Pischal was once a great kingdom, well known as a mining country and the source of a large amount of the worlds magical crystals. But it was now in a state of disarray. A dark wizard named Alabardo had overthrown the benevolent Queen Sablia, and now he ruled Pischal with a iron fist.

Few dared to challenge him directly for fear of being thrown in the underground caverns. Many of the miners were a part of the resistance who opposed him, and were punished accordingly. Doomed to spend the rest of their life underground, mining for magical stones.

Until now.

A guard stood at the entrance to where the prisoners were kept. It was essentially a cave with an enormous door blocking it. Another guard walked up.

"What do you want?" he asked

"To start my shift" the second guard answered

"Move on" he said "I need the extra hours so ain't leavin'"

The second guard grunted angrily "Fine" he said "But you're looking mighty tired. When's the last time you slept?"

"Two days ago" he said

"That ain't no good" said the second guard "You should take a rest"

As he said this he opened his hand revealing a pile of shimmering purple dust. He blew it into the guards face and he fell over, sound asleep. He bent down and took a ring of keys from the guards belt.

"Sleep well" he said unlocking the door and walking into the prison chamber

All the prisoners looked up at him, each with their look of hatred.

"What do you want?" one of the prisoners spat

"To help you" said the guard

"You?" said another prisoner "Help us? Is that some kind of sick joke?"

"It's no joke" said the guard "I'm going to get you all out of here"

The guard reached into his pocket and pulled out what looked like a gold pocketwatch on a chain. One of the miners looked up

"Is thata glamour charm?" one of the prisoners asked

The guard opened the clasp on the charm and his body emitted a reddish-orange light. The light was drawn into the charm and contained when the clasp was closed. Where the guard once stood was now a young boy in a white cloak and uniform with shaggy black hair.

"My name is Cyrus" the boy said "And I'm here to rescue you"

One of the prisoners approached him as closely as he could with the shackles around his ankles "Are you one of those mercenaries we sent out to for help?" he asked "From the Seneschal?"

Cyrus nodded "You couldn't be more than sixteen" he said

Cyrus swept his bangs out of his eyes revealing a scar traveling up from beside his right eye to his eyebrow "Age doesn't matter" he said holding up the key ring "I got here didn't I?"

The man laughed "I'm not doubting you" he said "I'm just surprised"

Cyrus tossed the key ring inside the chamber. The prisoners wrestled over the keys, trying to be the first to have their shackles removed. When one prisoner was freed, his hands began to glow brightly.

"Our magicks are back" he said as he began to heal himself

"Those are sealing chains" Cyrus said "They absorb your magic and use it to reinforce their own strength and durability"

"Well that explains why we couldn't break them with our pickaxes" a man said

"Take some of them with you" Cyrus said "We'll need them"

A few of the miners began to pick up the chains and walk out of the chamber Cyrus spoke to a miner.

"How many people were kept in here?" he asked

"About a hundred" he said "Maybe a hundred and fifty"

"Good" Cyrus said "That means I've freed about four hundred prisoners in all"

"What do you mean in all?" asked a miner

"I've been to a few of the other prison chambers around the mine " he said "And this is the last one I plan to hit tonight"

After a while, all the miners had removed their shackles and made it out of the prison chamber "C'mon" he said "But before we go..."

Cyrus reached into his cloak and pulled out a roll of parchment. He tore off a long piece, folded it twice, and tossed it into the prison chamber. When it hit the ground, it burst into flames. He shut the door, trapping the flames inside as the miners cheered.

"What was that" asked one of the miners

"Incendiary parchment" Cyrus answered "It's best not to leave any evidence. Now let's go"

"What about the rest of the guards around the perimeter?" asked one of the miners

"Don't worry about them" Cyrus said putting his hand into his cloak and pulling out a bottle of glittering purple powder "They're sleeping"

The miners followed Cyrus out of the cave, past the unconscious guards, and into the forest. The sounds of heavy footfalls and the clinking of chains filled the air. Soon he led them into a cave, the air felt cold and thin, and water dripped from the walls and ceiling. When he finally reached the end of the cave, Cyrus stopped.

