gave me my mage stone, your friendship, your trust. And I betrayed you. I had the money and privilege to set you up in a room, and I didn't even try. I just let you leave, didn't follow you, didn't explain what those stones were and that the dean and all lied to you. I have the means to challenge the whole system, and now the magic power, and all I did was pass my sklething tests. Nothing more." He sighed heavily and ran his hand through his hair.

"So I brought you to a healer I know, who tried to save you. I'd waited too long. So he very rightfully stripped my skin off my hide, tanned it, and handed it back three sizes too small. And I deserved every second of it. So there was only one thing to do."

Gerala thought for a moment. It was difficult, her brain was still very fuzzy. "There's not much that can bring a person back from the brink of death, even magically."

"Except for me." He slumped. "It is forbidden, my father has forbidden it, but I was directly responsible for your imminent death. Already my magic was twisting, the elementals leaving me was just the start. So I did the only thing I could do, the alchemist held the flask, and I used the dagger, and we let you drink my blood."


"You've known I was noble, and I let everyone think I was one of the allied princes of our king. Or some baron's heir, or some courtier. I've told many stories. But the truth-"

"Wait." Gerala put up her hand to stop him. "For your blood to restore me, that means only one thing. You're the crown prince. You, quite literally, gave me the sovereign remedy."

"And my father cast me out for it." He nodded. "Some of my servants came with me because they are loyal, and I who was faithless will not look a gift horse in the mouth. But I stalled for a bit of time, and sold some things, and called in a few favors. This ship is mine, and we have some money, and we go to seek our fortune. I am still the crown prince by blood right, and my father can exile me only till his death. He can forgive me earlier, but I doubt it. So until I can take the throne in the far-off future, my kingdom is no longer my home. I must stay alive. And I need you to help me understand it all, because I was angry, and set some decrees before I was cast out, and they still stand." He looked at the setting sun, and his face hardened. "Mages will never again be allowed to get away with the bullying they were doing at the school. I shut the place down. No more learning of magics while I am absent. No new mages. And when I get back, they will learn to accept the halvsies and threesies, or I will have their heads on this platter!"


"All right. First things first - give me the money pouch."

"What? Why?"

"Because you're a noble who doesn't know the worth of anything in the real world. Even your servants, I'll wager, are used to paying full price without haggling, and don't know just how much the merchants are padding the price because they know it's going to a noble with deep pockets."

"Oh. I never thought of that."

"You didn't have to. Now we have a limited amount of funds, which means the dreaded budget."

"I'm not sure if I like this."

"Who does? Who actually enjoys being told 'No, you can't have what you want when you want it'? But until we have money coming in from something we can market, the purse strings have to be pulled tight. For you, and your servants."

He sighed, but nodded. "Very well. Next?"

"I'd like to meet them. I don't think they'll like a gutter rat taking over, but I need to know them, their strengths and weaknesses, and how well they work as a team, and what they expect their tasks to be. If they still expect to be your servants, doing the same types of serving that you received in the palace, in a foreign area, they're in for some rude awakenings."

"What do you mean?"

"What about selling things? Making things to sell? How to treat with foreign customers? Tailoring?"

"Ah. I don't know."

"So I will find out. Also the crew."


She put her head in her hands.

Neval woke the next morning to find Gerala on deck, chatting with everyone. Five servants, five crew. She had names and specialties and had charmed her way into their graces so well that they were already discussing prices and how to bargain. She immediately turned to him before he had breakfast. "So - where are we going?"

"Uh, the islands."

"More specific, please?"

"The near end of the Fire Ring."

She slapped her head, and everyone groaned. "And you were going to tell us this, when? So they could have prepared properly?"


"Did the captain know?"

The captain spoke for himself. "No, he told me to sail south until further notice."

"Right." She turned to the captain. "Forster, I know Himself can't set foot on land, do we have the same restrictions?"

"No, lady. Crew and servants are allowed to go landwise to get supplies and suchlike."

"Good. Gemma, Conalt, do you think we can sell these idiotic silks and get good linens instead?"

"Sure!" And they bustled downstairs, to pack and re-pack. Gerala turned to Neval. "Do you have any clothing that has sentimental value?"

"But, I like wearing silks," he said plaintively.

"Not in tropical heat you don't. Silks are winter clothing, to keep you warm. We are traveling towards heat, and linen is always for heat. No cotton, either, you'll roast. Back to the clothing. Anything you want to keep?"

"Not really...."

"Then we sell it all, and get proper traveler's garb."

"Can't I just sell a ring or two? I like silks."

