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Thursday, March 29, 2018

High Mage Audiobook available for Pre-Order!

The link you all have been demanding: the preorder for the Audiobook of High Mage!  Get it now!  

In other news, I've about wrapped up the corrections on Journeymage audiobook, and it should be released directly.  No, I don't know how directly.  But Podium is cranking these out as fast as I can revise them.  Still cranking on Sky Rider (plenty of Spring left) and other stuff.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Yes, she's real.

Meet Cinder.  She specializes in chewing up fingers, toes, shoes, and writing schedules.   She'll be making an appearance in Sky Rider.  If she'll get off the damn keyboard.

7 weeks old, likely an Australian Shepherd mix.  She herds our cats (Mystery and Puzzle -- she's smart enough to leave Lucifer alone).  Most playful puppy ever.  Not conducive to writing, perhaps, but she's learning.  Now if I can just train her to make me coffee . . .

Oh, yeah.  High Mage audiobook will be released APRIL 3rd! 

Back to work.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Happy New Year!

Hey, folks, Happy New Year!

I know you have been begging for an update – or at least proof-of-life – so I thought it was time for that.  Long story short, I’ve been resting and recovering from finishing Necromancer, handling some personal business, and enjoying the holiday season.

I’ve always had a deep and abiding love for the winter holidays, and after the effort of Necromancer I felt I owed myself and my children some dedicated time and effort to them, this year.  A grand time was had by all, and provided some much-needed restoration.  Then I finished off with going to Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC, to celebrate my 20th wedding anniversary with my wife, Laurin.  Lastly, I’ve been grieving the death of my father, who passed away a year ago January 3rd.

This last bit has probably preoccupied me more than anything else, honestly.  Writers are weird.  Our grief process is often tied up in our need to express our emotions through prose, and I credit the dedication I had to finishing Necromancer in large part to my need to process my father’s death.  Yes, I know, Necromancer didn’t deal with that sort of thing . . . but it’s not so much the subject as the process. 

Thankfully, I have few unresolved issues with my dad.  We had a great and loving relationship with few of the father/son issues that typically crop up.  Most of my process has been about understanding my new role in the family and in life, without my father’s constant presence and support.  Having seen how grief can affect a person, I’ve had a relatively easy time of it. 

So now I’m rested, relaxed, and ready to hit the new year with ambition.

Alas, some of that ambition will take months to appear.  My focus this month is on finishing up some stuff with the printed versions of the book, starting the next audiobook adaptation, continuing to organize the Atlas, and working with Aaron Schwartz on developing the first Spellmonger D&D module.  Oh, and trying to get the basic website up.  And arranging art.  And sending out long-overdue fan gifts.  And planning a local book release party at Gallery 71, because, y’know, I just gotta. 

And that’s January.

February and beyond will involve Skyrider, the first short in a while, and Trask’s Odyssey.  I’m also hoping to catch up on some fan mail.  And continue to roll out audiobooks as fast as possible. 
But to warn you, I’m setting up for the next 10 book cycle.  That involves a lot of research.  What I can tell you about the next book is that it will be called Thaumaturge (unless I change it), it will be Min-focused, and it will concern how he tries to build his desolate fief in the Wilderlands into Sevendor 2.0.  while dodging undead lords and gurvani and figuring out how to make snowstone and appease the Sea Folk.  Hilarity ensues. 

It’s going to be an industrious, but quiet, year.   I’m still looking for a good venue for a TV deal, and a lot of this year will focus on prepping the ground for that.  Don’t look for me often on FB – as much as I enjoy it, it’s a time-sink.  But I will continue to keep you abreast of developments here and, when it’s ready, on the new website, as well as FB. 

(And let’s be honest . . . I’ve already started writing scenes for Thaumaturge.  Even though I promised myself I wouldn’t.  I just can’t be trusted . . . )

I hope all my Spellomongrels had a safe and happy holiday season, and wish you a serene Briga’s Day!


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Hallowe'en Miracle! Knights Magi Audiobook is Available for Pre-Order!

Knights Magi cover art

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Blatant Self-Promotion Post!

