Zacharias walked the hallways of the palace with purpose. He knew where he was going… the reliquary of the Ak-Samarië Shard… and he knew what he needed to do. Because of Zacharias’ penchant for privacy, only the late King Argonne knew he claimed to be the foremost authority on the shard and stone… though the King never gave the sorcerer any true credence. Nevertheless, Zacharias was granted unfettered access to the shard… something he’d never actually used since the King’s death.
The guards nodded and stood aside as Zacharias walked up to the double doors of the reliquary. He paused and took a deep breath. One guard, misreading his delay as reluctance or confusion, opened one of the doors for him. Zacharias looked at the guard, smiled, and nodded before stepping into the reliquary. The door silently closed behind him.
The size of the room was that of a closet rather than a legitimate room. It measured five feet by five feet and was empty except for the Ak-Samarië Shard, which floated in the center behind an invisible, magical barrier thought to be impenetrable. The shard itself looked like nothing more than a huge, magnificent green emerald. It shimmered with power. Roughly the size of a large chest, it was shaped like a teardrop with the tip pointed towards the floor. The many-faceted shard had been perfectly cut and Zacharias, as he’d done each time he visited, took a few moments to admire its exquisiteness. In his mind’s eye nothing compared favorably to the shard’s beauty. Nothing except life.
Zacharias closed his eyes. “Please forgive me, but two worlds depend on this,” he whispered. Tears ran down his cheek. “Seek Queen Kyleigh Angelus-Custos. She’ll know what to do.”
He set the tip of his staff on the floor and concentrated. His personal spell book appeared before him in the air and opened to a page near the end. Zacharias, reading from the book, mumbled words known only to sorcerers while he made symbols in the air with his free hand. When he had finished his incantation, brilliant energy leaped from his closed fist and surrounded the magical barrier surrounding the shard. The energy coalesced to a pinprick, fought the barrier for several seconds before pushing through, and struck the shard. The room exploded with an unworldly release of energy.
A young woman embarks on a harrowing journey to save her world’s last vestige of magical healing. Althaya, the goddess of healing, wishes to share her ability to help those in need, providing “empaths,” which give clerics the means to magically heal others–a means that some people fear and wish to destroy.
In response, a dark magic known as the Purge is created to seek out and eradicate all empaths. But one lone survivor remains, spirited away by Althaya and hidden in a magical stasis field. There, the last empath must remain alive until the time comes for rescue–but the Purge will not rest until the last empath is found and killed.
Three thousand years later, Kristen Rosilie Clearwater is only beginning to realize her destiny. Having been brought to the island of InnisRos as an orphan, she has long felt a “tug” toward something she can’t quite understand. But when she begins experiencing the dreams of a young child, Kristen knows that the two are somehow connected–and that the fate of the world, and the future of healing magic, rests on her shoulders.
Kristen opened her eyes to find Tangus nervously pacing back and forth in the bedroom of their apartment. Her father was seated next to her, calmly reading a tome. Romulus was standing on the other side of the bed she and Tangus shared, looking down at her, his massive snout inches away from her face as he stared intently into her eyes.
“Welcome back, Brighteyes,” her father said as he closed the tome.
Tangus stopped in mid-pace, looked over at her, then moved next to Romulus and knelt down, taking a hand. “Move over, Romulus. You’re like a mother hen. How are you feeling dear?” Tangus asked.
Sitting up, Kristen said, “Tangus, I dreamed I was in the room with Emmy. I don’t know how it happened, but I was there. I met the spirit of her mother. Emmy is the answer I have been searching for all these years. I have finally been able to ‘scratch that itch’. But there is not much time. We need to get to the mainland. We need to find Emmy before she is lost!”
Tangus nodded. “Slow down, sweetheart. Your father and I suspected your collapse signaled the time had come for action. Already plans are being made. But who is Emmy?”
Father Goram looked at the two of them. “Emmy is the most important person on this world. Emmy is the last empath.”
“So I was informed by her mother while I was with Emmy,” Kristen said. “I know about the empath. Vayl had me study their legendary powers and about the purge. But even as an empath, which explains my bond with her, why is she so important to anyone other than those of us who love her?” Kristen asked.
“Shortly after you were born, Althaya came to me and told me to have a baby orphan brought over from the mainland.” Father Goram replied. “That baby was you. I did not know of your importance at that time, only that my goddess gave me a task to be performed. I made certain arrangements and within a few months, we had you here safe and sound, although that was mostly because of dear Mary McKenna. I still miss her so.”
“So do I, father.” Kristen said.
“I know you do, Brighteyes. Anyway, the evening of your arrival I had another visit from Althaya and this time she brought Aurora.” Looking at Kristen, Father Goram decided not to mention that Tangus was pre-ordained by Aurora to be Kristen’s champion. What good would it do to cause doubt? Besides, the love the two had for each other was genuine. “It was then that I was told about the empath and your relationship with her. The reason you’re so important to a goddess is because you’re the link to Emmy. You’re the link Althaya’s been waiting over three millennia for. Without you Emmy cannot survive in the world. Without you, we lose the last empath.”
“And if we lose the last empath, father?” Kristen asked.
“Then we lose all of our ability to magically heal,” her father answered.
Kristen stared at Father Goram in disbelief that such a thing could be true. “How can that be possible?” she asked in a whisper.
“Althaya told me that the empath serves as a catalyst for the magic. No other full empath lives. She has kept Emmy in a stasis field until one of the bloodline was born to bond with the child,” Father Goram answered.
Kristen suddenly remembered her study of the empath. “All young empaths need this bond to survive until they have matured. The bond can only be established with one who also has empath blood.”
Oklahoma author Robert E. Balsley Jr. is originally from Ohio having graduated from Elder High School, Cincinnati, Ohio and then serving in the United States Air Force. Following his active military duty he worked as an engineering technician, first-level supervisor, and lead technician at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma where he added technical writing to his job description. He has spent time in fictional writing through his role as Dungeon Master in the Dungeons and Dragons games he has played for twenty-five years.