The Seven Orders of Magic:

Book of Spells

by Candice

Alternate Universe

I do not own the Magnificent Seven nor do I make any money from this story.

All copyrights apply.

Thanks to my beta readers.

I love the Dragonlance series and Lord of the Rings. Taking the elves and dwarves from both and the orcs from LOTR and the draconians from Dragonlance I have put them with M7 in a world of magic, along with other creatures. The seven are mages of Four Towers each one has his power and order that he belongs to, they also all have swords and a weapon of choice. To better understand this story read ‘Instructions of Life’ first.

JD came running down the stairs and along the passage towards the dining hall. As he entered he saw Ezra and Vin sitting at one of the many tables that were scattered round the large room. The two were taking a break after the hectic weeks the seven had just had. Chris had had them doing double the rounds, he also questioned them closely when they returned but wouldn’t say why. JD shifted his white cloak off his shoulder as he walked toward them,.

"Vin, Ezra. I’ve been looking for you," he said adjusting the sword on his hip. Ezra looked up from the book he was reading, a faint smile on his face and went back to reading. With out taking his eyes off the two of them, JD went to pick up a glass of water that was on the table, along with Vin and Ezra’s swords. He missed and tried again and missed again. Confused he looked down at the glass and tried to pick it up, he fingers went through it.

"EZRA!" he yelled in frustration, "Your illusions are very irritating."

Ezra calmly looked up again, "It’s not my fault, Vin asked me to do it."

"I did not," said Vin.

"What ever you say, Mr Tanner of the Green Order. So Mr Dunne of the White, you were looking for us?" asked Ezra.

"No, I wasn’t, Chris was," JD answered.

Both Ezra and Vin jumped up,.

"Why didn’t you say so earlier?" said Vin.

"Is it to do with Orrin’s ill health?" asked Ezra.

"I dunno, where did you hear that?" asked JD.

"I have my sources," answered Ezra.

"Well, we’d best be going," said Vin reaching for his green cloak that lay cross the back of his chair, Ezra hadn’t taken his red one off. Picking up their swords they set off to Chris’ office.

The mood was tense when they enter the office, everyone was standing. Waiting for them.

"Glad you could join us," said Chris sarcastically.

"Always a pleasure," countered Ezra.

"What did you want us for?" asked Buck leaning against the wall, his hand resting on his sword hilt.

Chris glanced round the room, seeing they were all there, their cloaks the colour of their order. Buck in blue, Nathan in yellow, Josiah in brown and himself in black.

"As you all may have noticed Orrin has been absent from Four Towers. Also there have been a lot of rumours going around that he has been ill or retired. The truth is someone tried to poison Orrin," said Chris.

There was silence in the room,.

"Why would someone want to kill a High Mage on the Council?" asked Nathan.

"It was a decoy, someone stole the Book of Spells," said Chris.

"What, how?".


"Are you serious?".

All were asked at once. Chris raised his hand for silence.

"We only found out the book was stolen this morning, we don’t know how long it has been gone."

"When do we start looking?" asked Nathan.

Chris looked at each one of them,.

"Yesterday. Pack light."

The seven were all gathered in the courtyard at the entrance of the Four Towers. All had their swords and other weapons of their choice. Vin had a longbow and Ezra a crossbow, Nathan had extra knifes while Buck carried a broadsword strapped to his back, JD had a twin set of daggers. None carried any armour or mail. Packing last minute food supplies, they heard a cry from the front gates,.


Looking down the length of the yard they saw the rider, he was coming in fast. He didn’t slow until he stopped in the middle of the courtyard. He had the hood of his cloak pulled far forward, covering his face. He looked round briefly,.

"I am looking for the Seven, be they here?".

As one, the mages and towns people going about their business in Four Towers turned to Chris and the others. The rider saw this and turned to them as well,.

"Are you whom I seek?" he asked.

Chris stepped forward, .

"I am Chris Larabee. What do you want?".

The rider bowed his head in greeting,.

"I know of your errand," he said.

"What errand?" asked Chris innocently.

The rider urged his horse closer to Chris,.

"You waste time, you don’t have playing ignorant. Your Book of Spells is stolen and I know who stole It," he hissed.

"How do you know?" asked Chris .

"He stole something from us," the rider answered.

"This is not the place to speak of such things," said Chris.

"Then we shall have to talk on the road," the rider said.

"No, come in and si…" started Chris .

"You do not know your peril," snarled the rider, he continued in a calmer voice, "Leave now as you were going to and I shall follow."

Chris stood watching the rider, deciding.

"Time is not your own. Would you feel better if you had my name? It is Leagan Silveroak."

"Leagan Silveroak, that sounds like a elven name," said Buck .

"It would made sense that elves had elven names," said Leagan.

