This sequel to AutumnQuest (Flux, 2006) continues the story of Donavah, a young mage-in-training. She and her colleagues must run away when someone informs the Royal Guard about their secret training grounds, because maejic has been outlawed in Alloway. Unfortunately, the traitor is determined to end Donavah's life. He attacks her, leaving her for dead, unable to speak and stripped of her powers, but with the help of a handsome rescuer she is reunited with her mentor and their dragon friend. WinterMaejic is a little hard to follow for those who haven't read the first book, and it's also difficult to identify with the main character, since without the backstory readers are faced with a rather whiny girl. However, after the first few chapters, the pace picks up considerably, with new situations and dangers that anyone can understand. The characters are not fully fleshed out, though, and there are some confusing elements that interrupt the narrative. For example, undated diary entries from someone-presumably Donavah's teacher-confuse more than enlighten as some seem to be current, while others reference future dangers or past difficulties or characters whom readers of this title have not met. Still, for fans of the first book, this is a fun tale with plenty of danger, action, and adventure.
Saleena L. DavidsonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
WinterMaejicby Terie Garrison
In this captivating sequel to AutumnQuest, Donavah is learning to control her vast maejic powers under the tutelage of Yallick, a revered mage. Maejic is outlawed in Alloway, and dreadful news of the Royal Guard drives the majes—along with Xyla the red dragon—from their hidden forest sanctuary. No one realizes the traitor in their midst until/em>… See more details below
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In this captivating sequel to AutumnQuest, Donavah is learning to control her vast maejic powers under the tutelage of Yallick, a revered mage. Maejic is outlawed in Alloway, and dreadful news of the Royal Guard drives the majes—along with Xyla the red dragon—from their hidden forest sanctuary. No one realizes the traitor in their midst until it’s too late and Donavah is brutally attacked. Stripped of her voice, the use of her hands, and her maejic, she is utterly helpless until rescued by a handsome and mysterious young man.
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“I have told you before,” Yallick said in his gravelly voice, “that I do not wish for you to play with fire.”
Beside me, Traz let out a small noise as he tried to hold in a snicker. I had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing myself.
“You,” Yallick said, his gaze falling onto Traz, “go outside and gather up kindling. And then bring in some more firewood. You shall be staying here for supper tonight. And you, Donavah,” I looked straight into his icy, blue-green eyes without flinching, “please go to your room and continue translating the manuscript I sent you last night.”
I gave him a small nod, but waited until Traz passed me on his way out before I actually moved. I had agreed to let Yallick become my teacher, and I was learning a lot, but I still felt uncomfortable around his unpredictable moods. Whenever possible, I tried to exert some small degree of my own will in a vain effort to feel more like a partner than a student.
In my room, I sat at my desk under the wide window that looked out across the back garden. My eyes flicked back and forth between the manuscript of herbal lore, the lexicon, and my translation. Absorbed in the pleasure of unlocking the treasure of knowledge for myself, I completely lost track of time.
A sudden sound of click-clacking outside startled me. If it was already time for Traz’s training session, it must also be time for my afternoon meditation. I still didn’t understand why Traz didn’t have to meditate. At Roylinn, everyone from Master Foris down to the youngest serving girls and boys had to take morning and mid-afternoon meditation. But once when I’d asked Yallick why Traz didn’t have to, he’d said that it was none of my business and directed my attention back to the star chart I’d been studying.
I looked out my window to find Traz and Klemma, the martial arts instructor, just outside. They were working with staffs today, and as usual, Traz used the one he’d found when we were traveling together. Not that we’d known it had any special powers at the time; we’d thought it was just a really good walking stick. Now, each time Traz’s staff crashed against Klemma’s as he blocked a move or tried to get past her defenses, I winced. But the staff always came through the most aggressive of sessions without even a scratch.
As I watched, Klemma stepped backwards, and Traz danced toward her. He swung his staff low, then up under Klemma’s outstretched arms. The tip of the weapon touched Klemma’s breastbone, and with a yip of delight, Traz sprang back and raised it into the air.
“I gotcha!” he cried.
Klemma smiled at the boy, small for his ten years. “Indeed you did. Of course, your opponent won’t always be obvious about leaving you an opening,” Traz’s face fell, “but you’re catching on very quickly.” His smile reappeared. “Very quickly, indeed. Now, again.”
They both assumed battle stances. I enjoyed watching Traz train, and I looked forward to beginning my own martial arts lessons, but for now, I needed to find someplace quiet to meditate. I reached into my desk drawer, grabbed two taper candles without paying any attention at all to which ones they were, and went into the front room. No sign of Yallick, so I went outside. And immediately returned to get my heavy cloak. Winter was almost here and despite the bright sunshine, it was cold outside.
I followed a path into the wood that led in the opposite direction from where Traz and Klemma were making all their racket. About a fifteen-minute walk from the cottage, there was a meditation shelter that I loved to use when weather permitted. The shelter had been carved from the bottom half of a huge boulder. Somehow—I suspected it must be by maejic after Yallick hinted as much—it stayed dry inside, and the wind couldn’t get in to put out the candles. Yallick used the shelter for his morning meditation, but had yielded it to me for the afternoons.
