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The Phoenix Endangered: Book Two of The Enduring Flame

The Phoenix Endangered: Book Two of The Enduring Flame

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by Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory
     
 

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In The Phoenix Endangered, second in The Enduring Flame by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, Tiercel, a budding High Mage, and Harrier, a reluctant Knight-Mage, develop greater power--and learn of the evils of war when they see the devastation caused by the fanatical armies of the Wild Mage Bisochim.

The desert tribespeople led by young Shaiara flee

Overview

In The Phoenix Endangered, second in The Enduring Flame by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, Tiercel, a budding High Mage, and Harrier, a reluctant Knight-Mage, develop greater power--and learn of the evils of war when they see the devastation caused by the fanatical armies of the Wild Mage Bisochim.

The desert tribespeople led by young Shaiara flee Bisochim's evil, seeking a legendary oasis deep in the desert--a refuge that may hold the key to stopping Bisochim and preserving the Balance between Light and Darkness . . . or that may be the cause of Light's ultimate downfall.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Harrier Gillain, future Knight-Mage, and his best friend, Tiercel Rolfort, High Mage in training, tread familiar ground in this sequel to 2007's The Phoenix Unchained, following the command of the Light in a quest to destroy the Dark. Accompanied by Kateta, a pushy, nagging unicorn, and the mammoth black dragon Ancaladar, the teen heroes prepare themselves in the elven city of Karahelanderialigor before setting out in search of the Lake of Fire, where the Wildmage Bisochim Bluerobe is raising a fanatic horde of desert nomads. Harrier and Tiercel's lengthy trek comes most vividly to life through the subplot of young nomad leader Shaiara, who risks her whole tribe on the chance of finding Abi'Abadshar, a legendary oasis of alien technology. Adding thinly veiled racial subtext to the customary coming-of-age world-saving story, this epic will mostly appeal to those who like their fantasy by the numbers. (Sept.)

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Library Journal

Set in the world of the authors' popular "Obsidian Trilogy," this entertaining second book in the "Enduring Flame" series (after The Phoenix Unchained) follows Tiercel, a teenage High Mage, and Harrier, a newly minted Knight Mage, as they chase Tiercel's terrifying visions of a fiery lake. The two grow into their roles as heroes, setting the stage for an epic conclusion to the trilogy. The consistently enthusiastic performance by six-time Audie® Award nominee William Dufris (The Futurist) transports listeners directly into the story. For most fantasy collections. [The Tor hc was recommended as "a good addition, along with its predecessor, to any fantasy collection," LJ8/08.-Ed.]
—Lisa Anderson

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429933308
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
09/16/2008
Series:
Enduring Flame , #2
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
127,352
File size:
2 MB

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Read an Excerpt

The Phoenix Endangered

Book Two of The Enduring Flame


By Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2008 Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-3330-8


CHAPTER 1

Called to Magic


HE'D NEVER THOUGHT he'd see a unicorn, Harrier thought crossly, and like so many things he'd thought he'd wanted to see when he was back in Armethalieh (like Elves and dragons and Wildmages) the reality was nothing like he'd expected it to be. Oh, sure, Kareta was beautiful. In fact, she was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. But he hadn't expected her to sucker him into falling into the stream with most of his clothes on — and make him lose his shirt — and then laugh her silly head off about it just as if she were one of his idiot brothers.

Of course, maybe that was just what unicorns were like. How would he know? Nobody in human lands had seen one since ... well, since the time of the Magic Unicorn Shalkan and Kellen the Poor Orphan Boy.

Thinking about Kellen, a hero out of the Nine Cities' most ancient legends, made Harrier shiver just a little, and not with cold (although he was soaking wet, and the walk back to the wagon from the woods wasn't that pleasant in wet clothes), but because only a fortnight ago, he'd been talking to the person who'd taught that very hero to hold a sword. Who'd helped the Wild Magic turn Kellen into a Knight-Mage, a great warrior who could defeat the Endarkened.

With that thought, the red leather satchel he had slung over his shoulder, small as it was, suddenly seemed incredibly heavy. Because it contained the Three Books of the Wild Magic, brought to him (not to Tiercel, to him) by the unicorn Kareta, and if Harrier could believe her (did unicorns tell lies?) he hadn't been granted the opportunity to become just an ordinary Wildmage — as if there could be such a thing — but a Knight-Mage.

Just like the hero Kellen had been.