Necromancer is steaming along beautifully in both sales and free reads (did you know that you can borrow and read everything in the Spellmonger Series as a member of Kindle Unlimited?) and I'm terribly excited about next month's proposed (which means it ain't set in stone) release of Knights Magi on audiobook.  The audiobook response has been particularly gratifying, and I will be spending much of the next year on the Great Rectification that brings each audiobook to life. 

That's partially because such work needs my attention, which I can't spare while I'm composing in the same universe, and that's partially because I need to take a breath and spend a year plotting out the next ten books in the series.  I know where I want to end that arc, it's a matter of selecting which books/characters will get me there.  I also want to fill in the cracks in the first ten books, releasing promised stories and some bits on favorite characters who deserve some attention.  Looking at Olmeg, Sire Cei, Zagor, Gareth, Banamor, Reiel, Iyugi, and other wizards in the Greater Sevendor Metropolitan Area.  That's in addition to the stories about Tyndal, Rondal and the Kasari getting rescued by Ruderal, the Ugliest Maid in Castal, the Bathhouse of Sevendor, and other tidbits I have lingering, half-finished, in the murky depths of my hard drive.

Plus, I can get back to and finally finish Trask's Odyssey.  It appeared that it was going to be the next book, but then momentum and excitement got in the way.  At a certain point it became clear I couldn't continue giving equal time to both, and one, unfortunately, had to yield.  I'm pushing to have it done by Christmas.  If my wife lets me.

But first . . . I'm  preparing the edits to correct Necromancer.  I'll announce when the "final" version is out.  It will mostly be minor things to correct typos and such, and I'm still waiting on some of my edits to get back, but that's in the near future, for you spelling-and-continuity mavens.  Briga bless you.

Now, on to the "blatant self-promotion" portion of the post . . .

I am, currently, available for interviews and participation in some regional (think East Coast, but I'm open . . .) conventions in order to help promote The Spellmonger Series, the auidiobooks, Necromancer, etc.  If you know of a blogger, vlogger, or other fantasy-oriented venue who wants to sully their medium with my opinions in a craven attempt to garner viewership, y'all know my email address: tmancour at gmail dot com.  

I will also be holding a Book Release Party (experienced authors know not to schedule such things until after the book is released and is a hit -- I'll take #359 on Kindle Total Sales as a "hit") at Gallery 71 in Hillsborough, NC, in the near future to celebrate.  More deets as they emerge.

Some random notes:

1) Necromancer's cover was done by my 15 year old daughter, Morrigan Mancour, with surprisingly little direction or oversight from me.  It's an "indy" cover, and I'm totally cool with that.  It's her first cover, but not her first commercial sale nor am I her first commercial client.  But I'm more than willing to take advantage of her cheap labor.  Thankfully, under North Carolina's draconian Right to Work laws, I can force my children to work for a family enterprise, free of charge.  That said, I'm paying her proper journeyman's wages for her work.  Into her savings account.  Because my brilliant, artistically talented daughter is still a fifteen year old girl who pierces her ears without her parents' approval or consent (both of which were forthcoming).

2) I cannot express enough my appreciation to superfan Aaron Schwartz, who (likely to the detriment of his academic studies) gave me enough important insight on the first 20 chapters to know how to contend with the rest of the book.  There are a few of you Spellmongrels who go way above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to my work, and I am eternally thankful for your vigilance.  The contributions you make through your discussions and passionate opinions have an affect on the course of the series even if it isn't obvious.  I had a two-page email this morning discussing the exact weight and density of snowstone.  That sort of thing leads to plot points.

3) I am continuing to agitate for seeing the Spellmonger Series in other entertainment formats.  If you, too, would like to see either a live-action or animated format, consider contacting Amazon Pictures or other production studios.  'Cause I haven't even gotten to the exciting parts, yet.  Ditto comics.  I'm actively searching for a comic publisher who would like to licence Spellmonger.  Preferably indy.  There are more cloaks than capes, but I can bring a bit of an audience.

