It doesn’t matter much that my second novel in the series about the mage Ice hasn’t been finished yet. When ideas hit, they hit. And thus the story for the third novel is starting to gel in my mind. It is likely to be awhile before I can really get started on it in earnest, but I already have a good sense of the general plot. Relatedly, while I always planned to call the third novel The Thief, I am thinking I will have to come up with a different title. Oh well…
The land surrounding the old capital was blasted and lifeless. The devastation extended for a hundred miles in every direction. The damage had been done centuries ago, and the tales of it were little more than rumor and legend.
The perpetual fog, which hung over the whole region, made it easy to discern the boundary of the area and also made it impossible to navigate. No one who had entered ever returned. Tales spoke of hideous unnatural creatures that lived inside the fog, waiting for unlucky travelers to devour. It was the stuff of nightmares.
The truth was both more deadly and more mundane. The land itself was dead, and in an attempt to restore itself, it absorbed any life it could to use as nourishment. The process was slow. Humans had, for the most part, learned to stay away. only the occasional fool wandered inside. Every once in a while, an animal would find itself on the wrong side of the boundary. With so little life to draw on, the land did not heal quickly.
Magic had done this, though not directly. In one act of rage, so much power had been used that none was left, and still it was not enough. The demand was so great that it did not stop when the magic gave out; rather, it continued to draw the very life force of everything around, killing thousands of people and countless plants and animals.
In the center of this wasteland, under the ruins of the old capital was a secret. It was this secret that the king sought. It was the secret to how all of this had happened and how to make it happen again.