Within the eyes of the Archmage

A long due psychological novel I did 2 years ago. Recently I dug it out and rewrote the chapters.

It is a thriller horror story set in a fantasy world:

He wakes up to find all his memories lost. He scans the room. Every detail seeps into his mind, recalling  distant strands of event embedded within the deepest consciousness of him.  He can remember he is the Archmage of the mage academy. Then within a blink, he finds himself in the hall of the academy talking to his colleagues.
For the next few days, he starts to have various blackouts. And he begins to have nightmares every night. What has happened to him? He tries to find out, but the truth can be deadly, in the sense it does not only take his life, but also his subjectivity….

Now published and free to read on Inkitt.com.

Please consider visiting and leave feedback there.

Thank you all.

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The artwork was also done 2 years ago. 🙂

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Sinking into the sky

The sky is always a mystery to me. Why do I get to stay in the sea? I have seen creatures floating above the air. They stretch out their flippers and beat. I stretched out mine and beat them relentlessly. Nothing ever happened. I have also seen lands floating on the surface. These lands never extend to the bottom of the sea. They just float and they are quite noisy sometimes. Some of them are giant, some of them can even be smaller than me. My kin told me to stay clear of them. There are vile creatures on these lands.

“Dive when you see the floating lands. They will catch you. They will pierce you and drag you out of the ocean.”

Yet I never thought that day would come to me.

My blood scatters into the water. Red turns from crimson into a cloud of dark smoke sinking into the bottomless ocean.

Then they start to drag. It doesn’t feel like I am ascending out of the water, rather I am sinking. Fear and pain drags my heart down as I am being lifted up. The abyss is behind me, where the sun shines and a sharp hook sparkles.

My tail is out of the water now. My eyes stare into the bottomless ocean. The dark purple bottom is my refuge. What’s down is my heaven and the hell is above me. And I keep sinking into the hell.

They caught me. Why? Probably for the same reason I keep catching the squids. As my mouth crushed their slippery bodies, their pale, redless blood squeezed into my throat. Did I moan for them? Why should I? I feel good when I eat them.

The mild warmth of the sun hits my eyes. The orange coloured sky hangs above my tail. I was out of the water.

Finally, I sink into the sky

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Gone and found

I pity the past.
But what’s the use?
Kingdoms gone and empires perished.
We humanities erected monuments for ourselves,
But even the broken heritage themselves are mortals,
Subjected to decay, age and eventual death.

Unto what do we pray?
Those little crafts made with our nimble fingers?
Or the combustion of air that’s warm between our fingers?

All to ashes.

All to vanity.

But within the lingering heat,
Flames are ignited.
New erections of humanities bloom,
Upon the bones of the past. 

The ember of the Firebird

 

the bonfire of the firebird

 

They say…

The feather of Ziz the Firebird is the source of warmth and happiness.

It turns into cinder and burns forever.

Each feather will grant you the wish that have been skittering in your mind for years,

As long as you have the craft to sketch with the ash…

To be continued in the upcoming book

The first night in the Archmage’s Quaters (A short dark fantasy story)

The first night

“Daria!”

I woke up to find myself soaked in sweat.

Daria? Who?

I searched in my mind, my consciousness, for any trace of who Daria was. Yet it was void, nothing. I lifted up my hands: they were trembling, and so was my heart. Must be a dream, just a nightmare…

Nightmare, nightmare… I tried to calm myself down, but my heart kept pounding. My linen shirt was glued on to my skin and I could smell the sweat transpiring from my body, the smell of ammonia. I realized I could not remember a single detail of the nightmare, not a sound, not an image.

I stretched out my palm. A spark of flame came out of thin air. It was floating just above my hand, nearly touching my skin. I could feel the warmth burning in the bluish hue, but it did not scorch. There was no pain at all.

How did I do that?

I turned to my right and saw a white slab of stone. It was a white marble desk, on which I saw a small candle on a holder. I lit it up and noticed a robe by the chair. There was a symbol of two eagles on the hood.

No! It was a twin-headed griffon. Dizziness hammered my head. I tried to get up, but I felt so disoriented that I nearly collapsed on to the desk.

Twin-headed griffon… Where have I seen that?

I kept searching for images in my head. Many traces of memories were mingled together. The imagery faded in and out quickly. All of that sudden I recalled a faint image of the emblem carved into a bronze plate. No… Not carved into… Was it a seal?

I turned my head to the wall facing the bed. I seemed to have remembered something. I walked towards the wall with the candle holder in my right hand. My thumb pressed hard on the handle of the holder. A bronze plaque on the wall gradually revealed itself in the dim light. It was a relief.

My fingers touched the crest lightly. The claw of the griffon reflected a sense of fierceness by the orange candle flame. A splitting pain shot through my head. I rubbed my hand on my forehead. I nearly fell out of balance. Then I saw the words beneath the emblem:

“For the Arch-mage of the Oblast Magi Academy, Jon Whitman.”

