The wind whipped his red hair, stinging his face and eyes. Rooso closed his eyes as he tied a leather band at the nape of his neck. Then he leaned into the stone building to get out of the wind. The last thing he remembered was the mage casting a spell and then he was transported to the Mage University. At least it looked like it from the from the buildings and the garden.
The mage had wanted him trussed up and presented to the Mage council as a rogue mage. Except here he was, free of all restraints, trying to consider his next move.
He pushed his face into the wind and stepped around the building. His stomach fell when he recognized he recognized the archway leading to the most secret part of the university. The unseen mage that had sent him here must have a confederate.
At least the mage hadn’t sent him to the far reaches of the world. Spies had been lost that way before.
And, he was fully clothed with no weapons. His weapons had been in the bag that was still in that room in Delhaven. He may be weaponless, but he was not defenseless. He knew how to skulk and also carried an illegal cloaking spell on an amulet around his neck. He had always wanted to use it. He grinned as he activated the spell.
The student mages gathered around a fountain near the archway didn’t see him as he walked through them. One sensitive young female mage with auburn hair shivered when she felt him. She turned to where he had activated the spell and walked toward it. While she was searching, he slipped past her.
He stood quietly near the archway, wondering how he was going to get into this part of the university. You had to either be a mage of the inner circles or an assistant of a mage. He waited for his opportunity. Just when he thought that the spell was starting to fade, he saw a young mage, escorting Hilda to where he wanted to go.
He slipped behind the two of them and then slid into a small room at the side of the hallway. He watched as the young man opened the door to Mage Morcant’s offices. He shivered. Morcant was known for his experiments with dragons and other mages. If he hadn’t been on the mage council, then he would have been thrown out of the univeristy for black magic long ago.
If the mage who transported him to the university was working with Morcant, then he was in big trouble.
Before Rooso could get out of the little room, the young mage who had escorted Hilda to Morcant’s office, stood in the doorway.
“I know you are there.”
Rooso’s shape shivered as the spell faded away. When he was completely visible, he saw the young mage smile. It was a terrible smile with all teeth.
“Teach it to me?”
Rooso smiled back. “Not my spell,” he lied. “It was given to me by my handler.” Let the mages think that the handler was giving out illegal spells. It would get the handler in trouble, if only indirectly.
When the magic wave started, Rooso could feel it curl and hit his chest. Someone was expending a lot of energy. He rushed to the door and pushed the young mage away.
Rooso raced down the hallway to the source of the magic. The young man tried to grab the back of his shirt, but Rooso was too quick.
Rooso flung the door open to Senior Mage Morcant’s office. Hilda was frozen over the wizard with a pen raised in her hand. He knew that stance. In moments the pen would be in the wizard’s carotid artery. No magic could cure a wound that could bleed out so quickly.
“Enough,” he yelled. The sound boomed from his chest and broke the spell. Hilda and the mage dropped limply to the wooden floor. The young man raced by him to check on his master.
Rooso picked up Hilda. She lay limply in his arms. She looked up at him as he words slurred, “What are you doing here? Where is my sister?”
He ignored her and carried her out the hallway and through the entrance. There was only one place they would keep visiting mages. He turned left and carried her to the house.
Michael must have felt that magic wave too and knew that his sister was in trouble. He slammed opened the door as Rooso raced up the stone pathway. Rooso muscled through the door, turned into the parlor, and laid Hilda down on the couch.
Michael was all business as he loosened her shirt and checked her pulse, then he relaxed. He looked Rooso in the eye and said, “So you screwed up.”
There was nothing Rooso could say. Yes, he had screwed up his love life and his career in one fell swoop. He didn’t feel the need to hash out his problems with his lover’s brother so he turned to walk out the door.
“Oh no,” Michael said. The calm in his voice was deceiving because Rooso had seen his burning eyes when he had laid Hilda on the couch. “You’ll stay here until I am satisfied.”
“At the very least,” Michael continued. “You’ll tell me how you got here.”
It would be a long story and he would have to edit most of it. Then he looked at Michael’s eyes again. The man had changed. He could smell magic whirling off of him. If he tried to lie, Michael would know.
So he sat there, trying to come up with the least offensive thing and said, “Your sister dumped me.” As the words left his mouth, he knew that the next question would by why and it would lead to his profession. He sighed. “Does it matter?”
Michael gave him that glare that told him that it did matter. Michael let the matter drop though and looked at Hilda. It was obvious that his immediate concern was this sister.
“What happened with Hilda?” Michael asked.
“I don’t know, but knowing this mage,” Rooso paused and saw Michael’s face turn white.
“Which mage,” Michael interrupted Rooso.
“Senior Mage Morcant.”
Michael sat down like he had been hit in the stomach. “Morcant— oh, no.”
Rooso had heard rumors that the wizard had special sessions with certain students. It was rumored that many of them hated the mage and would kill him if they could. After finding Hilda ready to kill him, he had a sneaky suspicion that the mage was up to no good.
“You were one of Morcant’s students,” Rooso stated.
Michael nodded his head numbly. Rooso took a deep breath and then sighed.
Michael murmured, “He tried to break us. He went after the students with no family to support them. I can’t say if he was a black mage, but I swear that man took magic from us.”
“Oh god,” said Rooso. “I could feel that magic. It curled around my chest like it wanted my magic. I went to see who was doing it because it was not right.”
“You have an affinity for air,” Michael said. There was curiosity tinged with something else. Rooso thought that Michael’s academic side was showing. He didn’t want to be that interesting to Michael’s sharp mind.
“Maybe,” said Rooso. “Hilda almost killed him.” He was desperately trying to change the subject.
Michael looked at Hilda. “Can you help me?” He asked Rooso. There was no need for an explanation; Rooso knew that his leg was weak. Rooso picked her up and followed Michael to her room.
Rooso wanted to laugh. He had gotten into one sister’s bedroom and now he was getting into the other sister’s bedroom. The thought of Mistress Mary Rose stopped that thought in its tracks. He shrugged off his sadness and laid Hilda on the bed.
“I’ll get someone to check her out,” he said, and then left. He didn’t want to answer any more questions—not about Mistress Mary Rose or why he was kicked out of her house.
Now for a little promotion
Hero of Corsindor is now on Amazon kindle for pre-order.
In the kingdom of Corsindor, the prince is lost, the king is dead, and the queen is holding the reins of government against disloyal nobles. They want a puppet to consolidate their power over the land. The queen has only one ally, who is not human.
There are rumors that the borders have been closed. Plus the long-lost prince, who knows nothing of ruling, is returning. Corsindor is being attacked from within and without by nightstalkers.
Shira, a foundling, trained by the Ahrah, Corsindor’s neighbors, is sent find out the conditions in Corsindor. Warrior and child of another world – her job is to confront the demons and reduce the chaos in the world. Will she survive?
Will she be tempted to take it all?