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The Legacy of Androva Series

Androva Christmas Epilogue 🎄

Happy December! ☃ Today's blog post is a new short story in the Legacy of Androva series. I've been so busy finishing Matched in Magic that it's been a while since I had time to create any bonus content. But I miss the characters, and I jumped at the chance to write about them again as soon as I could ☺.

The question I get asked more often than any other is: What happens to everyone after the series finishes? I am certain that the answer wouldn't be "a quiet life"! I was curious about what I might find if I visited Jax and Shannon a few months after the end of Connecting Magic. It turned into a Christmas short story.

You can access other Androva bonus content here, including an earlier Christmas short story that was set after Seeking Magic. I hope you enjoy the new story, and thank you very much for visiting my blog today!

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“I’m so bored.”
“How, exactly?” asked Shannon, her brown eyes glinting with amusement as she looked at Jax. “We have loads of spells to practice before our assessment on Friday. And I know you’re still struggling with that remedy combination.”
Jax huffed. “I didn’t say we weren’t busy. I said I was bored.”
“This is our chance to graduate fourth year six months early,” she said. “I thought that’s what we both wanted.”
Shannon closed her textbook and put down her pen. It was a cold December evening on Androva, and she and Jax were studying in the kitchen of Mabre House. They’d left the Training Room when Shannon pointed out that although she enjoyed Combat, it was also one of the Six Disciplines where they already excelled. She wanted to finish her final History paper. Each underage magician in their year had been assigned a unique project, and Shannon’s was to research the Sygnus symbol she and Jax shared. She’d discovered the seven-pointed star had something of a volatile past.
Thanks to Shannon’s influence, the large kitchen windows sparkled with Illumination Spells resembling green and gold snowflakes. There was a matching Fire Spell flickering in the hearth and a few festive ornaments on the windowsill. Revus, Jax’s father, wasn’t a fan of excessive decoration, but he’d made an exception for the Terran Christmas that would take place the following week.
A row of shot glasses containing various remedies was lined up on the large wooden table in front of Jax. At least, they were supposed to contain remedies. But only the first three out of seven glasses were glittering with magical energy. Jax had abandoned his assignment and was staring into the Fire Spell. His black hair—too long as usual—was falling into his eyes. Green like the fire, they narrowed a little when Shannon chuckled. “Something funny?” he said.
“Admit it,” she said. “You’re struggling to be an ordinary magician.”
He turned his head. “I beg your pardon? There’s nothing ordinary about me.”
Shannon grinned. “I meant our lives are normal now. We haven’t been in danger for ages. And part of you misses the excitement.”
Jax opened his mouth and closed it again. “I don’t miss nearly dying,” he said eventually.
Shannon didn’t reply, wondering if Jax could hear the uncertainty in his voice. She’d half expected this. Living a quiet life didn’t come naturally to him. Their only challenges of late had been faced within the walls of the Seminary of Magic, creating new spells and trying to decide which of the Six Disciplines they wanted to specialise in for their fifth and final year.
Penny, Shannon’s best friend, had already settled on Manipulation, even though she wouldn’t finish her fourth year until the following summer. Her boyfriend, Darius, was going to join her. Jax, although he’d outwardly expressed support for his friend, had been shocked. He and Darius had always planned to specialise in Combat together. Darius’s confidence and creativity had grown significantly in recent weeks, and Manipulation was a good fit for him. But Jax couldn’t help taking Darius’s change of heart personally.
Shannon hadn’t decided. She enjoyed everything. It was fun. A lot of fun. But it was also safe. Predictable. Very different to the way things had been just a few months earlier. For Shannon, the novelty of being a magician had yet to wear off. She didn’t think it ever would. Jax’s perspective, however, was literally a world apart. He wasn’t bored so much as unsettled about his future. If there were no rules he wanted to break, and no adventures to be faced, and no mysteries to solve, then what was he supposed to do?
Jax got to his feet and walked to the window, raising his hand. Absent-mindedly, he projected his force field and added a few more snowflakes to the centre of the glass. “It’s not unreasonable to want a change of scene.” He looked at Shannon and lifted his chin, his expression slightly defensive. “It doesn’t have to be a deadly one.”
Again, Shannon said nothing as she tried to figure out what Jax meant by a change of scene. They travelled back and forth between Terra and Androva every couple of days and visited Imbera occasionally too. Three worlds would be more than enough for most people. Unless… unless he was talking about something else. She bit her lip.
Jax met her gaze. A half-formed snowflake, glowing in his palm, flickered a few times before disappearing. “Um… I’ve changed my mind,” he said hastily. “Forget I said anything.”
“Changed your mind about what?” asked Shannon.
There was a short silence.
Androva help me, thought Jax. She thinks I’m immature and completely irresponsible. And she’s probably right.
It’s me he’s bored of, thought Shannon. He wants a change of scene from me.
“Well,” she said brightly, “I think I might go back to Terra. I have to write a conclusion to my paper, and my argument on how the Sygnus wars started is still kind of weak.”
Shannon gathered up her possessions, keeping her head down so her long brown hair covered her face. She tried to push her textbook into her backpack, but it got stuck on one of the inside pockets. Gritting her teeth, she pushed harder, determined not to give in to the wave of emotion making her eyes sting. Finally, the book dropped into place, and she turned to leave.
Jax withdrew his force field, having been halfway to projecting the Communication Spell. Telepathy could be good or bad, depending on the circumstances. It was impossible to lie. He decided on reflection that he wasn’t quite brave enough to experience Shannon’s thoughts about him first-hand. “I’ll message you,” he said awkwardly, shuffling his feet.
“Whatever,” said Shannon over her shoulder.

