Magic Unleashed – Chapter 1 – Absent Choice #FreeFictionFriday

Hello everyone and Happy Friday! Just to make the start of the weekend even sweeter, I am joining Free Fiction Friday! What that means for you is a new, completely free story that I will publish in weekly (hopefully) instalments.

Magic Unleashed

Genre: gay romance, gay fiction, fantasy, magic, light BDSM
Main characters: Eikki (spell caster) and Charis (familiar)
Blurb: coming soon 😀
Length: I guess we’ll all discover that eventually.

There are many great stories published every Friday, I suggest you visit the Free Fiction Friday site and subscribe by email (or subscribe to each writer’s site) to stay in touch. And while you’re at it, check out my sidebar, you can subscribe to this blog by email, or join my newsletter (yes, another bit of self promo, apologies). Now, on to the story!

Chapter 1 – Absent Choice

I stood tall in my parents’ greeting room, looking at the door I was supposed to step through. Only a few days after my eighteenth birthday, and the Choosing was upon us. I sighed and closed my eyes, wishing I had more time. I couldn’t wait another year though, the need was gnawing at my soul and at my sanity. It was time I chose my one and only.

A final embrace from my mother and a rough clap on the back from my father, and I was pushed out the door. I winced as I heard it close behind me. This is it, Charis. You will choose wisely.

I had been sixteen when I first started to feel the need. It was late for a familiar, they said, but I was happy it had been kept at bay for so long. My family had immediately pushed for me to attend that year’s Choosing, but I refused. I was not going to let my youth cloud my judgment. I was going to wait until I was eighteen and only then attend the ceremony of the Choosing and find my spell caster.

If I’d been able to, I’d never do it. Binding my life to someone else’s like that frightened me. Familiars, we could not survive without the bond though, so I would be forced to make my choice, find my one magical twin soul and dedicate my life to helping them. The thought made me growl, shift into my panther form, and run wild through the forests surrounding Zalmos.

From afar, our city was beautiful. It circled the Great Hill as a mighty stone serpent, the main road tightening around it till it stopped at the door of the Magical Tower that housed the Spell Casters’ Council. Thick, bright, white marble walls followed the road. All other walls around the city and the other smaller, narrower streets were made from more gray looking stones, but were also imbued with magic. A simple human being would not see them, but there were magical inscriptions on the walls. They were only visible to spell casters and familiars. They buzzed with power and lulled us into a feeling of safety.

The magical city of Zalmos had not been attacked in centuries, yet the memories of bloody battles still stained our memories, even if the traces on the walls had been glamoured long ago. All other species could not be trusted, we knew we needed to protect ourselves. Otherwise, they’d come barging in, taking what they considered rightfully theirs. We lent a hand for a price, but we were not property to be owned and abused. We had our own rules and no one could force us to use our magic to break them.

Familiars were the exception. Their powers could be plucked from them with the right chant and little to no magic from any other source. It was the other reason, apart from the need, that had us seek a magical being to entangle our fate with. Once bonded to someone, no one else could use our magic.

I had dressed as the occasion required. Soft leather boots, dark leather breeches, and a silk, pitch black tunic, with the emblem of my house embroidered on it, right above my heart. The materials revealed my lineage – feline, while the emblem bore a more detailed description for the magical eyes that would look upon me – black panther, highest class magical inclinations.

As I followed the main road to reach the square atop the Great Hill, shadowed by the Tower, I rehashed my ideas about this choosing. I was going to pick a gentle soul. Wizard, witch, warlock, the class did not matter. I did not care for their magic level either, I was high level enough to compensate. I would prefer a male, not a female. I tended to take their feelings upon me and we’d both go crazy as my magic fed the emotions till they expanded to unbearable levels. I did not want someone too young, they were reckless and had a sense of entitlement born from coming into their powers so soon. Nor did I want someone too old. They’d usually had a familiar before and the loss was never properly mended. They’d try and make me fit a mold that would never be my own. No dwarfs, no fae, no any other races. Definitely nothing dark! A life mage or a nature spell caster would be best. Even one dealing with the elements or taming beasts of magical nature. Yes, something like that would suit me just fine.

