As the son of a sleazy businessman and an equally sketchy real estate agent mother, Terry knows all about worldly corruption even at the tender age of 15. He has nightmares of IRS SWAT teams descending on their California McMansion one night, or the SEC arriving to take his dad away in handcuffs. And then there’s his ‘uncle’ Pete, the fast-talking McLaren-driving lawyer.
Actually, thanks largely to Pete’s abilities to keep his family barely on the right side of the law, Terry doesn’t really have those nightmares, they’re actually fantasies he occasionally drifts into to escape the vapid mindlessness of his comfortable suburban life. There has to be more to life than the shoot-em-up video games his friends always want to play, or the endless shopping plazas his mother drags them to when his older sister and her rotten friends aren’t making snide comments about how he’s a little old to be reading fantasy novels. Fortunately they’re not articulate enough to properly ridicule his fascination with magic.
Then one day on a gaming forum he frequents, he learns about a secretive place deep in the mountains of West Virginia. Being from outside of LA, such a place may as well be Mars or Antarctica, a place where he imagines knee-slapping, moonshine-swilling Hillbillies rather than a stone castle complete with battlements and turrets. Along with the possibility that magic may very well be real…
Terry discovers a site that refers to itself as the Unofficial Archon Castle Forum and signs up. Each year they host a summer camp on their grounds, where those who attend not only get to learn the preliminary Wizardry arts, but at the end of the session, three will be selected to become full Initiates. It’s the chance of a lifetime to escape into a world he’s always wanted to join. While it is expensive, his parents can easily afford it and probably wouldn’t miss him much, or even notice him gone.
Stevenus Svenborn Stevenson may indeed be great-great-great-great-grandson of an Ascended Wizard Master of the Nine Seas, Seven Mountains AND the Eleven Realms, a promising talent in his own right in the arts of wizardry, a heart throb who all the girls at Archon Castle absolutely moon over and the easy charm of a noble-born young man, but that doesn’t mean life is always easy for him.
Indeed, for those raised to expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter, it can be tougher still to discover the world doesn’t always work that way.
Deep in the mountains of West Virginia there exits a castle outside of the folds of time. It sits at the edge of a magical forest and is surrounded by a great and impregnable wall. The fine Gothic architecture of their main Academic Halls would put Oxford University to shame and the fearsome dungeon is filled with medieval horrors to dreadful to relate in detail here.
Once a year the Wizards of Archon Castle open their grounds to 200 would-be neophytes keen to learn real magic like alchemy and warding spells. Each of them has eight weeks to prove their worthiness as they vie for one of three prize spots: becoming an Initiate.
As Initiate the winners will join the ranks of such illustrious greats as Quindalore, Learned Master of the Order of Nine, or Martin the Magnificent, Wizard Adept of the Nine Seas and Master Adept of the Seven Mountains and be inducted into the most esoteric of mystery schools.
Unfortunately competition is tough, considering neophyte ranks include Stevenus Svenborn Stevenson, great-great-great-great-grandson of the legendary Ascended Wizard Master of the Nine Seas, Seven Mountains AND the Eleven Realms.
Unfair? Perhaps. But if the other contestants are indeed worthy of being allowed to peer into the inner workings of the universe they need to outrank the best as well as the worst.
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