Chapter 1

        “I hate Mages… hate them so much…” Kai muttered as he walked away from the trap that was just sprung on him.  “Why can’t this one just leave me alone? I’m not even hunting him… though, I may start, just because he won’t leave me alone! WHAT IS IT!?” He shouts, instantly regretting it.  Too tired to even pick up his sword, it drags along the ground as he walks away.  “Man, my master would kill me if he could see me now.”

        Kai, a Mage Hunter of high quality, normally would not allow himself to get into this situation, and is still not exactly sure how he got himself into this mess.  Chased for days by one Mage, Corvius, without any provocation, Kai finds himself found into traps set by this Mage, barely surviving them.  Normally, Kai would have taken a job to hunt a Mage who is no longer associated with the House, but this one seemed to hunt him.

        Kai brushed his dirty hair back, wiping the sweat out of his eyes, and looks around, no signs of civilization around him.  Suddenly a bolt from the sky blasts a hole directly in front of him, knocking him back, almost off of his feet.  A mirror image of himself appears in front of him.


        “Corvius... you finally decide to show up, and can’t even give me your own face!” With a lazy arc, Kai swings his longsword at the chest of the double, thinking to destroy the image, cuts a shallow gash on the image’s chest, when burning pain runs across his own chest.

        “A Mirror Force… lovely, let’s see how good it actually is.” The Force cackles, in Kai’s own voice.  Kai brings his blade quickly against the foot of the image, and sure enough the wound repeats itself on his own foot, as he fell to the ground, he sees a second set of hands underneath the Force holding a small glowing blue sigil, and Kai instantly knew that it was the Rune for the spell. Kai, with a speed that betrayed his wounds, drops his longsword, and quickly pulls a much shorter blade from its sheath strikes out at the sigil.

        The blade, specially made for dismantling or destroying spells, drives into the caster’s hand, shattering the sigil, but not before Kai noticed what the Mage was doing with his other hand.

        “Stupid!” A blinding light hits Kai and knocks him back a few feet, blinding him and knocking the blade from his hand. The blinded Kai smirks “What’s wrong, Corvius? Not liking the Mage’s Kiss? I’m surprised you had enough to do that, though, so either kill me, or leave me be, you have me.”

        A gust of wind his Kai, and he knows that Corvius has left him be for now.  This was the first time he actually laid hand on the Mage, and it felt amazing.  The Mage’s Kiss will keep Corvius from using any Magic of any substance, and especially anything keeping Kai trapped anymore.  Kai sat on the ground, closed his burned eyes, focusing, listening for anyone to come around, knowing the spell would only last for so long, but would hurt for a while a simple healing talisman would help with the healing.  He placed a healing talisman around his neck and closed his burned eyes.  .


        After he awoke, he began to do the long journey home.  During the trek, he took to himself for a while, daydreaming as he walked, about his past.

Kai did not start off as a Mage Hunter, in fact he always possessed a talent for magic, at least an innate ability to create potions, if not for simple runic magic.   Like everyone else who was going to go to a House of Magic to adopt that power, he mentored under a Master Mage, Kai’s teacher, Rahl, was a retired human Archmage, who focused on potions and talismans.  Kai and Rahl become actual friends, Kai hung on the elder’s every word, and Rahl lived vicariously through his junior.  When the time came to be selected for a House, Kai was chosen for the Time House, where Rahl was chosen by Earth.  This, in Kai’s mind was not acceptable.

Drow like Kai, however, did not get accepted into the Time House.  The Drow were hunted, hated, usually cast a spell on themselves of some kind to hide their appearance.  It did not matter which race they appeared as, anything was better than being a Drow, the primary race of the Outsiders, still blamed for destroying the world.  Only a handful of them were left in the world, and all of them came from one village, Dar’veran.  Dar’veran usually spawned manual laborers, Drow were naturally as strong as Dwarves, and almost as fast as Elves, but usually not very bright, Mages were rare, and the Drow were taught to fear them, as Fangfire abused them, used them, and if he was to use them, all Mages could.  The rare Mages that were spawned from the village, were quickly sent to schools and away from the populous, to prevent ostracization at best, death at worst, and the parents of the poor dears, they would easily be ripped in half. The Drow were not a kind race, unless educated.  After being treated like the dogs they shared similarities with for so long, they began to turn feral, though there were those that escaped that calling.