With each step I took, the road filled with swarms of people. A few other unattached familiars, pairs of spell casters and familiars who’d give their blessings to the new unions, the humans and other races allowed to live within our city walls, everyone was going. Everyone except the families of the familiars to be choosing. It was said it made it difficult, as the bond of hearth and family would be forever replaced with a bond that would always be stronger than anything else.

I made my way up the hill, distracted by the colorful crowds flooding the large stone paved road and I relaxed as much as I could. My stomach was still a tight knot and it got a lot worse when I finally reached the square in front of the Tower. Magister Melyn spotted me and motioned for me to approach. I had to go through the formalities of attending the ceremony which, of course, failed to distract me. I was then pushed swiftly down the line of familiars about to choose.

There were a dozen or so of us, some determined, some anxious, some smiling like complete fools. No one seemed to have the grim posture I had donned earlier that morning. Familiars should be all about finding their intended spell caster. I, however, felt something off. A vibe, a buzz deep in my brain, heralding bleak times ahead. I trusted my instincts, always, so I knew it was not just fear talking. My future, as much as I’d planned for it, might just not be as calm and pleasant as I wanted it.

The nine bells in the tower started to chime on their different tones, a joyous sound flooding the market. Before us, the spell casters we’d measure and choose from took their positions. Most of them were human, a few dwarfs, and a fae. Just when Magister Melyn cleared his voice to begin, a man walked through the parting crowds and joined the line. My eyes drifted to him. He was wearing black clothes and had a silk, shimmery cloak covering the top half of his face. It draped around his broad shoulders, concealing his arms. I couldn’t look away, and he smirked when he noticed my stunned look.

I blinked quickly and looked away. The feeling of danger and a dark aura oozed from him, making my heart beat at a frenzied pace. I knew what he was and my hands trembled with the knowledge. The others ventured quick glances at him and quickly took a defensive stance. Power pulsed from him, and we all knew better than to be anything but cautious. Even some of the spell casters looked as if they wanted to run.

Dark Elf, born with magic of the blackest arts coursing through his every pore. They were the definition of danger and everyone stood well clear of them. I took in his dusty clothes and realized he’d traveled from quite far to be here today. Judging by everyone’s reaction, he’d leave empty handed.

The magisters put the small papers with our names written on them in a coarse thread bag and spoke the words of the spell needed to shuffle them and conceal the names before they were drawn out. I swallowed past the lump in my throat and felt my eyes and thoughts drifting towards the damned elf again. He was indeed beautiful, but every one of their kind was. Just like poisonous flowers.

Something deep within me stirred, my very soul rumbled wildly and my entire skin broke out in goosebumps. Sweat dripped down the back of my neck, along my spine, and my fists clenched. I felt dizzy and edgy and all I wanted was to run away. Too late though, my name was part of the ritual, I would have to choose.

“Charis, step forward,” one of the magisters said. The words sounded foreign and although I’d trained with them all my life, I couldn’t for the life of me say who it had been. My feet moved of their own accord, my eyes still glued to the dark figure smirking at me. His lips were cherry red and so full!

I shook my head vigorously and took a few calming breaths. I did what I was supposed to do, looked at every one of the spell casters, assessing their heritage and powers. I’d seen a couple of solid choices, so close to what I’d wanted, that I relaxed a bit. As I drew closer to the Dark Elf, the panic rose again. I was shaking by the time I turned to look at him. Without him moving a muscle, the hood of his cloak slid back, piercing violet eyes with specks of gold staring right into my soul. Dark strands of thick, unruly hair framed his beautiful face, so perfect in its features, no master artist would ever be able to do it justice.

I felt dark, magical limbs surrounding me and pulling me closer. I tried to resist it until I was violently shaking and fell to my knees. My eyes watered as I tried to keep fighting the dreadful pull, but I failed and bowed my head. I realized they were yelling at me. Magister Melyn and a couple of others were calling my name in angry voices. I tried to look at them, but couldn’t. I felt as if shackles were weighing me down and my neck had a thick collar clasped around it. There was nothing there, I knew.

