Read The Silent Tempest (Book 2) Online

Authors: Michael G. Manning

Tags: #fantasy, #magic, #wizard, #mage, #sorcery

The Silent Tempest (Book 2)

BOOK: The Silent Tempest (Book 2)
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The
Silent Tempest

 

By

Michael
G. Manning

 

Cover by Amalia Chitulescu

Editing by Grace Bryan Butler

© 2015 by Michael G. Manning

All rights reserved.

 

For more
information about the Mageborn series check out the author’s website:

 

www.magebornbooks.com

 

Or visit him on
his Facebook page:

 

www.facebook.com/MagebornAuthor

 

Prologue

“How about tonight?” asked Matthew.

“Tonight what?” I responded, although I already had a
good idea what he was wanting.

“You can finish the story.”

Moira walked up just then, “You’ve been putting us off
for a week now.”

“It isn’t a very pleasant tale,” I reminded them.

Matthew nodded, “I know, I’ve started having dreams.”

That got my attention. I knew that being my first
child, he would eventually face the same knowledge that I had been born with,
but I had hoped it would be later. Much of it was depressing, and other parts
were guaranteed to ruin the carefree innocence of his youth.

He saw the look on my face, “Dad, don’t.”

“Don’t what?” I said, trying to cover my feelings.

“Don’t give me that look. I’m not a kid anymore.”

I did my best not to laugh. Every time I heard that
line from one of them it provoked the same response, and I knew that it
wouldn’t be appreciated. Naturally, from my perspective they would always be
children, at least until they were older than I was, which was unlikely to
happen. But I knew that from their viewpoint it was an entirely different
matter, they
weren’t
the children they had once been. They weren’t
infants, or toddlers, or even pre-adolescents anymore, they were teenagers.
“What sort of dreams?” I asked after a moment.

“About what you told us—about Daniel,” he responded.

“Probably because the story sparked your recall,” I
said, nodding. “I shouldn’t have told you all of that. It’s started your mind
down a path that would be better left until later.”

“Well, it’s too late now,” he told me. “Besides, I
think the story helps.”

“How so?”

“The parts I remember, the parts you told us already,
those don’t seem as bad. It’s like I’m thinking about something I’ve read, and
less like something horrible that I actually lived. But I’m starting to
remember more, and it really bothers me. If you tell me the rest, maybe it
won’t seem so real when I dream about it. Maybe it will be more like just a
story…”

And less like your personal sin against an
entire race,
I thought, finishing his sentence
silently. “That makes sense,” I agreed. “Let’s go sit at the table, this will
take a while.”

“Let me go find Lynarralla,” said Moira. “She’s going
to want to hear the rest too.”

Matthew and I waited for a quarter of an hour until
she returned, bringing Tyrion and Lyralliantha’s child with her. The serious
young She’Har girl took a seat at the table with us. Once everyone was settled,
I took a deep breath and began.

“Last time, I believe we stopped after Tyrion fought
the krytek, and things had gotten rather peaceful. The years after that were
pretty quiet for him, but despite Lyralliantha’s presence and the lack of
fighting, Tyrion was growing restless. At heart he was lonely, for the She’Har
were not human, and despite her best efforts, Lyralliantha was not always the
best company.

“I’ll skip forward to the time when things began to
happen again. Ten years had passed, and Tyrion had begun working on a stone
house, a place he could call his own…”

Chapter
1

Tyrion ran his hands down the stone, feeling its
smooth edges. He had never had any training as a stone cutter, but his
abilities gave him a considerable advantage. The stone itself was in ample
supply, and Lyralliantha had no objection to allowing him to venture beyond the
Illeniel Grove to obtain what he needed. Transporting it in large quantities
from the hills was a lot of work, though.

His first real problem when he began constructing the
house, was joining the stones. He knew absolutely nothing about mortar, and
his first attempts at making it resulted in something that was less useful than
plain mud. He considered trying to convince Lyralliantha to let him travel to
Lincoln, in hopes of finding a stone-mason who would be willing to teach him
what he needed to know. In the end, he decided it would be better if he did
things his own way.

Tyrion’s solution had been to craft an enchantment
that would permanently bind the stones together. Since he could easily cut
them to exactly the shape or size he required, he could fit them together
without gaps and the final product was as strong as or stronger than if the
entire structure had been built from a single stone.

‘Enchantment’ was the term he had started using for
his new form of magic. Lyralliantha had been very firm in stating that what he
did was
not
spell-weaving, although it bore many similarities. The
basic geometry that his enchanting used was based on triangular shapes fitted
together, each containing a rune identity that provided unique properties.
Spell-weaving was based on smaller hexagons with a more complex geometry but
simpler symbology.