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Shannon went down the winding staircase to the portal room with heavy steps. The more she thought about it, the more she decided Jax had a point. Their lives had been all about studying lately. She couldn’t remember the last time they’d done anything spontaneous. She thought back to the Valentine’s Day surprise she and Penny had organised. That had been a very long time ago. She took out her phone.
Do you think I study too much?
Lol, is that a trick question?” Penny replied.
Shannon looked at the screen, her heart sinking.
You love studying,” added Penny. “And you’re graduating early. Which is awesome. What’s the problem?
Shannon remembered the guilty look on Jax’s face as they’d said goodbye. “I think Jax is bored of me.”
What??? Did he say that??
As Shannon finished reading Penny’s reply, her phone started ringing. “Hi,” she said, her voice subdued.
“Are you OK?” said Penny. “What’s going on?”
“I don’t know. Can I come over?”
There was a pause. “I’m… er… I’m not at home,” said Penny.
“Oh. Where are you?” said Shannon.
Another pause. Then there was the sound of Darius laughing. “Just tell her,” he said. “You can’t hide it now.”
“Well,” said Penny. She sighed. “We’re kind of in Rome at the moment.”
Shannon thought she’d misheard. “Rome. You mean… Rome, Italy?”
“Yeah. We were talking with Galen about how he and Claudia met, and what Ancient Rome was really like, and how the Colosseum at Christmas is supposed to be amazing—which it totally is, by the way—and there’s this place that does the best chocolate gelato ever, and you know how much Darius likes chocolate, and…” Penny trailed off. “Shannon? Are you still there?”
Shannon sat down on the bottom step and wrapped her free hand around her knees. “I’m here,” she said quietly.
“We would have asked you, but we thought you’d be…”
“Studying,” said Shannon.
“Um, yeah,” said Penny. “Well, you were, weren’t you?”
Shannon didn’t answer. She felt slightly sick. I want to be in Rome with my boyfriend, she thought. I don’t want to study my life away.
“What’s happened between you and Jax?” said Penny gently. “There is no way he’s bored of you, you know.”
Darius agreed loudly in the background.
“I’m not convinced about that,” said Shannon. “You weren’t there. You didn’t see him.”
She was so caught up in the conversation, she didn’t hear Jax descending the stairs above her. When he sat down and his shoulder brushed her arm, she exclaimed in shock, jumping to her feet.
“Shannon?” said Penny.
“I… I’m fine. Jax is here. I have to go.”
“OK. Send me a message as soon as you can,” said Penny before disconnecting.

