Chapter 34

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Chapter Thirty-four

The Archmage examined the hunter's body before looking around grimly at the Master Mages. The corpse stank of black magic. He considered the witness reports. Multiple people had said the man walked into the village and simply collapsed. They said that he was acting strangely, trudging forward without looking left or right even when his friends called out to him. They claimed that right before he fell, his eyes turned completely black, and he made strange sounds as if he was choking.

The Archmage frowned. How could this be? The last Black Mage had been defeated centuries before and all his records and manuscripts had been destroyed. His possessions were burned and the ashes buried in salt to make sure no one could take his place. His acolytes were imprisoned and their magic stripped from them. The Mages Council of the time had believed that the Black Mage's evil was banished from the world for good. Certainly, there had not been a threat since that time.

Could the Black Mage have returned from the dead? The records showed that the Master Mages of the time had done everything they could to make sure he would never come back. They burned his body on a pyre and poured salt over the ashes. They chanted the ancient spells that would lock his magical essence in the spirit realm where it could not hurt the living.

From that time on, any child who was found to have a gift for magic was brought to the Academy of Magic for training and direction. Since the defeat of the Black Mage, the archmages of the realm had taken every precaution to make sure black magic would never return.

It had to be someone else, but who? Who could have learned the secrets thought long buried?

The Archmage looked around the room at the Master Mages.

"This threat is grave," the Archmage said. "We must find this person who is practicing necromancy and put a stop to them. The safety of all of Caer Llanwyn depends on it."

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