Both magics produced similar effects, both were
permanent, but enchanting made it possible for a human wizard to create long
lasting effects through extensive planning and preparation, while spell-weaving
was a product of the She’Har’s innate seed-mind. Their magic was spontaneous,
while enchanting was a labor of time and effort.

“I still don’t understand why you insist on doing
this,” said a voice behind him. It didn’t startle him, though. His mind had
noted Lyralliantha’s careful approach several minutes before.

Tyrion turned to regard her with his physical eyes.
Magesight rendered her form and features, but it was a poor substitute for
seeing her painted by the late afternoon sunlight. Her hair was a shimmering
silver that seemed to capture the sun, even as it framed the vivid blue color
of her eyes. “I explained this already,” he responded. “I want a place of my
own.”

“I could have had one grown for you, and it would have
been much easier.”

“I wanted to design it myself.”

“I could have accommodated any design you desired.”

“And that’s exactly what I
didn’t
want,” he
explained. “I’m not a pet. I don’t want you to provide for me. I want to do
this for myself. Besides, I have specific ideas that would be difficult for
you to produce.”

“Enlighten me,” she said.

“Privacy,” he answered. “I’m building something that
your people, these trees…” he gestured to the massive god-trees surrounding
them, “… won’t be able to see into.”

“Why is that so important to you?”

He stared at her, thinking. After living among the
She’Har for more than a decade, he still found them alien. His relationship
with Lyralliantha only served to highlight that fact for him on a daily basis.
“I’m not sure how to explain it,” he admitted. “Humans are social creatures,
but not to the extent that your people are. We value our individuality, and
part of that is reflected in a need to be apart from others, even others of our
own kind.”

“If you wish for me to stay with you, then you will
not be alone,” observed the She’Har woman.

“I don’t need to be completely alone, and not all of
the time,” said Tyrion. “And besides, you don’t count, you’re my mate.”

“I am
not
your mate,” she stated firmly. “We
will not produce offspring.”

He sighed heavily. The She’Har had difficulty with
emotional contexts; for them most words had rigid definitions. They had
discussed procreation before, but since any child they produced together would
be ‘merely’ human, and therefore a slave, he had told her he would rather
remain childless. He had already had too many children, and he was a father to
none of them.

“I don’t mean mate in that sense,” he explained. “We
are partners and companions, like family.”

“We have sex. You told me before that family members
do not do such things.”

“Not that sort of family,” he told her. “Family can
mean more than just people who are related to one another. In this case, I’m
referring to love.”

“That word is more problematic than any other.”

“Just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean it
doesn’t apply to you.”

She frowned, “Despite the brevity of your language, it
is filled with ambiguity. Erollith is much more concise, the words do not have
multiple or vague meanings.”

Tyrion smiled, “Context is everything, and it allows us
to convey emotions in our speech, something I find very lacking in Erollith.
Do your people have a word for ‘spouse’, or life-partner? Surely in your
race’s extensive history you’ve had to create a word for such unions, even if
it was just to describe them in one of your enslaved races.”

The She’Har had a long history that went beyond the
world that humanity lived on. Tyrion had learned from Thillmarius that the
She’Har had come from another world, passing through different dimensions to
colonize new places. The Krytek, their warrior minions were often constructed
in the image of some of the bizarre creatures they had fought and enslaved
during their long history. The She’Har children themselves were usually
created in the form of whatever race was most appropriate to their current
world. In this case, they had adopted the human race as their primary ‘child’
form, but their true adult form was that of the gigantic ‘god-trees’ that
covered the world.

“The most similar word in our language would be ‘kianthi’,
but it has not been used since our most distant ancestors left the
first-world,” she answered.

“Kee-yan-thee,” said Tyrion, enunciating carefully to
make sure he had the sound of the word right.

Lyralliantha nodded, “The earliest of our people had partners
to help them, acting cooperatively when moving to colonize a new region. Our
first home had many enemies, and it was necessary for our survival.”

“A male-female pair?”

“Male and female are misleading terms,” she corrected.
“The kianthi helped to seed a new grove. Many failed, but the most successful
survived and flourished. Eventually we overcame all our natural enemies, and
the first-world was filled, as this one is.”

“And the two who had paired up, they would do anything
for one another?” asked Tyrion.

“If a kianthi died, they could not create a new tree.
They supported each other in every way possible,” she explained.

“When I cut my collar off, you nearly killed yourself
trying to save me,” he noted. “Was that rational?”

“No,” she admitted.

“But it was the sort of thing these ‘kianthi’ of yours
would do for one another.”

“It would be logical for them to do so. It did not
involve any of the intangible concepts you humans ascribe to such things. It
was not for love,” she declared.

