Freedom from Heaven – Prologue

Introducing our newest guest writer, aspiring fiction author, now in amateur print for the first time in history, not self-published….CHRIS PAGE! He’s looking for a career and a boost, and given that he’s a mini-me with considerable raw, unformed talent, I thought I’d introduce him to you all. Actually, he’s my pet project. Let us know what you think — like, comment and share! 😀

 

Avinar ran, blood dripping from his leg. The wolves were close behind…too close. He almost could feel them again, and yet there was no sign of them save for the leaves crunching and ripping, just behind a row of trees; just behind a shrub. His plan to survey this Matulir stronghold had failed utterly…he expected it to go badly, but this badly? He had to laugh a little at how high his hopes had been. Matulir wasn’t something his small group could deal with. Not in their condition. Not with the resources they had.
Avinar cast a telepathy spell. He had enough energy left to keep it up for around 10 minutes, maybe. Then he’d have to absorb some magic energy from something. “Mayra! I need your help. I’m about one mile south of the Matulir stronghold we planned on studying, and the Holy Guard let out wolves on me. I’m in the forest; I see a field up ahead, though. I’ll be there in about 2 minutes, maybe? Give me some help!”
He heard a voice in his head: specifically, the voice of Mayra, one of his teammates. Her speech was quick, and almost with an element of formality. Even though he was the most experienced with telepathy magic on his team, it still felt odd to hear someone else’s voice in his thoughts without having to imagine it himself. “I’m already in that field. Give me a second to draw some runes.” Avinar laughed inside again, but this time for a different reason. Mayra’s runes were always…interesting, to say the least. One time she had drawn a rune design to send whoever triggered it flying a few seconds back in time. He remembered it well…he, Mayra, Ladal, Eurvor, and Nasinad snuck into the house of a Sigelaran executive to steal documents on Matulir and its involvement with their country, Sigelar. Surprisingly enough, they weren’t caught, and they managed to get the information they wanted. An investigation ensued days later when the executive realized that the documents were missing, but was dropped. Nasinad’s excellent cloaking magic had erased any thought of them being accused. Nobody saw them. Or more correctly, nobody remembered them. Nasinad’s power over the memory; over the senses; over perception, was incredible. Avinar almost wanted to switch fields…he wouldn’t need teleportation magic if he could just make people forget him after seeing him.
Avinar ran towards the field. He could see Mayra ducked under some tall grass, most likely drawing a rune. He still heard the breaking of twigs and leaves under the wolves’ feet. But the field was close. He was almost safe. The shrubs, short grasses, and dead leaves of the forest floor began to morph into tall grass as he ran. The field was close, and the wolves were too far behind to catch him, if Mayra’s runes were going to be of any help. If they weren’t, then he would be dead. He could only keep running for so long.
Avinar tripped over a rock, just barely passing the runes Mayra had cast. “I seriously can’t believe you sometimes.” He got up, and they ran further into the field. Avinar looked back. There was a line of dark red runes, just barely visible.
“You might want to keep running…I prepared a sort of surprise in case the Holy Guard comes along.” Matulir was a large religion in Sigelar; the Holy Guard was, in effect, the army of the Matur, leader of the religion. He and the group he was part of, Eludon, were dedicated to reducing—if not eliminating—Matulir’s influence on the government and the country. Avinar and Mayra kept running. He was worried…a surprise involving Mayra’s runes could be disastrous. He hoped that she would keep it mild…but he knew her. There wasn’t much chance of a “surprise” being mild. He heard a wolf behind, ripping leaves apart with its paws as it ran. Next came its scream and the sound of a fire roaring into being.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Avinar said, running even faster. The field and the forest behind had both caught fire; soon enough everything in the area would be burnt. He figured Mayra had cast runes along the places where forest and the field began to blend together. Which would mean that soon enough, all of them would trigger and start a blaze that would bring down the Matulir stronghold if it was made of wood. Avinar was still angry at himself for not being able to cast a surveillance spell on the place…it could have made their work much easier. Instead, he had failed, and this stronghold would most likely be more tightly guarded for a few weeks. Matulir had five main strongholds, effectively cities overloaded with religious buildings, and this was one of them. Outside of Sigelar’s capital Nuthar laid the Matur’s City, a sixth stronghold-city which housed the Matur, many priests, the captain of the Holy Guard, and Matulir’s famed Glowing Temple. There was no way they’d get into that one—or even get within a mile of the walls, if they looked at all suspicious. Only the six largest were worth spying on for more than a few days, but they would also definitely be the hardest to get close to. And they had already ruined their opportunity for this one.
“Is Eurvor anywhere around? I think we might need him. We can only get so far with teleportation magic, and the Holy Guard is quick.” Avinar and Mayra had stopped running; they were far enough away from the fire that Avinar could use his teleportation magic before it came too close. He had regained enough magical power to teleport a good distance away; they both knew they needed some time to plan anyway.
“That old man? Oh please, I wouldn’t bring him on this if you paid me.” Mayra held a sort of rivalry with Eurvor; on her best days, she would be best friends with him, on her worst, she’d be seething about his mastery of word magic and ignore him throughout the day. “Okay, depends on the price. But no, he didn’t come. Ladal was lounging on one of the hills over there when I came over to the field.” She pointed further south. The hills there were covered in grass; the area had few barren spots.
“At least one other person is here,” Avinar said, breathing a sigh of relief before remembering the fact that she had just started learning elemental magic—and magic in general—a few months ago. “but for some reason I feel like she’s not going to be of much help. Let’s get going though; the fire is spreading and the Holy Guard is sure to see it.”
Avinar cast a teleportation spell as quick as he could, transporting himself and Mayra to the hills nearby. Ladal, a woman about 24, was almost asleep on the side of a small one.
“Ladal! We need to get going,” Avinar shouted, looking back at the fire. It was starting to spread more quickly; it would reach the hills soon. He figured it had already destroyed part of the forest. This stronghold would be on high alert for quite a while—by the time the fire had burned itself out, the forest south of the stronghold would be decimated.
“What…?” She sat up and rubbed her eyes, fairly tired. The scent of smoke trailed into her nose, and she looked over at the fire. “What in Amra’s name did you do?” She bolted up, the fire bringing her fully into alertness. She began to ready an ice spell, in hopes that it might help stop the fire. “Why in Nadkaias is there a fire that big coming this way?
“Mayra went a little crazy with the runes,” Avinar said, running in the opposite direction from the fire, which was moving even faster than before. Mayra and Ladal followed close behind.

