by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred
Mirena Calanais is destined to change the world. Her rival has made a desperate flight to the past to stop her.
A gifted student of majik, Mirena is on the verge of graduating from a secret college that will give her a leg up in her political career, when her achievements are overshadowed by the arrival of a mysterious woman with an unknown agenda. Desperate to keep what she sees as her rightful place in the spotlight, Mirena goes to astounding lengths including taking it upon herself to pose as a double agent to investigate a rebel force plotting to destabilize the government. Unfortunately, her actions cost her the trust of those around her, so when she is proclaimed the Dark Avatar of the Destroyer, she finds she has nowhere to turn.
In a seeming utopia, Mirena is now a pariah with the force of Destroyer behind her and her once bright dreams have darkened, leaving her a threat not only to herself, but to those she cares about. Can she turn her life around, or will someone need to stop her before she goes too far?
Mirena grinned once again, showing teeth this time. Opening a portal in front of you to travel to a spot within your viewing takes a great deal of concentration and skill. Let’s see what they all think of that!
The watching crowd gasped in a most satisfying way. Mirena went to take a bow while still holding the portal open with her majik just to prove that she could, when she took note of the Healer rushing down the stone stairway. Why is she running? I’m not hurt that bad. Can’t she see that?
But the Healer didn’t stop at her side, she brushed past her. Mirena whirled to follow the woman with her eyes, dropping the portal spell in her distraction. Behind her, in the center of the circle of Sentinal Stones, lay a woman dressed in a short light blue dress over black leggings. At first glance she looked to be unconscious and badly hurt; much worse than Mirena had been on her own landing.
Mirena’s first thought was that maybe she wasn’t the only one to pass her test today, as unlikely as that concept was, but she quickly realized that she didn’t know this woman. She wasn’t a student or a teacher from the Stoa, she was a stranger. It’s possible she didn’t know what she was doing. Perhaps she activated the Sentinal Stones by accident, which happens from time to time. Though usually not here…
As Mirena pondered the incident she felt the Mentor brush past her, followed by two other members of the faculty.
“Don’t crowd around!” the Mentor called out, his voice still amplified above normal volume by his majik. “Give her some room. It looks like whatever journey she’s taken to get here has taken a lot out of her. Hemora,” he addressed the Healer, “you’re in charge. Just let us know what you need.”
As the teachers made room for the Healer, Mirena got another glimpse at the mysterious stranger who had stolen her thunder. Despite the bruising on her face and scrape marks similar to Mirena’s own, the woman appeared to be about Mirena’s age and very pretty, with porcelain-coloured skin and long hair so dark it was nearly black. No sooner had she noted these details did the woman’s eyes open suddenly. They were deep blue and piercing, and despite all the people in the courtyard and within the shadow of the tall standing stones, the stranger’s eyes locked onto Mirena’s own and held them.
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