Author's Notes: Well it's about time I blew dust off of my Fiction Press account. And here I have a chapter of a story I found lying around on my computer, and decided after reading it, having forgotten about it, to run with it. We will see where this leads. This first chapter is potentially over a year old possibly older. I forgot to check the date before mucking with it.

ADDITIONAL: There have been some edits to this chapter. References to mancers have been replaced with thaumacti, I shaved a couple years off of Emon's age, and made some other minor changes.

[Mancers Rewrite: Title Pending]

The dust settled ominously over the long stretch of field. Strewn about like discarded litter were crumbled heaps of flesh; flesh barely attached to the bones that served as their support. The last moans could just barely be heard amidst the crimson field, and stillness abounded. Stillness… until a lean dark figure rose from the carnage and stood over one of the bodies. There was a second movement, a hand reaching outward. Two sharp red eyes stared down at the hand, then slowly traveled to where it barely connected to a battered shoulder. Finally, a face. Half of the cheek was seared away, and one eye was perpetually shut from all of the swelling. The other eye stared up imploringly, pleading, begging. A wide grin spread across the gaunt features of the dark youth. "Time to end your suffering."

"Emon, slow down! There is no sense in expending your energy!" called a wiry woman. The youth ahead of her, looking to be about that awkward age of 11, slowed his trot to a mere walk, looking over his shoulder.

"Mother! The faster we get there the sooner we can eat! Besides, I am not tired!" the boy insisted. His mother sprinted up to his

Chapter 1

The dust settled ominously over the long stretch of field. Strewn about like discarded litter were crumbled heaps of flesh; flesh barely attached to the bones that served as their support. The last moans could just barely be heard amidst the crimson field, and stillness abounded. Stillness… until a lean dark figure rose from the carnage and stood over one of the bodies. There was a second movement, a hand reaching outward. Two sharp red eyes stared down at the hand, then slowly traveled to where it barely connected to a battered shoulder. Finally, a face. Half of the cheek was seared away, and one eye was shut from all of the swelling. The other eye stared up imploringly, pleading, begging. A grin spread across the gaunt features of the dark youth. "Peace."

"Emon, slow down! There is no sense in expending your energy!" called a wiry woman. The child ahead of her, who looked maybe eight or nine, slowed his trot to a mere walk, looking over his shoulder,

"Mother! The faster we get there the sooner we can eat! Besides, I am not tired!" the boy insisted. His mother sprinted up to his side only to slow down again, seizing his hand in her own and keeping him close to her, forcing him to keep his slow plodding pace.

"You may not be weary yet, but you will outrun yourself! Children never seem to know their own limits. Well I know mine, and I know that if I am to keep pace with you, I will faint before we reach town!" the woman chastised in a low, husky voice. If it were to drop a pitch lower, she could easily be mistaken for a man. However, her face was not one to so easily go disambiguated. Her features were sharp and angular, with pale skin pulled taught over her pinched features. A pair of sharp red eyes peered out from two slanted slits, which had eyebrows perpetually arched above them. Her lips were thin and set in a frown, and her nose narrow and pointed. A few wrinkles forming around her eyes and forehead spoke of her age and her worries. However, belying her washed out complexion was a frame of lively red hair that cascaded in unbound waves around her narrow face, and then trickled between her shoulder blades in uneven lashes.

"If you say so mother, but I am so hungry! Are you sure you do not have anything to eat?" he asked, his large red eyes pleading. The woman looked down sternly, but quietly, before her hand whisked to her side and unbound a water skin from her waist, handing it to him. He took it, staring at the hard metal ring that was placed at the opening, before looking back up at his mother. "I'm hungry, not thirsty."

"It is all we have. Water or nothing, Emon," she responded briskly. He sighed and tipped some of the contents into his mouth. He was lucky he barely had to smell it, as it had come from a very rank well they'd stopped at earlier. What he wouldn't do for spring water, but that was uncommon in the plains. He put the metal cap back on and his mother quickly snatched it away, fastening it back to her belt with one hand, her other squeezing his hand meaningfully.

"I hope we arrive soon…" Emon said longingly. This did not even grant him a look from his mother, much less a comment. She just continued staring forward down the beaten path, a grim face set with determination.

