Chapter One

STRANGER FROM THE NORTH

Because of a storm, the boats of Hubbordock came in early. The children had to leave school early, so they could help the anglers bring in the boats.

It was a cold afternoon. The wind was not that bad in Hubbordock as it was at sea. The seagulls came in from the far sides of the ocean so that they can find cover from the unforgiving storm.

Many children gathered across the sides of the main dock. They grabbed the ropes from the fishing boats and tied them to the dock.

Thirteen years old, Zaid walked across the wooded logs that made up the dock. Trying not to be caught, he gathered into the mist of the other kids.

'Your late', a voice said.

'But', Zaid tried to explain.

'No buts, just be here on time. If your late again, don't bother coming', Zaids Teacher warned.

Without getting more attention, he carefully walked through the crowd and up to his friend Shihab.

Shihab was tall for his age. He had a thing for jeans. Every day he wore the same pare. He did not like getting them wet. He had light skin and blonde hair and he liked to spike it up all the time. He thought he looked stupid if he didn't. The one thing that made him different from everyone in Hubbordock was his eye colour. One eye was purple and the other was red. His mum said it was a gift from the gods. Shihab did not think it was that. He did not really know why it was that way. However, he always said it was something that did not really need answering.

'That guy is like an eagle', his friend said. 'His eyes are so good that he could see me from a mile away'.

'Yeah, who needs security cameras when you've got him', Zaid replied.

They carried on helping with tying the boats up, until every boat was in. once they were allowed to go, everyone began leave like lost sheep. Zaid and Shihab stayed behind. They sat down and looked at the border of the ocean. It began to get dark. As it did so, the magic in lights that floated around the street and the dock began to awaken. The wave came crashing in and every thing in its way was washed away. The moon was raised into the starry sky as if it was a hot air balloon.

'The price of magic is getting higher. Before long, it going to be hard to live', Shihab remarked.

'Yeah. All we need now is a Tapper', an image came into his head. 'I could see the headlines now. "TAPPER HIDES IN WORST PLACE IN THE WORLD", hehehehehe'.

'That would be funny to see. Chance of that happening is like a Senser coming here'.

'Well there are more Tappers being found'.

'So?' Shihab asked.

'They are disappearing. Why are we not questioning where they've going?'

'Prison maybe'.

'What if they getting the magic for us'.

'But the Sensers control it all'.

'But the thing is, is the Sensers cannot do any thing with this magic. They will die if they wield it' Zaid explained. 'I think the Tappers have something behind this'.

'The Tappers could be on strike?'

'What ever is the problem, they are going to tell us soon.'

'You're right there, let us hope it does not keep rising or our life is going to get a lot harder'.

Nether Zaid or Shihab said any thing to each other before leaving to go home. They both had a lot to think about. Shihab was not that good at fishing and would have a hard time after finishing School in two years. The world they lived in was going through some hard times. Magic, the source that makes everything go, had been getting very exorbitant. If it keeps on going this way, the great stagnation would repeat it self again.

Zaid was going through some tuff times too. His teacher did not really like him. Every time he went to school, his teacher seemed to bully him more. Shihab once said to Zaid that it was because the teacher did not like people with curly hair. Zaid did not like this reason because his hair was not that curly. It was more like twirls than curls.

His was also having problems with his brother. After his mother's death, he had to bring him up manly by himself. Even though he lived with a friend of his mother, he really had to do it himself. This was because his mother's friend had a job as a cook in one of the local pubs, which was called the "Whitewater Tavern". When his mother died, he and his brother were taken to this pub. They had live there ever since.

'Well its time to go home. My mum will be pissed off if I do not get home before dinner. She thinks cold food is unhealthy for us. She would rather let starve to death then eat cold bake beans'.

'I wouldn't blame her', Zaid added in.

'Well see ya later'.

'What if I see you first?'

After that, Shihab walked across the dock and off to his home. Zaid stayed where he was for a while, just to let every thing sink in. He sat there watching the many things of the magic world that he lived in. Zaid looked behind himself. He stared at the dark mountains that his town was next to. He wondered if there was going to be any attacks from the darklands. Every month or so, the shadows came with their dark magic and attacked Hubbordock. Usually people are wounded from the attacks. Rarely do people die from them.

Zaid pulled himself up and strolled across the pier and through the town of Hubbordock. A few normal people were out. Patrollers walked the streets, looking for Tappers. They never find any.

After walking through the main street, Zaid turned left and walked down a road called, "Firehole Place". Zaid followed the underdeveloped street. The street soon came to a dead end. On the right of the cul-de-sac, was the "Whitewater Tavern". It was so hidden; that most people did not know it was there. Due to being on a bad spot, not many people went to it. It was usually the same people. They all knew Zaids name.

Zaid slowly walked through the saloon, saying hello to anyone he walked passed. He saw a group of Patrollers sitting at a table. Zaid avoided them. He carefully made it up the stairs. He walked into the living room and sat down on the couch. He turned on the 2-D hollow vision.