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Ten minutes earlier…

As soon as he was sure Shannon had gone to the portal room, Jax sent a message to his father.
Are you home?
Jax’s phone indicated that Revus was typing. Three dots appeared and disappeared several times with no sign of a reply, and Jax scowled at the screen. “Yes or no would do, Father,” he muttered. “You don’t have to write me an essay every single time.”
Yes, I am indeed at home. You would know this if you bothered to walk down the corridor to my office instead of relying on your Terran device to do everything for you.”
Just managing to refrain from sending his father an eyeroll emoji, Jax put down his phone. He needed Revus’s help. This wasn’t the time to get into an argument. He left the kitchen and made his way to his father’s office. It was cold away from the Fire Spell, and Jax pushed his hands inside his pockets, hunching his shoulders. When he reached the heavy wooden door, it was slightly ajar, but he lifted his hand to knock anyway, knowing it was what Revus preferred.
“Jax?” said Revus.
Jax pushed the door wider. Revus was sitting at his desk holding a piece of paper and frowning. Jax recognised the Seminary of Magic letterhead. “What’s that?” he asked.
“Professor Alver’s report,” said Revus.
“What? I haven’t had my assessment yet,” said Jax. He remained in the doorway, giving the paper an uncertain look.
“I know,” said Revus. “This is a draft. He wanted to make me aware of something.”
“Do I get to read it?” said Jax.
“Do you want to?”
Jax half smiled. “That depends on what’s in it.” He knew he’d been distracted in his classes, even though his spellwork remained good. If the report said what he knew to be true—that he lacked direction and commitment—he wasn’t sure how he would feel. Losing both Shannon’s and Alver’s good opinions in the same evening was a horrible prospect.
Revus, typically, kept his expression neutral, giving Jax no clue as to whether the report was good or bad. “You can read it if you wish,” he said.
Jax tilted his head. “But will you project a Distraction Spell for me if I wish I hadn’t?”
“No.”
“I was joking,” said Jax.
“Were you?” said Revus.
His father knew him too well. As did Professor Alver, unfortunately.
“I don’t want to read it,” said Jax abruptly. “I came to ask you something. I’m going to sign up as a Council intern. Will you be my sponsor?”
At first Revus was lost for words. Of all the things he might ever have expected Jax to ask him, this would have been bottom of the list. The idea that his son might voluntarily sign up for a work placement in the Androvan government was unthinkable.
“Are you sure?” Revus managed.
“I’m sure. I want to prove to you and everyone else that I’ve changed. I know you always hoped I would follow you onto the Council. Well… maybe I will. I’m sixteen now. It’s about time I outgrew my reputation.”
“Is this really what you want?” said Revus.
“Yes. And I know it would make you happy. Wouldn’t it?”
Revus hesitated before nodding. He opened his mouth to say something else, but Jax started speaking first.
“Great,” said Jax. “I’ll fill in the forms tomorrow. Thank you, Father.”
He left the office at a run, making for the portal room in the hopes of catching Shannon before she made it all the way back to her house.

