Monday, October 1, 2018

The Sage's Reign The Final Lesson Book 2 by Shakyra Dunn

Sage's Reign
Final Lesson Book 2
Shakyra Dunn

YA Fantasy

night looms over Adrylis.

her Grimoire is lost to the Order of Helix, Leilana is left to
prepare herself in a newfound way before her return to the crown city
of Linmus to help reclaim Prince Remiel's throne. One by one,
countries lay burning at their feet. Magic is on its last legs, but
the Orb of Concord is within their reach.

the opposite spectrum, the mastermind awaits, playing puppet-master
as they march to their doom. Time is against them as the final
moonless night looms above. The final test from the Warlords of Old
has finally come into play.

The cinders crackled over the singed wood, rising through midnight’s earthy air. Gusts of wind drifted through the dry oak trees, the shades of early autumn teeming from the branches in the form of cracked leaves. The stars were absent from the sky, yet a faint glimmer hovered above.
The still night of a new moon; such times were hard to fall upon. That made things even more brilliant for such an announcement.
“You feel it, don’t you?” A gravelly voice cut through the silence, catching the attention of the group that surrounded him. “This air is thick. The stigma of the wind such as this besieges any and every lost soul, carrying them beyond the boundaries of time.”
“Master Hinju, you always make things more dramatic.”
Any means of a rebuttal were replaced by extended humming in a straight tone before finally, “Now is not the time for remarks.” Copper eyes opened to the sound of distant laughter caught in the indistinct gales, and a single glance at the source drew bitter silence. A stern expression coated his features as he gazed upon the group of fourteen seated around the open fire; no disturbances occurred, and he once more cleared his throat, running his fingers through the curly brown mop on his head.
“I have summoned you here today for your final examination.” For a moment, chatter progressed among the group, some questioning what he meant by a ‘final examination,’ and after a second glance, silence took over again. “Moving on… The fourteen of you have advanced through your courses with ease, rising through the ranks of your respective classes. You were hand-chosen by your mentors to reach this stage in your lives.”
“Master Hinju, what is this final examination?” One student piped up, a stalwart expression coating her pale features. “We’ve had plenty of tests, but this is the first that I’ve heard of this…”
“Curious as always, Leilana,” Hinju replied with a nod. “That is correct—you have had many of these examinations, using your time to study magic and overcome obstacles placed before you.” The man cocked his head to the right and smirked. “But how often have you been sought out by the Headmaster himself for one of them?” Leilana grew silent, tucking a loose strand of her shoulder-length dark hair behind her ear.
“He’s not wrong…” one of the students mumbled.
“I guess this is the first time we’ve had someone like Master Hinju try to teach us…”
“Your examination on the night of emptiness will be a test of your overall skill level and valor.” Hinju rose to a stand, extending his hand up towards the evening sky. “As Maesters and Arcana, under the blessing of an innovative and invisible moon, you will be guided by none other than yourself. I chose this night specifically for you to give your all.” The students turned to one another in silence before continuing to listen to their Headmaster’s words. “Two by two, you will duel one another. The winners of each respective battle will progress towards the title that you each so crave—a chance to grow closer to becoming a Warlord.”
Leilana’s eyes widened at the statement, and she clutched the golden-encrusted grimoire in her arms closer to her chest, the metal vines lining the book pricking her fingers. So, that was the prize for winning a duel. Seemed simple enough.
“Would anyone like to volunteer for the first battle?”
The kingdom of Linmus was abound in buildings and bustling crowds. The market was packed to the brim, and from his extended tower, he could see the forests stretch for miles on end. Further right was a cascading waterfall, his hidden passage into Adrylis. One day, he would walk through the water, watch the ripples disappear behind him. He could escape, if only for a little while.
“There’s so much to see,” Rem told Solus. “There’s a world beyond this kingdom. And someday, I want to meet all my subjects. I want to learn from them and see how they live.”
“The world is vast,” Solus agreed. He wanted to sigh rather than tip the boundaries of their conversation, for the truth was far out of reach from his young master.
Rem laid his hands on the windowsill and watched the mid-spring chill graze the trees from afar. How he wished that he could kiss the leaves himself. “My father got to experience a life like that at my age, and so did my mother. Why shouldn’t I have the same treatment? Why should I remain a prisoner in this castle for the rest of my life just because I was born differently?”
“Why don’t we take a trip to our favorite spot?” Solus responded, to which Rem smiled softly. It was best to consider the little details in their plans, and they always shared their best thoughts until the waterfall. Preferably with cream puffs, which added a moment’s bliss into any derails.
“How are we getting there without running into people? Surely we can’t just walk out the front door.”
Solus playfully smirked. “You know every nook and cranny; you tell me.” Rem gestured towards an open door, Solus trailing behind him. Rem shut the door once they were inside, running to a window and prying the latch open.
“Ever noticed that the castle walls are full of vines?” Solus shrugged, keeping an open mind on the subject. “My father used to tell me stories about how my mother would climb up to him. It was like he was playing the role of the princess, and she was the knight coming to rescue him. This is how they would meet before they were able to marry.”
“So, your suggestion is for us to climb down the vines,” Solus said flatly. “Isn’t that dangerous? What if you slip and break your neck? Or better yet, you have magic to secure you. Will you be catching me if I were to fall?”
“Only if you’re not careful, princess.” Solus shot Rem a glare, but the young prince was already taking his climb onto the windowsill and blatantly ignored him. Rem turned around, holding out a hand towards Solus, his free hand behind his back. “Come on, what’s the harm?” Solus stepped closer, wary of the distance between them.