“How do you know?”

“Because my people do not function like that.”

“They don’t
now
,” agreed Tyrion, “but you
weren’t there. You don’t know what your ancient ancestors were like.”

“Those who have eaten the loshti, the lore-wardens,
they remember,” she stated.

Certain select She’Har children were given a special
fruit that passed on the collected knowledge of one of the god-trees, and every
tree that had come before it, if it had also been a lore-warden. Some of the
trees, and by extension some of the current lore-wardens, had memories that
stretched back all the way to their original home, millennia before the
present.

“You should ask one of them,” suggested Tyrion. “The
answer may be different than you expect.”

Lyralliantha became still.

That, in itself, was nothing unusual, the She’Har were
often notable for their lack of unnecessary movement, but it was the suddenness
of it that caught his attention. Tyrion stopped working to give her his full
attention, “What?”

“The elders have offered me the loshti,” she said
without preamble.

That surprised him, “But aren’t you the youngest of
the Illeniel Grove?” He wasn’t sure how such things worked, but it didn’t make
much sense to him that the very youngest of their people would be given
something considered to be one of their highest honors.

“Yes.”

“Then why you? Aren’t there many others with greater
standing?”

“You misunderstand the purpose of the loshti and their
reason for offering it,” she told him.

His eyes narrowed, “You said it was to pass knowledge
down, from generation to generation…”

Lyralliantha nodded, “That is correct, but the choice
of to whom it is given is also guided by knowledge, or rather the acquisition
of it. A child who displays great wisdom, who reveals new insights, or shows
signs of innovation, those are the ones they seek, in order to add to the
wealth of the loshti.”

That made sense, now that he looked at it from that
angle. Thillmarius was the first lore-warden he had met. His most notable
characteristic was his clinical fascination with studying humans. Byovar, one
of the Illeniel lore-wardens, had made a hobby of studying Barion, the human
language.

Tyrion stared at Lyralliantha, “But what have you
done?” The question would have been rude, if he had been speaking to a human,
but her people were blunt and direct. She would take no offense at such a
remark.

She returned his gaze without blinking. “You often
tell me that humans learn from their mistakes. The She’Har do not make many
mistakes, but when we do, we also try to learn as much as we can from the
experience.”

“Do you want this?”

She blinked, momentarily confused, “Please explain
your question more clearly.”

He stood and stepped closer, putting his hands on her
shoulders to physically remind her of their relationship, “Do you want to take
the Loshti? What effect will it have on
us
?”

Lyralliantha pulled away from him, “It will have no
effect on
us
, or whatever your vague plural pronoun implies. I will
change, you will not. My goals and priorities will likely change as well, as I
assimilate the knowledge of ages. I doubt I will still be the person you are
familiar with.”

“What about love?”

“What about it?”

He winced at her cool tone, reminded again of her all
too inhuman upbringing. “Will you still feel the same for me?”

“I feel pain when you are hurting, and my loyalties
have become irrationally disordered where you are concerned, but I still do not
know if that qualifies as love…”

“…but will you still have those feelings afterward?”
he interrupted.

“I do not know. My guess is that I will not. My mind
is but a drop in what will be an ocean of knowledge and experience.” A feeling
of uncertainty, or perhaps fear, emanated from her.

“Don’t do it then,” Tyrion told her.

“I am a child of the She’Har,” she stated flatly.

Tyrion’s hand snaked out with sudden speed, catching
her by the hair and pulling her head close to his, “You are mine.”

She didn’t struggle, instead, meeting his gaze with
languid eyes, “Technically, you belong to me,
slave.

He kissed her, before trailing his way along her jaw
and then whispering in her ear, “Until I ask you to remove this collar.” The
statement was a bluff of course; while she had previously agreed to his terms,
removal of his slave collar would make him a target of every one of the
She’Har.

“Unless I decided to refuse,” she purred back, a
rising heat in her voice.

His teeth found her throat, nipping lightly at the
tender flesh there. “In that case, we will die together.”

“Would you really prefer that?” she asked.

“If the only other option were losing you—I might,” he
admitted.

Her eyes softened ever so slightly. The change in
expression was so subtle it might have been missed by someone else, but he had
had years of practice reading her quiet face. “You have a year and a half to
decide. The loshti takes time to mature.”

A sense of relief passed through him, but he hid it.
Stepping back, he told her, “Oh good, then I have time to complete this house.”

Lyralliantha growled at his seeming dismissal, and
spellwoven vines began to grow around them, trapping him together with her in a
small bower. “You have something else to finish first.”

BOOK: The Silent Tempest (Book 2)
12.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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