31 Oct 2016

Halloween, and the Necromancer in 2016

Happy halloween, dear readers!

Previously, I promised you that the Necromancer—the book I wrote at fourteen and published two years ago—would be getting a make-over. And guess what? Today is the day!

Okay, I must say that the new version is not on sale just yet; you’ll have to wait a few more days for that. But, you do get to see three pertinent elements of the new work: a newly revised blurb, prologue, and of course a brand new cover. While you ooh and aah over the new content (or at least I’ll hope you’ll be ooing and aaing) I will be busy getting a new series of reviews; expect to see them in the coming weeks.

Without further ado, here is the new cover and corresponding blurb:

In the frozen heartlands of the north, a dark force is reborn; his power is great, and his army swells with every monstrous recruit. In the Arachadian capital, Dresh, a string of mysterious kidnappings leaves the Great Mage puzzled. And in the mage academy of small town Renas, an unwitting apprentice is plunged into a quest: it will prove a fight for her life, a fight for the man she loves, and – ultimately – a fight for the future of the land.

Delve into this dark world of mystery and magic, of beings that walk the great forests and haunt the alcoves of the night; the necromancer awaits you...

And of course, I have also included the newly re-written prologue. If you wish to know more of the changes I have made to the Necromancer, well; you’ll just have to wait. Consider this a sweet taste of what’s to come...

PROLOGUE

The mage ran through the forest, and the necromancer followed.

Eiliara was her name. She was a fool. She told herself as much: You fool, Eiliara; you arrogant, stupid fool. Determined to uphold justice, you doomed yourself. You can’t fight him—you’ll die here, on this forsaken mountain. What the mage told herself was true, but still she carried on running. Perhaps she thought she could evade him—though that was folly, as any halfway competent mage would have told her. In reality, she ran because she was a Silver Mage, and Silver Mages never give up.

The forest around her is shrouded by darkness; the moon, a graceful queen in her empyrean abode, shines a pale blue light. The necromancer’s laughter follows her laboured breathing and tired footsteps. His is a dark laugh, a mixture of both arrogance and madness.

“Trying to escape me, mage?” The mage pays him no heed; she continues running.

Then Eiliara feels it—a terrible emptiness, a howling being of death, given birth through unholy magic.

The Wraith, for it can be no other, soon outruns her. It moves with an impossible grace; it moves unhindered by physical imperfections or moral bounds. It tries to grasp her in its lethal embrace—to consume her with darkness.

Eiliara’s spell is but a whispered word, and yet its power is undeniable. There is a searing flash of white. There is a bitter tang of ozone, not such as might be caused by a storm, but the taste of powerful magic. The Wraith screams, and then it implodes.

The necromancer is no fool, Eiliara; he sent the Wraith only to toy with you. Her words prove correct. There is a powerful gust of wind; the necromancer then appears before her, darkness pooling at his edges.

He was, Eiliara had to admit, rather beautiful. His jaw was masculine—a faint hint of stubble graced it, perfectly trimmed and subtly seductive. His hair was obsidian black, and gleamed in that pale moonlit night. His countenance was that of an aristocrat; his bearing arrogant and forceful.

“My darling mage!’ he begins. “To think you could destroy my faithful undead, and hope to avoid my notice. Your arrogance is remarkable. But I must admit,’ he says mockingly, “that I do find it intriguing. Are you brave, or merely stupid?”

“Spare me your insults, necromancer, and do not pretend that you yourself are not privy to the allure of arrogance.”

The necromancer laughs. “Ah, but you see, my arrogance is justified; for I am the most powerful wielder of magic in this forsaken realm. You, Silver Mage, are no match for me.”

“Let us see if your words mean anything,” the mage taunts. Her attack is powerful and without warning. The world turns white; her power slams into the necromancer. She attacks with spells—spells of fire, of thunder, and of magics beyond the ken of ordinary battle mages.

The light fades, and the efforts of her assault are revealed. The necromancer stands tall, his expression amused—perhaps even bored. His eyes glow an ethereal blue; they are alit by the unholy power of his dark magic, and the madness of his disturbed mind.

“Is that really all the mage academies could teach you? I fear I shall not be terribly entertained.” His words are not in jest; the power he unleashes cannot be underestimated.

At first he attacks with ice—a coldness so profound, Eiliara feels as if all the stars of Arachadia had been extinguished. Then he attacks with fire: a fire unearthly and blue. Then with blackness. It is a darkness absolute, an abyss into the dead lands, a precipice where life hangs dearly for its continued existence.

Eiliara’s wards shudder, and her power is exhausted. She had been trained to fight dark magics, of course: indeed she had been trained to fight anything. But none of her skills—her mastery of spellcraft, her cunning ploys, her subtle tactics—are a match for him. The necromancer was no ordinary meddler of the dark arts; his was a power perfected by many years, great skill, and staggering ability.

“So this is it,” she says.

“Indeed; but consider yourself fortunate. You, at least, shall not see the institution you so cherish be destroyed by my power.”

“Do you truly believe you can destroy the mage academies?” She intends the words to mock, but they only show her fear. Eiliara knew the necromancer’s power—and nothing seemed beyond him.

“I do, and you know full well I can. My undead shall rise and smite down the living. They shall destroy your corrupt administration and the injustices you perpetrate. Death will bring a new beginning: Arachadia shall see the dawn of my rule, and a new dynasty of necromancers will be born.”

“You’re insane.”

“Perhaps. You would not be the first to say as much, and I doubt you will be the last. Indeed I find your accusation quite entertaining. After all: it is you who live in gilded halls while the poor suffer in their slums. It is you who gaze imperiously at their downtrodden faces, secure in the knowledge that your power renders you immune to whatever revolt the peasants may devise.”

“But surely you know that the queen is responsible for this! She sets the taxes, not we.”

“Oh, I know, and rest assured the nobility shall perish with you. But you are complicit. Your powers are used to demand loyalty from the army, and ensure the continued rule of the Sovereign. I know; I was part of it, once.”

“Who are you?” Eiliara whispers.

“Don’t you know? I’m the necromancer. I’m the being forgotten; the love destroyed by the ambitions of a fool.”

“Are you...” Eiliara searches her memory. She had lived for many years—sixty in total—and recalled much. The necromancer’s identity was a suspicion; if only it could be confirmed...

“Are you—”

“Enough talk. Prepare to die.”

Eiliara focused all of her power on the strength of her wards, but she kept a tiny reserve—the very edge of her power—towards a different purpose. As the necromancer attacked, she sent out a message.

Eiliara died on that cold night. Her screams found no solace in the inclement face of the mountain, nor in the necromancer’s forgotten conscience. But her message found its way.

A darkness rises; a necromancer haunts the mountains of the north. Years ago, he was betrayed. His vengeance cannot be quenched. He must be stopped—and his progeny kept safe. I am Eiliara, and I will be no more. Let my sacrifice not go in vain.

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