Bloodmage

This is the story of a group of youths caught in the bloody streets of a dying city.
Ross, a fledgling theif and self-proclaimed master of the night, must fight to ascend the twisting social ladder in a dangerous world. Avelon struggles to overcome her unfortunate gender and make a name for herself as the world's youngest maga. Marcus, a new-made orphan, learns to provide for himself and live without the safety-net of his ancient family name.

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1. Stillness

The world was still. Fully, utterly motionless.

No. That wasn't it. It was more that, regardless of the average deeds of the people on the silent streets, nothing important really happened. Of course, something important was happening, but no one saw, and so to the world, it really wasn't happening at all.

No. The thousands busying about their daily lives, the people who stopped and looked toward the castle, the dogs who barked and howled at the gates, the whores and their clients moaning and grunting, the boy screaming and the crack of the wip as it landed upon him, they all added to the stillness somehow. The air hung heavily upon the populace, suffocating, choking the sounds from the air with a ruthless ferver.

The bustle of the market, the shuffling of feet and muted conversation, the applause and the jeers coming from the whipping court, they all faded, only enhancing the silence. The superstitious marked themselves and their doors with fresh blood, falling to their knees and praying to the gods for salvation. Even those who laughed at these practices sent furtive, worried glances toward the castle, where the darkened windows and the closed gates bespoke trouble in the worst of ways.

Alas, had they known what they were missing, those mocked religious would have been proven correct, while those others would have quaked in their gaudy silver or cracked mud encrusted boots. Had they known, all might have been right that day. But no one knew the truth, and so the world turned a blind eye to the troubles of Vareth Castle, and the royal family within.

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