"You’re an elf!" exclaimed JD loudly. A group of men on the outskirts of the yard fixed their gaze on the seven and the elf.

"It seems we must leave now," said Chris seeing the unwanted attention.

The seven mounted and followed Leagan out the main gates.

They rode in silence till the town around the Four Towers was out of sight, they would see the towers for many days still.

Chris reigned his horse to a stop, he turn to face Leagan, who was off to one side. His hood was off, his long blond hair caught the faint breeze.

"We are on the road, speak now. Who stole the Book of Spells?".

"I do not know his name but I know where he is bound," Leagan said.

"How?" demanded Chris, the rest of the seven waited patiently.

Leagan looked round, he seemed nervous.

"What do you know of the Book?" he asked fixing his black eyes to Chris’ blue ones.

"Tell us what you know and I will tell you if we heard it," said Chris.

"You have to trust me," pleaded Leagan.

"I don’t have to do anything, I could even go back to the Towers," baited Chris.

"NO! I will tell you what I know of the book, I’ll tell you true for my father helped write the Book," said Leagan quickly.

"Your father, you lie already. The Book has been in the Tower for more than a thousand years. You look no older that twenty-four," said Buck unthinkingly.

"The Book has been in your Tower for 1284 years. Yes, I look no older than twenty-four. Indeed twenty-four is in my age, I am six hundred and twenty-four years old," explained Leagan .

Silence greeted Leagan’s words. Chris recovered first.

"Your father was a mage?" he asked.

"Yes, thou I am not," said Leagan .

"An elven mage, I would love to meet him," said Josiah.

"Sadly, that can not be. For he was the last," said Leagan.

"What do you know of the Book?" said Chris reminding them of the task at hand.

Leagan again looked around.

"There is no one around," said Vin.

"Not yet," said Leagan.

"Is someone following you?" asked Chris.

"Yes, orcs, they have been following me for many days. In my haste to find you I did leave a clear path," said Leagan .

"The Book," said Chris.

"Never speak lightly of that book and anything connected to it. All I can tell you now is that we have to get the book back, it is very important. You have to get to the mines of Gornthain in the Indigo Mountains."

"The mines of Gornthain, it will take days to get there, two weeks at least," said Vin.

Leagan nodded,.

"At least and we must ride for we now have two enemies on our tail."

"Two?" asked Buck.

"Yes, orcs were following me and those men from your town are following as well."

"Why would the men from Four Towers follow us?" asked JD.

"We have an elf with us and hunting elves is still a sport enjoyed by many, even thou it’s banned along with slavery, it’s still around," said Vin .

"Maybe so, but they have been in town for a week before Mr Silveroak arrived," said Ezra.

"There are many who want the Book of Spells and with it stolen, it would be easier get hold of it," said Leagan.

"How would they know the book was stolen?" asked Vin.

Leagan shrugged,.

"They have ways I suppose," he said.

"Who or what else can we expect to follow us?" asked Chris.

"I do not know," answered Leagan.

"Why do they want the Book so badly?" asked Nathan.

"There are many powerful spells in that book, one in particu…" Leagan stopped suddenly, looking down the road towards the town,.

"We must ride, our friends from Four Towers are in sight."

The seven turned to look down the road.

"I don’t see anything," said Buck.

"Nor shall you Buck, you don’t have the eyes of an elf," said Josiah.

"Enough talking, lets go," commanded Chris.

They set off at a gallop.

They rode for the rest of the day and well into the night. Chris called halt at midnight, they were still on grass plains, they would reach the forest in a few days. They set up camp in silence, watches were set. Chris had first watch, followed by Buck then Nathan.

Nathan woke the others at sunrise, they ate a small breakfast before setting off again. They left the road to cut across country, hoping not to involve any of the nearby villages. They had enough supplies to last them the journey to Gornthain, but they would have to buy supplies on the other side for the trip back.

"We should get some distance between us and the orcs and men," said Vin as they rode at a swift pace.

"Or if we can’t put some distance between maybe they would follow our tracks else where?" said Ezra.

"Trick them, how?" asked JD.

Ezra sighed,.

"Mr Dunne of the White. I am an illusionist, I can do anything."

"You have to be close to the illusion for it to work," said JD.

"I see you have been paying attention to your teachings," said Josiah.

JD gave Ezra a smug smile. Ezra gave a fake exasperated sigh, .

"If you had paid closer attention, you would have known that I could just charm an object to sustain the spell for a short period of time."

"How long?" asked Chris.

"A few hours, maybe half a day," answered Ezra seriously.

"How long to prepare?" asked Leagan.

"Not long, a few minutes," said Ezra.

"We have to do something, we don’t just have orcs on our tail," said Leagan, looking back down the road, "I see neither at the moment."

"Only the orcs will follow the fake trail, if we suddenly veer off in some odd direction, those men will know something is up," said Vin.

