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The Legacy of Androva Series

Light Mage Trilogy: The Conclusion πŸ€πŸ–€

This thing of darkness I
Acknowledge mine.
 William Shakespeare

How much darkness can a Light Mage suffer before it consumes them? Luca and Devin face their most powerful enemy yet in Spell Master, the conclusion to the Light Mage trilogy. 

I loved returning to Lucas and Devins world and figuring out the High Councils backstory. The five remaining Master Mages were nothing like I expected once I got closer to their characters, and one of them in particular turned out to be a bit of a scene-stealer! Lyssa the snowdragon also had an important part to play ❄πŸ‰❄.

Todays blog post contains the description and prologue/opening chapter.  Along with the other two Light Mage books, Spell Master is £0.99/$0.99 on Amazon and free to download on other sales channels. Here are the links:

Amazon UK £0.99 Spell Master
Amazon US $0.99 Spell Master
Other sales channels (free) Spell Master

Thank you very much for visiting my blog today, and if you choose to download Spell Master, I hope you enjoy it πŸ’•.

Description
Luca is having an identity crisis. His magic is behaving strangely, his emotions are out of control, and training to be a Master Mage is tougher than he ever expected. The support of his boyfriend, Devin, is one of the few things Luca can depend on.
Then Luca and Devin learn the terrible secret behind the High Council’s smiling public face. The magical dimensions are in the final stages of an ancient curse. Supplies of magic are disappearing. Everyone could die. And the only clue points to Light Mages.
As Luca’s training progresses, some members of the High Council become convinced he is mixed up in the curse. Loyalties are pushed to the limit. And when Luca and Devin finally uncover the truth behind the history of their world, everything they thought they knew about Light Mages is turned upside down.
The price for breaking the curse is a deadly one. But which of them will pay it?




 



Prologue: Marius (A Century Ago)

It was time to give the pendant to another Light Mage. Marius knew he would not live much longer. He was old by Light Mage standards. Most of his contemporaries were already dead. Being in prison did not suit magicians whose magical cores thrived on positivity. Yet it was well known across the dimensions that Light Mages were dangerous. Their magic was different. Unpredictable. Reduced life expectancy was considered a fair price in exchange for keeping everyone safe.
Marius pressed his fingers to the silver disc around his neck, hidden beneath his threadbare shirt. He could not remember wearing any clothes but these in all the years he’d been trapped behind magical bars. He’d cleaned and repaired them as best he could, but the inhibitors built into the cell prevented all but the most basic spellwork.
The wardens had never noticed the pendant, an outcome that should have been impossible given the complete lack of privacy in the cell and the rules forbidding personal possessions. Marius considered it to be reassuring proof that he had not lost his mind, even if his memories were fragmented and contradictory. The pendant really was a powerful magical object, capable of saving the dimensions from the curse inexorably draining their magic.
It was time. He had played his part. He hoped he had done enough.
 

 

