A Magician’s Secret: Magic’s Call

Prologue

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This is the prologue of the first book following a Deserlan girl named Asha.  Asha has spent her whole life pretending she is someone else, a Blue girl named Aida.  When she can be herself, she finds that it’s harder than she thought it would be.  Blue is the Deserlan term for people who live in United Forces land.

Aida-Asha

I feel like I’ve been keeping this secret for forever. Every time somebody makes an offhand comment about the Great Deserlan Massacre, I wish I could show them how it feels. Because it hurts. It’s like I’ve been slapped across my face more times than I can count, and I can’t retaliate.

They laughingly describe how hundreds of thousands of Deserlans were killed in the glittering, white sandy streets, and I want to scream or pull my hair out. I wish I could yell at them, tell them how they would feel if it had been them, helpless, watching the effects of the massacre. And then I feel like crying, so I ask to be excused from class so I can go cry. 

Because I’m Deserlan. In fact, I’m the last Deserlan. The United Forces brag about defeating every one of the so-called ‘demons’ – they talk about catching and killing every single one.  They even believe it – but they missed someone. Me.

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There was an old story that they used to tell. That beyond the Northern border of Mountainta lies Death. 

Spoiler Alert: They were wrong. When an explorer named Elias Juen finally dared to venture past the Crevice, he found our people. The Deserlans.

While he was there, we treated him like kin and he treated us the same.  We made sure that he was comfortable, like every host should.

In return, he was kind and acted grateful.

But when he returned to his true family, he told haunting stories – stories of the demons he encountered in the Land of the Dead. Stories based off of two things: myth, and pride. The two things that contaminate truth. 

All of this because he thought it would sound more heroic if he had ‘barely escaped a demon civilization’s clutches’ than if he had been treated like family without facing any hardships.

Frightened by the prospect that Juen presented, the United Forces (predictably) started another war. Or, if I were to accurately describe it, a massacre. As if the Condalian Civil War wasn’t enough, they set out to kill. Every. Single. Deserlan. 

And then, as if they hadn’t just killed thousands in cold blood, as if they hadn’t just caused an event now known as the first Great Deserlan Massacre, they decided that maybe they had misjudged us. Maybe, somehow, we weren’t demons.

So they came to learn about us, under a flag of peace. And we trusted them. Again.

We showed them our courage, a beautiful gift from the Aurora. We showed them our vulnerability, the fact that any true Deserlan was loyal to the point of death. And they hunted down our true secret, the one that thousands died to protect: Deserlans are gifted with magic. Magic, a wild thing that burns fiercely in every Deserlan heart.  Including my own.

Magic, something that the United Forces don’t know. Something that they can’t control, something that they can’t recognize. A concept that escaped them.

Everyone knows that the United Forces are afraid of the unknown; and everyone knows that when the United Forces are afraid, their loyalty is challenged. And inevitably, they betray.

While still waving a white flag, the Blues brutally murdered the great Deserlan leaders that showed all of them mercy. As if Blues understood mercy. 

My mother had to sneak me away when the war restarted. She understood what love is. She couldn’t let me die, even if it meant that she would be killed.

She stealthily brought me into the Blue’s Land, and whispered her last words to me:  You’re Deserlan, Asha. You’ll always know it, always feel it, but you can’t let anyone else discover that. Don’t fight a war you can’t win, Sugar. From now on, you’re Blue.

And then she left. She left me on the great, Blue stone steps of the Crowferl Orphanage for Girls. She left me there so that the Deserlan way could survive along with me.

So that’s why I’m here now, on the damp, dirty carpet, ignoring the howling little tugging at my braided hair and the grown girls glaring at me. Or rather, Aida’s ignoring them.

Aida, the picture perfect Blue girl. The one who’s respectful, who can ignore the fact that others are mistreating her. 

Not Asha. Asha is the fiery Deserlan girl, the lion, who hears the call of magic and can’t ignore it. The one who fights with everything in her. Asha is the one who’ll get herself killed, while Aida is the one who can preserve the last Deserlan until it’s time.

I was contemplating my two personalities when the bells suddenly ting-ting, tiiiiiinged. I took a deep breath, checked one last time that Asha was safely buried, and headed towards the Great Hall

5,501 days of being Aida, check. Only 364 left now.