"You’re right, could you hide our tracks as we go?" asked Nathan.

"I could, but then we would have to move slower than this, I have to be in contact with the earth to control it," explained Vin.

"Hah," yelled Buck, "But I don’t have to be in contact with water to control it, with all the moisture in the air I can bring rain."

"Yes, it would wash away our tracks but then we would also get wet," said Ezra.

"I will call it to fall behind us, would that suit you, m’ lord," said Buck with a mock bow. Ezra gave him an amused smiled. They slowed down to a gentle walk so Buck could call the rain. Rising his left hand, fingers apart, Buck spoken softly seemingly to himself. Above them, the sky started to darken as clouds gather. The temperature dropped as the rain started to fall in the distance. It had only been raining a few minutes when suddenly the wind picked up strongly, driving the rain towards fast.

"Buck, stop the rain," yelled Chris but at that moment there was a bright flash of lighting followed by the roll of thunder. A violent storm broke upon them. The horses danced around in fright, Leagan laid a calming hand on his horse’s neck as he tried to calm the other animals with words, JD’s yell interrupted him.

"Can you hear that voice?".

Leagan stopped to listen,.

"I hear nothing," he yelled back over the sound of the wind just as another flash of lighting lit the sky around them.

"Buck!" shouted Chris again, Buck was having difficulty controlling his horse. Leagan jumped off his horse and ran over to Buck, grabbing hold of the reins he spoke to the horse in elven. Once his horse was calm Buck waved his hand once overhead, spoke a word of command and the rain stopped and the sky cleared.

"Did you hear the voice?" JD asked the others.

"I heard nothing, are you sure?" asked Leagan.

"Yes, I heard it clearly," answered JD.

"Over that roaring gale and rain?" asked Ezra.

"Yes," said JD almost shouting .

"What was it saying?" asked Josiah.

"I don’t know, I couldn’t understand it," said JD.

"Then how do you know it was a voice, it could have been the wind," said Buck, "It was blowin’ pretty hard."

"I know it was someone saying something," JD said adamantly.

"Did you hear anything?" asked Josiah looking at Leagan.

Leagan looked at each of the seven, then back down the road.

"It could have been anything," he said.

"But did you hear it?" pressed Chris.

Leagan met Chris’ gaze.

"No," he said.

"Well then, if an elf didn’t hear it…" Buck left the sentence unfinished.

"That does not mean JD did not hear it," said Leagan "Someone sent the rain back to us."

Silence hung in the air.

"True," said Josiah.

"They are still following us and they have a mage with them, strong enough to match you. We do not have time to linger over this problem now," said Leagan.

With that Leagan got on his wet horse and the seven rode off towards the mountains, the sun slowly drying them.

They kept quite a fast pace for five days in hope of losing their tail before they reached the forest the following day. They had spent the past days getting to know each other, JD spent most of the time showing Leagan little illusionist tricks Ezra had taught him. Setting up camp on that night, Ezra wondered aloud if they would have to ride the whole way to Gornthain at their current pace.

"Do you wish the end of the world and the coming of evil?" asked Leagan.

All activities stopped.

"Well, no, of course not. No. What would cause the end of the world? The Book of Spells?" asked Ezra lightly.

"Never speak lightly of the Book," hissed Leagan.

"You have said that before," said Chris, "Why does the Book scare you?".

"It would scare you too, if you knew what was in it," answered Leagan.

"What’s in it?" Chris asked making it clear he wanted an answer.

Leagan was silent for a moment,.

"A very powerful spell," he said at last.

"How powerful?" asked Chris.

"It caused the Black Forest," answered Leagan.

The camp was silent.

"What’s the Black Forest?" asked JD.

Silence linger until Leagan turned to JD,.

"You have never heard of the Black Forest?" he said.

"I have heard of it, but no one will tell me what it is," answered JD.

"Everyone fears it. I will tell you tell you about it," said Leagan, "It is a forest not far from Four Towers. It is called the Black Forest because the trees are all twisted and black. A rank fog cloaks the forest. But things live in that forest. Mutants of magic, half living half dead. It is not a safe place to be."

"But what if you needed to get to the other side?" asked JD.

"Most people go round it but there is a path, one. It will take you through the forest. But if you stray from it, even a footstep, you can not go back for the creatures call to you and feed upon you," answered Leagan .

"How come you’re safe on the path?" asked JD.

"It is protected by elven magic. And I shall answer no more questions about it," said Leagan seeing that JD was going to ask something else.

"We have been riding hard for days, do you think we could have lost our tails?" asked Buck knowing that they had not but needing to change the subject.

"They are about a day behind us and they seem to be keeping it that way," said Vin.

"I noticed that and wondered why," said Nathan.