“Please get down, Remiel,” he warned.
“Oh, I think my feet are slipping,” Rem egged on, his toes bouncing on the rim of the windowsill.
“I mean it,” Solus snarled, holding up a hand in attempts to stall his prince’s cruel intentions. This wasn’t uncommon for either of them. Remiel was full of tricks, but Solus could dispel them just as easily. “Come down from there.”
“You are not my father or mother,” Rem replied, both hands firmly placed over each side of the condensed space filling the window.
“This isn’t the time to show off!” Solus tried to reason, noticing that the situation was becoming dire. “You’ll hurt yourself-” Rem winked at him before jumping. Solus shrieked in surprise, racing for the window without a second thought, reaching out for Rem despite the increasing distance between them.
Rem hit the ground, but not in the form of a pancake like Solus anticipated. Instead, he charmed a barrier to manifest underneath his body, cushioning his fall. He was laughing the whole way down, loving the rush of wind across his face, kicking his feet like a toddler upon reaching the courtyard’s cut grass. Solus’s eyes narrowed, his knuckles going white from how tight his fists were clenched. So that was why he’d made such a risky jump.
“Come on down, Solus Brenner!” Rem called, though he was cautious about his volume in case someone else was around. “I’ll catch you like you wanted.”
Solus was reluctant for mere seconds before obliging, diving into the barrier that Rem placed at his side, patting his hand on the grass. Solus dusted off his clothes as Rem stood up, trailing over to him with his arms behind his back.
“You had nothing to worry about,” Rem told him. Solus snarled a second time, pushing Rem hard, knocking him back to the ground. “Hey!” he whined. “That hurt!”
“Oh, you’ll live,” he hissed. “Though, you almost didn’t. And for that, you can deal with a push. Now on your toes. We’re leaving.”
Leilana must have read through the notes that Hinju provided half a dozen times now, and she still couldn’t comprehend melding human emotions with magic. There was so much about the concept that seemed off-putting. The radio on her desk was blaring, the discussion heavy on news of the kingdom of Linmus. The details were nearly lost before she decided to acknowledge the static-filled device.
“It has been five days since the kingdom of Linmus was struck. No one is certain of the circumstances, and there appear to be no survivors from the castle grounds, with few having fled the city limits. Among the fallen are King Somano Vesarus and Queen Rira Lurin-Vesarus. The only remaining heir to the throne, Prince Remiel, has been declared missing-”
Leilana reached for the dial of her pocket radio and turned it down to a lower setting, continuing to look over her notes. She was stumped on the field of laughter. There were so many interpretations that Hinju could have specified for his notions, and instead, he stuck to the most literal statement.
Laughter is the expression of true happiness. Encountering someone that may possess the totem of laughter is most evident in how they carry themselves—they walk in the present, ignoring the past and looking to the future with open arms.
Come on, seriously? How many people still had reasons to laugh and be merry with war at their doorstep? How could they live a life where the future wasn’t even guaranteed?
Closing the spiral-bound notebook, she turned the radio up to listen to the news about Linmus again to find infomercials about ‘the land of sunny springs, Kinsley’ playing. They were holding a formal to shed some light in the world of chaos. It wasn’t the first time she had heard of Kinsley, but from acquired knowledge, it wasn’t her ideal vacation spot. Too much sun was bad for the skin.
She laid her head on her desk, giving a passing glance to the open window, where the school’s pride stood gallantly in the form of a mahogany tree. The skyline reflected a melodious blend of ginger, rose and amber, the premature light hovering over Adrylis promising a bright start to this pilgrimage she was granted. She turned to look over her room. It was minuscule but fit for one due to its custom options. Her floor was scattered in paperwork here and there, the wall space taken up with quotes she had written down from her professors:
Inspiration is everywhere.’
Magic stems from the comprehension of others.’
Happiness is not one note.’
Every moment spent in determination, every step in any direction held meaning. That was something she had come to learn through her time cooped up in this room, bound to her elements, spending each day diligently reviewing magical spells and the mystic word of Lasette. This would be her last time in this room as a student. When she set foot in this tiny space she called home again, she would be either a Warlord or a failure. She didn’t want to consider being trapped as a lowly Arcana for all eternity. Such a fate seemed too cruel with so much possibility at her doorstep.

Final Lesson
Final Lesson Book 1

none but yourself."

Erovina's got a bid for power as she takes the final test to become
one of her realm's Warlords. As such, she sets out to travel the
lands of Adrylis and log magical totems from respectful folk with
only one hitch—no ancestral help. The quest is a pilgrimage to
learn the basics of human nature. Some would call concepts like
gentleness and passion fables of the heart.

another perspective, war brews in the kingdom of Linmus, throwing
Adrylis into chaos. Prince Remiel Vesarus finds himself in exile,
vengeance on his mind for those who tore his life asunder. His
attendant Solus Brenner at his side, they plan on restoring their
kingdom against all odds.

has drawn these two parties together. Conjoined at the hip, the
traveler, prince and right-hand will learn the old saying of magic:
"It always comes with a price."

Dunn can't stray away from the impression that there is always an
adventure around every corner! When she isn't playing the role of the
Creator, she is marching through the worlds of her favorite video
game characters or taking drives around her city to see the sights.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, she currently resides in Cedar Rapids,
Iowa, striving to experience more than the little town.

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1 comment:

  1. If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?