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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Heroes are a Dime a Dozen

Hero - what a horribly overrated concept! I have met my fair share of supposed "heroes" in my time as a Wizard of the Dead Magic. They come in all shapes and sizes - young and old, male and female. But they all have one thing in common: eventually they all die. And I would like to add that a fair share of them have died at my hand.

In the eternal battle between the light magic and the dead magic, heroes are often required to make a sacrifice. But what difference does it make? It changes nothing. It has made it difficult for me to plunge the natural world into a lengthy state of darkness, but in the end, all it does is stave off the inevitable. The wizards of the light magic have spent millennia trying to keep the natural world safe. Eventually, they die, a sacrifice in the eternal battle, and the battle continues on without them.

But when your entire purpose of being is to keep something from happening without any way to truly end the threat permanently, eventually you will fail. Whatever it is - war, death, an eternal darkness - will find a way to overcome you. I may not be the wizard that ultimately succeeds in bringing about the prolonged darkness in the natural world - where the dead magic reigns supreme - but eventually the power of the dead magic will overcome the light. Order is nothing but a reaction to chaos, and that means chaos always has the upper hand.

Want to read more about Balthazar: Check out Rise of the Dead Magic in paperback or e-book.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Youngest Wizard

Wizard Reece
Being the youngest of the Three Wizards - and way, way younger than Nikko - hasn't always been easy. In fact, at times, it has sucked. It took a long time for any of them to start taking me and my powers seriously. They acted like, "Oh, we gotta protect little Reece. She's just a kid. We don't want the kid getting killed."

Well, guess what: my spark is every bit as strong as my sisters' sparks. And that's what guides us when we cast spells and even when we fight.

Nikko tells me that I'm not the youngest wizard ever. He said there was a boy several wizards ago who was only 11 years old when he became sparked. He apparently only lived to be about 15 before the Wizard of the Dead Magic managed to end his time as a wizard. I guess that's why Nikko worries so much about me. He doesn't want me to go down in wizard history as the shortest-lived wizard of water magic ever.

But I have to say, I can't help but think I'm meant to do something really important as a wizard. I was chosen for a reason, and I can't wait to figure out what the magic has in store for me. It's sure to be a wild ride.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Weapon of Choice

Wizard Summer
Early on as wizards, we spent a lot of time - and I mean like every waking moment - practicing, growing our sparks to a point where Nikko didn't feel we were a complete liability.

And during that time, we got to "play" with different versions of our weapons. Nikko instructed us that we needed to find a mental representation of our magic that worked for each of us, that synced well with our sparks. I played with the concept of a sword, but that just didn't sync well with me and the earth spark.

I eventually stumbled upon a staff, and that seemed to work a little better than some of the other weapons I tried to visualize. The problem with the staff, though, was that it was great for parrying attacks, but it just wasn't very good for actually dispelling any creatures of the dead magic.

Nikko encouraged me to take the staff - because it was a good starting point for me - and see if I couldn't improve its sync with me and my spark. Soon enough, I came up with what I use now. It's still a staff, so it's still good for parrying attacks, but it has blades at both ends. With my spark flowing through me, I can use it to slice and dice some of our favorites like goblins and zombies.

But with skeletons, the staff is every bit as useful as the blades. Knocking the head off a skeleton warrior doesn't require a sharp blade. It just requires enough force to to send it flying across the battlefield. While Reece may enjoy dispelling goblins the most, I have to say that there is something a bit self-satisfying about seeing a pile of bones crumple to the ground before exploding into dust.

So for me, the double-bladed staff I carry gives me just what I need. I can parry attacks, I can slice up a few creatures, and I can bludgeon when needed. And because it syncs so well with me and my spark, I now use very little of my spark to conjure my weapon. And that works for me!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Excuse Me, But I Think You Are Mistaken

So, I have managed to come across these rather interesting entries written by Nikko and his obnoxious little wizards. It is true that they have managed to defeat me on quite a few occasions. However, I should remind you that I am but one wizard against four. And while the Dead Magic may be more concentrated inside of me than the Light Magic is inside of them, I am still but one wizard.

And, thanks to the Light Magic and that accursed abyss, I am forced to create my army one creature at a time. Most of the time, we are not talking about powerful creatures like trolls or ogres. No, most of the time, we are talking about weak, imbecilic creatures like goblins or zombies or skeletons. Sure, with enough of them I could probably overwhelm the wizards, but even my spark is not that strong. It would take me years to summon enough of them to have a fighting chance.

But when I have, I have managed to kill my fair share of wizards. My most recent victory - though short lived - was against Nikko's Teacher and Protector, Burgess and two of the Three Wizards. Were it not for Burgess' "heroic" sacrifice (pardon my disdain at that word), I would have killed them all and plunged the natural world into a century of darkness.

