Forgotten Magic*, which includes our Scribe’s story, “Spell of Scales & Steel,” comes out today, May 12! That’s why we’re a day late with our newsletter. 🙂
*However, all three anthologies were part of a limited edition series, (Magic Underground Anthologies), that was available until December 31, 2020.
You can no longer purchase a copy of Hidden Magic, Wayward Magic, or Forgotten Magic, but you can get Spell of Shadows & Light, which includes all three stories Melinda Kucsera wrote for the Magic Underground Anthologies PLUS the action-packed conclusion, the novella Spell of Shadow & Light.
And now we are proud to present a special preview of “Spell of Scales & Steel” by Melinda Kucsera from Spell of Shadow & Light right here in our newsletter. So please welcome Thing, his mate, Amal, and their mind-talking family AND a younger version of my hero, Papa. 🙂
“Spell of Scales & Steel”
Part of Spell of Shadow & Light
About Spell of Scales & Steel
In Spell of Scales & Steel, forgotten magic threatens not just Nulthir when he faces a mythical entity from his past, but Thing and his son face it too when they run into a power neither can see. It’s so dark; it obscures its true purpose. What can two mind-talking creatures do against a terrifying magic they cannot understand? Nor are they the only ones threatened by it. The dark creature they lost is alive and well, and it’s after a young mage and his brother.
Thing thought he had it all figured out when he and his son followed the thief to his lair. But his plan goes to hell in a hurry when the thief runs straight to a young mage. Is that boy the mastermind of the attack on the prison that started this whole mess, or is he just another pawn in what has become a terrifying game of spells? Find out in Spell of Scales & Steel.
Thing rolled onto his side to fly through a narrow gap between two columns. Ahead, the gray-robed thief slowed his mad dash to a walk. Was the chase finally ending?
Probably not since there was nothing here except a long tunnel knifing through the subterranean complex. Thing glided over fantastical rock formations. Sparkling green magic crawled over them, but where was it coming from?
Thing ground his beak at the proof of his worst fears. There was a powerful mage mixed up in all this. What the hell should I do about that? He kept that thought locked down inside his mind, where no one else could hear it.
Where’s he going? Crispin asked mind-to-mind. His son had given up flying several bends ago. Instead, Crispin bounded on all fours from rock to rock, using his cat-like agility.
Thing swerved around a white stalactite that glistened like new-fallen snow in the soft light suffusing everything from the bands of lumir crystals in the walls. They hummed with power, offering further proof there was a mage at the end of this chase. Please, let it not be the mage I saw in the thief’s mind, Thing begged the Creator Spirit that inhabited every living thing. He took care to keep that thought to himself. That was one complication they didn’t need right now.
Dad, answer me. Crispin grabbed the tip of a stalactite with his tail and swung over a large gap between stones.
You’ll see soon enough, Thing sent, but that didn’t mollify his son.
Why can’t you just tell me what you saw in his mind? I’m not a child. Whatever it is, I can handle it. Crispin’s claws clicked loudly on the stone ledge he loped across, and it echoed, disturbing the quiet. Anger made him careless.
But their quarry must’ve been close to his destination, because one quick over-the-shoulder glance was enough to convince the gray-clad thief his back trail was clear. Of course, the thief didn’t bother to look up, or he’d have seen two shadows tailing him. One shadow darted cat-quick through the gloom veiling the ceiling, and one flew soundlessly overhead. But humans never did look up.
Thing clucked his tongue at that mistake as he swooped down, paralleling the sloping ceiling and twisted to fly between two stalactites glowing a soft green from the stone mage’s power. When not a single feather so much as grazed either one, Thing let out the breath he’d been holding.
That was too close. Maybe we should find another way to tail him. That mage’s power is everywhere. Crispin dove for another rock formation as green magic swarmed over the one he’d just left.
You could fly, Thing pointed out. There’s no magic in the air, just on the rocks.
Crispin shot him a glare for that comment. If my wings weren’t so tired, I would. We don’t all have your stamina.
You mean practice. Thing narrowed his yellow raptorial eyes at his son, but Crispin was immune to his glares.
Kits today. Thing rolled his eyes. They led soft lives and cultivated even softer bodies ill-suited for the rigors of a good chase. Soon, Crispin would run out of rocks that weren’t overrun with magic to run on. Find somewhere to hold up. I’ll tail him the rest of the way. The mage can’t sense me unless I get too close to his magic, and I won’t. I’m not quitting. If you can tail him, then I can too. Crispin leaped off another outcropping moments before it too was engulfed by shining green magic. The magic kept spreading over more surfaces, but that was all it did. Are you sure we’re not heading into a trap? Crispin landed on another ledge, which was free of magic for the moment.
That was a good question. Thing scanned the way ahead. It was clear of obstacles for twenty wing beats. That would have to do. He reached out with invisible claws and hooked them into the gray-cloaked figure ahead. Gah, that mind was full of meaningless prattle about an ‘angel’ interspersed with garish images of smoke and fire, but nothing about those shards, or the creature that had been inside them. Or about the mage generating all the magic crawling around the tunnel.
Did you get anything from your mind scan? Crispin asked the instant Thing had retracted his mind.
Nothing that unravels the mystery any more than we already have. And that bothered Thing. Had they chosen the wrong person to follow?
No, that mender had headed for the infirmary, so he’d be easy to track down again. But what about the creature that had been in that broken bespelled glass? Where had it gone? Was it even gone, or had it just gone dormant for some reason?
The little Thing knew about it flashed through his mind, and he back winged in alarm. Ahead, green light, warm, inviting, and blindingly bright, spilled out of a cave. A bad feeling sliced through Thing, shoving aside all thoughts of that dark creature. He wheeled around to face his son; one claw raised to his beak to signal for silence.
Get Spell of Shadow & Light to read the rest of “Spell of Scales & Steel,” and we’ll see you back here next week as our newsletter adventure continues. I’m Ran, son of Sarn, wishing you a great week on behalf my Scribe, Melinda Kucsera, and the cast. Stay safe.
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