4) I'm very excited about the Atlas of the Five Duchies.  For one thing, it will be more than Atlas.  A lot of my notes on the development of the region will be revealed in the work, including at least one new story and several excerpts from ancient scrolls.  It will also cover the historical destruction of Perwyn, and trace the original colony back . . . some.  A lot was lost in the Inundation and the Conquest.

5) I'm also very excited to be developing Spellmonger in an RPG format, in response to both huge fan request and my own selfish desire to roll dice.  This is still in the formative stages, but I'd consider working with an indy RPG publisher on the project.  Tell your geeky, dice-rolling friends.

6) MERCHANDISE: It's coming.  During the four cons I attended this summer, the fans were very enthusiastic about the prototypes I was showing, and I got suggestions for more stuff.  With this book, I've gotten even more.  Including plushies of Lord Fuzzypaws.  I'm looking at several specialized items, from wizards' pipes to mageblades to posters to really cool t-shirts, so if you have suggestions, leave them below. 

7) Message from my wife: "Speaking on behalf of the chronically ill, Terry is the most productive chronically ill person I know.  He is dedicated to his fans and his writing.  He hits the pavement, meets his fans, and asks them what they want to read - to the extant that he has annoyed other, more introspective vendors.  Most writers don't do that.  He reads every review, every YouTube video review, and while he sometimes doesn't have time to respond, he absorbs the feedback.  It's beautiful to watch the process of how he engages his fans and the public at large, and include their voices to the final product.  So much so that I am resigned to do without a husband during the final stages of the process.   This busy year has convinced me what an impact he's made, and the opportunity to meet and speak with his fans at the Raleigh ComicCon revealed just how much they enjoy the work.  The fan art, and when I saw the video (below) it has really blown my mind how much they get into Spellmonger.

"Terry's family is willing to suffer -- a little -- to see this work published.  Then we want him back for awhile.  We get Christmas.  And we're looking forward to a much-needed family vacation.  So enjoy Necromancer thoroughly, because he's MINE now!  Until the next one . . ."

8) There is a website in the works, beyond this shallow blogging tool.   It will have far more functionality and be generally prettier.  I hear they're all the rage, now.  And don't forget to like me on Facebook, even though I avoid FB for anything but book promotion, these days.  That's frequently where new announcements get made. 

9) As I close in on my first thousand sales and my first half-million page reads, I want to sincerely thank all of my fans, casual and adamant, for their continued support.  Thanks to y'all, I'm running out of dream jobs.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Necromancer is up (in UK/EU). Spoiler thread discussion.

Love it?  Hate it?  Feel betrayed?  Feel fulfilled?  Talk about it here, it's cheaper than therapy.  SPOILER WARNING!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Necromancer has been submitted.

                     Necromancer: Book Ten Of The Spellmonger Series by [Mancour, Terry]

It's in.

Whether or not it will be out on time is up to Kindle.    When I set up the book, I tried to do it for pre-order, as many fans requested.  Because of this it may have gotten delayed, because of a technicality.  That's my fault, for not understanding the pre-order system.  I'm guessing that it might be sooner than that, once someone shows up and processes it properly, but we'll see.

There will be a minor update likely later on this month as the remainder of the book goes through final editing.  You'll know it's the final when Emily Harris' name pops up.  I'm expecting the edits to be minor, so I wouldn't worry too much.  As usual, feel free to submit any errors and I will try my best to include them in the corrections.

Oh, and my earlier report that the book was only 340,000+ words long?  I messed up.  It's embarrassing, but I forgot to add ten chapters.  I corrected that.  New word count is 386,000 -- closer to my 400,000 goal.

To tide you over, here's an extended excerpt of the first chapter.  Because you shouldn't have to suffer.



