A/n So, here's the sequel! I hope it's what you want it to be! I'm kinda stoked about being able to post it!

So, just an FYI, this takes place about a year after BtF. Things have been relatively quiet, but as you can guess, it isn't going to last...

Lindsey: Yes, because authors never give their characters a break.

Me: The story wouldn't be interesting otherwise.

Anyway, here's the prologue:


Prologue

The king of mages was in a particularly bad mood these days.

He was the strongest, most powerful warlock in the world, of that he had no doubt. Most of the magic world was loyal to him and him alone, and those who weren't could not escape his wrath, no matter how hard they tried. Every single mage in existence was under his iron rule, and he expected for it to never be any less, for it was his rightful title.

So really, everything should have been perfect—if not for the fact that a handful of Avians who were barely more than children managed to escape his clutches just as he finally had the cornered, forced to make a decision: surrender and become slaves, or refuse and go extinct. And although he'd really rather them submit, to let go of their foolish pride and serve him for all eternity, he also decided he wouldn't mind seeing them just die out. The Avians had been a thorn in Orris's side long enough, and his desire to be rid of them forever was strong, although not nearly as strong as his desire to see them in chains.

But no. Instead of either of those happening, the Avians were living under the protection of the Tree of Life, making his curse—and any attempts to recast it—null and void, dissipating now that it was completely useless.

Nothing could have possibly angered him more.

How dare they! How dare they refuse to serve someone as superior to them as he was! It was as if they were blinded to their inferiority, blinded by their foolish pride.

Why else would they outright refuse to bow down to he who was practically a god?

What infuriated him more was the fact that the Tree of Life stood in the way of his victory over them. He definitely couldn't get rid of it quite yet, not now when it was still young and strong and—even though he loathed to admit it, even to himself — more powerful than Orris himself was. With it there, the Avians no longer had their extinction hanging over their heads. He was half tempted to simply kill them off, one by one, but that wouldn't be nearly as effective, and it definitely wouldn't be at all entertaining.

There had to be something, something completely foolproof, that would end up in them accepting their inferiority. Even for as long as he'd already waited, Orris's patience simply could not last forever.

He was more than done with waiting.

Just then, Aggis, one of his most faithful liuetenants, strode in through the grand double doors and bowed low. "My lord, I have great news."

"What is it?" Orris snapped. "Does it have anything to do with enslaving every last one of those lowlives with wings? I don't have time for anything less than that."

Aggis smiled. "Actually, my lord, that was exactly what I had in mind. See, there might be a way to bring them to their knees without wasting any more of our precious power."

"Any way that I haven't thought of?" he growled. While he did want to know what Aggis was about to tell him, at the same time he couldn't stand the thought of someone, anyone, actually succeeding where he, of all people, failed.

"Actually, this has to do with something that no one really knew about before. Not even the Avians themselves. Granted, they are quite ignorant."

"Get on with it," Orris commanded. "I don't want any more time being wasted if there is a way to win over them once and for all."

"Yes, my lord. You see, they may refuse to listen to us, as foolish as it is, but they will very much listen to their own kind, wouldn't they? And that's all we need to own them."

Orris wasn't convinced. "What are you playing at? This better be good."

"Oh, it is, my lord. In fact, I'd brought in a little... guest. You will be pleased to learn how useful he will be to us."

"Very well. Let him in."

Aggis obeyed, and in walked one of them, clearly on his own free will. The visitor had large, golden brown wings, pale blonde hair, a cruel face, and deep black eyes. He was dressed in crimson and onyx colors, and wore them in such a way that made them look menacing to any average person.

"What is this?" Orris demanded, succeeding in not looking so much surprised as demanding. "Who are you?"

"I am Victor, my lord," the Avian replied, bowing tp him. "And I am at your service."