"We are leading them to the Book, pointless overtaking us," said Leagan.

Everyone quietly went back to his task, after a cheerless meal Ezra suggested a game of cards to lighten the mood,.

"A game of cards?" said Leagan "With an illusionist? No, thank you, I decline."

Buck and Vin played for fun while Josiah taught JD to make fire dance between his fingers.

"Josiah, I am learnin’ all these little things of each Order, when will I know which Order is mine?" asked JD.

"You’ll know when it chooses you. Look at Nathan," who at that moment was reading a book on healing, "It took a while for him to know healing was his Order and he still has a long way to go," answered Josiah.

"It may even be that your path leads else where," said Leagan.

"What do you mean by that?" asked Chris, who had been quietly smoking his pipe. Leagan shrugged,.

"Nothing other than I said," explained Leagan.

"But why would you say that?" asked Buck the card game forgotten.

"No other reason than to answer JD’s question. There are many unknown things in this world," answered Leagan.

"So we’re… what? Bits of nothing in this unknown world?" said Buck angrily, standing up. The rest of the seven looked at Buck in puzzlement.

"No…" started Leagan.

"What then?" demanded Buck.

"Buck!" yelled Chris, "What’s the matter with you?".

Buck glared at Chris,.


"Good. I think you should stand first watch."

With that said the camp settled down for the night, but they were up just before dawn the next day, ready to ride.

Vin and Chris were riding a little ahead of the other discussing what to do about the orcs and men following them. With Sarahana included, they had three people interested in the Book. All of them desperate to get it. Chris was staring ahead watching the forest becoming clearer as they got closer, when suddenly he saw a group of horsemen on the road ahead of them at the edge of the forest. He swore under his breath wondering why Leagan had not said anything, turning he saw why. JD was showing the elf some more tricks of he knew, while Leagan watched he would look back down the road. Chris noticed he was looking down the road more than he was looking at JD’s tricks.

"Something on the road back there that interests you, Leagan?" asked Chris .

Leagan turned to answer but stopped when he saw the horsemen on the road in front, he frowned.

"Elves," he said sounding worried.

"Shouldn’t you be pleased?" enquired Buck.

"I would be but why are they here, I wonder, so out in the open," mused Leagan.

Chris studied the elves as they came closer. They all had tattoos on their bodies, swirling, intricate designs. The leader had long black hair that was shaved on one side. Another had silver rings braided in his hair, which was the same colour as Leagan’s. The elves also had swords as well as bows. This went against all Chris had ever been told of elves.

"Greeting, travellers," said the leader in English. He looked at Leagan, .

"Hello Leagan, still travelling with humans?".

"Hello Deverlin. Is there a reason you have stopped us?" asked Leagan blandly.

"There is, we have been looking for you." Deverlin switched to elven, "It’s about your mission. I see that you have found them, which is good because there is trouble rising."

"Can you tell me anything?" asked Leagan also in elven.

Deverlin nodded. "We know for sure that it is to stop you finding who ever stole the Book."

"Thank you for the warning. We have some orcs following us, we did have some humans, but just this morning I can’t see them," said Leagan.

"Orcs! Who brought them out of their holes? Don’t worry about them just keep moving," Said Deverlin "The humans bring concern to me, too sneaky by half. Is there a mage among them?" Leagan nodded, "That might be who was sent to stop you. We don’t know how many people are looking for book. Keep an eye out for them who ever they are."

Leagan nodded,."My thanks again."

Deverlin smiled and in English yelled,."Let’s hunt some orc."

Deverlin and his war band bowed their heads as they trotted past the seven. JD watched wide-eyed as they passed.

"War elves. Did you see them Buck?" he asked unthinkingly.

"I was right here, wasn’t I?" said Buck.

"We must move through the forest quickly, the men who were following us are no longer doing so," said Leagan.

"Right, so that’s what was keeping your eyes to the back and not the front," said Chris.

Leagan nodded.

"And what about this new threat that your friends were so kind as to enlighten us about?" asked Ezra.

"How much elven do you know?" asked Leagan.

"A fair bit, truth be told," answered Ezra.

"You speak elven?" asked Nathan slightly surprised.

"Mother thought it might come in use someday," explained Ezra.

"What about dwarven?" asked Vin.

"A fair bit of that as well," answered Ezra.

"I would like to meet your mother," said Leagan.

"She is an extraordinary woman," said Josiah.

"What’s the new threat?" asked Chris bringing everyone back to the task at hand.

"They don’t know, but it is there and it will try to stop you reaching Gornthain. Right now we must get through the forest, it will slow us down," said Leagan.

"That does mean it slowed the enemy down as well," said Vin .

"What did the leader mean ‘still travelling with humans’?" asked Josiah.

"I had a human wife once, when I was younger. She has been dead for almost 500 years. I still love her and Deverlin teases me about it. He’s my brother," explained Leagan.

