This is final edit of the opening chapter to Souls of Magic’s Dawn. This is what readers will see when they first open the book and dive head first into Tinil’Gan.
“Would you stop squirming!” Isidora shook with irritation as she watched Gideon on his horse. The hood of her long black mage robes hid her expression.
“You know I don’t travel in full plate unless headed to battle or parley. It chaffs and rubs.” Gideon tugged at his breat plate in irritation.
“I don’t care if it cuts off the circulation to your head. Stop acting like a child.” Isidora kept her head forward and urged her horse ahead. Gideon shifted once more in his saddle to adjust the chain mail hose that dug into his hindquarters before catching up with her.
“I still don’t understand why I have to wear this. I could have just as easily worn a set of nice leathers. Better yet, I am a warrior-mage; I could have worn robes that would impress him more than plate.” He yanked off his helm and shoved it in his pack at his side.
Isidora sighed and closed her eyes for a moment, her mind attempting to formulate a response that wouldn’t offend the young man too much. “Gideon, my D’ni, my teacher is a Black Robe and a Sidhe. He would not consider what you do as true magic.” Gideon did not know much of the ancient Sidhe language, but he had heard her use the words D’ni and Tra’ni enough to know they meant teacher and student. He also knew when using those words it went deeper than just the simple common tongue translation. Teacher and student shared a bond unlike no other when it came to the world of the Art. He shook his head. Although he knew he had her complete trust and love, he always felt a rivalry for admiration when it came to Azrael.
“My magic has saved me and my people many times, Isidora.” Gideon said casually.
Isidora’s head spun around to face him and reared her horse to a halt. Her violet eyes grew narrow and bore into him. “You have not passed the Trials, Gideon. You have not spent your lifein the study of the Art as Azrael and all other true magi have! Do not compare knowing a few battle spells to being a mage!”
Her last sentence came out as an angry spit as she urged her horse forward at a slow trot. Gideon did not even attempt to mask his pained feelings as his horse trotted along beside her. He could sense her looking at him through the corner of her eye as they rode and knew Isidora immediately regretted her outburst. With a sigh she softened her tone. “Gideon, you know I admire your poise and experience in battle. I trust my life in your hands willingly, not something I can say about many people.” Isidora halted her horse and gave him a tender smile. “All I am saying is that I want my husband to make a good impression. Azrael is not easily accepting. It’s bad enough I am coming to him to request his aid in becoming a Summoner. He never considered the use of Celestial Quintessence as true magic. He believes the quintessence to be a proxy between the mage and the magic.”
Gideon returned her smile even though his stomach was doing somersaults. He knew much of Isidora’s mentor. She never failed to remind him, disregarding that there were not many on Tinil’Gan who hadn’t heard of the Archmagus Azrael. Azrael was Sidhe, a race of immortals. The rumor said he was over ten thousand years old and had been present during the creation of Tinil’Gan. Isidora had told him it was closer to three thousand years that Azrael had walked this plane, which was difficult enough for a twenty-five year old mind to comprehend, especially considering the shortness of human lifespans. Even shorter when you were a knight.
Isidora carried a lot of mystery around her. In a way, it was what first attracted him. It had been four years since this young, beautiful, and mystifying mage came to court. She had entered with commanding poise demanding to see the king, to offer her services as a mage. The rest of the court chuckled and murmured about what she looked like beneath the black velvet mage robes. She was indeed beautiful. Curled, raven locks of hair spilled out from under her hood. Her eyes bright violet and wide, although he could tell she tried to make them more narrow. Her face was round, yet slim that perfectly framed an amazing smile during thir private times. There were times he felt plain next to her beauty with his auburn hair and square chin. In his mind, everyone was plain next to her. Her beauty though was not was made him fall in love with her.
No one took her seriously because she was so young, barely twenty-six. Prevailing wisdom said that mages of any skill were of a more advanced age due to the years of study required. They had no idea this woman had been trained since she began walking, by the one who was considered to be the most powerful mage on Tinil’Gan.
The first to learn what this meant was his cousin Vinnyearn. With his sword out in a relaxed manner he had circled her, making glib remarks about how her robes did not show her shape. He paid dearly when he took it one step too far and attempted to lift the hem of her robes with the tip of his sword. With one quick murmured word from the enigmatic mage, Vinnyearn’s sword began to glow red with the heat, as if it had just come out of a blacksmith’s forge. With a yelp of pain, he dropped the sword and gripped his burned hand, and then found himself flung to the other end of the court, slamming against a wall. Isidora had not moved at all.
Tomfoolery soon turned to anger and distrust as the rest of the court moved in quickly to defend their injured comrade. Although not in the line of succession like Gideon who was the King’s nephew, Vinnyearn was still a noble of House Montefroy and the knighthood was akin to a brotherhood. Attack one, you attack all. Isidora made quick work of three of the five men who came at her. Two of the knights were pinned against a wall by an ice spell, angrily struggling to free themselves causing the others to look at each other in doubt. The last brave soul ran into an invisible shield wall Isidora had cast, knocking himself out at her feet just as King Diomere entered and brought the sparring to a halt. Gideon never moved a muscle but instead watched in rapt awe. Never had he failed to jump to action, but this display of courage and power enthralled him.
When the king demanded explanation for the disruption and mayhem in his court, Gideon finally woke from his enchantment. He explained, and explained truthfully. His words of admiration for the young woman could be felt by his uncle. The king was impressed with Isidora’s boldness and apparent mastery of her Art and accepted her into his court, trusting his nephew’s judgement to the dismay of Vinnyearn and his friends. Truth be told, the only thing truly injured was Vinnyearn’s pride.
It didn’t take Gideon long to formulate a plan to get to know the new mage. For the first few months, she rebuked him soundly and quite insultingly. Although still relatively young herself, Gideon at the time seemed like a child at twenty one. Never deterred, he kept on pursuing her in his most innocent and boyish fashion. Eventually, the purity of his intentions and complete honesty of his love caught Isidora’s attention. Although still rough around the edges, Gideon won her heart. Three years after her arrival at court they were married.
Now a few years later he was accompanying his wife back home to begin a new chapter in her life. He chuckled softly to himself musing how to begin something new, one typically returns to where they started. The pair of riders crested a hill and looked down at the plains below. The late-summer breeze played upon the fertile grasses and made them appear as waves upon a sea. In the distance, tiny thatched roofs could be seen. These were the outskirts of the city of Arcanis; the capital city of the Isle of Winds and home of Azrael’s tower, Il’Muni Arus. It was just past midday and the city proper was still at least a half day’s ride away. Gideon sighed heavily and adjusted himself on the saddle once more in preparation for the last leg of the trip. Isidora looked over to him once again. “It is not too far off now, my love. Once the proper introduction and niceties have been made, you will be able to get out of that armor. Until then, please compose yourself. I don’t want Azrael’s first thought of you to be that of a school boy picking the leggings out of his arse.”
Gideon furrowed his brow and looked at Isidora questioningly. “First thought? We have been married for two years. How can the first time meeting me be his first impression?”
Isidora bit her lip. She aimed her voice to sound as innocent as possible. “Oh, didn’t I mention that I haven’t told him about us yet?” Grinning awkwardly Isidora spurred her horse at a gallop. Gideon remained behind as his mind pondered what Isidora had just said until finally he realized.
“He doesn’t know
we’re married? He doesn’t even know who I am!” Paling, Gideon frantically spurred
his horse forward in pursuit of his wife.