Spirits of Wintermist : Book One of the Circle of Union

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-10-05
  • Publisher: Textstream

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Anton was mumbling, " . . . End of my quest it seems so simple. Ancient strands of magic not only to bind with the land, but the land with us . . . That has to be the clue." He started taping his front teeth with his finger while his other hand started rummaging through the pile of parchment. "I know I saw something on binding, something important." Anton's eyes went wide as the channel with the land opened. The channel revealed a strange presence, an unclean presence. It was far away, at the edge of the land. Danger from the north! Anton felt agony, mixed with the perceived loss of life. The feelings kept flowing and the channels to the others open. Unity awoke. FEAR! DANGER! The emotion flashed into Unity with an intensity that caused him to scream. The scream echoed from all levels of the Mage school. Emotions consumed him, emotions coming from hundreds of beings. Death taking hundreds of lives. The fear hit hard. Fear of . . . The end of all they knew. Fear so strong it paralyzed Unity. Fear of the swirling blackness. Old, hateful, destroyer. Struggling Anton closed off channels to keep the rest from the intense mind numbing emotions. As the channels closed Unity dissolved into its individual parts. The Spirits of Wintermist were screaming in terror. Opening the door a crack, Duncan saw the concerned face of Sasha. "I just got your message." Indicating for her to keep her voice low Duncan allowed Sasha to enter. "He's resting. The best I can figure is he collapsed at the same time as the ones who were bound got hit with the invasion." "Invasion?" "They received an image that the North Wall has been breached." "That can't be!" She looked at Duncan who nodded. Letting the news slip from her mind, she cast her thoughts to her friend. She crossed the room and sat in the chair next to Ambrus's bed. The scholar's face was as white as his pillow. She took his hand and felt how cold it was. Stroking his forehead, she continued talking in a low voice. "Mead is being invaded?" Placing his hand on the hilt of his sword Duncan nodded. "Nothing specific. Mage Kytrill said Anton shut down the channels, kept the rest from experiencing the full effect." Sasha shook her head, "Could Anton have spilled this to Ambrus?" Duncan shrugged. He crossed the room and looked down on the moonlit courtyard. Xantrawler's men were walking patrol and a few citizens were staggering up the stairs from the gorge. "Both events convinced the Mage Master an invasion is real. Unfortunately, Anton is still out so they can't question him." "Do you think Ambrus saw the same thing?" "Don't know." He turned from the window. He looked at Sasha, "I knew he was to meet you tonight. Sorry I took so long getting a message to you." Sasha gave a weak smile, "I understand." Frowning she looked at the scholar, "I'm worried, has he ever had these fits so close together." Duncan shook his head, "His fits are rare. In the six months I've worked for him he's had two, and the second one was here." They watched Ambrus in silence for awhile before Duncan spoke, "He was looking forward to dinner. Said you were enjoyable company, one of the few people he finds a challenge." "I enjoy my times with him. Since I was 15 and first met him I have listened to his stories of other places. He sends me letters filled with tales of different cultures and wonderful creatures." "Why are you here? I mean here at Wintermist. You should be at the capital, at University becoming a sage or at least studying in Academy, here." "I'm a woman and the daughter of a baker." Duncan raised his eyebrow, "I have the basic education the Queen provides, unfortunately my father is not a noble, nor a rich merchant. He can't afford to send me for higher education. The only thing I can do is visit the Screeching Owl and the library." "I took for granted everyone received the education they want. Xantrawler felt what sets a sword man apart from the common fighter is being trained to think. " "Your life has been filled with interesting times." Duncan snorted, "Interesting times is a curse. When a sword swinger has interesting times, it means he's fighting for his life." He paused, then without thinking added, "That's what Weaponsmasters attempt to do, train swordsmen so their lives are not interesting." "Working in the Queens service makes it difficult to avoid interesting times." Duncan wandered over to the wardrobe and opened it. He took an interest in Ambrus' evening wear, "That's why I'm a bodyguard. I only worry about myself and the person I guard. If I make a mistake, I'm the one in danger of getting hurt." Sasha played with the corner of Ambrus's blanket. Talking to the quilt she said, "I know who you are Duncan of Pentock. My Uncle attributes being alive to you." Duncan looked at her sharply, "I'm not that person" Sasha stood and faced him, "You are Duncan of Pentock, the most celebrated hero of the Underdweller war. The hero of the Valley." "It wasn't me. It was many others. One man does not make a company." "Da told me a good leader makes a good company. He said during the Underdweller war you were the best. He heard how you took care of your men, how your entire company was responsible for saving –" "That's in the past! That was another person!" Duncan snapped, "After what I did I have no right to be a hero! I killed those men!" Sasha opened her mouth, but Ambrus started mumbling and tossing about. Putting her hands on his chest, she tried to comfort him. His thrashing became more violent, his mumbling louder. Bolting up in bed, he sent Sasha sprawling. His eyes wide, Ambrus shrieked, "THEY COME FOR THE WRAITHS! HE IS COMING FOR THEM!"

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