I watched my son’s face contort into an expression of fascinated terror as he ran for his life.  His face was red and flushed, and his eyes had the wild look of one desperately dodging a predator as he searched for the danger he knew lurked nearby.  A moment later a blood-curdling, ear-splitting scream from his sister informed him of where his predator was hiding.
Desperate, he rolled across the floor and under the trestle table, just as his foe appeared.
“WHERE IS THAT TASTY LITTLE BOY?” a great voice boomed, making him shiver in terror.  “WHERE IS MY BREAKFAST?”
Minalyan clapped his hands over his mouth to keep from screaming in horror.  When the huge figure finally crept into the room, one could see why the lad was terrified: the great beard and hair of the creature was a chaotic sight, standing up and out like so many spikes.  The eyes between were wide and scary, and the mouth that called for the unlikely meal was smeared with the residue of his previous victims . . . raspberry tarts.
“Here I am!” Minalyan finally announced, rolling out from under the trestle and leaping atop a stool with surprising alacrity.  He brandished a three-day old long baguette in his hands like a greatsword and challenged the monster.  “You will not eat me!”
“I will eat every tasty morsel!” the Flour Monster roared, as he charged.  Minalyan didn’t hesitate – with a mighty swing of his stale weapon he leapt across the kitchen and delivered a fury of blows that defeated the beast and broke the batard into two, sending it flying across the kitchen as the Flour Monster howled and growled at the heat of the combat.  Almina stood in the doorway, eyes wide and hands over her mouth as she watched her big brother duel with the giant ogre who periodically snuck into their home after work and terrorized them.
As valiant as Minalyan’s attack was, no one defeats the Flour Monster.  I’d learned that a lifetime ago.
He picked up the little boy and swung him into the air, ripping up his tunic and burying his bushy, floury beard into his tender belly and began chomping.  Minalyan erupted into a squirmy, giggly scream that was only slightly less nerve-slicing than his sister’s, until he begged for the Flour Monster to relent and release him.
“Run along now,” my father said with an exhausted sigh, as he gave each of them a raspberry tart from the shop and sent them outside to play in the yard.  “That is so much fun,” he admitted, out of breath from the infant-eating effort as he sat on the stool Min vacated.  “But I don’t remember being this tired when I ate you and your sisters for breakfast.”
“We were easier to catch,” I assured him with a smile.  “And twenty-odd years ago, children were slower and more docile.”
We both chuckled at that – my father had been enjoying his grandchildren immensely, both my two and the brood that Urah and Borsa brought with them when my family came to Sevendor.  While the other two sisters and their husbands were preparing to return to Tudry-on-Burine in Varune with my father, Urah’s and Borsa’s husbands had elected to stay in their brother’s barony and run the prosperous bakery here. 
My father was surrounded by his grandchildren – and then some.  All four of his girls and his son had spent the last year or so keeping him in a state of paternal bliss as he got to know them all.  The entire family had taken residence in the Baker’s Hall – an elaborate home I’d had constructed for the purpose – within the outer bailey of the castle. 
Dad spent most of the day at the bakery, as he had since long before I was born, but when he was ready to turn the day’s bake over to his apprentices, he brought home a basket of whatever goodies he’d made that day and – on certain occasions – would slick up his hair with flour and water to create the role that had terrified and delighted us since we were tots.
“You’ve got a brave one, there,” he nodded admiringly to my son chasing his little sister into the yard.  “I’ve been whacked by more stale bread this year than in the twenty before.  He doesn’t shy away from being scared, like Almina,” he observed.
“She enjoys being scared too much to attack – she’s three,” I reminded him.
“Reminds me of Borsa, at her age,” he recalled fondly.  “Always a squealer, that one.  But that boy of yours is braver than them all,” he said, referring to my three nephews who’d arrived with the rest of my family.  All good, strong boys . . . but with more sense than boldness.  Minalyan, on the other hand, was fearless.  He must get it from his mother.
“He’d better be,” I sighed.  “He’ll have to defend this place, when I’m gone.  Timidity is not oft a characteristic of a magelord.  It’s like he wants to fight the world.  He’s gotten worse about it since . . . since his mother went away,” I said, trying to say the words casually.  “He’ll approach a stray dog, bold as brass, and demand it identify itself.”
