For centuries, ribbons of magic have provided the kingdom of Cirena with light, healing, and protection. Then, in a span of minutes, those ribbons fly from their masters, stolen, save for the magic of a few chosen mages. One of these mages is Toranih, a young noblewoman who would rather have a sword in her hand than use her powers to heal or throw fireballs. As a result, her magic skills are lacking. But with former mages dying from magic withdrawal, and the looming threat of an army of shadows who are impervious to mortal weapons, she must either embrace the responsibilities of a mage or watch her home perish.
Magic’s Stealing is a 34,000-word, young adult fantasy novella. This is the first book in The Wishing Blade series.
Toranih cast a glance toward the distant mountain and shivered. The closer they came, the more her unease grew. It wasn't her usual dislike of magic. As close as they were now, the magic inside the forge glowed like a star. Yet the whole place was shrouded with a thick fog, a veil that kept the magic hidden from the distance.
She could almost see thin filaments weaving through the fog, like the shadows of strings from a poorly played puppet theatre. The filaments lashed out in different directions, disappearing as they touched bright, sunlit sky. She tilted her head and squinted, but the strings vanished altogether.
She shivered and returned to picking at the soft innards of her roll.
There was something different about that magic. Wild. Unsteady. Like a foal that hadn’t been broken, and might never be. The magic was curious, like a dark storm cloud spewing cracks of thunder and lightning when the rest of the land was gold.
All this magic was bound to cause strange visions.
So why was she drawn to follow?
She looked up sharply. “What do you know about magic’s lure?”
“What?” Daernan lowered the last hunk of cheese from mid-bite.
“Shouldn’t we have come with some kind of guard, in case there’s trouble?”
Daernan frowned. “If we brought guards, we’d be more noticeable.”
“We’re nearly three hours from Viyna. A guard could stop here, and we’d be reasonably undercover. More so, because they don’t have magic that’s lighting them like a beacon.” She bit her lip. “What if something’s calling us? Like how I almost touched that glass-thing in the seer’s shop?”
Daernan frowned and followed her gaze. “It’s possible.”
The mountain seemed foggier than before, lost in time and unreachable. Tendrils of mist climbed toward the hidden forge as they watched. Despite the heat of summer, a chilly, unnatural breeze swept past them. Daernan froze, and Toranih reached for the short sword at her side.
Daernan stood quickly. “You felt that?”
She nodded. She drew her sword and shifted into a fighting stance.
A wisp of darkness fluttered just out of sight. Daernan thrust his hand out, using magic to send a gust of wind that direction.
There was a grunt, and the shadow vanished.
“I can barely see him,” he said, hurrying behind Toranih so that they stood back-to-back.
“He was like a shadow,” Toranih whispered. Oh, she really hated magic now. If magic had to be stolen, couldn’t it have had the convenience to take this magic, too?
“Shadow, then. Show yourself!” Daernan raised his hands and livid blue ribbons swarmed from his core to his palms. He had a knife at his side, though Toranih really hoped he didn’t have to use it. He was about as competent with a knife as she was with light magic.
She brandished her sword.
“Mortal blades cannot hurt us,” a voice mocked. Distant, like eavesdropping through a thick wall. Toranih squinted in the direction of the voice. A faint man stood in the darkness. He looked as any man would, but faded, cloaked.
“Toranih…” Daernan touched her sleeve and pointed.
Several more shadows stood behind them.
“I suggest we run.” He sent another gust of wind in the shadow’s direction, then sprinted toward the mountain.
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About The Author
Stephanie Flint (formerly Stephanie Bibb) graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a Bachelor of Science in photography and a minor in creative writing. She merged the two interests into book cover design and photographic illustration, but she particularly enjoys writing speculative fiction. She lives with her husband, Isaac. Together they plot stories in the form of table-top role-play games, and enjoy the occasional cosplay.
Online, Stephanie often goes by the nickname of SBibb.