After ten minutes of watching cartoons, his brother came up the stairs and into the living room.

'Guess what just happened', his brother said excitedly.

His brother was always like this. He all ways came into the room and try to say something to Zaid. Usually it was unimportant. His brother also had curly hair, but unlike Zaid, his hair was longer. He thought it looked better. They both had the same eye colour. It was a dark blue. Zaids brother tried to change it once by putting some Mana, Magic in its unused form, into his eyed but it blinded him for a week. Zaid got really upset about it. His brother did not really care. He said it was good show and tell. It also let him have a few days off school.

Zaid looked at his brother and asked him, 'What is it this time Tariq?'

'There is a Senser here'.

'Where?' Zaid asked.

'Town hall, I think', Answered Tariq.

'Hope your right'. Zaid handed a bag of fish to Tariq. 'If your do not give this to Sid, you will be dead meat'.

'Okay'.

Zaid grabbed his backpack and ran down the stairs, through the bar, down the lonely street and onto the main street. While traveling down the main street, Zaid met up with his friend Shihab.

'Did you hear about the Senser yet', Shihab asked him.

'Yeah, me brother had just told me'.

'It looks like the mayor is pissed about this. He thinks this Senser is trying to take control of this town'.

'If I was the mayor, I would think the same thing'.

'Let's go see what's happening'.

'Okay, but if a fight starts, I am leaving the scene'.

It was common to have fight at the town hall. Usually the mayor starts the fights. This was the reason why not many people went to the town hall.

'That's fine; I will be leaving with you then if that happens'.

They walked down the busy main street talking about things like what was on HV and stuff that happened in the other classes at school. Many people where outside their shops selling. A lot of the stuff they were selling was ineffective. Many of the sold the same thing.

It was not before did they came to the town hall. The town hall was nothing to write home about. Unlike all the other buildings that made up the town of Hubbordock, this one was made of wood. The town council had been thinking about building a new town hall. The only why they wouldn't is because it was over five hundred years old.

There on the steps of the was the mayor and the Senser. The Senser looks as if he was in his late thirties. He had a really badly cut beard. He had a cut going across his face. Zaid thought it could have been some battle scares. His hair was a brown colour. It was cut short. The Senser wore a dark red leather jacket. His skin looked as if it had been sun burnt. He wore same type of jeans as Shihab did.

The Senser had his hand folded. Leaning to one side, he said, 'but I am here looking for something'.

'What, you mean one of these Tappers', Mayor Yelled into the man's left ear.

'I do not know what it is', he tried to explain.

'You Sensers are all the same. All you want is money. Well I want you to leave here at once'.

'Look here, I have left the order. I have seen there ways, I wanted leave. All I want to do is help'.

'Now you're pretending to not be one. You are just like the rest. If you want money, go to Minester, they support you Sensers'.

'I know you're upset about this rising in price, but I can't do anything now. I am not part of the council anymore. If I was, I would try to stop this'.

'Why don't you do that', someone in the crowd yelled out.

'Go to this council of yours', another man said, 'tell them our opinion and let us to be'.

'As I said before I can't do that'.

'That fellow is a damn rotten liar', the first man yelled out.

'Leave us now or your fate will be painful', the mayor yelled at the Senser. Then he looked out to his people.

The crowd start to yell. Pitchforks started to rise among the uncontrollable crowd. People started to yell out threats. Someone even swore at the Senser.

'I will leave before sunset then', Senser told them, 'if that makes you happy. But don't come crying back to me when you find out that you should had accepted my help'.

'They all say that when the find out that they have lost, so do not go crying back to your mother that you flew over. It makes you look like a wimp', the mayor softly to the Senser'.

'Can I use the back door?' the Senser requested.

'If you want. However, it could make you look more like a wimp', the mayor laughed to himself.

He went into the front door of the hall. People tried to follow but the Patrollers stopped them. Someone tried to attack a Patroller but was knocked out by the staff it was carrying.

'That's all folks', the mayor said as the Patrollers pushed then crowd back. 'This is going to make some great news. I had better write a letter to the mayor of Hooktown. I bet he hasn't had a Senser in his town before'.

By now, most off the people had gone. Zaid and Shihab stayed around the building that was on the other side of the street.

'I bet that Senser learnt his lesson', Shihab said.

'It would be a great story to tell people when I get older'.

'It was a same I don't have a camera. Could have sent it to world's funniest crap', Shihab joked about.

'Well it looks like it ended with out a fight'.

'Should it be "well it looks like it ended with out a fight with the mayor"? That was a good one'.

'I still think the mayor should get an acting job in Evergreen City. He would be good at doing a sitcom'.

'Well I better get home quick. Mum will be really annoyed with me'.

'Why?' Zaid asked.

'Didn't tell her I was going out'.

'I fell sorry for your'.

'See ya'.