“When is he going to get to see her again?” my father asked, hesitantly.  It was a touchy subject, and he knew it.  For months I’d been obsessed with discovering some way, either mundane or arcane, to restore my wife Alya’s mind to her after it had been shattered during the Wizard War at Greenflower. 
She was fine, physically – on that the brightest medical and magical minds of the kingdom could agree.  But her psyche had sustained a powerful shock by a witchstone she’d destroyed.  Since that fateful night, she’d been in the care of the priestesses of Trygg at the Holy Hill abbey.  I visited every fortnight, sometimes more. 
But there had been scant improvement for months, until I’d discovered that the legendary Sorceress of Sartha Wood was, in fact, a slightly-batty Alka Alon rebel imprisoned with her staff in a small compound in the middle of the upper Riverlands – one who was trained in ancient human medicine and advanced Alka Alon magic.  Lilastien, as she was properly known, had taken over Alya’s care at Yule and she’d shown some immediate improvement.  But there were limits to what even the Sorceress could accomplish.
“Soon, I hope,” I answered, non-committally.  “She’s getting a little better every day.” 
It wasn’t a lie.  She was.  But “better” is a relative term, judged by condition.  On any given day she wasn’t as bad as the previous day – therefore she was “better”.  It wasn’t a lie.
But the truth was Alya wasn’t going to get much better on her own.  That, at least, Lilastien the Sorceress had been able to tell me.  In fact, the only treatment she even suspected might help was locked away deep in a cavern under a ruined city inhabited by humanity’s deadliest foes.  The only way it could be of help was to recover an ancient spirit from inside a rock and somehow bring it back to Sevendor, where it might be able to glue Alya’s fractured mind back together.
Maybe.  Possibly.  If I could figure out and overcome more obstacles and barriers than any mage had before.  If I could manage an enchantment that no one had any idea how to cast, much less cast properly.  If I could manage all that and do so without getting myself killed, Alya might, possibly, with the help of the gods and more fortune than I was ever due, recognize her children again.  Maybe.
“So, you’ve decided to go after it, then?” he asked, softly, knowing my thoughts without me speaking.  Dad is quite intuitive, for a baker.
“I don’t see that I have much choice,” I said, resigned.  “The Handmaiden is the only thing I’ve even heard about that might work.”
“It seems a hard thing, depending upon an old legend for hope,” he offered.
“I wish this was an old legend,” I snorted.  “Most old legends have a grain of truth to them.  This is just a half-remembered encounter from the mind of a half-crazy old Alka Alon lady from centuries ago.  And it’s the best course I have left.”
“Minalan, you said that Handmaiden was in a cave, deep under a city that you’ve already seen ruined once,” he reminded me.  “On an island in the middle of a lake in mountains higher than these, guarded by dragons and covered with goblins.”
“Yes,” I nodded.  “That is what I said.”
He sighed expressively, and started to shake the dried flour from his beard.  “But you’re going to go, anyway,” he concluded.
“Yes.  Yes, I am.  Alone, if I have to.”
“No, you won’t go alone,” he said, shaking his head and sending a shower of flour to the wooden floor.  “You have too many friends who are too eager to help you.  But be careful, Min,” he cautioned.  “I know you’re a big, tough warmage and wizard and all, but . . .”
“But walking into Olum Seheri like it’s a baronial fair and expecting to find what I need is suicidal, stupid, and hopelessly na├»ve?”
“I knew you were a smart one,” he snorted.
“I know the dangers, Dad.  Or at least I suspect I do.  And it’s far, far more dangerous than you think,” I informed him.  “Olum Seheri isn’t just full of goblins, it’s full of undead.  My apprentices made a full report, and the place is crawling with walking corpses.  Led by Korbal the Necromancer.”
“The ‘demon god of the Mindens’,” he chuckled, wryly.  “Now that is an old legend.”
“And one with more than a grain of truth to it,” I agreed.  “He’s actually not a god at all, just a powerful Alka Alon necromancer who pissed off the Council, a thousand years ago or so.  They imprisoned him in a tomb along with his followers.  Unfortunately, he was awakened by yet more of his followers.  Now they’re building an army, raising dragons, and generally threatening . . . well, everything.”
My dad shook his head again.  “I don’t know how you wizards do it,” he admitted.  “I’ve watched you pursue your craft for years, one way or another.  Warmagic, spellmongering, and now . . . all this,” he said, gesturing toward my barony at large.  “It seems too much work.  Compared to baking,” he added.