"You're an idiot." She walked over to the hole, yelled down: "Gemma, save a silk set for Himself? Apparently he likes melting in his own sweat. So we will let him have his little adventure, shall we?" Laughter spiraled up the hole, and agreement.

She walked back. "There. Anything else?"

He was too busy eating to respond.


"Here." A wax tablet and stylus appeared in front of his face.

"What?" He took both objects, but held them gingerly.

"They're not snakes. You didn't tell any of us that we're going to one of the most expensive places for an extended vacation. With no further income. So all of us are being paid our wages in advance. And we're stopping at the next few ports of call, to bring in extra supplies or trading items. Things to sell. For us as a group, and for each individual out of their cash advance to make a bit more money."

"But...where would we put it? We're full."

Everyone just stared at him. Gerala found her voice first. "You are mad. You outfitted for a pleasure cruise. Deck's barely touched, and we can actually walk below decks. You are a captain's godsend, an air mage with the capability to maintain a breeze and deflect storms and hurricanes. Only twelve humans aboard. We can stuff this poor caravel to near wallowing, and make a small fortune upon arrival." She fixed him with a glare. "And I will be in charge of selling, and bargaining, and you will not say a peep, and if you do I will have you gagged! Do I make myself clear?"

"You're not serious, are you?"

Gerala glanced at the crew and servants. They nodded soberly. "I think you will learn, to your discomfort, that you are outvoted. Now, lists of the most lucrative things to take to the islands..."

Neval learned to stay put in his hammock when the new load of goods came aboard. He'd read with his mage focus for light, and let then do what they wanted. Even stacking goods in his room. It was too painful to sit on deck and watch them go where he could not.

He protested once about his cramped living quarters, and they took him on a tour of how everyone else was living. He shut up after that.

His servants weren't even recognizable as such after that first port. She left with two servants and bundles of expensive clothing, and returned with middle-class wage earners and pouches bulging with money. And good serviceable clothing for everyone, including the boat's crew. When he asked, she told him, "Everyone is entitled to nice things. They won't be on a boat forever, especially when we get to our destination."

She bought paper and ink and quills as well, to write letters to set up a merchant network. He didn't touch those supplies. He had no letters to write. Let his father wonder where he vanished to. He knew his family expected Neval to run to a foreign court and sulk there. They expected him to flood his mother, his father, influential uncles and cousins with tear-streaked volumes begging for forgiveness. But he was still the Crown Prince. That could not be taken. Everything else could. But foreign courts have spies and politics and currying of favor, and he was sick of it. Gerala represented a new world and new ways of thinking, and he knew somehow their lives were intertwined. He needed to learn about the people he was allegedly supposed to rule, and didn't even know how they lived.

His mage focus glimmered, as if it agreed.


Once the last port was far behind them, he was surprised when the crew pulled out hooks and lines and bait and went fishing. Once he had fresh peyang fish on a tiny grill on the deck, he knew why it was considered a delicacy back home. He even tried his hand at the cast, but water didn't care for a creature of air.

He was beginning to feel like dead weight, so he belatedly decided to play to his strengths, and asked many questions about the sails and rigging, to better direct the friendly elementals to blow the winds right into the perfect spots. They'd make the best time to the islands if he could help it. And he did keep a magic eye on the weather, to avoid storms.

The elementals liked him a lot better now. Even the one who'd attached itself to Gerala would talk to him again. And there were some large ones in to open sea, far from land. Everyone got used to him talking to empty air, as far as they could see.

Gerala could see and hear them, a little. And she ached, but hid it well.


Docking was a flurry of activity. True to her word, Gerala ordered him below decks for her to sell the goods. He understood all too soon why - prospective buyers tried to pull at heart strings by spinning stories of pain and suffering and loss, and he would have given in after the first tears were shed over fine bolts of cloth and let the goods go for below cost. But Gerala had a spine of iron, and drove the hardest bargains he'd ever had the privilege of hearing. By the third day he was allowed above deck to huddle with the others, marveling at her skill.

He was even more surprised when she sent a few of the servants off with a purse, and they came back grinning. She'd coached them on how to purchase a house for all of them in a respectable part of town, after taking them with her on exploring tours with a few local contacts she made while selling their stock. And even rented a market stall for convenience.

She kept meticulous records - what was sold, when, to whom, and under whose name she should record the payment. When she quadrupled their original stakes by the end of a brace of weeks - and they weren't even halfway through the ship's inventory - he was so stunned he had to go off and take a nap.

She pounced on him when he woke up. "Time to start earning your keep. Now that we're here, did you have plans for your ship and crew?"

"Uh, no, why?"