"What's the holdup?" asked one of the miners

"There's no holdup" another miner said "We're here"

Cyrus looked back at the miners "I need one of you to come up here and lower the protection spell" he said

A man walked forward and put his hands on the cave wall. A soft, blue glow enveloped his hands, and traveled the surface of the wall. The cave wall vanished, revealing a large gate in its place. It opened and revealed the remnants of an old city. A series of decrepit, old buildings, and people in rags huddled around fires. Cyrus and the miners made their way inside and the gate vanished behind them. They spread out, talking to one another, some reuniting with their families.

The sound of a whiplash rang out in the air "Cyrus" shouted a voice

He looked to see a young woman wearing a white cloak and uniform similar to the one he wore. Her toned arms were dotted with scars and bruises, and she was holding a whip in one hand, looking at him expectantly.

"What is it Noor"

"Meeting" she said

Cyrus followed Noor into a tent where the other members of his group were waiting. He looked around at the other members of the group. He noticed that someone was missing.

"Where's Bren?" Cyrus asked

"Who knows?" Zash said with a shrug

Noor growled "He should be here by now" he said "We can't start the meeting without the mission leader"

Cyrus sat down and looked around at his teammates

There was Noor of course.

Zash, A young man with a shaved head, every visible part of him was tattooed in some way

Ismail, a bulky man who was a wall of pure muscle

Nandalea, or as she preferred to be called Grandy Nanny, an old woman leaning on a cane, a smile on her wrinkled face.

Armond, Grandy Nanny's grandson, a psychic.

They were The Seneschal

The Seneschal were a large organization of mercenaries who specialized in fighting against any and all kinds of magic. Hundreds of warriors made up the organization, and they were hired by different people for different reasons. They refused to align themselves with any kingdom, they were loyal only to themselves and the people who paid them the most. They rarely took on missions where pay wasn't a concrete promise.

Although...

Pischal had many rare gemstones that would sell for a very high amount

And before Alabardo came to power, hwas once a criminal with a very high bounty on his head. A bounty that was probably many times bigger now. A bounty they could still claim.

So this was one of those rare times

"Sorry I'm late" said a voice

An older man with glasses and a thick mustache walked into the tent. There were bullet belts strapped around his chest, and he was cleaning a pistol with fevered intensity.

"You'd be late to your own funeral" Ismail said

"What took you so long?" Cyrus asked

"Lost track of time" Bren said "Target practice"

"Should you be wasting ammunition like that?" Noor asked

"Probably not" he said "But how else am I supposed to keep my skills sharp?"

Grandy Nanny swatted him on the backside with her cane "Just don't be late again" she said

Bren rubbed at the offended spot. "I said I was sorry" he said "Watch where you swing that thing?"

She raised her cane and Bren flinched backwards"Don't talk back to Grandy Nanny" she said firmly

"Yes ma'am" he said as Cyrus smirked. Noor sniggered loudly

Grandy Nanny turned her wrinkled face in Noor's direction "Did I just hear you laugh at him?" she asked

Noor immediately fell silent "No ma'am" she said

Bren sat down "Now that we're all here" he said "Let's begin our meeting

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Miles away

Conexus was a continent divided into seven territories, and each territory was controlled by one of seven different kingdoms. Varto, Mentum, Pereo, Krasa, Otium, Celsus, and Excipio. Their royal families were fine to keep to themselves, rarely involving themselves with one another.

The Kingdom of Varto was full of intellectuals. Wise, industrious, logical people who felt that knowledge was power. Some of the worlds most revered philosophers, alchemists, and teachers had been born in Varto.

Prince Kadeem was a handsome, sixteen year old mage with dark skin and a piercing look in his dark brown eyes. Every aspect of his appearance was treated with meticulous care. Clothes, grooming, everything was in order to make him look like the perfect recipient to the throne.

Not that he cared in the slightest.

Oh sure, he liked to look good. But he was more interested in the power of his mind rather than the power of his physical appearance. He could be like other teenagers, out with his friends, watching television, but that wasn't for him. Instead, he spent hours studying in his room. Researching magic, practicing spells, trying to become the best young wizard he could be.

After all, considering who his father was, he had a lot to live up to.

He held what looked like a large glass bead in his hand. He charged it with his magic, it turned bright purple and began to float in midair.

