Shadow Magic by Sarah Chapman
English | 2019 | Fantasy | ePUB | 2.2 MB
Asmara is one of the most powerful mages in the world. Or, she would be if she could use her magic. She is a shadow mage, a wielder of rare and unusual magic, with the power to peer into the souls of others, to change them, to destroy them. And yet to use it comes at a high price, as shadow mages who use their power rarely make it past their twentieth year. On the plus side, it means she can charge a high price for her services as a mercenary.
After resisting her magic for twenty years, war breaks out between Mance-Jolune and the neighbouring land of Lakasha. Tension between the two lands is nothing new, but this time, something is different. The Lakashan’s somehow have trained shadow mages, and are using shadow magic in war for the first time. Asmara is suddenly of great interest to the King and all his spies, and refusing to use her deadly magic is no longer an option.
‘Come on back now, it’s time to return.’ The words came again, still calm and pleasant. Muresh could not see why that should be so, he did not feel any great rush. He ignored them as he recognized something like him. He noticed the other for a timeless moment, and it noticed him in turn also. He felt a moment of sadness. Goodbye…
I’m not going anywhere, are you not staying?
‘Muresh, your body awaits you. It’s time for you to come home, dear. I will be lonely if you do not come back.’
Muresh crashed back into his body. Dizzy and confused, he opened his eyes. They did not feel like his own eyes, and shapes and colours moved without meaning above him. What had happened? Then he understood he had not stayed, but that thought was devoid of context and he did not know where he had been or where he was now.
A wrinkly oval appeared above him. ‘Muresh.’ A hole opened in the pointy-ended oval, opening and closing and making noises. ‘Thank you for coming back, dear.’
Then suddenly the world was spinning and he became aware of his arms. Someone was holding his arm and he was sitting on something, yes, he had legs as well as arms.
The oval reappeared, suddenly recognizable as a face, and he saw it belonged to a body and the set of arms that were holding him up. ‘Come, dear, we must walk, you must refamiliarize yourself with your body.’
The sounds didn’t mean anything to him, but the arms that belonged to the wrinkly face picked him up with only a small grunt, and he was placed upon his legs. His legs wobbled and did not want to hold him up. He looked down at those thin, smooth, dark brown things. The wrinkly face stopped him from falling and dragged him along.
‘Come along, dear.’ She said, ‘you must walk. Let us go out into the sun. Tomorrow is your birthday, do you remember?’
Something stirred in his memory.
‘You’ll be eleven. Aren’t you excited? You’ll be the oldest!’
‘Y-yes, Gramma. Yes, of course.’ His words became firmer, surer as he remembered how to speak. ‘Am I not the oldest now?’
‘Not yet, dear, it does not count until you pass your birthday, and then you will be the oldest boy we’ve had here!’
‘Lamisa will not be able to come, but she made me a present.’
‘If you tell me where she put it, I can wrap it and give it to you tomorrow.’
He did not answer her and before too long they emerged into a bright courtyard. The boy’s eyes widened in awe as desert stretched away in either direction from his place high above it all. He turned and spun and saw he had come from a blazing, white palace. He ran to the railing and leant out far, his legs hooked around the bars as he leant out precariously. Below a sheer cliff of rock stretched all the way down to the grey, rocky desert floor hundreds of meters below. Above, the sun burned brightly in the brilliant blue sky unmarred by a single cloud. He held out his hand, revelling in the warmth which seemed to bring everything back all at once. Was not the sun so lovely? How nice the heat was that soaked into his skin! As he gaped and stared, his eyes sparkling and his mouth drawn in a happy, wondrous grin, he did not notice the shadows that clung to him.