"Hmph. Waste of time and space. What were they supposed to do with an idle but perfectly good ship when they have families at home to feed? How long were they to wait here, till your father recalled you?"


"I see. Well, that won't happen. Tell me, how well can you control the winds?"

He was getting used to her abrupt turns of conversation. Like she was a sail, tacking in the wind. He thought. "Very well, now that I'm friends with elementals again. Why?"

"Can you contrive a way to work with the captain, or the ship, or something, to keep his ship in good winds back and forth to our country, to do supply runs? Also to keep the storms away from the ship, while staying here?"

"Hmm." Now that they were speaking his esoteric language, he felt more comfortable than he had in weeks. "Yes, the captain and I can set up a system to do this. I'll need time to gather power."

"I got us a house with a flat roof, open to the wind, for a reason." She waved some sheets of paper in his face. "As we've been working in the shop, we've been compiling lists of things people here are looking for from the mainland. We can send the crew back under your air protection to purchase, stuff the ship, and return with goods on a regular basis. Your magic will give them the advantage that none of the other cargo vessels have, and we'll use that to our monetary advantage."

"Why don't ships just hire air or water mages?"

She stared at him. "No regular ship can afford them," she said flatly. "Single spiker mages charge way too much for the likes of even rich merchants to afford for a regular route. Halvsies, maybe, but for them, the magic's unreliable. If you're concentrating on air, water gets you, and the opposite. And a threesie-" she gulped, and abruptly shut up.

He'd been waiting for this opportunity. With a glance and a gesture, both doors leading into the room shut, then locked. He took her hand before she could pull away. "Gerala, we need to talk about you," he said gently. "Please."

She tried to pull away, but he wouldn't let her go "Please. You're my friend, you're in pain, and there are things you need to know."

She sighed. "I can't stop you, really. Not until you unlock the doors, anyway."

"It's to keep people out, not us inside."

"Fine. Do your worst."

"No thanks. You've been through enough." He sighed and let her go, but touched her cheek and arm for comfort. "Firstly, I must say this: the merchants lost a jewel when they cast you away. Watching you take over and set us up in comfort in this exile, is just amazing. I am in awe, and I wanted you to know how much I appreciate your taking all of us and making us a working team."

She smiled at the praise, and it almost broke his heart. He knew she hadn't had many people care for her in her life, and she was drinking it in like a tree drinks water.

"Now. We've been avoiding some topics, but they need to be discussed. The first is how much power you really have."

She looked confused. "I'm afraid I don't follow."

He reached into his shirt, pulled out his mage focus. "You made this, Gerala. You. A - ugh, I hate the word - 'threesie', made a mage focus. Technically I cheated on the tests. A mage is supposed to go find his own, years after graduating. He goes on a quest, calling, or it calls to him, and they find each other. What you've done should be damn near impossible, and yet here I sit, holding the impossible in my hand."

Her eyes were round. She didn't know what to say.

"So. You made a handful of mage stones, and those krevakah thieving mages tried to confiscate them! They knew what they were looking at. No one knows how you did this. It is not taught. We need to learn, somehow. Halves and threes need their own teachers. Your paths are different than the single spikers, and trying to force you into the same mold and discipline just does not work."

She opened her mouth to reply - and closed it, looked thoughtful.

"That brings us to 'why here of all places'? Gerala, I brought us here because the Fire Islands are one of the strange places where all four elements come together and work in harmony. There's power here, enough for even a three to gather enough to work some magic. So I thought, maybe, this is where halves and threes can come? Let's explore, and discover, and find out what a three who can make mage stones can do!"

Part 2:


About the Creator

Meredith Harmon

Mix equal parts anthropologist, biologist, geologist, and artisan, stir and heat in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, sprinkle with a heaping pile of odd life experiences. Half-baked.

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  • King Jhone29 days ago

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  • Samuel Raphael3 months ago

    Can't wait to read part 2 😃

  • Nobody4 months ago

    Great and fun read

  • y8xu84sglb4 months ago

    The Lowe's store has set up an online survey for customers at where they can submit their feedback, suggestions, or any problems they may have had while shopping there.

  • Chukwu emmanuel 4 months ago

    Awesome 👌

  • Babs Iverson4 months ago

    Fun read!!! Lovely magical adventure & it's a wonderful fantasy story!!! Love this. Meredith!!!💖💖💕

  • I did read Part 2 first, but this is absolutely excellent, I love it and am going to share it in the Vocal Social Society Community Adventure thread. It would be good to provide a link to Part 2 at the end of this so people can easily continue the story

  • I do not have words to describe how good this is, Meredith.

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