Authors: Sarra Cannon
Tags: #Fantasy, #Adventure
By Sarra Cannon
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents
either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is
Copyright © 2013 by Sarra Cannon
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or
portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
Find Sarra Cannon on the web!
The only person whose calls I
look forward to in the middle of the night.
My kindred spirit.
I love you.
The young witch
hesitated at the edge of the forest. She’d followed the old man
through the city many times, but had never followed him into the
She stepped into the
shadows and watched as Tobias Prague disappeared through the seal.
Her heart raced. The Council had given her explicit orders never to
go beyond the borders of the town’s magical seal. They’d
said it was too dangerous and that a young witch of only sixty years
would never be able to handle herself beyond the city’s gate.
But Tobias was up to
something. She could feel it deep in her bones. She couldn’t
lose him now.
The witch wrapped her
fingers around the edge of the stone building and peered nervously
toward the gate. She should stay behind like she always did. She
should do as she’d been told.
But she was so tired of
following the rules. She’d been following their rules her whole
life and where had it gotten her?
everything she’d done for them, the elders still treated her
like a child.
A useless child.
She was sick of being
underestimated. Deep in her heart, she knew she was meant for big
things. Important things.
She bit her lip and
held her breath. She was running out of time. If she didn’t
hurry, Tobias would be so far ahead, she’d never catch up to
The witch glanced back
toward the brightly lit streets of the capital city, and when she was
sure she would not be seen, she pulled the dark silk hood over her
head and she stepped off the stone path and into the forest.
The seal shimmered
briefly as she passed through. A sweet heat ignited deep within her,
spreading from head to toe as her magical powers were set free. She
had forgotten how delicious those powers could be outside the
magic-free zones of the bigger cities. It had been years since she’d
been allowed to feel her full power coursing through her body, and
even then, it had been under careful supervision.
For a moment, she was
breathless. Giddy. Then the sound of footsteps ahead reminded her of
her purpose. She needed to find the old man and figure out just what
he was really up to out here.
She was tempted to use
her fire to light her way, but she was afraid Tobias might see her.
She resigned herself to darkness and continued her pursuit.
The forest floor was
mossy and green, wet from the recent rain. There were two moons
tonight, and she could see her way easily enough once her eyes
adjusted. In the distance, she could hear a winterbird singing.
It took her a while to
find the old man’s trail. He must have been very diligent about
covering his tracks, but his caution only pushed her to search
harder. If he was simply out for a stroll, he wouldn’t have
bothered. Besides, now that she’d passed through the seal, her
absence would be known. Everyone who passed in and out was tagged and
recorded. When she returned, she’d have to answer to the
They would be angry
with her, but maybe if she had something valuable to report to them,
they would forgive her for disobeying them.
At first, she saw no
sign of Tobias. She was worried she’d lost him completely.
Then, a strange stirring in her heart told her to go east, toward the
river. Whenever she felt lost, she stopped again and listened to that
strange tugging deep within.
Then, after several
minutes, a noise up ahead caught her ear.
The witch crept forward
as silent as a fox and hid behind a large tree covered with dark red
Tobias Prague was on
his hands and knees in a small clearing, searching through a pile of
rocks. He mumbled to himself as he dug into the ground, but she
couldn’t make out his words. He was definitely up to something.
He kept looking over his shoulder to make sure he hadn’t been
Had he hidden something
The witch was glad of
her dark features and black cloak. She blended in to the shadows.
Tobias paused, then
held something up in the air, studying it in the moonlight. A rough
stone was pressed between his thumb and forefinger. When the light
hit it just right, she could see its dark purple color. Her heart
fluttered like the tiny wings of a hummingbird.
She brought a trembling
hand to her mouth. Could it be?
The Fatalis stone.
It was real.
The witch stepped
closer, excitement buzzing across her skin. A twig snapped under the
heel of her boot and she froze. Tobias closed his fist around the
stone and jerked his head in her direction. He stood and peered into
She didn’t dare
move a muscle. If she were discovered now, he would be very angry
with her. Tobias Prague was a great wizard. Very old and very wise.
He could kill her with a flick of his wrist. Especially after what
she had seen out here tonight.
Without the city seal
to protect her, he could end her life and no one would ever discover
there?” he said, his voice gruff and tense. “Show
He waited a long
moment, then dropped the Fatalis stone into his pocket. He held his
palm high into the air. A blue flame formed in his hand. All around,
the trees became covered with an icy frost that seemed to glow from
within. The witch carefully slipped back into the shadows, shivering
as the cold flame cooled the area. She covered her mouth tightly to
keep her breath from being seen.
After a few moments,
Tobias dropped his hand and turned, pushing deeper into the woods.
His feet moved with swift purpose. When she felt he was a safe
distance ahead, the young witch followed him, darting silently
between the shadows.
Soon, they reached a
large circular clearing. A place with great power. She had never seen
this place before, but could feel the hum of the earth beneath her
The young witch kept
hidden on the edge of the trees, watching.
Tobias stood in the
center of the clearing, his eyes closed as if in prayer. He placed
his palms together and began to chant. She couldn’t understand
the ancient language, but she could feel the power of his words. The
ground began to rumble. She gripped the nearest tree for balance.
A brilliant light
formed between the old man’s palms. It was different from the
flame he’d produced earlier. This light was glimmering, similar
to the way the magical seal had looked as she’d stepped through