Big News: I have completed the novel and it is now available for the Kindle on Amazon. Any of you interested in it can just search, The (sort of) Dark Mage, on Amazon or go to my website; storiesfromlotlof dot com for a direct link. I will not be posting any further chapters here, but have included a new prologue that is in the book. Whether or not you choose to get my novel, I thank each and every one of you who have read this story or left a comment. I hope all of you enjoyed it.

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Prologue

A woman in black robes quietly approached a wooden door.

"Pyro." With a single word a small fire materialized in the palm of her hand.

She entered the nursery as quietly as she could.

It was night time, and the only source of light was the magical flame.

The baby did not stir. He continued to sleep peacefully in his crib.

The woman simply stood there, looking down at him. He was only three days old, pink, perfect, and healthy. He was her seventh child. Like all of his brothers and sisters she would protect him and teach him how to be a powerful mage. Being the seventh and youngest made him lucky, his older siblings would not see him as a threat. That meant the chances of having an 'accident' were much less. It was a small mercy.

It was not as though he would have a peaceful life. Being born into this family made that impossible, but things would be much easier than if he had been the first or second.

"Things will be hard enough for you my son," Lilith whispered.

It always amazed her how pure and innocent the children were, how free of corruption and sin. Within her heart she felt a twinge at the thought of the things she would teach him. The things he would be made to endure to toughen and strengthen him. Their world was a dark and dangerous place; you could not afford to be gentle.

Reaching down she touched his cheek with a single finger. His skin was warm and so very soft.

"How I wish you could always be safe, but as my son that is not something you are entitled to."

For just a moment, she wondered if he would be better off if he'd been born in a peasant hut in some far off land. He would never see the rivers of molten fire. Never get to taste Illsyrian wine or wear silk. Never study magic and experience its wonders. Never know what power felt like, or see that marvelous look of terror in a person's eyes just before you ended their life.

He would instead have an ordinary, common existence. His meals would be gruel and turnips and he would labor in muddy fields from dawn to dusk. His life would be one of servitude, at the mercy of petty lords. One day he would marry some homely girl from his village and have a family of his own. He would live an entire lifetime never going more than twenty miles from where he was born.

But at least he would be safe, she thought.

Lilith chuckled and shook her head. Such silly, pointless thoughts. There was no way her child could ever be ordinary, not with the blood that flowed through his veins. She was an archmage and head of a very powerful family, while his father had also been extraordinary in his own right. Surely this child would accomplish great things.

In the back of her head she felt a presence approaching, her familiar. Still standing over the crib she turned her face slightly towards the door. It opened without a sound, and an emaciated form enter the nursery. In the fire's light she could see the veins beneath his skin and the outline of his bones. His shadow flickered and danced on the wall behind him. He seemed very much at home in the darkness.

"Feeling maternal today?" He asked in his feather soft voice. His tongue ran over his bloodless lips as he cast his eyes towards the crib.

Hungrily.

"What do you want Enver?"

Short, shuffling steps brought him to her side to peer down at her son.

"His scent is rich and tempting, his blood would taste sweeter than summer wine I'll wager." His fingers twitched and he leaned forward ever so slightly.

"You are forbidden to touch or harm any of my children." She brought the fire close to his face and forced him to step back. "Never forget who your master is."

He took a couple additional steps back away from her and held up his hands. "I am not likely to."

"You do it all the time," she grunted. He was her familiar and bound to her by their contract. That didn't keep him from trying to find all sorts of ways to cause mischief. "Why are you here?"

"I was curious," he said softly. "I wanted to see if it was true. Are the boy's eyes yellow?"

"I prefer to call them honey colored."

Lips twitched and a wheezing laugh filled the chamber. "It's so then? He has the blood of Avalon in him?"

"He has my blood, and that is all that counts."

"People won't see it that way."

"What does that matter? When have I ever cared about them?"

"The other families won't like it either."

"They have no say in this."

Inhuman eyes stared at her though the fire light. "He will be hated."

"That would be true regardless. Those with power are always hated. He will learn to accept it as I have."

"So cruel," he teased. "You could make him a sacrifice you know. Offer him up to the Dark Powers, a child with the enemy's blood. Surely you would be rewarded."

"We sacrifice the deformed or the sickly. My son is healthy and strong."

He opened his mouth with a fresh retort.

"Be silent." Lilith said with annoyance.

His jaw snapped shut. Defiance marred his face, but he made no sound.

"Go," she commanded. "I do not want to see you again until tomorrow."

Body stiff and movement rigid he left.

When he was gone she again turned back to her son.

"You will have a hard time my son, but there is greatness inside you. Your life will not be an easy one, but I am sure it will be filled with wonders." She placed a soft kiss on his forehead. "Sleep well Waldo."

With that she quietly departed.