"Focus" he thought

The sphere changed from bright purple to bright green. It spun in midair, emitting several rings of emerald colored flames, that dissipated the moment they touched anything. Kadeem concentrated on the sphere, and it changed color, from bright green to blazing red. Thin ribbons of red light flew out of the sphere and whipped around the room He concentrated again, and once again it changed from red, to a shimmering white. It flashed several different colors before turning white again. Kadeem relaxed and the sphere stopped glowing, then he grabbed it and put it away in his desk drawer.

It was a simple but very effective exercise in controlling magic. He practiced a few hours every day. It was tiring, but the effect was well worth it.

Kadeem looked out the window of his room, he watched as the sun began to set.

"The sun is going down" he thought "Perfect"

When sun finally fell from sight, it was safe for him to move. He grabbed a dark red cloak from his closet, draped it over himself, and raised the hood over his head. Then he left his room and walked the halls of the palace. He walked past the guards gracefully, they didn't even know he was there. He had the utmost confidence in the concealment spell woven into the cloak.

After all, he invented it himself.

The stairs to the library were strong but old, they tended to creak loudly. But the cloak absorbed and silenced any noise that he might of made, making him fell a small twinge of pride in his abilities. When he arrived at the door to the library, he couldn't help but think of his mothers' strict rule against late night reading. The library was off limits to him when the sun went down, she had expressly forbidden him from reading after hours.

But he wasn't going there to read.

He ran his finger across the surface of the door and it opened at his touch. The room had many shelves all stocked with books. Many were books on the history of Varto, documenting the rulings of the previous kings and queens. Several were grimoires, each containing spells and information on artifacts of power. Kadeem walked to the shelf he needed and looked for the book he wanted, only to find an empty space.

"Where is it?" he said to himself

"Looking for this, Kadeem?"

He turned to see a beautiful dark skinned woman sitting in a chair. She had long black hair that fell gracefully around her swan like neck and the same piercing look in her eyes that he had. It was Queen Jasmine, his mother. In her hand she held a black, leather bound journal.

"You can see me?" Kadeem asked

"Of course I can" she said "Plain as day"

Kadeem swallowed a lump in his throat "I believe you know how I feel about you sneaking off to the library at night, son." she said "To think you'd go so far as to use magic to disobey me"

Kadeem said nothing as Jasmine casually turned the pages in his journal "A concealment spell" she said "Very powerful and very clever in composition. Making you inconceivable to all five senses. Essentially it alters the perception of everyone around you"

"But how are you not affected?" Kadeem asked

She gave a throaty laugh as she approached Kadeem, pushing the hood of his cloak off his head. Revealing the stunned look on his dark skinned and lightly stubbled face.

"You should know by now that you can't hide from your mother" she said

Kadeem sighed "So much for skill" he mumbled

"I can't say I'm surprised by this" Jasmine said as she tapped the cover of the journal with her finger "You've always been studious, so it was only a matter of time before you stopped researching spells and started writing your own"

She handed the book to him "I've read your journal" she said "Your spells are quite good. Perhaps you should show them to your father."

Kadeem tensed, his father was an immensely powerful mage "Father is coming here?" he asked

"No" she said "We're going to see him. He's called us all to see him, something very important he says"

"Are they coming too" Kadeem asked

His mother laughed again "They?" she said "Now Kadeem, I know you don't wholeheartedly approve of your fathers ways. But that's no reason to hold ill will to your siblings"

Kadeem sighed, his father was a very busy man. Any time he got to spend with him was short lived considering... well...

You'll see

"So when are we going?" Kadeem asked

"In a few days" Jasmine said "We may be staying a while, so try to decide on what you want to take with you now"

Kadeem opened his journal and started writing "There's really no need to try and enhance that particular spell any further" Jasmine said "Make whatever changes and improvements you want, but there's nothing that can hide you from me"

Kadeem grumbled while his mother giggled "Try not to stay up to late" she said as she made her way out

He sat down, pulled himself up to a desk and opened his journal. He waved his hand in the air and a orb of bright light appeared, illuminating the dark room. He reached for a book and opened it, flipping through the pages.

"Can't hide from your mother, huh?" he thought

He stopped at one page and smiled "We'll just see about that"

First chapter is over and done with. Please review and all that.