Marsha A. Moore writes fantasy romances, but she’s also a painter, yoga enthusiast, kayaker, and cycler. In fact, she routinely passes the 1,000+ mile mark yearly! As a fellow bike lover (who doesn’t put in nearly as many miles as Marsha does), I am impressed and not a little envious. She’s here to give us a closer look at two of the evil alchemists from her latest fantasy romance, Heritage Avenged.
Who is the real evil alchemist of the Enchanted Bookstore Legends? by Marsha A. Moore
The Enchanted Bookstore Legends are about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become one of five strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1200 to present day. Each Scribe is expected to journey through Dragonspeir, both the good and evil factions, then draft a written account. Each book contains magic with vast implications.
Lyra was first introduced to Dragonspeir as a young girl, when she met the high sorcerer, Cullen Drake, through a gift of one of those enchanted books. Using its magic, he escorted her into the parallel world of Dragonspeir. Years later, she lost that volume and forgot the world and Cullen. These legends begin where he finds her again—she is thirty-five, standing in his enchanted bookstore, and Dragonspeir needs her.
When Lyra reopens that enchanted book, she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save the good Alliance from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. While learning about her role, Lyra and Cullen fall in love. He is 220 years old and kept alive by Dragonspeir magic. Cullen will die if Dragonspeir is taken over by the evil faction…Lyra becomes the Scribe.
Two characters who confuse and challenge Lyra are the alchemists. Eburscon from the Alliance and Tarom from the Dark Realm clearly dislike each other, but both leave Lyra wondering if they are her allies or foes. In Heritage Avenged, Eburscon steps up to instruct her in the basics of alchemy that help Lyra understand her scribal inheritance. It also shows her exactly why others covet her aura, including him. This shocks Lyra since, as a member of the Alliance, he is sworn to protect her. This sample illustrates his haughty, dark side during their lesson.
“Surprising you are so knowledgeable,” he scoffed. “Continuing…the active energy of life, the niter, operates through the elements of fire and air. The passive celestial salt energies take forms of water and earth.”
“Like the four Guardians?”
“Yes, that is the fundamental principle of the arrangement of energy in the Alliance.” He scowled. “I will continue where I left off prior to your interruption. Water and earth are equated with the force of prana, vital energy carried by the air we breathe and the food we eat. A bridge exists between those water and earth elements of the material world to the high energy sulfurous world of fire and air elements—that is spirit. As all Scribes, you are governed by a fire sign, the most active energy, modulated by high amounts of sulfur, the principle of the soul. Therefore, your inner life force is vast. The power of your soul extends far beyond your body, into future generations, exactly how Brigid’s force of scribal fire extended into you—a rare and enviable inheritance.”
Lyra’s mouth dropped open. Much as she disliked this man, he did answer one of her biggest questions—how she inherited such a powerful magic aura and how she was selected before her birth to become the next Scribe. She also now understood why the Imperial Dragon kept this vile man as a member of his High Council; he possessed incredible knowledge.
He waved her to one end of the bench. “Here you see an alchemical inspissation taking place in this system, beginning in this alembric flask. Liquids are heated at the bottom of the flask, and vaporize into the upper tube where they condense before channeling into the long spout. This particular solvent has required months of preparation following the moon’s phases in to conduct specific procedures.”
Lyra inspected the liquid remaining in the original flask. Clear, like water, but probably not. She stepped along, following the connecting tubes and glass cylinders.
“The solvent is completing as I speak, and I might add, in a timely fashion for your visit. Your personal fire is so volatile, so unbalanced, you can easily suffer from impatience and unrest. I have repeatedly sensed that in your manner. Your soul unbalances those around you; Sire Drake’s predictory powers are limited in your presence. I assume you’ve noticed this.” The alchemist pointed his chin in Cullen’s direction to draw her attention.
Stunned to learn there was a chemical explanation for that problem, she stared at Cullen. She thought it had been the disorienting effects of love affecting Cullen. But now she wondered if love even existed in this strange world. Or was everything here merely a system of energies moving in and out of balance? Her head spun.
With a couple swift steps to the library table, Eburscon picked up a mug from the library table and returned to the bench. He placed the cup under the dropper end of the collecting tube and opened the stopcock. After a few tablespoons of the liquid dispensed, he handed her the sample. “This will mitigate your extreme sulfurous nature and calm your nerves. Sire Drake will also benefit, his full power restored. Drink it. I’ve spent months preparing it. Swirl it around first to activate the energies.”
His logic seemed convincing to Lyra. She twirled the bottom of the mug, watching the dark liquid spin. The circular motion seemed hypnotic. She fought against its pull, drawing her inner fire into her mind.
Cullen took hold of his staff, twisted it slightly, and spoke a conveyed thought to Lyra. Don’t drink it! Do not chance anything on my account. He isn’t to be trusted.
His first words shocked her from the mental hold. While she listened, her hand stopped moving. She looked into the mug, and in the still liquid floated tiny silver spheres, just like she created in a lab when she took chemistry. Shiny, metallic balls of deadly mercury!
For Lyra’s last and most valuable magic lesson in Heritage Avenged, she must travel into the frozen tundra region of Versula to meet undercover with the evil alchemist, Tarom, in his retreat. Through a horrible happenstance, he is the only one able to teach her skills of fascination craft at the time she most desperately needs them. He is a complex man and his independence both frightens and angers Lyra, and his unexpected acts of compassion surprise her.
His countenance shifted, eyes narrowed and face drawn. “So you caused this misfortune for my oldest and dearest friend? Now it makes sense,” he snapped. “Cullen would not have made such a serious misstep acting upon his own good judgment.” He stepped away from her. “You are indeed shrewd to manipulate a master like Sire Drake. I have no intention of helping you—”
“I realize it is my fault he was injured. They were trying to steal my soul, but took his instead. We love each other. I never wanted to hurt him.” Trapped by the truth, she was forced to plead and felt her chances of gaining Tarom’s help slipping away.
“If that be, then show me your half of the lovers’ jadestone pair you each wore last summer. It no longer fastens your cloak,” he said with an indignant sneer.
Lyra suddenly felt overheated, and a line of perspiration formed along her upper lip. “I…a man tricked it from me.”
“You tramp. I know mineralogy far better than you supposed. There is only one way for someone to steal a jadestone.” Tarom raised an open hand to strike her.
Hands up to protect her face, she felt the air move, but he didn’t hit her. She peered between her fingers.
He reached toward her, and she flinched. “Be still. I’m not going to hurt you,” he said with a rough voice. He took hold of her right hand and examined the bloodswear scar on her index finger. Letting go, he removed a large purple gemstone ring from his own finger to reveal an identical mark. Holding his next to hers he said, “Few bear the bloodswear. The Imperial Dragon has placed a serious responsibility upon you. You have my respect. Please forgive my rash behavior.” He bowed at the waist and rose to meet her gaze.
It’s easy to see why Lyra has a hard time determining which alchemist is truly good and which is evil, or if they are somewhere in between! Allies and enemies both lurk in the shadows around the new Scribe.
Thanks lots for inviting me to be your guest today, Jill!
More About Marsha and Heritage Avenged
Readers and writers, how about you? Do you like fantasy romance? Have any favorite fantasy characters? Are any of them alchemists? If your touch could turn impure metals into something else, what would it be? If not gold, then what? Platinum? Diamonds? Chocolate? A closet full of shoes? A cure for cancer? How about the willpower and discipline to bike 1,000+ miles every year? 😀 (Excepting the cure for cancer, that would be my choice if I could be King Midas II for a day!)