Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Adventure
Release Date: December 15, 2017
War sweeps across the globe as a minor conflagration is turned into a major world war. Mages have emerged from the shadows and turned on each other after generations of hiding. As the conventional war fizzles to a close, the real war continues – the war for supremacy amongst Mages.
Devon, broken and crippled by his former Master has determined that none of his kind should survive the evil that they have unleashed on the world. Though physically weak, his Mana has never been greater as he seeks out the one thing he cannot find – revenge against his former Master.
No one has seen or heard from Victor Whittlesea in six years, however Devon knows that a final confrontation is coming and that his only hope is to discover a way to kill a man who cannot die.
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And so we come to the end. It is fitting that my ending takes place where I began. It is also perhaps fitting that I am surrounded by the ruins of the city in which I was born. This is my legacy. I leave behind me only waste and desolation. Those who come after me will not remember my name fondly. Any friends and family who still remain behind will not even know I have passed. There will be no one to mourn my name when I am gone. Yet, I am content. This is as it should be.
My name is Devon Wills and I am going to die very soon. I can feel it in my bones. I can taste it in the very air around me. With each passing moment I become more certain that I will not survive the night. Even as I kill more of those sent to end me, I know it is simply a matter of time. I have already dispatched three teams of soldiers who sought to kill me, but it will not be such as those that will be my downfall – it will be my former master. I glance down at my watch uncertainly. It’s past time. He is late.
My former master is Victor Whittlesea and he is never unintentionally late.
I grip the mobile phone in my pocket nervously as I glance across the city. I’m not looking at the city as it is now, with its fallen towers and burning streets. I’m not seeing the scavengers hiding in bolt holes and sewers. Their fates don’t interest me. I look past the gangs and marauders who have taken control of the streets since all order had fallen. No, I’m looking at the city as it had once been.
God knows it hasn’t been perfect – we’ve had homelessness and graffiti, vandalism and muggings in the past – but it was better than this. It had worked. It deserves better than this. I remember shopping with my father at a small supermarket that was now a pile of rubble. I had eaten at a restaurant that has since been gutted and opened to the elements. I had probably ridden the exact tram car that was now smashed and lying abandoned in the middle of the street.
I don’t care to see the people on the street below now, as they fight and kill each other. I know in my heart that many are just victims of circumstance and they aren’t truly responsible for their actions, but it doesn’t really make much difference at the end of the day. A starving man killing another for tinned fruit is still just as damaged as a psychopath who kills for pleasure. The damage is still done and there is no coming back. I know all too well the damage done by being forced to commit murder. I have killed many times and I will kill again, once more at least.
I still see those who have fallen before me when I close my eyes. I hear their death screams and I remember the light as it left their eyes. Yes, there is truly no coming back from inflicting death. I am broken, but I am not unusual in that. Everyone in the city below me is broken in one way or another. I wonder how many new damaged souls have been created as our ‘war’ intensifies across the globe. It had begun so simply and has spiralled out of control so quickly.
Our kind spread like wildfire across the globe as we turned upon each other in righteous fury. We fought each other in an attempt to prove our dominance over one another and we had dragged the rest of the world along with us.
I had chosen to stand against my kind. I saw them as nothing more than a cancer on the face of world that needed purging. We were the evil. We were the ones who had started all this. Our quest for power had brought the old world down. I knew the hypocrisy of my statement, as amongst my peers I was the most responsible, but that just meant I had to be the one to do something. Many of my kind had fallen to me, but there were always more. As the war expanded across Europe and then into the United States I realised I could no longer work alone. The collateral damage was too much. This war needed to end.
What had started as a conventional war had twisted into something new, something more dangerous – a mage war. In a conventional war, the winner is usually determined by who has the better tech. A mage war winner is determined by one simple factor – power. Whichever side has the more powerful mages wins.
That didn’t matter to me though. With every fallen mage on both sides, my objectives would be furthered. The death of my kind would relieve the shackles held around the world’s throat. This war would pass, and people would recover, and the countries and economies would regrow. Soon the world would return to the old ways and it would be as if our kind never existed. I was a fool. It had taken me far too long to see this simple truth: the old world was gone. In the end I was forced to come to the same conclusion as everyone else. There simply wasn’t enough left to save. Our war had changed everything.
Only one true relic remains from the old world: my former master. And I am going to remedy that tonight.
Victor is here; he has been for some time now. He isn’t hiding from me. He is far too sure of himself for that. So why does he delay? I am here, alone and unarmed. Well, at least as unarmed as our kind can be. Why hasn’t he struck me down yet? I’m sure it’s not through a lack of motivation. He’s already tried to kill me before.
He had almost been successful, too, on several occasions. Instead he had left me crippled and broken. Only my magic prevented my injuries from seriously handicapping me. I had used Mana to make myself powerful once again. I had used it to keep myself mobile. I had used it because I had no other choice. Without my powers I was as feeble as a child, barely able to walk or hold myself upright, but with them I was unstoppable.
Victor and I are probably the last two most powerful practitioners of our art left. Once he deals with me he will have free reign and stand supreme. His domination will be complete and he will rule over the remains of our planet with a tyrannical fist. The problem is, should I survive, my rule won’t be any less brutal. I’ve already proved I am capable of acts no less savage than his. My evil is just as pronounced as his. It doesn’t really matter who wins – our future is fucked either way.
I don’t much like my chances of survival, but I am going to fight anyway. Why? Because I have no choice – this conflict needs to end. I know it and so does Victor. All he has to do is come and finish me off. And here I am, standing on a building rooftop in plain sight. Surely this opportunity is too much to pass up? So why isn’t he here? I check my watch again.
“Victor!” I call out, using my Mana to amplify my voice. “Come out and finish this. It is time!”
