Basilard led the two young mages to another section. There, swords, pikes, axes, and maces stood next to metal staves. In a practice ring, a girl swung a moderate side-sword with great enthusiasm. She wore a tunic and pants with a belt to secure the byrnie chainmail poking out from underneath. Over her shoulders were two straps; one for a scabbard and another for a targe shield.
Her most distinctive trait was her hair: it was literally dirty blonde. As if dirt and grime were somehow braided into the hairs themselves, streaks of blonde/black ran in odd places. It fell below her ears and above her eyes; ragged and uneven. Her clothes were almost as dirty.
Feeling Eric's eyes, she stared back. “What!?”
“Now be nice, Cocoon.”
The woman next to her was middle-aged with shoulder-length blonde hair. Unlike the girl, there were no grime streaks. A one-piece dress fell to her ankles and her hands were stuffed in pockets. Eric couldn't see any weapon, but spiders crawled up her neck.
“Stop calling me that!” the girl said, pink cheeked. “My name is Tiza Sprial!”
“You're still my little Cocoon.”
Out of a sense of self-preservation, Eric bit his lip.
“Eric, Nolien meet . . .” Basilard glanced at the spider lady, who nodded. “. . . Tiza Sprial.”
“Pleased to meet you, Tiza,” Nolien said. She took pleasure in squeezing his hand. Nolien didn't wince, but Eric wasn't so stoic.
“I'll take over from here, Sathel,” Basilard said to the spider lady.
Locking eyes, she said with deadly severity. “Take good care of my Cocoon.”
“I will,” Basilard replied, equally grave. “Don't worry.”
“I'll be working in Rlawader for the indeterminate future,” she continued. “When I come back, I expect her whole and stronger.”
“I stake my sword on it.”
“Good.” Sathel noticeably softened and put a hand on Tiza's shoulder. “Basilard is your Daylra now, but I can still be your mentor . . . or . . . maybe—”
Tiza shrugged. “I'll call you 'Spider Daylra' and him 'Bloody Daylra.'” Sathel smiled, but it was bittersweet. She turned her back on the new team and walked out of Storage.
“Was that your mother?” Nolien asked Tiza.
“No, apprentice mentor,” Tiza said. “I have no idea who my mother is.”
“I . . . see . . .” Nolien said.
“Now that we're all together, why don't we get to know each other? I'll start. My name is Basilard Bladi and I am the sergeant of this team. I'm also your mentor in your respective fields. I like raw meat. I dislike control freaks. My hobbies are sparring and practicing bladicraft. I joined the Dragon's Lair because it's family tradition. My dream is to pass on this sword to my first born child.”
Nolien stiffened at the mention of primogeniture.
“Tiza, why don't you go next?”
“Fine. I'm Tiza Sprial and I'm the fighter of this team. My likes, dislikes, and hobbies are none of your business. I joined ‘cause Captain Blond Psycho noticed my amazing talent and begged me to.”
“I heard a different story,” Basilard said. “One where Lieutenant Jemas caught you picking his pocket and dragged you to the Guild to treat your many injuries.”
Tiza froze, then turned a burning glare on him. “When I become a paladin, she will recognize my talent! And so will everyone else!”
“Quite an ambitious young lady, aren't you?” Basilard remarked, not at all fazed by her outburst or her narrowed eyes.
“I'll do it no problem! Just wait and see!”____________________________________________
Click here to read the next Sassy Saturday excerpt: Tiza's First Mission
To learn more about Tiza and A Mage's Power, visit Tvtropes at http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/AMagesPower.
A Mage's Power, and its sequel, Looming Shadow, are available for purchase at
Brian Wilkerson is a freelance book reviewer, writing advice blogger and independent novelist. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).