1 A New Life Or Two (Luca)

I bent to pick up the newspaper, thrown haphazardly onto the front porch like always. My bones creaked. I should try that yoga class Haylie mentioned. My granddaughter was always telling me seventy was the new fifty. I smiled. I was so proud of her. She was good to her parents and much smarter than I’d ever been.
After folding the black-and-white pages, I tucked them under my arm. Had it been up to me, I’d have cancelled the subscription. Everything was available online these days. But Albert liked the paper with his morning coffee. He’d never agree to swap it for a screen. He didn’t even have his own email account. “Someone has to keep the mailman in a job,” he would say. I’d given up trying to change his mind.
I hesitated before closing the front door. The new paperboy was smiling at me again. Every day this week, he’d made a point of it. I considered asking him why he hadn’t brought the paper to the door if he had so much time to spare. He touched his tongue to his lower lip and winked. My eyes widened behind their glasses. Cheeky devil. Looking at an old woman that way.
Although… there was something familiar about him. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. His olive skin gleamed in the sunshine. I stared back. His eyes sparkled. It was a little distracting. Oh, Good Lord, he’s coming up to the house. I backed away. One of my slippers caught on the doorstep, and despite some frantic tugging on my part, it refused to come free.
The boy jumped easily onto the porch, taking all three steps at once. I opened my mouth to yell for Albert, inhaling sharply and—
Don’t.”
His voice brooked no argument. The cry for help died on my lips, and my legs trembled. My voice flat out refused to work. Not even a croak. The boy was too old to be delivering the paper. A senior, maybe. My mouth opened and shut a couple of times. I couldn’t even ask him what he wanted. I would have told him we had nothing worth stealing.
Albert was just down the hall in the kitchen, probably grumbling that his coffee would be stone cold by the time I returned with the paper. The boy’s expression was unsympathetic. Impatient, even. “C’mon,” he said. “Think. It’s past time you remembered. This is the last one. Then we’re both done.”
Done with what? He was talking as if we knew each other, yet I was quite certain I’d never seen him before he took over the paper route this week. Almost certain. At least seventy percent certain. His eyes held my gaze. They were mesmerizing. Holy cow. I think I do know him. But where from?
A jumble of images spilled into my head. I raised my hand to the collar of my housecoat, horrified, while a hot blush rose up my neck. The boy relaxed, his expression softening into a smile.
“You always remember that stuff first,” he said. “God knows why. I suppose I should be flattered.”
I repeated my impression of a landed fish, still unable to speak.
“Oh, sorry,” said the boy. No… Devin. That was his name. Devin. “Remove,” he added.
“Look, young man, I don’t know what you think you mean by coming here and making me… me…”
My rush of indignant words trailed off as more images—memories—appeared.
“Don’t fight it,” said Devin. “The binding spell releases easier if you don’t fight it.”
The memories pushed my earthbound life to one side, assuming an authenticity that left little room for Mrs. Carrie Bennett, retired store clerk with arthritic knees and a fondness for hot buttered teacakes.
“Gods, Devin.”
He grinned. “There you are.”
“That was… that was quite a life,” I said.
“Uh-huh.”
“I’ve never been so old before. You… you were Mary, weren’t you? Carrie’s second daughter.” My Light Mage ability to recognize energy signatures alongside physical coverings had reasserted itself. “She, I mean Carrie, was devastated when you died. Well, I guess you know that. Presumably you were watching.”
“Watching and waiting,” he agreed. “I wasn’t allowed to jog your memory until this life’s end.”
“It’s been a long five years.”
Devin shook his head. “Four weeks isn’t so long, and it’s not like we didn’t sign up to it.”
Time passed more quickly in the earthbound dimension. A lifetime here equated to approximately one year in the magical dimensions. It was only possible because here was a magical creation, an illusion. Designed to appear vast, chaotic, and overpopulated, when in fact it was meticulously controlled and monitored.
Our society believed that our true selves were only revealed once all magical ability had been taken away. In order to qualify for a profession, each magician, from the lowliest Spell Mason to the most exalted Spell Master, had to follow an earthbound life path, reincarnating their way along a series of predetermined choices and challenges.