The Time House was special, without equal.  This house and its Mages were strong, masters of manipulating time and space, and having their hands in all things.  It was the rarest House to be chosen for, as few could posses the ability to manipulate the forces that drove age, the planet, and everything.  Only one Drow has ever been chosen for the Time House aside from Kai, and her name was Vale.  She never made much of herself aside from being a Time Mage, but she was the vanguard for Drow Mages.  

Kai snapped himself back to reality when he heard the giggling of the children, he never even noticed he was walking on the route to home. He smiled as he looked up, wiping the sweat from his eyes.  He properly sheathed his blades and held his head high as he walked toward home, anticipating being able to lay in his own bed, and being in the Dead Desert for two months had really done strange things to his thoughts.  

The first thing he noticed as he crossed over the hills and saw Dar’veran is that it was very busy, much more than it should be this time of year.  With a furrowed brow he headed toward home.

“KAI!” A very high pitched squeaky voice pierced the air as he was almost in the town limits. Kai winced slightly, having not heard any voices in almost a week, and prepared for the barrage.  A tiny Drow bounded down the road and pounced on top of Kai.  Kai laughed and picked up the pup.  

“Hey Keira! I missed you!” As he hugged his little sister.

“Dad wants to see you as soon as possible. He said it’s super important.” Keira nodded and pointed toward the town. “Onward to home, my graceful steed!” she giggled.

Kai rolled his eyes while she looked away, and propped her up on his shoulder and plodded on toward home, his curiosity piqued by the new development.  The man who adopted him upon his return from the Time House, whom he called his father, was typically not an impatient man, and normally would wait until Kai arrived home to tell him anything that he needed to.  Kai passed the time by tickling Keira’s bare feet all the way home.

Upon getting back to the town, Kai was even more confused, there were a lot of people here, of all the races. Humans, Elves, Dwarves, and Drow that were not in Dar’veran for years were walking around, peacefully.  No one was fighting, people of different races were sitting, talking, and laughing together.

“Did the world end again while I was out in the desert? What in the world is happening here? There is no market going, and even the Dwarves are being very nice to us, which isn’t normal at all!” Kai said, a bit of concern to his voice.

Keira giggled. “No, silly, did you forget what time of year it is? The Song is happening here this year! They announced it, like, a year ago!” Keira then decided it was a good idea to hold onto Kai’s ears, which hurt more than a little.

“Oh no! How could I forget the Song was happening?” Kai said, probably louder than he wanted to, drawing attention from the crowd around him.  He then sprinted toward home, after making sure Keira was secured.Keira, squealing, held on tight as her big brother ran with her.

The crowds saw a large Drow with a smaller one on his shoulders running at top speed and avoided him at all costs.  Kai’s family home was not far from where he was at, but felt the need to get there quickly, so he started to leap away from people, in an attempt to not trample anyone, he was not used to crowds at all.  This town was not really set for this kind of crowd.

The Song is an annual event where all the races in the world gather in one of the 11 towns around Athalor to Sing to the planet, reawakening it’s magics and keeping the barriers between planes closed.  It is the strongest magic currently known on Athalor, and it takes all of the Archmages of the Houses to do it.  In the distant past, the mere existence of the Runes would keep the gates sealed and magic flowing, but they have not existed since the Spear sealed Fangfire to the Deimos realm.  Every being Sings, persuaded by magic, and their collective Mana is pooled into a pillar of light, that will exist for exactly one year.  The selected towns of Athalor are in strategic places around the world to create a giant Runic spell to keep everything as it should be.

Kai placed his trophies onto the machine that he obtains his bounties through, turned it on, and logged in.  He looked at his current bounties, really wishing that Corvius would appear, but he did not think the Mage made the right enemies.  He turned in  his current bounties, and the trophies disappeared, teleported to no one knows where.  His screen turns green and his payout is listed.  Kai did not enjoy the hunt, nor even did he do this for a reward.  He felt the need to be a Mage Hunter, unlisted Mages were dangerous, they were unruly, they were uncontrollable, they were evil. They money was a side product, a necessary evil for committing necessary evils.

It was not ten minutes after he submitted his quarry when the spell took hold of him, he was forced out of the house, compelled to go to the pillar zone. He for some reason was not as controlled as others, he could look around, somewhat control his body, but not his actions.

The spell was cast.

The world sang.