Nobody knew how Kellen's story ended, though everyone knew how it began, and everyone knew the ending of his sister's, the Blessed Saint Idalia's. She married the King of the Elves (so the tales went), was granted immortality by the Light, and lived forever in the Elven Lands. But over the last several moonturns, Harrier had learned a lot about how the stories he'd always taken for granted as being, well, wondertales (which meant they were sort-of true and sort-of not) were completely wrong about all the important things. Jermayan wasn't King of the Elves, just to begin with. And Elves certainly didn't live forever.

And having fought Goblins, and seen magical things that he had no name for, met Elves and dragons and all sorts of Otherfolk that had left the lands of Men in the time of the Great Flowering, Harrier'd thought he'd gotten used to things being strange by now. He and Tiercel had left Armethalieh almost four moonturns ago, at the beginning of summer, looking for a Wildmage who could put an end to Tiercel's little problem, as Harrier had thought of it then. Tiercel said he was having visions. Harrier thought Tiercel was having bad dreams.

But they really were visions, and that was only the start of problems that just got worse and worse. At least they had Ancaladar with them now, because the Elves had cast an incredibly powerful spell (that they hadn't been sure at the time was even going to work) to transfer Ancaladar's Bond from Jermayan to Tiercel, because otherwise Tiercel, whether he was a High Mage or not, wouldn't have the power he needed to cast his spells. So now Tiercel had the power, and all he had to do was learn all those spells, so when he'd gotten up this morning, Harrier had thought they only had two problems to deal with.

One was the fact that Tiercel kept saying that it took about twenty or thirty years to train a High Mage (and he also kept saying that they didn't have that long before the Darkness came back), and the other was that they really had no idea of where they were going to find it and fight it, because nobody recognized the landscape from Tiercel's visions.

Now they had a third one.

Harrier really didn't like magic. It was weird. It made him uncomfortable. It wasn't that it was wrong or evil or bad, but ... he was the youngest son of the Portmaster of Armethalieh, for the Light's sake! And he would have made a really rotten Portmaster, and he was glad now that he'd left because that meant his older brother Brelt would be Portmaster instead, and Brelt would make a wonderful Portmaster, but what he was supposed to be doing out here was the same thing he'd been doing for moonturns: keeping Tiercel out of trouble, and watching his back, and making sure that there was food and that Tiercel came in out of the rain and that nobody took advantage of him because Tiercel was much too easygoing for Harrier's peace of mind. And sure, Ancaladar could do some of that, but not all of it. And how was Harrier supposed to do any of it if he was being a Knight-Mage?

Even leaving aside that he didn't know the first thing about being a Knight-Mage, except that if you were one you were supposed to be an incredible warrior and a great leader of men. And he really wasn't.

* * *

BY the time Harrier got back to the wagon, Kareta was already there. Her pale golden coat shimmered in the late-morning sunlight as if it were actual gold, and the long spiraling horn that grew from the center of her forehead glowed with the soft white iridescence of the inside of a seashell. Even as irritated as he was, Harrier couldn't help stopping to stare at her for just a moment: an actual unicorn — most beautiful of the Otherfolk!

But she was tapping one small pink hoof in irritation as she waited for him, and kept glancing back over her shoulder toward him, interrupting her conversation with Tiercel and Ancaladar to do so. At least Ancaladar was having a conversation. Tiercel, Harrier was pleased to see, looked just as flummoxed as he had upon his first sight of Kareta.

Harrier wondered if the two of them had shown up of their own accord, or if Kareta had gone and gotten them — he really didn't put anything past her at this point, because even though he'd only talked to her for about five minutes, Harrier already knew that she was just as pushy and managing as any of his sisters-in-law. But maybe Ancaladar and Tiercel had just been drawn by — for lack of a better term — the scent of magic. Were unicorns magic in the same way that dragons were? He knew that they were Otherfolk, and creatures of the Light (as little as Kareta had been acting like one just now), but nobody really knew all that much about them; they hadn't been seen in human lands since the Great Flowering.

"There you are!" Kareta said, tossing her head. "Well it took you long enough — did you stop to take a bath after all? Come on! We've got a lot to talk about!"

"My clothes are wet. I'm going to change," Harrier said sulkily.

He wanted to toss the satchel with the Three Books down on the ground just to show Kareta what he thought of her bright idea that he should become a Knight-Mage, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. Whatever he thought of the idea of becoming one, a Knight-Mage was a Wildmage, and Wildmages were guardians of the Great Balance, and Harrier worshipped at the Shrine of the Eternal Light — the Great Balance as it was venerated in the Nine Cities — just like everyone else in Armethalieh. The Light might be known by different names in different places: as Leaf and Star to the Elves, as the Herdsman to the Centaurs, as the Huntsman and the Forest Wife back in the Hills, and even in some places as the Good Goddess, but it was all the same Light, the same way as the sun was the same sun, no matter where you went. Without another word, he sighed, and settled the satchel firmly on his shoulder as he walked past the other three and climbed the steps into the wagon.

