After finishing Could It Be Magic, I hit a dry spell and so took a break for a few months. At last, I decided that writing something was better than writing nothing, so I started on a new story.
I talked about writing something like this in my post on Reylo Trash, but didn’t really have a story in mind yet. The one that finally began taking shape is set in the Land of Enchantment universe, but with two brand new characters: a wizard named Vadim Dragovich and Emilia Dunmoor, a seer. After Amethyst defeats the predator, Dr. Korhonen in Familiar Magic, both Vadim and Emilia have been resurrected into modern times after drifting as mindless, powerless shades for a couple hundred years.
I’m not entirely sure where this story is going or when it will get there, but I thought the journey might be interesting and keep my writing brain in good working order. I’ll be posting chapters here. Eventually, I’ll even have a title for it.
UPDATE: The working title is Fateful Magic.
Emilia came to herself screaming. She clutched at the agony below her breastbone. There had been pain, dear God, such pain. The smiling, white-bearded face, kindly and pitiless, looming close—forgive me, my dear, but your gift is far too valuable—
She clawed her way out of the memory, gasped a shuddering breath, spun. Where was she? A forest rose around her, not of trees, but of massive, towering metal columns and beams rising into darkness, bearing neither walls nor ceiling.
Nearby, much too close, a shadowy storm boiled. And among the shadows, men in all sorts of dress, all looking just as stunned, cast adrift, confused as she was.
A shadow ripped past her, then another. It snatched at her. She gasped again at an echo of that last memory’s pain, then it whirled away. Wind whipped her hair, tore at her skirts. The shadows parted a moment and she caught a glimpse of a thin young woman, teeth bared, fists clenched, head thrown back, dark hair writhing around her in a magical wind.
With a vague intent to help, Emilia took a step toward her. One of the shadows engulfed the unknown woman, seeming to sink its arms into her. The shadow grew thicker, took on substance and form until a man staggered back, hands clutching his chest even as Emilia had clutched her own. He shook his head hard, looked around him. Pain and bewilderment and fear shifted across his face. More shadows, clots of rage and hunger, streamed past, once more blotting out the woman struggling to fend them off.
A hard hand gripped Emilia’s arm. She bit back a shriek and wrenched around, her heart trying to pound its way up her throat.
A man with long, dark hair, a neat goatee and wild, panicked eyes seized her other arm, too, shook her a little. “¿Que es esto?” he shouted above the roar of wind and magic and voices crying out in every language. “¿Dónde estamos?”
“I don’t un—” The next instant, she recognized the Spanish words: What is this? Where are we?
“I don’t know!” she shouted back, then quickly in her badly-accented Spanish, “No lo sé!”
“Where is he?” The man demanded in Spanish. Still holding her fast, he looked frantically around.
“¿Quien?” Who? She pulled against his grasp, trying to twist free.
“Copora. The wizard. The snake. The hijo de perra!”
Emilia went cold. “Korpela?” His face rose up again in memory. She began to shake. “Did he have a white beard? A kindly face…”
Still kindly even as he reached into her and ripped out her gift by the roots—
The man shook her again and she realized she stood rigid, panting in remembered agony and terror.
“Is he here? Where is he?” The man thrust her away and turned, his chest rising and falling as desperately as hers. He abruptly released her, shoved her away. “Flee! Flee now, while you can!”
He raised his hands and vanished.
Wizard! Emilia clutched one hand to her chest, thrust out the other as if to ward off an attack.
More men—and a handful of women—staggered away from the shadowy seethe. Wizards. Sorceresses. All of them here, transformed by this storm of magic, shades somehow given body and life once more.
Wizards, dozens of them. And she, with her gift that gave her no power against them, yet one they coveted—
Emilia turned, caught up her skirts and fled into the enveloping night.
* * *
Vadim turned, snarling, raised his hands and called up power. The magic heaved and roiled around him, far hotter and more potent than any he’d felt before. The scene before him made no sense.
Where was the wizard he’d been battling? His hand flew to his chest. It had been clawed open. Hadn’t it? After the wizard transformed himself, no magic Vadim flung at him would stop him. The wizard in dragon form had pinned him like a mouse. Then pain, worse than any he’d ever experienced, and a long agony of darkness—
He dropped his clutching hand. He was unmarred, the power within him bright and potent as ever. The dragon was gone, replaced by a bewildering storm of darkness, a stink of burning, the thunder of wind and a terrified babble of voices. And at the center of it all, a woman blazing with power as she fought shadows like swarming hornets.
A man staggered away from the boil of shadows besetting the strange woman. The man, dark and bearded, ran into him then clutched at him as one would clutch at a bit of flotsam in a raging sea.
Vadim called fire. Writhing, crackling tendrils coiled around his fingers. The man’s eyes widened and he released his grasp. His voice rose in a question, the words in a language hesitating and soft.
Still holding destruction in his hand, Vadim frowned and shook his head.
“Who are you?” the man stammered in Arabic-accented French—a language most worldly men would understand.
Vadim drew himself up and smiled. It was a smile no man wished to see on his face. “Vadim Dragovich.”
The man sucked in a breath and stumbled back, then turned and ran, tripping once on the hem of his robes.
Vadim’s smile turned to one of satisfaction. He folded his arms, reveling in the churn of magic and chaos around him. Reveling in life, somehow, impossibly returned.