Prolog

On the field in the middle of the knee-high grass, not far from the large building, a girl stood in the light rain. Her long black hair stuck to her face. She stood with her eyes closed, face turned skyward, trying at all costs to close out the sounds of children who hurried past her, searching toward dry conditions. The moment she reached up and stroked her bangs to the side, a large golden lightning cracked across the sky. It jog over her head and exploded into the ground behind her. The girl stood still, and she did not notice that it had nearly hit her. Her black clothes were soaked in seconds, and rivers of water began to trickle down her skin. She held out her hands towards the infinity, from the known, the protective, toward the sky. The movement got the rolling dark clouds to open up and torrential rain began. She opened the hazel-brown eyes in the pale white face that flashed with their own lightning, and noticed each drop running down her cheeks.
She stood alone in the middle of the field in the heavy rain surrounded by mist that boiled from the ground beneath her bare feet.

"Euphoria!" A voice interrupted her precious silence.

She turned around quickly and found that she was no longer alone.

Chapter 1 – The Tower

Rikash stood at his parents' tower, about half a day's ride from his aunt Alanna's home. It had taken him a long time to get this opportunity, with many endless discussions back and forth. Most discussion had been with his father, Tortall's most powerful mage, a black robe, and sometimes quite annoying overprotective. Numair Salmalin, had been hesitant, almost reluctant to hand over one of his rare books, with old ancient incantations to his own son. It had taken several days of noisy discussions, followed by accidental magic bursts, slamming doors, and not to mention countless warning glances from his mother to him and the black robe mage before Numair Salmalin had surrendered.

At the age of 16 years, almost 17, Rikash were accustomed to a weird life. His mother, half goddess, with wild magic, had the properties to be able to communicate, heal and transform into most animals. She was known within the palace walls, to have saved the country countless times, but was also known for the fuss she could create. Problems had a knack for always finding her and his father. He remembered, laughing, how his youth had been, as he led his black stallion toward the small shed. It had not always been easy to be the son of two famous and unique people and it had certainly not been better that his sister had inherited their mother's wild magic. He opened the heavy stable door and pulled the horse inside in the shade. The smell in here reminded him a lot about how his mother always smelled. First, there had only been a barn with room for his father's horse Spot, but it had sadly passed away with Cloud a few years ago. It had happened a few months apart, and his mother and father had been extremely unhappy.

Rikash shook his head to clear the brain, it was not the right time to remember the sad memories. He ran his hand down over the long mane of the horse, which had come to be his by accident. It had happened when he had been 12 years old, and the Queen's mare had given birth to this beauty. He had been in a fight with a couple of pages, and had taken refuge in the stables, knowing that if the boys were to attack him there, all the animals would come to his rescue. And this day had been no exception. He had taken flight from the ballad, after he had cast a spell against the boys. What incantation he done that day, he could not remember. The result was, however, that all of his attackers had been dyed blue from top to toe.

It had caused the boys to stop chasing him for a while, but he had known that they would return with more vengeance.
It had not been his intention, and the subsequent scolding didn't make the hole thing better. He had been stored inside the box where the queen mare had stood and the foal had decided that it was obviously a new playmate, who had come to visit.

He had from that day gained a quite unsual companion in the form of a little black foal, that on wobbly legs ran after him wherever he was. His mother, Daine, was amused of this odd couple, because when Rikash had sat for teaching, the stallion faithfully waited in front of the door to the room where both teacher and pages had found themselves in. This had been going on right up until the horse had become too big.

The day, the other boys thought that the truce was over, had started a small nightmare for Rikash. He remembered only too well, as he stood here in the barn and groomed Shadow. As a 12 year old, Rikash had been quite talented, more than his companions, and he had had the pleasure of mastering all the magic challenges to complete without errors. This had led to some teasing about him and his parents. It was at that time he had heard the first rumors that his father had slept with his pupil, Rikash mother, and all he had taught her was bed tricks.