The town barely crawled with any movement by the time dusk had rolled around. Those who had put in a hard day of work were warming themselves indoors. Those who did not busy themselves were all huddled at the local tavern, which finally had opened its bar to receive patrons. All in all, the cool autumn evening was barely alive when Emon and his mother stepped onto the cobbled street that ran through it. The woman paused, surveying the area carefully, before finally letting go of her son's hand. She brought up her hood close around her features, giving a meaningful glance at her son to do the same. Their faces now obscured, the woman pushed the doors open to the large building that advertised it's contents with a symbol of a bed, a leg of meat, and a stein of beer. The warm air greeted her face like a gentle sigh and she paused, looking hither and thither until she saw an empty table. She beckoned her son to follow, and he diligently crept along behind her until both of them were sitting side by side.

"Oh I am so hungry… we're finally here…" Emon said, his stomach seeming to grumble on command to emphasize his plight. His mother patiently waited with a hand uplifted until a barmaid finally arrived at their table.

"You look like you could use a good meal. The house special today is mutton stew, with day old bread. For an additional cost, we can add some boiled roots," the woman said.

"Would the boiled roots be separate? My stomach cannot abide meat…" the woman said. The Barmaid looked perplexed at her for a moment, then her eyes darted side to side before she shook her head.

"I… I would have to ask," she said, her tone profusely apologetic, and her features lined with apprehension.

"Well, then ask. Bring us some water in the meantime," the woman said dryly. The barmaid bobbed her head quickly and turned to head back to the kitchen, her full brown skirt swaying with her hastened movements. The mother looked to her son.

"Soon. Very soon." Was all the woman said before the barmaid returned, handing them both flagons of water.

"Yes, the boiled roots can be served separate from the stew. Now then, what would you like?" the harried barmaid asked.

"Bring us a bowl of the stew and the roots separate." The barmaid nodded and whisked away, her brown skirt swaying with her movements. Neither the mother nor the child had anything further to say until a different bar maid came by. She gave them a smile and set down a bowl of steaming broth with a few scanty pieces of mutton and flaky green herbs floating in it. The boy didn't really care that it was more of a soup than a stew as he seized the spoon before the barmaid had the chance to set it on the table in front of him. He scooped a chunk of dripping meat into his mouth, only to spit it out and breathe in sharply.

"Ow it's hot! Hot!" he whimpered. This earned him an exasperated expression from his mother, and though he could not see it clearly through the shadows that veiled her face, he could feel it. "The last few places the soup was kind of cold…" he justified.

"You could SEE the steam rising off of it… be careful in the future. Drink some water then try again," his mother said hoarsely. He nodded and grabbed the water, draining the contents as fast as possible. It did not smell or taste much better than the water they had packed, so he wanted it gone as soon as possible. Finally he tried again with the soup, blowing on it carefully then sticking out his tongue to poke at it to test the warmth. Withdrawing his tongue quickly, finding it still too hot, he set the spoon aside on the table, still with the chunk of meat in it.

The red-haired woman idly watched the barmaids go from table to table, taking and serving orders, and did not envy their job or station in life. The only 'gratitude' shown by most patrons was a pat on the rump or a trashy comment. She idly wondered if the men actually believed they were speaking compliments rather than just debasing the women. Emon tried again with the meat, finally getting it into his mouth without burning himself. He sat there chewing furiously at the stringy, tough meat. It kept him quiet, for the most part. Finally a barmaid came back with the boiled roots. Red, white, orange, and pale yellow all heaped together on a steaming plate. It looked a smidgen more appetizing than the speckled broth Emon was staring down at, and looked a lot easier to chew. However, he took the hint that he'd irritated his mother enough for the day and said nothing of it.

When they both had finished their meals, Emon's mother settled the costs for their shared meal and a single room for the night. Emon insisted he was not tired and wanted to stay down in the bar for a while, or maybe walk around town, but his mother forbade it. This was quite common for Emon. His mother was often controlling and over protective, or so he perceived. But then, he quietly admitted there was good reasons for it. Both him and his mother were outcasts.

"…How far do we have to go before we can stop running?" Emon asked as he huddled close to his mother under a single blanket on a straw mattress. She let out a sigh.

"I do not know yet, Emon. I am hoping that we can start fresh in the East Continent. It is untamed, and thus does not have civilization to oppress us; just the wild to test us," she explained. "However, I do not know that it will be any safer there, what with the current colonization occurring there."

"It is really stupid… all of it. We did not have to run when I was little. Why do we have to now?" Emon continued to ask. His mother stared down at him, red eyes staring into each other, reflecting their blood bond.