"That’s not very nice," said Nathan.

Leagan laughed,.

"Who said my brother was nice?" he said nudging his horse forward.

"Let’s get moving, keep an eye out for trouble," commanded Chris.

Cautiously they entered the forest.

After four days halted riding they come to a small clearing. As it was late afternoon, they decided to stay the night. As they were dismounting Leagan suddenly said,.

"We are not alone, some one is watching us."

"Where?" asked Chris.

"I can’t see them so much as hear them," said Leagan .

"I hear something too," said JD.

"What?" asked Buck.

"I don’t know," answered JD.

The seven looked around the clearing, but could see nothing.

"Whereabouts?" Vin asked Leagan.

"I’m not sure," said Leagan.

The seven drew their swords while Leagan notched an arrow in his bow.

The clearing was quiet, looking into the trees Chris could see nothing let alone hear anything. Suddenly he heard JD shout, turning he saw him fall to the ground holding his head. A man standing over him with a piece of wood in his hands.

"There," yelled Leagan, "They are cloaked. It’s a …" Pain exploded in his head.

Chris saw Leagan fall as well. Suddenly there were men everywhere, all armed.

"Hold!" yelled a female voice, Chris knew that voice.

Sarahana come out of the trees and came to stand in front of Chris.

She gave him a brilliant smile,.

"I told you, you would lose. Take their weapons."

She yelled over her shoulder,."Oh, if you use any magic, I’ll kill the elf."

One of the men gathered the seven’s swords and other weapons and stacked them against a nearby tree.

"What makes you think I care about him?" asked Chris scornfully.

"When I was in Four Towers, I learned that the seven of you are more powerful than I thought and that you wouldn’t just let someone die or be killed. It’s grim being nice, isn’t it?".

She laughed, walking past Chris to where Leagan was struggling to get up, but was hinder by the man sitting on his back.

"Don’t worry yourself, when I have killed them I will kill you," Sarahana laughed again.

"Why?" asked Leagan in a shocked voice.

"You should know the answer, elf," spat Sarahana.

"Know what? I’m just a guide, by the way," snapped Leagan.

Chris glanced at the others – be ready-.

"A guide?" asked Sarahana doubtfully.

"Yes, I’ll prove it," said Leagan.

"Okay, where is … the … where is Four Towers?" Sarahana asked.

"I have to get my bearings," said Leagan.

Sarahana stood looking at him.

"I need to stand up," said Leagan.

"Fine, stand," Sarahana snapped.

The man got off Leagan’s back so he could stand but he kept hold of his arm. Leagan made a show of looking round,.

"Wait a minute, you should know where it is, you’ve been there," said Leagan accusingly. Chris and the other shifted further apart.

Sarahana cocked her head to one side,.

"Yes, you are right. I have been there but it was a short visit. You’re well armed for a guide, Leagan Silveroak."

"How do you know my name?" asked Leagan apprehensively.

Chris frowned, sharing a glance with Buck – there was something up.

"Oops," said Sarahana with a mock shocked expression, "I suppose you want mine?" she asked, Leagan frowned, "It’s Sarahana Silverton."

"I have no idea who you are," said Leagan.

"That does not mean I do not exist," snapped Sarahana, there was hurt in her voice. Leagan looked thoughtful for a second,.

"Half breed!" yelled Leagan suddenly.

Sarahana suddenly went stiff, her hand jerked involuntarily.

It was the moment Chris had been waiting for, everyone’s attention was on Sarahana, with a word he sent the guys their swords. Vin cut down two men before they realised what was happening.

While her men fought, Sarahana stared at Leagan, who was trying unsuccessfully to free himself but the man now had both his arms.

"Yah," said Sarahana suddenly, "I’m going to kill you. No one calls me that."

She drew a dagger from her belt, but the look of delight on her face quickly changed to one of shock. Leagan looked down and saw a sword point protruding out of her chest. Looking back up he saw it was Buck’s.

"That’s for trying to kill JD," was all he said.

"Buck!" yelled Vin .

Buck pulled his sword free and headed back to the fighting. The man holding Leagan let go and reached for his sword, Leagan spun and stabbed his with one of his knifes. Looking round he saw the horses running off into the forest.

With an oath he went after them but stopped when Chris called him.

Leagan turned to see the seven fighting the men they had already killed. Leagan swore again, drawing both his knifes, he went to help the others.

Not only did the men not die but also they were good fighters. Chris glanced round and saw that Vin was holding his one arm close to his side while he was being driven backwards by two dead men. The others were no much better, Buck and JD were fighting back to back. Ezra had taken a two handed hold on his weapon and was swinging it like a mad man. Even with missing body parts the dead men fought on.

"Chris, we can’t keep on with this," yelled Josiah.