“I think I’ll pass next time we try something like that,” Mayra said, adjusting herself in the armchair that resided in the makeshift headquarters for their small branch of Eludon. Twelve people in total were a part of this chapter, Ladal, Avinar, Mayra, Euvor, and Nasinad being five of them. They were all rather capable—except perhaps for Ladal, but her skills and strength in normal fields made up for her lack of magical ability.
“No passes. We have to make Matulir believe that our group is a threat. We’re usually the branch to start things—so let’s try that. There are six strongholds including the Matur’s City, correct?” Talyth, the co-leader of the branch along with Avinar, stood up.
“If my assumption is correct, that is not an option,” Eurvor said. His voice was worn with age, but it still carried the confidence and joy of his youth.
“It is, and the rest of Eludon needs a spark.” Talyth was much like Eurvor in her way of doing things, but her plans still had too much hope in his eyes. He had seen too many failed attempts at things in his lifetime; his thoughts had been sown with caution each time. “The leaders of the larger branches are lazy and haven’t done anything useful for months.”
“Talyth, we can’t risk losing a member,” Eurvor argued. “If it wasn’t executed correctly, using your plan would end up with half of our members dead and the others just barely alive. It’s simply too risky for us to do.”
“We’re a capable group. Executing things correctly is what we do.” She stopped for a second. “Usually.”
The others had caught onto Talyth’s plan as soon as she had asked the first question. Small words of agreement came from most of the members of their branch, and Eurvor sighed.
“So it’s decided. Sorry, Eurvor, but we’ll need your help if we’re going to do this.” Talyth walked over to the small coffee table that was set in the center of the circle of chairs and sat down on it. “Pick your partners; I’ll review them and make sure they’re not going to fail. Verua, over here.” A young girl around the age of 16 stood up. “Who do you want to go with?”
Verua looked over the potential choices. Ladal was too new…Verua was sixteen-and-a-half, but she had been training in many magical fields for her entire life. Ladal had only been learning magic for a few months. Eurvor was too cautious. While he’d be a powerful ally, he was against the plan in the first place and would probably end up letting her do nothing and ruining their part of it. Aseld, a man with knowledge of light magic, was a possible choice…but soon dismissed when she remembered that he held a grudge against her for a time that she had failed on a mission. She glanced at Nasinad. He would definitely be a good choice, but were there any better ones? Mayra had little concern for most people in the group. She was off the list. Radoril, an aging man with telekinetic magic, was another powerful person. But he was old. Older than Eurvor. “He would probably try to tell me a story about how he infiltrated a castle in ‘the olden days’,” she thought, snickering a bit. His demeanor and age completely wiped him off her list of candidates. Verua looked at Avinar. His variety of skills and magic would be excellent in something like this—his teleportation magic, especially. Nasinad would be better for hiding, but without magic power he was practically useless. Avinar, in his 18 years of life, had at least put some effort into training with weapons. Nasinad studied magic most of the time, and when he wasn’t, he was using it. Or dueling with someone. His fields didn’t really give him time to do much physical training—perception, sense, and memory magic all took a long time to learn, quite a bit of power to use, and would generally require hours of effort a day to master, or even get close to mastering. Her thoughts jumped to Idriala, a girl about her own age who had been studying Void magic—one of the fields that Verua studied—since she was 7, and had practically mastered it. They would be an incredible team; Verua was about to say her name when Idriala and Nasinad walked over to Talyth.
“We’ll partner up,” Idriala said to Talyth.
“Good, good.” Talyth gave them both an envelope and a necklace. “The envelopes contain some important information; the necklaces are magical and will probably help you quite a bit.”
“I suppose those two are out of the picture, then?” Talyth nodded. “Then I’ll go with Avinar.”

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