I didn’t take offense – I am in a profession that prides itself on obscurity and obfuscation.  And while the practice of magic, on its own, doesn’t mandate that sort of mysterious approach, the business of magic encourages it. 
“Honestly, the heart of a wizard’s work isn’t even about magic,” I decided.  “It’s about getting things done.  Either for a client or yourself.  Mostly by convincing other people to do the hard parts for you.”
“That’s what apprentices are for,” he nodded and smiled.  Over the years Dad had trained at least eight or nine apprentices.  Four of them had married my sisters. 
“Oh, they’re helpful,” I agreed, “but that’s not what I’m speaking of.
“A wizard’s Talent provides access to power, but even with a witchstone that’s not usually enough to accomplish much.  Oh, I do things with magic all the time – but being a wizard goes beyond mastering the arcane.  It is far more about knowing when and how to use magic to change the universe.  And when not to use magic, and use more subtle means instead.”
“So what’s the point of studying so damn much magic?” he asked.  It was a common complaint of his that I had Ruderal and Dara, my two apprentices, constantly reading and taking notes on seven centuries of accumulated knowledge and lore about our profession.  Dard considered that excessive.  But then most bakers weren’t even literate. 
“The magic opens the door,” I explained, struggling for a metaphor.  “But it is your understanding of the universe that gives you the ambition to go through it.  To be honest, most of my work these days involves wandering around, talking to people, listening to things, and quietly arranging for them to want to do what I want them to do.  Sometimes by persuasion, sometimes by coercion, but one of the benefits of wisdom is understanding enough about the limitations of your own power that you can get other people to do the heavy lifting.”
“Sounds more like a priest than a wizard.”  Dad wasn’t unfamiliar with the priesthood.  As a master baker, he was a high-ranking lay member of the Temple of Briga. 
“The two are not dissimilar,” I agreed.  “The difference is that – ideally – a wizard is convincing other people to do things for the greater good.  A priest does so for the glory or adoration of his divinity.  The two are not always the same.”
“So what was Dunselen doing for the greater good?” he asked, curious.  It was an insightful question.  Anyone who dismissed Dad’s wit because of his choice of profession was an idiot.
“Believe it or not, I think Dunselen was trying to figure out how the Snowstone spell worked.  Which would have been for the greater good.  His methods, on the other hand, were not particularly ethical.”  I wasn’t even going to mention Isily’s role in his researches – or his ethical breeches.  Dad knew enough of the story to not bring her up.  He’d even met the two grandchildren Isily bore me, against my will, when Taren brought them briefly to Sevendor for examination.  “Dunselen was a good mage, objectively speaking, but a very poor wizard.”
“So what makes you a good wizard?”
“I get other people to do stuff for me as much as possible,” I decided.  “And I try not to lose sight of the important things.  Like the greater good.”
“Or providing a mother for your children,” he added, as he watched Almina chase her brother, now, as he chased a chicken through the yard. 
“Or defending the kingdom against goblin invasion, undead incursions, and the occasional dragon.  Yes, there is a lot to it.  Especially at my level.  And to be honest, there are limits to what I can do.  Magic might give me leverage, but it’s often as problematic as it is helpful.  I think I probably accomplish as much by subtlety and a whispered word in the right ear as I do with incantations and irionite.  But I must continue to study it,” I continued.  “Indeed, I have an appointment with Kedaran the Black this afternoon.  To study necromancy.”
Dad shivered, involuntarily, and I couldn’t blame him.  He hadn’t even seen a walking corpse before.  I had.  I didn’t have the heart to explain to him that the reality was far worse than his imaginings.
“That’s the part of this profession I don’t like,” he admitted, through pursed lips.  “The enchantments are helpful.  The spells have turned this place into a going concern.  But when you delve into such dark places, Min . . . I worry.”
“You should,” I agreed, emphatically.  “Necromancy is . . . it’s not something Imperial magic has encouraged a study of for a reason.  Reanimation is creepy, and fraught with ethical dilemmas.  It’s one step beyond human sacrifice, according to some scholars, and merely a natural extension of already-existing magical principles to their logical conclusion, according to another group.  A smaller group,” I added.  “And yes, everyone thinks they’re creepy.”