Chris had to agree, but he could think of nothing to do.

"There is a temple a little way back, we can seek refuge there," said Leagan lashing out as he made his way across the clearing.

"I don’t remember seeing a temple," yelled Buck.

"We didn’t go past it," answered Leagan still working his way around the clearing to the east side, "When I say so, follow me. You have to run and run fast."

After a few agonizing seconds, Chris heard Leagan shout ‘now’. Making sure the others were already following Leagan, Chris turned to follow as well. After a few minute Chris looked behind him to see that the dead men were following them, they were moving slowly due to loss of limbs. The seven were tired and sore, the dead would soon catch up with them.

They ran for ten minute before Chris saw the temple, Chris corrected himself, the pile of stones and over grown trees.

"Is that the temple?" he yelled.

"What protection does that offer?" yelled Buck.

"It was a temple last time I was here, even now the dead can not enter," yelled Leagan in return.

They ran across the over grown clearing and into the main building. Looking out through the arched door way they saw the dead men gathered at the edge of the clearing.

"How long will they stay there?" asked JD breathing heavily.

"As long as need be," answered Leagan chewing on his lip.

"What are they?" asked Nathan who was just as out of breath.

"They were ordinary people once, to get them like that they have to be killed but with their souls trapped in their bodies so that they couldn’t die. They hate all things living," explained Leagan.

"There is a odd feeling here," said Josiah.

"Yes, it used to be a feeling of peace, now it is the absence of it," said Leagan .

"Does that mean that those things can come in?" asked JD fearfully.

"No, this is a powerful temple, no evil may ever step upon this ground," said Leagan.

"I think we should set up a camp of some sort so I can have a look at Vin’s arm," said Nathan, ignoring Vin’s groan. Chris nodded.

While Nathan fixed Vin’s broken arm, they others scrounged around for something to eat, all their supplies were with the horses. They only had their cloaks and weapons.

"Do you think the horses will be aright?" asked JD to no one in particular .

"Yeah, I reckon so," answered Buck, "They’ll find their way home."

"Well, maybe not Ezra’s," Buck corrected himself, "Chaucer would find his way back to Ezra."

The others laughed, it felt good to laugh.

"What about your horse, Leagan?" asked JD.

"He’ll find me," answered Leagan.

"You seem sure about that," said Nathan.

Leagan shrugged,.

"I am."

"Well, there is nothing in this building that’s for sure and I doubt there will be in the others, they are in a worse state than this one," said Ezra.

"Leagan, I want to ask you something, how did you know Sarahana was half elf?" asked Josiah.

"Her face, it was ageless. Even your young have age written all over their faces," answered Leagan.

"And how did you know they were cloaked?" asked Josiah.

"The dead men? It’s a simple trick. You weave the air around you so that no one can see you. It is very effective as long as you stand still, as soon as you move even a little it dissolves," explained Leagan.

"Do you know how to do it?" asked JD.

Leagan nodded and as they watched he disappeared. Just as suddenly he appeared again. JD gasped,.

"Can you teach me that?".

"Maybe another time. We must be going, we’re wasting time here," said Leagan quickly as he headed back to the fire.

Nathan looked up as Leagan approached,.

"How soon can Vin travel?" Leagan asked.

"Well, his bone has knitted together but I don’t have the skill to heal it completely. I’ll say two or three days at least," answered Nathan.

"Two or three days! No, we must leave tomorrow," yelled Leagan .

"If Nathan says Vin needs rest, then rest he’ll get," said Chris, coming up quietly behind Leagan.

"You’re also forgetting one thing, those dead things," said Buck walking to the make shift camp with the rest of the seven in tow.

"We can burn them," said Leagan.

"Will that work?" asked Josiah.

"I can’t see ash and soot wielding a sword," said Leagan sarcastically, "Yes, it would work. We can’t stay here."

"Why not? We burn the creatures, hold up here till Vin is better, there is plenty to eat in the forest. Head back to Four Towers, get fresh horses and start again. We are not going to catch the thieves now, especially with no horses," said Chris .

"Are you out of your mind?" yelled Leagan, the seven looked at him in stunted silence. "We have to continue, it’s very important."

"Why is it so important?" demanded Chris.

"If you want to turn back, fine," said Leagan ignoring Chris, "But JD and I have to continue."

Suddenly Leagan felt steel against his throat, moving only his eyes he saw it was Buck’s sword.

"Why is every one so interested in JD? Do you want to kill him as well?" he asked.

"Kill him, what are you talking abou … Oh, the half elf. You said she tried to kill JD. I don’t want to kill him," said Leagan frowning.

"I think it is time you told us the truth," said Chris quietly .

"I have told you the truth," said Leagan quickly.

Chris stared at him for a second,.

