• The bright sun was high in the sky when the company disembarked from the Port of Foreigners in a twenty-foot long ship and headed west along the Antherios coast. Voran gazed out across the vast blue ocean and glanced at Graybeard when the wizard joined him, “Well, Graybeard,” Voran said, “It’s been a long time, has it not?”

    Graybeard chuckled, “Yes it has, my old apprentice. Have you been practicing those light spells I taught you?”

    Voran smiled, “As much as I can, with the war and all.”

    “Good.” Graybeard said, “Well, you will be happy to hear that I have recently acquired a new apprentice. Eric! Get out here!”

    Voran looked to his right just as the hatch opened and a young man came out, tripped, and fell to the deck. Immediately, Eric picked himself up and grinned sheepishly, “You called for me, sir?” he asked as the gentle breeze fluttered his messy, blonde hair.

    “You have to be kidding.” Voran muttered to Graybeard.

    “Do not worry. He is quite able to handle magic.” Graybeard gave a slight cough, “Usually.” He turned to Eric, “Eric, this is Voran, my former apprentice and heir to the throne of the Avalon Empire.”

    Eric bowed, “It is an honor to meet you, Lord Voran.”

    “Likewise.” Voran replied, “Tell me, Eric, how old are you?”

    “Almost fifteen, sir.” Eric answered.

    “…and you are already Graybeard’s apprentice?” Voran said, surprised, “They just keep getting younger and younger, Graybeard.”

    Graybeard laughed, “Aye, that they do. The younger mind is easier to teach than the older mind, as I always say.” He turned to Eric, “You may continue your studies.”

    Eric bowed again, “Yes, master. It was nice meeting you, Lord Voran.” The boy headed down the stairs to the cargo hold, stumbling as he went.

    Voran watched him go and let out a sigh, “You had better keep your eyes on that one.” He told Graybeard.

    “He can be a handful.” Graybeard agreed.

    There was a few seconds of silence, “What do you suppose we will face when we reach to Black Lands?” Voran questioned.

    Graybeard shrugged, “I cannot tell for sure. The dark wizard, Canilus, will undoubtedly be searching for the Voliun Stone as well. If we run into him, I must fight him.”

    “Let us hope that it does not come to that.” Voran said.