“Well, you play around with dead people, folk are going to talk,” he observed.
“It’s not something you can get away with in the village,” I agreed.  “Necromancy was all but forbidden by the Censorate.  It was a moot point, for the most part, because without irionite, it took a necromancer three or four days to accumulate enough power to cast the spell.  It only lasted a few hours, and the results were usually . . . disappointing.  So very few went past basic theory.  And those who did were subject to penalties.”
“So why do it at all?  Seems . . . creepy.”
“Because Korbal is a necromancer, and he’s studied necromancy for longer than humanity has been on this world.  Not only are he and his followers undead, the creatures he’s creating out of the corpses of slaves are far more sophisticated than anything human necromancers have ever produced.  I need to know more about the practice, at least in theory, if I am going to be able to challenge him.”
Dad winced – he’d never gotten over the idea of me risking my life, and I’m sure the idea of me fighting against some undead ghoul was abhorrent.  “Son,” he said, which he almost never called me unless he was about to impart some profound piece of fatherly wisdom, “perhaps I’ve been too preoccupied by the possibility of my own death to see the subject as one for much study – except in how to avoid it.  But it doesn’t exactly seem wholesome to be mucking around with such things.”
“Wizards do a great many things that aren’t very wholesome,” I chuckled, thinking of some of my warmagic buddies.  “Death magic is particularly slippery to consider, for a host of technical reasons beyond the mere moral issues.  It’s a natural human fascination,” I pointed out.  “You yourself admit to thinking about it.  Too much,” I emphasized.
“When a man has this many grandchildren, he knows his time among them is limited,” he sighed.  “Don’t worry, I feel hale enough . . . for my age.  But every winter is harder, and one more closer to the last one.  Any father understands that,” he said, gently.  “Nor is there shame or worry in it.  But I wouldn’t mind not dying,” he added.
“The quest for immortality has been constant among humanity,” I said, philosophically.  “The Wenshari magi had an entire cult around it.  Necromancy is a natural magical extension of that desire, with dreadfully disappointing results.  No human spell has managed more than the simplest reanimation.  Your soul doesn’t get popped back into your body.  Your dead flesh is merely propelled by magic at the direction of another.  Like I did with the water elemental in the pond, only with rotting human flesh instead of nice, clean water.”
“But not Korbal,” Dad said, as he poured water into the basin to wash the flour off of his face.
“No, Korbal’s necromancy does allow some bit of your mind to return,” I conceded.  “That’s the problem.  He’s using a very sophisticated necromancy . . . and I don’t even know simple necromancy.”
“You’ll figure it out, Min,” he said, confidently, as he patted his face dry with a towel, and then tossed it on the side of the basin where my mother could complain about it.  “You’re a smart lad.  Always were.  We’re going to miss you,” he sighed.
“I’m going to miss you all, too,” I agreed.  “The kids, especially.  They’ve kept Min and Almina distracted, and that’s worth a lot to me.”  Dad and Baron Lithar had come to an arrangement to re-open the bakery back in Tudry, after the Temple of Briga lifted its interdiction on the barony. 
They were planning on leaving in just a few more weeks.  Dad was only taking half of the household he left with, as two of his former apprentices would be staying on here, with my sisters, and continue to run the Sevendor Town bakery.  Mom and Dad had enjoyed getting to know their grandchildren and their daughter-in-law, but it was time for them to head back home and we all knew it.
“They’re beautiful children,” he assured me.  “As pretty as their mother, as smart as their father.  All your children are beautiful.  But they’ll be happier with their mother.  If you can find a way to restore her . . .”
“I’ve done almost nothing else,” I agreed.  “This is likely the best option I have.”
“Then do what you have to do, Son,” he said. 
For no particular reason, his words filled me with confidence I hadn’t felt before.  I wasn’t exactly fishing for his validation, but getting it unexpectedly made it all the more potent. 

“I will, dad,” I promised.  “If it means chasing Korbal into his darkest cellar and beating him to death the bloody stump of his own arm, then I’ll find a way to do it.  Are their more tarts?  Those were delicious!”