Quick as he can, Shihab ran off home.

Zaid walked up to the mayor.

'Great show', Zaid said.

'Yeah. Kids like you would say that'.

'Really, it was classic. Wished I had a camera'.

'That is a good idea. Damn, I should have thought of that before. Better luck next time. I could had made a few bob', the mayor said in a dreamy way.

'Well I should better go. See ya Mayor "what ever your name is"'.

The mayor started to laugh. As he did so, Zaid walked off. The mayor was like this, did not really care about anything but making himself look better then other mayors.

Zaid slowly returned to the Tavern. It took him about a quarter of an hour to get home. When he finally got to there, a man was leaning to a wall.

'Wouldn't go in there me boy. That rotten Senser is staying here for the baldly night', the man said. 'Wouldn't want to be found with those guys. Steeling our kids because it screws up their profit. Those rotten thieves, I should maybe go in there and tell it what I really think of their plans'.

Walked passed the man and into the tavern. The bar was almost empty. The only person there was the Senser. Zaid walked passed him. The Senser was drinking a large glass of ale. He did not see Zaid pass him.

Zaid walked up the stairs. In the living room was Tariq.

'Looks like the Senser has come here', Tariq told Zaid.

'I already know'.

'How', his brother asked.

'First there was a man outside the Tavern moaning about the Senser'.

'Yeah, I have tried to get rid of that guy ten minutes ago. Well what is the second reason?'

'I saw the Senser at the bar drinking an ale. Kinda feel sorry for the guy'.

'Why is that?' Tariq wanted to know.

'Because I think he is trying to help us'.

'You mean he is trying to find a Tapper before the other Sensers'.

'I dunno if it's that', Zaid said in a wondrous tone.

'So what do you think it is', his brother asked him.

'I remembered him say something like, "I do not know what it is?"'.

'Why don't you ask him', his brother started to tap his feet.

'Maybe that's a bad idea. You know, he could be undercover?' Zaid began to second-guess himself.

'What if he isn't?'

'You right there. Really, I don't know what to do'.

'Yeah, this could make Sid angry. You know what he is like when business is going like mass potato'.

'I should go down stair and ask him', Zaid assumed.

Zaid lifted himself of the couch and he progressed to the door. Carefully he opened it.

'Hope you know what you're doing', Tariq said.

'I hope the same thing'.

He quietly climbed down the stairs. Downstairs was silent. In the corner of the room was another man sitting at a table. He looked as if he was a little older then Zaid. He was maybe fourteen.

'I sense there was an another Senser here', he said.

'How do you know that?' Zaid requested.

'Because I do', he answered back.

'You're not another Senser, are you?'

'You catch on quickly'.

'I don't know what game your playing but can you just piss off', Zaid threatened.

'Don't talk to your leaders like that!' he shrieked out. From his hand came a shock of thunder. As it did so, the door slammed shut.

'You cannot be a Senser, your are a Tapper', Zaid discovered.

Zaid started to take steps back.

'Back a way as far as you can. I will kill you anywhere. Even at sea'.

'You're a WindTapper'.

'Because of me', he said, 'you were let out of school early'.

'Leave us now', Zaid pleased.

'Very well then'.

The Tapper turned around, reopened the closed door and walked. There on the table was a letter. Zaid walked up to it and suspiciously opened it.

Inside were two things, a photo, which was of the Senser Zaid saw at the town hall, and note. It said, "Go find this Senser, if he finds what he is looking for, we could be screwed".

Zaid Started to be scared. Who are the bad people? Whom is this Tapper working for? Many thing were going through Zaids head. Most of it was confusing.

Slowly walking back, Zaid Ascended up the flight of steps. He sauntered through the room.

'Did you get rid of him', Tariq asked.

'Yeah, he wanted to go anyway', Zaid lied.

'Cool', Tariq was happy.

'I'm going room, okay', he told Tariq.

'Yeah, okay'.

Zaid opened the door to his room. It was somewhat messy. Zaid tried, but in the end, he failed. Sid, the cook, got angry with him at times. He got Zaid to tidy his bedroom sometime. It takes Zaid hours to do so.

Zaid laid there on his bed, thinking. Just thinking. He kept his light on. His bed was unmade. He was in a rush this morning because he forgot to get up. He had to rush everything. If he came late to class, his teacher would bully him more.

What was going on in his life? When everything was going bad, it had to get worse.

He had to do something. He had to go somewhere quiet. Somewhere that does not have the Hollow Vision on. He through about it for a while. Where could he go where that he could gather all his thoughts together? It then came to his head. He remembered going to a cave. It was wonderful. He kept it a secret. Even from Tariq and Shihab. He had almost forgotten about it. He had not been there for years.

He climbed of his bed and waved his hand over his light. This made the light turn off. He came into the living room.

'I am just going out for a while', he told Tariq.

'Okay'.

Zaid went down the stairs, through the bar and out into the streets of Hubbordock.