Think about some of the darkest or most war-ravaged times in your history - the Crusades, the bubonic plague, the conquests Julius Caesar - the Dead Magic has played a role in all of them.

And as soon as some of the Lords of the Dead are ready to be summoned, Nikko and the Three Wizards had better watch out because they will be ill-prepared to defeat the army I will summon. The natural world will then be plunged back into darkness and war once again.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

An Interesting Trip to Canada

Wizard Jolie
My sisters and I had been sparked by magic for a little over a year when we made our first trip to Canada. Nikko had sensed the presence of the Dead Magic there, and away we went.

We ended up in some frozen wasteland. The wind didn't bother me because I'm sparked by the Wind Magic, but it was still brutally cold even without the wind (I can't imagine how cold the others must have been).

Nikko used his magic to summon a wall of protective heat, but that only took away a bit of the chill. We slogged through the bitter cold and the snow that melted as we traveled through it (thanks in large part to Nikko's heat spell).

Eventually, we ended up locating Balthazar in a small town, trying to cast a spell that would transform the town's residents into some hideous creatures corrupted by the Dead Magic. It was some sort of dead magical energy field. Normals trapped within the field immediately became corrupted, transforming them into powerful, gray-skinned monstrosities.

The field began small and corrupted only a few residents, but it was growing outward. We tried not to kill any more of the town's residents than we had to, but by the time we arrived, there were already a dozen or so residents who had been corrupted. We tried like heck to keep from killing them, but that just wasn't possible. We had to fight our way into the corrupting magical field Balthazar had conjured.

Thankfully, our Light Magic sparks protected us from becoming corrupted when we entered the field. Summer almost lost her head trying to keep from killing one of the corrupted residents, but Reece came to her defense - and she was the first one to kill one of the corrupted normals.

In total, we were forced to kill three or four of them before we managed to make it to the center of the field. There, we faced off against several goblins and zombies, whose power had been increased because of Balthazar's spell.

As our sparks were beginning to run low, we finally managed to locate Balthazar. In the battle that ensued, I got myself close enough to injure him, but my spiked mace only caught him in the shoulder. He responded with a burst of dead magical energy that sent me reeling backwards from the force. By the time I regained my footing - and my senses - I realized that Balthazar was gone. He had escaped back to the Realm of Dead Magic, and though he was injured, I knew full well that his injury was not going to kill him. Perhaps if I had been more powerful, I could have fought through the burst of dead magical energy...but I wasn't. On the upside, though, once he fled, his field of magic dissipated, and the corrupted townspeople returned to normal. What was left of his minions were easy to defeat.

Of course, thanks to the power of magic, the townspeople's memories of what had happened became obscured, forming new "memories" of what had transpired - memories that didn't involve goblins, zombies, wizards, or magic - while we returned to Cloudline.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Fedora

Wizard Nikko
I haven't shared this story with the Three Wizards yet, but I thought I would explain where I got my fedora (you'll have to read Book 2 to find out about my eye patch).

Quite some time ago, back when I was just one of the Three Wizards, Burgess, my Teacher and Protector, sensed the presence of the Dead Magic inside the natural world. We ended up in some jungle region, trying to track down Balthazar and figure out what he had been up to.

As we moved through the jungle, we eventually arrived at a small town. There was a boy in the town who was trying to make a few extra bucks selling hats, though it didn't look like he was selling very many of them. Truth be told, I would guess that town didn't get a whole lot of visitors.

I felt sorry for the boy, and I purchased the only hat he had that interested me - a fedora. Though Devon and Arturo made a few jokes about it, it didn't much matter to me. I paid for it, put it on, and away we went.

We ended up finding Balthazar. He was attempting to revive some ancient dead warriors from a large burial ground. We ended up clashing with a host of goblins and skeletons, while Balthazar finished casting his spell.

That put us smack dab into the middle of a dangerous battle. Both Arturo and Devon figured it was the end for us, but Burgess cast a leviathan spell, summoning an enormously powerful creature composed entirely of water magic. That left Burgess nearly defenseless. He had tapped so much of his spark to summon the creature. I had never seen something so powerful in all my time as a wizard.

At that point, I made it my duty to defend my Teacher and Protector while the leviathan thinned out the battlefield for us. A wall of fire, my flame sword, and a few well-placed fireballs managed to keep the two of us alive while Devon and Arturo continued to battle some of the surviving creatures.

Eventually, Balthazar grew weak from his spells, and we managed to drive him back to the Realm of Dead Magic. We had survived, though I thought it might have been some sort of miracle. Devon, though, made a joke that it must have been my lucky fedora that saved the day. And from that moment onward, it became my lucky charm. I almost never went into battle without it.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Recharging Our Sparks

Wizard Summer
Using magic takes a lot out of a wizard. Our magic comes from this essence inside us called our spark. It's like an energy source that we can tap to cast spells and summon our weapons. The older we get and the more we practice, the more our spark grows.

