Few stories have been as fun to write as “Crucible.” Stories that are fun to write likewise become fun to read.
Seminary student Grant von Wold has found his way Beyond the Veil, a world overlapping our own. On this side, he’s studying for ministry. Over there, he’s a gifted mage. As he grows in power, he’s been trained, honed, sharpened at the Tower of the Moons. To graduate, every mage has to face the Trials, a series of tests to reveal their true nature.
The Trials will pit him against against himself and his deepest desires, both in magic and not. He’ll need all of his wits and all of his power to survive. You see, the Trials aren’t pass/fail. They’re pass/die.
One of my favorite series to read has been DragonLance. Since I first picked up DRAGONS OF AUTUMN TWILIGHT, I have loved the setting of Krynn and thought about writing in it. While I obviously can’t as the setting isn’t mine, I let my love of the setting and of portal fantasy combine to make the new world of Beyond the Veil. Grant’s magical strength follows the phases of the moon, peaking at the 1/2-full mark and reaching its lowest at the 1/2-new mark.
Take a peek at Grant preparing for his last day of school.
Arrayed in the red robes of neutral wizards, Grant Von Wold nervously stood in the ground-level audience chamber before the seated leaders of the Order of Three. Raised from the stone by magic, the Tower of the Moons was bigger on the inside than on the outside. Massive stone walls with miniature cracks told the story of many magical battle that had been fought in this room.
The twenty-three-year-old mage had come here to prove his worth by taking the Trials. Success meant he would be a mage in full standing. Failure almost always meant death. He let out a breath and pushed his glasses back up on his nose. They were always sliding down. He tried to smooth down part of his brown hair, but some places never did settle.
Beside him stood his white-robed girlfriend, Karen Hahn. She carried the Staff of All Dragons, a magical length of wood with a dragon head carved on the end. A blue belt held her lamb’s wool robes together. He had known her for years before they started dating, four months ago, and her hair had simply been light brown back then. The white streaks it now bore came from her own Trials. Reluctantly, she let go of his hand to step away.
So much had happened in those four months. He had gone from merely a seminary student in the regular world to also being a magician in this one. This setting, for want of a better word- referred to as Beyond the Veil-existed alongside the everyday world, but few could see it or cross into it. “In, with, and under” is how Grant put it to describe the relationship of the worlds. Lutherans and Catholics who had crossed over got the joke; most others didn’t.
He watched Karen step to the side of the audience chamber and turn back to face him. Trying to give her a reassuring smile, he marveled at her sculpted cheeks, bright blue eyes, and trim waist. She smiled back, but the trembling smile and a single bead of sweat running down her temple bespoke her nerves.
Near her stood three robed mages with the hoods pulled forward over their faces. All an onlooker could tell was that the red-robed and black-robed apprentices were female and the white-robed mage was male. All three had recently survived their Trials and then been apprenticed to one of the Tower heads seated on their thrones. They were the top students of the past year. Grant knew the neutral and good apprentices but not the evil apprentice.
Read it today from Amazon.