Authors: Carey Scheppner
Dragon Mage Trilogy
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
© 2013 Carey Scheppner. All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.
Published by AuthorHouse 5/14/2013
ISBN: 9781481741019 (sc)
ISBN: 9781481741002 (hc)
ISBN: 9781481740999 (e)
Library of Congress Control Number: 2013906741
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Table of Contents
azin woke up that morning feeling fully refreshed and went downstairs for a light breakfast. The kitchen window faced east and the morning sunlight fell across the kitchen, stretching to the wall on the other side of the room. Kazin’s mother, Carla, reached across the sink and opened the window, allowing the fresh morning air to circulate into the room. The fresh air, combined with the scrambled eggs on the table, gave Kazin a bigger appetite than he had expected. Hungrily, he started on his breakfast, barely mumbling “Good morning, Mom” between mouthfuls. Carla turned to her son with a smile. She did not take offence at the quick ‘good morning’ she received because she knew that he considered her cooking too good to resist. He was much like his father in that way. She regarded him more closely in the morning sunlight. At nineteen, he was youthful in appearance, with shoulder length blonde hair, slightly lighter than her own. His calm demeanour, a trait of his father’s, gave him a mature look. Being only of medium height, he had to contend with an endless plague of bullies during his school years. He usually managed to avoid confrontations and even found a friend who stuck up for him.
Sherman, a big overgrown boy who stood a head taller than everyone else in the class, was having difficulties with his studies. Kazin came to his aid, explaining every little detail so that the big boy was able to keep up. Sherman, who never liked bullies or what they did, often chased them off before any damage was done. Although it was nice for Kazin to have such a friend, Carla wryly remembered the trouble both boys often got into when they were in town, playing pranks on the shop owners, and upsetting the natural flow of business wherever they went.
Well, Carla sighed, that was then and this is now. Sherman left home nearly two years ago to explore the world and Kazin, sad at losing his friend, entered the school of black mages, making new friends there. Carla wondered about the choice her son had made, but her fears were laid to rest when she saw how adept he was at magic. He would study hard, practising his spells whenever he could; sometimes lighting the fire in the hearth on cold evenings; sometimes levitating heavy items that Carla couldn’t move by herself; even creating fireworks on special occasions until one day the spell backfired and the laundry on the clothes’ line went up in flames. She reprimanded him for that and put an end to the celebrations that evening, (it was her birthday), but all in all she was proud of his accomplishments at such a young age.
Carla watched as her son swallowed his last mouthful, putting his fork down on his empty plate. ‘That boy eats too fast’ Carla thought, but instead she said, “What are you up to today, Kazin?”
“I think I’ll go over to see Max and help him with his studies,” said Kazin.
“What about your own studies? You only have two weeks before the big test.”
“I know, Mom, but today is such a nice day and I’ve been studying so hard the last couple of weeks that my eyes are gonna fall out of my head if I study anymore.”
Carla was wondering the same thing herself throughout the last few weeks, bringing dinner to his room when he was so engrossed in his studies that he never noticed it was dinnertime. “O.K., but I expect you back by dinnertime, and invite Max over too.”
“Thanks, Mom.” Kazin quickly grabbed his light spring coat, knowing it was still only halfway through spring and the wind was cool. Running across the yard, he saw his father, shouted a greeting, and leaped over the fence, not even bothering to go around to the gate, which stood wide open.
His father stood and waved back, watching his son run down the lane to his friend’s house.
Kazin slowed to a walk, staying to the center of the lane where it was not as muddy from the spring runoff. Soon he came to Sherman’s parent’s place. Sam Takar, Sherman’s father, was by the gate repairing the damaged portions of fence, a result of the severe frost that spring. He looked up and saw Kazin coming down the lane. Kazin still found it hard to believe that this short balding man could have such a huge son, but then nature could be funny sometimes. “Hi, Mr. Takar.”
“Hello, Kazin. Long time no see!”
“I’ve been studying quite hard the last few weeks.” Seeing the damaged fence, Kazin added, “You should have called on me to give you a hand.”
“That’s O.K. Kazin,” said Takar. “I’ve got a young fellow to give me a hand this year. He’s a good worker, but he likes to sleep late. He needed the work and I needed his help, so we made an arrangement and he does his share. I wish Sherman were here though. He has the strength of an ox.”
