The Shard of Time
In a time of great darkness, when evil sweeps the land, a prophecy foretells the coming of a savior, a child that will defeat the forces of evil and save the world. She is Kyria, the Chosen One.
The Mage’s Academy is like no other school in the Seven Kingdoms. Just when Kyria thought that she knew what to expect, she learns of the Shard of Time, a mystical artifact that has the power to send people back in time and experience events as they actually unfolded.
Determined to learn more about Zoldex, the foe that she is destined to defeat in the Madrew prophecy, Kyria and her newfound friends, Mica and Sartir, will risk everything to acquire the Shard and use it to go back in time.
For most students, the weekends are days when children can sleep in, or wake up to play with their friends. A day when they can relax, create all forms of adventures with their imagination and find mischief that they can get themselves into. Not so for those children that attend the Mage’s Academy.
Within the famed walls of the Tower, children attend classes seven days a week, twelve hours a day. Even vacations are foreign to them, for they receive one week off a year, when all of the Mages celebrate the Founders’ Celebration, a time that most of the students anxiously look forward to, but also dread—when the week is over, their course-load is often increased as they advance to the higher-tiered courses.
For Kyria, the prophesied Chosen One, weekends are exceptionally difficult. Unlike her classmates, she had not been raised since infancy in the Mage’s Council. She had lived a normal life—as normal as life could be in a fishing village in the Kingdom of Frocomon, that is. Weekends to her were a time to escape from the monotony of daily life and to truly enjoy herself. A time of freedom and excitement, a time to be cherished and enjoyed.
Now she was here, and every time that her chronometer released a piercing wail to awaken her, she struggled with the fact that she not only had to wake up, but had to go to classes for twelve hours, like every other day.
How she had arrived here at the Council was rather unique: she underwent a process known as the Awakening, unlocking the potential within her and making her more powerful than some of the most renowned Mages in the entire realm. Prior to this, the Mages did not even know of her potential power. Now, every Mage in the Council knew her name.
She is Kyria, the Chosen One, and the prophesied savior of the world. Even so, she still turned over on this early Sunday morning and tried to ignore her own transparent image standing above the chronometer, screaming for her to wake up.
“It’s not even 5:00 yet,” she moaned. “Let me sleep.”
The image above the chronometer stubbornly folded its arms. “Do I really need to wail so loudly that everyone in the entire Tower will hear me?”
Kyria turned over and groggily looked at the transparent image. She saw that it was smugly smiling back at her. “You wouldn’t?”
“Oh yes I would,” it replied in her own voice.
“Okay, okay, I’m up,” Kyria mumbled as she let her feet dangle from her bed. Unlike most beds, those at the Mage’s Council mystically fit the form of the sleeper as they floated in the air, making the sleeper feel completely at peace and tranquil. Kyria loved her new bed, and the thought of abandoning it on a Sunday morning drove her mad.
The moment that Kyria stepped onto the floor, the transparent image above the chronometer smiled satisfactorily and then disappeared.
Stretching to try and wake herself up, Kyria stumbled into the bathroom. For a Mage, the word bathroom did not really apply. It was a large marble room with no outlets, waterspouts, tubs, or basins. There were only the smooth walls and the enchanted spells that cleaned and refreshed a Mage far more thoroughly than any other method of bathing.
Stepping into the middle of the room, she closed her eyes as the first gust of wind began to swirl around her. She could feel the gentle breeze as well as the warm steam engulfing her body. The scent of fresh flowers was the same as she remembered from the first time that she had ever experienced the Mages form of bathing.
As the torrents of wind and steam continued to bombard every pore of her body, she knew that the final stage of the process was almost upon her, the part she enjoyed the most. Then she felt it, every sense in her body telling her that she had been submerged in a soothing hot-water spring: the feeling was incredible.
As the sensation finally waned, she stepped to the side of the marble room and gently waved her hair back and forth. Reaching up, she lightly brushed her fingers through her long golden blonde hair and smiled to herself; even after being at the Mage’s Council for almost a month, she was still amazed at how silky her hair felt after one of these experiences.
She walked over to a small indentation in the wall and picked up a single strand of fabric that rested there in a small box. Holding it in the palm of her hand, it began expanding and wrapping around her wrist as if it were alive. Slowly it moved up her arm and over her body, turning into the white and gold robes of a Mage. A moment later, the robes turned almost completely into a shade of sparkling gold, leaving only a large white star across her chest and back, with smaller white stars scattered throughout.
Stepping swiftly back into her room, feeling completely refreshed and wide awake, she grabbed her sandals and began wrapping the laces around her calf and tied them a couple of inches below her knees.
Taking a deep breath and slowly letting the air back out, she picked up her satchel and placed her Introduction to Compounds book into it. As soon as the book entered the enchanted satchel, it vanished, leaving the small pouch looking as if it were still empty. Glancing at the ten piles of books along her wall, Kyria decided to also add her History books so that she could review them prior to class.
