Linvin galloped to the door of his uncle. He had not yet stepped
down from the saddle when he noticed the holes in the roof of the
domicile. Linvin pulled the staff from his back and rapidly
dismounted. Rushing to the front door, he found it ajar. With a
strong kick, he cast it open and leapt into the room.
The inside was destroyed with walls and furnishings splintered
and strewn about. It was dark save for a globe of glowing magic in
the middle of the room that was nearly as big as Linvin. He
approached and viewed the sphere. It was completely transparent.
“Anvar!” he called. “Anvar, are you here?”
The sphere responded in Necromancer’s voice. “Touch the orb
and you will have the answers you seek.” Though Necromancer
was the last person Linvin would trust, his combination of fear and
curiosity compelled him to follow the directions.
When his skin made contact with the magic, he was instantly
standing in the Mandrean Throne Room. No one was there other
than Necromancer. Linvin drew on his power and glowed furiously
with his red aura.
Necromancer sneered. “There is no need for that here,
Grithinshield. You are inside the globe and none of this is real. It is
an illusion to make a point clear to your primitive mind. I am not
here, but I was at your uncle’s home. We…had words. He is now
our guest in Marinhalk. That leads me to my next point. There is
someone with a very important message for you.” He vanished like
sand caught in the wind. In his place appeared Lord Mandrean the
Thirteenth with Anvar bloodied in his magical prison at his feet.
Linvin’s first thought was one of fury. Then he remembered
himself and stood tall. “How are you alive?” Linvin asked. “I
killed you two years ago.”
Mandrean smiled as he folded his arms. “You nearly did but
Necromancer was good enough to save me. It seems you do not
finish your work as well as you think. From your appearance, I
would say my assassins were unsuccessful at ending your life.
Apparently I do not finish my work well, either. That is about to
change. As it turns out, you being alive right now is that much
better for me.
“You are an expensive adversary, Linvin. You kill my best
assassins, killed legions of my soldiers, soiled my palace and
burned half of my capital. The time has come for you to pay for
“And you have killed my father and mother,” Linvin yelled as
his anger swelled at the sight of the sad state of his uncle. “You
tried to kill me, my cousins and Anvar. Now you have taken Anvar
prisoner? Let us fight now. I will not leave your death to chance
this time around.”
“All in good time,” Mandrean answered with a grin. “You see, I
needed something to make my magic your equal. It was your
magical advantage alone that allowed you to prevail over me in the
valley.” He held the rod with the blue sapphire sparkling at its tip
in one hand and the staff in the other. “It seems your uncle had
been hiding the staff all this time so that I might not have the
power I deserve. One of you will pay for that and the other crimes
against me. Now that my power is complete, I will face you and
destroy you. I will do so in this room you see projected before you
so my subjects will see that I am indeed the better man.
“When this message ends you will find a golden tablet with
writings carved into its surface you cannot comprehend. It is a
guarantee of safe passage anywhere in my empire. Take it and
proceed with all haste to Marinhalk. Since you took so long to
reach me last time, I shall even give you a longer period to arrive.
Here in the north, the frost will soon leave the ground. If you do
not present yourself to me in this room before the frost returns, I
will fillet your uncle like a fish. If you dare to come, then I will
spare your uncle and let him go. You will take his place. His blood
is in your hands now, Linvin. Come take your punishment or he
will take it for you. But don’t make me wait too long. I am not
known for my patience.”
With a blinding flash, Linvin stood in the darkness of Anvar’s
shattered home with a gold bar at his feet. Linvin bent down and
lifted the tablet. Tears rolled down his face as he realized that his
actions were causing his uncle to suffer. Pulling himself together,
he ran to his horse and raced for his manor by the moonlight.