"We are not the only ones hurt by this. All thaumacti are. I do not know what started the hatred, but this is how it is, and we must adapt. Now just try and get some sleep. We have to get up early tomorrow and continue."

"Halt intruder!" cried out a skinny man wearing nothing but rags. His features were sagged, but his eyes were sharp, and his gnarly fingers wrapped around a large spear. He glared menacingly at the dark figure who approached. However, said figure stopped when instructed, raising his hands with the palms out.

"I seek not trouble with you," he said in a low, almost whispery tone that the guard barely could hear. He cocked his head to the side and blinked at him for a few minutes.

"However did you find your way here? This sacred place has been hidden for centuries!" the guard asked suspiciously, tinged with a bit of anxiety. The man in question lifted his head, staring into the guard's eyes. "But… no… it can't be…" said the guard, his face becoming pale as if he'd seen a ghost. His dark eyes stared into a pair of bright red irises.

"Escort me to your leader," the man requested in a somber tone. The guard stood there quietly, as if in a daze. Finally he gripped his spear even tighter, holding it out between himself and the red-eyed youth. "You… you wait right there…. Do not make a move!" the guard instructed. All he got was a single nod from the red-eyed youth before he backed away into an old stone arch.

The red-eyed youth waited for a while patiently before two men returned. One was the guard from before, in his torn, wretched rags, while the other was a man wearing a black robe and cowl. He stood straight despite his age, telltale by the long gray beard streaming down his chest. "You wish to see our leader?"

"Yes," the man responded curtly. There was a hum of silence before the robed man spoke again.

"Well… I am afraid I can not allow that. He is in his annual seclusion. Furthermore, no one sees him without going through me first. Come with me lad, and I will judge your worthiness to see the leader of the long forgotten Necromancers."

The next morning Emon and his mother were early to rise. The morning was almost chillier than the night had been before, and they bundled themselves up as best as they could in their tattered clothes and cloaks. With their hoods down, they scurried out of the tavern, not bothering to stay long enough for another meal. Instead they made a stop at the local baker, bargaining for old or burnt bread at a lower price before setting off. Just as they were leaving the few fields on the outskirts of towns, they heard a voice calling out to them.

"HEY! You two!" they heard. They did not stall. Instead, Emon and his mother picked up their pace, hurrying away. Another shout to get their attention was all before they heard running footsteps behind them. This encouraged both of them to break out into a run. They both dashed for a few meters before a couple of stout men turned into their path from behind a tool shed, causing Emon's mother to skid to a stop, while her son broke away and wove around them.

"What's the hurry!?" one man demanded in a guttural voice, grabbing for Emon's mother's hand. She quickly pulled her hand away, then adjusted her hood which was almost ready to fall back from the commotion.

"Got summin' ta hide?" the other asked, leering at her while chewing on a stock.

"No…. I… I… there was a suspicious man following me… I was afraid," she explained, then finally looked over her shoulder. Sure enough a man was trotting up the rear. She whirled her head around to look at the two stout men who barred her path.

"Suspicious? That's the Vicar, The Very Reverend Lonte. What's so suspicious about that?" asked the first stout man. Emon's mother froze, and slowly turned around, quickly looking down.

"I apologize… I did not get a good look… but you have to understand how frightening it is for a woman to be traveling with only her young son…" Emon's mother quickly said, trying to sound as pathetic and docile as she could.

"Speak o' which, where'd the rat scurry off ta? Seems ta me yer the suspicious ones," the other added.

"He…" Emon's mother didn't manage to say much before the Vicar had finally caught up with them, looking rightly out of breath. The two men behind her bowed their heads in respect, but remained as they were. Emon's mother felt uncomfortable in her current predicament. She reluctantly bowed her head even further, never looking up at the man.

"I did not mean to frighten you, it's just that you dropped this!" the Vicar finally said. Emon's mother finally allowed herself to look up just enough to see his outstretched hand, holding her dilapidated money pouch.

"Oh! I thank you very much! I am sorry to have given you such trouble," she said in her husky voice, her cheeks feeling warm with embarrassment. She put her hand out to receive the pouch. The Vicar hesitated to give it back to her, staring at her critically. He then tipped the contents onto his hand and examined the scanty amount of copper coins therein.

"Is this all you travel with?" he asked. She had no choice but to nod. "You can not get much further with this pittance. What is a woman doing traveling with her son this time of year?" he asked further.

