Servant of the Crown: A Powder Mage Novella (Powder Mage series)
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Captain Tamas is an ambitious young officer in the Adran army. As a commoner, he is one of very few without noble blood to hold a rank. When he challenges the son of a duke over an insult, the subsequent duel lands him in hot water with the nobility and the royal cabal of Privileged sorcerers. Tamas is soon drawn into a conflict that goes to the very highest office in the land, and his only ally is the most unlikely of people; a young noblewoman named Erika, who needs Tamas to teach her how to wield her powers as a powder mage.
several more shots over the next twenty minutes. There was only one in which he scored less than six counts on a stroke, and when it happened he swore quietly to himself. Tamas had seen similar behavior from senior officers. They would call a man in and ignore them for some time, going about a leisure activity like solitaire, letter-writing, billiards, or what-have-you for some time before addressing the subordinate. It was meant as an intimidating tactic. Something to make the victim feel
bit absently at one of her fingernails. “How does he know?” “He has prominent members of the cabal followed, and his spies told him about our fight. Somehow they knew who you were.” The information did not seem to faze her. “How will you kill her?” Tamas patted the rifle he had leaned against the doorpost. “Bullet to the head from a half mile. It’s my only real option.” “Can’t do that,” Erika said. Tamas frowned. “What do you mean?” She pointed to his rifle. “The cabal can’t know you were
struck the hour, and Tamas was left alone in the waiting room. Fifteen minutes stretched into forty-five before he was finally admitted. General Seske sat behind his desk, fist beneath his chin, examining Tamas down the bridge of his nose with an annoyed expression. Colonel Westeven stood at ease beside him, a more welcoming smile on his face. Tamas was not asked to sit. “Good afternoon, General, Colonel. Captain Tamas reporting in.” Westeven seemed about to respond, but he was silenced by a
anger begin to rise. He did not deserve this. He did not need this. Not today of all days, when he had finally come away from a conflict with the nobility triumphant. “What business,” she finally said, halfway around her second circuit of him, “do you have with my daughter?” “Excuse me?” The woman came to stop in front of him. Her eyes were severe, her chin raised in a distasteful vein of superiority. Tamas thought he saw a hint of Erika in this woman, but it was difficult to say. “You heard
had little interest in the lavish entertainment that the nobility threw for themselves, and he was seldom welcome. But his attempts to contact the general were unsuccessful, and he found himself at the Blackstead Opera House on the night of the masquerade. The main ballroom of the opera house was a cavernous affair with three separate domes rising high above a series of open rooms and grand staircases. The walls were of white marble with gold trim, and the room was lit by chandeliers of crystal.