Every time we cast a spell we use up some of our spark. It's definitely not an unlimited source of energy, that's for sure. Early on, I felt really used up at the end of almost every single battle. And when it's gone, you can't cast anything; not even a simple bridging spell will work.

We try to keep our sparks from getting depleted. And the two best ways to do that are by sleeping (my favorite activity) and eating. When we have really exhausted our sparks, we can sleep for a day, sometimes more, before we start to feel recharged. And then, we eat like we haven't eaten in months. It's amazing how much food you can consume when you're trying to replenish your spark. If I had eaten like that before I became a wizard, I would probably have weighed like six hundred pounds. But when your spark needs to be recharged, you can't seem to get enough calories. It's a little weird, and sometimes, it makes me feel a bit self-conscious. After all, I am a girl...

Friday, September 6, 2013

My Approach to Battle

Wizard Jolie
So, you already know I'm the Wizard of Wind Magic. And the wind magic allows me to do so many cool things. With so many options available, I like to take a very different approach to battle than the other wizards.

I typically rely on a mace made of compressed air as my main weapon (you can see it in my picture). And I will often surround myself with an armor made of the same stuff. It makes me feel a bit more protected. But in battle, I actually try to keep my distance. I use my magic to push enemies away and knock them off balance. When I slam them on their butts, that's a good time to swoop in and pound them with my mace. It provides them with a nice quick trip back to the abyss.

It's not as "in your face" as the magic that Reece and Nikko use. And wind magic doesn't offer nearly the kind of protection spells as Summer's earth magic. So, instead, I use my magic to keep myself moving and keep my enemies off balance. And if all else fails, I can take to the skies. We haven't encountered many creatures of the Dead Magic that have the ability to fly, so that gives me a huge advantage. And I take every advantage I can, especially since I'm still learning to become a powerful wizard.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

By the Skin of Our Teeth

Wizard Reece
So, I've been a wizard now for a little over two years. It's amazing how time flies when you're having fun. I would say we've probably fought Balthazar dozens of times since I became sparked.

I know I talk a good game when it comes to fighting the creatures of the Dead Magic. But in reality, a lot of our battles could have gone either way. Whether it's Summer or Nikko or Jolie (or even me), it seems that one of us has always been able to come up with just the right spell or just the right play that has turned the battle in our favor.

For that I have to give credit to the Light Magic, and the powers that guide it. You see, we allow our sparks and the magic contained within them, to guide our actions when we're fighting. If you give me a regular sword without a water magic spark and then tell me to go battle some zombie warriors, well...I'm not gonna do much with it. In fact, I'd probably be dead in about two hot seconds.

But when I conjure my ice sword and shield and allow the water magic to guide me, that's an entirely different outcome. The water magic connects my weapons to the spark inside me, and my movements become fluid, effortless, and skillful. I can take out dozens of creatures, parrying and striking with ease and skill.

Were it not for the power of magic imbued within our weapons, I'm sure my sisters and I wouldn't have lasted very long as wizards. In fact, we might have won some award for having been killed more quickly than any other wizards in the history of this eternal battle. And Nikko would have gone down in wizard history as the worst Teacher and Protector of all time. I sure am glad that hasn't happened...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Taking the Wizards Into Battle

Wizard Nikko
So, I went off and found these three girls, trained them to become wizards, and now they're battle-hardened warriors?

Well, that's not even close to the way things went down!

Training took an awful lot of effort. I'd never trained a wizard before. I'd never been the Teacher and Protector, so I had no idea what I was doing. Thankfully, the power of the magic, of the sparks buried deep within those girls, helped them to learn what they needed to learn.

But that was only the magic side of things. There was also the personal part that goes along with being a wizard. Being connected to the magic does something to you, it gives you more confidence, it bolsters your sense of purpose. But within every wizard still resides a person.

Thankfully, Balthazar, the Wizard of the Dead Magic, had used up so much of his magic killing off Burgess, Devon, and Arturo that I had plenty of time to train those three girls. They weren't quite to my liking when I sensed the Dead Magic's presence in the natural world, but we don't get to pick and choose when it's time for battle.

They were scared to death, and I was terrified that all three of them were going to get themselves killed. I suppose Jolie was probably the most well composed of the three, but that's a bit like saying a robin is a more battle-hardened warrior than a fruit fly.

I had to spend a lot of time splitting my attention between directing traffic among the girls and lobbing fireballs at the goblin army Balthazar had summoned. I'm not sure what he was up to, but he did not anticipate running into me, now the Teacher and Protector, along with three newly-trained wizards.

By the end of the battle, the girls managed to steel their nerve. Reece was back to spouting witty remarks. Jolie had figured out how to use gusts of wind to send Balthazar's minions reeling. And Summer had managed to carve up her fair share of goblins. Once they let the magic take over, once they gave themselves fully to its guidance, they didn't do too badly - for their first time.