Rebel Mage: Awakening |

Rebel Mage: Awakening

By Ben Swallow

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Introduction Chapter

Is still in the middle of the night as I wake up. I frown as I look around. It is still dark and there is no one in my room.

What woke me up, then?

I was already falling back asleep when I heard a sound from outside the room. It sounded like clattering, as if someone was doing the dishes in the middle of the night.

Sleepily, I get up and walk out of the room. If dad is really doing the dishes in the middle of the night, I’m going to kill him. This was the first night in over a week that I could have slept through.

I follow the noises towards my parent’s bedroom. I guess it’s not my father doing the dishes. And if he was, this would all be nothing but a stupid dream.

As I enter the room, I turn towards the magic lamp and turn it on. In moments like these I’m very happy that we can afford such lamps, and that I don’t have to find matches in the dark to light a candle.

So-called tinkerers create these magic lamps with a mix of technology and magic bound into spellstones. They can be activated with a simple touch to emit a soft light, almost like a candle. But as it turns on, my blood freezes.

I barely pay attention to the man going through my mother’s jewelry.

All I can see is my mother lying on the ground, slumped up against the wall. She looks at me with dead eyes, blood oozing from her slit throat.

I cry out in shock and disbelief, my chest cramping painfully. I feel like I’ve been hit by a crushing weight. I can’t move or breathe, only stand there like a statue.

The man turns towards me, his gray eyes stare at me in cold anger. He’s going to kill me, I realize with dread. As he moves his hand towards the knife at his belt, I snap out of my shock.

I spin around and dash towards the living room. Behind me, something crashes against the wall. My heart is pounding in my chest. I can hear the blood rushing through my ears as I run into the living room.

This is not happening. This must be a bad dream.

I look around me in panic, searching for a place to hide. The room is dim, the soft light of the moon shines only weakly through the windows.

I freeze again as I see a second figure getting up from the couch. I gasp of relief as I recognize my father. He must’ve fallen asleep on the couch while reading late into the night again.

“Dad! There’s a guy! He killed mom!”

I have only run the few steps from the bedroom, but I am panting as if I had run a marathon. My legs are shaking and my head feels dizzy.

My father looks at me in confusion, probably not sure if he’s really awake or still dreaming. Then he looks at something behind me, and his eyes widened in surprise.

He pushes me behind him, facing the attacker.

“Who are you? What do you want?” He yells, his hands turning to fists.

The man stares at him, his face a mask of indifference. With a swiping gesture, he throws my father against the wall.

I scream and run to him. His eyes are closed. Icy fear washes over me as I fear for the worst.

“Dad! Dad!”

I breathe out in relieve as he opens his eyes weakly. He looks at me with a sad expression.

“They found us.”

His voice is barely more than a whisper, but he is still alive. For now. I look back to the attacker and see him slowly moving closer.

“You are too late. We have it now, and there’s nothing you can do to stop us.” The man’s voice is as cold as his eyes and just as empty of emotion.

Shock spreads on my father’s face as if he knew what the man was talking about. After a moment, he looks at me weakly, whispering with labored breath. “Run, Katie. Run.”

I’m still sitting next to him, frozen in shock, as his body is suddenly hurled upwards. It’s like the attacker is holding him at his throat, pressing him against the wall.

And yet the attacker is still a few steps away, merely looking at him intensely.

A chilly shiver runs down my spine as I realize what that means.

Damn mages.

I never liked nobles, they didn’t care about the rest of us people while they are spending their wealth of gold on pointless luxury while people in the city are starving.

But I never imagined a mage could be a common robber. I have never heard of a commoner with magic abilities, so the attacker must be of noble blood. I doubt that we have anything of value to someone with that much money.

But apparently, we had something they want. Something my father is ready to die for.

I hate feeling so helpless, but there’s nothing I can do for him.

With a last shred of hope, I crawl towards the kitchen. If I’m fast enough, I could grab a knife and come back before my father is dead. The man might be a mage, but I can still kill him if I get close enough.

I get up, looking back only briefly. The man has now reached my father, standing less an arm’s length away from him. I dash the remaining steps into the kitchen.

There! A knife!

My heart is pounding, but I’m not shaking anymore. The adrenaline rush is given me a strange sense of clarity. I can feel the wooden handle of the knife vividly, even the creaking floorboards beneath my feet as I turn around.

Time seems to slow down as I watch the attacker clench his hand into a fist. With a horrible cracking sound, my father falls to the ground. He collapses like a string puppet who’s strings have been cut.

No. No, I can’t be too late. He can’t just die on me, too.

The knife in hand, I stand in the kitchen doorway, staring at the mage. He slowly turns around to me, his face still expressionless.

I’m going to kill you for what you did.

I start to charge at him with a scream. I barely even took the first step when I’m thrown back against the kitchen cabinet. My scream turns into a whimper as the air is pressed out of my lungs by the force of the impact.

Where’s the knife!?

Frantically, I run my hands across the floor, but the knife is gone. As the man appears in the doorway, pity is written on his face.

The way he looks down at me like a helpless child is making my blood boil with rage. I can feel it like a wildfire in my chest, searing through my veins.

“Ahhhh!” I shout, putting all my hatred into it.

Like a dam breaking, I can feel my anger flowing out of me in one big wave, ripping through my body and leaving my breathless.

The man is hurled backward like he was hit by a sledgehammer. With a cracking sound, he lands on a chair, breaking it to pieces.

I blink, staring at him in confusion.

What just happened?

He gets up again unsteadily, his face now a mask of anger. Whatever that was, I guess he didn’t like it. Must have hurt.

“Hey! You!” A voice cuts through the silence.

That wasn’t the attacker, I frown.

The man stops. He looks to where the voice came from, somewhere in the hallway to the living room.

I can see confusion in his face for only a moment before he is thrown against the wall. He wheezes in pain as he hits the wall hard, the wooden panels cracking from the impact.

Ouch. That must have hurt.

He recovers much faster than I would have expected, getting back on his feet almost immediately. He looks back and forth between the other person and me for a moment before he darts away. The window shatters as he jumps through it, landing on the ground below just a moment later.

Now that he is gone, I feel tiredness spreading through me, my limbs growing heavy and weak. As the other person appears in the doorway to the kitchen, I barely have the strength to look up to him.

The guy kneels down next to me, whispering softy. “Hey, you okay?”

I blink, trying to focus, but my vision is already becoming blurry. He looks younger than the other man, not much older than me, probably. The last thing I see before I fall unconscious are his light blue eyes, looking at me in worry.

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About Ben Swallow

Ben Swallow may not be a world-class author, but he writes romance stories with a passion. With a love for the supernatural and magic, urban fantasy romance is his favorite genre to read and write. When he isn't writing, he is most likely baking, reading, working out or simply spending time with friends.