The ten piles were set up with one for each class: there were three books in the Trivium pile, by far the smallest stack; Quadrium had nine books; Language of the Races and Culture of the Races each had twenty-seven; Philosophy had twelve; Science and Alchemy, as well as Art, each had six; Self Defense had eight; and History was in two piles: the first was for her regular class which had ten, but she also had the complete collections of The Age of the Dragon, The Dark Ages, and The Age of the Mage, a total of fifty-five books.
Thinking back to her first class with Master Forales, the History teacher, she remembered how upset he had been that she had not already mastered this material before coming to his class. The amount of information was overwhelming.
Sartir, one of her friends here at the Academy, was one of the smartest students she knew. He had a passion for information and always had the answer on the tip of his tongue. When she first met him, she considered him arrogant and harsh; but she soon learned that he truly was an admirable individual, and she was now proud to call him a friend.
He had offered to tutor her to prepare for Master Forales’s little examination, and though they worked together daily, she still felt lost in the passages of time. There was just far too much material to try and absorb and retain in too short a time.
Shrugging, she placed several of the History books in her satchel and an additional package of parchment to write upon.
Crawling down the ladder to the floor below, she saw her best friend, Mica, hovering there, waiting for her. Kyria had originally had the self-proclaimed popular and beautiful Shelby as a roommate, but the two were at odds and she had trouble putting up with the prissy avarian. Shortly after a combat-challenge that pitted Mica, Sartir, and Kyria against Shelby and her friends, and Jialie and his friends, roommates were switched. Something that Kyria has been very grateful for ever since.
When Kyria had first arrived at the Mage’s Academy, Shelby had openly pretended to be her friend, but was merely taking advantage of her because of the amount of gold on her robes. In the hierarchy of the Mage’s Council, the more gold that one had, the better their control and abilities were.
During those early hours, Kyria was lost in this new mystical world; and rather than helping and guiding her, Shelby and her friends had merely criticized her. Mica had been the only one who had offered some words of wisdom that helped her to become more accustomed to her new life here.
This bond was strengthened the day Kyria saved Mica’s life when the dimwitted Chured took a joke too far and almost killed her. From that moment on, the two girls had been best friends, and they got along phenomenally.
“Took you long enough,” Mica joked. “I heard your chronometer go off thirty minutes ago!”
“Did it wake you?” Kyria asked.
“Did it wake me?” she repeated. “Kyria, that chronometer woke up everyone on this entire wing of the Academy!”
“Oops,” Kyria replied.
“Yeah, Oops,” Mica replied with a lopsided grin. “Come on, we’re running late for Science and Alchemy. We wouldn’t want to miss the beginning, who knows what could happen if we did!”
If one had to have a class on a Sunday morning, Science and Alchemy was the one to have. It was a double session so that they could have a lab once a week. Even still, Master Ferdish, the gnome that taught the class, made every moment an adventure.
The tanned gnome stood only three feet and an inch tall, slightly more than half the height of Kyria. He had fluffy white hair with a short and stylishly trimmed white beard that rested below his large, round nose. His light-blue eyes were wide with anticipation and excitement over this morning’s experiment.
Kyria felt that the gnome was a bit eccentric, and at times impulsive, but he did have a fascination with his subject and brought his own joy to his class. This particular day, he hustled everyone into their seats and stepped onto a raised platform so that all of the students could see him.
Kyria and Mica shared a lab table as partners. Behind them, Sartir stood straight up rather than sit on the stool provided, awaiting instructions with his partner Kruskall. Kruskall was a thirteen-year-old human male with cropped reddish-brown hair, alluring indigo eyes, and orange freckles across his nose and cheeks. The two of them had been roommates for years, and both, Kyria had learned, were very competitive with each other.
Although Kruskall was a year older than Kyria and her two friends, she learned that at the Academy, age was determined in relation to the Founders’ Celebration. Therefore, even though she would turn thirteen herself in a couple of weeks, she would not move up to the thirteenth table and groupings until after this year’s festival.
Master Ferdish began introducing the experiment that they would be conducting that morning. As he spoke, his words blended together into one long, excited run-on sentence. Kyria wondered if the gnome ever even stopped to breathe. After a few minutes, he began adding various elements into a cauldron so that he could demonstrate what they were to do and have the class follow along.
“Excellent, excellent,” he said as a purple mist steamed from the cauldron. “Almost there now! Okay, add thirteen grams of hydrolexis.”
Mica flew over and picked up a vial labeled “Hydrolexis.” It held small, turquoise-colored rocks that sparkled as if they were jewels.