"Okay, so you have, but not all of it."

Leagan said nothing.

"Buck, put your sword away," commanded Chris.

Buck did as Chris said, but he kept his hand on the hilt.

Chris settled himself against the wall opposite the fire.

"I am ready when you are," he said to Leagan, who remained standing.

"Fine, I’ll start with the Black Forest and the spell which created it," said Leagan, who began to pace.

"Years ago, years and years. There was a powerful mage and the more powerful he became the more it ate away at him until that all he wanted was power, he would do anything to get it. He started experimenting with dark magic. A group of mages, my father include, created a spell to kill him, Lexerton was his name. The basic principle of the spell was once it was cast, it would feed off the people’s hatred of Lexerton and so become powerful enough to kill him. They had no idea what they were doing, they created a monster. The problem was they did not realise how much hatred was in the world, one of the mages managed to keep it contained in one place. When it ‘ran out’ of hatred, it collapsed into its self and dissolved into nothing. There was nothing left alive, the ground was like black crystal. It was like that for a hundred years, then things started growing, they were not nice." Leagan fell silent but continued to pace back and forth.

"So you’re saying that if this guy is not stopped there is going to be another Black Forest?" asked Nathan.

"No, if the spell is controlled then there will be another Black Forest," said Leagan, "And if it is not controlled, there will be nothing."

"Nothing, meaning the world shall be one big Black Forest?" asked Josiah.

"No, there will be nothing. The only reason there is a Black Forest is because there was life around it, which began to flow through it and force to grow again. Any one can say the spell but only one person can control the spell once it has been said," said Leagan.

For a while the only sound was the fire burning.

"What exactly has all this got to do with JD?" asked Chris half knowing the answer.

"He is the one who can control it. That is why every one is interested in him. His line was given this fate and it is the fate of Buck’s line to guard him. That is why everyone wants him out of the way," said Leagan .

"‘Guard your charge’" quoted Ezra.

"What’s that?" asked Leagan stopping his pacing.

"Something Sarahana said," explained Josiah .

"Hold a moment!" yelled JD, "What are you saying? I am supposed to control this spell by myself? I don’t even have an Order I belong to."

"Your friends are going to stop them saying the spell. I am just telling why they want you dead," said Leagan calmly.

"But without horses how are we going to stop them? And they say the Spell, then what?" asked JD frantically.

"JD, they are not going to say the Spell. We are going to stop them," said Buck putting his hand on JD shoulder, "We will stop them."

JD looked at Buck for a minute, then nodded.

"Okay." he said, "But how can you be sure?".

"Hay, trust me," teased Buck.

"What else did she say?" asked Leagan.

"Hang on, some thing just occurred to me. When she attacked us in Four Towers she used fire but when we were on the road she used water, that’s two orders. You can only belong to one," said Vin.

Leagan shook his head,.

"If you are human you can only belong to one, you don’t live long enough to belong to two or three. She is half elf so she lives longer. Did she ever mention the spell?" he asked.

Shaking of heads all round.

"She did say, that JD was the one to destroy all the land," said Buck.

"What!" exclaimed Leagan, "Destroy all the land. This can not be," muttered Leagan as he began pacing again.

"What is it this time?" asked Chris.

"They do not know what they are doing. They have heard of the spell but do not know how to use or the consequences of using it. They have translated it wrong, maybe? Unless total destruction is the whole point, they want nothing alive. That does not make sense," muttered Leagan.

"Could they not perhaps go into hiding and than emerge again when the spell had run its course?" asked Ezra.

Leagan frowned,.

"You could but you …Oh, the dwarves, you could hide with the dwarves. Their mines go deep into the ground. But there would be nothing left to come up to. They would die of hunger and thirst," said Leagan.

"It could simply be history repeating itself, making the same error of under estimating the amount of the damage the spell will cause," said Ezra.

"Maybe they don’t know about only one person being able to control it but then they would not be trying to kill JD," said Vin answering his own question.

"Where is the spell in the Book?" asked Nathan, "If it is so powerful, why is it a book where someone could accidentally read it?".

"The spell is not written in the book, it’s hidden in the spine."

"So why not take the spell and leave the book?" asked Buck.

"The spine can only be cut with a certain dagger. This dagger is currently in the form of an armband, which was stolen from the elves. The armband can only be melted into a dagger in the mines of Gornthain by the dwarves. Which is why we are heading there, so you can stop the melting of it," said Leagan.

"You say that often," said Chris.

"Say what? This is the first I’m telling of it," said Leagan confused.

"That’s not what I was referring to. I was referring to the fact that ‘we’ will go to the mines and that ‘you’ will be going in," said Chris.

"I’m not going into the mines, I’m an elf," said Leagan indignantly.

"I thought elves and dwarves got along," mused Josiah.