Kazin chuckled. “You’re telling me! By the way, you haven’t heard from him lately, have you?”
“As a matter of fact, he wrote two days ago. He says he’ll be in the area in a week or so and wants to stop by for a visit. I’ll let you know as soon as he arrives.”
“That’d be great,” said Kazin. “I haven’t seen him in nearly two years!”
“I know,” said Takar. “He’s been so busy escorting merchant shipments that he hasn’t had a moment of rest. He’s been sending us money from time to time but Ezra wants him to send himself home instead.” Takar laughed. “She always complained he was eating us out of house and home, and now she wants to make him a huge feast!”
Kazin joined in the laughter and added, “It’s a wonder he even manages to make money with his huge appetite.”
“I’d wager his size alone would make even the wealthiest merchant hire his hide for protection,” Takar guffawed.
“You’re probably right,” said Kazin.
“Well, if you don’t mind, Kazin, I’d better go see if the new lad’s up yet. We’ve got a fence to mend.”
“Take care, Mr. Takar, and remember to let me know as soon as Sherman’s in town.”
“Will do,” said Takar. He turned and strode back up the walkway.
Max came to the doorway and said, “Can I help you?”
“Very funny,” said Kazin wryly. “That job of yours is starting to get to you.”
Max smiled and stepped outside. “I started to open my spell book but I couldn’t resist the urge to go outside and get some fresh air.”
Kazin grinned. “Great minds think alike.”
“You too, huh?”
Max was a short, dark-haired youth with a slightly heavier build than Kazin. His life on the farm made him seem rugged on the outside but inwardly he was always ready for fun.
“What do you think the test will be like?” asked Max as they passed his father’s barn on the way out.
“All I know is that it’s very hard,” said Kazin.
“Too bad they only allow one chance to do it,” said Max. “I wouldn’t mind knowing what I was headed into.”
“I have a feeling that that’s a part of the test.”
“Well, I’m gonna do everything I’ve been trained to and be as prepared as I can for whatever they throw at us,” stated Max.
“Me likewise,” said Kazin. “Just keep your concentration, Max. That’s your weak point.”
“I know. Just the same, I hope there are a lot of freezing spells required. I’m better than anybody at those.”
Kazin looked at his friend with envy. “How do you do it? I have to use every ounce of strength to cast a simple ice spell and you do it like you’ve done it all your life!”
Max shrugged. “I have to work a lot harder than you at a fire or bolt spell.”
“That’s true,” said Kazin. “I guess everyone has their strong and weak points.”
A half hour later the boys had nearly reached town. Marral was a small port town on the east side of Skull lake, with a sister town of Warral on the west.
Marral was somewhat smaller than Warral, simply because it was farther away from any major roads or cities. Despite its size, the town’s port was often busy when goods were being transported to and from Sorcerer’s Isle. There was also plenty of fresh produce, milk, and meat being shipped down river into the bigger city of Arral and beyond, even as far south as the elven lands. Elves in particular paid top price for milk and were sorely upset if the milk spoiled before reaching them.
Kazin pointed to the landing where a couple of ships were anchored. “The water’s already open and the ships are preparing to load goods. It looks like you’ll be back to work soon, Max.”
“Not if I pass the test, Kazin.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot,” said Kazin sheepishly. Max had been assigned to the shipyards by the tower while apprenticing as a mage and was working there for the past two years. He had risen to the highest level of the freezing department and was responsible for the freezing of goods to be shipped down the river. The cooling was necessary to keep the goods fresh for the duration of the journey. He was always chosen to cast a cold spell on the milk being sent to the elven lands. Many less experienced mages would make the mistake of freezing the milk or not cooling it properly, and when it arrived at its destination, it would be spoiled or even frozen for months if no mages were nearby to thaw it out properly. Some grey mages were then sent out on the ships to maintain the proper temperature during the voyage, simply because they did not need the strength of a black mage for this task. Max had always seemed to fit right in at the shipyards and Kazin never paid much attention to the fact that this was only a temporary job for him. Both he and Max yearned to become full mages, allowing them to apply for jobs with larger organizations or be assigned to assist various armies throughout the realm. Each secretly hoped to attain the level of master mage. This would allow them to have access to powerful magical artifacts and their creation.