These rumors had led both him and his sister to some violent tantrums. Rikash, handed down after the hoof and began to remove the pebbles that was stuck. His mother would never forgive him if he did not do things properly.

Rikash was finally finished in the barn and went toward the only door that was in the tower. He stopped for a moment before he took the handle. This door was not locked with a normal key, but there was woven a unique lock spell over it. He could clearly see traces of his father's black magic, there were places where some mysterious signs were more visible than others. This was not a door, a stranger wanted to break through. Here was a spell that would make unauthorized to see the sun, moons and stars the rest of their lives. Rikash took the knife he had hidden in his boot, and pricked his finger. He didn't much like to see blood, and had never been a major fan of this red material, but it was the only way to access. A drop of his blood, which were tied together with his mother and father would give him access.

The door opened with a long creaking. It had been some years ago when his father had been at this location last. Rikash swung the two saddlebags over his shoulder and walked into the dark room. Here at the bottom of the tower everything was dark. He let his magic flow from him, a bright light, that was a mixture of black and bronze filled the room. It revealed a thick layer of dust over everything and on the stairs. It was bad. He went up the stairs and left fine deep imprint on each step. The tower was divided into four levels, the first thing he came up to was the kitchen. The dust was everywhere. He went up and came to the floor with the bedroom. Also here it needed cleaning. He let the two bags fall from his shoulder and down onto the bed. When it landed, there was a big dust cloud around him. Rikash went to one window, and then the next and opened them. The fresh air hit him, and he stood for a moment and looked at the view.
The next floor took him to a completely different universe when he came in, there was not a speck of dust to find and the dust grains that were stuck in his white loose shirt broke away and flew out the door. As if they had been denied access and disappeared the same way he had come in.

"It's just typical him," said Rikash for himselve.

The entire room was filled with books, small cards, large objects that glowed faintly of old magic. Rikash had waited so long for this opportunity to gain access to this treasure.
First there was a task to be overcome, one he didn't wanted to.

Cleaning.


"Euphoria!" A voice interrupted her precious silence.

She turned around quickly and found that she was no longer alone.
Before her was a dark-skinned woman. For Euphoria, this woman was the closest thing she had to family. She had lived with this woman always, as long as she could remember. Euphoria had always compared the woman who now stood before her, to a mountain.

"Why do you always bring yourself into trouble?" Boomed the big mountain in front of her. The woman put a blanket around Euphoria's shoulders to warm her.

"What do you mean, and why do you always call me that, I hate that name!?" Euphoria looked defiant up and into the brown eyes, the woman had.

"Come on Euphoria, you know very well why, and that is the name I will always call you!" The woman scolded her as she gently but firmly led the sopping girl up and into the house.

Euphoria sighed. This was the never-ending reminder of how she had come to live. She knew through the countless stories the woman, Carolyn, had told her over the years. Like all the others, she also had a prehistory. The only difference was that the other kids knew that their parents had died, with her the cause was another. Euphoria walked with heavy steps beside Carolyn, and enjoyed secretly the feel of pulsating pace under her bare feet.

"You know you're scaring the other children?" Carolyn pushed Euphoria in front of her and they ended up in the large room where the fire burned in the fireplace.

"Yes, I know" replied Euphoria first guilty and then continued happily "But I love the rain!"

"Yes, yes ... that statement I have heard since the first time you slipped away from me, and ended in a downpour just as vehemently as this" Carolyn threw out her hand against the storm, to emphasize her words. Inside the other children sat around the large square table. "Now go and get some clean clothes, it is soon time for lunch." Carolyn let her shoulders go, and moved towards the cauldron.

Euphoria noticed how her stomach growled by hunger. She went up the stairs and pulled a long belt of rain after her, across the floor. She wished fervently that she could be allowed to eat alone. Having to sit with the other children, who didn't resembled her in any way, was terrible. She reached her room, the small room was filled with a bed, a desk and a chest of her things. She went and knelt down in front of it. With the lid opened, she took the threadbare flaming red carpet. She held it up for herselves and hugged it to her. The only connection to her mysterious past.