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“Hey,” said Jax.
“Hey,” said Shannon warily.
Jax held out his hand, revealing the dark-blue glow of the Communication Spell. Shannon swallowed, gathering her courage before she put her hand in his.
Five minutes later, having caught up with everything from each other’s perspective, they started kissing. A jumble of words and emotions continued to spill between them via the spell.
“I will never be bored of you. Never, never, never,” said Jax.
“I don’t want you to change who you are. I miss the excitement too,” said Shannon.
The kiss became more intense. Shannon wrapped her arms around Jax’s body. He cradled her jaw in his hands, tilting his head and closing his eyes. Eventually, they broke for air, their force fields lighting up the portal room with a bright silver glow.
“I love you,” said Jax.
“I love you too,” said Shannon.
They laughed, both a little breathless, then kissed again.
“Shall we forget studying for tonight and open a portal to Rome?” said Shannon.
Yes,” said Jax. Then he hesitated. “Just as soon as I’ve spoken to my father. I can’t let him think… it wouldn’t be fair.”
He retraced his steps to Revus’s office while keeping hold of Shannon’s hand. When he knocked again, there was a pause before Revus answered. Jax thought his father muttered, “Thank Androva,” but he couldn’t be sure. “Jax, I hope that’s you,” said Revus in a louder voice.
“Yes,” said Jax, entering the room. He squared his shoulders. He’d never hesitated to face up to the consequences of his actions, and he wasn’t about to start now.
“About that internship,” he said. “I—”
Revus held up a hand to stop him and wordlessly handed over the draft report from Professor Alver. Jax held the piece of paper so that Shannon could read it too. A few words caught his eye, such as “disengaged” and “performing spells mechanically albeit to a high standard” and “lacking innovation.” His chest tightened as he continued reading. He was accustomed to getting bad reports for behavioural reasons. But he’d never had negative comments about his magical ability before.
“In conclusion,” Professor Alver had written, “I recommend that Jax takes a temporary leave of absence from the Seminary after his assessment. Jax is a brilliant magician, but he needs a change of scene to rediscover his enthusiasm for life, and magic, and the future.”
A change of scene, thought Jax. Overwhelming relief made him close his eyes for a second. When he looked at Revus, his father was smiling. “Alver is right, isn’t he?” said Revus.
Jax nodded.
“I had my suspicions,” Revus went on. “But they weren’t confirmed until your rather incredible suggestion a little while ago.”
Revus raised an eyebrow as he regarded his son, and Jax bit his cheek to keep from grinning.
“I am told there is also a draft report from Professor Lenora for Shannon,” said Revus. “It points out that she is trying too hard to prove via excessive studying that the…” Revus paused. “Let me get this right. That the astonishing and unprecedented power of her force field is not a risk. It is recommended that you both take some time off.”
Shannon squeezed Jax’s hand, using the Communication Spell to share her own relief. It was mixed with excitement and a little apprehension. Jax didn’t hesitate to show her that his own feelings were much the same. “Together,” he said silently.
“Yes,” she agreed.
“Would you really have gone ahead with the internship?” asked Revus.
Jax glanced at Shannon, then back at his father. The memory of disappointing the people he cared about wasn’t going to fade any time soon. “Yes, Father. I would have done my best to see it through.”
Revus cleared his throat. “I’m very proud of you, Jax. You have nothing to prove. Not to me or to anyone else.”
Jax’s green eyes widened. “Thank you,” he said.
“And Shannon?” said Revus. “I trust you.”
Shannon exhaled slowly. “I appreciate you saying that.”
“Go on, then,” said Revus. “I’m sure you both have somewhere you’d rather be than in my office.”
“No offence, Father, but we do,” said Jax with a grin. “We really do.”

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One week later, on Christmas Eve, Jax and Shannon were standing near the top of a snowy mountain in Northern Finland. A little way behind them was the tell-tale shimmer of an open portal. Below them, a waterfall tumbled down the mountainside toward a large icy lake. Above them shone the Northern Lights in vivid blues and greens, transforming the night sky into something magical.
“It’s like the whole sky is covered in an Illumination Spell,” said Jax, his breath a cloud of white in the cold air. “If you told me it was magic, I’d believe you.”
“I guess it depends on your definition of magic,” said Shannon. “The Northern Lights are scientifically explainable. Who knows? Perhaps our force fields will be the same one day.”
“Not mine,” said Jax.
“Of course not,” said Shannon. She laughed. “Science is no match for the greatest underage magician the world has ever seen.”
Jax gave her his trademark mischievous grin. “You said it.”
Shannon put her hand into her pocket. “We should probably do this before we freeze,” she said, taking out a small scroll tied with green-and-gold ribbon.
“OK,” said Jax. He removed a folded note from his own pocket. The paper was extremely creased and had a small tear down the middle. “Give me a minute,” he said. His eyes glinted silver as he hastily projected a couple of spells to turn the note purple—Shannon’s favourite colour—and transform it into a perfectly-folded paper star.
“Nicely done,” said Shannon, grinning.
Having successfully passed their assessments with distinction, Shannon and Jax had agreed they didn’t need or want the added stress of finding Christmas gifts for each other. They’d spent the days leading up to the twenty-fourth of December travelling the Terran world for fun. Now they were about to exchange ideas on how they could spend their leave of absence. The aim was to be creative but sensible.
Shannon unfolded her paper star. “Go to Imbera and see if we can find a real dragon,” she read.
Jax untied his ribbon. “Convince Galen to give us the coordinates to one of the other worlds,” he said slowly.
They looked at each other. Jax started laughing and a few seconds later Shannon joined in.
“So much for sensible,” said Jax.
“Apparently you’re a bad influence,” said Shannon.
Before Jax could deny it, she kissed him, pushing her hands into his hair and leaning in. Jax responded with enthusiasm. It would be an interesting New Year no matter what they decided. But for now, there was only the snow, the glimmering sky, and a perfect Christmas kiss.


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