He ducked his head as he stepped up and inside. "You don't have to like it. You just have to do it" That was one of his father's favorite sayings, and it had gotten Harrier through many an afternoon of tedious chores. He wasn't entirely sure that Antarans Gillain had ever meant it to apply to his youngest son becoming a Wildmage, though.

Well, maybe there was a way out. He was sure Ancaladar would know.

He closed the door of the wagon behind him, and bolted it too, just to make sure he had a little time alone to think. He kept his head ducked; Tiercel could stand upright in here, but Harrier was a good half-head taller than Tiercel was, and he'd already collected more than his fair share of bruises from the ceiling and doorframe of the wagon.

* * *

THE true purpose of the wagon wasn't actually to provide him and Tiercel with a place to sleep, but to provide Tiercel with a portable workroom, for unlike the Wild Magic, the High Magick required a large number of ingredients, and research books, and tools. But at the moment it also held all their belongings, for though the boys had arrived at Karahelanderialigor, city of the Elven Mages, with little more than the clothes on their backs, they had left it fully-provisioned, thanks to the generosity of House Malkirinath.

He sat down on one of the chests to remove his boots, setting the satchel carefully aside. The boots were durable leather, made for hard use (and even for wading into a stream, if need be), but it would take them hours to dry. He set them in a corner. He'd oil them later, to keep them from stiffening as they dried. Then he dragged off his overtunic (his shirt was floating downstream, but if he was lucky, it had caught on a branch, and he'd be able to retrieve it later; he had others, but that was his favorite) and got to his feet to rummage through the chest for a change of clothes. At least he'd packed up the camp this morning before he'd gone off for his ill-advised morning swim, so he was able to lay hands on a drying cloth and his camp boots without tearing the whole organization of the wagon to bits. All of Tiercel's High Magick stuff was carefully packed away out of reach, and he'd told Harrier over and over that it was completely harmless: without a High Mage's will and power, nearly all of it was nothing more than objects, and Harrier could do them more harm, actually, than they could do him. But Harrier still didn't like the thought of touching them. And it was the "nearly" part that bothered him. It would be just his luck to bump into the one item in Tiercel's collection of weird new gimcracks that could turn him into a tree, or something.

* * *

A few minutes later, dressed in dry clothes, but no more ready to talk about this than he had been before, Harrier opened the door of the wagon — and nearly skewered himself on Kareta's horn.

"Hey!" he yelped, jumping back. He hadn't expected her to be there. He straightened up quickly and fetched his head a painful thump on the ceiling of the wagon.

Kareta shook her head violently. A unicorn's face couldn't have much expression, but Harrier just knew she was trying — and not very hard — not to laugh.

"If I'd known that humans could be this much fun, I would have gotten one a long time ago," she said unsteadily.

Harrier glared at her until she backed up. He came down the steps, ducking carefully.

"You forgot your Books," Kareta said. She sounded just like one of Tiercel's sisters when she was pretending to be helpful but actually trying to get him into trouble.

"They're fine where they are," he said. He walked around the side of the wagon.

Tiercel and Ancaladar were waiting for him. A dragon's face was even less capable of showing expression than a unicorn's, but somehow Harrier never had any trouble telling what Ancaladar was thinking. Right now, Ancaladar was waiting to see what would happen. Harrier supposed that when you got to be as old as Ancaladar was, you developed patience.

He didn't know precisely how old the great black dragon was, and he doubted that Tiercel did either. He knew that Ancaladar was at least a thousand years old, because he wasn't just any black dragon named Ancaladar, he was the Ancaladar: Ancaladar Star-Crowned, who had fought against the Endarkened. But Ancaladar had said once that he'd seen the start of the war that had come before that one, and Tiercel said that war had been a thousand years before the Great Flowering, so Ancaladar was ... older than anything Harrier could easily imagine. Older, even than Armethalieh, and Harrier had grown up knowing that he lived in the oldest and most famous of the Nine Cities.

He walked over and sat down, using Ancaladar's shoulder for a backrest. Ancaladar might be an ancient creature of magic, but in the short time he'd known him, Ancaladar had also become Harrier's friend. He glanced over at Tiercel, who still had the vague look on his face that meant he wasn't paying attention to anything in particular. Harrier stretched out a hand and snapped his fingers in front of Tiercel's face.

Tiercel jumped, and his eyes focused. He looked around for Kareta (who was standing facing them, and if she'd been human Harrier was pretty sure she'd have her arms folded over her chest and be tapping her foot) and then looked at Harrier.