"They don’t come into the forests and we don’t enter the mines," said Leagan.

"That’s hardly getting along, that’s just ignoring each other," said Nathan.

"Do the free men go visiting the slave masters?" asked Leagan looking at Nathan.

"We’ve lost the point of the conversation," said Chris, "There must be at least three people who know the book has been stolen, the person who stole it, the person who sent the orcs and Sarahana. Could they all know about the Spell or do the other two just want the Book?".

"We know that Sarahana knew about the Spell," said Buck.

"With her gone that leaves the two others, one we know is heading for Gornthain and we have no idea about the other," said Chris.

"How are we going to get to Gornthain? With the horses we were four or five days away, now it will take about two weeks, we would never reach the book thief in time to stop him saying the spell," said Vin.

"Not only that, we still have to get rid of the dead men," said Buck.

"Don’t forget, Sarahana knew me and I don’t …didn’t know her," said Leagan.

"She must have know that the elves would sent someone to find us after the dagger was stolen. It is obvious she knew a lot about the Book so she would have known about the dagger and the melting of it," said Ezra.

"I can teleport us there," said Chris suddenly.

"Are you sure you can do that?" asked Vin.

"You’ll wear yourself out, it’s too dangerous," said Nathan .

"We don’t have time to argue," said Chris, "Just let me get ready."

Chris leaned his head against the wall and closed his eyes, slowed his breathing.

"What is he doing?" whispered Leagan.

"Preparing his mind, it’s a great distance he’s going to send us," said Nathan unhappily.

"Wait," yelled Vin.

Chris opened his eyes,.

"What," he snapped.

"Do it tomorrow, it’s dark now. I don’t want to end up some place strange in the dark," explained Vin.

"Vin’s right, it will also give you the whole night to prepare yourself. This is a big undertaking, you could kill yourself," said Nathan.

"I know the risks, Nathan," snapped Chris, glaring at him, "I also know we are being played and I do not like it."

Nathan refused to back down,.

"Putting yourself in danger is not the best thing t….," started Nathan.

"Do not tell me what is the best or what is not the best thing to be doing. I will do what needs to be done. End of discussion," said Chris.

The rest of the group suddenly found the floor interesting.

"We should also get rid of the dead men. We don’t need some one stumbling across them," said Josiah.

"You’re right, can you burn them from here?" asked Nathan jumping at the change of conversation topic. Josiah nodded, .

"I have to see them though," said Josiah as he headed towards the broken down doorway. JD followed him, he never tired of seeing one of the others using magic. The dead men were standing on the edge of the clearing, all facing the doorway. Josiah stared at them as he whispered word of magic, suddenly the dead men burst into flame. They did not move or cry out as they stood burning. The flames went out just as suddenly as they had appeared, leaving nothing behind.

"They are at peace now," said Josiah, he turned and went back to the make shift camp. JD stood for a few minute watching the empty clearing, the question of how he was involved in this was running through his head. Even though he though about it all the time he could figure out why or how.

"Seeing as there is no food to consume tonight, who is up for a game of chance?" enquired Ezra trying to lighten the mood.

No one responded.

"Well, as no one is currently up for…" Ezra started to say.

"I’ll take first watch," interrupted Chris, "I have to think anyway," he anticipated Nathan’s response.

"You do not need to set watch, we are safe here," said Leagan.

"So you said. Buck you’re second," said Chris.

Chris closed his eyes and concentrated on the sound of his heart beating. Faintly he could hear the sounds of the other settling down to sleep, then all was quite.

He knew he was taking a big risk tomorrow and wanted to be fully prepared.

He suddenly became aware of a presence in his mind.

do not fear me i am here to greet you the task you undertake is dangerous but you shall succeed, I grant you the mental power be at peace now and sleep you are safe from harm in my temple

Chris felt safe and peaceful suddenly, with a small smile he fell asleep.

JD lay worrying over what Leagan had said, he had to control the most powerful spell in the world. How the hell was he supposed to do that? What if failed, the world would end. Every one would die. Suddenly JD felt calm, .

be at peace this long in coming you will know what to do if and when the time comes

Yes, I do know. I have always know, JD realised, with a contented sigh he fell asleep.

Vin woke with the sun rising as always. He had not slept that well in years, he remembered a soothing voice, but not what it had said. Much to his surprise the others woke soon after him, the stress from the previous day gone. Ezra didn’t even complain about the early hour.

"Whose temple was this?" asked Josiah.

"I don’t know. I was only in here for an hour or so over two hundred years ago. But they are powerful even now," said Leagan.

"We must get moving, the day has just started," said Chris.

"I’m putting us a day’s ride from Gornthain. Draw your swords you won’t be able to use magic for a few hours after teleportation. And do not move," ordered Chris.

Chris took a deep breath and began to weave the spell.


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