"My husband… my husband was one of the explorers sent over to tame the East. He was supposed to be back a month ago. He never returned. Without him to support us, our landlord turned us out. I sold what little I had left, and we're on our way to the East. I need to know what happened," she explained. The Vicar quietly listened, waiting. He took his time to contemplate what she had said.

"You did not hear any news about him?" The Vicar asked.

"No. The entire village stopped getting word. I tried looking for information at one of the larger cities, but I failed to find about my husband. Please, I must go find my son. He ran ahead, and must be very scared for me," she pleaded, or at least, tried to sound pleading. The low timber of her voice did not portray the helpless, pitiful single mother very well. She was growing tired of this over-glorified tax collector's prodding. The Vicar was quiet for a moment. Just as he was about to say something, there was a squeal of a scream.

"No…" she whispered under her breath as the entire cluster of people looked about. There was a second scream.

"Lemme go! LEMME GO! I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING! HEEEY!" came Emon's unmistakable shrill voice. His mother turned to look behind her, where sure enough, two men were carrying him by either of his arms while he struggled madly. The Vicar stepped past her, and the two stout farmers moved aside to allow him to pass.

"What seems to be the trouble here?" the Vicar, Lonte asked.

"Caught this boy unhitching a cart, to steal it no doubt!" one of the men reported. "When we apprehended him, we then saw this!" the man said. He pulled back the boy's hood then firmly grabbed him by the hair on the back of his head, forcing him to look up at the Vicar. The Vicar inspected him, then took an alarmed step back.

"By God, his eyes! What a most unholy colour!" The Vicar exclaimed. He then turned back to Emon's mother, who was backing away. With only a glance from the Lonte, the two stout men moved on her to seize her. She shrieked at them to leave her alone, but they seized her fragile frame with ease. They forced her down on her knees, removed her hood, and forced her to look up at the Vicar. He stared into her equally red eyes. "We will prepare her for transport to the Priest over in, let's see, Colande I believe. He will know what to make of both of them."

"Yes, Your Very Reverend…ship…" one of the men said. The two who had apprehended Emon, who continued to struggle and scream, had had enough. With a sturdy blow to the back of his head, the boy stopped moving.

"NO! Do NOT hurt my SON!" his mother protested. However, she was quickly knocked out as well. Both of them subdued, they were dragged away to be properly restrained and loaded onto a wagon headed for Colande. While unconscious, her mind drifted not into a dream, but into a memory.

She remembered her encounter ten years ago with a strange youth as though it were only yesterday.

"You… is your name Mayelle?" an apprehensive looking youth asked. Mayelle turned to stare at the lad, whose age was ambiguous due to most of his features being obscured. His chin and lower lip were covered by the high collar of his cowl, and his eyes were covered by a blindfold. However, it was the shape of his eyebrows that made him look uneasy.

"Yes… how did you know?" she had answered. She nervously began to fiddle with her red hair as she stared at the mysterious figure who was not much taller than herself. Then again, she was tall for a girl. Tall and slender, and often mistaken for a young lad. The hood she wore made it even more likely for her gender to be mistaken.

"I have been looking for you, Mayelle. Please, can we speak somewhere a little more… private?" he asked. She hesitated. They were currently standing in one of the less busy streets of the Kingdom of Gahn. However, it was still a raucous place since it was in the middle of the census that came every five years. New births, deaths, marriages; all this was reported every five years.

"I… I do not think so. I keep very well not to go to secluded places with strangers, and you are most certainly strange," she responded, continuing to fidget with her hair, watching the lad. He did not seem offended. Then after an awkward silence he stepped closer, forcing Mayelle to step back. He slowly unraveled the blindfold and let it drop to around his neck, staring at her with a pair of red eyes.

"True. I am strange. Still, we must speak," the man said. Mayelle just nodded dumbly at him before he took her arm and led her away. She didn't pull away, but rather let herself be led along in a bewildered stupor.

"There. This is private enough," he said, standing behind some public stables. She blinked a few times.

"What do you need to speak to me about?" she asked quietly. She was not sure if she was more excited or afraid.

"Us," was his response.

'Unn… us… unnn…" Mayelle groaned, becoming vaguely aware of an upset stomach. The source of that was not what was in her stomach, but rather, without. The vessel she was in was rocking and bumping along the rough terrain. She then became aware of something constantly applying pensive pressure on her eye.