Yes! I am Jon Whitman, the Arch-mage of the academy. I am the head of the most prestigious academy in the Alfr Imperium. How could I forget that! I am the headmaster of this school. I placed the candle holder back on the desk and noticed a few pieces of paper lying on the desk. The words were faint in the dangling candle flame:

10th Moonshine, 1990

The first day after the assimilation. I feel disoriented at first, but soon my body adapts to the changes. My mana has increased significantly and I am able to summon shades too. It seems some of the abilities have been transferred to me. This is so exciting. Perhaps there are even more to discover.

Are these my words? Yet I could not remember myself writing them… It had to be the fatigue. A headmaster’s job was not easy.

Job… Something in my mind troubled me again.

I recalled there would be an expedition team returning tomorrow. I would have to read and write reports, and manage all the artifacts that had been recovered.

I need sleep to deal with these administrative bullshits.

I blew off the candle and went to bed.

“Jon? Jon!”

A woman’s voice woke me up. I found myself standing in the grand hall. People were unloading crates of artifacts from carts and wagons. Beside me was Yulia Dmitrieva, the head of the Archaeology Department.

What? I remember I was still in bed…

“Jon! Are you here?”

Her voice rang me back to the reality. Maybe I am too tired. “I am sorry.” I replied, Scratching my head, “So where were we?”

“We were talking about the rune stones recovered in the Kievan Crypt. They are ancient, perhaps older than the 2nd millennium,” she paused, looking at me. Her eyes were full of excitements. “I need more people to decode these artifacts.”

I smiled and replied in my jesting tone, “Sure, we have the money! Just hire more research associates.” I looked at her wrinkled face. Her grey long hair was also wrinkled, dry as hay. Life had not been nice to her.

“I take that as a ‘yes’.” Yulia smiled. She knew I never joked about work. “By the way, Jon, I know being a human here isn’t easy.” She was referring to my race. I am a human among them — the elves; though to me, the difference is simply “look at the ears”.

“Don’t worry,” I assured her, “I can handle myself.”

“Ok.. It just seems that you are very stressed. It seems that you were not focused enough when we were talking. Well anyway, “She smiled and turned away from me, “Daria!”

That name swept down my spine. I saw a young lady in white robe approaching. She was holding a box of rune stones. “Daria, do you have the rune stone for Prof Whitman?” Yulia asked.

“You mean the rune stone about the soul vessels?” She tried to hold the box on one hand, while slipping her other hand into her pocket, to search for something. The box started to tilt forward. I rushed to catch it. Her dark long hair brushed on my face. Our hands touched. She withdrew her hand under the box immediately. The heavy box dragged me down. I nearly fell.

“Oh I am so sorry!” she covered her mouth with her hands. I could hear fear in her voice.

“No problem!” I smiled and put the boxes on the ground.

“Careful! Ever do that again and you will never see this academy, AGAIN!” Yulia stared at the girl. She looked like as if she wanted to kill her. Daria looked down quietly.

“Easy!” I said with a smile. “I am sure she will be more careful next time.”

“Just give Prof Whitman the rune stone and be off with your work.”

Daria walked towards me and handed me a piece of polished pebble. There were very peculiar characters carved on the surface. The characters were like symbols, not alphabets. I had not seen this kind of language before.

“Have you seen Samuel today, Prof Whitman?” Daria asked in a low voice.

“No… Who is Samuel?”

“Samuel Watson, your research assistant.” she seemed shocked. I shook my head and she pressed on, “The only other human in this academy?”

“Yeah that young boy,” Yulia barged in, “I saw you with him before the expedition and you two were quite close. You told me he was probably the best student you have ever had.”

“I am sorry I have no idea, but I will look into it. I have been forgetting things lately,” I apologized.

Daria gave me this suspicious look and walked away. When she bent and tried to lift up the box, I heard Yulia yelled again, “Leave it there! I don’t want to risk it. JUST go!” And Daria hurried away.

Yulia sighed and said, “If she wasn’t THIS good with the rune translation,” she raised her hand and gently connected her thumb and her forefinger, “I would simply fire her, immediately!” Then she grabbed the box and turned away from me.

“Wait! What’s this stone for?”

“You asked for that before I left for the expedition—“ she frowned, “Are you sure you are alright?”

“Yes! Yes!” My attention was fully on the runic inscriptions. What’s its use?

As if she could read my mind, she said, “It’s a rune stone that can trap souls. But of course without the proper ritual and the right spell, the stone cannot be activated.”

“I see…” I felt a blow to my head. My ears were inflated with echoes. My mind was overwhelmed with dizziness and disorientation; and there was this fear, a kind of fear bubbled from within, which I could not put words to it.

Yulia patted on my shoulder. “Hey! You should go to the doctor. Go to see Dr Rossolimo.”

I realized I was kneeling on the ground. “I will. I will…” I was aware that I was panting heavily. I felt I needed medical attention.

“Anyway I need to go,” she put the box on her shoulder. “I need to take care of these babies,” she breathed in gently and then pointed her finger at me, “Remember! Go to see Dr Rossolimo.”

I nodded and watched her walk away. Then I turned my gaze at the stone. My heart trembled as the runes shone under the sunlight.

Then suddenly a whisper hissed in my mind:

The eye!

未命名