"You're going to be a Wildmage," he said in tones of disbelief.

"A Knight-Mage," Kareta said. "And he can still refuse, you know. People have refused to become Wildmages."

Harrier wondered how she knew.

"But this is different," Tiercel said slowly. "A Knight-Mage isn't just any ordinary Wildmage. They're special. They do things no ordinary Wildmage can do. Wildmages keep the Great Balance, and do the work of the Wild Magic, but Knight-Mages ... make things happen."

"Will you stop talking about this as if it were something interesting that didn't really matter?" Harrier demanded. "This is me! And I can't be a Knight-Mage!"

"Why not?" Ancaladar asked, before either Kareta could argue or Tiercel could ask the same question.

"Well," Harrier said slowly, "Knight-Mages have to be able to fight, don't they? That's why they're called Knight-Mages. And I don't know anything about fighting."

But Roneida — the Wildmage that they'd met on the Great Plains, the one who had told them to go to the Elves — had given him a sword. She'd brought gifts for all of them, but she'd brought only Harrier a sword. He wondered if she'd known, all that time ago, if this might happen.

"Foo! That's simple!" Kareta said. "Cast a spell and summon yourself up a teacher! The Mageprice shouldn't be too great for that!"

Harrier did his best not to recoil in horror. Cast a spell? Okay, that's what Wildmages did (and there must be some kind of directions on how to do it in the Three Books), but ... he still hadn't agreed to any of this.

And that wasn't the only problem he had with becoming a Knight-Mage.

This morning, he'd known what his place in the scheme of things was. Take care of Tiercel. Take care of Ancaladar, too (as much as he needed taking care of). How was he supposed to do that if he had magickal things to do too? He was thinking back to all the stories he'd ever heard about Kellen the Poor Orphan Boy — Kellen who'd had his own unicorn (and Shalkan had probably been much nicer than Kareta was, Harrier thought darkly); Kellen who'd been the greatest warrior — human or Elven — the world had ever seen; Kellen who had slain hordes of monsters with an Elven-forged sword that only he could wield; Kellen who'd gathered together a great army and led it against the Endarkened.

If anybody's safety depended on Harrier's ability to do anything even remotely like any of those things, the world was doomed.

* * *

"WELL, he doesn't have to do that right this minute, does he?" Tiercel asked hesitantly.

The golden unicorn was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen — well, next to Ancaladar, of course — and that made it slightly hard to concentrate while he was staring at her. But she did seem just a little bit ... pushy.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Phoenix Endangered by Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory. Copyright © 2008 Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Mercedes Lackey is the author of the bestselling Valdemar series, the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, and, also with James Mallory, the Obsidian Trilogy (The Outstretched Shadow, To Light a Candle, and When Darkness Falls) and the Enduring Flame Trilogy (The Phoenix Unchained, The Phoenix Endangered, and The Phoenix Transformed). She has written many other books, including Trio of Sorcery, Phoenix and Ashes, Sacred Ground, The Firebird, The Fairy Godmother, and Alta. Lackey is the co-author, with Andre Norton, of the Halfblood Chronicles, including Elvenborn. Mercedes Lackey was born in Chicago and graduated from Purdue University. She has worked as an artist's model, a computer programmer, and for American Airlines, and has written lyrics and recorded more than fifty songs. She lives in Oklahoma.

James Mallory is author of the three-part novelization of the Hallmark Merlin miniseries: The Old Magic, The King's Wizard, and The End of Magic. He was born in San Francisco and attended schools in California and the Midwest, before moving to New York to pursue a career in writing. From an early age, he has been fascinated with the Arthurian legends, an avocation which triggered a lifelong interest in fantasy literature. He lives in California.


Mercedes Lackey is the author of the bestselling Valdemar series, the Obsidian Trilogy (The Outstretched Shadow, To Light a Candle, and When Darkness Falls), the Enduring Flame trilogy (The Phoenix Unchained, The Phoenix Endangered, and The Phoenix Transformed), and the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms. She has written many other books, including Trio of Sorcery, Phoenix and Ashes, Sacred Ground, The Firebird, The Fairy Godmother, and Alta. Lackey is the co-author, with Andre Norton, of the Halfblood Chronicles, including Elvenborn. Mercedes Lackey was born in Chicago and graduated from Purdue University. She has worked as an artist’s model, a computer programmer, and for American Airlines, and has written lyrics and recorded more than fifty songs. She lives in Oklahoma.
James Mallory is the author of the Merlin trilogy (Merlin: The Old Magic; Merlin: The King’s Wizard; Merlin: The End of Magic). He lives in upstate New York.

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