"Mother! Mother wake up!" Emon called over and over in almost a chant. She slowly slid her eyelids open, but there was little to see. Even if not for her eyes being blurry, the lack of light in the large crate they were both in would have obscured her vision.

"Emon…" she said quietly.

"Oh you are awake! You were making noises… are you okay?" Emon asked. Mayelle rolled onto her side, putting a hand to her turbulent stomach.

"I am sure… I will be fine once we stop."

"Mother… why didn't you blast them? We could have gotten away if you used your-"

"Emon!" Mayelle said in a sharp tone that was contrary to the sluggish, weakness she was feeling. "Emon…" she said with more tenderness. "If I were to do that, then it would just feed the fire of their hatred."

"But they hate us anyway! They'll give us to a priest, and he'll kill us mother! He'll kill us!" Emon said hysterically. Mayelle reached out a hand and stroked his strawberry blonde hair, then brought her hand down to cup his rounded boyish cheek.

"Emon… we will just have to escape. If that fails, then we can only accept our fate."

"But I don't want to… I'm too young to die…" Emon wailed.

"Hush, child, hush. I am sure we can escape." Although the words were reassuring, her tone was firm and Emon knew that was the final word on the matter. He quietly let out one more whimper before he went silent. The two of them just sat, being rocked about by the wagon as it rolled over bumps and dips in the road. Finally Emon looked to his mother, Mayelle.

"If I don't hurt anyone… can I use my powers?" he finally asked. Mayelle regarded him for a long while before finally nodding.

"If you have the strength to do so…" Mayelle consented. He smiled, although due to the darkness it was hard to see how much his face lit up. Wasting little time, Emon went into a quiet concentration. The beating of hooves became erratic as the horses tried to keep up with the speed of the wagon. Emon willed his powers into the mechanism of the wagon, making it pick up speed faster and faster. The driver yelled out at his horses and tried to reign them in to make them slow down. This only served to cause a crash. The crate him and his mother were stuffed in slid one way, then tipped over was the wagon swung around and then lurched off of the path. There was shouting and confusion. Finally it was Mayelle's turn. She focused as hard as she could on her powers, building up tension in her chest. It was hot and turbulent, and she almost wanted to scream, but she had to hold it in. She had to not let it just burst out of her body… but channeled the tension into her shaking hands. Gritting her teeth, she unleashed her power, which blew the side of the crate open with insurmountable force. The momentum kept going, blowing out the back of the wagon, opening for them a clear getaway. Mayelle took her sons arm and ran for it. She could hear the shrill scream of a horse as the men tried to calm them. Their haunting whinnies were the last thing she heard from the wreck as her and Emon plunged into the dark wilderness.

Emon and Mayelle did not stop until silence and only the light of the stars reached them. Only then did they dare break to catch their breath. Emon was winded, but Mayelle was quite fatigued. She allowed her bony body to collapse to the ground, sucking in air erratically as she tried with little success to regulate her breathing. Emon stood by her, his hands on his knees, but still standing. Once either was able to speak, Emon cleared his throat.

"Mother… where do you think we are?" he asked finally. Mayelle rolled flat onto her back and stared up at the sky, which bore no glow from the moon. She heaved a sigh that shifted her entire frame.

"I do not know, Emon. I am afraid we will just have to rest until day breaks. Then I can get a better bearing," she spoke truthfully, her wind finally returned to her.

"…What if they find us while we sleep? What if we catch our death in this cold? You always tell me I'm going to catch my death in the cold night air if I stay out too late…" Emon began to worry. Mayelle rolled her eyes, not just as a sign of exasperation, but also was lifting her eyes up to try and think.

"You will just have to huddle extra close to me tonight. We will have to somehow procure some new cloaks and bedrolls… but for now all we can do is lie down with only the tall grass and weeds for cover," Mayelle said, punctuating her last comment with a sigh. Emon reluctantly got down beside his mother, wrapping his goosebump-riddled arms around her. Both of them were shivering in the cold autumn night. Soon frost would be appearing on the ground, and Mayelle truly worried what would become of them.

A/N: Now the hard part: writing more. Usually I can fire off one chapter easily, and then I slow down, such as what happened with this story. Of course, it's not like I have no direction, this is a rewrite of a much older story. Of course, the original story had Mayelle as an older sister to Emon (Deryle in the old story) rather than a mother. Hopefully there is someone out there that would look forward to another chapter.