Kyria held the Tralensken scale steady. The scale was designed so that two arms extended out from a central pointer. Each arm had a tray strung to it. In one tray, the students would place specific weights to match the exact measurements that they needed. In the other, they would place the element desired until the two arms were level and completely balanced.
Kyria removed six two-gram weights and one one-gram weight and placed them onto one of its flat trays. Mica then slowly poured the contents of the vile as the scale slowly evened out and balanced.
“Try a couple more,” Kyria advised as she watched the Tralensken scale slightly sway up and down. As Mica placed two small shards of hydrolexis on the tray, Kyria smiled. “Perfect.”
They then took the thirteen grams of hydrolexis and dumped the contents into the purple misting cauldron. As soon as they did so, the steam lightened slightly and they watched as the entire potion took on the turquoise tinge of the hydrolexis.
“Was it supposed to do that?” Mica asked.
From the table behind them, Sartir leaned forward. “Yes,” he whispered.
“Thanks Sartir!” Mica beamed, proud that the potion was turning out as anticipated.
Sartir glanced up at Master Ferdish to see if the gnome overheard Mica. Kyria and Mica both giggled at his apparent unease and fear of being accused of cheating.
“Is everyone ready?” Master Ferdish asked in excitement. “Good, good, we can move on. Take out your beakers and measure two-and-a-half liters of allestrin.”
Kyria picked up the bottle of allestrin, a thick and dense sappy brown liquid that reminded her of the syrup her family used sometimes on their breakfast food—it was so sticky that your fingers would stick together for hours if you got it on you.
Placing the beaker in front of Kyria, Mica looked up at her and nodded. “Just don’t get any on me!”
“Don’t worry,” Kyria assured her. Slowly she began pouring the gooey liquid into the beaker.
“A little more,” Mica advised as she closely monitored the beaker filling up. “That’s good,” she said.
Kyria lifted the bottle up slowly and screwed the lid back on top.
“Does everyone have their allestrin ready?” Ferdish asked expectantly. “Good, good, now pour it into your potions.”
The entire class began to shake the beakers slightly so that the allestrin would pour out a little more smoothly into their cauldrons.
“There has to be an easier way to do this,” Kyria complained as she held the beaker upside down and the allestrin very slowly began to hang from the beaker and gradually reach the cauldron.
“Sure—you could have me do it,” Mica beamed back at her.
“No, I’ve got it,” she replied as she shook the beaker up and down, trying to get the thick liquid to pour out more quickly.
As the final drop of allestrin finally reached the potion, she watched as it changed color again, this time to a dark gray. Kyria looked up at Master Ferdish who had an odd expression on his face.
“Try stirring it,” he said, a little less certainty and excitement in his voice.
Mica grabbed the spoon and began stirring the potion. Thick clouds of dark gray burst from the potion and the fairy began coughing and wheezing as she tried to fly out of its way. “What happened?”
Kyria looked around the room and saw all of the cauldrons emitting the thick cloud, including Master Ferdish’s.
“That’s not right, not right at all!” he was moaning.
The room continued to fill up with the smoke and Kyria could not even see her hand in front of her eyes. She started coughing just as Mica had, and her eyes began tearing as she strained to see.
“Class dismissed,” Master Ferdish yelled out in between his own bouts of coughing. “For homework, find out what we did wrong!”
Kyria slowly felt her way around the desk and back towards the entrance to the lab. Feeling for the opening, she stepped through and fell to her knees, coughing to clear her throat of the smoke.
Two hands reached out and picked her back up again. “People will trip over you if you stay there,” Sartir cautioned her.
“Thanks,” Kyria replied, wheezing. Jialie leap from the room and land precisely where she had just been kneeling. “Ouch—that would have hurt.”
He glared at her with disgust and trotted down the opposite hallway and away from the pair. Chured and Tyron, his two companions, soon freed themselves of the room and chased after Jialie.
Mica flew out, tears flowing from her eyes. “That was priceless!” she snickered.
“What?” Kyria asked.
“I accidentally pulled Traina’s hair,” she said with a lopsided grin.
“Accidentally, of course,” Kyria replied, matching Mica’s devious expression.
“Of course,” Mica replied. “You know, I love Master Ferdish’s labs.”
“I don’t see why,” Sartir said. “He always seems to blow up the lab, forcing us to evacuate.”
“Exactly,” Mica said.
“Now we get to eat breakfast,” Kyria sang in glee.
“We should take the extra time to review History,” he offered.
“Sartir, we are out of class five hours early,” Mica said. “I think we all have enough time to enjoy a little food before you make her return to work.”
“I’m just trying to look out for her,” he said, defensively.
“I know,” Kyria smiled at him, “and I appreciate it.” With a wink, she and Mica headed down the hall towards the dining hall. With a sigh, Sartir reluctantly followed them.
Review by: Bookwire Book Reviews
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