I hadn’t ever thought to go earthbound again after I’d graduated and become a guardian all those years ago. Yet here Devin and I were, training to be Master Mages. If we succeeded, we’d become members of the High Council. Part of me was excited. Part of me was terrified.
“How does she…?” I looked down at Carrie’s hands. Knotted veins showed through the age-spotted skin. I’d scrubbed floors with those hands. Knitted scarves for my children. Held my husband. Packed groceries for thousands of customers. It had been a long life, unremarkable yet at the same time unique.
“You don’t have to stay for that part,” said Devin. “You already know about dying. Getting old was the thing this time.”
He put his hand on my arm. “High Council Headquarters,” he said, and our surroundings flickered, turning into shadows. It was like standing at the center of a fast-moving carousel. I closed my eyes. Everything worked on a higher vibration in the magical dimensions, and a long time had passed since my magical form had been free from an earthbound covering. The crystal-clear precision of it was startling.
We arrived in an empty evaluation room. It was simply furnished, and standard Healer supplies were visible through the glass door of the spell cabinet. Three out of the four walls were decorated to resemble a sunset over water, while the fourth was translucent, made from magic, waiting for a magician to personalize it.
As soon as the flickering came to a complete stop, Devin grabbed my other arm and pulled me into a hug. I lifted my hands to his shoulders, turning my face into his neck and breathing him in. Our magical connection reasserted itself so fast that we both froze in place, the rush of emotion overwhelming.
“You cut your hair,” I murmured.
“I thought I’d make my magical form more like my regular earthbound covering.”
“I like it.” Before I could help myself, I planted a kiss just below Devin’s jawline. Then another. My teeth grazed his skin. It had been so long. He gave a shaky laugh, and his hands gripped my waist. “Our Healer will be here any minute to check you over,” he warned.
“I feel fine,” I said, moving even closer.
“You… uh… you sure do,” he replied. Across the connection, I could feel his self-control wavering, and regretfully I took a step backward. I wasn’t being fair to either of us.
“Soon,” I promised.
Devin reached out a hand and the wall of magic shimmered. A mountain appeared. A snowdragon could be seen flying in the distance, wings extended to create a silhouette that was both graceful and menacing. Devin obviously missed her.
With some effort, I pulled away from the connection and walked a few steps toward the other wall, tipping my head back.
“OK?” asked Devin.
“Yeah. It takes a bit of getting used to—being seventeen instead of seventy. Nothing hurts, for a start.”
“Hmm. If we’re talking about earthbound pain, old age isn’t the half of it,” said Devin. “Childbirth without magic shouldn’t be allowed.”
I grinned. “Of course. You had kids this time.”
He made a face. “Anatomy-wise, the process is fundamentally flawed.”
To fill the gaps in our experience, we’d borrowed from a selection of historic life paths and lived parts of them for ourselves firsthand. It had been tough. Intimidating. We’d tried different genders, nationalities, and centuries, facing the extremes that only the earthbound dimension could offer. Poverty and wealth. Love and hate. No magic. No memory of who we really were.
“Ah, Luca. Good. You’re back,” came a voice from the doorway. It was Mixin, the Healer assigned to watch over us while we completed this part of our training. Her hair, tunic, and Healer’s pin were all shades of gray and silver, creating a backdrop against which her dark eyes appeared quite fierce. She was carrying a folder of mage-paper ready to capture my results.
“Any disorientation?” she asked. “Heightened emotions? Unexpected impulses?”
Devin tried to stifle a laugh and failed.
“No,” I said, ignoring him.
“And your magic? How does that feel?”
“OK. I think. But I won’t know until I use it.”
“Take a seat,” said Mixin, “and I’ll run the diagnosis spell first. Do you want a shot?” Her hand was halfway to the cabinet in anticipation of my answer, but I shook my head. “I’ll be fine. It’s no worse than being audited.”
“Reason enough,” said Devin. “I’d take one for audits if I could.”
“You wouldn’t risk it,” I said. “Neither of us would.”
“Maybe not.” He lowered his gaze. You can’t run from a Spell Master if you’re too spaced out to think.