With what little strength I could muster, I raised my eyes to meet the elf’s. “Eikki,” I whispered, the name forming in my mind as if I’d always known it. It was impossible though, I did not know this male. I did not want him. He was not my chosen. Yet I stood on shaky legs and took a few more steps towards him.

Melyn reached me and gripped my upper arm. “What are you doing, Charis? This is not how you choose!” He sounded angry, but I knew it was not because of me.

I nodded once and said the proper words. “I choose Eikki as my bonded spell caster. Always above all others.”

The magister released me, cursing under his breath and walking away. He’d seen it in my eyes, I had not made this choice willingly. I just could not fight the pull of this elf. I was convinced he’d used his dark arts, although magic was forbidden during these ceremonies. He did not care, it seemed. Unfortunately for me, no one could trace dark magic, no one but the caster’s familiar and his brethren. There were no Dark Elves here to support my claim of being coerced.

Eikki took a few steps towards me, gripped the back of my neck and pulled me flush against his chest. My mind went blank and my entire body tingled with the buzz of his magic.

“You are mine now. Don’t you dare forget that,” he whispered. He turned to leave, and the moment he took the first step away from the gathering, I followed obediently.

“Where are we going?” I asked after a few minutes of silently trailing behind him.

“My home here in Zalmos.” No further explanation came and I considered pressing more out of him. Something inside me told me I’d fail.

As I dragged my feet along the dusty road leading us through the maze of Zalmos, away from the Tower and towards my new spell caster’s home, something flickered in the back of my mind. A distant saying, one that my grandmother used to whisper to me before I fell asleep. Absent choice, tend to nothing but your life and bide your time. Once more, the day will come when you might choose freely. 

Chapter II – What Makes a Home

Did you enjoy this new instalment of Magic Unleashed?

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A pleasure to meet you! I’m Alina Popescu, an author, traveler, and hopeless coffee addict. I write urban fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, and sometimes even contemporary stories. A significant number of my books are LGBTQ fiction and romance.

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15 Responses to “Magic Unleashed – Chapter 1 – Absent Choice #FreeFictionFriday”

  1. Laz says:

    What a wonderful start to what I am sure, will be a thoroughly captivating story. Nothing intrigues me more than Eikki…I hope he is as naughty as he is dark *winks*

  2. […] with names and meanings. Nor will it be the last. My current serial for Free Fiction Friday, Magic Unleashed, features a feline familiar, Charis, and a Dark Elf called Eikki. Charis just happens to mean […]

  3. […] Chapter I – Absent Choice Chapter II – What Makes a Home […]

  4. […] Chapter I – Absent Choice Chapter II – What Makes a Home Chapter III – Rules of the Game […]

  5. […] Chapter I – Absent Choice Chapter II – What Makes a Home Chapter III – Rules of the Game Chapter IV – Not all the Way Through […]

  6. […] Chapter I – Absent Choice Chapter II – What Makes a Home Chapter III – Rules of the Game Chapter IV – Not all the Way Through Chapter V – Cold, Hard Light of Day […]

  7. […] Chapter I – Absent Choice Chapter II – What Makes a Home Chapter III – Rules of the Game Chapter IV – Not all the Way Through Chapter V – Cold, Hard Light of Day […]

  8. […] Chapter I – Absent Choice Chapter II – What Makes a Home Chapter III – Rules of the Game Chapter IV – Not all the Way Through Chapter V – Cold, Hard Light of Day Chapter VI – Herald of Doom […]

  9. Jo says:

    Wow, creepy. The hair on my arms is standing up. Looking forward to reading the rest.

    Love the dark and scary characters and getting to know them.

  10. BeachGal84 says:

    Well this just sucks, I know I’ve read it and enjoyed it but hell if I can remember. I hate getting older and forgetting, 🙁

    • Alina Popescu says:

      Good thing it’s here for you to read again 😀 And hopefully still enjoy it the second time around.

  11. […] Chapter I – Absent Choice Chapter II – What Makes a Home Chapter III – Rules of the Game Chapter IV – Not all the Way Through Chapter V – Cold, Hard Light of Day Chapter VI – Herald of Doom Chapter VII – Of Claims and Bonds […]

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