As the dry leaves on the path crunched beneath my feet, my thoughts turned to my older brother, Breyard. I hadn’t been able to break the habit of worrying about him, not after spending a month trying to rescue him. Why had Yallick sent him away so soon—only a day after we’d arrived at his cottage? Why wouldn’t Breyard explain what had happened to him? And what exactly had happened? He’d told Traz and me about what it had been like in that awful prison they’d kept him in, and about his sham trial. He even had some vague memories about the execution fight. But about what happened after Xyla, the dragon, had snatched him away, he wouldn’t tell me any more. He just gave me a maddening smile and said, “All in good time.” Then Yallick sent him away, home to our parents. And he’d seemed glad to go, almost as if he were grateful to escape.
When I reached the meditation shelter, I dragged my thoughts away from their pointless spiral and ducked inside.
A wooden seat, carved from a tree trunk, faced out, and in front of it stood a stone table. I sat down and looked at the bare trees interspersed here and there with evergreens.
In this quiet place, meditation was easy. I placed the meditation candles—blue and purple today, as it turned out—in holes in the surface of the table. After I lit them, light flickered on the rock above and around me, twinkling where it struck bits of mica.
I stared into the flames for a moment, then closed my eyes. One deep breath. Another. My mind’s eye closed, leaving my imagination blank. I felt the vibration of the life of the forest surrounding me, and matched my heart’s rhythm to it. The vibrations flowed through my body, which began to feel as if it had turned into something fluid. I swirled and spun round, celebrating the dance of life and my own place in it.
Eventually, the flow stopped and my eyelids fluttered open. The candlelight still flickered, the forest still surrounded me, and I still sat in the same seat as I had every afternoon since my return to Crowthorne. But power still surged within me as it never had before. I looked at my hands, half expecting to find them glowing, but they looked just as they always had, right down to a thin line of dirt under my fingernails that I never seemed to be able to get entirely clean.
I blew out the candles and took them with me when I returned to the cottage. Yallick, sitting at the table reading an ancient illustrated manuscript, looked up when I walked inside. He smiled.
“You did it,” he said in his slightly raspy voice.
“Did what?” I asked.
He stood up and walked over to me, looking closely at my face. “You accessed the power.” He touched my cheek with surprising gentleness. “You glow from it.”
I looked at my hands again, confused. “No, I’m not.” I showed him my hands. “See?”
He actually laughed. “No, no, not that kind of glow. But I can see it in your face. Come; sit down and tell me.”
I did as he asked, still completely mystified as to what he was talking about. When I was done, he slapped the table with his hand, making the fruit in the wooden bowl jump.
“Yes! Your skills are markedly improving. I am quite proud of you, Donavah.” I sat there, stunned. It was as if I were talking to my father instead of the maejic master who’d grudgingly agreed to teach me. “Off with you, now.” Yallick shooed me away as if I were the cat. “Go check on Xyla.”
“All right,” I said, rising quickly. Anything to get away from his confusing behavior.
I set the candles on the table, intending to take them back to my room when I returned. Just before the door closed behind me, I heard Yallick mutter almost gleefully, “Ah, blue and purple. Blue and purple.”
What could possibly be the significance of that, I wondered as I walked to the nearby clearing where Traz and I had, following Xyla’s precise directions, created a bed of dead leaves and fresh-turned earth for her.
She now lay on her bed, her eyes closed. I shuffled my feet as I approached, not wanting to startle her. One eyelid opened a fraction. “Ah. Donavah.” Xyla’s voice spoke inside my head, and it was this ability to communicate with animals that was a mark of the gift of maejic. Not that this was necessarily a good thing, as practicing maejic had been outlawed in Alloway centuries before. That had not, of course, stopped the mages, but only forced them—us—into hiding.
I approached the huge red dragon and placed a hand on her jaw. Her skin was incredibly soft and smooth, and I loved touching her. “How are you, Xyla?”
“I am tired, but otherwise fine.”
I scowled. “Still tired? You’ve done nothing but sleep since we got here.” What could be wrong with her? She’d never been like this on our journey.
“I hunt, too. Do not worry about me; I am well.”
I leaned against her shoulder, just absorbing her presence. Then I heard the crunching of footsteps approaching her other side. I was just about to ask who was there, when I heard Traz’s voice.
“Hello, my lovely lady,” he whispered, and I had to strain to hear. “I’m working hard. I’m getting stronger. I’m quite sure I’ll be able to hear you soon.”
I almost gasped in surprise. Did Traz mean he was trying to become maejic? Was that even possible? From what Yallick and Oleeda said, you were born with it, you didn’t acquire it. And what happened to his desire to be a bard?
Then I wondered how I was going to get away without the boy discovering that I’d overheard his plan. Before I could figure out what to do, Traz walked around Xyla’s head. He froze when he saw me standing there, and I’m sure I had a guilty expression on my face.
He spoke first. “You won’t tell anyone, will you?”
For a moment I toyed with the idea of pretending that I didn’t know what he was talking about, but I decided that wouldn’t be fair.
I shook my head. “No, of course I won’t. But why, Traz? Why would you want to?”
“What do you mean, why would I want to? I love Xyla, but I can’t hear her. Everyone else, all the mages, they can. They all keep having conversations that I can’t hear. How do you think that makes me feel?”
To tell the truth, I’d never thought about that, and I had to admit I could understand his point. “But, Traz, I can’t hear other conversations, either.” He gave me an exasperated look. “I know, I know. That doesn’t make up for it. Still, why would you want to become maejic? You don’t want always to live in hiding like this, do you?”
He stuck out his jaw stubbornly. “I’ll do it. You just wait and see if I don’t.”
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