Spell shots were tiny bottles of concentrated magic. Magicians didn’t eat or sleep, but our magical cores couldn’t sustain themselves without regular supplements of energy. Spell shots were a two-for-one. Magic and a spell. The diagnosis shots used by Healers were like bottled bliss. Most magicians didn’t hesitate to take one.
I leaned my head against the back of the chair and stared at the view of the mountain while Mixin got to work. Ouch. This is worse than I remember. I guess I’m out of practice. Like Devin, I was a Light Mage. Uncommon. Distinctive. My magical core was next to my heart rather than inside of my head and allied with my emotions instead of my intellect. Gradually, I adjusted to the sting of Mixin’s spell, and I was able to enjoy the snowdragon’s acrobatics.
In the replica of Dellarior Mountain from Devin’s memory, Lyssa swooped toward us before rising again, her wings beating with enough power to lift her almost vertically. I caught a glimpse of white fur, glittering talons and teeth, and yellow eyes half closed against the icy air. “She’s grown so much while I was away,” I said.
“I know. And that’s not all,” said Devin. “Look again.”
“I don’t see anything.” At that moment, Lyssa turned sideways, revealing the fur on her belly. It was gold. I was so surprised my shoulders lifted away from the chair.
Mixin pushed me back. “Stay where you are. I’m not a Spell Master, remember?” Her mouth lifted as if she’d made a joke. “I can’t do this without your cooperation.”
“Sorry,” I said, keeping still with difficulty. “Devin? She’s pregnant?”
I felt the diagnosis spell slide across my core in a sudden burn that had me wincing. Devin walked into my eyeline so I could see his face without having to move. He grinned, and his brown eyes lit up. “She is.”
“How did that happen?”
His grin widened. “Well… when a girl dragon meets a boy dragon—”
“Hilarious,” I said, cutting him off. “You know that’s not what I meant. There hasn’t been a viable snowdragon egg for years.”
“Cass and I have been trying a new spell combination. It’s early days, but we’re hopeful.”
“I’m done,” said Mixin. She turned to Devin. “How exciting! I know the High Council prefers to keep it quiet, but the reducing snowdragon population is becoming a major concern.”
Devin hesitated. “The High Council does keep it quiet. With good reason. How come you know about it?”
Mixin opened the folder of mage-paper and pressed her hand to the top page to record my results. A series of charts and diagrams appeared, and I tried to look, but the page was at the wrong angle for me to read it properly. She smoothed her hair, tucking it neatly behind her ears, and met Devin’s gaze. “I’ve been your Healer for quite a while, and it’s my job to notice things. It’s also my job to maintain patient confidentiality, so you have nothing to worry about.”
“Well… OK,” he said. He bit his lip. “All the same, I should probably be more careful.”
“What’s that?” I asked, pointing to the red indicator on the mage-paper.
“Your baseline magical strength,” said Mixin. “The percentage change is outside of normal parameters.”
“Oh. I suppose they did warn us it might happen.”
“Indeed,” she replied.
“Mine went up too,” said Devin, giving my upper arm a brief squeeze. “No big deal. But it does mean another audit, unfortunately.”
Mixin’s hand was already raised. A glow appeared between her fingers as her magic activated the connection between her Healer’s pin and the mage-net.
“No big deal?” I repeated. “How much has it increased that I need an audit?”
“Calm down. It’s not the first time our magic has gotten stronger,” said Devin.
“That was different,” I pointed out. “Very different. The time before was an accidental benefit from a spell we used deliberately.”
I got up from the chair, too on edge to remain seated. I didn’t like unexplained changes to my magic. The last time it happened I’d almost been executed.
“Hey,” said Devin. “That accidental benefit you mentioned was the start of this, and it’s fine. It’s expected. I promise mine was the same.”
He tried to reestablish the connection, and I felt the pull against my magic like a magnetic field. Had it always been so intense? At first I resisted, wanting to prove to myself I still could. Then I allowed his emotions to mix with mine. The tightness in my chest eased off. He’s telling the truth this time.
Devin rolled his eyes. “Of course I’m telling the truth. And you can drop the ‘this time’ shit if you don’t mind. Hampton Court was ages ago.”
I hesitated before replying. “I… Wait, did I say that out loud?”
Mixin glanced from Devin to me, and her lips thinned. She spoke slowly. “You didn’t say anything, Luca.”
That’s impossible.

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