My voice would have been heard across every inch of this city. He would have heard me, but more so he would have felt the Mana surge across the city as I amplified my voice. I can still see the shockwave caused by my Mana passing over the smouldering rubble of once-familiar buildings and across the beloved landmarks of my childhood now falling into ruins.
The loud explosion of sound that usually precedes a teleport spell brings me spinning around to face my old master. It is time. I steadied my nerves as I gripped my fingers into fists. I casually clip the loose battery on my mobile phone into place and close the lid. I carefully flick the phone on, never once taking my eyes from my adversary. The familiar electronic jingle notifies me that it has finished loading and then I drop it into the rubble beneath me as I step forward and look at my upcoming death squarely in the eyes. I will not flinch in the face of it. I am ready.
This is how it ends. It is fitting. Let me now tell you how this begins.
About the Author:
As an avid science fiction and fantasy reader Christopher George has been immersing himself in books from a young age. In 2004 Christopher completed his Bachelor of Multimedia at Monash University and has been working as an IT professional ever since. He currently lives in Melbourne with his partner, her daughter and three cats.
Mage Catalyst is his first completed novel and was written in a variety of hotel rooms and airports across Australia. Catalyst is his first non-technical piece and he finds it much easier to write fiction than software documentation.
It’s also very recently come to light that he is simply awful at talking about himself in the third person.
Thanks for doing an interview! You’ve written several books in the science fiction/fantasy genres. How do you stay inspired to come up with new plotlines and ideas?
That’s an interesting question, the storyline for this series has remained pretty static, I knew what was going to happen and how the series would end, but I didn’t know how I was going to get there. It was a curious mixture of awe and terror as the series unfolded itself towards its eventual final scenes. As the fourth book ends shortly after the prologue from the first book starts it was really surreal to be writing a scene that I’d originally penned down nine years ago.
How many books do you currently have published in your series?
The Mage Series currently has four books, Mage Catalyst, Mage Accession, Mage Dissolution and finally Mage Emergence.
Has the series taken the direction you originally planned for it?
All, in all. Yes. I guess it did, but in a curious way No it didn’t. A third of the plot for the third book was almost rewritten from scratch taking the series into a whole new direction. This was terrifying as I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to bring the whole thing back together again. Fortunately, the rewrite was critical and it basically allowed for the fourth book. I hadn’t exactly left myself too many plot points with my original ending for the third novel.
What’s next for 2018?
I’m busy writing as always. I’ve got another piece coming out early 2018. It’s a spin off from the main series starting all new characters. I’m also trying to branch out into other genres, I’m still working on a high fantasy piece which is no where near ready yet and a science fiction piece called Skybound that has basically dominated my thoughts for the past six months. I can’t wait to share that with you all. It’s not ready yet, but it will be soon.
What do you enjoy most about writing? What do you like least?
Storytelling. I love telling stories and I love discussing my work with my readers.
Could you tell us some about your book covers? Do you design the artwork yourself? What do you look for when it comes to covers that best represent your books?
There are two people responsible for my covers. My good friend Ian Harding who did all the photographic work. And Meg Owenson who did the Illustration. I did all the layout and design. It’s been an interesting journey with the covers – the hand is a difficult thing to shoot properly.
Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you?
Yes, it’s funny it’s not the main characters, it’s always the minor ones. They’re usually fleshed out enough to further the understanding of the main character, but occasionally they’ll jump from the page and demand more details. That’s when I know that I’ve created someone interesting and not just background noise.
Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why?
I’ve got a soft spot for Victor. Villians are easy to understand their motivations, but it’s not like that for Victor. I’ve never liked the concept of Good Verses Evil. For me it’s always been ever more shades of grey. Victor’s like that. He’s definitely the antagonist of the series, But after four books and looking back. I’m not sure he’s the villain. I think that role might fall to Devon.
So far, what has been your favorite scene to write?
There was scene in Mage Catalyst where Devon is facing off against his first real mage fight with Vin. This scene just seemed to flow from me as if I was watching it on a screen in front of me. I’ve never felt anything like it since. The whole section was written in one session and it didn’t feel like keys on the keyboard. I could see it in my mind. Each crash, each crunch and finally Vin’s brutal death screams were vivid in my mind as my fingers did their work.
What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers?
Keep at it. Doesn’t matter what you’re writing. Just get it down. Do whatever you can to get that first draft finished. Then – well, then your work is just started. I was surprised by how much of the novel was crafted from the editing process. But that’s as it should be. Good stories are crafted – not blurted out in one sitting.
Do you have any extras you’d like to share, like a teaser about an upcoming new release, a summary of a deleted scene, or a teaser about a surprising plot twist or character?
I do, I hinted at it before, but I’ve got a spin of series due out early 2018. It’s going to be set in the same world as Devon and Co, but set just after the events of Mage Catalyst. Whilst Devon himself won’t appear, a few familiar characters might appear. Stay tuned!
If you were doing a book to film adaptation, which actors and actresses do you feel would best represent your main characters?
Ooh, Good question, I had a Poll on my website about this a few months back. I think we settled on Alycia Debnam Carey for Renee & someone like Marcus Vanco for Devon. I’ve always pictured Liam Neeson as Victor and Jared Leto as Marcus.
Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read?
I wish I had more time to read, but when I did I was a massive fan of Terry Pratchett & Ben Elton.
What about television shows? Movies?
Game of Thrones. What else? Loving the new Star Wars movies.
Is there a book that you have read that you feel has made a big impact on your life? Why?
Frank Herbert’s Dune. There was a man who truly understood power.
If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say?
… I think my keyboard is broken.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share with readers?
I’d like to thank them for sticking with me through four novels. It’s been a long journey and I’m exceedingly proud of the result. Thank you.